Busn 3310 Skill Application – Ch 2 1 Skill chosen:We want to develop and improve my stress management skill. I find that I often feel so exhausted because of the unexpected tasks or many work projects. Therefore it cause that I will have a negative recreation to my study and my life. I feel so stressful in my whole life. I don’t know how to deal with my situation that I have study hard and find a good job. Depends on my liability I feel I became more stressful and lack of confidence. I realize that I need to develop better stress management skills. I think it is very helpful in my life and best way to deal with my life situation. Step one: know where I am coming from In my life, I have to face many stressful situations and in my experiences, firstly I have identified some theories and strategies about the pressure. Second, Depending on my situation, I chose different method to develop my stress management skill. A. Seven stress management strategies I have developed: 1. Rely on a strong social support network: Whenever people feel stressful about their works, they usually turn to friends for support and comfort. Friends often listen to people’s worries and try to be an encouragement. For me, this is very helpful because my friends know that I am lack confidence. They often say, “Tina, you can do it – no problem. It’s going to be easy for you. You just need to get started and you’ll feel much better”. Also, because friends share their experiences together and know each others’ past successes and failures, they will tell you how you had done well on projects and have always achieved higher average standards. However, their opinion may be biased; it makes me calm in the short-term and lets me feel better and more confident. 2. Make a realistic schedule: Another helpful technique to deal with stress is to make a realistic schedule on my work loaded. I believe that a schedule allows one to know how long can be finished on each task or project. Also I can know how much I gain it of the project and how much I didn’t finished. Moreover I will make the necessary plans in detail so that everything gets done. It is very important that people should follow the plans; otherwise people can not get any help to their own plan. If people follow the plans, it is very helpful to their own life, also can be decrease the stress. 3. Use relaxation techniques: Techniques such as deep-breathing and meditation help to deal with stress in the short-term. It is a good way to take away from worries or anxieties and help them refocus on something and become calm and relax their tense body. However, if people fail to make a working plan, like a schedule, they will continue to feel stressed despite using the relaxation techniques because they haven’t taken steps to ensure the work gets done. 4. Be able to accept the worst: This technique is helpful in that people often feel stressed because they fear and try to outcomes or want to control things. Being able to accept the worst things in order to become used to or cope with that reality. Many times, when they realize that the worst things is not terrible or that they can accept it, the feeling of stress less and they become more open and try to outcome these the situations. 5. Don’t delay anything: delayed planning is only way to add more stress for people. Although one may be able to “escape” the reality of things short-term, eventually, all these tasks will catch up to the person and will ultimately bring Busn 3310 Skill Application – Ch 2 2 about more stress and anxiety. When they are in “escape”, they may feel less stressed, but we still feel worried every time they think of what needs to be done. 6. Adopt a regular exercise rule: Participating in a regular exercise rule people will reduce one’s stress and limit the depression people will feel better emotional and physically, to decrease the stress. Also, exercise and eating healthily raised a good image to build the self-confidence. B. Diagnostic Assessment Results: The combined tests reveal that I don’t manage stress particularly well, need to improve my time management skills and am not a strong Type A personality. On the stress management test, I scored in the third quartile, which suggests that I need to work on eliminating stressors, developing resiliency and incorporating short-term coping methods. On the time management test, I scored an 81, which means I should consider improving my time management skills. I was very surprised at the results because I always thought I had good time management skills because of my constant planning and scheduling but perhaps, I am not prioritizing. Lastly, on the Type A personality test, there are certain aspects of my personality, such as competitiveness and life imbalance that are quite high, but other aspects, such as hostility/anger and impatience/urgency, are quite a bit lower in number. C. My Strengths and Weaknesses: In terms of stress management, my strengths are that I am extremely disciplined at following a schedule in order to achieve goals. I am a routine person who has no problem sticking to a rigid schedule and who is not afraid of hard work to reach my goals. Also, I work out regularly (at least four days a week) and eat healthily. I know that adequate sleep is very important for optimal function and emotional stability, so I try to get at least seven hours of sleep a day. Furthermore, I think that my emotional intelligence (E.Q.) is quite high and lastly, I have a strong social support network. In terms of my weaknesses, I have several. My most significant weakness in stress management is that I allow myself to overwork even feel exhausted I still work until get done. I especially feel anxious if unexpected tasks arise and force me to abandon my daily schedule that I’ve set up for myself; by the way, I am not a flexible, adaptive person. Also, I feel pressure and discomfort when I have to face a situation that I haven’t previously dealt with because I lack self-confidence. Lastly, I fail to set goals for myself because I don’t like to face challenges; I’m afraid of failure so I usually revert back to situations that I feel comfortable in or tasks I know I can perform well. D. My objectives: I have narrowed my objectives for stress management down to three. First, I want to find ways to better deal with my negative reaction to stress when I have to finish many project and I feel so exhausted. Second, I would like to develop long-term methods to deal with stress. I find that many of my current methods are short-term and only deal with immediate stress. Lastly, I want to develop more self-confidence so that I won’t fear new situations, whether dealing with people or new tasks, and can instead look forward to the challenge in future. Busn 3310 Skill Application – Ch 2 3 Step two: learn from the text After reading the chapter on Stress Management, I was both surprised and pleased to find that some of my working theories and the skills discussed in the chapter are the same. I found four main ideas that were common: time management, social support, physiological thinking, and relaxation techniques. A. Additional Insights: There are also many additional insights I gained from reading the chapter. First, I realize that in order to better deal with stress, I need to identify my main values and answer questions that will help me discover and identify what my values are and what is really important to me. I don’t think that these introspective questions is significant to stress management; instead, I thought that as long as I could do well in school, have a good support system and work towards a rewarding career, I would be successful and learn to deal with things as they arise. Now, I understand that in order for me to spend my time in meaningful things and to prioritize my tasks, I need to understand what my core values are so that I won’t feel guilty to say “no” to less important things. Second, I need to categorize my tasks in priority sequence so that I can manage the stress that amounts because of school or work. School is very important to my life because there are many projects that are due at the same time and with work, there are always unexpected task that I must read. If I can learn to prioritize my assignments according to their urgency, then I can better schedule my time. Third, I need to establish efficient time management and practice specific principles outlined in the chapter. In particular, I need to: i) make a list of things to accomplish daily, which includes what I want to achieve, not merely what I need to get done. ii) prioritize my tasks and focus on important tasks and then deal with urgent tasks. iii) divide up large projects into separate steps so that I don’t feel overwork. iv) reserve some time during the day when I turn off my cell phone and am out of reach. v) start things right away instead of leaving and putting things off until tomorrow or the next day. vi) make sure I finish at least one thing every day so that I will feel like I accomplished something that day. vii) write down long-term objectives so that I can maintain measure which activites I need focus more which one I need focus less. viii) Fourth, I need to set challenging goals for myself and work towards them through the “small-wins” technique. I found that, in the past, I’ve always been reluctant to challenge myself with goals because of my fear of failure. Also, the goals often seem daunting and impossible to achieve; thus, I would simply resign myself to staying in my comfort zone or “niche”. However, the technique of “small wins” will help me work towards my goals because they’re broken down into “reachable” steps that I can set myself. It also utilizes my support system to give me encouragement and to keep me accountable. B. Revisions of Strengths and Weaknesses: After reading the chapter, I found that my strengths are emotional intelligence, life balance and physiological resiliency. Busn 3310 Skill Application – Ch 2 4 According to Figure 6, my life is balanced with most of the activities, the weakest being cultural activities. I have been in Canada for quite a few years and have found that I don’t celebrate or participate in cultural activities as often as before. In terms of physiological resiliency, I exercise at the gym an average of four days a week, eat healthily and sleep adequately. My weaknesses are time management because I am not efficient with my time. I am especially weak in my psychological resiliency because I lack confidence, which produces a fear of failure and I don’t welcome challenges but prefer stability and routine, which hinders my personal growth. Step three: A. Behavioral Guidelines: My main objectives and behavioral guidelines include: i) Employing effective time management practices and learning to use time effectively as well as efficiently by basing tasks on my core values. ii) Re-affirming priorities and short-term plans which provide direction and focus to activities. Instead of reacting or concentrating on urgent tasks, I need to prioritize according to my important tasks. iii) increasing my psychological resiliency and hardiness by implementing a small-wins strategy. iv) learning at least one deep-relaxation technique and practicing it regularly. B. Skill analysis or practice activities: There are four main practice activities: i) relaxation techniques, such as deep breathing or meditation to alleviate immediate and short-term stress. ii) “small wins” technique to work towards challenges or goals but with small steps. iii) prioritize my tasks for the day according to importance to me rather than urgency. iv) evaluate my core principles to better understand what is important and meaningful to me. C. Skill application: i) Relaxation techniques: I will use deep breathing to curb muscle relaxation techniques whenever I feel overwork for unexpected tasks and need to change my schedule. Instead of reacting with stress or panic, I will take a few minutes to put things out of my mind, breathe deeply, focus on the breathing, and then address the task and implement a plan of action. I will also utilize this technique when I have arguments with friends. Rather than reacting to the situation and perhaps doing or saying something I will later regret, I will excuse myself from the situation, take a few moments to practice the deep breathing technique and clear my head. This will alleviate my stress and help me handle the situation with more clarity and calmness. ii) Rehearsal: I will use this technique to deal with things that I fear, such as interviews. I will work myself through the potentially stressful situation and think of all the alternative scenarios and reactions. By practicing in private and anticipating the other person’s reactions or questions, I will feel more prepared and confident about being in control of the situation. This, in turn, Busn 3310 Skill Application – Ch 2 5 will make me feel less stressed because I am prepared for the assumed outcome. iii) Small-wins strategy: I will use this strategy to curb my use of credit cards and making spontaneous purchases. First, I will establish my goal, which is to use cash instead of charging purchases on my credit card. Second, I will take specific actions to cut up my credit cards, carry only a debit card or cash, and have a policy where I cannot buy the product the same day I want it. I will tell my friends of my plan and make sure that I always have someone to shop with, who will keep me accountable and prohibit me from spontaneous shopping. I must go home and think, for a few days, about whether or not I really need the product. If after a few days, I am still thinking about it and have the cash to buy it, then I am allowed to purchase it. I will reward myself on a three month basis; if I am successful with this plan for three months, I can have an extra $100 to spend at the end of the three-month period. Step four: carrying out my plan Over the last month or more, I was able to implement activities that I had chosen in Steps 1 through 3 in hopes of improving my stress management skills. I employed the following methods: deep breathing relaxation, reframing, rehearsal, scheduling and small wins strategy. These techniques were chosen by my situations, based on reading through the chapter, completing assessment tests, and understanding my own character. I was surprised by my results and in turn, learned a few more insights into my personality. i) Deep breathing relaxation technique a) This technique did not work for me in two very stressful instances. One such instance was at my Thanksgiving family dinner. Shortly after I finished dinner, my stomach began to feel very ill and I started to have painful and nausea( not sure it is right). I tried to ignore my feelings of illness and continue chatting with my relatives but the more painful of my nausea. As my illness feelings increased, my anxiety began to rise; I began worrying about why I was feeling so sick almost have a worry to be embarrass for people where are in front of me. In order to calm myself down, I tried deep breathing and focusing on each inhalation and exhalation. At the same time, I tried to steer my mind away from my anxieties by thinking of things that I enjoy like shopping. None of this helped at all and my anxiety only continued to increase with the “what-ifs” racing through my mind. I had to isolate myself in the bathroom, away from everyone and the potential of embarrassing myself in front of them. It was then that I began to feel better mentally. I then tried “reframing” where I told myself, “it’s OK, I’ve felt like this before and it will pass”; “no one will think less of me; in fact, they will only be concerned” and “it’s just something I ate that didn’t agree with my stomach”. I found that these reassuring phrases and words helped me to gain control over my thoughts because my thoughts were escalating my anxiety and perhaps, even making me feel more physically ill. However, although reframing brought me some relief, it wasn’t until I got home that I really felt the stress decreased. b) Another stressful situation was my wait in the urologist’s office. I have been suffering from bladder infections since I was a teenager and my family doctor suggested that I see a specialist – an urologist –to discuss possible treatments. One such treatment is a procedure where one’s urethra is stretched and according to my family doctor, it is very Busn 3310 Skill Application – Ch 2 6 painful. Even the day before my appointment, I began to feel anxious because I wasn’t sure what the specialist was going to do. I began thinking, “what if he wants to do the procedure on me that very day of my appointment?” As I sat in the waiting room, I was very nervous and stressed. It didn’t help that all the other patients were elderly and one even had a urine packet strapped to his leg and looked very uncomfortable. My mind began to race about what was going to happen during the appointment and I felt my stomach clench and feelings of nausea start. Once again, I tried the deep breathing and focusing one each breath. I even closed my eyes and tried to relax my muscles and unclench. However, I didn’t feel any relief from my anxiety or physical ailments at all. I couldn’t stop the slew of negative thoughts invading my mind. I then tried the rehearsal technique and began “rehearsing” how the appointment would go. I thought that the doctor would probably start by asking about my history and the worst case scenario would be that he suggests the urethra stretching. In this instance, I would decline and ask for other alternatives. If none, I would just live with the bladder infections. I made a decision that, no matter what, I wasn’t go to go through with the urethra stretching because there were just too many negatives, besides the pain. It was at this point that I began to feel more “in control” because I thought, “the doctor cannot force me to consent to anything that I don’t agree with”. Once my negative thoughts were under control, my physical ailments, such as nausea, began to subside. ii) Setting a schedule I found that this technique really lowers my stress levels. As I mentioned earlier, I have a tendency to feel overwork when there are many tasks due at the same time, or unexpected tasks come up. The only way for me to handle this stress is to set a realistic daily schedule for myself and also a short-term schedule in order to see how all the ongoing tasks fit into it. On days that I had many tasks to work through, I always formulated a schedule but made sure that the schedule was realistic and allowed for breaks and relaxing. In the past, I made schedules that rare allowed for breaks or doing anything enjoyable and the result was that I usually didn’t follow them or get even half the tasks done. However, with a realistic schedule, I found that I followed the schedule and completed all my tasks and sometimes, even more than I intended. Also, I noticed that I didn’t feel stressed, tired; I knew I was in-control of the situation as I was slowly breaking down in to my list. Alternatively, when I didn’t make a schedule for the day, I was very lazy and would revert to my usual habits of watching television for hours, even if I wasn’t interested in the shows. I would just let time pass and wander around the house aimlessly, fiddling with this and that and feeling a general sense of listlessness. Another helpful technique is for me to formulate a short-term schedule (for the next couple of months) in order to make sure that I have enough time to complete all my projects and assignments, to the best of my ability. I also prioritized my upcoming assignments and projects according to their due date and estimated work load. After incorporating this technique, I found that this short-term scheduling was very successful in helping me to gain control over my work load and especially, my stress levels with all the assignments and projects due, often at the same time. With the schedule, I was able to pace myself and as a result, not feel overworked. iii) Small wins strategy Busn 3310 Skill Application – Ch 2 7 I decided to employ this strategy with something else other than my spending habits, as I had previously planned to do. Recently, my best friend mentioned that she was very worried about my use of Drixoral, the nasal decongestant because I had been used it for the past five years and with increasing dependency. My feelings also mirrored hers because I noticed that I needed to spray up about every four hours in order to clear my nasal when the spray bottle says that the effects are supposed to last up to twelve hours. However, if I didn’t use it so frequently, my nose would be uncomfortable and I would suffer terrible also headaches. All this was due to rebound congestion from using the nasal decongestant for an extended period of time. I was also worried because there are most likely negative long-term effects which I suspected I was suffering form my constant ear pressure. I decided to employ the “small-wins strategy” in order to break this habit; I knew that it would be too stressful and difficult for me to stop using it .My first step was to formulate a reachable goal; I decided it would be to regulate my usage by noting the number of hours between each spray and to extend the number of hours each couple of days. For instance, the first day, I could only last six hours without another dose and I would make sure it was at least another six hours before the next one. I always tried to increase my time between intervals; some days I was successful, other days not. By the end of the week, I was able to go a maximum of fifteen hours before I needed to spray up again. That, to me, was a significant improvement from every four hours of usage. I also told my best friend my plan and asked her to keep me accountable by questioning me each day about the number of hours between sprays. I found that she also encouraged me by saying “you can hold out for another couple of hours” whenever I complained that I couldn’t breathe. She would use words of support: “you are almost there; you can do it”; “try breathing through your mouth” and “I’m so proud of you”. Her encouraging words and support really helped to empower me in overcoming this longtime addiction. However, when I reached seventeen hours between sprays, I really had to rely on my willpower to stop my usage for three continuous days. I had heard that it takes three days to break a habit so I made that my next goal. The first day, at about nineteen hours, I couldn’t breathe, was suffering a terrible sinus headache, couldn’t concentrate on my work, and I felt like giving up. My friend said: “you can’t give up now because you are almost halfway to the three day mark”. With sheer willpower, I continued to press on and after three days, my nasal passages were no longer stuffed up and now, I am proud to say that I haven’t used Drixoral for at least two weeks! This is a real success story for me because I hadn’t been able to break my “addiction” for five years. The small wins strategy really proved successful for me because it broke down the insurmountable task into “reachable” goals with each step taking me closer to my ultimate goal. Step5: know where I am Through this assignment and in doing the practice activities, I have learned many new stress management techniques and the most effective ones for me. I believe that certain techniques work better in specific situations and I summarized my findings based on my experiences. Thus, my first step in stress management is to identify the type of stress I am experiencing and secondly, employing the following methods accordingly. Busn 3310 Skill Application – Ch 2 8 i) Reframing and rehearsal techniques I think these techniques are very useful for immediate stressors, such as my sudden illness during my Thanksgiving dinner and my anxiety during my doctor’s appointment. These techniques are helpful because I find that my anxiety increased in these stressful situations due to my negative thoughts and worries. Also, when I’m feeling anxious, my body reacts with feelings of nausea, heart painful, and other signs of stress. If I can keep my negative thoughts under control, or steer them on a more positive path, then slowly, my stress will be alleviated and the physical responses will subside. If I respond simply by trying to calm myself down physically, it usually doesn’t work because I can’t relax unless my negative thoughts are under control. ii) Formulating a schedule This technique is very helpful when it comes to tasks that are due or handling several different deadlines. Because I am the type of person who is overworked with new and unexpected projects, this technique helps me to feel more under control in my situation and to have a effective way to deal with on going stress into the future. Right now, this is very helpful with school assignments and projects, but in the future, when I have a job, I will use this method to deal with upcoming deadlines, even if many of them are due at the same time. I will be sure to make my daily schedule realistic to ensure that I have enough time to relax, refresh my mind, and participate in activities that I enjoy. It is important to have balance in life and following a daily schedule will allow me to have balance with work, play, friends and other priorities in my life. The schedule will also allow me to see how much I have achieved during the week and help me build up my self-confidence, which will increase my hardiness and resilience. I will apply these same principles with both a short-term schedule as well as a long-term schedule. The combination of these techniques will allow me to be more productive, yet at the same time, manage my stress levels so that I can still excel and focus on my tasks and goals at hand. iii) Small wins strategy This technique is very useful for breaking long-term habits or reaching a goal, as I did in breaking my Drixoral dependency. Because it is based on little objective that I made and taking into different steps, the tasks don’t seem so overwork. But also, as I overcome each step, I feel empowered and my confidence and motivation grows to overcome the next step and continues Furthermore, by involving my support system and being accountable to others, it becomes more difficult to simply give up when things get tough. This technique is also helpful because it builds on one’s self confidence with each small “victory”, coupled with encouragement from one’s support system that further builds up one’s confidence. Because I often feel overwhelmed and uneasy about a daunting task, and lack self-confidence and faith in my abilities, this strategy helps me to succeed with my goals as well as build up my confidence.