Is there an antidote to anxiety? "I'm very frightened," said Julie White. But she has a remedy: the stretching and deep breathing of yoga. The practice is so calming that after the terror upgrade, White made an upgrade of her own--from one class a day to two. she says, "Yoga is my tranquilizer."
You may find the lotus pose hopelessly warm and fuzzy in the face of terror. But there are a host of activities, from working out to going for a massage, that can temper the anxiety. Many of these techniques have been used for decades, if not centuries; now advances in science are showing they can reduce the hormones associated with stress and even affect brain activity. The common trait among all: maintaining control and recognizing that our concerns are a natural response to the world we live in.
The first step toward combating fear is identifying it. Keep in mind that headaches, stomachaches, sleeplessness and rapid heartbeat are all symptoms of anxiety. Confront the emotion head-on by naming it, even saying, "I feel fear about this," says Saki Santorelli, executive director of the University of Massachusetts Medical School's Center for Mindfulness. Acknowledging anxiety makes us less passive, less vulnerable and, as a result, more able to cope.
Understand that fear is a component of stress, the complex fight-or-flight response ingrained in us since the cave days. When we're confronted with danger, epinephrine (adrenaline) starts pumping, the heart speeds up, blood pressure increases, breathing quickens.
One of the most efficient ways to reduce stress is to focus inward on one thing we can effectively control: our own breath. At the Mind/Body Medical Institute, participants elicit a "relaxation response," repeating a word - anything from "om" to "Hail Mary"--silently as they exhale. In numerous studies, Benson has found that the practice leads to lower blood pressure, slower breathing and an overall calm.
Richard Davidson at the University of Wisconsin-Madison recently found that a form of meditative breathing pioneered at the Center for Mindfulness can affect the brain. In a small, soon-to-be-published study, Davidson took brain images of 25 members of a biotech firm who practiced meditation six days a week for eight weeks. He found increased activation in the left side of the prefrontal part of the brain, an area associated with lower anxiety, positive emotion and inhibition of the amygdala, the brain's fear center.
If sitting in one position for more than five minutes sounds impossible, you might try yoga. Concentrating on the physical intricacies of different poses forces you to filter out the "endless tape loops of chatter and fear," says Dr. Timothy McCall, medical editor of Yoga Journal, allowing you to be present in the moment. In so doing, you begin to clear the mind of future worries.
That experience helps get rid of distorted thinking, says Stanford University psychiatrist Dr. David Burns. What to do in the face of terrorism? Accept your anxiety, but don't let it control you. And certainly don't ruminate on your own. "Anxiety feeds on itself," says Dr. Paul Appelbaum, president of the American Psychiatric Association, so talk to family and friends."Sharing the concern with others can be enormously helpful."
斯坦福大学精神病学家David Burns博士说，这种经历可以帮助病人克服扭曲的思维方式。那么面对恐怖主义，该怎么办呢？接受焦虑，但是不要受它控制。当然你不要自个把事情翻来覆去地想个不停。“焦虑是越想越多，”美国精神病学会主席Paul Appelbaum博士这样说道，所以应该告诉家人和朋友。“和别人分担这些担心是非常有用的。”
Scientists are finding that it can help to get outside your head completely. In a study of 60 schoolchildren traumatized by Hurricane Andrew, Tiffany Field, director of the University of Miami's Touch Research Institute, found that depression dropped in kids who received 30 minutes of massage twice a week for a month; kids who watched a relaxing video showed no improvement. And cortisol levels, the body's marker for stress, declined significantly in the massage group. If massage isn't your thing, go for a vigorous walk, swim or bike ride. Exercise is not only good at keeping you fit; it reduces anxiety and depression, too.
It may be difficult, but in troubled times, researchers say, people need to take comfort from life' s simplest pleasures.In a small study at the University of Rochester School of Medicine, Dr. O. J. Sahler found that bone-marrow transplant patients who listened to music reported less pain and nausea, and their transplants took less time to become functional. And, yes, laughter may be good medicine, too. Dr. Lee Berk, of the Loma Linda University School of Public Health, discovered that a group of students who watched a comic video for an hour had marked reductions in epinephrine and cortisol levels. "If fear is too great," says Berk,"send in the clowns." Now that's something we can all meditate on.
研究者们说，尽管做起来很难，但是在多事之秋，人们需要从生活的最简单的快乐中获取安慰。在Rochester大学医学院进行的一次小范围调查中，O. J. Sahler博士发现在骨髓移植病人中，那些听音乐的反应感到的疼痛和恶心程度比较轻，而且他们移植的骨髓也更早就开始工作。另外，笑可能确实是良药。Loma Linda大学公共卫生学院的Lee Berk博士发现一组看了一小时喜剧录像的学生其肾上腺素和皮质醇水平都出现了显著下降。“如果你非常害怕，”Berk说，“那就看小丑表演吧。”这才是值得我们好好考虑的东西。