Stress management is a wide spectrum of techniques and psychotherapies aimed at controlling a person’s level of stress, especially chronic stress, usually for the purpose of and for the motive of improving everyday functioning.
One of the earliest methods of reducing stress in animals was to invoke a state of play.
Olympic athletes, professional bull riders and pro-wrestlers have been noted as practitioners of the state of play, where there is an ability to react naturally without needless resistance or defense mechanisms.
This helps the mind to stay alert, because it becomes more difficult to react violently or impulsively to real or perceived threats.
It can also help in calming the mind.
Once the natural response has been instilled, training to improve this response can be learned and improved.
For example, Olympic athletes practice their recovery techniques in competition.
Examples of physical therapy therapies include:
Psychoeducation includes education based on the stress-relieving properties of simple techniques.
One method of stress management is by identifying one’s priorities in life and taking on only those activities, tasks or relationships that are the most important.
Tasks may be limited to necessities, or to activities that enhance life experiences, rather than being major, long-term obligations.
Tasks can also be limited to the capabilities of the current situation and may be limited to whatever is realistic or practical.
The most useful technique, which is one of the oldest, is known as meditation.
This is a simple technique that can be used to alter one’s mood or to help reduce stress.
When this technique is used effectively, the individual may start to feel as though they are entering into a different world, which calms their nerves and provides a different perspective, which, in turn, reduces stress.
Hence, meditation can help combat stress.
An example of this is to breathe in slowly and deeply and then exhale with force and power, keeping the breath in the mouth.
This puts the body into a physical state of relaxation, which, in turn, reduces stress.
According to Jay Belsky and James Hillman, one of the world’s leading Zen masters and authors, the three main goals of Zen training are (1) to put an end to suffering, (2) to fulfill the life-long potentials that all living creatures possess and (3) to learn to live with a boundless sense of wonder.
In the clinical world, the stress management approach may be an adjunct to any physical or psychological disorder, or one of the treatments offered for a medical problem.
Examples of such disorders are:
Medical literature also reports that some people will seek or may develop a psychological condition, in response to stress, in order to cope with the stressful situation.
Psychologists have studied the problems caused by stress to investigate methods to combat the associated problems and develop coping skills.
Amongst many other definitions, it is used to describe the distress a person feels because of a situation or event in their lives that causes them stress.
Stress can create significant problems in a person’s life, such as failure, sleeplessness and depression.
One consequence of stress is that we will cope with a situation by attempting to manage it.
This often involves a conflict between two goals: to cope and to manage.
Sometimes, however, we will make a bad decision because we have not managed our stress properly.
One example of this is providing the child with coping skills to deal with the parent’s stress.
Research suggests that ‘stressors’ can cause an increase in cortisol levels and blood pressure, which may cause elevated heart rate, headache, feelings of unease and dry mouth.
It is important to acknowledge the stressor, as this allows an individual to identify what is the cause of stress.
Once identified, individuals can deal with this stressor in a manner which is healthful and appropriate.
There are a range of different coping mechanisms: cognitive, behavioural, social and interpersonal.
It is important to note that no single coping mechanism will work for every stressor, but that individuals should be encouraged to use coping strategies that they find helpful.
Some of the most common psychological stressors include social and relationship problems, unemployment and financial pressures.