Manage Your Stress: Overcoming Stress in the Modern World

Overview

This book aims to give readers a full understanding of the how and why of the human stress response. While once a vital ancient survival tool, our biological stress response may now be in overdrive when confronted by the modern world around us.  Research has repeatedly shown that stress can cause physical illness if undetected and unmanaged.

And  is not always your stress that gets in the way of your success and happiness.  Usually it...

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Manage Your Stress: Overcoming Stress in the Modern World

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Overview

This book aims to give readers a full understanding of the how and why of the human stress response. While once a vital ancient survival tool, our biological stress response may now be in overdrive when confronted by the modern world around us.  Research has repeatedly shown that stress can cause physical illness if undetected and unmanaged.

And  is not always your stress that gets in the way of your success and happiness.  Usually it is someone else's stress that gets in the way of  your success and happiness.  What can  you do to help someone else with their stress so you can both be more successful?

Dr. Shrand addresses the deeper biological and survival reasons we experience stress, exploring ways to relieve your own stress but at the same time breaking new ground when he demonstrates how helping someone else with their stress actually helps you to be more successful — because you are seen as benefactor, a person of value. 

The underlying biological roots of stress have to do with survival — we feel stress when we worry we are inadequate to the task ahead of us.  If we feel  inadequate can we still retain our value to the group on which we depend, or will be cast out to fend for ourselves in a world of predators.  Managing your stress in the modern-day world has to include managing the stress of those around you, and this book will show you how!

 

This book provides readers with psychological and physical strategies necessary to keep stress from undermining their health, their joy, and the happiness of those around them. These simple and practical strategies help relieve our stress, and the stress of those around us.

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Shrand (psychiatry, Harvard Medical Sch.) and independent producer, director, and writer Devine aim to help readers understand stress and how to manage and relieve it to live healthier lives. They first illustrate the value of stress in terms of survival, then use case studies to illustrate how chronic stress can affect health in a multitude of ways. In the second half of the book, they enumerate how readers can build healthy responses to stress: by getting enough exercise and sleep, meditating, assessing friendships, and obtaining professional help. VERDICT While this isn't new information, the authors present realistic remedies for combating the stress that arises from common, everyday experiences, making this book applicable to a wide audience.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780312605797
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press
  • Publication date: 7/3/2012
  • Pages: 272
  • Sales rank: 515,594
  • Product dimensions: 5.56 (w) x 8.04 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

Dr. Joseph Shrand is an Instructor of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, and the Medical Director of CASTLE (Clean and Sober Teens Living Empowered), a brand new intervention unit for at-risk teens

which is part of the highly respected High Point Treatment Center in Brockton, MA. Dr. Shrand is triple Board certified in adult psychiatry, child and adolescent psychiatry, and a diplomate of the American Board of Addiction Medicine.

Currently he also teaches psychiatry residents-in-training as a member of the Brockton VA staff, and has been an Assistant Child Psychiatrist on the medical staff of Massachusetts General Hospital. Dr. Shrand has served as Medical Director of the Child and Adolescent outpatient program at McLean Hospital, has run several inpatient psychiatric units, and was until recently the Medical Director of the Adult

Inpatient Psychiatric Unit for High Point Treatment Centers in Plymouth. He is also the Medical Director of Road to Responsibility, a community based program that tends to adults with significant

developmental disability and serves on various Boards involved in national mental health issues as well as global fair-trade concerns.He helped to design the Independence Academy, the first sober high school on the South Shore of Massachusetts, and currently sits on the Steering Committee.

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Read an Excerpt

chapter 1

 

 

A Response to Your World

 

 

For nearly a decade Jennifer supported herself and four kids as a shrimp-net maker. But after the oil-rig explosion in 2010 shut down Gulf fishing, Jennifer couldn’t find other work and was forced to accept charity for the first time. Her hardest moments came at Christmas when she had little to give her children. While things had been tough before, Jennifer recalls that her stress level was at least manageable. “If I only had to worry about my car breaking down here and there, I’d still be pretty happy,” she said.

For all of us, stress comes in many different packages. Jennifer’s latest stress has been brought on by a sudden, negative change in circumstances. For others, stress comes on in a traumatic way such as a car accident or death of a loved one. But routine, chronic stress that is related to work pressures, family life, and other responsibilities can, in the long run, lead to serious physical and mental health consequences if not managed properly. And this kind of stress can sneak up on you quietly and gradually.

If you’ve picked up this book because you’re thinking that stress may be getting the better of you—or possibly even making you sick—then you are in good company. As the ripple effect of the Great Recession is still being felt across the country, people are reporting both high levels of daily stress as well as acutely stressful events, brought on by the nation’s economic woes. According to the American Psychological Association’s Stress in America 2010 survey, 76 percent of the respondents cited money concerns as the number one source of stress, followed by work at 70 percent, and worries about the general economy at 65 percent. Despite their awareness of the source, only a third of those surveyed said they were doing a good job managing their stress. And the majority of children whose parents endure very high levels of stress say there is a negative impact on their families.

While it is inevitable that human beings are going to be faced with many types of stressful events throughout a lifetime—from traumatic events to daily irritants—what is not a given is how we respond to those events. We can reduce the impact of stress in our lives and on our health by understanding why we experience stress, what is going on in our brain and body, and how, in fact, we cannot live safely without stress.

Your Perception of Stress Triggers

Many people describe their stress in concrete and common ways such as work deadlines, rude drivers, argumentative coworkers, a stack of unpaid bills, being evaluated. The feelings you experience at these times tend to be negative, can put you in a bad mood, or even worse, make you angry and aggressive.

But if you look at these scenarios as a third party or a medical expert, you would see how these instances are actually individual causes or sources of the stress experience. We call them stressors or triggers. In general, they come in two varieties:

  1.   common, daily occurrences that grind down on your patience, or

  2.   unexpected events that seem to conspire against you before you’ve even gotten to work

You feel like you’ve been mentally and physically put through the wringer and, in a way, you really have. Your body has reacted to the event of being cut off in traffic almost in the same way as if a rhinoceros had charged you. When you experience a stress trigger your heart beats quickly, your palms and body sweat, blood rushes to your face, and your breathing quickens. Some stress makes us just want to run away or hide. Other times people feel charged, ready to fight after the event has passed. Sometimes people feel exhausted by it, or overwhelmed. Whatever your instinctive feeling may be in those moments, it is what you choose to do right after that stress moment that can mean the difference between a ruined or normal day.

All too often we continue to let our fear or anger from a stress trigger stew and feed upon itself. We focus on the event, replaying it, telling it to others. Few of us are taught that what is actually happening in our minds and bodies during a stress trigger is a perfectly normal and protective physiological event. Having the tools to cope and calm ourselves when we are confronted by either a chronically stressful job, or a sudden negative event will make a big difference when we experience the stress response.

In order to understand why we respond to triggers—and it happens to all of us automatically—it helps to look at the human brain and the mechanisms that trigger our stress responses. This journey takes us deep into the central workings of the human neuroendocrine system, which is responsible for the delicate interplay between our brain and the chemicals and hormones that influence how we react and respond to the world around us. Once you begin to learn about why our bodies do what they do, you’ll see how stress is a useful partner in life. Without it, we could not have survived as a species.

 

Copyright © 2012 by Harvard University

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments ix

Part I what is stress? 1

Chapter 1 A Response to Your World 3

Chapter 2 Biological Origins of Stress 9

Part II understanding your stress 23

Chapter 3 Key Sources of Stress 25

Chapter 4 Common and Mysterious Symptoms of Stress 49

Part III stress and your body systems 73

Chapter 5 How Chronic Stress Can Harm Your Health 75

Part IV addressing your stress 95

Chapter 6 Healthy Responses to Stress 97

Part V managing your stress 109

Chapter 7 Lifestyle Balance to Minimize Stress 111

Chapter 8 Creating a Stress-Reduction Plan 141

Part VI severe stress 167

Chapter 9 Handling Severe Stress and Unexpected Stress Events 169

Part VII reducing the stress of people around you 191

Chapter 10 How to Become a Stress Expert 193

Chapter 11 The Future of Stress and Epigenetics 211

Part VIII references and resources 229

Chapter References 231

Information Resources 239

Harvard University Links 241

Index 243

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