By KRS Edstrom



Dear KRS,
I have been taking Effexor and Alprazolam for more than a year. The medication is a temporary relief for stressful times. What else can I do to control my stress and not rely on medication?
Drugs for Anxiety

Hi Drugs for Anxiety,
Many people would (and do) just take pills their entire life and never look up or seek deeper solutions. I am proud of you for wanting more from life. There are wonderful, easy techniques you can use daily that will enhance your life in calm times as well as in stressful times. One easy stress reducer is a meditation on the breath.

1) Focus on the abdomen where it rises and falls with each breath. You can rest your hand on this spot (over the navel area).

2) Let your shoulders drop as you allow the breath to flow in and out like a wave. Let your face muscles relax along with every other muscle in your body.

3) Search for any other tension in your body as you continue to follow your breath in and out.

4) When tension arises with anxiety, instead of dreading it think, “Great! This is an opportunity to practice my skills.” Just knowing you are learning what to do and that the physical sensations of anxiety are not big bad monsters will free you from their grasp.


Dear KRS,
I am concerned about a friend of mine. She walks a lot during the summer and last year lost a lot of weight while walking. The problem is she gained it back again, and now she plans to do the same thing she did last summer. Is gaining and losing weight so rapidly healthy?
Yo Yo Dieting Friend

Dear Yo Yo,
Gaining and losing weight repeatedly can play havoc with your metabolism and helps explain the sticky scale syndrome experienced by so many chronic dieters. However, walking is an excellent, safe way to lose weight.

Unfortunately, a change of weather is often followed by a change in exercise and good diet motivation. Your friend must acknowledge the impending “brick wall” of fall schedules, weather and shorter daylight hours ahead, and modify her exercise program accordingly. If she can figure a way to keep it up year ‘round she won’t have to take her body and mind through such an ongoing ordeal.
And now YOUR assignment: Resist the temptation to give friends (or family) unsolicited advice, even though your intentions are good. Everyone needs to learn her own lessons and uninvited advice is usually taken as criticism which only slows down the process. Worse, it can lose friends.


Dear KRS,
When interviewing for jobs I get very tense and stressed out. This leads to fidgeting which I am sure leaves a  bad impression. This can also happen in social situations, during normal conversation with people I know. Is there any way I can deal with that?  
Interview Shy

Dear Shy,
Social shyness is a very common problem and fortunately one that can be improved upon. Whether it originated with negative childhood experiences or something else, the point is to take action to change your reactions, starting today.

So what do you do? You “go towards the roar of the lion.”  That means you put yourself in every situation you can that will involve talking with people and interacting with them. Practice meeting their eyes when you are talking and practice listening to what they have to say. As you talk with them realize they are just like you and they aren’t casting judgement.

Try to focus less on your uncomfortable sensations and more on feeling a connection with them. Open your heart to them and you will feel their heart opening to you. You will feel the shyness and feelings of inadequacy dissolve as you have more and more positive experiences. Practice talking with the grocery clerk, your postman, your neighbors and friends.

Make a chart and resolve to have at least one “practice” exchange each day. Cross off a day on your calendar as you have met your daily goal. After one month of practice, you will notice an improvement in your communication skills and your comfort level when conversing.

Think of this as a personal challenge you will overcome. Realize in conquering this weakness you will not only overcome interviewing inadequacies, you will have overcome much more. Your self-esteem will improve and you will feel better about yourself in just about every aspect of your life.

KRS Edstrom, M.S., is an author, lecturer and columnist. She is available for private sessions (by phone or in person) and seminars on meditation, motivation, stress, pain, weight loss and other personal growth issues. Her books and audios offer solutions for healthful, conscious living. For free soothing guided meditations and more, please visit KRS’ “Serenity and Meditation Corner” at    For more info call (323) 851-8623 or e-mail:  

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