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Early Friday morning, I received a message that read, " Sana ate matuloy yun plan natin to take time for sharing, for meditation for relieving stress." The sender is a Filipino woman in a problematic relationship with a verbally-abusive Japanese husband. While there are many successful intermarriages, there are also difficult and challenging marriages experienced by our Filipino migrants here in Japan.

Many of them appreciate being listened to, being attended to, being cared for. Inside their homes, aside from problems with their spouses, some have to take care of their children, perform household chores, and balance this with part-time or full time work. Having someone or a group to talk to, to bond with, to unwind and release their stresses and challenges means a lot to them. While steps are now being taken to make that requested sharing session possible, a number of them turn to Facebook for virtual chat and comfort. Or a number of them are also sharing their time, their attention, their care with others as their own way to de-stress and to relax and be happy.

There are soothing spiritual messages that encourage them to be strong, that they are not alone, that God, family, and friends are always around for them.

There are also the following advices about relieving stress that have been posted and reposted. " Helping others can allow you to help yourself."  Dancing and dancing with the elderly, those with Alzheimer, can also be a stress reliever and can bring joy to oneself and to others as well.

Singing daily for at least ten minutes reduces stress, clears sinuses, improves posture and can help you live longer. One FB post showed a male care provider singing to very appreciative elderly patients.

Laughter is touted as the best medicine.  Is it? Susan Brink asked in her article for the national geographic. While other researchers show that laughter is NOT the best medicine, Susan Brink mentioned studies that showed some benefits from laughter.

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"A good belly laugh leads to the release of endorphins from the brain," Brink quotes Michael Miller, director of the Center for Preventive Cardiology at the University of Maryland Medical Center in Baltimore.

Brink adds that "Miller, author of Heal Your Heart: The Positive Emotions Prescription to Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease advises that  "the best laugh is one that brings tears to our eyes" and this exercise should be done "for at least 30 minutes at least three times a week-and 15 minutes of daily laughter."

Brink also added that "a study published in 2003 showed that those who laughed at a humorous movie had higher levels of natural killer cell activity, which increased their ability to fight off disease. However, the effect was seen only in the subjects who laughed out loud, not in those who quietly watched the comedy. "

Brink also shared that "a study in Japan found that laughter could improve anti-inflammatory factors in the blood of people who have rheumatoid arthritis."

Our daughter, Aiko, recently shared this FB message, that "in a highly stressful workplace, even having 1-2 hours of "lazy moments" can save time and effort than most people think. A tired brain will not do anyone any good. Relaxed and happy people will yield good results and have lower risk of stress, high blood pressure, stroke, heart disease and negativity."

"Having at least "one lazy day" per week can help reduce stress, high blood pressure,stroke, and heart disease."

Need to de-stress? Surround yourselves with love, prayers, those who love and appreciate you. Help others, dance, sing, laugh, breathe deeply, meditate, find precious pauses and "lazy moments."

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