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Baylor Regional Medical Center at Plano

 
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Fight Stress on the Fly 

These quick, calming techniques can help you cope with life’s demands

Let’s face it; stress is a part of life. Left unchecked it can lead to anxiety, high blood pressure, insomnia, digestive issues, back pain and other health problems.

“Some stress can be beneficial. It’s motivating; it actually can improve performance,” says Jamile Ashmore, Ph.D., clinical director of the Baylor Regional Medical Center at Plano Behavioral Health Center. “However, there’s a tipping point that’s different for everyone. Once you pass that point, stress can become toxic.”

To activate a stress response, you first have to believe that a threat or demand is present and, second, feel as if you are unable to cope with it, Dr. Ashmore says. “In today’s society we tend to catastrophize the demand or minimize our coping abilities,” Dr. Ashmore says.

In addition to carefully evaluating stressful situations, Dr. Ashmore recommends three ways to keep stress in check.

1. Identify Your Triggers

Tense shoulders, headaches, irritability—what are your stress cues? “Everyone is a little different,” Dr. Ashmore says. “Learn to monitor your body, so you can catch stress before it spins out of control.”

2. Learn Skills

Imagery, mindfulness and muscle relaxation can shut off the stress response without requiring you to even move from your desk or your sofa. “If you’re doing these proactively throughout the day, these can help you better manage the onset of a stress response,” Dr. Ashmore says.

3. Get Moving

Yoga, deep breathing or a brisk walk can tame stress from a physiological perspective. “They work, in part, because you’re refocusing your thoughts on that particular activity and not the stressor,” Dr. Ashmore says.

Don’t Stress It

Learn coping techniques for dealing with stress that will help you improve your health at a free seminar at For Women For Life on Saturday, January 26 at 9 a.m. Register at online or by calling 1.800.4BAYLOR.