Posts filed under ‘Stress Management’

The Stress Response

I am excited to announce that my new book is now Available for pre-order from and Barnes and Noble.

Book Description:
Available April 1st, 2012
Stress affects everyone in different ways and can actually help some people become more productive and innovative. But extreme stress more often has a paralyzing effect, and can lead to negative coping behaviors like anger, emotional overreactions, anxiety, and alcohol, drug, or food abuse. This book is the first to offer a dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) program for coping with extreme stress in healthier ways. The four DBT skills can help those prone to overreactions and other negative responses to stress to embrace imperfections, expand their options, and soothe themselves in stressful situations. The Stress Response invites readers to explore their personal stress reactions and practice these new methods of solving the everyday problems that trigger stress. Readers also learn to accept their most stressed-out emotions and thoughts without judging them, and gradually decrease their vulnerability to stress.

Learn more at my website  Follow my new blog on my website.  This blog includes my posts from The Huffington Post, Psych Central and Mental Help Net.


February 27, 2012 at 10:59 am Leave a comment

Posts on PsychCentral and Mental Help Net

If you’d like to see some of my newer posts, you can follow these links to and, where I am a contributor and featured blogger on the topics of stress reduction, Dialectical Behavior Therapy and Mindfulness.

Some recent posts include: Dialectical Behavior Therapy Skills that Help Women Survive Stress and Are You Highly Emotionally Sensitive?

December 7, 2010 at 12:01 pm Leave a comment

101 Ways to Hack a Super Stressful Day

If you’re heading back to school or just need a few helpful tips on how to reduce your stress and improve your health, check out the article 101 Ways to Hack a Super Stressful Day at There are a wide range of tips for work, health and managing emotions, some of the tips include: create a mantra, follow a schedule, stop multitasking, accept less than perfect, smile, work out, drink water and take a walk. There are 101 great tips.

May 25, 2010 at 9:09 am 2 comments

Emotion Self Assessment

In order to understand how you manage your emotions now, it is helpful to think through what you tend to do when faced with crisis, overwhelming emotion or just the stress of everyday living. The following are questions to get you thinking about it.

What do you do to get focused?

What helps you feel centered and present in the moment?

When you’re in a bad mood, what works to change it?

When have you actively done something to help manage feeling angry, stressed, or anxious? What did you do?

What do you do to distract yourself when you’re upset? What do you do to take care of and soothe yourself?

What emotion is the most difficult for you to deal with?

What helps you calm down when you’re upset?

What is hardest for you 1) asking for things you want or need from people, 2) keeping calm when someone tells you ‘NO’, or 3) sticking to your values, even if it means someone will be upset with you.

What negative emotion do you have most often?

Are there aspects of your life that you are currently avoiding dealing with?

Changing emotions, managing crisis, handling conflict and improving awareness of the present require knowledge of how you cope with pain and negative feelings. Attending to what has worked and what is most difficult for you is a step towards better understanding yourself and your need for additional skills.

May 14, 2010 at 7:15 pm 2 comments

The Story of Emotion

Where do emotions come from? Are they simply a wave that rolls over you, unpredictable and unchangable?

Emotions are triggered by events in our environments or in our bodies. Something happens that starts the process of an emotional experience. This could be anything from rain outside to feeling sore from exercise.

It is our thoughts about an event, not the event itself, that determines the emotion we will experience. If it is raining, you might think “I hate the rain” or you might think “At least it’s not snow.” Those two different thoughts will result in very different emotions.

You will feel the emotion as physical sensations in your body. A few examples are that sinking feeling in your stomach, your heart racing, a lack of energy or a burst of energy.

Verbal communication is the ability to name and label the emotion. What does that sinking feeling mean? How about sweaty palms and a racing heart? The ability to name and label your emotions adds a feeling of control and actually can decrease their intensity.

Finally there is an action urge with each emotion. Fear causes us to want to run or hide, anger causes an urge to approach and attack, happiness to reach out to others.

Prompting Event: Something happens
Interpretation: What do you think about he prompting event?
Body Response: What physical sensations do you feel? How does your face change?
Verbal Communication: Can you name the emotion? Can you communicate it verbally to others?
Action Urges: What do you feel

Understanding the story of emotions is an essential step in beginning to change how you feel. You can begin to change how you feel by finding ways to have more pleasant experiences or by changing how you think about the events that are already happening in your life.

May 2, 2010 at 6:21 am 2 comments

Keeping Relationships: Interpersonal Effectiveness Skills

In DBT the skill designed to keep relationships is called the GIVE skill.  It is an acronym, with each letter standing for a behavior that will help you keep a relationship.  You will find that it is a skill that you likely already use on a regular basis with people that you care about and whose company you enjoy.  However, these skills can become much more difficult when you are in a situation with people that you don’t like or enjoy.  A demanding boss, irritating co-worker or incomprehensible manager may test your abilities to stick it out with the GIVE skill.  If you feel angry, hurt, like someone doesn’t respect your opinion, or that you’ve asked for something skillfully and the person still hasn’t responded you may find this skill more difficult. However, if you find yourself at odds with the people in your life, then GIVE is likely a skill that will decrease the conflict you experience and increase your ability to ultimately get what you want from others.  The trick is to remember and use the skill while you are interacting with the person.

G:  Be Gentle.  No attacks or threats.  Be considerate.

I:  Act Interested.  Listen to the other person and their point of view.

V:  Validate the other person.  To validate you have to figure out what problems the person might be having.  Then you have to acknowledge those feelings or problems. 

E:  Use and easy manner.  Try to be lighthearted.  Use humor.  Smile.  Ease the person along.  People don’t like to be bullied or made to feel guilty.

March 22, 2010 at 5:39 pm Leave a comment

Surviving a Crisis with Self-Soothing

When you’re feeling overwhelmed and stressed, be kind, gentle, and comforting to yourself. 

VISION:  Look at things that make you feel calm and soothed, like… stars, clouds, sunsets, sunrises, trees, artwork, posters, paintings, flowers, birds, watch the ocean, watch a fire in a fireplace, nice houses, dream catchers, glass animal figurines, stained glass, fish tanks, fireworks, art books, comic books,  waves, the beach, architecture, lakes, pictures of family, dolphins.

 SMELL:  Smell things that are comforting to you, like… cold air, cookouts, incense, scented candles, campfire, salt air at the beach, bubble bath, lotions, baby smell, clean blankets, sheets, and clothes, rain,  shampoo, favorite foods, soap, flowers, roses, deodorant, powder, wood burning, soda (root beer, grape, orange),  tea, potpourri, popcorn, a pillow.

 HEARING:  Listen to things that make you feel calm and gentle, like…  music, chimes, opera, soft rock (Rod Steward—Faith of Heart), Oldies, dolphins, classical music, 80’s music, birds in back yard, Celine Dion, Moody Blues, sounds of fans, being read to by others, tapping of typing, water falls, frogs.

 TASTE:  Taste things that are comforting, like… pudding, ice cream, herbal tea, chocolate, favorite meal, favorite soda, fried eggplant, seltzer,  strawberries, tic tacs, chocolate cake, chocolate chip cookies, spaghetti, shimp, lobster, Popsicles, potato chips,  brownies, a snowflake, pizza, Peanut Butter and Jelly, toothpaste.

 TOUCH:  Touch things that are comforting and soothing, like…petting a cat or dog, running hands under warm water, bubble bath, running fingers through clean hair, pillow, sitting in a recliner, hot bath, laying on satin/ silk sheets, hot shower, cool water on face, comfortable clothes/ silk, walking on the beach (sand and waves), fuzzy blanket,  soaking feet.

Sometimes when we’re stressed and overwhelmed, we forget to take care of ourselves.  Giving yourself time to self-soothe will increase your ability to manage and function during times of stress.

March 20, 2010 at 8:46 am 1 comment

Multitasking vs. Mindfulness: the Impact on Your Stress

Thanks to all who listened to my interview on Energizing You with Chris Vasiliadis.  If you missed the interview, you can listen to it as a Podcast by following the link below.

Multitasking vs. Mindfulness: the Impact on Your Stress.

February 23, 2010 at 11:16 am Leave a comment

Radio Show

Join me on Monday, February 22 at 6 pm EST on Energizing You, a new internet radio program hosted by Chris Vasiliadis.  I will be a guest on her show this Monday.  The topic of the show is Multitasking vs. Mindfulness:  The Impact on your Stress.  You can follow the link below for a description and to see how to listen.

February 16, 2010 at 11:40 am Leave a comment

Making a New Year’s Resolution that Sticks part 2

STEP 2: Generating Ways to Reach your Goal

Now that you’ve decided on a goal or resolution, you need to figure out how you are going to achieve it.  For example, if your goal is better health, will you focus on losing weight, changing your eating or exercise? At this point, you want to generate as many possible solutions or routes to your resolution as possible.  Spend a little time brain storming different ways to proceed. Try to resist the urge to reject ideas.  Tell yourself that “quantity breeds quality.”

STEP 3:  Evaluating How to Reach Your Resolution

Now is the time to look at what you expect to happen if you begin on your resolution.  Think about what you expect for both in the short term and long term. If you come up with negative consequences (i.e. I’ll start and then lose interest), ask yourself how you might overcome those obstacles. If you find yourself coming up with reasons why every course of action is doomed to fail, take a look at why you might be throwing roadblocks in the way of getting where you want to go.

STEP 4: Choose a Solution

Now that you’ve chosen a resolution and evaluated different ways to get there, it’s time to choose one way. The goal is to implement a course of action that has some likelihood of working.  Take some time to trouble shoot your solution.  Think of all the possible ways it could go wrong and what you can do if it does.

STEP 5: Acting on your Resolution

Go over where, specifically in your day to day life you will do something differently.  What exactly will you do different.  With the example from before of better health, you may decide that you need to shop for foods differently and buy more vegetables and cut them up for handy eating when you get back from the store. You will need to make sure that you have time for vegetable preparation after grocery shopping.

Remember:  people who achieve their goals are not the people who face the least amount of failure.  They are the people who fail and get up and try again.

December 30, 2009 at 11:20 am Leave a comment

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