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Stress management

Created by Ryan Scott Patton.

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Video transcript

- [Instructor] Okay, so in this video, I wanna talk about coping with stress. So coping, coping with stress because most of the info so far in this playlist has been pretty terrible news and I wanna shift over to some more fun topics like how do we start to alleviate some of the stress that's constantly pounding us down and the first area that I wanna talk about is perceived control. So perceived control. And many studies have shown that a perceived lack of control is associated with higher rates of stress. So Dr. Robert Sapolsky showed this with baboons who have social hierarchy structures that are quite similar to humans and based off blood samples and study and stress hormone levels. He determined that those primates at the bottom of the barrel socially experience much more stress than the ruling, elite baboons and then similarly, a human study called the Whitehall Study showed the exact same effect in humans based off relative rank in the workplace over in Britain and so it makes good physiological sense based on the understanding that our body responds to perceived threats through that choreographed stress response that we've been talking about and then a lack of control is certainly a perceived threat. So it makes sense that low socioeconomic status and lack of control increase stress and one suggestion made by Dr. Robert Sapolsky to respond to this is to look for areas of your life where you can take a little bit of that control back. So to be the king of your own castle and maybe this is captaining your work softball team or securing a leadership position in your community or even scheduling out events that stress you out so that you feel in control when it's time to complete them, you actually making the schedule but perceived control can help us cope with stress and then the next big area is optimism and Dr. Patch Adams was certainly an advocate of laughter as the best kind of medicine in that 1990s film but that advice is probably not trivial and many studies have connected humor and optimism with decreased stress and so it's probably much easier said than done but nurturing an optimistic outlook can be a great way to cope with stress. So we've got perceived control and we've got optimism and then the next one is through social support. Social support is the next coping mechanism for stress and it's one of the best coping mechanisms of stress because deep connectedness allows us to confide those painful or difficult feelings and that allows us to understand that we're not alone in many of those feelings and this can contribute to our perception of control and our optimism. Also, supportive communities are associated with better eating and exercise and sleeping patterns. So some examples of social supports that have been verified by studies to positively benefit stress coping include marriage, domesticated animals like puppy dogs and kitty cats and close friendships. So social support, optimism and perceived control are all great coping mechanisms for dealing with stress but while all the coping mechanisms can help us experience less stress, sometimes those stressors are unavoidable and we simply need to manage them so I also wanna talk about managing stress. So managing stress and when the stress is there, how do we manage it? And the first stress management tool that I wanna talk about is exercise. So exercise and exercise gives us the ability to decrease our chance of cardiovascular disease because exercise is gonna contribute to our increased cerebrovascular health with our brain and our hearts and our blood vessels and it's gonna increase neurogenesis. It's gonna help us grow new neurons and processes but you can't just be a weekend warrior. You need to exercise daily. So 20 to 30 minutes daily is suggested in order to get those cardiovascular effects that we want and also, regular exercise especially for stress relief requires a good amount of planning so you're gonna have to plan because we're gonna have to shove aside a lot of the stressors that we're combating just to make time for this exercise. So we've got exercise and then we've also got meditation. Meditation, we can put meditation in our stress management tool belt and this is gonna help us lower our heart rate and our blood pressure and our cholesterol and it's kind of hard to have a symbol for meditation but the best one that I could come up with is this om symbol 'cause when I think of meditation, I think of that om sound and this is the Hindu om symbol but note the literature is still out on the persistence of these effects related to meditation and it's kind of obvious that the kind of people who choose to meditate are already responding to stress a bit differently but still, it has shown great results in combating the negative cardiovascular effects of stress so we're gonna put that in our tool belt. We've got meditation and then we've also got religious beliefs and faith. It's actually a nightmare of political correctness to come up with a symbol for religious beliefs and faith so I'm gonna try to choose one that's maybe less obvious. I wanna offend as few people as possible. We'll put the yin and the yang up there and this might be correlated, this religious belief and faith aspect of stress management might be correlated with a generalized kinda healthier lifestyle because excessive alcohol and tobacco use are generally frowned upon by many of the big world religions and then another big part of faith based stress management are the social supports that are usually associated with these places of worship but again, we're gonna put this in our stress management tool belt and then the last area that I wanna talk about is cognitive flexibility. So cognitive flexibility. So cognitive flexibility is gonna give us the ability to take one step back and kinda reformulate the way that we're approaching the stress if it's not working, if the way we're approaching it is not working. So as an example of this, the serenity prayer is kind of this mantra used a lot in 12 step meetings. So it goes something like, Lord, grant me the serenity to accept the things I can't change, the courage to change the things I can and the wisdom to know the difference. And so the benefit of perspective change is huge in our body's perception of stressors, of what is stressing us out and how we're responding with our stress reactions. Often, the limiting reagent in this situation is the wisdom part and so a good way to work on this area is through some outside help, maybe especially somebody that's professionally trained in psychological healthcare like a counselor but cognitive flexibility is gonna be put into our stress management tool belt. So we have four great areas that we can focus on stress management when those stressors are just there and we've got three areas up top with stress coping that will hopefully help us reduce some of the stress that's in our life.