Archive for the ‘Mental Health’ Category

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 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.

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.

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Probiotics: A Little Known Stress Reducer

Monday, December 5th, 2011

Does your normal diet fall by the wayside during the holidays? Have you yet to introduce yourself to probiotics? If so, you’re definitely not alone! To fully enjoy this time of year, most people indulge in rich foods at every turn. Whether you sample your own gourmet creations or you can’t resist a second serving of your favorite aunt’s world-famous macaroni and cheese, a sudden change in your diet or meal schedule can quickly take its toll on your digestive health.

Yogurt and ProbioticsProbiotics Keep You Feeling Great!
The stress and discomfort of digestive problems only add to the pressure of the holidays, but you can use probiotics to take control of your troubling stomach issues. Unlike harsh medications, probiotics work naturally by gradually introducing healthy bacteria to your system in order to restore balance to your digestive tract. As your body begins to feel normal again, you’ll feel like a new person!

Can Probiotics Be Just as Good as Valium?
Probiotics have been proven in the past to help the body use nutrients more efficiently, but the latest research shows an even better reason to use this healthy supplement. In a recent animal study, scientists discovered that beneficial bacteria in the digestive system reduced the body’s level of corticosterone, a stress-related hormone. After feeding mice a diet rich in probiotics, they were noticeably more relaxed than other mice that were given a placebo. The researchers noted that this reaction was similar to the effects seen after injecting a mouse with Valium!

How Do I Get Probiotics?
Although the strain of bacteria used in the study is not yet commercially available, the market is filled with probiotic supplements that promote digestive health. If you’d like to introduce beneficial bacteria to your system naturally, here are the best foods to include in your diet on a regular basis:

  • ProbioticsYogurt – active-cultured with Lactobacillus bacteria
  • Sauerkraut – fermented cabbage
  • Kefir – a European health drink made by fermenting milk and kefir grains
  • Natto – fermented soybeans
  • Kimchi – pickled cabbage with Korean spices
  • Miso – Japanese seasoning made by fermenting soybeans, barley, rice and other grains with koji fungus
  • Tempeh – soybeans fermented with the rhizopus oligosporus fungus

Whether you choose a supplement or a dietary change, probiotics can reduce your stress levels and improve your digestive health. To feel your best during the holiday season, balance those rich meals with healthy choices and remember to continue this habit into the New Year!