Stress: 50 Suggestions--page 3by Monica A. Frank, Ph.D.
You may be aware that medication is often prescribed when people are stressed because it is believed that a chemical imbalance is involved or that people need a drug to reduce the symptoms. However, you may not be aware that medication is not the only way to change a chemical imbalance in the brain. Research has shown that chemical changes occur when we engage in different types of activities. For instance, you may be aware of the biochemicals called endorphins that are released when you exercise.
The same is true of the brain chemicals involved with stress. When we engage in certain types of behavior we change our brain chemistry. One method is deep relaxation which releases norepinephrine, a neurotransmitter (chemical) in the brain that is the opposite of adrenalin which causes agitation and tension. So, regular deep relaxation can increase norepinephrine which counter-acts the effects of adrenalin. Read: Why Are Meditative Relaxation and Mindfulness Important?
If you read the article about meditative relaxation, you understand that the more you engage in deep relaxation, the more it helps with your stress symptoms.
The relaxation audios on this website are one method of achieving deep relaxation. If you are new to doing relaxation, you may find at first that your mind wanders and it is difficult to focus. It is okay if that occurs because if you continue listening, overtime you will find yourself more able to relax. As with any skill, relaxation and stress management improves with practice. However, don't try to force yourself to relax because that only increases tension. Just listen to the audio and gently bring your attention back to the audio when your mind wanders.
Also, you might prefer other relaxation audios not in this app. That's okay, too. Use whatever works best for you.
So often stressed individuals are only aware of how bad they feel. They usually are not aware of the fluctuations in their symptoms because those changes may seem so minor compared with how awful the symptoms feel. They might not even be aware that their symptoms are a stress reaction.
However, it can be very beneficial to be aware of how the severity of the symptoms changes in reaction to events or situations in your life. The more you understand about your triggers, the more you can try to prevent or manage the triggers. Or, at least make sure you do more self-care during those times when you may be experiencing a trigger.
In addition, keeping track of the severity of your depression allows you to see how your symptoms may improve in relation to different self-care, stress management, or other treatment techniques you use. In which case, you can choose to focus on using the methods that work best for you.
This website includes the Stress Impact Test which measures the amount of stress you have been experiencing, the degree of reaction you experience, and the your level of positive coping behaviors.
Taking this test regularly allows you to track these three aspects of your experience. The Stress Test and CBT Self-Help app includes a graph of your tests over time for a quick visual of your symptoms. You will be able to see at a glance how increasing your coping behaviors affects your symptoms (reaction). READ MORE: page 4
Kindle Books by
Dr. Monica Frank