Category Archives: Stress

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Cut Off The Effects Of Psychological Stress

If you’re struggling under unrelenting psychological pressure, you have a new reason to try to find healthy ways to manage it. The health of your heart (not to mention your mind and the rest of your body too). While the question of psychological stress causing heart disease is still very much open to debate, everyone agrees that chronic stress is hard on your heart, the rest of your body and your mind.

A recent study out of Michigan Technological University sheds some light on the picture of stress and its effect on the heart. The work found that volunteers who ingested fish oil supplements daily for 8 weeks saw less of a reaction to stress in both their heart rate and sympathetic nervous system reactions than those who took olive oil supplements instead. Long story short, order the fish or think about fish oil supplements if you’re dealing with lots of mental stress. And who isn’t?

When you’re under psychological stress, the body goes through a series of physiological actions that all feed into your nervous and circulatory system. So your heart rate goes up, your blood pressure rises and the sympathetic nervous system, the controller of the “fight or flight” instinct, takes off. The body doesn’t see a difference between real stress (a sketchy character following you), and imagined stress (a presentation at work).

Here’s how stress hurts your heart in the short term:

- Increased heart rate.

- Increased rate of blood flow, upping blood pressure.

- Release of fatty acids into the blood for energy increases.

- Continued release of cortisol which impacts where fat is deposited in the body, mostly in the abdomen.

Study author Jason R. Carter, Ph.D. warns that over time this puts you at risk of high blood pressure, hardened arteries and even a shocking sudden cardiac death. Science doesn’t know for sure how much stress it takes to cause problems for the heart, but it is suspected of playing some role. You may have noticed in your own life that angry personalities, those who don’t handle stress well, appear more susceptible to negative health issues.

Continues below…


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Cut Off The Effects Of Psychological Stress Continued…

Over time, chronic, unending stress can do measurable damage to the heart…

- Higher heart rates over time could push the heart to take on an abnormal heart rhythm.

- Higher blood pressure over a long period brings a higher risk of heart disease and stroke.

- Higher cholesterol and triglycerides up the potential for your arteries to thicken with plaque, leading to coronary artery disease or even heart attack.

- Deposits of fat in the belly, the so-called “apple” shape, are one of the markers of metabolic syndrome and a risk factor for heart disease.

Carter suggests a daily dose of fish oil for those who are high strung, the so-called Type A personality, might be beneficial. You should discuss this with your own doctor before doing anything, and look for healthy ways to help manage that unending psychological stress. Listen to soothing music. Find humor in daily situations. Watch funny movies. Unload your worries to a loved one, close friend, clergy or even in writing, to keep private. The key is to do something to give your body a respite on some type of regular basis, even if just for a little while.

To your good health,

Lazare / Pixabay

Ease Depression And Anxiety Symptoms With Exercise

If you’re feeling down, or struggling with the jitters, exercising is probably the last thing you’re in the mood for, but it may be the best thing for you according to experts. In fact, it might just make all the difference it the world.

We know that exercise is good for preventing or improving health issues like high blood pressure, diabetes and arthritis. What’s not as well known is what exercise can do for your mental state. Research has shown that the psychological and physical benefits of exercises can help bring down anxiety and improve your mood.

The ties between exercise, anxiety and depression still aren’t fully understood, but we do know that working out can help you burn off tension and feel better. The workout might even keep the anxiety and depression symptoms from coming back. Before you start to be active, talk with your doctor so you know what activities, how much exercise and at what intensity is best for you. Your own doctor knows best about any medications you take, and health conditions you have and can also be an unexpected source of advice for getting started or staying motivated.

When it comes to depression, exercise…

- Releases the feel good chemicals in your brain

- Reduces immune system chemicals that may make depression worse.

- Increase your body temperature, which has a calming effect.

Exercise has many benefits to your mental state too. It can help you…

- Gain confidence by meeting exercise goals, and feel better about how you look in shape leaves you feeling better about how you look.

- Be distracted from worries as exercise takes you out of the cycle of negative thoughts that fuel both depression and anxiety.

- Have positive social interaction during exercise or soothing time alone

- Engage in a healthy, constructive coping strategy for managing anxiety or depression. Other things you might have tried may only have made things worse, exercise is a chance to cope and make things better for yourself too.

Keep in mind that while exercise is a natural way to ease anxiety and depression symptoms, it can’t take the place of medication or other therapy. You’ll want to continue to work on your depression or anxiety root issues with your therapist, and don’t stop or change a dose on any medication, even when you feel better.

Before you decide if exercise is right for you, understand that we’re talking about more than working out at the gym or swimming laps at the pool. There are many other workouts that can be just as effective in lifting mood, easing tension. Anything that gets your heart pumping will do… this includes working in the garden, washing your car, walking around the block, playing basketball with your kids or other everyday activities. Anything that gets you up and off the couch will help.

What’s more, you don’t have to do all your exercise at one time. You can add small amounts of activity all through your day that add up to the benefits of a 30 minutes at once workout. You should try for this at least three, preferably five days a week to get a big improvement in depression symptoms. Activity for as little as 10 to 15 minutes at a time can also make a difference. Generally more vigorous activities (running or cycling) are especially good for mood when you don’t have a lot of time.

Starting, and sticking with, an exercise program can be challenging, so we’ve included some suggestions that might help…

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Ease Depression And Anxiety Symptoms With Exercise Continued…

- Find what you like to do and you’re more likely to stick with it. Gardening after work? A jog before dawn? A bike ride with the kids? Find what activity fits into your life and that you genuinely enjoy. Do that as often as you can.

- Set realistic goals. You don’t have to be athlete fit to be successful, instead think honestly about what you’ll really be able to do. Forget guidelines for the moment and focus on getting more active.

- Stop thinking about exercise as a chore, a “should” in your life because when you don’t think you’re living up to this, you associate exercise with failure. Look at exercise the same way you would medication or a therapy session, a tool to help you get better that you need to make time for if you want things to change.

- Look at what’s stopping you from exercising and you’ll likely come to see an alternative solution, if you look hard enough. If you’re self-conscious about how you look, or your fitness level, exercise at home. If you work better with a partner to motivate you, find someone to work out with. Money tight? Find exercises that don’t cost anything, like walking or gardening.

- Be prepared for setbacks or obstacles, and don’t let them stop you. Yes you might be too busy one day to exercise, but don’t let that derail the whole idea, just try again the next day. Each day is a fresh start.

To your good health,

geralt / Pixabay

Awareness And Well-Being

Being mindful is thought to benefit your health as well as your physical and emotional well-being… now we have research from the University of Utah to be presented at the American Psychosomatic Society annual meeting that demonstrates mindfulness brings more stable emotions and better control over mood and behavior. Mindful people also appear to have less cognitive and physiological activity going on before they sleep and this may translate into an improved quality of sleep.

What is mindfulness? It’s paying attention in a special way, on purpose and being in the present while offering no judgments. Mindfulness means living in the moment and waking up to experiences all around you. You need to slow down, do one thing at a time and bring your complete awareness to what you’re doing and your inner experience of it. Mindfulness is believed to be a formidable antidote to daily stress that can be damaging to body and mind. It can be used at any time and brings lasting results.

Often people need to be taught how to be mindful, and earlier studies in this area used subjects who’d been trained in meditation or another technique. This latest study was unique in that it looked at naturally occurring mindfulness with a rather ingenious method for gathering the data.

The work included 38 subjects who’d been recruited from the University of Utah’s undergraduate psychology classes as well as the community at large. The subjects were from 20 to 45 years old; two thirds were female, one third male. The day the study started the subjects completed a baseline assessment that included standard questionnaires, a physiological assessment while at rest and cognitive testing before they began two full days of experience sampling.

The subjects wore a cardiac monitor that was able to measure heart function and were also prompted every so often during the test days to rate both their mental functioning and emotional state. At the end of the two-day test period, the participants filled out questionnaires on their ability to regulate their behavior and emotions. They were also asked to rate their level of cognitive and physical arousal before sleep.

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Awareness And Well-Being Continued…

The team saw that emotional stability, better control of emotions and behavior and lower pre-sleep activity were all significantly linked to higher mindfulness. Mindfulness may be an important part of self-regulation that is meant to happen all through the day, contributing to better physical and emotional well-being.

The mindfulness research gives experts a better picture of how the state affects stress responses all during the day according to graduate student Holly Rau, who is a part of the research team. Those who reported higher levels of mindfulness also felt they had better control over behavior and emotions during the day. The lower activation at bedtime could certainly have benefits when it comes to falling asleep, the quality of that sleep and efforts to manage stress.

Going forward research will look at the link between all three, mindfulness, physiological markers of stress and quality of sleep to see if there’s an association and learn more about it. In the meantime, you can easily incorporate mindfulness into your own daily life and see if you notice a difference in how you feel. There is certainly no downside to trying this, and there many way to be a wonderful upside.

To your good health,

AlexVan / Pixabay

Stress Management To Prevent Chronic Pain

If you’re dealing with chronic pain, your search for relief probably seems endless, perhaps hopeless. You doctor will tell you that being anxious or stressed can make pain worse, and set in motion a vicious cycle as the pain causes more anxiety and stress. It seems that avoiding the affects of stress might play an important part in managing pain according to work that appears in the journal Brain. This finding is particularly important for those with a smaller than typical hippocampus as these people seem to be more vulnerable to the effects of stress than the rest of us.

The research by Dr. Pierre Rainville, Ph.D. of the Research Centre of the Institut universitaire de gériatrie de Montréal (IUGM) and his team included 16 subjects who had chronic back pain and a control group of 16 healthy participants. The team was looking for relationships between 1) cortisol levels, 2) assessment of clinical pain reported by subjects before their brain scan, 3) hippocampus volumes measured using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and 4) brain activations using functional MRI that followed thermal pain stimulation. The subjects with chronic pain generally had higher cortisol levels than healthy people.

Cortisol is a hormone that’s made by the adrenal glands (sometimes known as the stress hormone) and the study shows that having a small hippocampus volume is linked to higher cortisol levels. This makes you more vulnerable to pain and having that pain become chronic.

Looking more closely at the data, the team saw that those with a smaller hippocampus had higher cortisol levels and stronger reactions to acute pain in a part of the brain involved with anticipatory anxiety that relates to pain. The response of the brain to the pain during the scan reflected, in part, the intensity of the patient’s current pain levels. This supports the idea that those with a smaller hippocampus end up with a stronger response to stress, and this in turn increases their pain and the risk of having that pain become chronic.

The research sheds more light onto the neurobiological mechanisms involved in stress and pain. No matter the reason, pain is often associated with high levels of stress, and there is value to be found in managing stress to help in treatments for those who are dealing with pain that lasts. Add stress management to your medical treatment plan by talking with a counselor, using relaxation techniques or practicing meditation.

Stress management won’t take away the pain, but it will help you get it under your control, help muscles release, while both breathing and heart rate slow down. When you relax, the mind slows and focuses on other things… becoming distracted from pain sensations so that they drop into the background.

Here are some simple stress management techniques to try…

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Fact: Poor Sleep Increases The Risk of Death/ Disease

Ever lain awake at night and counted the hours till dawn? Isn’t frustrating to be in bed and be unable to sleep?

With around 18 million prescriptions written every year for expensive sleeping pills…

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Stress Management To Prevent Chronic Pain Continued…

- Breathe deeply, inhale and hold the breath for a few seconds, and then exhale.
Do this at least three times in a row while you close your eyes and focus only on the sound of your breath.

- Distract yourself by bringing to mind an image that is peaceful and relaxing.
Imagine doing something you enjoy that’s calming, like taking a bath, walking along the beach, resting in a hammock or just relaxing in a peaceful garden… visualize this place as vividly as possible with all sights, sounds, smells you can and take yourself there any time you need to escape.

- Sing or listen to music you find pleasant. Singing helps release tension.

- Walk away as taking a little break from a tense environment can be all you need to ease the tension building in you. Grab a water, or get some fresh air. Count to ten before you go back inside.

If these aren’t enough, you might want to look into more regular stress management techniques like practicing yoga, getting a massage, daily mediation or just schedule some down time for yourself, doing something you enjoy.

To your good health,

PublicDomainPictures / Pixabay

Top 12 Concentration Killers, Part 2

Distractions are all too common in our modern world… and are very good at diverting our attention from the task at hand. In part 1 of our series on concentration killers we discussed some of the focus busting things you might suspect… social media, technology, ADHD and lack of sleep, along with tips on how to regain control. In this next section we’ll cover some of the lesser-known concentration killers, and just as before, give you some smart ways to cope.

One of the most surprising is an action intended to be efficient, multitasking. When you multitask, you believe that you’re getting more things done in a shorter time period, but the experts tell us the opposite is actually true. Research finds you lose time when you shift your attention from one task to another, and you end up doing more things in a longer time – longer than it would have been if you did one project at a time.

The fix is, when you can, put your full attention to one thing at a time, especially if you’re working on something that’s high priority, urgent or demanding. Save the multitasking, if you do it at all, for the routine stuff like cleaning up your work area while on the phone.

Bored? Turns out that tasks that don’t hold your attention make you especially vulnerable to being distracted… all the distractions we’ve mentioned in part one of this article are that much more of a draw. To fight back, make an agreement with yourself that if you stay on task to a set point (or time) you’ll get a 10-minute break. Boring things are easier to get through if you have something to look forward to.

Hunger is something you may not suspect as trouble when it comes to paying attention, but it is a major concentration killer. The brain can’t work without fuel, so if you routinely skip meals (breakfast) you set yourself up for having problems concentrating later on. Both short-term memory and attention suffer when you don’t eat breakfast in the morning according to research.

So what you do is always eat breakfast, go for high protein snacks, stay away from the simple carbs and choose whole grains instead. This is the fuel that keeps hunger away longest and gives your brain a steady stream of energy.

Nagging thoughts are notoriously hard to put aside… the worry over unfinished errands, a recent conversation, a life decision can all sap your concentration faster than anything. Your best bet here is to write down what you’re thinking. Make a list, write out pros and cons, vent – once the thoughts are on paper they are much easier to view objectively and set aside for a bit.

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Top 12 Concentration Killers, Part 2 Continued…

Another little discussed concentration killer is stress. When you feel you have too much responsibility you can have trouble focusing on tasks at work or at home. Stress takes a physical toll as well, leaving you with tight shoulders, a headache or racing heart… all this distracts you from your task.

To help yourself, stress reduction techniques – meditation, laughter, exercise – are what you need to make time for in your life. Meditation is particularly helpful in terms of curtailing stressful thoughts so they don’t take so much of your attention. Research backs this with one study showing that those who took an eight-week meditation course improved their ability to focus.

Depression is an unexpected problem in terms of concentration. The National Institute of Mental Health identifies trouble concentrating (rather than sadness) as one of the most common symptoms of depression. So if you’re having trouble focusing and you also feel hopeless, empty or indifferent for longer than a two week time period, you may well be experiencing symptoms of depression.

If this seems like you, talk with your doctor, as your condition is very treatable, not just with medication but also drug free talk therapy.

Lastly, there are times when prescription medications can cause trouble with concentration. If you find you’re having trouble staying focused, talk to your doctor (or pharmacist) to see if a drug you’re taking is affecting your ability to concentrate. If this turns out to be the case, don’t think you have no choice but to suffer, or no other medication options. An adjustment in dose can sometimes be enough, as can switching to a different class of drugs. Never stop a medication unless you have discussed this with your doctor beforehand.

To your good health,

geralt / Pixabay

10 Ways You Can Ease Stress

Feel like you’re so tense, so stressed and on edge you’re ready to explode? In today’s hectic, demanding world it’s hard not to feel stressed out, but the good news is that stress does not have to own you, rule your life, ruin your sleep or impact your health. You can fight back, and we’re going to show you how.

 

Take a shower or bath. The warm water will relax your muscles; the time alone will serve as a buffer between the real world and your own thoughts. You’ll emerge feeling cleaner, physically and mentally, than when you started.

Workout as being active will actually help cut your feeling of stress. Exercises cause the body to send out endorphins (mood enhancing chemicals) and these help ease your stress level.

Remember a happy time, as just thinking back to a happy time with people you care about can help improve your mood and fight back stress. Keep photos from those times where you’ll see them often.

Unplug once in a while. With all our gadgets and need to be constantly connected and in touch, it’s hard to remember a time when we didn’t have all this technology. But there was such a time, and turning off your phone, computer, tablet and TV for 15 minutes of quiet is not too much to ask. And you’ll be amazed at how relaxed you feel.

Get outside and get into the sun. Sunlight stimulates mood boosting brain chemicals that help ease your stress. Skip the sunscreen and get out for 15 minutes, letting the fresh air fill your lungs and the sun warm your skin. Stress will disappear.

Plan a fun event. If it’s been a while (or not) since you planned a special night out, the time has come to do so again. Sure it’s enjoyable, but what’s more vital in terms of stress is that laughing with people you like and are comfortable with is one of the best, most lasting stress beaters around.

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10 Ways You Can Ease Stress Continued…

Use a scented lotion on your skin. Go for something scented with vanilla or lavender as breathing in these have been shown to have a calming effect on the body when inhaled. In no time the scent will be having you feeling more relaxed, less tense.

Volunteer, a strange suggestion in over-scheduled lives, but taking on a volunteering opportunity is amazingly good for you. Turns out helping others causes the release of feel good hormones that improve mood and hold off stress. Just choose a cause that you feel strongly about, and schedule in the time to volunteer once a month. You’ll be amazed at the results, and how you feel.

Buy flowers as having a pretty, living thing around you has been shown by research to be a fantastic way to improve your mood. Reason enough to treat yourself to a lovely bouquet of your favorites and put them where you can enjoy them all day long.

Sleep is a must when you’re stressed. If you’re tired, run down, you can’t function at peak efficiency which is why you need to make a sincere effort to get from 7 to 9 hours of quality sleep each night. This rest will leave you with enough energy to hit the ground running, able to handle stressors without trouble all day long.

To your good health,

Unsplash / Pixabay

Unexpected Ways Your Tech Devices Can Hurt You

We know that computers, tablets, laptops and cell phones have made life so much easier for many of us. The downside to all the access and convenience is that there are some technology related injuries – milder harm to neck and shoulder for instance all the way to deadly accidents – we need to recognize. A national study from 2009 appearing in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine shows sudden computer associated injuries rising at a rapid pace in the U.S. What’s worse, younger children are even more at risk than adults.

Here are some of the odd ways your tech devices can hurt you…

Lightening strikes are rare things, and bad enough on their own, but far worse when you’re holding an electrical object. When lightening strikes a person, the current goes over the skin (known as flashover) without entering the body, but holding a metal object against the skin disrupts the flashover and can result in internal injury.

PlayStation palmar hidradenitis (PlayStation rash) is a newly identified skin problem that’s named after the popular gaming system because it comes from holding the controllers too tightly for a long period of time. The game maker defends the product and mentioning how hundreds of millions of people use the game without the condition arising.

TV screens and photosensitive seizures happen to a small number of players when watching some light patterns on a TV screen or in a video game. Almost 3-5% of epileptics have a photosensitive form and should stay away from any regular moving patterns or flickering lights. Strobe lights in clubs and emergency vehicle lights may also product the same effect.

Computer vision syndrome is a risk for those who use a computer for move than 2 hours a day, and may affect up to 70% of users. Gazing at a computer screen is visually demanding and does tire your eyes causing issues like eyestrain, headaches, blurred vision and dry eyes. Most often the problems are temporary, but they can be trouble if they happen all the time or every day. You can help yourself by putting the screen 4-5 inches below your eye level and 20-28 inches away from your eyes. Anti glare screens and good lighting may also be helpful.

Continues below…


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Unexpected Ways Your Tech Devices Can Hurt You Continued…

Death from using counterfeit chargers. The inside of our device charges are rather sophisticated yet also rather easy for third parties to take apart, remake and sell more cheaply. Some of these knock offs have been involved of electric shocks caused by malfunctions of the units. Buyer beware.

Disturbing tinnitus is more likely in those who use their cell phones intensely for long periods, at least according to some recent research. Those with tinnitus hear sounds (buzzing, ringing, etc.) in the absence of external sound. The condition can go from mildly annoying to so severe it interferes with daily living for an estimated 1 in 100 adults.

Quiet death due to headphones that let us escape all the noise yet deafen us to warnings of danger that we’d otherwise hear in our environment. The numbers of traffic accidents that involve pedestrians who are wearing headphones is increasing. Most victims are male, under 30 – over half the accidents involved trains, another third involved vehicles that sounded a warning before the crash.

Nintendinitis and Wiiitis (names now used in the medical literature) cover the increasing numbers of injuries that players inflict on themselves as they play the games on the systems. Injuries traced back to the Wii games include shoulder dislocation, bone fractures and head injuries.

To your good health,

bohed / Pixabay

Seven Smart Ways To Beat Stress Fat

We all agree that stress is an unavoidable part of life, but surprisingly research also finds that it’s a part of fat as well. If you eat right and exercise regularly, chronically high levels of stress can keep you from losing weight, maybe even add on a few pounds.

Here’s how it works. Our bodies react to all stress in the very same way, the brain instructing the cells to release some pretty potent hormones. There’s adrenaline to tap into stored energy so you can “fight or flee” as well as a surge of cortisol that urges the body to replenish the energy even though you haven’t really done anything yet. The body keeps pumping out the cortisol as long as the stress keeps up.

And there are very few of us who respond to stress by reaching for some kefir – instead we want the high fat, salty sweetness because this stimulates the release of pleasure chemicals in the brain. These chemicals help to reduce tension, which is why eating junk food seems to be helpful, comforting. Over time, it’s easy to see why this can become addicting – anxious feelings cause you to reach for something fatty and tasty for immediate comfort.

With all the cortisol being pumped out while the body is under stress, the testosterone production slows. Over time this drop causes a decrease in muscle mass, which has you burning fewer calories. This is a natural fact of aging, but having high cortisol levels accelerates the process. Cortisol also makes it easier for your body to store fat, especially the dangerous visceral fat, the kind that sends fatty acids into your blood, ups your cholesterol and insulin while also making conditions right for both diabetes and heart disease.

Of course no one is suggesting we remove all anxiety and stress – this is impossible. But there are things you can to do help get those stress levels under control. This will help with cortisol levels and you may also see the impact on your weight and your overall health as well.

Now for the seven stress beaters…

1. Move your muscles, vigorously, as this is an instant stress reliever that really works. It fools the body into thinking you are getting away from your stress, while also helping your blood circulate and flush out the cortisol.

2. Eat slowly at meals, paying attention to each bit, savoring the taste, smell and texture of what you’re eating. Be open to feelings of fullness as this can bring down cortisol levels and cut the amount of food you eat.

3. Do not follow strict dieting as research has shown always dieting can raise cortisol levels by 18%. This makes blood sugar become variable so you feel cranky and are absolutely starving.

Continues below…


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WARNING: The truth about Moles, Warts and Skintags…

There are so many “scare” stories that it’s sometimes hard to know what to believe. Which is why this is so timely…

Find out how you, too, can:

- Have freedom from the pain and irritation of your unsightly moles, warts, or skin tags

- Naturally REMOVE moles, warts, or skin tags at the root without any scarring

- Enjoy having clear skin, free from unsightly and painful moles, warts or skin tags

Click through now to discover safe, painless and effective ways to permanently remove moles, warts or skin tags in three days…
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Seven Smart Ways To Beat Stress Fat Continued…

4. Give in, a little, to cravings, as it’s far better to indulge in a small way and limit your cortisol response before it takes over.

5. Cut caffeine as combining stress and caffeine raises cortisol levels more than does stress on its own.

6. Eating a nutrient rich breakfast helps provide the body with B vitamins, vitamin C, calcium and magnesium. Without enough of these come higher cortisol levels and food cravings.

7. Sleep, getting enough (7-9 hours/night) is amazingly beneficial. Being sleep deprived ups cortisol; appetite and naturally, weight gain as well. Getting enough sleep for several nights in a row will restore the balance.

To your good health,

la-fontaine / Pixabay

Solutions To Stop Emotional Eating

Emotional eating is the term experts use when a person turns to food for comfort instead of hunger. Estimates suggest that up to 75% of overeating is in response to some strong emotion – feeling lonely, anxious, depressed, angry, frustrated, bored or stressed. These are often the times when the strongest, most persistent cravings hit, and since you are at such a weak point, giving in comes easy. As you can imagine, emotional eating can quickly have you packing on pounds because the foods we choose tend to be high calorie, sweet and fatty – not the best choices.

Fight back by learning some skills to cope with the uncomfortable feelings that come as an unavoidable as part of life. Start by identifying the triggers that have you using food for the wrong reason. Triggers tend to fall into these types…

- social (encouraged by others, eating to fit in),

- emotional (eating as a reaction to unpleasant feelings, or to fill a void),

- cognitive (eating because of a negative self image),

- situational (eating because the chance is there, or as a companion with specific activities),

- physiological (eating because of increased appetite from skipping a meal).

Food diaries are a great way to keep track not only of what you eat, but also what triggers your eating. You’ll see patterns fairly soon after starting one, and once you do, you can develop strategies to address each trigger. You can also start checking to see if your hunger is physical or prompted by feelings. If you just ate a few hours earlier, give the urge to eat some time to pass. A great technique is to divert yourself with something else.

You might try one of these suggestions…

- Read an absorbing book, magazine or online article.

- Play cards or a board game with others.

- Send time with a pet – playing, grooming, walking.

- Do something active – housework, exercise, work in the yard.

- Take a bath, shower or steam.

- Manage your stress with deep breathing exercises or listening to soothing music.

- Meditation or yoga may also be helpful.

Continues below…


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Solutions To Stop Emotional Eating Continued…

Distractions like these (or ones you come up with on your own) really do work… if you give them an honest chance. This approach will help keep your emotions from becoming so connected to food that you reach for something unhealthy whenever you feel a particular emotion without stopping to think about what you’re doing.

When it comes to coping with emotional eating, outside support is incredibly helpful. You’re more likely to give in to emotional eating without a solid network of family, friends or coworkers to help get you through. You’ll also want to be sure you remove temptation, keeping the comfort foods out of the house. And never, ever, go grocery shopping when you’re feeling sad or angry.

If you try all the self-help we’re suggesting here and things aren’t getting better, therapy with a professional is a smart step, a way to take control. Private time with a caring counselor can help you see clearly the motivations that are behind your emotional eating, and help you come up with new coping strategies.

The hard truth about emotional eating is that when the emotions return (as they always do), you’re also carrying more weight, and probably feeling badly about giving in. This has all the makings for a vicious cycle, one that getting help can help you stop in its tracks.

To your good health,

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What’s Behind Your Memory Loss

Memory loss affects everyone at some point. Sometimes this is occasional forgetfulness… where you put the keys, why you left a room or the date of an appointment. These types of lapses are very common. But when memory loss begins to cause problems in everyday life, you’ll want to get to the bottom of an issue that’s just as distressing to you as it is to those around you.

Here are the more common reasons behind memory loss in adults.

Medications, both prescription and over the counter can cause problems with your memory. Some known culprits include antidepressants, antihistamines, antianxiety meds, muscle relaxants, tranquilizers, sleeping pills and pain medications, especially
those given after a surgical procedure.

Alcohol, tobacco or drugs are linked to loss of memory. For a long time now, we all have known that too much alcohol can impact memory. Smoking hurts memory by cutting the amount of oxygen that gets to the brain – studies show that smokers have trouble with putting names and faces together. Illegal drugs change chemicals
in the brain that make it hard to bring memories to the surface.

Sleep deprivation leads to fatigue, and this interferes with the brain’s ability to consolidate and bring back information. Experts tell us that both the quality and quantity of sleep are vital to how well memory functions.

Depression and stress make it hard to pay attention, to focus and this can impact memory. Stress also gets in the way of concentrating, and the ability to remember suffers. Stress from an emotional trauma can also bring on memory loss.

Nutrient deficiency in vitamins like B1 and B12 can impact memory.

Head injury from a serious blow to the head (as the result of an accident or sports related injury) can hurt the brain and cause both short and log term loss of memory. As you heal the memory may return.

Continues below…


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What’s Behind Your Memory Loss Continued…

Stroke happens when the blood supply to the brain is stopped due to a blockage or a leak in a vessel into the brain. Often the loss is to short-term memory,
while long term memories stay vivid and intact.

Dementia is the progressive loss of memory and other thinking areas that’s severe enough to interfere with daily life. There are many reasons for dementia (blood vessel disease, drug/alcohol abuse, damage to the brain), the one we all know is Alzheimer’s disease.

- Other reasons including an underactive (or overactive) thyroid gland, or an infection like HIV, tuberculosis or syphilis, known to affect the brain.

It is highly likely that your memory loss comes as the result of one of these causes. Only by working closely with your own healthcare team can you figure out what’s going on and get the support and early intervention you need. By doing this now, you are taking an active part in your own health and well being, today and in the future.

Some things that can help support a flagging memory are lists in the same place, written instructions/cautions, special appliance shutoff devices, frequent reminders and a good deal of support. Being patient and flexible, along with a healthy sense of humor will be important skills to master as you move forward.

To your good health,