Stress Management: A Literature Review on Stress



School paper due, final notice on the electric bill, and your boss expects a sales presentation the follow morning. All these occurrences are the leading cause of why people are encountered with stress on a daily bases. I have been given the opportunity to evaluate my stress patterns. There was an array of methods that could be utilized to measure my stress levels. Psychological, behavioral, and self-report techniques were all used to determine these stress levels. However, it was found that maladaptive thinking was the leading cause of increased stress in individuals. But, with Cognitive Behavioral Therapy health professionals can reverse these beliefs and reverse them into positive mechanisms for coping with stress.

Stress Management: A Literature Review on Stress

What causes a person to sweat profusely, lack energy, have chest pains, and often stress can be defined as psychological, sociological, and biological reactions that a person may display when they are faced with challenging or threaten situations. The focus of this paper is to evaluate my own stressful patterns, employ some psychological, behavioral, and self-report methods that could be used to measure my stress levels. Also included in the text are some maladaptive thoughts that could lead to increased stress, evidence-based literature on stress reduction methods, and the effectiveness of a cognitive behavioral approach in measuring stress and sleep patterns.

Psychological Methods Employed to Measure Stress Levels

To determine stress levels, psychological measures need to be employed to fully get a grasp of what triggers such psychological stress. The two most commonly used psychological questionnaires that will be employed to determine psychological stress levels will include the Perceived Stress Scale (PSS) and Psychological Stress Measure (PSM) questionnaire. The Perceived Stress Scale not only measures the perception of stress but it also measures the degree to which situations in someone’s life are viewed as being stressful (Cohen, 2005). This sort of psychological questionnaire ask about feelings and thoughts through the use of a 0-4 point scale system. The Psychological Stress Measure questionnaire originally involved a 49-item survey that’s primary goals was to determine the state of feeling stressed. According to Lemyre (2009), “Most assessments of stress relate to life events, and both past and current life stressors, acute and chronic, play a major role” (p.454). The PSM assessment takes a psychological approach to determining the state of feeling stressed through the use of a nine point scale. Both methods takes on a psychological approach to measuring stress levels. However, other factors should also be measured to fully understand ones level of stress.

Behavioral Methods Employed to Measure Stress Levels

Symptoms associated with stress could alter various parts of the body. Your thoughts, emotions, and behaviors can also be affected by stressful situations. Behavioral methods that could be employed to measure stress levels includes an observation of your own personal behavioral changes. There are numerous signs and symptoms of stress. Recognizing behaviors that may change in the event of being stressed helps to measure one stress levels. For example, keeping a journal to document your behaviors during a stressful occurrence. Documenting behaviors such as nail biting, smoking, drinking, and lose of appetite are all common symptoms of a person stressed. These various symptoms also aid in measuring stress levels because one behavior could be the results of moderate stress while the other could be the results of severe stress. This method works well because it allows a person to gain knowledge about their behaviors and how they shift when under stress.

Self-Report Methods Employed to Measure Stress Levels

Assessing stress levels through the use of a self-report questionnaire is common when determining stressors. This stress questionnaire is based on the Holmes and Rahe Social Readjustment Rating Scale (SRRS). Developed in 1976, the SRRS questionnaire has served as a well-known tool for measuring the amount of stress one has experienced within the past year (Miller & Rahe, 1997). Questions composed within this self-report includes personal health, work environment, family, and financial question. What is liked about this self-report is that it takes on a biopsychosocial approach to gathering information that could correlate with your stress. Effectively measuring stress levels are important. Knowing what changes that can occur while under stress can aid in behavioral changes that could be used to help one cope with stress positively.

Maladaptive Thoughts That Could Lead To Increased Stress

Maladaptive thinking along with our beliefs can possibly be the leading cause of stress. According to Stanford University (2014), “When we think about the world, we may sometimes create negative interpretations or narratives, which in turn create negative emotions leading to physiological changes, mood changes, and behavioral changes” (para. 6). Having such maladaptive coping mechanisms has caused a decrease in sleeping patterns, a feeling of being overwhelmed, and a poor diet. As a result of this sort of thinking, physical and psychological harm may be the determining factors. However, when handled appropriately stress can introduce education, cooperation, excitement, and also preventive mechanisms (Harvard University, 2014). However, evidence-based physiological, behavioral, and cognitive intervention methods could be use to reduce stress.

Physiological, Behavioral, and Cognitive Intervention Methods To Reduce Stress

Given that stress has become a common part of many people’s live, researchers employed scientific research to learn more about how best to treat or manage stress. Evidence-based physiological, behavioral, and cognitive intervention methods such as therapy, cognitive processing therapy, and medication all can help in reducing stress. DeAngelis (2008), explains that prolonged-exposure therapy help guides the client to recall traumatic memories or stressful events in a controlled fashion so that he or she may eventually regain mastery of their thought and feelings about the incident. Cognitive processing therapy involves, “an exposure component but places greater emphasis on cognitive strategies to help people alter erroneous thinking that has emerged because of the event” (DeAngelis, p.40, 2008). Finally, psychological interventions to stress reduction can be accomplish by prescribed medications. Medication often works well when patients, not only are bothered with stress but anxiety, depression, or psychosis. Overall, stress and stress management could be accomplished by illustrating some intervention methods that tackles both the mind and body.

Cognitive Approach In Measuring Stress and Sleep

Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) refers to a common therapeutic approach used by health professionals to tackle a array of problematic issues. Stress along with sleeping disorders are some forms of problems that could benefit from having cognitive behavioral therapy. Hofmann, Asnaai, & Sawyer (2012), explains that CBT is a class of interventions that share the basic premise that mental disorders and psychological distress are maintained by cognitive factors. What makes CBT effective in treating stress and sleep disorders is that this technique works to eliminate maladaptive thinking that could lead to a change in emotional distress and problematic behaviors. “In general,CBT is a reliable first line approach for treatment of this class of disorders, with support for significant positive effects of CBT on secondary symptoms such as sleep dysfunction and anxiety sensitivity (Hofmann, Asnaai, & Sawyer, p.432, 2012). Overall CBT has been used by many health psychologist as a form of psychotherapy. Its results has proven to be effective treating sleep disorders along with stress.


In conclusion, stress can be the results of several environmental factors such as school, the workplace, or financial circumstances. How a person manages their stress can determine whether or not they live longer lives. I was given the task of evaluating my own stress patterns. The various ways that were used to measure my stress levels included psychological questionnaires, including a self report to evaluate my responses to stressful situations. Managing stress has proven to be difficult when there are maladaptive thoughts behind ones beliefs. However, by implementing therapy such as the Cognitive Behavioral Therapy a person has a greater chance of changing their behaviors in order to fit the needs of a healthier person.


Cohen, S. (2005). Measuring the self-perception of stress. Retrieved from

DeAngelis, T. (2008). PTSD treatments grow in evidence, effectiveness. American Psychological Association, 13(1), 40. Retrieved from

Harrington, R. (2013). Stress, health, and well-being: Thriving in the 21st century [University of Phoenix Custom Edition eBook]. Belmont, California: Wadsworth Cengage Learning . Retrieved from University of Phoenix, PSYCH628 website.

Lemyre, L. (2009). Psychological Stress Measure (PSM-9): Integration of an evidence-based approach to assessment, monitoring, and evaluation of stress in physical therapy practice. Physiotherapy Theory and Practice , 25(6), 453-462. Retrieved from HYPERLINK “”

M.A Miller and R. H. Rahe. (1997). Life Changes in the 1990’s. Journal of Psychosomatic Research, 43(12), 279-283. Retrieved from HYPERLINK “”

Stanford University. (2014). Lessen your stress. Retrieved from