Stressed Out
1BB34097-F786-44E7-9A1A-E8A05C0914DBCreated with sketchtool.
BurgerCreated with Sketch.
Sheryl Kraft
sheryl.kraft2 hours ago

Stressed Out

2 hours ago

Four Fabulous Ways to Fight Stress

What do you do when you’re feeling stressed?

A. Eat too much

B. Drink too much

C. Sleep too little

D. Worry and obsess

E. Zone out in front of the TV

F. Procrastinate

G. Go shopping

Whether it’s one, two or all of the above, though some might feel good, none will help do much to relieve your stress (at least not in a constructive manner) - at least not permanently.

The number one thing you need to do? Relax. That goes a long way to reducing your stress symptoms. It can slow your heart rate, slow down your breathing, improve your mood and concentration, reduce fatigue, increase flow to your major muscles, reduce the activity of stress hormones and so much more.

Sure, easier said than done, you might be thinking. If I could relax, don’t you think I’d be doing it already?

Learning the basics is easy. Relaxation techniques also carry the benefit of being risk-free, costing little or nothing - and you can them wherever you go.

For the ultimate benefit, use them along with other coping strategies, like positive thinking, humor, time-management, and surrounding yourself in the company of good friends and family.

Just remember – practice makes perfect. Hone your skills with some of these tried and true methods.

Deep Breathing. Call it what you will – a way to distract yourself or an excuse to lie on the couch – but simple, focused breathing increases the brain’s supply of oxygen, stimulate your parasympathetic nervous system and result in a state of calmness and relaxation. We all know how to breathe, of course, but do you really know the best way to breathe? There are many ways, but here’s a quick one that takes just six seconds. It’s called the “quieting response” because that’s what it can do – shut off the stress that is flowing through your body.

1. Relax the tension in your shoulders by “smiling inwardly” using your eyes and mouth.

2. Take a deep breath in while imagining holes in the soles of your feet.

3. Visualize hot air moving through these holes, traveling slowly up your legs, passing through your abdomen and filling your lungs. As you do this, relax each muscle.

4. Exhale, then reverse what you visualized above; picture the hot air coming out of those same holes in your soles.

Visualization (Guided Imagery). There’s nothing better for reducing stress than getting away to your happy place. But travel is not always practical or possible. Take yourself on a visual journey to escape from your negative or stressful feelings, by conjuring up mental images of a calm, relaxing place. Get comfy, close your eyes, and let all your senses chime in – smell, sound, sight and even touch. You may not actually be relaxing on that fabulous sun-soaked Caribbean beach, but by imagining the feeling of the warmth of the sun, the sound of the waves and the smell of a salty beach, you might as well be.

Progressive Muscle Relaxation. Tight, tense muscles…hardly a scenario for relaxation; more a set-up for things like a migraine or backache. That’s why you need to loosen up your muscles, which have a way of reacting to stress with knots, spasms and painful contractions. This technique (also known as Jacobson relaxation) involves slowly tightening and relaxing various muscle groups. Though there are many ways to do this, one, recommended by the Mayo Clinic, involved beginning at your toes and progress slowly to your neck and head; tense each muscle for a minimum of five seconds; then repeat.

To give the relaxation response a double whammy, try combining it with guided imagery and breathing exercises.

Meditation. There are so many varieties of this ancient Buddhist tradition. One thing people say is that they “can’t meditate.” Their mind wanders, or they squirm and quickly lose interest. Mindfulness Meditation, (MBSR) is a good one to get started with: it encourages you to observe those runaway thoughts as they drift through your consciousness. The goal? To simply be aware of them - don’t criticize them - and let them go, returning to the present moment.

The idea is not to quiet your mind, or to get yourself into a state of eternal calm, but rather to pay attention to the present moment, no judgment allowed. Here are some tips to get you situated on the road to a calmer self: http://www.mindful.org/meditation/mindfulness-getting-started/

References:

http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/stress-management/in-depth/relaxation-technique/art-20045368?pg=1

http://www.stress.org/take-a-deep-breath/

http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/stress-management/in-depth/relaxation-technique/art-20045368 

15 days ago

Fitness Hacks on Tight Schedules

Busy-ness is a buzzword that takes on so many iterations.

“I’m too busy,” you say, when asked to volunteer in your daughter’s classroom.

“I’m crazy busy,” you squeal to your BFF when she asks why you haven’t returned her calls.

I’m so #$@&%*! busy! you screech when you realize you need to cancel that dentist appointment…again.

But are we as busy as we claim to be? CBS Money Watch reports that we’re not. They write that we’ve got plenty of discretionary time, and spend a quarter to a third of our waking hours on activities that are non-work related (not including the time we spend on personal things during our work day).

And what of exercise? 

That’s often an all-too-easy one with which to pull the busy card. Sure, it can be tough to fit in exercise when your schedule is so tight you can’t squeeze one more hour into your overflowing plate. But it is possible, and I’ll tell you how.

1. Ditch the All-or-Nothing Mentality. You may think that unless you can put in an hour at the gym, it’s worthless to go at all. But with exercise, remember this: Some is definitely better than none. Research shows that even small sessions of cardio and strength training are beneficial.

2. Break It Up. Small bits of exercise throughout the day do add up – and can be valuable. In fact, various studies have demonstrated that multiple short sessions not only provide the same benefits as one longer session, but sometimes the shorter sessions can be more advantageous to your health and fitness.

3. Work It Into Your Day. There are likely numerous opportunities for you to work in some exercise, without even hitting the gym. Opt for the stairs instead of the elevator; choose the furthest parking spot; exit the bus or subway a stop or two before your final destination. All those extra steps do add up. Research proves that working in light activity during the day can decrease damage to our arteries. A report in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology (JACC) reported that even small amounts of physical activity – even standing - could lead to a lower incidence of cardiovascular disease. “The greater benefit is to simply exercise,” JACC Editor –in-Chief Dr. Valentin Fuster, is quoted as saying in a press release. Just do it – regardless of intensity – and you’ll benefit.

4. Choose Something Fun. Okay, we know that if you detest cycling, you’re still not going to that spin class you signed up for, even though it seemed like a good idea at the time. This is the time to think about enjoyment – because, in order to keep up with exercise, we have to like it. Besides, it’s easier to make room for fun, isn’t it? If you love music, try a Zumba class; or make a playlist of your favorite tunes and let it pump you up for a walk or run. Playing music during exercise, research shows, increases both motivation and effort.

5. Keep Your Exercise Clothing Handy. This is a trick I’ve used for years – and it always works. I lay out my exercise clothing the night before. (When my children were babies, and time was really limited, I sometimes even slept in my exercise clothes!) Being dressed to work out puts you in that mindset, and acts as a reminder to get moving. Why waste a perfectly good workout outfit – get moving!

6. Be a Weekend Warrior. Saving your workout time for the weekends used to be frowned upon, mainly due to fears of increased risk of injury. But now, a brand new JAMA study – though it doesn’t dispute that contention – does give the weekend-only exercise concept some respect in the health department: Scientists say that 150 minutes of moderate- or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity exercise sessions, done once or twice per week, may help reduce the risk of mortality from all causes, compared with no exercise. To help reduce injury risk, always begin gently with a good warm-up, which can increase both blood flow to your muscles and flexibility.

7. Schedule It In. Just as you’d do with any other appointment, schedule your physical activity by writing it down on your calendar. It will make you more committed and accountable and less likely to play the “I’m too busy” card. Plus, looking back on how many exercise “appointments” you’ve actually kept will give you a huge sense of satisfaction and impetus to keep it up.

example

example example

example example example example example example example example example example example example example example example example example example example example example example example example

example example example example example example example example example example example example example example example example example example example example example example example example

example example example example example example example example example example example example example example example example example example example example example example example example