Could a Cold Shower Prevent Depression?

cold showersCold Showers Have Amazing Benefits

Cold showers and ice baths?  How could those help me?  About a month ago, I attended a 5 day workshop with one of the world's leading personal development coaches and speakers, Brendon Burchard.  He coaches Oprah and her team.

In sharing various techniques for maintaining energy and vitality, he explained how he took ice baths every night during the training, to reduce his inflammation and revitalize.  He said it made him feel twenty years younger.

Anthony Robbins plunges in a 57 degree pool for one minute every morning.
Famous athletes and performers like Lebron James and Usher use the same technique after events.

A bit horrified and intrigued, I decided to investigate.  I must say, I've been taking cold showers for a month and they really make a difference.  There's no question that you have to get used to them, and some days, all I want is a hot shower.  But even then, I finish with the bracing cold to get my energy up.  It works. . It takes a while, but it works.  Here's why:

How Cold Showers and Ice Baths Heal Your Body

1. They reduce inflammation.  Most all of us have it, believe it or not.  Pain, soreness, tense muscles, illness- all of that usually has inflammation associated with it.  Just like you put ice on a swollen ankle, cold water and ice baths lower inflammation levels significantly.

2. They get your circulation going, really.  Ask anyone who's done the Polar Bear dip in the middle of winter into freezing water.  Cold showers and ice baths boost circulation and reboot your system.  They help you be clearer and more alert.

3. They clear out lactic acid and toxins in your body, according to Dr. Ben Kim.  LeBron James says his legs feel much better and fresher the day after.

4. And yes- they do relive symptoms of depression. Cryotherapy releases endorphins, the feel good hormones, and creates an analgesic effect.

Check with your doctor before you start a cold water  shower or ice bath regimen.  Im still not ready for an ice bath, but I do derive great value from my cold showers.  Try it yourself.  You may well find that it becomes one of the most valuable tools to start your day.

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photo from Aweber library

5 Out of the Box Ways to Cut Your Stress!

Dramatically Cut Your Stress !

Yesterday was National Stress Awareness Day  in the United States. ( It probably has something to do with taxes being due.) And April is Stress Awareness month.  There's no better time to tackle stress, which is still rampant.  Over $300 billion is lost annually in American business due to stress, in terms of poor productivity, absences and illness.  Over 80% of all doctors' visits are due to stress.  So what can you do to cut your stress?

5 Out of the Box Ways to Reduce Stress

flowers cut stress1. Flowers in the workplace benefit everyone! Women who receive flowers unexpectedly are happier, even 3days later. Women with flowers have less anxiety and and are more innovative at work, whether the flowers were sent to them or not! (Health.com)

2.  Listening to music 1 hour a day a week reduced symptoms of depression by 25%. Music, especially classical music, can cut stress dramatically. Anxious about an upcoming meeting or project? Listening to Pachelbel's famous Canon in D helps avoid anxiety and lowers heart rate and blood pressure. Music can also elevate mood, improve immune system function, reduce fatigue and improve self-acceptance in people. (Journal of Advanced Nursing study)

3. Screaming kids in the car? Vanilla oil soothes restless children. It has a positive impact on the limbic center of the brain, which controls emotion, according to Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. A few drops on the wrists of a child can transform a cranky, whiny child into one who is happy and laughing. Try this on your next road tri .

4.  Eat walnuts to cut your stress and treat depression. Harvard Science Review published a study citing that walnuts are powerful antidepressants!  Pistachio nuts cut inflammation, lower cholesterol levels, and improve your body’s response to stress. Just 1.5 ounces of pistachios provides a boost of energy and can slow the absorption of carbohydrates when eaten together.

5. Soak your legs to cut your stress and sleep better. A study from the Journal of Physiological Anthropology found that women who soaked their legs up to their knees in hot water for 30 minutes slept better than those who did neither. No time for a bath? Try running warm water on your wrists.

"Stress spelled backwards is desserts." Loretta Laroche

Yes, we live in a stressful world.  But there are dozens of small things you can do today to cut your stress and the stress of others. Try these and let me know how they work for you.

Snowden

 

photo credit:©Valerie Titoval/Dreamstime.com

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Stress: What’s It Costing You?

Stress is Costing American Business Big Dollars and Costing You Your Mental Health

According to a recent study done by Mental Health America (formerly National Mental Health Association) stress now costs industry $500 billion annually in sick days, lost productivity, absenteeism and turnover.  One third of study respondents miss 2-30 days a month because of a stressful work environment.  As many as 10% of US employees miss work several days a month due to stress.  80- 90% of all doctors' visits are stress-related.

For you personally, stress may be costing you in these ways:The cost of stress
illness and body aches and pains
lost sleep, which is dangerous to your health
declined performance when others around you may be difficult to work with
eating the wrong foods
smoking, drinking or other less than healthy habits
less patience and more frustration
less energy to do the things you want to do
• lowered overall well-being

6 Ways to Reduce Stress Right Now

1. Whatever you're doing, get up out of your seat.  Sitting too long is a major health hazard. Walk around.  Drink a glass of water. Most of us (80% of North Americans) are dehydrated, which reduces your energy and can cause back pain and headaches.

2.  Close your eyes. Take three deep belly breaths.  Picture a beautiful peaceful place and see yourself there.  Spend a few minutes imaging it.  Use this as reference point in stressful situations.

3. Ask yourself, "What would be fun for me this week?"  What are some of your favorite activities or hobbies? Pick one and schedule it in for sometime this week and don't cancel it for any reason.  Doing more of what you love makes you happier.

4. Take a break from your devices tonight.  No email, no surfing the net, no comparing yourself to others on social media.  Let your mind have some technology-free down time.  It's amazing what creative ideas come to you when you stop all the distractions.

5. Spend time with someone that brings you joy.  An hour, an evening, a weekend.  The more joy you can bring into your life, the happier you will be. Laugh together and your stress levels will go way down.

6. Ask yourself, "Who can I help this week?" And then do it.  Kindness benefits the giver as much, if not more, than the recipient.

You can manage your stress and avoid being one of the statistics above.  It's all about choices and priorities.  Take care of yourself first and focus on joy and laughter.

Wishing you peace-

Snowden

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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

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.

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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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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Surviving Winter Stress

About 1/2 of all Americans report feeling depressed in winter. Seasonal affective disorder can cause energy loss, grumpy moods and carb craving. Here’s how to beat the stress of winter!

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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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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Aromatherapy: How Scent Can Help

lemon & sliceLRBelieve it or not, the scent of lemon in the workplace cuts keyboard
mistakes by 50%! And while keyboard mistakes are not a huge source
of stress, they can lead to major problems when the wrong data is
put into a contract, or the wrong digit is typed into a mortgage agreement.

Fragrance is powerful. It can make a huge difference in
how you deal with 
stress.

Peppermint, cinnamon, orange or rose  fragrance revitalize you while lavender, marjoram and sandalwood relax you.
Peppermint extract on your forehead or temples can help relieve pain immediately.  It’s  also great for concentration. A University of Cincinnati study found that people who breathe in peppermint oil are immediatelymore alert and better able to focus. Children who eat a peppermint before tests score better. Athletes who inhale peppermint scent
have more energy. Try it the next time you work out.

Vanilla oil is a refreshing way to soothe restless children. It has a positive impact on the limbic center of the brain, which controls emotion, according to a study done at Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in NY. A few drops on the wrists of a child can transform a cranky, whiny child into one who is happy and laughing. Try this on your next road trip.

So the next time you're stressed out, try reaching for a fragrant oil and see what a difference it makes.

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