Tips to Remain Calm During Stressful Times from the Harvard Medical School

I received this wonderful email from the Harvard Medical School, which is all about how to remain calm during stressful times. They even are offering a free guide. Here's what I received, verbatim:

BOSTON–Lately, every day seems to bring a new cause for worry–the mortgage crisis, the struggling economy, rising unemployment. And on top of all that, the holiday season (a recurring source of stress) is about to begin. This constant barrage of disturbing news and emotional hurdles can have a big impact on health.

Although you won't find the word "stress" anywhere on the list of the 10 leading causes of death in America, many highly-regarded studies link chronic stress to ailments such as heart disease, stroke and a weakened immune system.

"Stress doesn't just make you feel tense and edgy, it can actually impair your health," says Dr. Michael Miller, editor in chief of the Harvard Mental Health Letter.

"Thankfully, there's plenty we can do on our own to reduce stress in our lives." The Harvard Medical School Portable Guide to Stress Relief, a free guide offered by Harvard Health Publications, provides helpful tips on how to start.

Of course, sometimes just thinking about embarking on such a program can feel overwhelming. Don't freeze in your tracks. Instead, follow Dr. Miller's suggestion to start small.

One stress-management technique that may work for you is a form of deep breathing known as the relaxation response. Another useful approach, known as cognitive restructuring, aims to change patterns of negative thinking. Not only will these strategies help you feel calmer, they may also reduce your blood pressure.

The free guide from Harvard Health Publications, culled from the pages of the special health report, Stress Management: Approaches for Preventing and Reducing Stress, provides detailed suggestions for soothing anxiety and worry. Whether you have one minute or half an hour, The Harvard Medical School Portable Guide to Stress Relief will teach you ways to manage the strains of your day. It describes 10 common stressors and how to defuse their impact and offers information on how to use meditation to lower stress levels. You will also find step-by-step instructions for "mini-relaxation" routines, organized according to how much free time you have available.

To begin, try the sample mini-relaxations that follow:

De-stressing when you've got 1 minute

Place your hand just beneath your navel so you can feel the gentle rise and fall of your belly as you breathe. Breathe in slowly. Pause for a count of three. Breathe out. Pause for a count of three. Continue to breathe deeply for one minute, pausing for a count of three after each inhalation and exhalation.

Or alternatively, while sitting comfortably, take a few slow deep breaths and quietly repeat to yourself "I am" as you breathe in and "at peace" as you breathe out. Repeat slowly two or three times. Then feel your entire body relax into the support of the chair.

When you've got 2 minutes

Count down slowly from 10 to zero. With each number, take one complete breath, inhaling and exhaling. For example, breathe in deeply saying "10" to yourself. Breathe out slowly. On your next breath, say "nine," and so on. If you feel lightheaded, count down more slowly to space your breaths further apart. When you reach zero, you should feel more relaxed. If not, go through the exercise again.

Also in this guide:

*       Using a gratitude journal to turn your focus away from negative thoughts and feelings
*       Learning to straighten out cognitive distortions
*       Helping your children-or yourself-reduce stress with a "worry box."

The Harvard Medical School Portable Guide to Stress Relief is available to download for free from Harvard Health Publications, the publishing division of Harvard Medical School, at to www.health.harvard.edu/stress-relief.

Go to www.health.harvard.edu to find information on other Harvard Health Publications, including:

Stress Management: Approaches for preventing and reducing stress: www.health.harvard.edu/SC

Coping with Anxiety and Phobias: www.health.harvard.edu/AP

Alcohol Use and Abuse: www.health.harvard.edu/AUA

Understanding Depression: www.health.harvard.edu/UD

Get Your FREE Cravings-Crushing, Quick-Start Guide!

Do your cravings make you frustrated, frazzled and overweight?

Get Your FREE download now to Crush Your Cravings, starting today. 

This fun, fascinating, science-based, Cravings-Crushing, Quick-Start Guide will whisk you away from temptation for sugary, salty, fatty junk non-foods and and into the glorious, delicious, liberating world of self-control.

Welcome to the Cravings-Crushing Community. 

Please tell us here, on this blog, which of these tools you like best.

You have Successfully Subscribed!

Connie Bennett is the bestselling author of Sugar Shock (Berkley Books) and Beyond Sugar Shock (Hay House), one or both of which have been praised by Dr. Mehmet Oz, Dr. Christiane Northrup, Dr. Daniel Amen, Dr. Mark Hyman and many others. Connie is now completing her next book, Crush Your Cravings On the Go™ and the companion Crush Your Cravings System, both of which will help people easily, quickly let their cravings go. Her interest in the subject was triggered in late 2012, when she walloped by Crazy Carb Cravings after helplessly standing by her abusive, dying mother .

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Human Verification: In order to verify that you are a human and not a spam bot, please enter the answer into the following box below based on the instructions contained in the graphic.