We all face stressful situations throughout our lives, ranging from minor annoyances like traffic jams to more serious worries, such as a loved one's grave illness. No matter what the cause, stress floods your body with hormones. Your heart pounds, your breathing speeds up, and your muscles tense. This so-called "stress response" is a normal reaction to threatening situations, honed in our prehistory to help us survive threats like an animal attack or a flood. Today, we rarely face these physical dangers, but challenging situations in daily life can set off the stress response.
We can't avoid all sources of stress in our lives, nor would we want to. But we can develop healthier ways of responding to them. One way is to invoke the "relaxation response," through a technique first developed in the s at Harvard Medical School by cardiologist Dr.
The relaxation response is the opposite of the stress response. It's a state of profound rest that can be elicited in many ways.
With regular practice, you create a well of calm to dip into as the need arises. Following are six relaxation techniques that can help you evoke the relaxation response and reduce stress. Breath focus.
In this simple, powerful technique, you take long, slow, deep breaths also known as abdominal or belly breathing. As you breathe, you gently disengage your mind from distracting thoughts and sensations.
- Rest, Relaxation and Exercise.
- How to Be Better at Stress!
- I Hear the Music-I Have to Go: Bringing Music, Humor, and Encouragement to Those in Assisted Living Facilities and Rest Homes for More than Fifty Years;
Breath focus can be especially helpful for people with eating disorders to help them focus on their bodies in a more positive way. There are several methods for increasing mindfulness, including mindfulness-based cognitive therapy, mindfulness-based stress reduction, yoga and meditation.
The Impact of Stress on Hormones and Weight Loss
A recent study in college students suggested that mindfulness may help increase self-esteem, which in turn lessens symptoms of anxiety and depression Cuddling, kissing, hugging and sex can all help relieve stress 19 , Positive physical contact can help release oxytocin and lower cortisol. This can help lower blood pressure and heart rate, both of which are physical symptoms of stress.
Interestingly, humans aren't the only animals who cuddle for stress relief. Chimpanzees also cuddle friends who are stressed Slow-paced instrumental music can induce the relaxation response by helping lower blood pressure and heart rate as well as stress hormones. Some types of classical, Celtic, Native American and Indian music can be particularly soothing, but simply listening to the music you enjoy is effective too Nature sounds can also be very calming. This is why they're often incorporated into relaxation and meditation music.
Mental stress activates your sympathetic nervous system, signaling your body to go into "fight-or-flight" mode. During this reaction, stress hormones are released and you experience physical symptoms such as a faster heartbeat, quicker breathing and constricted blood vessels. Deep breathing exercises can help activate your parasympathetic nervous system, which controls the relaxation response.
There are several types of deep breathing exercises, including diaphragmatic breathing, abdominal breathing, belly breathing and paced respiration. The goal of deep breathing is to focus your awareness on your breath, making it slower and deeper. When you breathe in deeply through your nose, your lungs fully expand and your belly rises. This video explains how to practice diaphragmatic breathing.
Interacting with pets may help release oxytocin, a brain chemical that promotes a positive mood Having a pet may also help relieve stress by giving you purpose, keeping you active and providing companionship — all qualities that help reduce anxiety. Although stress and anxiety may arise in your workplace and personal life, there are many simple ways to reduce the pressure you feel. Exercise, mindfulness, music and physical intimacy can all work to relieve anxiety — and they will improve your overall work-life balance as well.
Anxiety is a common problem characterized by worry and nervousness. This article lists 6 foods and beverages that can help to reduce it. Constant stress can increase your risk for long-term health issues like heart attack and diabetes. Although some types of stress are normal and…. Stress is a natural and normal part of life, but sometimes you just need to relax. We've compiled a list of the top 10 ways to relieve stress.
If you experience anxiety, find calm through these 10 natural remedies. Chamomile, exercise, and sleep may help relieve your anxiety. High levels of the stress hormone cortisol can cause various problems. Here are 11 diet and lifestyle tips to lower your cortisol levels naturally.
16 Simple Ways to Relieve Stress and Anxiety
People seek help from professional psychologists for many different challenges. Find out more about these issues, from death to stress to family and…. Social anxiety can creep up at work, on dates, at parties, and more. Here are just a few ways to get it under control in your daily life. Some experts recommend a once-a-day huddle, 3 but I have found it more effective to huddle twice a day.
Include all members of your patient flow team: your receptionist, whoever rooms your patients, the float nurse, etc. Make sure one of you has the schedule in hand, so you can review it together and do two things: 1 Troubleshoot the patients on the schedule; know who is sick or upset, who has special needs, and who needs specific equipment or a special room, and 2 Let your team know what to do with any open appointment slots; know when your next available appointment is.
A huddle can reduce your stress by increasing your team's efficiency and reducing the feeling of chaos in your day. To make your team huddles even more effective, try the following tips: Ask everyone how they are doing today. Find out if there is anything going on either at work or in their personal lives that you need to know about, both good and bad. Know whose child is sick and whose child just got a college scholarship. Say thank you. Acknowledge and thank the members of your team for anything they have done in the last several days that helped you or the team do a better job.
Praise early and often and be specific. Encourage your team to be on the lookout for things you are doing as the doctor that they could take off your plate. Caring for patients and completing the documentation are team activities. We share the load. Any time you see something you could do instead of me, something that would help the team be more effective, please bring that idea to the next huddle.
Clear and center the whole team. Invite your team to take a deep cleansing breath and become centered before you start seeing patients. Have you ever noticed that, if a dog is sitting on the porch and you get his attention by throwing a tennis ball, he cannot not chase it? With doctors, the tennis ball is that message your nurse just placed on your desk or that popped up on your EHR screen — a refill request, test result, referral paperwork, telephone message, etc. Even when it is not urgent or important, how often do you drop what you are doing to address it?
This activity fractures your day into a hundred pieces for one simple reason. You are taking care of these items one at a time and allowing them to interrupt your patient flow. One solution is batch processing. Take all the tasks that are nonurgent, put them into piles you may have to do this virtually for EHR messages , and process the batch twice a day at a time when you and our team can address them all at once.
In a standard office day where you have a morning and afternoon schedule, some good times to do batch processing are a. That way, the morning's work is done before lunch and the afternoon's work is done before you go home. To identify what you should batch, make a list of all the little things that interrupt your day repeatedly. You'll have to decide the following: Where will you collect the items to be batched? Is it a physical basket where you will put forms or messages, or a virtual basket that will hold emails or test results? Here's an example: Your nurse screens all lab results as they come in, alerting you between patients to any abnormal values.