November 2020 Seminar Summary
11 am - 2:00pm
on-line (by ZOOM)
with Stress - What if our life is NOT all
sunshine and roses?"
Semantics cannot guarantee a life free
from difficulty and stress.
never be able to control all the people
and circumstances around us.
can do much to manage our responses to an
and minimise the
ravages of post traumatic stress disorder!
Facilitated by Robert James
11:00 am: 11:30 am: Self and families and
home and pandemics etc.,
11:30 am: GS Diary: Triumphs and Tragedies
in our applications of GS.
What have been some of the major stress
events in my life?
What has contributed to this,
and what have been the consequences?
How much do I think that my
actions might have contributed?
How could I have caused this
to work-out differently - Would I have
What about "good stress" -
Would I prefer a life padded in
What management strategies
did I utilise to plan for / minimize /
manage the stresses?
How can the general semantics
formulations be used to manage stress?
What about my favourite
formulations from last month?
The Stress Test: Gauge my
perceived stress level!
The nature of stress
Causes of stress
Symptoms of stress
Consequences of long-term
Some GS Approaches to Managing Stress
seminar February 2015
Milton Dawes on Managing
Marty Levinson on
Mary Morain on “GS and
Ted Falconer in “Creative Intelligence”
Review of the Content and
Conduct of this Seminar
Thinking ahead for next year
Plans for Christmas etc.
* 2:00 pm: Off to enjoy Sunday afternoon
* We checked on how we are going, Sin the
light of "our strange times" this year.
GS Diary: Triumphs and Tragedies in
our applications of GS.
* We had a look at
proceedings of the recent (on-line) 2020
including particularly, the addresses by
Jaison and Milton!
We had accounts of birth and death,
suicide, marriage and divorce,
life-threatening illness, etc.
* An example of a stressful event was an
children lost in the bush
3a The Nature of
Stress affects us
all. You may notice symptoms of stress
when disciplining your kids, during busy
times at work, when managing your
finances, or when coping with a
challenging relationship. Stress is
everywhere. And while a little stress is
OK -- some stress is actually beneficial
-- too much stress can wear you down and
make you sick, both mentally and
The first step to
controlling stress is to know the symptoms
of stress. But recognizing stress symptoms
may be harder than you think. Most of us
are so used to being stressed, we often
don't know we are stressed until we are at
the breaking point.
Stress is the
body's reaction to harmful situations --
whether they’re real or perceived. When
you feel threatened, a chemical reaction
occurs in your body that allows you to act
in a way to prevent injury. This reaction
is known as "fight-or-flight,” or the
stress response. During stress response,
your heart rate increases, breathing
quickens, muscles tighten, and blood
pressure rises. You’ve gotten ready to
act. It is how you protect yourself.
Stress means different things to different
people. What causes stress in one person
may be of little concern to another. Some
people are better able to handle stress
than others. And, not all stress is bad.
In small doses, stress can help you
accomplish tasks and prevent you from
getting hurt. For example, stress is what
gets you to slam on the breaks to avoid
hitting the car in front of you. That's a
Our bodies are
designed to handle small doses of stress.
But we are not equipped to handle
long-term, chronic stress without ill
3b. Causes of stress
3b.1 Feelings of
stress are normally triggered by things
happening in my life which involve, eg:
* being under lots of
facing big changes,
worrying about something,
not having much or any
control over the outcome of a situation,
having responsibilities that
you're finding overwhelming,
not having enough work,
activities or change in my life,
times of uncertainty.
There might be one big thing causing you
stress, but stress can also be caused by a
build-up of small pressures. This might
make it harder for me to identify what's
making you feel stressed, or to explain it
to other people.
"Lots of things
stress me at the moment, mainly worries
about my memory, as I'm a pensioner with
nothing to do all day. Trying to fill my
day is hard as I have arthritis so can’t
walk too far."
3b.2 Why do
certain things make me feel stressed?
The amount of stress I feel
in different situations may depend on many
factors such as:
how experienced I am at
dealing with that particular type of
my emotional resilience to
the amount of other pressures
on me at the time
the amount of support I am
"I get stressed when things
get out of perspective – too much work,
thinking too far ahead."
* my perception of the situation – this
might be connected to your past
my self-esteem, and how I thought
(for example, if I tend to interpret
things positively or negatively)
* We're all different, so a situation that
doesn't bother me at all might cause
a lot of stress. For example, if I enjoy
public speaking, I might find that giving
a speech in
front of people feels comfortable and fun.
3b.3 What kind
of situations can cause stress?
Stress can be caused by a
variety of common life events, many of
which are difficult to avoid, eg:
illness or injury
* pregnancy and becoming a parent
long-term health problems
organising a complicated
event, like a group holiday
everyday tasks such as travel
or household chores.
getting married or civil
going through a break-up or
difficult relationships with
parents, siblings, friends or children
being a carer for a friend or
relative who needs lots of support.
Employment and study
losing your job
exams and deadlines
difficult issues at work
starting a new job.
* "My breakdown [...] was due to having a
stressful job as a project manager
and dealing with a marriage break up and
housing problems such as poor
living conditions, lack of security or
problems with neighbours.
worries about money or
Can happy events cause stress?
* Some of the situations listed
above are often thought of as happy events
example, you might feel expected to be
happy or excited about getting married
or having a baby.
But because they can bring big changes or
make unusual demands on you,
they can still be very stressful. This can
be particularly difficult to deal with,
might feel there's additional pressure on
you to be positive.
"I've never been more stressed in my life
than the 6 months leading up to my
everyone kept asking me if I was happy and
expecting me to be excited all the time,
but I just
couldn't feel it. I ended up getting
Symptoms of Stress
* Stress can affect all aspects of your
life, including your emotions, behaviours,
ability, and physical health.
No part of the body is
immune. But, because people handle stress
symptoms of stress can vary. Symptoms can
be vague and may be the same as those
caused by medical conditions.
So it is important to discuss
them with your doctor.
You may experience any of the following
symptoms of stress.
Emotional symptoms of stress include:
Becoming easily agitated,
frustrated, and moody
Feeling overwhelmed, like you
are losing control or need to take control
Having difficulty relaxing
and quieting your mind
Feeling bad about yourself
(low self-esteem), lonely, worthless, and
3c.2 Physical symptoms of stress
Upset stomach, including
diarrhea, constipation, and nausea
Aches, pains, and tense
Chest pain and rapid
Frequent colds and infections
Nervousness and shaking,
ringing in the ear, cold or sweaty hands
Dry mouth and difficulty
Clenched jaw and grinding
symptoms of stress include:
Inability to focus
Being pessimistic or seeing
only the negative side
3c.4 Behavioural symptoms of stress
Changes in appetite -- either
not eating or eating too much
Procrastinating and avoiding
Increased use of alcohol,
drugs, or cigarettes
Exhibiting more nervous
behaviours, such as nail biting,
fidgeting, and pacing
Consequences of Long-Term Stress?
A little stress every now and
then is not something to be concerned
stress, can cause or exacerbate serious
health problems, including:
* Mental health problems, such as
depression, anxiety, and personality
Obesity and other eating
Skin and hair problems, such
as acne, psoriasis, and eczema, and
permanent hair loss
such as gastritis, ulcerative colitis, and
* Cardiovascular disease, including heart
disease, high blood pressure,
abnormal heart rhythms, heart attacks, and
3e Responses to
3e.1 Some tips
* Keep a positive attitude.
Accept that there are events
that I cannot control.
Learn and practise
relaxation; try meditation, yoga, or
tai-chi for stress management.
Exercise regularly. My body
can fight stress better when it is fit.
Eat healthy, well-balanced
Learn to manage your time
Set limits and learn to say
no to requests that would create excessive
stress in my life.
Make time for hobbies,
interests, and relaxation.
Get enough rest and sleep.
Don't rely on alcohol, drugs,
or compulsive behaviours.
Seek out social support.
Spend time with those you enjoy.
* Be assertive instead of aggressive.
Assert feelings, opinions, or beliefs
instead of becoming angry, defensive, or
Seek treatment with a
psychologist or other mental health
in stress management or biofeedback
techniques to learn healthy ways
of dealing with stresses.
3e.2 Help Is Available!
* Stress is a part of
life. What matters most is how you handle
thing you can do to prevent stress
overload and the health consequences
that come with it is to know your stress
If you or a loved one is
feeling overwhelmed by stress, talk to
Many symptoms of stress can also be signs
of other health problems.
Your doctor can evaluate your
symptoms and rule out other conditions.
If stress is
to blame, your doctor can recommend a
therapist or counsellor
to help you better handle your stress.
4. Some GS
Approaches to Managing Stress
David’s AGS seminar February 2015
Dawes on Managing Stress
Marty Levinson on Organisational Stress
Mary Morain on “GS and Creative Thinking”
Ted Falconer in “Creative Intelligence”
* We reviewed of the Content and Conduct
of this Seminar
thought ahead for next year and beyond
* We planned for
*** Watch this space for our 2021 programme ***
Disclaimer: This "summary" is a collection of notes derived from our discussion by a number of means. It is by no means a scholarly dissertation on the subject as presented. It does not purport to be the "policy of AGS". Comment and criticism (constructive or otherwise) is welcome. If anyone has been misquoted, copyrights infringed or confidences betrayed, please
Updated by Robert James
30th November 2020