April 13, 2015
The following discussion is on a graduate student in psychology, which is taking online courses. While taking classes this student also has financial obligations, and other responsibilities at home. Lately the student is under much stress. Most of the stress is from the financial problems and finding time to complete assignments for class. Complaints from the student are eating habits, not going to the gym, sleeping patterns, shortness of breath, and rapid heart rate. Other problems include not able to stay focus and cannot concentrate. The following will express how the student can take steps helping to reduce stress, while applying the biopsychosocial model. The use of physiological, behavioral, and self-report methods to help employ the measure of stress. Expressing on maladaptive thoughts one can identify, which could lead to stress, following the evidence-based physiological, behavioral, and cognitive intervention methods one would use to reduce stress. One will see a discussion on the effectiveness of a cognitive behavioral approach in measuring stress and sleep.
Steps can be taken to reduce stress levels, such as taking breaks. Students, caregivers, parents, and spouses has to remember it is alright to take a break, even if it is just for a few minutes to take a walk, or just to be quiet. Meditation practice for a few minutes each day can be beneficial in reducing stress by altering the brains neural pathways. By sitting up with a straight back, placing both feet firmly on the floor, choose a mantra, which works for the individual, then place a hand on the stomach, then repeat the mantra until it syncs with the steady breathing (Kadhiravan, & Kumar, 2012). Concentrate on breathing, even for a few minutes. Breathing slowly and deeply through the nose, then slowly exhale through the mouth. Deep breathing reduces stress by lowering blood pressure and slowing the heart rate (Gabrilowitz, 2001). “Take time to stop and smell the roses”, is a healthy statement to remember. People have to take a few minutes to slow down and focus with awareness on one behavior, sight, sound, taste, smell, or touch (Davis, 1999) Talk to friends, family, or classmates, there is no shame in asking for help, or another perspective, or maybe just an ear to listen (Kadhiravan, & Kumar, 2012). Pay attention to what the body is saying. Take a mental inventory on how the body is feeling. The body needs and wants to get moving, take the stairs instead of the elevator, park at the far end of the lot. Yoga and walking can ease anxiety and depression. Take a brisk walk around the block. Let the brain release endorphins and give the body a chance to process and release the stress. Do this while listening to some soothing music or pull out a feel good song and sing, loudly (Kaniecki, 2006). Lower cortisol and raise endorphins with laughter. Decompress with a warm towel at the base of the neck, relaxing the muscles with closed eyes (Gabrilowitz, 2001). Physiological, Behavioral, and Self-report Methods
The physiological method one could employ to measure stress is by the laboratory testing of saliva. This is known as salivary cortisol testing, which can collect fluid from the sublingual, parotid, and submandibular salivary glands. The levels of cortisol are measured through the alpha amylase, which spikes due to stress. Salivary cortisol sample collection is non-invasive and salivary amylase measurement is an accurate tool for stress assessment (Lai, 2005). The behavioral method one could employ to measure stress would be interviews to specify major life events and the interviewer can identify specific stressors that might be putting one at risk. One could participate in Standardized Event Rating System (SEPRATE) interview and the Life Events and Difficulties Schedule (LEDS) interview (Harrington, 2013). The self-report method one...
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