Understand Stress, Its Effects & Learn Coping Strategies

Understand the Stress Model. Identify drivers,consequences and effects. Recognise signs of stress early. Help yourself or guide coworkers or family members to appropriate action. Complete the course by learning an easy technique. Be introduced to other effective techniques

Stress Model

Stress Model explained

Stress Model

For stress to exist there is normally a trigger and when the trigger is activated a stress response sets in. The trigger could be anything really - from something we saw, heard and even thought about. 

This can be summarised as follows:-

  • Trigger  - Internal or External event, situation, thought or even a feeling
  • This trigger sets off an "alarm" within the individuals response system  -   The brain interprets or perceives it as "danger"and a stress response is activated
  • The Stress Response  may be physical, emotional, physiological or mental


Into Stress Territory



   Perceived Pressure Exceeds Perceived Ability to  Cope 

The Stress Equation

Where one perceives that the ability to cope is beyond one's own capability stress results. Faced with a challenging situation each individual responds differently. Some will  view the situation as a challenge and are energised by how she/he would face the challenge and are motivated to action. Others may to be totally nerve wrecked , reacting with fears & anxiety. Some may withdraw, refuse to participate or freeze. Each of these are reactions. The last two reactions are a stress response.

What are Perceptions ? 

Perceptions differ between persons 

Perceptions are the result of the filters we have and it colors our life view. It shapes the way we see, hear and feel  about any given situation or things and influences our opinions and/or conclusions we draw. Perceptions are also shaped by our beliefs, culture, society and environment amongst other factors. 

Sometimes just thinking about a situation can trigger a stress response although the stressor is not physically present at that time.

Recent research  suggests that it’s not only the “perception” of events that cause stress.There exists the emotional response to those perceptions giving  stress the substance that we encounter in our daily lives which is shaped by our  experiences  driven in turn by beliefs and values.

What is a stress response?

A stress response is created when the perceived exceeds perceived ability to  

Drivers that create Stress Experiences

  • Everyone experiences stress in the same way

Stress - Causes and Effects

Many Factors Underlie Stress


Stress is multifaceted and is driven by a number of factors at its source. This include perceptions, beliefs and values, societal norms, communities we live in, environment, the cultures we belong to and also religious norms. All these plus other factors drive behaviour and actions or inactions and/or inactivity.

Values and norms that drive behaviour reside in the subconscious and unconscious levels making changes at this level is the work of specialists.

Extreme, chronic and severe levels of stress must be dealt with by trained professionals and is beyond the remit of this introductory lesson. 

Change at the level of behaviour is possible and coupled with work at the level of thoughts and perceptions is how cognitive behaviour therapy addresses some of the issues that drive stress.

This  again is the remit of professionals.

What you will learn from this course is to understand common stressors, symptoms and  effects of Stress.

This will enable you to identify if you, your family and/or coworkers are displaying symptoms of stress and assist you in guiding them towards taking appropriate actions that can help them.

Common Stressors

Identify Stressors

Survey respondents reveal insights into common stressors that apply across the board

Common Stressors 

Work  ( until age 51)


Financial Problems


Time Pressure

Rush Hour 

Modern Stressors 

Social Media 

Work/Home/Me Balance

Overcrowded places

Pressure of Looking Good


Some self examination questions

What is Your Stressor? Is there more than one? 

How do you cope with the situation(s) you face?

Common Stress Response Strategies

Coping Strategies

Texting, Social media engagement, TV



Smoking , Drinking

Comfort/Binge Eating


None of these deal with the  source of stress

Effect: Reactivation of stress  through triggers

Stress: Reactions, Responses and Associated Sensations and Feelings Explained

Stress Reactions

Stress Reactions

Physiological: “Fight , flight or freeze” response

Physical Manifestations: Headache, Palpitations, Aches

Behavioral: Abuse ( Alcohol, Physical, Sexual, Verbal) Become  Secluded, Phobias

Emotional Content

Fear, worry, anger, overwhelm, anxiety

Internal State : Helplessness, isolation, suicidal,   flashbacks, overwhelm


Anatomy of the Flee/Fight/Freeze Response

Muscular strength heightened in a stress response

Intestinal movement is reduced in a stress response

  • ›Increases strength of skeletal muscles ›
  • Decreases blood clotting time 
  • ›Increases heart rate ›Increases sugar and fat levels ›
  • Reduces intestinal movement ›
  • Inhibits tears, digestive secretions. ›
  • Relaxes the bladder 
  • Dilates pupils
  • Increases perspiration ›Increases mental activity ›
  • Inhibits erection/vaginal lubrication ›
  • Constricts most blood vessels but dilates those in heart/leg/arm muscles

Effect: Weight Gain, Cardiovascular Disease, Diabetes, Sexual Anxiety, Panic Attacks & phobias , Insomnia, Addiction -alcohol/food/nicotine, Aggression/Irritability Compulsive Behaviours

Sensations & Feelings Associated with Stress


›Tension ›Headache ›

Palpitations/Rapid Heart beat ›

Nausea ›

Tremors ›

Aches/pains ›

Dizziness ›

Indigestion ›Etc

Frequency Duration Intensity Varies



›Isolation feeling alone 

›Losing control 

›Failure ,Hurt

›Humiliation/ Shame /Embarrassment 

›Visual flashback 

›Suicidal ›, Morbidity

Poor Self Image

Introduction to some Easy to Use Techniques ( Non-Medical) to ease effects of Stress

Breathing Exercise

The underlying emotional response to perceptions must be addressed to stop  the momentum of the fight, flight, freeze  response

Using Breathing Techniques

Used  Extensively in Yoga to Calm Oneself , breathing exercises are a gold standard in bringing balance to your body and mind

Breathing Exercise

  1. Take a series of deep breaths – 10 deep and long breaths. 
  2. Pay attention to the out breath -which must be equal to the  in breath
  3. Switch attention to your feet while doing above 
  4. Change your Posture ( sit straight, look up, relax shoulder, smile softly, eyes and mouth relaxed, breathe in and out deeply)
  5. Stop thinking and switch attention to the breathing

Calm the Mind

Out of the Whirlwind of the Mind 

Find a quiet place where you are unlikely to be disturbed.

For the next 10 minutes

Use your Imagination to calm the churn in your mind 

  • Picture a loved one – perhaps your child at a young age, your parents, grandparents, your very best friend and allow the feeling of love, appreciation. thankfulness /gratitude fill you 
    • Enjoy the feeling of appreciation 

    • Allow the tumult to subside

  • Or picture a calm scene and imagine yourself in it.
    • Allow the calm scene to imbue you with serenity and peace

›Listen to relaxing music ›and be transported to the rhythm of the music 

More Techniques (Requires some mentoring to learn its application)

Engage the Heart using Heart Intelligience

Heart Intelligence 

›Use the physical heart as a transformer to re- pattern the stress circuitry ›

More information on how can be found at HeartMath Institute . Follow the link https://www.heartmath.org

Rewire Stress Circuitry to Negate the Emotional Reponse

Rewire the Stress Circuitry using Tapping

Tap specific points which coincide to meridian points within our energy body.

For more information check out http://www.emofree.com/eft-tutorial/eft-tapping-tutorial.html