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.

Advice To Help People To Reduce Stress

If you are one of the many people who are suffering from stress, then this article may well be of interest and benefit to you. I believe that I am one of the biggest stress-heads in the country but have recently, with the help and advice of a friend, managed to lower and deal with most of my anxieties.

I feel that I am very fortunate as I have a very good friend who is called Ian. I have known Ian for most of my life and am able to talk to him about any problems that I have. He is a good listener and always seems to come up with some positive advice.

Ian is very much aware of the fact that I basically stress far too much and has tried to install a more care-free attitude into my personality. For whatever reason, I have been unable to implement this form of attitude and have continued to worry to the extent where I have even suffered from panic attacks.

During a recent evening out, I was as usual complaining about this or that in my normal negative way. Ian listened carefully as I explained my latest fears and worries and then came back with some considered advice. He suggested that there was possibly not enough fun in my life and that a weekend break could be exactly what I needed. A bit of sun and a few beers could do me a power of good he explained. It could be a way of taking my mind off all of the demons in my head and a chance to let my hair down etc.

Looking back, I have actually started to feel sorry for Ian and am surprised that he has not had enough of my moaning ways.

I thought about what Ian had said and believed that it was a good idea. It was certainly worth a go in any case. I asked Ian if he would like to join me on this break, to which he agreed. A sucker for punishment or what!

We decided to go to Devon which is situated on the South-West coast of England. This is an area that I love as it is such a relaxed place to be, especially compared to the busy city where I live.

It was a superb weekend and I made sure that I did not stress or even think about anything from back home. This was very hard to carry off but was essential, not only for me but also for Ian.

We had probably more alcohol than what many people would recommend and ate some great food. The weather was superb which helped in the recovery from the previous nights abuses. I even thought about possibly moving to Devon in the future as this could help me to become more relaxed. At the moment, for many different reasons, this is out of the question however.

If you are constantly under pressure or in a stressed out state, I would advice a similar course of action. Give yourself a break to have some fun and to give your body a chance to de-stress.

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

The estimated risk for rape survivors developing post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is 49%. The risk for those beaten or experiencing physical assault is 31.9%, whilst the risk for others who experienced sexual assault is 23.7%. Given these figures, it is no wonder women are more likely to develop PTSD than men, as they are statistically significantly more likely to experience sexual assault.

Post traumatic stress disorder is characterized by intense fear, a sense of helplessness, or horror. It can affect all areas of a person's life, their emotions, mental wellbeing, and physical health. And symptoms are generally worse in situations, like rape and abuse, where the trauma was deliberately initiated against those involved.

A person with post traumatic stress disorder may re-live the traumatic events, having flashbacks or other reminders and images that intrude on their waking hours, or in dreams and nightmares. These reminders may also trigger physical symptoms, such as heart palpitations or chills. Or emotional problems, like anxiety, depression, and dread.

People with post traumatic stress disorder may avoid any reminders of the trauma, whether that is people associated with the experience, or places, or even thoughts of the trauma. They can distance themselves from family and friends, and withdraw from everyday activities and things they used to enjoy.

Relationship problems are common for survivors of rape and sexual abuse. Some survivors avoid intimacy, others avoid sex, and some avoid both, and create patterns in their lives where those coping mechanisms are maintained. But sufferers of PTSD who did not experience any sexual abuse can also have problems in their relationships, or in social situations.

Another characteristic of post traumatic stress disorder is being on guard all the time, and suddenly feeling anger or irritability. There can be problems with sleeping and concentrating, and sufferers may be startled easily. Self destructive behaviours, such as gambling, risky sex, drug use, alcohol abuse, or other problems like dangerous driving, may be present. Depression, disassociation, or other mental health problems can develop.

Not all of these characteristics may be present in PTSD, and the degree to which one experiences them may vary also. And PTSD may not develop until months or years after the trauma. Particularly in relation to abuse in childhood, symptoms of PTSD can pass, then reappear later in life. This can make it difficult to recognize when PTSD is occurring, as survivors may not associate their current feeling and behaviours with pas events.

Each time symptoms appear, however, they provide an opportunity for healing. Post traumatic stress disorder can be treated, using a combination of medication and psychotherapy.

Whilst medications were not thought to help in the treatment of PTSD in the past, they have been found to be beneficial now, probably due to newer ones being available. The SSRI's (selective serotonin uptake inhibitors) zoloft and paxil are both approved by the FDA for treating PTSD. And newer antidepressants like effexor and serzone are also beneficial, and tend to be used when the patient does not tolerate paxil and zoloft, or those medications aren't effective.

There are 3 types of psychotherapy that can be used to treat PTSD. These are exposure management, cognitive therapy, and anxiety management. A combination of all 3 may be used, or one individually. Each person is different in what they will respond to. In exposure therapy, patients confront, in a safe therapeutic environment, the situations, people, and memories associated with the trauma. People with PTSD usually avoid this very thing, but by working through the trauma in this way, exposure therapy is actually very effective at healing PTSD.

Cognitive therapy helps in the process of understanding how our thoughts affect our feelings, and provides ways of shifting negative thinking. Negative thinking can perpetuate a mental prison where joy and interconnectedness is no longer felt. Changing those dynamics can provide a new framework with which to process the trauma, and allow healing to occur.

In anxiety management, skills are learnt that help one cope better with the symptoms and triggers of post traumatic stress disorder. They can help reduce the intensity of the symptoms, though they need to be practised to be effective. Anxiety management techniques can be very helpful in controlling anxiety whilst doing exposure therapy. Some techniques used include relaxation, breathing techniques, assertiveness training, and positive thinking and self talk.

Easy Elimination Of Worry And Stress!

It is very true that, unfortunately, many people look to reduce feelings of worry and stress by doing the very things that, ultimately, bring on more of the same. Alcohol, drugs, and over indulgence in the wrong types of food all seem to offer an immediate solution to get away from the stresses of the day.

Now, I am not condemning sensible drinking or occasionally eating the 'wrong' type of food as a rare treat but the daily ingestion of such substances simply leads to poor health and a whole host of related negativity.

The question, though, is what are the alternatives? How can I relax and unwind without a few drinks?

The truth of the matter is this. A real, instantly accessible, answer is within you and you do it each day without even thinking about it. If you learn to harness this inner power you will, literally, have a way of eliminating stress, or at least greatly reducing it, without the need for things that are bad for you.

What is this 'inner power' I hear you cry! Very simply, it is your breath!

By learning a few simple exercises you can go a long way to beating stress while feeling healthier and more positive. If you perform repetitive actions such as deep breathing exercises then this helps in blocking out stressful thoughts. The more you repeat the activity and become proficient at it the easier it will be to unwind.

For an example of such an exercise try the one below for five minutes and feel how it aids in relaxation and reduces feelings of stress and worry.

1. Sit comfortably with your back straight. Place your hands on a table or desk in front of you.

2. From this position inhale until you feel you are full of air. As you do this I want you to imagine you are pulling a white pure light into your abdomen.

3. On completion of the inhalation hold this white light for a second (at most) in your abdomen then exhale.

4. Repeat five times slowly. This is the first step.

5. Now lets advance this! Do the same as above and have the white light in your abdomen area.

6. This time though do not simply exhale. Instead, as you exhale, imagine this white light spreading from your abdomen throughout your entire body. As it spreads into your legs, feet, chest and head allow it to soothe and relax your major body parts.

7. Do this at least five times slowly. This requires a slow exhale to allow time for you to visualise this pure, relaxing, white light time to spread throughout your whole being. Feel your muscles (and mind) loose any unnecessary tension.

Try this right now.

Give yourself five minutes to experience how just your controlled breath can really make a difference. At the end of each day perform this for five to ten minutes. Not only will it help tension to melt from your mind it will also benefit your health through your deep focused breathing gently massaging your internal organs.

Simplify Your Life - The Easy Way to Relieve Stress

One of the primary stressors for many women is time, or rather, feeling the lack of it. It's important to set priorities and to accept that there is only so much you can accomplish in one day. If you con­stantly feel time pressured, take a thoughtful look at your life. You might find it helpful to write down how you spend your time, hour by hour, over the course of a week. The next step is to decide what is really important to you and to practice letting the rest go. Make sure that you are making time for yourself each day for self-nurtur­ing, exercise, and relaxation. The more you give to yourself, the more you have to give to others. If your cup is empty, you don't have much to share. Ask other people for help, delegate responsi­bilities, and simplify your life.

Simplifying your life is a powerful way to create more time. Too many possessions create stress and drain your energy just by their sheer presence and the need to take care of them. If you are overwhelmed by the prospect of simplifying your life, take it one room at a time, or even one drawer or one closet at a time, and keep going until you have pared your possessions down to what is essential and to what brings beauty to your life and nourishes your spirit. Make your home a refuge that is peaceful and beautiful. Fill your sacred space with natural light, fresh air, plants, flowers, pleas­ing colors, soothing music, and wonderful fragrances. Everything in your surroundings affects you, so consciously create an environment that is deeply satisfying and relaxing.

Dealing With Stress

When you are stressed, the hardest thing in the world is dealing with stress. After all, it's already there and stress is not the sort of thing that is dealt with very easily. It tends to consume the mind, cause fatigue, prevent concentration, and can even cause memory problems. It is as though the brain is so wrapped up in its stress that it does not have room for anything else. Thus, in order to stay alert, aware and clear-headed, it is necessary to have a strategy for dealing with stress.

The best method for dealing with stress is, of course, to prevent it in the first place. This is best done by staying focused on what you are doing rather than worrying about everything that needs to be done. By concentrating on, let's say, the work you are doing, you can avoid work stress. It is a simple matter of focus. By simply staying in the moment and letting each moment move you forward, your stress levels will stay low. However, when you step back and look at the big picture and think to yourself, "How the heck am I going to get all this done?" you will not be helping yourself. Instead of working to get things done, you will instead be thinking about how you will never get it done and you will create your own, self-fulfilling prophecy! This, needless to say, is bad. Concentrate on what you are doing and the work will take care of itself.

However, supposing that you are already wrapped up in stress, it is already too late to try to keep it away. Thus, you need to get relief. The best thing you can do in this situation is to walk away. That's right, get up, go someplace else and let everything sit for a bit. Think about something else, worry about how to make a decent sandwich, pour yourself a nice cup of coffee and watch the fluid fill the cup. Take a look out the window and watch the people, cars or ducks go by. Just notice something else and concentrate on that. By doing this, you will be able to clear your mind of stress and worry instead about something entirely mundane that is not a source of stress at all. And wouldn't that be a nice change of pace?

Another method of dealing with stress is through a quick round of meditation. This is easily done by simply sitting down, closing your eyes, and concentrating on your breathing. Take a deep breath and notice the air coming into your lungs. Then push all that air out and feel it wafting through your nose or mouth. With a few of these deep breaths, you can quickly clear your mind of its concerns and start with a clean slate. Then, once you open your eyes, you will feel very refreshed. If this didn't work at first, then do it again and see if it makes a difference. Obviously, it takes some practice to master this quick method of meditation, but many people find quick relief from stress by performing this simple breathing exercise. Just keep trying it and, eventually, you will master this technique of dealing with stress.

Another great method for dealing with stress is through exercise. Keeping in shape has excellent benefits for the body and mind, as exercise fills your body with the hormones that it needs to relax. Fortunately, these hormones stay in your body even after you are done with your workout and they will help you to stave off stress. And the more you exercise, the fitter you will be and the better you will feel every day.

One vital method of dealing with stress is to get plenty of sleep every night. Most people do not get enough sleep and, as a result, they feel fatigued during the day. Unfortunately, fatigue tends to cloud the mind and it makes people anxious, nervous, and unable to concentrate. Thus, the mind is not able to cope with stress and, when it arrives, it tends to stay in the mind. Thus, dealing with stress properly requires a solid eight hours of rest every night. So avoid caffeine and alcohol before you go bed, and you will feel much better the following morning.

Dealing with stress is not difficult, but it does take practice. No one has ever mastered any skill in a short period of time and dealing with stress is no different. Just be sure to exercise, get plenty of sleep, learn to concentrate and, if need be, meditate so that you can either keep stress away or deal with it when it arrives. Then, once you have mastered these methods and techniques of dealing with stress, you will feel better, be more effective and you will be much happier every day.

Dealing With Stress at School

For all that talk of school being the "best time in your life", one of the most difficult results of school is simple school stress. Of course, school stress is not only brought on by classes, homework, papers to write, problems to solve, and the persistent need to keep up with reading. It is also brought on by the often taxing work of keeping up with friends, keeping up with life, keeping the parents happy, and rather onerous task of simply being young and trying to figure out what the heck you are going to do with the next, oh, 40 to 50 years of your life. Thus, it may very well be the best time in your life, but it is also one of the worst.

The biggest source of school stress if, of course, school itself. The constant press of classes and schoolwork never seems to be relieved and trying to keep pace with everything that is happening is nothing short of a Herculean task. Teachers are constantly loading you with piles of work that often seems to be mere busywork and all of it needs to be done yesterday. On top of that, you need to switch gears between any one of a number of different subjects, running the gamut from mathematics to literature to chemistry to history. And you need to be able to do it as rapidly as a Formula 1 driver navigating a series of S-curves. To call it taxing is not quite accurate. I think a better word would be extortionate.

Unfortunately, the biggest problem with school stress is that there is no way around all this work. It has to be done whether you like it or not, so at some point you need to actually sit down and do it. That is the bad news. The good news is that others have done it before you and it can be turned into a manageable duty.

Much as you are probably tired of hearing about it, the key to all of this is to prioritize your tasks. Figure out what needs to be done first, what needs to be done second, then third and so on. If you need to make a list of everything that needs doing so that you can then rate the priority, by all means do so. It is actually fairly therapeutic to make a list and it will help to reduce your school stress simply by putting everything in order. Then, when you finish a task, you can cross it off.

Once you have your prioritized list of tasks, it is time to get things done. While you are doing your work, do not think about your other tasks. Just keep your mind on what you are doing at the time. If it is physics equations, just do the equations and don't ponder anything else. Keep focused and get through until the work is completed. Then, cross it off your list and move on to the next task.

Also, while you are attempting to concentrate on your work, remember to take a break every so often. Lean back and stretch your shoulders and neck every 15 minutes or so. About every hour, stand up and take a quick walk around the room. Just take your mind off of your work for a few minutes, then go back to it. This will give your already addled brain a rest, allowing you to get back into the swing full speed.

When studying, remember to study where you study best. Don't read in bed if you are only going to fall asleep. Don't sit at a desk where you don't have space to spread out all the science books you need. Don't sit in a chair that is so uncomfortable that you think more about the fact your rear end hurts than the work that is in front of you. Find a place where you can focus and stay focused until you are done. That way, your work will get done and you will have the altogether wonderful relief from school stress that only comes with having nothing more you need to do for school that evening.

However, this does not mean that you need to avoid all forms of entertainment while you are working. In fact, you can take a break for television or for computer games. Of course, this is only if you have the willpower to walk away from it after a set period of time (let's say an hour) and return to your schoolwork. Though the relaxation breaks are nice, taking too many of them will just give you more school stress because you will suddenly realize that it is midnight and you haven't gotten a thing done. If you need to avoid the television until after your work is done, then do it. You know yourself best, so do what works. And only if it actually gets work done.

As for the other concerns of life, well, it's hard to tell you what you need to do. Just keep your schoolwork in front of you and try to make time for other pursuits. After all, there is more to school that just lessons, exams and homework and seeing friends is a great way to keep school stress at bay.

Even if classes are getting you down, school stress does not need to take over your life. If you learn to manage stress now, you will be able to manage stress much better throughout your life. Even if you get nothing else out of school, one of the most important lessons you can learn from school is how to handle stress. After all, school stress is still stress all the same.

Detecting Signs of Stress

In order to keep from becoming stressed, one of the first things to do is to be aware of the signs of stress. This is, admittedly, difficult, since people who are stressed are usually too stressed to notice that they are stressed. This is because stress tends to wrap itself up into a self-concerned package that not only alerts you to everything that you need to do or everything that is going wrong, all the while preventing you from actually taking care of anything that is stressing you. However, if you are aware of the signs of stress, you can at least tuck this information into your subconscious so that your brain might just remind you that your biggest problem is stress itself.

Of all the signs of stress the most obvious is persistent worrying. This is a state where your brain is constantly reminding itself of problems or issues that need resolving. In fact, this is not only a sign of stress, it could be referred to as stress itself. After all, stress is a condition where worry and concern take over the mind to the exclusion of all other thoughts. Though worry is sometimes unavoidable, stress is actually a condition where worry is so all-consuming that there is no other room in the mind for anything else. Unfortunately, this can lead to physical health problems that will hurt you in other ways.

Second on the list of the signs of stress is the headache. This is the most common physical ailment that arises from stress and it can be debilitating. In fact, stress headaches can sometimes reach into the area of migraines and those can leave you unable to even move. However, stress headaches can also appear when you are relaxed, simply because your brain is so used to being stressed, it does not know how to be anything else. Thus, the relieving of tension can create a wicked headache, or even a migraine, that will also leave you debilitated. So if you don't want to be knocked out by stress every weekend, you should keep stress at bay during the week.

Another common sign of stress is insomnia, or the inability to fall asleep. The most common cause for this is the fact that, when you are under stress, your mind tends to keep racing even when you are trying to relax. Thus, rather than resting, your brain simply continues its frantic pace of activity, preventing you from getting the sleep you need to keep your stress under control. Yes, sleep helps manage stress, yet stress can leave you incapable of sleeping. This is yet another example of the ways in which stress can work to simply continue itself.

Other sleep problems that arise from stress include nightmares, sleepwalking, sleep apnea -- not breathing during sleep, which causes the body to wake up -- and hypersomnia -- or persistent fatigue and desire to sleep. Unfortunately, these syndromes are debilitating and can cause many problems all their own. Thus, if you are suffering from any of these, you should probably see a doctor in order to manage both the condition and the stress that is causing it.

Physical signs of stress can also include ulcers or acid reflux disease. Ulcers are caused by small areas of bleeding in the stomach and acid reflux is a condition where acid enters the esophagus, causing bleeding. Of course, these are very severe problems, since they cause actual bleeding as well as problems digesting food. In the most extreme cases, the bleeding can be so severe that it actually presents problems of blood loss. Needless to say, ulcers and acid reflux disease are no laughing matter and you should see a doctor if you are suffering from either condition.

A frustrating symptom of stress is simply memory problems. These can arise when you are so stressed that your mind has trouble forming new memories. Obviously, this is an extreme case and you should be concerned when you are having trouble remembering things. Unfortunately, this sign of stress can be the most frustrating, simply because you don't know why you cannot remember things. This, of course, gives you even more stress, recreating the original problem.

Among the most dangerous of the signs of stress is high blood pressure. This is caused by the fact that, when people are under stress, their heart tends to beat faster, sending more blood to the body and mind, allowing it to react to physical danger. Of course, most of the problems in today's world do not actually involve physical danger and the automatic, bodily reaction to stress is utterly misplaced. You do not need the "fight or flight" response when you are trying to get some things done at the office, so the increased blood pressure is doing you no good. However, it is especially dangerous because it can create circulatory problems that can lead to heart attacks or strokes. Thus, stress must be managed if you want to avoid causing yourself permanent, debilitating harm or even death.

The signs of stress are not just mental problems. In fact, stress creates physical problems as well. Thus, if you want to keep yourself healthy, you need to manage stress. And the best way to do it is to be aware of the signs of stress and attend to them before they do you permanent harm.

Reduce Your Stress With Stress Balls

Of all the methods of stress elimination used, the most popular methods is through good old stress balls. The simple act of squeezing something in your hand can help you ease a few of your concerns, release some built-up tension, and make you feel like you are at least doing something rather than brooding upon everything that has you down. Fortunately, stress balls are easy to find and they can be very effective for some quick relief.

The most common stress balls are the beanbag type that can be picked up at job fairs and industry gatherings. They are very effective, they provide enough resistance to make you feel good and they give off a relieving noise that tells you that something is happening. Sure it is just some sort of filler grating against itself, but darn it, it's something! And when you are stressed, the simple feeling of doing something, anything is its own reward. Plus, you are getting a little bit of a workout for your hands and even this form of exercise can give you some benefits.

As well, there are some liquid filled stress balls that can be very good for relieving your worries. They usually do not give as much resistance as the beanbag type, but they do still provide you with something that will give your hands a workout. This can be a good thing if you tend to squeeze the stress ball a lot, simply because your hands will not get tired as quickly. As well, they tend to squeeze out much more than the beanbag type, so they give you a bit more of a feeling of doing something. However, they also tend to make a serious mess if you happen to break them, since the contents cannot be vacuumed up. But, if you are going to be spending a lot of time squeezing the stress ball, this might just suit your fancy.

However, not all stress balls are the squeezable kind. There are also Chinese stress balls that are made out of very hard materials that are not meant for squeezing. Rather, they come in pairs so that you can roll them around in your hand in order to relieve stress. Also, these stress balls sometimes come with some sort of noisemaker inside that provides a soothing sound other than the noise of the balls banging and rubbing against each other. However, this form of stress ball is usually not very good to use at work, since they do tend to make some noise. But, if you are sitting at home and you want to relieve a little tension, they can be very soothing.

When using stress balls, it is best to treat them as a form of meditation. That is, you concentrate on the stress balls so that you are not worrying about anything else. Feel them in your hand and notice the weight. When you are either squeezing them or rolling them around in your hand, notice how they feel in your palm and in your fingers. Concentrate on putting your concerns into your hand, then putting them into the stress balls, as though they are absorbing all that stress and taking it away. By placing all your thoughts into your stress balls, you can push away all those concerns and worries and put them into an inanimate object that does not notice the stress. Then, once you are done, you should feel as though a burden has been lifted and your mind is cleared.

However, you should also be careful with stress balls, as the squeezable kind can break. Yes, it takes a lot of effort, time and strength to break them, but it can be done. Thus, if you notice any leaks in your stress ball, or you notice that weak spots are starting to appear, you should throw it out and get a new one. After all, the stress of cleaning up some sort of fluid or vaccuuming up a large quantity of small, grainy material can stress you out too. Thus, do not squeeze a stress ball over a computer keyboard. If it does break, you will have a lot of problems that you would much rather avoid -- such as the need to run out and buy and new keyboard.

Used properly, stress balls can have a very beneficial effect on your mind and body. Though the only workout you are getting from them is in your hands, it is at least something. And those people who have to type constantly could also get a nice break from pecking at a keyboard and, by exercising their hands in a different way, will be able to prevent carpal tunnel syndrome. So see what is out there, see what you like, and let some stress balls take away those petty concerns for you.

Recognizing Acute Stress

For those who are familiar with stress, there is a distinct difference between regular stress and acute stress. While regular stress is a part of daily life in the hectic world of today, acute stress is an altogether different animal.

While stress is certainly a problem, considering that it can cause a weakening of the immune system, problems with memory, an inability to concentrate, and coronary disease, acute stress is something else. In fact, acute stress can actually cause a complete mental and physical breakdown.

Acute stress is caused by the most severe circumstances. It is often the result of threatened or actual death, serious injury, or some form of physical violation, such as rape. The person suffering from acute stress usually feels some sort of revulsion or horror at the sight of the event, or from the experience of the event. Then, after acute stress, the person is at serious risk of developing post-traumatic stress disorder. Furthermore, the experience of acute stress can have lasting, even permanent effects upon the person who suffered the acute stress and they may not be able to fully adjust to life after the event.

Acute stress is, at its core, a form of psychological trauma, not unlike physical trauma. The person is in such a form of mental distress that the brain is almost incapable of coping with the stress and shuts down. The person who suffers from acute stress feels a sense of numbness and they are unable to connect to the world outside. They cannot adjust to the reality that surrounds them and they are, in many ways, stuck in the moment when they suffered the acute stress.

The problem with acute stress is that it creates a sort of loop tape in the person's mind, in which they continually replay the event over and over again without being able to stop it. The event is so completely consuming and yet so terrible that the person who lived through it continues to think about it until they are almost incapable of moving beyond it.

Unfortunately, the results of acute stress are not merely limited to inward issues. If left unchecked, acute stress can result in anxiety, inability to concentrate, post-traumatic stress disorder, and even nervous breakdown. Thus, acute stress is no minor issue. In fact, it must be dealt with quickly in order to prevent serious repercussions upon the mind.

If the symptoms of acute stress, such as detachment, anxiety, or a general desire to avoid anything that may remind the person of the event that caused the acute stress, it is generally considered that the acute stress has transitioned into post-traumatic stress disorder. Thus, anyone who has suffered acute stress should seek some sort of treatment so that this does not happen.

The first form of treatment that comes to most peoples' minds is psychotherapy. The sessions with a psychiatrist or psychologist are at least familiar to people and they are very useful for treating acute stress. However, many people shy away from psychotherapy simply because of the stigma attached to it.

Another method of therapy for acute stress is cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). CBT is designed to help people deal with their problems or fears through a combination of treatments all working toward the same goal. The cognitive portion of CBT treats the mind and helps it think differently about its memories. Then, the behavioral portion helps the person by exposing them to things that will force them to confront their fears or their problems. The behavioral method is already well known as a treatment for phobias and the cognitive treatment is familiar from psychotherapy. However, by combining these methods into one holistic treatment, CBT can bring about some very good results.

Another method for combating acute stress and its aftermath is through medication. Depending on the symptoms, a doctor might prescribe an antidepressant, an anti-anxiety drug, or perhaps some other form of medication. However, people must be very careful with these mood-altering medications, since they do tend to alter the way they think. Thus, people taking medications like these must monitor themselves and see how they react to their effects.

Overall, acute stress is manageable and it is treatable. And it should be treated, as it can lead to depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, and even a complete mental breakdown.

Though people may think that they are handling it fine, acute stress is a form of mental trauma that is essentially comparable to physical trauma; the more severe the trauma, the more severe the results on the person. Thus, anyone who has suffered from some traumatic experience that doesn't seem to want to go away should seek treatment as soon as possible. Though people can't change what happened to them, they can do something to prevent the memories of it from taking over their lives.

Causes of Stress

In order to eliminate or at least control stress, it is vital to know and understand the causes of stress. Of course, there are many causes of stress and they are as varied as the people who suffer from stress, but there are a few places to look first. And by learning about these causes of stress, you can figure out where stress is entering your life.

One of the most common, and most complained about, causes of stress is work. However, it is not only the day-to-day tasks and routine pressures of work that can lead to stress. In fact, the mere concern about keeping a job can be a source of stress. Unfortunately, the combined stress of both work itself and the possibility of losing it creates a sort of double-stress in which people feel they have to work even harder in order to keep their jobs, making the stress that much worse.

As well, for those who have not entered the working world yet, school can be a great source of stress. The constant pressure of schoolwork, friends, teachers, tests, quizzes, papers, and everything else can be enough to make anyone feel like they are in trapped in a vice. In addition, the deadlines are all immoveable, so students are constantly under time pressure. And, to make matters worse, there are often several deadlines overlapping each other, intensifying the demands on time. Then, once final exams arrive, there is a lot to re-learn and students need to spend so much time studying that they can barely sleep. Needless to say, losing sleep does not help people who are under stress. Thus, students need to manage stress just as much as people who work.

Another cause of stress is simple family life. Unfortunately, though we hope that our home lives can be sources of relief from daily stress, they can often be sources of stress all their own. For childen as well as parents and spouses, the home can often be its own source of pressure.

For parents, stress can often come from simply worrying about their children. After all, seeing a child grow up, make mistakes, go through school, go to college, play sports, and often learn things to hard way is enough to make a parent tear their hair out. Thus, despite the joy that children can bring, they can also be causes of stress and worry.

Unfortunately, parents can be causes of stress also. Though they often have their childrens' best interests in mind, they can also put a lot of pressure onto their children, causing them to worry not only about school or life, but also how their parents will react when they hear about some new event, success, or error. It is as though there is no place to turn when things go wrong, creating extra stress. No, it is not easy being a parent, but it isn't always easy being a child or a teenager either, since parents can often be causes of stress as much as sources of comfort from it.

On top of that, spouses can also be causes on stress. Let's face it, husbands and wives often have expectations of their significant others and it is not always easy to live up to those expectations. As well, spouses often spend a lot of time avoiding certain arguments simply because they are trying to avoid stress. However, leaving tension in the air while not resolving it can be a cause of stress.

Money is also a major cause of stress, simply for the fact that there never seems to be enough of it. Thus, as the money keeps going out but it never seems to come in enough, stress just keeps mounting. Unfortunately, spouses, children and sometimes parents can often remind us of our shortfalls and they will often increase the stress. Of course, that is to say nothing of the continual reminders from the mortgage or rent, car payments, credit cards and other bills. And, furthermore, it is rather difficult to be philosophical about money stress since attempting to put things into perspective only recalls thoughts about the money that always seems to be missing. Thus, money stress just keeps piling up higher and higher and there never seems to be a way out.

Though this is only a partial list of all the possible causes of stress, these are some of the most common sources. However, no matter where the problem is arising, stress will not make them better. Rather, stress will only make it harder for people to think about their problems and try to solve them. Thus, in order to solve the problems that lead to stress, the best place to start is by managing the stress, then working to solve the problems with a clear and uncluttered mind.

Dealing with Parental Stress

One of the biggest problems with having children is the remarkable fact that they tend to be the source of parental stress. This is, obviously, the unique stress that comes from being a parent and having to worry about the fact that your kids are growing up, learning new things, living their lives their own way, and -- all too often -- figuring out things the hard way. In addition, you have to worry about your kids making the right decisions, staying out of trouble, and just generally turning into human beings just like you. Needless to say, this tends to create a lot of parental stress.

Being a parent isn't easy. After all, you are responsible for raising, instructing, and helping children as they work their way from an infant into adulthood. And even when they go off on their own, you still worry about them as they make their way through the world. Despite the fact that they move on into adulthood, you never stop being a parent and you want to make sure that they are doing okay. Unfortunately, this is easier said than done and it is not easy to let them go. Thus, you find yourself both trying to give them freedom and trying to hang on to them as they go out into the world.

The problem becomes one of both trying to keep a hold of your children and trying to let them be their own people. Thus, in order to allow you children to move on, you need to learn to let them go. That's right, in order to ease parental stress, you need to learn how to be less of a parent. In fact, you need to learn how to let them make their own mistakes. This is very difficult, since you will have to watch them as they go through the process of growing up, largely without your help. This can be very difficult, since you will want to protect them from the world. But the world will show up sometime and you will need to let them learn to deal with it. Needless to say, this will only make parental stress worse for a while, since you will be essentially standing on the sidelines as they make errors that you could have warned them against. Just remember that it will do them good in the long run and they will be better for it.

However, this does not mean that you shouldn't keep an eye on your children. Let's face it, you are still a parent and you need to watch over your children. Trying to cope with parental stress will not be improved by being completely ignorant of your children. Instead, let them be themselves as you try to keep an eye on them. They will find their own way, even if you do not always enjoy the path that they have to go down to get there. Just allow them to be imperfect and they will learn what they need to know in the process.

But when the stress of child-raising gets to be too much, don't be afraid to get help. There are plenty of support groups, books, and websites out there that want to help you through your parental stress. Don't be afraid to give them a try, if for no other reason than to stay informed. Nobody said it was going to be easy, so try to keep your stress under control. Then, by keeping it under control, you can survive a lot of difficult situations and a lot of difficult years and prevent yourself from going crazy with worry.

Just remember that your children will, eventually, become rebellious and they will probably try to act in a way that may shock you. It is well-known that parental stress can be fairly severe during the teenage years, since teenagers are always eager to go their own way. And if that doesn't increase parental stress, nothing will. You will often find yourself on the sideline, trying to figure out what is going on in their heads, but try to remember that you were their age once. Teenagers aren't perfect. Neither are adults. Keep both of those items in mind and you may be able to keep your parental stress to a minimum.

No, parental stress is not easy. No, it is not simple to solve. No, there is no point where you can just let your children go completely. However, by managing your own parental stress, allowing your children to grow up, and understanding that your children need to make their own mistakes sometimes, you can keep your emotions under control and allow your children to be themselves. So, rather than allowing parental stress to take over your life, let parental stress take a backseat to keeping an eye on your children, making sure that they are doing fine, and enjoying the years when they are growing from youth to adulthood and beyond.

Teenage Stress

It has often been said that the teenage years are the "best years of your life". However, anyone who says that does not remember what it is like being a teenager. Between school, life, parents, friends, and the fact that all of them want all of your time, there is no way to get away from the petty concerns and strains that can lead to serious stress. However, nobody seems willing to give up any of the time they demand from you, so you find yourself torn in a thousand different directions with nowhere to turn to for help. Fortunately, you do not need to deal with stress all on your own. Rather, you can find plenty of help, just as long as you look for it. Unfortunately, teenagers rarely look for help and many of the assets available to them are simply ignored. Thus, your teen stress keeps getting worse.

The first place to look for relief from teen stress is at school. There is a certain class of people who desperately want to help teens get through their problems and find solutions, but they usually sit in their offices waiting in vain for someone to talk to them. These people are guidance counselors and they are there to help you. However, it is very rare for someone to avail themselves of this prime opportunity for assistance, so actually sitting down with somebody is a treat for them and they will do all they can to help. True, most people think that guidance counselors are really just lost souls who can't seem to get out of school, but that is not the case. Guidance counselors decided on their career because they want to help others. Which means that they want to help you.

As well, you can get help for teen stress through your teachers. True, most of the help you get will probably be for your work in the classroom but, strange as it may seem, teachers are actually human beings. They want to connect with their students so that, when you go to see them, they will be happy to help you. If you go to them in order to get help with your schoolwork, they will happily give you assistance. They can help you through any issues or difficulties that you may be having and you will can learn more from them after class than you will during class. Such one-on-one sessions can help them narrow down issues in a way that they cannot while they are lecturing to a room full of students.

Additionally, once you sit down with your teachers, you may actually discover that you enjoy talking to them. After all, to repeat a point, they are people. And because they spend so much time in the company of teenagers, they understand teen stress. However, they also understand it from a philosophical perspective that can breathe some fresh air into the problems that you are confronting. Though you may not always enjoy the answers they can provide, they will be worth thinking about and, in the fullness of time, you will probably discover that they provided a very good insight into your problems.

Another excellent source for teen stress is with your parents. This is because of a simple fact that you may not want to accept. This is the simple fact that parents tend to have children who are very similar to them. No, it's really not pleasant to think about, since that means that you may turn out to be like your parents. But, let us put that aside for now.

Your parents were once your age (strange as that may seem) and teens often have to go through very similar problems. Thus, your parents have felt teen stress and they know what it is like. Sure, they may not want to admit that it was anything special, but they will, hopefully, remember that it was not easy at the time. So if you really need to get some sort of advice or help, sit down and talk to your parents. Not only will you get some sort of help, but you will also make their day. After all, how many parents get the chance to really connect with their teenage children?

Teen stress is one of the hardest things to get through, but you can rest assured that it has been done. Billions of people in the world have all had to go through the travails of the teenage years and they have through to the other side. So prepare yourself, get help when you need it, and look for help when you can. By relying on people who have "been there, done that" you can see your way clear to the other side. Then, you can safely look back on your teen stress and say stupid things like, "the teenage years are the best years of your life!"

Coping with Chronic Stress

There are some people who only get stress from time to time and there are others who suffer from chronic stress. Obviously, it is easier to deal with stress that only arises occasionally, while it is almost impossible to get away from chronic stress.

Chronic stress is a condition in which stress arrives routinely and can often stay for days, weeks, and even months at a time, leaving people almost unable to think about anything other than everything that there is to worry about . Unfortunately, the mere sense of worry is not the worst the worst of it. It also leaves people fatigued and unable to concentrate and it can lead to problems with memory and even leave people unable to sleep right. Then, in its worst forms, it can even lead to a complete nervous breakdown, leaving the sufferer incapable of doing anything.

On top of the mental symptoms, chronic stress also leads to a weakened immune system, leaving a person vulnerable to disease. Then, if left unchecked, chronic stress will cause high blood pressure, coronary disease and even strokes. This is because stress tends to elevate the blood pressure, which is very dangerous if it continues too long. And as the heart continues to pump too quickly, it will swell up and eventually break down. Also, stress tells the body to create more platelets, which are designed to stop bleeding in cuts. Unfortunately, these can also lead to blood clots, such as those that cause hearts attacks and strokes. Thus, chronic stress can have serious repercussions on a person's physical health.

One source of chronic stress can actually be post-traumatic stress disorder. This is a syndrome in which the person has had some sort of sudden, severe stress that has shocked the mind so fiercely that it is incapable of moving beyond that moment. In fact, there is research showing that a severe shock to the system can actually change the chemistry of the brain so that it is becomes suddenly accustomed to stress and it actually desires to stay in a state of stress. Thus, instead of moving beyond a severe shock, the brain is stuck in it and it is almost addicted to the sense of stress. Thus, rather than finding a way to come to grips with the problem, the brain is actually trying to return to it so that it can feel that shock again. This may seem to be counterintuitive, since the stress is usually a very unpleasant one, but the sudden rush of chemicals to the brain is not unlike using a drug. And, after that experience, the brain wants more of those chemicals in order to get its "fix".

However, a sudden shock is not the only source of chronic stress. In fact, chronic stress can also result from a long period of stress. This may come from an intense period of work, or a rough period of time with the family, or even a project that was both enjoyable and a high priority. Just like post-traumatic stress disorder, the brain has become accustomed to having all those exciting chemicals flowing through it, so wants to return to the days when it was working at such an intense rate. Thus, once the brain is tuned for stress, it immediately goes back to it like a junkie returning to a dealer.

The problem, of course, is how to get the brain to get less accustomed to stress. Unfortunately, this is not easy, since the brain's chemistry is now attuned to the feeling and its receptors now have a heightened sensitivity to stress. This is not easy, but it can be done.

People with chronic stress should seek relief through exercise, eating right, and getting plenty of sleep every night. All of these activities will help balance the mind and allow it to work more clearly while easing fatigue and the inability to concentrate. As well, a long vacation can provide some relief, as the simple act of getting away from it all will give the mind a chance to relax. Or, for the most severe cases, a person suffering from chronic stress may want to see a counselor or therapist who can help them through their memories and find some solutions. However, there is a certain stigma attached to this form of therapy, so people often shy away from seeking it. But people suffering from chronic stress should be afraid to ask for help and these people are more than happy to provide it.

Though chronic stress is difficult to deal with, it is not an impossible syndrome. Sufferers simply need to come to grips with their stress and find solutions that will work for them. Though it is a tough road to travel down, the rewards are immense for both mental and physical health. Thus, once chronic stress has been found, it should be dealt with immediately.

How to Relieve Stress

One question that is not asked enough by people under stress is how to relieve stress. Unfortunately, people who are under stress tend to simply take it as a matter of course and simply accept its existence as though it was some sort of natural occurrence, or even a boon! Thus, people who are feeling the effects of stress do not actually take the time to notice that they are under stress and need relief. And when people are under stress, the first part of tackling the problem of how to relieve stress is actually realizing that there is stress that needs to be relieved.

Are you having trouble concentrating? Are you struggling with a project that doesn't seem to be going anywhere? Are you dealing with people who simply will not listen to sense? Are you frustrated with the way things are going? Congratulations, you have stress. Okay, this is not really something to be congratulated on, but it is important to understand this fact. After all, the beginning of the "How to relieve stress" problem begins with recognizing the warning signs. Then, once the warning signs are seen, healing can begin.

The first thing to do when you want to know how to relieve stress is to learn how to walk away. That's right, get up, go someplace else, and just cool off. It is often vital to hit that reset button and take a few deep breaths away from the action. The work will still be there when you get back, but being there beyond your breaking point will not get it done. An overabundance of things to do will not be helped by a clouded mind, so give your mind a break. Then, once your head is clear again, you can head back and bang out the projects with the greatest of ease. Or at least more ease than when you were sitting in front of a pile of work and wondering how you would get through it all.

Okay, so you need a break, you have walked away, but you are still so stressed that you are ready to pop. Unfortunately, the previous lesson on how to relieve stress has not worked and you need something more powerful. Well, you need to pull out a better method. This means that you need to simply concentrate on nothing.

When stress is way too much for a simple period of walking away, you need to practice an exercise in meditation. This means sitting down, closing your eyes, and thinking about absolutely nothing. Unfortunately, it is very difficult to think about nothing, so you should think about your breathing. Take a deep breath in and feel the air moving through your nostrils, down your windpipe, and into your lungs. Then push that breath out and feel it moving all the way up from your diaphragm, up into your lungs through your windpipe and out of your nostrils. Feel every motion of the air and notice how it feels as it exits. Imagine your tension flowing out with the air, evaporating into the endless space of the atmosphere, diluting into a complete dilution of oxygen. Think about nothing but breathing and notice every moment of the experience. Then, after about 3 or 4 breaths -- or as many as it takes -- open your eyes. You should feel as refreshed as though you just took a quick, refreshing nap. If you don't repeat the exercise until your mind is clear and you are able to concentrate on your work again.

These activities are very effective for a short period of time, but you will also need a method for relieving stress in the long run. After all, it is taxing to notice that you are under stress and it takes a great deal of will to make that leap and push away all those feelings. Thus, you need a way to relieve stress in the long term.

In the long term, the best method to choose, when you want to know how to relieve stress, is to do what you always say you are going to do: eat right, exercise, and get enough sleep at night. Yes, we all say that we will do it, but none of us every actually follow through. But, if you eat right, you will feel better during the day, if you exercise, you will feel better during the day and sleep better at night, and if you sleep enough, you will actually clear away all that fogginess that can lead to stress. So do your body and your mind a favor by taking care of those little things that you keep telling yourself you will do tomorrow. After all, today was yesterday's tomorrow.

When you want to know how to relieve stress, you should begin with a few simple methods as you slowly build up your will power to tackle the larger work of exercising, eating right, and getting the sleep you need. By doing all of these things, your mind will be cleared up, you will feel better during the day, you will sleep better at night, and you will not have to worry about stress nearly as much. After all, once you are relieving stress routinely, you won't have to worry about how to relieve stress.

How To Cut Down On College Stress

Probably the least appreciated form of stress is college stress. This is mostly due to the fact that adults simply see a lot of college students sitting on their rear ends playing video games and drinking, instead of seeing students who are under pressure to succeed all the time. In addition to classes, homework, research, reading, paper writing and problem solving, there are now the problems of how the heck to pay for college and whether there will be any jobs waiting after graduation. Thus, with all these forms of college stress weighing students down, it is no wonder that things tend to get ugly when they "blow off steam".

Of course, there are better ways to deal with stress than to drink an entire case of beer in one day. In fact, abusing your body with any number of chemicals does not really help that much, aside from the fact that people generally relax when they do such things. However, they are usually relaxed before partaking of the latest work of ancient and modern chemistry, so the substances themselves really do not make much of a difference.

Unfortunately, college stress is often the first encounter that some students have with persistent stress, and it is hard for them to deal with it. However, it is also the first time that many of them have had experience with almost complete freedom, so college has a double threat. Complete freedom means the ability to simply ignore the cause of stress, which is usually the classes they need to stay in college. Thus, the problem of freshmen retention in many universities.

Unfortunately, most students don't even attempt to find help for their stress problems. In fact, the most common effort to help students through their stress is to tell them to either just get their work done or to get used to it. Of course, this advice usually comes from their friends and, though there is a certain set that could use this advice, many other students are struggling to keep up simply because they are unable to cope with their stress. Thus, by relieving their own minds of their concerns, they could help their grades and help keep themselves in school.

The best place to start looking for relief from college stress is by talking to an advisor. They are more than happy to help students because they want to help them and, for the most part, nobody ever visits them. Thus, they are very eager to help, but very lonely, so they will be more than happy to give a hand to anyone who needs it. If you are a student under stress, they can help you deal with the classroom concerns and direct you to people who can help alleviate your stress concerns. It doesn't matter how personal the problems might be, advisors are very private, very discreet, and they are more than happy to provide you with assistance.

For those who need more regular relief from college stress, there are other options to the usual cure of barley and hops. In fact, colleges are a wealth of opportunities to learn new stress-reduction methods. For instance, there are yoga clubs, meditation classes, and even courses in tai chi that can help you learn how to cope with stress and ease its effects on you. As well, many colleges will provide stress-relief seminars every so often, simply to help their students keep their stress at bay. By all means, look for these seminars and make use of them.

Another way to keep college stress at bay is to simply budget your time properly. Yes, that means that you should actually perform that time-honored and often-overlooked stress reduction method known as "getting work done early". This not only means getting your homework polished off and done before the day it is due, you should also attempt to start long-term projects more than one day before they are due. By spreading out projects, you can actually relieve a lot of stress. This is because you will actually be giving yourself less work to do later and you will not have to freak out at the last minute because the work is not done. Yes, I know you've heard this all before, but if you want to avoid college stress, you need to actually do it for a change.

College stress is a major problem for university students, but it is mostly ignored by the students who are actually under stress. In fact, they usually just try to press through their stress without considering that it does not need to keep them under its thumb. However, that does not need to be the case. Students can help themselves by simply recognizing their own college stress and making a few efforts to alleviate it.

Reduce Your Stress: Read A Book

It will take you to faraway places with white sandy beaches and clear azure skies in the blink of an eye. It will take you back in time to the days of prehistoric monsters or thrust you forward to the Big Brother world of tomorrow. It can even fill your eyes with tears one moment and make you laugh out loud the next.

Reading a good novel or story will open a window to the world and give you a vision of things you never dreamed possible. And the side benefit is, reading is one of the best ways to reduce your stress level and can even help you solve whatever problem is ailing you.

Reading is the great escape and it also works well as a way to relax. When you curl up with a good book, you put the rest of the world and all its troubles out of your mind as you are taken to distant places to learn about different time periods, and to expose yourself to new ideas and philosophies. You are essentially taking a vacation of the mind - but one that can be virtually cost-free, especially if you live near a library.

Of course, reading is also a great way to reduce stress by gaining the knowledge you need to solve problems. For example, let's say you're overweight and this is causing you stress. You find that the more weight you gain, the more stressed you become, which just causes you to eat more. Instead of getting stressed out, why not read a good book about nutrition that will teach you how to plan meals better, so they're low-cal and low-fat. This could very well result in reducing your weight problem and it could even disappear altogether along with the stress that is bringing you down.

Reading can also be a source of great hope, giving you ideas and inspiration that will relieve your stress. Biographies and rags-to-riches stories about famous people will teach how they overcame their struggles. These stories of triumph might even inspire you to seek ways to overcome the challenges in your life.

Of course, there are also times when reading can increase your stress level. For instance, if you are studying for a test, or reading about tragedies in your local newspaper, you might find your stress levels skyrocketing. That's why it's important to choose your reading material carefully. If you're feeling stressed, why not pick up a book that will relax you. A good travel book, or cookbook, or book of poetry are far better choices than news magazines filled with stories about all the things that are wrong in the world.

Self-help books are also a very effective way to help reduce stress. They encourage you to explore your feelings and they recommend such techniques as listening to soothing music, learning how to play a musical instrument, or just engaging in deep breathing in order to deal with stressful situations.

One of the best stress reliever is reading a good novel. It's the best medicine there is without the side effects of drugs. When you read a good story, whether it be a historical fiction or a mystery thriller or a comic novel, it almost always transports you away from anxieties and frustrations. It allows your imagination to run free and then leaves you feeling refreshed and invigorated. When you are reading it forces you to concentrate, to exercise your mind in a way that passively watching TV or a movie can never match.

In the long run, it doesn't matter what you read but how much you read. Try reading while standing in the grocery line, or at the bank, or while pedaling your stationary bike. The more you read, the more you will want to read because you will quickly discover its short and long term stress reducing benefits.

Your Job May Be Killing You

If asked if your job is stressful, chances are you would answer with an emphatic "Boy is it ever"! Work is by far the leading source of stress in our lives. Nine out of ten people say they experience high levels of stress several times a week. And one out of four of us have high stress levels every day.

What you may not know is that your stress from work may, in fact, be affecting your health. Stress affects the body in many different ways. Some kinds of stress are beneficial. Others can cause serious health problems.

Chronic stress weakens the body's physiological systems and leads to innumerable health problems. In fact, 70 to 80 percent of all disease and illness is stress related.

Major stress related health problems include:

  • coronary heart disease
  • cancer
  • the common cold
  • migraine headaches
  • warts
  • some cases of female infertility
  • ulcers
  • insomnia
  • hypertension

Over $400 billion dollars a year is spent on stress related diseases.

Even more frightening is that job stress is at an all-time high and continues to rise. Gone are the days of working 40 hours a week. The average person now works 60 hours a week which means more hours of prolonged stress and less time to relax.

Job stress even invades our vacation time. According to Anderson Consulting, 80% of people who took vacations in 2000 stayed in touch with the office by taking their laptop or cell phone with them.

There are several indicators you can use to determine if you suffer from chronic stress. Warning signs of chronic stress include headaches, teeth-grinding, back pain (especially in the shoulders or neck), anxiety, and insomnia.

It is important to identify the factors at work that may be causing your stress. Examine the responsibilities of your job. High responsibility jobs can be a source of great stress. Your work environment can also cause stress if it is noisy, crowded, etc. If you have interpersonal problems at work, this can be one of the greatest sources of work-related stress.

If you suffer from chronic stress, there are a lot of things you can do to reduce the stress. Some of the most effective stress management techniques include relaxation exercises, meditation, or taking a short nap. If you are at work and need to reduce stress, try deep (abdominal) breathing, take a short break, or talk to a friend or co-worker.

Ultimately, virtually every job is stressful somewhat. But by identifying and effectively managing your stress, you can reduce its negative effects and enjoy a healthier life.