Overworked? Overwhelmed? Divorce can be one of life's most stressful experiences and indeed, starting out again on one's own is about a new kind of Independence. But it’s also a time when friends and loved ones can be a wonderful support network. And even as we are feeling a little lost or overwhelmed, we can also be surprisingly helpful to others, which has some remarkable intrinsic benefits. Let’s explore how this exchange of support is healthy for us and, in fact, beneficial for optimal stress-reduction.

We all need a little help preventing, reducing and releasing the stress that has become pervasive in 21st century day-to-day existence. We live a lifetime becoming Independent. Through determination or by necessity, from the time we crawl, walk, or hold a cup: "Yaaay- -See how independent?" (Applause] We ride a 2-wheeler, drive, graduate, work, excel, travel. (More ‘Yaaay’) But somewhere along the way it all backfires. Accepting help becomes foreign, uncomfortable. Impossible for some. And our culture has historically made asking for help even more difficult for men. While some tasks must be done solo, and others with lightening speed when facing a deadline, it’s worthwhile to pause a moment and ask ourselves, “Could someone help? Or drive the kids. . .shovel the walk. . pick up dinner. . .return the videos?”

10 Tips for Getting Help When You Need Some

1. Do all you can for yourself, but within reason.
2. Set realistic goals. Reassess and revise as necessary.
3. Need a hand? Remember how it felt to help someone. Give others that pleasure.
4. Ask yourself, "Who could help get this done?"
5. What affordable resources are available? Ask the high school guidance office for good kids looking for jobs.
6. Is barter possible?
7. Ask for help with a confident, open smile.
8. Express your appreciation in payment, or barter, a note or a call.
9 . If possible, return the kindness.
10. No way to do that? What goes around comes around. Put it in a ‘favors bank,’ and spend it on someone else.

This Week, Try This:
When others offer, can you accept with a smile of heartfelt appreciation? And if no one knows you need any help, can you ask?

1. Help three people in some small way.
2. Exercise your acceptance muscle: Ask for one very small favor, just for practice.
3. Create a Go-To list of people you can call upon for various needs.

Have you ever seen a stranger with arms full, struggling with the door? What did you do? How did that feel? When a neighbor’s child fell off his bike, did you run out with a band-aid and a cookie, brush him off, and help him back on his way? Of course you did. Ever visit a friend in the hospital? Few enjoy hospitals, but did you kind of like yourself a little for doing it? (Human Nature Hint: It is infinitely easier to accept help when we have recently extended a hand.)

[Copyright 2007 Susie Mantell. All rights reserved. Federal law prohibits use of this content in whole or part without written consent of Relax. . .Intuit (tm)L.L.C. Kindly email reprint requests to info at relaxintuit.com ]

Enjoy more of Susie Mantell's stress-relief tips, and order her award-winning stress-relief audiobook, "Your Present: A Half-Hour of Peace" at:www.relaxintuit.com Susie Mantell's work intended as an adjunct to, not a substitute for, professional health care.

Author's Bio: 

Award-winning stress-relief expert Susie Mantell’s exquisitely soothing relaxation audiobook on CD, “Your Present: A Half-Hour of Peace,” is clinically approved to soothe layer-after-layer of Stress and Sleeplessness, Depression, Anxiety, Grief, Fibromyalgia, Fatigue, Caregiver Stress, Cancer, Pain, P.T.S.D., Divorce, and Addictive Disease. Featured by The Los Angeles Times, ABC, NBC, CBS TV, Town & Country, The American Pain Society Hazelden and Susan G. Komen Cancer Foundation, listeners include The Mayo Clinic, Memorial Sloan-Kettering, and The Betty Ford Center. Mantell has facilitated thousands in relieving health-related, work-related, chronic or traumatic stress, customizing stress-reduction for Fortune 500 companies, The Arthritis Foundation, The Coca-Cola Company, Canyon Ranch Medical, Health & Healing Dept. and The National Conference on Loss. Her multi-sensory, mind-body techniques appear in syndicated media, corporate newsletters, and publications for medical professionals. Susie Mantell's website: relaxintuit.com