Stressed? What NOT to Do… and What to Try

by on August 2nd, 2011 at 7:00 am

After a stressful situation, how likely are you to rehash the upsetting event to a friend or loved one to  try and “get it off your chest” and put it behind you? While venting may be a common response to dealing with stress , new research shows it may actually make you feel worse.

According to existing research and findings from the study, conducted at the University of Kent in England, ruminating about the situation only prolonged negative feelings and increased stress levels in participants.

Instead, the researchers summarized other three effective coping strategies, including: acceptance, humor and positive reframing. Perfectionist-type participants were especially successful when using positive reframing, calling out the positive in the negative, because as a whole perfectionists tend to be less satisfied than others, regardless of their achievements. By focusing on the positive, the focus moved away from what not achieved.

Another study from the Netherlands focused on using a technique called “stimulus control”, where participants were instructed to set aside a set period of half an hour each day to “worry” – and deliberately avoid the worrisome thoughts the rest of the day.

The study only used a small group, but the worry reduction technique showed decreased anxiety, stress and depression symptoms versus people who using only standard anxiety treatments. While more research needs to be done on a larger group to substantiate the findings, other experts who commented on the study suggested that simply trying the technique may cause a placebo effect that can help mitigate stress and anxiety.

Other ways to manage stress

Exercise, yoga, meditation, deep breathing and muscle relaxation techniques have all been shown to reduce stress and clear the mind of unwanted thoughts and concerns. Proper sleep and diet are also important components to emotional well-being.

Some herbal remedies recommended for all natural stress relief are Hypericum perforatum (St. John’s wort), Passiflora incarnata, Scuttelaria laterifolia (Scullcap) and Valerian. Theses herbal remedies all serve to relieve the anxiety and tension related to stress.


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One Response to “Stressed? What NOT to Do… and What to Try”

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