Stress Management Techniques:
- Relaxation Techniques: Reduces symptoms of stress and decreases the incidence of illnesses such as high blood-pressure and heart diseases. Starts from the lower part of the body and progresses up to the facial muscles in such a way that the whole body is relaxed.Deep breathing is used along with muscle relaxation to calm the mind and relax the body.
- Meditation Procedures: A sequence of learned techniques for re focusing of attention that brings about an altered state of consciousness. Such a thorough concentration that the meditator becomes unaware of any outside stimulation and reaches a different state of consciousness.
- Bio-feedback: Monitors and reduces the physiological aspects of stress by providing feedback about current physiological activity and is often accompanied by relaxation training.(i) Developing an awareness of the particular physiological response.(ii) Learning w7ays of controlling that physiological response in quiet onditions.(iii) Transferring that control into the conditions of everyday life.
- Creative Visualization: Creative visualization is a subjective experience that uses imagery and imagination. Before visualizing one must set oneself a realistic goal, as it helps build confidence. It is easier to visualize if one’s mind is quiet, body relaxed and eyes are closed.
- Cognitive Behavioural Techniques: These techniques aim to inoculate people against stress. Stress inoculation training is one effective method developed by Meichenbaum. Replace negative and irrational thoughts with positive and rational ones, i.e., Follow through.(i) Assessment involves discussing the nature of the problem and seeing it from the view-point of the person/client.(ii) Stress reduction involves learning the techniques of reducing stress such as relaxation and self-instruction.
- Exercise: can provide an active outlet for the physiological arousal experienced in response to stress. Improves the efficiency of the heart, enhances the function of the lungs, maintains good circulation, lowers blood pressure, reduces fat in the blood, improves the body’s immune system.Promoting, Positive, Health and Well-being.(i) Stress Resistant Personality (Kobasa):People with high levels of stress but low levels of illness share three characteristics, which are referred to as the personality traits of hardiness (a set of beliefs about oneself, the world, and how they interact).(i) Commitment (personal commitment to work, family, hobbies and social life).(ii) Control (control over sense of purpose and direction in life).(iii) Challenge (changes in life as normal and positive rathr than as a threat).
- Life skills are abilities for adaptive and positive behaviour that enable individuals to deal effectively with the demands and challenges of everyday life.
- Assertiveness: Helps to communicate clearly and confidently, our feelings, needs, wants and thoughts. It is the ability to say ‘no’ to a request, to state an opinion without being self-conscious, or to express emotions.
- Time Management: Learning how to plan time and delegate can help to relieve the pressure. The central principle of time management is to spend your tie doing the things that you value, or that help you to achieve your goals.
- Rational Thinking: When we are stressed, we have an inbuilt selective bias to attend to negative thoughts and images from the past, which affect our perception of the present and the future. Challenging your distorted thinking and irrational beliefs, driving out potentially intrusive negative anxiety-provoking thoughts, and making positive statements.
- Improving Relationships: The key to a sound lasting relationship is communication. Listening to what the other person is saying, expressing how you feel and what you think, and accepting the other person’s opinions and feelings, even if they are different from your own.
- Self-care: If we keep ourselves healthy, firm and relaxed, we are better prepared . physically and emotionally to tackle the stresses of everyday life. Our breathing patterns reflect our state of mind and emotions. Rapid and shallow breathing from high in the chest, with frequent sighs.
- Overcoming Unhelpful Habits: Unhelpful habits such as perfectionism, avoidance, procrastination, etc. are strategies that help to cope in the short term hut which make one more vulnerable to stress.(c) Health is a state of complete physical, mental, social and spiritual well-being, and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity. Positive health comprises the following constructs: “a healthy body; high quality of personal relationships; a sense of purpose in life; self-regard, mastery of life’s tasks; and resilience to stress, trauma and change.” –
- Diet: A balanced diet can life one’s mood, give more energy, feed muscles, improve circulation, prevent illness, strengthen the immune system and make one feel better to cope with stresses of life.
- Exercise: Regular exercise plays an important role in managing weight and stress, and —¦ is shown to have a positive effect on reducing tension, anxiety and depression.
- Positive Attitude: Some of the factors leading to a positive attitude are—having a fairly accurate perception of reality; a sense of purpose in life and responsibility; acceptance and tolerance for different viewpoints of others, taking credit for success, accepting blame for failure, being open to new ideas, having a sense of hour with the ability to laugh at oneself.
- Positive Thinking: Optimism, which is the inclination to expect favourable life outcomes, has been linked to psychological and physical well-being.(d) Social Support: The existence and availability of people on whom we can rely upon, people who let us know that they care about, value, and love us. Perceived support, i.e., the quality of social support is positively related to health and well-being, whereas social network, i.e., the quantity of social support is unrelated to well-being, because it is very time-consuming and demanding to maintain a large _social network. Social support may be in the form of tangible support or assistance involving material aid, such as money, goods, services, etc. Family and friends also provide informational support about stressful events.
Resilience and Health: Resilience is a dynamic developmental process referring to the maintenance of positive adjustment under challenging life conditions. It has been described as the capacity to ‘bounce back’ in the face of stress and adversity. Resilience has recently been defined in terms of three resources—I HAVE (social and interpersonal strengths), I AM (inner strengths), I CAN (interpersonal and problem-solving skills).
Examination Anxiety (evaluative apprehension/stress) involves feelings of tension or uneasiness that occur before, during or after an examination. Many people find it helpful in some ways, as it can be motivating and create the pressure that is needed to stay focused on one’s performance. High stress can interfere with the student’s preparation, concentration and performance. Spend enough time for study, overview and weigh one’s strengths and weaknesses, discuss difficulties with teacher and classmates, plan a revision timetable, condense notes, space out revision periods, and most importantly on the examination day concentrate on staying calm.
Adjustment and adaptation:
“Adjustment is a continuous process by which a person varies his behaviour to produce a more harmonious relationship between himself and his environment.”
Adjustment helps us keeping balance between our need and the capacity to meet these needs.
Adjustment is a subjective process. It is always related to some object and it varies from culture to culture.
Adjustment is the end product of coping.
Adaptation is structural or functional change that enhances the organisms survival value.
- It is a biological mechanism.
- In general adaptation is a term used in biological sciences for learning new ways for survival where as adjustment is psychological process to cope with the demands of the self and the environment.
Contemporary Psychologists have shown increasing interest in understanding what makes life good and meaningful.
Positive Psychology systematically investigates the positive aspects that is the strengths and virtues of human beings such as wisdom and knowledge [curiosity, love, emotional intelligence etc], courage [Bravery, industry, integrity] justice [Loyalty, Equity, Leadership] Temerance [Self control, prudence, Modesty] Transcendence [Excellence gratitude, Hope, optimism, zest],
Words That Matter
- Adaptation: Structural or functional change that enhances the organism’s survival value.
- Alarm Reaction: The first stage of the general adaptation syndrome characterized by an emergency reaction involving the mobilization of energy through adrenal and sympathetic activity.
- Appraisal: Refers to evaluation and interpretation.
- Arousal: The tension experienced at the thought of others being present, and/or performance being evaluated.
- Conflict: A state of disturbance in which resulting from opposing motivates, drives, needs or goals.
- Coping: The process of trying to manage demands that are appraised as taxing or exceeding one’s resources.
- Exhaustion: State in which energy resources have been used up and responsiveness is reduced to a minimum.
- General Adaptation syndrome (GAS): It consists of two phases—an alarm phase during which the organism makes efforts to cope with the threat, resistance phase during which the organism makes efforts to cope with the threat as through confrontation and an exhaustion phase which occurs if the organism fails to overcome the threat and depletes its physiological resources.
- Hardiness: It is a set of beliefs about oneself, the world, and how they interact. It has three characteristics, i.e., commitment, control and challenge.
- Homoeostasis: A state of physiological balance within the body.
- Life Skills: Abilities for adaptive and positive behaviour that enable individuals to deal effectively with the environment.
- Lifestyle: In the context of health psychology, the overall pattern of decision and behaviours that determine health and quality of life.
- Meditation: A technique of turning one’s concentration inward and achieving an altered state of consciousness.
- Optimism: The tendency to seek out, remember and expect pleasurable experiences.
- Positive Health: It includes a healthy body, good interpersonal relationship, a sense of purpose in life, and resilience to stress, trauma and change.
- Psychoneuroimmunology: Interaction among behavioural, neuroendocrine and immunological processes of adaptation.