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02-08-06 Living well, laughing often, loving much relieve stress

By Shelley Grieshop

  Everyone has it, no one really wants it, and many spend precious time trying to get rid of it. Stress.

Pat Giesige of the Ladies of the Red Hats of Celina gives a humorous performance as she models for the crowd at the Ladies Heart Health Gala in Celina on Tuesday. The event, which included health-related booths, a buffet meal and speakers, was sponsored by Mercer Health.<br></br>

  Sue Hart, a wellness speaker, says there are many ways to lessen the stress of everyday life. Speaking to a crowd of women gathered Tuesday evening at Mercer Health's first-ever Ladies Heart Health Gala event in Celina, she starts her speech by throwing magic "angel dust" at the crowd

  "I have to apologize, but this will make you all pregnant," she says releasing the imaginary particles into the air as laughter spreads across the room at Romer's Entertainment Facility.

  Hart, of Troy, asks the crowd how they feel now that they are with child.

  "No way!" shouts one lady who appears to have already hit the Golden Years.  Hart explains how the thought of pregnancy may bring back stressful memories for some women, but not if they "reprogram" those memories for the stage in life they are at today.

  "You have to change your way of thinking," she says.

  Hart, who dots her message with humor, says she once used the angel dust idea at a speaking engagement in Maria Stein, only to embarrassingly discover her audience was exclusively nuns.

  She believes humor and carrying a positive attitude each day is the key to fighting stress. Focusing on the negative "zaps our strength," she says.

  There are many signs of stress such as physical ones -- headaches, fatigue, nausea and rashes. Stress can cause people to increase alcohol and tobacco, overeat, sleep too much and have sexual problems. Depression, irritability, the feeling of being trapped all can occur if we don't seek help, Hart says.

  Some stress-reducers are simple, she says.

  "Men need eight to 10 hugs and women need 10 to 12 hugs each day," she says. "It can be a foundation for reducing stress."

  We take out stress on those closest to us and "people can only take so much," Hart adds. Negativity soaks up everything around you, she says. Her secret: writing down the positive.

  "Since 1989, I've written down the best thing that happens to me each day, at least three of them. That helps strengthen the positive," she says.

  "Pushers" are one type of people who create their own stress by being driven by work, she says. It soon takes its toll, not just on the workaholic, but on those around them. Overachievers soon lose their caring attitude toward others, Hart explains.

  "And you have to remember that in a matter of seconds, everything you work so hard for can be all gone," she says.

  Multi-tasking really means we're juggling too much, she says; worry about the big things and learn to "dump" the little things, she tells the captivated audience.

  "Eighty-five percent of things we worry about don't ever happen," she says.

  Being balanced spiritually, mentally and physically can lead to a better life with less stress. And don't forget to laugh, she adds.

  "Put laughter in your life like the Red Hat Ladies here," she says, smiling at several tables full of women dressed in the group's familiar red and purple clothing. "They're always having a good time."

  Nutritionist Julie Hemmel- garn speaks next on the subject of healthy eating. She explains which foods to focus on and stresses the importance of portion size and how to incorporate whole grains, nuts and other healthy choices into any diet.

  "It's about making small changes, day to day, in moderation," says Hemmelgarn, a registered and licensed dietitian with Mercer Health.

  The health gala also included a buffet dinner, a fashion show by the Red Hat women and several booths where women were offered cholesterol screenings, mini-massages and information on nutrition, make-up, exercise, how to dress and other health-related topics.


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