Weight loss is a biggie when it comes to New Year’s resolutions. I can safely bet that hundreds of thousands, if not more, set an intention at the start of this year to get fit and lose weight.
January, with its cold and snowy days, is a good month to spend in the gym, and many people will enthusiastically buy memberships, join classes, or hire personal trainers. If we can get through the chocolate and candy laden month of February, we’re in pretty good shape. By the time March hits, the warmer weather triggers thoughts of wearing shorts and sleeveless tops, and that keeps us motivated to stay on track.
However, when April rolls around we have either realized our weight loss goal, or we’ve hit a major plateau and just can’t seem to get past it. If you’re experiencing a lull in your weight loss efforts, now is a good time relax, regroup, and restore your choices and actions so you can get past the weigh loss slump and shed those last few pounds.
Rather than add another workout to your already full schedule, or cut back on the calories from your near starvation diet, try meditation to step up your weight loss progress. However counter-intuitive it may sound, using meditation to get over a weight loss hump can be very effective. (more…)
Tax day is here, and if you are one of many who haven’t yet completed your forms, stress can attack your bowels with unwelcome enthusiasm. Whether you suffer from constipation, diarrhea, bloating, or cramps, having irritable bowels is not fun, especially as the most stressful deadline of the year draws near.
The following suggestions won’t help you with your taxes, but they will help you relax during this tough time of year so your digestive system doesn’t go haywire due to stress and anxiety.
Winston Churchill said, “If you’re going through hell, keep going.” The time to procrastinate is over. Sit down, be diligent, and get the job done. You will start to feel better after each box and line you fill out, so get to it. However tedious and painful doing taxes feels, keep going. The confidence you will earn knowing that you are getting it done will relax your agitated digestive system. (more…)
From wellness centers to workplace massages, employers are constantly searching for new and effective ways to keep their employees calm, relaxed and healthy. When sick days cut in to the annual budget, and production is low due to stressed out workers, businesses can be greatly affected. In this highly competitive world in which we live, that does not bode well for companies striving to be the best.
According to a recent study in the International Journal of Workplace Health Management, having a dog in the workplace might be a key ingredient to reducing stress on the job. Researchers found that having a dog (or dogs) at work instilled higher employee satisfaction, kept people calm and less tense, and made a generally positive difference to workers. In addition, the researchers discovered that having a dog at work allowed for more social interaction between employees, therefore increasing communication and collaboration on projects.
Being under stress is not fun. Tension headaches, insomnia, and back pain are just a few symptoms of taking on too much. These symptoms are uncomfortable to say the least, but if not addressed, they can lead to more serious, health-threatening ailments.
According to the American Psychological Association, one half of Americans say that stress has a negative impact on their personal and professional lives, adding that stress is responsible for keeping them up at night. The American Institute of Stress claims that workplace stress costs more than $300 billion dollars each year in health care, and according to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, stressed out workers incur an average of $600 more a year due to stress related needs compared with non-stressed out workers.
Whether you work, are retired, or are a stay-at-home mom, if you are under stress, please take note of the following five tips for releasing tension from your life. Not only will it help you, it may even relieve the stress from those around you.
When we’re stressed out, the foods we typically think of reaching for are not the healthiest, from chips to ice cream. These foods made “feel good” as we eat them, but they’re probably not doing much for biological factors that make us feel stressed out. Instead, try these five foods from Today Show nutritionist Joy Bauer.
We all know vitamin C is important for the immune system, but did you know it can help fight stress? Research has shown that this vitamin can help reduce the affects stress have on the body, such as raising blood pressure. Fresh grapefruit is one of the best ways to get a daily dose.
2. Steel Cut Oats
The carbohydrate in oatmeal stimulates the production of serotonin, which helps you relax and feel good. Steel-cut oats are best because they’re minimally processed, and cause a slow rise in blood sugar, not a spike.
Flitting about like a hummingbird, dancing around every thought, whim and compulsive urge is how many of us go about our day. With an extremely high level of external stimulation hitting us from all angles (the computer screen, cell phone beeps, television commercials, radio jingles, shimmering billboards, etc.), giving our brain a rest is getting harder and harder to do.
Some people just don’t take the time to sit quietly, and thoughtlessly yet mindfully examine their state of being. Many of us claim to be too busy, disinterested or skeptical of the benefits a little time out of mind can provide. But science continues to uncover the truth that sitting quietly, slowing our thoughts and relaxing our brain may do more for us than we think.
Meditation, from its rise in popularity in the late 1960’s to its revival among millions of modern peace seeking yogis, has proven beneficial on so many levels. It is not only physically relaxing, it also helps make us smarter and feel less stressed.
This week I read an article at Yahoo! Shine titled Demi Moore: Hospitalized: Can Divorce Make You Sick? Of course, divorce can make you sick! Stress plays a major role in our physical health, and divorce is the second most stressful life event one can experience after the death of a spouse, according to the Homes and Rahe Stress Scale. On the other hand, I have talked with many clients who find the stress from a break up longer lasting because it includes rejection and the possibility of running into that person again. Loss of appetite and not eating are common after any break up. Many find sleep evasive as well. The strong emotional reaction can be physically exhausting, too.
Any time that we are stressed our immune system takes a hit, our digestion takes a hit, and our body is flooded with adrenaline which can have a variety of dangerous results. It was when I learned how adrenaline impacts our veins and arteries and increases the risk for blockage and heart attack that I stubbornly determined to control my stress. Perhaps it is because I am a therapist, but it seems that many people focus on the mental and emotional impact of stress, more than the physical impact of stress, which can have long term consequences. When dealing with daily stressors, it is essential to recover from the adrenaline response because most of the time “fight or flight” is not a helpful option whether you have a deadline, a complaining customer, or an argument with a spouse. (more…)
Many of us are well into our New Year’s resolutions by now and are moving forward with a level of enthusiasm that only happens in January. While some of us have set our intentions to achieve more and workout harder, some of us are striving to take care of our health by doing less.
We all know that being stressed out can cause a myriad of diseases. From deadly heart attacks to frustrating low back pain, stress is a word many of us would like to think of as something in the past. A lot of Americans are perpetually anxious and it is a good choice to slow down and take it easy for a change. Thankfully there are more and more places available beyond the typical yoga studio or massage parlor where one can experience some blissful down time.
At Raffa Yoga in Cranston, Rhode Island for example, members now have access to a 15,000 square foot mansion of leisure, equipped with seven heated therapy rooms to rest and experience mind-body healing. “When we relax, we are more ourselves,” says Christine Raffa, owner of Raffa Yoga and founder of Urban Sweat, a new destination where people can gather and get away from the turmoil of life.
Urban Sweat, an integral part of Raffa Yoga, began with the intention to offer more opportunity to improve health and well-being, not by adding more yoga to the schedule or increasing the intensity of classes, but by providing a space for deep relaxation. Recognizing that many cultures maintain rituals and gathering places to rest, detoxify and cleanse, Raffa thought it would be of great importance to stressed out Americans to have a place of their own as a refuge for healing.
Do you suffer from friggatriskaidekaphobia? 21 million Americans do and for those unlucky few, 2012 is not going to be their year.
Friggatriskaidekaphobia is the name given to the fear of Friday the 13th. As our culture has continued a long time superstition regarding the number 13 and the belief that Friday the 13th is a very unlucky day, many find themselves stressed regarding this date. 2012 will have three occurrences of this day, starting this month with Friday, January 13th. April and July will also see a Friday the 13th.
While the date bothers many, there’s very little evidence that more bad things happen on Friday the 13th. In fact, some studies have found that fewer bad things occur on Friday the 13th verses any other Fridays of the year. Fewer fires and thefts, fewer accidents, and fewer driving incidents are reported on Friday the 13th.
“Gluten-free diet linked to increased depression and eating disorders” – the headline immediately caught my attention. As I read the first article, I was theorizing in my head about the chemical impact of gluten and carbohydrates in our brains and bodies, as well as the mental strain of adhering to a strict diet and the extra effort it requires. I thought a correlation between depression and a gluten-free lifestyle was possible, I thought about all my friends and family members living gluten-free, and I started digging for the actual research to investigate the experimental method used. What I found was that the alarming headline was taken from partial statements made by an experimenter, but the entire findings were not taken into account.
Unfortunately, this can be common in the news media and blogosphere where the focus is more on attention-grabbing sound bites rather than in-depth analysis and education. It is my sincere hope that everything I write (here and elsewhere) and everything you read at DietsInReview is researched and thought out, and we are not jumping to conclusions or publishing alarmist headlines simply because it is provocative.
In this case, the research found that those women with celiac disease (177 surveyed) who were most compliant with a gluten-free diet reported “increased vitality, lower stress, decreased depressive symptoms, and greater overall emotional health,” according to Josh Smyth of Penn State. This sounds like the opposite of the alarmist headline that grabbed my attention. The caveat is that those surveyed, even those managing celiac disease well through a gluten-free lifestyle, reported “higher rates of stress, depression, and a range of issues clustered around body dissatisfaction, weight and shape” compared to the general population.” (more…)