If you're going through divorce, stress is probably a constant -- if unwelcome -- companion. You can't avoid all stressful events, but you can develop the ability to relax during both normal day-to-day activities (such as driving to work, shopping, or banking) and extra-challenging events (such as discussing support, custody, or property division with your ex).
Try to incorporate some of the following stress-management techniques gradually into your life -- then stick with them until they become habits.
A Healthy Glow
We've all heard that there's no such thing as a healthy tan: that any tan at all indicates skin damage and could even lead to skin cancer. Yet many of us are unhappy with that pasty brought-up-in-a-closet look we get when we avoid all exposure to the sun.
Up until now, most self-tanning creams and lotions offered less-than-satisfactory results, often turning the skin a nasty burnt-orange shade accompanied by an unpleasant scent. In March, the L'Oreal Laboratories are releasing "Sublime Bronze," a line of moisturizing self-tanners with alpha-hydroxy acids (AHA) offering a natural-looking tan -- and softer, smoother skin.
The active ingredient in these products is dihydroxyacetone (DHA). When you apply the lotion or gel, the DHA settles on the surface of the skin; the keratin in the skin's upper layers reacts with the DHA to darken the skin, producing a golden-tanned effect that lasts between five and seven days. The AHA promotes the elimination of dead cells, giving the skin a radiant appearance and even color.
Suitable for both face and body, these tanners are available in three textures -- gel, moisturizing lotion, or tinted lotion for instant results -- in medium or dark shades. You apply the product evenly over your face and body before you go to sleep at night, and you'll wake up with a healthy-looking tan.
Science is catching up with what many of us have suspected for a long time: that smell can affect our mood as well as our reactions to people and places. Researchers at the Royal Berkshire Hospital, U.K., found that patients receiving aromatherapy (in this case, using essential oil of lavender) reported significantly greater improvements in their mood and perceived levels of anxiety than those receiving either massage or bed rest.
Aromatherapy uses essential oils extracted from plants to improve physiological and psychological health. These oils can be applied in a number of ways, including inhalation, massage, and baths.
Not all essential oils are created equal, however. A double-blind trial of essential oils from two different species of lavender revealed that the quality of the oil determines its efficacy. In the study, 28 patients received aromatherapy massage with one of the two oils on two consecutive days; one of the oils was found to be almost twice as effective as the other.
If possible, talk to a professional aromatherapist about which oils would be best for you; you can find a practitioner at The National Association for Holistic Aromatherapy (www.naha.org) or the Canadian Federation of Aromatherapists (www.cfacanada.com).
Here are some of the essential oils most recommended for stress-related problems:
Wired for Happiness
"You are wired for happiness. This may come as a surprise to you, but it's the truth... However, to those who are depressed, happiness can seem like an unreachable shore," note Bob Murray, Ph.D. and Alicia Fortinberry, MS in their book Creating Optimism: A Proven Seven-Step Program for Overcoming Depression (McGraw Hill, 2004). This husband-and-wife, psychologist-and-psychotherapist team have created a ground-breaking book that shatters the myths about depression and anxiety, clearing the way for real healing.
In Chapter Two, they discuss the "Eight Fundamentals of Happiness," as well as offering practical tips to help move you from depression to satisfaction. Here's a brief taste of what they have to say about generating long-term happiness:
The authors also make the important distinction between "value-based" and "feel-good" happiness. The former is limitless, because it comes from the sense that our lives have purpose and meaning; the latter is transient, sensation-based, hedonistic, and it gets harder to generate as time goes by. This book offers proven techniques for identifying dysfunctional behavior and changing it, and a step-by-step process for establishing and maintaining healthy relationships. Their insights can help speed your divorce recovery, as well as offering hope for a happier, more fulfilling future.
Creating Optimism is available at online and retail bookstores; for more information, go to www.books.mcgraw-hill.com.Back To Top
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