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Seb Anthony

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Practical exercises for Stress training


I occasionally run programmes for staff and managers on stress. How to recognise symptoms, causes and effects, coping strategies etc.

I am conscious that the content is a bit too theoretical and would appreciate any ideas for practical sessions that would enliven the content and illustrate any of the key learning points.

Andrew Catto

5 Responses

  1. Hypnosis
    As far as coping goes, teach them hypnosis. It is very easy to learn, takes not much time and is deeply relaxing. It is like TM but vastly quicker.

    Also, because it is easiest done with someone, it promotes mututality and trust.

    NB The subject is always in control in genuine hypnosis. The stage hypnotist’s skill is finding people who will behave like chickens when asked.

  2. Using role play in stress training
    Role play can be a significant learning tool for courses in subjects like this. One useful task is to brief all of the group except ONE student (preferably a confident leader type) to talk for about 10 minutes about a topic without revealing to the uninformed individual what they are talking about. It’s a very practical way for them all to learn the importance of communication & involvement; being a real demonstration of the ‘mushroom treatment’

  3. practical application
    It may be worthwhile considering using a case study to illustrate the different aspects of change and how they can very quickly cause stress. Use the study as a discussion point and get them to discuss around – what was the change, how was it handled (by the change subjects as well as the change initiators), what communication measures were instituted, were they sufficient and what measures were there to listen to the change subjects and their experience going through the change.

    I know this is geared to change as opposed to stress but it can very easily be turned to stress and managing stress.

    Another tack may be to put them into the role of an umemployed single mother with children (any number)and with Christmas fast approaching. How will she handle Christmas presents and managing expectations?

    You will probably already have a stress inventory/questionnaire and use that to get them to identify their stress level and its causes.

    If you want anymore, drop me an email.

  4. Practical ideas
    It can be very abstract!
    Get a copy of THE STRESS SURVIVORS by Cary Cooper and Marilyn Davidson. ISBN 0586 214380. Scores of interviews with well known faces against various backcloths and perspectives. Obtain copies of your chosen faces from book and set up some quiz or case study exercises.Very powerful and enough to tailor to your prevailing circumstances


  5. exercise with partner
    when I run such a worshop, I find it really useful to do some re-framing exercise. It requires participants to work in pairs & write down their top 5 stressors (that’s the personal bit). Then work with their partners to find the positive element of their stressors so that they start to view it differently.

    Hope that is the kind of thing you are asking for Andrew. It’s difficult without knowing the specifics of what you cover.
    Good luck and if you’d like to discuss this further, please do contact me.


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