How to Survive Holiday Season Stress

Spending time with friends and family over the holidays is one of the nations most loved pastimes; however, for many people it can also be a season of mixed emotions that makes them feel anxious, stressed and worried. Not everybody has special fun memories that they want to reminisce over, and often, being in a family situation can trigger the childhood patterns that you thought you had put to bed.

To help you gain positives from this holiday season, here are 3 tips to survive the holiday season. 

     1. Have realistic expectations

The holiday season is always portrayed in the media as being perfect, and no social media feed provides you with the true picture of other people’s holiday. The reality is often very different. No family is perfect, and so try not to build great expectations of the celebrations into something that they are not likely to meet.

There’s a fine line between being optimistic and unrealistically hopeful. The chances are high that if Grandma always slates your career choice, she will again in the holidays. You may hope that she’ll stop discouraging you from pursuing your dreams, but realistically, she will dampen your spirits with negativity.

It’s how you react to the individual and situation that controls the impact that they have on your sense of wellbeing. Exposure to negativity can really dampen your spirits, so it’s important that your interactions with negative people are limited; you can’t avoid them completely!

The Gray Rock Method is a way of dealing with people with who you have a toxic or negative relationship. In short, it means that you don’t add fuel to their fire: respond to them without emotion with a simple and polite response. It takes practice, but once the person doesn’t succeed in baiting an emotional response from you, their attention will go elsewhere.

     2. Prepare

It can be easy to get caught up in the holiday excitement and make decisions that you may regret later once the festivities are over. If you leave everything until the last minute, you are more than likely to make bad decisions. Prepare for the holidays; this way, you keep in control of what you are going to do, and you won’t feel bullied into going somewhere or seeing someone you don’t want to. Things to prepare:

  • The diary

Know exactly where you are going to be and when. Again, be realistic about what you agree to do. Yes, it is the season of spending times with loved ones but show some self-love and give yourself some time off to rejuvenate and relax. Having an organized diary also means that should you receive an invite to somewhere you are not keen to go to, you can always say that you have previous plans.

  • The food

If you are catering for an army of friends and family, prepare as much of it as you can in advance; your freezer is your holiday season friend. You want to be able to relax without spending all day in the kitchen. Create a schedule that details the timings of when dishes need to go in the over so that you know exactly what to do and when.

  • The gifts

Yes, you will want to give loved ones gifts, but if you leave buying them until the last minute, you are more than likely going to panic buy. Set yourself a budget and stick to it. Post-holiday debt will impact your future financial stability, but if you do find that you have overspent, be proactive about clearing it as soon as you can. You can take out a loan to pay your debts and make manageable monthly installments instead, Bonsai Finance provides finance for this situation.

     3. Be moderate

The holiday season is not usually a period of moderation; however, excessive indulgence can seriously impact your physical and mental health. Overeating, drinking too much alcohol on top of a reduced sleep can make the side effects of the celebrations linger.

  • Drink

While it can be good fun to have a drink with friends and family, it can be the cause of arguments and misunderstandings. Moderate your drinking. You don’t have to abstain, just drink responsibly. Alternate between alcoholic drinks and sodas so that your consumption is halved. Alcohol and depression go hand in hand, and if you must face friends and family with a hangover, you often feel more vulnerable and anxious.

Remember to drink plenty of water to help your body process the toxins that your body has ingested. Your vital organs depend on it to function, and it can be easy to forget to drink enough.

  • Food

Holiday meals tend to be richer than everyday foods and eating too many calories can easily be done. Take time over your meal to properly chew your food – it takes 20 minutes for your brain to understand that your stomach is full! By having a more leisurely meal, you will eat the amount of food that is needed, and not feed to excess.

  • Sleep

Late nights and early starts can impact you both physically and emotionally, especially when combined with the excess of food and alcohol. Lack of sleep can affect your mood by making you more emotional and more likely to lose your temper, which can heighten feelings of anxiety and depression. A weakened immune system is one side effect of a lack of sleep, so you are more likely to catch colds and viruses as a result. Take extra vitamin supplements to keep your defenses up.

Holiday season can be a great time to spend with family, friends and loved ones, but often it is marred by family politics and relationships. Take time to step out and take a breather. You don’t have to engage fully with people who pull you down, you don’t have to explain why you are not having another glass of wine, enjoy the celebrations under your own terms and live for today.

How college students can manage stress effectively?

College life is an immensely valuable period of young people’s lives. It opens new perspectives and broadens the horizons, making room for personal development and growth. So, why is it that college is so often associated with stress? And what makes this period of life so stressful for students? Well, there are many reasons why students can feel the pressure of college life: new surroundings, high expectations, sleepless nights, exams, projects, finances…

Still, no matter what the source of your stress is, you need to find ways of managing it effectively. Battling stress can be a handful, but once you get a hold of it, there’s no going back to it.

Take a look at some of the most effective ways of managing stress as a college student.

source: Pixabay

1.     Pin it Down

The number one rule for battling any kind of stress is to find its main source.

It often happens that we feel stressed out and worried without even knowing what exactly is making us feel that way. That makes it impossible for us to battle it and overcome it.

Therefore, college students need to take a deep look inside and face their worries. The best way to do this is to ask yourself some of these questions:

  • What is making me nervous?
  • What I am worried about?
  • If there was one problem I could solve immediately, what would it be?
  • Why do I feel this way?

Pretending like the problem isn’t there and hoping it will go away is not going to solve it. You have to face it and embrace that you’re vulnerable.

Only then can you think about managing the stress.

2.     Take Control

Even though you may be feeling lost and helpless at some point during your college years, you need to remember you’re in control of your life and there’s no one else who can solve your problems.

If you managed to pin down the sources of your stress, it’s time to try removing them.

The main sources of stress for college students are:

  • Academic Success
  • Social Life
  • Nostalgia
  • Financial Issues

Let us try and break these down a bit, finding possible solutions for managing stress caused by the main sources.

  • Academic success

The reason you got into college is to get a great education and grades are immensely important for you. We get it.

Still, you can’t be the slave of your academic success. The stress of maintaining it will eat you up so here’s what you can do to handle it:

  • Make a study planner and stick to it.
  • Find a study buddy, and help each other out.
  • Use online resources: find study materials, use practice sheets, hire online tutors or even check out what are the best essay writing services.
  • don’t push yourself too hard

  • Social Life

Some college students find it difficult to make new contacts and interact with people they don’t know. Still, you can’t be alone and lonely all the time and you need to start making friends ASAP. Here’s how to do it:

  • Join a college club: mathematics, drama, ecology etc.
  • Get to class early to have time to chat with colleagues.
  • Get a roommate or spend more time with the one you’re assigned.
  • Attend all the events you’re invited to.

  • Nostalgia

Being homesick is a cause of serious stress and anxiety for many students. Deal with this stress by:

  • Spending less time alone in your room and finding more things to keep you busy.
  • Talking about it, with a friend or counselor.

  • Financial issues

When money is lacking, stress can increase. You have to worry about paying the bills, the tuition, the food and even maintaining a social life. You basically have two options:

  • Find a job: earning a bit of extra cash is always welcome. Find something that takes only a couple of hours from your week so as not to affect your grades.
  • Apply for a scholarship: find an open spot, write a killer application letter and hope for the best. Check out the reviews of companieswhich can help you write it.

It’s important that we’re on the same page here: it takes time and effort to battle any source of stress. It won’t go away overnight. But, don’t let it take control over your mental health. You’re stronger than it.

3.     Healthy Lifestyle

Even though there are specific sources of your stress, it’s time we take a look at the bigger picture.

Your body can feel the stress as well, and if you’re not treating it right it will affect your mental health and add pressure to your already worried mind.

In order to remove the unnecessary stress your body may be experiencing, you need to make sure you’re leading a  healthy lifestyle.

It implies that you:

  • Eat regularly and properly: more fresh food and healthy ingredients; less junk food, alcohol and cigarettes
  • Exercise: go for a jog a couple of times a week or do any kind of sports. Exercise is great for removing stress.
  • Sleep well: don’t put additional stress on your body by not sleeping regularly. Obviously, you’re going to party and stay up all night from time to time- just don’t make it a regular thing.

Final Thoughts

The main point we wish to underline is that stress isn’t going to go away on its own. You need to confront it and find a way to reduce it or remove it completely. By doing so, you’ll ensure you’re saving your mental health and helping yourself enjoy the college years.

 Use the advice listed above and start battling our stress today. You’ll be doing yourself a huge favor.

Daniela McVicker is a freelance writer, blogger, and editor at Trust My Paper. She graduated from Durham University and has an MA in psychological science. Her passion is travel and finding ways to enrich students’ learning experience.

Three Ways to Combat Anxiety with or without Medication

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Suffering with anxiety can have a massive impact on your life. Anxiety can be much more than simply worrying about things; it can get in the way of your work, studies, relationships, and even mess up your day to day routine. Living with anxiety can be difficult, but the good news is that the condition is becoming more and more acknowledged and understood around the world. If you’re suffering with anxiety, there are several healthy alternatives to prescribed medication that you may want to try in order to better manage your condition. Maybe you’re finding that prescribed medication isn’t working well for you at the moment, or you want to try something else alongside this to boost your recovery chances. We’ve put together some of the best alternative methods of dealing with anxiety.

#1. Dietary Supplements:

Improving your diet can certainly have a positive effect on anxiety and stress. Alongside making the effort to eat a healthier and more balanced diet, you may also benefit from taking dietary supplements. Sleep support supplements are designed to help you improve your sleeping habits, whilst having a positive effect on your stress and anxiety levels. This supplement contains a range of ingredients that can help to regulate your sleep-wake cycle, which in turn has a direct effect on stress and anxiety levels. This includes 5-HTP to support the production of serotonin, an important neurotransmitter when it comes to mental health and well-being. If you are taking medication for anxiety, please speak to your doctor before taking any supplements.

#2. Exercise:

Getting some exercise might be the last thing on your mind when you’re feeling anxious but improving the amount of physical activity that you do on a day-to-day basis can make a huge difference to your anxiety levels overall. Yoga is a particularly good choice for people suffering with anxiety since it promotes deep, controlled breathing which will help to reduce your heart rate and promote feelings of calm and control. Even light exercise, such as walking your dog or cycling in the countryside, will release ‘feel-good’ hormones and help you feel happier overall, which can have a huge effect on your stress levels and help to keep anxious feelings at bay.

#3. Seek Support:

For many people with anxiety, seeking support is a massive part of recovering. Whether or not you are currently taking any prescription medications for anxiety, having a good support network around you can make all the difference that you need. It’s certainly worth seeking support in the form of a trained therapist, who can help you understand your thought patterns and gain a better knowledge of why you feel the way that you do. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is based on getting to the root cause of your anxiety issues and coming up with healthier methods of dealing with them that leave you firmly in control.

Dealing with anxiety can be a struggle, but you don’t have to do it on your own. Getting the right support and taking steps to improve your lifestyle can help you regain control once again.

How Ibogaine is Shaping Addiction Treatment

Addiction treatments have remained the same for many years now. Rehab clinics have a standard set of treatment methods that are similar from one clinic to the next. Patients are assisted through withdrawal, counseled, and given a continuing home plan. This process only lasts a few weeks, and many addicts check themselves out without completing the program. They also may not have adequate support once they return home. The same mental afflictions that led them to addition have also not been dealt with, in most cases. Ibogaine treatments offer a new approach. They are changing the way treatment is approached. Instead of treating just the symptoms, ibogaine clinics reach deeper to help patients deal with problems that may have been plaguing them since childhood.

The Physical

The physical withdrawal symptoms of addiction can be incredibly challenging. When heroin is the drug of choice, withdrawals can be unbearable. These can vary from muscle pain, night sweats, shakes, and paranoia. In severe cases, seizures can also happen. The list of physical symptoms is incredibly long and involves almost every aspect of the body, from the gastrointestinal to psychological. It is highly recommended that a medical professional be present when these are experienced. Ibogaine has changed the way this part of addiction recovery is shaped. Ibogaine offers relief form these uncomfortable symptoms. It seeks out different receptors in the body that allow it to somehow interfere with the presentation of withdrawal symptoms. success of the psychedelic ibogaine treatment weighs heavily on its alternative approach.

Mental

Traditional treatment focuses on symptoms, even when counseling is initiated. Programs tend to work on changing the addictive behavior. This approach, often called behavior therapy or behavior modification focuses on changing the daily habits of addicts and anxiety patients.  Therapists may also work on giving the patient daily coping skills. These skills are meant to be used when there is a craving, difficult feelings, or other struggles.

These methods, however, ignore the underlying problems that may have led the patient to use drugs in the first place. Emotional trauma can easily start in early childhood and follow us all the way to adulthood. Everyone deals with these situations differently. A lack of support from family can be devastating to a child. Abuse, bullying, and broken relationships can take their toll on a developing mind.

Ibogaine treatments take a new approach. Those that use this method are focused on helping the addict figure out what is truly bothering them. You cannot solve a problem if you do not even know what it is. The treatments create an altered state of mind that is thought to help patients become more aware of their deep and hidden emotional problems. Once they better understand the source of their behavior, they can begin to make progress towards a solution. Therapy can then be focused on the correct goals.

Availability

Ibogaine treatments are becoming a global trend, however, they are not available everywhere. There are a handful of places that offer regulated treatment centers. These are often located in Mexico, South America, and Canada. It is illegal in the United States and research there was halted in 1967 when the substance was added to the illegal drug list. Individuals often travel far, and out of their own countries, to receive ibogaine treatments. Treatment centers with proper medical practices and staff can help to reduce risks involved with treatment. Clinics that run pre-treatment heart and liver exams can help reduce the risk of unsafe treatments. This proper medical approach is changing the face of ibogaine treatment.

Ibogaine treatment no longer must take on an underground market approach. If the treatments are not available where you live, you can seek treatment elsewhere. Ibogaine changes the way withdrawals are experienced and are thought to make therapy more effective. Ibogaine treatments are dramatically changing addiction treatment methods.

Best Tips To Reduce Anxiety

Do you feel worried or nervous more than is considered usual? Does the stress of everyday life take a toll on you, so much so that you experience aches and pains? These feelings, most often, are typical responses to various situations happening in our daily lives. Other times, these feelings are far from ordinary and are signs of real anxiety.

Everyone experiences anxiety, some people more frequently than others. Whereas some people experience anxiety through feelings of worry or concern, others tend to experience more physical symptoms. These physical traits can be mistaken for the symptoms of other conditions. However, symptoms such as chest pains and insomnia are also symptoms of anxiety.

If you are suffering from anxiety, there are many ways to help you control and distract your thoughts, here are some of them.

Be Aware Of Your Symptoms

After identifying your signs and symptoms, it’s time to accept them and work your way through them. Find out what it is you’re worried about. Is it worth worrying? Does it have an outcome you can’t control? Or you’re dreading a result that’s unlikely? Sit yourself down and adequately dissect your feelings, placing them into perspective.

Practice Intense Breathing

Consider breathing your mini meditation skill. Research indicated that deep breathing calms not only the body but the mind as well. Do this exercise in a quiet room or space, inhaling for a count of ten. Hold your breath for a second, before using the next ten counts to exhale. Repeat the process up until you begin to feel a fall in speeding heart rate.

Use Meditation Apps

In this tech-savvy world, many apps have been created to help people move through stress or phases of anxiety with a series of exercises and techniques. There are free meditation apps have been designed to help you calm down whenever you feel anxious. Since they cost next to nothing, it’s easy to try out several to find one that works best for you.

Envisage Serenity

You can create a new place, or merely picture any place that calms you down. This is the best activity for when you find yourself in a situation you can’t immediately avoid, a tense meeting, for example. Practice deep breathing while you visualize this location.

Have A Massage

Another way to envisage serenity is to get a massage. Massages may be costly and not as efficient as other tips, but they are essential if you’re looking the feel more grounded and relaxed. The quiet environment and untightening of your nerves may be just what you need to send that anxious feeling packing.

Practice Yoga

In recent years, more studies have provided clues to the health-promoting effects of yoga. Whether in mental illness, back pain, asthma or cardiovascular diseases – everywhere yoga should have a positive impact. Yoga, as well as any other meditation exercise, is excellent for feeling ‘grounded’ in the midst of anxiety. It has been shown to have a positive impact on our mental health and balance.

Practice Tai Chi

Activities such as Tai Chi and Qigong combine deep breathing and serenity visualization techniques to bring you back into your body and space. It can be done as a group or in the comfort of your bedroom, with significant effect.

Practice Relaxation

In patients diagnosed with anxiety disorder, spending at least half an hour a day doing relaxing activities can help with relaxation. These also include walking, meditation, tai chi or yoga as mentioned above. These exercises are not only useful in helping you to relax and relieve anxiety, but they are also good for your health. Relaxation also helps to lower the heart rate and makes you ready to face the rest of the day, as well as effectively interact with people at work or elsewhere. Therefore, if you want to see the natural way how to cure anxiety, you should consider relaxation.

Use CBD Oil

CBD oil is a cannabinoid extracted from the cannabis plant. CBD oils have been discovered to be essential in therapeutic healing. Their concentrations and uses vary greatly, but their benefits on a person’s health are almost the same.

CBD also works as a natural pain relief; oils are considered a more organic alternative to prescription drugs for the relief of stiffness and pain. CBD oil has proved to be an excellent aid with the reduction of symptoms of depression and anxiety disorders. This oil, according to research, may aid with the decline in the physical symptoms caused by a panic disorder, social anxiety disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, general anxiety disorder, and obsessive-compulsive disorder. There are many online stores where you can purchase CBD oil such as Wellspring. For more information, read more here.

Get Proactive With Physical Activities

Simple acts such as exercising, by being active daily can influence the health of your mind. These may not take away your chest pains, but they may help to reduce your chances of getting anxiety attacks or chest aches in the future.

Quit The Caffeine

It doesn’t have that much of a downside, has loads of benefits plus, a little goes a long way. Most people believe the myth that caffeine can’t dehydrate your system. Even though caffeine is known to be a mild painkiller, taking it in high doses can be detrimental to people suffering from pain or anxiety.

Practice Box Breathing

Box breathing comes with many benefits for anxiety sufferers. It is a method you can apply when you find yourself in an area or situation where its best to calm yourself discreetly. Look out for a rectangle around you. It can be an entire building or something as small as your office door. Using something tangible to support your breathing patterns is extremely helpful. Use each side of the rectangle as a representative of your breathing, inhaling or exhaling. For example, you can use the faces of the door to breathe in or out, and the sides to hold your breath. Box breathing is one way to switch up things around you to make you more calm and composed.

Use Lavender Oil

Using lavender oil can be a very effective method to help to calm your mind. Patients with anxiety disorders benefit from preparations containing lavender oil. One study shows that herbal alternatives to psyche can be as effective as conventional medicines. An absolute plus of the natural drug: fewer side effects and better deductibility.

Have A Stress Ball Always Handy

Another effective tip to help you stay calm and control stress is to have something handy that you can hold in your hands such as a stress ball for example. The possible reason why this trick works is that the brain cannot focus on other things and having something to hold on too often gives off a feeling of relief. Even in schools, many teachers always advise their students to hold something in their hands when making a presentation to help take away any nervous feeling. So it is always good to have an object handy that can help distract your mind from anxiety and panic.

Work On Your Sense Of Humor

Laughter is considered the best medicine. Therefore, having a sense of humor will always help you stay more relaxed, with continuous feelings of happiness. Even a simple fake laugh can immediately increase your dopamine levels. Dopamine is a brain chemical that helps to increase positive emotions because it controls our feelings of pleasure. If it is difficult to laugh for you, you should try the visualization method of imagining only positive or happy things. You can also search for funny videos on YouTube that will help you laugh. Laughter helps to lower the stress hormone that releases when you are feeling anxious and worrying.

Consider A Lifestyle Change

If you live a life of uncertainty and are under a lot of stress, you should think about changing your lifestyle. This includes getting adequate sleep, slowing down your daily routine, and providing adequate nutrition to your body. Maybe you can take some weeks off when you feel burned out. It is also important that you think about your own expectations of yourself so that you can prevent adding any additional pressure on yourself. Exercise can be supportive, helping to relieve tension and reduce stress.

Have A Change Of Diet

A lifestyle also includes a change in diet – to a healthy and balanced diet. Proper nutrition has been proven to help cure disease. Even with anxiety, it can have a positive effect on the person affected and relieve anxiety. A balanced diet includes, for example, natural fats such as virgin olive oil and avocado, whole grains, all sorts of vegetables, fruits and plenty of still water. Try to drink at least two liters of water every day. Avoid alcohol and caffeine because these substances can even increase your anxiety. You should eat enough nutrients, vitamins, and minerals so that your body is fully functional. Diets should be completely avoided.

Visit A Doctor

In the event of severe chest pains, or if they become chronic, you will have to book an appointment with a therapist. Doctors can propose techniques which may not come to you naturally in moments of panic. If after the coaching techniques you still feel the pains, getting prescription drugs should be considered. It’s true that the continuous use of anti-anxiety medicines exposes you to specific side effects and risks, but they can be of immense help while you learn all the techniques for coping with your symptoms.

All examples listed above are but a few of the techniques you can apply, thus, consider them the basics. You can come up with personal methods that mess up the mental or physical patterns of your anxiety, making it difficult and almost impossible for it to stay within your system.

Does stress affect sleep?

Not all kinds of insomnia has its roots in stress but stress could be called a major contributing factor to sleep-loss.

A Survey that was take throughout America to gain insight into sleep habits of adults found that at least 40% of adults report not getting enough sleep.

A majority of adults surveyed that is 3 out of 4 report getting less than 8 hours sleep. 1 in 4 adults sleep for less than 5 hours every night.

Such sleep habits can put them at serious risk of several illnesses, loss of productivity and many mishaps.

But if stress is a contributing factor, reducing the same would bring in much-needed relief.

Stress can trigger insomnia and stress induced insomnia affects our ability to fall asleep and stay that way. This could in turn trigger hyper arousal disturbing sleep patterns and upsetting those.

Discovering the root cause of sleep problems

You may feel that sleeplessness is triggered due to insomnia but there could be other factors at work here.

To understand if stress is the real culprit try to figure out when did your sleep problems begin?

If you always feel let down that could be due to several factors including depression, chronic mood disorder or low serotonin production. This may or may not contribute to sleep-loss and the underlying factors could be something else.

If you began taking a certain kind of medication, some of the understated effects include loss in sleep.

Was it a major assignment at work that kept you awake with many sleepless nights in between? Is the stress from such assignments regularly hampering your sleep?

If stress is the reason for sleep troubles you should try to relax as much as possible.

People tend to worry too much they’re not getting sleep. And that worry fuels further problems— resulting in no sleep at all.

If it’s chronic stress you’re suffering from understanding how it acts on your body and responses the body produces in turn is going to help resolve it.

How does chronic stress act on us?

When our brain perceives a threat it releases a wave of hormones that trigger specific bodily responses.

Release of adrenaline results in the fight or flight response. But since today’s social situations are way different than what we experienced as primitive men where such responses actually helped us survive, today these responses just result in unfulfilled trigger responses.

This causes stress to build up over time. And as the situations that stress us have no end in sight the stress keeps building.

How to solve sleep problems by solving stress?

A healthy bedtime routine can go a long way in stemming sleep problems. I don’t know if you know this- but our body is regulated by a biological clock called circadian rhythm.

  • You won’t be able to lengthen the time you get shut-eye with one night. Slowly working towards a longer sleep time by sleeping early and waking up earlier is the way to go. This gradual increase will lengthen your sleep time.
  • We don’t notice this but most times a really comfortable pillow can help us with our sleep problems. There are people who like sleeping on the side and others want support on the back and such specialized pillows can make sleep a pleasant experience, help you sleep longer.
  • When suffering from insomnia you need to allot a time before you sleep to winding down. During this period it’s better not to read or do anything taxing including watching television. The blue light from digital screens disrupts our sleep cycle and interferes with the night time. We need a space for the alerting mechanisms in our brain to shut down and allow the brain as a whole to hibernate and go to sleep mode. You can listen to some soulful music to accelerate the shutting down, especially ones that seem to have a calming effect on you.
  • When sleeping try to avoid uncomfortable positions that can cause neck pain.
  • There’s little doubt to the fact that insomnia is an experience no one wants in their life. Insomnia itself is a cause for anxiety. We have trouble falling asleep and we raise a lot of trouble worrying if we’d fall asleep.
  • Instead of twisting and turning all night you should take control of your sleep habits and the bedroom. Associate positive emotions and sentiments with the bedroom. So don’t partake in anything that spoils the positivity associated with that room. Consequently move arguments out of that room, don’t eat food in your bedroom, don’t take your job to the bedroom, talking on the phone and other such activities should be avoided.
  • An extremely popular actor who’s known all over the world with tons of ad projects and movies under his belt has a policy that once he enters the house, he won’t take any calls from anyone. The house is for family interactions.

Proven Ways to Lower Stress and Cortisol

In today’s world of fast paced job requirements, fast paced expectations of retails and consumable items, and high technology availability, life has gotten faster. In general, areas of life that used to be complicated; however, because of the increased pace, life has added expectations and as a result, many people’s stress levels (specifically, cortisol) have gone through the roof.

Maybe you have experienced increased competition for promotions at work, increased availability requirements because of email being mobile, or just feel generally too rushed now. Because of that, diagnosis of chronic fatigue and adrenal fatigue have skyrocketed. Although going to the doctor may help to begin the quest of lowering cortisol from stress for good, there are some natural methods for taking care of cortisol that can be tried in synchronization with what the doctor prescribes.

In many cases, the doctor’s recommendation may even match some of these techniques on how to lower cortisol levels naturally and reduce your stress. Take note as these are some proven ways to lower stress and get you back on the right path of relaxation and focused achievement.

1) Say “no” and set boundaries for yourself

The added availability that technology has afforded us has also led to work hours that have blended rather unnecessarily with personal life: meaning, we are now available almost 24/7 regardless of even sleep hours for our employment and for our friends at certain points. Although shutting off technology can temporarily blunt these demands, it does not effectively eliminate or reduce them; and eventually we must come to the realization that we cannot possibly keep up with everybody and everything in life at all time. For that reason, simply saying “no” to coworkers, family, friends, and even employers directly may play a large role in lowering your stress level and getting the balance between your work, personal, and relational sides of life back in order. Just say “NO”!

2) Get rid of stimulants: drugs, alcohol, and smoking

Although stimulants, drugs, alcohol, and cigarette smoking are temporary reliefs of stress through the releasing of serotonin; they can often lead down the very opposite path of raising cortisol. For instance, alcohol temporarily relieves ambition while under the influence; but when off of it, it can send hormone levels in all directions and ambush your ability to stay calm and keep your stress lower the next day. Cigarettes work similarly in the sense that they provide an immediate release of serotonin, but soon after they crave for more and bolster stress to its original levels or even higher than before the craving began. Take the hard road, as it make take weeks or even months to break these addictions, of getting off of stimulants and dealing with stress in manners that you were meant to deal with it.

3) Get enough sleep each night

Although sleep and getting enough sleep could be placed on a top health list for almost any type of ailment to heal it naturally, it is also important in playing a role to lower cortisol. The body comes across situations throughout the day that raise its fight or flight response rate and send is signalling for desperate help (in the form of adrenaline and cortisol) that can aid performance in the short-term, but can burn out the adrenal glands long term and even lead to chronic fatigue. One of the most tried, test, and true proven ways to fight the daily rise of stress is to counter it each and ever night with a great night’s sleep. This means getting both enough hours of sleep and also getting the right quality of deep sleep as well. Turn out the lights and disconnect blue-light emitting technology at least 30 minutes prior to falling asleep and give yourself eight hours to rest back up and recharge for the stresses of the coming day.

4) Stay positive with your mental state

This one may sound almost cheesy and oversimplified: but listen up. It is true that you are able to view the world and view each and every situation as an opportunity or as a burden (you thought I was going to give you the “half full or half empty” analogy, right?). If you perk up and try your best to make each situation the best that the situation could possibly be for you by focusing on the most effective outcome, you WILL fight stress because your worry over your own shortcomings will decrease. Try this: instead of worrying over everything you could be missing out on while making a difficult decision, instead focus on the positives of the decision you are making so that you are satisfied with the results and can continue to learn from mistakes and grow as a constructive and functioning adult…it will pay off much more in dividends in future decision-making skills as well as keep your stress and cortisol in check.

Conclusion

Always remember to seek council from your doctor in addition to these recommendations as we do not claim to be giving medical advice. However, if you truly want to start down the path of lowering your cortisol and stress levels naturally, then take this advice and consider it.

You may be experiencing increased pressure and stress at work, in your social interactions, with your family, or just in life in general. While it is true that the world is moving at a faster pace than ever these days, it does not have to be that way. Try these natural techniques in your life and get your stress levels to a place where you can function, relax, breath, and accept life as it is handed to you in each situation. That is not to say not to take charge, but be okay with your decision making and find true fulfillment in your daily life.

If you have comments or questions to add or you simply want to discuss other techniques of lowering your cortisol and stress levels, please leave a comment below. We would love to discuss with you how you are taking steps in your daily life to get more peace and less stress out of your day to day activity.

Grief Can Hurt Your Health – Here’s How To Deal With It

You know that grief can make you depressed and anxious, but did you know it can make you more susceptible to infections? According to a study published in the Ageing and Immunity Journal, losing a loved one boosts your stress hormones and makes your immune system less effective. That’s not the only thing grief can do to your body. There are other ways in which it can prevent your body from working the way it should, but luckily there are ways to combat these effects. Here are three ways in which grief affects health, and how to deal with it.

Grief makes you feel more pain 

When you experience aches and pains during the grieving period, it’s not your imagination. Research published on BBC found that grief can intensify body pains. When you grieve the loss of someone, the same area of the brain that’s involved in dealing with emotional pain is also responsible for processing physical pain. Therefore, the two can crossover, causing both emotional and physical symptoms, such as pain. Speaking to your doctor can help you get treatment for pain, as well as manage your emotional stress. This could include medication or consulting with a mental professional.

Grief disrupts your sleep 

When people who’d lost their spouses took part in research published in the Psychiatric Annals journal, they were found to experience sleep disturbances from grief. This is a common reaction to loss and can be due to feeling overwhelmed and stressed. However, in another study, this time by the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, when people were helped with their sleeping problems, they also managed to deal better with their grieving. Therefore, tackling the symptoms of grief can help people improve their lives and work through their insomnia. Consulting with a psychologist can help to work through issues that keep you up at night. Healthy lifestyle changes are also advised. These include sticking to a sleep schedule and ensuring the bedroom is a quiet, dark place that assists in relaxation, as these are beneficial in treating insomnia.

Grief makes health conditions worse

According to an article published by US News, researchers found that when a person loses a spouse, their chronic diseases can get worse. This has been found to be the case for diseases such as Parkinson’s and COPD. For instance, the patients might experience lapses in their disease treatment. This can be as a result of people depending on their spouses for help with treatment of their illness, even when it comes to remembering to take their medicine. Without their spouses around to take care of them, they might miss doctor’s appointments and not know how to look after themselves. Therefore, after experiencing a loss, it’s important for the person to get help with managing their illness. This could include enlisting the help of a different loved one to take over their healthcare.

How to deal with grief to maintain your health 

If you’re experiencing grief, chances are you’re experiencing symptoms related to mourning such as difficulty concentrating, a lack of sleep and a loss of appetite. These are all normal responses to grief that can be dealt with in healthy ways. An example includes being around supportive people to whom you can offload your emotions. Having a support system goes a long way to enabling you to process your emotions so they don’t keep you up at night. Another lifestyle tip is to eat healthy foods that calm your stress while giving you nutrients to keep your immune system healthy. Examples include foods rich in antioxidants, such as brightly-colored fruits and vegetables. Looking after yourself with diet and lifestyle habits can assist you in working through the grief and preventing health-related problems that arise from it. 

Going through grief is a difficult experience that can result in physical side-effects. By treating these side-effects and learning constructive ways to deal with feelings of grief, you can help your body stay healthy and strong.

7 ways that can help reduce your stress levels

There are many reasons why you could be suffering from stress. The pressures of your job, problems at home, health concerns or financial worries can all contribute to the onset of stress.

Whatever the reasons, stress is on the increase. A study carried out in early 2017 found that 70% of Americans suffered from stress and of those, more than half have to deal with it on a daily or weekly basis.

This is bad news. Stress can lead to, among other problems, headaches, depression, insomnia, high blood pressure, fertility problems, high blood sugar and an increased risk of heart attack. In short, if stress goes untreated it can be a killer.

So how do you beat stress? Here are seven ways to help reduce your stress levels

Exercise

When it comes to reducing stress, exercise is one of the simplest ways of doing so. When you hear that experts recommend that we should be getting 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity a week, you’re probably thinking you don’t have time for that. It might seem like a lot, but in fact it translates to around only 22 minutes a day. That is a walk around the park during your lunch break or cycling into town at the weekend rather than taking the car.

For those with more time to dedicate to exercise, then taking up jogging or sports such as badminton or tennis will help to combat stress. Working out regularly will help improve your health – something that six in 10 American adults are worried about –  help improve your mood and help lift depression. It also gives us something to focus on – if you are thinking about running that 10k race, you are not spending time dwelling on other situations in your life which could cause you stress.

Avoid unhealthy habits

It’s a vicious circle – when we are stressed, some of us turn to alcohol and cigarettes as a means of unwinding. This is known as avoidance behavior and although we may think it is helping us to cope, in actual fact  it is the very same alcohol and cigarettes that increase our stress levels in the first place. What you end up with is a snowball effect.

The answer is that no matter how bad things get, try and avoid turning to drink and tobacco at all costs. They might provide temporary relief, but they won’t solve any of your problems. They’re actually more likely to cause new ones.

Supplements

There are a number of natural supplements out there which can be used to combat stress. Therapeutic doses of the right supplements can in some cases help to target the causes of stress when combined with a healthy diet and lifestyle.

Melatonin is a hormone produced by the brains pineal gland and helps to control the bodies sleep cycle. Given that lack of sleep is a major contributory factor when it comes to stress, taking melatonin to improve your sleep efficiency can help reduce stress levels.

Magnesium plays a key role in the brains nerve and muscle functions and can help to promote relaxation. Not only that, but research has indicated that it also aids the regulation of our stress response, with those who aren’t getting enough magnesium as part of a balanced diet seemingly more likely to be stressed.

Plants and herbs can also play a role in managing stress. Valerian root is a herb commonly known to treat insomnia and anxiety which makes it one possible tool for dealing with stress while CBD wax can also help with relaxation – click here to check it out!

Help people

Volunteering and helping others can help us beat stress by giving us an increased sense of resilience. By offering to help out with a local charity or organization, chances are you’ll end up coming into contact with people less fortunate than yourself.

This can put our problems into perspective and make us realize that we are actually quite lucky to live the life that we do. By being thankful for what we have, it can lift depression and unhappiness which both contribute to the stresses we feel. Not only that, but you’ll also get a sense of satisfaction out of helping those that need it, and you’ll be doing a good turn, too.

Connect with people

Don’t hide away and let the stress eat up at you – connect with as many of your friends and family as possible. There are two main benefits to doing this. Firstly, you’ll have a support network ready to help you out if you need to talk about the problems that are placing you under such stress.

Secondly, the activities we do with friends and family can help us unwind. Going to the cinema, watching sport and going out for dinner gives us a chance to be social, forget about our problems and most importantly, have a laugh. They do say laughter is the best medicine, after all.

Accept the things that you can’t change

A lot of stress comes from us worrying about things that are ultimately out of our control. Take a step back and ask yourself, could you actually do anything about the situation? If the company you are employed by is going under for example, chances are there is nothing you can do about it.

Don’t blame yourself or focus on something you can’t change, but instead put your energy into what you can do to improve the situation, such as looking for a new job.

Manage your time – be organized

How much of our stress comes from worrying about whether we can get something done by a deadline or that we are going to get from A to B on time? By being organized, you can manage your time better and reduce a lot of unnecessary stress. At work, prioritize the jobs that are most important and accept that you won’t be able to get everything done, every day. At home, leave enough time for journeys and plan ahead as much as possible to reduce the stress that comes with running late for a flight, bus or train. Little changes such as that can go a long, long way.

The Unexpected Dangers of Stress and How to Combat It

Stress can affect all of us, for many different reasons. It could be work-related stress, relationship stress, financial stress, and so on. There are so many different reasons you might be stressed, but what those reasons are don’t matter, and you should never be embarrassed about the cause. What does matter is prioritizing your well-being, because stress can cause several serious health issues including:

1. A Lowered Immune System 

When your body is stressed it produces adrenaline and other hormones that give you the extra edge and push you to need to deal with the challenge at hand. It is these very hormones, however, that put stress on your immune system, making you susceptible to illnesses.

2. Hair Loss 

Stress, typically, causes the body to produce cortisol, the flight-and-flight instinct that heightens our awareness. High cortisol levels, however, mean that other hormones that promote healthy hair and even cell regeneration aren’t being produced. Similarly, telogen effluvium can occur, where your stress can force many of your actively growing hairs into the telogen (resting) phase, causing an increase in hair loss. In some cases, your body’s immune system could actively attack your hair follicles. Thankfully, in most cases, your hair should return to normal after you have dealt with your chronic stress.

3. Heart Strain 

Stress puts a lot of strain on the body. It can cause stomach issues, muscle pain, but most worryingly, it can cause heart strain. Stress hormones can make your blood vessels constrict as well, which further increases your blood pressure and your risk for heart attack or stroke.

All of these symptoms must be managed, because they can exacerbate the stress you already have, worsening your mental and physical condition. Learn how to combat stress early on, and you can manage it before it becomes a problem. Ways you can relax vary, and include:

1. Healthy Eating 

Healthy eating leads to a healthy body, which in turn can help combat many of the worst symptoms of stress. Aim to eat more fruits and vegetables (which can boost your immune system) and foods that produce serotonin, like those high in fiber. What you should avoid at all costs, however, are foods that cause your blood pressure to rise, like fatty foods, sugar, and caffeine.

2. Meditation Techniques 

Meditation can mean a lot of different things, but the focus here is to break away from your stressors and focus on breathing. Guided relax hypnosis techniques can help you reset your stress, allowing you to break out of the negative downward spiral that chronic stress causes.

3. Improve Your Sleep 

Stress can affect your sleep quality, which is why you should adopt a new bedtime regimen. To start, turn off all electronics in your home off once the sun sets, as it is the blue-light from these devices that can disrupt your circadian rhythm, worsening your sleep on a daily basis. Then, before bed, try the meditation techniques you’ve found work for you. Be consistent with your routine, and you’ll see an improvement in your sleep quality.

4. Start A New Hobby

Starting a new hobby or more deeply pursuing an existing interest is another great way to combat stress. Whether it’s a new sport, taking an online course in photography, or learning a new craft, focused activity helps take the mind off stress inducing thoughts. For example, I am learning how to make my own t-shirts with a heat press. The whole process from making a design, to cutting the design, to pressing it on a t-shirt takes concentration and thought, and I find it very satisfying. I find it very calming and I have a fantastic product to give away or sell at the end!

Don’t let stress get you down. It can be painful, it can be psychology damaging, and it can be fatal. Instead, prioritize your wellbeing and your health, so that you can live a better, happier life.