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Module 1: Individual stress
Managing unavoidable stress
If the tasks cannot be managed anymore, stress can't
be prevented – neither by good time management, nor by appropriate
expectations or thoughts. The following section discusses the techniques
that can help to reduce acute stress and prevent negative outcomes!
Positive and negative management
There is a great variety of possibilities to react
to stress. There are favorable and less favorable management possibilities.
|Favorable management strategies
- Cooling down your emotions by positive
expressions ("I am absolutely calm!". "I have time!", etc. )
- Cooling down your emotions by relaxation and
- Thinking of adding some other meaning to the
situation; see it positively
- Positive self-conversation ("I can do it!",
"I am good!")
- Actively handling the situation, trying to
- Look for help and support of others
|Management strategies with short-
and long-term negative effects include:
- Reproaching yourself or others
- Obsession with the issue, depressive brooding
- Negative self-conversation ("I can’t do it, I
am a looser!")
- Violent feelings‚ pressure, over reacting
- Smoking, alcohol, other depressants
- Avoiding the problem (it can not be solved)
Research data shows that negative management
strategies are less efficient than positive ones! In addition it is clear
that in many cases it's worthwhile to take action and not to brood over
the problem for a long time.
Choosing the right management strategy
In order to be able to behave efficiently in
stressful situations it is necessary to think about what kind of things
help us best to reduce stress. According to the characteristics of a
stressful situation some special management strategies can be recommended.
Three simple questions will help you to define
what kind of a strategy is the best:
situations where we have often chosen an inappropriate management
strategy, we are not yet capable of assessing the situation accurately.
Established perception patterns will automatically assess the situation
and activate a problematic reaction. When we are confronted with this
situation, or one similar to it, it is important to try to correctly
assess the situation. If afterwards, we can perform a profound analysis of
what happened then we can prepare ourselves for the next similar
situation. This will help us to choose a sensible and rational management
strategy in the future!
When a child, while playing, accidentally
overturns a vase full of water many of us, grown-ups react with anger
and reproach the child: "Why couldn't you have been more careful?" or
"Watch out!" Ask yourself though: "Is it really so bad? Isn’t it
possible to clean it up? Won’t it dry by itself?" The situation will
then lose its drama and will become less stressful. A reasonable
reaction to this is to stay calm and not to get angry. Remind the
child about being careful and clean everything up.
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|© 2020 by Yves Hänggi and University of Fribourg, Switzerland.