3 Steps to Successful Stress Management

 

Stressed woman

You can cope with stress if you have the right tools. Image by africa

Previously I talked about “The Crippling Effect of Stress on Your Organs”. We discussed the negative physical effects caused by stress ranging from heart problems to multiple sclerosis (MS).

Managing stress is all about taking charge of your life and your attitude towards dealing with problems.

Today we are going to look at the 3 steps that will help you manage and even overcome stress so that you don’t have to worry about the damage that stress can do to your body.

Step 1: Identify Source of Stress

Young woman pondering

The first step is successfully identifying the source of your stress.
photo by stock images

Let’s face it; identifying the source of stress in our lives is easier said than done. We can easily overlook our own negative behaviour such as stress-inducing thoughts and negative attitudes. Continue reading

Physical and mental health

Physical Fitness & Mental Health Connection for the Best You

It is a known fact that daily exercise is good for the body, but the recently discovered connection between physical and mental health might prove that exercise can be good for the mind as well.

Research has shown that exercise can help combat against mental ailments such as anxiety, ADHD, and depression. Likewise, exercise can help you:

  • sleep better,
  • improve your memory retention, and
  • improve your overall mood.

Although there is no set age to start becoming more physically active, it is best to engage in exercise and other physical activities as early as in your teens, according to medcarehealth.com.

After all, starting out early can help you grow and mature with a mind and a body that is ready for anything.

But, before I delve deep into the connection between mental and physical health, let’s start with a simple question:

What is health?

health lab mouseAccording to the World Health Organization (WHO), a person who is free from disease or disability is not immediately considered healthy. Instead, you must demonstrate physical, mental, and social well-being in order to be considered truly healthy.

Great, but how are those connected?

The Canadian Mental Health Association lists 3 concrete associations that demonstrate the connection between physical and mental well-being:

  1. Poor mental health increases the risk for chronic physical conditions.
  2. Patients suffering from serious mental ailments are at a greater risk of suffering from chronic physical conditions.
  3. Finally, people suffering from chronic physical conditions might also develop mental illnesses in the future.

These associations show that there is indeed a connection between physical and mental health.

Though there might not be a proven way to prevent these chronic illnesses from developing, acknowledging the relationship between your mind and body can help you minimize potential risks.

What benefits can you reap from exercise?

exercise-ballThe primary reason why you might choose to engage in more physical activities is to trim your waistline or to lose some pounds. However, exercise can provide you with so much more.

In a study that aimed to answer the question:” how does physical health affect mental health?”, researchers discovered that elderly adults who engage in regular exercise and are physically fit tend to possess much larger hippocampi than other people in their age group.

Wait, what is hippocampi?

The hippocampus is the part of the brain that is responsible for your spatial memory. Maintaining this part of your brain even in your older years gives you a great advantage.

Does mental health affect physical ability?

Meanwhile, in a study conducted by researchers at the Bangor University in Wales, it was discovered that people who engaged in mentally draining activities before performing difficult exercise tests reached exhaustion much faster than those who were mentally relaxed prior to performing the physical task.

This study shows that one of the benefits of nurturing your mental well-being can also affect your physical strength and endurance.

Can exercise combat depression?

anxietyAccording to Jane Collingwood, author of The Relationship between Physical and Mental Health, those individuals suffering from depression often have worse physical health than those who are mentally healthy.

Likewise, patients suffering from chronic physical diseases are also likely to suffer from depression.

Just a little exercise goes a long way

Exercise, even in moderation, can greatly improve both the mental well-being and physical health of those suffering from depression.

Physical activity can help encourage positive changes in your brain such as a surge of endorphin or “feel good hormones”.

Regular exercise can also help distract you from any destructive or negative thoughts and allow you to find your inner peace.

Exercise relieves anxiety

While you might think that the physical benefits that you reap from exercise are the things that make you feel good, its effect on your mind are probably the more likely reason for your happy feelings.

Exercises such as weight training can ease the suffering of people who are living with anxiety by elevating their mood and reducing their feelings of irritability.

Remember: Even moderate daily exercise can contribute to improved long-term mental health.

Reaping the benefits of exercise

Benefits of exercise

photo by zirconicusso

As previously stated, you will not need to block off your entire day just to reap the mental and physical benefits of exercise. You will see a difference in 30 minutes per day, 5 days per week.

Additionally, while it might take months before you see any significant physical changes after exercise, the mental boost that it can provide is almost instantaneous (Weir, 2011).

For this reason, it would be more beneficial if you learn to focus on how good you actually feel after your workout than to simply look for the physical rewards.

This is particularly important for patients who are suffering from stress or mild cases of depression and anxiety since focusing too much on your physical appearance would only worsen your condition.

Don’t delay another day: simple exercises to get started

One of the easiest ways to sneak some physical activities into your busy schedule is by taking a quick walk to or from your office. Exercise can enable your brain to better manage your stress levels.

The Key Takeaway: Sweating it out even from a brisk walk can help relieve you of your physical pain as well as make you feel more at peace.

Another easy way to get an energy boost is by hopping on a treadmill, jumping on a rebounder trampoline, or lifting a few weights at home or at the gym.

Regardless of your age, weight, or gender, all you really need is the motivation and determination to keep moving.

Exercise and mental health – the undeniable bond

There is a significant amount of proof that supports the connection between physical and mental health. Physically fit individuals are better able to handle stressful situations and those who are mentally healthy are able to handle more difficult physical tasks.

Therefore, it is important to nurture both your physical and mental health in order to reap all possible benefits for your mind and your body.

Want more great health information?

Visit the Rebounder Zone blog to learn more about how you can improve your mental and physical health today.

 

Sources

Breene, S. (2013). 13 Unexpected Benefits of Exercise. Accessed on June 30, 2016. Retrieved from http://greatist.com/fitness/13-awesome-mental-health-benefits-exercise
Collingwood, J. (2016). The Relationship between Mental and Physical. Accessed on June 30, 2016. Retrieved from http://psychcentral.com/lib/the-relationship-between-mental-and-physical-health/
Canadian Mental Health Association. (2016). Connection between Mental and Physical Health. Accessed on June 30, 2016. Retrieved from http://ontario.cmha.ca/mental-health/connection-between-mental-and-physical-health/
Grohol, J.Psy.D (2009).The Connection between Mental & Physical Health. Accessed on June 30, 2016. Retrieved from http://psychcentral.com/blog/archives/2009/02/25/the-connection-between-mental-physical-health/
N.A. (2014). 5 Ways Physical Health Impacts Mental Health. Accessed on June 30, 2016. Retrieved from http://fitstar.com/5-ways-physical-health-impacts-mental-health/
N.A. (2016). Research Shows Connection between Mental Health and Physical Fitness. Accessed on June 30, 2016. Retrieved from http://www.medcarehealth.com/health-problems-prevention/research-shows-connection-between-mental-health-and-physical-fitness-2/
Robinson, L., Segal, J. Ph.D., & Smith, M. M.A. (2016). The Mental Health Benefits of Exercise:The Exercise Prescription for Depression, Anxiety, Stress, and More. Accessed on June 30, 2016. Retrieved from http://www.helpguide.org/articles/exercise-fitness/emotional-benefits-of-exercise.htm
Weir, K. (2011). The exercise effect. Vol 42, No. 11. P.48. Accessed on June 30, 2016. Retrieved from http://www.apa.org/monitor/2011/12/exercise.aspx

Leonard Parker is a health blogger and owner of the eCommerce store, RebounderZone.com. Rebounder Zone offers rebounder trampolines, health equipment, and health information to mature adults.

Leonard is a graduate of Stanford University and has worked in a number of roles as a consultant and digital marketing specialist. Rebounder Zone was started because Leonard saw first hand how exercise and healthy living can change lives, and he wants to help others experience this fantastic feeling, too. For any inquiries, please contact Leonard at leonard(at)rebounderzone.com.

Connect with someone

When was the Last Time You Connected with Someone?

life transformationI just recently took a 5-day personal development course put on by Creators Code, called “The Launch” on June 1st. It transformed me to another chapter in my journey called ‘life’. This was no ordinary personal development course. It is an experiential course that was 10-12 hours each day and we dived in deep! This course really inspired me to write this post.

 

I am Like You So Listen

I am here today blogging not as a psychologist but rather as just me- Rosalyn. I am not wearing my therapist hat, the wife, mom, sister, or daughter hat, I am here just like you, a regular human being. I see myself first as a human and my other roles as secondary. And what I learned from this personal development course is that sometimes who I am as a therapist hijacks my ability to be human. Although I show up authentically real with my clients: supporting, loving, direct (I call bullshit when I see it), I also have parts of me that I don’t show, because it isn’t appropriate or professional.  No one wants to see their therapist have a meltdown, right?😉

So my point is that sometimes I fear that people will be shocked when I express the range of human experiences in my personal life because “I’m a therapist and I should know better”. But guess what?  I sometimes get angry and scream at my kids. Sometimes I play small because I don’t want to seem like I am bragging or being too much. Other times I have moments of self-consciousness about my body, sometimes I am guarded, sometimes I zone out on Facebook because I don’t want to deal with life. These all sound like familiar behaviors to some of you, right? Yeah, we all have tactics for showing up in the world as a way to emotionally protect ourselves.

Who You and I Really Are

My work is to help people come back into their wholeness and essence of who they were when they were born – which is pure love, light, and joy. I sometimes forget to do this for myself because I am so passionate about helping others. I forget about me, but during this course, I was able to reconnect with that little girl in me that remembers playfulness, silliness, coloring outside the lines, and being unapologetically me.

rediscover the little girl in you

Can you imagine a world where we could all get back to being in our true essence? When we didn’t have to please anyone, play small so we don’t have to hurt others’ feelings, or toughen up because we don’t feel safe, disconnect from our heart because someone hurt it too many times. Imagine if we could speak the truth to one another without worrying about offending anyone. What about receiving feedback from others without feeling judged or offended?

I have this dream and I truly believe I’m on the path to contributing to it both professionally and personally. My dream and passion are to become a conscious loving human being and help others do the same. This entails being so aware not only of ourselves but also of those around us. Being conscious and collective where we love our neighbors and strangers. Showing up with kindness and compassion to ourselves and one another. Can you imagine the ripple effects this would create out in the world if people started to raise their level of self-love and loving presence to one another? There would eventually be less war, less violence, less bullying, less judgment, less shame, less abuse, less racism, less oppression, and less hate. Instead, there would be more peace, love, environmental awareness, and happiness, within ourselves and with those around us. There would be a sense of community.

So my whole point of this is to share with you how precious you are and to reflect on who you are when you aren’t wearing your different masks. This dream starts by learning to love yourself.

We were all once a young child, precious, perfect, and sweet. Who wouldn’t want to go back to before all the rules and experiences came along; before people started  telling us how to behave or not to behave. When you get blamed, usually someone else allows themselves to judge what you did as bad and put that on you. Then we form a story that we are bad because we are told so. So go back to remembering who you are before all that happened. Most of us won’t be able to, but most of us can probably think of a little newborn baby and immediately we melt, we ooooh and ahhhhh, and we think this baby is perfect. Well, that baby still is the essence of you.

Baby blogging

An Experiment for You to Try

I have an experiment for you to try to create a powerful and heartwarming experience:

The next time you are with a loved one, it could be your partner, a dear friend, sibling, your child (best if the child is 6 or older), or parent. Tell them that you’d like to try connecting with them in a way that you may not have done in a long time, and it involves touch and silence and a lot of heart.

I invite you to face that person, and hold each other’s hands; just look at each other in the eyes, keep eye contact, and just see if you can really see them. I realize it may feel awkward at first., so let the awkward feelings come up. Breathe; let the awkwardness pass and breathe some more. See if you can even match the rhythm of your breath together as you continue to look into each other’s eyes. Keep breathing so that your breath connects with your heart and then your belly as you continue to hold your gaze with each other.connect with child

Many people believe that our eyes are the windows to our soul.

So notice that this person that’s in front of you once was a child, precious, perfect, and sweet. Also, notice that this part of them still lives in them. Then notice your own experience in your body as you become aware of the other person’s preciousness as well as your own. In that very moment, appreciate this about the other person and in yourself. In that moment you do not have to please, play small, wall up, avoid, zone out, get defensive, or whatever you do to protect yourself from the world. You are just you being here having this experience; you are connected in your essence. Continue reading

dealing with setbacks

From Setback to Comeback: Here’s How to Do It!

Why Setbacks Hurt

dealing with a setback

1. The ideal didn’t materialize

When we embark on a new undertaking, we visualize the ideal outcome. These expectations often turn out to be misplaced. People we deal with are unpredictable, or we may not be as disciplined as we thought we were when we started. This disillusionment can be really discouraging. In one way or the other, every time you have a setback you say this to yourself: “My life isn’t what I’d hoped it would be, and that sucks!”

2. Self-doubt creeps in

Even the most confident of people experience self-doubt after a setback. We are not machines, we wonder if the path we are following is worth all the effort. You wonder if life would be easier if you just quit.

3. Helplessness becomes you

The worst part of any setback is the helplessness you feel. You want to have things under control. Having everything fit nice and tidy in your life gives you confidence. Having setbacks takes that away from you.

4. Self-pity is crushing you

Right now, when you are disappointed, self-pity is your worst enemy. The weird thing about self-pity is that it is masochist in nature. You are actually, proactively, engaging in something that make you feel bad.

In other words, don’t expect to always be great. Disappointments, failures and setbacks are a normal part of the lifecycle of a unit or a company and what the leader has to do is constantly be up and say ‘we have a problem, let’s go and get it’.  – Colin Powell

Here’s How to Come Back Stronger from Setbacks

how to be stronger

1. Avoid ‘the shock’ by staying ahead of the game

Gilbert Brim once said: “sometimes we don’t know we are losing until the very end.” I love the Dutch culture where they tell it to you as it is, straightforward, no beating around the bush. Having lived in three different continents, I can confidently say that not many cultures share this characteristic. That is why there is a reluctance to deliver bad news.

I admire the courageous person who comes up to me and tells me frankly that my ship is about to sink. If you do not have that kind of people around you (and even if you do), try evaluating the situation yourself. If all of a sudden you are not being invited to the meeting, your partner is hiding information from you, or your best friend is avoiding you; you need to know – as Donald Trump put it- “what the hell is going on!”. In doing so, you can stay ahead of the situation that is about to explode in your face and avoid the shock. It’s the punches that we don’t see coming that knock us out!

2. Don’t be too hard on yourself

You have probably seen the image below before. Take a minute and really have a look at it again. Forget everything else. You have everything it takes to do what these people did: mount an insane comeback. The best part is that you already know that.

failures

3. Don’t blame, just learn

Life is a series of experiences, each one of which makes us bigger, even though sometimes it is hard to realize this. For the world was built to develop character, and we must learn that the setbacks and grieves which we endure help us in our marching onward.  – Henry Ford

Take responsibility for your part of the failure but do not go overboard by blaming yourself. Life is unfair, perhaps someone treated you unfairly. Get over it so that it does not consume you. If you stay positive, you do not lose in life; you just learn and get stronger.

(a)  Be open to feed back

There is nothing more powerful in your step forward towards learning and recovering than good feedback.  Getting feedback from people directly involved in the situation will help you asses and analyse what went wrong and how to avoid the same in the future.

(b)  Learn about your alternatives

Many a time we condition ourselves into believing that our set of skills and experience confine us to do certain jobs and that’s it. We fail to see the enormous opportunities that are out there that may have nothing to do with the way we define ourselves. If you find something you love, you should go for it. At times of crises when you have nothing to lose, having a go is so uplifting.

(c)   Learn new skills

Become better than yesterday when the setback happened. Learning a new skill not only enhances who you are, but it also builds your confidence back by giving you a sense of achievement.

The skills you acquire can always be effectively redeployed. You will look back on setbacks and be grateful for the catalyst that came not a moment too soon. – Tom Freston

4. Don’t be in a rush to bounce back

One of the greatest misconceptions today is that strong people bounce back from setbacks instantaneously. Now it’s true that you should not dwell over spilt milk but it does not mean you should rush things. There is a difference between a quick recovery and a hurried recovery process. Enjoy the many blessings in life while you plan your next move. Trust me, you are better off than jumping straight back into a vicious circle.

5. Redefine what makes you happy

If you really sit down and count how many wonderful things are in your life, you realize that you do not actually need to get everything you set out for. I am by no means saying that you should not be disappointed when you don’t succeed in your endeavour. Of course you should. You put your blood, sweat, and tears into it. But remember, happiness has nothing to do with winning or losing. Look around you and be thankful of what you have already. This will make you even stronger on your way back to recovery. Find gratitude in the present moment because as someone once said “life is what‘s happening to you while you are busy making other plans”.

Final Note

We all hit that bump in the road sometimes. Hell, sometimes the setback feels more like a brick wall. Make your recovery a fantastic journey by following the advice mentioned in this article. Do not spin out of control; do not despair! Grab a hold of that wheel and steer yourself straight!


Source:

Brainy Quote Setbacks
Coming Back From a Setback
Developing Resilience: How to Bounce Back From Setbacks
5 Tips to Overcome a Major Setback
7 Ways to Bounce Back from Life’s Inevitable Setbacks
How to Deal with Setbacks
eating disorder helpline

Holistic Body Love – Your Secret Weapon Against Eating Disorder

Bonus Article

In honor of the Eating Disorders Awareness Week (Feb 1 -7), I wanted to share with you my message and story of recovery from ” disordered eating”, in hopes of inspiring you to deepen your own sense of health, wellness, balance, and self-love.

The 5 Realms of Holistic Body Love

self love

Holistic Body Love to me, is about being in a healthy relationship with yourself in five important realms of life: mentally, emotionally, physically, spiritually & socially.

Let’s define these five areas:

  1. Mental: This is our self-talk, what it is we say to ourselves about ourselves. Ideally, we want to be engaging in positive self-talk significantly more than negative self-talk.
  2. Emotional: This is the way we feel about ourselves, and the ability to regulate one’s own emotions well. The way we think about ourselves leads to how we feel about ourselves.
  3. Physical: This involves our physical body, not in appearance, but rather with the health condition of our body. For example, a strong immune system, organs that function well, a body that’s well nourished with nutrients, a body that has abundant energy to thrive.
  4. Spiritual: This area can have multiple meanings. For some, it would be one’s own ability to tune into their intuitive wisdom. For others, it may be their connection with a Higher Power. Essentially, it is the ability to see the bigger picture and connect with sacred aspects of life, so that life has fulfillment through deeper meaning and purpose.
  5. Social: We are social creatures at the very core of us, meaning we all need a connection with people to heal. We are influenced every day by relationships and dynamics in our home, work, school, and  life environments.

I see that having a balance in these five realms can help us feel more present, grounded, and empowered in who we are as an individual, and in the various roles we take on. Continue reading