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Stress management training has taken a big step forward in the last few years. The previous focus was on compiling a list of how many stress factors you were currently facing. This was summed up for stress management training on a Holmes-Rahe scale. The higher the stressors, the more difficult it is to be effective in the home or the office.
Then ten years ago, Dr. David H. Olson helped move stress management training ahead with his research and discoveries. Dr. Olson focused on the interaction of stress, coping resources, and satisfaction. The goal of stress management training is to focus first on awareness. Awareness of stress is the first step in making a positive change in one’s life.
One cannot look at stress management training in disconnected areas of life, even though the primary focus is probably on performance in business. The inter-connectedness of personal, work, couple, and family is the key to stress management training. Stress in one area can certainly affect other areas.
However, the real key to good stress management training is to realize that the amount of stress is not as important as the strength of ones coping resources. The four coping resources that are most helpful and the core of stress management training are problem solving, communication, closeness and flexibility.
Problem solving focuses on one’s ability to deal directly with the difficult situation we face and make positive changes to resolve them. This is a skill that focuses on creativity. If you can’t go through the mountain, you can go over it or around it. Ones who see multiple ways to solve problems lessen their stress.
Communication is the ability to share thoughts and feelings with others, in order to promote mutual understanding. This combines the art of clear speech as well as good listening. The better you communicate with another individual, the better your relationships.
Stress management training also focuses on a third coping skill – closeness. When one is under stress, one needs close relationships to help one through the situation. Closeness can be with spouses, family members, work associates, or friends. It can be exercised by email, telephone, or face to face. If one goes through stress alone, it is a lonely route and unnecessary mistakes can be made.
Finally, stress management training focuses on the coping skill of flexibility. Rigid people have more stress. Some people prefer a greater degree of organization and structure in their life. This increases stress. Those who are more flexible and adaptable enjoy innovation and variety and can more easily cope with stress.
And here is the good news! All of these coping resources are teachable/trainable. People can learn how to improve their coping resources, and therefore deal more effectively with stress.