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Book Review: Stress Management for Dummies

by Suleman


Stress management for Albert Ellis dummies provides a range of action-orientated ways to handle anxiety and stress. Stress management The author suggests that rather than allowing tension to destroy one ‘s life, one needs to break down. The effects of stress loss can vary from broken relationships to poor health and premature death. Fortunately, however, there are many strategies available for stress reduction, including meditation, imaging, posture and breathing. Stress management for Dummies may help a person identify and efficiently handle the causes of stress in his or her life. This article will discuss how stress levels are measured, how stress relief in work and home is resolved, how troublesome people are treated, how exercicees and diets fight tension, and how people’s complaints and frustration are eventually answered.

Stress Management

Stress evaluation includes systematising a person’s stress to decide if they are doing enough to support themselves and to decide if they need to take action in order to handle it (Auerbach & Gramling 2012). The first stage of stress is the alarm period, the stamina period and the stamina phase later. Stress is triggered by the way you perceive circumstances in life. Stress shows a lack of satisfaction and excitement, intolerance of others, irritability and crisis of frustration in many respects. Stressed people often find it difficult, either at school or at work, to remain quiet and work quality. Health conditions can also occur with an increased incidence and slower recovery outcomes. Alcohol or substance use, regularly or for the first time, are another warning signal in the stress evaluation.

Book Review: Stress Management for Dummies "Albert Ellis"

One source of stress can arise from the current stage of an individual’s life. As people progress through life, every stage is accompanied by its unique source of stress (Auerbach & Gramling, 2012). These stages include age, living arrangements, professional occupation, and stage of education. Family is another source of stress, with death of a family member and major disagreements with other family members being some of the most common sources. Other sources in the family include state of other family member’s health, re-marriage or divorce of parents, drug or alcohol problems in the family, family reunions or vacations, pregnancy within the family, moving from home or relocating, and a significant change in family income. Social factors can also lead to stress, for example, starting a committed relationship, death of a friend, arguments with close friends, identification as the leader of a group, exclusion from a group, and becoming a victim of prejudice (Auerbach & Gramling, 2012). Other sources of stress could emanate from the environment, for example, moving or change in living conditions and from the work environment, such as being laid off and increase in working hours.

Fear, vulnerability and incertitude are the symptoms of stress. A Gallup study found that 90 per cent of those surveyed experienced tension at least once a week. The workplace is a fruitful place for traumatic experiences. Excessive workload recorded by employees increased to more than 40% between 1988 and 1995 compared to 37%. Furthermore, in 1995, workers who were afraid of employment increased to 46 percent (Auerbach & Gramling, 2012). All of this means increased stress and tension. Despite strengthened sexual justice and women’s rights, women face increased stress in their workplace due to increased constraints and pressures. In contrast to men , women are promoted less often with changed mothers.

The predominant notions of women ‘s actions and expected roles exert further strain on women. There is a double standard because men and women are equally advancing in their professions. Women who are assertive, aggressive, and competitive are viewed negatively, which leads to women that naturally this way to undergo stress. Another source of stress for women in the workplace is sexual harassment (Elkin, 2009). Women normally find themselves in situations where both silence and complaining will lead to stress.

Mastering the Basics

Awareness of stress is vital since the situations themselves are stressful, with how we interpret the situation driving the stress levels. Life has become increasingly stressful in ways that were previously unimaginable. Changes in technology, especially, have given rise to increased demands and pressure. These are new sources of stress and, as such, individuals have to be made aware of them. When one thinks of stress, major stress come to mind with such situates as serious illness, separation and death. Moderate stresses involve such circumstances as catching a cold, while smaller stress involves crowds, loud neighbors and noisy traffic. One needs to be aware of these smaller stresses since they add up to form bigger problems (Elkin, 2009). An individual can deal with increased levels of this smaller stresses, but when the next small stress factor causes an over-reaction, then the individual can be said to be stressed. It is easy to deal with life’s major stresses since they cause the individual to call on hidden resources within them and rise to the task. However, it is the little stress factors that lead to build up of stress and are the real cause of stress.

It is vital that the individual is aware of this stresses because their effects are detrimental to their health, as well as to those close to them (Elkin, 2009). Being aware of one’s stress levels helps to preserve one’s health since stress affects the body in many ways. Becoming aware of stress allows one to attempt its management, which is great for longevity.

Stress management involves the removal of stress sources by solving problems, better organization and management of time. Addressing roadblocks that make life stressful is crucial in the process of managing stress (Greenberg, 2008). Being aware of these obstacles and coming up with ways to avoid them allows an individual to better manage their stress levels. Some common roadblocks involve not having time, being too busy, earlier failure, and too much work. Each of the excuses stated slow one from getting the maximum from their efforts at management of stress. One way to get around these obstacles is taking these stress management steps one at a time. An individual has to note that attempting to do everything at once is not advisable, instead spreading the activities out over a period.

The most effective way to avoid stress is to ensure that one has plenty of time to rest. In order to avoid stress, it is important that obstacles in live are navigated, for example, by finding a job that will not add more stress (Greenberg, 2008). Obstacles become larger when one continues to make a mountain out of them. An individual will get rid of stress effectively through embarking on daily exercise. This can involve taking a walk and cycling to work or just for relaxation, which will lead to an inner peace. Stress causes deterioration of an individual’s health and well-being, causing emotional, physical and psychological change, leading to mental conflict that does not rise to the surface. Therefore, one needs to evaluate their mind and search for answers to find peace of mind.

Management involves looking into the situation causing the stress and trying to find a solution to attain inner peace and alleviate the problem. The action requires self-evaluation, as in stress assessment, and then coming up with a solution to the worrisome issues (Greenberg, 2008). Stress can arise from situations where there are no available opportunities or the potential to meet educational skills and background. The individual must plan to move forward, even if not at that moment. The plan to move forward should involve a positive change that helps in the attainment of inner peace. Bright artificial lights can enhance mood if an individual is suffering from weather changes. Music is another effective method of relieving stress that helps one achieve an inner peace. Music helps to move the obstacles out of the way since stress results from overwhelmed emotions.

Identification of stressful people and situations needs to be followed by a decision on whether these stress stimuli can be avoided. For example, if a stressor happens to be a close relative or family member, then an individual may not be able to avoid the stressor. However, the individual may be, in a position, to limit their contact with these stressors to family gatherings that may occur only once a year (Greenberg, 2008). If the stressor is an employer or manager, it is impossible to avoid him or her. When such a situation occurs, one should try to evaluate the situation to see if the response to this stimulus can be checked. If, for example, a family member is bent on making critical comments about business ventures, then one can choose to ignore the comments instead of attempting to rationalize their attempts.

Attempting to change response is not easy, especially if one feels strongly about a situation. It is at this point that changing one’s perspective changes when they take a step back and analyze the entire situation from the point of view of another person (Gregson, 2009). Does it really matter if one’s uncle appreciates their business ventures? It is not so important to attempt to please everyone around, since having too many expectations of oneself is not fair or healthy. Nobody can claim perfection and all have their faults. It is more prudent to act and think practically, as well as only expect what is achievable and possible. Setting goals that are too high to be achieved creates increased frustration and stress. If one feels that, he or she possesses the ability to achieve these goals. The individuals need to give themselves enough time to attain these goals. There will be setbacks along the way that should be considered as stepping stones towards success rather than setbacks.

Management of Stress in Real Life

If one is stressed, relaxation techniques come, in handy, to relieve the stress. Some of the techniques that are applicable in stressful times include taking time out, correct breathing, listening to music, laughter therapy, yoga, acupuncture, meditation, self-suggestion, stretching and exercise techniques, massage, and diet management. One should also try to be around positive people and influence who are jovial and happy. Spending time with negative people tends to make an individual more prone to frustration and stress.

Meditation has many benefits, such as reversing the stress response thus shielding one from chronic stress’ effects (Elkin, 2009). During the practice of meditation, an individual’s heart rate and rate of breathing slows down, coupled with the normalization of blood pressure, increased and efficient use of oxygen, and minimal incidents of sweating. Adrenal glands produce a reduced level of cortisol hormones and one’s mind ages at a much slower rate. Additionally, the immune functions in the body improve, as does one’s mental function and creativity. Persons who practice meditation often have an easier time dealing with stress and giving up life-damaging habits like smoking and alcohol.

Meditation involves relaxing in a sitting position and allowing the mind to clear of all clutter (Elkin, 2009). One can focus on sounds or their own breathing, or even on nothing. It is vital to have approximately five to twenty minutes free of distraction, with meditation sessions that last longer bringing an increased sense of benefit. Privacy and silence are also important when meditating, although people who are experienced meditation can do so anywhere. While most proponents of the practice point to its spiritual link, it also possesses secular uses.

Meditation is effective because it does not cost anything, is ever available and is very efficient in reduction of stress in the short-term. It is possible to feel the benefits after one session, with a teacher aiding in the steps. However, it does require practice, with some finding the process of getting into the mood a hard task in the beginning. The practice also requires some patience and people without free time find it time wasting (Elkin, 2009). The time and effort needed to master it, however, is worth it, especially seeing its effectiveness in managing the effects of stress. Unlike herbal therapies and other medications used to treat stress, meditation does not portend any potential side effects. Those with physical limitations experience easiness in the process of practicing as compared to exercising for the relief of stress, while it does not require any equipment. Meditation, however, requires commitment and discipline, which may make it difficult to maintain, especially if one is stressed in the first place. Stress caused by poor management of time can be especially difficult to counter using meditation. Some may even find it impossible to free their minds of their day-to-day tasks. However, if this is the case, then journaling becomes an alternative way to manage stress. Other alternatives to meditation include the use of humor in music and films and physical exercise like jogging.

The workplace can be considered, as fertile ground for stress growth and moving around is important in the process of dealing with this (Elkin, 2009). One should walk, from their desk, to get water or a coffee, or even to go out for lunch. Standing up from the workstation and walking around gives the body a chance to use different muscle sets and, thus, gets rid of building tension. It is vital to cut muscle tension off before it leads to stress since a normal workday is filled with demands, pressures and problems. These cause a build-up of tension in one’s muscles that needs to be drained before it grows into a bigger problem. Controlled breathing can be used a means of releasing this stress.

Soothing oneself with music at the workstation can help in relaxing one’s feathers. The music needs to be appropriate depending on one’s taste with the best choice being slow, soothing music. Classical music such as, Mozart and Bach work well; an individual could tune into a light music radio station listening to the music low in a low volume or while it is connected to a good pair of headphones or earphones. The workplace also needs the right type of lighting to reduce incidents of eyestrain and improve the work place’s environment. Indirect, soft lighting is the best to use, although it is vital to ensure enough light.

Making one’s desk neater also helps since stress develops through an individual’s perception of being out of control and overwhelmed (Elkin, 2009). When one’s work-area resembles a battlefield, tension begins to grow, as one takes longer to find needed reports, resulting in stress. Via organization of piles into files, it is possible for one to gain a sense of order to the chaos. The desk can also cause high levels of stress since we are not wired to stay in a position for too long since this causes contraction of muscle groups, leading to reduced blood flow and oxygen deprivation in muscles. Oxygen deprived muscles result in fatigue, muscle aches, and strain, all precursors of stress.

It is also vital to keep one’s body and spirit nourished (Elkin, 2009). The types of food that an individual takes into their body can have effects on their stress levels, with eating unhealthy foods, or even the wrong amounts of the right food, making it increasingly difficult to deal with life. Poor eating prevents the body from working efficiently, meaning that an individual is not in a good position to handle demands and pressure at home or at the workplace. Finally, going out at lunchtime is also of help if one goes for a small walk or to the gym for aerobics. Many gyms and clubs have their locations near work buildings and residential homes, with a number of facilities even giving a corporate discount on joining. Many organizations and companies also have workout facilities on the premises where employees can work out a sweat, go into the shower and then take a nourishing bite before going back to work.

To maintain a stress-resilient lifestyle, an individual, needs to rewrite their negative script. Another way to do this is by choosing to be stress-hardy rather than stress out (Elkin, 2009). Stress hardy people involve themselves in activities aimed at bringing meaning or purpose to their life as spouses, parents or friends. One should also try to see life via the eyes of other people, which helps them to empathize with others and not to become stressed when other people do things that they do not understand. Effective communication is another key to a stress-resilient lifestyle, which helps us to become better at listening and being empathetic to others. When we communicate, incidents of stress decrease since some stress situations arise from lack of understanding. Accepting other people, as well as oneself, allows one to recognize strengths and weaknesses, and thus, place a limit on expectations.

Another means of maintaining a stress-resilient lifestyle is to make connections with others and display compassion, learning how to deal with mistakes, learning how to handle success and create islands of competence, and the continuous development of self-control and self-discipline.

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