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Family Living Focus: Relax!

People, sometimes friends, relatives, helpful technicians at the doctor’s office, or concerned co-workers might tell us, “reduce your stress, sweetie, and you’ll feel better.” It feels like being told “Have a nice day!” After a while, the urge to lash out at the next person who says it becomes more than a passing fancy. 

We decide to go against the grain, fight the flow, be plain old oppositional! We are not going to tell you how to reduce your stress. For once, we are going to tell you how to increase the stress in your life. The following are helpful hints to ensure a heart attack, a bursting blood vessel, an aggravated ulcer and at the very least, indigestion. 

Suggestions on How to Stay Really, Really Stressed: 

1. Don’t exercise; stay overweight. If you watch what you eat and exercise, you are sure to feel more energetic, your endorphins will be all over the place, and you might start to think clearly. Then you will get things accomplished, feel better and… relax. Forget it, stay tired. 

2. Avoid fun and get rid of your sense of humor. Doctors have proven that laughter and enjoyment are good for you and your heart. You cannot be properly stressed if you are enjoying your life. It just does not work that way. 

3. Eliminate your support systems and never ever ask for help. The best way to stay stressed is to make sure no one else can do anything for you or your loved one. You have to be responsible for everything and everyone. How else can you make it all your fault when schedules crash or things do not go well? 

4. Avoid hugs and comfort whenever possible. Those same meddling doctors who keep telling us to laugh more, also found out that there is some kind of measurable healing power in soothing, comforting physical contact like when you are hugged. If you let anyone hug you, practically all that great stress you have been building up all day goes right out the window. Your heart beats more evenly, your blood pressure comes down, you probably even forget to yell at the next person you see. Hugs are just the worst thing you could do if you are trying to stay in an over-stressed mode.

5. Eliminate all time management practices. Procrastinate! Procrastinate! Procrastinate! Poor time management helps to increase your sense of being overwhelmed and out of control. Trying to do everything at once, with no plan in sight is the perfect way to get nothing done. That way you can continue to blame yourself for everything that went wrong and of course, your stress level will go through the ceiling. 

Follow this advice and you will be able to take an expensive vacation where you will be waited on hand and foot and your health will be monitored regularly. Of course, you will be in the hospital, but then you can start stressing over the bills as soon as you get home.

In all seriousness, learn to relax. It will reduce your stress and anxiety. As a result, you will experience better mental, emotional, and physical health.  

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Information adapted from by Staff at Caregiver Media Group in Today’s Caregiver.Com Newsletter, April 14, 2015 – Issue #803.

If you would like more information on “Relax” contact Gail Gilman, Family Life Consultant, M.Ed., C.F.C.S. and Professor Emeritus University of Minnesota at waldn001@umn.edu. Be sure to watch for more Family Living Focus™ information in next week’s paper.

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