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Suggested books to improve your stress levels and peace of mind.

Resources and Tools

Library Books You Might Want to Read

SECOND OPINIONS by Jerome Groopman, M. D., Harvard Medical School

One of the greatest challenges that patients and their families face is how to evaluate and act on medical advice. Swept up in the rush of events, anxious about the prognosis, facing a blur of technical jargon, fatigued from worry or pain, and often reluctant to question the doctor, people who are ill are easily overwhelmed by clinical choices.

BEYOND THE OBVIOUS by Dr. Christine Page

This book is about intuition, which the author calls our “wise, compassionate friend who helps us to clarify decisions, to avoid unpleasant situations and to access the deeper levels of awareness”.

Mini Relaxation Techniques

Whether you're caring for a loved one who's ill, coping with the loss of a job, or recovering from an abusive relationship, it's a good bet that you're experiencing some level of stress.

Even crawling through bumper-to-bumper traffic each morning is enough to cause some people to lose their cool.

Being exposed to these stressful situations day-after-day, year-after-year can be mentally and emotionally draining -- sometimes to the point of breakdown. And the physical toll is huge. Stress can put you at risk for high blood pressure and heart disease, trigger headaches and asthma attacks, and exacerbate other medical conditions.

Some psychologists say stressed-out Americans are an increasingly common breed.

  1. Take a deep breath and hold it for several seconds. Then, as you very slowly let your breath out, repeat your focus word or phrase or prayer.
  2. Put your right hand just under your navel. Focus on breathing down into your stomach, not breathing up into your chest. Your hand should rise as you breathe in and fall as you breathe out. Now, as you inhale, say the number "ten" to yourself. Exhale. With the next breath say "nine," then breathe out. Do this until you reach zero.
  3. Put your hand under your navel, just as you did for exercise number two. As you breathe in, count very slowly up to four. As you exhale, count very slowly back down to one. So as you breathe in, count one, two, three, four. As you exhale, count four, three, two, one.
  4. Breathe in through your nose and then breathe out through your mouth. Do this 10 times. Notice how cool the air feels as you inhale in contrast to how warm it feels when you exhale.

Rx for Overall Health: Friendship

Friendship = less stress. Less stress = better health. These words come from Bruce Rabin, MD, medical director of the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center Health Enhancement Program.

Dr. Rabin says, “Being optimistic, having a sense of humor, being physically fit, and being religious or spiritual are all part of the package - and none is more important than another. It’s a lifestyle that combines all these factors that will help you in the long run.

An added bonus is friendship. The more types of friends you have, the better. Seek out friends from a variety of settings, including your family, workplace and place of worship. It doesn’t matter much where, so long as you get out there and mingle.”

Gerald Ellison, Ph.D., director of Psychoneuroimmunology Services at Cancer Treatment Centers of America in Tulsa, is another proponent of friendship for managing stress. He observed,” Friends keep us from becoming lonely; they offer encouragement and support; and they help keep our thinking in line with the real world. When we’re missing friendship, we experience isolation and loneliness. These feelings are associated with illness, discomfort, and general ineffectiveness as a person. Having friends can also be especially helpful if you’re already seriously ill. Friends - if supportive and encouraging - can increase our hope when dealing with illness and trauma. And increased hope is associated with higher levels of immune system functioning.”