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Sunday, October 28, 2007

Self Help Magazine Advises Relaxing Images and Slow Breathing to Reduce Stress

(Photo: Seagull over the ocean at Montana de Oro, Los Osos, California, October 28, 2007. Relaxing images and deep breathing can provide a break from stress. Photo by Kristi Gott)

The award winning mental health site Self Help Magazine advises people to reduce stress by selecting a calming photograph, relaxing, "breathing slowly and gently," and imagining that "you are there, and that you are feeling good and calm."

Self Help Magazine has a slideshow of calming photos, including pictures of sunsets, landscapes, mountains and other scenery. Taking some time to get away from stress with a relaxation break is important for mental and physical health. Emotional and mental tension are part of the "Caregivers Syndrome" of stress and exhaustion. Small breaks to unwind and step away from stress can make a big difference.

Images of soothing scenes can be a tool for the caregiver for self-help or to use when assisting someone who is tense or agitated. I bring library books with me sometimes when I'm assisting people. The large, coffee table scenic tour type books are a relaxing way to spend time with someone. If the person has happy memories of a favorite place, such as the Oregon coastline, I bring a book for that.

When I've assisted people who had Alzheimer's I found they enjoyed the visuals in the large photo tour books. This was especially helpful when the time of day arrived when they were apt to experience sundowners and wandering. Redirecting the person with Alzheimer's to focus on relaxing images and talking in a calm voice about the places in the photos were a big help.

For the stressed, exhausted caregiver, a break in the day to relax, breath slowly, and focus on some relaxing images is a way to reduce stress and unwind.

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