Archive for category Stress Reducer

Get Fit For Life!

AH THE PROMISE OF WASHBOARD ABS AND SCULPTED PECS. After eight long hours hunched over our desks, it’s enough to push us to drop the day’s earnings on fancy elliptical trainersw and treadmills, only to leave them languishing in closets collecting dust, along with our best intentions.

While a grueling workout may harden the bodies of those with rock-hard willpower, there’s good news for the rest of us.  The latest findings from the field of exercise science reveal that moderate exercise has a host of benefits, including a healthier heart and brain, and potentially even a longer life.

GET A MOVE ON

Mounting evidence that sitting still for too long is harmful to your health

couch potato“YOUR TV IS SLOWLY KILLING YOU,” screams one headline.  “Sitting for hours can shave years off your life,” says another.  What started with a few interesting studies has turned into a barrage of alarming media reports on the dangers of sedentary behavior.  Last year, the Journal of the American College of Cardiology reported that people who spend four hours a day on screen based activities – computers, video games and television – are twice as likely to have a major cardiac event, such as a heart attack, than those who spend two hours or less sitting still. Another paper compared the mortality records and TV-viewing habits of 11,247 Australians and found that each hour of screen time clipped 22 minutes off study participants’ lives.  More sobering still: the lives of those who spent six hours a day glued to the screen were 4.8 years shorter.

While you rush to lace up your cross-trainers, here’s the real clincher: according to the latest findings, even a daily workout isn’t enough to offset the negative effects of sitting motionless for hours. The solution, researchers say, is to incorporate some movement – any movement at all – into your daily routine.

DESKERCISE

Simple strategies for keeping active on the job

  • Sit on an exercise ball.  A University of Buffalo study says you’ll burn six percent more calories than when sitting in a chair.
  • Stand up when you talk on your smartphone.  Better yet, take a walk.  The more breaks you take from your chair, the trimmer your waistline will be, according to a 2011 report in the European Heart Journal.
  • Stop e-mailing the guy in the next cubicle.  When the next big idea pops into your head, walk over to your coworkers and share it with them in person.
  • Take frequent and regular breaks.  Free downloadable programs like workrave.com remind you when it’s time to get moving.
  • Ask your boss for a stand-up workstation. Some ergonomically designed desks can electronically adjust to varying heights.

deskercise-exercise-ball“The potential adverse health impact of prolonged sitting (which is something we do on average for more than half of each day) is only just being realized. Even small changes, which could be as little as standing up for one minute, might help lower this risk.” – Dr. Genevieve Healy, School of Population Health, The University of Queensland, Australia

EXERCISE AND THE BRAIN

HEALTHY BODY, HEALTHY MIND

What’s good for the heart is good for the brain

WHILE WE KNOW A GOOD WORKOUT can work magic on our bodies, we tend to underestimate the impact exercise has on our brains: reducing stress, enhancing mood, improving focus and decision making ability and stimulating the brain-cell growth that is key to learning.  That’s not all: what gets man neuroscientists up at the crack of dawn for a morning run is growing proof that exercise fuels the brain throughout all stages of life.  Where we once believed there’s no escaping the mind’s inevitable atrophy as we grow old, the advancing neuroimaging techniques such as MRIs show that older people who squeeze in a daily bike ride or a few laps around the pool actually revers the shrinkage of structures that are key to brain health. If this news doesn’t send boomers everywhere running to aquafit class, perhaps they’re having a “senior moment”.

woman stretchingBRAIN PLEASERS

  • Researchers recently put one group of sedentary older adults through a year of modest aerobic exercise and tracked two significant results: an increase in the size of the hippocampus deep inside the brain and gradual improvement on memory tests.
  • Both aerobic exercise and strength training play a role in maintaining a healthy brain throughout life, according to a recent review of 111 studies in the field of exercise neuroscience.

“If you are in middle age and begin to exercise at a moderate intensity, which means you’re sweating and a little bit breathless for 30 or 40 minutes a day, three to four times a week, you will push back cognitive decline by 10 to 15 years.  Some studies say the same kind of regimen can cut the incidence of Alzheimer’s disease in your life by about a third.” – Dr. John Ratey, associate clinical professor of psychiatry, Harvard Medical School, and author of Spark: The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain

HOW MUCH EXERCISE?

FITNESS CALCULATOR

How day-to-day tasks help keep you in shape

RESEARCHERS HAVE A FORMULA that compares various physical activities with the energy cost of quiet sitting. Measurements are in metabolic equivalent of tasks (METS). The more METS, the better.

1) LIGHT ACTIVITY (1-3 METS)

  • Sitting quietly watching TV … 1.3
  • Watering lawn or garden … 1.5
  • Fishing from boat or canoe … 2.0
  • Washing / Waxing car … 2.0
  • Playing fold or classical guitar … 2.0

2) MODERATE ACTIVITY (3-6 METS)

  • Kitchen activity … 3.3
  • Painting house (interior) or furniture … 3.3
  • Power yoga … 4.0
  • Golf … 4.8

3) VIGOROUS ACTIVITY (more than 6 METS)

  • Bicycling to and from work … 6.8
  • Carrying groceries upstairs … 7.5
  • Running, 6 mpg … 9.8
  • Swimming laps, freestyle, fast … 9.8
  • Boxing … 12.8

Source: Medicine & Science in Sports and Exercise, 2011 Compendium of Physical Activities

MAN’S BEST FRIEND

There’s proof your pooch may be keeping you trim

TWO-THIRDS OF DOG OWNERS take their pets for regular walks, according to the 2011 report from Michigan State University. Nearly half (46 percent) of dog walkers exercise an average of 30 minutes a day, five days a week, while only one-third (38 percent) of Americans without dogs meet those standards.

Which is best, walking with your spouse or your dog? Experts at the University of Missouri compared human and dog walking companions and found that dog walkers showed much greater fitness improvements.

“There appears to be a strong link between owning and walking a dog and achieving higher levels of physical activity.” – Epidemiologist Mathew Reeves, Michigan State University

TIME CRUNCHED? NO PROBLEM

THIRTY MINUTES A DAY give five days a week, 150 minutes a week. For years we’ve been told that’s the bare minimum we need to get our hearts pumping if we want to reap any real health benefits from exercise.  Anything less just doesn’t count. A report published last summer in Britain’s prestigious medical journal, The Lancet, cut that Olympian effort in half.  Researchers tracked the health records of 416,175 active and inactive people for 12 years and discovered that people who exercised a mere 15 minutes a day had a 14 percent lower risk of death during the study than their couch potato peers.  Surprisingly, just a quarter-hour workout a day extended life expectancy by a whopping three years.  There’s more good news for those who’d rather burn their calories on the go than sweat their way through a punishing session of cardio boot camp.  New studies show that everyday activities such as gardening, moving the lawn and climbing the stairs also contribute to cardiovascular fitness, even if these takes last just a minute or two at a time.  So the next time you have to dash through the airport to catch a flight, imagine how great that little micro-burst of exertion is for your heart.  And whenever that infomercial for the Enormously Expensive Elliptical Exerciser comes on, why not save your pennies and walk the dog toward a healthier life?

 

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The Stress Response

Many actions occur when the stress response is thrust into action. The lungs work overtime, the heart kicks into overdrive, stress hormones are released, and all non-critical body the-stress-responsefunctions stop. Body functions such as immune system regulation, cell production, and cell regeneration are put on stand by. The body is on high alert, ready to escape the stressor that it is presented with. These functions are extremely useful for their intended purpose. Unfortunately their intended purpose is to survive in the wild. We rarely use stress in this setting and because of that a lot of issues arise.

The effects of stress

All of these actions happen when we are presented with everyday stress. When we are stuck in traffic or have a high workload this stress response occurs, along with its repercussions. Our immune system is weakened, our heart and lungs have unnecessary stress put on them, our mind shuts down. This can lead to a lot of problems short term. Long term chronic stress has disastrous consequences. Chronic stress gives us high blood pressure, arteries clog with plaque, the cardiovascular system becomes weak, the immune system is compromised, we develop a poor memory. Brain cells are destroyed and the communication between them is lowered. The damage done is both physical and mental. We not only suffer the pain of stress but we are bogged down by its consequences.

Take steps towards stress management

The stress response is in its nature a physical one. This physical response affects us emotionally, physically, and mentally. It is corrosive and is only meant for short duration in emergency situations. Our social constructs and modern environment triggers this stress response far to often. We are creatures of nature living in an unnatural world. We however don’t have to be slaves to this stress response. We can take many steps to avoid this stress and we can take just as many to conquer the response to it.

There will always be stress but it shouldn’t consume our lives. It shouldn’t be a daily occurrence and it definitely doesn’t need to adversely affect our health. Stress isn’t there to control you, you are there to control it. With the proper stress management strategies, with mindfulness based stress reduction, and with building new habits we can take the higher road and overcome the debilitating affects of stress. We can restore our emotional, mental, and physical health. Please read on to discover these methods and take back your life!

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Stress and Pleasure

Dopamine is a chemical in the brain with many purposes. It increases the pleasure of literally every activity. From eating to stress-and-pleasurereading, from appreciation of art to time spent with others, sex to music dopamine does it all. Dopamine brings us concentration; it helps develop the prefrontal cortex which is the part of the brain that separates us humans from all other species. It is extremely powerful and necessary for functioning in the world. Stress and dopamine are intimately connected. The stress hormones adrenaline, cortisol, and glucacorticiods work together to stop the production of dopamine.

Dopamine and stress

Stress will lower dopamine and it’s activity in the brain by lowering receptor activity. The more we stress the more this happens. The more it happens the more the brain is shaped to both have less and receive less dopamine. The damage will continue to weaken this chemical and take away from us concentration, pleasure, and a variety of other functions that dopamine is responsible for in our brain.

The impacts of stress

Stress does far more than reduce dopamine and its other affects can take a toll on our enjoyment of life as well. Ignoring the mental and emotional pain of stress much can be said about the health problems associated with stress. It will weaken our immune system making us susceptible to disease. It will harm our cardiovascular system making it harder to get around and enjoy physical activity. It can cause memory problems which not only is annoying but can be very damaging to our life. It can compromise our reproductive system. It can give us painful peptic ulcers and headaches.

Finding stress management strategies

The list goes on and the stress runs a muck on our body, mind, and emotions. We must find ways to avoid and cope with stress. Finding stress management strategies as well as stress reducers are important steps to take. So much can be done and we can start today. We can empower ourselves and take back our health and enjoyment of life. We can secure a safe spot in our world and we can live a happier life. This not only affects us but all those in our life. We must make the mature and responsible decisions to take back our lives from stress. It will take hard work but as long as we continue to take steps in the right direction we will reach our destination.

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How To Reduce Stress

Many people want to know how to reduce stress. It is a common goal and one that we can find to make us feel helpless and how-to-reduce-stressfeel that it is impossible to accomplish. It is important to change this idea and if we choose not to we will fail to accomplish these goals. Our mind follows our thoughts (as do our body and emotions). Defeating yourself with such self-destructive language will result in the self fulfilling prophecy that we etched into ourselves. We can find out how to reduce stress when we find out who we are. Of course finding out how to reduce stress is possible without this; however it is one of the most effective and preventative method available.

How to reduce stress

There are some of us with no idea of how to reduce stress. Some of us wander about life without a clue as to why they are in and get themselves into stressful events. These individuals often create these events and not just fall into the situation. Feeling the stress response is almost always a choose that we make. When we can understand this we will know a powerful way to now only reduce stress but prevent it.

Making the right choices

When you find yourself feeling stressed remember it is a choice. Pattern your mind and tell yourself you have the choice. You are in control and you are fully capable of handling in situation. Again, your mind always listens to what you tell yourself, as does your body and your emotions. Understanding this is imperative to knowing how to reduce stress in your everyday life and preventing in most situations. This is an idea we talk about a lot here at stress reducer. That is because with a true reflection on this idea and the change of your reaction (with practice) with this technique will empower you in many walks of life.

Take control of stress

Stress is not here to control you, it is here to be controlled by you. You will always have the choice and you will always be able to make it. It can be extremely hard in many situations but remembering you can do it will help you make the mature choice. With self-discipline and this technique of mindfulness based stress reduction we can achieve much more in our lives and be much happier. Self-discipline is like a muscle, the more you exercise it the stronger it will become. Work for yourself and develop these skills for yourself and those around you!

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Helping yourself by helping others

reduce-stress-by-helping-othersStress can come in a variety of forms and from a variety of different sources. Some stress comes in the form of sadness and aggravation, while other stress comes in the form of decreased energy and little to no motivation to be productive. For some people work is their main stressor, while for others their spouses and families are their main source of stress. Fact is, each case of stress is different, and there are only a few universal stress reducers; helping others is the universal stress reducer many sufferers need.

Giving You a Good Sense of Accomplishment

Helping others can be a tedious task, and can even be physically and mentally taxing no matter how strong of a person you are. When it comes down to it, the effort and work you put into helping others comes back ten-fold in the feeling you get when you see the smile on someone else’s face – a smile that you put there. I can tell you from personal experience that nothing feels better than helping someone in needs. Whether it’s by doing a small noble deed such as holding the door open for a handicapped woman, or something much larger such as helping to feed people is disaster stricken countries, the feeling you feel when you see the relief in their faces is unlike any other. So no matter how down you feel, or how stressed out you are try helping others out, it’s a great stress reducer.

How You Can Start Helping

For those who are inexperienced with volunteer “helping” work it can be a little confusing knowing where to go, and what to do when looking to help. The answer to this problem is simple: whether you want to join an organization and take on real volunteer jobs, or if you want to just help the average Joe on the street, anything and everything helps. That is, even the smallest of deeds is greatly appreciated by the community. If y0u’re still focused on working on a larger volunteer project here are some places/organizations that are always looking for a helping hand:

  • Homeless Voice – The homeless can always use all the help they can get, so join the homeless voice and get helping.
  • Church – A wide variety of people come to church seeking help and guidance, and you can be a huge part of whether they like they’re experience or not.
  • Retirement Homes – while people who reside in retirement homes are usually treated fairly well they tend to get lonely sometimes. You’d be surprised you can make someone just by listening to their stories.

 

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Anger Management as a Stress Reducer

Anger is a corrosive emotion that feeds us self-destruction and fuels the fire of ignorance. It will destroy relationships and prevent conflict from being resolved. It disintegrates others respect for you and it can do the same for your self respect. Anger will give you a false sense of self and make you feel right when you clearly are not. Practicing anger management is a stress reducer, lowers anxiety, and can really open up your life.anger-management-as-a-stress-reducer

Anger can be helpful

Anger isn’t always bad, although aggressive anger always is. Assertive balanced anger can help charge arguments and facilitate communication, if used properly. However, anger is not commonly used properly and is often only used properly be certain people with the skill. Anyone can learn how to use anger constructively or to not use it at all.

Pivot your thoughts

An important skill to build is being able to pivot your thoughts. When an event happens that would normally bring you anger pivot that thought. Turn it from “that shouldn’t happen” to “that happened and how can I resolve or accept that?”. It is a simple idea with an extraordinary outcome. Being able to use this skill everyday for most everything will give you control of being upset and angry. There are of course some instances to get upset or angry but those are tend to be rare.

Take a deep breath

When you find yourself getting angry use the above method combined with a few deep breaths. It is a stress relief technique we talk a lot about here at stress reducer. That’s because we have found it to be one of the simplest and effective methods to calm down. Calming doing from anger or emotional stress will give you better judgment, which can then calm you down even more. In addition it is a powerful stress reducer.

Practice makes perfect

The more you practice these methods and other methods that you can find here or from other sources the easier they are to preform. Prevention is key as is being able to calm down in the moment. With success we gain confidence in our skill. When we fail we learn from our mistakes and if we continue to practice we will gain the anger management skills we desire!

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Music For Emotional Stress

Music has been around for as long as human kind has. It is the lifeblood of our artistic expression and a form of expression that is deeply connected to our mind, emotions, and even our body. The variety and the lyrics are endless. Finding the right music for you and expanding on your collection can really help with emotional stress. Having the right music for the right mood is always comforting. Emotional stress is a factor that is taken into consideration with music therapy.

Music therapy

Music therapy is an under appreciated college major and career. It is an effective tool for treating emotional stress and can aid in personal development. It works better for some than others but can have an impact on anyone in music therapy.

The benefits of music

It is also used in physical rehabilitation and has proven itself to aide in recovery time. It is used with the elderly to improve mood and cognitive function. Music therapy is considered an expressive therapy and can help build confidence in self expression. Music theory is often taught on some basic levels and there is a great variety in musical selection. It has also shown to be affective in lowering heart rate, blood pressure, and respiratory rates in those with coronary heart disease. Another use that has been documented is help with patients who suffer from epilepsy.

Expand your music tastes

Although it is not that accessible we can still in one way or another to help ourselves reduce emotional stress. We can find music we enjoy and keep it handy. Alternative rock fans should check out Panda Bear, American Analog Set, Built to Spill, The Black Keys, and Modest Mouse. Electronica more your thing? Try Caribou, Massive Attack, Dan Decan, Shpongle, Clubroot, Four Tet, Burial, The Field, Boards of Canada, Emancipator, and Pantha Du Prince. More into folk? Try Langhorne Slim, Sixto Rodriguez, Iron & Wine, Beirut, Mumford & Sons, and of course Bob Dylan.

Just remember that emotional stress has many solutions. Looking for them, being open to change, and working towards goals of relieving emotional stress will bring you the peace you have been looking for.

Enjoy this relaxing video

 

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The Perfect Stress Reducer: Examining Your Beliefs

Belief systems have a much greater power over our lives then we give them credit for. They not only dictate our thoughts but they affect the fundamental view of our world. Thoughts affect our emotions so intimately. Pay attention to how we are thinking and how we are feeling is a simple illustration of this. Beliefs play a major role in our lives. They enable us to see the world the way we choose to and they enable us to ultimately feel how we want to (in general). Having a greater control over these is a great stress reducer, it prevents the stress from ever happening.examining-your-beliefs

Changing beliefs to our benefit

Humans have on average three thousand thoughts a day, each affecting our mood, each steaming from our beliefs. I feel examining and shifting our beliefs is critical, not just merely as a stress reducer but as a life transforming action. Beginning this shift is moving forward and opening up parts of our lives we didn’t realize were connected with certain beliefs.

Reshaping our beliefs

So much agony and displeasure we simply accept as conditions of life. So much discontentment and discomfort we think of as a way of life is in-fact belief systems at play. Acceptance of conditions is a great tool, not just as a stress reducer but as a way to bring joy into your life. We can accept these conditions, and of course should, but we should never settle. We can expand upon our thoughts of the world and of our ourselves. We can stretch ourselves to new dimensions and reach deeper into our mind and into our world. We can reshape, broaden, and enliven the deepest portions of ourselves. With that we can feel this internal landscaping pour out of us and have the same affect on our worlds.

Examine your beliefs

How do we examine our beliefs and expand our life experience? We must thoughtfully reflect upon what we view the world to be. Writing out these ideas is very helpful. Looking at how we respond to events can shed light. Thinking about how we perceive the world at large will as well. Exploring how we view ourselves, those around us, and life itself will give us key insights into what our beliefs are.

Defeating stress is the greatest stress reducer

How we think of others in general is how we think of ourselves. Our perspectives on our environments mirror our perspectives of ourselves. Much can be learned about ourselves by paying attention to our environment. Having an excess of stress is a bi-product of self defeating beliefs. We can use all the stress reducers and stress relief techniques we want, with great affect, but getting to the root of our problems is a critical method to achieving a low stress life.

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Stress Reducer: The Power of Attention

We pay attention to the things in life that interest us. We also pay attention to the things in life that we want to avoid. These are on each end of the spectrum and are both equally captivating. When we focus on what we don’t want we are actually giving it more energy and bringing it into our life. This is the polar opposite from what we want. To understand that giving attention to negativity brings that negativity into our lives will be essential to rising above it and moving beautifully forward in life. We can drop that baggage we have carried around for so long and solve problems that we have struggled with for so very long.stress-reducer-attention

Flip the Switch

There is a simple switch to flip in your mind to use the power of attention as a stress reducer strategies and a preventative of future negativity. Don’t focus on the things you don’t want; instead focus on the things you do want! That is it, this simple change in thought will bring about dynamic and complex change in your life. For example this skill is mirrored in good parenting. To get your kids behavior closer to the fashion you would like you simply tell them what to do. This is obvious, but it is when we tell them what not to do the problems arise. Tell children what you want them to do not what you don’t want them to do. They focus on either one, there mind does not discern the difference.

The power of attention

The power of attention is simple. We form or experience on the things we choose to focus on. There is so much information to take in. Our mind subconsciously sifts through the data and based on what we have trained ourselves to focus on that is what we perceive. This is a subtle application of the power of attention but it helps you form the larger picture of your life and your surroundings. To refocus your attention and build a new filter to see the world through is a powerful stress reducer.

Re-frame your thoughts

When you catch yourself starting to focus on what you don’t want, re-frame the thought. This is an amazingly simple stress reducer and life changer. Instead of thinking I didn’t want to get stuck in traffic think how can I make the best of this. Instead of judging things and events negatively accept them as they are and find a positive light. Think about things differently and not only will your perception change the experience of the event but future occurrences of the event become less likely. Use this stress reducer and other stress reducers in your arsenal and become more and more the person you want to be!

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Emotional Manifestations of Stress

We feel stress in our body, mind, and in our emotions. It affects us on every level whether we know it or not. A lot can happen to us due to stress and it is not always clear that stress is the cause. The emotional stress we feel can do real harm to us. It can cause irrational decisions, anxiety, and panic. Emotional stress can be very uncomfortable but with proper skills and a more productive mindset we can protect ourselves from much of the damage.

Emotional stress comes in many formsemotional-manifestations-of-stress

There is much to be said about the effects of emotional stress and much that can be done. Stress in essence is a physical response to an external stimuli. It serves to protect us from a harmful environment. It is rooted deep in our brain and is in direct relation to the fight-or-flight response. This stress response however is now being redirected to our society. A once protective trigger has been transformed by our urban environment to a far more useless tool. It can be protective and it does help us but the majority of stress is not beneficial. The stress response explodes out of the brain and affects the whole body. The mind shuts down to it’s lower levels of functioning and our emotions run wild.

What can be done?

Much can be done to protect ourselves from emotional stress. The first step is to identify all of the things that cause you stress. Make a list and begin to think more in depth about what really stresses you out. Once you identify your stressors begin to think about how they can be avoided. Not all can and you will never escape them all and in fact that would be  harmful to your growth. You will also need to find quality stress reducers and stress reduction techniques to further protect yourself from excessive stress. Check out these articles for more insight and feel free to browse around this site for more information. Stress Reduction Technique: Self Control and Acceptance: A Powerful Stress Reducer are a couple places to start and of course there are many sites out there looking to help you.

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