StressStop Blog Stress management expert Jim Porter gives useful information and tips on how to reduce the effects of stress in your life. en-us Sat, 08 May 2010 04:00:00 GMT Sat, 08 May 2010 09:41:01 GMT Journaling <img src="" width="100" height="100" align="left" hspace="5"/>Most of us only have a vague notion of what is REALLY causing us to feel stressed. For example, when you say "my job is stressful," what does that mean? There could be any number of reasons why you feel that your job is stressful. One of the best ways to pinpoint exactly what is going on is to keep a journal or a log of anything and everything that stresses you for at least a week, preferably two. Tue,27 Jan 2015 00:00:00 Holiday Stress <img src="" width="100" height="100" align="left" hspace="5"/>Everyone has a different take on why the holidays are so stressful. For some it's too commercial, for others it's a lot of money and credit card debt, and for still others it's a painful reminder of a loved one who is no longer there to share it with you. Fri,19 Dec 2014 23:47:41 What I learned at this year's NATIONAL WELLNESS CONFERENCE: Wellness vs. wellbeing, ranking your food on a scale from 1-100 and Laser Coaching <img src="" width="100" height="100" align="left" hspace="5"/>The National Wellness Conference was held this year in Minneapolis, MN for the first time ever. It's been held in Steven's Point, Wisconsin now for over thirty years. Having spent a wonderful week in Minneapolis, learning about wellness, riding the Minneapolis light rail system, checking out trendy restaurants and walking across the beautiful Mississippi river too many times to even count (the campus is located on BOTH sides) I highly doubt the conference will ever go back to Steven's Point which is just too small a city to properly support this conference (in my opinion). Tue,28 Oct 2014 00:00:00 Snakes, Stress and Brain Science <img src="" width="100" height="100" align="left" hspace="5"/>I'm in the Catskills in upstate NY this week and I snapped this picture of a snake that looked like it was about to eat my car. There's a lot of wildlife up here, and one of the things I love most about living in the woods is seeing creatures like this and trying to figure out exactly what it is I've seen by looking them up online. Once I got on the internet, I discovered that this four foot long snake was a harmless milk snake. I also watched a great video of a baby milk snake attacking a man who was brave enough to pick it up. Even though it's just a baby, you can see in this video that this snake's brain is programmed to attack. Mon,07 Jul 2014 00:00:00 The Future Of Stress Management <img src="" width="100" height="100" align="left" hspace="5"/>In my last blog I gave you ten reasons why most people DON'T manage stress. In this blog I'm going to give you ten reasons why you WILL manage stress in the future. Here is what we need to start doing differently now in order to manage stress in the future: Tue,29 Oct 2013 00:00:00 Ten Reasons Why You Don't Manage Stress <img src="" width="100" height="100" align="left" hspace="5"/>Over the years, I've been made painfully aware of some of the roadblocks we are up against when it comes to raising awareness about stress management. In this regard, it seems to me, we are today where smoking was in the mid 1960's. That's when the first warning label went up on a pack of cigarettes. Do you remember what it said? Mon,12 Aug 2013 00:00:00 Intrinsic Motivation And Behavior Change <img src="" width="100" height="100" align="left" hspace="5"/>One of the things I really enjoy about going to wellness conferences is meeting the experts that attend them and finding out what the next big trend in wellness is going to be. This year two subjects that have come up a lot are intrinsic motivation and the (new found) importance stress management. As I mentioned in my last blog, at the American Journal of Health Promotion Conference (AJHP) in March, Dr. Michael Roizen (head of Wellness for the Cleveland Clinic) made a big point of encouraging people to teach stress management before tackling weight loss or smoking cessation because, as he pointed out, you won't have much luck with the second two if you haven't tackled stress management first. Intrinsic motivation was another hot topic as well. Wed,26 Jun 2013 00:00:00 Incentivizing Health Promotion: This TIME is somehow different from the last TIME. <img src="" width="100" height="100" align="left" hspace="5"/>It was a David and Goliath moment that one seldom gets to see anywhere, let alone at a small health promotion conference (The American Journal of Health Promotion Conference to be exact) in the back of a small seminar room in Hilton Head, South Carolina. Michael Roizen, M.D., a giant in the healthcare industry who is a division head of the world renowned Cleveland Clinic and coauthor of the "YOU" series of books is sitting in the back of the room and a little known adjunct assistant professor from Michigan State University, Dr. Jonathan Robison is standing in the front. At issue, among other things, is a Time Magazine cover story about the high cost of healthcare entitled "Why Medical Bills are Killing Us." Mon,20 May 2013 00:00:00 My Fourth And Fifth Days In India: How I Used The Concept Of The Compassionate Witness To Recover My Sense Of Wellbeing <img src="" width="100" height="100" align="left" hspace="5"/>(SOILER ALERT: I apologize in advance, that this blog, as my kids would say, contains TMI (way too much information) of a personal nature.) Mon,18 Mar 2013 00:00:00 Stress, Trauma and Coping <img src="" width="100" height="100" align="left" hspace="5"/>I attended a conference on Stress, Trauma and Coping in Baltimore last weekend that was sponsored by the International Critical Incident Stress Foundation or ICISF. One of the things that ICISF does is to teach medical professionals and first responders how to cope with trauma. The organization promotes a simple seven step "debriefing" method and this debriefing process is called Critical Incident Stress Management or CISM. Thu,07 Mar 2013 00:00:00 My Third And Fourth Days In India: The Neuroplasticity Of Travel <img src="" width="100" height="100" align="left" hspace="5"/>Everywhere you go in India you see people living as they have for hundreds if not thousands of years easily co-existing with people who are living perfectly modern lives. It's mind-boggling! (I like to say that what boggles the mind rewires the mind - but more on neuro-plasticity later.) Tue,12 Feb 2013 00:00:00 My Second Day In India: The Gift Of Non-Fear <img src="" width="100" height="100" align="left" hspace="5"/>Before you leave for India, everyone tries to make you afraid of it. At my favorite Indian restaurant, I told the owner's wife I was leaving soon and she responded: "Better you than me. Be sure to bring lots of power bars (implying the food was unsafe to eat) and plenty of bug repellant (referring to the possibility of getting malaria). The mosquitoes there are bigger than I am." She's such a tiny woman, for a moment I imagined it being true. Thu,31 Jan 2013 00:00:00 My First Day In India And The History Of Mind/Body Medicine <img src="" width="100" height="100" align="left" hspace="5"/>My first day in India was so remarkable it's hard know where to begin. It started in a little three wheeled green and yellow taxi with open sides, careening through dirty streets crowded with people some of whom were burning little piles of garbage on the sidewalks. During the course of this day I saw "sacred" cows and stray dogs wandering in the streets and Monkey's playing with their babies overhead in the trees. I literally had to play chicken with the cars and the busses and the motorcycles in order to cross ANY street. I was hugged by Indian school children, who wanted to pose with me in pictures because I was a "foreigner." Tue,15 Jan 2013 00:00:00 Cultivating Gratitude And Being Thankful <img src="" width="100" height="100" align="left" hspace="5"/>I went to yoga class on Thanksgiving morning, and when it was over a woman next to me announced with a smile: "Now I can go home and face my in-laws." There's always a bit of a release at the end of a good yoga class where you just kind of let go of whatever it is you are holding on to. The same thing happened to me in a yoga class I took the day before hurricane Sandy rolled through Connecticut. I remember walking into that class feeling anxious and tense and walking out feeling much more at peace and at ease. Tue,04 Dec 2012 00:00:00 Ten Things You Can Do To Manage Stress After A Major Storm Or Hurricane <img src="" width="100" height="100" align="left" hspace="5"/>During the storm or hurricane, your body naturally reacts to the sound of the high winds with a tremendous amount of fear and trepidation. Your amygdala is the part of the brain that watches out for your safety. It's always on the lookout for anything that's remotely threatening: even a loud noise that sounds like a tree falling nearby will start your amygdala firing. So, you can imagine what's going to happen when the trees REALLY DO start to fall. Army recruits and emergency responders spend years learning how to over-ride this automatic response to life-threatening situations. Mon,19 Nov 2012 00:00:00 Ten Things That Will Help You Manage The Stress Of A Hurricane <img src="" width="100" height="100" align="left" hspace="5"/>Having lived through many hurricanes and recently through Hurricane Irene, I can tell you that the stress we are all feeling right now is different from the stress we might experience in a traffic jam, at work or in school. This is a kind of low-level stress that builds slowly and doesn't dissipate easily. Different from acute stress (the more common variety) which comes on fast and dissipates quickly, this stress slowly raises your blood pressure and heart rate and gradually increases muscle tension over a period of days, or in a prolonged crisis, over weeks and sometimes months. Mon,29 Oct 2012 00:00:00 How to Use Your Whole Brain: Changing Your Behavior <img src="" width="100" height="100" align="left" hspace="5"/>If you've ever tried to limit your calorie intake you know how challenging it can be to give up your favorite desert or fattening treat. Sometimes we just want what we want and there is no stopping us. The unconscious mind often secretly drives these seemingly "uncontrollable" desires. This leaves your conscious mind wondering: why am I so weak? Fri,05 Oct 2012 00:00:00 How To Use Your Whole Brain: Redefining The Notion Of Who YOU Are <img src="" width="100" height="100" align="left" hspace="5"/>I learned something very interesting about the difference between my conscious mind and my unconscious mind while taking my 16-year old daughter to her first driver's education class. In order to sign her in and pay for the course, I needed to show her learner's permit, which my daughter had handed me moments before. When I saw her a few minutes later, naturally she asked for it back. I looked in my pockets and then in my wallet and it wasn't there. I asked the person at the registration desk and she didn't have it either. Mon,27 Aug 2012 00:00:00 Yoga and Chronic Pain <img src="" width="100" height="100" align="left" hspace="5"/>When I miss yoga for more than a week, a long running bout with chronic pain (which may have to do with an old case of Lyme disease) rears its ugly head. When this chronic pain first hits me I feel a low level ache that runs up and down the backs of my legs. Sometimes, if I let things go long enough, it radiates out into other areas of my body, like my hips. It's hard to describe exactly, except to say, that if I bend down with my legs straight and try to touch my toes the pain is often excruciating. Fri,13 Jul 2012 00:00:00 You Teach What You Most Need To Learn <img src="" width="100" height="100" align="left" hspace="5"/>When I first got into the stress management business over twenty five years ago, I was stress sensitive (see my previous blog entitled: Are You Stress Sensitive?) and I didn't even know it. Over the first ten years in this business I would occasionally suffer from stress-related health problems and not even fully appreciate the irony, or even care. And that's one of the enduring mysteries of stress: why we don't always see how stress affects us. Why we don't see how grumpy we've become, or how easily upset we've become, or why we ignore the headaches we get or the colds we catch or the stomach pain we experience after a particularly stressful episode in our lives. For some reason, we just don't connect the dots back to our stress, or if we do, we never really see it clearly enough to do much of anything about it. Mon,18 Jun 2012 00:00:00