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heaLthy Living under pressure

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					     heaLthy Living under pressure




  reLaXa
                               DEEP


  aXaLer
   In today’s busy world, many of us                                 found a significant percentage of people experiencing
                                                                     continued anxiety resulting from Hurricane Katrina.”
       are under a lot of pressure.                                  Coining the phrase post-Katrina Stress Disorder, he
                                                                     defined storm victims with PKSD as individuals suffering
  Here are a few ideas to help you relax.                            from emotional distress, anxiety, or depression in reaction
                                                                     to Hurricane Katrina.
                                                                       Mental health professional Jim Soriano, a
         story by p. anne battiste photos by John stricklin          psychotherapist with Advanced Psychotherapy
                                                                     Association in Gulfport, understands the duration of




      s
                                                                     the healing process — pointing to Vietnam Vets who
                    tress. It’s something that no one wants, but     are still being treated decades later for PTSD. “Every
                    many of us have.                                 time they turn on the television, the present war in
                     Sheryl Egan-Olaivar, an occupational            Iraq,” according to him, “triggers post-traumatic
                    therapist by trade and local author of the       stress behaviors in them.” Likewise, he believes Coast
                    recently released CD Deep Relaxation, believes   residents continually experience similar triggers that
                    that poorly managed stress in addition to        cause them to relive their post-traumatic behaviors —
     headaches, stomach pain, sleeping problems, physical            i.e., hurricane season and other life-threatening events.
     illness, and depression can result in South Mississippi         Soriano is not opposed to incorporating deep relaxation
     residents having an increased risk for physical and mental      as one of many tools to combat such unhealthy activity.
     illness.                                                          Egan-Olaivar emphasized, “People experiencing
       Dr. William Gasparrini, a highly respected Gulf               such stress should attempt to take control and not
     Coast psychologist, shared the findings of a two-year,          just assume it will simply go away.” It is important to
     post-Katrina survey prepared by his office at Applied           recognize the signs and attempt to overcome them by
     Psychology in Biloxi with South Mississippi Living. “We         using the following techniques:


90 SOUTH MISSISSIPPI Living • December 2008                    FOR MORE REFLECTIONS OF THE GULF COAST >> www.smliving.net
ation
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 Make time for fun! Do things daily that you enjoy.
 • Play with the kids.
 • Take a warm bath.
 • Spend some time outdoors
 • Find a little bit of humor — laugh with a good
book, movie or others.
 Find a support system. Talk to people who have a
positive outlook, and share your feelings and concerns.
 • If you or someone you care for has a medical
condition, join a support group.
 • If you’ve just started a new school or job, find a
mentor!
 • If you’re a homemaker, join a fitness class or play
group.
 Manage your time. Match time demands with time
supply.
 • Decide which activities are important to you and
your family.
 • Do not take on more than you realistically can
handle.
 • Learn to be more assertive — to say, no when asked
                                                             sheryL egan-oLaivar demonstrates
to do too much.
                                                              abdominal breathing, which can be
 • Make time to enjoy the things that help you relieve
                                                             performed anywhere and anytime as
stress symptoms. >>
                                                             a very effective relaxation technique.

FOR MORE REFLECTIONS OF THE GULF COAST >> www.smliving.net           December 2008 • SOUTH MISSISSIPPI Living 91
    heaLthy Living under pressure                                      progressive mUsCLe
      Avoid procrastination. Once you have all the facts,                 reLaXation
    quickly make a decision and move on. As quoted by Henry
    Kissinger “The absence of alternatives clears the mind             When we are stressed, we tend to hold our
    marvelously!”                                                     muscles tight which creates more tension in the
      Develop good problem solving skills. Clearly define             body. Progressive muscle relaxation helps us
    problems, then list and evaluate possible solutions               to realize where we hold this tension and to
    before deciding the best option.                                  release it by learning the difference between
      Get organized! Take time to manage your home and                tense and relaxed muscles.
    schedule. Start by reducing clutter and use a family calendar
    to plan ahead for the entire family.                              step 1: Scan throughout the body; notice any
      Develop and stick to a budget. Many worries are borne           areas of tension and fatigue.
    from finances. Don’t be afraid to seek help from non-profit       step 2: Bring all the awareness to the left leg.
    reputable sources.                                                Squeeze the toes, foot, the calf, knee, thigh
      Get enough sleep. The body needs deep sleep to restore the      and buttock. Feel the leg muscles very tight
    autonomic nervous system. Therefore, aim for eight hours          and tense. Exhale and relax the leg muscles.
                                                                      step 3: Bring all the awareness to the right leg.
    of good quality sleep and practice deep relaxation before
                                                                      Squeeze the toes, foot, the calf, knee, thigh
    bedtime.
                                                                      and buttock. Feel the leg muscles very tight
      Eat a well balanced diet and maintain a healthy body
                                                                      and tense. Exhale and relax the leg muscles.
    weight.
                                                                      step 4: All the awareness is on the feet.
      • Increase buster foods — including fruits, vegetables and
                                                                      Gently squeeze the feet, the calves, the knees,
    whole grains.
                                                                      the thighs and the buttocks.Note the lower
      • Decrease stress makers — including alcohol, caffeine,
                                                                      body is very tense. Exhale and relax both legs.
    nicotine, etc.                                                    step 5: Bring all awareness to the left arm,
      Exercise daily. This helps to decrease the stress hormone       squeeze the hand into a fist and squeeze the
    (cortisol) while creating more of the happiness hormones          forearm, the elbow and the upper arm. Exhale
    (endorphins).                                                     and slowly relax the arm.
      Learn how to relax. Learn daily relaxation skills by            step 6: Bring all awareness to the right arm.
    listening to Sheryl Egan-Olaivar ’s Deep Relaxation.              Squeeze the hand into a fist, and squeeze the
      • Make it a habit to stop every hour to notice your             forearm, the elbow and the upper arm. Exhale
    breathing. Is it fast and chest only? Take long, smooth and       and slowly relax the arm.
    deep breaths all the way to the abdomen.                          step 7: Keeping all the awareness on the
      • Notice your posture. Are your shoulders tense and lifted      hands. Squeeze the hands, the elbows, lift the
    up? Relax your shoulders back and down.                           shoulders up toward the ears, squeezing tight.
      Change your attitude. Don’t aim to be perfect! The four         Feel the tension in the upper body. The lower
    personality factors of people who are more resistant to stress    body is very relaxed.
    than others include those who:                                    step 8: Exhale and gently lower the shoulders
      • Have a strong commitment to self, work and other              back down, relaxing the arms.
    values.                                                           step 9: All awareness is now on the face.
      • Generally see change as a challenge rather than a threat.     Squeeze the mouth, cheeks, chin, nose, eyes
      • Participate in activities that promote their own creativity   and forehead really tight. Exhale to relax the
                                                                      face. Gently open the mouth slightly and move
    and uniqueness.
                                                                      the jaw side to side and forward and back.
      • Have a strong network of support and close
                                                                      Softly close the mouth with the tongue resting
    relationships.
                                                                      at the bottom of the mouth.
      Seek professional assistance if you have significant
                                                                      step 10: The body is now physically relaxed.
    problems handling stress. Sometimes stress can become too
                                                                      Keeping the body still in this relaxed position,
    much and a person may need more assistance than these tips
                                                                      scan throughout the body to release any
    can offer. Don’t be afraid to ask for help.
                                                                      remaining tension. Start at the feet and work
      Harbor View Café in Long Beach will host a CD signing for       up or at the face working down saying to
    Egan-Olaivar on December 14 from 8 a.m. until. The café is        yourself, “my feet are relaxed, my legs are
    located at 19099 Pineville Rd.                                    relaxed” and so on.



92 SOUTH MISSISSIPPI Living • December 2008
breathing
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                                                                 breathing tips by sheryl egan-olaivar


                                                             Abdominal breathing is easy to learn and can be
                                                             performed anywhere and anytime as a very effective
                                                             relaxation technique. Many of us are “reverse
                                                             breathers” in that we squeeze our abdomen IN on
                                                             the inhale. To breathe effectively, we actually need
                                                             to expand the abdomen OUT while breathing in, and
                                                             squeeze IN while breathing out!


                                                             step 1: Exhale fully.
                                                             step 2: Inhale fully to expand the abdomen.
                                                             step 3: Continue the same breath to expand the rib
                                                             cage and then lift the collarbones.
                                                             step 4: Slowly exhale through the nose (or with
                                                             the lips pursed/slightly sealed) to first relax the
                                                             collarbones, then the rib cage, followed by the
                                                             abdomen.
                                                             step 5: At the end of the exhale, feel the abdomen
                                                             drawing in, fully exhaling, squeezing the abdomen in
                                                             to create more space for the next inhale.
sheryL egan-oLaivar                                          step 6: Inhale slowly with one long, smooth breath
also suggests practicing                                     by drawing the breath all the way to the abdomen,
yoga as a form of                                            expanding the rib cage and raising the collarbones.
relaxation. here, she                                        If helpful, place one hand over each location to guide
demonstrates one pose                                        the awareness.
which streches out the                                       step 7: Slowly exhale, placing the hand over the
muscles and helps one                                        collarbone, the rib cage and then the abdomen to fully
feel more relaxed.                                           exhale.
                                                             step 8: Continue this three part breathing, focusing
                                                             on the abdomen, the rib cage and the collarbones
                                                             with one long, slow and smooth inhale for as long
                                                             as is comfortable. It can be normal to feel a little
                                                             lightheaded, however if you feel dizzy or short of
                                                             breath, return the breath to normal.


                                                             tip: If this is challenging, try lying on your back, with
                                                             the knees bent and place the hands over the abdomen
                                                             to feel the abdomen rise and fall with each breath.


FOR MORE REFLECTIONS OF THE GULF COAST >> www.smliving.net                 December 2008 • SOUTH MISSISSIPPI Living 93

				
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