(4)What is Stress?


Stress is inherent in life

Stress = nonspecific response of organism to any pressure or demand

Emphasize non-specificity of stress response

Stressor = stimulus or event that produced the stress response

Stressor can be internal or external

Psychological stress = particular relationship between person and environment that is appraised by a person as:

(1) taxing or exceeding their resources and

(2) endangering their well-being

For something be psychologically stressful –

Has be appraised in some way as a threat

How perceive stressors and then how handle them

Depends on meaning attributed to events

Beliefs about life and self


Rule for causing stress =

How you see things and how you handle them

Causes of stress –

(1) Perceived threats to:

(A) Physical body; (B) Social status; (C) Approval by others

(D) Ego; (E) Strongly held beliefs; (F) Desire to control

Which are you over-sensitive to?

(2) Trying to do too much

Exceeding your resources and abilities

Ignoring signs of stress




Disregulation of body and mind –

Chronic hyperarousal, high blood pressure, arrhythmias (disrhythms of the heart), sleep disorders, chronic headaches and backaches, muscle tension, anxiety

Maladaptive coping –

Self-destructive behaviors: overworking, hyperactivity, overeating

Substance dependency: drugs, chemicals, alcohol, cigarettes, caffeine, food

Negative cognitive habits: negative thinking patterns, negative self-beliefs, over-sensitivity to perceived threats to self

Dysfunctional psychological coping: denial, avoiding, not perceiving and dealing with real problems

Stress Coping Stances:

Placating, Blaming, Super-reasonable, Irrelevant


Healing = undergoing a profound transformation of view

= transformation of view rather than a cure

Perceptual shift

Away from fragmentation and isolation

Toward wholeness and connectedness

If change way we see –

Can change way we respond

Get control by –

Becoming conscious of options

Being mindful of relevance and effectiveness of one’s response

Cultivate coping resources

Examine –

(1) Appraisal patterns

(2) What threats are you overly sensitive to?

(3) Are you trying to do too much?

(4) Thinking patterns

(5) Beliefs

(6) Regulation of body and mind

(7) Coping habits

Learn –

(1) Healthy thinking

(2) Healthy beliefs

(3) How to “not do” – how to relax in the midst of being busy

(4) Healthy habits

(5) Attention skills

(6) Observation skills

(7) Relaxation skills

(8) How to let go

(9) Be willing to inquire into your stress and suffering, observe it, open it


1. The key is be willing to inquire into your suffering, observe it, open it…

2. Set realistic goals for yourself – Don’t set yourself up for failure. It is impossible to get an entire day’s worth of work done in 15 minutes, don’t even make that a goal to begin with. Keep what you want to get accomplished reasonable.

3. Organize your day – Take 15 minutes to plan things out. Organizing and planning will help you avoid losing so much time that might strain you while trying to recover it.

4. Take regular breaks from busy schedule – Our body needs rest to function properly. Short breaks in the day reduce stress and can increase productivity.

5. Learn to say no – Don’t overcommit yourself. Time management is a key tool in stress management, so don’t promise more than you can handle.

6. Have a hobby – Research shows that stress is lowest and energy is highest when engaged in activities we enjoy most.

7. Talk it out – “A problem shared is half solved.” Talk to a close friend or relation if you are stressed out. Just the act of talking it out may make you feel better.

8. Laugh – Laughter truly IS the best medicine. Try to find a way to lighten the situation or circumstance.

9. Reduce coffee, alcohol, tobacco – All three of these things can increase chemicals in the body that increase heart rate and can exacerbate stress.

10. Exercise daily – Exercising releases chemicals known as endorphins that help naturally combat stress and improve mood. Yoga is a wonderful way to get exercise and to learn to relax and breathe properly.

11. Count to 10 – When faced with a difficult problem, count backward from 10 and take a deep breath. Deep breathing can be particularly helpful.

12. Breathing practice – Learn breathing exercises. People breathe shallowly in their upper chest when stressed. Learn to breathe more deeply, as if breathing from your abdomen.

13. Relaxation exercises – Regularly practice relaxation exercises.