Stress Busting Techniques for Healthier Lifestyle

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‘Psychological interventions can reduce stress coping responses, and improve health behaviors.’

A new study aimed to establish whether reducing these responses could improve physical health and health behaviours both in positive and negative ways, like exercising and healthy eating, or smoking and excessive alcohol intake.

Lead researcher Dane McCarrick, a postgraduate researcher in Psychology at the University of Leeds, said: “This new research provides the first synthesis of experimental evidence testing the most effective methods at reducing worry and rumination within the context of health”.

Stress is known to impact physical health, and can increase blood pressure, heart rate and cardiovascular activity, lower the immune system, affect hormone levels and produce physical symptoms, including pain and nausea.

The research team used data from 5,000 participants across 36 different studies to examine how psychological interventions for worry and rumination impacted mental and physical health and health behaviours over a period of time.

Interventions included psychological detachment; action plans such as postponing worry until an allocated time; stress management; mindfulness and relaxation; talking therapies and pain management. The results were compared with control groups who received no intervention.

The results showed that all intervention types had a significant, positive effect on health behaviours, with the exception of pain management strategies.

Action planning, psychological detachment and cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) produced significant effects on worry, while mindfulness, psychological detachment, CBT and pain management produced significant results for rumination.

These findings suggest that mental health can be improved by reducing worry and rumination. This change also has lasting consequences for a range of health behaviours, such as sleep hygiene and alcohol dependency.

Both worry and rumination can be exacerbated by the circumstances surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic, so these evidence-based psychological techniques highlighted in this research are very useful in current situation.

Source: Medindia

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