The Art and Science of Self-Care
I am a health psychologist offering self-care techniques to people who have a great deal of stress in their lives and to people who have serious health problems. These techniques reduce stress, prevent illness, maximize health and promote healing. They are also very empowering.
I work at the Benson-Henry Institute for Mind/Body Medicine at Mass General Hospital in Boston. I also teach at Harvard Medical School, and in New York City, I have a practice at Healthy Tao.
The first technique I teach to my patients is the Relaxation Response, a state of quiet in the mind and the body. It calms down the sympathetic nervous system. It takes just 15 minutes, and patients receive my relaxation CD so they can practice at home. The Relaxation Response has been shown to reduce many physical symptoms and improve mood. It also helps people to stay in the “now,” which is all we really have.
I also offer cognitive therapy (stress warning signs), a simple technique that helps people recognize and challenge their negative, distorted, unbeneficial ways of thinking and replace them with more rational, positive thoughts. People discover new ways of being and thinking—they become more resilient.
Mind/body medicine also asks people to look at lifestyle habits, including nutrition, yoga, other forms of exercise, sleep and rest, humor, spirituality, gratitude, and having meaning and purpose in one’s life. I discuss all of these with my patients.
Have fun on my Web site!
Ann Webster, Phd
Ann Webster, Ph.D., is a scientist and a health psychologist at the Benson-Henry Institute for Mind Body Medicine, Massachusetts General Hospital, and an Instructor in Medicine at Harvard Medical School. She is the director of the Mind/Body Cancer Program, Healthy Lifestyles, and Successful Aging. She earned her doctoral degree in health psychology at Albert Einstein Medical School/Yeshiva University. For 20 years, she has been lecturing on mind/body health and conducting Healthy Lifestyles workshops at various corporations, such as SunLife Financial, State Street Bank, and Fidelity, and at the Smithsonian, Suffolk Law School, Boston Center for Adult Education, and numerous hospitals and universities all over the world. She was a major contributor to “The Wellness Book” and the director of “21st Century Medicine” on Brookline Access Television.