Dr. Kathy Gruver Gives Up Some Great Tips To Recognize Stress, Before You're Stressing

[W]hat exactly is stress? And once you are feeling stressed out, isn’t it already too late?
Stress is the thought that demands are going to exceed our means. It is that impression that something bigger is coming, that we are not going to be able to manage.
“In the old days, you’d wander into the forest and there would be a bear. It would scare you and you would have this flight or fight response,” Dr. Kathy Gruber told CollegeHipHop.com. “And then, after the bear left, you would go to sleep. That cascade of hormones and all of those physiological changes would go back to normal.”

According to Dr. Gruver, stress has evolved with human society. Stress today is not something as short-lived as a possible bear attack. It is not as dynamic and much more constant.
It’s all over the television, and radio as well, depending on, what type of media you are consuming.
Most civilized people care about what is happening in the world around them, although there are plenty who chose to live happy, in ignorant bliss. Even if you try to live in a bubble, pressure at school, financial issues, arguments with family members and significant others are inevitable.
Throw on issues with voting rights, immigration, racism, religion and the police. Add all of this up and it’s easy to see why that guy gave you the middle finger this morning as you drove to work, while he was on his cellphone!
Knowing if you decided to follow, things wouldn’t be all good.
It’s important to understand how to remain calm in tense situations. Practicing this on a day-to-day basis can lead to an improvement in your health, attitude, relationships and eventually, most likely, the outcome of your life.
“That is where I like things like meditation, visualization, dance and exercise. All of those things can help take the stress out of ourselves and help with the response,” Dr. Kathy Gruver told CollegeHipHop.com.
Dr. Gruver is the author of the book “The Alternative Medicine Cabinet,” which offers up holistic methods for conquering hundreds of ailments.

[C]ollegeHipHop.com: How do you recognize when you are stressed out? Especially if you do not have the skills or the knowledge to understand when you have reached a breaking point?
Dr. Gruver: There are so many signs of stress. Everything from headaches and jaw tension to sleeplessness and insomnia. Overeating, over indulgence in drugs and alcohol. The feeling that the things you used to enjoy, you do not take pleasure in anymore. And, road rage. Oh my God, I’ve never seen so many people so angry on the freeway.

Dr. Kathy Gruver In Hip-Hop Dance Class
Check out Dr. Kathy Gruver (in turquoise) in Tamarr Paul’s dance class. The good doctor kicks it with CollegeHipHop.com about stress and how she uses Hip-Hop dance in her own life, to keep things calm.

They are stressed out, and they cannot control it within their lives, so they are going to control something like someone not getting in front of them on the freeway. Things like that.
We would assume we would know when we feel like we are stressed, but over time we start to not even recognize our signs anymore. I was doing a radio interview, and I went through a couple of the signs of stress, and the host was silent. I thought, “where did the host of the show go,” and I said “are you there?”
He said, “Yeah well I just realized I’m stressed. I didn’t have any idea.” He had never thought about himself as a stressed out person until he realized he clenches his jaw; he has trouble sleeping. He does not have normal bowel habits; he has indigestion, he has high blood pressure, and he realized suddenly, wow it is all stress.
CollegeHipHop.com: Why isn’t doing drugs, a good stress release if it makes you feel good? You go out and dance and have a great time.
Dr. Gruver: At that point, you’re just covering up the symptoms. You are not enhancing your coping mechanisms. It might feel right at that moment, but you are not stopping the external stress. You’re just covering up something. It is just putting a band-aid on the situation. There are times where a band-aid just don’t work, you have to get to the root of the problem. Because I’m in alternative medicine, I tried to go with a natural health before I would turn to Western medicine.

Stress Relief Tips From Dr. Kathy Gruver, PhD Speaker, Educator, Practitioner
Author of “The Alternative Medicine Cabinet”:
[tabs][tab title =”Tip 1:”]Customize what works for you. My husband is a runner. I have friends who cycle or swim, or do yoga. There’s something for you (other than drugs) that will help you distress and relax.[/tab][tab title =”Tip 2:”]There are going to be times that you cannot control the external stress in your life. But what you can control is your reaction to it. That we can change. Once we realize that we are in charge, and we can change some things, the stress does not feel as bad.[/tab][tab title =”Tip 3:”]Mini meditations. They are great for people like me. “Type A,” who don’t like to meditate or can’t meditate. You simply concentrate on your breath. On your inhale you think “I am,” and when you exhale you think “at peace.” It starts the stress response and helps bring back your cognitive functions. It brings you back in the present moment, and you can function better when you are in a relaxed state.[/tab][/tabs]

I’m not opposed to Western medicine, but so often they just do symptom relief. I have found natural ways with things like meditation and hypnotherapy, dance. There are just some amazing natural things you can do to combat stress that won’t get you into a lot of trouble.
CollegeHipHop.com: Can you explain your association with Hip-Hop dance,? It looks like you’ve been into it for quite some time. How did this start?
Dr. Gruver: I grew up doing ballet, tap, and jazz. I started dancing when I was about five. I hated it. It was something that was my mother’s dream, and she drove my ass to dance class four days a week. It was never anything that I choose to do. Then when I got into college, I was a theater major, and one of the options was dance class. I thought “well if nothing else, it’s keeping me fit.”
When I left college, I stopped dancing. I moved to Los Angeles; I danced in a couple of shows, but I never went back to dance class. I never thought of it as an adult thing to do. I was looking for something to do for exercise and of all things, my husband came home from jury duty and he said it was cool. He met this girl who was on the jury who was into Hip-Hop dance.
I showed up that next Saturday, terrified. I was so afraid. I had not danced in so long and I had never done that style. But, it was great, and it was so fun. Then I realized, how did I deny myself for so long? That true joy of movement and expression, of dance. Now I go three or four days a week.
CollegeHipHop.com: Dancing is one of the five “elements” that helped form Hip-Hop culture. I am curious to know, were you into Hip-Hop prior to the dance class, and how did it change your view of the genre afterward?

Dr. Kathy Gruver In Hip-Hop Dance Class
Dr. Gruver credits her dance instructor, Tamarr Paul, for helping her get into Hip-Hop dance. And to think it all started with jury duty.  😯  🙄

Dr. Gruver: It was not anything that I listened to. I was a Van Halen, Nine Inch Nails kind of girl. But, I always liked dance music. I have a totally different view of Hip-Hop music. Some of the lyrics are so horrible, and so degrading to women, and sometimes my husband cannot stand the music.
But I do not hear the words, I just hear the joy of what I get from it. There are times when I will be dancing in class, and I actually listen to the words and go “what did he just say?” I love the music because it takes me back to the movement. It is to the point, where if I hear the records with the curse words bleeped out on the radio, even that seems foreign now. So if you are on the freeway and you see a middle-aged white woman in the car rocking back and forth, that is probably me. I can’t help but dance to it.
CollegeHipHop.com: In one of your books, you discuss the concept, of “sound healing.” Minus the beat, could the idea of actually writing lyrics that you end up reciting over and again be a technique to relieve stress?
Dr. Gruver: I am a huge fan of affirmations. I believe that what we are repeating in our minds and what we repeat out loud affects our lives. “Oh, that’s never going to work.” “Well, that is stupid.” “I can’t do that.” “I am not good enough.” That mantra of negativity. If we are constantly replaying something negative, if we are constantly thinking about something stressful or sad, we are going to bring up that physiological response.