You Make The Call! Did he or Didn’t He? Check out this video of Barney Frank
Ladies’ Home Journal offers these quick stress cures:
Talk to someone — Bottling things up is for brewers. A trusted friend or a trusted trained professional who will listen to what’s bothering you without judgment or mockery will help you unload your problems and may also help you solve them.
Laugh – Read comics, rent a funny movie, go to the circus. A hardy belly laugh decreases stress hormones in the bloodstream, relaxes muscles and, let’s face it, feels good all over.
Cry — Hey, assuming you’re not running for president, go ahead and sob. Research shows women cry up to four times more often than men, and when they cry, they cry harder. According to William H. Frey III, Ph.D., author of Crying: The Mystery of Tears, our waterworks may have evolved to remove chemicals, possibly stress hormones prolactin and ACTH, that build up during stress.
Put fun on your “to-do” list — Write down everything you think you need to do for the next month. Work, errands, chores, everything. Then remove 5% of the items. You’ll drop tasks that aren’t truly critical and gain valuable free time to spend on something fun for yourself.
Eat more fiber — Find it in legumes, nuts, vegetables, whole grains and fruit. Fiber keeps your digestive tract happy, less stress on your body and helps absorb toxins and bacteria. It also stabilizes blood sugar levels, ameliorating mood swings.
Eat oatmeal — Oatmeal helps your body release serotonin stores in your brain, too little of this neurotransmitter may lead to depression. Nutritionist Keri Glassman recommends eating a bowl of oatmeal no later than an hour before going to bed to alleviate stress and help relax.
Ditch toxic people — Everybody has that person in her life who only makes everything more stressful. You can’t always duck him or her entirely, sometimes you’re related but you can limit your exposure. And when you do have to be together, set a specific time period and include others so that you don’t have to handle this person yourself.
Play with your pet — It’s virtually impossible to stay stressed when you’re tickling your dog’s belly. Or dangling string in front of your cat or bird, for that matter. Unless it just poked a hole in your sofa cushion, of course.
Eat almonds — It’s possible, just possible, that almonds are a perfect food. They’re loaded with immune-boosting zinc and heart healthy vitamin E. And they help stress because you really have to chew almonds in a “get the aggression out” sort of way.
Breathe deep — When under stress we tend to take quick, shallow breaths. Deep breathing slows the stress response by getting more energizing oxygen to your body. Take 10 to 15 minute “breathing breaks” throughout the day, suggests Frank Lipman, M.D., an integrative physician in New York City who combines Western and alternative therapies. Find a quiet space and be conscious of your breath going in and out. Think about your belly rising and falling with each breath. Relax.
Fantasize about something wonderful — Whatever happy place you choose is fine. Take a visual vacation. Closing your eyes quiets the brain by eliminating the myriad visual stimuli that tax your body.
Stretch — We hold tension in the soft tissues of our body’s muscles. When soft tissue gets tight, it squeezes nerves and blood vessels, creating poor circulation and pain. Spending a day trapped behind the wheel or a desk makes things worse, humans were built to move, not sit. Fifteen minutes of gentle stretching at the end of a day can be enough to restore flexibility and mobility.
Sleep — Getting shut eye provides time for biochemical housekeeping, replenishing energy stores, reducing the level of stress hormones.
Fill the tub — Can’t remember the last time you reclined in your bath? Before the shower was invented, the Romans and Turks had the right idea. Being immersed in warm water encourages, nearly forces, your muscles to relax.
Play a board game — Unwinding and stress relief were the top reasons people play “casual” games such as cards and board games, according to a 2006 Harris Interactive poll. Playing is also a relaxing way to connect with family and friends.
Practice yoga — Other hand the release of stress hormones that comes with any exercise, yoga is a way to quiet the head. We all suffer from “monkey mind” jumping from thought to thought all day long, says Dr. Lipman. Yoga forces the mind to start focusing on breathing, moving and staying still.
Turn off your PDA — Power down at least once hour twice a day to give yourself and your family a break. When it’s on, make sure the new e-mail notice is not set to vibrate or beep every time you get a message.
Treat yourself — Whether you enjoy spoiling yourself with a haircut, a cup of coffee and your favorite magazine or sneaking in a midday movie, doing something that’s pure pleasure for you is a great way to decompress and de-stress.
Wet your wrists — Place them under cold running water for 60 seconds while breathing deeply. Your wrists have a large number of small blood vessels and the cold water helps cool and calm you, according to Julie Rosenzwig, Ph.D., a psychotherapist in Lake Oswego, Oregon, who specializes in stress cures.
Take the chocolate cure — Dark chocolate is a potent antioxidant and may increase your serotonin levels, as well as lower blood pressure and bad LDL cholesterol. Milk chocolate is not as powerful as the dark type.
Turn off the TV for a whole week — Watching TV can add stress to our already overstimulated brains. And it doesn’t help that so much of the news that’s on the tube is scary.
Crank up the music — It doesn’t matter what type of music you choose, clear the floor, turn up the volume and let it rip. Losing yourself in music and, better yet, dancing to it is a great full body stress reliever.
Bridgette sent this video to me last night with no note or explanation and I thought….why? Was she telling me that I’m a baby? Was it that she thinks I poop my pants? Or maybe she just loves babies and thought I would think this was totally cool. I must admit…this is pretty cool, but it kinda stinks too. (No pun intended) Why did it take so long to do this?
Found a cool website contest I wanted to share! YoungmeNowme is a collection of photographs of people re-staging photographs from their childhood! Submit yours today. Check it out!
It’s Brain Awareness Month, so here’s a few ways you can start increasing your intelligence today!
Your brain needs exercise just like a muscle. If you use it often and in the right ways, you will become a more skilled thinker and increase your ability to focus. But if you never use your brain, or abuse it with harmful chemicals, your ability to think and learn will deteriorate.
Here are 5 simple ways anyone can squeeze a bit more productivity out of the old gray matter.
1. Minimize Television Watching – This is a hard sell. People love vegetating in front of the television, myself included more often than I’d like. The problem is watching television doesn’t use your mental capacity OR allow it to recharge. It’s like having the energy sapped out of a muscle without the health benefits of exercise.
Don’t you feel drained after a couple hours of TV? Your eyes are sore and tired from being focused on the light box for so long. You don’t even have the energy to read a book.
When you feel like relaxing, try reading a book instead. If you’re too tired, listen to some music. When you’re with your friends or family, leave the tube off and have a conversation. All of these things use your mind more than television and allow you to relax.
2. Exercise – I used to think that I’d learn more by not exercising and using the time to read a book instead. But I realized that time spent exercising always leads to greater learning because it improves productivity during the time afterwards. Using your body clears your head and creates a wave of energy. Afterwards, you feel invigorated and can concentrate more easily.
3. Read Challenging Books – Many people like to read popular suspense fiction, but generally these books aren’t mentally stimulating. If you want to improve your thinking and writing ability you should read books that make you focus. Reading a classic novel can change your view of the world and will make you think in more precise, elegant English. Don’t be afraid to look up a word if you don’t know it, and don’t be afraid of dense passages. Take your time, re-read when necessary, and you’ll soon grow accustomed to the author’s style.
Once you get used to reading challenging books, I think you’ll find that you aren’t tempted to go back to page-turners. The challenge of learning new ideas is far more exciting than any tacky suspense-thriller.
4. Early to Bed, Early to Rise – Nothing makes it harder to concentrate than sleep deprivation. You’ll be most rejuvenated if you go to bed early and don’t sleep more than 8 hours. If you stay up late and compensate by sleeping late, you’ll wake up lethargic and have trouble focusing. In my experience the early morning hours are the most tranquil and productive. Waking up early gives you more productive hours and maximizes your mental acuity all day.
If you have the opportunity, take 10-20 minute naps when you are hit with a wave of drowsiness. Anything longer will make you lethargic, but a short nap will refresh you.
5. Take Time to Reflect – Often our lives get so hectic that we become overwhelmed without even realizing it. It becomes difficult to concentrate because nagging thoughts keep interrupting. Spending some time alone in reflection gives you a chance organize your thoughts and prioritize your responsibilities. Afterwards, you’ll have a better understanding of what’s important and what isn’t. The unimportant stuff won’t bother you anymore and your mind will feel less encumbered.
I’m not saying you need to sit on the floor cross-legged and chant ‘ommm’. Anything that allows a bit of prolonged solitude will do. One of my personal favorites is taking a solitary walk. Someone famous said, “All the best ideas occur while walking.” I think he was on to something. Experiment to find the activity that works best for you.
Conclusion – I hope you aren’t disappointed that none of the techniques I’ve proposed are revolutionary. But simple, unexciting answers are often the most valid. The challenge is having the will to adhere to them. If you succeed in following these 5 tips, you’ll be rewarded with increased mental acuity and retention of knowledge.
If you’re still hungry for more, check out the follow up post: 5 More Ways to Make the Most of Your Intelligence.« go back — keep looking »