Stress Management

by: Courtney Howell, Heather Dunivon, & Misty Sines

What is Stress?

Simple Definition of stress

  • : a state of mental tension and worry caused by problems in your life, work, etc.

  • : something that causes strong feelings of worry or anxiety

    (Merriam Webster)

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Examples of Distress

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Seek Help!

Whether it is a close friend or professional therapist, talking with someone can help to relieve the pressures of over thinking and worrying about many issues that cause stress.
Stop It

Stressed out at work??

¨ Unrealistic expectations

¨ Understaffed

¨ Difficult coworkers

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Coping Mechanisms

  • Music
  • Chocolate
  • Bubble baths
  • Wine
  • Professional intervention
  • Deep breathing and counting
  • Exercise
  • Healthy snacks

Things to Avoid

§ Recreational drugs

§ Binge eating

§ Isolation from friends and family

§ Self- medicating

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When Stress Takes Over

•Negative Physical Responses

•Psychological & Emotional Strains

•Coping Mechanisms

•Stress-Related Conditions

•Effects on Employment

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Listen to Your Body

Musculoskeletal System: Reflex, muscle reaction, tension.

Respiratory System: Breathing difficulties, intensify other conditions.

Cardiovascular System: Long-term problems for the heart and blood vessels. Increase in heart rate, blood pressure, and in stress hormones.

Endocrine System: Overproduction of stress hormones (Epinephrine and Cortisol)

Gastrointestinal System: Multitude of issues in the esophagus, stomach, and bowels.

Nervous System: Long-term drain on body, continuous activations of nervous system.

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“Fight or Flight” Response

•Recent study in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences by Raio and colleagues (September 2013)

Findings: Individuals who acquired a conditioned fear response were able to suppress these associations and calm themselves down only if they did not enter the situation under stress.
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Maladaptive Coping Mechanisms

Healthy Coping:

Active coping strategies involve an awareness of the stressor, followed by attempts to reduce the negative outcome.

•Humor, deep breathing, seeking support by talking to family/friends (someone outside of the workplace), meditation/mindfulness, yoga, or any other physical recreation such as walking, or biking.

•Adjusting expectations can also be helpful in stress reduction.

Unhealthy Coping:

Avoidant coping strategies are characterized by ignoring the issue, often resulting in activities that aid in the denial of the problem (e.g., drinking, sleeping, isolating oneself).

•Denial, self-blame, venting in excess can be negative or avoidant coping mechanisms.

According to The National Center for Biotechnology Information:

In the presence of adaptive forms of coping, the relation between rumination and depressive symptoms is weakened for individuals without diagnosable MDD. As noted earlier, rumination has been found to be a relatively stable trait; thus, identifying mechanisms that reduce the expression of this trait is a promising step toward decreasing risk of depression. NCBI

Stress-Related Conditions

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Unmanaged Stress = High Rates of Turnover

•In 2003, the U.S. General Accounting Office (GAO) estimated that turnover of child welfare staff was between 30 and 40 percent annually nationwide, with the average tenure being less than two years.

•The GAO also found that turnover among child welfare workers is caused by a number of preventable factors before employment is terminated by either parties.

  • Low salaries.
  • High caseloads.
  • Paperwork and other administrative burdens which detract from professional social work activities.
  • Lack of supervisory support.
  • Unavailability of training and/or insufficient time to participate in training.
  • Risk of violence.

•All Manageable Variables!

Reminders on How to Combat Stress

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•Education on Stress Management is Key

•Self-Care/Stress Management is Different for Everyone

•Identify what Techniques Work Best for You



  • “Listen to your Body”
  • “Fight or Flight” Response
  • Maladaptive Coping Skills
  • Stress-Related Conditions
  • Rates of Turnover
  • Importance of Self-Care

•Remember that educating yourself on stress management may be enough to save your job

...and make it more enjoyable for you, the worker.

Created By:

Courtney Howell, Heather Dunivon, & Misty Sines
Baker College

May 26th, 2016


•American Psychological Association. (2016). Stress effects on the body. Retrieved May 19, 2016, from

•CPS Human Resource Services (2016). The causes and consequences of turnover: Research findings. Retrieved May 19, 2016, from

•Dr. Molly Parker MD. Personal interview. 5/16/16

•Merriam Webster. Retrieved from:

•Pillay, S. (2014). What to do when you can't control your stress. Retrieved May 19, 2016, from

•The National Child Traumatic Stress Network. (2016). Secondary traumatic stress. Retrieved May 19, 2016, from

•Thompson, R. J., Mata, J., Jaeggi, S., Buschkuehl, M., Jonides, J., & Gotlib, I. (2010). Maladaptive coping, adaptive coping, and depressive symptoms: Variations across age and depressive state. Behavior Research and Therapy, 48(6), 459-466. doi:10.1016/j.brat.2010.01.007

•UCLA (2016). How do you cope? Retrieved May 19, 2016, from

•Website: WWW.CCOHS.CA Retrieved 5/16/16

•Website: APA.ORG Retrieved 5/16/16