Author Archives: bhealth
Author Archives: bhealth
The Stress-Confidence Connection
If you take stock of your life and compare it to someone else’s, does yours stack up the way that you’d like it to? It’s true that there are some factors that do give people a leg up in life.
This can be a family background where the economic factors are better – or where the opportunities to climb the social or career ladder come far easier than they do for you. But there is something that lets anyone succeed in life, regardless of where they came from and the amazing start that they had.
It’s confidence. This is the key to life’s success – whether that success is in business or personal relationships. When you lack confidence, your success will be limited because it takes a certain amount of courage to go after what you really want in life.
The Confidence-Success Connection
It’s a widely known fact that confident people are often successful in whatever endeavor they strive to accomplish. When you have confidence, you have the self-assurance that you have the ability to take control of your situation or circumstances.
Without confidence, you won’t fare as well in anything that you attempt to do. This is because a lack of confidence can alter the way that you make decisions. When you lack confidence, you can decide to handle your life in a way that will rob you of financial gains.
Without confidence, you lack the ability to interact and connect in social situations and competitions. It’s a comparison thing. If you don’t have the confidence that you should have, then when you compare yourself to others, or compete against others, you won’t make the kind moves that you would make if you did have an abundance of confidence.
You won’t make those moves because you won’t truly believe that you can be a success in what you’re trying to do. Many people have found success beyond their wildest dreams because they made bold moves driven by nothing more than the confidence they had.
You’ll see those stories all the time – how people risked everything they owned or even their own safety because they believed that they could start a business or take a solo sailing trip around the world.
A lack of confidence keeps you at the starting line while confidence can have you taking the lead in any life race to win. Confidence gives you that something extra that makes you stand out in the crowd.
That makes the way that you communicate with others strong or weaker. This is why some people can take charge in a crowd. People aren’t born leaders, they simply have the confidence to trust that they can handle what’s going on.
They believe they have the intelligence, the ability and the means to accomplish what’s before them. While anyone can develop confidence, there are two things that can impact whether or not you can have this confidence – those two things are stress and anxiety.
Anxiety and Stress Are Two Different Things
Stress and anxiety are words that are often mixed up with one another, but they are different. This difference can help you succeed with what you want to do in life. Stress is strain that can be triggered by a situation or by an emotional upheaval.
Anxiety is worrying about something that might happen or fretting about the eventual outcome of an event. This can also be defined as nervousness. While there are many studies that tell you that you should avoid stress and anxiety as much as possible, you might not want to act on that advice – at least not when it comes to stress.
Because in many instances, stress can be a very helpful tool to help you get ahead, reach the goals you set and get what you want out of life. There are different types of anxiety.
Some types can be severe and require medication and require an individual be under a doctor’s care. But those are not as common as trait anxiety. With this type of anxiety, it means that a person has the kind of personality that’s geared toward causing an anxiety response.
It’s a pattern of actions and thoughts that make the person react to what happens, or what they think will happen. When someone with trait anxiety has to deal with a situation that’s stressful, he or she is going to respond by an increase of emotion.
That person would feel high anxiety, nervousness, fear, worry and their body would be tense. The level of anxiety can be different from one person to another. It all depends on how that person can deal with situations or stress that can cause the anxiety to flare.
If two people both have to deal with the exact same kind of stress, you’ll have one person who will react with anxiety, while the other person won’t. It just depends on the behavioral actions from past circumstances.
It’s true that whenever stress occurs, it needs to be handled in some way. But how that stress gets handled is what can either enhance your life or be a weight on your shoulders.
The point of view that a person has when handling stress will color their perception of life. Some people can be more apt to see the worst in people and in life. This is because they’ve conditioned themselves with this reaction and thought patterns.
It’s important that you learn how to condition your response to stress so that you make it work for you rather than against you. When you take control of stress rather than letting it take control of you, you can make it work for your benefit.
How Anxiety Levels Affect Your Ability to Handle Stress
You can experience low anxiety or high anxiety and sometimes, it might fluctuate. You can have periods of your life where your anxiety level is much higher than it normally would be.
Sometimes anxiety is called long term stress, but this isn’t the case. However, anxiety can be an emotional platform that stress lands on. The heavier the stress, the shakier the platform can be become.
Since your emotional platform is how you go through life, you want to make sure that you can cope with whatever you have to deal with. If you have a higher anxiety level, it can cause you to have limited ability to cope.
In many cases, this can lead to an overreaction in dealing with situations. But it can also lead to a reaction that’s not strong enough. With this kind of reaction, people tend to close off and find ways to escape from the stress so that they don’t have to deal with whatever is going on.
If you have high anxiety, you’ll find that you often struggle to cope with things that someone with low anxiety can handle with ease. For example, in someone with high anxiety, having a financial upheaval could cause a lot of fear and many sleepless nights.
In someone with low anxiety, it doesn’t – because they have the self-assurance that they’re going to be able to take care of whatever needs to be done. Another problem that you might find yourself facing when you have anxiety is a shift in the way that you think.
This shift is critical to how you handle both your personal and professional life. What happens is when you have high levels of anxiety, it can lead to negative thinking. This negative thinking is part of a cycle that also involves negative emotions.
The two are closely linked. If you’re wondering what negative thinking has to do with confidence and your ability to get ahead in life and reach your goals, the answer is that it has everything to do with it.
When you’re caught up in a cycle of negative thinking and negative emotions that stem from anxiety, it impacts your confidence. It affects it to the point that it starts to erode your beliefs, the self-assurance that you’re as smart as or as capable as the next person of handling a circumstance, a job project, having a great relationship and so on.
When you have high anxiety, you’ll believe fewer positive things about yourself and your ability because you’ll think less of yourself and your ability and be focused on all of the drawbacks of a situation.
Tips on Lowering Anxiety Levels
If you do have anxiety, it can be brought down to a level that works to your benefit rather than against you. There are two basic ways that you can lower your anxiety. The first way is to bring it down before you actually have to deal with anything.
The second way is to learn how to lower it in the midst of a situation where your level is rising. What you can do to lower anxiety levels that many people use is to concentrate on taking deep breaths.
Whatever is going on, when you feel your anxiety level starting to rise, take a time out. Even if it’s for a few minutes, it will still help. Close your eyes and breathe in deeply through your nose.
Slowly let the breath go through your mouth. What this practice does is calm your thoughts. It has a physical effect on your body by calming your racing heart and releasing any jumpiness that you might feel.
You can also practice any form of meditation. Meditation, especially when it’s done at the height of feeling anxious, can calm the mind. Some people choose to play a few minutes of a meditation CD that offers positive or affirming thoughts.
You can also choose a saying that helps center you and gives you a sense of peace. Aromatherapy has also been proven to be beneficial when it comes to releasing the tightness of anxiety within your body.
There are specific scents that are known to have positive effects on someone who’s dealing with anxiety. Just like aromatherapy, music has been known to relieve anxiety. Music can also help alter negative thinking when you use positive, upbeat music to help you lower your anxiety levels.
Exercise can also help. Whenever you exercise, your body releases endorphins, the feel good hormones that can lift your mood and calm anxiety. Even just five minutes of exercise can restore calmness.
You may have heard the saying that laughter is the best medicine. There’s a lot of truth behind that statement. Laughter is good for the body and it’s especially good for dealing with anxiety.
When you need to lower your anxiety level, watch something funny on television or read a funny book. Get the anxiety out. You can release the anxiety by not holding onto the emotions that are causing your levels to go up or to stay up.
One way that you can lower your anxiety is by journaling. You can write out what you’re feeling and why. Detail how it makes you feel and take note of any similar circumstances that you may have dealt with in the past.
It can help to look back over what you have gone through and see that you were able to deal with it and move on. Avoid things that trigger a higher anxiety level in you. For some people, this means avoiding things that are shocking or upsetting.
This might be the evening news, or people who always seem to have a doom and gloom outlook on life that ends up bringing you down. If you know a situation is going to make you feel anxious, if you can avoid putting yourself in that situation, then do so.
How to Wield Stress as a Great Tool When You Encounter It
With all of the articles and books on combating stress, you might get the idea that any kind of stress was bad for you any time that you encounter it and that’s simply not true. Stress can actually help you in many areas of your life.
When everything is running smoothly, the brain tends to think along one particular path and it will often return to the same way of thinking. But when you’re stressed, it can stimulate your brain to think in a different direction.
When this happens, you can end up discovering a better way to handle a situation or a new solution to a problem. When you’re stressed, if you’re someone who has a lower level of anxiety, stress can give you a boost in the confidence department.
You’ll feel more assured that you’re capable and as a result, this will show up in your actions. Whenever you become stressed, it can cause you to act in ways that create opportunities for you that you may not normally have.
For example, if you’re stressed about needing to earn more money and a job opens up, stress may be the tool that you can use to push yourself to try to land that job you want. Stress can override your inability to act if you struggle with wondering what you should or shouldn’t do.
Stress can be a great motivator. It can help keep you sharp and can keep your mind on what you want to accomplish. When your life is going along fairly smoothly with minimal stress, you might not work as long or as hard to get what you want.
But when you encounter stress, it can give you an enthusiasm that drives you to reach outside the limitations that you normally stay within. You’ll find that you’ll put yourself out of your normal comfort zone and do more to achieve what you want than you do when you’re not dealing with stress.
With stress, you can use it as a tool to see possibilities rather than impossibilities. It will cause you to concentrate and focus your energies on accomplishing tasks and handling things that you might not normally do.
So whenever you do experience stress, instead of allowing it to be an instant negative thing, ask yourself how you can make it work for your benefit. Look for the silver lining and grow your confidence that you’ll be able to handle it.
Restore Energy And Alleviate Stress With Aromatherapy
The story of our lives is one of surviving physical drift, emotional triggers and sensory blitz. We have created a kind of modern existence that also gave birth to development that the human body is sometimes unable to tackle in the same speed and efficiency. As a result, our contemporary lifestyle has become replete with a myriad of stressors that put a strain on our physical health and emotional wellbeing.
Every day we go through life’s daily grind and we do so in ways that test our ability to adapt to a fast-paced environment offering a multitude of distractions. Before we even knew what was going on, becoming stressed and lethargic to the point of inertness has become the sin of our times.
Most of us have responded to this original sin with another: Spending buckets on expensive and time consuming treatments and palliative approaches in an attempt to energize our senses and revitalize our health. Contemporary human existence has given birth to well-stocked drugstores, well-heeled indulgences and exquisite therapeutic procedures to liberate our mind and body from layers upon layers of stress.
Yet some have chosen to take the road less traveled by turning to some very potent alternatives to commercial conveniences that can heal us in ways that do not burn a hole through our pockets and require us to momentarily escape our stressful lives rather than dealing with it squarely. One such way of stimulating our senses and revitalizing our body is aromatherapy.
Aromatherapy refers to the use of aromatic and essential oils extracted from the leaves, flowers, seeds, fruits and barks of herbs, plants and trees to improve health and promote wellness.
Depending on the type or combination used, the preventive, healing and regenerative properties of these oils are able to trigger certain emotional and physiological reactions to treat specific ailments or promote vitality.
There are about 400 different types of essential and aromatic oils derived from plants, each said to have certain therapeutic properties.
Some are rather cheap and are easily available in local health stores, while some are more difficult to procure because they grow only in specific regions or require more plant parts for oil extraction.
Some of the most common oils for relieving stress and revitalizing the body are:
• Sweet orange
Although aromatherapy has been used by humans even before humanity gave birth to modern medicine and science, scientific research and contemporary practice has improved on both the effective and convenient usage of aromatherapy as a natural alternative to healing and wellness.
Nowadays, aromatherapy is integrated in many other natural healing practices owing to the positive effects of aromatic and essential oils in carrying nutrients to our body’s cells through skin absorption and in deploying therapeutic and healing signals to the brain through inhalation, thus stimulating the olfactory nerves that are connected directly to the brain.
The Power Of Inhaling
Because of the unique ability of essential and aromatic oils to reach the nerves of our nose that are located close to the brain, aromatherapy is often associated with stimulating our sense of smell.
While the general practice of aromatherapy also involves using oils as food supplements, in cooking and baking and through topical application, aromatherapy is most known for its practice of inhaling essential and aromatic oils during massage, through a diffuser or even by taking a whiff directly from an oil bottle.
Aromatherapy History And Uses
This practice is popular, and of course for good reasons. For centuries, human beings have practiced aromatherapy mainly as a way to stimulate the senses and send healing signals to the brain by way of stimulating the sense of smell.
From religious rituals that use burning coals doused with oils to how the smell of chicken soup evokes a sense of security and brings us to the path of recuperation, certain scents stimulate our senses and revitalizes the body.
Humanity has been using aromatherapy even before our modern lifestyle invented stress and fatigue.
There is also the invention of aromatherapy massage, which, is a wonderful way to bring yourself to a total state of serenity and bliss.
So whenever you feel a need to perk up and fight stress, keep in mind that your body will thank you for keeping that oil bottle handy.
Stress Is a Serious Danger to Your Health
Nobody alive likes to experience stress. It’s an emotion we feel during times of chaos and uncertainty – when we don’t have control over a situation, or we feel like things will never get better.
It’s not enough to just flippantly learn about stress relief for when things are really bad. You need to have a clear understanding about what stress does to your body and mind – and it doesn’t have to be life changing events – it can be small stress that adds up on a daily basis.
Stress Can Literally Break Your Heart
When stress is running rampant in your life, it’s taking a toll on your heart. High blood pressure is always a recurring theme of stress, and when you’re under a lot of stress, your cholesterol levels soar, too.
Cortisol hormones cause a great imbalance. Cortisol, paired with adrenaline, get into your bloodstream the minute you encounter a stressful situation. Left untreated, these two hormones will wreak havoc on your body, keeping you ramped up in a fight or flight state of mind.
Sometimes it’s not just the high blood pressure or cholesterol levels that hurt your heart – it’s the stress relief measure you’re engaging in that do the most damage.
For example, someone who is untrained in stress relief might reach for fattening, sugar-laden foods like a big bowl of ice cream that helps them drown their sorrows.
Others might deal with stress by having a cigarette break every time they encounter even the smallest amount of stress. Those unhealthy habits are what cause the most damage to your heart, not the stress itself.
Stress Devastates Your Immune System
Whenever you experience a chronic amount of stress, it starts to weaken your immune system, making you vulnerable to viruses and colds as well as other diseases.
Your body has first responder cells that attack invaders, and when you are highly stressed, you don’t have as many of these natural defense mechanisms. Keep stress at bay, but when you know you’re under more stress than usual, make sure you load up on vitamin C and other supplements that might help your body fight back.
Your Digestive System Takes a Beating
Your digestive system doesn’t work as well when you are feeling burdened by stress. Some people will have symptoms like heartburn when they’re stressed out – even if they haven’t eaten any traditional heartburn-inducing foods.
Others will suffer from constipation or diarrhea during particularly stressful episodes. Some of these symptoms can be better controlled by dietary changes under stressful conditions.
Your stomach might experience pain if you don’t handle stress well. Some people find themselves suffering from ulcers and the chemical makeup of your gut gets altered because oxygen doesn’t reach it the same way, making it not function properly.
If you know that you’re prone to digestive disorders during stressful times, then you can make dietary changes to help you alleviate some of the concerns. Try adding probiotics to your diet (you can find them in yogurt).
Stress Causes Physical Pain
Have you ever heard the term “stress headache?” That’s a tension headache brought on by a great deal of stress that you’re experiencing. For some people, it’s mild – and for others, it’s a full-blown migraine.
Headaches aren’t the only pain you can suffer from stress. Back pain is a major symptom of too much stress. The lower back especially is susceptible to stress attacks.
Many people experience a kink (also called a crick) in their necks due to stress. Sometimes this is caused by aligning your body improperly during sleep, but other times it’s due to tension during your sleep patterns, and muscles aches from the anxiety.
Fatigue from Stress Wears You Down
Anyone who has gone through stressful times will know how overwhelming the fatigue can be. The cortisol that heightens your alert system will eventually subside, causing your energy levels to crash.
Cortisol also boosts your blood sugar, so when that eases up, your energy levels will drain and you’ll feel like you’ve just run a marathon, even if you’ve been sitting on the couch all day long.
Many times, individuals won’t sleep well during prolonged periods of stress, so the lack of sleep causes daytime fatigue. Even if you think you got enough sleep, it may have been restless in nature.
Stress Evolves Into Full-Blown Depression
If you’re not careful, then stress can turn into something much more harrowing – depression. It’s one thing to feel increased anxiety from time to time, and another to become depressed by the constant state of stress that you’re in.
Because the cortisol floods your body, it diminishes the amount of serotonin, or feel good hormones that you have. Under stack from stress, this makes it difficult when you have nothing that’s able to fight back against the negative thoughts.
Usually, one event or small situation that’s stressful won’t cause you to fall into a deep depression. It takes on-going stress to get you to that point. If you notice you’re getting depressed past the point of slightly upset periodically, seek help and also work on treating it naturally.
Insomnia Will Develop Due to Deep Stress
Sleep tends to get disrupted when you’re going through a lot of stress. Even a small incident can keep your mind churning when you lie down to sleep, preventing you from falling or staying asleep.
Take time to do everything you can to get a good deal of rest. More than any other stress relief technique, ample sleep will allow you to be ready to tackle whatever the day may hold.
Engage in proper sleep hygiene where you create a restful environment for you to relax in. Find methods of mind relaxation that resonate with you. It might be self-hypnosis, guided imagery, or neuro linguistic programming.
Stress Plays Games with Your Memory
Some people start to forget things and instantly worry that they’re aging prematurely and possibly suffering from Alzheimer’s disease. But it might just be that you’re experiencing stress.
From losing your keys to forgetting names, stress can interrupt your thought processes and cause you to forget things you’ve always known before. Cortisol is to blame for coming between you and your memories – and unfortunately, during stress, it is flooded into your bloodstream.
What’s odd is that in short bursts of stress, your memory can actually be improved slightly because your body and mind are under pressure. But chronic stress is what causes an impediment in your memory.
Hair Loss Is a Sign of Chronic Stress
Although you normally lose up to 100 strands of hair each day, during times of on-going stress, you might lose much more. Small stressful events don’t cause you to shed your locks.
The chronic stress is what causes one of the three forms of stress-related hair loss. Some people get so stressed out that they pull their hair out. This is known as Trichotillomania.
Another form of stress-induced hair loss is Alopecia areata. This is when your immune system goes haywire and attacks your follicles. We already know that your immune system is compromised during high levels of stress.
The other way stress causes hair loss is called Telogen effluvium. The cortisol and high stress levels send your hair into a dead phase, and it ends up falling out over time in high quantities.
Sometimes, when the stress subsides, the hair grows back. Other times, it’s permanent. You can get hair loss treatments to help you save more of your locks during stressful times, including the supplement Biotin, which strengthens your hair and your nails.
Stress Can Result in Premature Labor
Pregnancy is a time of anxiety for many women. Your body is undergoing many changes and you’re feeling tons of physical symptoms. But if you add on extra stress, you could cause your body to go into early labor.
Doctors will advise you to rest and relax during your pregnancy, and it’s a good idea! Not only will your body be better able to handle the physical signs of pregnancy, but relaxing will help your mental state as well.
Remember that stress devastates your immune system, and that makes your uterus open to the possibility of an infection. That infection can put you into labor too early.
Researchers also aren’t sure, but it might impact your unborn baby, too. There are many childbirth classes focusing on relaxation – and there’s even a special massage for pregnant women that might be beneficial to keep your body and mind at ease.
Skin Disorders Flare Up Under Stress
Growing up during your teen years, you may have experienced how stress affects your skin whenever you had a flare-up of acne. Acne can be one sign of increased stress and anxiety.
Some people experience rashes and itching from increased stress. If they suffer from psoriasis, eczema, or rosacea – the symptoms can be painful and embarrassing for some.
If you’re prone to developing skin irritations during stress, make sure you add something else to your list of stress relief tactics – skincare! You can get calming skincare products that reduce inflammation and help soothe and calm your skin.
Don’t neglect your basic skincare routine, either. Continue washing away those oils so that they don’t clog your pores.
Some people develop fever blisters when they’re under a great deal of stress. If you experience these, the best thing you can do for it is to calm your mind so that the cortisol levels diminish and your skin returns to normal.
Stress Ages You Much Too Early
Stress can age you quicker than usual – especially at a cellular level. The cortisol running rampant through your blood is debilitating your cells, so when it comes time for them to go to work repairing your body from toxins and other things, they don’t have it in them to do the work.
The blood pressure that spikes during times of stress also ages you because the blood vessels constrict and end up damaging your hearing and your vision. This could be temporary – but if it’s chronic, it could be permanent.
You might already notice that when you’re stressed and not getting enough sleep, you look older the next morning. You have dark circles and bags under your eyes. You’re probably not hydrated well, either.
You may have noticed how quickly American Presidents age after four years in office. Researchers believe that high levels of stress can contribute to a hastening of the aging process, from both an internal and external viewpoint.
Stress is unavoidable. Everyone will experience it at one time or another. But how you handle it will make a big difference in whether it becomes a danger to you, or a simple temporary, and minor distraction.
Fight Stress with Lifestyle Alterations
There are many things you can do to fight back against stress without medicating yourself. Natural remedies are safer and easier to implement than going through the routine of getting a doctor’s fix.
Of course, if your stress is out of control to the point where you fear you’ll hurt yourself – or someone else – then you should always seek the intervention of a professional first and foremost.
There are five fundamental ways you can ease the stress in your life – and they’re all based on simple modifications you can make in your own lifestyle. From better planning to diet and exercise – even better sleep – you can take control of the situation and feel better in an instant.
Eliminate and Modify Your Plans
Sometimes we put ourselves directly in the path of oncoming stress. The first thing you have to do is become aware. Awareness is key to managing stress loads, and sometimes we turn a blind eye to things that upset us the most.
Get yourself a journal and jot down an entire week’s worth of stress. Whenever you feel upset, even if it’s only for 20 minutes, write down the root cause and how long it lasted.
Once you become aware of constant factors in your stress load, you can work to eliminate or modify how you interact with them on a regular basis, if at all!
Traffic is a good example of stress, and some people fight traffic day after day, during a morning commute and early evening rush hour. There are ways to improve the situation to some degree, such as leaving early for work or taking a different route.
Romantic relationships can cause a great deal of stress when they become less romantic and more volatile. Instead of hanging onto something toxic in your life, address it head on – with couples counseling, or by breaking it off and opening your life up to something healthy for you.
Familial relationships are sometimes toxic, too. Some people can’t close the door on family, but you can learn how to construct safe boundaries by not allowing yourself to be used or abused.
Friendships can be unhealthy and stressful. Know when to have a talk with a friend about the way you’re being treated, and when to let go of these friendships that do more harm than good.
Finances are a major source of stress, and many people think they’re powerless to control them. But they’re wrong. You can pursue a good debt management strategy and pay off what you owe, start saving and begin earning more if you plan for it.
Control Stress By Controlling Your Diet
There are many ways that stress affects our diets – and ways that stress is affected by our diets, too. Most people only grasp the unhealthy connection – comfort eating during periods of high stress.
The first thing you need to do is stop emotionally soothing yourself with food. Then, look at ways that food can become your friend during times of stress. What we normally do when comfort eating is binge on high salt and high sugar foods.
What you really need to do is look for foods that have an opposite effect on your body than stress does. For example, stress causes you to feel fatigued, so in the past, you might have turned to sugar to get a jolt of energy.
Nuts are a great food that instantly goes to work in your body to keep cortisol levels down when they spike. Cortisol is the stress hormone that gives you that “fight or flight” feeling when anxiety hits.
High potassium foods like bananas or avocados help combat stress. When you get stressed out, your blood pressure spikes. Foods rich in potassium help lower your blood pressure.
Another thing that happens when your body feels stressed is your blood sugar can spike. There are some foods, such as oatmeal or whole grain breads (complex carbs) that stabilize your blood sugar and help keep you calm. They also boost your serotonin (feel good) hormones.
There are certain foods filled with folic acid that help keep stress low. Any dark, leafy green like kale, collards, spinach and turnips will work. Citrus foods, beans and seeds will also do the job.
One of the health side effects of chronic stress is constipation. If this affects you, then you want to turn to foods high in fiber. Beans, corn, whole wheat foods, oatmeal and berries are all high in fiber.
Researchers have discovered that those who lack vitamin B have a propensity to develop feelings of anxiety. You might be lacking in this, so eat foods rich in B vitamins, such as shellfish, soy, low fat dairy and eggs.
Let Your Endorphins Snuff Out Stress for Good
It’s a myth to think that if you exercise, all of your stress will simply disappear. It doesn’t work like that. Stress will be around you no matter what – but what exercise does is help you be better able to handle stress so that it doesn’t take the same toll on you that it is now.
Endorphins are commonly called happy hormones because they create a “feel good” effect in your mind when they hit. They’re actually neurotransmitters that get released in your body to fight the cortisol (negative hormone) that’s bringing you down.
Many people form a love of exercise because after awhile of engaging in it, they become used to the release of the endorphins. Not only does it deliver physical stress relief, but it clears your mind, too – because it allows more oxygen to reach your bloodstream.
At first, you might feel tired from exercising. But over time, exercise actually helps you feel less fatigued. You’ll become stronger, have more energy, and your mental clarity will skyrocket.
When you exercise regularly, you end up seeing long-term stress relief benefits. Not only will your mood improve, but you’ll sleep better at night. Getting enough exercise is great, but even a quick 5-minute aerobic jolt to your system can pack a punch when it comes to endorphins.
One way to get more exercise is to have fun with it. Don’t make it a chore. If you hate going to the gym, then don’t! Do something else instead, like rollerblading or another activity or sport that gets your heart rate up.
It’s not just aerobics that release endorphins. Even slower exercise has that effect, just at a different level. You can engage in meditation or yoga and feel the benefits of endorphins being released.
When you exercise, we know that it delivers other health benefits to your body, like assisting you in managing your blood pressure, for example. So when stress does hit you and your blood pressure rises slightly, exercise will already have you at more manageable levels, so you won’t be putting yourself in danger.
If you have been sedentary for a long period of time, it’s best not to jump right into a strenuous routine where you might possibly harm or injure your body from the rigorous movements.
Start out slower and in small increments and build on your routine from there. As you increase your time and effort, you’ll start to feel even more of the physical and mental boost that you get from engaging in this form of stress relief.
Improve Your Sleep and Watch Stress Dissipate
If there’s one thing that creates a vicious cycle in the stress world, it’s insomnia. The sleep and stress connection is brutal because if you don’t get enough sleep, you get stressed the next day – and if you’re stressed, you can’t sleep.
Where does it all end?
It ends when you regain control of the situation. It’s one thing to address the stress that you can deal with – but you also have to handle the sleep issue on its own.
It’s almost a chicken and the egg situation – nobody knows which came first – the insomnia or the stress – but you have to tackle it head on to make sure it gets sorted out.
Start by making sure you have good sleep hygiene. That means get a comfortable bed with bedding, set your room temperature to a nice, cool level, and remove all technology from the room to help induce sleep.
Develop a bedtime routine. This trains your subconscious mind to know when it’s nearing bedtime, and it starts to shut down and feel drowsy. That might mean taking a nice, warm bath, reading a book, and having a light snack to stave off hunger until morning.
If you’re easily woken up during the night and then find it hard to fall back asleep, make sure you help yourself not get roused from your slumber. That might mean using a white noise machine so that you don’t hear sounds easily.
You can buy a specific white noise machine that’s meant to drown out noise, or you can use things like a fan in your room, turned to a setting that hides outside noise from you.
You might need something to help you drift off. In that case, try aromatherapy. It can be dispensed in the room with scents like lavender that have soothing aromas to relax and calm the mind.
Sometimes it’s nothing you’re doing, but something your sleeping partner is doing that makes you unable to sleep. If you have a partner who has sleep apnea, for example, then he or she needs to get fitted for a sleep apnea mask so that they’re not choking themselves awake and startling you in the middle of the night.
You may need to use an over the counter helper like melatonin, which weakens as you age, to help you fall (and stay) asleep. You can start out with a low dose and increase it until you find one that works best for you.
Indulge in Self Care to Tame Terrible Stress
Sometimes our minds just won’t quit. They relive the stress even when we’re out of immediate danger. So if this happens to you, you’ll need to work on specific nurturing to your body and mind to help alleviate the pressure your mind is putting on you.
Everyone has a different idea of what self care means. For some, it includes a little much-needed “me time” away from everyone – time to just be alone with your thoughts and free of distractions.
You might find that taking time for a nice, warm bath each night is plenty of relaxation for you. Or, maybe you need to get out of the house and engage in an activity like photography, sports, or socialization.
Sometimes we need a little more specific self care. You might save up for a stress-relieving spa activity, like a manicure, pedicure, massage or facial that will relax you.
You can also do all of those things yourself at home using organic skincare products and essential oil blends that promote relaxation in your home. There are many spa tools for at-home use that might help make it a wonderful experience.
You may need to engage in some serious mental stress relief. For example, you can meditate or use guided meditation if you don’t know how to do it on your own.
You may also want to check out how EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique) works. This is a tool you can use anywhere discreetly to provide instant stress relief.
There are many ways you can help control stress in your life. And for the stress that you’re unable to avoid, you can always educate yourself about how to better manage your reaction to that stress.
Sample the ideas and try combining those that work best for you. Sometimes, a specific stress relief tactic won’t deliver any results for you – and that’s okay. It just means your body and mind will react to a different strategy better!
Top 5 Diets for People with High Blood Pressure
Eating healthy can be a good way to bring down high blood pressure numbers. There are many eating plans that you can follow, but some of them are targeted toward people who have high blood pressure.
While others aren’t targeted toward people with high blood pressure, these diets are structured in a way that makes them better at lowering blood pressure levels. One of these diets is the DASH diet, which stands for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension.
This diet works by factoring in the gender and age of the person following the diet. It also targets what a dieter should eat by how much exercise they do or don’t do.
Using criteria to match the caloric intake with the user, the DASH diet will propose a specific eating plan. This eating plan contains nutritious and healthy meals chosen from the food pyramid.
The diet is easy to follow because it does a lot of the prep work for you. It plans out the first few days for you to get you started and it includes helpful recipes and teaches users how many servings of each type of food he or she should eat.
The TLC diet stands for Therapeutic Lifestyle Change. This is a diet that focuses on changing what you currently eat to make healthier meals. It concentrates on limiting the kinds of fats that can contribute to heart disease.
Success with this diet is found by eating according to your gender and current weight. It guides users toward healthier food choices by limiting processed foods. It’s a good diet because it lowers your cholesterol, which is often raised in people with high blood pressure. Plus, it helps you lose weight – which also works to lower your blood pressure if you’re overweight.
Another healthy diet for people with high blood pressure that helps lower the levels is the Mediterranean Diet. On this eating plan, you’ll eat plenty of fruits, vegetables and grains.
You can eat fish and poultry, but will have to cut back on the amount of red meat that you eat. This diet is healthy for people with high blood pressure because it replaces the use of salt with spices and flavorful herbs.
Weight Watchers is a diet that focuses on the overall body. It emphasizes keeping your weight at a healthy level. Losing extra weight can often bring the numbers of your blood pressure readings under control.
Healthy eating by consuming fruits, vegetables, grains, plenty of fiber rich foods and lean meats is how the Weight Watchers diet helps. It offers low sodium meal planning and teaches the importance of exercise and cutting out bad habits that are linked to high blood pressure.
Finally, following a vegetarian diet can lower your blood pressure. Eating a plant based diet can lower cholesterol levels as well. Since there’s very little saturated fat in a vegetarian diet, it’s also good for your heart health.
The focus of this diet is on healthy eating with plenty of high fiber. If you don’t think that you can give up meat, you can choose the flexitarian way and choose a vegetarian eating lifestyle with occasional servings of meat.
Anyone can develop high blood pressure – even someone in his or her early twenties isn’t immune to this condition. That’s because high blood pressure can be caused by a number of different things.
Some things are within a person’s control and some aren’t when it comes to having high blood pressure. Genetics is one of the reasons high blood pressure can develop – and the one thing you can’t do anything about.
The genes that were passed down to you will determine what health issues you’ll have to deal with. Your family history is what will decide if you’ll have high blood pressure or not.
If your parents had it, then you’ll more than likely have it as well. Some diseases that can run in families can contribute to causing high blood pressure and these are said to be secondary hypertension.
That means that you have high blood pressure as a direct result of some other health problem. For example, someone who has kidney disease can, in turn, have high blood pressure as a result of that kidney disease.
Other diseases can also cause high blood pressure. If you have adrenal problems, that can cause elevated readings and so can thyroid diseases. Sometimes, a cyst that grows on a gland like the adrenals or the thyroid can lead to high blood pressure.
Removing the growth will sometimes stabilize the blood pressure within normal range, but not always. Many causes of high blood pressure are related to how a person lives his or her life.
People who are overweight, even if they’re not technically obese, can have blood pressure levels that are in the hypertension range. People who develop high blood pressure as a result of being overweight often find that their levels return to the normal range if they lose the weight.
This is because the heart no longer has to work as hard to pump the blood. Sometimes people who are not overweight will be diagnosed with high blood pressure because of their lifestyle choices.
Eating a poor diet that’s high in saturated fat and sodium is linked to high blood pressure. Drinking too much and smoking are both habits that have also been linked to causing high blood pressure.
Having too much stress in your life can give you high blood pressure. This is because when you’re under stress, your body feels the onslaught of a constant state of “fight or flight” hormone that your adrenals produce.
This will constrict the blood vessels. Chronic stress can cause your adrenals to consistently release the hormones that keep your blood pressure raised. Your age can also play a role in what your blood pressure readings are.
As you get older, your blood vessels undergo changes. Your body has baroreceptors that can tell what the blood pressure is. When it’s not normal, these baroreceptors send messages that help to regulate the pressure. As you get older, these baroreceptors aren’t as quick to pick up the changes in pressure.
Here’s a great video that explains it all
The Best Juicing Plan for Weight Loss
If you’ve decided to start juicing to lose weight then all the options can be overwhelming. Should you do a juice fast? Should you just incorporate juicing into your regular diet? Which juicer should you buy? What should you juice? And on the questions go!
Before getting started, just remember that there’s no magic cure for weight loss. Juicing isn’t a quick fix, and it works differently for different people. It can help you lose weight, but it’ll take some time to find the best way for you, and it’ll also take some effort. That said, here are some tips to help you get started.
Should You Do A Juice Fast?
Many people see a juice fast as a quick fix for losing weight, but this is dangerous. Sure, when you’re fasting you’ll take in fewer calories since you won’t be eating your regular meals. This will lead to weight loss, but it’s not something you can sustain, and shouldn’t be the be all and end all of your weight loss efforts.
Instead, you should see a juice fast as a chance to get out of any bad habits you might have, and then cleanse your system. It’s tough, but if you can get out of the other side of a juice fast then you can surely make effort to improve your diet afterwards. Once the fast is over, you can also combine regular meals with regular juicing.
Top Vegetables to Juice for Weight Loss
As to what you should put in your juice, it’s basically more of the healthy foods you should be eating normally. By juicing them, you can create combinations that make certain foods tastier (by mixing them with fruits, for example), and you can also take in WAY more than you’d be able to by eating them.
When you’re just getting started you may want to juice a lot of fruit. It tastes way better than those crazy vegetable concoctions, so it’s a good way to ease yourself in. That said, fruits do contain sugar and you’ll want to watch how much you take in. Try to mix in more and more vegetables as time goes on.
You may want to pay particular attention to cruciferous vegetables. This family of vegetables is known to come with a number of health benefits, such as helping to boost your metabolism and reduce the risk of cancer. The only downside is that they are known as a trigger for IBS sufferers.
Some examples of cruciferous vegetables include:
• Box Choy,
• Brussels sprouts,
Note that many cruciferous vegetables are also known as “leafy greens”. If you’re planning on using the leafy kind then you’ll have to be careful to find a juicer that can handle them well – many centrifugal juicers struggle to process these effectively.
So remember, juicing isn’t a miracle weight loss cure but it’s a tool that can greatly improve your diet and give you the energy you need for your workouts!
How Does Food Affect Your Workout?
Not reaching your fitness goal could be, in part, about what you eat. To work at maximum efficiency, the body needs food that contains these three macronutrients:
However, just eating all three is not enough; you also need the right type and amount of each macronutrient to get the maximum benefit from your workout.
As you exercise, tiny tears occur in your muscle fibers; protein not only helps repair these tears, but it helps build muscle too, so your body is ready for your next workout. To get the maximum benefit from this macronutrient, 20% of your daily calorie intake should come from a low saturated fat protein source, such as lean red meat, pork, poultry, beans, seafood, eggs or dairy products.
The body produces energy from carbohydrates by breaking them down into glucose. Glucose is then converted into energy at the cellular level through a process called metabolism. However, there are two types of carbohydrates: simple and complex. Of the two, the complex type is the best for you when you work out because they break down slower thus providing your body with more energy over a longer time. An average of 50% of your daily calories should come from carbohydrates; however, only 10% of these calories should come from simple carbohydrates, which are most of the sugars. Good sources of complex carbohydrates include potatoes and whole grains, such as whole wheat bread and pasta, and brown rice.
For a long time the fats got a bad rap. However, multiple studies have shown that we need about 30% of our daily calories from fat (and the right type of fat) for our bodies to work efficiently. Because certain nutrients are only fat-soluble, those nutrients are flushed from the body unprocessed if you are not eating enough fat.
There are three types of fats:
Trans fat is a manufactured fat found in highly processed foods, such as baked goods. It shows up on nutrition labels listed as either hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated vegetable shortening. However, because the body does not metabolize trans fats, it ends up staying in the blood stream and can eventually cause heart disease. Avoid trans fat at all costs!
For over 60 years, we have known too much saturated fat is not good for you. Commonly found in marbled red meats, whole dairy products, butter and certain oils, such as coconut, palm and palm kernel, only 7% of our daily fat requirement should come from saturated fat.
These are the good fats – polyunsaturated and monounsaturated – and they should make up the rest of your daily fat requirement. Sources include some types of oils, such as olive, canola, safflower, sunflower and soy, along with avocados, most nuts, and the oily fishes: salmon, tuna and mackerel.
By eating the right types of macronutrients (and in the right quantities), not only will you have the energy to get you through a workout, but also what it takes to repair and build muscle, and refuel your body for the next workout.
Can Juicing Help Improve Fitness?
Fitness is always a hot topic. Whether we want to get fit to lose weight, to have more energy, or to feel better about ourselves, we’re always looking for ways that’ll make the whole process easier. Juicing is one health trend that’s really taken off in recent years, but does it really work to improve your fitness?
Diet Changes to Break Through Plateaus
The secret to improving your fitness level is to keep your body guessing. This means never stick to the same exercise or diet routine. In reference to a diet plateau, this happens when you consume the same types of foods, such as whole grains and fresh, raw foods for a long period of time. When you have plateaued your diet needs a jump-start. This is when you can begin introducing the process of juicing. Juicing restarts your body so you can continue to work hard at improving your fitness goals.
Juicing is a form of concentrating fresh, organic fruits and vegetables that assist in keeping your fitness routine on track. Just one glass can help you get more nutrients in your body and improve your fitness. Juicing is able to increase your metabolism, get you physically stronger, reduce the chance of injury, and your ability to reach and maintain your fitness goals will increase.
When working on a fitness routine, there is a possibility that you may become injured. When you are injured, inflammation is likely to occur in the joint areas. Juicing neutralizes the acidity of the injured area and reduces the inflammation. Through this process, as you continue juicing, you will also experience other benefits, such as a rise in your metabolism, ability to process the nutrients from juicing to provide you with increased energy that will not be stored as fat, and a strong body with a reduction in injuries.
Including juicing in your fitness program will show you the power it has of increasing your physical energy so you can perform more efficiently. As energy increases, your hormones balance out and your digestion improves. This is not energy that comes with highs and lows. It is a sustained energy to support you through all your workouts, where you have the ability to exercise with great effort.
But remember – juicing alone is not what’ll make you fit. You must combine it with exercise!
Common Dental Care Struggles Associated with Aging
Aging doesn’t simply affect your skin. It also affects your dental health. As you get older, since your immune system can weaken, you’re more likely to have dental issues. Some common conditions are associated with aging.
Having a dry mouth is common in older people usually because of medications that they have to take. This is called xerostomia. To treat it, you can keep your mouth moist by keeping water on hand to drink frequently.
Chew gum, too – because that stimulates saliva production and keeps your mouth from becoming dry. Watch out for decongestants because these can worsen dry mouth as well as cause it.
Another thing older people can deal with dental wise is losing their sense of taste. You might notice you start having to use more sugar or salt to actually taste the flavors in your food.
Both of these are relatively minor issues that can happen. However, they can lead to bigger problems. More serious conditions with dental care are also common as you get older.
Root decay can happen because your gums change as you age. They can shrink back to expose the roots of the teeth. This allows cavities to form on the roots of the teeth. One of the causes of gum shrinkage is dry mouth. This is why it’s important to keep the mouth moist.
Oral thrush is a condition that’s common to older adults and can lead to an inflammation if not treated. Gum disease is common as you grow older and this can lead to tooth loss.
Many people choose to get dentures when they’re older because of dental problems they’ve experienced. Wearing dentures can also be a problem because it can cause the gum to become inflamed from an infection.
Developing oral cancer is also something that is associated with aging. When an older person gets any type of dental issue, it can lead to them having trouble eating what they should eat. When an older person doesn’t eat a healthy diet, this in turn can make their bodies more susceptible to illness and disease.
Besides some common problems with dental issues in people as they grow older, there are other issues that can be a deterrent. As someone gets older and enters the retirement stage of life, their income level can drop drastically.
When an older person lives on a fixed income, it can make it difficult for them to be able to afford dental care. With the cost of dental care rising, they may have trouble finding a dental insurance plan that they can afford on their income.
Besides the cost, if the older person struggles to get around, they may have difficulty getting themselves to the dentist. They might not be able to physically visit the dentist and might not have the transportation means to get there.