Monday, April 19, 2010

10 Ways to Protect Yourself From Danger

We know that the world can be a scary place, but we still need to live in it.  With a few smart behaviors, we can increase our personal safety.  Below is a list of ten smart safety tips that everyone should use.

1.    Don’t look vulnerable (e.g., stay off your cell phone, don’t hold your purse loosely, etc.)

2.    Identify potential dangers (e.g., people trying to distract you, ask for directions, ask for help, etc.) 

3.    Avoid dangerous locations (e.g., avoid empty parking garages, isolated locations, etc.)

4.    Be aware of your surroundings (e.g., check out people around you, identify areas that people can hide, look for escape routes, etc.)

5.    Don’t make assumptions that people are safe because they look “nice”

6.    Don’t tempt fate (i.e., why shop and run errands at night when you can do this in daylight?)

7.    Avoid going out alone (there is safety in numbers)

8.    Know the “tricks of the trade” that predators use (e.g., offering to help you so you feel indebted to “help” them, making unsolicited promises – “I’m a good guy”, “I won’t hurt you”, etc.)

9.    If  you carry a protection tool (e.g., pepper spray, a club, taser, etc.) make sure you know how to use it properly (don’t become your own victim)

10.Don’t be afraid of hurting someone’s feelings; if they look “sketchy” or make you feel uncomfortable, roll up your windows, lock your door, or cross to the other side of the street; hurting a stranger’s feelings is a small price to pay for your safety.

Dr. Barrie Morganstein is a psychologist at Southeast Psych who sees clients of all ages.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Ten Great Ways to Manage Stress

Keeping yourself from stressing out in the first place is probably the best tactic. However, if you have already arrived at that stressful place, here is a list of ten techniques that you can use to bring yourself back to nirvana (or at least your living room).

1. Breathing exercises (i.e., slow rhythmic breathing can lower your blood pressure and heart rate)

2. Visualization/Guided imagery (positive thoughts such as acing an interview or relaxing on the beach can make you feel more positive and even help you achieve goals)

3. Meditation (frequently involving deep breathing combined with visualization)

4. Exercise (the endorphins that you create while exercising are natural stress relievers)

5. Progressive muscle relaxation (a combination of visualization and body awareness, this can create physical as well as mental relaxation)

6. Listen to music (music can slow your breathing, pulse, and heart rate as well as bring about a natural calm)

7. Biofeedback (using a simple electronic device, it is possible to use your body to relax your mind and vice versa)

8. Yoga (also known as “moving mediation”, can bring about mental and physical relaxation)

9. Make a To Do list (having a list can not only get your duties out of your head and on to paper, but checking them off as you go feels pretty good)

10. Pets (snuggling with cute warm fuzzies can make anyone feel better instantly)

Dr. Barrie Morganstein is a licensed psychologist at Southeast Psych in Charlotte.  She sees clients of all ages.