'Finding Relief' Category Archive

Posted on Jul 16th, 2006

What is Cortisol?

Cortisol is the primary stress hormone that is secreted by the 2 cap-sized glands that are located on top of your kidneys in response to stress. It has been described as a low-grade adrenaline.

Mother nature equipped us with this hormone to assist us in situations where we had to “fight-or-flight” such as running from a lion or other predator. Its job is to quickly convert stored energy sources in the body into usable energy to save your life. This is one of its good points. In the old days, there weren’t too many situations in which we were triggered into a fight-or-flight situation. Today, however, stress responses are everywhere. We as a society are constantly stressing out over bills, going to work, relationships, poor food choices, dehydration, overtraining with exercise, lack of adequate sleep, and those are just for starters! Every time the body becomes stressed, cortisol is released from the adrenal glands to combat the stressors on the chemical side.

This chronic elevation in cortisol is extremely detrimental to your health. It has been linked to, but not limited to, adrenal fatigue, hormonal imbalances, heart disease, excessive blood sugar levels, elevated cholesterol, and pretty much anything else you can think of that stress can create in the human body.

Other unwanted side effects of chronically elevated cortisol levels include excess bodyfat, particularly around the midsection, and depressed sex hormone levels, which kills the sex drive in both men and women. It also breaks down muscle tissue, which can really put a hold on your results in the gym.

Cortisol is naturally secreted in the body on a pretty set schedule throughout the day. It peaks at about 8am to get you out of bed and ready to start your day. Throughout the day, cortisol levels begin to drop off and reach their lowest at about 8-10 pm so that you can fall asleep. A cortisol rhythm that is disrupted by chronic stress, both mentally and physically, can impair your ability to fall asleep or even stay asleep.

I have been able to assist many of my clients improve their sleep consistency and quality simply by cutting their stress levels down, and using the tips that I am about to give you. The following tips will assist you in decreasing your cortisol levels and allow you to improve your health and achieve your ideal body.

Ways to Reduce your Cortisol:

1. Use cortisol reduction supplements: I use a variety of herbs in my clinic to reduce cortisol at peak times. Some of my favorites include: ashwaghanda, phosphatidylserine, and rhodiola rosea.

2. Eat at regular intervals throughout the day: Avoid skipping meals, as this will create a cortisol release.

3. Eat right for your Metabolic Type: Excessive carbohydrate intake creates cortisol release in response to constantly elevated insulin levels. Find out your metabolic type and eat consistently with it.

4. Utilize stress reduction techniques at peak cortisol times: Neuro-linguistic Programming, meditation, self-hypnosis, or simply lying on the floor doing belly breathing for 10-15 minutes can work wonders at reducing stress and thus cortisol levels.

5. Get to bed on time: Get to bed by 10:30 pm at the latest.

6. Avoid stimulants: Stay away from energy drinks that contain ephedra-like compounds and caffeine. Stimulants shift the body into sympathetic dominance, ie. "fight or flight". Stimulants can also disrupt your sleeping patterns. If you must have your daily coffee, be sure that you do not drink any after 12 noon.

7. Keep your workouts under 1 hour: At the 1 hour mark, your testosterone levels begin to decline and cortisol levels rise. Forty-five minute workouts are even better.

8. Do not overtrain: Strength coach Charles Poliquin recommends not training more than 2 days in a row. Doing so will simply overtax the hormonal system and therefore increase cortisol levels. Listen to your body. If you do not feel recovered from your previous workout, simply take an extra day off or reduce the number of sets you perform in your workout.

Sam Visnic is a C.H.E.K. Practitioner, Nutrition Coach, and certified NLP Practitioner who specializes in providing safe and effective corrective exercise solutions for back pain sufferers. For his free special reports, articles, and newsletter, visit http://www.EndMyBackPain.com

Posted on Jul 13th, 2006

You can go to faraway places with white sandy beaches and clear azure skies in the blink of an eye. You can go back in time to the days of prehistoric monsters or you forward to the world of tomorrow. You can even fill your eyes with tears one moment and laugh out loud the next.

Reading a book is one of the best ways to reduce your stress level and can even help you solve whatever problem is ailing you. Reading a good novel or story will open a window to the world and give you a vision of things you never dreamed possible.

Reading is the great escape and it also works well as a way to relax. When you curl up with a good book, you put the rest of the world and all its troubles out of your mind as you are taken to distant places to learn about different time periods, and to expose yourself to new ideas and philosophies. You are essentially taking a vacation of the mind — but one that can be virtually cost-free, especially if you live near a library.

Of course, reading is also a great way to reduce stress by gaining the knowledge you need to solve problems. For example, let’s say you’re overweight and this is causing you stress. You find that the more weight you gain, the more stressed you become, which just causes you to eat more. Instead of getting stressed out, why not read a good book about nutrition that will teach you how to plan meals better, so they’re low-cal and low-fat. This could very well result in reducing your weight problem and it could even disappear altogether along with the stress that is bringing you down.

Reading can also be a source of great hope, giving you ideas and inspiration that will relieve your stress. Biographies and rags-to-riches stories about famous people will teach how they overcame their struggles. These stories of triumph might even inspire you to seek ways to overcome the challenges in your life.

Of course, there are also times when reading can increase your stress level. For instance, if you are studying for a test, or reading about tragedies in your local newspaper, you might find your stress levels skyrocketing. That’s why it’s important to choose your reading material carefully. If you’re feeling stressed, why not pick up a book that will relax you. A good travel book, or cookbook, or book of poetry are far better choices than news magazines filled with stories about all the things that are wrong in the world.

Self-help books are also a very effective way to help reduce stress. They encourage you to explore your feelings and they recommend such techniques as listening to soothing music, learning how to play a musical instrument, or just engaging in deep breathing in order to deal with stressful situations.

One of the best stress reliever is reading a good novel. It’s the best medicine there is without the side effects of drugs. When you read a good story, whether it be a historical fiction or a mystery thriller or a comic novel, it almost always transports you away from anxieties and frustrations. It allows your imagination to run free and then leaves you feeling refreshed and invigorated. When you are reading it forces you to concentrate, to exercise your mind in a way that passively watching TV or a movie can never match.

In the long run, it doesn’t matter what you read but how much you read. Try reading while standing in the grocery line, or at the bank, or while pedaling your stationary bike. The more you read, the more you will want to read because you will quickly discover its short and long term stress reducing benefits.

Abbas Abedi CHt

If you are interested in natural techniques to reduce stress and anxiety in your life today, then sign up for my free eCourse titled, "4 Days to Break Free from a Stressful Lifestyle" at http://www.instantstressmanagement.com Instant Stress Management

Posted on Jul 13th, 2006

There is good stress, and there is bad stress. Good stress is the type that propels a person to excel, to reach new heights or to complete a big project on time.

And there is bad stress. Stress that comes from conflict or worries. Stress that keeps a person from sleeping and happiness. Stress that calls for relief. Here are three stress-relief tips you can follow.

Meditation for stress relief.

Can there be a more obvious stress relief strategy than to bring your entire physical being to a calm? Meditation techniques often involve visualization of something calm, like a blank screen or clouds. Or it can mean clearing your mind entirely.

If stress is caused by how we allow our minds to captured by worries and fears, then replacing those worries and fears with calmer images is the obvious way to reduce stress.

You can sign up for a free course on meditation techniques to reduce stress at my website.

Exercise to reduce stress.

If relaxing to a state where even your blood vessels are almost still is the ultimate in stress relief, surely exercise, which gets even your blood pumping at breakneck speed, must be the ultimate stress demon.

Not so. Exercise is a big stress reliever. In fact, the bigger the muscles you exercise, the more less stress you will bear. That’s because exercise releases physical tension in the muscles.

Here’s another tip: exercise in water to reduce stress even more. Why? Because you are more buoyant on water; gravity takes a much gentler toll on your body, so the tension created in your muscles just by holding you up gets released. For the ultimate stress release, exercise in water. Or meditate in water. Or laugh in water.

Laughter reduces stress, too.

Yes, laughter also relieves stress. The muscles we use to laugh are those tense ones in our faces. When we loosen them, we release tension from our faces. We also allow more blood to flow to the pleasure centers of the brain (which might be why someone with a ‘good sense of humor’ is considered more attractive).

I think I will close with this excerpt from my newsletter, A Daily Dose of Happiness, which shows the value of a little creative humor:

"Little Lady was guarding the space between the trees, as I tried to kick her little ball past her.

"Then an idea struck me. Off to the side lay a large, purple fit ball that the kids like to be bounced on. A rushed over, rolled it into the clearing and kicked it toward Little Lady. ‘Giant Blueberry Soccer!’ I shouted. She laughed.

"For the next ten or fifteen minutes, we rolled and licked and laughed and shouted, "Giant Blueberry Soccer!"

"What a great family moment, stress relief, joy-injector, fun and more. My formula was simple, and you can do it too. Look around and find something that just would not belong, like a too-big ball. Then imagine what it might be, like a blueberry. Then thrust it into your situation with all the gusto you can apply.

"Have fun."

David Leonhardt is a Canadian freelance writer and a self-help books author.

Posted on Jul 12th, 2006

You can gain time and energy in your life. This can be done by spending a few minutes each day making your life simpler. “Downsizing” your life a little at a time will lower stress and bring you a sense of satisfaction.

You may be wondering what do I mean by “Downsizing”? There are times in life when you need to get rid of things. Things that clutter your life. Things that no longer have value to you and your family.

We all have a tendency to collect more than we really need. Some of us are collectors to the extent that we have a totally cluttered life. Others have a neat life, but still have more than they need stored away in the depths of their closets.

Once a year we need to go through our closets, garages, dresser drawers and boxes stashed in the attic and find out what we can get rid of.

There is a saying, "Get rid of what you do not want to make room for what you do want". If you were to follow this advice, you would find your life less cluttered than it ever has been, or at least less cluttered than it has been in a long time.

Collecting too many things begin to weigh our lives down with so much stuff that we cannot get out from under it. If you have to make isles in your garage or storage shed to get to things or worse yet, you have to make isles inside your home to get to things, you need to make a decision to start sorting through your belongings and get rid of things you KNOW you will never use again.

Do you save clothes in hope of returning to the size you were when you stored them? This clothing can add up to boxes and boxes of things that will be out of style by the time you actually can wear them again.

You local charities can use donations of clothing. They can use good clothes to sell in their thrift shop and to help clothe the needy. They can even use holey and moth eaten clothing which they bale and send off as rags.

Maybe you have boxes or cabinets with mismatched dishes. How about old silverware and utensils you no longer use. Put them all in the donation box.

Have you been saving books and magazines that you plan to read or re-read some time in the future. If you have not read them in the last three years, do you really think you will read then in the next three? It is unlikely. I know you are saving many of them as references. With the Internet, you have all the reference material you will ever need right at your fingertips. Get rid of books and magazines. Put them in the donation box.

If you really cannot stand to give things away because it all has value, have a garage sale. Make it a challenge to have tons of stuff at your sale. When it is over, take whatever does not sell and donate it to a charity. Promise yourself you will get rid of the leftovers.

To sum up clutter, it robs valuable time from your life. It takes away some of your life energy and makes you wonder how you will ever organize it all. Do not organize it all; get rid of a lot of it.

You can often save money by spending $3 at the store rather than spending three hours looking for something you know you have, but cannot find. You end up buying the lost item anyway.

Get rid of what you do not want to make room for what you do want! Your stress will decrease automatically.

Abbas Abedi CHt

If you are interested in natural techniques to reduce stress and anxiety in your life today, then sign up for my free eCourse titled, "4 Days to Break Free from a Stressful Lifestyle" at http://www.instantstressmanagement.com Instant Stress Management

Posted on Jul 11th, 2006

Did you know that massage has been used as a therapy to ease human aches and pains and create relaxation for thousands of years. The instinct to rub and stroke muscles that are tense and tired has been refined and studied so that massage therapy performed by a professionally trained practitioner can promote health and well being, relieve stress and help heal injured areas of your body.

WHAT IS MASSAGE THERAPY GOOD FOR?

Have you thought about seeking massage therapy for healing or relaxation? There are many techniques of massage therapy to choose from. Some therapies, such as those used for athletes, are focused on healing injured tissue by increasing circulation and preventing injury that can be caused by tense muscles.

Other therapies combine massage with soft music, dim lighting and soothing aromatherapy oils to relieve stress and enhance feelings of well being.

Massage therapy can also provide relief from many common ailments from morning sickness to migraines.

WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF MASSAGE THERAPY?

Massage helps with the circulation of blood and the release of toxins. Massage increases the circulation of oxygen through the body, helping to heal muscles and reduce tension. The increased circulation can also increase lymphatic drainage helping to rid the body of excess fluids and waste.

The physical manipulation of muscles can break down any scar material, thickening or inflammation of the tissues which can increase mobility and reduce stiffness. The additional mobility and toning can help prevent injury, especially for athletes who use massage therapy as part of their regular training.

Proper techniques of massage therapy can also help relieve constipation and gas and encourage proper digestion.

Relaxation of the physical body can also reduce the effects of stress physiologically. After a session of massage therapy you may feel relaxed, refreshed and feel greater self-esteem.

EASTERN AND WESTERN MASSAGE

The type of therapy you choose will be based on your personal preference or the purpose of the therapy. One of the most common forms of massage is based on Swedish massage which involves the manipulation of the soft tissues of the body with the masseuse’s’s hands. Swedish massage is often used for general relaxation and increasing mobility of the joints but can also be adapted to target specific problems.

The other common form of massage has Eastern origins. These techniques are performed by putting pressure on specific areas of the body with fingers or other blunt objects (acupressure) or needles (acupuncture). These techniques are used to relieve ailments such as: headaches, nausea, depression, pain, digestive disorders as well as stress and other ailments.

There are many variations on these techniques and what appeals to one person may be very different for someone else. Feeling comfortable with the technique as well as the practitioner is important in experiencing the full benefits of the massage. Whatever method you choose you are wise to take time to find the right person for you; determine if the practitioner is trained, qualified, insured and has recommendations before starting treatment and feel comfortable with the setting you will be receiving your massage in.

Abbas Abedi CHt

If you are interested in natural techniques to reduce stress and anxiety in your life today, then sign up for my free eCourse titled, "4 Days to Break Free from a Stressful Lifestyle" at http://www.instantstressmanagement.com Instant Stress Management

Posted on Jul 10th, 2006

In order for us to change the things that we are unhappy with in our lives we have to change the way that we think. If we never change the way that we think we will continue to get the same results in our lives. In order for us to see changes in our lives we have to face our worst enemy and that is FEAR (really ourselves)

About 90% of people live their lives in fear and never become the person that they dream of becoming. This simply happens because they just fail to take action. They FEAR what they don’t understand. We have to look at FEAR as nothing more then a word or as a learning process. Did you ever know what FEAR was when you were a young child? Probably not, at least until someone that you trusted or looked up to told you what it was. Mankind has simply connected a word to a feeling, giving it life and in turn making people fear it. Mark Twain said it best with this quote, "Do the things that you FEAR most and the DEATH to FEAR is certain." You owe it to yourself to understand this principle.

To conquer fear start by accomplishing the things that you fear the most. After doing so, you will look back and think how foolish it was to be afraid in the first place.

Learn to leave your comfort zone. When we leave our comfort zone we become a more rounded individual. When we do the things that we fear and look back at them afterwards, we see that what we feared has now turned into part of our comfort zone. This simply happens because we do not fear these things after accomplishing them in the past. The next time similar situations arise we will no longer stress over it, we will just do it.

We must set our minds on always conquering the unknown. Always "think outside the box". Look fear in the eyes and just do the task. Chances are that you will succeed and soon come to find out that FEAR is nothing more then a word. Every successful businessperson has undoubtedly faced fear many times, yet they have succeeded in their business. So can you!

Think back to when you were a child. Most of us have limitations put on our lives very early. We are taught how to think, what schools to attend, how to make a living, and finally, even how to plan our retirement. Most of us end up fearing anything that is different than what we are taught.

Once we understand and can change some of the beliefs that have been programmed into us by society, we can more fully take control of our lives and our destiny through the power of positive thought.

You to can become successful in any aspect of your life that you choose. You just have to get past one thing, YOURSELF!

When you do this you will start to become the person that you have always dreamed about. Today is the day you are going to take what is rightfully yours. It’s called LIFE! We are here to enjoy every aspect of life, not just to be a part of it.

Believe in yourself and start by reducing your stress, and with it your fear.

Abbas Abedi CHt If you are interested in natural techniques to reduce stress and anxiety in your life today, then sign up for my free eCourse titled, "4 Days to Break Free from a Stressful Lifestyle" at http://www.instantstressmanagement.comInstant Stress Management

Posted on Jul 9th, 2006

First of all don’t jump to conclusions… I don’t have ADD, I just like to do many things. I always have. I believe boredom is a choice, actually I don’t just believe it, I know it. The world is full of endless possibilities, in fact maybe too many. That, in the past had been a problem of mine. Too many things I wanted to try, and not enough time to try them. Now I have managed, with the help of hired hands, to bring life into balance, get more done, and drum roll please…even make more money.

Just a few decades ago, the idea of having personal assistants was only for the very wealthy, these days you would be a fool not to find a good one. One idea can change your whole life, but as Emerson said, “There are voices which we hear in solitude, but they grow faint and inaudible as we enter into the world.” Most people are making themselves too busy, so they cannot hear the ideas being whispered to them.

Allowing others to do things for you helps everyone. There are intelligent people all over the world, waiting to help you at prices that make it foolish not to hire them. If you contact me, I can give you the names of a few that have done wonders for me. Freeing myself of work that others can perform as well or better than I, permits me to have time in meditation. Don’t think for a second that meditation only belongs in the realm of Eastern religion. My introduction came because of hearing numerous times the same idea being presented by top business executives. I may not be the sharpest knife in the kitchen, but I have learned that when I hear the same subject popping up repeatedly, I check it out.

Many people complain that meditation is difficult, because they cannot still their mind, for me the problem was I felt I just didn’t have time to do nothing. Oh, was I wrong there. Meditation has proven not to be a time waster, but a time saver. A book could be written on the positive effects of meditation, actually according to Amazon, 9019 have been written, so I will just add one benefit. Meditation allows your mind to be receptive of ideas, ideas which you can hire others from all over the world to help implement very economically, which allows you more free time to relax, be with family, enjoy life and come up with more ideas. Nice little circle, isn’t it. For more information on how to implement such thinking see the bio box below.

Keith MacLean has gone from financial failure to financial freedom and can teach you to do the same. Contact him via http://www.easymoneyisfun.com

Posted on Jul 6th, 2006

Research has shown that the stress hormone cortisol reduces a person’s ability to retrieve information and memory. Even worse, this same stress hormone is linked to progressive shrinking of the hippocampus - an important memory center in the temporal region. High levels of stress also promote depression, which severely impairs memory and increases the risk for dementia.

To reduce stress, try relaxation exercises. Sit quietly and breathe deeply and slowly. Relax each part of your body, starting with the top of your head and finishing with your toes.

Look for humor in tense situations and talk about your feelings with family members, friends or a therapist, if necessary.

Try reducing stress and anxiety with fresh, natural scents. In general they induce a calming state. In one recent study, volunteers became extremely anxious when they were confined in coffin-like tubes, but then calmed down when the tubes were infused with the smells of green apple and cucumber. These odors seem to have an impact on the limbic systems, the emotional center of the brain.

If you anticipate a situation where you will feel anxious, try a shampoo with green-apple flavored shampoo. Here are a few tips that will lower stress in five minutes or less:

* Move around. * Walk rapidly around your workplace. * Take a quick walk around the block. * Climb rapidly up and down a flight of stairs to really get the heart pumping. * Do 15 jumping jacks in place. * Stretch while seated at your desk. Link your fingers under a knee and draw it to your chest. Repeat with your other knee.

This stretches the legs and the lower back.

* Stretch your arms above your head, palms up and fingers linked. Dangle hands at your sides, then raise right shoulder to right ear, keeping the head vertical. Repeat this with the left shoulder. Finally, flex and bend back the fingers of each hand. Hand stretches are especially important if you use a computer for long periods.

* Take 10 long deep breaths. Your belly should expand as you inhale and contract as you exhale.

* Massage your eyes by placing your palms over them and apply gentle pressure while spiraling your palms. Try the same technique for your ears. Periodically, try to block out all sight and sound for just a second or two. Researchers report that this can be a refreshing experience from a psychological standpoint.

* Experiment with aroma therapy. A drop of citrus essential oil like lemon-lime or orange is refreshing for your office or home and is not overbearing.

* Early morning sleep is really the most restful sleep you can get. Men sent to bed at 2:15 a.m. and awakened at 6:15 a.m. slept more soundly than ones sent to bed at 10:30 and awakened at 2:30 a.m. So, if you are stressed and can get only four hours of sleep, stay up as late as possible to get the most benefit from your limited sleep. This does not replace a full night’s sleep. Resume normal sleep pattern as quickly as possible.

Meditation is a favorite stress buster for some people. Getting away from the everyday hassles of the world and turning your thoughts inward is a great stress buster. Meditation helps you see the objectivity in your own life and thoughts in a detached manner. Meditation is proven to reduce anxiety, work related stress. . .and blood pressure, too. There are many meditation techniques, but here is a common one that is simple:

* Sit quietly and comfortably in a place where you will not be disturbed.

* Focus your attention on your breathing.

* Feel the breath as it comes into your nose. . . . and when it goes out.

* Other thoughts will enter your mind. Just observe them and let them go. Return your attention to your breath. Start practicing meditation for five to 10 minutes a day, gradually increasing it to 20 to 30 minutes. Keep a clock nearby so you can keep track of the time but don’t use an alarm that might be jerk you back to full alertness too quickly.

Regular moderate exercise reverses much of the damage caused by stress and can also improve immune system function, lower blood pressure and improve your mood. The reason is because any physical activity negates the fight-or-flight response and can leave you feeling less tense, anxiety free and invigorated. Aerobic exercise is an effective stress buster but you may be more suited to relaxed walking.

Any exercise that suits you is fine. Just be sure to do it for at least 20 minutes each day. Don’t overdo it, however, because more is not necessarily good for you.

Human beings have an inborn affinity for nature. The scientific name for it is "biophilia." What that means is we enjoy things having to do with nature. Having "natural" things around us is psychologically beneficial. For example:

* Having an office with a view is not just prestigious. Studies have shows that workers who have a view of grass and trees exhibit less stress than who look at parking lots.

* Dentists who have an aquarium in their waiting room report that their patients are less anxious.

* Eating lunch on a park bench will relax your body.

* To reduce stress try spending time in the garden and your troubles will seem unimportant.

* Living in the city has its own stress factors. When it comes to a vacation, try planning it in a totally different environment like the mountains or seaside.

* Research studies show that people who have pets are generally healthier and have better methods of coping with stress. Consider obtaining a cat, dog or even a bird.

Humor is a great stress buster. Keeping a sense of humor and learning not to take yourself so seriously definitely helps. It’s hard to remain stressed when you are laughing at yourself. Try looking for the lighter side of every situation. Indulge your taste for entertaining books and movies. If you have a favorite cartoon or saying, cut it out and put it on your bathroom mirror or refrigerator. Try silly antics. Things that you would normally not even consider like walking in the rain or feeding birds in the park.

Cultivate friendships. Having close ties with others can make you feel warm inside. Having someone to talk to about your problems makes the problems much easier to deal with.

Just having a friend helps reduce your blood pressure and research has shown that those who have lots of friends tend to have a lower level of cholesterol and strong immune systems. Following a high carb, low protein diet can help with reducing stress for a short period of time, but should not be undertaken on a long term basis as the carbs represent just a short term energy boost.

Other foods that fight stress are foods that are rich in vitamins C and A like raw carrots peppers and broccoli. There’s a bonus as well, chewing crunchy foods helps to dissipate the tension.

How about some natural therapies for stress? Here are a few:

* Lavender - Use the flowers. This is a beautiful herb and is widely used. Many do not realize that it is an effective treatment for headaches related to stress. Also good for depression.

* St. Johns Wort - Taken internally, has a sedative and pain reducing effect. Use in treatment of neuralgia, anxiety, tension and similar problems.

* Vervain - Also known as Wild Hyssop. Will strengthen the nervous system while easing depression and melancholia. Good for fever and best for colds, and for menopausal irritations. Here are more tips to consider for reducing stress:

* This one is a "no-brainer" and we won’t go into detail here, but if you are a smoker - STOP!

* Try to avoid tight deadlines, keep your schedule looser.

* Ask for help instead of insisting on doing it all yourself.

TAKE A STRESS TEST

The standard tests that doctors use to tell whether you are an easily stressed "hot reactor" (and at greater risk for disease) are pretty simple, so take your pick, says Frank Barry, M.D., a family practice physician in Colorado Springs and author of Make the Change for a Healthy Heart. For the first two tests, you’ll want to take a blood-pressure reading twice "once before the test and once during the test" for comparison.

Test 1: Chill out. In Test 1, put your hand into a bucket of cold water for one minute and have someone measure your blood pressure right after you have done it. If it goes up into the high range in response to physical stress, you are a "hot reactor."

Test 2: Do some math. Test 2 is a little more cerebral. Start with the number 100 and mentally subtract 7, then continue to subtract 7 until you get to 2. In the midst of your figuring, have your blood pressure taken. "There’s no exercise, no threat to your life, but a lot of people still feel mental stress and their blood pressures shoot up," says Dr. Barry.

Test 3: Talk to yourself. You can also test yourself without the shock of cold water or the mental anguish of math. As yourself: "Are you working toward your own true goals or someone else’s? " If you are busy trying to keep up with the Joneses, you’re still in the rat race, even if you have retired. You’re much more likely to feel the effects of stress regardless of whether you’re a "hot reactor," says Dr. Barry.

CONFIDENCE AND SELF ESTEEM

The greatest challenges to your confidence come when you’re facing a situation that looks impossible. When this happens, you must tap in to the unseen force of self-assurance so that you can press beyond supposed limits. It’s not a matter of what things look like on the outside - the key is to recognize what you have working on the inside. Confidence is often the missing link to seeing yourself accomplish the impossible. You just have to believe that you have what it takes to be successful, and don’t back down from your capable stance.

You are in control of your thoughts. If you choose to believe you have confidence - that you’re energized - then you will be. The next time you face a big challenge, take a deep breath and fill your heart with the belief that you have unlimited energy running through your veins. Build your confidence by reflecting on those things you’ve already accomplished. If you did it once, you can certainly do it again.

Today, receive the confidence you deserve - and you’ll find that you always had it within you.

Don’t confuse self-esteem with arrogance: Arrogance is an over evaluation of your worth, while self-esteem is a healthy opinion of yourself - it’s valuing yourself to the point that you don’t allow other people or negative situations and circumstance to influence the way you feel about yourself. Until you value yourself, you won’t value anything, and other people won’t value you either. After all, your relationship with yourself is the most important one you’ll ever have.

When you’re filled with self-doubt, give yourself a little pep talk. Repeat

" [Your name], you are great! You are a unique individual, a new kind of person the world has never known. You were born to do well. You were born to succeed. You were born to bless the lives of others. You were born to be great, and you have what it takes to be great. You are enthusiastic, optimistic, and a change- embracer. You are a giver, rather than a taker. You are organized. You are a hard worker. You are happy. You are a master over yourself, you are a leader. You are a big thinker. As blessed as you are with all these talents, there isn’t one thing in the world you can’t do. You will never fail. [Your name], go out and make today an ‘attitude is everything’ day!" By making this profession every day, you’ll experience an awesome self-esteem boost! Remember, you are priceless - your past is history, and your future is now!

FINAL THOUGHTS

Let’s review some of what you have learned about stress. Steel will snap from it and a pressure cooker will blow its lid.

Stress, pressure, tension is a fact of everyday life for most of us.

Remember that it puts you at risk for heart attack, stroke, insomnia, backache, headache, irritable bowel syndrome, sports injuries and infertility.

Stress can trigger serious illness like Graves’ and fibromyalgia. Stress even makes us more susceptible to the common cold.

With your health at stake, it is essential to use some of the methods we have discussed. Also, it’s important that you remember that stress is a physiological response. It isn’t all in your head! You owe it to yourself to take the time to use the stress-reducing techniques on a daily basis.

We’ve already given you a great selection, but we want to make certain that you have a wide range of coping skills to use at home, work and other places. So here are an additional 12 keys to stress reduction to help you open the door to a more relaxing life. They contain dozens of additional helpful hints. Choose those best suited for you.

Breathe deeply. Relax your muscles, expanding your stomach and chest. Exhale slowly. Repeat several times.

Follow your breath as it flows in and out. Do not try to control it. This is a good way to relax in the midst of any activity. This technique allows you to find a breathing pattern that is natural and relaxing to you. Use this yoga technique: Inhale slowly, counting to eight. Exhale through your mouth, even more slowly, counting to sixteen. Make a sighing sound as you exhale, and feel tension dissolve. Repeat 10 times.

Exercise regularly. Aerobic exercise, such as walking and swimming, produces brain chemicals that uplift your mood and mental well-being. Exercise also improves sleep and gives you time to think and focus on other things. Beware of compulsive exercise, however.

Yoga is an age-old system for stretching and strengthening the muscles. Take a class or learn at home with a good book or video.

Neck and shoulder exercises are useful for the desk-bound and arthritis sufferers.

Neck roll: Look to the right, then roll your head forward, as if you are trying to touch your chin to your chest. Keep rolling until you are looking over your left shoulder. Repeat in the other direction.

Shoulder lift: Relieve tension in the neck by lifting the shoulders toward the ears, then dropping them as low as they will go. Repeat 10 times. Eat healthy foods. You should never skip meals. Take time out for lunch no matter how busy you are.

Carry nutritious snacks to the office, or even the shopping mall. A nutritionally balanced diet is important. For example, researchers have found that even small deficiencies of thiamin, a B-complex vitamin, can cause anxiety symptoms. Pantothenic acid, another B-complex vitamin, is critical during times of stress.

Avoid caffeine, alcohol, and large amounts of sweets, which can aggravate symptoms of stress.

Don’t let others get you down. Choose positive friends who are not worriers. Friends who constantly put you down or talk gloomily about life will increase your anxiety. Ask a good friend to help you talk out a problem and get it off your chest. A long-distance call to an old pal can be great therapy.

Forgive others instead of holding grudges. Relax your standards - for yourself and others. Perfectionism is not the way to happiness. Become more flexible.

Communicate clearly with your co-workers and boss. Ask questions. Repeat instructions that you are given. Clarifying directions at the start of a project can save hours later straightening out misunderstandings.

Be truthful with others. Lies and deception lead to stress that always takes it toll.

Be optimistic. Count your blessings, especially when everything seems to go wrong. Believe that most people are doing the best that they can.

Don’t blow problems out of proportion. Live by a philosophy of life that whittles problems down to size. The maxim, "Live one day at a time," has helped millions.

Plan your time wisely. And realistically. For example, don’t schedule back-to-back meetings with tight travel time. Remember to leave room for unanticipated events " both negative and positive. Be flexible about rearranging your agenda.

Get up 15 minutes early in the morning. Allow an extra 15 minutes to get to all appointments.

Avoid procrastination. Whatever needs doing, do it now. Schedule unpleasant tasks early, so that you won’t have to worry about them for the rest of the day. Keep an appointment book. Don’t rely on your memory. Do one thing at a time. Focus your attention on the person talking to you or the job at hand, instead of worrying about other things. This also reduces mistakes — which lead to more anxiety.

Be prepared to wait. Carry a book to read in case of delays. Say "no" to requests that stretch you to the limits.

Delegate. You don’t have to do it all yourself. Break a job into separate tasks and assign them to people with the appropriate skills. Then leave them alone to do their work. Prevent problems before they occur. This takes some planning.

If you are flying to another city for an important meeting, carry your presentation materials and dress suit on board the plane. Baggage does get lost.

Buy gas for the car before the tank is empty. Get regular oil changes and checkups. Keep food staples on hand so you can fix a fast meal without going to the store.

Keep food, toilet paper and toiletries on hand so you never run out. The same goes for postage stamps, paper and envelopes. Keep duplicate keys for home, car and office in secure locations.

Retreat to recharge your spirit. Schedule private time every day. You deserve it. Unplug the telephone and enjoy a quiet evening alone or with your family, or even 15 uninterrupted minutes in the shower or bathtub.

You may want to spend a few minutes writing your feelings out in a journal. It can help you find a new perspective and relieve hidden conflicts.

Here are more spirit rechargers:

Wear earplugs for instant peace anytime, anyplace. Learn a meditation technique. Two methods: Observe your thoughts as they pass through your mind. Or, repeat a word or phrase with an uplifting meaning.

Practice progressive relaxation for 20 minutes twice a day to relive high blood pressure and other physiological responses to stress. Tighten and release each muscle group in turn, starting with the soles of the feet and slowly working up to the scalp. Plan a weekend activity that is a change of pace. If your week is heavily scheduled, relax and enjoy noncompetitive activities. If you are never able to finish anything during the week, choose a project that you can complete in a few hours on Saturday or Sunday.

Take time out for a diversion in the middle of your workday.

When the pressures of completing a project are too great, your productivity can drop. Take a walk or stop for lunch. Savor life’s little delights. Give yourself some physical pleasure to help your stress slip away.

Treat yourself to a professional massage, or trade massages with a loved one.

Give yourself permission to enjoy a movie, watch a sports event, listen to music or read a book. Savor a soothing cup of chamomile herb tea with a dollop of honey. Chamomile has long been used to relieve nervous tension.

Plan a day of beauty with a friend. Do each other’s hair, or paint your nails and chat.

Create a simple steam facial at home by boiling water. Remove the pan from the stove. Cover your head with a large towel so that it creates a tent over the pot. Steam your face for five or 10 minutes. Add aromatic herbs to the water for a sensual touch.

Focus completely on any of the senses " hearing, seeing, eating or body movements " for a few minutes. Even washing your hands can become a sensual experience.

Use visualization and affirmation techniques. You can inoculate yourself against a situation you fear by going over the event in your mind. Imagine the scene in vivid detail and picture the best possible outcome.

You can also shrink an imagined fear down to size by picturing the worst possible results. Imagine describing this worst case to your best friend the next day and the sympathy you receive. Imagine telling a group of friends the next month, who share their similar experiences. Finally, imagine joking about your unpleasant experience with a complete stranger a year later. If you carry this exercise through to the end, your stress will become something to laugh about.

Replace negative self-talk with affirmations. The chatterbox in your mind is filled with gloom: You’re too fat. . . you’re too old. . .you’ll never amount to anything. Like the little engine that could, nourish your mind with a constant stream of "I know I can."

Get enough sleep. Determine how much sleep you require for optimum performance. Sleep deprivation aggravates the body’s responses to stress. Consider setting an alarm clock to remind yourself that it is time to go to bed.

Strive for your dreams. Plan ahead to meet your most cherished goals in life.

Time management experts emphasize the importance of writing down your important goals.

Break big projects down into a series of small steps that you can work on every day. Want to change jobs? Make one phone call contact today. Is writing a book your dream? Commit to writing one page a day.

Knowing that you are striving toward your dreams relieves frustrations that mount when you feel stuck in a rut of endless responsibilities that seem to lead nowhere.

Even if you only use these last 12 keys to stress relief, you can become a happier, healthier person, a more efficient worker and a better friend to others. Keep a notebook as new ideas come to you through your reading and your own creativity. The most important key is your decision to take time for yourself and to simplify your life whenever possible.

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Copyright (c): Jaime Peret Director / Founder

@ozsmartweb Pty. Ltd.
http://www.sydneybrowser.com
http://www.ozsmartweb.net
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Posted on Jul 5th, 2006

I’ve struggled a bit with this article trying to put my thoughts into words. How do you talk about something that has so many sides to it like holidays? This time of year can be a lot of fun but it can also be filled with a lot of stress. With the holidays fast approaching (I mean they are on us now) things start to really heat up and move quickly. If we’re not really careful we can get into "doing mode" and believe performance is all that really counts.

You know the get it done, keep going, and get more done, kind of thing.

To help me with this article today, I went to dictionary.com to get a general definition of holiday:

1. A day free from work that one may spend at pleasure, especially a day on which custom or the law dictates a halting of general business activity to commemorate or celebrate a particular event.

2. a religious feast day, a holy day.

3. Chiefly British, A vacation. Often used in the phrase on holiday

It seems that the first two definitions are really appropriate for many of us during this time in Western Culture. There are a number of holidays celebrated during December that fall into the "day of leisure…a halting of general business activity to commemorate or celebrate a particular event" or that fall into the "holy day" category.

But I know that for me I need to be really careful or the actual day of the holiday is not so much a "day of leisure" as it is a “day of recovery” because I’ve been way out of balance getting to the day. Or maybe worse, it is a day filled with so much activity; celebratory meals, company, gifts etc that the day is a blur of activity rather than a day of enjoyment.

My new mantra "awareness is curative" helped us to feed 18 people Thanksgiving Day. And in addition we were able to enjoy everything that went into the day including the planning, buying and preparing. The trick was to fill each day with lots of STOPs to get a handle on where we were and check to see if things were on course.

If you’re not familiar with the notion of STOP it’s out of "The Inner Game of Work” by Tim Gallwey and it goes like this:

(S)tep back from the situation

(T)hink about what is going on

(O)rganize your thoughts (get in touch with you)

(P)roceed again (maybe slowly) in the chosen direction

These STOPs allowed both Tom and I to stay organized and to really plan the event from menu to market, to prep, to table and to serve. But it did something else for me that was much more important.

The STOPs allowed me to stay in touch with why I was doing the dinner and what my bigger goal was. When I started to be a bit agitated or worried over things the STOPs provided a wonderful way to check in with myself and keep on track both emotionally as well as functionally.

Here is another big piece…I walked away from work completely guilt free. The STOPs helped me stay on course to complete what was necessary in the office. That way I was completely free from my business obligations while preparing for the event. So what does all this have to do with "awareness is curative?" If I can stay on top of why I’m doing something and how it relates to my bigger purpose then I have all the internal momentum I need to see things through. My desire is taking me through the steps rather than some outside sense of obligation. And if my desire is pushing me forward it’s pretty easy to stay on track. Why? ‘Cause it’s my desire - in other words, I want to do it.

All of this is to say…give yourself permission to enjoy the time you take off from work. If you don’t get a project completed before it’s time to switch gears, just leave yourself good notes so you can pick you where you left off and give yourself permission to leave it. (Those good notes will help a lot to leave the project plus you’ll love them when you come back!) Then you move into your holidays with plenty of time to accomplish your holiday goals.

Take a moment to reflect on where you are, what you’ve learned and where you’re headed. Remember this is a time for you to replenish. But in my opinion what is more important is that it is a wonderful time to celebrate your life; to celebrate the incredible miracle of you.

You have permission to publish this article electronically or in print, free of charge, as long as the bylines are included. A courtesy copy of your publication would be appreciated.

Jillian Middleton is a Mentor Coach and Trainer, and author of the courses "5 Steps to Working Less and Making More in Network Marketing" and Setting Up Your Store Hours. As creator of the "Savvy Sponsoring Strategies" Program, Jillian trains network marketers and direct sales consultants the same strategies she used to build two 6-figure network marketing businesses in 5 years. For more information on Jillian or her programs visit http://www.SavvySponsoring.com

Posted on Jul 4th, 2006

What is stress and how does it come about? What does stress feel like? The denotation of the word would be as follows. "A mentally or emotionally upsetting condition occurring in response to adverse external influences and capable of affecting physical health, usually characterized by increased heart rate, a rise in blood pressure, muscular tension, irritability, and depression". There is a lot deeper questions as to stress, such as to the question of emotion, but for now let’s just examine stress.

There are some instances of physical stress created by external situations, although stress in the majority of cases is created by us. We put ourselves in stressful situations. We do not take care in our actions. This leads to problems with a consistent feeling of anxiety. Problems in some cases get resolved but not understood.

Many times we are more concerned about avoiding the problem rather than facing it, this of course brings about stress. Problems do not go away. Problems need to be understood. Understood in the sense - all factors at play need to be seen, these factors will tell us what is creating the problem. Problems in actual fact can become opportunities. The majority of the products or services in the market place are invented to solve problems.

So a problem may give you the opportunity to be better. Although this is a kind of positive spin, the fact remains - a problem is a problem and within it, there is an answer.

When you find yourself stressed out, step back and take a look at why?

What are some of the factors that cause stress for you? Lack of organization can lead to a lot of stress. Organization puts you in a position of anticipation if you fail to organize you fail to anticipate. Procrastination creates stress, putting things off. Stress can also be caused by poor diet, drinking a lot of coffee, not sleeping, which becomes the circular challenge caused by worry, or stress. Not been honest brings stress, and when you start adding all this up it equates to been unhappy.

Not dealing with issues is the biggest stress builder of all.

Stress is accumulated from the past. You have to deal with it. Sorry there is no easy answer. The past cannot be changed. What you have done is over. Now one needs to examine what caused it.

Let’s say I do not pay my bills, this leads to a problem of bills adding up and not been paid which then creates the challenge of the power been cut off, then I cannot cook. This is kind of simplistic but one problem leads to another like a domino effect.

The problem may have been caused by my lack of budgeting or living beyond my means, and when not confronted leads to stress. Problems are a part of life. However most problems come from ourselves, and are refusal to face the facts. The truth will set you free.

You cannot change the past. Deal with your circumstances now, as they are, not as you wish they were. Deal with stress Today and tomorrow will start to look a whole lot better.

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Paul Hegarty is the owner of learningfromdvds.com. A guide to educational DVDs with price comparisons, reviews, and free E-books. Read this month’s e-book on "How To Spot A fraudulent Email". Grab your free copy today.

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