When Change Happens
A Workshop to Support TUSD
Employees in Times of Change
Megan McCormick, PhD, NCSP
When Change Happens
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Change is an event that occurs when something passes from one state or
phase to another; eg: moving from employed to un-employed
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Self initiated/We control :
– Change our minds, our clothes, our attitude, our hair color, career,
spouse, friends, etc….
– Positive Stress = Eustress
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External Factors/We don’t control:
– Foreseen: Maturation, Graduation, Retirement, Death
– Unforeseen: Accidents and Unexpected Losses
– Negative Stress = Distress
When Change Happens
 Physiological Responses to Change
– Central Nervous System (CNR)
– Peripheral Nervous System
– Autonomic Nervous System
– The Role of Adreneline (Epinephrine)
– The Role of Anxiety
– The Role of Stress
Your Nervous System
Autonomic Nervous System
Physiology of Stress Response
 Novel Stimulus Perceived
 Message sent/become alert
 Stimulus Perceived as Danger/Threat
 Catacholamines stimulate neuroreceptor sites
 Sympathetic Division of ANS Activated
 Epinephrine (Adrenaline) Released
 Ready for Action
 Fight or Flight
Physiology of Stress Response
 Physiological Responses
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Acceleration of heart and lung action
Paling or flushing
Digestion slows or stops
Blood vessels constrict
Liberation of nutrients for muscular action
Pupils dilate
Auditory Exclusion (loss of hearing)
Tunnel Vision (loss of peripheral vision)
Acceleration of instantaneous reflexes
Negative Effects of Stress in
Modern Humans
 Continuous release of epinephrine also releases norepinephrine
and cortisol
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Suppresses immune response/system
Suppresses digestion
Uses up nutrients
Addictive
Increases heart rate
Elevates blood sugar
Disrupts homeostasis
Interrupts the Parasympathetic Nervous System from functioning
and returning to homeostasis
Psychological/Behavioral Responses to
Stress
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Women
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Increased blood flow to Limbic
System
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Nurturing Response
Withdrawal
Freeze
Avoidance
Sad
Depression
Anxiety
Overall more resilient
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Men
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Increased blood flow to left
orbitofrontal cortex “fight or
flight”
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Aggression
Easily frustrated
Anger
Outbursts
Rage
Impulsivity
Action/Activity
Self medication
When the Stressor is a Loss
 When the Loss is Your Job
 Losses are never in isolation and job loss sets off a domino
effect of changes/losses/stressors
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Identity
Income
Colleagues/Social Structure and Support
Career track
Plans
Home/City/Community
Dreams
Sense of Security
Investments
Health Care
Hope
Dealing With a Loss
 The Process of Loss and Stages of Grieving
 Kubler-Ross Model
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Denial: “I’m good/fine” or “This isn’t happening”
Anger: “Who’s to blame” or “Why me” or “Not fair”
Bargaining: “OK, what if I teach Special Ed/Math?”
Depression: “What’s the use?”
Acceptance: “This is OK/New Chapter”
Dealing With a Loss
 Stages of Bereavement
 Shock and Numbness
– Problems with processing
 Yearning and Searching
– Denial or minimizing the impact of the loss.
Frustration and disappointment as reality sinks in
 Disorganization and Despair
– Sadness, depression, feelings of being overwhelmed
 Reorganization
– Getting into cognitive restructuring and action.
The Role of Emotions
 Why Emotions Are Our Friends
Hardwired for Survival
Let us know something is wrong
Thoughts trigger them
If we manage thoughts and emotions we activate our
parasympathetic nervous system
 We can manage thoughts better than emotions
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Managing Thoughts and Emotions
 Sedona Method
 Option Institute
 Focusing
 Yoga
 Meditation
 Physical Activity
 Therapy
 Visualization
 Medication
Sedona Method
 Based on awareness, acceptance and release of
thoughts/emotions
Steps
Focus on feeling
Ask: Could I accept or welcome this feeling?
Ask: Am I willing to let it go?
Ask: Would I let it go”
Ask: When?
Repeat until feeling is neutralized
Managing Emotions
 What’s Usual/Expected
 Anger/Frustration
 Sadness
 Anxiety
 Low Energy
 Impairment in Judgment
Managing Emotions/Behaviors
 Warning Signs
 Isolation
 Loss of interest in your faves
 Feelings of overwhelm/helplessness/hopelessness
 Self Destructive Acting Out
 Substance Abuse
 Angry outbursts
 Self Injury
 Eating Disorder Behavior
 Suicidal/Homicidal Ideation
COPING
 Create Your Mind Plan
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Put things in Context
Manage the Emotions
Do Inner Work/Personal Growth Work
Manage Stress
Get Social Support and Professional Support
COPING
 Create Your Body Plan
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Daily Routine
Exercise
Diet
Keep moving/clean things out
COPING
 Create Your Life Plan
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Get clear on what you want
Research
Explore
Play
Dream
Action Plans
Resources
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www.nmha.org
www.deeroaks.com
www.samhc.com
www.option.org
www.sedona.com
Mental Health America
Deer Oaks Employee Assistance Program
So. AZ Mental Health Corp
The Option Institute
The Sedona Method
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When Bad Things Happen to Good People: Harold Kushner
When Things Fall Apart: Pema Chodron
The Power of Focusing: Ann Weiser Cornell, PhD
Peace is Every Step: Thich Nhat Hanh
Chicken Soup for the Soul: Jack Canfield
A Grief Observed: C.S. Lewis
Who Moved My Cheese: Spencer Johnson, M.D.
References
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Myers, David (2009) Psychology: Ninth Edition
http://sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/04 How Men and Women Cope
Differently with Stress Traced to Genetic Differences
http://sciencedaily.com/videos/2008/0403-men_are_from_mars.htm
Neuroscientists Find that Men and Women Respond Differently to Stress
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When Change Happens