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For Military Families

Job stress appears in a lot of headlines, but some of that stress may actually be rooted in problems at home. Constant arguments with family members, financial difficulties, and stressful environmental conditions are common home-life stresses that spill into other activities, including your job. Practice things at home that may reduce stress:

  • Respect the privacy and individuality of other family members
  • Establish and adhere to family rules
  • Promote a daily routine
  • Allow enough time to relax and exercise
  • Set realistic goals
  • Plan for your financial future and budget
  • Make a joint effort toward neatness and order

 

Many problems stem from one person’s inappropriate demands on others in the home. You can minimize problems by guiding others toward realistic goals rather than forcing unrealistic behavior or expectations. Acting like a dictator may disallow the leadership you want to provide. Teenagers especially rebel against authority. The best results come from setting a good example in terms of lifestyle, temperament, and resilience in dealing with family disputes.

80%

Veterans with PTSD often also suffer from depression or anxiety

The Effects of Divorce

The death of a spouse or loved one often tops the list when trying to quantify stress; however, the death of an important relationship follows closely behind.

Recent studies confirm that marital separation is linked to a significant impairment in immune system function. Women who were separated one year or less had much greater depression of immune responses than their married counterparts. Among the separated-divorced group, those with greater attachment to their ex-husbands showed the highest levels of emotional depression and poor immune system.

A Happy Marriage Reduces Stress and Promotes Health and Longevity

References: Vaillant GE. AGING WELL: Surprising Guideposts to a Happier Life from the Landmark Harvard Study of Adult Development. Little, Brown and Co. New York, 2002. Health And Stress Newsletter, #5, #7 2005, #10 2002, #7 2000, #9 1999.

The Harvard Study of Adult Development is the longest and most comprehensive investigation of the aging process ever conducted. Since the 1930s, researchers have closely followed more than 800 men and women from adolescence to old age to seek clues about behaviors and activities associated with healthy longevity. George Vaillant, a former director of this project and author of Aging Well, was surprised to learn that keeping mentally active and having lots of friends were more important than your cholesterol level. A happy marriage or good long-term relationship at age 50 was a leading indicator of being healthy at age 80 whereas a low cholesterol level had very little significance.

But why would a happy marriage or having lots of friends promote healthy aging? Stress can accelerate the aging process, and strong emotional support is a powerful stress buster. Having support from friends, family, or a long-term partner reduces the harmful effects of stress. Chronic stress can impact your immune system, leaving you more vulnerable to infections. British researchers recently reported that in a study of more than 180 senior citizens who received influenza vaccine, those who were happily married developed higher antibody levels (more protection) than others who reported less marital satisfaction. Participants who had experienced a significant bereavement in the past 12 months had poorer antibody responses.

Health Benefits of Being a Mother

Little girl with a teddy bear

A government report indicated that while overall cancer rates are declining, there has been a disturbing upward swing in breast cancer in middle-aged women. The reasons for this are not clear, although it has been established that women who have had children are less likely to develop breast cancer than those who have not. Pregnancy appears to lower a hormone known to contribute to malignant breast tumors in experimental animals. Also, the younger you are when you have your first child, the better your chances for not developing breast cancer. In the past few decades, more females have become career women and consequently may become mothers when they are comparatively older.

Emotional stress has been demonstrated to cause a depression in immune system defense against cancer and a variety of viral-linked disorders. One study of women who had married between the ages of 17 and 44 revealed that those who never had children were much more susceptible to sudden death due to heart disease. Possible explanations include an abnormal endocrine state, which possibly contributed both to infertility and cardiac disease because of estrogen deficiency as well as the psychosocial stress associated with being barren. It appears that motherhood provides certain health benefits and other obvious rewards.

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