Whats Keeping You Awake
If youre stressed out, you might not be able to fall into a deep sleep, the period of sleep when the body repairs and restores itself. Feeling anxious also makes you come in and out of sleep throughout the entire night. If youre under stress, you might sleep less overall and have a lower sleep efficiency.
A number of physiological changes occur within this sleep-stress relationship. The presence of stress raises cortisol levels, a hormone that stimulates alertness and vigilance, raising heart rate and blood pressure. Typically, your cortisol levels fall in the evening hours, as one element of the bodys natural preparation for sleep. High cortisol levels at night interfere with the release of melatonin, a hormone that is essential for the regulation of sleep-wake cycles. Poor sleep itself can further influence your cortisol, causing levels to rise at times when they would otherwise be low.
Thoughtful Ways To Stress Less
How many of you want to grow old faster? What, no takers?!
Well, did you know you accelerate your aging when you regularly experience stress or anxiety? Seriously, if youre too tired or too wired, take note of the seven strategies here to help you stress a little less:
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Whats Causing Your Stress The Common Culprits
My recent research shows the most common cause of stress is the feeling that there isnt enough time to get it all done, said Dr. Heidi Hanna, an integrative neuroscientist and executive director for the American Institute of Stress. People have more demand on their time and energy than they have capacity, and constant connection to technology aggravates the situation.
Research shows the most common cause of stress is the feeling that there isnt enough time to get it all done.
She explained that many people also fail to realize that internal stress has a tendency to make external circumstances much more difficult to deal with. For example, if youre not catching enough ZZZs, eating crummy food or living a sedentary life, your nervous system is more agitated and more likely to respond hastily to perceived stressors or threats in your environment.
With all the advances in technology, its easy to forget that were still dealing with a very primitive brain pattern that is hardwired to protect us at all costs, said Dr. Hanna. If we think we dont have enough of something whether its time, energy, money or other resources like social support the stress reaction system is activated.
Other common causes of stress, outside of not being able to get it all done, include our finances, health and relationships. These things tend to be at the forefront of our minds anyway, but are exacerbated when were facing an obstacle.
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Taking Steps To Manage Stress
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Remember To Seek Help And Support When You Need It
Remember, that it is okay to ask for professional help. If you feel that you are struggling to manage on your own, then you can reach out. It is important to know that you can get help as soon as possible, and that you deserve to get better.
The first person to approach is your family doctor. He or she should be able to give advice about treatment, and may refer you to another local professional. Cognitive Behavioural Therapy and Mindfulness based approaches are known to help reduce stress. There are also a number of voluntary organisations which can help you to tackle the causes of stress and advise you about ways to get better.
Anxiety UK runs a helpline staffed by volunteers with personal experience of anxiety from 9:30-5:30, Monday to Friday. Call 08444 775 774.
Citizens Advice provides free, independent and confidential advice for a range of problems as well as providing information on your rights and responsibilities.
StepChange provides help and information for people dealing with a range of debt problems. Freephone 0800 138 1111.
Mind provides information on a range of mental health topics to support people in their own area from 9.00am to 6.00pm, Monday to Friday. Call 0300 123 3393 or email .
Rethink Advice and Information Service
Rethink provide specific solution-based guidance – 0300 5000927 Fax: 020 7820 1149 email .
Specialist mental health services
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Dont Run Yourself Ragged
Say no! If you are a people-pleaser it is very hard to say no when someone asks you to do something, even if your schedule is already overwhelming. I suggest that you always say let me get back to you on that then actually ask yourself:
a) Do I want to do it?
b) Do I have time to do it without making myself overwhelmed?
It is usually easier to say no when you are not face to face with someone.
Can Stress Be Positive
Research has shown that stress can sometimes be positive. It can make you more alert and help you perform better in certain situations.2 However, stress has only been found to be beneficial if it is short-lived.
Excessive or prolonged stress can contribute to illness such as heart disease3 and mental health problems such as anxiety and depression.4
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Decreased Energy And Insomnia
Chronic fatigue and can also be caused by prolonged stress.
For example, one study of 2,483 people found that fatigue was strongly associated with increased stress levels .
Stress may also disrupt sleep and cause insomnia, which can lead to low energy.
One small study found that higher levels of work-related stress were associated with increased sleepiness and restlessness at bedtime .
Another study of 2,316 participants showed that experiencing a higher number of stressful events was significantly associated with an increased risk of insomnia .
These studies show an association, but they dont account for other factors that may have played a role. Further research is needed to determine if stress can directly cause decreased energy levels.
Other factors that may play a role in decreased energy levels include dehydration, low blood sugar, a poor diet or an underactive thyroid.
Summary Stress is associated with fatigue and disruptions in sleep, which may result in decreased energy levels.
Surround Yourself With Support
Women in particular are less likely to experience recurring cardiac trouble when friends and family surround them after a heart attack. Social activity has a positive effect on stress levels, and you should feel comfortable seeking professional support if you are struggling with depression.
Spending time with friends can have the added benefit of keeping your spirits light. Laughter is widely recommended it improves both mood and vascular function.
Laughter is widely recommended it improves both mood and vascular function.
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Get A Hug From A Loved One
Physical touch can do a lot to relieve your stress. Hugging a loved one can be especially beneficial.
When you hug someone, oxytocin is released. Oxytocin is associated with higher levels of happiness and lower levels of stress.
Oxytocin also causes a reduction in blood pressure. It reduces the stress hormone norepinephrine and can produce a sense of relaxation.
So don’t be afraid to ask a loved one for a hug if you need it. It’s good for both of you and it can be one of the simplest forms of stress relief available.
Expect Some Stress Accept It And Let Go Of It
The most important journeys that lead to the most wonderful places are usually the challenging ones you must endure the hard way.
Stress is but a wall between two peaceful gardens the garden where you are and garden where you want to be. You must scale the wall thats in your way, gathering lessons as you climb, before letting go as you descend to the other side. You will only lose if you never climb or you never let go.
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Think Progress Not Perfection
Dont worry about perfection youll never achieve it. Instead, focus on the progress youve made and the progress you intend to make today.
Progression is not automatic or inevitable. Every step of personal growth requires sacrifice and work. Every step is part of an ever-improving, ever-ascending life path. Every step is an accomplishment that should be celebrated. You know you will never get to the absolute peak , but when you celebrate the journey this truth only adds to the joy and glory of the climb.
Mindfulness And Mantra Meditation
Mindfulness is an ancient form of meditation that promotes awareness of whats happening in the moment.
It encourages you to focus on your body, your thoughts, and whats going on around you.
Mantra meditation, on the other hand, is the opposite of mindfulness. In this practice, you place all your attention on a single target, like a mantra, a candle flame, or a phrase.
In both types of meditations, whenever your mind wanders — and it will Smith says — you simply re-focus.
It’s a brain skill, he says. In that in the first 2 weeks you won’t be able to do it very well. Your mind will constantly chatter and distract, and that’s normal, that happens.
But as you practice, youll get better at it.
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Do One Nice Thing For Yourself Every Day
Put yourself at the top of your priority list. There is no person on Earth who deserves your kindness and attention more than you. When you love yourself first, everything else falls into place.
So treat yourself every day. Give yourself something special like laughter, good conversation, meditation, quiet reading, an hour to work on a passion, a long walk, etc.
You are worth it.
How Does Your Body React To Work Stress
Imagine for a moment that your boss has emailed you about an unfinished assignment . Your body and mind instantly respond, activating a physical reaction called the fight-or-flight response. Your heart beats faster, your breath quickens, and your muscles tense. At the same time you might say to yourself, Im going to get fired if I dont finish this. Then to manage your anxiety and negative self-talk, you work late into the night to complete the task.
Over the course of our evolutionary history, humans developed this coordinated fear response to protect against dangers in our environment. For example, a faster heart rate and tense muscles would help us escape from predators. In the modern era, fear continues to serve an important function. After all, the fight-or-flight response can provide the necessary energy to pull an all-nighter and keep your job.
But what happens if you encounter stressful experiences at work every day? Over time, chronic work stress can lead to a psychological syndrome known as burnout. Warning signs of burnout are overwhelming exhaustion, cynicism, and a sense of inefficacy. Certain work-related stressors are closely linked with burnout. Examples are having too much work or too little independence, inadequate pay, lack of community between coworkers, unfairness or disrespect, and a mismatch between workplace and personal values.
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Practice Progressive Muscle Relaxation
Progressive muscle relaxation involves relaxing all the muscles in your body, group by group. To practice, you can start with a few deep breaths.
Then, practice tightening and relaxing each muscle group, starting with your forehead and moving down to your toes.
With practice, you’ll learn to recognize tension and tightness in your muscles and you’ll be able to relax more easily. Each time you practice, however, you should experience a feeling of relaxation sweeping through your body.
Simple Ways To Deal With Stress At Work
Research has indicated that the percentage of Americans who are stressed at work is highand its only getting higher. According to a survey of more than 2,000 full-time U.S. employees, ages 18-79, more than half of employees find themselves stressed during at least 60 percent of the workweek.
Work stress has significant health consequences that range from relatively benign to potentially serious .
While stress at work is common, finding a low-stress job is hard . A more realistic approach is to adopt effective coping strategies to reduce stress at your current job. Here are some stress management techniques you can try if you are finding it hard to cope with work stress
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Thanksgiving Quotes To Make You Feel Grateful
Thanksgiving day is celebrated on the fourth Thursday in November in the United States. The holiday originated in 1621 as a harvest festival celebrated by Pilgrims after a successful growing season. It has been celebrated nationally since 1789, when George Washington declared Thursday, November 26, a Thanksgiving holiday.
While Thanksgiving day is celebrated in the United States, we should all take the time more often to be thankful and grateful for all of the blessings in our lives.
I think that the following collection of Thanksgiving quotes perfectly capture the true meaning of the holiday a time of giving thanks, feeling grateful, and enjoying the special time spent with friends and family.
1. We must find time to stop and thank the people who make a difference in our lives. John F. Kennedy
2. Gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues, but the parent of all others. Marcus Tullius Cicero
3. The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched they must be felt with the heart. Helen Keller
4. Things turn out best for people who make the best of the way things turn out. John Wooden
5. What if, today, we were grateful for everything? Charlie Brown
6. Thanksgiving is one of my favorite days of the year because it reminds us to give thanks and to count our blessings. Suddenly, so many things become so little when we realize how blessed and lucky we are. Joyce Giraud
Tips To Manage Stress
In todays society, stress and change often are thought of as the same thing. Stress is a physiological and psychological response to situations the body and mind find to be overwhelming. We often ask ourselves how we should manage stress. There are many ways people manage stress and reduce the overall stress of day-to-day activities. With the fast pace of work and home, and being constantly inundated with technology and still wanting to have time to connect with those around us, our lives can feel overwhelming and stressful at times.
Manage how you live with these five tips to feel less stressed:
1. Use guided meditation.
Guided meditation is a great way to distract yourself from the stress of day-to-day life. There are many guided meditations available on the internet that can help you find 5 minutes of centered relaxation.
2. Practice deep breathing.
Deep breathing is a great way to reduce the activation of your sympathetic nervous system, which controls the bodys response to a perceived threat. Deep breaths taken in to a count of five seconds, held for two seconds and released to a count of five seconds, can help activate your parasympathetic nervous system, which helps reduce the overall stress and anxiety you may be experiencing.
3. Maintain physical exercise and good nutrition.
4. Manage social media time.
5. Connect with others.
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Proven Ways To Worry Less And Feel Happier Right Now
Getting worked up over a mixed message from your boss or a 3-pound bump on the scale isn’t going to solve a problem. But being told to “stop worrying” is about as effective as trying to control the weather. Instead, you can use worry to your advantage, advises Kimberly Medlock, a professional organizer, time-management coach, and author of What Not to Do at the Office: 44 Annoying, Time-Wasting and Unproductive Habits in the Workplace. “Learn how to recognize worry, and then replace it with thinking,” she says. “Worry is when your thoughts are stuck on the problem. Thinking is when you are focused on finding a solution. Worry is useless and counterproductivethinking is progress.”
Follow these tips to switch off your worry response.
Worry with purposeChances are, your problem isn’t that you have too many worries but that you have too few strategies for dealing with them, says psychiatrist Edward Hallowell, MD. Sit down with a sheet of paper divided into three columns, he advises, and list all of your worries in the first column. In the second, write down the worst thing that can happen if what you’re worried about comes true. In the third, list three or four strategies for dealing with “the worst” and circle the one that you think you can handle. Then do it! An actionable game plan is almost always an antidote to worry.
Imagine the best-case scenario
Exercise But Not Too Much
Depending on the intensity of exercise, it can increase or decrease cortisol.
Intense exercise increases cortisol shortly afterward but will decrease a few hours later. This short-term increase helps coordinate growth of the body to meet the challenge. Additionally, the size of the cortisol response lessens with routine training .
Regular exercise has been shown in numerous studies to help improve sleep quality, reduce stress, and improve overall health, which can help lower cortisol over time .
Interestingly, regular exercise has also been associated with greater resilience to acute stress and may lower negative health effects associated with stress, such as high cortisol .
That said, overdoing it can have the opposite effect. Therefore, aim for around 150200 minutes of mostly low- to moderate-intensity exercise each week and allow yourself time to rest between workouts.
Exercising regularly can help you better manage stress and promote good health, which may help lower cortisol levels. That said, avoid overdoing it and aim for around 150200 minutes of low- to moderate- intensity exercise each week.
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