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Autogenic training and imagery  A self-generating or self-induced relaxation technique. This method uses mental concentration exercises to bring about sensations of warmth and heaviness in the limbs and torso and then uses relaxing images to expand the relaxed state.
Biofeedback training  A technique in which machines measure certain physiological processes of the body. The machines convert this information to an understandable form and feed it back to the individual. This process gives a person access to biological information not usually available through consciousness alone.
Chronic Stress  Prolonged physical and emotional stress that is more than the individual can cope with. It may lead to a psychosomatic disease.
Daily hassles  The events or interactions in daily life that are bothersome, annoying, or negative in some way. Examples are losing things, having too many things to do, and filling out paperwork.
Daily uplifts  The counterpart to daily hassles. These are positive events that make us feel good. Examples are payday; being complimented; and having fun with a friend.
Distress  Refers to unpleasant or harmful stress under which health and performance begin to decline.
Eustress  Refers to happy or pleasant events under which health and performance improve even as stress increases.
Fight-or-flight response (Alarm Reaction Stage)  The first stage in the Stress Response, in which the body prepares to cope with a stressor. Physiological and psychological responses appear. It is a basic survival mechanism.
General Adaptation Syndrome  Described by Hans Selye and is today known as the Stress Response. It is the body's reaction or adaptation to stress and includes three stages: the fight-or-flight response, the stage of resistance, and the stage of exhaustion.
Hatha yoga  Also known as physical yoga, this is the most familiar form of yoga. It is a discipline that involves the use of various exercises or postures (called asanas) in combination with proper breathing rhythm to remove tension and inflexibility in the body.
Hot reactors  Apparently healthy individuals who are prime candidates for stress-related heart attack or stroke because of the extreme reactions they demonstrate in response to daily stress.
Meditation  A mental exercise that elicits the body's relaxation response. The purpose of meditation is to gain control over one's attention-to internally quiet down, allowing the individual to choose what to focus on and block out distracting thoughts.
Mindfulness meditation  Involves focusing on whatever a person happens to be experiencing at the time and learning to experience anything calming, whether it is pleasant or unpleasant. This type of meditation was popularized by Dr. Jon Kabat-Zinn. Traditional meditation involves training the mind on a single point of focus, such as a word or phrase.
Optimal Stress  The point at which stress is intense enough to motivate and physical prepare us to perform optimally yet not intense enough to cause the body to overreact or sustain harmful effects.
Progressive relaxation  A series of exercises designed by the physician Edmund Jacobson for his tense patients. The method emphasizes the relaxation of the voluntary skeletal muscles by contracting a muscle group and then relaxing it, progressing from one muscle group to another until the total body is relaxed. Individuals eventually learn to recognize tenseness and continuously relax whatever that is needed.
Psychoneuroimmunology  The study of the effects of emotions, behavior, and mental attitudes on the immune system and the onset/course of illness.
Psychosomatic disease  A physical ailment that is mentally induced. Psycho refers to the mind, and somatic refers to the body. This type of disease is frequently called a stress disease.
Reframing  A way of looking at life in a positive manner. For example, seeing the glass as half full is a reframing of seeing it as half empty.
Relaxation response  The body's built-in defense mechanism against the harmful effects of the inappropriate elicitation of the fight-or-flight response caused by everyday living. Dr. Herbert Benson of Harvard University discovered that with training, the healing mechanism can be summoned at will.
Stage of exhaustion  The third stage of the General Adaptation Syndrome (GAS), now known as the stress Response. During this stage, adaptation energy is exhausted and the organ system involved in the repeated stress response breaks down. Disease or malfunction of the organ system or death may occur.
Stage of resistance  The second stage of the General Adaptation Syndrome (GAS), now known as the Stress Response. During this stage, the body actively resists and attempts to cope with the stressor.
Stress  The response of the body to any type of change and any new, threatening or exciting situation. Dr. Hans Selye, one of the foremost authorities on stress, defined stress as the "nonspecific response to the human organism to any demand made upon it." Nonspecific means that the body reacts the same way regardless of the cause.
Stressors  Factors causing stress. They may be pleasant or unpleasant; real or imagined; and physical, psychological, or emotional in nature.
Stress Response  Once known as the General Adaptation Syndrome (GAS), is the body's adaptation (reaction) to stress. Regardless of the cause, the reaction to stress is psychological and physiological.
Transcendental meditation (TM)  A form of meditation that originated in the cultures of India and Tibet. It was exported to the West by the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. It involves training the mind on a single point of focus, such as a word or phrase.

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