Training Your Brain to Deal With Stress

Lester Sandman, MD, receives referrals for patients with psychiatric conditions who have attempted to find help elsewhere through counseling, medications, and other treatments without success. On his website, Dr. Lester Sandman offers links to a variety of articles about mental and psychological health, such as Excel Under Pressure.

In her article titled Excel Under Pressure: Prepping for Stress Can Enhance Your Response, Megan Johnson describes a common problem when people face too much stress. In colloquial terms, they have a brain freeze. Johnson attributes the problem not to the working of the brain, although the prefrontal cortex is involved, but rather to people’s tendencies to ignore the capabilities of their automatic response and instead focus on the importance of the moment.

For instance, if a politician stands up in front of the camera, he or she may suddenly blank out on how to continue. Or, in another case, a student may do poorly on an exam after doing well on a practice test for that exam. They may have prepared well, but when it comes to the important moment, they focus on the consequences of that moment rather than the current task. In order to avoid this, Johnson suggests preparing for that important event with a situation that simulates stress, but at a lower level. That, she says, is enough.

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drlestersandman

A licensed psychiatrist, Dr. Lester Sandman claims more than 20 years of experience in the treatment of patients coping with mood and anxiety disorders. Dr. Sandman was educated at the University of Washington, where he earned a Bachelor of Science in Mathematics and Psychology in 1974; and at Antioch University, where he received a Master of Arts in Psychology in 1977. After earning his medical degree from the Medical College of Wisconsin in 1986, Dr. Sandman completed an internship and residency in psychiatry at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C. Following the completion of his of his Residency, Dr. Lester Sandman served as a Senior Teaching Fellow for the Department of Psychiatry at Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences in Bethesda, Maryland, and as an Administrative Chief Resident at Walter Reed Medical Center. From 1989 to 1993, Dr. Sandman served as an Instructor for Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, teaching medical students, interns, and physician assistants at three hospitals. Over the course of his tenure with the military, Dr. Lester Sandman was recognized on several occasions for excellence and dedication above and beyond the call of duty. During Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm, Dr. Sandman was deployed to Saudi Arabia as the 86th Evacuation Hospital’s Chief of Psychiatry Service. His support of the Army’s 18th Corps during the war earned him the Army Commendation Medal. While serving as the Chief of the Department of Psychiatry in Fort Campbell, Kentucky, Dr. Sandman received the Meritorious Service Medal for his implementation of programs that resulted in budgetary savings of $1 million. In addition, Dr. Lester Sandman was awarded an additional Army Commendation Medal for his work as the Chief of Inpatient Services for the Department of Psychiatry at Fitzsimons Army Medical Center in Aurora, Colorado. Dr. Sandman moved to the state of Washington in 1993, where he has lived since, and began his private practice in Bellevue. He also at various times worked for Social Security Disability Services, and Fairfax Hospital in Kirkland. Since 1998, Dr. Lester Sandman has devoted his time exclusively to his private practice, where he specializes in medication management for the treatment of mood and anxiety disorders in addition to providing consultations services for local primary-care physicians.

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