The American Institute of Stress’ own president, Dr. Daniel L. Kirsch, made a guest appearance on KPFT Houston’s Conscious Mindset last week. The radio show, hosted by Sedrick and Brother Evans on Sunday evenings, is “a program merging health, spirituality, society and philosophy with African-American experiences.”

In the March 24 episode of Conscious Mindset, Sedrick and Brother Evans taps Dr. Kirsch for his expertise on all things stress-related. Dr. Kirsch explains that contrary to popular opinion, stress is not a disease – it’s simply life. Stress is a natural and normal response to any challenge we encounter, the reaction of the body to any demand placed upon it.

Stress is the spice of life, according to Dr. Kirsch – it gives you motivation and makes you feel invigorated – even euphoric. This positive type of stress is called eustress, and it’s what keeps life interesting and exciting.

When Sedrick asks Dr. Kirsch for his expert advice on how to manage stress, his response is simple: we have to realize that we are in control.  Our brains are like a biocomputer we keep programming every day. In fact, just by replacing the word “expectation” with “preference” in our vocabulary-programming, we can remove much of the distress that occurs when things do not go our way. Stress management, according to Dr. Kirsch, is all about navigating around our nervous systems’ sympathetic reactions (the fight-or-flight response) to get to a parasympathetic, or peaceful, state.

Coping effectively with stress as it occurs can be simple, especially if you make it a regular habit. Dr. Kirsch’s favorite technique for immediate stress relief takes only 6 seconds to perform, and the steps are easy for anyone to master:

  1. Identify your stressors and immediately upon being startled…
  2. Smile inwardly with your eyes and mouth (relax your face)…
  3. Then take a slow, deep breath and while doing so visualize your breath as warm air coming up from pores, or holes in the bottom of your feet, up your legs all the way into your lungs, and back down again the same way as you exhale.

By practicing subtle techniques such as this one on a daily basis, as well as incorporating other practical elements such as sufficient sleep, exercise and peaceful daily rituals such as taking 20 minutes for a hot bath, you can make the best of your stress instead of letting it overwhelm you.

To hear more of Dr. Kirsch’s knowledge of stress and how to effectively manage it, listen to the full episode of Conscious Mindset here.  Dr. Kirsch comes in after the first hour of the show and is heard from throughout the second hour.

You can also subscribe to Contentment, The American Institute of Stress’ completely free magazine, here. Veterans and current Service Members will find relevant articles and advice by subscribing for free to Combat Stress.

About Dr. Daniel L. Kirsch

Dr. Kirsch is the President of the American Institute of Stress and the Chairman of Electromedical Products International, Inc. He has over four decades of experience in the medical field, including extensive clinical practice experience. Throughout his career Dr. Kirsch has designed medical devices and their applications and developed clinical systems for implementing pain and stress control strategies.

About the American Institute of Stress

The mission of AIS is to improve the health of the community and the world by setting the standard of excellence of stress management in education, research, clinical care and the workplace. Diverse and inclusive, The American Institute of Stress educates medical practitioners, scientists, health care professionals and the public, conducts research and provides information, training and techniques to prevent human illness related to stress.