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How physiologic stress-management training can help your relationships at home

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The skills that allow one to calm the body’s physiologic response to stress can also be applied to other areas—most notably, in one’s relationships.

Being in stressful situations activates the body’s physiologic stress response, which is what allows Warfighters the ability to respond to any threat at any time. In the sports world, the stress response is associated with the adrenaline rush that pumps athletes up during competitions, and gives them the edge to win.

Unlike athletes, however, Warfighters are a select group who operate in stressful situations day in and day out. Prolonged exposure to stressful situations has been found to be harmful both physically and psychologically, unless one learns how to successfully manage one’s internal response. To that end, there are programs throughout the uniformed services that teach Warfighters combat stress management techniques. Many use a stoplight system—utlizing the colors green, yellow, and red—to teach Warfighters how to calm the stress response and bring the body back into balance, in order to give it a reprieve. Successful warfighters learn these skills and apply them in theater.

These same skills, which allow one to calm the body’s physiologic response to stress, can also be applied to other areas—most notably, in one’s relationships. The stress response triggered by external threats is the same stress response that is activated during emotionally-charged conflicts with someone you care about (although the degree of stress is different). Conflict between two people creates the same internal stress, coupled with a flood of negative emotions. The techniques learned to manage combat stress are techniques that can also help Warfighters in their personal relationships.

A recent study examined 149 couples in a 15-minute discussion about a marital conflict found that positive emotions helped couples regulate, or calm, their physiologic responses after the conversation. Interestingly, how happy the individual was with their relationship did not impact this finding. This indicates that positive emotions seem to have the ability to “undo” the physiologic arousal of conflict.

The next time you get in a fight with someone you care about, try this: stop, take yourself out of the situation, and start thinking positive thoughts—either about yourself, something else, or your partner. Notice whether you feel calmer, if your body temperature decreased, if your heart rate slowed down, and if your body moved less (we tend to move more when we are upset). You might find this to be an excellent addition not only to your combat stress strategies, but also to your positive relationship strategies.

Source: Yuan, J., McCarthy, M., Holley, S. & Levenson, R. (2010). Physiologic down-regulation and positive emotion in marital interaction. Emotion, 10(4), 467-474.

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Prevent food poisoning

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Foodborne illness, commonly known as food poisoning, can make you feel as if you have the flu! Some tips will help you stay safe.

Foodborne illness, commonly known as food poisoning, can make you feel as if you have the flu! Symptoms often include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, or fever. It’s caused by consuming foods or beverages contaminated with bacteria, parasites, or viruses. To prevent, wash your hands and surfaces; cook foods to proper temperatures; and refrigerate cooked foods promptly. For more helpful tips, click here.

Bad eating habits: Advice to help service members eat healthier

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Bad eating habits affect both civilians and military members.



Defense Video & Imagery Distribution System (DVIDShub.net) has an article on the obesity epidemic - which is a major problem in the United States according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The article reports that bad eating habits affect both civilians and military members and provides information on how service members can improve their eating habits.

Click below to access the article.

Bad eating habits: Advice to help service members eat healthier

Eat to protect your heart

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Experts from MedicineNet, the American Dietetic Association, and the Cleveland Clinic developed a heart-healthy food pictures slideshow. Besides pictures, the slideshow also includes menu ideas to help you easily use these foods in your daily diet.

Experts from MedicineNet, the American Dietetic Association, and the Cleveland Clinic developed a heart-healthy food pictures slideshow. Besides pictures, the slideshow also includes menu ideas to help you easily use these foods in your daily diet. The foods that protect against heart disease include: salmon, flaxseed, oatmeal, black or kidney beans, almonds, walnuts, red wine, tuna, tofu, brown rice, soy milk, blueberries, carrots, spinach, broccoli, sweet potatoes, red bell peppers, asparagus, oranges, tomatoes, acorn squash, cantaloupe, papaya, dark chocolate, and squash.

Exercise to improve the quality of your sleep

HPRC Fitness Arena: Mind Tactics

According to researchers at Northwestern University, regular exercise may improve your sleep quality and mood. They studied two groups: one that exercised four times per week for 16 weeks, and one that took part in recreational and educational activities but did not exercise. Participants who exercised reported that their sleep quality improved. They also reported fewer depressive symptoms, more vitality, and less sleepiness in the daytime. Sleep is important to good health, so stay physically active to improve your sleep quality and mood! Read HealthDay News for more details.

Eggs and cholesterol


Eggs are a good source of protein but the yolks are high in cholesterol; egg whites are cholesterol-free. A diet high in cholesterol may contribute to high blood cholesterol levels and increase your risk of heart disease. Experts recommend that you limit your cholesterol intake to less than 300 mg a day if you are a healthy individual and less than 200 mg a day if you have heart condition. Since one egg has about 213 mg of cholesterol, consider limiting other sources of cholesterol on days you eat eggs. The Mayoclinic offers tips to reduce cholesterol intake.

 

 

Include nuts and seeds in your diet


Remember to include nuts and seeds in your diet. Try them as snacks, on salads, or in main dishes. You can even use nuts to replace meat or poultry. For example, add toasted peanuts to a vegetable stir fry instead of meat. Or, add walnuts or pecans to a green salad instead of cheese or meat.

Source: Mypyramid.gov

 

Overcome difficult times using healthy coping strategies.


This new study provides evidence for health and well-being benefits as a result of overcoming moderate adversity. Healthy coping skills are essential to overcome difficult times and bounce back stronger than before. For examples of helpful coping strategies, read this fact sheet .

 

Rake leaves as part of your autumn workout


Autumn is here and so are the leaves! Rake your own leaves, or your neighbor's leaves, for a great workout. Raking is an aerobic exercise and can help strengthen your core muscles. For tips on how to safely rake leaves, read this article by Medicine.net.

 

The consequences of anger and why you should manage it


Domestic abuse, road rage, workplace violence, divorce, and addiction are just a few consequences of not managing your anger. Anger is a normal emotion that can spin out of control and destroy relationships and lives. Anger management techniques are proven ways to help change the way you express anger and will help you diffuse the negative emotions you may feel before they get out of hand.

Click here to read some of the popular tips on how to help you get your anger under control.

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