Tag Archives: stress

Science of Resilience: How to Thrive in Life

8232How do you thrive in life no matter where you are in life?

If you’re lucky to live long enough, you know that life has many pieces to it. It has the wonderful bits: falling in love, having a career, traveling, following your passion. And it often contains difficult times: illness, divorce, and loss. How you navigate through these different experiences determines how well you thrive in your life.

In this program from the Stein Institute for Research on Aging, Dr. Darlene Mininni shares how resilience, emotional intelligence and mindfulness can affect physical health. The motto that most inspires her comes from Job Kabat-Zinn: “You can’t stop the waves, but you can learn to surf.” In other words, good and bad events can occur in life. You might not be able to change the circumstances, but you can learn how to “surf” through them.

Dr. Mininni offers practical advice to bring more well-being into your life. Watch Science of Resilience: How to Thrive in Life.

Browse more programs from the Stein Institute for Research on Aging Series.

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Sleep On This: Connecting Sleep Habits to Health

Slide from “How is Sleep Related to Obesity? Sleep and Weight Gain,” available on UCTV (click image to go to the program)

Sleep deprivation takes a huge toll on society, and not just because it makes for a cranky population. Poor sleep has been linked to a range of health problems and researchers at the University of California and elsewhere are working to better understand how sleep — or lack of it — impacts our brains and bodies.

Two new UCTV programs highlight sleep research on specific segments of the population: women and older people.

UCTV Prime’s “Sleep, Memory and Age” shows how scientists at UC Berkeley have found a link between poor sleep and the hallmark maladies of old age: memory loss and brain deterioration. Their discovery opens the door to boosting the quality of sleep in elderly people to improve memory.

In Women and Sleep: From Stressful to Restful,” UCSF School of Nursing’s Kathryn Lee explores sleep, fatigue, and circadian rhythms in women.

There are plenty more intriguing sleep research updates from UCTV, which you can browse here. You might also be interested in “Sleep, Stress and Obesity: A Weighty Issue,” a five-part series from UCSF’s Center for Obesity, Assessment, Study and Treatment (COAST), which examines this three-pronged problem from a variety of interesting angles, including how sleep and stress impact our metabolism and brain function, why adequate sleep and stress reduction may be the 21st century pillars of health, and how sleep and stress may explain disparities in obesity risk.

Get in your jammies, grab a warm glass of milk and gain a whole new understanding of of the importance of a good night’s sleep.

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Stress Beefs Up the Waistline — How Stressed Are You?

The latest “Skinny on Obesity” episode, “A Fast-Paced, Fast Food Life,” focuses not just on what we put in our mouths, but how we live our lives. UCSF experts Elissa Epel and Barbara Laraia explain the connection between stress and obesity and offer practical, effective solutions that don’t involve dieting and exercise.

How do researchers even measure stress? One way is the Perceived Stress Scale, developed by Sheldon Cohen and his colleagues in 1983. The Perceived Stress Scale aims to measure the degree in which situations in one’s life are appraised as stressful. It was developed to address the link between the occurrence of stressful events and the perception by the respondent regarding how threatening or demanding such an event was. This scale can provide an index of chronic stress or strain, and coping with these stresses.

So… how stressed are you? Take the stress quiz and find out. Just answer the ten simple questions, then follow the instructions to calculate your score and gauge where you fall on the scale.

Scores around 13 are considered average. Researchers at UCSF’s Center for Obesity Assessment, Study and Treatment (COAST) have found that high stress groups usually have a stress score of around 20 points. Scores of 20 or higher are considered high stress, and if you are in this range, you might consider learning new stress reduction techniques as well as increasing your exercise to at least three times a week. High psychological stress is associated with high blood pressure, higher BMI, larger waist to hip ratio, shorter telomere length, higher cortisol levels, suppressed immune function, decreased sleep, and increased alcohol consumption. These are all important risk factors for cardiovascular disease.

If you find yourself in the high range, you might consider looking into some of these suggested stress reduction resources from UCTV and the folks at COAST:

UCTV videos on Managing Stress

Stress Less: The New Science That Shows Women How to Rejuvenate the Body and the Mind (2010) by Thea Singer (Hudson Street Press)

The Healthy Mind, Healthy Body Handbook (1996) by David Sobell & Robert Orenstein (Time Life Medical, Patient Education Media Corporation)

The Relaxation & Stress Reduction Workbook, 5th ed. (2000) by Martha Davis, Elizabeth Robbins Eshelman and Matthew McKay

Why Zebras Don’t Get Ulcers: An updated guide to stress, stress-related diseases, and coping (1998) by Robert M. Sapolsky (New York: Freeman and Co., educational only)

Stress: Portrait of a Killer, Dr. Robert Sapolsky’s website

Full Catastrophe Living: Using the wisdom of your body and mind to face stress, pain, and illness (1990) by Jon Kabat-Zinn. (Dell/Bantam Publishing Co.)

Mayo Clinic Stress Center

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Unwrapping Holiday Stress

Dr. Margaret Chesney, Director of UCSF Osher Center for Integrative Medicine

As a Distinguished Professor in Integrative Medicine and Director of UCSF Osher Center for Integrative Medicine, Dr. Margaret Chesney knows a lot about stress. At least, how to cope with it so that it doesn’t take a physical toll on your body and quality of life.

The  holidays are a time when even the most placid souls can get frazzled by all the hustling and bustling about, preparing for time with family and friends. Judging by the phone calls Dr. Chesney receives this time of year from journalists looking for stress reduction tips for their readers, it seems to be a pretty universal problem.

Lucky for our viewers, Dr. Chesney and her colleagues at UCSF Osher Center for Integrative Medicine are regular guests on UCTV, always willing to share some of their well-researched tips, tactics and techniques for mindfulness-based stress reduction that can get you through the holidays, and keep you calm all year long.

Here are some programs featuring Dr. Chesney to get you started:

Women’s Guide to Building Resistance, Outsmarting Stress, and Optimizing Health in Today’s World

New Scientific Strategies for Managing Stress, Building Resilience and Bringing Balance to Life

Mind-Body Interventions: Is there Power in Positive Thinking?

Plus a few more about mindfulness meditation, visualization and more:

Being Alive Now

Learning to Relax

Positive Emotion in the Midst of Stress: It’s Not Crazy it’s Adaptive

Some other UCTV video collections you might want to check out:

Alternative Medicine

Mental Health

Mind-Body Connection

In the meantime, stay focused, calm and festive for the holiday season!

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