How To Stay Calm When You’re Stressed
Dear Friends & Neighbors,
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Benjamin Franklin, who wrote in a 1789 letter that “Our new Constitution is now established, and has an appearance that promises permanency; but in this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.” To this, I’d like to add “stress”, so it’d be “in this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death, taxes, and stress.” Regardless whether it concerns one’s personal or professional life, I don’t think I know of any one who is immune from stress in going through his/her life. No one is at his/her best when under stress. Human brain has evolved over millennia to release cortisol under stressful situations, inhibiting rational and logical thinking but may potentially help one to survive. Neuroscientist Daniel Levitin believes that there’s a way to avoid making critical mistakes in stressful situations, when one’s thinking becomes clouded (the pre-mortem). The fundamental premise is to think ahead and anticipate failures before it occurs. In this process of having prepared for the worst, one is more likely to have a better chance of minimizing the damage or surviving when the worst will occur. He further extrapolates such premise in decisions involving health care. He advises several statistics people should or need to ask before deciding whether or not to take certain medications:
- NNT (Number Needed to Treat): the number of people that need to take a drug or undergo a surgery or any medical procedure before one person is helped. GlaxoSmithKline estimates that 90% of the drugs work in only 30 to 50 percent of the people. For example, the NNT of statin drug is 300, meaning 300 people have to take the drug for a year before one heart attack, stroke, or other adverse event is prevented.
- Side Effects: % of people with side effects as a result of taking the drug, surgery, or certain medical procedure.
- Preference for short, pain-free life or long painful life.
Below, is neuroscientist Daniel Levitin, sharing with us the way to handle stressful situations in order to stay calm:
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