HEALTHWISE: You don’t need to be bullied by secondhand stress, by Valerie Minard

Recent studies have revealed a correlation between second hand smoke and stress that may be harmful to our health.  There are many recommended remedies for stress on the market via books, the media and social networking.  Some of these suggestions may be successful in relieving some of the symptoms of stress.  Valerie Minard, a syndicated writer, spiritual thinker and colleague, invites us to consider a more spiritual approach in combating stress and the causes of it.  Join me and find out what Valerie has discerned and has to share on this provocative topic.

second hand stress glow imagesRemember when it was OK to smoke in restaurants and public buildings? (Think “Mad Men” TV show.) That was until we were told of the negative effects of “secondhand smoke” — the smoke exhaled by someone else. Thanks to the grassroots efforts to eliminate smoking in public spaces, smoking in most buildings and public transportation finally became illegal in the United States.

Now studies have shown that there are negative effects of “secondhand stress” — picking up on others’ feelings of stress. Heidi Hanna, a fellow at the American Institute of Stress and author of Stressaholic, says that secondhand stress can be triggered by subtle changes such as an aggressive boss walking into the room or an angry taxi driver honking during rush hour. It has a ripple effect. So it’s important to protect our thinking from the pollution of a negative environment and mental influence.

Some common recommendations for any kind of stress include healthy diet, avoiding cigarettes, alcohol and drugs, exercise, social activity, such as volunteer work or meeting friends, and time management.

While those approaches may be helpful, most of them do not address the more basic causes of feeling threatened or not in control. That’s where more spiritual wisdom can come to the rescue. The Apostle Paul’s life gives some useful guidance for how to get on top of stressful situations.

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Kate is interested in sharing blogs about the impact of prayer and spirituality on our health written by her colleagues.  As a Christian Science practitioner and teacher, Kate has experienced the power of prayer in her life as well as in the lives of others.  She is the media and legislative contact for Christian Science in Maryland. Kate can be contacted through Twitter @CScomMaryland and email at: