StanChart Tech Boss Heeds Bank’s Post-Wuhan Stress Lessons: Q&A

Michael Gorriz

Courtesy of Standard Chartered

From sourcing 2,000 laptops for computer-less staff to boosting remote working capacity 20-fold, Michael Gorriz spent the year at the center of a global bank’s scramble to cope with an office-emptying pandemic.

Standard Chartered Plc’s chief information officer had a ringside seat for the start of the crisis. While his bank is headquartered in London, the German-born Gorriz works from Singapore — a five-hour flight to Wuhan, the Chinese epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak. StanChart’s branch in Wuhan was locked down, giving an early inkling of what life under Covid-19 might be like.

The pandemic drove thousands of older customers online for the first time, stress-testing technology for a company that’s bet heavily on digital banking. The Wuhan outbreak also gave Gorriz a unique perspective on enabling working from home at a time when the crisis still seemed remote in

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Is COVID Stress Making You Numb? Stop Blaming Yourself!

After months of combating Covid stress, you might wonder why one more thing – the election, wildfires, civil unrest or boredom setting in – causes you to go numb. You have no feelings and all the common excesses like streaming videos, eating sweets, or pouring an extra glass of wine seem so appealing.

A new approach to dealing with the toxic emotions caused by the pandemic and unrest of 2020 is to see the problem as a stress wire. A wire triggered that numbness! What’s so appealing about this approach, which is emotional brain training, is that we can visualize, target, and switch off the root cause of that numbness in our brain: the stress-reactive neural circuit. 

Laurel Mellin, PhD

Switch off the reactive wire and feel better faster.

Source: Laurel Mellin, PhD

That wire is a “real entity,” a neural circuit. How refreshing. We can use scientific strategies to deal with that

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New clues about the link between stress and depression — ScienceDaily

Researchers at Karolinska Institutet in Sweden have identified a protein in the brain that is important both for the function of the mood-regulating substance serotonin and for the release of stress hormones, at least in mice. The findings, which are published in the journal Molecular Psychiatry, may have implications for the development of new drugs for depression and anxiety.

After experiencing trauma or severe stress, some people develop an abnormal stress response or chronic stress. This increases the risk of developing other diseases such as depression and anxiety, but it remains unknown what mechanisms are behind it or how the stress response is regulated.

The research group at Karolinska Institutet has previously shown that a protein called p11 plays an important role in the function of serotonin, a neurotransmitter in the brain that regulates mood. Depressed patients and suicide victims have lower levels of the p11 protein in their

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Participants in an eight-week mindfulness-based stress reduction course reported significant improvement in levels of pain, depression and disability — ScienceDaily

A mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) course was found to benefit patients with chronic pain and depression, leading to significant improvement in participant perceptions of pain, mood and functional capacity, according to a study in the Journal of the American Osteopathic Association. Most of the study respondents (89%) reported the program helped them find ways to better cope with their pain while 11% remained neutral.

Chronic pain is a common and serious medical condition affecting an estimated 100 million people in the United States, which correlates with annual costs of approximately $635 billion. The small-scale study was conducted in a semi-rural population in Oregon where issues of affordability, addiction and access to care are common. Participants received intensive instruction in mindfulness meditation and mindful hatha yoga during an eight-week period.

“Many people have lost hope because, in most cases, chronic pain will never fully resolve,” says Cynthia Marske, DO, an

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10 Games to Chill Out and Lower Your Stress Levels

Like movies, video games can evoke a variety of emotions. Games like Resident Evil or Silent Hill can instill fear, arguably better than most horror movies. The Last of Us and Metal Gear Solid franchises are superb at generating an intense sense of edginess. And games like Call of Duty or Fortnite stir up excitement and stress with frantic multiplayer battles.

But sometimes we just want to chillax with a game. Few things are better after a hard day than plopping down on the couch for a couple of hours to explore other worlds in a relaxed environment that lets you unwind.

There is a multitude of games that can serve this purpose. Even the titles mentioned above can be relaxing for some, however certain games are better suited to reducing stress levels. We’ve compiled a list of 10 of our favorite games that are great for those times you

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Watching Cute Animal Videos Reduces Stress And Anxiety In Humans, Science Shows

KEY POINTS

  • Study: Watching adorable animal videos has mental health benefits
  • The videos enhance one’s mood and provide relief against stress
  • After watching the videos, anxiety levels could drop as much as 50% 

Watching images and videos of cute animals for a minimum of 30 minutes reduces stress and anxiety levels, according to a study conducted by researchers from the University of Leeds in the United Kingdom and the Tourism of Western Australia jointly.

In the study, first reported by CNN, the researchers monitored related vitals of 19 respondents comprised of 15 students and four university staff. To get the most ideal results, the study was conducted during the respondents’ winter exams as such a period proved to be the most stressful for both students and staff. 

All participants had decreased blood pressure, heart rate, and anxiety levels after watching cute animal videos compiled for the session. Specifically, the participants

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During pandemic, racism puts additional stress on Asian Americans — ScienceDaily

Many people are feeling anxious during these uncertain times as they navigate the risks associated with COVID-19 and experience the tension from physical distancing or isolation for what can seem like an eternity. But people of Asian ancestry face yet another set of challenges posed by racism and xenophobia which has soared during the COVID-19 pandemic amidst rumors and blame placed on China.

This pandemic-driven rise in anti-Asian racism is so pronounced, that in a commentary recently published in the American Journal of Public Health, psychiatrist Justin A. Chen, MD, MPH, and his coauthors have described it as a “secondary contagion” threatening this population.

Chen is an investigator in the Department of Psychiatry at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) and an assistant professor at Harvard Medical School. In addition, he serves as executive director and co-founder of the MGH Center for Cross Cultural Student Emotional Wellness. He is lead author

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Enrolling in health education courses may help change student’s beliefs about stress — ScienceDaily

College students are under a lot of stress, even more so lately due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Based on certain personality types, especially neurotic personalities, college health courses could help students develop a more positive stress mindset, according to research from faculty at Binghamton University, State University of New York.

A research team including Binghamton University Health and Wellness Studies Lecturer Jennifer Wegmann sought to evaluate the impact of health education on the change of stress mindset and also to explore the role of personality in the change of stress mindset when there is a specific focus on improving individual health and well-being. Specifically, they sought to assess the relationship between each personality dimension (i.e., neuroticism, extraversion, openness, agreeableness and conscientiousness) and stress mindset change over time.

“The findings surrounding specific personality dimensions were interesting,” said Wegmann. “It appears that engaging in health education is beneficial in changing perceptions of

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