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Keep Those Bouts With Stress Short

One of the little-discussed aspects of stress management among conventional medical "experts" that I talk about often here on my Web site: You can't eliminate stress entirely, nor would you want to do so. Getting rid of stress isn't the answer either, because if you didn't experience it at all, you'd probably be dead.

That pretty much mirrors the views of one Stanford neuroscientist interviewed this week by the Washington Post (free text link below). The notion anyone can or should or eliminate stress from their lives, is a fallacy. The key, according to the Stanford expert, is not letting those stressful episodes last too long.

Riding a roller coaster or watching a scary movie -- both short-term propositions -- can be invigorating. Holding onto stress for days, however, isn't healthy for your brain or the rest of your body. In fact, ongoing stress damages the hippocampus, central in the brain to memory and learning. Moreover, neurons in the prefrontal cortex begin to shrivel under constant stress too.

Surprisingly, the neuroscientist also agrees that a more natural solution -- meditation -- can refocus your mind and help you better understand where the stress comes from than taking a drug.

Another effective tool you can use to maintain your handle on stress is the Emotional Freedom Technique, the energy psychology tool I use daily in my practice that you can learn with the help of my free online manual.

Washington Post December 13, 2005

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