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Stress

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Lindsay Bhuller

on 24 January 2013

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Transcript of Stress

Managing Stress: Step One Life transitions can bring on unexpected and unfamiliar changes. Transitioning from a teenager into an adult is one of life’s biggest, natural transitions. With this transition, stress of body changes, friendships, grades, tests, family issues, homework, work, lack of sleep, health, extra-curricular activities, the future, and your love life can be very overwhelming. This guide will help you to familiarize yourself with stress and it’s baggage, recognize the influence stress has on you, hear from real people the affect that stress has on them, and discover a variety of ways to manage and effectively deal with any existing stress. Know that you are not alone. Together, we can tackle stress! Let’s start with the basics,


Stress is a normal response everyone feels when they experience something that may change their equilibrium, or state of homeostasis in some way. The events that provoke this stress are called stressors. Stressors can be anything, from feeling like you’re physically in danger to taking a tough test. The human body responds to these stressors by shutting down all non-essential body systems and producing more of the two hormones central to stress response-adrenaline (epinephrine) and cortisol (glucocorticoids). Once these hormones are released into the blood stream, they speed up heart rate, breathing rate, blood pressure, and metabolism. Blood vessels open wider to let more blood flow to large muscle groups, pupils dilate to improve vision, the liver releases some of its stored glucose to increase the body's energy, and sweat is produced to cool the body. This reaction is known as the stress response, or “fight-or-flight” response. It enhances a person’s ability to perform quickly and effectively under pressure.
Generally, stress is looked at in a negative light. However, this is not necessarily right. Stress has driven evolutionary change, so that the species best adapted to deal with common stressors have survived and evolved into the kingdoms we are surrounded by today. When we perceive a situation as negative, our body’s perceive it as a threat. Optimism, however, can help us to perceive the threat as a positive challenge instead. In this way, stress keeps us on our toes and helps us to manage it better. The proper amount of stress is what helps us to stay focused, alert and energetic in both mild and extreme situations. But this is the problem- our body’s turn on stress response whether the situation is real or imaginary, emotional or physical, moderate or severe. Beyond a certain point, stress is no longer advantageous, but threatening to your quality of life. Now that we have an understanding of stress and its role in life, let’s focus on you.

Cognitive Symptoms
• Memory problems (eg. when trying to remember school material, due dates, etc.)
• Inability to concentrate (eg. during classes, tests, homework assignments, etc.)
• Poor judgment (eg. with relationships, life choices)
• Seeing only the negative (eg. in people, situations)
• Anxious or racing thoughts (eg. Under general circumstances)
• Constant worrying (eg. General circumstances- relationships, studying, etc.)
Emotional Symptoms
• Do you feel moody?
• Are irritable, have a short temper?
• Constantly agitated, not able to relax
• Feel a sense of loneliness and isolation?
• Sensing some depression or general unhappiness?
Physical Symptoms
• Common aches and pains
• Diarrhea , constipation
• Nausea, dizziness
• Chest pain, rapid heartbeat
• Loss of sex drive (if previously sexually active)
• Frequent colds
Behavioral Symptoms
• Eating more or less
• Sleeping too much or too little
• Isolating yourself from others
• Procrastination, neglecting responsibilities
• Suddenly using alcohol, cigarettes, or drugs to relax
• Unusual nervous habits (e.g. nail biting, pacing)
“I guess school stuff is stressful but my family stresses me out more. School is just book work but when my family stresses me out I can’t focus on anything.” “Do you feel any different when you are stressed out? Are there any symptoms?” “I don’t know. I’m more angry than usual and I sleep a lot.” Do any of these sound familiar? If so, it is not uncommon. However, be careful before diagnosing yourself with any form of stress. Keep in mind that these symptoms may come from other medical problems. It is important to see your doctor for a full, accurate evaluation. Below, a grade nine student named Nathan speaks about his experience with stress.





THESE ARE ALL FALSE. Stress is not inevitable. For example, those afraid of public speaking may tell you that stress is inevitable because they cannot imagine speaking in front of a group without any stress, but you may feel differently. Their emotions and feelings come from their beliefs, are beliefs are different for everybody. This also goes to show that stress is not the same for everyone. There are things that you can do about stress. Several options for short term and long term stress management exist. With these techniques and effective planning and prioritizing, you can manage your life in a way so that stress is no longer overwhelming. Because stress is different for everyone due to internal and external factors, everyone experiences different signs and symptoms. Those mentioned before are the most common, but do not include every possible symptom. Certain medications can even camouflage these stress signals, depriving someone the ability to help themselves. Even without any signals, stress is something to watch out for. MYTH: Stress is inevitable, and is the same for everyone. Because everyone goes through it there is nothing you can do, especially without any signs or symptoms. what is stress? Perceptions of stress: Is stress good or bad? You and your body: What are the signs and symptoms of stress? The degree of stress in our lives is very dependent upon factors such as our physical health, the quality of our interpersonal relationships, the number of commitments and responsibilities we carry, the degree of others' dependence upon us, expectations of us, the amount of support we receive from others, and the number of changes or traumatic events that have recently occurred in our lives. There are five main factors that influence our stress tolerance level. These include our support network, sense of control, attitude and outlook, ability to deal with our emotions, and knowledge and preparation. How we react to stress today can determine our future health. “Well I am an only child and used to being in control, so when I am in a situation where things are not going my way it stresses me out more. I am not used to that.” –Response from grade twelve student Gabi, when asked when she feels the most stressed out. So, do you think you are under stress? Check out this survey to get some insight. Dr. Arya M. Sharma, a Professor of Medicine and Chair in Obesity Research and Management at the University of Alberta, conducted an experiment to link teenage stress with teenage obesity. Shown in the picture below are the top ten stressors for teenagers. It depicts the top ten answers from a group of ninety students in a tenth grade class. The first answer, school, was listed by almost 50% of the group. The second and answer, family/parents, was listed by nearly 30% of the group while the third answer, friends, was listed by close to 20% of the group. Read the list carefully, do any of these stressors sound familiar? What is stressing you out? Long term exposure to stress can lead to serious health problems. Studies have shown that chronic stress during the teen years can have a negative impact upon both physical and mental health later in life. For example, teen stress is a risk factor for the development of depression, a serious condition that carries an increased risk of suicide. Here, we will take a look at some struggling teenagers and their ways of dealing with stress. http://bcove.me/7dfnb03w What influences our stress levels?

There are many misconceptions about stress that can have a negative impact on anyone who chooses to believe them. Let’s knock some of those theories! Do you believe everything you hear? http://www.cmha.ca/mental_health/whats-your-stress-index/#.UPR2ACfolqV “How we perceive a situation and how we react to it is the basis of our stress. If you focus on the negative in any situation, you can expect high stress levels. However, if you try and see the good in the situation, your stress levels will greatly diminish”- Catherine Pulsifer

Review and reflect upon your stress levels by reading your journal. How do you cope with stress? Are your methods helpful and healthy? Some examples of coping strategies that bring temporary relief but harmful long term results include:

•Smoking, Drinking
•Over/Under Eating
•Lashing out, Blaming others
•Isolating yourself from others
•Relaxation medications
•Overscheduling to avoid problems
•Oversleeping
•Procrastinating Reducing, preventing, and coping with stress starts with identifying the sources of stress. A good first step is to start with a stress journal. It may sound like a waste of time, but by recording and keeping track of your stress you may start to see patterns in your feelings and behaviors. It is important to take note of what caused any stress, how you and your body reacted both physically and emotionally, how you reacted to this stress, and what you did to make yourself feel better. Stress journals can help you realize the role you have in creating and maintaining your own stress, so that you are able to hold the responsibility of controlling your stress levels. “When I get stressed I always take nap.” “How do you feel before and after you wake up?” “Well I don’t feel any better afterward, probably just as bad as before if not worse… It’s just nice to get away for a bit.” – Ashley, a grade eleven student, on her coping method sleep. Learning healthier ways to manage stress usually requires change in lifestyle, attitude, and outlook. If you are willing to try different stress management strategies and techniques, you can learn to feel more calm and in control. The four A’s are a widely respected technique to help you change your situation and reaction for more positive results. • unnecessary stress- Not all stress can be avoided, but it is important to eliminate as many unhealthy stressors as possible. This can be done by knowing your limits and learning how to say no when you feel like something could be too overwhelming. Also identify any people who cause you too much stress. If it is a relationship that you know you cannot help or change, try to limit it as much as possible. Take control of your environment by finding alternatives to anything important yet stressful, and don’t forget to prioritize.
• the situation- If you cannot avoid a situation, change the way you communicate and act to try and keep it from coming back in the future. For example, try to express and communicate negative feelings or concerns in a respectful way, to avoid a build up of resentment. Be willing to compromise with others but deal with your problems head on. You will have a better chance of finding middle ground and can better anticipate the problems in the future. Planning ahead and managing your time better can also help you to feel more focused. Changing the Situation Avoid Alter Managing Stress: Step Two Changing your Mind Set • to the stressor- If you are not able to change the stressor, regain control by changing your own views. Try to look at situation in a positive light, and take time to reflect on the good in life. Look at the big picture and understand that not everything can be perfect. By adjusting your expectations, standards, and attitude, you can keep things in perspective.
• what you cannot change- Understand that there are some things in life that are not in our control. Instead of trying to take care of the uncontrollable, focus on things that you can control, such as how you react to situations. Try to see challenges as personal growth opportunities, and free yourself from negative energy with forgiveness. It can be very difficult, but pays off in the future. Adapt Accept Being in control of your life and having realistic expectations about your day-to-day challenges are the keys to stress management, which is perhaps the most important ingredient to living a happy, healthy and rewarding life. –Marilu Henner In addition to these new approaches are some short term solutions to dealing with stress. Sometimes, all you may need is to pamper yourself. These include healthy ways to reconnect with and recharge yourself for a temporary period of time, however, with regular use, could greatly ease stressors.
Going for a walk, absorbing the beauty of nature, calling a friend/family member, soaking in a bubble bath, savoring a warm drink, spending time with a pet, watching something that can guarantee a laugh (favorite movie, tv show, etc.), and listening to music. Short Term Coping Methods Music is strongly linked to our emotions. The right kind of music can absorb any outside distractions, relaxing our bodies and minds. An example of this music is a piece by famous pianist Yiruma, called “A River Flows In You’. It is a refreshing, peaceful, and well known piece that many are able to connect to. Listen to it here: Yoga can be extremely beneficial to anyone undergoing stress. A goal that many types of yoga’s share is to restore balance and harmony of the body and emotions using a variety of postural and breathing exercises. This attached video displays just this, tailored specifically to decrease stressors. Long Term Coping Methods This brings us to long term solutions to dealing with stress. Do not let yourself get caught up in busy day to day life, so much that you neglect yourself. Overall, you need to learn to adopt a consistent, active lifestyle. This begins with having a healthy diet. Keep yourself nourished with a nutritious breakfast followed by well balanced meals throughout the day. This way, you will have a boost of clarity and energy. Regular exercise, of just the recommended hour per day, can greatly reduce stress with its endless number of positive benefits- from improving blood flow to relaxing tense muscles. With an adequate amount of sleep, preferably the recommended period of of nine hours, you can refuel your body and mind. Also, reducing or better yet ending the consumption of caffeine and sugar can keep you from experiencing the drastic crash in mood and energy that follows. This will allow you to feel more relaxed, so that you have time to step back from your busy reality and put more focus on yourself regular basis. Every teenager is different, and on their own individual journey through life. One common factor that all teenagers must share for any of these tips to work is to believe. Believe that you can conquer the overwhelming feelings of negative stress, and believe in yourself. You can do this, and we are here to help. Teenage Stress:
A Guide to
Inform,
Instruct,
and Inspire. A scene from a movie called 'It's Kind Of A Funny Story'. A beautifully done film about the mental health of adolescents. The Low-Down on Stress Learning to Alleviate Stress "What's Your Stress Index." Canadian Mental Health Association. Web. 14 Jan 2013. <http://www.cmha.ca/mental_health/whats-your-stress-index/ Smith, Melinda, Robert Segal, and Jeanne Segal. "Stress Symptoms, Signs and Causes." (2012) 23 Jan. 2013. <http://www.helpguide.org/mental/stress_signs.htm>. "Mental Health - Coping With Stress." Health Canada. Canada, 01 Jul 2008. Web. 16 Jan 2013. <http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/hl-vs/iyh-vsv/life-vie/stress-eng.php>. "Stress." Teen Health for Nemours. The Nemours Organization, Web. 13 Jan 2013. <http://kidshealth.org/teen/your_mind/emotions/stress.html>. "Helping Teenagers With Stress." American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. Web. 23 Jan 2013. <http://aacap.org/page.ww?name=Helping Teenagers with Stress§ion=Facts for Families>. Bernstein, Andrew. "The Myth of Stress." Psychology Today. Sussex Publishers. Web. 20 Jan 2013. <http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-myth-stress/201005/8-deadly-myths-about-stress>. Works Cited Thank you.
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