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KAPLAN UNIVERSITY

HW410 Stress: Critical Issues in


Management and Prevention

Stress
Management and
Prevention

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Program Resource
Guide

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KA P L A N U N I V E R S I T Y

Stress Management and Prevention


Program Resource Guide

By

Alyssa McKay

Kaplan University

HW410: Stress: Critical Issues in Management and Prevention

April 4th, 2017


Table of Contents
UNIT 1 THE NATU RE OF STRESS

Information to Remember........................................................................5
Self-Assessment Exercises.......................................................................6
Journal Writing.........................................................................................7

UNIT 2 THE PHYSIO LOGY OF STRESS

Information to Remember........................................................................8
Self-Assessment Exercises.......................................................................9
Journal Writing.......................................................................................10

UNIT 3 PSYCHOLOGY OF STRESS

Information to Remember......................................................................13
Self-Assessment Exercises.....................................................................14
Journal Writing.......................................................................................15

UNIT 4 PERSONAL ITY TRAITS AND THE HUM AN SPIRITUAL ITY

Information to Remember......................................................................17
Self-Assessment Exercises.....................................................................18
Journal Writing.......................................................................................19

UNIT 5 DEAL ING WITH STRESS: COPING STRATE GIES

Information to Remember......................................................................23

UNIT 6 REL AXATIO N TECHI QUES 1 : BREATHI NG , M EDITATI ON,

AND M ENTAL IM AGE RY

Information to Remember......................................................................24
Self-Assessment Exercises.....................................................................25
Journal Writing.......................................................................................26

UNIT 7 NUTRITI ON AND STRESS

Information to Remember......................................................................29
Self-Assessment Exercises.....................................................................30
UNIT 8 PHYSIC AL EXERCISE AND ACTIV ITY

Information to Remember......................................................................32
Self-Assessment Exercises.....................................................................33

UNIT 9 APPLYING STRESS: CRITICAL ISSUES F OR M ANAGEM EN T

AND PREVE NTIO N TO YOUR PROF ESSI ONAL L IF E

Information to Remember......................................................................34

ADDITI ONAL INF ORM ATIO N…………………………………………………….3 6

REF EREN CES…………………………………………………………………………….3 8


1
Unit

Unit 1: The Nature of Stress

Information to Remember:

 Stress is a perceived threat (change, real or imagined) to our mind, body, spirit, emotions, or

community, (Seaward, 2015). Stress is also the struggle to cope with problems or loss of

emotional control/inner peace.

 Type of Stress include Eustress, Neustress, and Distress. Eustress is considered “good” stress,

Neustress is “neutral,” and Distress is considered “bad” stress, (Seaward, 2015). Distress can be

broken down into Acute Stress, which is temporary but high in intensity level, and Chronic

Stress, which is low in intensity but longer in duration.

 Mindfulness is a way of how people learn to relate directly to their own life. A way to combat the

material world of today, is to practice mindfulness which is a moment-to-moment observation of

the mind and body processes through a calm and focused awareness without judgement to reduce

everyday stressors, (Stahl, 2010).

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Self-Assessment Exercise:

Overall health is the ability of balancing one’s mental, spiritual, physical, and emotional

wellbeing, not just the absence of disease, illness, or infirmity, (HP2020, 2017). Every individual,

however, is different so the order of importance of those needs varies. For myself, I believe in an

equal proportion of each of the four pillars, mental, spirituality, physical, and emotional well-being, to

battle not only stress but establish a better overall quality of life, (Seaward, 2015).

An environment that fosters my wellness paradigm would be the gym. It is my escape from

reality and overall cure for stress that seems never-ending at home or at the workplace. I can treat all

four wellness criteria of my paradigm and relax for a while before facing the day and the day’s stress.

In the gym, it is just you against you, and I find it to be the perfect time to mentally reflect on

emotions as well as exercise the stress away with weight-lifting and running. I like to view it as a

sense of control when everything around you is out of your control.

A good stress management program can help one establish ways to cope with stress and

balance their mental, spiritual, physical, and emotional well-being, which I consider all of which t be

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equally important. Keeping all of those in check not only decreases the effect stress has on an

individual, but also improves an individual’s entire well-being.

Journal Writing:
Completing the Journal Assignment entitled: “How Stressed Are You?” List the
situation on the left. Use a rating scale of 1 through 10 for the start, midway, and end. You will
use this Journal Assignment as a way of mapping your stress throughout the course. Keep it
handy and refer back to it often.

Situation Start Midway End

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Unit 2: The Physiology of Stress

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Unit

Information to Remember:
 Stress Self-Intervention refers to noticing stress, knowing that you can do something about it in

order to calm times of stress overload. Ways that you can bring yourself back to the present

moment include focusing on positive self-talk, breathing, images, sounds, smells, tastes, touch,

and movement. (Seaward, 2015).

 The Autonomic Nervous System is made up of the Parasympathetic Nervous System

(relaxation response), and Sympathetic Nervous System (stress response). The Parasympathetic

division is essentially your “stay and play” response versus the Sympathetic Division that is

“fight or flight” response to stress. (Seaward, 2015).

 Mindfulness of one's stress is the awareness or acknowledgement of one's stressors, whether they

be good or bad. However, with awareness comes the ability to create a greater balance to one's

life and ability to alter the way the body and mind respond to stress, (Stahl, B., 2010). Practicing

mindfulness reduces stress and has been shown to be helpful in reducing effects of psoriasis,

OCD, and even chronic pain, (Stahl, B., 2010)

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Self-Assessment Exercise:
The processes of the brain seem ever changing when it comes to the effect that stress has on

the ways that it functions and adapts. Neuroscience is the study of the brain and nervous system,

(Seaward, B., 2015). The idea behind neuroplasticity is the way that the brain adapts and changes in

response to learning, injury, or experiences, (Campbell, C., 2017). Stress, however, can have adverse

effects to one’s health and have connections to nervous system and immune system diseases.

Neuroscience is important to the brain because with the study of the brain’s functions and the

nervous system scientists are able to learn and understand what is considered normal human behavior

and even further develop artificial intelligence, (Invigorate, 2010). Neuroplasticity on the other hand,

is important when considering how the brain adjusts to life situations, experiences, or injury. Without

it, the brain would be unable to develop over the years from infancy to adulthood, or even recover

from traumatic brain injury, (Invigorate, 2010).

Serious health problems that are associated with chronic stress on the body’s nervous system

include tension headaches, or migraines, bronchial asthma, temporomandibular joint dysfunction,

irritable bowel syndrome, and coronary heart disease, (Seaward, B., 2015). Headaches, are caused by

contractions of the muscles on the skull, and are caused by increased tension or stress, or the inability

to express anger or frustration associated with migraines, but can produce intense pain. Bronchial

asthma, is the constriction of airway passages that result in a choking effect. Studies have connected

asthma attacks to increased events of anxiety, and can be intense enough to send someone to the

hospital or even be fatal. Temporomandibular joint dysfunction is caused by excessive contraction of

the jaw, or grinding of the teeth, in response to anger or frustration, (Kaplan, 2017).

Neuroscience, and neuroplasticity are important in the development of medical advances and

understanding of the operation of the brain. With stress, diseases can form from constant exposure to

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uncontrolled, chronic stress. With better understanding of the brain, perhaps a better response to stress

can be developed, and avoidance of disease.

Journal Writing:
Unit Two Journal Writing Assignment

Daily stressors can affect your thoughts and emotions which in return can have an effect your

body, (Stahl, 2010). It is how we react to these stressors that decide on the extent of which we are

bothered by them. Examples of daily stressors are people in your life, your work life, the current

events occurring throughout the world, food and eating habits, getting enough sleep at night, and

exercise, whether it be ongoing or a lack thereof.

First off, I believe that people that we surround ourselves with on a daily basis can provide a

great deal of stress on an individual daily. Personally, I do not have children or am not married but

even within a relationship, I can face stressful situations almost daily, with even just something as

simple as, “will we find enough time during the week to see each other,” and it can be rather

distracting. An easy solution for that stress would be to make the time, but as we know it isn’t always

that simple.

Secondly, another daily stressor most people face is work stress. It can get pretty frustrating

with my own job, repairing helicopters for the Air Force, if you are unable to come to a solution for a

problem in a timely manner. A lot of stress is caused mainly by others, but I find it pretty easy to just

drop the stress the moment I walk out of the office.

Something I do not find myself having stress or anxiety about to the extent of my peers is

world events. There are a lot of concerning events that are happening currently within our own

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country, let alone the rest of the world. But, I believe there is a difference in having concern for it

versus letting it create stress or anxiety on my daily life when a lot of it is out of my hands to change.

Another stressor that occurs on a daily basis for individuals would be food and eating habits

that we implement. I personally practice keeping track of the food I ingest pretty strictly, but I do not

stress too much if I miss a meal, or a meal doesn’t go quite as planned. I feel if you approach it with a

flexible mindset it is easier to stay on track. I would consider it a good stressor for myself, but I do

understand how it can be a bad stressor for individuals who do not have an opportunity to choose

when or what they eat, or if they struggle with unhealthy eating habits. The fast food industry has

definitely had a hand in America’s everyday diet, and not in a very good way.

Sleep is a necessity for everyone, regardless of how much or how little is required as per the

individual. I know if I manage to sleep for at least 6 hours a day, it’s considered a good night’s rest.

However, I definitely believe the more sleep accomplished, the better. I would say that the stress over

if I am able to get enough sleep for the night is troubling at times. Especially when I feel like there is

just not enough time in the day to accomplish all of the things that I feel I need to accomplish the next

day.

Lastly, another daily stressor that we face is exercise or the lack thereof. Exercise is my go-to

stress reliever so if I do not manage to make it to the gym during the day I feel like it throws my entire

day out of whack and sometimes I even feel overwhelmed with stress because of missing out on a

workout plus all of the other stressors that I face throughout the day. I know that to some, exercising

daily is a hard task to accomplish so I do find value in the fact that I actually enjoy exercising and do

the best that I can to accommodate a couple hours every day to get the task done.

In conclusion, we face numerous stressors through the day that can affect our thoughts,

emotions and physical well-being. Examples of these stressors include people in your life, your work

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life, the current events occurring throughout the world, food and eating habits, getting enough sleep at

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Unit

night, and exercise, whether it be ongoing or a lack thereof. It is how we decide to react and approach

these stressors that make all of the difference in whether we reduce the effect or enhance the amount

of stress we are handling.

Unit 3: Psychology of Stress


Information to Remember:
 5 Mismanaged Anger Styles – Anger research strongly suggests that the number of whom

mismanage their feelings of aggression greatly outnumber those who express is effectively,

(Seaward, 2015). The 5 mismanaged anger styles include the sematizer, the self-punisher, the

exploder, the underhander, and control, (Seaward, 2015).

 Anger Strategies – To be successful with dealing with anger involves cognitive coping strategies,

relaxation techniques, and behavior modification, (Seaward, 2015). Examples of anger strategies

include:

o Knowing your anger style

o Learning to monitor your anger

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o Learning to de-escalate your anger

o Learning to out think your anger

o Getting comfortable with all of your emotions/feelings

o Planning ahead

o Developing a strong support system

o Developing realistic expectations

o Learning problem-solving techniques

o Staying in shape

o Turning complaints into requests

o Practicing the art of forgiveness

 Depression – Depression is often a by-product of anger/fear or unresolved stress, (Seaward, 2015).

Symptoms of depression include persistent sadness, and a loss of interest or pleasure in activities, as

well as a use of alcohol and/or drugs to cope with problems. Intervention to treat depression

suggests coping and relaxation techniques to include T’ai Chi and yoga, or exercise in general,

(Seaward, 2015).

Self-Assessment Exercise:
The thing about stress is that it is not faced within not just one, but many cultures around the

world. The items that vary is the reasons for stress in one culture may not be viewed as stressful in

another. Many theorists worldwide have created theories discussing strategies in which the mind

creates to deal with stressful stimuli, (Seaward, 2015). In the event of coping with stress, emotions

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such as fear also have to be faced, and the improvement of one’s communication style can also be

beneficial with stress reduction.

Many theorists have come to conclusions to overcoming stress and finding inner peace.

Something that they all share, is that their theories all revolve around the same overall concept of self-

acceptance and self-awareness as the most important coping skills when it comes to managing

personal stress effectively, (Seaward, 2015). Freud views the body’s innate need to defend against

damaged ego with coping strategies falls within a self-view that is inadequate and to overcome would

be a matter of self-acceptance. Jung believes that tension, or stress, is relieved by the process of

individuation, or coming together of conscious and unconscious minds, also considered self-

awareness. Theories presented by Kübler-Ross, Frankl, and Dyer touch on the topic of emotional-

stress and ways to overcome suffering through self-acceptance and awareness of the cause of stressors

in the first place. Buscaglia, Maslow, and Seligman discuss each in their own way the importance of

self-love and acceptance in order to effectively be able to deal with stress and share love with others.

To effectively manage stress, it requires an individual to be able to cope with the tension or

result of such stress, such as fear. Ways to cope with stress and fear include behavioral therapy, taking

awareness in the act of communicating with others. For example, ways to increase one’s

communications skills include speaking with precision and directness, to be clear and accurately

describe your thoughts or feelings, using language appropriate for your listening audience, to prevent

confusion and increase optimal understanding, as well as attack issues, not people, to focus on

resolving conflict and the problem not blaming people involved, (Seaward, 2015). Avoiding putting

others on the defensive is another way to enhance communication skills, by expressing your view or

thoughts and personal understanding on the matter instead of blaming others, or placing accusation.

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Validating your assumptions, confirming your understanding of the matter at hand also is effective in

communication skills, to prevent the event of misunderstanding a situation or problem.

Journal Writing:
Unit Three Journal Writing Assignment

Practicing the five-minute mindful breathing, or the mindfulness exercises, are a new

experience to me. I have always wanted to try meditation, or yoga but I feared that I lacked the

patience and balance required for such practices. I think the class has helped me begin with small

steps towards mindful thinking, and already I can sense that I am more thoughtful when it comes to

my thought processes and stress reactions.

Upon practicing the five-minute mindful breathing, I did find myself trying to concentrate on

my breathing, feeling it most prominently at my nose and chest. However, within about two minutes I

did find my mind wandering away to some of the stressors experienced over the last day or two before

returning to concentrating on my breathing. Emotionally, I felt sadness when my mind wandered to

my current stressors. Relationship, friends, a big promotion test. But honestly after taking a deep

breath and returning to concentrating on my breathing I did feel a little relieved. I have come to

realize that I need to face my stressors as they arise instead of bottling them inside and pretending that

they do not bother me, when in reality they do. Which, in the unit three reading it did state, “the

deepest healing occurs when you come to terms with the way things are,” (Stahl, 2010), in which I did

feel that it held some truth. I also did find the five-minute mindful breathing to be calming, and

relaxing. Mentally, I may have felt distracted from my surroundings, and focused.

I will have to practice the mindful breathing exercises more often to get a good feel for what

benefits, which I’m sure there are plenty, I will gain from it. Stress reduction is a real goal for me. I

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think a lot of people underestimate how much stress they actually face and put themselves through

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Unit

within any given day. I know that I have become more aware of my own stressors and how I react

when it comes to resolving them, if I am even able to. Small stress is easy to let go, while others take

a bit more finesse and time to resolve.

Unit 4: Personality Traits and the Human


Spirituality
Information to Remember:
 Prone to Stress – A lifestyle can be adapted to become more stress-resistant. Influences to an

aggressive-based personality include time urgency, multi-tasking, and manipulative control.

Little/no value of oneself equates to an increase of vulnerability to ideas of stress, (Seaward,

2015).

 An important way to combat stress is to build relationships, and values, as well as discover a

meaningful purpose in life. Examples of combating stress include disarming the negative critic

inside, using positive reinforcements, and focusing on who you are as an individual without

comparison to others.

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 Practicing mindfulness has many benefits including the assistance of chronic pain. The three

steps to apply are investigation, which is identifying the tension and pain in the body,

working with emotions that are in response to the tension and pain, and learning to live with

the pain one moment at a time, (Stahl, 2010). The benefit of mindfulness is to bring a person

to the moment and not stress over things that you cannot control, or what the future may or

may not bring.

Self-Assessment Exercise:
Self-esteem is essentially the perception of self-worth based on the views or perception of

oneself combined with the perception of oneself in the eyes of others, (Seaward, 2015). Stress is the

harmony or discrepancy between someone’s actual self-image and what their ideal self-image is.

Stress can be both promoted and/or resolved depending on your level of self-esteem. Relationships,

values, and a desire to lead a meaningful purpose in life are some factors that can affect your value of

self-esteem in positive or negative ways. Stress also results from the foundation of your values,

beliefs, and attitudes. An example of the process of self-doubt and self-esteem through an activity like

nutrition and exercise is relatable to Prochaska’s Stages of Change Model.

Placing little or no value of oneself equates to an increase of vulnerability to perceptions of

stress, (Seaward, 2015). By doing so, one promotes stress in response to levels of low self-esteem by

lacking in the areas of self-values, self-acceptance, and self-love which are thought to be great buffers

against perceived threats and stress. Ways to resolve self-esteem relatable stress include disarming the

negative critic inside one’s own mind, implementing positive reinforcements, focusing on who one

really is, avoiding comparison with others, creating a collection of diverse interests, improving

connectedness with friends and the surrounding environment, avoiding self-victimization, and

reassuring oneself and their value before and in times of stressful events, (Seaward, 2015).

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Prochaska’s Stages of Change Model, is a theory related to behavioral modification to battle

stress, and change one’s behavior from a less desirable behavior to a better, but it acknowledges that

relapse is just part of the behavioral modification process and not necessarily a failure of the

individual. Take nutrition for example. There is a high desire for people to eat healthy and get “fit” to

better improve their self-image and self-esteem. However, with the many challenges presented by the

fast-food industry and the fast-paced lifestyles people lead, the struggle to stay true to healthy eating

is very real. Through this model, one will go through the different stages of realizing there is a

problem, determining a course of action to fix the problem, take the steps necessary, establishing the

steps to become second nature and then relapsing back into the other behavior, (Seaward, 2015). It is

stressed that while falling back into bad habits is negative, it is all part of the growing process and

behavior change process, and should not be viewed as failure. It just presents the opportunity for the

individual to try again, and know what steps did not work for them the previous time.

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Journal Writing:

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I think the concept behind a mindful body scan is interesting. The body is a wonder when

you think about how physical pain and tension could be a result of emotional distress, rather

than a physical injury. Also, the ability of coping with tension or pain by just focusing on the

here and now, and just the overall act of accepting that it exists and not stressing about

whether or not it’ll be there tomorrow.

FEAR: apprehension, anxiety, distress, edginess, jumpiness, nervousness, panic,

tenseness, uneasiness, worry, fright, feeling overwhelmed.

I think a lot of the words associated with fear jump out at me. I am at a point in my life

where I just ended a relationship that wasn’t in either parties best interest, as well as coming

up on a big promotion test next week has definitely brought about some distress, anxiety,

nervousness, and feeling overwhelmed. When I get anxious I feel it in my chest, and my

stomach. Nervousness in a slight jaw clench, and my shoulders tense up.

CONFUSION: bewildered, uncertain, puzzled, mystified, perplexed, chaotic, or foggy.

I’ve always like the word bewildered, and I am not sure why. But chaotic also jumps

out to me. My life seems chaotic, but deep down I know that I have a good handle on most

things. As we have studied, you cannot run from your emotions. Facing them is the only way

to overcome the stress tied to them. When I think chaos, I picture fogginess in my mind, like

the world is spinning.

ANGER: aggravation, agitation, annoyance, destructiveness, disgust, envy, frustration,

irritation, grouchiness, grumpiness, rage.

The words that jump out to me from the anger category are frustration, aggravation,

and grumpiness. Neither of which are an everyday kind of emotion for me, but again, losing

someone that you had hoped would be around for a while stirs up a whirlwind of emotions,

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and stress I believe. I wouldn’t want to confuse these with sadness, but when I sit and think

about it, I feel it in my chest. My heart. My stomach. Like sadness, if I become overwhelmed

with these emotions I tend to not pay attention to my needs and legitimately not feel hungry at

all.

SADNESS: alienation, anguish, despair, disappointment, gloom, grief, hopelessness,

insecurity, loneliness, misery, unhappiness, rejection.

Insecurity, loneliness, rejection, unhappiness are all words that jumped out to me when

I read these. Thoughts or images that come to mind, are just the stress of a breakup, but

honestly are less stressful than the stress or emotions that were stirred up when I was in the

relationship. Sadness, like anger, I feel in my chest, and my heart. When overwhelmed by

emotions, I will shut down, and it isn’t unnatural if I don’t eat much for a couple of days until

the stress passes. Granted, it doesn’t happen on an everyday basis, usually in the event of

sadness, grief, and insecurity.

SHAME: guilt, embarrassment, humiliation, invalidation, regret, remorse,

mortification.

Shame. I would say that guilt and embarrassment jump out at me. The majority of

words that are jumping out at me I find connecting to my biggest stressor at the moment with

the breakup. I’m sure if I practiced this exercise at a different time, there would be different

results. Thinking about those words, I feel most tension in my shoulders and neck.

LOVE: affection, arousal, attraction, caring, compassion, desire, fondness, infatuation,

kindness, liking, longing, warmth, sympathy, sentimentality.

Attention, compassion, kindness, sympathy are all words that stick out to me from this

section. Love being not so much a negative term doesn’t seem to bring any negative feelings. I

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know when in the moment, it can be associated with the chest, the heart. The amount of

happiness that sends your heart fluttering essentially.

JOY: amusement, bliss, contentment, eagerness, elation, enjoyment, enthusiasm,

excitement, exhilaration, hope, optimism, pleasure, satisfaction.

Amusement, bliss, enjoyment are all words that jump out at me. In not so stressful

situations, like surrounding myself with friends and family, these emotions are the ones that

prevail. Joy can be associated within my face, a smile, and my chest. A sense of lightness that

isn’t painful.

When I first read through the body scan exercise and the identifying emotions section in

Seaward, I had trouble relating emotions to a body scan. I think it was due to just the high level of

stress that I was feeling at the time made it hard for me to focus and differentiate what I was feeling

and where it could be associated. The stress has gone down some since then, but I feel that in order to

accurately experience it, I will have to practice the mindful body scan more and perhaps at moments

when the stress isn’t so overwhelming. I am hopeful though.

The body is a wonder when you think about how physical pain and tension could be a result of

emotional distress, rather than a physical injury. Also, the ability of coping with tension or pain by just

focusing on the here and now, and just the overall act of accepting that it exists and not stressing about

whether or not it’ll be there tomorrow. I believe that if people are able to take time out of their hectic,

busy schedules, they can find that the tensions and stress they put themselves through are not as hectic

as they seem, and very capable to cope with through the many different available mindfulness

techniques.

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Unit 5: Dealing with Stress: Coping

5
Unit

Strategies
Information to Remember:
 Cognitive Restructuring/Reframing refers to the creation of a positive mind in response to a

stressful event, (Seaward, 2015). Restructuring with positive affirmations or self-talk require the

statements to be positive, in the present, and personal.

 Toxic thoughts can lead to feelings of hopelessness/helplessness. Toxic thoughts are a form of

self-defeating self-talk that is negative in nature and can result in thoughts of jumping to

conclusions, over generalization, and all or none thinking, (Seaward, 2015).

 Prochaska’s model “Stages of Change,” represents the best model for behavior change. The

“Stages of Change” steps include precontemplation, contemplative, determination, action,

maintenance, and relapse. The cycle, including the stage of relapse, do not represent failure, but

growth and change that results from the process.

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Unit 6: Relaxation Techniques 1:

6
Unit

Breathing, Meditation, and Mental


Imagery
Information to Remember:

 Mental Imagery is using the imagination to observe in first person, images that are created by

the unconscious mind for relaxation, behavior change, and physical restoration, (Seaward, 2015).

Guided mental imagery is an example of mental imagery guided by instructors, therapists, or

counselors to enhance relaxation, and restoration.

 Mental Imagery as a relaxation technique involves tranquil nature scenes, behavioral changes,

and healing body images. By combining mental imagery techniques with concentration and

visualization can reduce the effects of chronic pain, (Seaward, 2015).

 Meditation is the practice of increased concentration that leads to increased awareness, reflecting

on internal rather than external stimuli. Effects of meditation on the body include decreased

oxygen consumption, decreased blood lactate levels, increased skin resistance, decreased heart

rate, and decreased blood pressure, (Seaward, 2015).

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Self-Assessment Exercise:
Mental imagery and visualization are both effective and efficient when handling stressful

scenarios and relaxation. Diaphragmatic breathing is also an example of an exercise that is frequently

used for relaxation, and is seen as effective for relaxation because it is easy, not difficult seeing as

breathing happens naturally without any second thought or hesitation. It is a sense of deep breathing,

similar to taking a deep breath or sigh to recollect one’s thoughts or composure, (Seaward, 2015).

With Diaphragmatic breathing, there is an emphasis on expansion of chest, with movement in the

lower abdomen. Diaphragmatic breathing is also known as pranayama in yoga, that is to restore one’s

vital life source or energy. The benefits of such breathing exercises include a decrease in heart rate,

promotion of feeling of relaxation, decrease in muscle tension, improving mental clarity, increases in

oxygen capacity in lungs, and helps individuals deal with stress overload.

Meditation is another exercise viewed, especially in the west, as a powerfully effective

relaxation technique. Meditation is a practice of increased concentration that leads to increased

awareness, or essentially a solitary practice of reflection of internal rather than external stimuli, as a

means to gain mental clarity, (Seaward, 2015). This technique is not difficult, and used for relaxation

by people of all careers, such as corporations and professional athletes. Examples of the benefits to

the physical nature of the body include decreased oxygen consumption, decreased blood lactate

levels, increased skin resistance, decreased heart rate, decreased blood pressure, decreased muscle

tension, and increased alpha waves, (Seaward, 2015).

Imagery and visualization can also be very useful when it comes to relaxing the body and

mind. By being an active participant in the image created by yourself, the calming effects of the

technique are experienced first-hand instead of from an outside viewpoint. They can also be useful in

the effects of behavioral changes. With behavioral changes, or cognitive restructuring, people can

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overcome their fears and stressors through changes they make in their everyday life. If you can

picture yourself overcoming a challenge, it provides confidence, and the extra push some need to

accomplish their goals like quitting smoking, or overcoming physical challenges. Also, internal body

images can be used in relaxation by tackling illness through imagery, like picturing a tumor, or

sickness being destroyed by your white cells. Picturing yourself defeating your own illness provides

willpower, a desire to take responsibility for your own health status and faith, (Seaward, 2015).

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Journal Writing:
Unit Six Journal Writing Assignment

When it comes to negative thoughts, I agree that it is essentially the great unnamed epidemic.

A lot of suffering comes from the fact that people are too hard on themselves, (Stahl, 2010). I hope

that it is not a sign of a culture change, where the new generation lacks self-confidence and

continually beats themselves up for things out of their control.

Personally, I consider them moments of weakness when I place self-blame or beat myself up

over things that don’t seem to go in my favor. In situations, like a failing relationship, instead of

acknowledging the problems overall, it was easy to first look at myself and see what I could have

done differently, and to look at myself as a failure. As time passed, however, I was able to see things

that I didn’t like overall, that were completely out of my own control and saw that I am not a failure in

that situation and that I had done everything that I could have to try and make it work. I found that in

that situation when I was putting myself down, the anxiety did not diminish, if anything I felt worse

overall. It felt as if my mind were clouded and dark, and as if sleep, although it is a great thing, was

the only thing I wanted to do so that I could avoid the problems and feelings. I think it is important to

be able to stop and think when things get too stressful and you start thinking bad, negative thoughts

about yourself in response. Pain, and hardships are only temporary, and the best that we can really do

in those situations is to learn from them and take steps to change if it is deemed necessary.

With the seeds of suffering, where sending unkind messages to yourself “waters the seeds” of

your own suffering, a lot of things could be different if I were to stop doing so, (Stahl, 2010).

Negativity breeds more negativity, but the same could be said about positivity. Be more positive to

yourself could essentially water the seeds of your own happiness instead of suffering. I believe only

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good things could happen if I were to not immediately respond to a situation by thinking internal

negative thoughts and negative of myself. Also, by acknowledging and changing the way you water

the seeds of your suffering it can immediately effect the people around you. By spreading positivity

throughout yourself, it can be contagious and spread to people around you and potentially inspire

them to make the same changes to their own thought processes.

When someone is upset, or going through hardships in their life, it is often if even of an

unconscious nature that they reflect it towards the people around them even if they have done nothing

wrong to them. I think it is important to not get angry at them, when they treat you unfair and to

approach them with some understanding. Sometimes people just need someone to talk to, to

understand what they are going through and it could be super beneficial if you do that. If you were to

bring an open heart and beginner’s mind to a difficult stressful situation, you may be able to see and

understand it at a completely different level than if you were to approach the same situation with

anger and misunderstanding. An example, would be confronting someone who had just lost a loved

one in their life. It can be an extremely stressful confusing time in their life and by approaching them

with an open heart you can provide them a sort of light in their day when it seems mostly consumed

by darkness.

Self-negativity is something that I agree is essentially the great unnamed epidemic. A

lot of suffering comes from the action of people being too hard on themselves, (Stahl, 2010). By

approaching stressful confrontations with an open heart, I hope that people can learn to handle

situations with an open mind and understanding. It is up to every individual to change the way we as a

culture handle stress, and understand each other.

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Unit 7: Nutrition and Stress

7
Unit

Information to Remember:

 Dominoes of food, health, and stress refer to stress, current American lifestyles,

caffeinated/refined and processed sugar/processed flour/trans fatty acid, and chemical and

biological contaminants. Proper nutrition is directly affected by issues of stress, (Seaward, 2015).

 Proper nutrition is often ignored in favor of profits. Special-interest groups in the industry often

influence dietary guidelines. The media also often depends on the industry for ad revenues,

providing inconsistent factual information on food, diet, and nutrition causes stress for the

consumer, (Seaward, 2015).

 Excessive eating is often linked to depression and cravings create cycles of stress eating and low

self-esteem. Poor nutrition can be linked to stress, and sleep disorders, as well as what is known

as the “obesity trap” which is a cycle of escalating stress, cravings, and less exercise, pain and

low self-esteem, increasing stress and hopelessness, (Seaward, 2015).

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Self-Assessment Exercise:
Self-Assessment Assignment

For this journal, I chose to do the formal practice of mindful lying yoga. I spent about 30

minutes going through each of the stretches any trying to focus on both the pose and my breathing

versus letting my mind wander to other thoughts.

Starting with the Supine Pose, I felt peaceful just lying on the floor with my eyes closed and

breathing normally. As I switched to the Supine Full Body Stretch, I felt relieved as my back muscles

were stretched. I completed a heavy weight lifting session primarily focused on my back muscle

groups a day ago, so my muscle soreness has not completely gone away. Any stretching movements

feel great in relieving the muscle aches. With that being said, moving onto the Spine Twist, as I

twisted to the right, I felt the muscle ache in my lower back relieve slightly, and eventually became

minimal after the completion of a couple rotations from left to right. As I returned to the Supine Full

Body Stretch, I again felt relieved, and relaxed breathing normally.

The next group of yoga stretches that I completed started with the Leg Stretch into the Supine

Full Body Stretch. Surprisingly, I was able to complete the exercise without my mind wandering and

switched to the Single Knee to Chest stretch. As I found with the stretches mentioned before and

continuing through the lying meditation poses, I felt both relieved mentally and physically. I think that

the focus of breathing and movements for the positions made it easier for me to shut out all of the

outside distractions to include the TV show that was playing on the television in the background.

I really enjoyed doing this mindfulness exercise. As an avid gym goer, I tend to skip out on

spending a lot of time focusing on my stretching at the end of a workout. Which, unfortunately is an

important step to aid in muscle recovery, so a fail on my part for skipping out on them. However, this

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mindful exercise helped show me the possibilities and benefit of spending more than just a few

minutes relaxing and stretching at the end of a workout.

I continued the exercises from the Leg Side Stretch, to the Prone Leg Stretch, then to the

Modified and Full Cobra, still managing to not find myself distracted other than taking the time to

read along with each exercise as I went. I especially liked the Cobra one’s solely for their hit of the

lower back muscle area, which as I stated prior was an especially sore area for me today. I found the

Cow Pose and Cat Pose to feel strange physically as I did them, but was able to complete them

without difficulty. The Child’s Pose was nice simply because of the simplicity of the stretch.

I found the Bird Dog Pose to be the most difficult to comply with out of all of the exercises

listed due to its requirement of a little bit more balance. I did like it however, because it required a

little more focus physically and provided a bit of a challenge. During the Pose of Openness, I found it

interesting that it has you take a deep look into your own life. My immediate first thought was that I

wasn’t leading the life I want to be living. However, as I relaxed and completed that exercise for some

time, I reflected that I was actually taking good strides towards where I want to be in my life. A lot of

realization comes from the fact that things take time to accomplish and as long as I am taking the

necessary steps for myself to reach my goals, I am living the life that I want to be living. I am a goal-

orientated person, so setting those goals for myself are important like finishing my Bachelor’s degree,

and successfully continuing my physical fitness programs. I enjoyed ending it all with the corpse pose

because it was as simple as the Child’s Pose and good way to return back to reality in a sense.

In conclusion, as I described, I completed the formal practice of Mindful Lying Yoga, and

found it to be relaxing mentally and physically. By completing it for the first time in roughly 30

minutes I realized that by practicing it more often and focusing more, I believe it could be easily

practiced for a longer period of time if I had the spare time.

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Unit 8: Physical Exercise and Activity

8
Unit

Information to Remember:

 Physical exercise is necessary for physiological homeostasis. Physical exercise is broken up into

six components to include cardiovascular endurance, flexibility, muscular strength, muscular

endurance, agility, and power. (Seaward, 2015). Physical exercise promotes decreased heart rates

and blood pressure as well as decreased muscle tension, better quality sleep and an increased

resistance to colds and illness.

 It is believed that T’ai Chi may play an important role in the prevention of disorders

commonly associated with stress. T’ai Chi is taught for many different reasons to include

self-defense, to meditation enhancing spiritual well-being as well as physical well-being.

T’ai Chi is believed to show you how to be relaxed in all aspects of your life and remain

calm in times of stress. (Seaward, 2015).

 Hatha Yoga has been proven to decrease levels of stress and induce a positive response that

suggests health benefits with regular practice. Hatha Yoga is good for both the body and mind,

providing a greater sense of body awareness and greater flexibility, (Seaward, 2015).

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Self-Assessment Exercises:
Exercise as we all know is great for the body in its entirety, even the brain. Exercise is known

to sharpen mental acuity as well as slowing down the aging process, (Seaward, 2015). Exercise and

taking steps to increase an individual's wellness is not only just a healthy lifestyle but an investment in

one's health. Now, from a business stand point, workers are the building block of any corporation and

their well-being should be just as important as any stat the company is trying to accomplish weekly,

monthly, etc.

A well-balanced health and wellness program can decrease an individual's resting heart rate

and blood pressure as well as result in a better-quality sleep, increased resistance to colds/illness, and

negate the effects of stress. With that being said, a healthy, well-rested worker with low stress can

only benefit the productivity of any task. Low cost, and efficient health and wellness can start with

just a room set aside with a couple of yoga mats, a TV with yoga/workout videos and time allotted

each day, equivalent to a smoke break even, for someone to utilize such room. Monthly, meetings can

be established for everyone to receive information on items like nutrition, different styles of exercise,

stress management, and ways to lead a healthy lifestyle. By providing an opportunity for the

workforce to boost their lifestyle health, corporations can only benefit from the money saved on a

decrease of stress-related illnesses, and workplace accidents resulting from stress.

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Unit 9: Applying Stress: Critical Issues for

9
Unit

Management and Prevention to your


Professional Life
Information to Remember:

 Hobbies – A pleasurable pursuit/interest outside one’s daily work responsibilities through

which one begins to make order out of chaos, (Seaward, 2015) Hobbies have a way to build

self-esteem, and negate any negative feelings one may be dealing with. Hobbies range from

gardening, to wood working, to weight-lifting, or just exercise in general.

 Forgiveness is a way of letting go and allows you to move on with your life for no one else

but yourself. It does not mean you are ignoring or justifying a wrong, it just means that you

can continue on and focus on more positivity in your life. It is an internal healing process

where negative thoughts and emotions are released and finding acceptance with stressful

issues to find peace, (Seaward, 2015)

 Faith, is an optimistic attitude adopted as a lifestyle which in turn provides a means of

coping with stress by providing the perception of a connection to something bigger than

oneself. Faith or spirituality does not necessary mean a belief in god. Prayers can be

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categorized in terms of gratitude, forgiveness, intercessory, or for inner peace, (Seaward,

2015). The process of praying is a clear transmission of thoughts, and expression in the

present and positive tense.

Additional Information

35
 Unit 1
o Mayo Clinic, 2017. Stress Symptoms: Effects on Your Body and Behavior. Retrieved on
April 1st, 2017 from http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/stress-
management/in-depth/stress-symptoms/art-20050987 (Secondary Resource)

o Creighton University, 2017. Seek Balance – Social, Emotional, Physical, & Spiritual.
Retrieved on April 1st, 2017 from
https://www.creighton.edu/nac/currentstudents/checklistforsuccess/seekbalancesociale
motionalphysicalspiritual/ (Secondary Resource)

 Unit 2
o Psychology Today, 2017. What is Mindfulness? Retrieved on April 2nd, 2017 from
https://www.psychologytoday.com/basics/mindfulness (Secondary Resource)

o Harvard Gazette, n.d. Meditation’s Positive Residual Effects. Retrieved on April 2nd,
2017 from http://news.harvard.edu/gazette/story/2012/11/meditations-positive-
residual-effects/ (Secondary Resource)

 Unit 3
o American Psychological Association, 2017. Strategies for Controlling Your Anger.
Retrieved on April 3rd, 2017 from http://www.apa.org/helpcenter/controlling-
anger.aspx (Secondary Resource)

o Chron, 2017. What Are the Positive & Negative Effects of Using Technology to
Communicate? Retrieved on April 3rd, 2017 from
http://smallbusiness.chron.com/positive-negative-effects-using-technology-
communicate-21241.html

 Unit 4
o PsychCentral, 2017. Using Mindfulness to Approach Chronic Pain. Retrieved on April
3rd, 2017 from https://psychcentral.com/lib/using-mindfulness-to-approach-chronic-
pain/ (Secondary Resource)

o SimplyPsychology, 2014. Type A Personality. Retrieved on April 3rd, 2017 from


https://www.simplypsychology.org/personality-a.html (Secondary Resource)

 Unit 5
o Pro-Change, 2016. The Transtheoretical Model. Retrieved on April 3rd, 2017 from
https://www.prochange.com/transtheoretical-model-of-behavior-change (Secondary
Resource)

o Women’s Health, 2012. Anorexia Nervosa Fact Sheet. Retrieved on April 3rd, 2017
from https://www.womenshealth.gov/publications/our-publications/fact-
sheet/anorexia-nervosa.html#e (Secondary Resource)

 Unit 6

36
o Psychology Today, 2013. This is Your Brain on Meditation. Retrieved on April 4th,
2017 from https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/use-your-mind-change-your-
brain/201305/is-your-brain-meditation (Secondary Resource)

o Live and Dare, 2016. Scientific Benefits of Meditation – 76 Things You Might Be
Missing Out On. Retrieved on April 4th, 2017 from http://liveanddare.com/benefits-of-
meditation/ (Secondary Resource)

 Unit 7
o Very Well, 2017. Stress and Emotional Eating: How to Stop Emotional Eating.
Retrieved on April 4th, 2017 from https://www.verywell.com/stress-and-nutrition-
whats-the-link-3144533 (Secondary Resource)

o MedicineNet.com, 2017. Emotional Eating. Retrieved on April 4th, 2017 from


http://www.medicinenet.com/emotional_eating/article.htm

 Unit 8
o Health Advocate Inc. (n.d.). Setting Up a Stress Management Program. Retrieved from
http://healthadvocate.com/downloads/webinars/stress-checklist.pdf (Primary Resource)

o Health Affairs, 2017. Workplace Wellness Programs Can Generate Savings. Retrieved
on April 4th, 2017 from
http://content.healthaffairs.org/content/early/2010/01/14/hlthaff.2009.0626.full
(Secondary Resource)

 Unit 9
o Very Well, 2017. The Importance of Hobbies for Stress Relief. Retrieved on April 4th,
2017 from https://www.verywell.com/the-importance-of-hobbies-for-stress-relief-
3144574 (Secondary Resource)

o Everyday Health, 2017. How to Let Go, Forgive, and Feel Better. Retrieved on April
4th, 2017 from http://www.everydayhealth.com/news/how-let-go-forgive-feel-better/
(Secondary Resource)

References

37
 Seaward, B. (2015). Managing stress: Principles and strategies for health and well-being

(8th ed.). Boston, MA: Jones and Bartlett Publishers.

 Stahl, B. & Goldstein, E. (2010). A mindfulness-based stress reduction workbook. Oakland,

CA: New Harbinger Publications, Inc.

 Healthy People 2020, (2017). Health-Related Quality of Life & Well-Being. Retrieved on April

1st, 2017 from https://www.healthypeople.gov/2020/topics-objectives/topic/health-related-

quality-of-life-well-being

 Campbell, C. (2017). What Is Neuroplasticity? Retrieved on April 2nd, 2017 from

http://www.brainline.org/content/2009/02/ask-expert-what-neuroplasticity.html

 Invigorate, 2010. Why is Neuroscience Important? Retrieved on April 2nd, 2017 from

http://invigorate.royalsociety.org/ks5/learning-its-all-in-your-head/why-is-neuroscience-

important.aspx - why

 Kaplan, 2017. Unit 2, Lesson 3: Stress and Disease. Retrieved on April 2nd, 2017 from

http://extmedia.kaplan.edu/healthSci/HW410/docs/unit2lesson3.doc

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