Topic 2. What is stress

 «Teacher begins the class by describing to the students the following picture. “You are walking down a dark alley at night, all alone, and you forget your glasses. On the half way, you spot a big figure carrying a club and straddling your path. What do you feel?”

When we face a threat, somatic symptoms start such as our heart beats faster and our body prepares itself to handle the situation either to Fight (discuss, negotiate, examine the alternatives for solution) or Flight (run away). Walter Cannon described this as the “fight-or-flight response”, which is our usual  physiological response to stress.

McNerney (1974) stated that “stress is your body’s physical, mental and chemical reactions to circumstances that frighten, exercise, confuse, endanger or irritate you.”

Hans Selye specified the changes in the body physiological that resulted from stress. In his book “The Stress of Life”, he summarized stress reactivity as a three-phase process which is called the general adaptation syndrome:

Three phase process

Alarm Reaction: The first reaction when body face a stressor event. There is intense mobilization of biochemical resources (a readiness and call-to-arms of the body systems) on recognition of stressor.

Stage of Resistance: Resistance occur when the exposure to the stressor continued and this exposure is compatible with adaptation. The bodily signs characteristic of the alarm reaction have virtually disappeared and resistance rises above normal. If we are continually exposed to stress, body resistance will follow and make adaptation. Eventually, resistance rises above normal and the bodily signs of the alarm reaction disappear and the person enter in a normal situation.

Stage of Exhaustion: Exposed to prolonged stress the body start to adjust to the stressor. However, if the stressor is too strong, death may result.

Person Factors - Pessimist vs Optimist point of view

“How do you see the glass of water?” Is it half full or half empty?

Personality characteristics - Personal stress management

Personality Characteristics : More often the individuals who believe they control their own destinies and generally expect the best from life are more capable to gain control of their stressors and experience positive stress. Those individuals are the positive thinking individuals (positive thoughts leads to positive feelings and positive behavior- positive result) These person factors are very important —self-mastery and optimism—are not permanent inborn traits of people. They are states of mind or expectations derived from personal experience, and they can be nurtured. It is possible to give people experiences that increase feelings of being “in control”—researchers shows that experiences that lead people to believe something good and effective will come from their attempts to turn stress into constructive action rather than distress, according to research (Bandura, 1982, 1986; Scheier and Carver, 1988, 1992).

Think…Pessimist vs. Optimist distinction

Think Pessimist vs. Optimism: The point is that our personality, past experience, and current situation influence whether we feel optimistic and in control or pessimistic and out of control. “How do you see the glass of water?” Is it half full or half empty? We can see it differently, depending on our current state of optimism or pessimism. The point is that our personality, past experience, and current situation influence whether we feel optimistic and in control or pessimistic and out of control. ( Bandura, A., Self-efficacy mechanism in human agency, Am. Psychol., 37, 122, 1982. Scheier, M. F. and Carver, C. S., Effects of optimism on psychological and physical well-being: theoretical overview and empirical update, Cognit. Ther. Res., 16, 201, 1992., Seligman, M. E. P., Helplessness: On Depression Development and Death, Freeman, San Francisco, CA, 1975)

Feel Helpless

Feeling Helplessness: There are some people that they learn to feel helpless. Usually the people that are feeling helpless they reflects an important psychological concept called “learned helplessness.” is something that has to do with what THEY believed . For instance, when you asked them what they usually do to manage their stress and improve their life and make it safer and more productive they usually answer that : “Besides following the stress reduction procedures there’s not much I can do to manage my stress at work .” You realize that there is a resistance to change “It really doesn’t matter much what I do, whatever will be will be.” Is something that they believe that everything are not under their control and there are very few or nothing to do to improve or change the situation and their life. “There’s not much I can do about reducing stress if it’s my time, it’s my time.” This is learned helplessness. The concept was labeled more than 20 years ago by research psychologists studying the learning process of dogs (Maier and Seligman, 1976. Seligman, 1975). Maier, S. F. and Seligman, M. E. P., Learned helplessness: theory and evidence, J. Exp. Psychol. Gen., 105, 3, 1976. Previous failures conditioned experimental subjects make the workers to feel helpless, in fact to be helpless. It is rather easy to assume that develop a “helpless” perspective regarding stress management as a result of bad past experiences.

Learned optimism

Learned optimism. A bad experience does not necessarily lead to an attitude of learned helplessness. People who seem to derive strength or energy from their failures, and try even harder to succeed when given another chance. Similarly, Seligman and colleagues found that certain dogs resisted learned helplessness if they previously had success avoiding the electric shock. So it is that some people tend to give up in the face of a stressor, while others fight back.

Think the 6 most stressful situation in your life

Stressful Situation։  In order to manage those 6 stressful situation you have to start by placing this stressors in the each category – START WITH THE LARGE ONE LIKE YOUR SALARY – you can decide on an action like

Acceptance is not NECESSARILY  AVOIDANCE

REMEMBER SOMETIMES DEALING  WITH STRESS IS SOMETHING LIKE HOW TO LEARN TO PUT YOUR FRUSTRATION INTO PROSPECTIVE

Emotional Habits and stress management

1.Decide to live in a beautiful state

2.Identify your emotional habits

3.Training yourself physically

4.Don’t stay in a frustrated state

5.Have motives that go beyond yourself

6.Raise your standards little each day 

7.Better yourself

8.Reinforce your Beliefs

Negative stressor Vs Positive stressor

 

If you believe that your life is not so important or you don’t like your friends yourself/your coworkers, you are going to act minimally thus receiving limited results. This will increase the negative thoughts creating an endless loop

 

If you believe that I am going to find a way to make my life better and increase my productivity, this is going to work and you will behave with certainty therefore you will find the way to succeed. When you believe that an action is going to work your body, voice and actions are going to be fully Inline and increase the potential in order to succeed.

Example:

      «What do I do when I feel the «fear paralysis» nothing moving, usually that happens when I start to wonder about different situation of my life millions and millions of thoughts. My mind don’t stop and start to run wild …… an enormous amount of thoughts are running in my mind it seems like there is a cascade of doom and gloom thoughts  and I don’t feel that I can do something I can not control them …….I cant seem to take any action no action at all ….. I Just worry…..  just worry nothing else…»

All the people felt like this at least once in our life and we forgot it is good to remember:

  • What’ s the time in my life I have this enormous crisis and this enormous stress that makes me to feel paralysis?  and what pulls you through?
  • Have you ever feel like this before in your life?
  • What have you done? What believes, what strategies what experiences you used that helps you to pass through this situation?
  • Who Help you?
  • What did you do to make this shift?

Learned how to be an optimistic