Stress Reduction

Stress is an inevitable part of being alive and engaged with life. When used productively, stress can serve as a powerful impetus for creating meaningful changes and taking action… eustress. On the other hand, stress can become a physically, mentally, and emotionally debilitating self-destructive force when one lacks a strong support system, has biologically-based physical or psychological challenges, or has difficulty engaging in regular self care… distress. Since stress is a given in life, it is in everyone’s best interest to gain the knowledge, resources, and skills necessary to prevent unnecessary stress and reduce existing sources of stress. As you become more knowledgeable and committed to a regular routine that includes stress reduction techniques and self care, the ways in which you respond to stressful events in life will begin to shift. A great deal of events occur in life which are unexpected or out of your control… the trick is to identify what is truly within your control and address it, and what is truly out of your control and let it go. This is often easier said than done for many of us.

The first step toward reducing levels of stress is to accurately identify the true sources of stress in your life. Once you are aware of the origins of stress impacting you, the next step is to identify the current (healthy and/or unhealthy) ways in which you cope with stress. Perhaps you notice that you seek out social support or engage in healthy levels of exercise when feeling stressed… or maybe you realize a tendency to procrastinate or abuse substances when under stress. Whatever your current coping skills may be, try to avoid judging them – as this is futile, and only serves to increase stress levels – and instead focus on what you can change about the situation. By learning about stress reduction, you can become more adept at changing the situations that lead to unnecessary stress as well as changing your reactions to those situations.

Coping with Panic Attacks

“He who fears he shall suffer, already suffers what he fears.” – Michel de Montaigne If you have ever had a panic attack, you probably know what it feels like to experience a sudden burst of intense and overwhelming fear. Panic attacks are often accompanied by unpleasant physical symptoms, such as shortness of breath, chest…

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How to Manage Traumatic Stress

“I beg you take courage; the brave soul can mend even disaster.” – Catherine the Great The tragedy that occurred at the 2013 Boston Marathon has brought devastation into the lives of many people who may find themselves feeling emotionally numb, overwhelmed, or in a state of denial. It is natural to feel a wide…

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Use Mindfulness to Cope with Holiday Stress

“Don’t underestimate the value of Doing Nothing, of just going along, listening to all the things you can’t hear, and not bothering.” – A.A. Milne The holidays are a busy and emotionally laden time of the year for many people. There is a tendency to become easily reminded of holiday memories from years long past,…

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Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction: Week Eight

“When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves.” – Viktor Frankl In last week’s post, “Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction: Week Seven,” we explored the importance of taking care of yourself through becoming increasingly mindful of how each behavior impacts your physical, mental, and emotional health.  Each action and…

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Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction: Week Seven

“A wise man should consider that health is the greatest of human blessings, and learn how by his own thought to derive benefit from his illnesses.” – Hippocrates Last week, we explored the notion that thoughts aren’t facts, in “Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction: Week Six.”  We often get so caught up in our own internal chatter…

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Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction: Week Six

“Misunderstandings and neglect occasion more mischief in the world than even malice and wickedness.” – Goethe In last week’s post, “Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction: Week Five,” we learned about the meaning and benefits of embracing acceptance.  We often fight back against aspects of reality that we decide are painful or unwanted in some way.  When we…

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Top 10 Ways to Stop Procrastinating – Part Two

“You may delay, but time will not.” – Benjamin Franklin In yesterday’s post, “Top 10 Ways to Stop Procrastinating – Part One,” we began to identify common obstacles to getting undesirable tasks completed.  We all struggle with some form of procrastination from time to time.  What matters is recognizing your own personal patterns and tendencies…

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