10 Şubat 2008 Pazar

Super Food

Goji berries are also known as Wolfberries. Some people even mis-spell it as "gogi berries". It is a sweet-taste, dark-red coloured dried fruit, and mainly comes from north-western area of China. It has been grown and consumed in China for a few thousand years. Many published studies discussed medicinal benefits of goji berries, including its antioxidant properties, its potential roles against cardiovascular, inflammatory, and vision-related diseases, its neuro-protective properties, its roles as anticancer and immunomodulatory agent. Research have found that goji contains many nutrients including 11 essential elements, 22 trace dietary minerals, 18 amino acids, 6 essential vitamins, 8 polysaccharides, and 6 monosaccharidesm.

The roasted cacao nibs are made from the process whereby the cacao seeds are roasted in large, rotating ovens, at temperatures of about 210-290F. Roasting lasts from half an hour up to two hours. The heat brings out more flavor and aroma, and it dries and darkens the seeds. Then the seeds are cracked and winnowed, that is, their outer shells are cracked and blown away, leaving the crushed and broken pieces of cacao seeds - "cacao nibs". At this point, we have something edible and really chocolatey. Cacao nibs contains Magnesium, Sulphur, and Anti-oxidant, Monoamine Oxidase Enzyme Inhibitors, Phenylethylamine, and Anandamide. These substances can help us having healthy heart, relieving us from stressful mood, and much more. So recent years cacao nibs are becoming a popular healthy food.

Maca root can be used as vegetable or medicinal herb. Biologically maca root is rich in sugar and protein. It contains 60% carbohydrates, 10% protein, 8.5% dietary fiber, and 2.2% fats. Additionally it has uridine, malic acid, benzoyl derivative, and glucosinolates etc. Dried maca powder is rich in alkaloidal, minerals, and nutrients such as essential minerals (selenium, calcium, magnesium, and iron), fatty acids including linolenic acid, palmitic acid, and oleic acids, and 19 amino acids, as well as polysaccharides.

Spirulina is rich in proteins, vitamins and minerals. It contains Lysine, Cysteine, Methionine, Phenylalanine and Threonine, whic are important amino acids that can only be acquired by human beings through food. Spirulina is also a very rich source of Vitamin B-12. It has much higher iron content than Spinach. It contains much higher amounts of Beta-Carotene than carrots.

Wheatgrass also contains 20 amino acids, several hundred different enzymes not found in other foods, as many as 90 out of 102 possible minerals, vitamins and other important nutrients. It is a great supplement for people on diet, for sports people, and for people who want to maintain a healthy immune system. It should mention that nowadays many people like to buy wheatgrass powderto make juice by themselves.

On the other hand any people like to buy flaxseed or flaxseed oil. Flaxseed oil is a great source for Omega 3. Omega 3 has super polyunsaturated Essential Fatty Acid, which has many benefits in our daily lives. It is known as an Essential Fatty Acid because these oils are vital for normal body functions such as renewal of cells balancing hormones, repairing muscles and tissue as well as many other essential processes in the body. Omega 3 is referred to as essential as it must be ingested in food directly as the body cannot synthesise it from other foods not containing Omega 3. If our bodies are short of Omega 3 and EFA, we could have dry flaky skin, weight increase, poor concentration or attention deficiency, lack of energy, continually getting colds or infections, Arthritic type pain, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, increase in allergies. Flax oil can be added to low fat yoghurt or taken with you favourite fruit juice.

Chlorella is a single-cell green algae which is part of Chlorophyta family. It is spherical in shape, about 2 to 10 ?m in diameter. Chlorella contains a fibrous and indigestible outer shell and inner nutrients. The dried Chlorella contains about 45% protein, 20% fat, 20% carbohydrate, 5% fiber, and 10% minerals and vitamins. Therefore many people believe it is an attractive food source because it is high in protein and other essential nutrients. More importantly many of its health benefits have been discovered by researchers around the world.

9 Şubat 2008 Cumartesi

LTC Insurance & Health Savings Account

Due to recent advancements in the insurance industry, LTC Insurance (long term care insurance) has added many features. Over the last several years LTC insurance hasn't had a lot of features. LTC insurance has not been cheap; with nursing home care costs rising at alarming rates. In addition to the LTC insurance there have been many changes throughout the health insurance industry. One relatively new health insurance product, the Health Savings Account has grew with popularity. Health Savings Accounts allow self-employed individuals to buy coverage with a saving option. This savings option allows the health savings account holder to essentially invest any unused premiums. This can be particularly useful for the individual that isn't a chronic health system user. All unused portions of the health savings account go towards retirement. Both LTC Insurance and health insurance has had their share of critics. For many individuals that pay into these forms of insurance never actually utilize the coverage. Health Savings Accounts and LTC insurance have now answered these objections. Because of these advancements the health insurance industry is becoming more widely accepted. Offering more health insurance for those whom need it most. More individuals are now insured, with less drag on the health care system. The Money Alert is a popular insurance related site featuring insurance-related topics. Their most recent LLC comparison table has become a popular spot to compare an LLC Vs S corporations. You may also want to visit their site to see how your small business can benefit from forming an LLC> Tags: LTC Insurance, Health Savings Account, LLC

29 Ocak 2008 Salı

Understanding Job Stress and How To Deal With It

Among the most common types of stress is good old-fashioned job stress and it is easy to understand why. With the economic slow-down of the last few years, employers are trying to squeeze more and more work out of their employees in order to keep their costs low and their production high. As well, with the concerns over lay-offs and downsizing, it seems that overwork is no cure for concerns about job security. Thus, the long hours, low pay, and tenuous nature of employment combine to create a situation where there is nothing you can count on except stress itself. Thus, job stress just keeps piling up until there doesn't seem to be any way out.

Unfortunately, this is all too often the case with workers and people need to learn how to manage work stress. Otherwise, you will simply drown yourself in worry and drive yourself batty with concern over your workload and your job security.

The first thing to remember about job stress is that it really does not help you get work done. In fact, too much stress can actually prevent you from getting through your projects. Though every worker can point to a time when the chips were down and they rose to challenge, the fact is that long-term stress does not help people focus. Yes, short-term bursts of stress can heighten your ability to focus, but any period of stress that lasts longer than a day or even a few hours deteriorates your ability to focus. This is because the very hormones that heighten focus over a short period of time eventually degrade concentration and make you unable to keep your mind on the task at hand. Needless to say, this does not help you in the workplace.

One of the best ways to manage workplace stress is to take a break every so often. This means that you should give yourself a short break about every fifteen minutes or so and avail yourself of a break of a few minutes about every hour.

If you have the self-awareness to notice that you are not able to focus completely, you should give your eyes a break and take a quick stretch break in your chair. These breaks should be taken about every fifteen minutes, as they will allow your brain to recover a little bit of energy and allow you to return to the task at hand.

Additionally, every hour, stand up and walk away from your desk. This break should consist of some task not related to work or your desk and it is vital for maintaining concentration and reducing job stress. Go get a soft drink, take a restroom break, or simply walk the halls for about 3-5 minutes. This will not only give your body a break, it will provide your mind with an opportunity to relax. It is the simple act of doing something mindless that helps your mind. Just like muscles, the brain needs a rest and recovery period in order to get its strength back. Remember, you cannot remain completely focused forever, just like you cannot sprint forever.

If you do not take a break, your mind will start taking its own breaks. This is otherwise known as "having your mind wander." This is a tremendously frustrating phenomenon and it can create severe job stress. You cannot focus, so you cannot get your work done, so you try to focus, which is causing your mind to wander simply because it has been focusing for so long. Thus, you become more frustrated with yourself and your stress increases. This is an endless spiral and, if you do not deliberately escape it, job stress will consume you until the only thing you can think about is your inability to think about anything other than your inability to get work done.

For those who are in the throes of job stress already and there does not seem to be any way to get out of it, it is time to give yourself a complete break. The best break is, of course, to go home and leave your work behind. However, this is not always feasible and, instead, you need some way to give yourself a break while not leaving your desk.

The best method for relieving job stress at your desk is to close your eyes and take deep breaths. The key to this is to avoid thinking about work while you are doing this breathing exercise. In fact, you should simply concentrate on your breathing. In essence, this is a form of meditation and it is a very good way to refresh your brainpower. This is because, when you are thinking about your breathing, you are thinking about almost nothing at all. After all, you breathe all the time and it comes pretty naturally. Thus, by concentrating on a process that is generally automatic, your mind will give itself a much-needed rest. In fact, some people are so effective at this form of meditation that they receive something akin to concentrated sleep. Though it takes a great deal of practice to achieve this much relaxation from meditation, even simple meditation can help you recover from job stress.

The most important thing to remember about job stress is to simply not worry about job stress. In fact, worrying about job stress will actually create a certain about of stress all its own. Thus, if you simply concentrate on your work, give yourself a break every so often, and give yourself a complete break when you need it, job stress does not need to be a concern.

Relieve Stress Today

What is stress and how does it come about? What does stress feel like? The denotation of the word would be as follows. "A mentally or emotionally upsetting condition occurring in response to adverse external influences and capable of affecting physical health, usually characterized by increased heart rate, a rise in blood pressure, muscular tension, irritability, and depression". There is a lot deeper questions as to stress, such as to the question of emotion, but for now let’s just examine stress.

There are some instances of physical stress created by external situations, although stress in the majority of cases is created by us. We put ourselves in stressful situations. We do not take care in our actions. This leads to problems with a consistent feeling of anxiety. Problems in some cases get resolved but not understood.

Many times we are more concerned about avoiding the problem rather than facing it, this of course brings about stress. Problems do not go away. Problems need to be understood. Understood in the sense - all factors at play need to be seen, these factors will tell us what is creating the problem. Problems in actual fact can become opportunities. The majority of the products or services in the market place are invented to solve problems.

So a problem may give you the opportunity to be better. Although this is a kind of positive spin, the fact remains - a problem is a problem and within it, there is an answer.

When you find yourself stressed out, step back and take a look at why?

What are some of the factors that cause stress for you? Lack of organization can lead to a lot of stress. Organization puts you in a position of anticipation if you fail to organize you fail to anticipate. Procrastination creates stress, putting things off. Stress can also be caused by poor diet, drinking a lot of coffee, not sleeping, which becomes the circular challenge caused by worry, or stress. Not been honest brings stress, and when you start adding all this up it equates to been unhappy.

Not dealing with issues is the biggest stress builder of all.

Stress is accumulated from the past. You have to deal with it. Sorry there is no easy answer. The past cannot be changed. What you have done is over. Now one needs to examine what caused it.

Let’s say I do not pay my bills, this leads to a problem of bills adding up and not been paid which then creates the challenge of the power been cut off, then I cannot cook. This is kind of simplistic but one problem leads to another like a domino effect.

The problem may have been caused by my lack of budgeting or living beyond my means, and when not confronted leads to stress. Problems are a part of life. However most problems come from ourselves, and are refusal to face the facts. The truth will set you free.

You cannot change the past. Deal with your circumstances now, as they are, not as you wish they were. Deal with stress Today and tomorrow will start to look a whole lot better.

Stress And Illness

Jack, 60 years old, is a client of mine. Jack had been in a very difficult, codependent marriage with Stella - a marriage where Jack completely gave himself up in his attempts to avoid Stella’s anger, threats and blame. Jack sought my help regarding extricating himself from this very unhappy relationship and was finally able to end the marriage. Subsequently, Jack sent me the following email:

"Hi Margaret, I hope all is going well with you. I thought you might be interested in a health change I have noticed. In my last year of marriage to Stella I started having pressure in my chest when I started exercising. I went to several cardiologists. I felt the first one was an alarmist. He wanted to do an angiogram immediately and he wanted permission to do angioplasty at the same time if necessary. I told him that I would get back to him. I immediately went on a better exercise program and took additional supplements for my heart. Over a period of several months I visited three other cardiologists. A very well respected cardiologist had the great idea of doing another stress test on me. When he finished the stress test he said he did not see any reason to do anything different that what I was doing. The pressure I was feeling was still there at the start of exercise but it would go away as I continued to exercise.”

"On December 31, 2005 I made my last support payment to Stella. I have not felt any pressure in my chest since then at the start of exercising or any other time. I actually feel an upward shift in my energy level. I know that stress has a lot to do with health and with the last payment I must have released a lot of stress.”

"I am interested to hear your opinion about this. Stress can be so silent that I do not know if I am always aware of it."

I responded to Jack, telling him that recent research indicates that stress may be behind at least 90% of illness. Currently, Jack is in a loving relationship with Andrea, but even that relationship did not stop the stress until his last support payment to Stella. Yet Jack did not realize that the heart pain was related to his stress.

Too often, when we have physical problems, we seek a purely physical answer. Yet if stress is the underlying cause of 90% of illness, it is very important to open to learning about the fact that we might be stressed and about what is causing the stress.

If Jack had realized that his heart pain was stress-related, he might have been able to go inside and discover what was really causing the stress. On the surface, it appeared to be his fear of Stella’s anger and the fact that he still owed her money. But if Jack were to look deeper, he might discover some false beliefs that were actually causing the stress – beliefs such as:

I am responsible for Stella’s unhappy feelings.

We cause our own feelings with our thoughts. Therefore, we cannot be responsible for another’s feelings.

It is not fair that I have to continue to pay Stella money.

Jack made choices that led to this outcome. He is responsible for the choices he made.

It is my fault that things did not work out with Stella.

Jack is responsible for his choices, but not for Stella’s choices. Thinking something is all our fault is a way of convincing ourselves that we have more control than we actually have over other’s choices.

I will not be able to make enough money to take care of myself.

Jack does well financially, but often stresses over money.

As long as I owe Stella money, she will be able to control me.

Jack frequently gives his power away to others due to his trying to control them through pleasing, and then fears being controlled by them.

I have to give myself up to Stella to control how she feels about me and treats me.

Jack caused himself stress by trying to control something that he has no control over.

There is a good possibility that if Jack had explored his beliefs and come into truth with himself, his stress would have decreased long ago. Much of Jack’s stress was being caused by trying to control something that he had no control over. All of us can learn from Jack’s experience. We all have the opportunity to continue to monitor our stress and continue to look at the false beliefs and resulting behavior that are the primary underlying causes of stress.

In Times Of Stress, Walk Out Of Your Body

Straddling the end of winter and the beginning of spring, March has always been a hectic month--a month of reckoning as it were--when last year's issues must be faced head on. Income tax returns must be filed, and spring cleaning (both inside and out) tend to become a logistical nightmare. This March, I had a personal difficulty to work through as well and for a while it seemed as though the world was an unending series of burdens. It was then that I tried a strategy that I had read about in Wayne Dyer's book, "Your Sacred Self " (1996): in times of turbulence, walk out of your body!

I began by imagining that I had walked out of my body and that I was looking at myself as though I were another being. This took some practice because the tendency of the mind was to stay within the ego and I had to keep reminding my mind that I was outside looking in, not inside looking out. After a while, the exercise became more fluid and I was able to maintain this "observer" position with greater ease.

I began with a side view of my body, imagining myself as I would appear to someone who was watching me from the side. I went from head to feet-- acknowledging the angle of head, hair, shoulders, slant of body and even the way my legs were crossed at the ankles. Then I went through the whole process again this time adding the colors of my hair, shirt, pants, socks and slippers. And then in my mind's eye, I walked backward a step or two, pretending that I was seeing "me" for the first time. What did I see?

"A being who is overwhelmed emotionally."

What did I sense about this being?

"She need not fret so much; she is perhaps a bit overdramatic about her situation, but it is not the end of the world. After all, this too will pass."

The remarkable thing was that as an outsider, I received immediate confirmation that all suffering was temporary. From an observer's point of view, the person suffering was not the self. Just seeing "me" as another being allowed me to feel the temporariness of the situation. I then placed myself (as observer) in a different location--up on the ceiling and I imagined my body as it would appear to someone floating above. Then I went through the same process, digesting my being from that angle.

The more I played this game with myself, the more I was released from whatever worries I had in the first place. The overwhelming conviction was that I was larger than what stood before me and that all this fretting and worry would pass. Outside my body, I could feel a sense of limitless possibility that seemed impossible to sustain inside (the body). It seemed as though I had been suddenly released into an open field. The expanse of the spirit was everywhere, especially when I broke through the ceiling and roof and took a wild and fantastic circle around the skies.

Children do this everyday and we have a lot to learn from them: they use the imaginal to tame the real. If we examine the practice itself, we can see that there are several reasons why walking out of your body can be a sound strategy for diffusing stress.

1. Placing yourself in a third-party observer point of view makes allowance for the distance that is so crucial to an accurate assessment of any situation. How often have we remembered a past wrong in the light of distance and time and recognized the folly of our grievance? Our judgment is often dimmed by an experience that is too raw and close to us. Walking out of our body allows us to tame that rawness.

2. If experience is recorded as cellular memories in our bodies, then getting a distant, less distorted perspective is not only important, but critical to our survival as intact and holistic beings. Fred Allan Wolf in "Mind Into Matter" (2001) refers to our bodies as "living scripts": "at the level of the body, the observed and the observer are the same thing." Would you prefer an observation that burns everything to the ground or one that hatches an escape route through the ceiling? Would you prefer a script that leaves you a victim, paralyzed by fear or one that allows you to take the reins in your hands and gives you a shot at turning the situation around? My almost 5 grandson understands this totally; he is a master inventor of escape routes and his favorite stories have always been those where the hero found a way out, a wormhole though the keyhole.

3. Walking out of our body allows us to raise our threshold to stress. Stressful events are an inevitable and unavoidable part of life. While removal of stressors is often impossible, raising our threshold to what is bearable for us is more than a viable possibility. Raising our threshold is like breaking though a barrier--what was once unthinkable becomes plausible. What once caused pain and furor becomes not only understandable, but accepted as part of our evolutionary process. The advantage we have to seeing our burden as a necessary part of a larger dynamic is that we have grown large enough to accommodate it within our system. We have grown because we can now metabolize it; we are ready now to transform it (the pain) into something greater than itself, something creative and inspiring. This is only possible when we can take the pain outside us and place it within a larger and evolutionary context.

Instead of succumbing to the sweet song of victimization (who does not enjoy the "poor me" chant?), a more effective strategy when confronted by stress, is to walk out of your body because that immediately places your pain in perspective.

Can Stress Be Good For You?

John has just been given the prospect of starting a new business overseas. He sits around moping; the idea of moving into alien territory fills him with dread, worry and anxiety. Fearful of losing this opportunity, yet unable to make up his mind about really wanting it, he makes no decision. Four weeks later, he comes down with pneumonia.

Jim has been given the same prospect. He is excited by the idea, but worries about leaving a secure and profitable niche here at home. He lists the pros and cons of the venture, goes over them, carefully weighing each item before coming to the decision that the benefits of the business abroad far outweigh the fears he has now. He bristles with excitement. Galvanized, he plunges into action. He feels alert and energetic, ready to tackle the challenge of a new opportunity.

John is a perfect example of how negative stress can make you sick. Jim, on the other hand, is a perfect illustration of what we don't usually hear about-- that stress can sometimes be good for you.

Consider what happens to your body when your brain senses a crisis. Immediately, it sends chemical messages that alert the body to prepare for action. The hypothalamus passes a command to the adrenal glands to release adrenaline and cortisol, a hormone which stimulates the liver to convert amino acids into glucose, a primary fuel for energy production. Cortisol also mobilizes and increases fatty acids in the blood to be used as fuel for energy production, plunging the body into action so that the body's natural resistance and endurance thresholds are enhanced.

At the same time, the bone marrow increases production of blood cells to carry extra oxygen to help fight infection. The thyroid gland secretes hormones to speed up metabolism, providing instant energy boost. The lungs expand to deliver more oxygen to the muscles and heart. Your whole body is on alert; it becomes productive and focused. You think faster, with greater clarity. Your awareness sharpens; reaction time quickens. Your pain receptors are dimmed temporarily by the rush of hormones, sometimes to the point that allows you to perform almost superhuman feats like those we've heard of in the news--a 105 lb woman being able to lift up a boulder to release a trapped child.

Research tells us that occasional stress can be good for you; it boosts the immune system's defense against infection; it stabilizes mood so you can deal with emotional and physical trauma. A life on automatic pilot can often be jolted to awareness by stressful events.

Stress is only problematic when stressful episodes turn repetitive and overwhelming. Sustained stress is the harmful stress we hear about. The cortisol that is released to prepare your body for action becomes a dangerous enemy when it floods the system. By stimulating the production of glucose, prolonged release of cortisol leads to a problematic increase of blood sugar. Too much cortisol also decreases the body's ability to synthesize protein; it increases protein breakdown which can lead to muscle wasting and osteoporosis; it suppresses the sex hormones and depresses the immune system.

As with most situations in life, handling stress is a balancing act. If we return to John's situation, we can see that John's fear is crippling him from being the best he can be. He is literally frozen by a fear that prevents him from taking risks and experiencing the (good) stress that will make him grow emotionally and intellectually. Jim's reaction is much more positive, allowing him to take the chance at something that could be very rewarding in the long run.

How can we become more like Jim than John?

1. Break the cycle of prolonged stress by spending time each day "de-stressing." Consider the use of meditation, guided imagery and visualization. Studies now show that practicing meditation can reduce blood vessel constriction, keeping blood pressure in check. People who meditate 10 -20 minutes a day have been able to maintain low levels of stress hormones for several hours after each meditation session.

2. Exercise is a powerful stress buster. It lowers overall cancer rates; it increases bone thickness and bone mass. It releases endorphins that make us more relaxed, spontaneous and self-accepting. It energizes the body and increases the alpha (feel-good) brain waves that diminish stress.

3. Laughter breaks up routine and discomfort. It allows you to look at yourself as an "outsider." Keeping this third-party, witnessing rather than experiencing perspective also gives you the chance to review the stressful situation in a new light. Nothing lightens the body and mind more than a good belly laugh!

4. Writing is definitely cathartic. Keeping a journal gives you the chance to explore your deepest anxieties. In Jim's case, he took the initiative to write down his worst fears and discovered in the process of doing so that the risks are worth his engagement.

5. Eating a well-balanced diet with a good source of vegetable proteins like Soy or Wheat, 5-10 servings of fruits and vegetables, 3-4 servings of "good fats" (fish oils, sardines, salmon, nuts, legumes) will bolster your body's defenses against stress.

6. Last but not least, Love. Whether the object of your love is a person or pet, the act of love, touching, interacting with a loved one does wonders to the heart and to the body's immune system.