Welcome to our Wellness Tips!  The following tips are brought to you by Baptist Homes Society's Wellness Director, Fabiana Cheistwer, who gathers and presents  tips that promote one or more of Baptist Homes Society's Six Dimensions of Wellness. Enjoy, and visit this page frequently to view Fabiana's updates!


Chronic stress can begin early in life, when maternal stress from major life issues, such as the death of a loved one or a divorce, affects the fetus. Chronic stress heightens when sexual, physical or psychological abuse occurs in childhood, then is compounded throughout life by further persistent or traumatic stress.

 A person suffering from chronic stress releases hormones, including adrenalin, norepinephrine and glucocorticoids that prepare the body for the fight-or-flight response. The heart beat rises. Certain bodily functions, including digestion, are halted so all energy can be redirected to the heart and muscles to deal with what the brain translates as a life-or-death threat.

 Unfortunately, the immune system becomes activated with increased inflammation to prepare the body for potential injury. Under normal circumstances the inflammation is countered within 20 minutes by the release of cortisol that returns one's system to normal.

 But for people suffering chronic stress, inflammation continues flowing, and the body eventually begins releasing less cortisol to counter it. Continuing inflammation from the stress-activated immune system eventually can lead to heart disease, hypertension, type 2 diabetes, autoimmune disease, gastrointestinal problems and depression among many other problems linked to stress.

 Managing chronic stress, Dr. Rabin said, requires different techniques than the methods of deep breathing, recalling funny events in life or repeating a mantra he recommends for acute stress in daily life.

 For chronic stress, he recommends religiosity or spirituality, possibly because religious events involve human interaction, which is a prime method for reducing stress. Some say prayer and religious belief bring the benefits.

 Expressive writing involves writing, without censorship, about a troubling event in life, then ripping the paper up into small pieces and discarding it. It helps a person exorcise the mental effects of the emotional experience.

 Guided imagery requires a person to listen to a calm voice that guides a person through relaxing mental tasks and happy thoughts against a background of soothing music, all of which induces relaxation.

 Meditation trains the mind to briefly erase all disturbing thoughts, preventing the mind from dwelling or even acknowledging any of the day's stressors. Physical activity is a classic method to reduce stress. Lifestyle improvements, including a healthful diet, also help the body prevent the health impacts of stress. Top mood foods include dark chocolate, leafy green veggies, pumpkin seeds, blueberries, and walnuts.

Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/stories/news/health/single-moms-can-find-little-relief-from-chronic-stress-675857/#ixzz2LGUXrdhV


 “May is Mental Health Month”  

It was started to raise awareness about mental health conditions and the importance of mental wellness for everyone.

 Mental Health Tips: Learn to be comfortable feeling what you’re feeling.  It isn't about being happy all the time. It's about acceptance of the moment we're in and feeling whatever we feel without trying to resist or control it. Excessive preoccupation with happiness can actually be counterproductive, leading to an unhealthy attitude towards negative emotions and experiences. Being mindful is crucial to good mental health. Mindful people don't try to avoid negative emotions or always look on the bright side -- rather, accepting both positive and negative emotions and letting different feelings coexist is a key component of remaining even-keeled and coping with life's challenges in a mindful way.


There is resurgence in the interest of the health/spirituality connection.  Of  3000+ quantitative original data-based studies, two-thirds have occurred in the last ten years. A majority of the research points to a positive relationship between spirituality and health.

Here are a few of the findings:


JULY BRINGS SUN AND FUN! Your Recipe for Great Summer Skin Starts Here!

Healthy skin starts with good eating habits, exercise and a skincare regimen that includes exfoliation, cleansing, moisturizing and using sunscreen. Peter Thomas Roth says, “A regular skincare regimen that includes sunscreen is essential to getting the great skin you want, but healthy diet and activity are key.”

 People can achieve radiant, glowing summer skin by eating a kaleidoscope of foods rich in nutrients that work in harmony to improve tone, texture and clarity.  For a healthy glow that lasts all year, the recipe for great skin includes regular exercise coupled with good nutrition.


The colorful fruits and vegetables are loaded with anti-oxidants and fiber.  Produce-rich diets improve skin tone and appearance and may prevent photoaging. (Dinkova-Kostova 2008)

 Water: Vital for flushing waste products, water keeps skin plump and hydrated.

 Seafood: Fish, especially salmon, is full of anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids. Shellfish are a good source of zinc.

 Healthy Fats:  Avocados, flaxseeds and olive oil have beneficial fats that help keep skin supple and glowing.

 Go Nuts: Almonds, walnuts and other nuts are good sources of omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin E.

 Whole Grains: Unprocessed grains are excellent sources of the B vitamins that are essential for manufacturing new skin cells. 

Spice it Up: Basil, cinnamon, cloves, garlic, ginger, red chili, turmeric and curry have anti inflammatory and antioxidant actions.


 Cartwright, PhD, RD, Martina M. "Recipe for Great Summer Skin." IDEA Fitness Journal 1 June 2012: 69.



Try these food combinations for even more nutrient benefits.

When eating a carb-heavy meal, supplement with fermented foods like vinegar and yogurt, slowing carb absorption and keeping blood sugar balanced. Adding vinegar to sushi rice has been shown to reduce glycemic index by 35%. Seaweed helps fend off menopause symptoms. Omega 3’s are said to help with depression. When eating greens, add lemon juice to absorb more iron.


A quick, brisk walk can increase a crucial stress “buffer” called OPTIMISM. People who are basically optimistic, and have a more positive outlook,   usually recover more quickly from colds, flu and other illnesses AND live an average of 7 more years. They also have a decreased risk for depression, pain and heart disease related conditions.

To build fitness, plan to take 3,000 steps/day, for sustained weight loss take 12,000-15,000 steps/day, for long term health and reduced chronic disease risk: take 10,000 steps/day which equates to 5 miles/day (1 mile is roughly 2,000 steps)