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Christina Sirmons, BS, CPT
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Briefly review what stress is and its effects on
the body
Give strategies to help manage stress in your
personal and professional life:
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Individual techniques
Health breaks (during short breaks and lunch)
Workstation set-up
Office exercises
Time management
Team building
Work Environment and Practices
Resistance:
If the stressor
continues, the
body mobilizes
to withstand the
stress and return
to normal.
General
Adaptation
Syndrome
(GAS)
Alarm:
The body initially
responds to a
stressor with
changes that
lower resistance.
Stressor:
The stressor
may be
threatening or
exhilarating.
Exhaustion:
Ongoing, extreme
stressors eventually
deplete the body’s
resources so we
function at less
than normal.
Homeostasis:
The body systems
maintain a stable
and consistent
(balanced) state.
Illness and Death:
The body’s resources are not
replenished and/or additional
stressors occur; the body
suffers breakdowns.
Return to
homeostasis
Illness
Death
Brain becomes more alert.
• Stress hormones can effect
memory and cause neurons
to atrophy and die.
• Headaches, anxiety, and
depression
• Disrupted sleep
Digestive system slows down.
• Mouth ulcers or cold sores
Adrenal glands produce
stress hormones.
• Cortisol and other stress
hormones can increase
central or abdominal fat.
• Cortisol increases
glucose production in the
liver, causing renal
hypertension.
Skin problems such as
eczema and psoriasis
The Effects of
Stress on the
Body
Heart rate increases
and blood pressure
rises.
• Persistently elevated
blood pressure and
heart rate can
increase potential for
blood clotting and
risk of stroke or heart
attack.
• Weakening of the
heart muscles and
symptoms that
mimic a heart attack
= Immediate response to stress
= Effects of chronic or prolonged stress
= Other possible effects of chronic stress
Breathing quickens.
• Increased susceptibility
to colds and respiratory
infections
Immune system is depressed.
• Increased susceptibility to
infection
• Slower healing
The Effects of
Stress on the
Body
Digestive system slows
down.
• Upset stomach
Muscles tense.
• Muscular twitches or
nervous tics
= Immediate response to stress
= Effects of chronic or prolonged stress
= Other possible effects of chronic stress
Reproductive system
• Menstrual disorders in
women
• Impotence and premature
ejaculation in men
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Hypothalamic-Pituitary-Adrenal (HPA) axis
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Complex set of interactions between the 3 glands
Major part of the neuro-endocrine system that
 Controls reactions to stress
 Regulates many body processes: digestion, immune
system, moods and emotions, sexuality, energy storage
and expenditure
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Involved in the neurobiology of functional illnesses
and mood disorders
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Adrenalin (epinephrine) is released by the
adrenal glands
Heart rate increases
 Blood vessels are constricted
 Fight or flight response
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Cortisol is released by the adrenal glands
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Increases blood sugar
Suppresses the immune system
Decreases bone formation
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Higher levels of cortisol cause weight gain
Immune system is dampened or suppressed
causing the body to be more susceptible to
infections (the older you are, the more stress effects
the immune system)
Interferes with the body’s ability to heal
May play a role in the progression of breast
cancer
MORE LIKELY TO SUFFER
FROM CHRONIC STRESS
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Type A personality
External Locus of
Control
Conflict resolution
strategy of avoidance
Pessimism
LESS LIKELY TO SUFFER
FROM CHRONIC STRESS
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Type B, C, or D
personality
Internal Locus of
Control
Conflict resolution
strategy of addressing
the issue
Optimism
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Laughter Therapy – Laughter/humor therapy uses the
physiological act of laughing to relieve stress, worry, and even
pain. Laughter releases endorphins which are the body’s natural
painkillers. This induces physical and emotional changes
including a strengthened immune system, lowered blood
pressure, strengthened social bonds, and much more. The positive
effects of a few minutes of laughter can last for hours! Try the
simple laughter therapy exercises below anytime you need to
unwind.
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Call a friend or tell funny stories in a group of family or friends.
Think of past funny experiences that once made you laugh (movies, TV
shows, childhood memories)
Think of funny sounding words.
Observe your children and their natural, childlike silliness. Learn from them.
Spend more time with people who smile and laugh a lot. It may rub off on
you.
If you make a mistake, laugh at yourself. Learn to forgive and laugh it off.
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4 -7- 9 Breathing
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Practice any time when you are feeling stressed,
anxious, or upset.
Close your mouth and inhale through your nose for
a count of four. Hold your breath for a count of
seven. Exhale completely through your mouth for a
count of nine. Repeat the cycle 1-2 more times.
Aromatherapy
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The use of essential oils from plants and other
aromatic compounds to help improve one’s mood
and reduce stress and anxiety.
Which scents invoke relaxation to you? Keep in
mind that the scents should be subtle; too strong of
scents can create stress.
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Encourage each other
Meditation – the power of stillness and silence
Practice positive thinking
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If I take this one step at a time, I can get this done!
This will help make our customer’s experience
easier, better, etc.
Perform creative tasks during breaks
(fingerpainting, sketching, listening to/playing
music)
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Keep a time diary for a week
Create SMART goals
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Specific
Measurable
Attainable
Relevant
Time-Bound
Create To-do lists (daily, weekly)
Set up appointments for yourself for success (exercise,
stress management, etc.)
Schedule your priorities. DO NOT prioritize your
schedule.
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Delegate!
Keep your work area clean. The average person
wastes more than 20 min a day looking for
misplaced items!
Learn to say “No”
Control time consuming communication habits
Emails
 Meetings (more or less)
 When your doors are open to coworkers , visitors,
etc.
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Employees are alert, creative, responsive,
physically and mentally healthy
Employees manage time well and are resourceful,
and work processes are efficient
Workplace policies make it easy to eat well and get
physical activity at work
Employees communicate effectively with each
other
Employees are generally happy to be at work!
In financial terms, the bottom line is improved
The business thrives as a whole
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Take your breaks!
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Get up and move around on your 10-15 minute
breaks
Lunch breaks: Eat for half of your break and do light
exercises, stretches, or stress management techniques
for the latter half
Feel too busy for breaks? You will likely be
more productive if you use your breaks!
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Keep live plants or even pets!
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Set up ergonomics for your desk
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Display a proper sitting posture diagram
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Heel raises and toe raises (sitting or standing)
Hip openers
Shoulder shrugs
Neck rolls
Smile (big toothy smile!)
Chair dips and/or wall push up
Chair squats or wall sits
Hip circles
Yoga you can do at your desk
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Strategies to improve your work environment
practices
Enforce breaks – employees are more likely to be
productive if they take breaks
 Put up pictures and signs that promote healthy
eating and exercise
 Role model, if you are in a leadership role
 Promote group exercise
 Encourage stretching and fitness breaks
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http://www.miracosta.edu/administrative/hr/Stress
Reduction.html
Sign up for the Bucket List Challenge online!
Sign up for personalized health coaching online. A
health coach will contact you to determine if you are
eligible!
Do you want additional help in stress management?
Call us in for assistance with the programs we can offer
you at 619-466-4386 or [email protected]

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