Stress management strategies

Methods for coping with life crises and stressful situations

In the context of stress and crisis management, one repeatedly comes across the terms emotional intelligence and resilience.

‘Resilience is sometimes thought of as the soul’s immune system, and describes the ability to manage extreme situations,’ Dr Melanie Robertson, Psychologist at the Park Igls health retreat, explains. This ability to recover can be learned, but it doesn’t happen overnight: ‘It’s about breaking out of patterns, developing and utilising new strategies and identifying scope for potential. We need to learn to understand feelings, practise mindfulness towards ourselves, improve self-management, clarify personal goals and values, and learn social skills,’ adds Thomas Blasbichler (MA), who build with Robertson the team of psyochologists. ‘Another helpful approach is to try to identify scope for potential even in situations that have seemingly reached an impasse,’ Robertson says, adding: ‘What are my options? What do I need to accept as givens and in which areas can I have an influence?’ Moreover, we need to regularly take time out for our own needs and step off the hamster wheel to rest and refuel.

Gesundheitszentrum Park Igls in Tirol

STRATEGIES ON THE JOURNEY TO A FULFILLED LIFE

From a psychological perspective, there are various strategies for managing life crises and stressful situations. In theory, there are three different approaches: problem-focused coping which involves actively eliminating or changing the stress trigger; emotion-focused coping which involves changing your own behaviour to better manage the situation, for example through relaxation exercises; and, thirdly, appraisal-focused coping which involves reappraising the environment in order to be able to adequately deal with it. However, we need to bear in mind that ‘every person appraises situations differently – even stressful situations. A stress reaction is triggered when the resources available are inadequate for coping with a situation,’ Blasbichler explains. Depending on the resources at their disposal and how they appraise things, a situation might be highly stressful for one person, while another might consider it less so, or not threatening at all.

STRATEGIES FOR MANAGING STRESS

And the ways in which the Park Igls health resort can support you:

Incorporate stress-balancing activities into your daily routine:

e.g. creative activities, sport/exercise, social activities that you enjoy, relaxation breaks, etc. Part of the coaching approach at Park Igls is a dialogue with you during which we identify the activities that best suit you and your daily structure.

Develop your own calming strategies:

e.g. positive internal monologues, breathing exercises or relaxation methods. Our therapists and trainers will be delighted to help you.

Avoid unnecessary stress:

e.g. by saying no, respecting your own boundaries, planning well or modifying your expectations of yourself. During talk therapy, we work together to develop strategies for setting better boundaries and conserving your resources.

Work on how you deal with unavoidable stress:

e.g. with the four-point stress-management plan or by developing your own strategies as part of a talk therapy at Park Igls.

Healthy living –

with Modern Mayr Medicine: colon hydrotherapy and intestinal cleansing as part of a Mayr treatment programme boost the immune system and create an ideal foundation for a healthy lifestyle. As part of your treatment, you also learn how to design a healthy but delicious nutrition plan, discover new activities and learn how to comfortably integrate them into your daily routine.

Active stress management and ways out of life crises: with the From Crisis to Resilience module at the Park Igls health retreat.

STRUCTURE CONVEYS SECURITY

There are things you can do to equip yourself with appropriate resources: ‘I’m a great believer in structure. Structure makes us feel safe and reduces fear. For example, setting yourself a certain daily routine and sticking to it whatever the restrictions or difficulties, such as working from home, gives us focus and stability,’ Robertson explains. ‘This could be anything from regular bedtimes and wake-up times to set mealtimes and a daily 9am gym session.’ According to Blasbichler, a healthy lifestyle that reduces stress through balancing activities and relaxation exercises (see below) can also really help replenish your natural resources for managing stress. Individually, the strategies are just tiny parts of the puzzle – together, however, they can pave the way to a more relaxed and fulfilled life, ultimately providing a light at the end of the tunnel.

The ‘What-Went-Well Exercise’

‘Every night before you go to bed, give yourself ten minutes for this exercise. Write down three things that went well during the day and why they went well. You can use a diary or your computer to make a note of these events, but it’s important to have a tangible record. The three things don’t have to be super significant, although obviously it’s OK if they are. After writing down each positive event, answer the following question: How did this come about?

From: Seligman, Flourish – A New Understanding of Happiness and Well-Being – and How to Achieve Them, 2012

Gesundheitszentrum Park Igls in Tirol

Thomas Blasbichler (MA) – Clinical and health psychologist, sports psychologist, specialist in prevention, coach.

Dr Melanie Robertson – Clinical, health and neuropsychologist, sports and emergency psychologist, specialist in stress prevention and acute intervention