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New Beginnings Starts With You

starts with you

It’s interesting to know that you can actually run a self-analysis without having to be a professional Psychologist. Yes it’s possible.

So let’s talk about you… Give yourself a sincere answer to these questions.

How well do you know yourself?

How much can you really say about yourself?

What are your strengths and weaknesses?

Do you know your limits?

Do you know when you need to stop and take a break?

How much pressure can you really handle?

How much warning signs are you ignoring?

It’s funny how we can easily say that people don’t know us when we actually don’t even know ourselves well enough. As a matter of fact, when you don’t know yourself, you’ll always want to live your life like someone else by striving to do what others are doing regardless of your own capabilities. This fruitless effort often results in stressful living. What you are unaware of is that such individuals that you are trying to emulate have possibly developed resilience over the years as a result of their experiences in life.

Keep in mind that we are all unique and therefore what applies to one may not necessarily go for the other. This is why it is expedient that we learn to study ourselves in order to gain an understanding of what we can handle and vice versa.

So also it is with how well we can handle events in our lives that have potential to cause stress. Remember that stress is our body’s reaction to events that are perceived as threatening.

The first step towards solving any problem is to identify it!

There are various common stress triggers encountered daily and being armed with a wealth of knowledge regarding your own bodily “perception” and “reaction” to these events will surely keep stress away. Ignorance should therefore no longer be an excuse for becoming weighed down with stress.

How do you perceive and react to the following common events of everyday living:

  • Relationship demands (commitment and expectations to family, marriage and other relationships)
  • Work demands (increased work load, long working hours, dead lines)
  • Major life changes (relocation, marriage, getting pregnant, loosing a loved one)
  • Environmental triggers (traffic, unstable cost of living, noise, pollution)

perceptionTake out time to become conscious of your physical as well as emotional responses to these common stressors. Become aware of events that cause your heart to pound, make you anxious as well as change your mood.

If you perceive these events as being capable of getting you overwhelmed and you ALLOW them, then they will. Adjust your perception because not all life’s events are aimed at defeating you!

Remember to follow me on twitter at @Drmorayojimoh for more life changing updates on #NewBeginnings.

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New Beginnings…

female hands with pen writing on notebook on grass outside

Enough of living life like an ambulance, always being on an emergency mode.

STOP! …

There must be an explanation for the nagging headaches, constant mood swings, disorganization, unexplainable forgetfulness, unproductiveness, nervousness, overwhelming feelings, sleeplessness, frequent illnesses… because they cannot all just be coincidences.

It has become quite worrisome that a lot of people are really unaware of the adverse side effects their lifestyle has on their well-being only to realize when it’s too late.

Stress is a thief, don’t let it steal away your happiness and fulfillment in life. It should rather be nipped in the bud! But first, let’s understand what stress really is. It is simply our body’s reaction to circumstances of daily life especially ones that are perceived as threatening.  When this happens, certain stress hormones such as Adrenaline and Cortisol are released into our blood stream aimed at preparing our body to either face or run away from the challenging circumstance. That’s why this response is called “the flight or fight” response.

For example,

If you were faced with a threatening situation such as:

being confronted by a large snake on your way home, you will typically get frightened and notice a speedy increase in your heart rate. You’ll also begin to sweat instantly and have various thoughts running through your mind.

At that time, Adrenaline surges through your body and you may find yourself running away from that situation or at least making an attempt to escape.

Also,

A less threatening situation like getting a new job can cause some level of stress as you prepare to face the new job and prepare to fit into the work demands of the new place.

This can also be experienced in other life’s event like getting married, having children, raising children and other day to day activities.

It is important to understand that stress hormones are not necessarily “bad hormones” in fact, they are necessary for our survival as humans but when our brain is constantly required to secrete more and more of these hormones, it hinders the performance of our immune system thereby causing us to be more susceptible to physical as well as psychological illnesses.

Remember that stress hormones are released when we perceive the circumstance as threatening. It therefore means that our “perception” of every single thing we go through is key in determining whether we become stressed or not. Also, our “reactions” to situations either cause us to accumulate stress or relieve it. Sadly, more people are accumulating than relieving.

The first step towards creating a new beginning is to take out some time to become aware of our stress triggers by studying our perception and reactions to events that we are faced with every day. Also, observe the impact of your perception and reaction to these events on your well-being.

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Feel free to share your own experiences with us as you learn to become more conscious of the impact of your perception and reactions to daily life events.

Kindly follow me on twitter @DrMorayojimoh and follow our blog for more juicy updates on #NewBeginnings   

Kindly accept our invitation to be a part of our meet-up group on Facebook – New Beginnings a platform to share and discuss practical techniques to improve your overall well-being.


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Enjoying a Stress-Free Holiday

stress free

Stress is a subject matter that concerns every individual because it affects both the young and the old alike. Stress is simply the body’s reaction to stimulus that can cause disequilibrium in our physical and mental functioning.

The irony of the December holiday season is such that amidst all the excitements of the festive season, lies somewhat latent stress provoking factors. This is because the activities associated with this season often brings about a lot of stress especially when we fail to take adequate measures to avoid it.

Before we go into ways to prevent/ manage stress this season, let’s pause and ask ourselves this question;

What causes stress in the holiday season?

Holiday stress is caused by so many factors. Here are some of them:

  1. UNPLANNED HOLIDAY: Many a times we start our holiday without having a plan of what we want to achieve in the season. We therefore find ourselves stumbling into every activity that suffices during the holiday season and soon we become overwhelmed and really stressed because of the inability to organize ourselves.
  1. MONEY:young woman worried at home in stress at living room accounting debt bills expenses with calculator feeling desperate on payments in bad financial situation conceptWithout doubt, the holiday season comes with so many expenses. In a bid to make the holiday worthwhile, parents may find themselves worrying about how to give their children a memorable holiday, young people are also likely to worry about fashion trends and fun places to visit. In addition, some business owners may worry about settling outstanding debts. All these expectations need financing and could be quite challenging.
  1. CHANGE: downloadChange can also bring about stress. Experiences such as the death of a loved one, divorce, marriage, childbirth, change in socio-economic status, new environment etc. can cause stress especially if it occurs during the holiday season. This is because some individuals tend to get anxious about change and might experience difficulty adjusting to new situations in their lives coupled with the potentially overwhelming nature of the festive season.

  4.  COMPETITION:

This holiday season is usually accompanied with lots of competition. Ranging from entertainers trying to hit the entertainment industry with their latest performances, companies trying to sell their products and different organizations trying to meet their target for the year. This could also cause stress for these group of people.

5.  LIFESTYLE: During the holiday season, people tend to get lazy and are unable to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Negative holiday lifestyles such as poor diet, little or no exercise, inadequate sleep etc can lead to stress.

Quick tips for enjoying a stress-free holiday

#1 Plan Ahead: One sure way of managing stress is by planning ahead. Planning helps you focus on what is really important. Don’t just plan also STICK TO IT. “Not sticking to your plan is the same as not having a plan”.  For more information on planning click Here.

#2 Avoid Comparison: Do not compare yourself with others or compare this holiday season with the ones you’ve had in the past. Be aware that every year is unique in its splendor and challenges. So quit comparing, be grateful, embrace the season and enjoy every bit of it!

#3 Don’t be stereotyped:  Having a holiday season filled with the same routine year in year out can become so boring and invariably cause stress. Change your routine this year- take a trip, volunteer in a community work, join a group, give to charity, etc. Just Do Something Different!

#4 Relax!: rf1 Do not become so overwhelmed by the activities in the season that you forget to relax. A regular breathing exercise is really helpful in relaxing the nerves and controlling stress. Also, take timeout to be alone and just relax. Have enough sleep and be sure that you are not overworking yourself. Delegating some responsibilities might be of help too.

#5 Meditate: man-with-eyes-closed-breathing-deeply

This is an excellent way to ease off stress. Meditation helps heal the body and mind therefore combating stress and enabling you achieve focus during the holiday season.

Remember this!

Your physical and mental well-being is not only important to you but also to your loved ones.

Staying healthy this season may be the best gift you can give to them!!

 

For more insightful updates on #EnoyingaStress-freeHoliday, follow me on twitter @drmorayoJimoh

 


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Stress Management: Signs and Symptoms

stresssIn the first part of these series, we shared information about what stress is, how it affects us and some common stressors, in this second part, we are looking into the warning signs and symptoms of stress. You will benefit immensely from this article not just by reading it but by also looking through your lifestyle and having a self-analysis as regards each of the signs and symptoms as it applies to you because the more aware you are about stress, the easier it is to keep it at bay. Try to make it more practical by writing down one or more of these signs and symptoms that you have experienced persistently in this year and how it has affected an aspect of your life.

Here are some common signs and symptoms of stress:

  • Frequent headaches:stress_1521948c_1752604c if you experience persistent headaches such that you have to constantly be on medications, it is as a result of unchecked stress.
  • Tiredness and weakness: a lowered energy level is a sign of stress, if for instance you suddenly easily get tired and weak consistently, you may need to consider it as a warning sign.
  • Unwanted/unplanned weight gain/loss: stress can led you to eat more thanscale-weight-loss-600x450-TS-160476214 required (especially unhealthy foods) or make you loss appetite  completely thereby causing unhealthy weight gain or weight loss which you have not bargained for.

 

 

  • Tremors/ fidgeting: have you ever wondered why some people seem to have tremors or fidgets like hand tremors? well, that is something that could be as a result of stress. so if you ever find yourself experiencing tremors or fidgeting, then, stress may be the reason.
  • Decreased work efficiency/productivity: used to be highly productive?, used to be very efficient?, what happened along the way? stress happened! stress can lower your productivity by starting in subtle ways and ending with damaging results if not checked.
  • Nervousness: the more your stress levels, the more nervous you can become.
  • Reduced sexual desire/libido:  because stress affects the reproductive system as well, it can result in serious complications such as  a low sex drive or loss of libido and this will in turn cause problems in the relationship between couples. 

stress_head

  • Racing thoughts: having rapid thought patterns can be as a result of stress.
  • Difficulties with concentration/attention: finding it difficult to concentrate on a task or having struggles with attention could be as a result of stress.
  • Insomnia: this is a sleep disorder often characterized with difficulties sleeping (falling asleep and staying asleep) in the absence other health conditions, it could be as a result of stress.
  • Mood swings: this is a noticeable change in a person’s mood or emotional state that is a very common sign of stress. If you have noticed changes in your moods or you are experiencing unstable moods, it is is probably due to stress.
  • african-american-woman-stressedAnxiety: is an unpleasant state associated with nervous behaviour, worrying, apprehension and fear and can interfere with a person’s functioning.
  • Forgetfulness: the tendency to forget things is more likely to happen when stress is involved.

 

Having listed these signs and symptoms, it is important to know how to properly manage stress. Practical ways to manage stress will be the topic of discussion in the next article. 

Remember to follow @DrMorayoJimoh  for more interesting updates on stress management

 


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Bringing Out the Best in Children

Preschoolers can be difficult to manage… The same may apply to all children. They have so much energy to throw around and getting them to sit still is much like a herculean task to not just parents but teachers as well. Children, especially the younger ones, use play as a medium to release tension  and ease as such when they feel anxious or uncomfortable, they try to engage in one form of playful activity or the other. However, you don’t want your child or pupils running about when you need their full attention.

So how can you get their attention?

How can you get them to sit still and learn?

How can you get them to be calm?

How can you help them regulate their emotions?

MINDFULNESS is the SOLUTION! 

child-meditation Mindfulness is being fully aware of this present moment, fully accepting it without judgment. It is paying full attention to your thoughts, feelings and emotions HERE and NOW. It involves deep breathing and calming techniques. These days, mindfulness has proved to be the answer to many questions. Enormous research has shown how mindfulness can help adults improve their brain function, reduce stress and enjoy better relationships. In recent times, researchers and practitioners have begun to focus on how this practice can be beneficial to children and adolescents in primary and secondary schools, children with cancer, learning disabilities, autism, etc. mindful childA number of schools in the United States are incorporating Mindfulness Programs into their school program- Mindful Program at Maryland High Schools. A recent research by University of Florida shows that stressful events in the environment can take a negative toll on a child’s mental and physical health which includes the onset of learning difficulties. As such mindfulness aims at reducing the effects of stress. Other benefits of Mindfulness include:

  • Building resiliencehappy child
  • Strengthening character development
  • Increasing focus and concentration
  • Improving  brain function
  • Improving sleep quality
  • Reducing stress levels and improving  coping ability
  • Inducing calmness and relaxation
  • Self regulation and control
  • Increasing their capacity for empathy and compassion

Mostly the same benefits that accrue to adults can be experienced by children ages 3 and above.

Mobile Health Consult is offering a Mindfulness program for students tagged “SMART MIND”. For more enquiries, consultation and procedure for enrollment, kindly log on to http://www.mobilehealthconsult.org/smartmind/

The only way to know what mindfulness is, is to experience it! Sign up for a FREE Training now on: 

http://www.mobilehealthconsult.org/values/therapy/mindfulness/

SPREAD the word! Be MINDFUL


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Keep that Stress at Bay!

Do we really know the impact of stress?

Do we know that stress can make our brain more susceptible to mental illness?stress

Stress, no matter its cause has been found to alter brain activities in ways that can have a long-term lasting detrimental effect on our mental health. There are several ways stress produces lasting damage to our mental health and one of these is by indirectly interfering with the normal functioning of our bodily chemicals which are called neurotransmitters. These chemicals in turn directly impair the function of the pre-frontal cortex of our brain, which is the area known to be home to higher level of thinking in man. Now what happens is that when these normal functions are disrupted, our reflective tendencies become inhibited while our reactive tendencies takes over and these automatically results to being consumed by feelings of anxiety, aggression and even depression.

Stress however does not only have damaging effect on our mental health but it also has negative lasting effect on our body, mood and behaviour.

Ways stress can affect our body:

  •   Having constant headaches
  •   Chest pain
  •   Experiencing fatigue
  •   Change in sex drive
  •  Developing sleep problems
  •   Stomach upset, and having muscle pain.

Ways stress affects our mood:

  •   Producing feelings of anxiety
  •   Restlessness
  •   Lack of motivation or drive
  •   Causing irritability
  •   Anger outburst and overwhelming feelings of sadness.

Stress doesn’t leave our behaviour out of its reach as it also finds a way to cause overeating or under eating, social withdrawal, which can in turn lead to drug or alcohol abuse.

Here are 5 tips to help you “de-stress”:

1.  Remember: This Too Shall Pass! Stress can lead to excessive worry, nervousness, dread, upset stomach, or difficulty breathing. The first step to overcoming negative feelings and stressful situations is recognizing that you are experiencing a very common emotional state most commonly identified as anxiety and that in fact it WILL PASS! Fighting the anxiety can make it stronger. Paradoxically, accepting that you are feeling anxious helps activate the body’s natural relaxation response.

2.  Diaphragmatic Breathing: This is an effective way to activate relaxation response as its goal is to decrease the heart rate. It’s been observed that a rapid heart rate can be lowered with deep breathing techniques. The most commonly utilized strategy is breathing by contracting the diaphragm, a horizontal muscle in the chest located just above the stomach cavity.For more information, visit http://www.mobilehealthconsult.org

3. Check Your Diet: Little do we know that what we drink and eat impacts greatly on our emotional state and food containing caffeine and alcohol have been found to be highly associated with stress/anxiety triggered state. When any of these is consumed on a regular basis, it can cause anxiety, trigger panic attacks, and increase feelings of nervousness and irritability. In light of this knowledge, it is important to decrease consumption of these stressor ingredients and also create a log for our daily meals which we would decide to carefully observe so as to take note of those causing more harm than good whenever they are consumed.

relaxed-woman4. Get Moving: Maintaining a regular (healthy, non-obsessive) exercise routine. Being on  the move daily and getting more involved in sporting activities has been proven to reduce stress, improve mood, enhance self-esteem, and increase energy levels. You can choose any of the various sporting exercise that best suits you and make a decision to commit yourself to it dedicatedly.

 5. Get More Sleep: You will be surprised at how losing just a few hours of sleep can increase the feelings of stress, anger, sadness, and exhaustion and so getting the right amount of sleep on a daily basis is absolutely important if we desire to be rid of stressful and anxiety prone situations.

Now that you have the tips to keeping stress at bay at your disposal, be sure to make them a part of your lifestyle

Have a stress- free day!