Could Ecotherapy (Being in Nature) Relieve Your Stress?

Nature:  Free and Easy Cure to Anxiety and Depression

Did you know that most Americans suffer from nature deficit disorder?  A typical American spends 80-90% of their time indoors- and sadly too much of that time is spent sitting.  The more time people spend inside, the more anxious an depressed they get.  The solution is simple and free: spend time outside in nature.   Doing so can:

• Cut anxiety and depression

• Boost feelings of well-being

• Improve your health and reduce blood pressire

• Increase your social interaction with others

• Improve your breathing and intake of Vitamin D if you spend 20 minutes in the sun

Gardeners have long understood this, as having your hands in soil relieves stress and connects you to the earth.  Doing so helps you get out of your head and your worries, and enables you to focus on the present- one of the keys to being happier.

David Strayer, a psychologist at the University of Utah, takes students out in nature  to reconnect with their creative problem-solving and mental clarity.  With so many distractions and constant technological stimulation, our brains get tired and don’t function as clearly as they should.  His backpacking group of Outward Bound participants did 50 percent better on creative problem-solving after only three days in the wilderness.1

So the next time you are feeling down or overwhelmed, get outside in nature.  Just 20 minutes can revive your body, mind and spirit.

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  1. http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2017/07/13/ecotherapy.aspx?utm_source=dnl&utm_medium=email&utm_content=art1&utm_campaign=20170713Z1_UCM&et_cid=DM150364&et_rid=2078706039
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Stressed about Money? Focus on this…

As the new year starts. many of us are looking at holiday bills and worrying about money.  Anxiety and stress about money can cause anxiety attacks, sleepless nights and depression.

Stressed about Money?So what’s the solution?

Focus on gratitude!
The next time you start feeling poor or experiencing lack, pull out paper and pen or use your cellphone and make a list of everything in your life that you are grateful for.  Include the fact that you have access to clean water, clothing, shelter, food, friends, healthcare, etc.  Those are all luxuries to a large portion of the world.

You will notice that as you do this, your stress abates.  It may even disappear.

There’s a simple reason for this. What you focus on manifests, and when you focus on lack or scarcity, yu create more of that.  But when you focus on abundance and gratitude, you attract in more to be grateful for.

And if you’ve done this exercise several times and are still super-stressed, go volunteer at a soup kitchen, or work with the homeless.  Your perspective will change, I guarantee it.

 

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Is Lack of Boundaries Stressing You Out?

You Must Set Limits on Your Time and Energy

Stress Express; Family FightingMary’s mother demanded enormous amounts of her time, even though she was perfectly healthy.  Instead of declining all the requested visits, Mary spent way too much time with her mother, ignoring her job, husband and health.  She ended up sick and could not work. She desperately needed boundaries.

I often see very bright, accomplished professionals who are completely overwhelmed by the demands on their lives- especially women.  With high pressure jobs, families, friends, volunteer work and aging parents, most of these folks are so stressed they are close to their breaking point.  How can this be fixed?  By setting healthy boundaries.

How to Set Boundaries:

• Start valuing your own time.  Before you commit to anything, personal or professional, ask yourself these questions:

1. Do I want to do this?
2. Am I capable of doing this?
3. Is it the highest and best use of my time?
4. What do I have to give up to do this?
5. What happens if I don’t say yes?
6. Will this stress me out further?

• Learn to say NO.  When yet another volunteer opportunity comes your way, say “I appreciate your thinking of me.,  I only want to give you my best effort, and right now, I can’t.  May I recommend…. for this?”

Value Your Own Need for Downtime  You cannot be effective at your job, at home, as a parent, partner or friend if you are burnt-out. Play time, quiet time, nap time, meditation time- all of these give your brain critically needed detoxification.  Furthermore, you are more likely to come up with new creative solutions when you step away from the work and relax.

Set boundaries and don’t allow others to take advantage of you- you will be much happier and less stressed

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Reduce Stress with the 5 minute Rule

Clock from Stress ExpressAs I speak around the country to CEO’s, leaders and managers, I am often asked what quick things can be done to reduce stress.  One of my favorites is the 5 minute rule.

As you look around your workspace, what could you handle in 5 minutes or less?  Could you clean off your desk, write an important thank you note, file essential papers, wash out a coffee cup?  Any of those things would give you an immediate sense of completion.

The brain craves completion.  Whenever you have thought and you don’t take action in it, you have incompletion.  This drives parts of your brain crazy.  If your whole office is a mass of piles and incompletions, you will never want to go in there.  If you wake up at night thinking of all the things you did not do, this could be the reason.

Solution:  whenever you have a thought and you can take action on it in 5 minutes or less, do it.  You’ll reduce your stress and be far more productive.

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Protect Your Family’s Health with this Beverage

immune drinkIt’s cold and flu season in the US, and having had pneumonia myself over the past few years, I wanted a powerful immune system builder.  After much reading, I’ve come up with a hot drink that I love and that actually boosts my immunity.

 

Here’s what it takes:
1 full cup pure boiled water
1 teaspoon organic coconut oil
1 capsule turmeric
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon honey
a sprinkle of cayenne pepper
a sprinkle of fresh ground regular pepper
2 droppers full of ginger extract

Let all the ingredients sit in the hot water and stir.  You may want to add additional honey or stevia for sweetness.  Some people prefer to put this in plain almond milk, too.  It works great and here’s why.

Honey is a natural antibacterial agent. I take a spoonful if I ever begin to think I am getting sick. http://www.medicaldaily.com/liquid-gold-7-health-benefits-honey-could-heal-your-whole-body-325932
Lemon in water clears your liver and cuts mucus. It’s rich in Vitamin C. http://www.care2.com/greenliving/13-healing-powers-of-lemons.html
Turmeric has a host of anti-inflammatory qualities and is activated best in hot water with fresh ground pepper. http://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-6873/25-Reasons-Why-Turmeric-Can-Heal-You.html
Coconut oil is great for you. I use it as a moisturizer and healing agent. It contains lauric acid, which kills bacteria. http://www.youngandraw.com/42-healing-ways-to-use-coconut-oil

Try this with your family and see what a difference it makes.  Always consult your doctor for medical issues.

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It’s National Hug Day!

happy hugCelebrate National Hug Day

“We need 4 hugs a day for survival.
We need 8 hugs a day for maintenance.
We need 12 hugs a day for growth.” Virginia Satir

We all need to be touched.  Babies who are not held and touched die. Since it’s national hug day, I thought I would share a few benefits of hugging:

• it lowers stress levels
• it improves sleep
• it strengthens internal body systems like digestive tracks
• it boost seratonin, the feel-good hormone
• it builds trust
• it promoted feelings of well-being and safety

Nick Orntner has a new book on hugs for children that you may want to check out: www.barkleythebear.com/hugs

So spend some time today hugging others and see what magic results!

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Stressed?- Here’s an Instant Reliever

meditation as stress reliever from Stress ExpressYou can never have too many….

The Astonishing Power of Breath

Try this. Hold your breath for as long as you can- until it almost hurts to let it out. Unless you are a professional athlete or extreme yogi, you probably couldn’t hold it for long. Without breath, the body, mind and spirit cannot function.

And yet we all forget what an incredible resource this is. Breath literally keeps us alive, fuels our interactions and enables us to function. Without it, we are severally hampered. Having had pneumonia a few years ago, I learned quickly how very debilitating lack of breath can be. We all take it for granted.

Breathe to Relieve Stress

Breathe deeply at least 3 times. Put your hands on your lower belly, fill it up all the way and let it out…slowly. Do this several times to regain control and calm your system. Notice how you feel.

Use breath to monitor emotions. We are not our feelings and when our emotions take over, we are not our best selves. When experiencing anger, upset, frustration, fear, stop and breathe deeply. Visualize a positive scene in nature, perhaps mountains or beaches. Focus on that. Let go.

• Learn how to meditate. Meditation is a powerful healing agent; it:
o lowers blood pressure; increases circulation
o improves immune function and memory
o shortens hospital stays
o decreases insomnia
o helps relieve stress, ADHD
o helps reverse heart disease

There are many different ways to meditate. Here’s one:

Start with the deep breathing above and focus on the breath. If thoughts come up, observe them, let them drift by like leaves in the wind. Picture a beautiful nature scene in a forest, visualize a waterfall. Imagine you are standing in the gentle waterfall and let all your worries and fears wash away. Practice this over and over until you can meditate for at least 10 minutes. It can make a huge difference in your well-being.

You can control your stress rather than having it control you.  Try deep breathing as a solution.  It’s fast, easy and free!

 

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Could Stress Actually Be Good?

http://www.dreamstime.com/stock-images-business-woman-cubicle-overworked-stressed-image5934154New Research May Change How You Think About Stress

Most of us know that stress is bad for us. It’s epidemic, costing business and industry in the US $300 Billion annually.  80% of all doctors’ visits are stress-related.

And yet new research has come out that says stress may actually be good for you– in a few specific ways.

Dr Kelly McGonigal of Stamford says that new research which studied  30,000 Americans over 8 years shows much of how you reach to stress has to do with how you view stress.  If you view stress as negative and bad for you, you are more likely to get sick.  But if you view stress as something that strengthens you, energizes your body and makes you feel more alive, you will react better to stress.

A University of Wisconsin-Madison study found that people who experienced  high levels of stress but didn’t think it was harmful thrived.  Apparently, your perception of stress makes a huge difference in its impact on your body.

Another positive result of stress is it makes you more social, according to a  2012 study at the University of Freiburg.  When you are stressed, you naturally reach out to others.

What does all this mean for you?

Start viewing stress as something that makes you stronger and more resilient. When you are stressed, look at the upside.  What did you learn from it, what can you do differently?  Your perception can make a huge impact on how stress affects you.

 

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Stress-Free Relationships at Work

Fired Up presenterThe Golden Rule
as a Way to Reduce Stress

I hear all too often about backstabbing, selfishness, and silhos at work.
And the truth is, none of us can get our jobs done alone. We all need others to help and life is so much more pleasant, effective and profitable when we place nicely with others. People will go the extra mile for those they feel care about them. They will work late and do overtime and jump through hoops if they believe you truly care.

How to Build Better Working Relationships

• Be kind. You have no idea what others are going through in their personal lives.

• Smile and sincerely ask others how they are.

• Share news which will impact others quickly. Come up with solutions to a mutual problem before you even tell them. Be empathetic.

• Praise others specifically 92% of American workers say that when they finish a project, their boss says NOTHING! Don’t be one of those managers. Thank your people and acknowledge what they have done.

• Do it in writing- thanking others with a written note card goes a long way.

• Share openly with others and invite them to do the same. You don’t have to parade your personal problems, but show your vulnerability and authenticity. Be a real person and others will respond.

• Encourage laughter, not at anyone’s expense. People are more effective in a safe, fun work environment. Part of how you create that is to make the job enjoyable. Good will goes a long way.

 

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Surviving Winter Stress

Beat the Stress of Winter Blues

Arubabeach
For over two decades, I lived in New England and battled the grey, cold, snowy winters every year. Then I moved to Florida where we have sunshine regularly- I love the sun! I have been infinitely happier. Not only because I prefer warmth, but because all that grey depressed me.  And lately we have been having Northeasters in Florida which create similar grey days. Enough to give me the blues.

And I’m not the only one. About 1/2 of all Americans report feeling depressed in winter. Seasonal affective disorder can cause energy loss, grumpy moods and carb craving.

“A day without sunshine is like, you know, night.” Steve Martin

How to Beat the Winter Blues

Go outside. Yes- even if it is cold out, spending time in nature boosts your mood. Try 20 minutes a day without sun block. (After that, slather up.) Many people are deficient in Vitamin D3, which you normally get from the sun. This vitamin is critical to your overall health and mood. Consider taking D3 supplements and have your doctor test your levels. I get it in liquid form.

Take vacations in the winter to someplace warm

Try light therapy with a 10,000 lux lamp – 30 minutes a day significantly boosts mood and energy

Exercise- A most powerful mood booster made even better when you do it with others. Socializing helps you feel better.

Use aromatherapy. Peppermint boosts alertness, as do orange and lemon scents.

• Do something you love every day.

Remember, unless you live in Alaska, winter is only a few months long. Take care of yourself and get Fired Up!

 

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