Dr. Venus Nicolino Shares Stress Management Tips to Highlight National Stress Awareness Month

Dr. Venus Nicolino Shares Stress Management Tips to Highlight National Stress Awareness Month

As sweet tulips and buttery daffodils unfurl in April, the month brings National Stress Awareness Month into bloom. In 1992, this annual public health campaign debuted in the U.S. to increase Americans’ awareness of anxiety’s negative impacts.

Stress is so individualized, it nearly defies definitions, as symptoms can vary wildly from person to person. The general symptoms of anxiety are physical tension and mental or emotional strain. While not all stress is bad, long-term stress can harm physical and mental health. National Stress Awareness Month broadens Americans’ awareness of stress and how to manage it when possible.

Dr. Venus Nicolino, Ph.D., renowned doctor of clinical psychology, uses National Stress Awareness Month to explain what anxiety looks like. She says prolonged periods of heightened stress can cause shortness of breath, a rapid heart rate, digestive issues, fatigue, and even muscle pain.

“It’s normal to feel brief anxiety now and again, because anxiety and the physical symptoms that accompany it alert your body to threats and possible danger,” Dr. Nicolino says. “Short stress responses are vital to our survival, but kept in this gear for too long, it’s a crash-and-burn situation.”

Dr. Nicolino is the voice and face of reason in various media outlets. Her podcast, “The Tea With Dr. V,” teaches people how to manage stress and build resilience to anxiety. Her company, SoundMind, provides educational technology to school-age children to teach them stress and mind management. The good doctor also provides insight and awareness to adolescents and adults, emphasizing depression, anxiety, life transition, trauma and grief.

Dr. Venus Nicolino: The Doctor Who Gave Us “Bad Advice” Gives Good Advice About Beating Back Stress

Achieving mental equilibrium in today’s age of anxiety is a tall order. Dr. Venus Nicolino wrote the national bestseller Bad Advice: How to Survive and Thrive in the Age of Bulls–t to help readers tap into their full potential. She deconstructs popular advice you’ve never thought to question. She helps readers convert classic admonitions into valuable and uplifting information.

With her head full of smarts and science, Dr. Nicolino teaches people they can live with vitality when they stomp out stress. When addressing stress, she points out cortisol, the primary stress hormone that causes many problems in the human body.

“If you’re stressed out all the time, you’re producing cortisol in your brain. Cortisol is a stress hormone that messes you up in all kinds of ways.”

Dr. Venus Nicolino, Ph.D., recommends writing or journaling as one of the best ways to relieve stress. She says this habit can include putting down one’s feelings, writing a short story, or listing weekend activities. The journal will testify to how much a person gets done, which tends to be a mood booster.

She points out the science behind practicing gratitude to alleviate stress.

“People will say ‘be grateful,’ she states. “I get it; I know why we’re telling people that. What we need to do is describe the science behind that.”

Practicing Gratitude and Clearing Your Weekend Schedule Key to De-Stressing Say Experts

Robert A. Emmons, professor of psychology at the University of California, Davis, says clinical trials indicate practicing gratitude can have dramatic — and lasting — effects on a person.

According to Emmons, “It can lower blood pressure, improve immune function, and facilitate more efficient sleep. Gratitude works because, as a way of perceiving and interpreting life, it recruits other positive emotions that have direct physical benefits, most likely through the immune or endocrine systems. Being thankful has such a profound effect because of the feelings that go along with it.”

Another recent study from the University of California San Diego School of Medicine found better heart health in more grateful people. Specifically, they had less inflammation and healthier heart rhythms.

The study’s author, Paul J. Mills, said, “They showed a better well-being, a less depressed mood, less fatigue, and slept better. When I am more grateful, I feel more connected with myself and my environment. That’s the opposite of what stress does.”

Dr. Nicolino says, “Practicing gratitude when you’re feeling down isn’t about denying the reality of what you feel: It’s a reminder that feeling bad doesn’t cancel out the other good in your life.” She also notes, “Stress gets heavier or lighter depending on how you carry it. For example, stress is like fire: A little can spur energy and action; too much will consume us. The things we stress over that won’t matter in a year take years off our lives.”

Not every day does one meet a doctor of clinical psychology with a one-letter nickname: “Dr. V.” The V is shorthand for Venus, a name history memorialized when ancient Romans claimed her as their goddess of love and beauty.

Dr. Nicolino is also the Los Angeles Times bestselling author of Bad Advice: How to Survive and Thrive in the Age of Bulls–t, published by HarperOne. The book captures her straightforward style (note the title) while delivering the goods (note her Ph.D.).

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