Stress Management Program is an expression that seems clichéd and overused, so widespread. Yet, Stress Management Programs are very important to prevent individual to collapse and to burn out.
Stress in a nutshell
Stress is a consequence of external and/or internal elements that exert psychological and biological pressure on the individual. Like cholesterol, it can be divided into two categories, good and bad. Good stress or adaptive stress is the one you face. Bad stress or overwhelming stress is the stress we can no longer manage; the stress that is beyond our resources.
Psychopathologically, stress management program is central. Diseases and mental disorders are multifactorial phenomena, i.e. they appear under the influence of factors that are very different from one another. For example, bipolar disorder has a hereditary component, but often heredity alone is not enough to cause the disorder to develop. In order for the disorder to appear, the stress level in the individual must be high and the individual must be in a state of overwhelming stress. The encounter of stress factors and heredity can then trigger the disease. Another individual with just as much stress to cope with, but with no hereditary vulnerability, will not get sick. And a third individual who has a biological predisposition to mental illness, but is not exposed to excessive stressors, will also not trigger any illness…. The nature creates us to be very different.
We are not all equal in the face of illness and the environment plays an important part by being an ally or on the contrary, an adversary, which is an additional stress factor.
It is therefore essential to know the ABC of stress management in order to put all the chances on one’s side when necessary.
The manifestations related to stress are quite different from one individual to another, but let’s take a look at some of them: anxiety, negative thoughts, muscular pain, esophageal ball, tightness in the throat, bacterial infection, insomnia, eating disorder, aggressiveness, onset of physical or mental illness…
Some baseline tests to measure the state of stress we have
Holmes and Rahe Test
MSP Test (Psychological Stress Test with 9, 25, 49 or 53 questions)
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The Cognitive and Behavioral Therapy’s model of Stress Management Program:
It is a question here of maintaining lifestyle habits that strengthen our resistance to stress. In other words, it means having a healthy lifestyle, a good diet, a good level of physical activity, good sleep, regular periods where we can express our creativity, the practice of relaxation techniques, meditation, yoga… a good balance between rest and pleasure and social support, i.e. enough time spent with the people we love.
Know how to manage your time
It is a matter of defending one’s personal life as much as one’s professional imperatives. Be careful not to procrastinate too much, i.e. putting off until tomorrow what can be done the same day. Procrastination will cause stress by forcing the person to think regularly about what they haven’t done yet and what they need to do. It’s a bit like a pebble in a shoe. It’s hard to ignore it and you’re going to create a new stress factor by regularly thinking about the thing to do. Usually people procrastinate for a reason of perfectionism or because they have to do something they do not want. As a result, the procrastination creates a stress factor.
Knowing how to fight against “false obligation” or overly strong sense of responsibility?
Perfectionists or people who lack of assertiveness will be easily trapped by overly strong sense of responsibility or what we can call “false obligation”. These perfectionists think “I have to be perfect”, “I have to meet all the customers’ expectations” (even if they haven’t expressed anything), “I have to do this. I have to do that”, “Other people have to be the way I want them to be”, “The world has to be the way I want it to be…” For example, a man says that I absolutely need to wash my car today. The question is what will happen if he doesn’t do it today?
And be cautious about false obligation that the others place on you. For example, you boss tells you that a good employee is the one who works all the time without any limits. Don’t hurt yourself. Others will do it well for you…
The ideas that stress you the most…are they realistic? Has it happened already? Will it really happen? The main idea is to use exposure therapy to expose yourself to these unpleasant thoughts in order to contain them. It is about fighting our irrational fears by confronting them.
Assertiveness is an umbrella term to describe assertiveness, self-confidence and self-esteem.
Some studies (1) show that a poor level of assertiveness is linked to loneliness, depression and social anxiety.
Stress Management Program allows us to avoid increasing the consequences of the stress we inevitably have to face. People who have inherited elements that predispose them to one or more illnesses must be particularly vigilant in managing their stress. And anyone can use these techniques to strengthen and gradually increase their stress tolerance. This tolerance is like a muscle. The more we train it, the stronger it gets and the more it protects us.
How can I help you?
We will identify your stressors and then observe how they affect you. Do you have pains in your body, painful or unpleasant ideas? Are you agitated? Are you isolating yourself? Do you have psychological symptoms such as anxiety, depression? Gradually, we will implement the above mentioned tools in your daily life. The positive impact will be on your body as well as your mind…
(1) Psychological Medecine, 2002 Nov;32(8):1425-34, The nature and timing of seasonal affective symptoms and the influence of self-esteem and social support: a longitudinal prospective study, McCarthy E1, Tarrier N, Gregg L.
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