Stress Management

WHAT IS STRESS? 

Everything is stress.  Stress is any situation that changes physiological arousal level and psychological comfort.  Stress can be short lived, as with a car accident, or it can be day-in and day-out as with a hectic schedule or working a dangerous job.  Most of us have had a terrifying experience:  a car accident, been attacked, were afraid for a loved one’s safety, etc.  This experience of “having our adrenaline pumping” is called the fight or flight response, or the alarm reaction.  During this response to stress our hearts pound, we breathe rapidly, we break into a sweat and time seems to stand still.  In short, our body and mind prepare to meet an outside danger.

 

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STRESS CAN LEAD TO HEALTH PROBLEMS

The changes that our bodies go through to cope with stress usually work well and allow us to perform well in very adverse conditions.  However, with very severe stress, or in repeated daily stressful situations, the stress response can backfire and become hurtful rather than helpful.  As we respond to repeated stressors our bodies become adapted to these new levels of arousal.  Hence we can cause health problems if our hearts are always pounding and our breathing is always rapid.

STRESS CAN BE MANAGED NOT CURED

Techniques to manage stress fall into three general categories.  To lower the raised physiologic arousal levels (rapid breath, pounding heart) a program of regular exercise and good nutrition will help prevent organ breakdown.  In addition, regular practice of relaxation, meditation or self hypnosis techniques will help to readjust back to healthier levels of arousal.  Finally, learning to talk sense to yourself will help.  Most of us add to our misery by expecting the worst; this gets our bodies to prepare for the worst.  Self talk which is soothing and calming helps to reduce stress and increase health.

In addition to his clinical practice, Kenneth Weiss, Psy.D., runs stress management and mind-body groups, and offers lectures, workshops and therapy groups.  He has offered these in medical, mental health, school, community, and corporate settings.  His training in the management of stress and psychophysiological issues began in 1975 as a biofeedback technician at the first biofeedback clinic established on a college campus.  In addition to his training in biofeedback, he has been trained and offers services using hypnosis, meditation, and the cognitive treatment of stress and anxiety.  In addition, he has extensive clinical experience working in medical psychology, behavioral medicine and post-traumatic stress disorder settings.

You may contact Dr. Weiss by phone at 508-230-5086, or by email at kweiss@counseling115main.com.