Eustress and Stress Management Video

Things that motivate us to change or react are sometimes in themselves not totally bad things.   The need to do this or that, or prepare for something, or be pushed to meet a deadline help individuals strive and become better.  While some may not process these natural everyday ‘stressors’ in a good way, many can cope properly and allow them to propel individuals.  Stress that is about negative things are true stressors in real sense of the and cause distress.  Good things that push us, and if not properly coped with, is referred to as Eustress.  While Eustress can cause damage like stress to the body since the body itself does not know the difference, the mind and how we cope can let good stress be a tool to a better life.  The mind can identity good stressors as eustress and not allow it to negatively effect the body like distress.

Eustress is a good type of stress that is not negative in itself. Please also review AIHCP’s Stress Management Consulting Certification

Please also review AIHCP’s Stress Management Consulting Certification and see if it meets your academic and professional goals.  The program is online and independent study and open to qualified professionals seeking a certification in Stress Management.

 

Please also review the video below

 

Cortisol and the Importance of Stress Management

During fight or flight, the body enters into an evolutionary mode of survival.  The body produces various hormones to help one stay alive.  These hormones increase blood pressure, elevate awareness, tense muscles and lower digestive functions.   Since humanity’s early ancestors, the amygdala in the brain responds to threats or perceived threats.  The sense of danger is later translated in the hypothalamus to order the Pituitary gland direct the adrenal glands above the kidneys to release various hormones.  Adrenaline is released.  In the process, cortisol helps one’s body react to danger by giving the body the energy to flee or fight.

Cortisol is released in the stress response. Please also review AIHCP’s Stress Management Consulting Program

 

Chronic stress can however lead to higher levels of cortisol which is not good for the body.  The article, “How To Lower Your Cortisol Levels Safely, According To Experts” by Dylan Bailey takes a closer look at what high and low levels of cortisol can do to the body overtime and how to find ways to keep it in check.  He states,

“Having high cortisol levels in short bursts is helpful, but long-term elevation of this steroid hormone can be damaging, says Nicole Golden, a National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM) master trainer and owner of FWF Wellness in Sayre, Pennsylvania. In response to a stressor, cortisol levels are meant to rise in the short term as part of the “fight or flight” response to give you the energy needed to better deal with a temporary stressor or crisis, and even recover from an injury or illness. But, if this happens constantly, serious health complications could occur.”

“How To Lower Your Cortisol Levels Safely, According To Experts”. Baily, D. (2023). Forbes Health

To read the entire article, please click here

Commentary

Cortisol, often referred to as the “stress hormone,” is a vital hormone produced by the adrenal glands. It plays a crucial role in various bodily functions and is essential for our overall well-being. Understanding cortisol is key to managing stress and maintaining optimal mental and physical health.

Cortisol is released in response to stress, and its primary function is to help the body cope with challenging situations. It regulates various processes, including metabolism, immune response, and blood pressure. In times of stress, cortisol mobilizes energy by increasing blood sugar levels, providing a burst of energy to deal with the perceived threat.

The importance of cortisol cannot be understated. It helps regulate the sleep-wake cycle, enhances memory and cognitive function, and even influences mood and emotions. However, when cortisol levels become imbalanced due to chronic stress, it can have detrimental effects on our mental and physical well-being.

The role of cortisol in the body: Understanding its functions

Cortisol is involved in a wide range of physiological processes that are essential for our overall health. One of its primary functions is to regulate our body’s response to stress. When we encounter a stressful situation, cortisol is released to increase our alertness and prepare us for fight or flight.

From the perceived threat to the amygdala to the hypothalamus to the pituitary glands to the adrenal glands, arrives cortisol which for better or worst does not understand true threat or chronic stress

 

In addition to its stress response role, cortisol also plays a crucial role in regulating our metabolism. It helps break down carbohydrates, proteins, and fats to provide energy for the body. Cortisol also influences blood sugar levels, ensuring a steady supply of glucose to the brain and muscles.

Cortisol has a significant impact on our immune system as well. It helps to suppress inflammation and regulate the immune response. However, chronic elevation of cortisol can weaken the immune system, making us more susceptible to infections and diseases.

The connection between cortisol and stress: How stress affects cortisol levels

Stress is a natural part of life, and our bodies are equipped with a stress response system to help us cope with it. When we encounter a stressful situation, whether physical or psychological, our bodies release cortisol to help us adapt and respond effectively. However, prolonged or chronic stress can disrupt this delicate balance and lead to elevated cortisol levels.

Chronic stress can arise from various sources, such as work pressure, relationship problems, financial difficulties, or traumatic events. When stress becomes chronic, cortisol levels remain elevated for extended periods, which can have adverse effects on our mental and physical health.

Research has shown that high cortisol levels due to chronic stress can contribute to anxiety and depression. Cortisol interacts with neurotransmitters in the brain, influencing our mood and emotions. Excessive cortisol can disrupt the balance of these neurotransmitters, leading to mood disorders.

The impact of cortisol on mental health: Exploring the link between cortisol and anxiety/depression

Cortisol levels play a significant role in mental health, particularly anxiety and depression. Studies have shown that individuals with anxiety disorders tend to have higher cortisol levels, especially in situations that trigger anxiety. This suggests a potential link between cortisol and the development or exacerbation of anxiety disorders.

Similarly, depression has also been associated with cortisol dysregulation. People with depression often exhibit abnormal cortisol patterns, such as elevated levels in the evening or flattened diurnal rhythms. This disruption in cortisol secretion can contribute to the persistence and severity of depressive symptoms.

It is important to note that while cortisol dysregulation may contribute to anxiety and depression, it is not the sole cause. Mental health disorders are complex, and various factors, including genetics, environment, and neurotransmitter imbalances, also play a role.

Cortisol and physical health: Examining the effects of cortisol on the immune system, metabolism, and weight gain/loss

Cortisol’s impact extends beyond mental health and affects various aspects of our physical well-being. One crucial area is the immune system. Cortisol regulates the immune response and helps prevent excessive inflammation. However, chronic elevation of cortisol can impair immune function, making us more susceptible to illnesses and infections.

Metabolism is another vital area influenced by cortisol. In times of stress, cortisol promotes the breakdown of stored energy sources, such as glycogen and fat, to provide the body with the necessary fuel. However, prolonged elevation of cortisol can lead to increased appetite, particularly for high-calorie foods, leading to weight gain.

On the other hand, chronic stress and high cortisol levels can also lead to weight loss in some individuals. Cortisol can accelerate muscle breakdown and inhibit muscle growth, leading to decreased muscle mass and overall weight loss.

Understanding the effects of cortisol on our physical health is crucial for maintaining a balanced lifestyle and preventing long-term health complications.

Chronic cortisol elevation: The dangers of prolonged high cortisol levels

While cortisol is essential for our survival and well-being, chronic elevation of cortisol can have severe consequences. Prolonged exposure to high cortisol levels can lead to a range of health issues, both physical and mental.

One of the primary concerns is the impact on cardiovascular health. Elevated cortisol levels can increase blood pressure and promote the deposition of cholesterol in the arteries, increasing the risk of heart disease and stroke. Chronic stress and cortisol dysregulation have also been linked to conditions such as diabetes and metabolic syndrome.

Stress Management is key in reducing unneeded cortisol in the blood system. Please review AIHCP’s Stress Management Consulting Program

 

Furthermore, chronic cortisol elevation can have detrimental effects on cognition and memory. Excessive cortisol can impair memory retrieval and cognitive function, leading to difficulties with concentration, decision-making, and problem-solving.

It is important to recognize the signs of chronic cortisol elevation, such as persistent fatigue, weight gain, mood swings, and sleep disturbances. Seeking professional help and implementing strategies to manage stress and regulate cortisol levels are crucial for preventing long-term health complications.

Managing cortisol levels: Tips for reducing stress and regulating cortisol production

Managing stress effectively is key to maintaining balanced cortisol levels and promoting optimal well-being. Here are some practical tips for reducing stress and regulating cortisol production:

  1. Practice stress-reducing techniques: Engage in activities such as meditation, deep breathing exercises, yoga, or mindfulness to help calm the mind and relax the body.
  2. Prioritize self-care: Take time for yourself and engage in activities that bring you joy and relaxation. This can include hobbies, spending time in nature, or engaging in creative outlets.
  3. Maintain a healthy lifestyle: Regular exercise, a balanced diet, and adequate sleep play a crucial role in managing stress and regulating cortisol production.
  4. Seek social support: Surround yourself with a supportive network of friends and family who can provide emotional support during challenging times.
  5. Set boundaries: Learn to say no and prioritize your well-being. Establishing healthy boundaries can help reduce stress and prevent overload.

Implementing these strategies can help reduce stress and promote a healthier balance of cortisol in the body.

Testing cortisol levels: How to measure and monitor cortisol in the body

If you suspect that your cortisol levels may be imbalanced, it is essential to consult with a healthcare professional. They can perform tests to measure and monitor cortisol levels in your body.

The most common method of testing cortisol is through a saliva or blood test. Saliva tests are non-invasive and can be done at home. They measure cortisol levels at specific times of the day to assess the diurnal rhythm. Blood tests provide a more comprehensive picture of cortisol levels but require a visit to a healthcare facility.

Interpreting cortisol test results should be done in consultation with a healthcare professional, as they can provide insights into your specific situation and guide you towards appropriate interventions if necessary.

Natural ways to balance cortisol: Lifestyle changes, diet, and supplements that can help regulate cortisol levels

In addition to stress management techniques, certain lifestyle changes, dietary choices, and supplements can help regulate cortisol levels naturally. Here are some suggestions:

  1. Get regular exercise: Engaging in regular physical activity can help reduce stress and regulate cortisol production. Aim for a mix of aerobic exercises, strength training, and mind-body practices like yoga or tai chi.
  2. Adopt a balanced diet: Consume a diet rich in whole foods, including fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and healthy fats. Avoid excessive caffeine and refined sugars, as they can contribute to cortisol dysregulation.
  3. Prioritize sleep: Establish a consistent sleep routine and aim for 7-9 hours of quality sleep each night. Poor sleep can disrupt cortisol rhythms and contribute to stress.
  4. Consider adaptogenic herbs: Adaptogens like ashwagandha, rhodiola, and holy basil have been traditionally used to support the body’s stress response and regulate cortisol levels. Consult with a healthcare professional before starting any new supplements.
  5. Practice relaxation techniques: Incorporate techniques such as progressive muscle relaxation, guided imagery, or aromatherapy to promote relaxation and reduce stress.

Remember, it is essential to consult with a healthcare professional before making any significant changes to your lifestyle or starting new supplements.

Conclusion: Understanding the importance of cortisol in maintaining overall well-being

Cortisol plays a vital role in our mental and physical well-being. It helps regulate our stress response, metabolism, immune function, and various other physiological processes. However, chronic stress and elevated cortisol levels can have adverse effects on our health, leading to mental health disorders, compromised immune function, weight gain or loss, and other complications.

Learn to better manage stress and help others manage it through AIHCP’s Stress Management Consulting Certification

 

By understanding the science behind cortisol and implementing strategies to manage stress effectively, we can maintain a healthier balance of cortisol in our bodies. Prioritizing self-care, engaging in stress-reducing activities, and adopting a balanced lifestyle can go a long way in promoting optimal mental and physical well-being.

Remember, if you suspect any imbalances in cortisol levels, it is crucial to consult with a healthcare professional who can provide personalized guidance and support. Take control of your stress levels and nurture your overall well-being.

Please also review AIHCP’s Stress Management Consulting Program.  The program is online and independent study and open to qualified professionals seeking a four year certification in Stress Management.

 

Additional Readings

“What Are the Symptoms and Causes of High Cortisol Levels?”. Santos-Longhurst, A. (2023). Healthline. Access here

“Cortisol”. (2021). Cleveland Clinic.  Access here

“What Is Cortisol?”. WebMed Editorial Contributors. (2022). Access here

“Cortisol and stress: What is the connection?”. Tee-Melegrito, R. (2023)  Medical News Today.  Access here

 

 

Finding Balance Between Work Stress and Home Life

Overworking and the stress associated with it can shorten lives.  Many individuals become slaves to their work.  They bring their work home and wherever they go.  When the stressors of work are constantly on one’s mind, one’s overall health is risked especially with higher risks of high blood pressure and heart attack.   It is important to set boundaries and properly utilize stress management and meditation skills to lessen stress.  In addition, those who have a difficulty balancing work and play enjoy less of what life has to offer.  This is why it is so important to establish a healthy balance and utilize Stress Management.

Many business professionals are tied to their work and the stress that goes with it. They have no balance in their lives.

 

The article, “5 Tips for Achieving Work-Life Harmony During Busy Seasons” by Amy Vetter looks closely at how to balance work and home life and how to counter the negative effects of stress. Her target audience is for tax accountants during the busy tax season but applies to anyone dealing with deadlines.  She encourages utilizing the numerous stress management techniques and tools available as well as meditation.  She also emphasizes the importance of hobbies or other activities that allow the mind to find other things to reflect on.  In addition she points out that boundaries are essential.  She states that it is OK to say no to non vital work related requests and to prioritize tasks.  Time management is also emphasized to maximize work efficiency.   Overall, in regards to work stress and finding balance, she remarks

“Whether it’s on the intensive four-month audit, or the upcoming tax season, we all have busy seasons. The key to a healthy work-life is maintaining balance and not letting the work creep into other areas of your life. Work to eliminate those distractions so you can focus on what matters—you and your loved ones.”

“5 Tips for Achieving Work-Life Harmony During Busy Seasons”. Amy Vetter. March 3rd, 2023.  CPA Practice Advisor.

To read the entire article, please click here

Commentary

Learning how to balance work stress and home life is key. Please also review AIHCP’s Stress Management Consulting Program

 

Stress is a natural part of life but when it becomes chronic it can wear down the body.  The body produces certain hormones to deal with stress in life.  Usually these hormones are for fight or flight situations but when they are utilized for office and work settings, this constant red alert state can damage the body.  It is hence important to utilize stress management in dealing with work stress by establishing boundaries, utilizing time management and finding time to give to family and friends.  This may involve saying no from time to time to work requests or taking a day off or prioritizing but overall it is essential for long term health.

The Negative Effects of Job Stress on Mental Wellness

Job stress can have a severe impact on mental wellness. It can interfere with personal relationships, disrupt sleep patterns, cause anxiety, and lead to overall poor mental health. When individuals are stressed at work, they often bring that stress home with them, causing additional tension and strain on personal relationships. Additionally, stress can cause sleep disturbances, which can further exacerbate mental health issues. Over time, chronic stress can lead to anxiety disorders and depression, making it essential to take steps to prevent and manage job stress.

The Benefits of Work-Life Balance on Mental Wellness and Productivity

Achieving a proper work-life balance can have a significant impact on mental wellness and productivity. By prioritizing personal needs and time, individuals can reduce job stress and maintain a healthy mental state. When individuals have a well-rounded life outside of work, they can return to their job with a clearer mind and increased focus, leading to higher productivity levels. Additionally, work-life balance can lead to improved physical health, including better sleep patterns, increased physical activity, and decreased risk for chronic illnesses.

Tips for Achieving Work-Life Balance

Achieving work-life balance can be challenging, but there are several tips individuals can follow to help achieve it. One tip is to prioritize personal time and set boundaries around work responsibilities. This can include limiting the number of hours worked per week or designating specific days for personal activities. Additionally, individuals can utilize time-management techniques to maximize productivity during work hours, allowing for more leisure time outside of work. It is also crucial to maintain a healthy lifestyle by eating well, exercising regularly, and getting adequate sleep.

Strategies for Managing Job Stress and Stress Management

Managing job stress is essential for maintaining mental wellness. One strategy is to practice mindfulness techniques, such as meditation or deep breathing exercises, to help manage stress in the moment. Additionally, individuals can prioritize self-care activities outside of work, such as hobbies or spending time with loved ones, to help alleviate job stress. It is also important to communicate with colleagues and supervisors about job stressors and potential solutions to reduce stress levels.  Ultimately Stress Management is key.

Techniques for Maintaining Mental Wellness

Establishing boundaries is key in preventing work from coming home

 

In addition to managing job stress, there are several techniques individuals can use to maintain mental wellness. One technique is to prioritize self-care activities, including exercise, healthy eating, and adequate sleep. Additionally, individuals can utilize therapy or counseling services to manage mental health concerns or issues related to job stress. It is also essential to maintain social connections and engage in activities that bring joy and fulfillment.

The Role of Employers in Promoting Work-Life Balance

Employers play a crucial role in promoting work-life balance for their employees. Employers can offer flexible work schedules, such as remote work or flexible hours, to allow employees to prioritize personal needs. Additionally, employers can offer mental health resources, such as counseling services or stress-management workshops, to support employees’ mental wellness. It is also crucial for employers to foster a healthy work culture that values work-life balance and encourages employees to prioritize personal time.

The Impact of Technology on Work-Life Balance

Technology has become a significant factor in work-life balance, often blurring the lines between personal and professional time. While technology has allowed for increased productivity and flexible work arrangements, it has also led to increased job stress and decreased personal time. It is essential for individuals to set boundaries around technology use, such as limiting work-related emails or notifications outside of work hours. Additionally, employers can encourage healthy technology habits and offer resources to support employees’ technology use.

Conclusion

Learn to prioritize what job needs done first and when. Please also review AIHCP’s Stress Management Consulting program

 

Achieving a healthy work-life balance is crucial for maintaining mental wellness and overall productivity. By prioritizing personal needs and managing job stress, individuals can reduce the negative effects of job stress on mental health. Employers also play a vital role in promoting work-life balance by offering flexible work arrangements and mental health resources. Additionally, it is important to be mindful of technology use and set boundaries to promote personal time outside of work. Overall, prioritizing work-life balance is essential for maintaining a healthy and fulfilling life, both personally and professionally.

If you’re struggling to achieve a healthy work-life balance or manage job stress, consider seeking support from a mental health professional or reaching out to your employer for resources. Remember, prioritizing personal time and mental wellness is essential for overall happiness and productivity.  Stress Management Consultants can also help teach important stress reducing techniques

Please review AIHCP’s Stress Management Consulting Certification and see if it meets your academic and professional goals.  The program is online and independent study and open to qualified professionals seeking a four year certification in Stress Management Consulting.

Additional  Resources

“Coping with stress: Workplace tips”. Mayo Clinic Staff. January 16th, 2021. Mayo Clinic. Access here

“How to Keep Work Stress from Taking Over Your Life”. Cindy Lamothe. October 30th, 2019. Healthline.  Access here

“Balancing Work and Family”. WebMed Editorial Contributors. October 25th, 2021. WebMD.  Access here

“8 Tips for Work-Life Balance”. April 27th, 2022. Health Essentials. Cleveland Clinic. Access here

How to Control Stress Induced Eating

Stress can cause many adverse reactions.  While stress causes many internal reactions in the fight or flight response, it can also cause adverse reactions in how one copes with stress.  One adverse reaction and bad coping method is eating.  Many individuals will take consolation in food or late night binges to overcome anxiety and stress.  This not only compounds the issues that arise with chronic stress but also leads to poor diet choices and weight gain.  Bad sugar and cholesterol choices are also a result of spur of the moment stress eating. Other forms of Stress Management need to be implemented to reduce stress induced eating.

Stress induced eating can cause havoc to one’s diet and overall health. Please also review AIHCP’s Stress Management Consulting Program

 

The article, “Why You Stress Eat and How To Stop” from the the Cleveland Clinic takes a closer look at the problems that come with stress induced eating.  The article discusses why individuals stress eat but also looks at methods to better control.  The article lists other stress relief models but also cognitive responses to help distract one from stress induced eating.  The article states,

“If stress eating doesn’t actually improve your stress levels, what does? It goes back to the stress itself. “Stress eating is about escaping your feelings, pushing them away,” Dr. Albers explains, “so the key to getting a handle on it is understanding your stress better.” But with intentionality and effort, you can break the habit and form new ones in its place. “Forming new habits in response to stress takes time, but it is possible,” she adds.”

“Why You Stress Eat and How To Stop”. HealthEssentials. January 26th, 2023. Cleveland Clinic

To read the entire article, please click here

Commentary

Stress can push individuals to eating when they should not be eating.  Whether late or night or something bad for one’s diet, stress eating can become a large issue.  Stress Management Specialists can help individuals find better ways to manage stress and avoid stress induced eating.

Stress has been studied extensively and is known to have a significant effect on one’s eating habits. It has been postulated that when exposed to a stressful situation, individuals are more likely to engage in unhealthy eating habits due to the psychological response of increased cortisol levels and decreased serotonin levels. This can result in an increase in food-seeking behavior and an increase in the consumption of unhealthy, high-calorie foods which could lead to weight gain.  In particular, individuals under chronic stress often engage in binge eating, which is characterized by an increased amount of food intake over short periods of time and involves episodes of elevated emotions such as guilt or shame following the episode.

People who are under persistent stress may seek out food as a coping mechanism. This phenomenon is likely a result of the body’s physiological response to stress, which includes elevated levels of cortisol, a hormone linked to appetite stimulation. Additionally, other hormones released during periods of stress such as ghrelin can further induce hunger. This may be accompanied by an emotional craving for comfort foods that are seen as providing psychological nourishment or solace in times of distress.  Intermittent periods of psychological stress can also result in an increase in the activation of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis, leading to increased cortisol secretion. This can cause activation of hedonic pathways and reward centers in the brain, resulting in an increased drive for consumption of palatable food items. Furthermore, individuals who are stressed may also exhibit maladaptive coping strategies which involve the consumption of food as a form of emotional regulation.

Stress Management and Eating

Learning better stress management coping strategies can help prevent stress eating

 

In order to cope with stress eating, it is pertinent to alter one’s cognitive appraisals of stressors, develop a repertoire of coping skills, and cultivate an awareness of one’s emotional state. This can be achieved through various cognitive-behavioral techniques such as mindfulness meditation and exposure to positive stimuli. Additionally, refraining from calorie-dense snacks and substituting them with healthier alternatives can also reduce the prevalence of stress eating. While overeating may be an effective short-term solution, it is not the only available option for managing feelings of anxiety. Other means of dealing with stressful situations include cognitive reframing, mindfulness meditation, and diaphragmatic breathing. Cognitive reframing involves actively shifting one’s perspective in order to gain insight into their underlying thought patterns.

Conclusion

In conclusion, stress eating is a common response to feeling overwhelmed or anxious. It is important to recognize when this type of behavior is happening so that steps can be taken to address it. Managing stress in healthy ways, such as exercise, can help reduce the likelihood of stress eating. Additionally, having a support system and being mindful of your emotions can help you make healthier choices. Avoiding unhealthy coping mechanisms like stress eating will help us maintain a healthy relationship with food and avoid feeling guilty or ashamed.  Finally, if you find yourself turning to food for comfort more than usual, it may be time to seek professional help.  Many counselors who specialize in Stress Management Consulting can help an individual better cope and find alternative ways to deal with stress instead of eating.

There are better ways to cope with stress than eating. Please also review AIHCP’s Stress Management Consulting Program and see if it matches your goals

 

Please also review AIHCP’s Stress Management Consulting Program and see if it meets your academic and professional goals.  The program is online and independent study and open to qualified professionals seeking a four year certification in Stress Management Consulting.

 

Additional Resources

“Tips to Manage Stress Eating”. Erin Gager.  John Hopkins Medicine.  Access here

“Why stress causes people to overeat”. Harvard Medical School. February 15th, 2021. Access here

“Weight loss: Gain control of emotional eating”. Mayo Clinic Staff. December 2nd, 2022. Access here

“13 Ways to Prevent Stress Eating When You’re Stuck at Home”. Jillian Kubala. March 27th, 2020.  Access here

“Here’s Why You Stress Eat — And How to Stop Doing It”. Jamie Ducharme. July 31st, 2018.  Access here

Managing Stress in a Marriage

While marriage is a happy occasion it is also a very stressful situation.  When two people live together there is bound to be issues and problems that can lead to stress.  This is why it is so important to be sure you know who you marry and still even then it can be a challenge.  Most marriages today end in divorce due to a variety of stressors ranging from financial issues to infidelity.  The odds are really against a successful marriage.

Learning to identify stress and anger in a marriage is important in resolving issues. Couples who work as a team have a better chance overcoming the possibility of divorce

 

This is why it is so important for two people to truly understand the rigors of marriage, the demands and the responsibilities.  In addition to this, a couple needs to know how to manage anger and stress in a conducive way to promote unity and good team play.  The article, “3 Keys to Managing Stress in Your Marriage” by Kevin Bennett, PhD., looks at ways to better cope and manage stress in a marriage.  He looks 3 key elements in managing stress and promoting a healthy marriage. Communication is one key to managing stress between couples.  He states,

“Stress can negatively impact how spouses interact with each other. Under stress, people typically become more irritable, anxious, or emotionally exhausted. This, in turn, can affect spousal communication and behavior. Romantic partners may also have less patience and be more prone to conflicts.”

“3 Keys to Managing Stress in Your Marriage”.  Kevin Bennett, PhD. January 3rd, 2023. Psychology Today.

In addition, Bennett urges better intimacy between couples and a healthy life style to combat the negative effects of stress on a relationship.  To review the entire article, please click here

Commentary

Managing stress in marriage is key.  Communication and trust are critical for a couple to face stressors as a team.  Couples who can perform as one unit are better able to overcome the stats of a potential divorce.

When it comes to marriage, it can often be a bumpy road. Even the happiest couples can face difficult times and disagreements. Although it’s normal to have some stress in relationships, it’s important to know how to recognize and manage it. In this blog, we’ll discuss the causes of marriage problems, signs of stress in a marriage, tips for overcoming stress in a marriage, communication strategies for dealing with marriage problems, conflict resolution strategies for couples, healthy habits for a successful marriage, seeking professional help for marriage problems, tips for keeping stress low in a marriage, and practical ways to show love and support in a relationship.

What Causes Marriage Problems?

Healthy couples have intimacy and communication in facing stress in a marriage

 

Marriage problems can arise from a variety of sources. Some of the most common causes of marriage problems include financial issues, infidelity, communication problems, lack of intimacy, and a lack of trust. Financial issues can be especially difficult for couples to deal with because it often involves making decisions about how to budget and save money. Infidelity can also be an issue that causes stress in a relationship if one partner is found to have been unfaithful. Communication problems can arise when couples are unable to talk about their feelings and needs in a meaningful way. A lack of intimacy can be caused by a lack of time spent together due to other commitments. Finally, a lack of trust can be caused by a lack of honesty or respect in the relationship.

Signs of Stress in a Marriage

It’s important to be aware of the signs of stress in a marriage so that you can recognize when an issue has arisen. Some common signs of stress in a marriage include frequent arguments, lack of physical affection, avoidance of conversations, and a decrease in communication. If you notice that you and your partner are arguing more often than usual or that you’re avoiding conversations with each other, it may be a sign that something is wrong. Additionally, if you and your partner are no longer engaging in physical affection or if communication between the two of you has decreased, it may be a sign that stress is present in your marriage.

Tips for Overcoming Stress in a Marriage

If you and your partner are experiencing stress in your marriage, there are steps you can take to help reduce it. One of the best things you can do is to take a break from the situation. Sometimes, just stepping away from the stress for a few hours or days can make a big difference. Additionally, it’s important to be honest and open with each other about what is causing the stress. This can help you to better understand each other’s feelings and needs. Finally, it’s important to learn how to compromise when it comes to difficult decisions. Compromising can be a great way to help manage stress in a marriage.

Communication Strategies for Dealing With Marriage Problems

Lack of communication can allow stressors to dig a divide in marriage. Please also review AIHCP’s Stress Management Program

 

Communication is key when it comes to dealing with marriage problems. It’s important to be able to talk openly and honestly with each other about your feelings and what is causing the stress in your relationship. It’s also important to be patient and understanding when it comes to communicating with your partner. Listening to each other’s perspectives can help to reduce misunderstanding and anger. Additionally, it’s important to be respectful when communicating with each other. If you feel too overwhelmed to talk, it’s ok to take a break from the conversation and come back to it when you feel ready.

Conflict Resolution Strategies for Couples

Conflict resolution is an important part of any relationship, especially when it comes to marriage. If you and your partner are having difficulty resolving conflicts, there are some strategies you can use. One of the most important things to do is to focus on the issue at hand. It’s easy to get sidetracked and start talking about unrelated issues, but it’s important to stay focused on the problem. Additionally, it’s important to stay calm and listen to each other’s perspectives. Arguing or raising your voice will only make the situation worse. Finally, it’s important to be willing to compromise. Compromising can be a great way to reach a resolution that both parties can be happy with.

Healthy Habits for a Successful Marriage

There are certain habits that can help to ensure a successful marriage. One of the most important habits is to make time for each other. This can be as simple as having a date night once a week or going on a weekend getaway. Additionally, it’s important to be honest with each other. Honesty is essential for building trust and respect in a relationship. It’s also important to be supportive of each other. Showing your partner that you are there for them can go a long way towards strengthening your bond. Finally, it’s important to keep your sense of humor. Laughter can help to lighten the mood and make difficult conversations easier.

Seeking Professional Help for Marriage Problems

Sometimes, it can be helpful to seek professional help when it comes to dealing with marriage problems. A trained therapist can help you and your partner to better understand each other’s needs and feelings. They can also provide you with strategies for managing stress and resolving conflicts. If you and your partner are struggling to communicate or if you are having difficulty resolving conflicts on your own, it may be a good idea to seek help from a professional.  Therapists also certified in Stress Management can also offer unique insights into how to better manage stress in a relationship

Tips for Keeping Stress Low in a Marriage

There are certain things you can do to help keep stress levels low in your marriage. One of the most important things to do is to be proactive about managing stress. This can include activities like taking time for yourself, exercising, or practicing relaxation techniques. Additionally, it’s important to make time for each other. Even if it’s just for a few minutes each day, taking time to connect with each other can go a long way towards reducing stress in your relationship.  Stress Management is key as the couple mutually identifies stressors and how to properly handle them.  Finally, it’s important to be open to change. If you and your partner are willing to try new things and be flexible, it can help to reduce stress in your marriage.

Practical Ways to Show Love and Support in a Relationship

Showing love and support in a relationship is essential for a happy and healthy marriage. One way to show your partner love and support is to listen to them. It’s important to be an active listener and really pay attention to what they are saying. Additionally, it’s important to be kind and understanding. Being kind and understanding can go a long way towards making your partner feel valued and appreciated. Finally, it’s important to show your appreciation for your partner. Whether it’s through words, gestures, or gifts, showing your appreciation for your partner can help to keep the love alive.

Conclusion

Communication can help couples deal with stress. Please also review AIHCP’s Stress Management Consulting Program

 

Marriage is a wonderful thing, but it can also be stressful at times. It’s important to be aware of the causes of marriage problems, the signs of stress in a marriage, and the strategies for overcoming stress in a marriage. Communication is one of the most important tools for managing stress in a relationship. It’s also important to have healthy habits for a successful marriage and to be open to seeking professional help if necessary. Finally, it’s important to show love and support in a relationship by being kind, understanding, and appreciative. With these tips, you and your partner can conquer any marriage problem and build a strong, healthy relationship.

Stress Management Consultants can help couples find ways to better manage stress and work together as a team.

Please also review AIHCP’s Stress Management Consulting Program and see if it matches your academic and professional goals.  The program is online and independent study and open to qualified professionals seeking a four year certification in Stress Management.

 

Additional Resources

“Is Your Marriage Toxic?” . Joanna Broder.  September 5th, 2021.  WebMed.  Access here

“Marriage and Stress”. Chris Woolston. December 17th, 2022. HealthDay.  Access here

“Common Marriage Problems and Solutions”. Elizabeth Scott. PhD. October 23rd, 2022. VeryWellMind. Access here

“Daily Patterns of Stress and Conflict in Couples: Associations with Marital Aggression and Family-of-Origin Aggression”. Adela C. Timmons, etc., al. J Fam Psychol. Author manuscript; available in PMC 2018 Feb 1. National Library of Medicine. Access here

“Stressed About Your Marriage? Working on It Could Also Help Your Health”. Cleveland Clinic. February 25th, 2019. HealthEssentials. Access here

Stress and Higher Chance of Stroke is a Reality

Stress negatively affects the body in numerous ways.  One danger is high blood pressure and the possibility of stroke.  In fact, many studies have connected stroke and high stress related life styles due to high blood pressure caused by chronic stress.  It is hence critically important to manage stress to lower blood pressure and hence lessen the chance of a stroke.  Stress Management can play a key role in reducing stress and stress’ adverse effects on health.

Chronic stress can play a role in higher blood pressure which in turn raises one’s chance as much as twice for risk of a stroke

 

The article, “Stress Can Help Bring on a Stroke, Study Shows” from HealthDay looks at a recent study that correlates high stress and stroke.  The article discusses how individuals with more stressful work are more than twice likely to experience a stoke then someone else with less stress.  The article also discusses the importance of reducing stress and the the role of Stress management.  The article states,

“People who had severe work stress were more than twice as likely to have an ischemic stroke as those with no work stress, the investigators found. They were more than five times as likely to have a hemorrhagic stroke. For those living with either home or work stress, people who felt they could control what happens in their life had a lower stroke risk than those who felt they did not have control.”

“Stress Can Help Bring on a Stroke, Study Shows”. HealthDay. December 27th, 2022. U.S. News

To review the entire article, please click here

Commentary:

Strokes are one of the leading causes of death and disability in the U.S., and they can have a devastating effect on individuals and their families. But can stress really cause a stroke? In this blog post, we’ll take a look at the link between stress and strokes, what the warning signs of a stroke are, and how to recognize the symptoms of a stroke.

What is a Stroke?

A stroke occurs when the blood supply to a part of the brain is blocked or reduced. This can be caused by a blocked or burst blood vessel, or it can be caused by a blood clot that forms in the brain. When the blood supply is blocked, the affected brain cells can’t get the oxygen and nutrients they need, and they begin to die. This can lead to serious and potentially life-threatening complications.

The symptoms of a stroke depend on which part of the brain is affected. Common signs of a stroke include sudden weakness or numbness in the face, arms, or legs; difficulty speaking or understanding what others are saying; difficulty seeing in one or both eyes; confusion; difficulty walking; and loss of balance or coordination.

What is Stress?

Stress is a physical and emotional response to a perceived threat. It’s a normal part of life, and it can be beneficial when it motivates us to handle difficult situations. But when stress becomes chronic, it can have serious physical and mental health consequences.

 

Stress arises to warn the body into fight or flight but unfortunately, in the modern world, it causes un-needed alert to the body.

 

Stress can be caused by a variety of factors, including work, relationships, money problems, or health issues. It can also be caused by external factors, such as a traumatic event or a major life change. When people are under a lot of stress, they may feel overwhelmed, anxious, or irritable. They may also experience physical symptoms, such as headaches, muscle tension, chest pain, and stomach problems.

The Link Between Stress and Strokes

Studies have found a link between stress and stroke risk. Stress can increase the risk of stroke by increasing blood pressure, causing unhealthy behaviors such as smoking and drinking, and increasing inflammation. Stress can also cause changes in hormones, which can have an effect on the cardiovascular system.

It’s important to note that while stress can increase the risk of stroke, it is not a direct cause of stroke. People who are under a lot of stress are more likely to have a stroke, but it is not the direct cause of the stroke.

The Warning Signs of a Stroke

It’s important to recognize the warning signs of a stroke, so that you can get help as soon as possible. The most common warning signs of a stroke are sudden weakness or numbness in the face, arms, or legs; difficulty speaking or understanding what others are saying; difficulty seeing in one or both eyes; confusion; difficulty walking; and loss of balance or coordination.

If you or someone you know is experiencing any of these symptoms, it’s important to seek medical help right away. Time is of the essence when it comes to strokes, and the sooner you get treatment, the better the chances of recovery.

Stress Management Techniques

There are a number of ways to manage stress, and it’s important to find a technique that works for you. Exercise, yoga, meditation, and relaxation techniques can all be effective in reducing stress. Additionally, getting enough sleep, eating a healthy diet, and engaging in hobbies can help to reduce stress levels.

It’s also important to have a strong support system. Having friends and family members who you can talk to and rely on can help to reduce stress levels. Additionally, talking to a mental health professional can be beneficial, as they can help you to identify and work through the sources of your stress.

How to Recognize the Symptoms of a Stroke

Stroke symptoms can vary from person to person, and it’s important to be aware of the warning signs. Some of the most common symptoms include sudden weakness or numbness in the face, arms, or legs; difficulty speaking or understanding what others are saying; difficulty seeing in one or both eyes; confusion; difficulty walking; and loss of balance or coordination.

If you or someone you know experiences any of these symptoms, it’s important to seek medical help right away. Time is of the essence when it comes to strokes, and the sooner you get treatment, the better the chances of recovery.

The Different Types of Strokes

Strokes can be classified into two main categories: ischemic strokes and hemorrhagic strokes. Ischemic strokes occur when the blood supply to a part of the brain is blocked or reduced, usually by a blood clot. Hemorrhagic strokes occur when a blood vessel in the brain bursts and bleeds into the brain.

The symptoms of a stroke can vary depending on the type of stroke, and the treatment for each type of stroke will vary as well. It’s important to recognize the signs of a stroke and seek medical help right away.

Treatment for a Stroke

The treatment for a stroke depends on the type of stroke and the severity of the damage. Treatment can include medications to help reduce swelling, prevent further brain damage, and improve blood flow. Physical therapy can also be an important part of stroke recovery, as it can help to improve mobility and strength.

Conclusion

Learn to manage stress and reduce chance of stroke. Please also review AIHCP’s Stress Management Consulting Certification

 

Strokes are a serious condition that can have a devastating effect on individuals and their families. Stress can increase the risk of a stroke, so it’s important to practice stress management techniques and seek help if needed. It’s also important to be aware of the warning signs of a stroke and seek medical help right away if you or someone you know is experiencing any of the symptoms. By recognizing the signs of a stroke and seeking treatment, you can increase your chances of recovery and reduce the risk of further complications.

Please also review AIHCP’s Stress Management Consulting Certification and see if it meets your academic and professional goals.  The program is online and independent study and open to qualified professionals seeking a four year certification in Stress Management.

Additional Resources

“Evidence of perceived psychosocial stress as a risk factor for stroke in adults: a meta-analysis”. Joanne Booth, etc, al. BMC Neurology volume 15, Article number: 233 (2015).  Access here

“Prospective Study on Occupational Stress and Risk of Stroke”. Akizumi Tsutsumi, MD, etc, al. Arch Intern Med. 2009;169(1):56-61. doi:10.1001/archinternmed.2008.503. Jama Internal Medicine. Access 

“Can Stress Cause a Stroke?”. Cleveland Clinic. February 11th, 2021. HealthEssentials Cleveland Clinic.  Access here

“Stress Linked to Stroke”. Salynn Boyles. August 30th, 2012. WebMD. Access here

“The emotional stress and risk of ischemic stroke”. Dariusz Kotlęga, etc. al . PMID: 2737514  DOI: 10.1016/j.pjnns.2016.03.006. National Library of Medicine. Access here

Stress Management Certification Article on The Nature of Worry

Human beings worry everyday.  They worry about global politics, national concerns, sports, domestic concerns at home, finances, family, health, weather, relationships, or the most simplistic interactions.  Some worries are deeper and more critical to survival while others are very trivial in nature but if we let worries dominate life, then they can cause unneeded damage to the body.

The Serenity Prayer teaches one to let go and to control what can be controlled and to release what cannot be controlled.  In understanding this basic ideal, one can releases oneself from the conscious reality of worry and focuses instead on productive reactions to legitimate concerns.   Worry itself is the direct mental process of dealing with problems.  It is essential because without it, important aspects of life would go untended to.  Hence worry is a thinking process that is essential to life but like any function, it is when it misused or overused that issues arise.

Individuals worry all the time. Worry is part of life but it should not be an aspect that overwhelms the mind especially with worries that are insignificant or cannot be changed. Please also review AIHCP’s Stress Management Certification

 

Anxiety, an emotional response to worry, can cause immense physiological damage to the body.  Anxiety is a dread of what may or may not happen.  It is unfounded and based on numerous misconceptions or unreal expectations.  85 percent of bad things the mind can conjure, usually never happen.  This worry that leads to unnatural state of anxiety is something that negatively affects the sympathetic nervous system.  In addition to anxiety, the worries that surround one become stressors.  Stress itself is a physical response to something and again activates the sympathetic nervous system, which in turn, activates such hormones as adrenaline that increases blood pressure and heart rate, as well as tightening muscles and closing down the digestive system to more fight or flight responses.  These responses are good if truly in physical danger, but the mental stressors and worries of life usually do not require such an extreme reaction.  If in a constant state of anxiety and stress, the body will begin to hurt itself through these responses.

This is why it is so important to worry over what truly matters most and when worrying, to worry well.  Worrying over things that cannot be changed do not help to the situation.  Worrying late at night, losing sleep, and becoming ill, do not help situations either, but individuals due to a variety of bad worrying habits, or mental ticks are unable to turn off bad worrying.  In effect, they become sick from worrying.  They do not possess the ability to shut down the sympathetic nervous system to find relaxation.

The Parasympathetic nervous system is the opposite of the Sympathetic.  It lowers the heartrate, blood pressure, and relaxes the body’s muscles and permits better digestion.  It is imperative to return to this type of operation and find new balance.  Individuals with panic and anxiety disorders that explode with worry do not have the abilities to find that balance.  Many times they turn to a variety of medications which only blanket the symptoms but once untaken, do nothing for the body to learn to balance

This is why it is so important to learn to worry well.  In the MED300/SM550 course, the text and CD of Dr. Weil is utilized to teach individuals how to use meditation and visualization as a way to combat and cope with worry.  Dr. Weil emphasizes that one needs to place worries in three different columns.  Situations that can be changed, may be changed, and cannot be changed.

Worry should be proportionately applied to things that can be changed.  Through identification of what one wishes to accomplish, one can then follow a plan of action, choosing the best options and how those options will be carried out.  Affirmation of success is key as a follow through.   Dr Weil encourages visualization as a technique in meditation to find a quiet and peaceful place where one can find an inner wisdom guide, which in actuality is one’s unbiased subconscious.  Some individuals make this spiritual by prayer and speak with Christ or Mohammed or Buddha, while others relate to deceased parents.  This inner wisdom can sometimes supply fresh insight into an issue that seemed difficult prior.

In reaching these states of meditation, Dr Weil believes in the importance of breathing as a source of helping the body again find balance with the Parasympathetic system.  Focused, deep, longer breaths can help the body find balance and reduce the tension in the body.  The focus on breath also can closely follow Dr. Benson’s Relaxation Response, which follows the same ideals of breath, focus words and muscle relaxation.   While these steps follow religious guidelines, they also coincidentally open the body up to more tranquil states associated with the Parasympathetic system.  This can reduce the effects of stress, anxiety and unneeded worry.

Proper breath work in meditation can help one return to a more balanced state with the Parasympathetic Nervous System. Please also review AIHCP’s Meditation Instructor Program.

 

Good breath work and meditation can be used to free the body from unchangeable worries and also be used to guide the mind to find resolutions for things that can be changed.   It can also help the mind find ways to transform oneself to things that cannot be changed.  Some worries cannot be altered but they can be accepted and the situation can be adjusted to.  The worries that cannot find solutions should generate transformation.  In doing so,  worrying is then used the natural way it was intended through evolution as a way to help the body deal with problems.

Through analyzation of worry, proper breath work, meditation, visualization and affirmation, one is better equipped to free the body from the stress and anxiety of the Sympathetic Nervous System and allow it to rest but also to be better able to dismiss unneeded worry and focus on real solutions to real life issues.

If you worry too much, it may be time to try to utilize these techniques to minimize unnecessary problems and focus on real problems but in a productive way by retraining how you approach worrying itself.

Please also review AIHCP’s Meditation Instructor Program as well AIHCP’s Stress Management Certification Program and see if they match your academic and professional goals.  The programs are online and independent study and open to qualified professionals seeking a four certification.

Stress Management Consulting Article on Stress and Health

Stress is a health issue that is overlooked.  Many individuals worry about diet, lack of exercise, hereditary illness and contagious disease but never consider stress.  Stress is a silent killer that can take a healthy person with healthy life styles and over time kill him or her.

Stress is one of the biggest killers of people in the modern world.  It can suddenly cause death or gradually cause illness in the body.  This is true in any living creature and not understanding the nature of stress on the body and taking appropriate stress management strategies can lead to an early grave.

Stress can kill overtime. Please also review our Stress Management Consulting Program

 

The body reacts to stressors in life.  Each person reacts to different stressors uniquely.  What may be stressful for one person is not for another.  When the body’s stress reaction takes place, various systems within the body prepare the body for the fight or flight experiences.

Walter Cannon, a physiologist, was the first to coin fight or flight.  Early man responded to stressors or threats by either fighting the threat or fleeing from it.  The body produces various hormones after the brain interprets the threat.  The hypothalamus and pituitary gland send messages for the adrenal cortex to produce glucocorticoids and mineralocorticoids.   These in turn produce cortisol and aldosterone.

Cortisol is the primary hormone that fuels the fight or flight reaction.  This is an extremely important process for survival, especially for early man.  Increased levels of sugar to burn, allow the body to deal with the stressor.

Aldosterone prepares the body for action.  It increases blood pressure, hence permitting the body to transport food and oxygen to other parts of the body.  In addition, the adrenal medulla, secretes adrenalin to give the body more energy and strength in any stress or crisis response.  Combined, these hormonal changes in the body give it the energy, strength and ability to respond to stressful conditions.

Due to this, the temporary reactions raise blood pressure and increases heart rate.  Various other parts of the body also react, including the autonomic nervous system, the gastrointestinal system, the muscular system and even the skin.  While temporarily this is needed to respond to stress, over a long duration, these conditions can cause heart attacks, strokes, stomach ulcers and other forms of illness.

Due to modern man’s less primal living situation, one cannot resort to fight or flight responses but must instead internalize issues.  One cannot flee a job assignment, yell at a boss, not take an exam, or scream at a customer.  Instead, one is forced to deal with the stress and endure the physical reactions within the body.

This over time becomes deadly.  Whether the degree or duration, stress kills because of the changes it forces upon the body when proper outlets are not permitted.  Long work hours, deadlines, toxic relationships at work and home, poor diet, smoking, and type A personalities more prone to anxiety, anger and impatience all deal with an abundance of stress.  This excess stress without proper outlets and management leads to early death.

It is imperative to limit the body’s reaction to stress with stress management techniques which teach one to cope.  Stress is part of life but it can be managed.  Stress can be environmental or from within and how we react, but how we handle the stressors and learn to navigate them can reduce the wear and tear on our mind and body.

Hans Sele, the Father of Modern Stress Management, conducted a variety of experiments on rats, inducing different rats with different levels of stress and stressful situations.  He noted that the rats with the most stress over time developed various conditions to their bodies.  These conditions affected almost all bodily systems, from heart issues to ulcers and anything in between.  He became aware that stress over time kills.

He pointed out three phases all animals face. First, the alarm reaction. During this phase, the body reacts to stress and exposes the reactionary characteristics of the body to the stressor.  Within this phase, the body reacts to stress and if the stress is to strong, the person dies.

The second phase is the reactionary phase in which the body endures and adapts to the stressor.  Alarm appearance had diminished and the resistance to the stressor rises.

The final phase according to Seyle, is the stage of exhaustion, where the body’s adaptation energy becomes exhausted, and the alarm phase appearances return, but this time, become permanent and the body dies due to duration of the stress.

Hence Seyle pointed out that if the body does not adapt or remove the stress irritant, one can either die from stress immediately or over duration.  This led to the idea that stress kills according to degree or duration.  This is why it is important during the second stage, to overcome the issue and move on or if the issue is not life threatening, to learn important coping strategies to deal with the stress itself.

This is difficult with hard and long work hours, definitive deadlines and toxic interpersonal relationships.   Divorce, loss, death, unemployment, illness, and other issues can pile upon an already stressful life style and compound the body’s ability to overcome the stressor.  Duration sets in and the body’s stress responses in themselves become deadly.

Long hours, deadlines and taxing mental work can lead to unhealthy levels of stress over time

 

One can take some control though in how the body responds to stress.  Meditation, bio-feedback, hypnosis, channeled breathing, prayer, positive outlooks, humor, exercise, diet, and life evaluations can all play key roles in limiting stress. Ultimately it is up to you if you wish to limit the damage stress can do on your body.

Stress Management coping strategies are key to a healthy life.  Certified Stress Management Consultants can help others learn how to better cope and deal with stress.  Stress Management is becoming more mainstream in a variety of areas beyond just personal health but is also becoming a big service offered in business, politics, emergency response, policing,  and other industries that see a high level of stress.

Stress reduction will limit poor health and help someone find a better balance in life. Please also review AIHCP’s Stress Management Consulting Program

 

If you would like to learn more about Stress Management or would like to become a certified Stress Management Consultant, then please review AIHCP’s Stress Management Consulting Program and see if it matches your academic and professional goals.  The program is online and independent study and leads to a four-year certification.  In the meantime, limit your stress and live a healthier life.

Stress Management Consulting Program Article on New Life Paradigms

Creating a new paradigm in life is difficult.  We are trapped and stuck in the routine mud of life.  Many people are held back by beliefs and values that may no longer fit their life style.  Others may be unhappy and incapable of change.  Stress will continue to eat at the soul of individuals who are unable to change.  Grief, depression, stress, anxiety and unfulfilled ideals will force a person to a early grave.  It is imperative, if unhappy and overly stressed, to find one’s values for a better life and incorporate positive changes.

Stress can sidetrack life goals. If stress is dictating your life, it is time to re-evaluate your values and work towards a new life paradigm. Please also review AICHP’s Stress Management Consulting Program

 

Any first step to change is a commitment to that change. It involves writing down one’s values and beliefs and creating a true mission statement of one’s life and where they wish to go in life.   Sometimes to better understand oneself, one can meditate upon what others would say about oneself.  A co-worker and what they think of your work ethic, your strengths and weaknesses, as well as family and friends.  What do you think your image is outside your own sometimes biased self?  What is your diet, your exercise habits, your strengths, weaknesses and overall values?

Understanding this is critical in applying the needed changes to one’s life and reducing stress.  One needs to work on this change, find obstacles and stressors to it and implement better coping strategies and plans to become what your goal may be.  One should choose one thing at a time in this process.  Choose one weakness or vice, or stressor and work on it.

J. B. Cunningham in his “The Stress Management Sourcebook” looks at ways to free oneself from the mud of life and overcome stress.  He lists 8 primary principles to create a new paradigm and find better meaning in life and reduce stress.

The first principle is “changing the dragon within you”.  Cunningham alludes to first developing a positive spin on things.  A positive disposition that replaces negative values.  This new way of outlook is critical the creation of a new paradigm.  It returns to the old adage of making lemon aide when life gives one lemons.

The second principle is controlling your organization.   Whether the job is menial or meaningful, find deeper meaning within an organization.  While this is more difficult with some jobs and may require new career moves, it still can be utilized temporarily.  Look to learn new things, promote goals within oneself and reach those goals.  This can be applied to a job, or merely everyday life at home.  Home, school or work can apply.

Third, Cunningham addresses the importance of establishing winning relationships.  Relationships and how we deal with other people are key elements in what our life is will be like.  It is critical to avoid negative relationships and reduce the toxicity they produce in one’s life.  It is important to find better support systems as well as be able to communicate and share life’s successes and failures.

Life can overtake one and make it feel one has no control. One needs to take control of one’s stressors and create a new paradigm

 

The fourth principle is enriching one’s job, career, or schooling.  Learning and gaining experience is a valuable thing no matter the situation.

The fifth principle is controlling one’s life’s trials and tribulations.  One can fall and not get up or learn from past failures.  Avoiding failures and not learning from them can keep one in a pit of despair and loss.  One must be able to cope better with stress and deal with the issues at hand.

Principle six deals with our diet.  Diet is a key factor in stress and health.  Better diets and eating habits can prevent stress and help the body become more immune to disease and illness.  Fats, salts,  and sugars can destroy the body over time.  Combined with stress, they can tear the body down.  It is critical to find time to create a better diet and a better healthy paradigm to reduce stress and be more healthy.

Principle seven deals with another part of healthy life style and that is exercise.  Exercise can reduce stress.  However, it is important to not create routines that one cannot keep.  It is also important not to create regiments that are unhealthy on the body.  Some individuals cannot endure heavy exercise while others can.  So the proper exercise for the particular person is critical for their own health and stress reduction.  Like diets, exercise can quickly fade when one attempts to do too much.

The final principle is interior health and deals with spirituality and meditation.  Meditation and prayer is important to overcoming stress.  It allows the mind to reset and opens one up to higher truths beyond the stress filled temporal ones.  Meditation not only clears the mind but also pushes one towards higher values that help make the everyday life have meaning.  One can also apply other alternative techniques such as self hypnosis or other spiritual methods to better understand oneself.   This is all critical in stress management.

Ultimately, reducing stress and creating a new paradigm involves one taking an active and direct part in changing one’s life.  It allows one to play an important part in one’s future.  The reduction of stress is dependent upon one’s willingness to overcome the fear of change and the anxiety that goes with it.

One can take control of one’s life and find new meaning if they are face change. Please also review AIHCP’s Stress Management Consulting Program and see if it meets your academic and professional needs.

 

If you would like to learn more about Stress Management or would like to become certified as a Stress Management Consultant, then please review the program and see if it matches your academic and professional goals.  The Stress Management Consulting Program is independent study and online.  After completing the core courses, qualified professionals can apply for the four year certification.

 

Stress Management Consulting Program Article on Worker Burnout and Stress

Worker burnout is a big issue in today’s work field.  It can range from dissatisfaction of a job due to mundane chores to the opposite of overload and over specialized tasks.  It can occur due to poor personal relations with other employees and managers.  It can occur due to poor job descriptions and task goals. Finally it can be due to lack of overall content with the job due to lack of advancement or security.

Worker burnout is due to chronic stress.  Han Seyle, the father of stress study, emphasized that stressors can negatively affect the organism.  In doing, so the organism responds with a fight or flight response.  In agrarian communities, this was a far simpler response.  In prehistoric times, one could face a larger predator such a saber tooth tiger, or flee.  In modern day, minor stresses, although less fatal acutely can become fatal on a chronic level because employees cannot fight or flight.  An employee facing a difficult customer, or a demanding manager, or an over loaded office desk, cannot externalize the frustration or flee the scene.  Instead, stress is internalized and becomes toxic without an outlet.

Worker Burnout is a reality in the modern day work paradigm. Please also review AIHCP’s Stress Management Consulting Program

 

During the stress encounter, Seyle pointed out that organisms react in three phases.  The first phase, is alarm.  This phase prepares the body for fight or flight.  The heart pumps more blood, blood pressure increases, the body excretes adrenaline, and organs release sugar to burn.  Temporarily, this prepares the body for action. It gives the body more focus, more energy and an ability to react.  However, when this alarm is constantly on, it can cause health issues, especially when there is no way to externally release the stress.

The second phase is resistance.  In this stage, the person is not able to fight or flight, and is forced to deal with the stressor.  Anger and frustration can emerge in these cases.

The third phase is exhaustion.  In this phase, the raw emotion is gone and the person succumbs to the stress.  The person may in this phase exhibit burnout.  Burnout syndrome is caused by prolonged chronic stress.  Burnout though has two elements.  Some become constantly angry and easily frustrated while others become detached and depressed. Burnout is ultimately a sign that one has no control over the stressors that ate tormenting them. One becomes powerless.

In preventing burnout, it is essential that one identifies issues that could lead it to it.  One acronym that helps individuals become more positive about stress is OPEN.  Open looks to rethink the way we look at stressors and stress.

O represents opportunities.  One should look at their position and look at the opportunities associated with it instead of the negatives.

P represents positives.  One should look at the positive elements of one’s work or place in life

E represents environment.  One should look at the environmental issues at work and see how they can be better faced and create better productivity.  Stressors can help us show what is wrong with something and create better responses.

N represents negative.  One should identify the negatives of a job or position and see how they can become less impactful.  How can one face the negatives and reduce stress?  This is the key element of looking at the negatives.

In addition, stress reduction goes beyond the individual’s attempts to reduce but also at the organizational level.  Better organizations can lessen the chance of burnout among employees.  Over taxing jobs or under stimulating jobs, while opposite extremes, can produce stress and create burnout.  In assessing this, organizations need to see where more balance can be produced for employees.  Employees with more balance see less burnout.

The Job Diagnosis Index looks at a few critical points in a job that lessens burnout.  Does the position hold skill variety?  Does it possess task identity as well as task significance?  Does it offer some autonomy to the employee? And does it offer feedback from the others as well managers regarding the position and how things are done?  When positions lack a variety different tasks  and became over mechanized, the employee may burnout from boredom, or feeling of lack of significance.   When an employee feels zero autonomy they feel enslaved and free from expression or innovation.  And finally, when an employee is not given feed back or allowed to express concerns, then the position can truly become stagnant.

Positions without task variance, task identity, significance, employee autonomy and employee and manager feedback are more likely to lead to burnout

 

Positions with clear cut mandates, significance, variances in tasks, autonomy with less strict oversight, and communication between management and feedback from staff, experience less burnout.  Team work, team orientated goals, autonomy and communication are key in reducing burnout.  Keeping the position challenging but not over tasked and preparing the training necessary can make the employee become one of the team instead of a step in the process.

Hence employers should offer task variety, provide task identity and offer some autonomy with feedback and discussion.  Beyond these basics, job enrichment can also be amplified through increased responsibilities, opportunities for advancement and job security.  With an umbrella of communication and structural support, a better job position can be created that reduces stress and pushes one to do better in more healthy environment.

Some positions, such as nurses, waitresses, customer service centers,  social workers, and police offers find a more difficult time in dealing with these issues. They face a chronic criticism and deal with many situations that can tie their hands in how they respond to certain things.   With better structural support as well as stress management skills, they can also better face the issues they deal with regarding the public.

Some individuals may be better equipped to handle stressors.  They may be able to find outlets and also have the resources for support.  Others may fall victim to burnout.  Unfortunately in recent history, one can identify the stress for police officers as they come across difficult crowds due to policing policies that need reformed.  The ability to handle the stress becomes internalized and chronic stress can lead to a break down.

Learning to create a better work environment is key to preventing burnout. Please also review AIHCP’s Stress Management Consulting Program

 

Stress Management is critical in the modern world.  With industrialization, one must deal with stress without being able to fight or flee it.  Individuals are over worked or under challenged due to these new labor paradigms.  In addition, jobs that deal with the public especially during the recent turmoil are pressing first responders.  Stress Management remains an important skill set.  Stress Manager Consultants can offer guidance to business, organizations and police stations.  Stress Management Consultants can help employees and employers better deal with stressors and help create more conducive environments that limit chronic stress and prevent future burnout.

Please review AIHCP’s Stress Management Program and see if it matches your academic and professional goals.

 

Sources: “The Stress Management Sourcebook” by J. Barton Cunningham, PhD