Have you ever laid in bed, tossing and turning, only getting frustrated by your inability to fall asleep? When you go to bed with a full day on your mind and every little thing you forgot to do suddenly comes to mind, do this breathing technique to ease your stress levels, relax your mind and body and put you on the fast track to a good nights sleep:
Have you ever had one of those days, that by the time you get home you just want to pull all your hair out and scream you’re so stressed? Well, the good news is, yoga is an extremely effective releaser of stress and this bridge pose is immediate relief. Read below to see how you can do the pose at home:
Lie on your back with your knees up and feet flat on the floor hip-distance apart. Let your arms rest by your sides as you lift your hips toward the ceiling. Tuck your tailbone slightly, and draw your belly button in toward your spine.
Once you feel comfortable, interlace your fingers underneath you and gently wiggle to move your elbows and shoulders together, opening your chest. Press down with your hands and feet to increase the lift. Hold 5–15 breaths, then release. Repeat 3–5 times.
When the feeling of being overwhelmed washes over you, many peoples first reaction is to panic which clouds one’s mind to be rational. Doing these 8 things below, will help calm the mind and give you a clear sense of peace:
You can be all and do all to everything and everyone. You just can’t. Make your list, choose your top 3 most important things, and put the rest on hold.
2) Write it all down.
Make a list and get it all out of your head. This helps clear out the clutter so you can think more clearly. When you write it all down, you can release all those pent-up thoughts so you can think more clearly.
Just because you CAN, doesn’t mean you SHOULD. I can do a lot of things that aren’t the best use of my time, so I delegate them to members of my team. It’s not always easy to do, but it’s important. Find someone with the skill set you need, and learn to hand stuff off to them.
4) Don’t try to get it all done now.
Your list is long. You feel like it all needs to be done TODAY, so you freeze and turn to Facebook instead. Go back to what we learned above about chunking and prioritizing. Not everything needs to get done right this minute, or even today, or even this week — even though you might feel like it does.
5) Choose your three MITs every day.
My best tool for staying focused is the MIT (Most Important Task). Each day, identify no more than three MITs for the day. These are the things that absolutely have to get done. Focus on them, and once those are done you can feel like you made real progress.
6) Clear the decks at the end of the day.
At the end of the day, clean up your desk. It might be tempting to just get up and walk away, but if your desk is a mess that’s how you’re going to feel in the morning. Do you really want to start your day with another mess? Make note of where you left off, identify what you’re going to start with in the morning, then put everything away.
As if you needed an excuse to move near the water, science now backs your decision incase any one asks… There is just something about the water that is soothing and reduces the stress on the soul – but what exactly is it that creates this connection?
Wallace J. Nichols, a marine biologist, believes that we all have a “blue mind” — as he puts it, “a mildly meditative state characterized by calm, peacefulness, unity, and a sense of general happiness and satisfaction with life in the moment” — that’s triggered when we’re in or near water.
“We are beginning to learn that our brains are hardwired to react positively to water and that being near it can calm and connect us, increase innovation and insight, and even heal what’s broken,” Nichols writes in Blue Mind: The Surprising Science That Shows How Being Near, In, On, or Under Water Can Make You Happier, Healthier, More Connected, and Better at What You Do, published in July. “We have a ‘blue mind’ — and it’s perfectly tailored to make us happy in all sorts of ways that go way beyond relaxing in the surf, listening to the murmur of a stream, or floating quietly in a pool.”
Water gives our brains a rest.
When we’re near, on, in or under water, we get a cognitive break because there’s simply less information coming in. Our brains don’t shut down — they keep working, but in a different way, according to Nichols. “When you have that simplified, quieter ‘blue’ space, your brain is better at a different set of processes,” he says.
Water can induce a meditative state.
When we’re by the water, our brains are held in a state of mild attentiveness — what Nichols calls a “soft fascination.” In this state, the brain is interested and engaged in the water, taking in sensory input but not distracted by an overload of it, as we might be with the “hard fascination” we experience while watching an action movie or playing a video game.
Water can inspire us to be more compassionate and connected.
While in the restful, contemplative state associated with observing or interacting with water, it’s also common to experience feelings of awe, Nichols’ research has found. The emotion of awe invokes feelings of a connection to something beyond oneself, a sense of the vastness of nature and an attempt to make sense of the experience.
A blue mind is a creative mind.
Rather than switching off, when you’re showering, your brain switches into a different mode — and while the brain is in a more restful state, suddenly you’re able to make those new or unusual connections. The “Eureka” moment comes at last — the insight or solution “feels like it drops out of the sky and into your head,” says Nichols.
Exercise by or in water is good for our bodies and brains.
“We know that water — being surrounded by blue space — helps us relax, and we know that exercise is good for our bodies and our brains,” says Nichols. “If somebody is experiencing a number of problems that exercise and stress reduction may help with, [water] is a good add-on. Find a river trail and run there, or get on a bike, or row or swim.”
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A lot of times, getting prescribed a medication for insomnia and anxiety is considered the easy way out for both the doctors and the patients, but it is most definitely the harder route on your health and body. Which in hindsight, may cause more insomnia and more anxiety. Doing the research to find effective natural remedies can be tedious which is why I wanted to save you the trouble and share this list of herbs that can replace your prescription and leave you feeling rejuvenated and inspired, instead of worn down and expired:
1. Vitamin D
Vitamin D was the herb that started it all for me, and it’s still my go-to. Vitamin D is sunshine in a bottle. It will naturally boost your mood, fight diabetes, and combat muscle and bone pain. It has scientifically been proven to lower blood pressure as well as fight against depression.
Passionflower is an herb for depression, anxiety, stress, and insomnia. Passionflower has been shown to work as well as some benzodiazepine medications that are usually prescribed to patients for anxiety. Daytime drowsiness was less prevalent in patients who used passionflower over benzos (like Valium or Xanax).
Lavender is an anti-anxiety warriors. Not only do I grow lavender plants for medicinal use in my tea, bath, and skin care, but I also use lavender oil for aromatherapy. Put 2 to 10 drops on your pillow at night for a restful sleep. Boil a pot of water, add organic lavender essential oil, and inhale deeply for an amazing relaxing at-home spa ritual.
Stressed? Anxious? Sluggish? Ashwagandha naturally lowers the stress hormone cortisol, providing anti-anxiety relief similar to that of lorazepam. It’s lovely in a tincture or tea form daily, and an added benefit is that ashwagandha is a proven cancer fighter!
Rhodiola is great for increasing energy, relieving stress, and enhancing memory. Rhodiola seems to enhance the transportation of important serotonin precursors (like 5-HTP) in the brain. It’s a potent adaptogen, meaning that it normalizes the functions of your body, like those that deal with stress, illness, and fear. It also increases anti-tumor activity by increasing your body’s resistance to toxins, making it a powerful cancer fighter.
Melatonin is most potent in our bodies when we are around 3 months old, and it steadily decreases as we age, so every single day it becomes more and more important to incorporate melatonin into your life. Not only does it help with anti-aging, melatonin regulates your circadian rhythms, naturally promoting restful sleep.
Want to soothe aches and pains right at the source? Chamomile is amazing for sleep patterns, immunity, and menstrual cramp relief and arthritis and osteoporosis. Chamomile goes straight to the bones, stimulating osteo-based cells, lubricating joints, and reducing inflammation from the inside out.
We live in a world of constant communication where the line between work and life balance is very blurred… Constant notifications of new emails, voicemails and texts make it almost impossible to disconnect and make it extremely stressful. Watch the video below to find out how to create that boundary:
Turns out, sweating the small stuff can have a major impact on the well being of your heart, mind and body. Considering the fact that bumps in the road are inevitable in life, it’s best to learn how to manage this dooming stress that we often encounter so we can live our Ultimate Life:
“Try to focus on solving the problem if it’s solvable, rather than focusing on your emotions about the problem,” Almeida says. Make a list of all the steps you need to take to get something accomplished and then cross them off as you complete them. When you see that you’re making progress on smaller, more manageable tasks, the job as a whole will feel less overwhelming, Dan Ariely, Ph.D., a professor of psychology and economics at Duke University who studies irrational behavior.
2. Laugh It Off
The people who do best at not dwelling are those who have some sort of positive outlook on life, Almeida says. “In the face of challenge they can maintain joy, happiness, or humor—that seems to help a lot in limiting the duration of the stress response,” he says.
Research shows that smiling and laughing increase feel-good endorphins. Cracking up also causes levels of the stress hormones to plummet. Your laughter Rx? Hit up Buzzfeed.com and belly-laugh at animal photos or watch a YouTube clip from your favorite comedian.
3. Count Your Blessings
Being grateful can help calm you down. In a study published in Applied Physiology, people who focused on feeling grateful at bedtime were less worried and anxious and their overall sleep quality was better compared to previous nights.
4. Massage It Out
A rub doesn’t just make your muscles feel good—it can also do wonders for your anxiety. When the nerves in your skin sense firm pressure, your brain activates your parasympathetic nervous system. As a result, your adrenal glands cut back the release of stress hormones such as cortisol and vasopressin and your brain boosts production of the feel-good neurotransmitter serotonin.
5. Eat Your Veggies
New research shows that happiness is highest among people who eat seven servings of fruits and vegetables per day. The more good-for-you foods people ate, the more likely they were to report satisfaction and happiness and the less likely they were to experience nervousness and “feeling low.”
That looming deadline is staring you in the eyes and sweat beads from stress are dripping down your neck and to top it off your dead tired because its the afternoon and you haven’t gotten out of your swivel chair since 9am…. I don’t know about you, but that alone makes me want to throw in the towel and unfortunately, most likely each of us have endured that day once or twice. But I have good news! The work hacks listed below will surely kick all of those unwanted side effects to the curb! Cheers to a solid productive day filled with Wins!
Schedule a meeting at 3 p.m.
The panicked preparation that comes with an early-morning meeting doesn’t do anyone any favors. The best time to schedule that catch up? According to one study, that would be 3 p.m. on a Tuesday, Inc. reported. The time is late enough in the day where you can get tasks done beforehand but still have time to accomplish items in the meeting without encroaching on the end of the workday.
Or, better yet, schedule a walking meeting.
Exercise, fresh air, no computer… what more could you want? Emerging research shows that walking meetings can boost creativity and employee engagement. Company leaders, from Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg to Twitter’s Jack Dorsey, are also big fans. But if that still doesn’t convince you, maybe this will: Studies show walking can drastically improve your health and boost your mental well-being.
Watch a puppy video.
In case you really needed an excuse to watch these adorable puppies discover the joy of a slide, do it for your productivity. A 2012 study found that watching cute videos may actually improve your concentration. Now that’s a real mood booster.
Research shows the scent of tangy fruits like oranges and lemons can helpimprove alertness. Snacking on them also helps you get your daily dosage of Vitamin C, which has a host of health perks. Orange you glad you have an energy boost? (Sorry.)
Leave your work at work.
Smartphones have blurred the lines between the office and home, which can quietly destroy your workday productivity. Constantly checking your inbox or taking care of a quick task after hours makes you highly susceptible to burnout.
Try to check out of work when you leave for the day. Home is where the heart is — not where the email is. Your workday productivity will thank you.
As the Holiday season is winding down, you may find yourself getting stressed with everything that needs catching up on: laundry from traveling, house cleaning from having company, work you need to catch up on in the office and the list goes on… But take a second and breathe because this activity listed below is simple, enjoyable and will crush your anxiety and stress:
While the feel and smell of waxy Crayola crayons may be reminiscent of your childhood, there’s every reason to bring them back into your adult life. Twentieth century Swiss psychotherapist Carl Jung prescribed coloring to his patients to relieve stress and anxiety, and more recent research has supported that prescription. Whether it’s done with scented markers, crayons or colored pencils, coloring can help you de-stress.
That’s because coloring offers a break from your daily stressors. When you’re coloring, you’re focused on your masterpiece, not the laundry that needs to be folded or the deadline that needs to be met. The grade school hobby may also activate different areas of your brain, giving your “fear center” a chance to relax, which, in turn, relaxes you.
You can find coloring books for art therapy here. So bust out those colors and take a minute to unwind and take a trip down memory lane to get lost in creating your masterpiece!
STRESS. It takes little to no effort to turn to your ranting, stressed out colleague, and tell them ‘don’t worry, be happy’. However, according to a new small study, it is vitally important to take Bob Marley’s advice and not dwell on stressful aspects of your life. Turns out, it could raise your body’s inflammation due to the rise of the C-reactive protein… which doesn’t sound too appealing…
The study recruited 34 healthy young women to participate in the project. Each woman was asked to give a speech about her candidacy for a job to two interviewers in white laboratory coats, who listened with stone-faced expressions, Peggy Zoccola said (an assistant professor of psychology at Ohio University).
The researchers drew blood samples that showed that the levels of C-reactive protein were significantly higher in the subjects who were asked to dwell on the speech, Zoccola reported.
For these participants, the levels of the inflammatory marker continued to rise for at least one hour after the speech. During the same time period, the marker returned to starting levels in the subjects who had been asked to focus on other thoughts.”
It is crucial to realize that your body can not perform at its highest potential when your mind is dwelling on stressful aspects of your life. According to Dr. Andrew Weil, “Inflammation is the cornerstone of the body’s healing response. It is the process by which the immune system delivers more nourishment and more defensive activity to an area that is injured or under attack. But inflammation is so powerful and so potentially destructive that it must stay where it is supposed to be and end when it is supposed to end; otherwise it damages the body and causes disease.
Intrigued? Keep reading about the C- reactive protein here.