1. Play Video Games… to Combat Your Stress

    April 18, 2014

    Play Video Games... to Combat Your Stress

    by Audrey  Hollingshead


    You’re finally home and uber exhausted. Your boss has been riding you like a racing Jockey and it’s becoming rapidly harder to deal with the improbable projects he wants completed by days end. Sighing, you pick up your PS3 controller and start playing Call Of Duty-loving the sound the magazine makes as it empties. Heads explode, pixelated people die, and you can’t help but feel amazing each time.

    After a while you switch to Mortal Kombat and finish each opponent with the same zeal as before. Later, while dreaming, you get the sense that this REM cycle is different then most. You think of going to Mars and BOOM! You’re ON Mars! But how? Are you…YES. You GET it now! You are in a lucid dream and can control everything and anything you like. You go on wild adventures, imagine crazy worlds, and feel so refreshed the next morning you don’t care WHAT your boss throws at you. On the way to work you think. “Today is today so come what may.”

    So how did you attain this Zen-like approach? And what about last night relaxed you so well? Video games. That’s right, the same computer generated blood baths that has every mother and lawmaker worried might be the key to locking up stress and releasing relaxation.

    Ever since Freud wrote his famed Interpretation of Dreams, every psychologist and their assistant have studied dreams extensively. Why DO we dream? What’s the purpose of dreams anyway? And why do we dream what we dream?  What they found out is pretty interesting. Referenced in a study that will be explained below, other studies have found that dreams help us sift through stress, solve problems, and signal us with nightmares when we’re not coping well with our recent trauma.

    Mostly, we experience dreams like a movie we’re somehow part of. We do something strange (like play gulf with Spider Man) and never realize its oddity until we wake up. Other times though, we experience something called Lucid Dreaming. This type of dreaming gives us full control over events and allows us to do whatever we please! Go to prom with Brad Pit, you bet! It is a grand experience that has many devising ways to lucid dream more with some religions claiming the ability gets the dreamer that much closer to enlightenment. But what does this have to with video games? A lot more then you think.

    In a study completed by Jayne Isabel Gackenbach at Grant MacEwan College in Canada, the more you play video games the more you lucid dream. The study worked like this. They asked participants (who were mostly male) to fill out surveys that asked for their basic information, video game history (when did they start playing, how long and what types games they play…etc.) and their dream history (how often they dream and what types of dreams they usually have.)

    After tabulating all the survey information they found that those started playing games at a younger age AND who continued to play for long sessions today had MUCH MORE lucid dreams (and much LESS nightmares) then those who play video games sporadically. They even went on to note that if a gamer had a long gaming session (along with using other attention focusing technology) their chance of lucid dreaming went up dramatically. What’s even more amazing is that the type of game never mattered; platform, first-person-shooter, racing…if they played all day, they could lucid dream all night.

    Based on earlier research, the study’s authors hypothesize that the correlation of video games and lucid dreaming may be caused by the meditative state games put gamers in-much like the meditative state enlightenment seeking people try to achieve.

    But what’s even more interesting about video games as Pen and Teller’s TV show titled B.S. points out, is they may be the reason that violent crime is decreasing. Penn and Teller interview all sorts experts (both OK with and NOT OK with violent video games) and concluded that not only do violent video games give teens a harsh look at the consequences they’d face for violent actions; they also bring friends together for some fun. It’s a social activity that can bring even the shyest of people out to meet new people.

    So the next time you’re feeling like you need a little relaxing break from the world just pick up your controller and press×.

    And remember,

    Dream Well! Dream Positive!


    Image Credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/sapromo/5659029011

  2. Eustress vs. Distress or How To Turn Stress into Energy

    December 16, 2013

    How To Turn Stress into Energy

    Modern anti-stress techniques urge us to deal with stress, to nip it in the bud and to build a life without it. We are striving to gain well-balanced life and are searching for methods of “defeating stress” to avoid anxiety and depression resulting from too much stress. Yet, we do not take into account one important issue: stress is life itself, you cannot live your life without experiencing stress. What matters is the way you handle stress. The only step we need to take in a stressful situation is to transform stress into energy!

    Stress is one of the most “fashionable” topics. Many scientific papers are devoted to stress. We are discussing stress on TV screens and radio programs. And it is impossible to count how many techniques aiming at fighting with stress have been created recently! Stress is to blame for all our problems and diseases, starting from depression, hair loss and menstrual disruptions ending with unsuccessful relationships and deficiencies in parenting. Stress is a cult that needs to be maintained! But otherwise, we are living in conditions that require us to produce urgent and emergency reactions and decisions, as we know, these decisions and actions become a reason for stress. Do you really believe that our ancestors did not know what stress was? Do you think that only in the age of information technology we are facing this problem?

    In 2009, Canadian scientists examined the remains of the ancient Incas in order to find samples of cortisol (a stress hormone) in hair. The result was unexpected: people living in the 1530-1550 years BC were not just familiar with stress, they lived in conditions of constant stress. Thus, we can’t blame civilization and our informational society for problems caused by stress.

    It’s normal to be nervous!

    Try to avoid stress is the same as avoiding life. Stress is a natural reaction to any psychological or physical effects, causing loss of balance in our organism.

    There are two types of stress:

    Eustress – positive (favorable) stress

    Distress – negative (unfavorable) stress

    Eustress helps us to concentrate and defend ourselves in case of threat or danger. In most cases, eustress positively affects a person: strengthens the immune system, improves physical and emotional endurance, develops abilities for adaptation. However, please note an important point: eustress usually does not last long. In other words, in a stressful situation, the human body, “released” hormone cortisol, mobilized forces, solved the problem and immediately relaxed. This is a kind of training.

    Distress is another thing. It occurs when, despite of all efforts, the problem can’t be solved and the organism can’t relax. The body remains in an extremely tense state. Immune system suffers first leading to further health problems. It is possible to cope with distress only with the assistance of a specialist. But, fortunately, such situations are infrequent in our everyday life. Usually, what we used to call stress is eustress. Therefore, our task is to benefit from it!

    Eustress as a source of energy

    Imagine the situation: a person lives a quiet, even boring life. He doesn’t have to make special efforts to do something. And suddenly he faces a serious problem, for example, he is dismissed. Suddenly he has to survive, thus, a person has to try new areas and things and eventually succeeds. Under stress the body prepares to deal with danger and this generates a huge amount of extra energy. Our task is to “catch”  the moment and send this energy in the right direction. If you learn to manage the specified energy – you can achieve anything you want!

    Dealing with stress

    The logical question is: what to do when you experience stress? First of all let’s see what we are forbidden to do:

    – to get caught in an endless loop of negative situation or rather perception of it as negative;

    – to ignore stress (even a small problem can turn into distress in case you choose to do nothing);

    – suppress stress (the problem remains unresolved, the organism can’t “relax”). This is your sure route to clinical anxiety and depression.

    It is important to understand that stress needs to be managed! Once you find yourself in a difficult situation you have to do something and try to fix it. It is important to act, even if actions do not bring the desired effect. After surviving stress you should help the body to recover and simply relax: at physiological level the muscle tone will go down and excess cortisol will be neutralized.

    5 effective ways to manage stress

    Physical activity. During the stressful situation, and especially after coping with it, you need to give your body the physical activity that will bring a desirable muscle relaxation. If relaxation is not achieved, you cannot come out of the stressful state, even when the danger is left behind. So get used to end any negative situation with physical exercises. After an argument with a colleague, you can go outside and walk briskly. Difficult day can be finished with the training in the gym, etc.

    Breathe!  If you are extremely nervous, the wisest decision will be to step aside and make 10 deep breaths. In this situation, an additional dose of oxygen will be useful and  will help to gain relaxation.

    Meditation! Take advantage of the method of meditation excellent for you: audio (listen to music), light (look at the calming color, starry sky, the candle flame) or dance. The main purpose is to stop the flow of negative thoughts. Neuroscientists recently proved that meditation repairs damage to your brain cells and is the best stress recovery tool you have in your disposal.

    Speak! The most ancient method of solving the problem was speaking about it. Talk to a close friend, share the situation on the forum, or just talk to yourself.

    Laugh! Laughter is one of the best remedies against stress, as it accelerates the synthesis of serotonin (the hormone is efficient against stress hormone). Watch a fascinating comedy movie or communicate with a person having a great sense of humor and you will see that the problem is fading away.

    Psychologists claim that stress is not the situation itself, it’s our attitude towards it. In order to successfully fight with negative emotions, you need to work on yourself. Remember, stress is the potential that can lead you to a dizzying success!

    Image Credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/71038389@N00/3278662048

  3. Learn How To Defeat Stress

    October 5, 2013

    defeat stress by Sam Cleveland

    Stress can get incredibly burdensome. It can affect both your productivity and health. This is why it pays to take control of frustrating situations by training yourself. With good coping skills, you can surely take on seemingly unbearable challenges of the day. Below are practical tips for you to handle pressure, and enjoy more out of life.

    Find the Source of Your Stress

    First, you need to know why, how, and when you feel pressured, so you’ll have a better perspective of yourself.  This can be difficult as there are many factors which disgruntle you. For other situations, the reasons for stress may not be obvious.

    To avoid the confusion, you need to be more attentive on your daily tasks. You may realize how certain deadlines can always put you on the edge. Perhaps heavily reading through documents make you feel drained. A good way to find the sources of your stress is to make a journal. You can plot the days when you mostly experience straining activities, and which times are more relaxed.

    By identifying the culprit scenarios, you can find ways to avoid or control them. If your keyboard is not easy to use, you can have it replaced. When it seems you have too much task to work on, discuss it with your supervisor. In time, you will see the pattern of your stress levels. When you understand how you react in given situations, you can find a way to lighten your load.

    Get an Adequate Amount of Sleep

    Sleep recharges your body after a whole day’s work. Try get to less of it, and you’ll end up feeling lousy the day after. It also doesn’t help if you’re constantly stressed out with irregular sleeping habits. You end up feeling tired and when it’s time for you to finally rest, you’ll have more difficulty to snooze.

    It’s best to sleep for six to eight hours a day. This is the optimum amount of time for your body to rest through the night. You should also rest early, so you won’t feel pressured of dozing off within a scheduled time. If you are having a hard time to get sleepy, try doing a breathing exercise. This helps you lessen the tension in your body as well as the stress hormones in your body are lowered.

    Visit a Health Retreat

    Most people experience lifestyle tensions due to pollution, noise, and other urban environmental factors. You can to recharge your body by taking a trip to a health retreat centre. This venue is not just a resort for you to go to on vacation. It’s specifically made to make sure you establish a healthy state of mind.

    Most health retreats consist of specialised facilities such as day spas, heated pools, and dance studios for yoga sessions. They can even be located in mountainous areas, so visitors could engage in mountain trekking, hiking, or other physically enriching activities. Health retreats also serve nutrient-packed dishes. All in all, the activities, facilities, and food selections help to detoxify your body. When you get home, you’ll be more ready to fight another batch of stress-related challenges.

    Organize your life

    Clutter in your office, home, and even your car can mentally influence you. It shows disorder, and these would make you feel even more stressed out. You’ll end up thinking of a schedule to get your place in order. You might often feel out of focus in your daily work task because of the mess. Important items such as the keys to your car might be lost in the shuffle. Organising your desk, the rooms of your house, and everything else you see in your life can benefit you. It can give you a clear mental state which aids you to combat stress.

    To have a healthy state of mind, remember to be active and organize. You should also consider a trip outside the city to help you in lowering your stress levels.

    Image Credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/chaparral/730400293

  4. 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


  5. 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.

    Image Credit: Jöshua Barnett

  6. 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.

    Image Credit: Giulia Bartra

  7. Effective Stress and Anger Management Tips for Ensuring Marital Bliss

    July 3, 2013

    anger management

    by Majid Mireskandai

    There is a common saying that marriages are made in heaven. However, the present scenario with the divorce cases pouring in the legal firms and people frequenting the marriage counselors, the fissures in the conjugal lives of the people are becoming too prominent. It really takes a lot for a marriage to work out. Anger and stress are harmful for any relationship and it is definitely the most abhorred fertilizers that you should not choose to nurture the relationship with your spouse. Do not let your anger flare-ups be the poison killing the bliss in your marital life. The mechanical grind of daily life often makes our head like a pressure-cooker without the safety-valve. Take control of your ego, practice the art of ‘letting go’, befriend your ego, before your marriage hit the rocks.

    A Stress Relief Plan

    Do you meet your agitated self more than often? If yes, then it is time that you take care of things before it slips away from your hand. The initial months or years of marriage things seem rosy with love and sex life going at great guns. Living under the same proof, getting to know each other too well often makes us to suffer take things for granted. Things begin with small tiffs but if anger becomes a part of your marital diet when kids, work and housekeeping come in the picture, then things can really go haywire. A well-sketched stress relief plan can help you:

    • Without avoiding the reasons that gives you the pangs of anxiety and stress, trace out the causes that triggers stress.
    • Do you respect each other’s opinion and listen to each other? It counts in easing things out, without making you to fly into a rage and create mayhem during a discord
    • Agreed that you do not have to show your love every time. However, make him/ her feel special by simple gestures like cooking, buying a small gift,  a little pampering after a fight which often ends with a steamy session on bed
    • When love seems to disappear, it seems too commonplace, do not let predictability to override. Otherwise the marital discords can lead to such deep fissures in a relationship, which cannot be healed

    Choose Words over Silence

     If your personality trait and temperament dictate that you have a volatile temper, but that does not give you the license to create domestic violence. The bouts of anger often lead to depression which can hurt you apart from putting your marriage at stake. When you utter something in the heat of the moment, you might not mean it, but it pierces the heart of your partner like a sting. The positive side is that when you howl and let your anger go, things often boils down to making love. However, silence kills, so do not keep shut. You might feel that it is like showing tolerance or the tenacity to bear, but it seems avoidance for your partner who wants you to retort back when he is venting out his suppressed feelings. Retaliate till things take an ugly turn, but do not bank on silence.

    Key Points to Remember with Dealing with Marital Stress

    Learning the Art of ‘Prioritizing’

     If you have been craving for peace in your married life, do not go much further, look into yourself. Domestic violence not only affects you and your partner; your kids suffer the most apart from your other family members and your neighbors. If you mix up workplace stress with your family life, then it’s a big mistake you are committing. Close all episodes that happened at the workplace before you step inside your home. Do not let alcohol, smoking or any kind of addiction to work as stress buster. Do not binge in too much of junk food. Eat healthy, get proper sleep to bid goodbye to stress and anger.


     Deep breathing, practicing yoga and meditation, empower your mind to face the challenges of life with more vigor. Your anger leading to stress needs to be controlled so that you do not end up creating a ruckus at your place with small issues that become part and parcel of a marital life. The mind needs to rest, feel free and rejuvenated and meditation is one of the best ways to do it.

    The Stress and Anger Management Classes

    If you are fed up with your anger outbursts and leading a stressful life, then there a number of online programs that you can enroll in to bring your life back on track. Domestic violence can play havoc in your life, so before it’s too late, get the help that you require for dealing with stress and anger.

    Moments of Togetherness

    It pays off often, if you listen to your heart. The mind needs to go into oblivion and be in peace. When you feel that things are not going in the right direction with your spouse, with marital tiffs and domestic violence becoming a common thing, go for a vacation. If a trip is not in the cards, chill out in the weekend, be it partying, playing games, gardening, cooking or whatever that tickles you and your partner’s fancy. Spending quality time with each other also helps in feeling more strongly for each other and realizing the importance and worth of your better half in your life.


    Image Credit:Petras Gagilas

  8. How To Manage Stress During Your Job Search

    June 15, 2013

    Need to manage stress

    by Adrienne Erin

    If you’ve been looking for a job, you probably know that new opportunities don’t show up as quickly or as easily as you would like. There can be long stretches between jobs, when money and your happiness starts to run thin. When this happens, you can become frustrated and disappointed.

    No matter how long you’ve been looking for a new job, stress can enter in as part of the process at any time. Everything from customizing cover letters to waiting for a call from the hiring manager can cause major tension and anxiety. It’s important to cope with this stress, both for the sake of your sanity and for the success of your job search. Seeming desperate, depressed, or cynical can hurt your chances at scoring an interview or an invitation back.

    How do you manage stress when the phone doesn’t ring or there are no emails asking for an interview? Well, the good news is that although job hunting can be challenging, there are choices you can make to decrease stress.

    Get a Support Group

    Every stressful situation is handled more effectively when you have people around you who are supportive. Reaching out to your family and friends about how you’re feeling during your job hunt is a good way to relive stress and lessen the burden. These individuals can give you a boost of confidence right when you need it most and help keep you feeling motivated.

    If you don’t have a support group and you’re feeling uneasy with your job search, try joining an anxiety support group or a group for job searchers to help ease the tension. Being around others who are in similar situations will remind you that you’re not alone in your struggles. Plus, it can be great networking – most of you will not be in direct competition, and you may have contacts that could help your fellow members and vice versa.

    Don’t Overdo It

    Don’t apply for any and every job you find just because you’re feeling a little desperate. Take it easy and only apply for jobs you’re highly qualified for. Even if the bills are piling up or you’re fed up with your boss’s demands, applying for too many jobs will most likely result in a lot of rejection. It will also drain your energy and open the doors for stress to come into your life.

    Make Time for Relaxation

    Your job search should not consume your life and only take up a few hours of your day. Take time to relax and rest so you will be energized when you get back on the job-search grind. Have fun while you’re job searching by keeping an active social life with family and friends. You can also try to take on new, relaxing hobbies, such as organic gardening – this one is excellent to manage stress. It’s important to focus on positive thinking instead of looking at the downsides.

    When you are mentally relaxed, your job search will be more effective — and mentally relaxed candidates are more attractive candidates.

    Keep a Positive Attitude

    It can be hard to keep a positive attitude if you’ve lost your job or hate the one you do have, but you must have one in order to keep stress away. Your job search will be more useful if you remain focused and motivated throughout the process. If you don’t think you are worthy of being hired, this will be evident in your interview skills and affect your desire to look for work. Instead, put your best foot forward and focus on the positives. When you have confidence, it will show in your demeanor and transfer over to your job searching skills.

    Image Credit: Alec Couros

  9. Tips for Professionals: Stress Management with Positive Thinking

    May 15, 2013

    fight stress with positive thinking

    by Lindsey Dahlberg

    If you are a professional, you know how difficult positive thinking can be.  You are constantly surrounded by negativity, aggression, selfishness, hostility, suspiciousness, and cynicism.  Plus, there aren’t enough hours in the day and stress can often get the best of you.

    The demands of the job are intense and stress can wear you down. Just when you manage to survive one week, the next week is quickly upon you with an ever growing pile of work.

    There are days when there is nothing left in the tank, but you still have to deal with difficult clients and ominous timelines. You limp home tired and worn out. Stress and negativity seem to be sewn into the very fabric of what it means to be a professional. It doesn’t matter what field you are in either, or how big the company is – the burden on your shoulders can be too much at times.

    How can you survive the day to day beatings you are subjected to?

    Identifying the Source of Stress

    What exactly is causing you so much stress? The work itself is not easy and is probably the main cause for your stress. Being a professional is demanding and the work can be difficult. To compound this problem, there is a lot of this demanding work to be done – mountains of work that seem unassailable.

    The deadlines creep up on you and feel like an ever tightening noose. You spend more time in your office than anywhere else. There are a lot of days when you get to the office in the dark and leave in the dark. Time is a scarce and precious commodity, and nowhere is it truer that time is money.

    Add to the mix office politics and dealing with other professionals and clients. The competition can be intense and draining, confrontations can be ugly. Plus, you have to deal with clients and customers who can be hostile.

    Female professionals can have even a tougher row to hoe with the added pressure of responsibilities at home. Childcare and domestic concerns add a whole new dimension to the stress level of a professional.

    Understanding the Results of Stress

    Growing stress levels can only stay bottled up for so long before an eruption occurs. In the meantime, stress will wear you down like a corrosive acid. Your emotional and physical being will be impacted. Muscle aches, high blood pressure, upset stomach, ulcers, and a weakened immune system are just some of the physical symptoms of stress. Depression, anxiety and feelings of hopelessness are the hallmarks of emotional stress.

    This stress will impact all other areas of life. Because you are filled with stress and other strong emotions, a slight bump in the road can easily cause some of those emotions to spill out. Your family may end up taking the brunt of your stress. It should be no surprise that successful professionals have high divorce rates. Others fall into the trap of substance abuse to try to deal with their stress load.

    Stress Management and Positive Thinking Techniques

    Different people deal with stress in different ways, and there are various ways to achieve and maintain a positive mindset.

    The following techniques have helped a lot of professionals manage their stress load and find time to take care of themselves. If the problems you face seem insurmountable and hopeless, talk to a professional counselor or medical professional for options and treatments.

    Analyze Your Thoughts and Emotions

    Top-notch professionals are often stereotyped as being tough and hardened individuals. They are seen to be logical, analytical and detached. While being detached from certain things is good, being detached from your thoughts and emotions is not healthy.

    In order to deal with your emotions and thoughts, you will need to slow down. Ask yourself what you are feeling and why. Are you struggling with fear? Are these fears realistic and sensible?

    Prioritize and Schedule Tasks

    The pressure of time can be especially stressful. When facing a big task that will involve a lot of time and energy, we can often procrastinate by busying ourselves with projects of lesser importance. Being busy for the sake of being busy is not an effective use of time.

    Priorities need to be established and tasks need to be done according to level of importance. Set deadlines, prioritize tasks by importance, and consider the amount of work involved with each obligation.

    Lists are a great way to keep you on the straight and narrow; they help keep you from meandering through your work. Make a list of all your long term projects; record deadlines, due dates, and generalities of these long term projects.

    Make a second list for everyday tasks. This will look more like a ‘to-do’ list and will help you get through the smaller tasks. This will give you a good idea of what you are up against.  You won’t have sudden deadline surprises or forgotten items to deal with. You can leave at the end of the day knowing that everything is under control and organized.

    Some professionals have a daily list that is even broken down by hour. This may not be a great strategy as this can easily add to your stress load. You will feel like your day has gone off the rails if one of the items extends into the next hour.

    Keep a calendar for all of your scheduled events. Make sure you carefully work around this list.

    Make Time to Relax

    As mentioned above, stress can take a toll on the physical aspects of a person. You may have your time management down pat, but you are still feeling the effects of stress.  A few minutes throughout your day is all you will need to combat stress that has physical ramifications.

    Your body is not designed to sit in a chair for hours at a time. Get out of your chair periodically and stretch. Work from the top of your body and stretch your way down.

    Another tactic is proper breathing. Close your eyes and take a deep breath.  Hold your breath for a moment and then release your breath out slowly. Continue to do so until you feel some of the stress and anxiety decreasing.

    Deal with Your Stress

    Find what works for you. Office exercises and breathing techniques might be the ticket. Or you may find a brisk walk at lunch to be effective. It is also suggested that you find an outlet to clear your mind and deal with stress. Sports are great for that; there aren’t many people who limp off the racquetball court with a head full of stress!

    The key is to strike up a balance in your life between work, home, family, and your interests. Don’t let yourself slip below waves of stress and negativity.  Take control and tackle the stress head on.  Keep thinking positively and you’ll do great!

    How have you learned to deal with stress in your busy workday?

    Image Credit: sunshinecity

  10. The Mental Health Benefits Of Aromatherapy

    March 10, 2013

    Flower Candles

    Image Credit: Yoshifumi Harada

    by Neil Maycock

    The brain is the most important part of the human body. It is the centre where impulses are created and sent to the different parts of the body for a reaction to take place. A healthy person has a healthy and well balanced brain. Our mental health is extremely important to our overall health. If anything goes wrong with the brain, the physical well-being of a person can easily be affected.

    Stress is one big problem that affects working people in this modern world. The problem is the immune system of a person that is constantly stressed, overtime, gets weak and that allows pathogens to easily enter the body and create all kinds of diseases. This is why it is so important to avoid stress and keep the balance of the brain. That can be a daunting task when living in an environment that gives so much pressure to the average person. Fortunately aromatherapy oils can help.

    One can bring back balance to the brain by making use of essential oils. The use of these oils can assist and play a significant role in helping you deal with certain emotional states. The chemical molecules that make up essential oils work in synergy with one another and when inhaled the brain reacts positively. Those molecules can trigger different reactions in the brain. Our emotions are affected by the reactions that occur when inhaling those naturally occurring molecules and that can make us really feel good and let the stress go away.

    When the aroma of an essential oil passes through our nose, the molecules that the oil is made of eventually get into the olfactory bulb where electric impulses are created. Those impulses are then sent to the amygdala and the limbic system which also react to it. (The amygdala is a small mass of nuclei located deep within the temporal lobe of the brain. It is a limbic system structure involved in many of our emotions, especially those that are related to survival. The amygdala is involved in the processing of emotions such as fear, anger and pleasure.)

    There are parts of the brain that control the heart rate, the memory, the hormonal balance and breathing. The limbic system is directly connected to those parts of the brain. The implication is anytime the limbic system reacts based on impulses sent by the olfactory bulb, the hormonal balance, heart rate and memory of a person can be altered.

    One way to stimulate the amygdala is through the aroma coming from essential oils. This can revive good memories from our childhood and bring a sense of well-being. This implies that essential oils can have a profound effect on the mental state of a person and this explains why people don’t hesitate to use them to restore balance when they are stressed.

    Essential oils and Emotional states

    There are many kinds of essential oils and they all have different properties. Depending on the kind of effect you want you should know which one to rely on. Here are the different types of emotions you might be dealing with which essential oils can help.


    It happens to all of us to be angry sometimes. In most cases the anger will go away on its own after a while. That said it may occur that somebody did something to you that made you so angry that even after some few days you still hold that anger inside you. That is not good for your health. To help ease up your state of mind, Bergamot can be useful. You can also rely on Jasmine, Neroli and Orange essential oils to bring your temper down.


    Fear is not necessarily a bad emotion in that it prevents you from putting yourself in dangerous situations. That said unreasonable fear can be a problem because it may prevent you from taking proper action when dealing with certain situations. In that case you might want to rely on essential oils like the Roman Chamomile; it has a sedative and soothing effect. Bergamot, Clary Sage and Grapefruit oils can also be useful in helping you deal with your fears.


    We’ve all been through depressing moments in our lives. Hearing certain bad news like the death of a loved one can have devastating consequences on our emotional state. In this difficult moment you might want to rely on Frankincense essential oil to raise your spirit. This oil has been used for years in spiritual circles to reduce tension and stress and allow the spirit to be lifted. Other oils that can help you deal with your depression are Geranium, Helichysum and Lavender.


    It can happen that you are worried about something without really knowing what exactly bothers you. This can prevent you from focusing at work and in the long run you end up not being productive. You need an essential oil that can help you focus and get rid of unnecessary worries. Clary Sage, Patchouli and Bergamot can be used for that. Patchouli has been known to help people emotionally and calm them. It’s been known as an aphrodisiac too so if you feel anxious when you are about to have sex remember to use this oil.


    If you are a musician playing for an audience or a businessman about to do a presentation to your partners, you need to boost your confidence. There are oils that can help you with that too. Bay laurel is one of them. It gives the user confidence, inspiration, a sense of direction and fortitude. With the help of this oil you can appear more convincing to your audience. Other oils that you can rely on for confidence are Cypress and Rosemary.

    Memory and Concentration

    Essential oils are not useful only for the emotional state of the mind but can also help the brain improve with respect to memory and concentration. When you think of an oil that can help you focus, you should remember Basil essential oil. It helps stimulate the mind and allows you to focus, enabling you to make the most out of the day. Cypress and peppermint can also be used to get a similar effect.

    Possible negative effect

    Bear in mind that essential oils produce an aroma that is picked up by your nose. Even though, generally speaking, the aroma is supposed to bring about a sense of well-being, depending on certain events that you went through in your life, you might not feel comfortable having those odours around you. If you associate a traumatic event with a certain aroma, then the aroma is best avoided.

    How the Oil can be used

    The simplest way to use essential oils is to allow their aroma to diffuse in your room. There are different techniques used to get it done. It is not a bad idea to also have a few drops of the oil in the water used for bathing. If you can get a massage therapist to massage you with any of those oils, even better.

    Take note that not only essential oils help balance the brain. You might want to practice some form of daily meditation and eat a healthy diet.