Stress Busting Strategies
Learn to have healthy relationships:
This subject could fill an entire book. In the limited space of this newsletter, let's look at the key components of this stress-reducing strategy.
1. Identify the sources of stress in your relationships. Write about them in a journal. Make a list of people who cause you stress and explore what the issues are.
2. Resolve the underlying issues. For each of the situations identified in step 1, assess what needs to happen to resolve it. Make a list and design a plan to improve the situation.
3. Learn skills to improve relationships. Relationship skills are learned. We are not born knowing how to get along well with others, and most of us learned only limited skills from our parents. Identify the skills you need to develop, and make a plan for yourself. You can learn these skills by reading books, taking classes, or working with a therapist.
4. Avoid toxic people and situations. Some people have a toxic effect on you. If you can, limit the amount of time you spend with them. Look for opportunities to decline their invitations. When these people are family members, remind yourself that you don't have to feel guilty about avoiding anyone who makes you feel bad about yourself. In work situations, look for ways to rearrange your schedule or your workspace to avoid interacting with such people.
5. Seek out positive people and situations. This step is the reverse of the previous step. Look for opportunities to spend more time with people and in situations that make you feel good. Think about people who make you feel good about yourself and look for ways to increase time with them.
6. Watch what you eat. Some substances amplify the stress response. These include:
? Caffeine stimulates the release of stress hormones. This increases heart rate, blood pressure, and oxygen to the heart. Ongoing exposure to caffeine can harm the tissue of the heart.
? Refined sugar and processed flour are depleted of needed vitamins. In times of stress, certain vitamins help the body maintain the nervous and endocrine systems.
? Too much salt can lead to excessive fluid retention. This can lead to nervous tension and higher blood pressure. Stress often adds to the problem by causing increased blood pressure.? Smoking not only causes disease and shortens life, it leads to increased heart rate, blood pressure, and respiration.? Alcohol robs the body of nutrition that it might otherwise use for cell growth and repair. It also harms the liver and adds empty calories to the body.During times of high stress, eat more complex carbohydrates (fruits, vegetables, whole breads, cereals, and beans).
7. Get moving. The human body was designed to be physically active. However, in most jobs today, people are sitting down most of the time. They hardly move at all except when it is time for coffee break or lunch. When faced with stressors, we respond with our minds, not our bodies. It is no wonder that many of us have a difficult time responding to stressful events. Exercise is one of the simplest and most effective ways to respond to stress. Activity provides a natural release for the body during its fight-or-flight state of arousal. After exercising, the body returns to its normal state of equilibrium, and one feels relaxed and refreshed.
8. Look for ways to let go of tension and anxiety. Meditation and progressive relaxation are two valuable ways to regenerate and refresh yourself. You can purchase meditation and relaxation audiotapes or record your own. This is especially important because your health and long life depend on minimizing stress and achieving a sense of balance and well-being.
Garrett Coan is a professional therapist,coach and psychotherapist. His two Northern New Jersey office locations are accessible to individuals who reside in Bergen County, Essex County, Passaic County, Rockland County, and Manhattan. Garrett also offers online and telephone coaching and counseling services for those who live at a distance. He can be accessed through http://www.creativecounselors.com or at 201-303-4303.
4 Steps to Teaching Your Family to Treat You Better
Case #1- Elizabeth, a 40 year old homemaker was always feeling angry and "used" by her family, constantly saying that everybody took advantage of her. She felt that she worked like a slave but her family showed no appreciation or acknowledgement of her many efforts.
Do You Have Your Foot On The Pedal? Are You Overwhelmed At Work?
Is your in-tray or inbox full? I don't normally check the time that emails are sent to me, but for some reason I noticed that Nadia's message had beensent at 2am. In her email she explained that she really needed some help, to deal with all the stress in her life:
How Stress Effects Neurotransmitters
The brain uses feel-good transmitters called endorphins when managing daily stress. When the brain requires larger amounts of endorphins to handle increased stress, the ratio of many of the other transmitters, one to another, becomes upset creating a chemical imbalance. We begin to feel stress more acutely -- a sense of urgency and anxiety creates even more stress. As a result, harmful chemicals are released in our bodies that may do damage, causing more stress. This vicious cycle is called the "stress cycle." Emotional fatigue might result and be experienced and felt as depression.
Stress Management: 7 Universal Laws for Managing Change
1. The Law of Stagnation
Stress Causing People to ?Super Size?
Stress Causing People to "Super Size"by Georgianna Donadio D.C., M.Sc., Ph.D. It is currently reported that two out of three adults is either overweight or obese, and the numbers continue to climb. As a result, statistics demonstrate that a significant portion of our population is being diagnosed with chronic conditions, such as diabetes and heart disease. Even more shocking is that we are experiencing these conditions at earlier ages than previously reported. It is not unusual today, to hear about a young person in their 20's diagnosed with mature onset diabetes, normally developed during middle-age. On May 7, 2004, a controversial and award-winning movie aimed at exploring the obesity epidemic hit theatres. In "Super Size Me", a tongue-in-cheek look at the legal, financial and physical costs of our hunger for fast food, filmmaker Morgan Spurlock explores the horrors of school lunch programs, declining health education and physical education classes, food addictions and the extreme measures people take to lose weight. As a centerpiece of the film, Spurlock puts his own body on the line, living on nothing but McDonald's for 30 days following three rules:1) Eat only what is available over the counter2) No supersizing unless offered3) Consume every item on the menu at least onceIn the end, Spurlock has a weight gain of 24 pounds and experiences harrowing visits to the doctor. The issues that are explored in "Super Size Me" beg the question, what has changed in our environment to cause this obesity problem to reach epidemic proportions? Furthermore, what is causing people to overeat as we do? A groundbreaking study, reported in 2003 by the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, found that between 1977 and 1996, portion sizes for key food groups grew markedly in the United States, not only at fast-food restaurants but also in homes and at conventional restaurants. In particular, portion sizes for salty and sugary foods, essentially, "comfort foods" experienced the most dramatic portion size increases. For example, the USDA's recommended serving size for a cookie is half an ounce, while the average cookie sold in restaurants was found to be 700% larger. The by-products of our affluent American society, envied by many around the world, have a definite dark side, our obesity rate, for starters. In a culture where more is better and disposable income is abundant, when it comes to eating we have developed a "more food, more conveniently and more often" attitude. Stress: A Pre-Cursor to Obesity Certainly, no one forces us to eat more than our body needs, so what is driving this "hunger" for more? Over the last two decades, almost proportionally to the dramatic increase of food consumed and chronic disease diagnoses, the amount of stress in our society and on each of us individually has increased significantly. Stress is the term medical researcher Hans Selye, M.D., PhD, gave to the experience our bodies go through when we have to adjust or adapt to the various changes our bodies experience during the course of the day. While many of us think of stress in relationship to emotional states, many other factors can exert an equally detrimental effect on our bodies as well. When we do not get enough sleep or rest, work or exercise too much, nutritional status, have an infection, have allergies, injuries or trauma, undergo dental or surgical procedures, have emotional upsets, or deal with any aspect of reproductive function such a pregnancy, menopause, etc., our bodies must chemically and neurologically adapt in order to survive. Part of this adaptation process relies heavily on the nutrition that is available for the kidney's adrenal glands to produce the adaptive hormones. It is often this aspect of stress that can lead to overeating, and what's more, overeating the types of foods that cause unhealthy weight gain. How it works Thanks to the work of M.I.T. Professor Judith Wurtman, Ph.D. and others we now understand the significant role that a neurotransmitter or "chemical messenger" called Serotonin plays in producing our cravings for complex carbohydrates and sugars, two of the largest contributors to unhealthy weight gain. Serotonin along with other neurotransmitters, are produced by our bodies as "feel good" hormones. Under stress, we do not have enough of these hormones and we become motivated to "self-sooth" by behaviors that lead to the increase of Serotonin. Overeating of carbohydrate and fatty-rich foods or "comfort foods" such as cookies, ice cream, etc. significantly increases these hormones. Many addictions such as smoking, alcohol, and drugs are also attempts to self-sooth and increase Serotonin, but no other addictive or unhealthy behavior is as socially acceptable and as easily available as over eating. We can do it anywhere, anytime, alone or with company. It is no wonder we have such a love affair with eating. In addition, our bodies need for certain nutrients, specifically protein, Vitamins A, C, and E, unsaturated fatty acids, cholesterol, and minerals, skyrocket when we are "adapting" under stress. Often, if we do not stop the stress cycle or do not appropriately supplement these nutrients, we can turn to overeating to satisfy the body's demands for the fuel it needs to keep dealing with the stress we are experiencing. For a period of time, foods that comfort, sooth or supplement can make us feel calmer until our level of Serotonin drops again or until we become more exhausted and need to feed ourselves, yet again. Then, we start the cycle all over and consume more carbohydrate and fatty rich foods until we feel better. This is the cycle of self-medication or self-soothing practiced in homes, offices, restaurants, automobiles and yes, even bathrooms across America. The long-term effect of such behaviors, apart from obesity and escalating chronic diseases, is that our nervous systems are being hyper-stimulated. Anxiety, exhaustion, depression, overeating and insomnia are just a few of the symptoms we experience when our nervous systems are working on overload. As a result, it is no wonder that within the last year, low-carbohydrate diets have proven effective for so many people. Approximately 20% of Americans or 20 million people are currently on a low-carb diet. For many of us, our stress level is a major factor in the over consumption of carbohydrates, therefore reducing or eating normal amounts of carbohydrates is spawning weight loss. The real issue, however, is how long can we reduce are carbohydrate loading without reducing our stress levels and the behaviors that create elevated stress in the first place? Causes of Stress Prior to the early 1970's, the majority of family units were structured as a one wage earner household where the male worked and the female stayed at home, taking care of the house and family. Driven largely by social and socio-economic factors, all of that has changed. Now, the overwhelming majority of families include both parents working and we find ourselves on a treadmill of more work, more responsibilities, more demands and non-stop scheduling that has many of us in a state of physical and, at times, emotional exhaustion. Added to the mix is our competitive culture, which often leads to isolation or a "them against us" thinking. Isolation of this nature causes additional "hidden" stress. A Hindu Vendata truth is that "the whole world is one family". It is said that there is only one disease, the disease of separateness; separating oneself from the awareness that as members of the human family, we are one living organism. The drama created by a "one-up" or "one-down" dynamic, that we find in competitive societies, can lead to the exhaustion and the psychosocial behavioral issues which can contribute to overeating. Understanding Exhaustion and its' Effect on Obesity The tipping point at which our bodies can no longer compensate or adapt from the stress it is under, is based in large part on the threshold of nutritional competency and the state of integrity of our nervous system. When our central nervous system, which governs every cell in our body and makes life possible, is not working efficiently, we have a decrease in bodily function and the ability to adapt to the world we live in. Chronic Fatigue Syndromes, CFS, are rampant in our culture today and growing at an alarming rate because of the over stimulation and increased demands placed on our nervous systems. Add to this inadequate nutrition and a decreased ability of our bodies to digest and absorb properly because of the stress, and we see the foundation of the epidemic of chronic diseases being currently reported. What is so shocking for us, as Americans, is that while we live in one of the most affluent societies ever to exist on earth and have one of the most technologically advanced medical systems we are raked at approximately twenty-sixth in the world health Olympics. This is not the failure of our medical system, but in fact, the failure to live in our bodies mindfully and respectfully, taking time for rest, proper nutrition, reflection, intimacy with self and others and serving the common good of society. It is this imbalance that leads us to chronic stress, which leads to physical and, if you will, spiritual exhaustion that is producing the levels of chronic diseases and the rampant obesity we see today. Self-Esteem and Health We have an innate understanding of how we need to choose to live to be healthy.Yet, adages about health i.e., "early to be, early to rise, makes a man healthy wealthy and wise", are often ignored in place of our instant gratification or immediate comfort.Physical labor has taken a back seat to "mind work", and today we work harder than ever before to have the money to buy a membership to a gym or spa so we can do the physical exercise we need to be healthy and attractive. However, rarely do we actually have the time to go to the gym we pay membership fees to. Statistically, the average gym membership is used for the first 4 ? 6 weeks after signing up and then falls off dramatically. Workout facilities count on this phenomenon when planning their recruitment and enrollment numbers. Likewise, diet plans and weight loss centers know that 90% or more of their customers will continue to have body weight issues, in spite of their best efforts to re-direct to a different way of eating. Why? The Oprah Syndrome One of the most powerful, successful people in the world, Oprah Winfrey is a brilliant example of the "super size" syndrome in our culture. With every possible service, care and expert available to her, Oprah has continued to struggle with significant weight gain and loss for many years. In 2001, a chart published in a popular magazine, documents her weight gain and loss over the previous 20 years. Even during the height of her popularity and professional success, her body weight rose to dangerously elevated levels. The reasons most of us give for not taking care of ourselves include; not having enough time to shop for or cook the right foods; not being sure what's best for our body type; not enough money for domestic help so we can exercise, meditate or relax; stress over money and achieving success. Oprah is an individual who has more than enough money and success to eliminate all those concerns, yet in spite of that she still does not consistently maintain a proper body weight. Driven by personal history and ambition, Oprah offers a perfect example of the potential outcome of Serotonin driven self-soothing, which invites us to ask and answer questions about self-esteem and self care. When we understand the relationship between our unconscious mind, our self-esteem and the serotonin connection, it becomes quite clear that what is at the core of our "super sizing" is not solved by the "diet of the month" or the next "how to" bestseller. Rather, an examination of our personal worldview, our ego state, our treatment and regard for nature and for others, what we value, what we believe in, how much we consume and how much we accumulate. When these aspects of self are aligned with choices that lead to moderation rather than ambition, that produce balance rather than extremes, that debunk the thinking that "more is better", we then select the foods we innately know are healthy, even when we must choose from the fast food menu. In a culture comprised of 5% of the world population, using 75% of the world's resources, we have come to accept excess as a way of life and a standard to subscribe to. In the 1980's, Robin Leach's television show, "Life Styles of the Rich and Famous", tainted our appetites for a standard of over consumption that has brought us to where we are today ? obese and chronically diseased. Take a Tip from the Gurus Eastern philosophies offer us an opportunity to re-think our approach to the way we live. Quite opposite from our "in your face" attitude of self-manifestation, Eastern wisdom invites us to ponder, "how much do I really need; to do; to have; to eat; to own; to control; to be content with my life; and what is the role of gratitude in my life?" Shouldn't having a calm, well functioning nervous system, the source of all life in the body, be a main objective for all of us instead of trying to trick the body into doing what we want with the latest diet craze or vitamin pills available? Change the Question It may be time to change the questions we not only ask ourselves, but the questions we are asked as consumers. Maybe, if when making his fast food purchases, Morgan Spurlock was asked the question "super size or down size, sir?" the choices he might have made could have resulted in significant weight loss rather than weight gain, but then Spurlock would not have a movie to make, or the millions that will be realized from it.
Stress Management: 5 More Things to Clean Out of Your Mental Closet
Rested? The Three Keys to Finding True Rest, Just in Case
What do you think of when you see that word? Envy? Vague nostalgia? Familiar comfort? When did you last feel truly rested, and woke up feeling recharged, content, and ready to enjoy the day? If you're having trouble remembering, then read on.
Need To Stop Worrying?
I once worked with a woman whose zest,joy and enthusiasm lit up the room [and it was a big office!]
Taking Care of Yourself
Living in our world today can be very stressful. While some of the stress that we experience is actually useful for motivating us, a point can be reached where it becomes very harmful, physically, emotionally and even spiritually. Knowing how to manage and even reduce the harmful effects of stress on a daily basis, of staying balanced and centered as we encounter the many stressors of everyday living, is crucial to our well being. Among other things, taking care of ourselves will necessarily involve us nurturing our physical body, of eating healthy foods, of exercising. Learning how to take care of ourselves in this respect is also very important for everyone as our experience of stress can and does affect others as well.
Stress Dangerously Raises Cholesterol Levels
Several studies, including one of medical students around exam time, and another of accountants during tax season, have shown significant increases in cholesterol levels during stressful events ? when there was little change in diet.
Stress Managment and Mastery: Learning to Rebound
Q. I've suffered a few setbacks and disappointments in the last year and seem to be bogged down in them. A business that I began failed, and my long-term girlfriend left me for someone else.
Stress- What Is It?
Whenever we think of 'stress', negative thoughts come into our minds. Most of us believe that stress is similar to worries, tensions, failures, sadness, pressures, and what not. Basically negative things. Dictionary meanings of stress are mental pressure, physical pressure, illness or an extra force on a word or syllable. These meanings also signify the negative attributes of stress whether directly or indirectly.
It is Looking Up for Stress Relief
No this is not related to praying, this is how your brain works. Looking up will reduce your stress?..immediately. Why, you may be asking?
Squeeze To Relax!
This heading may seem like a contradiction in terms. How on earth is squeezing anything going to allow for relaxation to occur? Surely it will generate more tension, won't it?
Moving Through Breakdowns with Transformation
Success in recovery, or rather, staying in recovery, is dependent upon a variety of factors. For example, it appears that attending daily NA or AA meetings and staying in communication with ones chosen sponsor will definitely assist an individual in successfully implementing his recovery plan. Getting and staying committed to working the 12 Step Program also appears to increase the probability of the person staying abstinent from drugs and alcohol. While the above-mentioned elements of a persons overall recovery plan are crucial to his recovery, another major factor that will greatly influence an individual's continued abstinence is how he is able to handle the breakdowns that happen in life.
Common SENSS Stress Control
Statistics show that all of us experience stress at one point in time or another. It is no longer a question of whether or not we are stressed, but rather how much stress we can tolerate. A consistently high level can lead to many physical ailments such as gastro-intestinal problems, sleep disorders, headaches, heart attacks, flu, frequent colds, cancer, skin problems, depression, and chronic pain. For example, it does not mean that every single incidence of heart attack is caused by stress, but the bulk of evidence suggests that stress is an important factor. The goal in stress control is not to eliminate stress, but to create more of a balance between your demands and coping resources. The first question to ask is "Do I actually want to be less stressed?"
Stress Managment: 12 Universal Laws for Managing Anger
1. The Law of Everyone
Is Your Workplace Suffering from Contagious Stress?
We wonder how many of you might recognise this scenario? Although it happened with a male manager, it could apply to men or women. The manager we worked with had been promoted to a more senior role and was experiencing demands from all sides. He became increasingly tired, was working long hours and spending less time with his family. His overall energy dropped, anxiety levels increased, sleep was disrupted and concentration and focus diminished. He no longer took time to exercise, found himself snatching meals of dubious quality and kept himself going with constant fixes of coffee and Red Bull. Apart from the impact on him ? what do you think were the effects on his family and the people who worked for and with him?
Turn Your Stress into Success!
Stress is often seen as being unhealthy, but for some it is the very key to their success.
Sometimes C.O.P.I.N.G Is All We Can Do
We strive for excellence in our lives, going at full throttle, but sometimes we are faced with a situation where all we do is "hurry up and wait".
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