Updated: Mar 27, 2019
Is it a good idea to remove as much as potential stress and frustration as we can from our children's lives as well as our own? A parallel can be drawn between the health of your immune system and the ability to manage stress that may surprise you.
This morning I read an article entitled The Immune Fix by Matt Richtel in the science section of the New York Times (3/12/19). In it he describes how our obsession with hygiene has led to an increase in allergies and auto-immune disorders in recent years.
Since we are not exposed to as many pathogens as previous generations, it appears that the immune system finds something to else to do, hence allergic responses to otherwise harmless substances and sometimes our own bodily tissues.
Although the medical community at large is not suggesting we should abandon sanitation altogether, they do recommend easing off the antibacterial soap and relentless hand sanitizing. And yes, let your kids play in the dirt!
How does this relate to handling stress? Just as the immune system is strengthened by being challenged, so is our emotional resilience.
We've all heard about the cranky old retired guy who is constantly yelling, "hey you kids, get the hell off my lawn!" The lack of any meaningful challenges in his life leads to him focusing on something pretty meaningless that does nothing to improve his quality of life or anyone else's.
There has been lot of concern about the practice of 'helicopter parenting,' where parents constantly hover over every aspect their child's lives and intervene at the first sign of any problem they encounter. This has even lead to the establishment of 'safe zones' at colleges where young adults are shielded from social and political views that conflict with their own rather than teaching them how to effectively cope with a world that is often mean spirited and unfair.
It reminds me of a story I shared in my book Hypnotic Storytelling, it goes like this:
Once there was a teenage girl who absolutely loved animals and she became a volunteer at an animal rescue center.
She was very responsible and everyone appreciated the enthusiastic help she provided.
At the center was an incubator for bird eggs that had been abandoned by the mother or had fallen out the nest.
For the past week there had been a large specimen in the incubator that had captured the girl's fascination.
What was the bird going to look like when it hatched? On this particular day she noticed the thin, flexible egg shell popping up slightly in one spot and then another-the baby bird was trying to peck his way out!
Excited, she took out her pocket knife and was going to carefully help her little bird friend escape from the egg until a voice behind cried out STOP!
It was the director of the animal rescue center and she said, "thank goodness I caught you before its too late. I know you meant well, but that bird needs to struggle before it hatches or it won't be strong enough to survive afterward."
Happily the baby bird pecked his way out of the egg two days later and went on to be strong and healthy.
If you want to take on a new challenge and step out your comfort zone, I am here to help. Call me directly at (732) 714-7040.
P.S. You can access my e-book Hypnotic Storytelling through the links provided below.