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The 5-Second Trick to Lower Your Stress Levels

Ask your stressed out friends how they deal with feeling overwhelmed and they’ll likely list off the usual suspects: Sleep. Caffeine. Sugar. Alcohol. Exercise. Yoga. Some of these are clearly healthier options than others, but even the easy fixes take time—something that a lot of people who are stressed out tend to have in short supply. But there is a quick fix for the times when you have too much stress and too little energy: The simplest and most effective tool for instant energy, banishing stress, and ridding toxins from the body is breath!

breathe

That’s right. Breathing—the thing we do all day and night long without thinking about it—is responsible for a whole lot more than fuel our body with oxygen. The rate at which we breathe actually helps regulate our heart rate which in turn controls a bunch of other physical aspects. Breathe slow and fast and our body and brain will automatically shift to that fight or flight mode, the one that comes with stress and sends your blood pressure and shoulder tension soaring. Focus on slower, longer, and deeper breaths and you’ll help calm your body and mind, fighting stress in a matter of seconds while also filling your body with energizing oxygen, the lifeblood of a creativity, productivity, focus, and fire for whatever our life demands.

So how can you breathe better?
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Stress is Contagious. Here’s How You Can Protect Yourself

For the most part, we know what causes our own stress: work, family, friends, the usual culprits. But what happens when your stress isn’t caused by a direct influence on your life? Then, unfortunately, you’re suffering from secondhand stress.

stressed

It can happen to anyone. For example, if your close friend is going through a rough situation and shares it with you, you may experience stress symptoms even though nothing has changed in your life. Sadly, this is a real thing. Stress is actually contagious.

Alicia Clark, Psy.D. told Shape Magazine this happens because empathy for others is hard-wired into our system. It’s thought that when others around us feel stress, our brain picks up their cues and mimics them, creating stress in us, even without an actual cause.

This is unfortunate news for those who already suffer from stress. Stress can be damaging to your health, including affecting arteries in such a way that may cause heart attacks and strokes.
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7 Common Sleep Saboteurs

By Team Best Life

Skimping on sleep on occasion won’t cause much damage, but if you do so on a regular basis you’ll begin to see the effects, such as a decrease in memory and attention and possibly even weight gain. How can you make sure to get the recommended 7 to 8 hours a night? Your first step is to be aware of seven common sleep saboteurs:

Sleep

 1. Alcohol: Many people believe a nightcap helps you sleep, and while it initially can help you relax, it ultimately interferes with your ability to stay asleep. In fact, one study found that men who consumed an alcoholic drink before bed spent more time in the lighter first stage of sleep and less time in the later deep stages of sleep compared to those who drank an alcohol-free or lower-alcoholic drink. And, as the effects of alcohol wore off, the men experienced more awakenings. Limit your alcohol intake, and if you are going to drink, try to do so earlier in the day.


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Why Are Americans So Fat? 7 Little Reasons with Big Health Repercussions

By Team Best Life

Why are so many Americans—69.2 percent to be exact—overweight or obese? The answer seems obvious: We’re taking in more calories than we expend. But why is that? Check out these seven common weight gain triggers.

obesity soda
We slurp down sugary drinks.

This includes sodas, fruit drinks, sweetened iced tea and other beverages that cost about 140 to 150 calories per 12-ounce serving. They are a major source of added sugar in our diet. Guzzle just one can daily on top of your actual calorie needs and you could gain 15 pounds a year. A Canadian study that tracked toddlers found that those who drank more sugary beverages were 2.5 times more likely to be overweight compared to those who didn’t.

We consume too little fiber.   

This comes from not eating enough fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Aside from making you feel fuller on fewer calories (and thus, satisfying appetite), fiber may also promote a slimming gut flora, the population of trillions of bacteria that reside in our gut that are thought to influence everything from immunity to anxiety to obesity risk.
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Take a Chill Pill, Too Much Stress Can Make You Miserable

Odds are you’re reading this article on your phone while standing in line somewhere. Or maybe you’re skimming it while waiting on an email from a colleague to come through. Perhaps you’re sitting on the couch, TV on in the background, checking your phone periodically and browsing this in your pre-scheduled free time. If any of those scenarios sounded accurate, then congratulations, you’re just like the majority of people who can’t help but try to multitask.

stress

Unfortunately for multitaskers, and if I’m being honest I’m one of them, studies show multitasking is a myth. The human brain cannot do many things simultaneously. Instead, focus is shifted from one thing to another extremely quickly. So what does it mean if instead of focusing on many things at once you’re really changing focus rapidly? It means that you are not paying as much attention to everything as you think. Tasks may not be completed as well as if you had focused your attention on them entirely. Beyond the risk of producing shoddy work, the myth of multitasking, and cramming as much as possible in to every day, may be hazardous to your health.


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