Family Stress Relief
The concept of “stress” as an effect on the mind and body originated in 1925 when Hans Seyle, a European physician, described the condition as “the rate of wear and tear caused by life.” Is your home a place of comfort where family members can recover from the wear and tear they may be battling at work or school?
You don’t have to be trained in stress relief to actively promote stress relief on the domestic front. Here are a few ways to help family members keep tension at bay:
- Good nutrition is believed to help the body fight the negative effects of stress by boosting the immune system. Offer your family meals that are low in animal fat and high in complex carbohydrates, which provide slow-burning fuel and anti-oxidants. Vitamin and mineral therapies, in moderation, are also stress-fighters. Vitamin C, Vitamin B6, zinc, magnesium, potassium, pantothenic acid and certain herbs (ginseng is the most validated) help support the adrenal gland, which plays a role in the stress response. (Visit Nutrition News for recipes and helpful hints.)
- Try aromatherapy, the use of fragrances to help relieve anxiety, depression, fatigue, insomnia and stress. The nose is the closest sense organ to the brain, and inhaling aromas is thought to stimulate the limbic system (an emotional center) of the brain. Many stores that specialize in environmental products or natural foods have a good selection of quality candles, bath oils and other aromatherapy items. You can purchase many of these items at the Alliance Institute for Integrative Medicine.
- Encourage regular exercise, which boosts the body’s ability to withstand stress by allowing the body to “throw off” tension. Exercise relieves muscle tension and helps dissipate the hormones that can build up in response to stress. It also provides a feeling of being back in control of one’s life, and simply puts people in a good mood.
- Encourage family members to swap back and foot massages. Even the least sophisticated rub-down will increase energy flow, soothe aches and pains and promote relaxation. Massages and reflexology are available at the Alliance Institute for Integrative Medicine.
- While family arguments are inevitable, ban them at the dinner table and other times when harmony is always in order.
- Watch a funny TV show together. Humor helps balance your perspective on painful experiences, releases negative thoughts and has been shown to speed recovery from illness.
- Address the sources of your own stress. Studies show that women are more likely than men to report feelings of stress, the most common reason being lack of time. Women simply take on more than they can handle.
“The best way to deal with stress is to change your life,” said J. H., M.D., Medical Director, Behavioral Medicine Services for the Health Alliance. “Are those things that are causing you stress really unavoidable?” He added that too many people unnecessarily worry about too many things. Bottom line? If it’s really not important, don’t stress over it.
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