Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Tips for Sleeping During Pregnancy

Sleeping during pregnancy can be a big problem for many women. Sometimes the issue is that you have way too much on your mind, so it becomes difficult to settle down for sleep. Other Linktimes, sleep problems are caused by the general discomfort that's common in the second and third trimesters. Many women also experience sleep problems brought on by the need to empty their bladders more often than usual. Some scientists actually think that pregnancy sleep problems might be related to hormonal changes that are meant to get you used to waking up every few hours like you'll have to do with a newborn!

You're already likely to be exhausted during pregnancy, so don't let extra sleep problems create even more tiredness in your life. Instead, use these tips to help you get a better night's sleep, no matter what trimester you're in.
Don't drink a lot of water or other fluids right before bed. Certainly you need to up your intake of water and other healthy fluids during pregnancy, but you don't have to do it right before bed. A few hours before bed, start tapering off your fluid intake. If you get thirsty, have just enough sips of water to quench your thirst. This can dramatically impact your ability to stay in bed asleep longer instead of getting up to use the bathroom!

Ease lower back pain with extra pillows. It's best for pregnant women in the second trimester or later to sleep on the left side, which gets the most blood flow to the uterus and kidneys. However, this might be uncomfortable for you at first. Sleeping with your knees bent with a pillow between them can help. Experiment with placing pillows behind your back, too, since this can help support your lower back and ease that pain that often comes with later stages of pregnancy.

Sleep during the day if you can't sleep at night. If possible, take naps during the day. You'll probably need more sleep than usual during your first and third trimesters, and daytime naps can help. Some women actually have an easier time sleeping and getting comfortable during the day, so don't be afraid to sleep then if that's what works for you. Just make sure you're getting your rest!
Exercise for at least thirty minutes a day. Most women in normal pregnancies are encouraged to exercise every day. Talk with your healthcare provider before starting a regimen, but exercise may help you sleep better. It can burn of excess energy, calm your mind, and loosen sore muscles to make sleeping easier. Great exercises for pregnant women include walking, swimming, yoga, and aerobics.

Don't force yourself to sleep. One of the worst things you can do is to try to force yourself to sleep when you can't. Go to bed, and try to fall asleep for about fifteen minutes. If you just can't sleep, feel free to get back up and read, do some needlework, or whatever will make you sleepy. Forcing yourself to sleep will probably just make your brain stay active longer, so try to work with your body instead of against it!


Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Tips for Better Sleep

I was talking to a friend at night recently and she was telling me that she couldn't seem to be able to get to sleep. She didn't know the reason why she was not able to sleep too. She said that she was tired but just couldn't fall asleep. In fact she is not the only person whom I have encountered to have problem falling asleep at night. Another two friends were telling me the same thing; that they felt tired but just couldn't fall asleep. Are you having the same problem? To some, sleep comes almost naturally - they just lay down on the bed and before they know it, they have fallen asleep. Yet to others, sleep is a luxury which ironically they can only dream about. Fortunately most people only experience sleeping problem once in a while. Nothing could be more frustrating than not being able to sleep. Tossing and turning. Your mind is racing, going over everything that happened today.

What contributes to one's sleepless agony? There are many factors that contribute to the sleepless night. These factors include work and household responsibilities which can make sleep difficult to come by. Factor in other unexpected challenges such as financial worries, layoffs, relationship issues or an illness worsen the problem. It is important to know what causes the problem of sleepless night so that one can control or eliminate the problem at its root cause. However, one may not always know what causes the sleepless night. In this case, one can still make some changes in the environment and adopt habits that encourage a better sleep. Let us take a look at some tips which you can use for better sleep.

Regular sleeping hour: It is important to have a good sleeping habit by going to bed at the same time and getting up at the same time every day- even on weekend.

Better sleeping environment: It is important to keep the temperature of your room at a comfortable level. Just as you do not want to wake up in the middle of the night shivering, you do not want to wake up in the night sweating too. Ideally, your room should feel slightly cool when you first enter it. This will ultimately match more closely to that of your body when you are in the deep midst of your sleep. If you are sleeping alone, it will be much easier to achieve this with a little trial and error on your own. If you are sharing the room or sleeping with a partner, it gets a little complicated. Some testing and compromising will usually make everyone happy.

Just as temperature is an important factor that makes the bedroom a better sleeping environment, a quiet room is more conducive for a better sleep. Any inconsistent or irregular noise can lead to inconsistency in your sleeping patterns. Do you know that a fan may helps you to sleep better? I'm kidding you right? No, I'm not. A fan (or anything that will produce a constant monotone noise) will many times offer enough insulation from erratic noise such as a dog barking or traffic that you’ll be able to get a good night’s rest. Of course ear plugs would do the job too.

Besides temperature and noise, lighting is also an important factor to take note. The darker the bedroom, the better it is. You can use curtains or eye covers.

Use the bed for sleeping: With the exception of sex, bed should only be used for sleeping and nothing else. Do not watch TV, use the laptop, listen to the radio, eat, or read in bed.

Go to bed only when you are sleepy: If you can't fall asleep within 15 - 20 minutes, get up and do something boring in dim light until you are sleepy. Don't feel frustrated not being able to fall asleep. The unnecessary stress will only give you more problem sleeping.

No caffeine, nicotine and alcohol before sleep: These are stimulants that can keep you awake. Caffeine is commonly found in coffee, soda, iced tea and chocolate. It is advisable to avoid caffeine intake after lunchtime as caffeine can stay in the system for up to 12 hours. Although smoking gives you a relax feeling, it actually puts stimulant into your bloodstream. Thus it is also not advisable to smoke near bedtime. Alcohol which is often believed to be a sedative and can make it easier to fall asleep, actually disrupts sleep; it causes you to wake up during the night.

Don't go to bed hungry: Probably most people are excited to read this point especially Singaporean where they have the habit of eating supper. It is advisable to have a light snack, but avoid a heavy meal before bed. Research has shown that small snacks rich in carbohydrates may help improve sleep. In addition, milk or dairy products have been shown to be sleep inducing.

Exercise regularly: Exercise is not only a good way to help you to reduce stress, but it can also help you to sleep better. Regular physical activity can help you to fall asleep faster and improve your quality of sleep. However, do not exercise 2 - 3 hours before you sleep especially if you are the type of person who becomes more alert with exercise. Some light stretching will be good.

Last but not least, it is good to have a bedtime routine where by you go through processes to inform your body that it is time to wind down and relax. Some people find that taking a warm bath or shower, reading a book, or listening to soothing music help them to get into the mood of sleeping. Wishing you a peaceful night of good sleep.

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Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Handling Workplace Stress

stress, handling stress, managing stress, workplace stressSo many people take workplace problems and make them into workplace melodramas. Fears pile up, and stress becomes an everyday scene.

Since you are their leader, others look to you for guidance and can take on your emotional state. Therefore, your stress can contribute to a stressful atmosphere. On the other hand, if you relax, everyone who works with you will also begin to feel more relaxed.

So... if your workplace resembles a soap opera, here are some tips for changing your workplace melodrama.

Become a Movie Director

If you think about watching a movie, many times there is a humor worked into a scary situation so that people will laugh for a moment and relieve their tension. Movie directors want to take you on the roller coaster of experiencing extremes of many emotions. They know that humor immediately lowers stress.

The truth is that you actually are a movie director - directing the movies in your mind - all the time. You can direct scary movies... or funny ones.

Here's how to find the funny side of your situation by changing the movie in your mind.

Look for the Humor

There are many ways to look at problems. One way is to look for humor in the situation... Just stop for a few minutes and look for the funny side using these techniques.

Laugh at Yourself

Learn to laugh at yourself - after all, you are only human, and we all do things that we can either beat up ourselves about... or we can laugh about.

Exaggerate your situation.

If there is one difficult person in your stressful situation, imagine hundreds of difficult people doing the same thing. You can also imagine difficult people as babies, or you can picture them as cartoon characters... or even animals.

Change Your Location

In the movie in your mind, change the place where you feel stressed. If it is your office, imagine it's a room in a castle and that everyone is wearing clothes from the 1400's.

It's About Time

Many people stress themselves about time. You rarely hear someone say, "Well, it's 10AM and I have all my work done for the day. All I have to do is sit here and do nothing for the rest of the day."

On the contrary, most people never have enough time to get their work done. So, exaggerate your situation. If your deadline for a project is next week, imagine that it is due in two minutes and that you haven't begun getting ready and everyone is standing around waiting for it.

Draw a Cartoon

Draw a cartoon of your funny situation. Keep that cartoon where you will see it - to remind you to look at the funny side of workplace life.

Perform Skits

If your stress is something that is shared with your department, ask employees to make up funny skits about it, and have a special lunch or a meeting where you perform the skits.

The bottom line is that stress is caused by your mind creating a fearful image of a situation. When your mind creates a funny image, your stress is lowered. From now on, every time you are feeling stressed, take a minute to look at the funny side.

Harriet Meyerson, a Speaker, Author and Coach

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Wednesday, March 05, 2008

12 Stress Reducers For You

If you are familiar with the concept of “Inside Out Thinking,” then you already know that I don’t conceptualize stress as something that exists outside of you. It is actually something you create inside. Stress is a behavior you create to help you get something you want. The only way to reduce stress is to empower yourself to take control of what you can control—namely your actions and your thoughts. You may not believe you can control what you think but with patience, persistence and practice it is not only possible but critical to maintaining a positive state of mental health.

Because the holidays are often a stressful time of the year for many, I wanted to give you a dozen ideas for things you can do or think differently to help reduce your stress level.

1. Rational Thinking — often irrational thoughts contribute to your stress levels. What are irrational thoughts? Things like “everyone must like me for me to be worthwhile.” Or, “I have to complete everything on my ‘To Do’ list everyday in order to be a success.” Or, “I can’t let anyone in my house unless it is spotless.” Irrational thoughts are not true—that’s why they are called irrational. However, you can actually convince yourself these beliefs are true, and when you believe them your stress level can soar. For example, if I actually think the only way for me to be worthwhile is if every person I meet likes me, can you imagine the stress I will create for myself trying to get everyone to like me? Check your thinking and make sure your thoughts are rational. You may need to ask someone you trust to help you with this because if you actually believe the irrational thoughts, then you will have a difficult time recognizing they are irrational.

2. Inside Out Thinking — Instead of spending your time focused on things over which you have no control, look at the situation and choose the best response available to you. The only things you really have control over is what you do and what you think. You really can’t change others. Make sure you take a proactive approach to life’s situations by looking at what you can do or think differently to improve the situation. This also means no longer pointing the finger outside of you for the source of your problem or unhappiness. If you are in pain over something, then it is your responsibility to fix it the best you can.

3. Time Management — find a time management system that works for you and implement it. You have the same amount of time in a day as everyone else, yet some people are far more productive than others. They have discovered a way to maximize their moments to get the most out of each of them. There are many time management experts out there who have different systems. However, I think time management is similar to dieting. There is not a one size fits all approach. You need to find a system that works for you and follow it.

4. Fun Activities — make a list of things you love to do: pleasurable activities. When was the last time you engaged in them? Taking care of yourself and making sure you schedule some “me” time is essential to keeping stress at bay. Even though you may think you have no time for pleasure, taking that time will increase your productivity when you do get down to business.

5. Relaxation — do you meditate, visualize your “happy place,” get massage or do some deep muscle relaxation? This is a sure way to reduce stress. When you get good at meditation and relaxation, it is something you can do in a very short period of time almost anywhere. It’s a great skill to develop and it will substantially help you manage the stress in your life.

6. Exercise — there has been a lot of research that shows a regular exercise program can be helpful in managing the negative, physical symptoms of stress. This does not have to be any strenuous exercise. It could be as simple as going for a walk but physical activity provides a release of the stored energy of stress.

7. Healthy Living — there are some known links to substances that stress our bodies. If you reduce or eliminate these things from your lifestyle, you will reduce physical stress. Some things to look at are drugs, alcohol, nicotine, sugar and caffeine. If you use any of these substances on a moderate or higher level, you can be creating stress for yourself.

8. Sense of Humor — when you can find the humor in stressful situations, you can laugh your way through life. Laughing releases the body’s natural endorphins and will ward off potential stress before it even begins. It is most helpful when you can laugh at yourself and find humor in everyday situations.

9. Support System — having a healthy support system will help. You need to decrease the toxic people in your life and increase the nourishing ones. We all have those who will suck the life out of us if we let them and then there are others who will support us in our time of need. Look at reducing the former and expanding the latter.

10. Assertiveness — develop the ability to take care of your needs without interfering with others getting their needs met. Be able to say “no” when it will best support you. You can stress yourself out when you always put other people’s needs and desires ahead of your own.

11. Experience the Arts — there is something about the arts that will sooth many. It could be music, art, dance, or nature’s art but setting aside time to appreciate life’s beauty can act as an immunization against stress.

12. Spirituality — develop a personal sense of your spirituality.This does not necessarily have to be religion. It can be a calm, a peace, a sense of the order of life. When things get stressful, you can rely on your spirituality to help you through. You may develop beliefs about everything happening for a reason, the Higher Power will take care of things or there are always positive experiences with the negative. Spirituality can help you make sense of things that otherwise wouldn’t make sense.

Stress is not inevitable. You definitely do NOT have to be a victim of it. Know that you are choosing it. Know that you are getting something from it and then make a conscious decision about whether or not you want to continue on your same path or do something different.

About the Author: Kim Olver is a life, relationship and executive coach. Her mission is to help people get along better with the important people in their lives. She teaches people how to live from the inside out by empowering them to focus on the things they can change.

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Friday, February 01, 2008

Lower Your Stress with Just Three Deep Breaths!

Got stress? Have you multi-tasked your way right out of the joy of being fully present and fully alive? Is it possible to get off of this merry-go-round of complexity and busy-ness, and by so doing, come away more successful, healthy, and energized?

The answer is a hearty Yes! But first let’s face the dilemma. Traffic jams, technological change, information overload, time-crunch, relationship struggles, and other stressors can jeopardize our vitality, our creativity, our productivity, and our joy while costing individuals and businesses a fortune.

According to a 2001 report from the American Institute of Stress, U.S. businesses pay 300 billion dollars a year in job-related stress costs.

Unmanaged stress can influence the onset of heart attacks and strokes, gastro-intestinal problems, diabetes, insomnia, headaches, and depression, to name a few. Studies show that 75% to 90% of all visits to primary care practitioners are now known to be stress-related.

What is Stress?

When I am doing one of my Three Deep Breaths “Stress-buster” workshops, I often ask participants to tell me how many of the following scenarios cause them stress: having a significant fight with their spouse or boss, taking a vacation on a south pacific beach, being late for a critical meeting, and having finally moved into their dream home.

Most of them will say that only two of those, the fight and being late, cause stress.

But science will state emphatically that all four could cause stress, because stress occurs when any significant change – positive or negative – happens to the mind, body or environment in which we live.

If we are alive, we will have stress.

Whether it’s dis-stressful on our mind, body, or spirit or actually beneficial has a great deal to do with how we respond.

Stress is one of the best opportunities to become wiser, stronger, and more flexible. Every elite athlete knows that he or she must put stress on the body and mind, training regularly to grow strong and more adaptable.

Managing Stress Is A Balancing Act

The autonomic nervous system is responsible for all those systems that happen involuntarily within us: our heart rate, our breathing, our perspiration, the dilation of our pupils, our digestive system, etc.

There are two complementary systems in the autonomic nervous system — the sympathetic and the parasympathetic. The sympathetic can be called the “Red Alert System,” or the “Fight or Flight” System. The parasympathetic, which does the opposite, is the “Green System,” or the “Rest and Digest” system. When one is turning on, the other is turning off.

When a zebra is chased by a lion, the red alert system is turned on, with everything in the system delegated to the chase: explosive muscles, increased heart rate, pain-killing chemicals, hyper alertness — all to elude the lion and avoid death.

(Read Stanford researcher/author Robert Sapolsky’s Why Zebras Don’t Get Ulcers for all the details. It’s one of the few scientific books on stress that reads like a great historical novel.)

But when you are sitting in rush-hour traffic already ten minutes late for a critical appointment, your mind also delivers the thoughts, “I’ve got to get going, or I’m finished!” And guess what? Your autonomic nervous system has not evolved enough to make a distinction between death by a lion and death by your imaginary thoughts.

So, your Red Alert lever is also switched on, pumping hundreds of chemicals and hormones into your system so that you can fight or flee. But it’s inappropriate to leap out of the car and bite the fender of the lady in the SUV in front of you or sprint down the freeway screaming (although I’m sure these behaviors have been tried by some!). So, you just sit there with the heartbeat rising, and the perspiration flowing.

Let’s say you eventually make it to the critical appointment and the client himself is late. Ah, now you can relax and let the “Rest and Digest” part of the autonomic nervous system clean up the mess in your body, right? But the phone rings and another client informs you that they are going with your competitor. Red Alert! Then a memo arrives hinting at a company-wide layoff. Red Alert! You finally get to go home at the end of the day to relax but you find bills in the mailbox, your kid’s flunking algebra, and your spouse has a headache. Red Alert, Red Alert, Red Alert!!

Are you getting the picture here? You are on Red Alert 24/7.

There is an imbalance between the Red Alert/Green Alert systems in the autonomic nervous system. The stress response/recovery ratio is off kilter and causing suffering to the body, mind and spirit.

What To Do?

In the past 30 years, there have been well over 2000 peer-review studies of mind/body medicine, as well as writings by leading researchers in the field, such as Herbert Benson, Greg Jacobs and Ellen Langer of Harvard; Robert Sapolsky of Stanford; Richard Davidson of the University of Wisconsin; and Paul J Rosch of New York Medical College to name a few.

They show us that mind/body techniques, which focus on proper breathing, deep relaxation, and mindfully choosing our perspectives, can actually bring balance to our autonomic nervous system.

They teach us that mind/body exercises can be far more valuable than any symptom-treating pill for modern-day stress.

Since the autonomic nervous system is involuntary, how can we interact with it directly and effect its workings?

Most people have not been trained to lower their pulse rate or blood pressure or change their body temperature at will. And yet everybody can immediately impact their involuntary nervous system through breath work.

Breathing is the one direct interface between our voluntary and involuntary systems. It is the one activity that can happen without our conscious effort and yet we can also choose to control it consciously, right now.

You can use a simple practice, the Three Deep Breaths, to balance yourself anywhere, any time. Right in the moment, even in the heat of anger or upset, the first breath can calm and soothe your body, the second breath can restore the tranquility of your mind, and the third breath can reunite you with the spirit.

The Three Deep Breaths Practice

The Centering Breath

  • Exhale completely to relax the body and empty the lungs of air. It will support you to place your hands on your abdomen, to be aware that the breathing includes the belly or center of the body.
  • Inhale, noticing that, after a complete exhalation, how deeply and naturally, the inhalation follows.
  • As you continue to inhale and exhale, whether you are sitting or standing, let your body become more symmetrical and aligned, feet flat on the ground, and upper body erect, as if someone is suspending you from a string through the top of your head.
  • Visualize gravity flowing through you, the weight settling underneath of your feet, leaving you weightless, yet grounded.
  • Simply focus on the breath and notice its involuntary nature, how it happens effortlessly without your conscious energy or intellect. Inhale naturally through your nose. Exhalation can happen through nose or mouth. Notice how the inhalation expands the belly out and the exhalation recedes it in toward the spine.
  • Give this breathing your full attention. No need to do anything – just watch the breath. You will notice that your breath will tend to get slower, deeper, quieter, and more regular.
  • Allow your attention to become present in the moment. You will have a sense of “witnessing the internal and external sensations and thoughts without getting plugged into them. Your choices and thoughts will become more purposeful and creative.
The Possibility Breath

As you continue with the Centering Breath, simply access (breathe in) the “best me I can be.” Another way to think of it is to breathe in “my highest purpose.” This may change from situation to situation.

On the way to work it could be, “I’m a real team player, giving my job 100% focus and energy.”

Or, when you’re entering your home at the end of the day,“I am a loving, joyful, nurturing parent” or “I am a compassionate and considerate spouse.”

The important point is to breathe the possibility in with deep diaphragmatic breaths, imagining it penetrating every cell in your being.

The Discovery Breath

Breathe in the question, “Are my next words or actions going to come from an intent to defend or from an intent to learn?” Is this going to be a fight to be right or a wondrous adventure of discovery? Breathe in the Mystery, the magic of life, and let go of judgments.

Research shows that the keys to managing stress are to be able to control your response to life events, to treat stressors as challenges, and to have a sense of commitment to something larger than your ego (i.e. family, service, life philosophy, faith, etc.)

The Three Deep Breaths do exactly that. The Centering Breath gives you control over your response. The Possibility Breath gives you a higher purpose than your ego. And, the Discovery Breath turns a stressful situation into a learning opportunity.

When To Do The Three Deep Breaths

Anytime you remember, you can do this simple powerful practice! It can be done anywhere:

  • When you fasten your seat belt
  • Sitting in rush hour traffic
  • Waiting in line
  • Waiting for an appointment
  • Before a meeting
  • Before entering your home
  • When the phone rings
  • When you boot up your computer
The Three Deep Breaths opportunities are endless! But it is the doing of it, in the practice, that counts! And the good news is that it doesn’t take time, it takes “intention.” In addition, the practice is simple, joyful, and energizing.

With this practice you are balancing the autonomic nervous system. And, simply by deep diaphragmatic breathing, you will give yourself up to seven times more oxygen than shallow chest breathing, providing great vitality to the entire system. And since your brain uses at least 20% of the oxygen you breathe, increased clarity and focus and creativity will be yours. Why wait? Do it now!


Thomas Crum is a seminar leader, peak performance coach and best-selling author of Magic of Conflict and Journey to Center.

His new book, Three Deep Breaths (Berrett-Koehler Publishers, Inc) teaches us how to get off the madness of the information-overloaded, technology-exploded, and relationship-eroded world and emerge with our true authentic self, prosperous and revitalized. This is precisely the journey that Angus, the harried Everyman, embarks on in Thomas Crum’s parable, Three Deep Breaths. The modern, stressful life of Angus opens up to a field of limitless potential.

With forward written by mega best-selling author, Mark Victor Hansen (Chicken Soup for the Soul series), Three Deep Breaths, is an easily digestible parable that provides the reader with the means to transform work and life. It is a precious gift for those looking to turn the rat race into a wondrous adventure.

For more information on Tom, his programs and products, visit his website,, or call 585-924-7302.

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Thursday, January 24, 2008

How To Overcome Depression

An article which I received today in my email about overcoming depression. Depression may be a horrible thing in life as mentioned in the article, but it is something that can be cured like a normal illness. It is very important to have a positive outlook if you are feeling depressive. This article mentioned a way to overcome depression by involving yourself in something which is of interest to you and I think it is a method very much worth giving it a try.

Depression is a horrible thing in life, it can make you feel as though there is nothing in the world for you to be happy about, it can affect many aspects of your daily life and just make you feel absolutely horrible in general.

Although you may not think it, depression is actually a very common problem for many people around the world, it is something that a lot of people suffer from, it may not be as clear as you would think when someone is depressed and that makes it hard to recognize it sometimes.

In this article, I will share some thoughts on how to overcome depression and start getting on the right track to change things for the better.

One of the good things a person can do when they are depressed, in my opinion, is to identify what the things are in life that they are passionate about or interested in.

Now, these don't have to be things that are actually in your life at the moment or things that you think of "activities", these can be anything that you have an interest in, for example, do you wish you were an expert in fitness training, do you like reading about ancient history a lot, are you interested in business concepts, just think of the things that you are interested in and make a list of them.

Now, it's pretty obvious that if you were doing more of the things that you are interested in and enjoyed doing / studying then you would enjoy life more, for example, if you are interested in learning martial arts, if you were training right now in martial arts then you would be a little happier.

This is a very simple concept yet it can be very effective for making your life more enjoyable, simply do the things you enjoy doing more often.

When you are working towards goals that you actually want to achieve, it can make things much easier to deal with, follow your passions and interests.

This is not a "be all, end all" method for beating depression, it is simply a little way you can start to make your life more enjoyable and start working towards doing the things you like in life, it doesn't have to be some great big goal that will change the world or something like that, just little things that you enjoy doing.

So, if you like playing sports a lot then make a bit more time for sports, if you like learning about self-improvement then start reading more self-improvement books.

The main point is to start doing more of the things you enjoy in life.

One of the most important things you can do if you are feeling depressed is to get in touch with a doctor and tell them about your situation and how you are feeling, they are there to help you and it could be the best thing you do.

Get yourself an appointment with a doctor and just talk to them about it, they will tell you what they think the best course of action to take is.

Remember that you can change things, you can make your life better.

Read also: Methods For Beating Depression

Ease Depression

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Thursday, December 27, 2007

7 Leading Causes Of Stress

In 1967, Thomas H. Holmes and Richard H. Rahe, from the University of Washington, did a study on the connection between significant life events and illness. As part of that study, they compiled a chart of the major causes of stress. That chart, which contained 43 causes of stress in 1967, was updated to 55 causes in 2006. Apparently, society is finding more causes to feel stressed.

If you knew the leading causes of stress in your life, would you take action to eradicate them? Can you eradicate stress – or is it an inoperable condition that will be with you all of your life, possibly causing your eventual death?

Which Is Your Leading Cause of Stress?

1. Finances

Most studies agree that finances are a leading cause of stress. In an online poll conducted in 2005 by LifeCare, Inc., 23 percent of respondents named finances as the leading cause of stress in their lives. Financial stress has led the list in many modern polls.

Some who name finances as the leading cause of stress cite major purchases they have to make, such as a home or car. Others are stressed by a loss of income, or mounting credit card debt. For some, financial stress will eventuate in bankruptcy. While college students stress over paying for an education, Baby Boomers and older senior citizens find that retirement income can be a major cause of stress.

2. Work

Closely tied to finances as a cause of stress is work. Our jobs or careers seem to cause constant stress. In the LifeCare poll, 21 percent of those responding listed this as the leading cause of stress in life.

How is the workplace a cause of stress? We worry about getting and keeping adequate employment. We worry about new types of work or new responsibilities. We struggle to climb a career ladder, overwhelmed by the demands. Work conditions may change, or we may have interpersonal trouble at work. Students, especially teenagers and college age students, cite school work as a cause of stress. Sometimes, work stress is brought on by others. Sometimes, we bring it on ourselves.

3. Family

Family, wonderful though each member may be, is also a leading cause of stress. Arguments erupt with a spouse or other family member. Parents divorce. Children marry. The ebb and flow of family life is filled with stress. A child moves out – an aging parent moves in.

Family health is also a leading cause of stress. A sick family member, a serious injury, pregnancy, miscarriage, or abortion all cause stress. Family changes of other kinds bring stress, too. Adoption, relocation, and job changes for just one family member can cause stress for all.

4. Personal Concerns

Personal concerns that are only indirectly created by others are another top cause of stress. Lack of control tops the list of personal concerns. Every human has a deep-seated desire for control over his or her own life. When control is weak or missing in a given area, we experience stress. To many people, a lack of control over their own time is a leading cause of stress. We want to determine when we do tasks around the home, or at work. Holding a job, participating in the children’s carpool to school, driving family to soccer practices, shopping, and scout meetings while trying to keep the household running can create major stress. You would like to control your time, rather than let others’ demands control it, but that is not always possible.

We may be involved in legal proceedings that cause stress. We may be wrestling with a bad habit. We may be going through changes. Personal change of any kind can be a cause of stress.

5. Personal Health and Safety

Most people find that personal health is a leading cause of stress. For some, the stress is linked to obesity, and a desire to lose weight. For others, the stress is a personal bas habit that affects health and must be changed. For example, smoking, abuse of alcohol or other drugs. Illness or injury, whether less or more serious, can be a leading cause of stress for many people. Incontinence can be an ongoing concern. Personal health is more or less stressful according to the degree of seriousness and our personal outlook on health.

Personal safety is also a leading cause of stress. Women, more than men, tend to stress about their own and others’ safety. Adults tend to stress more than young people, who may act invincible. Crime is a factor, as is.

6. Personal Relationships

Whether it is a friendship, dating, separation, marriage, divorce, or re-marriage, a relationship can be a leading cause of stress for many. We all want love, and that is potentially available in relationships, but getting from A to B can be very stressful. Some resort to online relationships that are easier to handle. Others withdraw and become recluses. Either way, the demands on time, finances, and emotions can cause ongoing stress.

7. Death

Probably the most wrenching cause of stress is the death of a loved one or close friend. Even the death of a pet can be stressful. Children are always a source of stress for parents, but when a child dies, the stress is overwhelming. The same is true when a lifetime spouse passes on.

Win or Lose

Causes of stress change as we age. The stressed child who threw tantrums becomes a young student, stressed by the school bully. The young student becomes a teenager, stressed by acne, hormones, and dating. The teenager becomes a young adult trying to handle the stresses of leaving home, adjusting to college life, and managing finances. Life progresses to first jobs, marriage, children, and so on. Even if you move to a secluded cabin in the woods, stress will follow you.

Gaining knowledge of the leading causes of stress is important. Using that knowledge to win over unhealthy stress is vital.

Reduce Stress Now

About the Author: ©2007, Anna Hart. Anna brings to her writing her professional training and expertise as an educator. When she writes at about a leading cause of stress, she does so from well-conducted research. Anna invites you to read more on her blog about the causes of family stress.

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