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In this episode, Dr. David Hanscom continues his discussion with Dr. Joshua Smyth. He explains that while unwanted repetitive thoughts (URTs) are very common, people differ in their response to them. Each person has a different level of adaptability and resilience that determines how well they can handle URTs. These repetitive patterns can drain a person’s resources and cause problems with their health or psychology. Cognitive behavioral therapy, in combination with better sleep, exercise and diet, can calm the nervous system and help patients modulate their body’s response to URTs and then eventually slow their frequency.
Joshua Smyth is a Distinguished Professor of Biobehavioral Health and of Medicine at Penn State and Hershey Medical Center and serves as Associate Director of Penn State’s Social Science Research Institute (SSRI). Smyth is an internationally recognized expert on ambulatory assessment and intervention, with a focus on the interplay of stress, emotion, physiology and behavior in everyday life. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Medicine, the Academy of Behavioral Medicine Research, and the Society of Behavioral Medicine. Dr. Smyth has served as an editorial referee for more than four dozen journals, served as Editor and Associate Editor for several journals, and has been active in Society leadership for the American Psychosomatic Society, the Society of Behavioral Medicine, and the Society for Ambulatory Assessment. Dr. Smyth has widely shared his research in interviews with ABC, CBS, CNN, NBC, PBS, Newsweek, Time and the New York Times, among many others, and recently published (with James Pennebaker) a popular science book on expressive writing interventions. Finally, he is an active and engaged teacher, and has received numerous accolades and awards for teaching and mentoring of students and trainees.