Development of client’s competences – personal skills
In this area you will find just a few examples of possible setting in order to develop clients abilities and skills.
An introduction to the training module includes a clarification of stress understanding. Many people understand stress as an evil that affects them externally, to which they are passively exposed. According to the training module, the participants know that stress situations are solvable problems and that everyone can actively contribute to the stress situation as well as to the coping process.
In order to be able to cope with stress effectively the causes must be identified first. By creating a “stress card”, the participants learn how to name their individual stressors and can differentiate stressful situations from less stressful situations.
Warning signals from one’s own body are often ignored. The training module examines the different areas of the body, which are subject to stress reactions. This shows the participants how their body reacts to stress. In addition, you can recognise signals from the body that are refer to stress.
In order to cope with long-term stress causes, the participants create an individual action plan. The participants can make use of this plan for future situations. This way the participants can not only overcome stress, but also prevent stressful situations.
The training will provide short-term options for coping next to long-term coping possibilities. The participants learn, methods such as breathing technique, thought-stop or the positive self-talk. With these methods, participants can overcome stressful situations in the short term.
What is stress
- What is stress?
- Differentiate between positive and negative stress
- Participants develop a definition of “stress”.
- The participants recognize that stress is perceived differently.
While the primitive human beings were well prepared for fight or flight reactions due to the suddenly available energy when stressed, the modern person is seldom confronted with life-threatening situations. The recovery phase began immediately after the stress situation. Nowadays one is only in certain situations able to start a directly recovery phase because of general stimulus overload or professional stress. This can lead to a variety of stress reactions.
It is important to emphasize that stress is not equal to stress. There is a difference between the positive stress that inspires us and the negative stress that overwhelms us.
Stress reactions do not only occur in negative situations. Positive triggers such as sports, a surprise party or an unexpected reunion with old friends bring the body in full blast. Typical stress reactions take place and the positive not the negative effects predominate. Therefore not every form of stress is perceived as negative. In order to tackle specific tasks, stress is needed in a certain dosage.
The moderator asks about positive and negative stress situations that the participants have experienced. The answers should be recorded on a flipchart sheet and classified into positive and negative stress.
The brainstorming does not end with a summary, but an evaluation of the ideas. This is to make it clear that stress is not only negatively affected.
- Identify causes of stress
- Create a stress card
- The participants know individual causes of stress and can assign different meanings to them.
Often the participants do not know why they are struggling. The colleagues, the workload, the constant deadline pressure or the balancing act between career and private life. Usually it is not a single aspect that causes stress reactions. Many different things come together and make you be stressed.
For this reason it is important that the participants get an overview of the personal stressors. By creating a personal stress card, the participants can order their stress levels and assign different meanings to the various stressors.
At the beginning, the moderator should visualize some key questions on a flipchart, which will make it easier for participants to find out their personal stressors. The central questions could include the following aspects:
- Which situations trigger physical reactions such as stomach pain, sweating, restlessness or nervousness?
- What causes negative feelings like anger, fear and helplessness?
- When do negative thoughts go through your mind like “Oh no, not that”, ” I can’t do that”, “push off and away!!”
- What kind of tasks cause lack of concentration?
- In which situations do you increasingly use cigarettes, alcohol, coffee or sweets?
The participants receive a large piece of paper and write the word “STRESS” in the middle of the sheet. They call it the stress centre, which means the most stressful feeling they have. From there to the edges, the stress decreases.
On this sheet, the participants now have to write everything that triggers stressful feelings and reactions (persons, situations and activities).
The most stressful things come in the middle, the less stressful to the edge. This provides them a good overview of who or what causes particularly stress. It is important that they list everything they can think of on the sheet. Particularly strong stressors can be highlighted in colour.
- The participants recognize the warning signals of their body and can react to stress at an early stage.
- The participants will be aware of the particular stress factors that are particularly burdensome.
Participants must be asked to specify their individual stress reactions on a prepared worksheet. The guiding principle of the task is that one only gets ready with stress or overload, if one has a certain knowledge about how stress and / or overburden is presented. Typical stress reactions can serve as a kind of early warning system. Participants should be familiar with their stress reactions and keep them in writing in order to be able to use them as warning signals for timely switching in stressful situations.
This gives you an overview of the level of particular stressors and they can deduce where they are going to relieve their stress.
Long-term stress management
- Create an action plan
- The participants focus on major stress causes and develop an individual plan of action to cope with stress in the long term.
Participants can overcome stress only through their own actions. Through the previous work steps, the participants have recognised their individual stressors and stress reactions.
For an effective and long-term stress management they should concentrate on a few stressors.
The next step for the participants is to create an action plan. This plan should include specific action steps, which clarify what the participants want to do against the stressors in the next 4 weeks.
The plan should not be too demanding. It must not overstretch the participants in time and not be too complicated. It should be feasible and simple. The participants should be made aware that there are also stressors, where they can only change a little. That is why they should focus their energies on what they can change.
The participants should note on one sheet the stress causes which they want to process in the next 4 weeks. They should be limited to a maximum of two stress causes, which they feel as a heavy burden and a maximum of 4, which they think will not be difficult for them to cope with.
The participants should write down the measures, which they want to implement, to the right of each of the listed stress causes. In the third column the dates are to be defined when they will implement each individual measure within the next 4 weeks.
Short-term stress management
- Breathing technique
- Thoughts stop!
- Positive self-talk
- The participants know a way to relax quickly and quickly, to perceive consciously their breath and to use it in a targeted way.
- The participants learn to interrupt their negative stressful thoughts.
- Participants can recognize and change stress-generating and stress-enhancing thoughts.
Methods for short-term stress management are useful when:
- The situation cannot be changed, if the cause of the stress cannot be eliminated
- You are in an acute stress situation and want to continue to think clearly
- To avoid escalations
When learning relaxation techniques, an undisturbed atmosphere should be taken into a darkened and well-tempered room.
The clothing should be comfortable and the body position should be relaxed. After each relaxation phase, activation of the organism should take place by means of loosening and stretching. A participant should not be compelled to carry out the exercise.
The participants should be informed the day before to bring along blankets.
Talk to the participants about the benefits of the exercises: It is a good method to reduce stress before you step in front of a group or before a difficult situation to cope with. Deep breathing relaxes and supplies the body with oxygen.
Repeat every exercise 5-10 times.
1st stage: collarbone inhalation
Breathe in – the hands lie on the upper part of the thoracic cavity, slowly inhale, so that the chest increases slightly.
While breathing out, make sure that all the air flows out to allow room for new oxygen-rich air. The hands remain passive, lie loosely on the chest and feel the lifting and lowering of the chest.
2nd stage: breast breathing
Place both hands on the ribs so that the fingertips almost touch each other. When inhaling, feel the ribs widen to the outside and the hands apart.
When exhaling, the fingertips approach again.
3rd stage: abdominal breathing
Place the hands at the level of the navel on the abdomen. First exhale. When breathing in, the abdomen lifts. This lowers the diaphragm and the lower lung areas fill with air. The hands are thereby pushed upwards.
When exhaled, the diaphragm returns to its dome-shaped position. The abdomen becomes flat and the hands return to their starting position.
Stress causes need to be explored so that you can get rid of them. But until that is possible, the stressful thoughts do not have to be delivered continuously. With the stop technique, stressful thoughts can be interrupted most effectively.
The participants will be guided to imagine something, which stands for immediate interruption of their stressful thoughts. This could be a red stop sign as they know it from road traffic. Another option is they imagine how they turn a water tap and thus immediately stop the running of the water. Each participants should decide for an individual stop image.
The participants should say “stop!” in their own thoughts. If the situation permits, they can also say or call “stop”.
They should be supposed to make a positive thought, for example a favourite song or a view during their walks.
If the stress thought recurs, the exercise should be repeated.
Positive thinking is necessary because negative thinking often generates stress. An important technique in stress management is to re-program negative thinking into positive thinking.
In self-talks often premature conclusions are drawn, situations are assessed one-sidedly and wrong results are made. The aim of a positive self-talk is to recognize precisely these negative stress-generating thoughts and transform them into positive ones.
If the given situations, facts and possibilities are judged appropriately and there exist the willingness change the present actively in order to improve in the future. Positive thoughts are closely linked to self-confidence, self-acceptance, well-being, performance and zest for life.
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