Archive for September, 2010

How to Stress Test Yourself

Stress comes in many forms. It can be very obvious at times and it can also be very subtle. The problem with subtle stress is that it can be just as damaging but hard to identify and therefore resolve. There are many steps we can take to identify stress.stress-test

To help identify stress it is good to get out paper and jot what what stressful things comes to mind. Once you are done with the ones that jump out make a second list of the ones you have to think about more. The ones that draw less attention but definitely bring the effects of stress. Give yourself a little stress test and figure out what it is that causes your stress. It’s important to have a clearer picture of what is causing stress in your life so you take the steps to either avoid these things or adapt to them.

Once you have a better idea of the stressors in your life you can start to consciously and subconsciously work out solutions. Many people ignore the power of the subconscious and wonder why is it so easy for some to adapt to life and roll with the punches. The truth is that every time you say something negative your subconscious listens. Every time you think “this is stressful” or “I really don’t like it when this happens” you are making things harder. You are letting your mind respond more and more negatively to events and people. Don’t take this the wrong way and let people walk all over you and don’t think it’s not ok to dislike things. Still be assertive but take a path of empowerment.

The more you say “I don’t like this but I won’t let it affect me” the more positively you can approach the situation. The more you program into your mind the “I am strong” ideas the easier you are making life for yourself. It may sound like pseudoscience but it is proven psychology. Pay attention to your thoughts and begin reprogramming the way you look at the world for the better!

Let life work for you and not against you. Identify what causes stress and take steps to either avoid or adapt to them. You deserve happiness!

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Nutrition Advice For a Stress Free Life

fruits-grainsNutrition is one of the most overlooked and most important things in life. It not only affects your health but it has a strong link to your mental clarity and emotional well-being. It is overlooked in part because of our separation from the food we eat; most of us don’t garden and we certainly don’t kill and butcher our food. It is overlooked in part because of the motives of the food industries, to think that big business care about our health over their profits in naive. It is also overlooked because it’s something we have always done, always do, and rarely have we tried or know how to eat healthy.

There are so many small and large steps to take that lead to great changes in our life. Many of us think that fats are bad and cause body fat. That is simply untrue. Our caloric intake mixed with how simple or complex the food is along with metabolism is what affects fat. Complex carbohydrates like Bran, barley, corn, buckwheat, oats, brown rice, and yams all take more energy to digest. We actually burn more calories digesting this food unlike high fructose corn syrup which extremely simple and takes nothing to digest.

Not only does eating complex carbohydrates benefit us by lowering calories but it’s also great for our bodies. It doesn’t cause insulin surges which is very hard on our body (also a strong contributing factor to break outs).

To move on from the shallow affects of eating (break outs, body fat) we must understand how much eating clouds mental clarity. The lighter the foods, the less dairy we eat, the less processed our food is all lower our minds sharpness. To prove to yourself all of the above, change your diet! Start simple, you don’t have to eat rice everyday and that’s not even healthy. Proper diet takes a lot of research and time. Here is a brief overview of what you should be eating.

  1. Vegetables, you can NEVER eat to many and they should be the first on the list. Don’t overeat, it’s very hard on your body, spread out your meals. It is psychology that the more food on your plate the more you will feel compelled to overeat.
  2. Eat complex grains/beans: brown rice, oats, whole wheat, lentils and every other bean.
  3. Avoid processed foods as best you can.
  4. Fruits are also complex and great to eat; replace candy with fruits! Apples are high in fiber and bind to saturated fats.
  5. Replace soda with green/white/black teas. This may be the most difficult since many of us are literally addicted to them, but it is also a very important step.
  6. Avoid trans fats, look for healthy fats like those found in olive oil and avocados.
  7. Seriously don’t overeat!
  8. Take a daily multivitamin (non-synthesized is best) and omega 3-6-9’s (like fish or flax oil).
  9. Always, always eat a great variety of foods!

Just give it a try, there is no magic pill in life, but there truly are magic diets!

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Finding Yourself Help with Stress

There have been a lot of changes in my life and I would like to extend them to yours. It is far to often we ignore the pressing issues in our life; we all have our excuses but eventually they just don’t cut it. We are lying to yourselves, paving the way to a worse tomorrow, and cheating the people around us of all we have to offer.
help-with-stress
We can accept all of this as is it. There is no need to deny it and let it get the better of us. Problems come and go; the sooner we find solutions the easier life will be. This is simple and obvious. Doing it can be the opposite but we don’t need to find ourselves trapped by our problems. It just isn’t necessary. Problems are a part of life and quicker we recognize them and put our focus on the solution the quicker they dissolve and the stronger we become for it.

The stress that comes with these problems is our biggest focus on this website. Stress reducers and stress management techniques are what we try to communicate/facilitate. However there is a lot more to it and often those looking for these techniques are going about it the wrong way. It is great to reduce stress and learn stress management techniques but these are just part of the bigger picture. You must get to the root of your issues. You must have a solid foundation of ideas in addition to these rooms of stress management.

Your mind houses your essence, it contains the fundamental beliefs that shape your life. The more you look into these ideas the more you can mold them! The more you dig up your problems and face them the less stress you will have. It can be very hard to look at your problems in the face, but if you start small and be realistic you lay a smoother road for yourself to travel on for the rest of your life. What you do today will build your future, there isn’t any reason to put it off. Fear and laziness will get in your way but as long as you do your best and be real with your life it will get better and you will grow into the person you want to be.

Be happy with were you are, look at were you want to be, but stay present in the moment because that is were the future beings and that is were change happens. Empower yourself!

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Overcoming Stress & Identifying Stressors

stressors-and-psychologyIt’s been a little while since I have blogged. I hope everyone has been reducing their stress and are doing well. I wanted to talk more about the nature of stress, how it comes into our lives, and what steps we can take to overcome it.

Stress is a natural response to events and things. It is meant to help guide us away from harmful events/things. It is both unfortunate and fortunate this response is programmed by your mind. Unfortunate because you have been sabotaging yourself and stressing about unnecessary things/events. Fortunate because now you know you are in control!

You identify the stressors as such because of negative past experiences and the expectations of what they will bring. You program into your mind what is going to cause you to feel the stress, both consciously and subconsciously. This is an empowering idea; once you understand you are in control of stress you can learn to change your reaction to it. Sure there will always be new challenges, and stress isn’t something to banish all together as it has a positive purpose (in it’s natural form), but now you can begin to take control!

Once you understand you are in control of stress you can begin reprogramming your mind. The first step is to identify what causes
stress in your life. The small things will be the easiest to overcome but the larger stressors will be much harder. Start by making a list of the things that cause stress in your life. Then move on to writing why they cause you stress. After you have reflected on this for a
while, being to program your subconscious by repeating that these things will affect you less and less. It may sounds silly but your subconscious mind will always follow what you say, and the more you say it the more it will listen.

You have begun to put it into subconscious action. Now we can begin to but it into conscious action and start to become one of your stress reducers. When these stressors come to your attention, pay attention. Try to take a step back and say, this is happening and I am going to deal with it peacefully. It does not need to generate stress, that isn’t productive, I am going to work through it constructively and have no need for the stress.

A lot of the time we don’t realize the stress serves us no purpose and it’s just how we think we should react. Stress is a highly individual emotion, each person has an infinitely different variety of stressors. Sure there are many common stressors many people share, but you must remember it is you who identifying with the stress. It is you who is feeling the response and it is you who are choosing to feel the response.

It will take work, you must repeat to reprogram your mind, you must recognize the stress and realize in most cases it is unnecessary.

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A few great methods for calming down

calm-down-by-breathing

Try taking several deep breathes to calm down

There are a million different ways we can become stressed out.  Stress can really come at you when you least expect it, and the best defense for a stress attack is a good knowledge of how to fight it.  Thankfully, there are several different ways to help yourself calm down after a long stressful day.

The first method I like to use to calm down is get some exercise or simply go for a walk.  Walking helps you release pressure build up from stress and it also releases a naturally occurring chemical in your body called an endorphin.  Going out into nature, a park, or even just a sidewalk can be much less stressful than remaining where you are currently at anyways.  This will help you both get the exercise you need to stay healthy and the time you need to think your way through your stressful situation.

Simply taking deep breathes to calm down is another stressreducer.org favorite.  If you can’t find your way to the park for a quick stress-walk then try finding your way to a cubicle or bathroom stall where you can be alone for a few moments.  Simply take many very deep breathes repetitively and in a calm manner.  This can be done anywhere, but being alone really helps reduce the stress.  Technically, the oxygen that you are inserting into your body is promoting healthy blood flow and oxidizing/cycling red blood cell levels throughout the body.  This calms the nerves, and releases physical tension as well.

Calming down can be a very difficult thing to do when you are in a pickle.  However, there are ways to reduce the amount of times you get riled up in the first place.  One of the best ways to do this is a change in the way you perceive certain situations and interactions with people, work, and the things around you.  This is a lifestyle change type of defensive attack towards stress.  The goal is to reframe the situation that you are in, and reanalyze you opinion of the situation into a less stressful viewpoint.  You can greatly increase the experience during a situation that might need calmed down by the way you look at things.  Reading mental health books and other pieces of literature that address pessimism and other destructive emotional thought patterns can really be a lot of help to someone who wants help calming down.

Of course this is all easier said than done, but at least you have learned a few quick methods to help with calming down, and a good suggestion for a long term attack at your stress problems.  Remember, calming down can be easier than you think, after all, it is mostly mental.

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Time Management Tips

Time management can be very difficult at times, especially with how busy we all are.  One of the best ways to improve your time management skills is to document how you spend all of your time, then analyze those activities and decide whether or not you are wasting time on unnecessary or unimportant things.  Take the chart located here and record how much of your time you spend on each of those days and total it up.

time-management-table

Simply fill out the amount of time you spend doing anything you do every 15 minutes throughout the day, then at the end of your 7 day period, you go back and categorize them.  Shown below on the right is an example daily activity log for doing this.  Shown is 7a.m. up through 12:30 p.m., you will need to go all the way to about midnight.  In the “Quad” column, you will label each activity according to the charts in the middle below(Note: Click on any image to enlarge).

Time is a resource that is spent and managed in many different ways by different people.  Students, professionals, and even stressed parents or teenagers alike face especially demanding daily schedulestime-management-matrix.  The purpose of performing a time management exercise such as this serves several purposes.

1) Making you conscious of how you choose to spend and manage your time.

2) Identify areas where you can improve your time management practices.

3) Provide data from which to build or improve your goal-based time management system.

4) expose you to time management/organizing concepts for self-improvement.

The purpose is NOT to:daily-activity-log

  • Encourage you to track every minute or activity in your life for years to come.
  • Propose that everyone should monitor, plan, or manage time in exactly the same way.
  • Require you to change your current time management practices or daily schedule.

The time management activity involves monitoring and analyzing your use of time for a three-day period over one week.  So to elaborate, you are to:

1) Complete the time study log above for three days of the upcoming week

2) record the number of hours (0.25 increments) spent on the following activites.

3) calculate totals for days and activities to confirm 24 hr. days and 72 hours total.

We hope you enjoy our time management tip and activity.  Think about it as a time management game!

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Five Great Stress Relief Activities

bang-head-on-wallThere are millions of different techniques used by people around the world to relieve their stress.  Including us here at Stress Reducer.  The article is about different types of activities you can take part in to help with stress relief. These activities range from physical to mental and can even seem quirky at times.  But hey, if they work, then get at it!  Here are some of our favorites:

1) Go for a run.  Everybody knows that running or exercising daily, or even just bi-weekly, can be a very effective stress reliever.

2) Go swimming.  This goes along with exercising daily.  But seriously, if you can just get to the public pool or your local university lap pool once a week, you will be doing yourself a favor in so many ways.  Swimming is amazing for your body both for you cardiovascular and for you ming.  Swimming is relaxing and a good hard workout in the pool will leave you smelling like water, not sweat.  Give it a try.

3) Go hit something.  Hey, it can work.  Go out to the woods, grab a big log and whack a tree around a little bit.  Take it out on the dead branches instead of your family and friends.

4) Meditate.  Meditation can have serious mental wellness benefits and is often overlooked as an effective provider of stress relief.  Pick up a book or read one of our articles about meditation and give it a try.  Don’t worry, nobody has to watch, lock yourself in a room if you must.

5) Socialize.  Mingling with your peers is healthy for stress control.  Socializing can help you strengthen your relationships and discover new ones as well.  The more you socialize, the more avenues of decisions are available to you.  This leads to you being in control of your stress because you can take advantage of opportunities that can provide an easier life for yourself and your family.

Those five methods for relieving stress don’t even scratch the surface of all of the ways to reduce your stress.  Do you have a favorite way to reduce stress?  Tell us about it here! We would love to hear your secrets about how you fight back.

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Emotional Stress and You

emotionally-stressed-guyStress can build up and over time and become very emotionally damaging. It affects us emotionally as well as mentally and physically. It can put up mental and emotional blocks that over time can distance us from the people and things that make us happy. Emotional stress is not something to push aside and try to avoid; it is something to deal with as it comes.

Don’t push aside emotional stress

Without emotional stress our life becomes more rich, the experiences we have become more exciting and welcomed, and our relationships become more fulfilling. It is not necessary to feel this emotional stress and by no means is it necessary to have it take the drivers seat of our life. The more you push it aside the more it takes control, the less attention you pay to it the more attention it takes from you (in subtle and not so subtle ways).

Keys to overcoming emotional stress

There are many keys to overcoming this emotional stress, you must listen to it as it arises. What are the triggers for this emotional stress? Is it something you can change? If these triggers are not something you can avoid, the next step is to accept them as they are. Once you accept them as a part of your life you can begin to adapt to them. You will start to gain control over them. You will start you realize it is not this that is stressing you out, but it is your reaction to it that is causing the stress. You will continue to learn that it is your choice of how to respond to the stress. You will start to see that the emotional stress is something that you are choosing to have in your life.

Remember it is your choice to feel the emotional stress, you are empowered but you must realize it.

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Stress Reduction Techniques

Most of us live our lives with an excess of stress. Stress is an all to common problem to deal with. Stress can damage all parts of our lives; from our work-life, to our social life, all the way to our cells. Stress increases cortisol levels, decreases the body’s natural ability to heal an regenerate itself, and adds an abundance of other issues.

Great Stress Reduction Tools

Thankfully there are many tools to use as a stress reducer and a lot of resources to help us overcome the struggle we endure on a daily basis. A stress reducer can be used whenever needed and can quickly prevent us from a downward spiral of stress and being unproductive. When you start feeling overwhelmed it is very easy to drop out of a happy and productive state and move into one where the world seems a burden, where regular events and happenings in your life turn from normal into all to frustrating.

stress-reduction-techniquesThere are outlets for us to vent and quickly put a positive feel to our day, a stress reducer is an obvious tool we can use for this. The simple tools would be stress relief toys you squeeze/play around with. To get more gratifying results will need more effort. Taking a moment to appreciate the aesthetics of your office. If your office is a mess, cleaning it and keeping it clean is a key to letting your mind stay sharp and less stressed. Get art you appreciate, whether it is a painting/sculpture or an interactive piece. Extend this to your car and home with the philosophy that it is going to get cleaned eventually, why not keep it clean and exert the same amount of energy?

More Advanced Techniques?

For more advanced techniques that get to the root of the problem you will need to find what works for you personally. What outlets of expression make you happy? Writing, drawing, listening or playing music? When you see yourself starting to lose control and get bogged down be sure to pay attention. Fixing the problem early is easier than fixing it later.

Stress isn’t here to overcome you, you are here to overcome it.

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