Stress

Stress develops when a harmful situation or event causes negative psychological or physical changes to occur. Although stress cannot always be avoided, stress management can help prevent harmful psychological or physical disturbances.

Stress develops when a harmful situation or event causes negative psychological or physical changes to occur. Persistent stress that is not properly managed can have a negative impact on health and well-being as well as social relationships and even academic or job performance (Dragos and Tanasescu, 2010). Stress can even decrease the body’s ability to release pain-relieving hormones such as endorphins, and when this occurs, chronic pain may be experienced. Although stress cannot always be avoided, stress management can help prevent harmful psychological or physical disturbances. DBT and CBT have been shown through extensive research to help individuals properly manage stress. DBT is a therapeutic approach that helps individuals improve their level of awareness and in doing so, enhances their ability to identify and address stressful situations. This multi-component approach involves weekly individual therapy sessions, weekly group sessions, and phone coaching from a therapist. DBT also focuses on Zen practice and CBT.

CBT is an effective therapeutic approach that places emphasis on helping individuals improve time management, planning, and organizational skills, which are among the common causes of psychological stress (Durham et al., 2005; Fjorback, 2012). However, it also focuses on enhancing emotion regulation, impulse control, assertiveness, and distress tolerance, which has been shown to positively influence behavior and affect (Durham et al., 2005; Fjorback, 2012; James et al., 2013). Furthermore, CBT involves skills training sessions in which emotion expression and recognition, problem-solving, and relaxation techniques are fostered. In addition, there are sessions in which stressful scenarios are narrated and individuals are provided with psychoeducation that helps them work through the real-life scenarios. Research has consistently shown that the multi-faceted components of CBT enable this approach to be especially effective at reducing stress and anxiety (Durham et al., 2005; Fjorback, 2012; James et al., 2013). Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) is another evidence-based approach for managing stress. For more information about MBSR, click here.

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