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Elisa Goldstein, Ph.D.Elisha Goldstein, Ph.D.
A blog about mindfulness, stress-reduction, psychotherapy and mental health.

Stress on the Rise? Two Simple Practices to Find Relief

Elisha Goldstein, Ph.D. Updated: Jun 22nd 2012


stressWith anxiety disorders being the most common illness in America, affecting 40 million adults, not including kids, it’s clear that many of our nervous systems are overwhelmed. Anxiety leads to increased muscle-skeletal tension, along with a host of uncomfortable emotions like fear, anger, or sadness. As we allow the stress cycle to continue to build, it can lead to increased anxiety or depression. Or if you are already prone to an anxiety or depressive disorder, this stress can aggravate it and send you back into the condition you worked so hard to get out of. It’s clear we need a change. 

There are two simple practices you can begin integrating into your life to relieve the nervous system.


  1. The first is to learn how to take daily time-outs just like you were likely forced to do as a kid when you reacting in unhealthy ways. I’m not talking about once a year vacations, or a weekend out with the family from time to time. You need this break daily. 

    A time-out can as short as 30 seconds or as long as an hour in a day. What can you do to take a time-out from your daily busy-ness to restore and calm your mind and body? Sometimes taking a good inhalation of a bottle of really good essential oils can transport you to a different place and be restorative relieving tension from your body and mind. Or maybe taking a short amount of time to practice checking in with a meditation, resources abound on this. 

  2. The second simple practice is to learn how to say NO! The fact is, many of us are so afraid to say no when an additional responsibility is given to us by friends, family, or job. Pay attention to your mind and body, notice if you are getting imbalanced, if so, just kindly let people know that right now your plate is full and that you’ll have to come back to this later or to please let someone else take it on. It is okay to say NO! If you have difficulty saying No, this practice is that much more important. 


Allow this to be a moment to choose to integrate these two practices of taking regular short time-outs and practicing saying “No” into your life as an experiment to see what happens. 

As always, please share your thoughts, stories and questions below. Your interaction creates a living wisdom for us all to benefit from. 

What are your favorite ways to take time-outs during the day? Do you have difficulty saying no? Feel free to share stories, comments, and questions that come up for you.



Elisha Goldstein, Ph.D.

Elisha Goldstein, Ph.D. is a clinical psychologist in private practice in West Los Angeles and is author of the upcoming book The Now Effect, co-author of A Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Workbook, Foreword by Jon Kabat-Zinn, author of the Mindful Solutions audio series, and the Mindfulness at Work program currently being adopted in multiple multinational corporations.

Check out Dr. Goldstein's acclaimed CD's on Mindful Solutions for Stress, Anxiety, and Depression, Mindful Solutions for Addiction and RelapsePrevention, and Mindful Solutions for Success and Stress Reduction at Work. -- "They are so relevant, I have marked them as one of my favorites on a handout I give to all new clients" ~ Psychiatrist.

If you're wanting to integrate more mindfulness into your daily life, sign up for his Mindful Living Twitter Feed. Dr. Goldstein is also available for private psychotherapy.

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