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Facts About Objective Stress Management

If someone asked you to make a list of stressful situations, you wouldn’t have to think very long: there are plenty to choose from. 

Stressful situations aren’t good or bad – per se. A situation can feel extremely stressful but have a positive outcome. And what feels like “bad” stress to one person might be “good” stress to another. 

What is Objective Stress Management? 

Stressors surround us and can be catalysts for unexpected change or sources of extreme grief. But accepting the inevitability of stress doesn’t mean we have to give ourselves over to it or take on more than we can handle.

Objective stress management is the ability to identify a stressor and proactively adapt through a psychophysiological response.

Stressor vs. Stress Response

Stress is defined as the body’s physical, mental, and emotional response to a particular stimulus called a stressor.

The stimulus, or “stressor,” is an internal (chemical or biological agent) or external (environmental condition, event) stimulus causing stress to an organism. 

Type of stressors 

Psychogenic stressors have a psychological origin. They include mental events that generate stress, like fear or worry, and they are related to the individual appraisal processes. 

Neurogenic stressors involve a physical stimulus that affects the body. It could be physical pain, a fight, frostbite, or anything objectively stressful on the body.  

The stress response is what happens after we encounter the stressor. 

What does the stress reaction look like in the body?

Our bodies desperately want to stay in balance (homeostasis). When thrown out of balance by stressors, our bodies respond with a stress response. The primary actors in stress response are the hypothalamus, pituitary gland, and adrenal glands – together referred to as the HPA axis.

Here’s what the stress response looks like:

1. The body is exposed to a stressor.
2. The hypothalamus in the brain secretes hormones into the pituitary gland.
3. The pituitary gland reacts by secreting adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH)
4. ACTH reaches the adrenal glands, which respond by releasing cortisol into the bloodstream.
5. Cortisol (aka the stress hormone) causes a widespread “stress” response in the body – affecting all kinds of bodily functions, including our breathing, sweating, appetite, sexual desire, attention, mood, immunity, and more. 

Triggering the Relaxation Response

To objectively manage stress, we must adapt to stress with strategies that return the body to balance (homeostasis). We can restore balance with various methods of cognitive and behavioural therapy, including: 

Self-talk: Self-talk is the endless stream of unspoken thoughts that run through your head. Some self-talk comes from logic and reason. Other self-talk may arise from misconceptions created by a lack of information. Self-talk is entirely responsible for forming our reality. If your self-talk is primarily positive, you will have overall positive thoughts. Cruel, hurtful self-talk will lead to negative thoughts and a negative outlook on life.

Create Positive Thoughts: Positive thinking doesn’t help you avoid stressors, but it helps turn them into positive experiences. A 2012 study found that people with generally positive thoughts processed stressful situations as lessons and meaningful experiences. These stressors served as catalysts to find meaning and purpose in life.

In comparison, people with negative thinking feel more victimized by stressful events and view them as something they must endure. Their lives do not become more meaningful after stressful events. 

Other benefits of positive thinking include:

1. Increased life span
2. Lower rates of depression
3. Stronger immunity
4. Better psychological and physical well-being
5. Better cardiovascular health and reduced risk of death from cardiovascular disease

Here are some examples of positive vs. negative thinking:

Relaxation tactics: To restore balance in the body, you need to trigger a relaxation response – aka the opposite of the stress response in the body.

A few relaxation tactics include practising breath work, progressive muscle relaxation, and guided imagery. The use of apps and other trackers to capture neurofeedback and biofeedback metrics can also help foster a relaxation response. They train the subject to recognize objective physiological signals and respond accordingly to bring the body back to balance.

Want to learn more about your stress response? Download a free trial of LUCA today and take the mystery out of stress management.

The Power of Boundaries to Manage Relationship Stress

Fighting with a sibling about another sibling. Having a difficult conversation with your partner. Dealing with “politics” in a work environment. These are all examples of relational stress — aka — stress that stems from relationships. Relational stress is among the most challenging forms to manage because you can only control half of the equation: your own actions and choices.

One of the best places to start when managing stress in your relationships with others is to set healthy boundaries. Setting “ground rules” in a relationship, whether within a friendship, romantic partner, or family connection, creates a framework with clear expectations and limits. These parameters allow both people to feel comfortable and free.

When boundaries have never been discussed or set, one person may hurt the other repeatedly without knowledge or intent, creating negative consequences for the relationship. Some relationships come with expected boundaries (like not calling your coworkers during the night), while others have to be determined individually by experiences. But a relationship without any boundaries is a breeding ground for resentment.

Boundaries are necessary for forming functional relationships for people with emotional dysregulation (such as personality or mood disorders). But setting boundaries doesn’t mean a person or a situation is disordered. Anyone can benefit by recognizing and setting an emotional limit, especially during stressful situations like significant events or holidays.’

Two things that can help set healthy boundaries are:

Emotional intelligence:Emotional intelligence is the ability to understand, use, and express your emotions — especially in interpersonal relationships. Strengthening your Emotional Intelligence while setting boundaries is vital to understanding the relationship dynamic and how emotions influence that dynamic. According to what you want and need from the relationship, emotional intelligence helps you manage the relationship in the most functional way.

Communication: Once you’ve identified the problem or your needs in your relationship, the next step is to practice effective communication with the other person. There are countless resources to teach you effective communication, but at minimum, effective communication is straightforward, honest, and reflective. Start by stating your needs and being assertive. Assertiveness is a communicative choice between aggressiveness and passiveness. Assertive communication is respectful but clear and concise. Many of us focus on being polite and pleasant in social situations. Being assertive can sometimes be perceived as being curt since you’re not leading with kindness, but being assertive is really about being honest and communicating your needs effectively and firmly.

How to set boundaries:

In every relationship, the process of setting boundaries will look a little different. You might set them at the start, or you might set them after something happens that you wish never to happen again. This is a general strategy for setting boundaries in an existing relationship.

1. Start by telling the other person why you’re setting the boundary — because you love them and want to preserve the relationship.
2. Define the boundary you wish to set.
3. Tell them what will happen if the boundaries are crossed (cutting ties, less contact, change in the relationship, etc.)
4. Follow through with the action.

If you’re new to setting boundaries, start with assertively saying no to things that make you uncomfortable. Over time, setting boundaries will become easier. And as you create healthier boundaries, you’ll likely see positive changes in your mental health and the stability of your relationships.

Download the LUCA app to learn more about Emotional Intelligence and start creating healthy boundaries today.

How Stress Affects Your Body

When we think of stress, we usually think of the overwhelming situations that lead to fear, tension, confusion, anger, and sadness. But what happens when your body is exposed to stress?

The body’s reaction to Physiological Stress

When we face an acute stressor (e.g., a car accident, a fire, or an aggressive argument), our body helps us to react to it. Given the evolutionary value of these reactions in protecting us, they need to be very fast and automatic. For that reason, the autonomic nervous system (ANS) has a direct and crucial role in the physical response to stress. The ANS is divided into the sympathetic nervous system (SNS) and the parasympathetic nervous system (PNS). The SNS is the component that switches the “engine” on and prepares the body for the action. It contributes to the “fight or flight” response, allowing us to flee from the “threat” or fight it. 

When the body reacts to stressors, it needs to support the innate physical response. Therefore, body functions, such as heart and respiration rate, blood pressure, oxygen, glucose consumption, and muscle tension, increase, thanks to adrenaline and cortisol. 

After facing the acute stressor, the PNS restores the balance, decreasing the body activation. 

The Long-Term Impact of Stress on the Body

If the stressor is persistent, the body is continually pushed to react to this protracted changing state.  In that case, it can have negative long-term repercussions on a person’s well-being, particularly on other bodily systems. 

Digestive Effects: Stress can cause a decrease or increase in appetite, acid reflux, diarrhea, and constipation.

Endocrine Effects: Prolonged stress can be associated with metabolic diseases like diabetes or obesity because excessive cortisol can affect insulin activity. The body can also become resistant to insulin, leading to diabetes. Moreover, chronic stress can lead to increased blood cholesterol levels. The persistently high cholesterol levels and other fatty substances in the blood may lead to heart attacks. 

Cardiovascular Effects: Several studies have shown a strong association between stress and cardiovascular diseases. Both adrenaline and cortisol (stress hormones) affect heart health and blood pressure, which is likely why stress is associated with a higher risk of Coronary Heart Disease (CHD) and hypertension.

Immune System Effects: people under chronic stress may have increased inflammatory levels due to the impairment of immune system regulation. That makes people with high levels of prolonged stress more susceptible to viral illnesses like flu, the common cold, and other infections. 

Reproductive System Effects: Chronic stress may decrease libido, cause erectile dysfunction in men, and cause or worsen infertility. 

Lifestyle impact: When people are stressed, they’re more likely to turn to smoking and excessive drinking, which can cause further health concerns. Moreover, it is a common experience to decrease sleep quality under stressful conditions, resulting in difficulty falling asleep or increasing the number of nocturnal awakenings. 

“Stress affects our body’s physiology by impacting many physiological systems other than our minds,” says Archie Defillo, Chief Medical Officer at Medibio. “LUCA biometrics can help you monitor many of the critical functions connected to a person’s well-being, such as your heart rate, sleep, and level of physical activity.” LUCA fosters your awareness of the physiological reaction of your body to stress. Awareness is the first step for taking action in stress management!

LUCA tracks your body’s stress responses and helps you learn innovative ways to minimize stressors’ effects on you over time. 

Domain Generalization

Medibio Technical Journal

Engineers operating in the realm of medical machine learning and biomedical engineering have a non-trivial responsibility to ensure the stability and robustness of the technologies they develop.

Yet, when applied to machine learning – a discipline inherently focused on analysis and prediction in novel settings – how do we mandate the robustness of our algorithms?

A growing research area, Domain generalization, is concerned with the quantification and implementation of methods designed to best achieve this desired stability.

Our applications at Medibio are tasked with training algorithms on data from certain medical centers and hospitals. However, in order to meet user demands, it is essential that we deploy our technology to geographically unique, independent environments. To this end, Domain generalization forms a significant component of our current engineering architecture: ensuring model stability and reliability and offering mathematical bounds to assess the ubiquitous utility of our offerings. 

A simple, yet illuminating, illustration of how we leverage the latest developments in computational methods in our pursuit of societal changing technology. 



By Michael Player PhD. 
M.Psychol (Clin) MAPS


By Michael Player PhD. 
M.Psychol (Clin) MAPS


By Michael Player PhD. 
M.Psychol (Clin) MAPS


By Michael Player PhD. 
M.Psychol (Clin) MAPS


By Michael Player PhD. 
M.Psychol (Clin) MAPS


By Michael Player PhD. 
M.Psychol (Clin) MAPS


By Michael Player PhD. 
M.Psychol (Clin) MAPS