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HW410 Stress: Critical Issues in Management and

Prevention

Stress Management and


Prevention Program
Resource Guide

1
Stress Management and Prevention
Program Resource Guide

By

Lauren A. Rogers

HW410: Stress: Critical Issues in Management and Prevention

01 February 2019
Table of Contents
UNIT 1 THE NATURE OF STRESS
Information to Remember ................................................................................................................. 3
Assignment ....................................................................................................................................... 4
Journal Writing .............................................................................................................................. 4-5

UNIT 2 THE PHYSIOLOGY OF STRESS


Information to Remember ..............................................................................................................6-7
Assignment ....................................................................................................................................... 7
Journal Writing .............................................................................................................................. 7-9

UNIT 3 PSYCHOLOGY OF STRESS


Information to Remember .......................................................................................................... 10-11
Assignment ..................................................................................................................................... 11
Journal Writing .......................................................................................................................... 11-12

UNIT 4 PERSONALITY TRAITS AND THE HUMAN


SPIRITUALITY
Information to Remember .......................................................................................................... 13-14
Assignment ..................................................................................................................................... 14
Journal Writing .......................................................................................................................... 15-18

UNIT 5 DEALING WITH STRESS: COPING STRATEGIES


Information to Remember ............................................................................................................... 19
Journal Writing .......................................................................................................................... 20-21

UNIT 6 RELAXATION TECHIQUES 1: BREATHING,


MEDITATION, AND MENTAL IMAGERY
Information to Remember .......................................................................................................... 22-23
Assignment ................................................................................................................................ 23-24
Journal Writing .......................................................................................................................... 25-27

UNIT 7 NUTRITION AND STRESS


Information to Remember .......................................................................................................... 28-29
Journal Writing .......................................................................................................................... 29-31
UNIT 8 PHYSICAL EXERCISE AND ACTIVITY
Information to Remember .......................................................................................................... 32-33
Assignment ..................................................................................................................................... 33
Journal Writing .......................................................................................................................... 34-35

UNIT 9 APPLYING STRESS: CRITICAL ISSUES FOR


MANAGEMENT AND PREVENTION TO YOUR PROFESSIONAL
LIFE
Information to Remember .......................................................................................................... 36-37

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION 38

REFERENCES 39

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Unit

Unit 1: The Nature of Stress

Information to Remember:

Key Learning Point: Assess your personal level of stress.

Personally, my level of stress has been only at an acute level. Acute stress means, “Stress that is

intense in nature but short in duration” (Seaward, 2015). I don’t let things fester for long, I have a

little panic, and move on.

Key Learning Point: Identify areas of possible health risks related to stress.

“Chronic stress: Stress that is not as intense as acute stress but that lingers for a prolonged period of

time (e.g., financial problems)” (Seaward, 2015). This kind of stress can lead to many health risks

to include coronary disease, depression, and cardiovascular risk.

Key Learning Point: Examine mindfulness as a practice.

To be mindful you need to be fully aware and living in the present moment. You live without judgement

and learn how to relate with your life (Stahl & Goldstein, 2010).

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Assignment:

The assignment was on my mandala of spiritual, emotional, physical and emotional. According to

Seaward, he explains the four areas as follows: “Mental well-being: The ability to gather, process,

recall, and communicate information. Physical well-being: The optimal functioning of the body’s

eight physiological systems (e.g., respiratory, skeletal). Emotional well-being: The ability to feel and

express the full range of human emotions and to control these feelings, not be controlled by them.

Spiritual well-being: The state of mature higher consciousness deriving from insightful relationships

with oneself and others, a strong value system, and a meaningful purpose in life” (Seaward, 2018). I

was able to look at the different areas of my life I was lacking in, and figure out ways to better

improve those parts of my mandala.

Journal Writing:

Situation Start Midway End

Paying ALL bills every month on one income 9 7 5

Break up from a significant other 10 8 7

Learning a new job at work with lots of demand& lack of 10 7 5

training

Vacation during holiday season 9 4 2

Taking 12 credits of school 8 4 4

Dog getting surgery 8 5 1

Buying a home for the first time 9 7 1

Being sick twice in the last month 9 5 1

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Trying to stay in contact with friends/family back home 7 5 3

(military life)

Studying to make rank when everyone is expecting you to 8 6 6

make it first time (high hopes)

(Stahl & Goldstein, 2010).

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Unit

Unit 2: The Physiology of Stress

Information to Remember:

Key Learning Point: Explain the causes of stress.

Everyone views stress differently person to person. What stresses you out might have no significance

to the next person. But “A decade of brain research reveals that humans are hard-wired for stress

through an intricate pattern of neural pathways designed for the fight-or-flight response. Research

also suggests that chronic stress appears to atrophy brain tissue, specifically the hippocampus”

(Seaward, 2015).

Key Learning Point: Discuss health consequences of stress.

Some physiological effects that prolonged stress can have is not only a huge impact not our brains, but

also our bodies. The hippocampus is very sensitive to the stress hormone cortisol, which helps in

memory formation. Where the amygdala is the part of the brain for emotional content of memory

(mostly fear). “Repeated excessive exposure to cortisol accelerates the aging process of the

hippocampus and may, in fact, damage or shrink brain cells. Moreover, chronic stress may affect

memory and learning processes. (In Vietnam vets with post-traumatic stress disorder [PTSD], this

region of the brain was 26 percent smaller than in their peers without PTSD)” (Seaward, 2015).

Key Learning Point: Examine mindfulness and the mind-body connection.

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Being mindful can help you control daily stressors better because of your mind body connection. If

these stressors are more manageable in the mind then you body won’t have the negatives of what

of physical aspects that stress causes on your body (Stahl & Goldstein, 2010).

Assignment:

In this assignment we looked at neuroplacity and the brain, and well as how stress affects the nervous

and immune systems and what diseases can be affected from prolong chronic stress. What I took

away from the brain aspect what, ““According to the Society for Neuroscience (SfN) the three main

objectives of neuroscience are to: understand the human brain and how it functions, understand and

describe how the central nervous system (CNS) develops, matures, and maintains itself, and analyze

and understand neurological and psychiatric disorders, and discover methods to prevent or cure them”

(Psychology Career Center, 2014). The diseases from chronic stress can go anywhere from migraine

headaches to IBS to coronary heart disease and everything else in between.

Journal Writing:

How is stress or anxiety about people affecting your life?

Right now, the stress of other people is not really affecting my life. I’m not in a relationship at

the moment. I was in a relationship very recently that was giving me more stress and anxiety than it

was joy, and this is when I knew I had to make a change for my own wellness. I have great

friendships and people in my lives, and I normally don’t try to take on others stress if all possible.

How is stress or anxiety about work affecting your life?

Lately my work stress has been very high. I got a new job working as my superintendent and

commander’s secretary. I often have to remind myself that I am only one person, make a list of things

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I need to do that day in order of importance, and ask questions as needed (even though I really dislike

to do so). I’m constantly being pulled a million directions, will very little time to focus on myself.

When I first got into this job, I was very negative and I’m trying to wake up with a more positive

outlook in order to not make every day a rough one. I have been being mindful.

How is stress or anxiety about the world affecting your life?

I only stress about the things I can control. If it is out of my realm, I try to not focus on it

unless I’m actively doing something to change it or make a impact to change it.

How is stress or anxiety about food and eating habits affecting your life?

I have a lot of stress and anxiety about food and eating habits. In the last few months I have

done a few bikini competitions, and I was very used to my body being lean and tiny. I’m trying to not

be obsessive with weighing my food and guilting myself when I eat something that isn’t the best for

me. I’m trying to love my off-season body again and this is probably the number one stressor in my

life right now, I spend a LOT of my day thinking about these things. I’ve been wondering if I should

maybe talk to somebody that has gone through a prep to see how they were able to come back after

and be positive.

How is stress or anxiety about sleep and sleeplessness affecting your life?

I sleep 7+ hours every night with very few interruptions. I’d say my stress and anxiety on

sleep and sleepless ness is very low. When I don’t get a lot of sleep, it affects the stress in ALL other

aspects of my life, so I really try to take my sleep seriously in order for my health and wellness to stay

strong. Somedays at work I feel exhausted and it is not from lack of sleep but because my job is

constantly making me think outside the box which is mentally draining. This then ties back in with

my work stresses and not so much sleep.

How is stress or anxiety about exercise or lack of physical activity affecting your life?

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Sometimes I stress a lot about exercise because I feel like I need to be in the gym 6+ days per

week. Exercise is very important in my life. But I do see many people at the gym and in my life that

become obsessed with it. I don’t want to get to the point where I feel like I need to do 30-60 minutes

of cardio every day on top of my weight lifting. I enjoy the gym a lot though and it seems to take

many of my other stressors and make them not as significant. When work is stressful, I take myself to

the gym after, put my music in, and reflect and focus on my inner energy and realize that those events

were not as big of a deal that I made them feel like throughout the day.

Summary

There are always going to be stressors in our lives. They will fluctuate between which ones are more

significant at that point in our lives. Some of examples of this are different jobs, friendships and

relationships, exercise and diet. We just need to figure out which ones are the problem, and be

mindful of these, this is the first step in being able to cope with them. Stress can be good and bad and

we need to get more of those good stressors and get rid of the bad. (Stahl & Goldstein, 2010).

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Unit

Unit 3: Psychology of Stress

Information to Remember:

Key Learning Point: Ways to cope, manage, and resolve anger.

Learn how to control your anger, get comfortable with all your feelings, and learn to express them in

a positive manner, and stay in shape. Also getting comfortable with your feelings and expressing

them is important. This while cause you to dig deeper into why you have these feelings of anger

in the first place. When I say stay in shape this doesn’t mean just physically but mentally,

emotionally, and spiritually. “Studies show that people who are in good physical shape bounce

back from anger episodes more quickly than those who are not. Exercise has been proven to be

beneficial as one step in the catharsis process, to validate feelings of anger (Seaward, 2015).

Key Learning Point: Practice communication skills in the Information Age.

In the information age we need to get back to communication face to face. Ways we can make sure this

is beneficial is by making eye contact, LISTENING to verbal’s and nonverbals, and just caring

about the people we are speaking with. Email and text have taken over our lives and we need to

have personal conversations to keep humanity alive (Seaward, 2015).

Key Learning Point: Apply techniques and strategies of mindfulness meditation.

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I’ve learned a lot about this in the last ten weeks. From getting in a comfortable position, to making

sure you have no distractions, focus on your breathing, bringing your mind back when you find it

wandering, and be at peace (Stahl & Goldstein, 2010).

Assignment:

From this assignment, I took away some information about the Tibetan culture, “In the words

of the Dalai Lama, “I think there are two kinds of desire. Certain desires are positive, a desire for

happiness. It’s absolutely right. The desire for peace. The desire for a more harmonious world, a

friendlier world. But at some point, desires can become unreasonable”” (Seaward, 2015). Also,

looked at different theorists which all had different views but what I found in common was that they

all speak about coping and problem solving to deal with stress. Stress can be good and bad but they

all speak about the defenses that protect our minds from painful and dangerous times in our lives.

Ways we can cope with anger and fear in our lives, which include facing your fears, some more

aggressive than others, but I believe the best way is to relive the fear in order to make sure you aren’t

living in fear that it might happen again. Finally, become better at communication in this day and age,

my five ways to better my communication were: to enhance my vocabulary, avoid putting others on

the defensive, avoid asking someone else to pass on your thoughts or feelings, avoid information

overload, and resolve problems as they arise.

Journal Writing:

Take some time to write about whatever you came up for you mentally, emotionally, and

physically when doing this practice for the first time.

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When doing this exercise for the first time surprisingly not many thoughts went through my

head. I believe the reason for this is because it is very hard for me to relax and not stress in the first

place. I found when doing this exercise, I had to focus on my breathing a lot. The text said to not

focus so hard on your breathing that you altered it but this was very hard for me. It seemed if I didn’t

focus on the inhale and exhale then I would stray away from the current moment and my mind would

be running like usual. My brain seems to think of all the things I need to do all the time, and

sometimes I can’t even get one task completed because I’m thinking of the fifty other things that need

to be done. This type of exercise is SO beneficial to people like me that are on the go constantly and

never give themselves time to live in the present. I get so tied up in living in the past and future that I

don’t appreciate what is right in front of me. Throughout the next few weeks I’m going to make sure I

am living in the present as much as possible. In this exercise I did focus on my breathing most of the

time, maybe even too much, but it felt really relaxing, I remember thinking to myself this feels good.

We don’t give ourselves enough me time, and it is so important, only five minutes of our time and I

felt so relaxed. As time goes on I know the mindfulness will become more of second nature, but at

this point it is going to feel like work to me. Mentally I felt like it was quite a bit of work for me, lots

of focus went into this. Emotionally, I didn’t have much emotion besides peace. Finally, physically I

felt relaxed, it almost made me feel tired. Of the eight attitudes of mindfulness I want to begin to work

on non-judgment and letting be, I think this is where I lack the most. Overall, this exercise is going to

be practiced by me on the daily until it is a natural state of mind. Everyone could benefit from taking

some time to themselves every day to sit and reflect on the moment they are in. We are so worried

about what happened and what is going to happen next that we don’t focus on our body, mind, and

soul in this exact moment of time (Stahl & Goldstein, 2010).

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Unit

Unit 4: Personality Traits and the Human Spirituality

Information to Remember:

Key Learning Point: Stress-resistant personalities

The one I looked at was “sensation seekers”. “…Zuckerman focused on four specific traits—

adventure seeking, experience seeking, disinhibition, and susceptibility to boredom—to define

the parameters of sensation seeking” (Seaward, 2015). This one stuck out to me because this is

how I live my life.

Key Learning Point: Self-esteem and how this plays a role in stress management

“Low self-esteem is the common denominator in stress-prone personalities, as can be seen in Type A,

codependent, and helpless-hopeless types. High self-esteem is a prerequisite for creating stress-

resistant personalities because it is directly linked to the accessibility of one’s internal resources”

(Seaward, 2015). If you are a positive person it is going to take more than a minor stress to bring

you down. It is easier to look at a problem in a positive light and see what you can take from it

rather than how bad your life sucks. Being positive and happy fall into self-esteem and loving

yourself is huge in daily life

Key Learning Point: Three steps of mindfulness in chronic pain

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Step 1 is to investigate pain and tension in the body. Learning to recognize our bodies’ sensations and

feel where the source of the pain is. Step 2 is to work with our emotions in physical pain. The power

of acceptance allows us to accept it. Step 3 it to be living in the present moment which is the

definition of mindfulness in itself (Stahl & Goldstein, 2010).

Assignment:

In this assignment we looked at our relationships, value, and meaning of life are affected by stress.

We have to work through these internally in order to not let this take over our well-being as

individuals, we will constantly evolve but we have to keep the “homeostasis” in order to keep our

stress low. Hans Selye explains that the best way to conquer the stress someone is facing to maintain

purpose in like is the “aim of life”. To be able to do this you need to set short-term and long-term

attainable and smart goals that you can see. As well as our perspective on the differences between

values, attitudes, and beliefs. Then we took one lifestyle activity and put it through Prochaska’s

Stages of Change Model: Precontemplation, Contemplation, Determination, Action, Maintenance,

and sometimes Relapse (Seaward, 2015).

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Journal Writing:

FEAR: apprehension, anxiety, distress, edginess, jumpiness, nervousness, panic, tenseness,

uneasiness, worry, fright, feeling overwhelmed.

Anxiety: I feel this in my stomach like knots, it then works its way into my throat making it

hard to speak, and my brain where it fills my head with crazy thoughts. I don’t feel this emotion often

but when I do it is very scary for me, it is very common in my family to get bad spouts of this emotion.

The event that comes to mind most is basic training, this as a high stress time for me and I remember

many times having to tell myself it is going to be okay, because I felt as if I was going to pass out from

being very overloaded with emotions that I hadn’t felt before. Jumpiness/nervousness/worry kind of

go together for me, this emotion for me is also found in my stomach. I feel as if I was brought up to be

very paranoid and nervous that everything bad is going to happen (aka my mother), this is my

pessimistic side. If things are going good for too long I ponder about what bad thing is going to

happen which puts me on edge. Lastly feeling overwhelmed is a common everyday feeling for me, this

happens majority in my brain. I feel overwhelmed because I give myself to many tasks at once, and I

seek perfection which is the worry that I won’t do my best work. I am a people pleaser and I hate to

let people down, this emotion happens mostly at work because I’m my commander’s secretary at the

moment, I’m constantly getting tasks thrown at me with little instruction, expected to do them

perfectly. In my everyday life I’m overwhelmed because I want to be the best I can be and nervous I

will steer myself wrong and not pick the best route.

CONFUSION: bewildered, uncertain, puzzled, mystified, perplexed, chaotic, foggy, or unaware.

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Honestly, I wasn’t going to pick any of these because it is not a common emotion for me. Chaotic is

the only one I can kind of relate too. This emotion is found in my brain. Where I have so many

thoughts going crazy and I can’t focus on one because there are 100 other things I am currently

thinking about. I often forget why I am in a certain place or doing what I’m doing because my brain is

chaos with too many thoughts.

ANGER: aggravation, agitation, annoyance, destructiveness, disgust, envy, frustration, irritation,

grouchiness, grumpiness, rage.

I often feel annoyance, it starts in my brain and takes over my body. This emotion is hard to hide for

me because it shows all over my face. It sounds horrible but this emotion makes me think of my mom,

love her to pieces, but for some reason a short amount of time with her and I can feel myself getting

short with her and being a brat. Next, frustration/irritation occur on the daily for me. I’m a very

happy person and that is why I didn’t highlight any of the grumpy ones, but my irritability and

frustration comes on easily and only lasts for a short amount of time. I find that these emotions

happen a lot at work, I like to have complete direction and know exactly what I’m doing, when I’m in

this new position I don’t get that and it makes me very frustrated. This emotion is mostly my fault

because I don’t seek as much help as I can because I like to be self-sufficient, but asking rather than

making myself irritated would be a much better route. The only time I feel rage is when I’m driving. It

is a horrible trait, and every time I get in the car I try to deep breath and tell myself it is not that

serious, and that I’m going to get wherever I need to be. I don’t know what it is about peoples driving,

but it takes over my entire body, makes me feel hot, and I scream things out that are not of my nature.

This is something the last few years I’ve been trying really hard to contain because it’s not worth

hurting myself or others over.

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SADNESS: alienation, anguish, despair, disappointment, gloom, grief, hopelessness, insecurity,

loneliness, misery, unhappiness, rejection.

We all experience gloom at some point in our lives. This is very rare for me, but the days you wake up

and just feel bad for yourself, I’ve felt those. It takes over your brain and body, and it seems to take a

day for me to shake. It almost feels like everything is going wrong, and that nothing can fix it, yet I

remind myself in these times of all the positive things I have in my life and snap out of it. I can see

how if someone were to live in gloom for longer than a day or so, could definitely get depressed. The

other sad emotion I’ve felt is insecurity. As a young adult it is easy to judge yourself based off of

others, don’t know anyone that hasn’t. I was overweight out of high school, got really into fitness

about 3 years ago, and recently did two bikini competitions. This made me feel on top of the world,

but now in my off season gaining some weight back, I’ve felt very insecure. I know this is natural, but

it takes over my brain, causing me to see things that others don’t, and has almost become excessive.

I’ve noticed it as a problem and working towards loving my body as it is.

SHAME: guilt, embarrassment, humiliation, invalidation, regret, remorse, mortification.

I feel guilt in the pit of my stomach, when I know I haven’t done something. I’ve never been able to lie

because it would just tear me a part. I seem to guilt myself a lot when I tell myself I’m going to do

something and don’t go through with it. Embarrassment doesn’t happen to me often but I feel this in

my stomach and ALL over my face and body. I get hot and sweaty and tremble my words. This

happens to me when I get in front of large crowds, I’ve gotten better and put myself out there more in

order to kick it.

LOVE: affection, arousal, attraction, caring, compassion, desire, fondness, infatuation, kindness,

liking, longing, warmth, sympathy, sentimentality.

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With the emotions that go with love I chose them all. At one point in my life or another I’ve felt all of

these. I’m so grateful to have amazing family and friends, relationships, etc. These feelings fill your

heart with warmth, your belly with butterflies, and your mind with positive hormones. These are the

best feelings in the world, and I wouldn’t trade them for anything.

JOY: amusement, bliss, contentment, eagerness, elation, enjoyment, enthusiasm, excitement,

exhilaration, hope, optimism, pleasure, satisfaction.

As I did in love, I chose all of the joy emotions. Love and joy seem to go together for me. They are

whole body experiences that everybody wishes to have. They are being with people that make you

laugh until it hurts, achieving a goal that you never thought possible, going on a roller coaster, putting

your faith in something, or just simply making somebodies day. There are so many joyous events that

happen every day and I hope more people see the joy in life.

Overall, this assignment proved to me that the happy emotions are very full for me and the

negative or less appealing emotions were a bit harder for me to pick things out. I’m not sure if those

negative emotions are overpowered by my positive emotions so it was hard for me to pick them, or if

I live a very blessed life. In all, I try to make a positive out of every situation and life in general, we

have so many emotions that run through our mind, body, and souls, every day, and it’s our decision

what to do with them (Stahl & Goldstein, 2010).

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Unit

Unit 5: Dealing with Stress: Coping Strategies

Information to Remember:

Key Learning Point: Attitudes affecting human physiology

Dr. Lisa Rankin states that disease is not just a consequence of our genetic make-up, pathogens, or

even bad luck. For better or worse, our health is greatly influenced by our mindset(attitude)

(Seaward, 2015). It is SO important to keep a positive attitude.

Key Learning Point: Humor Therapy

“Norman Cousins was right: Positive emotions augment the mind-body relationship. Laughter

indeed influences the body’s physiology, resulting in restoration and possibly healing)” There

are many psychological affects to include stabilizing blood pressure, moving blood through

the body, digestion, and “massaging” vital organs (Seaward, 2015).

Key Learning Point: Yoga and the RAIN concept

RAIN is an acronym. Recognize when a strong emotion is present. Allow or acknowledge that it’s

there. Investigate the body. Non-identify with whatever is there (Stahl & Goldstein, 2010). Some

of us practiced the mountain pose, downward dog, cobra, etc. All of us had great results from just

one week!

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Journal Writing:

Take some time to write about whatever came up for you mentally, emotionally and physically when

doing this practice for the first time.

Meditation has never been easy for me. Relaxing in general and focusing on the present

moment is difficult for my brain to stop running a million miles an hour. I do enjoy to walk so I

thought the walking meditation would be a good exercise for me to practice my mindfulness. When

starting this exercise, I was focusing a lot on just the walking and trying not to think about anything

else. As I got more relaxed I was able to focus on my breathing, emotions, etc.

Physically, listening to my breathing kind of gives me a bit of anxiety and almost makes it feel

like a chore for me, so I switched my attention elsewhere. I enjoy to just listen to my body in these

relaxing times. I feel very light, and I’d assume this is because I’m at peace with myself. I then would

switch my attention back to my feet, where every step felt heavy. Normally we walk without thinking

about it, it is very effortless. But it is very calming to feel your heal strike the ground followed by the

rest of your foot, where you can take in a deep breath of air into your lungs. Then I observed my

senses. I could hear the pitter patter of my dogs’ feet hitting the ground. Other than that, noise my

house was very quiet and I could hear the buzz of the lights. I could smell my Scentsy’s in the air,

which are my favorite smells, which puts myself at ease. My arms moving back and forth at my sides,

brushing my hips each time. Physically I like the way my entire body felt during this process,

regardless if I couldn’t relax completely, I felt a sense of relaxation take over my body.

Mentally, my mind kept straying away from the walking and my mindfulness. Over the course

of ten minutes, I had to pull my attention back to this activity probably five or so times. I think if I

were to practice this more often I would get better at keeping the attention in the present. This could

be very good for my brain because I know I carry high stress because of the pressure I put on myself

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on a daily basis. I overload my brain with so many thoughts ad activities it is hard for me to relax. I

lay in bed for a long while at night and think about all the things I need to do the next day.

Honestly, while doing this exercise I didn’t feel much emotionally, or if I did I didn’t realize it

like I should have. I think peace within myself is the best way to explain how I was feeling

throughout. I was pretty relaxed when starting this assignment, but I think if I would have done it at a

time that I was angry, sad, excited, etc. than I would have had a different experience. This will allow

me to calm myself down, especially if I was feeling angry. I’ve heard of people taking walks when

they are heated and I think this works very well for people that don’t know many ways to calm

themselves. Doing this would give you time to reflect on how you were feeling, and let your brain

have some time to settle down rather than always being on the go. It was nice to be able to have some

me time while not stressing about anything else that was going on in the world at that very moment.

Meditation is so beneficial to our well-being and my goal is to do this on a more consistent

basis in order to come to peace with myself and living in the present rather than the past or future. I

worry so much about the future that I don’t appreciate the right now. I’m making a promise to myself

to do walking meditation for ten minutes per day when getting home from work to self-reflect. I’m

then going to journal how my day was, followed by how my mediation was following this in the

formal practice log in our journals. I think this will help me see how the meditation helps based on

how my mood/day had been previously. I’m excited to be able to do this for myself and to see if I see

any significant changes in how I react to different situations throughout my days. I have been

previously working on the mindfulness/breathing exercises in my car and it has helped significantly

with my road rage that I have experienced in the past (Stahl & Goldstein, 2010).

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Unit

Unit 6: Relaxation Techniques 1: Breathing, Meditation, and Mental Imagery

Information to Remember:

Key Learning Point: Self compassion as the great unnamed epidemic

According to Kristin Neff, “Instead of mercilessly judging and criticizing yourself for various

inadequacies or shortcomings, self-compassion means you are kind and understanding when

confronted with personal failings – after all, whoever said you were supposed to be perfect?”

(Neff, 2019). Waking up and telling yourself you are great, you can do it, will greatly affect your

life.

Key Learning Point: Imagery and visualization can be used for relaxation

Three ways the imagery and visualization can be used for relaxation is through mental imagery,

visualization and predictive encoding (Seaward, 2015). Allows you to view things in a positive

light.

Key Learning Point: Meditation and the psychological benefits

Meditation has many remarkable effects on the mind and body. The physiological effects that occur

from doing meditation on the regular consist of, “decreased oxygen consumption, decreased blood

lactate levels, increased skin resistance, decreased heart rate, decreased blood pressure, decreased

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muscle tension, increased alpha waves” (Seaward, 2015). Also, with many positive effects to our

brain, and being able to control our emotions better.

Assignment:

Our assignment focused on diaphragmatic breathing and relaxation benefits it has on the mind and

body. The three steps are:

 Assume a comfortable position- this can include sitting or lying down on your back.

Remove tight clothing. When you are a beginner it is suggested to place your hands on

your belly so you are able to feel your breathing.

 Concentration- try to remove as much external interruptions/disturbances as possible

by finding a nice quiet place. It is easy for your mind to wander especially when you

are new to practicing this, when you notice this just try to refocus your attention to

your breathing.

- “Each ventilation is said to be composed of four distinct phases:

Phase I: Inspiration, or taking the air into your lungs through the nose or mouth

Phase II: A very slight pause before exhaling

Phase III: Exhalation, or releasing the air from your lungs through the passage it

entered

Phase IV: Another very slight pause after exhalation before the next inhalation is

initiated” (Seaward, 2018).

 Visualization- some of these include breathing clouds (change in exhaled air from gray

to off white), alternate nostril breathing (breathing threw just your right then just your

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left), and energy breathing (feeling of the breathing throughout your entire body)

(Seaward, 2015).

Some of the positive effects of imagery and visualization are: use unconscious mind for better

performance, physical calmness, and healing effect of being able to alter your five senses in a way to

make negative thoughts, positive. These are so important because “…directed exercise in mental

imagery; consciously creating images of success, healing, or relaxation for the purpose of self-

improvement” (Seaward, 2015).

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Journal Writing:

Mindful of how you interact with yourself?

Throughout my day today I focused on being mindful of how I interact with myself. On a

daily basis, I would say I normally tell myself one to two negative messages. Mostly they have to do

with my weight because I’m currently struggling with becoming comfortable with my body after

doing a bikini competition. I found I told myself, “you look chunky”, every time I looked into the

mirror today. This really does get into your head and can become unhealthy I believe. The phrases

that I say to myself aren’t as hurtful as “I’m worthless”, but it is still negative to say those type of

things to yourself on a daily basis, it will make you think it overtime. It is easier to talk to yourself in

this manner than others. If you were to talk to others the way you talk to yourself, you probably

wouldn’t have any friends or people that liked to be around you. Yes, these unkind messages to

myself increase my stress and anxiety significantly. I constantly worry about what I’m eating and how

I feel. If I got more comfortable with my body than I wouldn’t have these stressors and bring this

anxiety upon myself. In my mind it feels very overwhelming, and it takes up unnecessary space. I

could be using these parts of my brain to be doing more productive tasks besides stressing about

things that aren’t significant, or even a problem in my life. My body isn’t really affected by these

negative thoughts, if it was more often and thoughts that hurt myself more I could see how this could

happen. It can be very tiring to be hard on yourself.

Seeds of suffering?

If I were to stop “watering my seeds to suffering” I would probably see a significant change in my

life. Confidence and self-esteem are everything to a person’s well-being. When I was confident with

my body, I wanted to go do more things, and post pictures of myself. It makes you a happier person

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overall, you can see a person beaming with confidence from miles away. I’ve only been watering this

seed for a very short amount of time, normally I am very positive. Now realizing this, I’m going to be

mindful in stopping this.

Day-to-day life feelings of resentment?

To bring an open heart and beginners mind to a situation where someone is pressing your buttons

would actually feel great. It is so easy to let your emotions get the best of you. But doesn’t it feel even

better when after a confrontation or hard encounter you think to yourself, “wow I was the bigger

person!” It is a self-accomplishment, and later that person will be thinking that they should have

handled the situation better. People don’t say “kill them with kindness” for no reason. I’ve had

situations where someone was nasty to me, and it wasn’t just me it was with everybody. If you

continue to do these acts day in and day out (which is not an easy task for anybody, especially when

you are being mistreated) MOST of the time this person will come around and it will be all because of

you. I always like to remind myself that I do not know what this person is encounter in their daily

lives for them to be acting the way they are. Maybe they are going through a break up, maybe they are

being sexually abused, maybe they just got into a car accident, maybe they couldn’t afford to eat

breakfast this morning. We all have our daily struggles and just remember when you weren’t in the

best mood, you’d want someone to try and flip your day upside down, and that might just be by

making you smile.

Reflection on writing?

Overall, being kind to yourself and others is so important in our daily lives. If you aren’t kind to

yourself, but are kind to others, how does that make sense. You need to be able to build your own self

confidence in order to radiate onto others. Just as you wouldn’t say those unkind messages to others,

you shouldn’t say to yourself. This week I’m going to be very mindful about if I say an unkind

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message to myself (which I don’t hope to do), flip it around and give myself two kind messages to

myself in order to build myself back up. It is always a work in progress but it is a road worth taking in

order to be better in the long run (Stahl & Goldstein, 2010).

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Unit

Unit 7: Nutrition and Stress

Information to Remember:

Key Learning Point: Food that trigger stress response

Certain food we eat can actually imitate or prompt the stress response in a person’s body. The stress

response will also diminish important nutrients, vitamins, and minerals that our bodies need

(Seaward, 2015).

Key Learning Point: Four stress dominos

 The four stress domino factors include:

1. Domino 1: stress depletes nutrients in our bodies

2. Domino 2: Our American lifestyle doesn’t promote healthy eating habits which then those

nutrients aren’t restored (i.e. processed foods, fast food)

3. Domino 3: Some bad foods increase sympathetic drive that keep these stress responses elevated

(i.e. Alcohol)

4. Domino 4: contribute to a cumulative effect of toxins (i.e. pesticides makes the immune system

not be able to work properly)

 When this final domino falls, one’s health is really affected which can cause cancer, cold, etc.

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 “The fall of each domino increases the chance of health-related problems as a result of the

confluence of stress-prone eating habits. This section highlights important aspects of these factors

so that you can make choices about what you put in your mouth to nourish mind, body, and spirit”

(Seaward, 2018).

(Seaward, 2015).

Key Learning Point: Stress affect digestion, absorption, and elimination

Stress causes our bodies to not absorb the nutrients it needs from the foods that we eat which can cause

a deficiency in our bodies which can cause health issues. (Seaward, 2015). IBS, constipation,

diarrhea, etc. are all common because our bodies aren’t taking in and disposing of the nutrients

correctly.

Journal Writing:

I chose to do formal practice sitting meditation for this journal assignment. The reason that I

thought this would be good for me to get used to is because I do a lot of sitting at my job and if I

could take advantage of doing this while having a rough day at work this will benefit my well-being

in the long run.

The exercise started us out focusing on our breathing, normal breathing, in and out. I like

doing this portion because for me it is very relaxing and I don’t feel like it is much work, and I don’t

have to worry about my mind shifting because I’m focused on this one act. I caught myself during the

exercise having to come back to this quite a few times to makes sure I was staying mindful and in the

present time. It is easier for me to focus on my abdomen when focusing on my breathing, this way I

can feel the expansion of my stomach in and out as I breathe.

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Next, I focused on sensations. This was a bit weird for me. I could feel the soreness in my

body from the last few days at the gym and I tried to relax them. I then got very relaxed and could feel

the tingling of my nerves on my hands, feet, and on my head. My body almost started to feel

weightless but heavy, not sure how I got both of those feelings in conjunction, but I did.

After that, we focused on sounds. I could hear the ticking of the clock every second, and the

buzzing of the lights. It was very peaceful to me. There wasn’t much internal noise besides myself

thinking about what I was hearing and feeling at that exact moment, no additional thoughts were

going through my head. I’m not sure if this is a good thing but it has always been easy for me to block

out unwanted thoughts and emotions that were running through my mind unless I want them to be

there, or I’m trying to work through them. Letting unnecessary emotions and thoughts run through my

head on a daily basis seems to cause me unwanted stress that I don’t have the time or energy for.

Then, it shifts us to our thoughts and emotions, but tells us to not fall very deep into them. For

a few moments I think about all the things I have to do for the remainder of the day but I then shift my

focus back to me breathing because this is where I feel more comfortable and relaxed.

I think as I practice mindful meditation for often it will get easier for me to go with th flow

and let my emotions and thoughts run through my head without taking to much time or effort on

them. But since I’m so new to this practice I feel mostly safe just focusing on my breathing, and my

senses. I know this will get easier with time, but once I let certain feelings take over I get nervous I

won’t be able to get back to a sense of peace which is why I like to use this practice. Once I get better

at this, I’d like to use it when I’m feeling stressed or in a position where I just need some me time, this

will allow for a way healthier way for me to realize stress than most other ways I can think of.

While doing this exercise I noticed that if I took more time to myself to do sitting meditation I

believe my life/well-being would be greatly affected. We all spend way too much time under stress

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which can cause horrible outcomes in the future and I think if we all went to practices such as

meditation, yoga, etc. we could live much happier and stress free lives. Also, I was really stuck

between which practice I wanted to do for this assignment, so on my own time I am going to practice

the mindful lying yoga and record how I was feeling after and compare the two and see which one

made a bigger difference on the way I was feeling. I’ve done a lot of yoga in my life and done all of

those poses, and I know they make you feel great afterwards but I haven’t really focused on the

spirituality factor as much as how my physical body felt as more of a workout routine. The book

states that you should start with sitting meditation and once you get that down, switching to lying

yoga is more beneficial because you have the breathing down and then being able to move your body

with it is a great way to bring mindfulness. Which also has many health benefits to include keeping

aging bones, muscles, nerves, and organs healthy (Stahl, B., & Goldstein, E., 2010).

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Unit

Unit 8: Physical Exercise and Activity

Information to Remember:

Key Learning Point: Physical Exercise, Nutrition, and Stress

Some of the benefits of physical exercise on our stress levels and health include: decreased resting

blood pressure, decreased muscle tension, better sleep, better immune system, decreased

cholesterol. “Nutrition plays a crucial role in both minimizing and increasing the physiological

arousal of the stress response. The stress response increases the rate of metabolism by activating

the mobilization of carbohydrates and fats into the bloodstream for energy production” (Seaward,

2015).

Key Learning Point: Hatha Yoga Benefits

Hatha yoga is now recognized as a suitable complementary healing modality for many chronic health-

related issues as well as a multimodal approach to stress management. Here is a look at some of

the most recent research (Seaward, 2015). Also, many have found it to decrease stress, depression,

and anxiety.

Key Learning Point: Interpersonal Mindfulness

“Interpersonal mindfulness is what happens when we are able to apply the way we relate to ourselves

through mindfulness practice to the way we relate to others. It allows us to access the deeper

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meaning behind what people say and to recognize the way their words affect us personally, from

one moment to the next” (Dorce, 2016). The purpose of this is to avoid burnout, and make sure you

are able to really listen to somebody and care what they are saying rather than overlooking it. This

is especially important in the medical career field.

Assignment:

This assignment we got to use teamwork to create a mind body program for our workplace and pitch

it to our partner. They then would respond and give us feedback so we could make changes to our

program that we might not have seen. The purpose of this program is to reduce the stress of

employees in the workplace, while building morale, and improving fitness. It will be a quick break

from our everyday busy lives to focus on ourselves and how we are feeling by using mindfulness.

The reading states that mediation allows the individual to train themselves to clear their mind of

negative, overwhelming thoughts or sensory overload, and become more calm and focused.

Ultimately, this may lead to a higher sense of well-being (Seaward, 2015).

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Journal Writing:

I chose a person that we haven’t always seen eye to eye and came from very different

backgrounds. I care very deeply for this person and when reading the directions to this assignment I

knew instantly that I wanted to use these interpersonal mindfulness qualities in order to think about

how I can do better in fostering a health relationship with this person.

OPENNESS: I was telling myself to listen and not interrupt. That what they are saying is not wrong, it

is just a different view than what I had on this matter. We aren’t always going to see every situation

the exact same and that is okay, that’s what makes us our special self. Also, when it is my turn to

speak I remind myself to not point fingers, it is easy for me to say, well you did this. Well I need to

look at myself and see what I can do better rather than becoming so defensive, nobody is perfect.

EMPATHY: This subject is hard for me, I’ve learned over the years to hide my feelings. I wasn’t

brought up this way but I think the military and life has made me a little hard on the outside. As I’m

speaking to this person I get a sense of sadness and think maybe they are feeling this same way. If I’m

not sure how this person feels, I ask them, how are you feeling at this very moment to clarify rather

than assume. I also feel a lot of love in my heart for this person even though I don’t express it as I

should, and neither do they, this is a hard subject but maybe getting clarification on this matter would

be a total relief for the both of us.

COMPASSION: I know this person has lived a very hard life filled with tons of pain and loss. I’ve

always felt compassion towards this aspect of their life. How strong this person must be to have lost

their mother at a young age and not have a good father figure. My heart feels heavy for them, and

know where a lot of the problems emerge from.

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LOVING-KINDNESS: I want nothing but happiness for this individual no matter where our lives take

us. I hope at all times, even at the moment they are deployed, I pray every night that they are safe and

out of harms way.

SYMPATHETIC JOY: This person brings me so much joy that I try to return these feelings of

happiness for them. They radiate when they smile.

EQUANIMITY: This person has wants and needs to be respected and loved for, as I have been doing

since I’ve known them. I hope that everyone that comes into contact with this person I care deeply

about they treat them the same way, as they would their own family/friends.

Overall, it was nice to look at this person in such a positive light. It is sometimes so easy to be

negative and looks at the bad things when everyone has great qualities about them they just

sometimes can be overshadowed with thoughts or judgements. Everyone deserves to be treated right

and to be loved and cared about (Stahl & Goldstein, 2010).

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Unit

Unit 9: Applying Stress: Critical Issues for Management and

Prevention to your Professional Life

Information to Remember:

Key Learning Point: Hobbies reducing stress

“A pleasurable pursuit or interest outside one’s daily work responsibilities through which one begins

to make order out of chaos” (Seaward, 2015). The reading explains that they are not promoting

avoidance of our issues in order to reduce stress BUT taking your conscious mind away from the

thoughts and feelings for a while will be better for you return to deal with it. You do have to view

your hobby as leisure and fun not being perfect at it or it can become more of a stress in your life

than a self-esteem booster and stress reliever.

Key Learning Point: Forgiveness as a coping skill

“A coping technique for anger-related stressors for which a shift in attitude is adopted toward those

against whom a grudge was previously held” (Seaward, 2015). Letting these toxic thoughts go is

what Is going to benefit you in the long run.

Key Learning Point: Mindfulness is optimal physical, emotional and mental well-being

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“The idea inherent in both distraction and decentering is that a shift is taking place. During the former,

one’s ability to distract and redirect attention away from rumination and to sustain attention on the

neutral breath is a literal shift in attention that cultivates regulatory processes intrinsic to

psychological well-being” (Wolkin, 2015). If you can’t live in the present, you will miss out on

crucial events in your life from being stuck in past and future.

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Additional Information
Book: Managing Stress: Principles and Strategies for Health and Well-being
I choose our digital book because everything I’ve learned about stress and the importance has come
from it.
Article: The Wisdom of Art and Music Therapy
 “According to Seaward, “Long ago, mystics and healers held the inherent wisdom that
indeed, music has a very special power to restore a sense of wholeness to any
individual in need of tranquility…” (Seaward, 2007, page 228, ¶2). “Even Plato
suggested the merits of music as a panacea to ill health” (Seaward, 2007, page 228,
¶2). The role of art predates contemporary society by thousands of years. From the
earliest caveman drawings on rock walls to finger painting by school children art has
been recognizing as a way to unlock the creative expression residing in the human
mind. The use of creative expression in the form of art therapy is a recognized tool for
managing and preventing stress”
 Many of us use music and art as a form of stress therapy.
Seaward, B. L. (2007). Essentials of managing stress. Boston, MA: Jones and Bartlett.
Website 1: The Power of Positive Thinking
https://www.successconsciousness.com/index_000009.htm
 “Positive thinking is a mental and emotional attitude that focuses on the bright side of
life and expects positive results.
 A person with positive thinking mentality anticipates happiness, health and success,
and believes that he or she can overcome any obstacle and difficulty”
Website 2: The Insight Center
http://www.theinsightcenter.com/
 “At the Insight Center, we foster the growth and well-being of our clients by helping them
cultivate insight—a type of awareness which allows people to live more freely and make the
best use of their own resources. We do this through the therapeutic relationship and through
teaching mindfulness—the inherently nurturing and transformative capacity to be more fully
aware and accepting of life as it unfolds, moment by moment. We embrace a holistic
approach, grounded in the best modern scholarship, and emphasize the integration of mind,
body and spirit in maximizing health and promoting personal growth”

Additional Resource (Video): What is Mindfulness?


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HmEo6RI4Wvs
 Great resource to show somebody, could be a good quick start to you day also.

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References

Dore, J. (25 Feb 2016). Interpersonal Mindfulness for Clinicians. Retrieved from

https://pro.psychcentral.com/interpersonal-mindfulness-for-clinicians/

Kabat-Zinn, J. (2013). What is mindfulness.

Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HmEo6RI4Wvs

Neff, K. (2019). Definition of Self-Compassion. Retrieved from https://self-compassion.org/the-three-

elements-of-self-compassion-2/

Psychology Career Center. (13 November 2014). What is Neuroscience? Retrieved from

https://www.psychologycareercenter.org/what-is-neuroscience.html

Sasson, R. (n.d.) The Power of Positive Thinking. Retrieved from

https://www.successconsciousness.com/index_000009.htm

Seaward, B. L. (2007). Essentials of managing stress. Boston, MA: Jones and Bartlett.

Seaward, B. (2015). Managing stress: Principles and strategies for health and well-being (8th ed.).

Boston, MA: Jones and Bartlett Publishers.

Stahl, B. & Goldstein, E. (2010). A mindfulness-based stress reduction workbook. Oakland, CA: New

Harbinger Publications, Inc.

The Insight Center. (2019). Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR). Retrieved from

http://www.theinsightcenter.com/

Wolkin, J. (24 Nov 2015). How Mindfulness Impacts Well-being. Retrieved from

https://www.mindful.org/how-mindfulness-impacts-well-being/

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