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5 Instant Stress Soothers

Discussion in 'Anesthesia' started by Egyptian Doctor, Apr 13, 2013.

  1. Egyptian Doctor

    Egyptian Doctor Moderator Verified Doctor

    Mar 21, 2011
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    If you’re still sweating the small stuff, it’s time to get serious about de-stressing your life. People who are more reactive to everyday stress may be setting themselves up for a mood disorder down the road, according to new research in the journal Psychological Science.

    The study examined the long-term effects of everyday stressors by evaluating how strongly people reacted to daily issues like spousal arguments and problems at work. The researchers found that those who responded most strongly to everyday stressors were 30 to 50% more likely to report or be diagnosed with a mood disorder—such as major depressive disorder or generalized anxiety disorder—10 years later.

    “People who are successful at managing stress respond like an elastic band, stretching in response to pressure,” says David Fresco, PhD, associate professor of psychology at Kent State University in Ohio. “But under chronic conditions of stress, they will eventually lose their ability to ”˜snap back’ and that’s when lasting problems can occur.”

    So the next time life throws you a spitball—whether it’s an unexpected bill, a dressing-down from your boss, or a nasty neighbor—here are some ways to find your Zen again:

    Hit the “Pause” button. “If you are agitated, do not send an email, reply to a text, open your mouth or pick up the phone,” advises Judith Orloff, MD, assistant clinical professor of psychiatry at UCLA and author of Emotional Freedom. Reacting to a situation with a hot head may only make it worse. “Take the time to listen to your gut before proceeding,” says Dr. Orloff.

    Breathe from your belly. Place one hand on your chest and breathe deeply, allowing your belly to expand. The hand on your chest should not move. “Diaphragmatic breathing engages the parasympathetic nervous system, which acts as a brake when the flight or fight response is activated,” explains Fresco. Watch this video for more breathing techniques to help you relax.

    Cop to your part. High credit card bill got you down? Facing the behavior that caused it can help you regain control—and to not do the same thing again. “Do your best to own whatever part you have brought to a situation,” says Fresco, who says honest self-assessment is a key part of psychotherapeutic treatment. “We are responsible, at least in part, for both the good and the bad that arises in our lives. Acknowledging responsibility means taking control, and that can be soothing in and of itself.”

    Don’t pile on. If that credit card bill has you bemoaning your future in the poorhouse because you are a financial failure, you’re less likely to do anything to change your behavior. “Stress can cause people to ascribe greater meaning to a setback than it merits,” explains Fresco. “Seeing a new stressor in this way can be demoralizing and may prevent you from considering and taking effective actions that can resolve or lessen the impact of some stressful situation.”

    Take the long view. Literally. Envision the entire narrative of your life on a stretched canvas. “This allows you to see that today's stressor is, at most, a small blemish that blends into the scenery of this panoramic perspective,” explains Fresco. “When we have perspective, our canvas has plenty of room for our signature successes and our epic failures.”



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