3 Things You May Not Know About Stress

–By Jacob Manuel

Stress in daily life is something that we all may be aware of to a certain degree, but often we aren’t aware of how it affects our lives, minds and bodies. Unless you’re a researcher or psychologist, you probably don’t put stress in to different categories every day and rate its severity. For most people, stress exists as a simple thought like, “This is (or was) really stressful!” Understanding stress as a dynamic facet of daily life can help you to address it like the living creature it is.

  1. There are two kinds of stress: Actual and Perceived.

 

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skeeze/pixabay

Actual stress involves physical or influential stressors in your life that cause a physical change in a chemical called cortisol. These stressors can look like almost anything; from running late to class or work, to something as scary as crashing your car, you will likely run in to actual stressors every day. These will cause your body to react regardless of your awareness of the stress.

On the other hand, Perceived stress happens entirely in your mind. Take running late to work for example. You see the time and realize you’re late, this builds your cortisol (stress hormone) naturally. But then maybe you start to think about all the things you need to do before you go and what your boss might think or say to you when you get there. This part is the perceived stress and it actually contributes the most to negative impacts in the body.

  1. Your body and mind are more stressed out than you think.

A recent study by the American Psychological Association found that American teens are just as stressed as their adult counterparts and further, that over half of people are not maintaining healthful practices to reduce the stress. To add on to that, stress takes a toll on our sleep patterns, our eating habits and our organ health (including our brains). So, if we’re more stressed than we think we are and it’s affecting our bodies, what do we do? Keep reading.

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johnhain/pixabay

  1. There are many ways you can reduce daily stress that take little to no effort at all.

We’ve all heard the old adage, “Eat right and exercise.” When it comes to stress management, these are some of the most important preventative factors, but they do take effort. What you don’t often hear is that other healthful practices like getting enough sleep or finding some time to do something you enjoy will massively reduce stress.

Finally, something you may have read about in a previous post here that can be incredibly helpful in modulating stress levels is having a practice of mindfulness. Mindfulness, simply put, is a practice of noticing internal experiences (like thoughts and emotions) in addition to bodily sensations and doing so with intent, kindness and nonjudgment. Most of us don’t take the time to sit down, take a few breaths and notice how we’re feeling, but have shown that by doing this, we actually can reduce up to 50% of our daily stress.

Social Anxiety Expressed through Slam Poetry

By Kara Friend

Fear of judgement

Fear of attention  

Fear of someone watching

Fear of meeting new people

Fear of being in big groups

The list goes on, but the theme remains the same: what are other people thinking about me? (Answer: nothing good.) Social anxiety is the fear these thoughts evoke.

Everyone experiences these thoughts and feelings in some way, but for those of us with social anxiety, these fears often feel like they are running our lives. Sometimes our inability to speak doesn’t feel like a choice.

Social anxiety disorder is the third most common mental health problem in the United States, and chances are we are someone or know someone who experiences these feelings and thoughts.

How has social anxiety impacted your life or someone you love? If you have noticed someone you or someone you love has been impacted, therapy individual or group is just one way to help! Here are some more practical skills to help out!

Can Your Phone Hurt You?

–By Alisa Hurtado

Walk into any public place and one can’t help but notice that most people are staring at their phone. Even when gathered with several close friends or family members people are still likely to be engaging with their phone as much as each other.

So, how is your phone changing you? From our posture to our sleep, AsapSCIENCE addresses this and many other surprising details about how phone use has impacted human life in the brief yet entertaining video linked below.

There are some benefits to the increase of access to cell phones, such as increased access to information and instant long distance communication. Given the many harmful side effects of frequent use, however, should we reconsider the way we utilize these handy yet distracting tools? Do you think that you could take a smart phone vacation? How would you imagine this vacation affecting your daily life, both positively and negatively?

“Sex” and “Gender”: What’s the Difference and How Can a Unicorn Help Me Understand?

–By Kara Friend

The Gender Unicorn by Trans Student Educational Resources is a helpful visual to explain what all of these things mean! Check out their website here.

Gender Unicorn

Landyn Pan & Anna Moore/TSER

  • “Gender” (Gender Identity)
    • Gender is about your internal experience.
      • We often think of gender as male and female, but this limits the idea that people may experience their internal world as something other than male or female.
    • Think of gender identity as a spectrum.
      • This allows for individuals to identify their own self-concept along a more fluid spectrum of gender.
      • It is less rigid.
      • This recognizes gender as a socially constructed concept.
    • This may or may not be the same as your sex assigned at birth; rather, it’s about your personal experience.
  • “Sex” (Sex Assigned at Birth)
    • The term “Sex assigned at birth” refers to the fact that “sex” is typically determined at birth based on a variety of “biological” components that are not universally agreed upon (most people assume that sex is simply based on the appearance of a child’s external genitalia at birth).
      • Biological components:
        • Hormones, anatomy, chromosomes, etc.
      • Sex assigned at birth is a more encompassing label than sex because it is a more accurate representation of how we are assigning the label of sex based upon minimal criteria (i.e., the presence or absence of a penis).
  • Other Key Terms
    • Gender Expression/Presentation
      • The way you choose to express your gender identity.
        • This can be through clothing, hairstyles, vocal tone/pitch.
      • This is the external.
        • We do not always express ourselves in a way that matches our internal experience.
      • Sexually Attracted To
        • Sexual attraction and romantic attraction are not linked, just like gender identity and sex assigned at birth are not linked.
        • This is who you want to engage in sexual activities with.
      • Romantically/Emotionally Attracted To
        • Who you are romantically and emotionally attraction to.
          • In other words, who do you desire to have close or intimate relationships with?
          • These relationships may not always be sexual in nature.
        • For some, sexual attraction and romantic/emotional attraction are aligned; for others, they are not.

10 Minutes a Day Can Change Your Life

By Jacob Manuel

How often do we really take the time to nurture our brains? Today’s world is filled with so much increasing stress and an invariably increasing number of stressors. Many of us turn to our own solutions in an attempt to alleviate this stress. Some turn to exercise or hobbies, some self-medicate and may use drugs or alcohol in an attempt to escape. Unfortunately, many of the solutions we tend to rely on for relief can end up harming us in the end.

Anthony Puddicombe, a student-turned-monk offers a spiritual and evidence-based option: mindfulness meditation. The words may be familiar to you. In its essence, mindfulness meditation draws the attention to the here and now. Not making plans or thinking about memories, but really taking a moment to explore the mind and body in a nonjudgmental and yet curious way.

In his TED talk, Puddicombe notes that we spend “so little time in the present moment that it is anything but ordinary.” In a sense, he’s right. We have so many distractions to keep us from sitting with the thoughts and feelings that come naturally to the brain. I don’t know about you, but I spend more time than I would like to admit checking Facebook or text messages. In the video, Anthony quotes a Harvard research paper that found that “on average, our minds are lost almost 47% of the time.” He also notes that this mind wandering is “almost a direct cause of unhappiness.” That, as Anthony points out, is a quite unfortunate fact that we have to live with.

It’s Pride Month, so What Exactly is Pride?

–by Kara Friend

June is “Pride Month,” which means it is time to reflect on the meaning of “pride” and give a little context/history on how Pride came to be. The month of June is a time to celebrate, honor, and recognize sexual minorities*.

Historically, Pride was started as a nod to the 1969 Manhattan Stonewall Riots. As the social climate toward sexual minorities became more restrictive, members of the sexual minority community began creating underground communities, in which there was freedom of expression and all sexual orientations were welcome. These communities freely expressed their identities and did not subscribe to contemporary ideals about sexual orientation.

In response to this movement, police raided a bar known for its popularity amongst sexual minorities. The Stonewall Inn patrons fought off the raid, sparking discrimination protests all across town, and paving the way for many advocacy groups to follow.

The civil rights movement for sexual minorities has been a slow progression since the Riots. The first “gay pride parades” took place one year after the Stonewall Riots. It was not until 4 years after the Stonewall riots that homosexuality was removed as a mental illness from psychologist’s diagnostic manual. Despite this, we waited another 23 years until we had one state that would recognize “civil-unions” (good job Vermont!). Fast forward to June 26, 2015, the Supreme Court recognized the Constitutional rights of same-sex couples nation-wide.

So, how far have we come in these past 46 years and how much further do we need to go? June is a designated time to remind us to reflect on the progress we have made and the steps we need to continue to make for equity in the United States.

*Ok, what is a sexual minority?? An umbrella term that is used to described someone who does not identify as heterosexual, or the majority sexual orientation. Some examples of sexual minorities include: gay, lesbian, bisexual, pansexual, questioning, and queer.

PDX Pride 2016 Events

June 9, 8:00 PM – 12:00 AM on June 10: Pride Kick Off Party @ My Bartender

June 10, 7:30 PM – 9:30 PM: The Queer Comedy Showcase @ Curious Comedy Theater

June 14, 5:00 PM – 7:00 PM: Meet the Author @ Q Center

June 15, 6:30 PM – 8:00 PM: Screening of Grandma @ Academy Theater

June 17, 9:30 PM – 11:55 PM: GLOW Run @ SW Morrison & SW Naito PKWY

June 18 – 19, 12:00 PM – 6:00 PM: Portland Pride Festival @Tom McCall Waterfront Park

  • June 18th
    • 3:30 PM – 4:30 PM Portland Trans Pride March
    • 6:00 PM – 7:00 PM Portland Dyke March

June 18 – June 19, 10:00 PM – 2:00 AM: Gaylabration @ The Crystal Ballroom

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Another Believer/Wikimedia Commons

NEW–Buried in Treasures Hoarding Workshop

Group Topic:  Buried in Treasures Hoarding Group

Date: Tuesdays, beginning June 7

Time: 4:30 to 6:30 PM

Duration: 16 weeks

Price: $10/session + $16 for the book OR $100 + $16 for the book upfront ($60 discount)

Meetings will be held at:
Pacific Psychology & Comprehensive Health Clinic
1411 Southwest Morrison St.
Portland, OR 97205
503-352-2400