Stress Management Techniques
Stress embodies physical, mental, or emotional factors that have the potential to cause bodily or mental harm/tension (Stress, n). All human beings encounter stress/stressors at some point in their lives. Stressors can affect a situation, circumstance, or individual negatively or positively. The direction of the stress depends on how the individual manages the stressor. Stress is a huge public and personal health problem that is associated with a variety of mental and health concerns. Approximately 75% and 90% of provider visits are the results of stress-related illnesses (Jackson 15). The student selected stress management because of the impact stressors has on individuals, groups, and society. The chosen topic is relevant to the class because, as college students, we have all encountered some form of stress or will encounter stressors as we navigate through the complexities of classwork, employment, and home life. This subject is vital to all individuals, organizations, and communities because understanding stress and identifying effective coping techniques help to enhance an individual’s quality of life. This research paper will enable the reader to achieve a better understanding of stress and identify effective methods of managing stress.
The World Health Organization (WHO) named stress as the second most frequent health problem affecting individuals in the European workforce (Varvogli and Darviri 75). Stress can affect individuals mentally, physically, emotionally, spiritually, or financially. Stress has been known to cause many different health issues, such as; cardiovascular disease, hypertension, obesity, metabolic syndrome, and depression (Varvogli and Darviri 75). The correlation between health issues and stress can cause economic hardships for individuals and organizations. For the reasons mentioned above, effective methods of stress relief are paramount to achieving a positive overall outcome.
A variety of stress management techniques prove to be beneficial for overall health and well-being. An American physician by the name of Edmund Jacobson introduced the method of progressive muscle relaxation (PMR) in the early 1920s. He was one of the initial researchers to focus on the physiological effects of mental motor imagery (Munzert and Kruger, n). According to Jacobson this technique helps to relieve anxiety by tensing and relaxing muscle groups throughout the body. The method arguably shows the positive results of total relaxation (Varvogli and Darviri 75). Although this technique is commonly used, other techniques are just as instrumental in overall well-being, such as biofeedback.
Biofeedback is a technique derived from a team of researchers in 1969. Biofeedback is a process that enables individuals to learn methods of changing physiological activity for improvements in health and performance (Varvogli and Darviri 76). Biofeedback therapists conduct biofeedback. The process involves measuring physiological activity such as breathing, the function of the heart, muscle activity, skin temperature, and brainwaves. The information acquired is then used in conjunction with behavior and emotions to illicit desired physiological changes (Varvogli and Darviri 77). Biofeedback is in many healthcare settings. Another technique used and healthcare and private settings are guided imagery.
Guided imagery is well established in Native American, Judeo-Christian, Hinduism, Chinese medicine, and other religious traditions. Although guided imagery has been a part of different cultures for many years, Joseph Wolfe introduced a variety of imagery-related techniques associated with behavior modification in the late 1960s. The method of guided imagery uses personalized images of the subject to promote health by using a variety of techniques geared towards relaxation and stress reduction (Varvogli and Darviri 77). This technique is often effective because the subject determines the images he or she believes will yield the desired result. Guided imagery is closely related to meditation.
Transcendental meditation (TM) is another psychophysiological stress reduction technique. This technique was introduced by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, who is a scholar of the tradition of India (Varvogli and Darviri 78). The TM technique requires the subject to sit with his or her eyes closed while repeating a mantra specific to the individual to promote awareness and a restful state. Many individuals erroneously believe this specific to philosophy or religion. This technique is simply a method of transitioning into a peaceful state (Varvogli and Darviri 78). Although relaxation is a beneficial way to diminish or eliminate stressors, exercise can also be used to accomplish this goal.
Exercise can be a useful part of a stress management regime. Research has shown that being physically active helps the body handle stress more effectively because of changes in the body’s hormone responses and brain (Jackson 16). Research regarding the correlation between exercise and stress often focuses on aerobic exercise. Currently, there is an increase in the amount of research about mind-body exercises such as Tai Chi and yoga. The proven benefits of using exercise as part of a stress management regime are impressive (Sharma 60). Understanding stress and the effectiveness of stress management techniques can yield compelling arguments.
I believe there are a variety of ways to achieve stress relief. Everyone can utilize the various stress management techniques portrayed in the paper. Some methods are preferable, depending on the individual and his or her circumstances. Guided imagery and meditation are most effective for me because I can relax and focus on releasing the stressor or stressors. This method takes concentration and the ability to stay calm and inactive for some time. Some individuals may not prefer this method because he or she may not have the ability to sit for long periods. I also enjoy using exercise as a stress management technique. Sometimes being around others, interacting, and working out helps to relieve stress. The type of stress management technique utilized depends on the individual’s mood or disposition. Each author/researcher has compelling evidence of the efficacy of using stress management techniques. The variety of methods available helps to ensure that everyone can find a technique that fits his or her life. College students can use the information found in the literature. The college student encounters challenges during education, which creates stress, putting their health at risk, and affecting their ability to learn (Alborzkouh et al. 39). I will use these techniques before taking a test/quiz or standing in front of the class, preparing for a presentation. The information derived from the literature is vital to overall well-being.
Stress is universal and affects everyone. Understanding stress and obtaining a detailed understanding of stress reduction techniques is vital to preventing many stress-related illnesses and improving an individual’s quality of life (Varvogli and Darviri 80). The information portrayed in the research paper defined stress and entailed different stress management techniques. Information focused on the origin and author/researcher of each technique. The research findings help support the notion that stress management and stress reduction techniques are vital the improving health and quality of life.
- Alborzkouh, P et al. “A review of the effectiveness of stress management skills training on academic vitality and psychological well-being of college students.” Journal of medicine and life vol. 8,Spec Iss 4 (2015): 39-44.
- Jackson, Erica. “The Role of Exercise in Stress Management.” ACSM’s Health and Fitness Journal vol. 17 3. 2013, www.acsm-healthfitness.org
- Munzert, Jörn, and Britta Krüger. “Task-Specificity of Muscular Responses During Motor Imagery: Peripheral Physiological Effects and the Legacy of Edmund Jacobson.” Frontiers in psychology vol. 9 1869. 9 Oct. 2018, doi:10.3389/fpsyg.2018.01869
- Sharma, Manoj. “Yoga as an Alternative and Complementary Approach for Stress Management: A Systematic Review.” Journal of Evidence-Based Complementary & Alternative Medicine vol. 19 1. 1 Oct. 2013, doi:101177/2156587213503344
- “Stress.” Merriam-Webster.com. Merriam-Webster, 2012.
- Varvogli, Liza and Darviri, Christina. “Stress Management Techniques: Evidence-based Procedures That Reduce Stress and Promote Health.” Health Science Journal vol. 5 2. 2011, www.hsj.org