Retired prof writes guide to reduce stress

Nov. 12, 2012

Dick Detert

Dick Detert

Inhale. Exhale. Relax.

During his teaching career, every time the office phone rang the retired UW-La Crosse Health Education Professor Dick Detert would remind himself do a breathing technique. Eventually, he caught himself doing the stress-reduction exercise at the phone’s ring without having to remind himself. It had become a new habit.

Today, a relaxation reminder with an incoming email would offer more opportunity. Based on the cue one uses, Detert says it’s important to find a three-to-five minute practical relaxation technique at work or home — wherever a person feels mounting pressure. “The secret is to do them nearly every hour throughout the day,” he explains.

To help with that, Detert has collected relaxation techniques from his 30 years presenting stress-reduction programs and put them in a book, “Brake/Breaktime: A Personal Guide to Reduce Your Daily Stress.” The collection includes an array of relaxation techniques including breathing, meditation, imagery, ponderings and more.

“There’s nothing in the book that I haven’t tried myself,” says Detert, noting that different techniques are needed for different people. “There’s no one technique for everybody.”

Along with the breathing relaxation techniques he used during his office days, Detert finds relaxation in writings too. “Sometimes I just need to stop, read a saying and see what meaning it has for me,” he says.

Detert says the main challenge for many is realizing that they’re facing stress — something he’s seen people improve on over the years. Once a person realizes stress, they should establish a relaxation habit that works for them, he advises.

A major irony in the workplace has been the growth of personal technological devices — smartphones, iPads and others — designed to add convenience and make life simpler. But, technological advances in many cases have actually had the opposite impact, says Detert.

“Here we are many years down the road and many of us have more stress in our lives as we fined ourselves constantly tuned in and available most of the day,” he notes.

Detert compiled the book to help people become more relaxed and find more balance in their lives – “That is the message in the book,” he explains.

Find the book online.

About Dick Detert

  • Holds bachelor’s degree in health-physical education (1969) and master’s degree in health education (1978) from UW-La Crosse.
  • Holds a doctorate in education from Southern Illinois University (1984.)
  • Taught in public schools at Mischot and West Bend before returning to UW-L in 1978 to teach in the Health Education and Health Promotion Department.
  • Retired in 2002.
  • Has presented stress-reduction programs to teachers, business professionals, prison inmates, athletes, health care workers and others for more than 30 years.
  • Owner of New Dimensions Consulting.

Try this to relax —
‘The Dare Technique’

  • Inhale normally.
  • Exhale and Detach from your task.
  • Inhale and Assess what you want to do next.
  • Exhale and Relax, be loose.
  • Inhale and Energize and respond to your next task.
  • Repeat once or twice.