Conquering Stress

 

Conquering StressStress is a normal physical response to events that make you feel threatened or upset your balance in some way. When you sense danger, whether it is real or imagined, the body’s defenses kick into high gear in a rapid, automatic process known as the “fight-or-flight-or-freeze” reaction, or the stress response. The stress response is the body’s way of protecting you. When working properly, it helps you stay focused, energetic, and alert. The stress response also helps you rise to meet challenges. Stress is what keeps you on your toes during a presentation at work, sharpens your concentration when you are attempting the game-winning free throw, or drives you to study for an exam.

Modern life is full of hassles, deadlines, frustrations, and demands. For many people, stress is so commonplace that it has become a way of life. Stress isn’t always bad. In small doses, it can help you perform under pressure and motivate you to do your best. However, when you’re constantly running in emergency mode, your mind and body pay the price. You can protect yourself by recognizing the signs and symptoms of stress and taking steps to reduce its harmful effects. Beyond a certain point, stress stops being helpful and starts causing major damage to your health, your mood, your productivity, your relationships, and your quality of life.

It is important to learn how to recognize when your stress levels are out of control. The most dangerous thing about stress is how easily it can creep up on you. Stress symptoms include mental, social, and physical manifestations. These include exhaustion, loss of/increased appetite, headaches, crying, sleeplessness, and over-sleeping. Escape through alcohol, drugs, or other compulsive behavior are often indications. Feelings of alarm, frustration, or apathy may accompany stress. The signs and symptoms of stress overload can be almost anything. Stress affects the mind, body, and behavior in many ways, and everyone experiences stress differently. Not only can overwhelming stress lead to serious mental and physical health problems, it can also take a toll on your relationships at home, work, and school.

Some things you can do to manage your stress are:

Avoid unnecessary stress.

Alter your situation.

Adapt to what is stressing you. Look at the big picture.

Accept what you cannot change.

Other things you can do are; get plenty of sleep, eat health, get good exercise, and take out time for yourself. There are times when some may not be able to handle stress on their own, if you know someone or if you need help, seek guidance from a professional counselor he/she can better assist you in dealing with your life stressors.

 

Six Natural Ways to Combat Depression and Anxiety

five ways

Depression, anxiety, and other forms of mental discomfort can be alleviated by every-day self care. Many clinical studies show that the following activities are good for the brain. Use these by themselves or in conjunction with counseling.

If you have severe depression or anxiety, the suggestions below may seem impossible. You may rely on junk food to feel good or dread socializing. If this is the case, you should consider counseling and/or see a doctor about an anti-depressant. Don’t beat yourself up for not exercising or not being able to control your eating. See a counselor and take baby steps. When you get to the point that you are feeling a bit better, add in one good habit at a time, at a pace that you are comfortable with. Focus on what you are doing well, not on what you aren’t doing perfectly.

1. Exercise: Regular exercise has been proven at least as effective as medication.

2. Good sleep: Going to bed and waking at regular times can stave off anxiety and depression.

3. Eating healthy: You are what you eat. Getting enough vitamins and minerals and limiting junk is good for your brain. Also, some people find that sugar, white flour, artificial sweeteners or other foods cause them to feel bad. Experiment with your diet to see what works best for you.

4. Limiting caffeine and alcohol: Caffeine is a stimulant and alcohol is a depressant. They are literally as strong as some prescription medications. Taking these can exacerbate or create symptoms of anxiety or depression.

5. Socializing with people you care about: Spending time with loved ones gives your brain a healthy boost.

6. Religious practice: Studies show that prayer, meditation, scripture reading and other spiritual practice can help foster healthy brain function.

7. Positive physical touch: Cuddling with a loved one or even a pet will boost oxytocin and other brain chemicals. Sex is also good for your mood–of course as long as its in a responsible, healthy relationship!

Exercise, the recipe for better health?

exercise

Exercise has multiple benefits: assists in controlling weight, fights against health conditions and diseases, increases mood, a natural energy booster, advocate for better sleep, “brings sexy back” into the bedroom, and fun! Why don’t people do more of it? It’s time-consuming, sweaty, hard-working, fear of masculinity… you name it, I’ve given the excuse.

Back in November 2011, I started P90X in an attempt to relieve stress from my daily routine of full-time work, part-time school, and internship. I am proud to say that I successfully did the routine daily for 7 weeks straight. In that time, I noticed a decrease in weight, increase in muscles and my activity level was phenomenal. I even out kayaked my husband on Grapevine Lake. Overall, I was satisfied doing the routine and loved my results. Well, life happened. I received news of my parents’ split, holidays were around the corner, and a change in jobs. I fell off the exercise wagon…

Now it has been two and half years since that time. I’m determined to start-up on exercising again. But, where does one start? Luckily, my work place encourages their employees to exercise by providing a monetary incentive. Monetary incentives are awesome, but I am looking forward to a healthier and slimmer me. As a start to include exercising back in my daily routine, I have chosen (along with some work colleagues) to participate in Dallas’ Shape Diva Dash a few Saturdays from now.

The Shape Diva Dash is a 5K (3.1 miles) obstacle course that challenges agility, balance, strength and speed. I may be accidental-prone, but I am excited (and nervous) to get back into shape and in a fun way! My hopes are to start with this 5K and challenge myself to participate in future others throughout the year. Hopefully, make my way to participate in a 10K eventually.

With a will, there’s a way. My way is to find something that will make exercising fun and entertaining! If you are struggling to find a way to start exercising, I encourage you to do the same. Find something you have yet to try, do it, and repeat (if you find it enjoyable)! Have somebody hold you accountable. If I was to try Shape Diva Dash by myself, I probably would not do it. Fortunately, I have my colleagues that are attending and will definitely hold me accountable for committing to the challenge. As a new walker/runner towards health, I wish you all to find a passion and follow it! Cheers to hopefully me fulfilling my passion of completing a 5K and restarting my passion towards a healthier me.

Tell me down below what you have done to increase your health! If it is exercising, what has worked for you?

Talk to Your Kids About Sex

sex talkA lot of parents are scared to have “The Talk” with their kids. Similarly, a lot of kids dread getting “The Talk” from their parents. Regardless of our inhibitions, however, it is absolutely necessary that we as parents take responsibility for our children’s knowledge of sex.

First let’s dispel a few myths:
1. If I don’t talk about sex, my kids won’t know what it is and won’t do it. Um, no. That’s dumb.
2. If I talk about sex, my kids will see that as permission to do it. No: if you talk to your kids about sex, you will have the opportunity to clearly share your values and expectations with them; if you don’t talk to them they are likely to feel lost and feel the need to blaze their own sexual path.
3. Abstinence-only education is sufficient: Please, please, please share your values and expectations about sex with your kids. But don’t think for a minute think that kids can’t or won’t make a different choice sometimes. MANY studies on abstinence-only education have been done, and NONE of them show a reduction in teen sexuality or pregnancy.
4. Talking to my kids about sex is hard. Well, it’s only as hard as you make it. It doesn’t have to be super awkward or weird. Buy a book, plan what to say, and don’t stress out.

When to talk:
1. From a young age, use the real words: vagina, penis, breasts, etc. Using code words for body parts makes them seem shameful and embarrassing. It’s not embarrassing to have penis or vagina. Every single person in the world has one or the other.
2. BEFORE your son or daughter has friends who start having their periods or spermarche, talk openly about these things. Also talk about body development and what to expect. Have this talk around the age of 9, or better yet have several little talks over the years.
3. BEFORE your son or daughter starts dating or has friends who are dating, have the full-on sex talk. Or better yet, have several small talks over the years.
4. If your child has movies or classes in school on sex, this is a great time to follow up, answer any questions, and add your own family’s values.

What to talk about:
1. EVERYTHING. Yup. How it works, what it’s called, birth control, how a baby happens, rape (and protecting yourself from it–both guys and girls). Make sure they know that no, you can’t get pregnant from oral or anal sex, but you CAN get diseases. And yes, oral and anal count as sex. Condoms don’t always work. Pornography. You can get pregnant the first time. Your body isn’t the only thing to love about you. It IS possible to wait till marriage.
2. Talk to young kids (toddlers and up) about not letting people touch their body without permission. Tell Mommy or Daddy if someone touches you or if a grown up tells you to keep a secret from mommy.
3. Masturbating is developmentally normal. If your religion is against it, be clear with your child that moral restrictions are different from being abnormal. And repentance is possible for masturbation just like any other sin. Repentance is also possible for unwed sex.

The best sex education a kid can get is seeing parents who love and honor each other. Parents don’t get naked in front of the kids, but they are physically affectionate in front of the kids (hugs, kisses, cuddling, etc.). This gives kids the unspoken message that sex is part of a healthy marriage relationship.

What is Happiness?

blog pic HappinessMost of us probably do not believe we need a formal definition of happiness; we know it when we feel it, and we often use the term to describe a range of positive emotions, including joy, pride, contentment, and gratitude. Happiness is a perspective dependent emotion. This means that what could make someone happy may not be of any importance to someone else. I may become happy if I became rich but for someone else money will not make them feel happy. It can to be a decision to be well and to continue to be well despite life not meeting our expectations. We choose to be happy just because we can; we choose to be happy because we are who we have become. The happiest person is one who can still smile in the face of adversity just because he or she sees meaning and purpose in all of life’s circumstances. If you look at your days with appreciation for all that you have rather than being bitter about all of the things in life that you covet, you immediately start to retrain your brain to enjoy life rather than constantly worrying and dreaming of the day that you can finally relax and enjoy life without stress.

Happiness is not defined by any circumstance, condition, or person. You need not tie your happiness to anything. The choice to be happy is always yours to make.

What are your thoughts on happiness?

The Color Code Personality Types

the color code

The Color Code by Taylor Hartman categorizes personalities into four types. Figuring out your own personality and those of others can help you understand yourself and your loved ones better.

The four color personalities are red, blue, yellow, and white. No type is better or worse than another, and each type has both good and bad aspects.

Red: Reds are motivated by power. They are competitive and potentially bossy. They like to be right. They tend to be extroverted and unaccepting. The website says reds “need to look good technically, be right, and be respected.” They are strong leaders and love challenges Some examples of famous reds possibly include Donald Trump, Napoleon Bonaparte, General Patton, Machiavelli, Michael Jordan, and fictional characters Cornelius Fudge and Voldemort. (Comparing to the DISC personality chart they are D’s, and comparing to the elements of personality they are fire.)

Blue: Blues tend to be perfectionists. They are often do-gooders, interested in justice and the good of all people. They are often introverted and unaccepting. The website says blues “need to have integrity and be appreciated. They are focused on quality and creating strong relationships.” Some examples of famous blues might be Abraham Lincoln, Thomas Jefferson, and Martin Luther King, Jr. Some fictional blues are both Harry Potter and Hermione Granger, and Gandalf. (Comparing to the DISC personality chart they are C’s, and comparing to the elements of personality they are earth.)

Yellows: Yellows are creative free spirits. They are fun loving and artistic. They tend to be extroverted and accepting. The website says yellows “need to be noticed and have fun. They love life, social connections, and being positive and spontaneous.” Walt Disney, Oscar Wild, and Richard Branson might be yellows. The Weasely Twins in Harry Potter are classic yellow personalities. (Comparing to the DISC personality chart they are I’s, and comparing to the elements of personality they are air.)

Whites: Whites obviously can be of any race, the term “white” here only refers to personalilty. Whites are motivated by peace and are introverted and accepting. The website says whites “need to be accepted and treated with kindness. They are logical, objective, and tolerant of others.” Ghandi and Nelson Mandela are probably both whites, and fictional characters Ron Weasley and Dumbledore are whites as well. (Comparing to the DISC personality chart they are S’s, and comparing to the elements of personality they are water.)

You can take the Color Code quiz and find out your own personality type at http://www.colorcode.com/.