Progressive Muscle Relaxation

Progressive Muscle Relaxation is the relaxation technique that I have had the most success with, (and I have tried many of them!) – by that we mean a technique to help in the moment with stress and anxiety, as opposed to something like mindfulness meditation or another meditation technique, which works best as a regular practice that over time reduces anxiety. …

The Science of Slow Breathing

In an April 5, 2017 article in the New York Times, Gretchen Reynolds reviews new research on the science of slow breathing and how this ancient technique may work to promote relaxation, reduce anxiety, and prevent panic attacks. The technique of controlled breathing or pranayama (प्राणायाम) is referred to in the Bhagavad Gita, and thus dates back at least to …

Awareness and Acceptance

The New York Times has had a series of well written articles on the topic of mindfulness. The most recent article notes that brain scans show that mindfulness can change the way our brains function, and help us improve attention, reduce stress hormones and even bounce back faster from negative information. The increased ability to bounce back from negative information that comes from …

The Different Types of Vacations

This past weekend, we were at a Halloween party talking to a computer engineer who recently moved here from Holland.  The topic turned to a discussion of things that are unusual about Americans, in particular,  the American relationship to work and vacations.  We take less vacation than almost any industrialized country in the world.  Of course, we think it’s responsible …

Sick of Vacation

Hard working professionals go on vacation and immediately get sick. This doesn’t happen just once, it is regular and reliable. What is going on? If this has happened to you, you are getting a crash course on the physiology of the body’s stress response system, and some of its flaws. It was developed to deal with very different problems than …

Performance Anxiety

Fear of public speaking and performance anxiety are very common things. Probably almost all of us have had the experience of desperately wishing to relax before a presentation. This may be a situation where you should be careful of what you wish for.When I was younger I had a terrible fear of speaking in public. And my first job out …

Breathing Techniques

One of the oldest “self help” practices is based on breathing, changing how we breathe in order to reduce stress and to achieve a sense of connection with the world around us: Pranayama Yoga. Prana is the Sanskrit word for “breath” and also means “life.” Therefore, prana can be translated as “the breath of life” or “life energy.” Yama means …

Yoga

Many people we know report that beginning yoga and doing it consistently has been associated with periods of remarkable stability, energy and effectiveness. There are studies supporting yoga as an evidence based approach to the treatment of depression. But it is hard to figure out where to begin. At the end of this page are some additional resources. One thing …