Stress isn't all bad. At lower levels, stress prepares our bodies for day-to-day challenges by boosting energy, improving cognitive performance, and focusing attention. It's when stress is too extreme, or lasts for too long, that it becomes problematic.
Unhealthy levels of stress contribute to heart disease, anxiety, depression, relational discord, drug use, weakened immune systems, and much more. Oftentimes, stress hides behind more prominent issues, where it amplifies uncomfortable emotions and triggers unwanted behaviors.
The Introduction to Stress Management was designed to help you learn about your own stressors, symptoms, and strategies to overcome stress. The coping strategies presented in this worksheet include the use of social support, emotional management, life balance, and meeting one's basic needs.
1. Describe your largest source of stress, in detail.
2. Select any symptoms you have experienced in response to stress.
The negative effects of stress can be reduced with the use of social support, emotional management skills, maintaining a healthy life balance, and attending to basic needs.
Even when your social support cannot solve a problem, just talking can sometimes be enough. When we talk about our problems, hormones are released inside our brains that ease the undesirable symptoms of stress.
3. List three people who you can turn to for help as well as how they can support you.
Stress can trigger many emotions such as anxiety, self-doubt, and anger. When these feelings are ignored, they can exacerbate the original stressor. Remember, emotional management isn't about eliminating emotions-it's about dealing with them in a healthy way.
4. When faced with unpleasant emotions, do you have any habits or tendencies that worsen the situation?
Stress can be especially destructive if your life is heavily focused on one area. For example, a person who is only focused on a relationship will struggle if their relationship becomes rocky.
5. On a scale from 1-5, rate how much attention you devote to your career, family, fun, spirituality, socializing, intimate relationship, and education.
During periods of high stress, many people take shortcuts when it comes to their basic needs. Example include sleep, a healthy diet, exercise, and other forms of self-care. When basic needs are neglected, health and mental well-being deteriorate, which contributes to additional stress.
6. Select the basic needs that you tend to neglect during high periods of stress.