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It’s a pounding heartbeat, a rock in your abdomen, a lump in your throat, a spike in adrenaline. It’s waking up at 2 a.m. and worrying about what you said yesterday or what you have to do today. It’s avoiding facing a situation that you unprepared for or that you dread.Anxiety threatens our peace of mind, enjoyment, work, and our health. It can be destructive and interfere with our studies, our work, and our relationships. Yes, anxiety is a natural and necessary human reaction that helps us be alert and responsive. It can be useful when proportional and rational. But when unfocused and excessive, anxiety lasts longer than comfortable and begins to control our choices. It is not healthy. Whatever your depth of anxiety, you can learn to manage it in order to serve and care for others in the way you want to. Train yourself to become aware of your physiological symptoms of anxiety, so that you can use your awareness to trigger your chosen relaxation response. Here are a few simple tools, tips, and techniques that we can do to win back the balance in our lives by BUILDING RESILIENCE.

BALANCE TIP: DEVELOP A “RELAXATION RESPONSE”. The key to combating anxiety is recognize when it has overtaken you and be prepared with simple available coping tools you can use on the spot. Notice what happens to you when you feel anxious. Does your heart pound, your mouth go dry, your palms sweat? Train yourself to become aware of your physiological symptoms. Keep a list of your symptoms and a list of your tools to counteract them. Have your list on hand. Be ready to take control when anxiety attempts to control you.

STRESS TOOL: THE SITTING BODY SCAN. Place your feet flat on the floor, notice the feeling of your feet touching the floor. The weight and pressure, vibration, heat. Remove your shoes if desired.Notice your legs against the chair, pressure, pulsing, heaviness, lightness. Lean back. Notice the feel of your back against the chair. Notice your abdomen. If your abdomen is tense or tight, let it soften. Take a breath. Notice your hands. Are your hands tense or tight? See if you can allow them to melt. Notice your arms. Feel any sensation in your arms. Let your shoulders be soft. Notice your neck and throat. Let the muscles soften. Relax.Soften your jaw. Let your face and facial muscles soften.Then notice your whole body presence. Where are you? What is your body doing? Take one more breath. Be present. In your body. How does it feel?

BRAIN FOOD: CHICKEN. Chicken, like eggs, contains complete protein that increases levels of the excitatory neurotransmitters norepinephrine and dopamine. Chicken is also a good source of coenzyme Q10 (Co Q10), which increases the energy-generating potential of neurons.

LEARNING STRATEGY: MAKE NEW MATERIAL MEANINGFUL TO YOU. Keep your end-goal in mind. Ask yourself or colleague: How will this information help me reach my goal?

PERSONALITY TYPE: SENSING. (How one takes-in information.) This personality type prefers a step-by-step approach. Is oriented to the present. Likes to refine current skills. Prefers realistic application. Attentive to detail. Patient. Works steadily. Prefers goal-oriented tasks. Prefers direct experience. Prepares well for tests involving practical application. Likes audio-visuals. Prefers to involve senses (underlining, flash cards, and recitation). Needs to know rationale for a task before beginning. Prefers to study from old tests. Tripped up by “What ifs?” Tends to ‘read into’ questions. Doubts self. Skeptical of the motives of the questioner.

What’s your personality type? Try this assessment based on the Myers-Briggs Jung Typology theory here

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Karen Acquilano

Karen Acquilano

Karen Acquilano has been a professional educator for 27 years as teacher, counselor, and researcher specializing in well-being and learning skills. She has been working the last seven years specifically with medical students and physicians on the challenges they face. She strives to encourage much needed attention to the mental and emotional well-being of those who are devoting their lives to caring for others. Karen is a practitioner of neuro-meditation, aroma therapy, and Tai Chi. Her approach to helping others is to encourage self-awareness, offer options and suggestions, and allow others to discover their own styles and ways of achieving well-being and balance in their lives and in their work for better focus, memory, resilience, wisdom, and relationships.
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