Relieving Stress, Naturally
Stress is a family affair at the home of Ladies' Home Journal's stressed-out family, the MacKenzies, where Robin, Leigh, and their six kids juggle hectic schedules. But after a four-day trip to the Canyon Ranch health resort, in Lenox, Massachusetts, Robin and Leigh brought home new relaxation skills for the whole family. "We can help each other relieve stress, even while we're watching TV," says Robin.
Feet First: Massage reduces stress, but a daily massage may be out of the question -- unless you learn to do it yourself. While getting a reflexology treatment at Canyon Ranch, Leigh learned that rubbing the big toe alleviates headache pain and that focusing on the sole of the foot in the center of the heel can dissolve the lower-back pain Robin often experiences. Now the couple exchanges foot rubs nightly.
Stretch Away Stress: A lesson in Thai massage -- a form that involves stretching exercises with a partner -- provided incentive to get the whole family involved. For one of the stretches, Robin sits on the floor and clasps her hands behind her head, elbows pointing skyward. Bryn, 7, stands behind Robin and hugs her mother's arms. Next, she gently pulls Robin's arms back toward her. "It stretches my back, and she thinks it's fun," says Robin.
Giving Is as Good as Getting: The person giving a massage isn't missing out. Generosity is a stress reliever on its own, says a study published in the journal Psychosomatic Medicine. People who said they helped others were less likely to experience anxiety and depression. "My kids love touching and hugging me -- and they're helping me reduce stress at the same time," says Robin.
Originally published in Ladies' Home Journal magazine, July 2004.
SAVE EVEN MORE! Say “Yes” to Ladies' Home Journal® Magazine today and get a second year for HALF PRICE - 2 full years (22 issues) for just $15. You also get our new Ladies' Home Journal® Family Favorites Cookbook ABSOLUTELY FREE!