1. 5 Simple Ways to Improve Your Mental Outlook

    August 20, 2013

    Improve Your Mental Outlook
    When we think of ways to improve our overall wellness we tend to think of big projects that tackle big issues head on. That kind of thinking is far to often a symptom of the problem, not a path to a cure. A healthy physical and mental outlook is based on a landscape we exist in, not a destination to achieve. I’ve come up with a short list of simple activities you can add to your routine that, over time, will alleviate stress and tension and help you build wells of positive mental and physical energy to rely on.

     

    Do Something With Your Own Hands

    For most of us hand eye coordination and dexterity are useful only in the context of operating our digital devices: computers, tablets, mobiles. Your hands aren’t made just for accessing more data and downloading your brain into an overheated frenzy. When is the last time you shaped wet clay, carved a piece of wood, kneaded dough? The interplay between hands and mind that only occurs from doing small jobs like this satisfies your mind and relaxes your body. Whether it’s making a birdhouse, preparing a meal to share, or just giving a tired friend a thorough back rub you will gain mental energy by performing simple tasks with your hands.

     

    Do Low Impact Exercise

    Our culture is geared to celebrate high impact exercise. TV Infomercials compete against each other to claim their program is harder, sweatier, and more extreme. Sometimes training for a marathon or getting buff is just what you want and need, but these high impact programs can be extremely stressful and require imposing aggressive forms of self discipline to complete. They are a great way to get ripped, but not always a great way to become more relaxed and happy. Take a slow, relaxing evening walk, or slow bike ride on a quiet road. If you have a place to swim find time to just splash around a little. No laps, no grind, no constant focus on goals and improvement. You’ll be surprised at how much improvement you get from less stressful forms of exercise, and the relaxation you gain will in turn help make you physically more fit.

     

    Perform Manual Labor

    Most of us spend our lives trying to find ways to eliminate manual labor from the equation. The problem is, sometimes we are too successful and we cut ourselves off from any form of work that isn’t intellectually focused. Working with your mind is great, but frequently involves long processes with difficult to measure results. When is the last time you cut your own grass, or picked up trash from a public space, or planted a garden? You don’t need to break your back, just find something simple that fits into your time schedule and work at it. Unlike massive work projects that can bog you down for months without verifiable results when you mow a lawn or weed a garden you have the immediate satisfaction of seeing a job well done. This can be a great way to build positive relationships too: do you know any elderly people who could use help maintaining their yard? A space that could be improved for local children to play in? And besides, who would turn down a basket of fresh picked vegetables from your garden?

     

    Play a Musical Instrument

    Before the invention of TV and Radio almost everyone in the US and Europe played a musical instrument for entertainment. We have gotten away from that, and now rely on unsatisfying time filler activities instead. There are parts of your mind and spirit that are atrophying away when you don’t express them, and actually making music, however simply, is a world apart from passively listening. You can buy beginners instruments fairly cheaply, and free lessons are available all over the net. Pick up a guitar, or recorder, or small bongo drum and dedicate some time into learning the basics. You will get to the point of playing along with favorite songs before you know it, and you will find that you always feel a little happier and more positive after a half hour of making music.

     

    Write Something

    Writing is one of the most popular forms of personal expression there is. There are lot’s of free blogger sites on the web, pick one and open a blog. Write in it at least weekly. Here’s the catch: most people will tell you writing is all about expressing yourself, or releasing inner thoughts and feelings, and you should just write whatever you want and let the muse take you where it will. That may help you and if you enjoy this please continue in your way. I recommend a little different approach though. Write with a little self discipline. Make sure that everything you write has enough of a plan to include two basic things: a format where you have a clear beginning, middle and end is one. A simple message, or point you are making is the other. Using this approach will force you to do one simple thing every time you write: organize your thoughts. Organizing your thoughts is difficult, and it takes practice, and the goal of writing like this often is to give you that practice. If you think of the people you know who are the calmest, happiest individuals who exude a sense of peace around them they will all tend to have very organized thoughts. No jumbled up nervous tension from them, just simplicity and peace. Using writing to practice this mental sorting and indexing of thoughts will give you a tool you can use to build an island of mental peace around yourself at all times.

     

     

    Author Bio: Hola Backgrinder is a freelance writer and blogger focusing on all things fun and relaxing at http://backgrinder.com/

    Image Credit: Mark Sebastian – www.flickr.com/photos/markjsebastian/4686167305

     

     


  2. Five Inspirational People We Can Learn From

    August 18, 2013

    by Ewan Mochrie

     

    Most of us live humdrum lives without a real shot at the big time, but this doesn’t mean that we can’t aspire to make a difference. In fact, all of us have aspirations… This post presents five incredible human beings who fought against the odds to stamp the world with their legacy. Quietly conquering the globe in their own unique ways, we want to take a look at five truly inspirational people who can teach us all something.

    JK Rowling

    JK Rowling JK Rowling shot to fame as the unassuming face behind the mighty Harry Potter dynasty. Rowling once faced nothing more than a broken marriage and empty bank account. Confronted with the prospect of single motherhood and a lifetime of regret, this indomitable author instead took to her battered old typewriter and began punching out the story of the century. The book was turned down left and right before one publisher took a chance…and the rest is history.

     

     

    Chris Gardner

    Chris_Gardner Chris Gardner takes us from children’s fiction to the chasing of an American Dream. Canonised by Will Smith in the recent biopic The Pursuit of Happyness (no, not a typo), this incredible man went from rags to riches by pure grit and hard work. Gardner slept rough with his child in an underground station and presented himself each day at the office, training industriously to be a stockbroker. He always wore a suit and somehow kept his child fed and clothed in nursery each morning until one day his luck turned and the ceaseless hard work paid off. He now leads as CEO of Christopher Gardner International Holdings.

     

    Jessica Cox

    jessica cox Jessica Cox is not your household name. She gives talks around the world on persistence in the face of adversity. Jessica is the Guinness World Record holder for being the very first individual on earth to qualify as a pilot…with no arms. Jessica is determined to overcome any obstacles with positive attitude and positive thinking and has never let her disability get in the way of her dreams, leading her to be seen as a shining light in the fight for the rights and opportunities for disabled people in our society. This girl has a degree, flies aircraft, drives cars, and plays piano… just like many others. The only difference is that she is doing all this with her feet. She also gives a great after-dinner speech.

     

    Malala Yousafzi

    Malala-Yousafzai

    Malala Yousafzi is only fifteen and she has already been called one of the future leaders of global unity. After the Pakistani schoolgirl was shot in the head by Taliban activists for challenging those in power, she survived and came back even stronger. Her reply to the rise of gender-based violence and terror was one of awe-inspiring defiance. ‘I want every girl, every child to be educated’ resonated across the world’s media and we certainly hope that she will continue fighting for women’s rights and equality in Islamic world and will have successful career in world politics.

     

    Nelson Mandela

    Nelson-Mandela It may be a cliche but no list can truly be complete without homage to Nelson Mandela. We can all learn something from the iconic leader’s gentle resilience and unceasing devotion to end the apartheid. He spent almost thirty years in jail for political rebellion and arose from mire to become South Africa’s first black President and to win a Nobel Peace Prize. His smiling image is well known all over the world and his refusal to condemn those who took away his freedom makes him a legend of inspiration across the globe.

     

     

     

     

    Author Bio: Ewan Mochrie is the founder and lead trainer of Inspire 360.


  3. 7 Most Notable Benefits of Yoga

    August 15, 2013

      benefits of yoga

    Do you frequent the gym and you are looking to expand your fitness horizons?  Are you an exercise newcomer struggling to find a place to start? Are you a yoga skeptic and have never taken the plunge to actually try a class? The truth is, yoga has many benefits and has the potential to bring a whole new level of health and wellness to your life.  Read on to discover seven significant benefits yoga can bring to you and has already brought to countless others. Let’s move past the stereotypes that say yoga is for hippies, people without any sense of athleticism and individuals with the ultimate skills in flexibility.  The fact of the matter is, and has been proven, that yoga is for everyone.

     

    • Optimism Yoga has a natural ability to increase levels of GABA, or gamma-aminobutyric acid, a neurotransmitter present in the brain which lowers anxiety and gives people a sense of calm and general well being. If you are naturally a more stressed and anxious person, yoga has the potential to truly change the quality of your life by helping you to relax and go about your days more calmly. In a sense, yoga can be a natural form of antidepressant.  Just as depression medications increase GABA levels, so does yoga.

     

    • Pain Relief When you are in pain, the last thing you are likely thinking about is exercising.  But wait! Incorporating yoga into your life as a part of your daily regimen can actually lower chronic pain.  How? There are “markers” in your body called Cytokines which indicate you are holding inflammation in that area.   After practicing yoga regularly, these cytokines decrease and you are left with less pain. Yoga has also been shown to lessen arthritis and fibromyalgia pain.

     

    • Quality of Sleep Regular yoga practice is known to cure several conditions, some of which include insomnia or abnormal sleeping habits. Yoga helps people to unwind and de-stress at the end of the day. When you feel more relaxed and have a clear mind, getting a quality night’s sleep is much easier.

     

    • Calmness Yoga is often times considered an alternative medicine practice offering a refreshing mind-body healing approach.  Yoga combines physical and mental disciplines to help yogis achieve peacefulness of both body and mind.  Post yoga, you are left feeling relaxed and better able to manage stress and anxiety.

     

    • Posture Poor posture can be attributed to the presence of many undesirable health conditions such as varicose veins, pinched nerves, heart strain and belly fat.  Many problems related to posture are caused by long hours spent each day at one’s workplace, hunched over a computer.  The good news is, many yoga poses help to counteract your tendency to slouch, increase your body awareness and, in turn, improve your posture.  There was once a (false) belief that yoga actually makes people taller.  While this is not exactly true, yoga can noticeably improve your posture, making you appear taller and thinner. Talk about a nice, simple confidence boost!

     

    • Strength Can yoga build muscle? During a yoga class, you are required to hold your body in positions in which you must support yourself for considerable lengths of time. You build muscle tone by holding and supporting your own body weight, much like you do during conventional strength training exercise. Practicing yoga can lead to improved balance, flexibility, strength and range of motion. With this, you’re at a much lower risk for injuring yourself in other physical activities or in your daily life.

     

    Depending on what you are looking to get out of Yoga, there are many variations of yoga practices that can provide you with the specific benefits you are looking for.  All in all, yoga can be a great addition to any physical fitness routine no matter your fitness level or goals.

     

    This is a guest post by Strauman Chiropractic based in Minneapolis, Minnesota.  As the premier Minneapolis chiropractor, Strauman provides auto accident treatment, treatment for herniated discs, holistic care, kinesiology, physiotherapy and whiplash care. 

    Image Credit/Source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/yogamama-co-uk/3794867064

     


  4. Ten Benefits of Sadness

    August 5, 2013

    benefits of sadness

     

    by Derek Whitney

    Now more than ever before, there seems to be a multitude of things to make people sad. The economy, natural disasters, disease outbreaks, terrorism and war are just a few of the things that have the ability to bring people down on a daily basis. Thanks to the Internet, tablets, smartphones and many 24-hour news channels, these tragic events are brought to us immediately in living color.

    Of course, this is not counting the personal tragedies that people have to deal with. The death of a friend or relative, the loss of a job, the death of a pet, bankruptcy, foreclosure and car accidents are much more painful than tragedies that you watch on the news. This is because you are directly affected by them.

    However, sadness is not necessarily a bad thing. In fact, it can have many benefits. While this may be surprising to most people, the fact is that humans need sadness in their lives. It is part of what truly makes people human. Here are some of the benefits of sadness:

    1. Better memory

    People that are in bad moods have a tendency to have improved memories. According to one study, people that were feeling sad remembered more than people in a good mood about the interior details of a shop. It is also more difficult to trick sad people with misleading questions. While scientists are not sure why these things occur, the results of the tests are intriguing.

    2. Less gullible

    Sad people tend to be less gullible. Studies show that they can detect when someone is trying to deceive them better than happy people. They are also less likely to believe urban legends.

    3. Improved judgment

    Sadness makes people have judgment that is more accurate. For many years, social scientists have documented the judgmental biases of people in different moods. Researchers are now indicating that sad people do not fall prey to those biases as easily as people that are in good moods.

    4. Increased motivation

    Sadness has also been shown to have motivational benefits. For example, studies indicate that sad people are able to persevere longer at tasks that most people would give up on after a short time. Scientists believe that the human brain, in an effort to block out all of the negativity and sadness, will focus on a particular task like a laser, no matter how difficult it is. People who were sad at the start of the task become so engaged in the activity that accomplishing their goal becomes their driving ambition.

    5. Lack of stereotyping

    Negative stereotyping is a behavior that is not commonly seen from sad people. They are also less likely to act on any negative stereotypical judgments. Researchers believe that this has something to do with sadness affecting the part of the brain that makes people more civil and understanding.

    6. Ability to appreciate their blessings in life

    Sadness can make people more appreciative of what they have. An example would be parents who have three children. If one of those children were to tragically die in a car accident, the immediate reaction would be sorrow and grief. However, the parents would eventually begin to appreciate their two remaining children more than they did before the accident. This would in turn lead to a stronger family bond.

    7. Analytical reasoning

    Analytical reasoning is enhanced by sadness. Complex problems are more easily broken down into more manageable parts by this type of intense thinking.

    8. Improved manners

    Manners have been shown to be improved when people are going through a difficult time. These people tend to ask for things in a more polite way than people who are at their best.

    9. Improved persuasiveness

    Sad people tend to focus their energy into getting what they want. Therefore, it is common for sad people to be more persuasive. They are generally very good at coming up with effective and believable arguments.

    10. Fairness is increased

    Research has also shown that sad people are generally more fair. For example, if people that are feeling down and depressed are allowed to allocate a particular resource any way they want, they will most likely distribute the resource more fairly than happy people.

     

    Author Bio: Derek is currently blogging for Aligned Signs, a site that helps connect like-minded people by using astrology, mbti personality type, and Chinese zodiac.

    Image Credit: Mark Sebastian

     


  5. Extra Tools to Help Effectively Manage Bipolar Disorder

    August 3, 2013

    bipolar disorder

    by Tricia Chilcott

    Bipolar disorder is a serious psychiatric disease. I know because I live with it. Every day. I know from firsthand experience how much it sucks. I understand the major negative impact it can have on all areas of your life, including things like personal relationships, job performance, and your finances. If you’ve been recently diagnosed, or are having medication management problems, the debilitating effects can throw you into a deep depression which you feel like you’ll never get out of. I’ve been there myself, and I can assure you, the right combination of meds is out there, don’t despair!

    But besides medications, what else can you do to effectively manage your disorder? There are a multitude of tools that you can add to your arsenal to help combat this illness. These are things that have been proven to help by numerous research studies. One of those tools you can use is seeing a therapist regularly, even if you don’t think you need one. A therapist can help you identify what you triggers are, and teach you effective, and healthy coping skills to deal with those events.

    Another thing that can help is practicing good sleep hygiene. I don’t think I can emphasize this one enough. Just a personal example, but I have a 3 day window for poor sleep habits before they trigger an episode in me. I know if I got more than 3 days without sleep, I’ll start cycling into a manic episode, and I contact my doctor. On the flip side, if I go a week or more being unable to get out of bed and sleeping 18 hours a day, it’s time to call my doctor as well. Healthy sleep habits is one of the most effective tools a person can use in stabilizing their disorder. This means going to bed at a reasonable hour, and getting up in the morning at the same time every day. I know some of you are shaking your head at this because insomnia can seem impossible to overcome without medications, but just trying these things can’t hurt,, and I get it where you’re coming from. I take a sleeping pill to get me to sleep every night. But doing what you can to try and establish healthy sleeping habits can potentially have positive effects. This includes things like turning off the TV and computer at least an hour before bed, not drinking caffeine after 6 PM, and not exercising right before bed. Also, keep your bedroom as tranquil as possible and keep electronics out of it. Use your bedroom for sleeping only.

    Of course, exercising regularly can help keep your disorder in check, there are numerous studies that have empirically proven the benefits of exercise in regards to mental illnesses such as major depression and bipolar disorder. In addition to keeping your body healthy, it is recommended that people with bipolar disorder abstain from drinking alcohol, as this tends to exacerbate their symptoms. As much as I hate getting out, I force myself to zumba twice a week, and although I dread going every time, I leave feeling reinvigorated and glad I went. So even if you don’t feel like getting up and moving around, do it anyway! I promise it’ll make you feel better.

    One thing that has proven helpful to many bipolar patients is keeping a mood journal. This is a very useful tool that you use to track your mood everyday, and to also add in what activities you did that day that might have impacted your mood. You can also add how much sleep you got the night before, if you napped or not during the day, if you worked out, and how your eating habits were. There are several apps that you can download to help you keep track of these, or you can find an example online and print it off. This is also a very helpful thing to show your doctor when you meet with them.

    The last suggestion I have is for you to adopt a routine and stick to it. Have a list of things you need to accomplish each day, and work towards accomplishing them. Not only does this give you a sense of purpose, but it also helps you build your self esteem as you are able to cross off activities you’ve accomplished each day. These don’t have to be huge projects your taking on, they can be as simple as taking a short walk outside, watering your garden, doing the dishes, getting one load of laundry done, or even showering and getting dressed for the day.

    These might seem like mundane activities, and unlikely to help you manage your disorder better to boot. I can assure you that by making these small changes to your life, you will feel more in control of your disorder, and happier and healthier overall. I know this for a fact because many of the things I’ve touched on are things I do myself to manage my disorder. It’s true I’m on an effective drug cocktail, but medications can only take you so far. At some point, you have to start putting more effort in as well. I promise if you do, you’ll be amazed at the benefits you will reap from it. I hope you’ve found this an informative read, good luck in managing your disorder, and God bless!

    Author bio: Tricia enjoys spending time blogging about bipolar disorder and fighting against stigma towards mental illness. When she’s not advocating for Mental Health Awareness, she’s being a mom to 4 busy children! She also enjoys photography, and anything crafty such as sewing, crocheting, and scrapbooking. She loves to learn, and is also an avid reader. She will cheerfully read anything with print on it. If you’d like to read more of her musings about bipolar disorder, you can find them at www.beingmebeingbipolar.blogspot.com.

    Image Credit: Giulia Bartra


  6. Say Goodbye to Stress for Good

    August 1, 2013

    stressed out

    Stress is a killer. It is something that grows and grows inside you and without the proper attention it can lead to all sorts of problems including serious health conditions. Stress isn’t good for anyone but it is hard to escape from so what can you do to make sure it doesn’t take over your life?

    Managing Your Stress

    It’s impossible not to get stressed from time to time. Even the smallest things can raise the blood pressure and release the stress hormone, known as cortisol, into your system.  This is a natural process and there is no getting away from it but you can help yourself manage the effects of stress and refocus your brain to deal with things in new, less harmful ways.

    Mediation isn’t Only for Hippies

    You have to relax but many people choose to do this in front of the television which isn’t ideal. You need to use a different technique that involves some pure peace and quiet so your mind is able to fully relax without any stimulation from the outside world.

    Meditation is the perfect relaxation technique to learn – it’s free and you can do it at any time of the night or day. Get comfortable, there’s no need to get into the lotus position, just sit or lie down and try to control your thoughts. You should aim to keep your attention in the present and focus on your breathing. When thoughts about your family, job or your to do list enter your mind chase them away and come back to the present moment. Start mediating for about five minutes per day and keep practicing – in time you will be able to do this for longer periods.

    Say Goodbye to Pointless Stress

    If you find an activity that you do stressful and it isn’t essential why should you keep doing it? If you hate your job start looking for a new one, you aren’t tied into your job so why sit and suffer? You could go to college, take on a new career, stop running a local club or visiting the same old bar that isn’t quite what it used to be. Change can be a very good thing.

    Do Some Exercise

    Exercise is fantastic for busting stress, improving your energy levels and increases your happiness too. When you exercise you release happy hormones called endorphins. You can exercise in any way you are comfortable with, talking walks, going for jogs, signing up to the gym or following work out videos and tutorials online.

    Make Your Home Your Sanctuary

    You must have at least one room in your home where you feel instantly relaxed. The space you choose should be a room that is free from mess or clutter and doesn’t have any little bits of DIY that need doing. Redecorate the space you choose, add your favourite belongings such as art work, a day bed or reclining sofas and finish off the little jobs so the room is perfect. Use this space to read or enjoy your hobbies or to simply sit and look out of the window.

    Image Credit: Daniel Horacio Agostini

     


  7. Natural Ways to Overcome Anxiety and Depression

    July 30, 2013

    Anxiety and depression

    Anxiety and depression are often a result of situations that are out of control: things like injuries, illness, job loss, relationship changes and moving. However, most anxiety and depression can be dealt with naturally instead of through drugs. In fact, natural ways to cope will typically provide faster relief from your distress than medications will. Especially for situational anxiety and depression, embrace these ways to help feel better that go beyond the standard advice of eating healthy, getting adequate sleep and exercising.

     

    Go Against Your Instincts

     

    Feelings of anxiety and depression often cause individuals to retreat from others and from social situations. However, that is the worst thing you can do and will often exacerbate symptoms. Instead, force yourself to get out of the house and spend time with people you usually enjoy. The adage “laughter is the best medicine” really is true when it comes to anxiety and depression. Time spent with friends and favorite family members will likely help you turn the corner and feel much better.

     

    Make and Achieve Goals

     

    A feeling of worthlessness is often a hallmark of depression and anxiety. You can curtail these feelings and help make yourself feel better by simply doing. Take the time to set small achievable, measurable goals. Working on meeting these goals can help take your mind off negative thoughts. The feeling of accomplishment you get with each goal you meet is a step on the ladder to feeling better.

     

    Do Onto Others

     

    When you are down or anxious, one of the best bets to improve your mood is to help others. Find a place to volunteer, cook a meal for someone else, help an expectant or new mother or even just knit, sew or build something for someone else. The action of helping another person provides a rewarding sense of contentment that is unmatched. The increased self-worth you will feel will help you move out of the gloom much more quickly.

     

    Rely on Your Higher Power

     

    Regardless of the religion or belief system, most people have a higher power that they look to. Often, focusing on your spiritual life will bring you a kind of contentment and relief from anxiety and depression that cannot be found in other places. Spend time praying or meditating to refocus your thoughts.

     

    Try a Little Avoidance

     

    Depression and anxiety often mean you are wrapped up in your own thoughts. Getting a break from the course of your own thinking will greatly help you. An easy solution is to settle in with a favorite TV show, preferably one that is upbeat and will keep you from thinking about the issues that are contributing to your depression and anxiety. This mental health break will usually provide you with the space needed to start to feel better.

     

    Try Some Big Picture Thinking

     

    Putting your present situation into perspective can greatly help when it comes to feeling better. That means considering the situation you are in and how its duration compares to your life. In the grand scheme of things, is it worth it affecting you this way? What will you learn from this situation and how will it help you in the long run? Is it worth the angst you are living with?

     

    Reach Out for Support

     

    There is nothing like the empathy you get from someone in the same place or someone who has recently moved past the same kinds of feelings of depression and anxiety. Get the support you need from established support groups for people fighting these issues. You can often find local groups online, but will also find an abundance of virtual support groups that can be even more helpful. Online support groups for depression and anxiety are there for you 24/7, and you can access them from your own home by simply going on the Internet. Get the peace of mind that comes from knowing someone else is in the same place as you.

    In addition to all these natural ways to beat anxiety and depression, focus on healthy daily routines, including getting enough sleep every night, exercising regularly and eating healthily, especially foods known to improve mood such as milk, eggs, salmon, chocolate and those containing vitamin C. By combining a variety of these techniques, you are sure to find the relief you are seeking.

     

    Author Bio: Alex is a marketing coordinator for DIRECTV for Business corporation located in North Florida. In her spare time she offers tips and advice to help those who are battling anxiety and depression.

    Image Credit: Helga Weber

     


  8. The First Step to Coping with Stress

    July 27, 2013

    coping with stress

    by Andy LaPointe

    The first step to coping with stress is to better manage your sleep cycle. According to a survey conducted for Targeted Medical Pharma, 83% of Americans do not get enough sleep. This means only 17% of the entire U.S. population feels rested and ready to conquer the day when they awake. The results of this survey was revealed at the Sleep 2013 conference in June.

    So how does getting a poor night’s sleep affect an individual’s ability to cope with the stress of daily life? When dealing with a stressful situation, either real or perceived, your body immediately goes into the primal “fight or flight” mode. Stress does cause physical changes in your body including shallow breath, heightened sense of awareness and the release of adrenaline. All of these changes are preparing your body to immediately run from danger or face the threat head on. Unlike days gone past, when stress was usually caused by being confronted by a predator or other physically harmful situation, today the majority of stress is caused more by non-physical confrontations liking missing a deadline at work or arguing with the kids.

    However, since physically fighting or running away with co-workers or your kids wouldn’t be appropriate in today’s modern world, your body still reacts the same way. Thus, if your body’s stress is triggered several times per day and you don’t resolve it, you may end up with chronic stress. Chronic stress is where your body is continually in a “stress-out” state. This makes dealing with simple everyday situations (traffic jams, being late for an appointment, car repair issues, etc.) difficult to deal with and more complex issues, (relationship conflicts, work-related issues, etc.) nearly impossible.

    As time passes and stress continues to build, the individual may soon find it difficult to relax. Since relaxation is vital to enjoying a restful night’s sleep, falling asleep and staying asleep becomes more difficult. “Losing sleep” over a real or perceived situation not only makes it difficult to fall back to sleep but an individual may also find themselves waking up several times during the night.

    Strategies to Getting a More Restful Night’s Sleep 

    Several simple strategies are available to get a more restful night’s sleep naturally. The first strategy is to create pre-sleep meditation or night-time rituals. For example, avoid watching television and using electronics (computers, iPad, iPhone, etc.) at least an hour before bed. Electronic devices stimulates brain activity and prevents your mind from slowing down and relaxing, which is vital to falling and remaining asleep. The second strategy would be read a non-business related book to slow the mind prior to going to bed. In addition, avoid alcohol within a few hours of going to sleep.

    According the published research in Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research drinking alcohol prior to going to sleep increases your chance of waking up during the night. In addition, it has been long known alcohol also reduces REM sleep, thus lowering the overall quality of sleep.

    Finally, drink a glass of tart cherry juice before bed. Tart cherries are Mother Nature’s top source of naturally occurring melatonin. One ounce of tart cherry juice concentrate mixed with seven ounces of water delivers over 130ng (nanograms) of melatonin. According to Dr. Russell Reiter from the

    University of Texas, to date no other fruit or vegetable has been discovered that provide more melatonin than tart cherries.  Dr. Russell Reiter is often referred to as the “Dean of Melatonin” by his peers.

    In addition to Dr. Reiter’s work on tart cherries, in 2010 Dr. Wilfred Pigeon a researcher at the University of Rochester conducted sleep research with tart cherry juice, too. The results of the research showed the participants who drank the cherry juice, slept an average of 17 minutes more. According to Dr. Pigeon, ‘Given the side-effects of some medications, it is encouraging to have a natural alternative.’

    So the next time stress and anxiety are preventing you from getting a better night’s sleep, create a nightly ritual, avoid drinking alcohol and enjoy a glass of tart cherry juice each night before turning in.

    Author Bio: Andy LaPointe, is an avid writer, speaker and Blog Talk Radio show host on the subject of natural health and wellness and home remedies for everyday ailments. In addition, he is a managing director of Traverse Bay Farms. Traverse Bay Farms specializes in offering super fruit products including tart cherry juice, blueberry juice concentrate and other super foods. His company has won 20 national food awards.

    Image Credit: Jöshua Barnett

     


  9. How to Manage Stress Based on Your Personality Type

    July 25, 2013

    stressed out

    by Jeff Hirz

    Today’s Western society, somehow, someway, for some reason, is more stressed than it has ever been. Combine long working days with a sense of entitlement, increased incidence of immediate gratification, and the marketing delusion called American (Consumerist’s) Dream, and you’ve got yourself the richest countries in the world that are also the unhappiest and the most stressed.

     

    So begs the question – what can we do to improve ourselves?

    Starting at the Individual Level

    I am a lowly, burgeoning writer, and thus my talents have what one might call a “fat chance” of impacting the zeitgeist of the age. Therefore my attentions have turned to the individual rather than society as a whole. “Start small,” mama always said . . .

     

    So how can we, as individuals, improve ourselves? Much of it comes down to simply managing stress. Lower stress levels mean increased dopamine levels (i.e. happiness levels) mean everybody wins, so let’s turn to the wonderful folks at Harvard University to give us some answers. We can qualify and categorize ourselves, which helps many people help themselves, by using the DISC Theory Personality Traits, developed by scientists at Harvard.

     

    DISC Theory divides human behavior into four categories (or personality types): driver, compliance, influence and steadiness. But how do we incorporate these on an individual level to assist us in effectively managing stress?

    How Driver Personality Types Can Manage Stress

    With much of a driver’s value system centering on control, drive personality types will likely have the hardest time managing stress of all the DISC personalities. A drive personality type, however, is an innovator and problem-solver, having little fear associated with risk-taking – this is a distinct advantage in the area of stress management. They know they have to do something, that they have to take some action, to de-stress. At a surface level, this can be extremely beneficial.

     

    Driver personality types desire results, and so a step-by-step program with achievable goals along the way is a great starting point. If you can introduce stress management as a challenge to be overcome, a driver will be that much more motivated to effectively manage their stress – likely with a direct correlation with their odds of success.

    How Compliance Personality Types Can Manage Stress

    Compliance personality types are your list-makers, your fact-finders, and your quality control managers. If you find yourself in this category, you’re likely much more likely to bury stress and let it build up, not wanting to cause a fuss or blur any existing boundaries.

     

    For compliance personality types to effectively manage stress, it’s important that you lay out clear advantages in logical order with plenty of detail – make a detailed list of what it is you want to achieve and map it out for yourself. A strength of compliance personality types is that they are clear and logical thinkers who normally don’t let emotion get in the way of a task, so practicality and preparation is key when discovering why reducing stress levels is important. Clear out the clutter so you can focus in and direct your attention to a singular, clear-cut task.

    How Influence Personality Types Can Manage Stress

    Your influence personality type tends to be the more sensitive one of the group, so consideration of esteem, emotional balance and social acceptance will go a long way. Difficulties that influence personalities will encounter may stem from the fact that they appreciate a little more sensationalism and excitement, so they may be unintentionally welcoming stress into their lives. If you’re not sure you fit this mold, ask yourself this question: “Do I watch Real Housewives of [insert city here]?” If the answer is yes, you may be an influence personality type.

     

    But there’s still hope! Associate your stress with that same level of excitement and need for a bit of drama and treat it as a problem to be solved – influence personality types are notoriously creative and thrifty problem solvers whose general personality trends toward the positive. View your stress level from a top-down approach with little detail and plenty of freedom for interpretation – the typical influence personality will put more stock in the ride than any type of end-goal or destination.

    How Steadiness Personality Types Can Manage Stress

    Steadiness personalities are, well, steady. They’re the patient ones, the understanding ones, and everybody’s friend. Stress builds up in steadiness personality types due to an inability to juggle multiple tasks, to adapt quickly to change, or to properly establish priorities.

     

    A good way for the steadiness personality type to manage stress is to take baby steps: lay out a plan where activities are able to be started and finished. Steadiness personality types take great pleasure in the small successes, and so having baby steps along the path to No-Stress Land is a great motivator to pull yourself out of that stressful mindset.

     

    Keep in mind: most people are a combination of several of these different personality types, so when using the DISC personality types to evaluate how to alleviate your own stress, take into account that you likely don’t fall neatly into any singular category. Take techniques for multiple personality types and combine them to form your own unique method of managing your stress.

     

    But just knowing your personality type is a good first step. Just remember to keep walking.

     

    Author Bio: Jeff Hirz is a writer, freelancer and content marketer and contributed this article on behalf of DISCInsights.com.

    Image Credit: Giulia Bartra

     

     


  10. 8 Reasons To Stop Smoking Through Hypnosis

    June 29, 2013

    you got to stop smoking

    Tobacco use started in the late 15th century as a harmless habit, but by the 20th century people realized just how dangerous the long-term effects of smoking are. Today, it is one of the leading causes for premature death in various countries. Vigorous advertisement campaigns and awareness programs have helped in many ways. Almost everyone knows the dangers of smoking, especially those who smoke. Yet, you still find them smoking cigarettes day after day. The reasons for not quitting may vary, but one of the most common reasons is the lack of will power.
    If you have tried different ways to quit smoking but come out unsuccessful every single time, you may want to give a chance to hypnotherapy. The biggest challenge of quitting the habit is leaving the smoking routine you followed. Hypnotherapists generally do this by reminding you of the benefits of quitting and dangers of smoking. Here are the top 8 ways in which hypnotherapists convince you to stop smoking while you are in a deep state of relaxation.

    1. A longer life

    Did you know that you can increase your life expectancy by 10 years if you quit smoking by the time you hit 30 years? Imagine what you could do with that decade and how many more years can be saved by quitting early. Even if you quit when you are 60 years old, you can still add a few more years to your life.

    2. Better quality of life

    Quitting the habit will not only prolong your life but also improve the quality of life you enjoy. You have fewer health problems and feel better too.

    3. Improved immunity

    When you quit smoking, your immune system is no longer affected. Smoking lowers the efficacy of the body’s immune system and makes it more susceptible to various diseases.

    4. More energy

    Moreover, quitting helps in increasing your energy because your lungs and muscles function better and you sleep more soundly without nicotine in your system.

    5. Reduced stress

    Smokers often start the habit to reduce their stress, and the immediate effect of nicotine after withdrawal does give a relaxed feeling, but the feeling is short-lived. In the long run, smoking actually increases stress levels.

    6. Better looking skin and healthier feeling

    Smoking ages the skin prematurely by causing it to dry and dull and making it more prone to wrinkles. This effect reverses when you stop smoking because the skin begins to receive the necessary nutrients.

    7. Protecting your loved ones

    When smokers think of the dangers of their habit, they often focus on the dangers of active smoking. However, passive smoking can be as dangerous as active smoking, if not more. Passive smokers are those who breathe the same smoke that is exhaled by the smoker. Your family members, friends, and even children could be passive smokers. Quitting the habit helps ensure that they do not run the risk of developing diseases related to smoking.

    8. Better smell and taste

    The chemicals present in cigarettes tend to dull the taste buds in your mouth, which in turn affects the way you smell. As a result, the food and drink you have lose their taste and smell. Quitting the habit reduces the dullness and improves your sense of taste and smell.

     

    Author Bio: Tom is the guest blogger who blogs on behalf of Balance For Life, interested in writing articles that creates awareness on stop smoking through hypnosis.

    Image Credit: Mark Sebastian