Dandenong Neurology

Call Us: (03) 9791 1599

Location: 136 David Street Dandenong, VIC 3175

Stress Regulation

Dandenong Neurology & Specialists Group is a comprehensive service clinic specialising in Neurology, Psychiatry, Neuropsychology and Geriatric services. Our professional team of highly skilled neurologists, specialists and therapists, diagnose and treat all types of neurological and psychological disorders with a focus on providing our patients with a higher quality of life.

Scientifically proven techniques for stress reduction:

Stress as an emotional response with adaptive function can obstruct both academic performance and psychosocial and physiological functioning when it is recurrent, persistent, and intense. Individual characteristics and regular physical activity produce differences in ways of coping with pressure situations, stressing the necessity of teenagers handling them in an effective way for their psychological adjustment and well-being.


1. Practice Mindfulness or Meditation

Mindfulness describes practices that anchor you to the present moment.

It can help combat the anxiety-inducing effects of negative thinking. (The Journal for Nurse Practitioners Volume 12, Issue 6, June 2016, Pages 403-409).

There are several methods for increasing mindfulness, including mindfulness-based cognitive therapy, mindfulness-based stress reduction, yoga and meditation.

Mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) is a structured group program that employs mindfulness meditation to alleviate suffering associated with physical, psychosomatic and psychiatric disorders. Meta analysis suggest that MBSR may help a broad range of individuals to cope with their clinical and nonclinical problems. (Journal of Psychosomatic research July 2004 Volume 57, Issue 1, Pages 35–43)


2. Take a Yoga Class

Yoga has become a popular method of stress relief and exercise among all age groups.

While yoga styles differ, most share a common goal — to join your body and mind.

Yoga primarily does this by increasing body and breath awareness.

Some studies have looked at yoga’s effect on mental health. Overall, they have found that yoga can enhance mood and may even be as effective as antidepressant drugs at treating depression and anxiety. ( Journal of Psychiatric Research Volume 68, September 2015, Pages 270-282)

In general, the benefit of yoga for stress and anxiety seems to be related to its effect on the nervous system and stress response. It increases rest and relax path called Parasympathetic system.

It lowers cortisol levels, blood pressure and heart rate and increase gamma-Aminobutyric acid (GABA), a neurotransmitter that is lowered in mood disorders.


3. Exercise

Exercise is one of the most important things you can do to combat stress.

It might seem contradictory, but putting physical stress on your body through exercise can help relieve mental stress.

And the benefits are strongest when you exercise regularly. People who exercise regularly are less likely to experience anxiety than those who don’t exercise.

There are a few reasons behind this:

  • Stress hormones: Exercise lowers your body’s stress hormones in the long run, such as cortisol. It also helps release endorphins, which are chemicals that improve your mood and act as natural painkillers.
  • Sleep: Exercise can also improve your sleep quality, which can be negatively affected by stress and anxiety.
  • Confidence: When you exercise regularly, you may feel more competent and confident in your body, which in turn promotes mental well-being

Try to find an activity you enjoy, such as walking, dancing, rock climbing or yoga.

Exercise regularly. Your body can fight stress better when it is fit.


4. Herbs & Supplements

Several supplements are used to reduce stress and anxiety. Here is a brief overview of some of the most common ones:


  • Lemon balm: Lemon balm is a member of the mint family that has been studied for its anti-anxiety effects.
  • Omega-3 fatty acids: One study showed that medical students who received omega-3 supplements experienced a 20% reduction in anxiety symptoms.
  • Ashwagandha: Ashwagandha is an herb used in Ayurvedic medicine to treat stress and anxiety.   (J Altern Complement Med. 2014 Dec;20(12):901-8.)
  • Green tea: Green tea has many polyphenol antioxidants, which provide health benefits. It may help stress and anxiety by increasing serotonin levels (5).
  • Valerian: Valerian root is a popular sleep aid due to its tranquilizing effect. It contains valerenic acid, which alters GABA receptors to lower anxiety.

Some supplements can interact with medications or have side effects, so you may want to consult with a doctor if you have a medical condition.


5. Aromatherapy

Using essential oils or burning a scented candle may help reduce your feelings of stress and anxiety.

Some scents are especially soothing. Here are some of the most calming scents:

Lavender. Rose. Vetiver. Bergamot. Roman chamomile.

Neroli. Frankincense. Sandalwood.

Using scents to treat your mood is called aromatherapy. Several studies show that aromatherapy can decrease anxiety and improve sleep.


6. Keeping a diary

One way to handle stress is to write things down.

While writing down what you’re stressed about is one approach, another is writing down what you’re grateful for.

Gratitude may help relieve stress and anxiety by focusing your thoughts on what’s positive in your life.

Keeping a journal can help relieve stress and anxiety, especially if you focus on the positive.


7. Social Bonding

Social support from friends and family can help you get through stressful times.

Being part of a friend network gives you a sense of belonging and self-worth, which can help you in tough times.

One study found that for women, in particular, spending time with friends and children helps release oxytocin, a natural stress reliever. This effect is called “tend and befriend,” and is the opposite of the fight-or-flight response. (Psychol Rev. 2000 Jul;107(3):411-29).

Furthermore, both men and women benefit from friendship.

Another study found that men and women with the fewest social connections were more likely to suffer from depression and anxiety. (J Natl Med Assoc. 2009 Mar;101(3):243-50)

Having strong social ties may help you get through stressful times and lower your risk of anxiety.


8. Have a laugh

It’s hard to feel anxious when you’re laughing. It’s good for your health, and there are a few ways it may help relieve stress:

  • Brings more oxygen into your body and organs.
  • Stimulates and relieves your stress response.
  • Relieves tension by relaxing your muscles.

In the long term, laughter can also help improve your immune system and mood.

A study among people with cancer found that people in the laughter intervention group experienced more stress relief than those who were simply distracted. ( Altern Ther Health Med. 2003 Mar-Apr;9(2):38-45)

Watch a funny TV show, hang out with friends who make you laugh and even find humor in your troubles. In our Parkinson’s Yoga and wellness class we have incorporated laughter exercise. Most serious of participants also show a smile and a genuine laugh!

Find the humor in everyday life, especially when you are in crisis!



9. Keep life simple and Say No!

Not all stressors are within your control, but some are.

Take control over the parts of your life that you can change and are causing you stress.

One way to do this may be to say “no” more often

This is especially true if you find yourself taking on more than you can handle, as juggling many responsibilities can leave you feeling overwhelmed.

Being selective about what you take on — and saying no to what will unnecessarily add to your load — can be a good start to controlling your stress levels.


10. Learn to Avoid Multitasking & Procrastination

Another way to take control of your stress is to stay on top of your priorities and stop procrastinating.

Emerging research suggests that procrastination may be an important epidemiological factor for understanding the development and management of not only acute but also chronic health issues, due in part to its links with stress and poor health behaviors.

Procrastination can lead you to act reactively, meaning you’re scrambling to catch up. This can cause stress, which negatively affects your health and sleep quality.

Get in the habit of making a to-do list that’s organized by priority. Give yourself realistic deadlines and work your way down the list.

Work on the things that need to get done today and give yourself chunks of uninterrupted time, as switching between tasks (multi-tasking) can be stressful itself.

Learn to manage your time more effectively.


11. Hugs & Kisses

Cuddling, kissing and hugging can all help relieve stress. (Psychological Science Volume: 26 issue: 2, page(s): 135-147)

Positive physical contact can help release oxytocin and lower cortisol. This can help lower blood pressure and heart rate, both of which are physical symptoms of stress.

Interestingly, humans aren’t the only ones who cuddle for stress relief. Chimpanzees also cuddle friends who are stressed!


12. Listen to Soothing Music

Listening to music can have a very relaxing effect on the body.

Slow-paced instrumental music can induce the relaxation response by helping lower blood pressure and heart rate, as well as stress hormones.

Some types of classical, Celtic, Native American and Indian music can be particularly soothing, but simply listening to the music you enjoy is effective too. (Psychoneuroendocrinology

Volume 60, October 2015, Pages 82-90)

Nature sounds can also be very calming including sound of waterfall or birds chirping. This is why they’re often incorporated into relaxation and meditation music.


13. Deep Breathing

Ancient eastern texts talk about Mind and Breath interlinked and now this is proven in recent research.

Mental stress activates your sympathetic nervous system, signaling your body to go into “fight-or-flight” mode.

During this reaction, stress hormones are released and you experience the physical symptoms of stress — your heart beats faster, you breathe quicker and your blood vessels constrict.

Deep breathing exercises can help activate your parasympathetic nervous system, which controls the relaxation response.

There are several types of deep breathing exercises, including diaphragmatic breathing, abdominal breathing, belly breathing and paced respiration.

In our Yoga class I teach sectional breathing and complete breathing with aim to have a longer exhale than inhale. This brings us in rest and relax mode. Pranayama is a powerful tool in health and disease.

The goal of deep breathing is to focus your awareness on your breath, making it slower and deeper. When you breathe in deeply through your nose, your lungs fully expand and your belly rises.

This helps your heart rate slow down, allowing you to feel more peaceful.


14. Pet time!

Having a pet may help reduce stress and improve your mood. This is now a days called as animal assistance intervention or therapy !

According to one study, dog owners reported lower levels of stress than non-dog owners.

Interacting with pets may help release oxytocin, a brain chemical that promotes a positive mood. (Front Psychol. 2012; 3: 234.).


15. Professional Help

Seek treatment with a psychologist or Psychiatrist in stress management or biofeedback techniques to learn healthy ways of dealing with the stress in your life.

Please Don’t rely on alcohol, drugs, or compulsive behaviors to reduce stress.