[T]herapists report that many of their patients are even more upset as they struggle to make sense of the direction in which the country is heading. And many can’t tear themselves away from the news…
“Use your anxiety to motivate you,” [Dr. Stephen Hayes] said. “Think about what you value most and take action.” Taking action can help to instill the sense that you have some control over your environment — what psychologists call perceived self-efficacy — and leave you feeling less stressed.
Controlled breathing…has been shown to reduce stress, increase alertness and boost your immune system. For centuries yogis have used breath control, or pranayama, to promote concentration and improve vitality. Buddha advocated breath-meditation as a way to reach enlightenment.
Science is just beginning to provide evidence that the benefits of this ancient practice are real. Studies have found, for example, that breathing practices can help reduce symptoms associated with anxiety, insomnia, post-traumatic stress disorder, depression and attention deficit disorder.
[S]cientists say that meditators…may be benefiting from changes in their brains. The researchers report that those who meditated for about 30 minutes a day for eight weeks had measurable changes in gray-matter density in parts of the brain associated with memory, sense of self, empathy and stress.
An evidence-based review of published literature finds support for the premise that feeling good may be good for your health…“We all age. It is how we age, however, that determines the quality of our lives,” said Anthony Ong, Ph.D., of Cornell University, author of the review article. The data he reviews suggest that positive emotions may be a powerful antidote to stress, pain, and illness.
–Almost three in 10 (29 percent) residents report having a great deal of stress (defined as an 8, 9 or 10 on a scale of 1 to 10), compared to 24 percent of Americans overall.
–LA residents are more likely than Americans overall to point to the economy as a source of stress (75 percent vs. 65 percent) and less likely to cite family responsibilities (47 percent vs. 58 percent).
–The percentage of individuals who report feeling stressed out at work jumped significantly, from 29 percent in 2009 to 39 percent in 2010.
The list of ailments connected to stress is staggeringly diverse and includes everything from the common cold and lower-back pain to Alzheimer’s disease, major depressive disorder, and heart attack. Stress hollows out our bones and atrophies our muscles. It triggers adult-onset diabetes and is a leading cause of male impotence. In fact, numerous studies of human longevity in developed countries have found that psychosocial factors such as stress are the single most important variable in determining the length of a life.