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

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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©2016, Snowden McFall All Rights Reserved. You may share this post and reprint with author reference and copyright.

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It’s National Hug Day!

happy hugStart Hugging Now: Celebrate National Hug Day

Hugging is an essential key to health and well-being.

“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 Ortner 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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Overwhelmed? How to Regain Focus

Do You Have Cognitive Overload?

"Information overload is a symptom of our desire to not focus on what's important. It is a choice." Brian Solis

http://www.dreamstime.com/stock-images-business-woman-cubicle-overworked-stressed-image5934154We receive so much data that we can barely comprehend all that is coming into our minds. Right now, you may be thinking about your next meeting, responding to a text, planning your tweets for the day and answering a call. Whew- no wonder we have information overload. Our brains are overwhelmed with all the distractions.

A recent Stanford study found that those who spend lots of time on social media, surfing the Internet and multi-tasking had poor cognitive skills. They could not distinguish well between what was important and what was trivial. "They are suckers for irrelevancy."

How to Regain  Focus:

In his book, Search Inside Yourself. Chade-Meng Tan of Google, shares some keys to regaining cognitive clarity.

Monitor what you read and how you do it- If you find your mind wandering while reading, bring your attention back to what you are doing. Keep practicing this skill.

Use active listening Have someone speak for 3 minutes and you listen, Then repeat back to the person with the preface " What you said is important. Do you mind if I repeat it back to see if I have it right?" (People LOVE this- they love to be heard.)

A few tips from me:

Do 1 thing at a time. That's it. One thing and do it well and complete it. Take satisfaction and then move on to the next one thing. Your focus will improve. Multi-tasking is terrible for your brain.

• Go tech free for a day this weekend. Lots of research show the value of this. It's like rebooting your brain.

• Get quiet and go outside in nature.  Life becomes much simpler away from the office and computer.

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Stressed? Get More Sleep

You can learn how to sleep better by takinga few simple actions.

The best bridge between despair and hope is a good night's sleep.
~E. Joseph Cossman

Sleeping Well Can be a Puzzle

Exhausted woman from Stress Express!That you can put together. Most of us are sleep deprived, which can lead to all sorts of dangers to your health and the health of others (when you drive tired.)

The World Health Organization says less than 7 hours a night may cause cancer and you are likely to carry an extra 20 pounds of weight. With less than 7 hours, you are functioning at a cognitive disadvantage and are 3x more likely to get a cold or flu. Neurobiology of Aging says those who get less than 6 hours of sleep are 4 times more likely to have a stroke. Check out these practical tips to sleep well tonight!

How to Get a Good Night's Sleep

Turn off all computers, cellphones and screens an hour before bed. Stop looking at them. The blue light from these devices interferes with your body's ability to relax and keeps you hyper. Be sure your alarm clock is red light. Lower the temperature in the room and make sure it is cool and dark.

No electronics in your bedroom. Your bedroom is for sleeping and making love. That's it.

Get ready for bed an hour before you go to sleep. Actually get in bed 30 minutes before you want to sleep and read something uplifting on paper. (Not an electronic reader.) Reading helps relax you.

Take a hot bath with epsom salts before bed. Or get your legs wet up to your knees in warm water.

Try all natural sleep remedies at health food stores. Check with your doctor. I have used these successfully at different times- most are herbs: passion flower, valerian root, holy basil, L'theanine, calcium, magnesium, etc.

Exercise is a great sleep inducer, if you do it several hours before bedtime.

Sleep better and perform better in every area of your life!

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Here’s an Instant Stress Reliever

meditation as stress reliever from Stress ExpressStress is occurring at an alarming rate, and with our 24/7 world. more and more people are experiencing stress, anxiety, overwhelm and depression.  So what can you do, right now?

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.

The Instant Stress Reliever: Breath

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:
-lowers blood pressure; increases circulation
- improves immune function and memory
-shortens hospital stays
-decreases insomnia
- helps relieve stress, ADHD
-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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Having a Pet Could Save Your Life

Pets Heal on So Many Levels

CatbeingheldLR"Cathy, Eric and their son Michael Keesling had retired early after handling a flooded basement and setting up a gasoline pump to empty it. Their beloved mellow cat, Winnie, sat in the window enjoying the sounds of the evening. All of sudden, Michael passed out in the hallway. Cathy and Eric soon lost consciousness as well, because of a gas leak. The normally gentle Winnie sprang on Cathy, pulled her hair and yowled in her ear to wake her up. Cathy kept blacking out, but Winnie insisted. Finally, Cathy called 911 and the family was rescued. If Winnie had waited 5 more minutes, they would all be dead!”

Pets are amazing healing agents and powerful lifesavers.  Trained dogs today can detect bladder cancer by sniffing urine and fire dogs can identify arsonists by smelling gasoline on their hands.  Service pets save the lives of their owners every day. They are also great stress relievers.

One study cited on WebMD found that 48 stockbrokers who adopted a pet had lower blood pressure readings under stress than non-pet owners. Another study found that those suffering from serious diseases, such  AIDS or cancer, are far less likely to be depressed if they have a strong tie to a pet.

According to the the University of Minnesota’s Stroke Research Center, simply owning a cat can cut the risk of heart attack. After studying subjects for 10 years, those who owned a cat were 40% less likely to die from heart attacks.

doglickcatLRPet ownership:

• lowers blood pressure
• prevents depression
• reduces incidence of stroke
• helps improve physical activity
• helps people be more social
• reduces loneliness.

So if you are battling stress like 80% of Americans, consider adopting a pet at a shelter.  It could save two lives- yours and theirs.

 

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©2014 Snowden McFall All Rights Reserved. You may share this post and reprint with author reference and copyright.

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The Surprising Source of Most Pain

Lack of Sleep Causes Many Serious Issues

sleepless

New research out of England shows that lack of sleep is the strongest predictor of pain for those over 50. Pain obviously causes more stress and makes you sleep poorly.  It's a vicious cycle. Restless or insufficient sleep has so many negative consequences and severely impacts wellness:

• the World Health Organization has considered labeling less than 7 hours a night of sleep as a carcinogen- cancer-causing agent
• increased risk of heart disease
• fewer new brain cells created
• premature aging
• excess weight- 20 pounds usually
• 3x more susceptible to colds and flu
• greater stress and less ability to respond well to problems

Three factors influence your ability to get a good night's sleep:
• timing- try to go to bed at the same time every night
• duration- you need at least 7 hours of sleep
• intensity- which is impacted by whether you got 30 minutes of sunshine during the day and whether your room is nice and dark at night

Be careful not to look at your ipad®, phone screen or computer before bed- leave at last an hour before bed when you shut down exposure to visual stimulants from computer screens. Your overall health and wellness depends so much on good rest.   Getting a good night's sleep every night has a huge impact on your health, your stress levels, your body's pain and more.  Make it priority. Your body will thank you.

 

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Water is Critical to Your Health & Productivity

Are you massively dehydrated?

Glass of water from Stress ExpressIn many parts of the world, water is a rare and precious commodity. 780 Million people lack access to clean water. And yet in the Western world, we take it for granted, waste it on our lawns and forget to hydrate ourselves.

Every cell in our body depends on water to function properly.  Every day, we lose about 8 cups of water, which must be replenished.

A 2% drop in body water can trigger lack of concentration, short-term memory problems and trouble focusing.  A 5% drop in body fluids will cause a 25-30% loss in energy; a 15% drop causes death.  

80% of North Americans are suffering from dehydration, which causes:

• energy loss
• mental and physical exhaustion
• headaches and stiff joints
• anxiety and stress
• kidney stones
• cancer and diabetes

Even mild dehydration will slow down your metabolism by 3%!

A recent report says drinking 5 glasses of water daily cuts the risk of colon cancer by 45%, and the risk of breast cancer by 79% .  Imagine what would happen if you drank 8 glasses of water a day!

Caffeine dehydrates you as a diuretic, so for every cup of coffee or tea you drink, have two glasses of water. Avoid drinking soda.  The active ingredient is phosphoric acid, which leaches calcium from your bones, causing osteoporosis.

Carry around a glass water bottle, fill it regularly from the purified fountain at work, and drink it every hour.  You'll be amazed by how much more energy you have and how much better you feel.

 

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