Stress is simply a reaction to a stimulus that disturbs our physical or mental equilibrium. In other words, it's an omnipresent part of life. A stressful event can trigger the “fight-or-flight” response, causing hormones such as adrenaline and cortisol to surge through the body. A little bit of stress, known as “acute stress,” can be exciting—it keeps us active and alert. But long-term, or “chronic stress,” can have detrimental effects on health. You may not be able to control the stressors in your world, but you can alter your reaction to them.

Recent Posts on Stress

How a Sense of Purpose Can Help You Live Longer

By Romeo Vitelli Ph.D. on July 06, 2015 in Media Spotlight
Recognizing what you want out of life and having a plan to achieve it is an important part of emotional well-being at any point in our lives. Still, a new research study published in the journal Development Psychology demonstrates that having a purpose in life is especially important in successful aging, both as a way of managing stress and preventing depression.

Arousal: Must It Mean Fear and Danger?

We can feel fear when safe. We can feel no fear when in danger. It takes more than feelings to determine whether we are safe or not. A sophisticated system hosted in the pre-frontal cortex does that.

Pet Sematary, Cujo, and Disaster Psychology

Psychological lessons from a chilling incident during our Maine vacation.

The Moment I Was Transformed Into a Champion Worrier

When I was a fearless young person, I had no clue that I would one day turn into a champion worrier.

Difficult Choices Following Bipolar Destabilization

Medical withdrawal from enrollment can be a painful but necessary choice sometimes encountered by university students with bipolar disorder. This blog post discuses the importance of carefully managing ones recovery during the time away from school in order to maximize chances of success upon return to the university environment.

Ten Tips for Making a Family Vacation Great

By Guy Winch Ph.D. on July 05, 2015 in The Squeaky Wheel
Why do so many family vacations fail to live up to our expectations and what can we do about it? Read on to discover the secret to making family vacations great.

Funny… or Bullying?

In his Comedy Central special, Ari Shaffir viciously took on a female comic for being fat and having only one arm - even mentioning her by her full name. Is this comedy or bullying? Is this OK? What are your thoughts?

What Happens in the Shower May Not Stay in the Shower

By Seth J. Gillihan Ph.D. on July 02, 2015 in Think, Act, Be
Experiencing your shower in a different way might change your day.

4 Tips for Dealing with Unsolicited Health Advice

Despite our attempts to be honest with family and friends about not wanting advice, some may continue to give it. This calls for self-protection in the form of self-compassion. We can gently remind ourselves what a burden it is to add to our ongoing pain and illness the work of having to access how to skillfully deal with what others are telling us to do about our health.

Why (Almost) Everyone Is Happy About Same-Sex Marriage

By Ran Zilca on July 02, 2015 in Confessions of a Techie
How is it that a topic that was deeply divisive for years becomes so vastly supported, almost unanimously perceived as a victory?

New Research Tools to Test Brain Injury

By Eric Newhouse on July 01, 2015 in Invisible Wounds
Scientists at UCLA have been studying the brains of retired football players to determine what types of brain damage are caused by repeated concussions, and new technologies are allowing them to examine living brains. The next step will involve combat vets to see how they differ from NFL players and from Alzheimer's victims.

The No-Vacation Nation

By Shimi Kang M.D. on July 01, 2015 in The Dolphin Way
Who killed summer vacation? That’s the million dollar question - literally. We’ve all seen it. Most of us have even been this person at one point or another: You know, the one who sits poolside at a resort glued to their smartphone or laptop, and whose entire holiday itinerary revolves around whether or not WiFi will be readily available.

Eight Ways to Move on From Failure & Disappointment

Failure and disappointment are an inevitable part of life, yet they can be challenging and difficult to deal with. Research shows that persistence and determination are just as or more important to success than natural talent. Here are 8 tools to help you get back out there and keep putting your best self forward.

Are You Having a Relationship with an Adult Coloring Book?

As of this writing, five of the top 30 titles on Amazon’s best-seller list are adult coloring books. With over 2000 titles out there and rising, the phenomenon of adult coloring-within-the-lines just seems to have no end in sight. Just why have adult coloring books become such a phenomenon?

Why Are U.S. Workers Both Burned Out and Satisfied?

A recent survey of U.S. workers by Staples Advantage found some puzzling results: 53 percent of employees report feeling burned out at their jobs, yet 86 percent of those workers say that they are satisfied. How can this be?

Your Commute Could Be Killing Your Happiness

If reducing your commute isn't an option, changing your attitude could combat the negative effects of a lengthy commute.

Wanting to Feel Good, Familiar or Useful?

But what about familar emotions? Do people like, and seek out, familiar emotions more than unfamilar ones? Or, do people merely seek out emotions that feel good?

The Power of Integrative Medicine When All Else Fails

By Emma M. Seppälä Ph.D. on June 30, 2015 in Feeling It
A new generation of patients and doctors is changing the face of American medicine. It's about more than curing disease now—it's health for the whole person.

12 Bliss Tips: Love and Gratitude Can Reduce Stress

The 4th of July is a time for celebrating freedom and the world comes aglow with fireworks. It is a good time to rethink ways of freeing yourself from stress, making the time to dream, and practicing gratitude and kindness to find your bliss.

Ten Powerful Psychology Tools to Calm Your Anxious Mind

Are you stuck in overthinking? Anxious thoughts and worries can overwhelm you and make it even more difficult to make decisions and take action to deal with whatever problem is bothering you. Learn tools from Mindfulness and Cognitive-Behavior Therapy to take back control of your life.

This Is Your Brain on Stress

Hey man, don’t stress me out! We’ve all experienced stress from threats (physical, social, and financial), fears, and uncertainty, Stress isn't just in your mind—it's in your brain. Stress changes your brain structure—and not in a good way. Click here to find out how to change it back!

Saving Sleep Medicine

Sleep is critical to life, and sleep medicine important to health.

Stop Worrying About How Much You Matter

By Peter Bregman on June 25, 2015 in How We Work
For many years — almost as long as he could remember — Ian* owned and ran a successful pub in his small town in Ireland. Ian was well-known around town. He had lots of friends, many of whom he saw when they came to eat and drink, and he was happy. Eventually, Ian decided to sell his establishment.

Interpersonal Mistreatment as a Work Demand

Interpersonal mistreatment may be one of the demands that an employee faces at work. This post explores possible causes and consequences of interpersonal mistreatment, and discusses opportunities for thriving in the presence of this work demand.

The Art of Idleness

By Neel Burton M.D. on June 25, 2015 in Hide and Seek
Research suggests that people will find any excuse to keep busy.

Taboo of Male Rape Keeps Victims Silent

The stigmatization of male rape victims is harsh, such that survivors may not identify as victims, or realize that they have experienced a sexual assault.

The Data Doctor on Researcher-Practice Communication

A researcher asks the Data Doctor about the best ways to make share her work with practitioners, who live in a rather different universe despite some overlapping training in graduate school. Poor communication between researchers and practitioners is one of the biggest problems in the field today (and, I think, mostly the fault of researchers).

Why Does Anyone Do Yoga, Anyway?

By Marlynn Wei M.D., J.D. on June 22, 2015 in Urban Survival
New studies show yoga helps keeps your brain young. But is that all yoga does for us?

5 Ways to Sink Summer Stress

It's summer. Time to relax.

“Micro-traumas” Can Undermine Our Emotional Health

“Micro-traumas” Can Undermine our Emotional Health. Subtly hurtful patterns of interaction often diminish self-worth and well being. By Margaret Crastnopol, Ph.D.