Here I sit at my computer some 5 days after Hurricane Ike swept through Houston and all of the surrounding areas unleashing his fury. The generator is humming loudly in the background but I pay little heed to it as I am so grateful for the power it provides us, power to my computer so that I can write this article. I know that there are many around me who would gladly put up with the noise to have the benefits it provides.

Both lives and homes have been lost or damaged and everywhere you look people are helping on another to cope. It’s what we do as humans. When tragedy strikes we huddle together helping one another. I wonder why we don’t do that more often?

Too busy, would probably be the reply of most, as we rush from one activity to another never stopping to connect with those around us. When the day is done we rush inside to surf the net, check email or zone out in front of the television. Ask most people and they will tell you that they do not know most of their neighbors.

After the Hurricane I met neighbors I have never seen before as lack of TV and internet pushed everyone out of doors. It seemed as if the whole neighborhood was out for leisurely walks, taking time to stop and shoot the breeze with one another. I wonder what would happen if once a week all of the electricity was turned off forcing us to get out and connect with our neighbors?

Did you know your immune system likes it when you spend time with friends? “We have phenomenal data showing the value of nurturing, social support and camaraderie," say neurologist Barry Bittman, MD, CEO of the Mind-Body Wellness Center in Meadville, Pa. In one such study, researchers exposed people to a cold virus and then monitored how many contacts those people had with friends, family, co-workers and members of church and community groups. the more social contacts the people had---the more diverse the contacts---the less likely they were to catch the cold. People who have plenty of friends are more relaxed because they have a built in support system. This is one stress tip you don't want to forget!

It may have taken a hurricane to help you meet your neighbors. Now the ball is in your court. Make it a point to spend more time out doors and get to know your neighbors. Your immune system will thank you.

Author's Bio: 

Kathryn Watson is a speaker, trainer and coach specializing in relaxation training for Houston, Texas and beyond. She has been studying and teaching meditation and stress management techniques for over 15 years.

Download your free e-book, “Release Stress Now!” from Life and Relaxation Coach Kathryn Watson. Kathryn has been teaching clients to develop a relaxed state of awareness for over 15 years. It is from this state that you are able to stay focused on your goals and priorities in life. Her “Take Five Minutes to Relax” is a popular program for both corporations and individuals.