Another stress management technique is servant leadership. Seek to help your children grow, succeed, and reach their potential. Your children are not created so that you would have someone to care for you in your old age. Each human being has a purpose, and it is your highest honor to help your children reach their potential. Support your children. Encourage your children. Protect your children. Provide for your children. Watch them climb heights that you were not able or even capable of. Find joy in all of their successes and walk with them in their failures. Forgive often and always.

With all that’s going on in our country, our economy, the world, and on social media, it feels like so many of us are under a great deal of stress. Parenting, in particular, can be stress-inducing. We know chronic stress can be as unhealthy as smoking a quarter of a pack a day. It is also challenging to be a present parent when your relationship is under stress. What are stress management strategies that parents use to become “Stress-Proof? What are some great tweaks, hacks, and tips that help reduce or even eliminate stress? In this interview series, we are talking to authors, parenting experts, business and civic leaders, and mental health experts who can share their strategies for reducing or eliminating stress. As a part of this series, I had the distinct pleasure of interviewing Michael Dow, RN, MS, MHA, MSMMichael Stephen Dow always had a love for science and the human body so for a third career, he used his GI bill to go through nursing school and graduated in August 2020. Michael has 5 college degrees and now works as a Registered Nurse at an inpatient psychiatric hospital. Books he has authored have garnered many awards including best Children’s Education Series from Independent Press Award (Nurse Florence® children’s health book series). His company will be having a National Kids Essay Contest starting September 13th every year through Thanksgiving. The Grand Prize Winner gets a free set of the Nurse Florence series in hardcover.

Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series! Before we dive in, our readers would love to know how you got from “there to here.” Inspire us with your backstory!My mom is from the French Speaking area of Canada (Quebec) and my dad is from Alabama. They met by happenstance. My dad was working a lot, so I learned French as my first language from spending so much time with my mom. I unfortunately was not very well-prepared for kindergarten for English, so my mom and I watched a lot of Sesame Street, Captain Kangaroo and Mr. Rogers to get my English up to speed. This was the first of many times in my life I was brought out of my comfort zone and had to grow. I was, at best, a mediocre student in High School and then dropped out of college because I felt I was wasting my parents’ money. I later went back and developed a laser focused attention on my studies and excelled. I like to joke that my punishment from the universe for dropping out of college and stressing my parents out was to get 5 college degrees. I was getting my second bachelor’s and planning for medical school and then the events of Sep 11, 2001 happened. I chose to change my career direction and put in an application to the US Air Force. Again, I was moved out of my comfort zone as evidenced by old friends saying that I was one of the most pacifist they knew. I served 8 years in the military. I then, luckily, landed into my second career as an Army Wounded Warrior Advocate. I served 8 years in that position helping combat PTSD Veterans access all of their benefits and resources. I then used my GI bill, which was about to expire, to go through an accelerated nursing school program at the University of Arizona (15 months Master’s level program to be able to take the NCLEX). I graduated, passed the exam and then started working immediately as an inpatient psychiatric nurse and am loving it (the job does have challenges like every job has challenges, though).What lessons would you share with yourself if you had the opportunity to meet your younger self?Learn about mentorship and find a great mentor or multiple mentors. Learn leadership skills early. Practice the good of religion like forgiveness, avoiding things that would cause regret, love God, and start self-study as a kid since it seems endless regarding the number of things to learn and know about.None of us are able to experience success without support along the way. Is there a particular person for whom you are grateful because of the support they gave you to grow you from “there to here?” Can you share that story and why you are grateful for them?My wife Perla. We have been married for over 10 years. We have a beautiful daughter Mia, and she has helped raise my two sons from a previous marriage, Kegan and Nicholas. She believes in me and wants to see me succeed. She is a great conversationalist and honors family. She allows me to try new ideas and respects the man that I am. I am very grateful to have her in my life.Are you working on any exciting new projects now? How do you think it might help people?We will be having a National Kids Essay Contest to promote the Nurse Florence series and hope many kids apply. Winners get copies of the books with the Grand Prize Winner getting a copy of the entire set. An informational video can be found at: continue to produce a new Nurse Florence every 10 days. Nurse Florence is our series for kids addressing general science questions children may have about the body as well as disease topics. The idea is that if a member in the family gets a certain disease, they will buy that specific Nurse Florence book and read it as a family so that everyone’s health literacy will be raised ( The books are being translated into multiple languages and special editions are being created like Nurse Florence® for the Visually Impaired. We hope to improve the world’s health literacy levels so that more people can have confident discussion with their healthcare Provider. The series may also increase people’s wonder about the amazing workings of the human body.Ok, thank you for sharing your inspired life. Let’s now talk about stress. How would you define stress?Stress as defined by Merriam-Webster is “a physical, chemical, or emotional factor that causes bodily or mental tension and may be a factor in disease causation” and “one of bodily or mental tension resulting from factors that tend to alter an existent equilibrium.” Healthline defines it as “the feeling of being overwhelmed or unable to cope with mental or emotional pressure.” The World Health Organization defines it as “a state of worry or mental tension caused by a difficult situation.”In the Western world, humans typically have their shelter, food, and survival needs met. So what has led to this chronic stress? Why are so many of us always stressed out?In regard to chronic stress in relationships, we may seem stressed out a lot due to the complexity of life and how it seems to be increasing as technology increases. The scientific theory of complexity says, “that some systems display behavioral phenomena that are completely inexplicable by any conventional analysis of the systems’ constituent parts” ( A basic relationship is two people interacting with each other. Therefore, two complex systems are creating new things that one by themselves could not. Relationships are, by nature, complicated. Because of this, understanding, managing and supporting good relationships takes work and a lot of effort.What are some of the physical manifestations of being under a lot of stress? How does the human body react to stress?The World Health Organization states that signs of stress are anxiety, irritability, difficulty concentrating, headaches, upset stomach, trouble sleeping, loss of appetite, or increased appetite. Some people may have pre-existing health problems worsen and some may start to abuse substances like alcohol ( stress necessarily a bad thing? Can stress ever be good for us?In regard to parenting stress, it seems unavoidable. When the child is a newborn, the parent has to deal with the stress of the child waking up throughout the night and the parent still needs to go to work the next day. Children go through so many transitions that each transition can cause new stress. For parenting stress, I’d like to say that it is neither good nor bad, it just is.Is there a difference between being in a short-term stressful situation versus an ongoing stress? Are there long-term ramifications to living in a constant state of stress?Please see the comment above regarding physical issues with dealing with stress. Long term stress can have health consequences. Maybe that’s why human physiology is set up for parents to be at most middle aged when having children. I know men can have children late in life, but surely that is detrimental to one’s health.Let’s now focus more on the stress of parenting. This feels intuitive, but it is helpful to spell it out in order to address it. Can you help articulate why being a parent can be so stressful?As mentioned before, parenting involves complex systems interacting with each other. They systems may have different goals that may conflict with each other. The systems may have different purposes that may not align very well. The systems may not be very well skilled in self-regulation causing emotions to be unchecked. The systems will have different experiences that will cause different outcomes from their interactions that are unexpected. The systems may not be able to properly forecast the other system’s behavior. The systems may have different needs that cause conflict or may have the same needs that also cause conflict. The systems may have coding and decoding messages problems that don’t allow full communication. There may be external forces to the systems that are unknown that may cause unknown changes to a system which can disrupt the equilibrium between the systems.Can you help spell out some of the problems that come with being a stressed parent?The primary problem with parenting is helping a child become a self-regulated entity, which is very difficult in a world of many competing interests. Parents may possibly not be self-regulated themselves. Guiding a human being, which is a complex system, onto a path that ensures prosperity, tranquility, and an overall good life is nearly impossible with all of the dangers and threats that are in our world. There are some things we can do, though.Here is the main question of our interview: Can you share with our readers your “5 stress management strategies that parents can use to remove some of the stress of parenting?” Please share a story or example for each.One stress management technique is learning the art of mindfulness, which is taught by Jon Kabat Zinn. A great resource for learning mindfulness can be found at: Mindfulness is so important because when a parent’s equilibrium is disrupted because of something related to the child, the parent can learn to return to the moment and simple awareness so that a peaceful state can be retrieved. By being calm in the midst of a storm with a child, calmness can be contagious and the child can find their way out of their distressing emotions and into contentedness.Another stress management technique is compartmentalization. Things will happen while parenting that must be stored away in the mind and re-examined on certain occasions. Compartmentalization is a skill and takes time to master but mastering it is useful since you don’t want to ruminate on some things.A third stress management technique is to practice the art of not giving up on someone. Your child may reach a point where some people may want to give up them, but you must not. Do not give up. Do not give up on your child. There is a chance you stand in the doorway they may not be aware of which will lead to disaster. Stand in front of the path and do not let them go down it. Be brave. Be courageous. Be compassionate. Be strong-willed and do not give up on your child.A fourth stress management technique is learn to be an observer. Observe what is going on. Learn what is really happening with your child. Stand back in your mind and observe what is being said without putting your emotions into the situation. A good scientist will make careful observations, do something, evaluate the effects, and do some thing else if needed. You should not make big decisions or changes with your child unless you are carefully observing the situation. Understand you will not know all of the inputs into the situation that has made it what it is, but do your best, make a course correction and observe the effects. As systems get larger, a small course correction can make enormous effects that are unforeseen. As families grow, things get more challenging and complex, but it is a life worth living and sharing with others.Another stress management technique is servant leadership. Seek to help your children grow, succeed, and reach their potential. Your children are not created so that you would have someone to care for you in your old age. Each human being has a purpose, and it is your highest honor to help your children reach their potential. Support your children. Encourage your children. Protect your children. Provide for your children. Watch them climb heights that you were not able or even capable of. Find joy in all of their successes and walk with them in their failures. Forgive often and always.Do you have any favorite books, podcasts, or resources that have inspired you to live with more joy in life?Knowledge of the diversity and inner workings of all things on the Earth gives me joy. I encourage people to watch the Trials of Life by David Attenborough and the Human Planet by the BBC. Very inspiring!You are a person of great influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂I hope that the Nurse Florence® series will inspire a movement of global health promotion and literacy. It has already started with many book awards, many great reviews, translation into multiple languages, and many parents happy with the engaging and insightful text.What is the best way for our readers to continue to follow your work online?www.DowCreativeEnterprises.comThis was very inspiring. Thank you so much for the time you spent on this. We wish you only continued success.


  • Savio P. Clemente

    TEDx Speaker, Media Journalist, Board Certified Wellness Coach, Best-Selling Author & Cancer Survivor

    Savio P. Clemente, TEDx speaker and Stage 3 cancer survivor, infuses transformative insights into every article. His journey battling cancer fuels a mission to empower survivors and industry leaders towards living a truly healthy, wealthy, and wise lifestyle. As a Board-Certified Wellness Coach (NBC-HWC, ACC), Savio guides readers to embrace self-discovery and rewrite narratives by loving their inner stranger, as outlined in his acclaimed TEDx talk: "7 Minutes to Wellness: How to Love Your Inner Stranger." Through his best-selling book and impactful work as a media journalist — covering inspirational stories of resilience and exploring wellness trends — Savio has collaborated with notable celebrities and TV personalities, bringing his insights to diverse audiences and touching countless lives. His philosophy, "to know thyself is to heal thyself," resonates in every piece.