Beyond Stress

These are the key points for a talk I am presenting today on "Beyond Stress."


  • Stress = Tension
  • Tension doesn't have to be a bad thing. Tension can be applied to strengthen body and mind.
  • Think of stress as a stimulus to which there is a creative response, just as tension can be used creatively.
  • Stress becomes distress when tension turns into strain.
  • The flight-or-fight response is appropriate in the face of distress, but it needn't be activated in the face of stress.

The role of the mind

  • The quality of our mind determines the quality of our day.
    Relaxed, alert mind = enjoyable day (even while being active and solving problems!)
  • A mind that does not know how to creatively respond to tension experiences strain and distress.
  • How familiar are you with your mind?
    Quiz yourself:
  1. How would you rate your stress level? (low, medium, high)
  2. Do you notice how and when your state of mind changes throughout the day?
  3. What tools do you use to manage your mind?

The creative response

  • The first step in the creative response to stress is to remain aware of stress without reacting. This has to be practiced so that it can be effective while interacting with others.
  • Breathing exercises, mindfulness, and meditation are key.
  • Free meditation: Click here
  • Remaining aware of tension without reacting takes the oomph out of tension and prevents strain. It simultaneously frees the mind to imagine new, better responses to the tension.
  • The result is a stronger, more aware, more productive, more joyous mind.

Take home points

  • Stress can be used creatively!
  • The quality of our mind determines the quality of our day.
  • Practice makes perfect: Regular introspection and meditation bring greater awareness, joy, and productivity to life, taking you beyond stress!

Anoop Kumar, MD, MM is board certified in Emergency Medicine and holds a Master’s degree in Management with a focus in Health Leadership. He practices in the Washington, DC metro area, where he also leads meditation gatherings for clinicians. He is the author of the book Michelangelo’s Medicine: How redefining the human body will transform health and healthcare. Follow him @DrAnoopKumar.