Managing Stress

Other techniques


There are three approaches for using communication in interpersonal communication:

  1. Marshmallow Approach
  2. Machine-gun Approach
  3. Sharp Shooter Approach

1. Marshmallow Approach

  • This method of dealing with stress takes the path of least resistance. The individual goes along with the demands of the others regardless of the effect on himself.
  • Those who practice this approach opt for passive resignation and acceptance, often internalizing frustration, hostility and anger.He is continually taken advantage of.

2. Machine-gun Approach

  • Individuals using this method tend to say what is on their mind, regardless of consequences. The ‘machine-gun’ has no difficulty in speaking in public and in extreme cases is seen as aggressive, threatening or overpowering.
  • Others seldom make unreasonable demands on him. But people are frightened of him and maintaining relations will be difficult.

3. Sharp Shooter Approach

This technique provides a way to deal productively with stressful people and situations while avoiding the pitfalls of the marshmallow and machine gun approaches. The target-shooter technique has the following five steps:

  1. Introduction/Transition: Starts with a statement that alerts the other person that something important is about to be discussed.
  2. Statement of Problem: States the problem in simple, specific, nonemotional and objective fashion.
  3. Explanation of Feelings: The target-shooter then indicates own feelings about the situation i.e. ‘troubled’, ‘concerned’ or ‘disturbed’. The person avoids getting at other people’s motives and states only personal feelings.
  4. Proposed Solution: The proposed solution should be in specific and reasonable terms. The target shooter should not ask for less than he can accept and more than others can easily give
  5. Closure: A statement of closure softens the climate and indicates satisfaction with outcome.

Controlling Physical Arousal

  • One method is through controlled breathing. Sit in a comfortable position in a quiet place with no distractions. Close your eyes and pay no attention to the outside world, concentrate on your breathing, slowly inhaling and exhaling, softly say relax when each breath has been exhaled completely. Eventually in a stressful situation jut saying the word relax will calm you considerably.
  • Another method is relaxation through tension release. While practicing tense each group of muscles separately and then relax them so that they are more relaxed then before. The ultimate goal is to relax all groups simultaneously.
  • To incorporate in daily life, notice your bodily tension, identify the tense muscle groups and then relax them saying ‘relax’ inwardly
  • Total relaxation can be obtained through exercise, either aerobic or the Yoga type.

Advantages of Stress Management

Individual advantages of stress management:

  • Learn to recognize and respond to early warning signs of overload and burnout
  • Learn new models of effective stress management and pick those right for you
  • Become aware of the immediate physical signs of stress
  • Recognize and respond to emotionally distressing events in your life
  • Learn to recognize speech patterns that reflect tension


Organizational advantages of stress management:

  • Reduced turnover of the employees
  • Reduced sick leave, workers compensation
  • Increased morale and decreased conflict, dissatisfaction
  • Enhanced performance, reduced errors, mistakes, accidents