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Suggestions to help families deal with stress

By Charles Petersen

For the Deseret News

Published: Wednesday, May 11 2011 4:37 p.m. MDT

13. Forgive and let go: Carrying around grudges, bitterness and anger is stressful and can consume a lot of energy. Forgive quickly. You just do not have the extra energy to carry around the additional burden.

I used to teach a repeating workshop for adults. During part of the workshop I talked about letting go. My partner would be with the group and I would come in late with a backpack. I would talk about how much pain I was in and how much my back hurt. Invariably someone would have the common sense to suggest I remove what was obviously a very heavy pack. At first I would ignore them, but after a while I would acknowledge their comments and concerns and remove the pack. I would, however, continue to carry this bulky and heavy backpack in my arms as one by one I removed very large rocks and talked about each one. They all represented stressful events or relationships in my life. One by one, after talking about each for a while, I would allow the rock to land on the table with a thud.

I remember one woman picking up a large rock while I wasn't looking, wrapping it in tissue and putting it into her purse. There was something she wasn't ready to let go of, and this rock represented that burden.

Some situations and events, however, are serious enough that they need to be reported and require appropriate precautions. We can forgive and let go, but at the same time love ourselves enough to never allow anyone else to put us in the same dangerous situation again. We can let go of the hate and burdens associated with what happened and still report it to the proper authorities.

14. Believe in Christ, live the commandments and teach your children to do the same: It is my testimony that this really is where you will "find safety and peace."

Charles "Pete" Petersen has been a child therapist and has worked with people with disabilities for three decades. He is currently writing an online encyclopedia of parenting at responsiblepractical parenting.blogspot.com/.

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