Another point of discussion raised by the SRRS is whether the stress caused by a series of minor adverse events is more harmful than one major adverse event. Lazarus believes it can be and has devised a tool for measuring small, day-to-day problems, calling it the Hassles Scale Kanner et al The meaning that an event has for the individual also needs to be considered.
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Moving house, for example, can be a pleasant form of stress if you choose to move but a source of deep distress if you are forced to do so. Our interpretation of an event thus determines the nature and intensity of our response Lazarus Changing social values We acknowledge that there are other measures of life events which have been used in recent research Picardi et al In the above measures, stress is represented in the form of life events. This is an objective way of viewing stress.
Subjective measures also are in common use and consist of questionnaires which have been standardized for validity and reliability. The social environment Social ties seem to play a large part in determining the way in which we cope with negative events.
Skelly highlights the importance of chemical stressors as a source of stress; these include additives in food and drink and pollutants in the air and water. Stress can arise from a multitude of sources. Stress in the environment The work environment Conditions may be such that the levels of noise are excessively high; it may be too hot or too cold; the atmosphere may be polluted by tobacco smoke or exhaust fumes. The individual may be suffering from work overload in the form of unrealistic deadlines, long hours or a feeling that the job is beyond his competence.
On the other hand, the job may lack stimulation, causing him to feel bored, or it may lack opportunity for him to demonstrate his ability. Relationships with colleagues and superiors may be strained. He may be obliged to move to other departments or to other geographical locations. He may be declared redundant or be forced to retire before he wants to Kovacs Type B individuals were found to be almost immune to coronary heart disease.
Type A characteristics are seen as negative insofar as they may lead to stress-related illness. However, they also lead to high achievement which is to be valued. Cooper suggests emphasizing the need to manage Type A behaviour rather than extinguish it. This may mean slowing down, resetting goals, regularly taking 5 minutes off and recording the occasions when this is performed. It may also mean seeking alternative ways of gaining rewards. Such a person was seen as being relatively resistant to stress by virtue of possessing three qualities: a sense of control over his life, a feeling of being committed to his work,.
Individuals who do not possess these qualities are more likely to suffer from stress-related disease than those who do. Personality traits are, however, not set in stone. Stress levels and associated behaviour in the individual can vary which suggests a view of personality as a shifting entity Apter These approaches include how effective we feel when predicting achievement in day-to-day activities and how much control we feel we have over our lives.
In the context of the relaxation class, it may be helpful initially to invite such a person as an observer or provide him with a video to show the outcome of relaxation training, thereby allowing him to experience vicariously the success of others. It has since proved to be a very powerful determinant of health-related behaviour Schwartzer This leads into the area of expectation Bandura , The theory is relevant to the self-management of chronic pain.
When we are successful. If, on the other hand, he believes that his life is largely controlled by other factors such as fate or other people, his locus is said to be external.
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Locus of control is a feature which has been studied in various contexts, one of which is stress where low vulnerability to stress seems to be related to internal locus and high vulnerability to external locus. Other stressors of internal origin Beck refers to stressors within the individual, such as the tendency to interpret events in a consistently negative way. Ellis points to the maladaptive effect of holding unrealistic belief systems, for instance believing one has to be right Such a person may allow himself to be overruled on every side.
A number of anxiety disorders have been described by the American Psychiatric Association From theory into practice As stress is an acknowledged component of many conditions, health care workers are increasingly being asked to help alleviate it. This does not mean that relaxation therapy should, in any sense, be seen as a substitute for medical help.
Rather, it can be seen as a useful adjunct to other treatment. It also has a preventive role.
When offering relaxation training sessions to a group of people, the healthcare professional may wish to include certain topics and a discussion. This has been found to enhance outcomes Payne The topics will relate to those conditions which group members are experiencing. Coping is also a useful topic. For the purposes of this book, two of these topics, anxiety and coping, are considered. Anxiety Commonly experienced feelings of stress and anxiety are different from clinically recognized anxiety disorders where the anxiety is experienced at greater intensity and for longer duration.
If left undiagnosed and untreated, they tend to persist and may become chronic. While relaxation may be helpful in reducing stress, Examples include spiders, storms, blood, injection, injury, tunnels and lifts. Contact leads to an immediate anxiety reaction. The person may rationalize that the fear is greater than it should be but feels powerless to avert the reaction. Situations are avoided for fear of further exposure. Social phobia: also known as social anxiety. The main feature is fear of one or more social situations where the individual worries that she will act in a way that is judged negatively by those around.
The individual is likely to experience physical symptoms such as muscle tension, sleep disruption and poor concentration. Panic disorder: panic attacks involve an experience of intense fear which includes a range of symptoms including palpitations, sweating, trembling, chest pain, nausea and fear of losing control.
Individuals with this condition experience these symptoms frequently and they worry about having further attacks. Panic disorder may also be associated with agoraphobia and a fear of enclosed spaces such as buses, trains and shops. Typically, these situations are avoided.
The most commonly experienced obsessions revolve around fears of contamination with associated compulsions of frequent handwashing or bathing. Fears about personal safety are also common with associated compulsions of repeated checking of electrical appliances, door locking, etc. The compulsive behaviour reduces the anxiety for a short time but has to be repeated.
- Books for Inspiration.
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- Crossroads (Crossroads Academy #1).
Post-traumatic stress disorder PTSD : here the person has been exposed to a traumatic. Intrusive images and upsetting dreams are features of the condition. In an attempt to protect herself, the individual will try and avoid any triggers such as places, thoughts, feelings and conversations relating to the event. One of the features of clinical anxiety disorders is co-morbidity with other conditions.
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Co-occurring depression Brown et al affects as many as one in four, and substance abuse affects every second person with post-traumatic stress disorder Kessler et al It is important, therefore, for health care professionals to recognize when anxiety symptoms reach the level of clinical disorder and to make the appropriate referral. People who cope well may be employing one or more strategies to reduce the stress. For example, it is often possible to change the environment: if the monitor screen is too low and gives you a backache, it could be raised. This is problem-focused coping. Another way of coping is for the individual to change his response to the situation; instead of reacting angrily when things go wrong, he could practise one of the strategies in anger management.
Developing these theories, other researchers have suggested an approach which protects against future stress. It searches out potential stressors and prepares a reserve of coping styles for handling them. For example, in situations of uncertainty it. Listed below are examples of coping skills which could feature as topics for discussion in group meetings.
Getting as much control over the stressor as circumstances allow. While accepting the restrictions of the situation, there may be areas of freedom which a person can develop. Training oneself to predict stressful situations in order to weaken their impact. Being task oriented and not letting emotions take over. Emotions fuddle the mind and interfere with problem solving.
Avoidance of blaming; the latter tends to arouse anger. A more constructive attitude is to see mistakes as the result of a series of events which simply happened.
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Dealing with anger. Some anger may serve a useful purpose; much anger, however, is purely destructive. Giving oneself permission to make a mistake. It is part of being human to make mistakes occasionally. Distancing oneself. If circumstances seem to be overwhelming, one can try stepping back mentally to get a more objective view p19 and p It is sometimes useful to visualize another person coping with the same problem. Introducing humour at suitable moments.