How to Manage Your Stress by Staying Organized

 

Being organized may not seem like a powerful technique when it comes to reducing stress. After all, we mostly hear of methods like meditation, controlled breathing, visualization, etc. as being effective for managing stress. No one really talks about being neat and organized.
Yet, keeping things simple and organized is one of the best ways to reduce irritation in your life. When you minimize irritation and microaggressions, you also help yourself to de-stress without realizing it.
For example, if your desk at work is cluttered and you can’t find a document that you need, you’ll end up searching for it and wasting time and effort. If you can’t find it after a few minutes of searching, you’re going to lose patience and start getting irritable. It’s definitely going to stress you out.
This applies to any area in your life. Can’t find your car keys just when you’re about to leave the house? That’s aggravating. Sat down on the chair to watch TV but the remote is nowhere in sight? Time to start cursing as you flip over the couch cushions. Open the fridge and pour yourself a glass of milk only to spit it out and gag because the milk is sour and has gone bad? That’s annoying and even mildly funny the following day.
All these little stresses when repeated on a daily basis will lead to frazzled nerves and an irritable nature that gets triggered easily. All of these could have been avoided if you were organized. One of the best ways to reduce stress is to be neat and tidy. Like Benjamin Franklin once said, “A place for everything and everything in its place.”

1. Start Tidying
Tidy up your home, your office, your desk, your everything. Whatever you use should be neat and organized. The Japanese are very strong believers in tidiness and their factories and offices are usually in impeccable order. Employees are expected to keep their desks neat and organized by following the 5S rule.
That essentially means straightening up and only keeping what you need. This is known as decluttering. You’ll store whatever you need in its rightful place. You’ll clean up after yourself and strive to maintain this sense of order daily.
If you can maintain this on a regular basis, you’ll find that your life becomes much easier. Like they say, organized people are just too lazy to look for things… and you won’t have to because you’ll know exactly where everything is.
Imagine the amount of stress you won’t have to face from constantly looking for misplaced items. That in itself is good enough reason to get everything in order ASAP.

* Keep a List or Backlog
One of the biggest reasons that people feel overwhelmed is because they try to keep too many things in their head. Projects, family commitments, pending things that need to be done… and there’s so many things to do but not enough time to get them done.
Mentally it all seems like too much to handle. The first thing to do is write down all that you need to do. Keep a list and add on to it whatever new issues crop up that need to be taken care of.
Now you have a list of exactly what you need to do and it’ll seem more manageable. In your head, it all seems too much to handle. Once you have it on paper and you start checking off what you need to do, you’ll be more focused, less stressed and be amazed at how fast you complete your tasks.

* Kaizen
The Japanese have a practice known as ‘Kaizen’ which is just a way of saying continual improvement. What that means is that you constantly strive to be better at what you do by making small improvements over time.
For example, if you’re about to go to bed and your living room is a little messy, you may wish to clean it up a little before you hit the sack. This will maintain the order in your house.
If you have a ton of documents in your office that need a proper filing system, you could dedicate 15 minutes a day every day before you leave work to file your paperwork. Over time, you’ll have organized everything well. Some projects are time-consuming. By doing a little daily, you’ll be able to complete these massive tasks with relative ease.
Apply the 3 tips above and get your life organized. Get the small stuff organized so that your energy is not sapped by little annoyances and you’ll be better able to handle the big stuff in life without getting overly stressed.
“Life is too complicated not to be orderly.” – Martha Stewart

 

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5 Ways To Reduce Stress

Stress is everybody’s business. You could think you have it under control, but the truth is that stress has a way of creeping up on you, and causing drastic health repercussions. We live in a hectic world, one which requires our stress hormone, cortisol, to work overtime. However, this is far from the way this hormone was meant to act.

The body’s stress reaction was supposed to be called into play when man’s survival was threatened, not when he or she was 5 minutes late to work. Today, regardless of what your stressor is, you need to find effective natural ways to reduce it. Do not rely on prescription meds, or consider them, as even though they may offer short term relief, they will make things worse very quickly.

Try the following tips and see yourself better for it:

1. Exercise

Exercise has numerous benefits on physical health, but can also help regulate emotional wellbeing, and reduce the negative results from a stressful lifestyle. Exercise elevated levels of beneficial brain chemicals, known as endorphins, which elevate mood, promote relaxation and counter stress. In addition, exercise also increases testosterone levels, which shares an inverse relationship with cortisol (as one goes up, the other goes down). For best results, exercise a minimum of three times weekly, making sure to include weight bearing exercises.

2. Eat Dark Chocolate

Eating any chocolate makes you feel better, right? However, we’re not looking at milk chocolate varieties, which are loaded with sugar and not much else, but rich dark chocolate, which contains a compound known as epicatechin.

This compound is highly sought after, as it has multiple beneficial effects on improving heart health, brain function and more, but also the ability to reduce the effects of stress, and perceived stress. Perceived stress is defined as a relative level of stress, since what affects one person may not affect another. Improving your threshold that causes negative effects is extremely important.

3. Try A Massage

Why is it that people often opt for massages when feeling stressed? Simple, because it works! Stress is much more than “psychological”, as its effects manifest throughout the body; muscular pain, tension, inability to sleep and much, much more.

A massage can help address some of the manifestations of stress, such as pain and tension. Some massage therapists are also trained in the art of acupressure, which is using focused pressure at specific acupoints in order to get “chi” flowing once more. Chi (or qi) is believed to be life energy, with blockages of it resulting in many maladies that we cannot fully explain. Acupressure isn’t merely wishful thinking, as it has been documented to have profound effect on reducing stress levels in the real world.

4. Meditate

Meditation should be taught in schools. There is likely no other technique that has a more profound effect on many facets of human health as meditation, yet most people do not practice any sort of.

Meditation does not need to be made into a complex science, but at its core involves focusing the mind on absolutely nothing beyond the immediate present. Anxiety surely worsens your stress burden, and meditation perfectly helps to eliminate worry of the future or past.

5. Laugh And Have A Good Time

The number one enemy of stress is fun. Laughter is the best medicine after all, as it can do miracles, ranging from reducing blood pressure, mediating pain responses, and helping to manage the negative effects of the stress hormone cortisol. Stressed individuals rarely take time out to smile and have fun, which only feeds the flames of a downward spiral. Make time for memories, have fun with family and don’t take yourself too seriously.

3 Causes of Emotional Eating and How to Overcome Them

 

Emotional eating is a very real problem in the world today. If not addressed in the early stages, it can lead to much more serious eating disorders such as binge-eating disorder or night-eating syndrome. In most cases one will need professional help to overcome these disorders.

Emotional eating, however, is still manageable because we can nip this problem in the bud before it grows roots and takes over your life. This article will show you the common triggers which cause this problem to rear its ugly head and what you can do to eliminate them.

It’s imperative that you not be sluggish in your approach or assume that the problem will go away on its own. Most people do not even realize that they are emotional eaters because the problem doesn’t have visible consequences until much later… and that’s what makes it so insidious.

A lack of control over your diet not only affects you mentally but physically too. Millions of Americans and people all over the world suffer from emotional overeating.

Obesity has reached epidemic proportions. Type 2 diabetes statistics have skyrocketed. More people than ever are suffering from health issues such as high cholesterol, blood pressure problems, inflammation and many other issues that are caused by our poor diet choices these days.

There is no denying the fact that the Standard American Diet appropriately abbreviated as SAD is high in calories, preservatives and additives but low in nutrition. The high fructose corn syrup that’s present in so many foods nowadays has made people addicted to food. It all tastes so good… and people can’t get enough of these foods.

Now more than ever, one needs to be aware of what he or she is eating. Food MUST be treated as fuel and not therapy. People have forgotten that one should eat to fill their stomach and not their heart. This is the leading cause of emotional eating. People eat when they’re not hungry. Herein lies the problem… and let’s see why this happens.

  1. Boredom

Boredom is one of the causes of emotional eating. Sitting in front of the TV for hours watching mindless reality shows while chomping down on chips, cookies and cakes has become the norm for so many folks these days.

There is a void in their life. A certain sense of emptiness that they try to fill up with food. They eat because of the temporary ‘high’ that the food gives them… but these elevated feelings drop fast and they eat again and again and again just to feel happy and reach some level satiation.

It’s very sad if you stopped to think about it but it’s the hard truth. The best way to overcome this cause will be to change your life around. You’ll need to find new and exciting things to do. It’s the monotony that’s killing you.

It could be a new hobby like gardening or rock climbing or something that makes you feel happy. It will take tremendous effort to push past the inertia and actually do something different in your life, but once you start and get the ball rolling, momentum will take over and you’ll feel much happier and fulfilled.

You’ll slowly become less dependent on food to make you happy because your life has some sense of purpose. Eradicate the monotony and boredom in your life and your emotional eating will be mitigated.

  1. Stress

Stress is the leading cause of most health problems in the world today. No matter how you look at it, a stressful lifestyle either directly or indirectly affects your health. We live in a pressure cooker society these days.

Everybody wants everything fast. Microwaves, instant text messaging, miracle diet pills… and so many other contraptions just to get fast results. People also expect financial success, relationships made in heaven without any work and a body of a Greek God in 2 weeks. All these expectations of speed and efficiency creates a very hectic lifestyle that moves along at breakneck speed.

Most people think that they can handle it, but what they don’t realize is that even if you win the rat race, you’re still a rat. A stressed out rat that eats whatever it can find.

All levity aside, the truth is that when you lead a stressful life, you’ll feel emotionally drained or empty. You’ll just be a cog in the machine that keeps spinning or pumping away but your life seems to have lost meaning.

It gets worse when dreams take a long time to become a reality. It takes time to get a body that turns heads. It takes time to build a business that makes you financially independent… and it takes a lifetime of work to keep a relationship or marriage healthy.

Millions of people suffer from depression, sadness and many other negative emotions because of this. They want fast results and they want them now. How do they cope when life doesn’t move at their pace? They fret, curse and stress themselves out.

Men may turn to alcohol, sex or food. Women usually turn to food. Eating has become a mechanism for them to manage the stress.

If you eat when you’re not hungry, it’s emotional eating. If you’re already full but you’re still reaching for a bag of cookies, it’s emotional eating. If you’re constantly going to the fridge or you aimlessly walk around the supermarket dumping junk food in your basket to eat at home later, you are an emotional eater.

While it’s perfectly fine to indulge in the occasional dessert or a glass of wine, emotional eaters do this daily and they do it all the time. Their lives revolve around food and they eat mindlessly. There is a total lack of awareness. This is a sign of emotional overeating.

If you’re just following the motions and you don’t even realize just how much food is going into your mouth, you’re overeating. You’re either stressed out or compensating for some other feelings.

The first step to overcoming this cause is awareness. You must always stop yourself before you eat and ask, “Am I hungry?”

If the answer is no, dump the food. You do not need it. Now you need to examine your life. You’ll have to be brutally honest in your self-reflection. Are you unhappy with your job? Or are you in a marriage that has lost its luster? Maybe you’re unemployed and feel worthless?

Whatever the case may be, there will be underlying causes. You need to address these ASAP. If your job is stressing you out, you’ll need to take steps to relieve the stress with techniques such as meditation or sports or something that works for you. Food is NOT the answer.

If you’re exhausted after a day’s work, go to bed early and wake up refreshed. Don’t vegetate in front of the TV and gobble up whatever you find. The sleep will work wonders but the food will make you wonder why nothing works in your life.

Depression caused by stress can often be relieved by talking to someone or you could see a doctor and maybe medication might help you feel better. There’s no shame here and in fact, medication to treat depression is much less harmful than gorging on food constantly to feel better.

  1. Old habits

Old habits die hard. That definitely applies here. If you grew up in a household where your family was eating all the time without giving much thought to what was being eaten, chances are that you’d do the same.

Or you might be an extrovert who hangs out with friends all the time and if you’re not drinking like a fish, you’re eating junk food such as pizzas and greasy burgers. Over time, you get addicted to these foods and constantly get cravings for them. You indulge at every given chance and eat them even if you’re not hungry.

The food makes you feel happy and good. This is emotional eating no matter how you look at it.

You can only overcome this by being mindful and slowly taking steps to break this habit. You may need to stop hanging out with friends for a while because the situations you are in just make it too tempting to resist the food and drinks.

Try out new healthier activities to take up the slack. You don’t want boredom to set it… and if you’ve been following this article, you should know why.

Start with a food journal and see just how much you’re eating. Then, slowly try and cut down your food consumption in stages. Try not to go cold turkey all at once.

This will just make it more stressful and you might find yourself binge eating at night. This also applies to people who keep trying out aggressive diets to lose weight. In most cases they don’t work.

You’ll find it a struggle to maintain the diet and you’re bound to slip up now and then… and when you do, you’ll binge eat whatever you’ve been depriving yourself of. You’ll then feel guilty and end up throwing the diet aside and getting back to your old eating habits.

The key to succeeding with weight loss is to approach it in a slow and controlled manner that is progressive in nature. By just cutting calories slowly, you’ll see weight loss and not have to deal with binging and other eating issues. That’s the best way to go about it.

Discerning between Real Hunger and Emotional Hunger

Most causes of emotional eating will fall under one of the 3 categories above. There may be some that don’t, but no matter what, the best way to treat emotional eating is to be mindful of your eating. Like the saying goes, “Eat to live and not live to eat.”

You must be able to tell when you’re actually hungry. Real hunger usually makes your stomach growl. If you find yourself reaching for food when you’re not hungry, you’ll need to ask yourself why you’re doing it. Are you bored? Is this a habit or mechanism to self-soothe? Will eating the food make you feel better?

If the answer is yes to any of these questions, you need to stop and go do something else instead of eating. You must actively break the habit. You need to learn how to comfort yourself without comfort foods.

When you go grocery shopping, do NOT purchase foods that you know you should not be eating. Cookies, ice cream, cakes, chips and all the other pleasure foods should be avoided. You do not want these foods lying around the house constantly calling out your name and tempting you.

You could buy a small box of cookies or a small tub of ice cream just to make it easier on yourself… but just one item. So, even if you give in to temptation and raid the fridge, you only have one item that you’ll feel like eating. The damage won’t be that bad.

If it’s not in the refrigerator, you’ll not eat it and probably go do something else like read or sleep. It may seem extreme to do this but this is a problem that requires extreme measures.

After just two weeks of mindful eating, you’ll notice that your weight is dropping and you’re more aware of what you eat. You’ll be more in tune with how you feel and realize that you’ve been medicating with food.

From here on, things will get better. You’ll stop rewarding yourself with food like you’re a pet. Instead, food will be for fuel and sustenance and you’ll make better eating choices.

You’ll start looking and feeling better. Always remember that whatever your problem may be, the answer is not in the fridge. As long you keep that in mind and act accordingly, you will overcome emotional eating.

 

Stress Feeds Belly Fat

If you’re struggling with belly fat, you’ve probably tried every diet possible. If those diets aren’t working for you it’s possible that the cause of your belly fat is really about your stress levels rather than your diet.

Stress isn’t always a bad thing. We need stress to help get through challenging experiences and to push us to do our best. But more and more we live in a world where stress becomes a chronic experience rather than something which happens once in a while.

When you experience chronic stress, your body begins producing a hormone called cortisol. Cortisol is a hormone that’s good when you’re experiencing a stressful situation. But when it’s produced all the time it begins to cause problems.

Cortisol causes your body to experience chronic inflammation and can direct fat stores directly to your belly. This situation can increase your risk of disease and it can cause you to age faster.

The good news is that you can reverse this problem by practicing stress reduction and management techniques. When you begin to soothe the inflammation in your body you can lose belly fat, reverse signs of aging, and reduce your risk of disease.

First, work to eliminate any stress that you can. For many people this means saying no to things to which you might usually say yes. Delegate any activities you can and clear your schedule as much as possible.

Next, learn to manage the stress that you can’t eliminate. Taking time to learn better time management and organization skills can cut back on stress. Daily meditation is also a good practice to help calm the stress that accumulates in your mind and body.

Another lifestyle factor that can greatly reduce cortisol levels is getting enough sleep. Most adults need 7-9 hours of sleep, but are getting far fewer. Make it a practice to go to bed at the same time each night to get into a sleep routine.

Cut off caffeine a few hours before bed and stop looking at electronic devices an hour or two before bed time. If you still have a hard time falling asleep, you might consider taking the supplement melatonin to help you rest better.

Exercise and a healthy diet also go a long way toward supporting your body when it’s under stress. Exercise, in particular, helps with stress management.

By reducing your stress you can reduce your cortisol levels and ultimately be able to get rid of belly fat.

 

What Causes Emotional Overeating Disorder?

Emotional overeating disorders can be difficult and devastating for those who suffer from them. What makes this happen? Why is it that some people, knowingly or unknowingly, turn to food for comfort? Here are some thoughts and ideas on those questions.

Emotional overeating disorder is a general term that refers to any of various eating habits where genuine hunger is not the motivational factor. It is more common among women than men, but men are not immune – especially young men in their teens and twenties. Those who suffer from this disorder associate food with emotional comfort, and will turn to eating to escape negative feelings.

Past Trauma

For some with emotional overeating disorder, the problem stems from past traumatic events. Someone who suffered sexual abuse, for example, or some other kind of sexual trauma may overeat in response to feelings of anxiety and confusion. The result is a fatter body, which some sources suggest may cause the sufferer to feel “protected” from being attractive to the opposite sex. Subconsciously or consciously, the sufferer wants to be unattractive. Other examples of past trauma or unmet needs may cause a person to turn to emotional overeating.

Poor Self-Image

People who suffer from low self-esteem and a negative self-image may seek escape by overeating. In a way, emotional overeating is a physical expression of what the sufferer feels inside, and the resulting weight projects the same image of self-disrespect.

Self-Medication

Like alcoholics, those who struggle with emotional overeating may be unconsciously using food as a drug. Eating numbs or dulls the emotions that might be too hard to deal with otherwise.

Depression

Studies indicate a strong correlation between depression and emotional overeating. Ironically, sometimes as depression grows worse a sufferer loses weight; weight loss means the sufferer is not eating as much, and therefore not engaging in his or her coping mechanism.

Stress

Prolonged, unrelieved stress can have a profound effect on the body. Stress stimulates the body to produce, among other chemicals, the hormone cortisol. Cortisol apparently has a hunger-stimulating effect, and as the stressful emotions increase along with the cortisol, a cycle of emotional eating can play out.

Individual Triggers

There are triggers or causes of emotional overeating that are not necessarily in the categories above. Some examples might be:

* Boredom
* Oral need or a need to satisfy your mouth’s need to do something
* Social pressure or embarrassment at eating in public, resulting in overeating in private
* Financial stress
* Relationship difficulties

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5 Simple ways to boost your energy level

Our increasingly busy lifestyles both in and out of work are placing more demands on us than ever. All of this extra strain can really wear us out, and people are complaining of low energy levels in ever-growing numbers.

If you’re one of the many people who feel affected by low energy levels, then no doubt you’ll be wondering if there’s anything you can do to change this. Although doctors can offer medication to help with some energy level problems, there are actually natural ways of improving your energy levels that don’t require a trip to the doctor or any special drugs.

The following 5 ways of increasing your energy levels are all simple and natural. None of them is a guaranteed method, but there’s a good chance that by using any of these approaches you’ll experience at least some benefit.

1) Sleep: It might seem completely obvious, but getting enough sleep is essential to having good energy levels. What many of us now take for a good sleep is actually inadequate. Although the amount of sleep needed varies from person to person, for most the optimal amount of sleep is 8 hours. This period of sleep should be as uninterrupted as possible. There are many ways of improving the quality of your sleep which you can easily learn about through searching online.

2) Exercise: You might think that exercise simply tires you out, but getting regular exercise can have a profound effect on your energy levels. By taking regular exercise, you improve your physical fitness, giving you greater stamina which means you can carry out activities for longer without getting tired as quickly.

3) Meal Skipping: One of the worst things you can do for your energy levels is to skip meals. Your body gets its energy from the food you eat, so eating less food means having less energy. And if you really must skip a meal, make sure it’s not breakfast. By the time you wake up in the morning it will already have been a long time since you ate dinner, and skipping out breakfast only increases this. That’s a long time to go without a source of energy for your body!

4) Stress: Another big factor in energy levels is stress. Feeling stressed can drastically decrease your energy levels making it difficult to stay focussed or even awake. Find ways to reduce your stress and you will almost certainly see an improvement in energy. Exercise is one great way to reduce stress levels. Another useful stress-busting tip is to make lists of the things you need to do tomorrow not long before bed. It can help clear your mind of unnecessary thoughts and worries.

5) Eat Small: Although it’s important not to miss meals, in order to keep your energy levels at their peak it’s actually better if you don’t have 3 big meals per day… Instead, you should eat more than three meals of a smaller size throughout the day. This gives your body a steadier energy supply, preventing the yoyo-ing of energy levels that we’re all familiar with.

14 Tips For A Stress Free Flight

Traveling can be a stressful event and airplane travel is tops on the list of the stressors that we experience on what is supposed to be an exciting and fun event. A few simple steps can remove most of the stress of air travel.

Things to do before travel day:

1) Pack your bags. Make sure all your packing is done at least the night before and that you have all your bags in one central location for easy and complete loading into your car or taxi.

2) Have all your travel paperwork organized and in one central location.

3) Make a checklist of all the things you want to check to secure your home before you leave and walk through your home checking off each item. Do this at least an hour before you leave your house. Do this and you will never worry if you left your stove on or any of the other little nagging worries you might have while on your travel.

4) Be sure your pets are taken care of. Make any kennel reservations well in advance of your trip to be sure you have a reserved spot at a kennel you trust.

5) Call the AIRPORT and airline the day before to see how early the recommend you should arrive for a smooth, stress free check in. If they tell you to arrive three hours early and you arrive just 30 minutes early, you will probably feel great stresses about missing your flight. Also ask if there are any parking restrictions you should be aware of. Ever since 9/11, when we have a heightened threat level there may be car searches before you can park.

6) If you are just taking carry on luggage, many airlines let you pre check in right on the internet 24 hours before your flight. That means that you can get and print out boarding passes right from your home. And when you get to the airport, you can go right to the gate and your boarding area without getting into the long check in line. If you have to check baggage, you will not have this option available to you. But if not, it is a great time and stress saver.

Travel day:

7) Leave home in plenty of time to anticipate busy traffic or accident situations. If it is an hour trip to get to the airport, you may want to leave an extra half hour early just in case there are road problems.

8) If you are checking in bags, be prepared to wait in line. If it is a busy time of day at the airport and you are traveling with a popular airline, there could be a significant line. Don’t worry about how long the line is. As long as you arrive when the airport recommended, you will have plenty of time to make it to the front of the line and get checked in. It may look impossible but it will happen so just relax and be patient.

9) Make sure that any “carry on” baggage really is carry on. Otherwise you may get stopped at the gate and have your bag taken away to be stowed with the regular luggage. It will delay and stress you. And it will delay everyone else.

10) When boarding the plane, find your seat and stow your carry on baggage quickly. And then sit down and stay out of the way. There are lots of people trying to do the same thing and we’ve all encountered the folks who block the aisle for a long time fussing about something or other while a harried line of boarders is forced to wait. You don’t want to be one of those people. So just get your business done quickly and efficiently and sit down. You’ll have plenty of time to get up once the plane is in the air.

11) If you have to change planes, it can be a real challenge, especially in the larger airports. If you know the gate you will have to go to, ask the flight attendant for advice to reach that gate quickly. In some airports – like Atlanta – a Delta connection can be a huge adventure taking 30 minutes to get from one gate to another. If you know in advance how you have to get to your next airplane, it will be much less chaotic when you get off the first plane. And a much more relaxing walk (or run) to your next gate.

12) When the plane lands, patiently wait your turn. Whether you push or just wait, you usually won’t get off the plane any quicker. People tend to let the folks in the rows before them get up and go in a pretty orderly fashion. Trying to rush it will only get your blood pressure up and will not be looked upon favorably by your fellow travelers.

13) If you just have carry on baggage, you have successfully completed a pretty stress free flight.

14) But if you have carry on luggage, there is one more step – waiting for the luggage. Just pick a place around the conveyor belt and wait. Expect your bag to be the very last one to come out and be pleasantly surprised when it comes out early.

By following these simple steps, you will find that your stress levels from your air travels will be much less. A well planned trip agenda ensures that those little stress points stay little stress points and don’t balloon into a full blown crisis. Try it any you will be amazed how just a small amount of up front planning dramatically improves the enjoyment of your travel.