Our Better Health

Diet, Health, Fitness, Lifestyle & Wellness


2 Comments

9 Ways To Avoid Killer Stress

BY MARGARET PAUL   AUGUST 7, 2014 

Since stress is a killer, it’s vitally important to practice the following healthy ways of avoiding stress in your life, and of managing stress in loving ways.

Stress activates the fight or flight mechanism, where the blood that’s normally in your brain, organs and immune system is directed into the arms and legs, readying you to fight or flee. Chronic stress keeps the body in this state, which eventually has a major effect on the ability of your immune system to keep you healthy.

Here are some tips to manage stress:

1. Don’t be so hard on yourself.

Self-judgment causes much stress. It’s easy for many of us to blame outside situations for our stress, such as others’ rude, blaming or angry behavior, or things not going our way. But the truth is that most stress is caused by how we treat ourselves. If you start to notice what stresses you, you’ll discover that judging yourself is a major cause of anxiety and stress.

Try practicing being compassionate toward yourself for being human, rather than judging yourself or others for mistakes or failures, or for others’ rejecting behavior toward you.

2. Lovingly let an argument go until you can come back to the conflict when you’re in a calmer place.

Being around angry, blaming and controlling people is stressful, but are you exacerbating the stress by arguing, defending or explaining yourself, or attacking back? This only serves to cause more stress. When you can, it’s far better to disengage from a fight or argument and come back to it when both of you are calm.

When you lovingly disengage, you are walking away to take care of yourself — not to punish the other person (which would actually cause more stress).

3. Don’t be addicted to worrying!

Do you believe that, somehow, worrying will give you control over bad things not happening? For many, this is a major false belief that causes much stress. Instead, practice developing your faith that you are always being supported in the highest good of your soul’s journey.

4. Practice mindful breathing instead of shallow breathing.

Learning to mindfully breathe all the way down into your stomach, rather than shallowly breathing into your upper chest, can release much stress.

5. Take some time on a daily basis to process your feelings.

When you avoid your feelings by staying in your head, judging yourself, turning to various addictions, or making someone else responsible for your feelings, you are rejecting and abandoning yourself — which creates stress.

Getting mindfully and compassionately present with your feelings takes away the aloneness of self-abandonment and creates a sense of inner-calm.

6. Seek to understand your feelings, instead of trying to repress them.

Learn what your feelings are trying to tell you, which can create immediate relief from stress. Trying to control your feelings by any of the above ways of abandoning yourself just creates more stress.

stressed

7. Accept that you don’t control of the actions of others.

Much stress comes from trying to control what we can’t control. This is what the Serenity Prayer is all about:

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
The courage to change the things I can,
And the wisdom to know the difference.

Helplessness over others and outcomes is a hard feeling to feel, so instead, you might find yourself trying to control others and outcomes — which you can’t do, and which creates much stress. Compassionately accepting your helplessness over others and outcomes creates serenity.

8. Practice gratitude. What are you grateful for?

Rather than relieving stress, complaining actually creates more stress. Instead of complaining, try focusing on what you are grateful for. You will find that heart-felt gratitude immediately relieves stress. Many of you who are reading this have much to be grateful for. You are likely not starving, not on the streets, not fighting a war. Try being grateful for the everyday things that many people on this planet don’t have.

9. Laugh.

Laughter relieves stress. Even in the midst of life’s challenges, it’s important to find ways to relieve stress with laughter.

Advertisements


1 Comment

15 Amazing Effects Music Has On Your Health

20 Oct 2014

Many people don’t know this but listening to music is not just something that brings joy, it can also improve your health in a variety of ways and scientists have proven that through many researches. Read on to find how music can make your life more awesome.

Helps you sleep better

Music contributes for a healthy sleep. Researchers have found that classical music can help us deal with Insomnia, especially college students. This is definitely a healthier and much cheaper fix for your sleeping disorder than taking pills.

Fights stress

It is no surprise that listening to music helps relieve stress off your shoulders. Studies have found that music stimulates biochemical stress reducers which helps us feel more relaxed.

Helps you get in touch with yourself

As it puts us in a better mood, music helps us get in touch with our emotions, a 2013 study suggests. The participants marked “self-awareness” as one of the most important advantages of music.

It relieves pain

Music has the ability to decrease the intensity of the pain. It activates sensory pathways that fight pain pathways and takes a person’s attention away from the pain.

Fights anxiety

When we are feeling anxious, listening to music can help us fight it as it has the same effect on the brain as a massage has on the body.

Acts as a motivator for bikers and runners.

College students conducted a research and proved that the people who rode stationary bicycles were able to work harder while they were listening to fast music compared to those who weren’t listening to any music during the experiment. If you are like me and prefer running, listening to your favorite songs can help you beat your personal records and even strengthen your endurance. Long story short, music helps you perform better during your workouts and also makes them a lot more enjoyable.

Helps you recover faster after a workout.

It’s proven that your body recovers faster after a hard workout when you are listening to your favorite music.

Fights sadness

Researchers have found that music can successfully fight symptoms of depression but the genre is very important. Classical and meditation music can boost your mood when you are feeling down,  but listening to heavy metal or techno music won’t help that much with chasing away the bad thoughts.

music

Helps the function of the blood vessels

Science has proven that the emotions that people have while listening to music contribute to healthier functions of blood vessels. As music makes you feel happier, it boosts the blood flow in your blood vessels.

Helps with stroke recovery

A Finnish study found that if stroke patients listened to music for 2 hours a day, they recover faster. Not only their moods improve, but also their verbal abilities and attention span, too.

Improves performance in high-pressure experiences

Fast music can help you fight stress before a high-pressure experience- an important game, for example. Researches have proven that listening to fast music just before a basketball game helped player relieve the stress and perform better.

Makes you mindful while you eat

Playing some music in the background is proven to help people slow down and enjoy their feeding process. This makes them more aware of what they are consuming and really tasting the food rather than eating quickly which leaves them feeling hungry and dissatisfied with the meal.

Improves cognitive functions

Playing background music while working on tasks that need your mental focus can boost your performance. A research has found that music can boost one’s cognitive abilities, but only if it has the same effect on the emotional state.

Music can get you into a state similar to meditation

Slow music can have effect on the speed of your brainwaves which makes them similar to someone who is in a meditative or hypnotic state. This can have a healing effect as it eases the symptoms of PMS and behavioral issues.

Eases patients going through a surgery

A research discovered that when patients are played music just before a cardiovascular surgery, they start feeling less worried. Moreover, music reduces the stress after the surgery if it is played while the patients are resting in their beds.

It doesn’t matter what the music of your choice is. The information above has probably assured you that music will not only bring joy and inspiration to your life, but is a great source of health as well.


1 Comment

8 Ways to Put Yourself on Your Priority List

Finding Time for ”Me” Time

By Ellen G. Goldman, Health and Wellness Coach

How often have you found yourself thinking or saying the following?

“I wish I had more time for myself.”
“I’m so busy! I don’t have a moment to breathe.”
“I need more hours in the day.”
“I don’t have time for that.”

We lead crazy, busy lives. And the one thing we never seem to have time for is ourselves. This problem seems even more pervasive as we work harder to meet the challenges of this new economy.

Creating more personal time tops the list of goals many people want to accomplish. With work time, partner or family time and social time all demanding our attention, we are constantly juggling our day-to-day responsibilities. Finding as little as 15-30 minutes a day of uninterrupted, relaxing “me” time is challenging at best.

But we all instinctively know that when we take time for ourselves to pursue our passions, do the things that we enjoy, relax or even do nothing at all, we end up happier, healthier and feeling better. “Me” time allows us to de-stress, unwind and rejuvenate. Taking time for yourself allows you to renew, heal, and create reserves of energy and peace.

When I ask my clients why they don’t plan more “me” time in their schedules, three common themes arise: not enough time, feeling guilty, or it feels selfish. The more giving and caring a person you are, the more these feelings seem to emerge.

Remember that no matter what we do, there are only 24 hours in a day, so you can’t create more time. But you can clear some time by reevaluating priorities, perhaps saying “no” more often and practicing smart time management.

“Me” time is not something you should feel guilty about. It’s nothing more than taking some time to put aside your everyday business and treating yourself to an activity that you enjoy. It gives you an opportunity to relax, refocus and recharge. And when you do that, you can come back to your responsibilities with greater focus, commitment and enjoyment.

It is very common to become so involved in giving to others that we fail to give to ourselves. And although this is more often a trait in women, there are plenty of men out there who feel this way too. Many are so caught up in earning a living to take care of their families, that breaking away from responsibilities to indulge in hobbies, reading or hanging out with the guys makes them feel selfish.

If everyone else around you is worthy of care and attention, then so are you. You not only deserve this time, but you need it for your own well-being. Lack of time for ourselves often leads to feeling frustrated, tired, overwhelmed and out of balance. Without this time for ourselves, we lose sight of what’s important to us.

Peaceful woman relaxing at home with cup of tea

Occasionally I am asked, “Doesn’t exercise count as ‘me’ time?” Well the answer is yes and no. If you approach exercise as another responsibility to cross off the list, and/or get more joy when you are done vs. enjoying the actual time spent working out, you are probably getting lots of health benefits, but not the same kind you get from “me” time. Unless you walk away from your routine feeling renewed, refreshed, relaxed and ready to take on the world once again, you may still need another activity that you do just for the pure joy of doing it. If, despite a regular exercise routine, you still feel overwhelmed and yearning for personal time, scheduling a few “me” time activities will do you a world of good!

Let’s look at some ways you can make “me” time a reality:

First, decide that you deserve some time to yourself each day. Stop feeling guilty for taking time out for you, and realize in the long run, it’s a win-win for everyone. When you are tired, stressed out and pulled in too many directions, it is hard to give your best to all you must accomplish. Remember, self-time is not selfish—it’s a necessary dimension of self-care!

Decide how best to spend “me” time. How each of us chooses to spend free time is as individualized as we all are. If you had an extra 15 minutes, a half hour, an afternoon or an entire day, what would you do to make yourself feel rejuvenated, relaxed and happy? Write a list and keep it handy when you begin scheduling time into your calendar.

Evaluate the things that are wasting your time each day. Do you check your emails constantly and end up spending more time on your computer than you planned? Do you answer personal calls in the middle of your workday? Run to the supermarket daily to pick up dinner rather than plan in advance and shop once? If this sounds like you, you must take the time to organize your responsibilities, and you will gain more free time than you can imagine.

Learn to say “no” to requests to do things that you don’t really want to, don’t value or don’t bring you satisfaction and joy.

Ask for help with chores that don’t necessarily have to be completed by you alone.

At the beginning of each week, take a few minutes to designate specific time slots for all that must be accomplished—including “me” time. Treat your personal time like you would any other appointment and make it non-negotiable.

Commit to a minimum of 15-20 minutes of “me” time every day. Do something (or nothing) that completely lets go of responsibilities and releases your mind, allowing you to be alone with your thoughts.

Create a daily ritual. This can be a bath, listening to music, taking a walk or meditating. Make it something you can look forward to. Years ago, when my children were small and life felt too hectic and overwhelming, I created a ritual for “me” time. I decided it was well worth it to get up 45 minutes before the rest of the family to enjoy my coffee and breakfast in solitude. To this day it’s my time to read, daydream or just bask in the sounds of silence. Looking forward to this time, and a coffee pot on a timer, gets me out of bed with a smile on my face.

Stop wishing you had more time to yourself, and commit to carving it into your schedule. Rather than bemoan your lack of time, change your approach and create the time using the tips above. You will be amazed at how a little bit of time to yourself can make a huge difference in your health and happiness!

Source:
Richardson, Cheryl. 1999. Take Time for Your Life:
A Personal Coach’s 7-Step Program for Creating the Life You Want,
NY, Broadway Books.
www.sparkpeople.com