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Sabadosa: Dealing well with stress essential to healthy life

Updated: April 25, 2013 6:17AM



I don’t believe I’m alone in feeling that it can often be difficult to effectively manage stress.

Throughout our lives, it is impossible to avoid stressful situations. It also seems that some people are better than others at handling stress.

Did you know that not all stress is bad? Stress is actually your body’s response to challenge. In stressful situations, our bodies naturally respond by releasing a rush of adrenaline.

This can cause you to breathe faster, speed up your heart rate and raise your blood pressure. These are actually good things — for the brief moments you may need to deal with a stressful situation.

However, letting stress take over your life can be very harmful. Our bodies are not designed to keep elevated breathing, heart rate and blood pressure going too often or over long periods of time, according to the American Heart Association. Our immune systems may be permanently weakened if we allow this to happen.

I recently polled my readers who stay in touch through email and Facebook. Here are a few “tricks” they shared for keeping stress at bay:

Oak Lawn’s Beata Gaudry suggests that we need to take it “one day at a time.” She also says taking long walks is a great “stress buster.” She often relaxes by taking hot baths along with some candles and music.

Gus Lesner’s advice is, “Prayer and simplify your daily habits to the basic core. Get rid of all the stuff that clogs your brain.”

In an age where we all rely heavily on technology, studies show that we need to set limits on how much of these devices — along with all the social media tools — we use in a given day.

Real conversation and live socialization are important, along with much-needed personal “down time.”

Don White finds it helpful to turn off the TV and the radio to “cancel out all the blah-blah and hype, which is usually repeated day in and day out.” Instead, he advises frequent relaxation while listening to soothing music.

I often remind myself of the “oxygen mask” analogy — where you first need to put on your oxygen mask to be able to assist others. We tend to neglect our needs to give to others without realizing how vital it is to allow time to renew and refresh our bodies and our spirits.

Evelyn Cullet shared with me an interesting form of exercise and relaxation called Qigong, a Chinese practice that aligns breath, movement and awareness for healing and meditation.

As a newly published author, Cullet said it has been an “exhilarating experience,” but it has also been extremely stressful with the hectic marketing and book promotion needed to get her book before the public.

She said the Qigong can alleviate stress, both mentally and physically, “by directing energy in your body in a balanced way.” She practices it every evening, and it helps her to relax and get a good night’s sleep.

To find out more about effective ways to reduce stress in your life, check out the American Heart Association’s website at www.heart.org.

Moving send-off for beloved pastor

The St. Catherine of Alexandria Parish and community are coping with the sudden loss of our beloved pastor of nearly 11 years, the Rev. Patrick Henry, who died after a brief illness. His wake and funeral were held at St. Catherine Church last weekend.

His niece, Erin Henry, gave a moving eulogy to her uncle “PJ.” Father Pat leaves behind his three brothers, a sister and his mother, Catherine. He was preceded in death by his father, Patrick, and two younger brothers.

A funeral luncheon, a much-needed time for fellowship, was made possible by the parish’s parents and teen groups and its schoolchildren. Many cherished and often humorous memories and stories about Father Pat were shared that weekend.

Through the funeral Mass homily given by his friend and colleague, the Rev. Michael Nacius, the message was clear that Father Pat would have wanted the parish to continue to move forward in the spirit of unity and service. No better example was given than by Father Pat himself. He touched the lives of so many.

News from our neighbors

The Reavis High School Drama Club will hold a garage sale from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. April 6 at the school, 8041 Laramie Ave., Burbank. The proceeds of the fundraiser will be used toward the club’s upcoming trip to New York in June. Please come out to support the students.



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