Tuesday, April 17, 2012

How we manage stress is passed on in families
Stress for Success
April 17, 2012

What causes most depression: genetics or experiences?

A hint to the answer comes from the comparisons of depression and schizophrenia rates worldwide. Schizophrenia is found in approximately 1% of the population no matter the culture. Depression varies dramatically culture to culture suggesting it could be contagious.

Consider the following and see if you think depression is spreading:
· The World Health Organization says depression is the fourth leading cause of human disability and projects by 2020 it’ll take over second place.
· The average onset of depression is the mid-20s. It used to be the mid-30s.
· According to clinical psychologist Michael Yapko, long-term studies show depression intensifying one generation to the next, “Today’s parents are the largest depressed group raising the fastest-growing group of depression sufferers.”
· We’re four times more depressed than our parents; ten times more so than our grandparents! And this is not due to greater awareness of the illness.

Since depressed people experience far more difficulty socially than do those not depressed, could they be spreading the illness? They have:
· More family and marital arguments;
· Less relationship satisfaction;
· Greater unhappiness;

Even though you can be genetically vulnerable to depression, the greater cause is learning, mostly from our families, how to manage what goes on inside our heads, including our:
· Explanatory style (the meaning we attach to life experiences);
· Cognitive style (thinking);
· Coping style (how we manage stress);
· Problem-solving style;
· Relational style;

Families model their thinking, feeling, and relating to others, passing on these patterns to other family members.

Yapko also reports a near-perfect correlation between parents’ explanatory style and their child’s. When your child asks you why something happened, your explanation represents your style of thinking including your belief of what caused it. “Why can’t I take tennis lessons, Mom?” “It’s a waste of money since you’ll never be coordinated.” Mom attributes the cause to the child’s clumsiness. And her permanently negative attribution communicates nothing will ever change.

Yapko says these routine interactions happen multiple times daily, imperceptibly shaping the child’s beliefs about himself and his world. They influence how he filters risk-taking, his own potential, whom he blames when things go wrong – and - his vulnerability to depression.

Additionally, the child who learns to make global assumptions that life events are beyond his control experiences greater helplessness and hopelessness, ingredients for depression. He’s more likely to perceive himself helpless about his happiness, competence and relationships.

Studies show these interpretation patterns are established early on. In one study, 8 year-old children were asked how they’d respond if shopping with their mother and suddenly finding themselves separated from her. The anxious children produced scary scenarios of never finding their parents and being adopted by strangers. The nonanxious kids said they’d ask the store manager to make a P-A announcement. Free of their peers’ anxiety, they’d think their way through to solving the problem.

Which patterns of perceiving are you teaching your kids?

Jacquelyn Ferguson, M. S., is an international speaker and a Stress and Wellness Coach. Order her book, Let Your Body Win: Stress Management Plain & Simple, at http://www.letyourbodywin.com/bookstore.html. Email her to request she speak to your organization at jferg8@aol.com.

Tuesday, April 03, 2012

Music can soothe frazzled nerves
It can also reduce blood pressure, relieve pain.
Stress for Success
April 3, 2012

You’ve experienced how music can trigger your emotions taking you back in time to sweet – or bitter-sweet – memories. This is why listening to music that touches your soul can serve as a powerful stress reduction tool.

According to a variety of research published by eMedExpert.com 2011, music which appeals to you has many benefits. It:
· Can distract attention away from your stressors;
· Can increase your sense of control, which automatically reduces over-all stress;
· Is effective therapy for pain:
o Can reduce chronic pain from osteoarthritis, disc problems and rheumatoid arthritis by up to 21% and depression by up to 25% (UK Journal of Advanced Nursing, June, 2006.)
o Causes the body to release endorphins to counteract pain;
· Reduces blood pressure: People with high blood pressure can train themselves to lower their blood pressure and keep it low by playing relaxing music every morning and evening (Teng, et al., 2007.) Listening to just 30 minutes of classical, Celtic or raga (traditional south Asian) music daily can significantly reduce high blood pressure.
· Speeds Post-Stroke Recovery: Daily listening to your favorite pop melodies, classical music or jazz can speed recovery from debilitating strokes (Sarkamo, et al., Brain, March 2008.)
· Reduces intensity, frequency, and duration of chronic headaches and migraines (Oelkers, et al., April 12, 2008.)
· Motivates you to exercise and enhances athletic performance (Simpson and Karageorghis, Sports Science, Oct 2006.)
· Boosts immunity: Music that creates a positive and reflective emotional experience leads to the secretion of immune-boosting hormones (Kuhn, et al., Music Therapy, Spring, 2002.) Higher levels of the stress hormone cortisol decrease immune response; listening to or performing music can decrease it (le Roux, et al., Music Therapy, Summer, 2007.)
· Those who listen to classical and self-selected relaxing music after exposure to stressors significantly reduce their anxiety, anger - and very importantly for their health – their physiological stress arousal, and increase relaxation compared to those who sit silently or listen to heavy metal music (Labbe, et al, of the University of South Alabama.)
In other words, desirable music is healing for your well-being.

Any time you become more frenzied with life's demands, schedule time to do nothing but listen to music daily. Or play it in the background as you go about your business. It’s not a time waster, but rather a Stress Break, which takes you away from your pressures, allowing your body to balance the stress hormones we know cause physical and emotional havoc.

Jacquelyn Ferguson, M. S., is an international speaker and a Stress and Wellness Coach. Order her book, Let Your Body Win: Stress Management Plain & Simple, at http://www.letyourbodywin.com/bookstore.html. Email her to request she speak to your organization at jferg8@aol.com.