Stress Management a Life Skills Approach

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Stress Management A Life Skills Approach
The phenomenon of “Stress” has been studied from the purview of stress as a ‘cause’ as a ‘consequence’ and as an ‘experience.’ Irrespective of the approach adopted, the fact that some amount of stress results in increased productivity, but excessive stress leads to self destruction (inverted ‘U’ concept of stress) raises many issues about managing stress effectively. This paper attempts to focus on Stress Management from the Life Skills Education perspective provided by the WHO (1996). ‘Life Skills Education’ refers to the teaching of life skills. Life skills have been defined as “abilities for adaptive and positive behaviour that enable individuals to deal effectively with the demands and challenges of everyday life” (WHO 1993). They are essentially those abilities which help to promote mental well being and competence in young people as they face the realities of life. LSE enables individuals to learn and practice skills; it is based on an individual centred and activity oriented methodology. It subsumes the philosophy that young people should be empowered to take more responsibility for their action. Life skills, when taught as generic skills for life, are taught in the context of holistic health, relationships, social influences on behaviour, rights and responsibilities. The LSE programmes have wide ranging objectives as they address the psychosocial factors that affect behaviour. This approach was selected since studies by Kirby, Kreuter (1991), Caplan (1992), LaFromboise (1994), Ennett (1994), and many others all indicated that Life Skills Education was very successful, in equipping and preparing the younger generation to face the challenges of their adult years. It helped in reducing self-defeating, self-damaging behaviors like smoking, alcohol and drug use, suicide prevention as well as facilitated the ability to handle interpersonal problems effectively and cope with anxiety efficiently.

The study is primarily with adolescence girls because during this period, girls face a number of other problems. Most girls have no say or control over their own lives – they are governed by the authority of their parents. Research indicates that in India girls are far less privileged than boys in access to material resources. They are also discriminated against the boy in areas related to health care, nutrition, education, parental attention and interest. The common health problems of girls below 18 years, besides other medical and physiological problems, include increase in depression, sexual exploitation and sexual abuse, maladjustment including identity crisis, lack of concentration in studies. Studies too reveal that girls report more daily stress, feelings of personal inadequacy, lack of self-confidence, inability to express themselves, and are pre-occupied with their body image. Sexual attractiveness, need to be noticed by the opposite sex are also important concerns. Prema Sunderajan (2001) Vinit, and Anuragini Sharma etal (2000), Silberg et al (1999), Hoffmann etal.(1998) Martin, Welsh and Hill .(1998), Ranganathan (1996), Sunita Kishor (1995), Sushma (1995) Murthy (1992) Papanek (1990), Basu (1989). This indicates that the major cause of stress lies in personal and family life of an adolescent girl. Research has also pointed out that among girls there is a greater use of coping associated with social relationships, more frequent use of self-injurious behaviour and emotion-focused coping and deficits in active coping (Hastings etal 1996, Prema Sunderajan 2001.) These symptoms get aggravated in the present milieu which is characterized by competition, frustrations, insecurities, anxiety, anguish and dilemmas. Rapid changes that pose great challenges, and require the individual to adapt, cope with themselves, the environment and the people they encounter.

Even today, despite her many achievements, ‘woman’ is regarded and seen as a ‘Second sex’ and still...
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