Don’t Let Stress Dictate Your Day
TOOLS FOR LIVING YOUR BEST LIFE
Have you ever felt so stressed that you lie awake at night unable to calm your thoughts? It seems like this is an all-too-common occurrence in our world. A survey done by the American Psychological Association found that stress keeps 40% of adults up at night. The Mental Health Foundation reported that 74% of adults in the U.K. were so stressed in the last year that they felt overwhelmed or unable to cope.
about one month? How about one year? Answering these questions can help you realize that whatever is stressing you out isn’t worth the mental or emotional energy. Many of our clients come to our office and are almost debilitated by what they are feeling. They sometimes appear to be physically sick from the stress of what decision to make or from thinking about any stressors that lie ahead. We often remind them that they will be in a completely different situation in one year. As hard as it may be to believe right now, they will look back on this day and wonder, “What was I so stressed about?” Focus on living your best life and remember: If the stress is coming from not living your best life, you have the ability to change that. Managing stress also involves having healthy physical outlets. We often go for walks together around our neighborhood or on nature trails to unwind. For Chris, getting out on the ocean with his father and friends is the best outlet. Ashley takes her mind off stress by playing with her animals. Breathing exercises can also be really beneficial, especially in moments where our emotions are running high. When our kids are upset, we tell them to take a deep breath to help them relax. Sometimes counting to 10 is really helpful. If we’re feeling stuck or unsure what to do, taking a deep breath and conceptualizing stress leaving our bodies always helps. Of course, there’s nothing quite like humor to cut through a tense situation. Levity makes us laugh at ourselves and brings us back to earth. If you need a reset or just a laugh after a long day, turn on a song that you can’t help but dance to — it’s a great way to turn your mood around, and you’ll probably find yourself laughing after a couple minutes. If you’re ever looking for resources for coping with stress, we’re happy to share what we know with you. Inside this edition, we have some additional mental health resources and tools to help you get the most out of life.
With April being Stress Awareness Month, we want to touch on this topic and offer some
tools to call upon to manage stress. Especially for our
clients who are going through a very stressful time, having healthy strategies to cope with changes and big life events is essential. Managing the mental aspect of stress is the first step. Try to focus your mental energy on something other than the stressful trigger. This can include trying to minimize the trigger by looking at the big picture and not losing the forest for the trees. Something Ashley’s mom taught her is to consider the big-picture importance of what’s stressing you out. Ask yourself: Will this matter in one week? How
The kids decompressing through artistic outlets
Have a happy month and remember to check in with yourself, take a deep breath, and laugh.
Russell and Ruby relieving stress by climbing oak trees
– Ashley and Chris Bruce
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Find the Support You Need After a Life-Changing Event Undergoing a life-changing event, like divorce, is highly stressful. At times, it can feel like what you’re experiencing in this period of your life is how you’ll always feel, especially in regard to anxiety or depression. Sometimes, these challenges even spill over to your physical health, too. Know that you are not alone in this and that you will be okay. You just need to call in some backup. A counselor, therapist, or other professional will be there to listen and help you process what you’re experiencing. They will provide an unbiased, third-person perspective of what you’re going through. A therapist or counselor is not there to judge or give you instructions or advice: They are there to listen, ask questions, and help you gain the clarity you need. Especially if you suffer from depression, being able to process your emotions in a healthy way, like by talking to someone, might be the difference between recovering and doing more damage to yourself. The right professional will help you start this next part of your life and be there to guide you along the way. Mental health providers range from a variety of categories and specialties. You can choose from psychiatrists, therapists, and counselors, the last of which typically specialize in a particular area, like managing stress or post-divorce counseling. As you take this step for yourself, remember: There is hope. As divorce attorney Chris Bruce reaffirms, “I can’t tell you enough how important that is for people. Seeing my clients once they realize there is hope for the future, and hope for a better future, makes all the difference.” Chris’ dedicated website, StayMarriedFlorida.com, has an extensive, vetted directory of mental health professionals in Florida listed by city and region. Chris has connected with each of these professionals to ensure they are the right fit for our clients. If you have any additional questions or could use further guidance, don’t hesitate to reach out to us. Our team is here for you. During times like these, talking to a mental health professional can be especially helpful.
THE AGE OF STRESS
HELPING YOUR CHILD OVERCOME ANXIETY
It’s hard to imagine kids as anything but carefree, happy, and eager to explore the world around them. However, children experience stress just like adults do, which can severely impact their typically cheerful dispositions. Since April is National Stress Awareness Month, now is an opportune time to familiarize yourself with tools and information that can help you alleviate your child’s stress. WHAT ARE THEIR STRESSORS? Any number of everyday factors can lead to stress, and stress can plague anyone who feels overwhelmed. Toddlers and young children going to day care or school for the first time may experience separation anxiety due to being apart from their parents. Older kids and teenagers may feel mounting social and academic pressure. Even something as simple as overhearing loved ones arguing or seeing a sad news report can add to a child’s stress levels. HOW DO I KNOW IF MY CHILD IS STRESSED? When a kid is stressed, they will exhibit odd behavior and even undergo physical changes. Depending on your child’s age, watch for mood swings, changes in sleep patterns, headaches, trouble focusing, or withdrawal from the people around them. According to KidsHealth.org, younger children may also pick up habits like twirling their hair or sucking their thumb, while older kids may start to bully others, lie, or rebel. CAN I HELP REDUCE THEIR STRESS? According to KidsHealth.org, good nutrition, proper rest, and healthy attention are great ways to help kids manage their stress. Set time aside each day to talk and spend time with your children; talking about worries will reduce or relieve anxieties. If you know about an upcoming stressful situation, like a school exam or a health checkup, prepare your child by studying with them or talking to them about what to expect.
Is your friend or client in need of a guide as they prepare for divorce? our divorce strategy book can help! The book can be downloaded for FREE at ControlYourDifficultDivorce.com. If your friend or client lives in the south Florida area, we will mail them a hard copy of the book upon request.
Don’t stop here. For more tools and information regarding stress reduction in children, visit KidsHealth.org or contact your doctor.
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2 Stress-Busting Techniques
For a Better Life
GET BETTER SLEEP Scientists have found that lack of sleep can impair your ability to handle stress, as well as memory, alertness, and quality of life. Cytokines, proteins that fight infection and inflammation, are one of the things your body produces when you sleep. If you’re not sleeping, you may not produce as many cytokines, which could impact your body’s ability to fight off disease. These impairments may explain the correlation between insufficient sleep and higher rates of disease. When it comes to sleep, quality and quantity are important.
As Ashley and Chris shared on the cover, it’s Stress Awareness Month, a good reminder to manage the stressors in your life and find healthy outlets that diffuse stress. In that spirit, use these two techniques to equip yourself with stress-busting power.
INCORPORATE MINDFULNESS Practices like mindfulness and meditation can be powerful tools for calming the mind and learning to tune into what you are experiencing without it overwhelming you. Meditation is especially helpful for assisting the brain in coping better with stress. Dr. Sara Lazar, a neuroscientist at Massachusetts General Hospital, looked at different
Sleep expert MatthewWalker suggests giving yourself a “nonnegotiable eight-hour sleep opportunity every night.” Begin by turning off electronics and winding down an hour before bedtime. You may consider using a meditation recording to help you fall asleep. And if it comes down to choosing between sleep and something else, choose a good night’s sleep. Implement one of these practices starting now and see the change it brings! If you make health a priority for both your mind and body, you’ll see the benefits across every area of your life.
areas of the brain and how they respond to meditation. She found a positive correlation between meditation and the way our brain is able to take on stress.
To get started with mindfulness or meditation practice, find a class or an online video for an easy, at-home routine that will help you get into the zone. Apps like Calm and Headspace are also helpful guides in starting a mindfulness practice.
The Bruce LAW TEAM
Beet, Goat Cheese, and Arugula Salad
Inspired by FoodNetwork.com
6 cups fresh arugula
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup walnuts, toasted and chopped
3 tbsp shallots, thinly sliced
1/4 cup dried cranberries or cherries
1 tbsp honey
1/2 avocado, cubed
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 oz crumbled goat cheese
Salt and pepper to taste
6 beets, peeled and quartered
Place coated beets on baking sheet and roast them for 12 minutes. Set the beets aside and allow them to cool. In a large bowl, toss arugula, walnuts, and berries with the remaining vinaigrette. Season with salt and pepper. Top salad with beets, avocado, and goat cheese.
Heat oven to 450 F and line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. In a medium bowl, combine vinegar, shallots, and honey. Gradually whisk olive oil into the mixture and season with salt and pepper. In a small bowl, toss the beets in dressing until they are coated.
Top: Christopher and Ashley developing relationships at a conference
Bottom: Attorneys Rosalie, Liana, Ashley, Sarina, and Christopher at a firm networking event
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How to Improve Your Resilience to Stress page 1
Helping Your Child Manage Stress
Where to Find Support in Times of Stress page 2
2 Stress-Busting Techniques page 3
Laughter Yoga’s Rise as a Global Health Movement page 4
Laugh With Me! A Lighthearted Approach to Decreasing Stress
We’ve all heard that laughter is the best medicine, and it turns out that human physiology supports this claim. When we laugh, our body releases a flood of feel-good chemicals and neurotransmitters. Our blood flow increases, and our production of cortisol, a hormone associated with stress, decreases. Oh, and laughing also burns calories!
to a local park. Parkgoers, who were initially skeptical, joined in on the practice, and the first laughter yoga club was born.
The laughter meetup had everyone in high spirits — until the group ran out of jokes. Unsure of what to do next, Kataria found another medical book suggesting the group didn’t need jokes to laugh. Fake laughter is just as beneficial as the real thing because the body can’t tell the difference between the two. Collaborating with this wife, Madhuri, Kataria combined common yoga warmups and breathing techniques with facilitated laughter to create the form of laughter yoga that is practiced worldwide today. If you’re interested in trying laughter yoga for yourself, then you’re in luck. Laughter yoga clubs exist across the United States and the world. Videos on YouTube can teach the basics, but laughter yoga tends to be most beneficial in a group setting. Just think about the last time you found yourself in a fit of giggles with a group of friends or during a comedy show. Didn’t it feel great? Rather than wait for a silly situation to trigger laughter, use laughter yoga to promote laughter and alleviate stress on any day at any time.
The feel-good, endorphin-inducing benefits of laughter are exactly what prompted Dr. Madan Kataria to develop laughter yoga in 1995. Laughter yoga incorporates breathing, stretching, clapping, and of course, laughing. Kataria developed the initial idea after coming across research into the benefits of laughter on overall health and well-being. He began to put the research into practice by telling jokes to his patients, and after seeing the positive effects, he took his material
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