Stress Articles

Reactivity and Its Impact

Wednesday, September 3rd, 2014

Reactivity and Its ImpactI recently presented to a large group of Direct Support Professionals, people who support individuals with behavioral challenges. I have conducted similar workshops for family members of those with serious mental illness.

We talk about stress management, self-protection, and the limits of compassion. We meditate together. But the topic that always garners the most interest is how the supporters’ own reactivity, or fight or flight response, can precipitate negative behaviors in the individuals they support.

3 Big Reasons to Try Mindfulness

Wednesday, September 3rd, 2014

mindfulness

“The most precious gift we can offer anyone is our attention. When mindfulness embraces those we love, they will bloom like flowers.”

- Thích Nhất Hạnh, Buddhist monk, author and peace activist

What does it feel like when you are talking to someone and they check their text messages? Or you try to tell your husband about something the children did today and he starts opening the mail?

Mindfulness helps us focus our attention on one thing or one person without feeling compelled to follow distractions where our wandering mind wants to take us. That is truly being present.

The Psychology of Personal Space: Seat Reclining

Wednesday, September 3rd, 2014

The Psychology of Personal Space: Seat Reclining

Over the past few weeks, we’ve heard more and more accounts of airline flights being diverted because of an argument over reclining seats. Reclining seats are obviously not the problem — they’ve been available on most airlines’ flights for the past five decades.

The problem is that as airlines seek to eek out every dollar of profit from your pocket, many have decided to reduce the space between seats, making your personal space up to an inch smaller than it was just a year or two ago. The person in front of you trying to recline their seat isn’t to blame — the airline you’ve chosen to purchase a ticket from is.

But all of this really a battle over personal space. And no battle may be more emotionally involving than this one.

Money and Relationships: Are You REALLY Fighting About Finances?

Sunday, August 31st, 2014

reasons-have-money-talk-with-partner

Don’t let your money troubles prevent you from having a great relationship.

My husband and I have had countless arguments about money. And we’re not alone; divorce statistics suggest that money is the major cause of most divorces. Suffice it to say that money is a hot topic and one that a lot of relationships struggle with.

However, the source of most of these arguments is not really money. In fact money arguments and stress have three completely different causes.

Turning Worry into Productive Action

Thursday, August 28th, 2014

Don't Panic! 7 Ways To Overcome AnxietyMany of us worry. A lot. We worry about anything and everything — from work to the weather to money to appearance to social situations, according to Andrea Umbach, PsyD, a clinical psychologist who specializes in treating anxiety disorders at Southeast Psych in Charlotte, N.C.

We also “ruminate about things that happened in the past, usually experiencing guilt or regret,” and “about what might happen in the future — the ‘what ifs.’”

We assume that our worrying helps us to plan and prepare. However, “real preparation requires action,” Umbach said.

Worry only paralyzes us.

We All Need to Take it Easy Sometimes

Wednesday, August 27th, 2014

Flickr Creative Commons / Vinoth ChandarThis past few weeks has been pretty chaotic for me.

Money has been an issue, I moved to a new city, my nephew was born, I got a new writing job, I had my 29th birthday, I had to housesit for a while and on top of everything else I’ve been working myself into a tizzy over a potential relationship which may or may not work out.

All said and done, I came to the realization last night that yes, I had done it, I had overwhelmed myself wholly and completely.

Life in Balance?

Monday, August 25th, 2014

 

{Flickr photo by RelaxingMusic}

Is your life in balance? By identifying stressors and associated feelings, evaluating lifestyle habits, engaging in relaxation activities, and monitoring self-care, balance is achievable.

Identify what your stressors are: work, relationships, juggling multiple demands, or a personal belief system. What is it that’s stressing you out? What can you change and what can you improve?

Forget the Common Cold! Learn How to Prevent Catching Secondhand Stress

Saturday, August 23rd, 2014

hand stop stress bigst

Do you cringe when you see someone get yelled at, hurt, or embarrassed? Do you tend to soak up others’ emotions — especially the feelings of those close to you? A new study has confirmed that “secondhand stress” is a very real thing and that many people catch another person’s stress as easily as the common cold.

For the study, researchers from Saint Louis University set up a situation so that a man had to witness a stranger defend himself after being falsely accused of a wrongdoing. When it was over, the researchers measured the onlooker’s heart rate and cortisol levels and found that, yes, this man took on the stress of a total stranger.

Life is Like a Game of Tetris

Friday, August 22nd, 2014

Life is Like a Game of TetrisI always loved the game of Tetris as a kid. I don’t allow myself the time to play it so much anymore, but maybe it would be a useful practice now and then. Tetris, while a game of speed and strategy, also teaches us acceptance, flexibility, and gratitude if we are open to learning.

There was nothing more satisfying than clearing four lines at a time. It was enough to bring jumping and shrieks of joy. It was even better when playing against someone else.

Does Living in the Moment Mean Forgetting the Past?

Thursday, August 21st, 2014

Flickr Creative Commons InvernoDreamingLet it go. Move on. Live in the moment. These are valid sentiments — words of wisdom that are featured in self-help books and spoken by personal development gurus. And I honestly adhere to those notions; moving forward from certain chapters and releasing old ghosts is freeing. And healthy. Staying present encourages appreciation, of beauty, of the little things.

However, without discounting the aforementioned points, I propose that the past is immensely valuable as well. Happiness could be attained via reminiscence, and in the past, meaning could be garnered and lessons can be learned.

5 Facts Many People Don’t Know About Depression

Wednesday, August 20th, 2014

5 Facts Many People Don’t Know About DepressionDepression is one of the most common conditions in the world. It affects all segments of society and virtually all cultures, said Constance Hammen, Ph.D, a Distinguished Professor in the Department of Psychology and the Department of Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences at the University of California.

And yet many people don’t know much about depression or tend to misunderstand it. Some misconceptions “persist because depression has tended to be stigmatizing and people don’t learn about it, discuss it, or recognize it.”

Is Suicide a Free Choice or a False Choice?

Monday, August 18th, 2014

Is Suicide a Free Choice or a False Choice?

Is suicide a free choice, like choosing to do the laundry today, or to watch TV?

Or is the act of suicide more of a false choice — the illusion of choice, with none of the freedom we typically associate with the word?

Some people may feel this is semantics — not worth the time to discuss. But given some of the ridiculous things that have been written about suicide in the past week, I feel like it’s an important point to examine and understand.

Suicide is not a choice in any meaningful sense of the word. Here’s why.

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