To better apprehend your stress, it is important to understand it. Which psychological and physiological mechanisms are involved? What is a stressor and which situations are stressful for you
? Why does your heart race? Why do you find it hard to sleep? What is the connection between your thoughts, your emotions and stress?
A pedagogical approach allows you to comprehend the physiological, emotional and psychological aspects of stress. You will learn to identify the stressful situations in your life and to discern your bodily, emotional and psychological responses when faced with these situations.
The emotional response to stress is caused by the autonomous nervous system which triggers a multitude of physiological manifestations when facing stressful situations: an increase in heart rate, perspiration, vertigo, headaches, nausea, digestive problems etc. It is, however, possible to learn to control these reactions when faced with a stressor.
Through the means of different relaxation techniques, you will learn to manage stress at a physiological level. You will learn to control and then prevent strong emotional responses and the bodily manifestations that go with it.
A given situation only becomes a factor of stress through the meaning that we give to it. Our perception and our interpretations of events depend on our system of beliefs (what psychologists call “cognitive schemas”). We often have a tendency to think in an “unrealistic” way in reference to ourselves, others and our environment, which causes stress in our relationships and in daily life.
Through the means of cognitive restructuring, you will learn to identify your thought patterns, to overcome those that are ill-adapted and to develop a more adapted way of thinking.
A great number of stressful situations are caused by a difficulty to assert oneself when communicating. Assertiveness is a self-assured way of communicating to make sure your own opinions are respected without aggressively threatening the rights of another. Working towards self-assertiveness is thus essential for effective stress management.
By optimising your verbal and non-verbal communication, you will learn to interact with others more efficiently. You will develop assertive behaviours to contend with many stressful situations, such as saying no, asking for something, giving and accepting a compliment, criticising, communicating with others or speaking to an audience.
The build-up of stress on a daily basis often comes from an inability to face up to difficulties and to effectively solve problems.
The problem solving strategy is a structured approach which allows you to identify the origin of a problem and to create an action plan to solve it. Through the means of different tools, you will learn to define and rank your priorities, to be more organised and to manage your time more effectively.