Bringing Wellness Full Circle

Posts tagged ‘stress’

Kindness

Kindness?  What does kindness have to do with wellness? Lots more than we know!

It’s often been said that it’s better to give than to receive, but did you know that this Bible truth is actually backed by research? While many of us feel too stressed and busy to worry about helping others tell ourselves that we’ll be more involved with “good deeds” when we have more spar’ time, energy and money, altruism is its own reward, and can actually help you relieve stress. Altruistic acts  improve your quality of life in several ways, and are absolutely worth the effort.

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Here are some ways that helping others helps you:

Altruism and Psychological Wellbeing: Studies show that altruism is good for your emotional well-being, and can measurably enhance your peace of mind. For example, one study found that dialysis patients, transplant patients and family members who became support volunteers for other patients experienced increased personal growth and emotional well-being. Another study on patients with multiple sclerosis showed that those who offered other MS patients peer support actually experienced greater benefits than their supported peers, including more pronounced improvement on confidence, self-awareness, self-esteem, depression and daily functioning. Those who offered support generally found that their lives were dramatically changed for the better.

Altruism and Increased Social Support: What goes around generally does come around. More specifically, when people make altruistic personal sacrifices, they end up reaping what they sow in the form of favors from others. These individuals earn the reputation as altruistic people and end up receiving favors from others who they may not have even directly helped. The favors and social support you ‘earn’ through altruism, combined with the good feelings you get from helping others (see above), more than make up for sacrifices made in the name of altruism.

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Keeping Things In Perspective: Your expectations of life and the people you compare yourself to can make a real difference in your level of life satisfaction. For example, your home may seem shabby to you if you’re comparing it to the living rooms you see in the pages of decorating magazines, or it may seem palatial and opulent compared to the huts built in impoverished countries. Helping others in need, especially those who are less fortunate than you, can provide you with a sense of perspective on how fortunate you are to have what you do in life — be it health, money, or a safe place to sleep, and help you focus less on the things you feel you lack. Helping others with their problems can also help you gain a more positive perspective on the things in life that cause you stress.

Building a Better Community: The positive effects of what we do go beyond just you and the person you are doing it for; it often influences your whole community. Remember the movie  Pay It Forward? Amazing how far one boy’s good deeds affected so many! When you do nice things for others, you often enable them to do nice things for others, and the phenomenon grows.

 Altruism and Stress Relief: When you feel stressed and overwhelmed, you may feel like you’re least able to give. However, acts of altruism can be a great form of stress relief. Studies have shown that the act of giving activates the area of the brain associated with positive feelings, lifting your spirits, and making you feel better the more you give. And given that altruism can lead to lasting emotional well-being, a more positive perspective, a positive effect on others, and better social standing, altruism certainly does the job as a healthy means for relieving stress and increasing life satisfaction.

So yes, being kind makes you a healthier person! It might not make you drop pounds or build muscle or cardiovascular endurance,

but your sense of accomplishment and the stress relief you will experience go a long way towards a healthier person.

Just sayin’

You

We are wives, husbands, moms, dads, brothers, sisters, co-workers, bosses, taxi drivers, cheerleaders, house cleaners, little league coaches, confidant(e)s, entertainers, and the list goes on endlessly, right?   But, at the risk of sounding corny, before you are any of these , you are YOU, someone worthy of acceptance, love and respect, someone who better get his/her priorities straight if you mean to succeed in all of life’s challenges.  You will reach all of your goals much more effectively as you learn to value yourself and listen to what matters to you.

By choosing to take care of ourselves, we actually are ensuring our usefulness to others.  Why do you think that they tell us that in a case of emergency in an airplane we need to put our own oxygen mask on first?  Our own basic needs must be met before we can attend to the needs of others. And no, it’s not selfish!

So here are a few basic physical MUSTs in order to preserve your sanity and continue to feel alive and purposeful:

~Refuse to eat nonfoods (nutrient empty foods) and refined foods, and limit seriously your sugar intake, even raw sugar—this will cause your thyroid to function better and give you more energy, make your body work at its optimum state.

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~Don’t forget to drink lots and lots of water; remember that every cell in your body is surrounded by liquid!  When you become even slightly dehydrated, your metabolism slows down, your energy level drops and you are not “at your best,” feeling off somehow.

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~Don’t neglect exercise, even if you are ridiculously busy.  Even if just a few jumping jacks here and there, or an extra set of steps.  Aerobic exercise boots oxygen in the brain, releases endorphins (Happy Hormones, I call them) and gives you a clearer focus.

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~Do eat!!! Never skip eating because you are too busy!  A car doesn’t run too well on empty, does it?

~Fill your fridg with colorful, yummy fruits and vegetables so that they are always there when you need to grab something on the run; even better, try to prepackage some!

~Don’t forget to balance protein/fats and carbs.  When you get busy, this might get forgotten, yet this is the way to keep your weight in check.  carbohydrates by themselves  will raise your blood sugar and cause too much insulin to be released, starting a nasty cycle in your body!

~Non-negotiable Me Time, whatever taht means to you.  It will allow you to be there for others later, to think clearer, to sleep better, to perform at your peak at work.  Me time will release stress and enable you to handle life’s issues that come at you.  Me time is yours alone! No phone calls, no kids knocking on the door…  Schedule it into the family planner if necessary, and stick to it!

~Surround yourself with a support system. This is worth more than most things, and will cause you to be more effective and positive for everything in life.

~Identify “busy behavior” that drain your time and energy without bearing much fruit, and eliminate or minimize them.

~Learn to say “NO” to others and yourself if it will hurt you.  The momentary pressure is worth it in the long run; we have to learn to look at the whole picture, not just what is right in front of our noses.

~Remember that what concerns you is NOT unimportant!  You are an individual with great potentials, but these can only be reached as you take care of yourself first!

Got it?

7 Tips for a Balanced Life

It’s way easier to be healthy if we have a balanced life! A lot less stress if your life is balanced… Balance and Health go hand in hand.  So here are some tips for you:

1. De-Clutter Your Life

In your mind, clear the clutter from your schedule and imagine it empty. Then return only the things that are vital to your survival — your job and sleep, for example. Then bring other things back into your schedule in their order of importance, adding new things that are important as well (like time for exercise), and leaving out things that are draining you or stressing you, like obligations that you’d rather not keep. This exercise can give you a greater idea of what things in your life are feeding you, and what things you may want to eliminate.

2. Remember The Trade-Offs

Every “no” is a “yes” to something else, and vice versa.  Perhaps it’s worth it, perhaps it’s not, or perhaps you’d rather cut out something else in your schedule.  Looking at each new commitment as something else that needs to be given up (even a hypothetical something) can make finding balance easier.

3. Delegate

Many of us get caught up in the ‘If I want it done right, I’ll have to do it myself’ trap, and find ourselves doing everything. Don’t forget that other people might be able to handle (or help with) some of the projects you’re doing, and may actually want to do so. Children, husbands may be far more capable of doing housework than weu are giving them credit for, and may get a sense of pride in being able to do such jobs, if encouraged properly.   Even hiring help — housekeepers, gardeners, personal assistants and the like — counts as delegation, and can be extremely helpful and worth the cash.

4. Do A Good Enough Job

Sometimes things need to be done with precision and perfection, but more often, they don’t. If you find yourself already too busy, you may really benefit from giving yourself a break. Take shortcuts, if the end result is still adequate.  Focus on what’s really important, and let the rest slip if necessary.

5. Live In The Now, But Keep The Future In Mind

Do you have a plan for the future? This type of general thinking can help keep balance and perspective. For example, when choosing whether to exercise or watch television, thinking about the long-term benefits that would come from each makes it much easier to skip a moderately entertaining show in favor of getting moving. Both activities can relieve stress, but one contributes to an overall plan for better health, while the other doesn’t. See where you can apply this analogy to your own decisions and find more balance in your life.

6. Stay Organized

Being organized is vital to finding balance in life. If you have a schedule where everything fits, you’ll be more efficient with your time. And you’ll be able to relax not only in the knowledge that you’ll get things done, but also in that what you’re working on in a given moment is what you’re supposed to be working on. Don’t overlook the value of online time management tools like calendars and PDAs.

7. Let Yourself be a Child at times

Although it’s unrealistic to be only doing things that are ‘fun’ (sometimes we need to take a break from skydiving and going to parties to do a few loads of dishes and pack lunches for the next day), it can be helpful to remember to try to keep fun things in your life and stressful things out of it.

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