Why Youth Should receive Stress Inoculation Training
By: Sanjana Dash
What is (SIT) Stress Inoculation Training?
Stress Inoculation Training (SIT) is a type of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy that is explicitly for PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder). Psychologist David Meichenbaum developed it in the 1980s. ‘Stress’ is caused when information is not processed correctly. ‘Inoculation’ refers to exposing a person to stressful situations so that they can cope with similar ones in the future. Just as Vaccines (containing a milder form of the disease) fight infection and thus Stress Inoculation Training does the same.
Purpose and Importance
The primary goal of SIT is to train people to cope with stressful situations by learning specific coping methods and behavioural patterns.
In short, it presents difficult situations and teaches you how to deal with them in real life, like what a warrior is trained to do before stepping into battle.
Phases of Stress Inoculation Training (SIT):
- Conceptualisation– Also known as ‘Educational Phase’. The therapist helps you identify your specific areas of concern, thus, developing a deeper understanding of these issues.
2. Skills Acquisition and Rehearsal– Also known as ‘Rehearsal Phase’. In this phase, you will learn to restructure your thoughts through some relaxing exercises. In addition, you’ll receive self-help instructions to help you. You will be put through some stressors to make your body habitual of the actual stress.
3. Application and Follow Through– Also known as ‘Implementation Phase’. You will practice whatever skills you have learned to improve self-confidence, resilience, and self-control.
Youth and their Ever-growing Stress
In the last couple of years, we have noticed a gradual rise in stress levels among our youth. While it is pretty normal to feel a little anxious and tensed, too much of it is worrisome. Various factors contribute to this ever-growing stress. For example, if there is tension in the family, say between their parents, it negatively impacts them. Today’s youth tend to go astray or develop severe anxiety disorders and depression due to marriage separation and constant arguments among parents, and the pressure that educational institutions put on them.
The Visible Signs of Severe Stress among Youth are:
- Constant headaches
- Sleep deprivation
- Difficulty in focusing
- Lack of motivation
If you have frequent headaches and cannot sleep soundly or focus on your work, you are highly likely to be stressed.
There are two significant types of Stress:
Acute Stress– Known as ‘short-term’ stress. For example- argument with your loved one, running late for your work, meeting deadlines, etc.
Chronic Stress– Known as ‘long-term’ stress. For example- Unhappy marriage or relationship, trouble at work, unhappiness in the place you live, etc.
What can you do about it?
A) Focus on the basics:
Getting Exercise– You need to ensure that you participate in physical activities at least 30 minutes a day, such as cycling, walking, or any other activity that can be done outdoors or indoors. Exercising helps your body release its toxins as well as makes you fit. As they say, a fit body equals a healthy mind. If you look good, you eventually feel good.
Adequate Sleep– Make sure to get enough sleep at night. Constant media use interferes with our minds, thus stealing its rest away. And to achieve at least 8-10 hours of sleep, you must avoid any form of media an hour or two before your bedtime. Instead, read a lighthearted book or listen to some relaxing music to calm your mind.
Nutritious Diet– Be sure to have a balanced diet. Food rich in proteins, fibers, fats, and carbohydrates is required for the brain to function correctly. Please stay away from junk food as much as possible as they only drain your body of its nutrients.
The Effectiveness of Stress Inoculation Training (SIT) among Youth
Research shows that Stress Inoculation Training reduces stress in youth. It treats the source of the stress, not just suppressing its symptoms. In addition, it improves self-esteem and social skills. Thus, they can better make decisions, communicate effectively, and feel empowered. When all schools, colleges, universities, and offices are reopening after a gap of two years, youth have a high amount of stress to cope with this change. Leaving the comfort of your home is not an easy task now that we are used to this new system. People find it challenging to get back to their social distancing to socialising routine.
Stress Inoculation Training (SIT) is now a growing need of the hour.
There have been a lot of changes over the years, with isolation as the primary cause. We have become depressed and lonely due to being away from our home, family, and friends. Because of this, we are now more prone to stress and anxiety, which is why Stress Inoculation Training is essential in today’s day and age. Be sure to consult your doctor or counsellor for the same. They will guide you to the next steps.
An average person experiences stress in most aspects of their life. You cannot completely escape it. However, you can take steps to manage it better.
Here are four steps of stress management:
1) Avoid– Minor stresses like your monotonous work or getting stuck in traffic can be overlooked simply by listening to your favorite songs. Such pressure is easily avoidable and sidelined. Learn to control it rather than invite it into your life.
2) Alter– If you cannot avoid it, alter it. Change the way you perceive things and people by clearly stating your worries. Let people know what bothers you and what can be done to change it.
3) Accept– Even after avoiding and altering it, your stress refuses to leave; you must talk to someone about your feelings. Meet a friend or relative over coffee and discuss your concerns. Forgive yourself for the things you have done in your past and release yourself from its trap.
4) Adapt– Do not try to achieve perfection and stop fixing everything. Learn to accept your flaws and know that you cannot change everything. Sometimes you have to say ‘No’ to things and people.
In addition to this, learn to take short breaks between work and allow yourself to relax a bit. Spend quality time with your friends and family, and remember, you are responsible for your health. Don’t let it slip away.