05/19/05 — Learning to de-stress their lives

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Learning to de-stress their lives

By Barbara Arntsen
Published in News on May 19, 2005 1:45 PM

Members of the Wayne County Mental Health Association learned how to de-stress their lives during the monthly Lunch and Learn seminar.

Each month the association holds an hour-long seminar on topics relating to mental health, but Wednesday's presentation was geared to help overworked and overstressed mental health workers.

"This is a celebration for you, and a way to relax," said Bobby Jones, association president.

The Royal Tea Room, Rebuilding Broken Places, Pfizer Corporation and the Mental Health Association, joined forces to present the stress reduction program.

Dr. Alton Anderson, one of the pioneers of Smart Start and a board member of the state's child advocacy council, said he could give audience members the tools to create a stress management system.

"But it's a system you must work out for yourself," he said.

Following basic health principles, such as not smoking, having a proper amount of sleep, a proper diet and regular exercise, were core parts of a stress reduction system.

Having a support system and a spiritual life are also essential to fighting stress, Anderson said.

Then, he said, people have to make deliberate choices in order to manage the stress.

"If you can think of it, conceive it, truly believe it, then you can achieve it," he said. "The mind is a goal-directed organism, and what we focus on we drift toward."

He also said that everyone had the ability to make choices, and to decide for themselves how to react.

"You have to understand the things you can control and those you can't," he said.

Developing natural talents and gifts are essential, he said, to have a happier life.

Five major areas of stress for people include family, the educational system, jobs, churches and political issues.

"Aging is a stressor for people," Anderson said. "This may sound cold, but if you're aging, just get over it."

He said that once people accept the aging process, and do the things they are capable of doing, they remain vibrant.