Oxford University Press's
Academic Insights for the Thinking World

Managing stress: body

Stress, anxiety, and tension can be regulated by changing your perspective on forthcoming events or using techniques such as mental imagery or meditation, but they can also be controlled by what you physically do with your body. Techniques such as muscle relaxation, relaxed breathing, and exercise can all be used to decrease the impact of your stress response.

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Managing stress: mind

Techniques such as mental imagery and meditation can be used to decrease your stress response. In mental imagery, relaxation is achieved by a few minutes of deep focus on a peaceful scene, often somewhere in nature. In meditation, relaxation is achieved by a few minutes of mental repetition of a word or phrase, usually in conjunction with relaxed breathing.

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Why are we all so frightened?

Knowing what you should fear, and quickly recognizing the biological changes in your body that indicate fear, can save your life. This critical task is processed by a small almond-shaped structure, the amygdala, which lies deep within the bottom of the brain, not far from your ears. The amygdala receives information from many brain regions, your internal organs, and external sensory systems, such as your eyes and ears.

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Managing stress: perspective

Stress and anxiety are often partly a result of your perspective, or how you tend to think about challenging situations you face. You can learn to regulate stress and anxiety by changing the way you think. This is because excess worry and stress often come from overestimating the danger in a situation. This overestimation is referred to by psychologists as “catastrophizing” and can take one of two forms

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JEEA cover

Ignorance as an excuse

Despite unequivocal scientific evidence for anthropogenic climate change, many people are skeptical that climate change is man-made, or even real. For instance, lawmakers in North-Carolina passed a bill requiring local planning agencies’ to ignore the latest climate science to predict sea level rise in several coastal counties. They say that ignorance is bliss, but why would we not want to know useful information?

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Let me tell you a story

Every year, I teach Medical Neurobiology to a new class of medical students. I introduce myself and immediately tell the class, “I am not a physician. I do not have a MD. I have a PhD. But, I am a patient, just as you are, and just like the people you will serve when you are physicians.”

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Preventing misdiagnosis of intracranial pressure disorders on diagnostic imaging

Imaging can build a stronger case for a specific diagnosis when several findings associated with that condition are present, making it important for those interpreting the images to be aware of the full scope of imaging findings in each ICP disorder. Finally, open and constructive communication between radiologists and clinical specialists is key to correct diagnosis, starting with appropriate clinical information

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Understanding stress and anxiety

Almost everybody experiences some stress and associated anxiety on a regular basis. While not particularly comfortable, these reactions can be valuable in alerting us to pay extra attention when we perform important tasks or find ourselves in high-risk situations. Sometimes, however, the stress response is triggered too easily or too intensely, causing unnecessary discomfort. In these cases, it helps to learn techniques to regulate the stress response.

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Winnicott on creativity and living creatively

Donald Winnicott (1896–1971) is one the most original and creative thinkers in the history of psychoanalysis after Freud. His theories about the early interaction between the infant and its environment, transitional objects and phenomena, true and false self, the relation between the analysand and the analyst, and many other topics have been of great importance for psychoanalysts, psychotherapists, social workers, teachers, and others all over the world.

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Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Communication

Hofstede’s cultural dimensions and differences across cultures

Geert Hofstede, in his pioneer study looking at differences in culture across modern nations, identified four dimensions of cultural values: individualism-collectivism, power distance, uncertainty avoidance, and masculinity-femininity. Working with researcher Michael Bond, Hofstede later added a fifth dimension with called dynamic Confucianism, or long-term orientation. Utilizing these interpretative frameworks leads to a greater understanding of ourselves and others.

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Human evolution: why we’re more than great apes

We share with the other great apes a long history, a largely common genetic heritage, a similar physiology, advanced cognitive abilities that permit cultural learning and exchange, and a gathering and hunting way of life. And yet we are not just great apes. There are some radical differences. The least interesting of these, although the ones that almost everyone has focused on, are the anatomical differences, and in particular our upright bipedal stance.

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Test your general knowledge about sleep

Sleep is defined as “a periodic state of muscular relaxation, reduced metabolic rate, and suspended consciousness in which a person is largely unresponsive to events in the environment”. It comes easily to some, and much harder (sometimes impossible) to others, but we all need it in order to function day-to-day. Not only is it required to stay healthy, it also allows a space for our brains to think out problems whilst we doze.

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Medical Psychotherapy

The hygge of psychoanalytic psychotherapy

The Danish concept of ‘hygge’ has captivated the British imagination. Pronounced runner-up word of the year, it seems a fitting counterpoint to the word ‘post-truth’ in first place: an apt response to the seismic political shifts of 2016. Hygge is difficult to translate: it is not a concrete entity, but something akin to a cozy, warm, and homely feeling, a sense of familiarity, a state of mind in which all psychological needs are in balance.

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How does acupuncture work? The role of S1 remapping

Acupuncture is a medical therapy that originated in China several thousand years ago and is rooted in a complex practice ritual based on a philosophy that predates our current understanding of physiology. Despite its long history, though, the intervention itself, particularly when coupled with electrical stimulation, significantly overlaps with many conventional peripherally-focused neuromodulatory therapies.

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Embodied Selves and Divided Minds

Where your mind goes, you go? (Part 2)

Is there some other way to resolve the duplication problem that acknowledges this insight? Remember that according to Parfit, we all agree that if my brain is transplanted into someone else’s brainless body, and the resulting person has my character and apparent memories, then this resulting person is me. But should we agree, or do these intuitions rest on questionable assumptions?

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Can hypnosis improve the functioning of injured brains?

Think about a situation in the past few years where your mind was at its very best. A situation where you felt immune to distractions, thinking was easy and non-strenuous, and you did not feel information-overloaded. If you take a moment, you can probably recall one such situation. As you think about it, you may even experience it actively right now and get a sense that you could be in that state again.

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