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Lesson 79: Stressed Out? Some Solutions You Probably Haven

We all experience stress in our lives. Some of us thrive on it. Some of us muddle through. And for others, the stress causes serious health and work problems. As life has gotten faster and more complex, it gets more and more difficult to thrive. Apart from the usual stress management "suspects", like eating well, exercising and so on, there are some techniques you can use to reduce the stress in your life (or at least make your reactions more constructive.) We're going to cover some of these techniques, to help you learn them. Most of them fall into the category of relaxation techniques.


Relaxation techniques have been around for a long time and well explored by psychologists. None of the things we're going to talk about are strange or weird, they are just based on straight-forward science. While the actual process of learning how to relax deeply vary and have different names (eg. self-hypnosis, meditation, or just relaxation), they have one thing in common. You use them to put yourself in a deep relaxation state, where your heart rate, breathing rate, and "thinking rate" slow down.

Keep in mind that what works for one person may not work for another. One technique may work for you, and another may not. So, you may have to experiment. In order to benefit from learning relaxation techniques you must practice (or relax) regularly.

The Different Relaxation Techniques

There is autogenic relaxation. This is a form of passive relaxation (you don't move anything). You listen to a tape (or once you've learned to do it, you can do it without the tape), where you imagine different parts of your body becoming heavy, warm and relaxed.

Progressive relaxation is a bit different in that it involves physical movement. It works like this. You tense particular body parts, one at a time (your hand, your forearm, etc), hold the tension and then let it go (either quickly or slowly). You attend to the feelings of tension and relaxation so you can become better at identifying your tension, and learning how to release it.

Guided imagery relaxation is different yet again. It involves imagining yourself in soothing, calm surroundings (on the beach, for example), and attending to the details of the experience (eg. the sand on your feet, the warmth of the sun.

Self-hypnosis is really quite similar to some of the approaches above. Often self-hypnosis involves the use of affirmations (positive or relaxing statements) once you have achieved a deep sense of relaxation.

Subliminal Techniques are supposed to work this way. Buried in music or other sounds are various statements that you can't consciously hear, but, supposedly, your unconscious can hear. Unfortunately, there is little or no proof that these work the way they are supposed to, but as we said, it may work for you, and if it does, go for it.

Meditation techniques used to be drawn from Eastern philosophy, but people have found that it's possible to use mediation techniques without subscribing to the religious tenets that used to be associated with them. Meditation for relaxation usually involves focusing your attention on a word, your breathing, or a simple object. Its purpose is to calm the mind.

Finally, some people find it relaxing to listen to certain kinds of music (usually classical) or nature sounds. It doesn't turn my crank but maybe it will work for you.

Also, in the event that you are experiencing severe stress, don't go the self-help route without also contacting your doctor to see if he or she can help. This is particularly important since stress can affect your physical well-being.

Adapted from


thrive - to grow, develop or be successful

muddle through - to manage to do something although you are not organized and do not know how to do it

a suspect - a person believed to have committed a crime or done something wrong, or something believed to have caused something bad

tense - If you or your muscles tense, your muscles become stiff and tight because you are frightened or nervous, or are preparing yourself to do something

release - to express a feeling which you have been trying not to show

involve - to include someone or something in something, or to make them take part in or feel part of it

attend to - to deal with something or help someone

approach – method, way of dealing with something

affirmation - Something declared to be true; a positive statement or judgment.

statement - something that someone says or writes officially, or an action done to express an opinion

consciously – in a determined and intentional way

subscribe to - to agree with or support an opinion, belief or theory

tenet - one of the principles on which a belief or theory is based

route - a method of achieving something

turn my crank – give a person pleasure



Read the text and answer the questions True or False:

1. Eating well and exercising are two ways of handling stress singlehandedly as opposed to self-hypnosis, meditation, or just relaxation which can be performed only under supervision of a therapist

2. Different relaxation techniques described in this article engage relaxation of different body parts

3. It is advisory to introduce doctor’s control when taking up the exercises.

4. The effectiveness of the techniques described in the article depends on individual preferences and predispositions



Read the text one more time and fill in the gaps with the missing word from the glossary:

1. A college education is often the best ………….. to a good job.

2. It is a ………….. of contemporary psychology that an individual's mental health is supported by having good social networks.

3. Frank …………………. firmly to the belief that human kindness would overcome evil.

4. He's obviously making a …………………… effort to be nice to me at the moment.

5. He threw paint over the fur coats because he wanted to make a ……………….about cruelty to animals.

6. I always have so many things to …………………….. to when I come into the office after a trip abroad.

7. I prefer teaching methods that actively ………………….. students in learning.

8. He punched the pillow in an effort to …………………. his anger.

9. Don't …………………… your shoulders, just relax.


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poniedziałek, 18 stycznia 2010, kurs_praca

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