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Is Your Anxiety Caused by Stress?

Stress is a part of life, right? It cannot be completely avoided. And to be honest, some stress can be good for you and downright fun. The stress you feel skiing down the side of a mountain for example. However, too much stress and the wrong kind of stress, can harm your health. And if you’re prone to anxiety attacks, stress can certainly make it worse.

Problems Caused By Stress

Stress, chronic and intense stress, essentially requires your body to work much harder than it normally would. It taxes you body and all of your systems. Too much stress over a period of time can cause:

* Insomnia
* Diabetes
* Heart disease
* High blood pressure
* Autoimmune diseases
* Depression
* And anxiety conditions
* Chronic illness from a weakened immune system.

Here’s what happens. Your systems, when you’re under extreme and prolonged stress, become overworked. They start to degrade. Your muscles, metabolism, immune system and even your hormones lose their ability to operate optimally and things start to fall apart.

As your systems degrade, other systems will try to step up to compensate for the weakness. This of course throws your body into even more turmoil. One of the systems that is passively affected are your hormones and your brain chemistry.
As hormonal systems and your brain chemistry change, you become more susceptible to depression and anxiety conditions.

So the short answer to the question, does stress cause anxiety is…yes it absolutely can.

What is “Too Much Stress?”

The answer is different for every individual. Circumstances like genetics, mindset, and environment can help or hinder a person’s ability to manage stress. You know you’re under too much stress when you start seeing the warning signs. They can include:

* Difficulty sleeping
* Turning to drugs or alcohol to relax
* Quick to snap or become angry
* Moodiness
* Depression
* Digestive troubles
* Headaches

If you notice any of these symptoms or simply feel like you’re under too much stress, then it’s time to take some action. You want to learn to release stress, relax and modify your lifestyle before the damage is too severe.

Reversing The Damage

Your body is an amazing thing. It’s capable of regenerating itself and essentially healing itself. This means that even if you’ve been dealing with tremendous stress, you can reverse the damage.

Meditate. Teach yourself to relax your mind and body. Practice on a daily basis. Meditation has been proven to improve longevity and quality of life.

Diet and exercise. What you eat and how you treat your body has a direct effect on what it can manage. Eating a healthy diet rich in nutrients and vitamins will go a long way toward repairing the damage caused by stress. It will also help you manage stress better in the future. Exercise really is as amazing for your body as everyone says it is. Just 30 minutes a day of moderate exercise, like walking, dancing or yoga, can change your outlook.

Sleep. Sleep is the time when your body regenerates. All of your systems need sleep to function optimally. If you struggle with sleeping, consider seeking help for this specifically. A good night’s sleep can help you get through a stressful day or event without a problem.

Stress is intimately connected with anxiety and anxiety disorders. Learn to recognize the signs of too much stress. Treat your body well and it will treat you well too.

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I am willing to help anyone I meet who is in need, and I do so joyfully. I consider myself fortunate to have the means to help others.

I believe that small gestures really do matter. A cathedral would be but a foundation without the blocks that give it shape. A symphony would be flat noise without the notes that compose it.

Likewise, when I act kindly or generously, I help give shape to the goodness in the world. When I assist a neighbor who’s moving furniture or when I give a cup of coffee to the homeless man on the corner, I am fully aware that I am not changing the world with my actions. And yet, I know that I am contributing to making the world a better place. After all, each gesture can have a significant impact.

I believe that giving to others not only helps the recipient, but me as well. What I send out comes back to me, ten-fold, sometimes in kind but often in a form that is different but equally valuable.

When I give generously and without expectation of fanfare, I expand my spirit and open myself up to receive much good in return.

Self-Reflection Questions:

1. Do I appreciate or resent those who need my help?
2. In what ways have I been physically, emotionally, or spiritually rewarded by helping others?
3. What opportunities to help others have I passed up because I felt the gesture was too small to matter?

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A feeling of self-fulfillment is a result of knowing that you’re living at your best, living life near the limits of your capabilities. Many of us, however, are not challenging ourselves sufficiently to feel self-fulfilled. The main obstacle is the desire to be comfortable. But we only grow when we live beyond our comfort zone.

Did you know that organisms that aren’t stressed enough early in life don’t thrive as well? It’s true. For example, the temperature variations that bird and reptile eggs are subjected to actually increase the amount of vigor in the newly hatched animals. If an egg is incubated at a very precise temperature, the resulting hatchling is weak.

In many ways, we are similar to that hatchling. A lack of challenge and stimulation decreases our ability to deal with the demands of the world. Our capabilities actually decrease. Obviously, this is a movement in the wrong direction if we really want a feeling of self-fulfillment.

Expanding one’s comfort zone can be scary or exciting, depending on your perspective. But regardless, it’s at least a little uncomfortable. This is how we grow as human beings.

The key is to start slowly and begin to expand your horizons. Soon it will feel normal. A strong step in the right direction is all that’s needed, then another. You’ll be shocked, and thrilled at the results. Then it’s time to move a little further.

Scenario: From Shyness to Confident Public Speaker

Perhaps you can identify with a desire to become comfortable with public speaking, however you’re naturally shy. If you’re really shy, you most likely aren’t very social. You may even have difficulty looking a stranger in the eye.

Naturally, your inclination will be to avoid other people. But humans are social animals. We have a basic need for companionship and other human interaction. How self-fulfilled are you likely to be if you can’t even interact comfortably with other people?

You could decide to join a public speaking club and schedule three speeches each week, but that will most likely be way too difficult – so much so that you may quit before you ever begin.

Instead, try this strategy: focus on getting to know your neighbors and asking strangers for direction. If you do this with sufficient regularity, you’ll eventually feel comfortable with these tasks. You can then extend beyond that and start having meaningful conversations with strangers. Eventually, you could become a comfortable, relaxed public speaker.

By expanding your comfort zone, you provide yourself with more options. More options lead to a life with far more variety. When you feel like you have options, you can realize fulfillment.

How to Expand Your Comfort Zone

Try this easy process:

1. Choose something from your own life that’s limiting you. Maybe it’s communicating with others. Maybe you’d like to be a musician, but you’re afraid to perform. Maybe you want to become a writer but you’re too nervous about being judged.

2. Take one small step. Now think about one small, relatively easy step you could take towards realizing that new activity. It can’t be completely without discomfort or it won’t increase your comfort zone. Perform this activity again and again until you feel that you can take the next step.

3. Pick something else. Repeat step 2.

4. Rinse and repeat.

It really is that simple.

Increasing your comfort zone is uncomfortable and challenging, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be doing it! The key is to move forward at a pace you can manage, but keep moving.

You’ll be so happy where you end up!

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Maybe you were lucky enough as a young person to have a great woman in your life you could watch and learn from. But sometimes, young people are not that fortunate. All little girls can benefit enormously from having a strong, interesting woman as a role model.

Now that you’re grown, why not become that woman yourself for some young ladies? If you reflect on any female role models you have, you’ll recognize a common thread running through them all: they’re confident in their own skin.

Whether they’re a mom, a CEO, or an English teacher, those women embrace their own lives and express their true selves in the process.

And you can do those same things. When you’re able to accept yourself for who you are, from your strong points to your idiosyncrasies, you’re then free to be the woman you most want to be.

So how, exactly, do you go about this?

Try these tips to be a wonderful female role model:

1. Know who you are. If you allow your own self to emerge, others will notice that you’re genuine and will be drawn to you. When you avoid putting on airs, people are more comfortable around you. Plus, they’re less likely to put up a facade in your presence.

2. Be brave enough to show the world. To extend the idea in the suggestion above, those who lack confidence usually fear showing others who they really are. Demonstrate your confidence by letting people know the “real” you.

3. Express yourself through your appearance. The bottom line is that our appearance is a reflection of who we are. Although how you look isn’t the whole picture, it surely does complete the image. Let your inner self be represented in your appearance.

4. Listen well. One of the most useful behaviors to model for young, aspiring women is to pay attention and listen well to others. Developing the skill of listening is a lifelong process. Be assured that modeling this skill for young people is a huge contribution to their development.

5. Step up and speak up. When necessary, stand up for something that’s important to you or that you believe will make the world a better place. Speaking up just means that you express your thoughts in ways that people can best hear them, in a non-threatening tone using engaging language.

6. Avoid criticizing others. Learn positive ways to provide feedback so that your comments do not come across as harsh criticisms.

7. Let it be. Refrain from becoming involved in negative conversations and situations. Consider these events a waste of your time. We only get a certain number of minutes in a day. Why spend any of yours on negativity?

8. Show love freely. Demonstrating that you care about others and the world in general is a wonderful quality and a great example for young people.

9. Do your own thing. Reveal your innermost self. Do you love to cook, dance, and work with numbers? Then pursue all three. Immerse yourself in whatever excites you. When you feel great about yourself, you experience the freedom to participate in life in ways that increase your enthusiasm for it.

When you do these things, you’ll not only live life to its fullest potential, you’ll provide every girl you encounter with a fascinating, approachable female role model. You’ll give them a lot to think about now and a better life later on, when they grow up and are able to show their own moxie!

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Is Exercise Really a Cure for Panic?

If you’ve ever had a panic attack then you know you’ll do almost anything to avoid ever having another one ever again. They’re scary. They make you feel out of control. It’s actually quite common for people to begin feeling anxious about having another panic attack. This residing fear can drastically affect quality of life.

There are many treatments for panic attacks including medication and therapy. However, one thing that’s commonly recommended for panic attacks and anxiety attacks is exercise. Here’s why:

Exercise helps optimize your body’s systems. When you exercise you release hormones into your body. These hormones create a sense of well being and calm. They in fact, alter your brain chemistry in a positive way. This alteration can mean fewer panic attacks and depending on the case, may mean you don’t suffer another panic attack.

Exercise helps your body manage stress. Scientists and the medical community are not sure what exactly causes a person to have a panic attack. They in fact believe there are many things that contribute to an attack including predisposition, habits, stress and overall health. When you exercise you improve your health and your body’s ability to manage stress. In short, exercise helps to eliminate two of the potential causes for panic attacks.

What Kind of Exercise and how Much?

Most people want to quantify exercise. They want to know how much exercise they must do to get rid of panic attacks and for how long. Let’s be completely honest here and say that exercise may not cure your panic attacks. There are many reasons why they may be happening. What exercise can do is help you reduce them and possibly eliminate them.

Now to the what kind of exercise and how much question…there really is no right or wrong answer. Simply moving your body each day is important. A general rule of thumb is to take 10,000 steps a day. That’s the equivalent of walking 5 miles and you probably already walk around two to three miles a day so you don’t have to add much. You can add ten minutes of walking to your lunch break or walk to the coffee shop instead of driving.

If you can’t get 10,000 steps in each day, then spend 30 minutes moving your body. Stretch, do yoga, swim, dance, jump rope, or ride your bike. Do whatever makes you feel good. When you enjoy what you’re doing, adding it to your day won’t be difficult.

Is exercising a cure for panic attacks. Not necessarily. But it can help you manage stress and anxiety, improve your overall health, and improve your mindset. All of which, help reduce and maybe even eliminate panic attacks.

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I am a kind person, fully capable of loving others. I stir up compassion within me because it is a gift that rewards the giver as much as the recipient.

My heart rejoices with those who rejoice and mourns with those who mourn. I have the ability to place myself in others’ shoes in order to have a clearer understanding of what they are going through.

Instead of feeling sorry for those who are hurting, I practice compassion by actively turning my empathy into action. I do more than simply sympathize with others; I do what I can to become part of the solution.

As I focus on helping others, I feel the stress of my own life begin to shrink. The once seemingly insurmountable hurdles before me are reduced to the size of a single step I can simply walk over when I put others first.

Practicing compassion is the antidote to selfishness. I seize every opportunity to show compassion. I am eager to contribute my time and strength to organizations in need of volunteers because true joy comes from doing something for others.

Because compassion is my habit, my eyes are open to the needs around me. Instead of only responding when I am asked for help, I go out of my way to offer help when I see a need.

Today, I choose to pause long enough to notice the hurt someone else is feeling. I let go of selfishness by taking the focus off of myself and putting my empathy into action.

Self-Reflection Questions:

1. How do I feel when I help others?
2. Is someone around me in need of my help?
3. When was the last time I volunteered my time?


Make your own subliminal messages

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Managing Transitions in Life

The one thing you can be sure of in life is that there will be times when you’re thrown a curve ball. Something will happen that you aren’t expecting.

Even though you know you’ve got the strength to handle anything that life brings you, you might still be taken aback by an unexpected change in your life direction.

These suggestions will help you successfully handle some of life’s transitional times:

1. Take a deep breath. Pause for a moment and give yourself time to just breathe.

2. Process the information. Next, allow yourself some time to think through what’s happened. This might take a few days, depending on your situation. From your perspective, what occurred?

3. Talk about it. Call a close friend or family member you trust and tell them about what’s going on in your life. It helps to hear yourself think aloud whenever you’re faced with an enduring challenge.

4. Consider your options. Although you might not be completely ready to move on yet, try to ponder fully your situation and where you could go from here. Be open-minded about resolving the current issues in the short-term.

* If your situation involves an ending of a relationship, for example, maybe you’ll have to find another place to live quickly. Could you move in with a friend or family member, at least for now? Ask yourself what your possibilities are at the present time.

5. Take time to adjust. You might feel you have to make decisions fairly quickly to get moving forward, but still, it’s wise to allow yourself necessary moments to adjust to what’s happening.


6. Tell yourself that you’ll make it through. After the initial shock wears off, you’ll hopefully reach the point of realizing that “this too shall pass.” Thinking positively is the best way to approach any type of challenging situation. Remind yourself that you have the savvy and fortitude to find your way from this day forward.

7. Begin to formulate a plan. After considerable thinking, you’ll be relieved to see parts of a new plan for your life falling in to place.

8. Recognize your own strengths. Remember back to a time you struggled through a crisis and emerged better than ever. Maybe you had to drop out of college because there wasn’t enough money. You still made it through and were able to return to finish your studies within 2 years. Realize your strength to help you make it through the current situation.

9. Look at the recent change as an opportunity. Even though it might take some effort, allow yourself to see you’re being given a chance to change your life. You’re in a position to improve something about your existence.

* Let your imagination run free. Regard the coming episode of your life as a new adventure and embrace it.

10. Move forward with a sense of purpose. Now that you have the bare bones of a plan, you can proceed ahead with your new life with greater confidence. As time goes by, you’ll grow even surer of the direction you’re heading. Let yourself feel excited about your new goals.

Regardless of what life brings your way, you’ll still keep going. Allow yourself time to breathe and take in the information. Perhaps even talk to someone and ponder your choices.

You have what it takes to successfully manage any transition in life that appears before you. Openly accept this opportunity to let go of the old and embrace the new.

The Master Blueprints

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If you’re like most people, at some point you’ve probably been in an uncomfortable situation where you needed some help. You might have spent hours going over the particulars of what you were going through, desperately trying to determine how you would resolve the event.

If only you’d had enough money to get through until payday, had someone to babysit for you, or been able to borrow someone’s vehicle, the issue could have been all worked out. Your situation would most likely have been easily and quickly resolved had you reached out for assistance.

You may even have had someone in mind whom you could have asked. But you just couldn’t bring yourself to request help. What stopped you? Why didn’t you ask for help?

Maybe it was your pride. Maybe you were ashamed or embarrassed about what you were experiencing. Perhaps you convinced yourself no one else in the world has ever been in the fix you were in.

But even if this may seem contrary to what you were taught as a kid, it’s okay and even smart to ask for assistance when you need help.

Discover how reaching out for help can make your life better:

1. All of us are entitled to ask for help. Sometimes, each of us needs a bit of assistance to solve a challenge we’re dealing with. When you ask for help, you acknowledge your humanity. You show you belong to the worldwide community.

2. Asking is an effective method of problem-solving. Sometimes, issue resolution and relief is just a phone call or conversation away.

3. Give others a chance. You’ll provide a friend or family member with an opportunity to help you through a difficult time. After all, if one of your friends or a family member needed assistance and all it would take was a quick call to you to solve the issue, wouldn’t you want to get that call? Your friends and loved ones are most likely glad to help you.


4. Set the example. When you ask for help, you show friends that they could ask you for assistance someday if they’re in a bind. Frankly, asking for help is what friendship is all about. Friends are usually pleased to reciprocate some favor you’ve done for them in the past.

* Your relationships are also enriched when you ask for and accept help from others. You’ll feel closer to the person who helped you and they’ll feel emotionally closer to you.

5. Connect with others. The person who helps you will gain a better understanding of you and your current situation. Knowing that someone you care about truly understands you can feel incredibly reassuring.

6. Show your character. By asking for help, you’re provided with an opportunity to show your true character. If you borrow money, for example, you’ll be able to show that you repay your debts by promptly paying back the person that helped you. And that’s a good thing.

Re-frame the way you view asking for help. Asking for help demonstrates your humanness, is an effective way to solve challenges, and provides your loved ones with the chance to reach out to you.

Asking for assistance also lets friends know they can ask you for help later on and enriches your relationships. Go ahead and reach out the next time you need help!

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Herbs To Treat Anxiety?

Whether you suffer from chronic stress and anxiety or you experience it only occasionally, you’ve probably already used herbs to manage it without even realizing it. Chamomile tea for example, is an herb that creates a calming effect. Peppermint soothes an upset stomach, however, it’s also often used to ease tension.

Let’s take a look at some other herbs commonly used to treat anxiety.

Ginseng. Ginseng is often added to energy beverages and is thought to enhance a person’s overall health. However, it is most notably used to reduce stress, maintain emotional balance and help induce a state of relaxation. Ginseng can be taken in capsule form or as a tea.

Valerian. Valerian is often used as a natural sleep aid. It is now often used as an anti-anxiety medication. It can also be used as a sedative or tranquilizer. It’s most often consumed in capsule form.

Passionflower. According to several studies passionflower was as effective as some of the benzodiazepines in relieving anxiety. Benzodiazepines are commonly prescribed to patients suffering from an anxiety disorder.

Kava Kava. Kava Kava can be used to treat mild-to-moderate anxiety. However, Kava Kava can have some serious side effects. Most notably, it can cause severe liver damage.

St John’s Wort. St. John’s Wort is often used to treat depression and mild anxiety. Studies have shown it to be effective for mild cases. If someone is severely depressed or suffering an anxiety disorder, St John’s Wort has not shown to be of any help. It can be taken as a capsule or in tea form.

It should be noted with all of the herbs discussed thus far, they can have interactions with other medications. It is extremely important to check with your physician before taking any herb to treat stress or anxiety.

In addition to the herbs discussed above, lavender is commonly used as an essential oil aromatherapy to soothe weary nerves and create a state of calm. It can be inhaled, placed on pressure points on your body – like the inside of your wrists. Lavender can also be added to a bath.

Chamomile tea has been shown to induce a state of relaxation as does peppermint tea or peppermint essential oil. Ylang Ylang, Bergamot, Sandalwood and Cedarwood are also great essential oils for relaxation aromatherapy.

If you suffer from mild anxiety or stress, consider talking to your doctor about herbal treatments. They’re generally much safer than prescription medications which can have health side effects and be addictive. Herbal remedies offer significantly fewer side effects. However, it’s still important to be safe. Check with your doctor and be aware of possible drug interactions and side effects.

The Power of Breathing

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If you’ve had enough of your “Couch Potato” label, you may have also realized how unproductive and unrewarding flipping through channels is, day after day. And you’re ready to make some changes. But where should you start?

Now that you’ve become truly aware of how much of life has passed you by while you watched TV, you can improve your quality of life. One way to do that is to decide on a fresh title – one better suited to your new life. As you refer to yourself differently, a new self-image can quickly follow.

Consider these titles to start adopting a new label and adapting to a refreshing new life:

1. Activity Addict. This tag can have multiple meanings, depending on whether you’re exercising your body, mind, or both! Either way, you’ll love getting active. And the rewards will be far better than if you continue seeing yourself as a Couch Potato.

* If you’ve been sedentary for a prolonged period, choose a form of exercise that you can handle easily. Start small, and work your way up to moderate and high intensity workouts.

* Take up a hobby or pastime that will really get your brain working. How about chess? Auto mechanics? Anything that gets the mind going is better than channel hopping all day!

* Whatever you choose, allow yourself to become consumed by the activity so you’ll have a new purpose in life besides catching your favorite show.

2. Health Food Honcho. Now’s a great time to get turned on by healthy eating. You’ve made the decision to turn your life around, and a great place to begin is with your diet. Start reading magazines and watching TV programs that teach you about healthy food alternatives. Then, cook them into being!

* Visit the supermarket and stock up on healthy groceries instead of driving to the drive-thru of a fast food joint. Your body will definitely thank you!

* Do more cooking, instead of going for pre-packaged meals. That way, you can control the ingredients you consume and make your healthy meals unique and interesting.

* Replace chips and sodas with fruit, veggies, and some whole grains, like brown rice.

3. Discovery Magnet. TV does offer some educational programs. However, you may often be tempted to watch reality TV or other programs that don’t engage your mind. Instead, put down the remote and pick up a book. Spend some time discovering things you knew absolutely nothing about before, and get your think tank firing on all cylinders!

4. Love Bug. Maybe you fell into acting like a Couch Potato because something seemed absent from your love life. Try rebranding yourself as a Love Bug and embracing love. For starters, you can:

* Sign up with a dating website.
* Enlist your friends to help you create a strategy to approach someone you like.
* Bring out your softer, romantic side by listening to songs about love and becoming more attuned with your emotions.

You’ve missed out on a lot by being a Couch Potato, but you can start anew today! Try dropping that label and replacing it with others you’ll definitely get more rewards from. There’s nothing better than living a more positive, rewarding life, that’s motivated by things you love!

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