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What is stress management?

Stress management has a history. Medical professionals and scientists first discovered what stress is and later start thinking how to deal with stress.

In 1984 two scientists Richard Lazarus and Susan Folkman suggested a model which demonstrated how stress is working and how body is reacting to it – they proposed a model that emphasizes how stress becomes the result of the imbalance between what the situation demands and what the person possesses in relation to those demands. Actually scientists discovered the imbalance during stress and demonstrated the model of “imbalance between demands and resources” when “pressure exceeds one’s perceived ability to cope”. Later the stress management was developed based on the idea that stress is not only direct response to “threats” (stressors) but rather the ability to cope with stress – to response, to run away, to change, to fight, etc.

Nowadays stress management refers to a wide spectrum of different techniques which help to deal with stress, to reduce the negative effect of stress, to avoid stress, to prevent stress and to control any type of stress. Actually the stress management is a wide variety of techniques, methods and procedures to handle stress.

As modern life is full of stress, more and more women start thinking about their need in stress management methods which could help to handle stress in a more effective way. During last decades many stress management techniques were developed including breathing exercises, meditation, autogenic training, relaxation techniques (fractional relaxation, progressive relaxation), social activities, yoga, conflict resolution techniques, etc.

In order to choose the most effective stress management method, each person should first identify the factor which is triggering stress and to identify the best methods which effectively target stressor (stress factor).

Stress management strategies:

Stress management – Accept stressors and relax

Stress management – “Four A’s” strategy

Many professionals recommend “Four A’s” strategy for stress management which includes the following actions:

  • Avoid stress
  • Alter stressful situation
  • Adapt yourself to not avoidable stress
  • Accept stressors

Emergency Stress Management

Emergency stress management can be very useful in many situations. Actually emergency stress management can help you to deal with stress on the spot.

  • Count to 10 before you speak or reply to stressor;
  • Take 2-5-10 deep breaths immediately after “fast stress”;
  • Walk away or run away from the stressful situation and let you deal with appeared problem letter – walking away from stressful situation will give you some time for thinking and relaxation;
  • Always set your watch 5-7 minutes ahead – it will protect you for being late;
  • Try to say “Sorry” if you are wrong or mistaken – recognition of your own mistakes will give you needed relieve;
  • Don’t drive fast – choose slow line and avoid busy road (especially during traffic time);
  • Leave stressful place for relaxed promenade – relaxed walk in the park, forest or garden;
  • Hug loved once (children, favorite pets, good friends) and smile (in front of mirror, to met people, to anyone);
  • Avoid big problems – try to break down into small portions – in would be much easier to solve smaller problems. Never try to solve several problems once;
  • Use deep breathing technique few times.


Emergency quick relaxation technique

If you decided to use the emergency quick relaxation technique, you should know that mental stress will lessen when you relax body muscles (even when you experience the situation where only partial relaxation is possible).

Some women complain that never can relax – it is not true. Every person can relax to some degree but strong feelings of tension make relaxation more difficult especially if let your feelings to accumulate and build up.

So called “STOP technique” can be used for emergency quick relaxation – it should be used before stress gets out of control:

Step 1 – Best start is to say “STOP” loudly (if possible) – as loud as possible;

Step 2 – Breathe in and hold it (hold just briefly);

Step 3 – Breathe out slowly (as slow as possible) and try to relax shoulders and hands;

Step 4 – Pause for few minutes (1-5 minutes) but pause relaxed;

Step 5 – Breathe in again and hold it (hold just briefly);

Step 6 – Breathe out slowly (as slow as possible) and try to relax forehead and jaw;

Step 7 – Stay quiet and relaxed for a few seconds (10-20 seconds);

Step 8 – Just continue what you were doing (speaking, discussing, listening, looking) and try to reply very calm and softly. You should be able to control your voice.

“STOP technique” can be used without anyone noticing it. Once you try “STOP technique”, your tension will lesson.

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