In this post I will describe unease, one of the components of stress. I will explain how unease is related to emotions. I will also give an example of a meditation technique to reduce the effect of unease on our nervous system. An audio version of the text is below. A meditation track is at the end of the post.
I am working on various ways of presenting material. I had a request for an audio version of posts so I will include that here as well as the text version.
I read a recent report on scammers preying on people’s fear of COVID-19 to sell them bogus cures. I thought it would be interesting to apply the unease modulation model of stress to understand how scammers work and how to protect ourselves.
The video in this post applies a model of stress that I have been using for years to the particular situation of being required to remain at home due to COVID-19. The presentation describes how several components of stress interact in this situation and how to deal with them.
The model was published last year as a scientific research article in Frontiers in Psychiatry. This video is my attempt to use simple animations to capture the dynamic nature of stress and how different techniques can be combined to have synergistic effects.
Currently governments are taking extreme measures to reduce the spread of COVID-19. However, there are couple of facts that suggest we are missing an approach that could be helpful.
I have a Tibetan bowl that many people have found quite relaxing. However, not all people like the same pitch. This post links to a page that has a number of differently pitched Tibetan bowl sounds. Each link on the page will take you to a 5 min track of a Tibetan bowl at a different pitch. Find one you like and relax.
One purpose of these Tibetan bowl tracks, the paced breathing tracks, and any of the relaxation tracks you can find on this site is to help you relax and recover from stress.
Another equally important function is that they should help you disengage your attention from useless focusing on what is making you uneasy and enable you to shift your attention to what may reduce your difficulty. More on this in a couple of days.
If people follow the recommendations on social isolation then it is likely that many of us will escape being infected with COVID-19. However, each of us is being affected by the stress from the virus and the unprecedented actions required to halt its spread.
Since I am an expert in stress and stress-management I am going to be posting tools to help people cope with the stress associated with the COVID-19 epidemic. These posts will all be under the categories COVID and Stress.
Please use the comments section for this post to requests for specific techniques or ask questions.
Our parasympathetic nervous system helps us recover from stress. When we breathe at a slow pace, generally between 5 and 7 breaths per minute for adults, our physiology shifts into a recovery state in which natural restorative processes become more active. This is associated with activation of the parasympathetic nervous system and it will occur within a few seconds of beginning that breathing pattern.
The link below points to a page with a series of videos that you can use to breathe with. Pick a pace and breathe with it. If a particular pace does not feel soothing then try a different pace. You are looking for a breathing pace that feels effortless and soothing. Your body should settle into it effortlessly. Most people like a pace between 5 and 7 breaths per minute. Continue reading Paced Breathing for Brief Relaxation
This is a guided meditation that uses vocals mixed with nature sounds. The intention is to help you experience a peaceful state of mind and body.
This track was mixed to be listened to on headphones for the best experience.
This meditation uses several nature sounds tracks that are licensed from Karl Hamilton at www.naturesounds.ca
The tracks used are
- Wind in Pines
- Forest Stream
- Relaxation Brook
- Silver Falls
- Broad-Winged Hawk
I was interviewed by Teemu Karppinen for his Finnish program Successful Mind after my colleague Judith. Here is my interview.
I did like the answer I came up with for his question toward the end of the show on how I would define a successful mind.
Here is a video of my colleague Dr. Judith Andersen being interviewed for a Finnish show, Successful Mind, hosted by Teemu Karppinen. We were in Finland working on a stress-management program with Dr. Harri Gustafsberg. Judith and Harri created a successful program to reduce use-of-force errors by police officers, the International Performance Resilience and Efficiency Program.
I wanted to let visitors know about a site by Kevin Cuccaro, D.O.
Dr. Kevin has some extremely important ideas about pain and how to deal with it effectively.
His blog is Straight Shot Health
He also has a free class on ways of thinking about pain that can be transformative at The Pain Class
The free class is can be understood without having a medical background.
I see stress as being a factor in the experience of pain and am working on how the model of stress I use will work with his model of pain. I’ll post more as I make progress on that.
After months of work the research article I was working on has been published in Frontiers in Psychiatry. The article describes a new model for stress by breaking stress down into several components. These components are:
- Sympathetic Activation (SMP)
- Parasympathetic Activation (PMP)
These components affect how we experience the world and how we respond to it. Unease has more influence and so learning to modulate unease is the most important part of dealing with stress.
The article is free to read and the link is
I have not posted here for awhile because I am working on a couple of research articles, as well as developing apps and a training program. Those have been absorbing all the time and energy I have to spare and will continue to do so for the next couple of months.
After those projects are completed this site will be redone to include new material and to make it more organized. Thanks for your patience.
Our team’s work was just published. We showed that errors in high-stress situations can be reduced by using techniques to increase parasympathetic activity under stress.