It’s not what you know… but what you do…
Wellness lectures are not as helpful as actually practicing mind/body stress reduction exercises if you want to have lower level of stress chemicals during stressful situations.
Elizabeth Hoge measured the stress chemical ACTH as well as inflammatory cytokines in her recent NIH study on adults experiencing generalized anxiety .
She stressed them with an 8 minute impromptu speech followed by a 5 minute oral math quiz performed under floodlights and videotaped before a live audience – a stressful situation for most people!
After measuring their stress responses, she randomly divided them into 2 groups :
- one received wellness education lectures on exercise, diet, time management & sleep
- the other group had Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction training and and daily practice with audio recordings of breath awareness, body-scan and gentle Hatha yoga exercises
After 8 weeks both groups again experienced the stressful speech situation.
Unlike the education group, the MBSR group had significantly lower ACTH during this second speech and a greater reduction in inflammatory markers.
From this, Hoge suggests that MBSR may enhance resilience to stress and is a viable option in addition to medications and psychotherapy for people experiencing anxiety.
What are you actually doing to decrease your stress?
( Not reading or thinking about, but doing ? )
I vividly remember a man in my Relaxation & Stress Management program many years ago who told me that he had “read 4 books on this topic, but none were nearly as helpful as coming to the program“.
That’s because we actually do techniques in the program, and daily practice is part of the training.
Take a moment now. Just breathe.
Practice when you can.
Keep doing it.
For effective, practical stress management skills that enhance health and performance, check out the Stress Management & High Performance Clinic programs at http://www.SelfRegulationSkills.ca.
Kathy Somers, R.Kin, BCB