Project on Stress Management

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CHP:1 INTRODUCTION

What is Stress?

Stress is a complex phenomenon. It has been defined in many ways, but simply put; it is the wear and tear of everyday life.

In everyday’s life people are subjected to a wide range of pressures. Similarly there are also a wide range of resources and strategies for coping with pressure. Sometimes people cope well and will not feel that the pressure is having any adverse effect upon them. At other times they will have difficulty in dealing with the situation and that is when we may use the term "stress".

In reality, any situation that puts pressure is technically "stressful". Stress is not necessarily unpleasant or harmful. When people are able to cope satisfactorily with the stress and find it to be positive in its effect, they tend to use other words - such as "stimulation" or "challenge".

In this regard a simple but accurate definition of stress is:

"Stress occurs when the pressures upon us exceed our resources to cope with those pressures."

It follows, therefore, that we can attempt to tackle stress either by reducing the pressures or by increasing our coping resources - or, indeed, a combination of both strategies.

The problem is that different people find quite different situations and circumstances to be stressful. At the extremes, a situation which one person experiences as positive and stimulating will cause another person acute distress.

“The Changing Times model” is one of the few to recognize this fact. It is also one of the few, and widely known and successfully implemented programs, which has been specifically designed to avoid both psychological jargon and an unhelpful emphasis on medical models of stress.

Some people who suffer from mental disorders may be more susceptible to stress. Equally, prolonged or acute exposure to excessive stress can lead to illnesses. For the great majority of people, however, stress is a perfectly normal and natural state that may be unpleasant or disabling but which can be reduced without recourse to medicines or therapy. All people need to do is develop a better understanding of the causes and effects of our stress. The Changing Times model is designed to help people do just that.

With that understanding everybody will be much better equipped to reduce the pressures which cause stress and/or increase our resources for coping with those pressures.

CHP:2 CATEGORIES OF STRESS

Stress can be broadly classified in the following categories:

• Acute stress is what most people identify as stress. It makes itself felt through tension headaches, emotional upsets, gastrointestinal disturbances, feelings of agitation and pressure. It's easily treatable and can be brought under control in six to eight weeks.

• Episodic acute stress is more serious and can lead to migraines, hypertension, stroke, heart attack, anxiety, depression, serious gastro intestinal distress. It's quite treatable, but it takes general life style readjustments, four to six months, and often require professional break

• Chronic stress is the most serious of all. It's the stress that never ends. It grinds us down until our resistance is gone. Serious systemic illness such as diabetes, decreased immunocompetence, perhaps cancer is its hallmark. It can be treated, even reversed, but it takes time - sometimes two to three years-and often requires professional help.

• Traumatic stress is the result of massive acute stress, the effects of which can reverberate through our systems for years. Post traumatic stress disorder is treatable and reversible and usually requires professional aid.

There are many different definitions but stress can be broadly defined as an individual’s perceived inability to cope with the demands placed on...
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