Stress Management: A Definition
Stress is defined as a feeling of tension that is both emotional and physical. It can occur in specific situations. Different people perceive different situations as stressful.
Stress management refers to the effort to control and reduce the tension that occurs with a situation that is considered difficult or unmanageable.
The attitude of an individual can influence whether a situation or emotion is stressful or not. A person with a negative attitude will often perceive many situations as being stressful. Negative attitude is a predictor of stress, because this type of person responds with more stress than a person with a more positive attitude.
If the nutritional status of the person is poor, the body is stressed and the person is not able to respond to a stressful situation. As a result, the person can be more susceptible to infections. A poor nutritional state can be related to unhealthy food choices, inadequate food intake, or an erratic eating schedule. A nutritionally unbalanced eating pattern can result in an inadequate intake of nutrients.
Inadequate physical activity can result in a stressful state for the body. Physical activity has many physiologic benefits. A consistent program of physical activity can contribute to a decrease in depression, if it exists. It also improves the feeling of well-being.
Support systems: A minimal or total lack of support systems can be a sign of family problems or of social interaction in general. Social situations can be beyond the coping ability of a stressed person.
Relaxation: When a person has no hobbies or means of relaxation, they may be unable to handle stressful situations because the individual has no outlet for stress.
A new study, in the United States, shows that workplace stress and long hours are creating a new phenomenon in the workplace – desk rage. Desk rage affects growing numbers of workers who break down at the workplace, argue with one another, physically fight, cry at work and suffer bouts of work-related insomnia.
A study, of 1,305 working American adults, reportedly found that one of 10 Americans claim that desk rage is a major problem, making them prime candidates for desk rage. Two-thirds of those surveyed (65 percent) say that workplace stress is a problem for them at least occasionally, and many say that this stress has led them to call in sick or even quit a job. According to some experts, the reasons for the high levels of stress vary, but include longer hours, increased expectations, overcrowded physical conditions and overburdened workforces. (Sounds familiar?)
An individual stress management programme
- Refocus the negative to be positive.
- Talk positively to yourself.
- Plan some fun.
- Make an effort to stop negative thoughts.
- Start an individualised program of physical activity.
- Decide on a specific time, type, frequency, and level of physical activity.
- Plan to eat foods for improved health and well-being.
- Use the food guide pyramid to help select healthy food choices.
- Eat an appropriate amount of food at a reasonable schedule.
- Make an effort to interact socially with people.
- Reach out to individuals.
- Nurture yourself and others.
- Use relaxation techniques. There are many relaxation techniques (guided imagery, listening to music, etc.); learn about and try different techniques and choose one or two that work for you.
- Take time for personal interests and hobbies.
- Listen to one’s body.
- Take a mini retreat.
Company stress management
Can a weekly fifteen minute break become a key employee benefit? When the break consists of on-site visits by a massage therapist, the answer is yes. According to the company, this program has been non-disruptive, simple to run, and a pleasure. It has also helped retain and attract good employees.
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