A beginners guide to stress inoculation training

When you are presented with a large task such as eating a three-course meal, do you try to fit your starter, main and dessert in your mouth at the same time? Of course you don’t! However, this is exactly what we do when faced with a stressful situation or time in our lives.


As a working mum, I am fully aware of the feeling of 'frazzle', as I call it. It’s that feeling when you are spinning so many plates you feel like your brain is literally going to explode all over them and knock them off their poles! As an example here is a breakdown of an average day:

  • Get kids (and self) up for work.
  • Get dressed.
  • Find my son's lost shoe.
  • Realise I have made everyone lunch except for myself.
  • Drop children at two different schools (after having to return home for a forgotten PE kit).
  • Go to work.
  • Answer a million emails.
  • Catch up with work missed due to time answering emails (even though I know more are coming in!).

...And so on and so forth. This is only up to about 9:30am but if I carried on with the list it could go on all day!

We have all felt like this at one time or another. A wide misconception of stress is that it happens when there’s a big, bad life event but, actually, we are walking a fine line of stress and anxiety every day as all of the little things add up. So, if this is all part of life, what can we do about it?

Donald Meichenbaum (1977) believed that just as people can have vaccinations for viruses, we can also be inoculated against stress. This stress management technique can be done in three simple steps:

1. Conceptualisation - Break down your issues and problems into smaller chunks, on your own or with the help of an empowerment coach like me.

2. Skill acquisition - Approaching each stressor at a time, identify underlying factors that are affecting your stress levels and ability to cope with them and put techniques or plans in place to change them.

3. Rehearsal and follow through or application - Once you have different psychologically healthy stress management and coping strategies regularly, put them into practice. Remember to assess their effectiveness, this is an ongoing process of trial and evaluation as no stress and anxiety management technique has 'cure-all' properties.

A great example of this could be my morning routine. So, here we go:

1. I get stressed because I feel like I don’t have enough time or control over the situation as too many variables and factors can go wrong (and often do!).

2. I have to improve my preparation and time management skills so I write lists of things that need to be done and do them the night before, such as getting all lunches done and making sure that pesky PE kit is washed and ready. In the morning, I set my alarm earlier to give me more time.

3. I put these skills into practice and see an improvement, which is rewarding and gives me a sense of increased happiness and relief (behaviourists call this positive reinforcement). It can also be good for children as they can get involved and help, which improves their independence and gives them a sense of responsibility and can lead to a heightened level of self-esteem and self-confidence. Small rewards can also be given such as a trip to the park after school, which is possible as I am now less stressed and rushed so this is nice for me and the children.

I always use this technique with clients on both my Empowerment and Stress Management Courses as it is not only effective in reducing stress and anxiety but it also increases your levels of control, resilience, confidence and positive mood. If you need any help with this process, please contact me for a free consultation call.

So go on and give it a try and let me know if you start seeing a decrease in your stress and an increase in your happiness - it’s a win-win!

The views expressed in this article are those of the author. All articles published on Life Coach Directory are reviewed by our editorial team.

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Rayleigh, Essex, SS6
Written by Rosslyn Whellams, BSc in Psychology and a Diploma in Emotional Health Coaching
Rayleigh, Essex, SS6

My name is Rosslyn Whellams and I am an Empowerment Coach and Psychology Teacher living in Rayleigh, Essex. I offer a number of client centred, affordable, and effective programs. My goal is to help as many people as possible to find and increase their Emotional Empowerment! For more information please visit www.rosslynwhellams.co.uk

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