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We all know that stress is a part of life, and our wellbeing depends on how well we manage it. When we are reactive to stress, our nervous system can go into survival mode, and we may lose our abilities to cope and see the situation clearly. But when we utilize wellness practices in times of stress, such as taking five deep breaths, we are letting our nervous system know that we are safe enough to access compassion, reasoning, and perspective—and we are able to handle our challenges with grace and experience our full lives with greater ease.
Stanford University promotes the education of research-backed wellness practices and resources that support the general public and Stanford students to manage their stress, such as:
1) Stanford Psychiatry YogaX – Free Online Yoga and Wellness Classes
– for the public and mental health professionals to bring yoga into healthcare
With the mission to bring yoga into healthcare, YogaX is a special initiative of the chair of the Stanford Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences. The instructors of YogaX are trained psychologists, both researchers and clinicians, who promote the science and application of therapeutic yoga.
YogaX’s YouTube Channel offers free online yoga and wellness classes and provides integrative tools for patients to navigate their health journey with greater resilience. YogaX also offers yoga teacher trainings specifically tailored for mental health professionals to bring yoga practices and philosophy into the healthcare setting. YogaX teaches integrated holistic yoga that is grounded in modern neuroscience, neurobiology, and psychological research. The program honors the ancient philosophical and psychological teachings of yoga and aims to combat the stigma and stereotypes associated with the westernization of yoga.
“Our vision of yoga is one of inclusiveness, access, diversity, health, wellbeing, and resilience for all. Ours is a yoga of integration that honors the mind as much as the body, the breath as much as the calming of the nervous system, stillness as much as movement, and effort as much as ease.”
— Christiane Brems, PhD, YogaX Director, ABPP, ERTY500, C-IAYT
2) Stanford Lifestyle Psychiatric Clinic
– for the general public
The Stanford Lifestyle Psychiatry clinic provides high quality care for people with psychiatric disorders who prefer to take an active role in their recovery through implementation of evidence-based lifestyle interventions. Researchers at the clinic also conduct research into the most effective methods for lifestyle change among various subgroups and for specific psychiatric conditions.
We also provide opportunities for the next generation of providers to train in Lifestyle Psychiatry and offer leadership in the incorporation of lifestyle interventions in medicine across Stanford and throughout the world.
The Stanford Lifestyle Psychiatry clinic provides:
- Medication management
- Health coaching
- Nutritional counseling
- Mind-body practices
- Supportive psychotherapy
“Care in the Lifestyle Psychiatry clinic starts with a comprehensive assessment of current and lifetime lifestyle behaviors. This communicates the importance of lifestyle to health and provides the basis for identifying contributors to current symptoms and opportunities for improvement. Once we’ve established the person’s past lifestyle preferences, current behaviors, and current symptoms, we review the potential risks and benefits of a range of therapeutic options including medications, psychotherapy, and lifestyle interventions. Then, we develop a plan for building successful lifestyle changes, set manageable goals, and revise the goals until the patient achieves the results they are seeking.”
— Douglas Noordsy, MD, Director of the Stanford Lifestyle Psychiatry Clinic
3) Stanford Living Education (SLED) Program
– for Stanford University students
The Stanford Living Education (SLED) program offers experiential and research-based, unit-bearing courses where students learn the science and practice of wellbeing. Each quarter there are roughly 15 courses, including: Meditation, Financial Wellbeing, Sexual & Emotional Intimacy Skills, Athletes as Leaders, The Art of Grief, Laughter Yoga, Tools for a Meaningful Life, Digital Wellness, and more. Classes range from one to four units, some are graded S/NC, and many are WAYS designated.
“Stress is part of a meaningful life: traveling, relationships, family, meaningful work, and being a student at Stanford. Stress doesn’t mean you’re doing life wrong; stress means you care. How we respond to our stress has a dramatic impact on our sense of wellbeing. In our SLED courses, students learn research-backed practices to manage stress in a healthy way, while earning academic credit.”
— Sarah Meyer Tapia, PhD, Interim Director of SLED