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SAMPLE Trainer Notes Stress Management








Introduction

Welcome participants and introduce yourself.

The word stress is used to describe the physical and/or emotional response to
the demands and pressures that modern living means we come under from time
to time.

Stress can be a positive thing, which drives us on and helps us to grow, develop
and be stimulated. However, when stress reaches a certain level, it can
overcome a persons ability to cope and can impact on their physical and mental
health.

This session has been developed to help you identify the causes and effects of
stress and to assist you in developing the skills required to manage stress in your
own life. The focus is on the positive things that you can do to make changes in
your life which will reduce the impact that bad stress places on you.

Show slide Objectives

Talk participants through objectives and ask if they have any questions.

Learning Log & Action Plan

Refer participants to the learning log and action plan in their workbook. Advise
them that throughout the session they should put down any actions that they are
going to take as well as the key learning points. You will also prompt them at key
points to add items to their action plans (you will do this prior to every break in
the programme).


PLEASE NOTE: This is a short excerpt of the Trainer Notes from the
Training Materials, Stress Management by Trainer Bubble. To view the
full product training materials please purchase them from
www.trainerbubble.com

The full training materials are fully editable and come as Word and
PowerPoint files.

Trainer Bubble Ltd. 2008 - Sep-10 www.trainerbubble.com
Introduction

So that you gain the most benefit from this session, it useful that you first identify
what you expect to get out of it. That way you have a clear outcome for the
session and will be able to identify exactly what your needs and intentions are. It
will also assist me in gauging what I need to cover in order to fulfil those
requirements.

Exercise 15 minutes

Ask the participants to refer to their workbooks on the page Introduction. They
should review the questions and answer them as honestly as possible.

In review, ask the participants for some examples of their needs and place them
on a flipchart. Allow everyone an opportunity to speak. Once the ideas are
collected, place the flipchart sheet on a wall and explain that you will endeavour
to cover all of the points raised.


Identifying Stress

Show slide The history of stress

In the days of the caveman, stress often came in the form of physical threats that
required individuals to react quickly and decisively. The body helped out by
automatically clicking into high gear at the first sign of trouble, releasing a surge
of hormones (notably adrenaline and cortisol) to accelerate the heart rate, raise
blood pressure, increase blood sugar, and enhance the brains use of glucose.
This stress response meant the caveman was instantly ready to fight or flee.

Show slide Modern day stress

In the modern day, we are usually not able to deploy this fight or flight
mechanism and so although we still produce these symptoms, they have
nowhere to go. The prolonged effect of these psychological stressors results in a
range of impacts on our body and mind.

Everyone deals with stress in different ways and our capacity to deal with it
changes throughout our lives. What we are sure of is that people who adapt to
stress and find ways of managing it are less likely to develop physical or mental
symptoms.

ASK: How many of you identify with the range of stressors indicated by this
slide? Can you add any?


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Discuss with participants their own stress issues and identify areas where the
fight or flight response was prevalent and the alternative actions that were
taken.

Please note: It is important you do not pressurise the participants to share their
experiences with you as these may be quite personal to them.



How Our Body Responds to Stress

Once we are put under stress our body immediately begins to react and there are
certain specific things you will be able to notice in your body. Over time, these
stress elements can build up and often cause inherent health problems with our
bodies. Lets identify the long and short term affects of stress on our body.

Activity 30 minutes

Split the group into two teams. Advise the first team that they will consider the
long-term effect of stress on our body and the other team the short-term effect.

Each team should be given two sheets of flipchart paper which are taped
together to form one long piece. They should then pin this to the wall and trace
the outline of one of the smaller members of the team onto the paper. They will
end up with a picture similar to the one shown below.



The task of each team is to draw labels on the affected area of the body
describing what happens (you might decide to use post-its for this). Remember;
one team is working on long term effects (being out of work, moving home,
having children, money worries) and the other on short-term (near miss in car,
just had an argument, moment of panic).

In review, spend time discussing each of the teams work on the short and long
term effects of stress on the body and highlight any points of interest. Use the
following notes to help you...


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Once we are stressed, our body immediately begins to react. Humans have
innately developed a fight or flight response to stressful or threatening
situations over the years. Several things happen under stress:

Show slide Stress & the Body (click only once)

Talk participants through slide and then go on to...

On occasion, these responses can be good, but most of the time, it is merely an
overreaction to a situation that causes this stress and it can eventually harm your
physical health.

Resulting symptoms could be...

Blood flow to brain and muscles increase/Concentration heightens
Tension headache, migraines, anxiety, moods (click slide)

Your heart rate increases Chest pains, raised blood pressure (click slide)

Breathing becomes more rapid Clammy, sweaty feelings. (click slide)

Digestion pauses to allow for more energy Heartburn, indigestion, ulcers
(click slide)

Muscle tension increases Aches, pains, muscle spasms (click slide)

Other than the physical functions carried on by our body, stress can damage our
bodies in other ways. When we are under stress, we often tend to abuse our
body. This can include poor lifestyle choices such as eating fatty and greasy
foods, drinking too much caffeine or alcohol, or even abusing prescription or
illegal drugs. All these can have a secondary affect on the body caused by
stress.

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Stress Coping Model

In order to understand how to handle stress, it is important to look at the process
we go through that leads to stress in the first place. We can then look at methods
of intervening in the process in order to better cope with the stressor.

Show slide Stress Coping Model (click only once)

Talk participants through the slide using the following notes as guidance.


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1. The Preconditions are those things within ourselves that are already in
place when we experience a situation. This includes our genes, past
experiences, current health, etc.

2. The Situation is what has actually occurred. We are frequently unaware
of what actually occurred because our preconditions make each of us
experience things a little differently than others. For example, if there are
10 eyewitnesses to a car accident, there will be 10 different eye-witness
accounts. While there may be a lot of overlap, there will still be
differences.

3. Interpretation is what we believe about the situation. Since different
people see things differently, their beliefs will be different. For example,
some people really stress out over work situations, traffic, standing in
line, etc. Other people, however, dont view these things nearly as
negatively.

4. Emotional Change is our emotional response to our beliefs about the
situation. A negative belief triggers increases in frustration, anger, fear,
etc. A positive belief can trigger excitement, joy, anticipation, etc.

5. Physiological Change is when our hormone levels change, resulting in
muscle tension, heart rate acceleration, etc. Whether the emotional
change is positive or negative, the physical response is essentially the
same.

6. Consequences are what happens to our physical and emotional health
as a result of the preceding factors. If the factors are sustained long
enough or are overwhelming, the consequences are typically negative; the
person experiencing the situation may become physically or emotionally
ill. This is when the persons preconditions have an additional effect. If the
person is robust, he or she may be able to weather the physiological
arousal fairly well. If not, they may become ill more quickly or more
severely. This is why coping techniques are so important.

So we now know what happens to drive stress within us. This is useful, as it
allows us to understand the best method of intervention and consequently how to
cope with stressful events.

Click slide to reveal Coping methods

Talk participants through the other part of the slide using the following as
guidance.

1. Healthy Lifestyle is one where the amount of stress to the body is kept
to a minimum. Exercise, a balanced diet, good sleep habits, minimal

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alcohol use, etc. all contribute to our overall health and well being. The
healthier we live our lives, the less likely we are to get sick.

2. Modify Assessment means trying to see if there is another way of
looking at the situation. Not all difficult situations have to be seen as
negative. It is helpful if we use mistakes positively, such as using the
mistake as motivation to take corrective action.

3. Modify Self-talk is when you try to pull yourself up rather than pull
yourself down. Along with modifying your assessment of a situation,
modifying your self-talk can take a lot of the emotional sting out of a
difficult situation. Being a perfectionist or calling oneself stupid, fat, ugly,
etc. can transform any situation into something negative. While making
changes in what you tell yourself about yourself can be difficult, they can
be accomplished with time.

4. Positive Coping Behaviours means taking active steps to help you
deal with the situation. While living healthfully, changing how you view
things and maintaining a positive attitude are all very important, the
situation is not going to change unless you change it. If you take active
steps, you are likely to reduce physiological arousal quickly and
effectively.

So you can see that at each point in the chain we can use a positive intervention
to cut short the build up of stress. Simply by applying these methods we can
ensure that we minimise the likelihood of allowing stress to overcome us. These
intervention strategies are the key to helping you manage stress.


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Positive Self-Talk

Self-talk is based on the concept that the way you talk in your head shapes the
way you see the world and interpret things. Therefore, if our self-talk is negative,
then we tend to see things negatively and if we use positive self-talk, then we see
things positively.

We talk to ourselves all the time and there is usually a running commentary
working through our heads. How we talk to ourselves influences how we feel and
what we do, which ultimately reflects how much stress we experience. Talking to
ourselves like this is perfectly natural and it is how we formulate thoughts and
make sense of things.


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Because the self-talk is so natural to us, we tend not to question or challenge its
validity, which can become a problem if it is telling us things that restrict us, or
makes us feel bad. Its a bit like the statement, Is the glass half empty or half
full, when our self-talk is always telling us that its half empty we begin to only
notice the negatives in life. When we make a conscious decision to alter this self-
talk for the better, life can become a lot more positive.

This idea is best represented by the following diagram.

Show slide The Self-Talk Cycle

The self talk cycle demonstrates that our personal thoughts are how we perceive
things, which lead us to develop feelings and emotions. These feelings lead us to
carry out actions based on those feelings. Because the actions have
consequences, they will then provide us with more thoughts, and the process
continues.

This diagram shows how negative patterns can form quite quickly, as if our initial
thoughts are negative then the result is that the negativity becomes self
perpetuating.

For instance; I think that a certain person does not like me, therefore my feelings
towards them are tainted and so my action is that I decide to be rude to them
when we talk. The consequence is that they are rude back to me, which supports
my original thought that they did not like me, which reinforces my feelings and so
on...

Of course the self-talk cycle can also represent positive self-talk. For instance; I
think that a certain person likes me, therefore my feelings towards them are
positive and so my action is that I decide to be nice to them when we talk. The
consequence is that they are nice back to me, which supports my original
thought that they like me, which reinforces my feelings and so on...

The good thing is that we can alter this negative self-talk and assist ourselves in
approaching situations more positively. This will improve our feelings about
things and consequently reduce the level of stress we feel as well as improving
our relationships with others.

Activity 20 minutes

Ask participants to pair up. They should individually refer to their workbooks on
the page Positive self-talk and refer to the activity listed. Their task is to write
down as many negative statements that they might hear themselves say.

Once they have completed this, ask them to switch workbooks with their partner.
They should then turn the negative statements into positives.

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In review, discuss some of the answers with the whole group.

Often, when we get into the pattern of negative self-talk, we begin to feel that
there is no other way to deal with things and the pattern becomes the norm.
This can make us feel extremely bad and increases our stress levels. It is
important to realise that we always have the choice of positive self-talk, although
it is sometimes hard this is usually the best way to help yourself to re-evaluate
situations and move on.


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PLEASE NOTE: This is a short excerpt of the Trainer Notes from the
Training Materials, Stress Management by Trainer Bubble. To view the
full product training materials please purchase them from
www.trainerbubble.com

The full training materials are fully editable and come as Word and
PowerPoint files.