Archive for November, 2012

Natural Stress Relief Relaxation Techniques

Saturday, November 24th, 2012

Although some types of stress are productive and positive, much of the chronic stress that individuals experience on a day-to-day basis can be detrimental to their health. Chronic stress can lead to elevated levels of cortisol and adrenaline, both of which can be damaging to the body. Excess stress can also lead to high blood pressure, heart disease, overeating, binge drinking and smoking. Managing chronic stress with medications is not always the healthiest form of treatment. The following natural relaxation techniques can help you manage stress before it effects your health.

Exercise
Exercise can increase the levels of endorphins in your brain, which can lead to a feeling of well-being. This can help enhance your mood and lower your anxiety. In addition, exercising forces you to focus your mind on your movements, helping you take your mind off of the stressful thoughts of everyday life.

Natural Stress ReliefMassage
Massage is one of those natural relaxation techniques that can instantly reduce chronic stress throughout your body and mind. People tend to hold stress in their muscles, which can lead to pain and stiffness. A massage can loosen up tight muscles and make an individual aware of the physical effects stress causes the body. Don’t have time to book a massage? Just grab a tennis ball and roll it along your muscles, neck and feet while sitting at your desk, laying in bed or watching television.

Laughter
Have you ever heard that if you put a smile on your face even when you’re feeling down, you can actually feel happier? Many relaxation techniques take some time to practice and perfect, but you can laugh anytime and anywhere. Laughter can increase circulation, reduce the amount of stress hormones in your body and increase endorphins.

Breathing Exercises
Relaxation techniques that guide you to focus on your breath can help clear your mind of stressful thoughts. As you inhale deeply and exhale slowly, you can lower your blood pressure and heart rate, inducing a calming effect on your body and mind. It is generally best to pick a number between five and ten and count out your long slow breaths. This helps to give you both a mental and a physical focus.

Calming Visualization
Many relaxation techniques will not be effective if you continually think about the chaos in your life. For some people, replacing stressful thoughts with a relaxing image can force the brain to focus on calming feelings. Visualizing a sunset over the water, the gurgle of a cool fountain or even a happy memory can evoke a sensory experience that overrides tension.

Productivity and Organization
Living in a world of disorder and procrastination can leave you in a constant cycle of trying to catch up. This makes it difficult to feel the satisfaction of finishing a project because you are always focused on not falling behind. Scheduling your time can help you manage projects and daily routines, giving your life a sense of order. Making to-do lists can also give you a way t o tackle your tasks, freeing your mind to think about the more important, calming details of your life.

Share with others how you deal with chronic stress by writing your ideas in the comment section.

References –

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Fight or Flight Stress Response

Saturday, November 24th, 2012

Stress response increases the levels of cortisol and adrenaline in the brain, which slow metabolism and digestion in an effort to conserve energy and direct it toward the limbs. Known as the fight or flight response, symptoms include rapid breathing, a racing pulse, a slowing of digestion, constriction of the blood vessels, tunnel vision and diminished hearing capability.

When going through a fight or flight response, the body initially sends out an alarm, producing adrenaline and cortisol. As the stress response continues, the body goes through a stage of resistance, rapidly depleting its resources in an effort to manage the stress. Finally, the body will reach the point of exhaustion, once all resources have been depleted, and it cannot function normally.

Chronic Stress VariablesThe stress hormones that cause the fight or flight response throw your body off balance because they slow down natural bodily functions like immune system responses and digestive and growth processes. Stress response can physically interfere with the mechanisms that keep the body healthy. People who experience chronic stress are at a higher risk for heart disease, ulcers, digestive issues and obesity.

People who have trouble managing stress response may find themselves in a constant state of anxiety. This is caused by the body’s perpetual triggering of the fight or flight response. An inability to adequately manage stress can leave you mentally and physically drained and cause difficultly focusing on day-to-day tasks. Constant stress can also increase the risk of developing mental health problems, such as depression or memory impairment.

Find positive ways to cope with stress and help prevent it from affecting your mental and physical health. Also, pinpointing areas of stress in your life can help you develop a plan to better manage those factors. Perhaps you need to practice better time management, or maybe you need to surround yourself with more positive people. Exercising, practicing relaxation techniques and seeking support can help you manage stress response and live a healthier, happier life.

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Superfood Nutrition for Stress

Saturday, November 24th, 2012

Providing your body with nutrition is intricately linked with nourishing your mind. If your body is unhealthy, you will be more likely to suffer from symptoms of stress, low mood and anxiety. Eating foods that are high in calories but low in nutritional value can cause dramatic spikes in blood sugar and leave you feeling unsatisfied and tense. Eating foods, such as cottage cheese or those high in vitamin C can help combat stress, take the edge off and keep you calm, no matter how tense life may get.

Paying attention to your nutrition can help you nurture your mental health. Try to incorporate the foods below into your daily diet.Superfood Nutrition for Stress

  • Spinach: This leafy green vegetable can regulate your blood pressure and keep you calm. Spanach also contains high levels of Vitamin C, A, B, and K.
  • Cottage cheese: Loaded with protein and calcium, cottage cheese can help you feel satisfied and reduce hunger pangs.
  • Citrus fruits: When you’re stressed, your body releases free radicals that can be damaging to your health. Eating foods that are high in vitamin C can provide the nutrition you need to maintain a healthy immune system and combat health hazards.
  • Chocolate: Although it’s best to avoid excess sugar when dealing with stress, chocolate may activate the pleasure centers in the brain, helping to boost mood and relieve anxiety. Dark chocolate, which has more cacao, can be more effective at reducing stress than regular or milk chocolate. Eating too much chocolate can cause moodiness after the effects of the sugar and caffeine have worn off, so eat chocolate in moderation to regulate your mood.
  • Fish: Fish with high levels of omega-3 fatty acids have been shown to reduce surges of stress hormones that are released during tense situations. Tuna, an excellent source of omega-3, is also high in vitamins B6 and B12, which support the production of stress-relieving neurotransmitters.
  • Oatmeal: Besides being a great remedy for soothing the skin, oatmeal can also soothe your nerves. The grain stimulates the production of serotonin in the brain, which has a calming effect on the body. Because the body digests oatmeal slowly, the calming effects are long-lasting.
  • Avocado: This rich, creamy, natural treat is packed full of healthy fats, vitamins and minerals used for to combat stress. The healthy fats and high levels of potassium in avocados can also help lower high blood pressure.
  • Beef: Lean red meat is a good source of nutrition and is packed with the mood stabilizers zinc, iron and B vitamins.
  • Asparagus: With high levels of folic acid, asparagus can help you regulate your mood. Folic acid helps create serotonin, a neurotransmitter that contributes to feelings of happiness.
  • Green Tea: Well known for its stress fighting ingredient Theanine, this soothing beverage is also packed full of free radical fighting antioxidants such as vitamin C. Studies have also shown that the act of making tea can help relax the mind.

What foods do you use to balance your stress levels? Share your nutrition secrets in the comments section below.

References –
Stress Relief –
Benefits of Cottage Cheese –
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