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Stress Management: The Effects of Stress on your health

In this month, we are sharing information about stress management with very interesting topics and useful information to help you manage stress properly, we will be shedding light on what stress is, its effects on health, causes of stress, signs and symptoms of stress, ways to manage stress, clinical interventions and more eye opening information. This is the best information to get you going as the year wraps up and as you plan for the new year.

stressladysmallLife is full of ups and downs, challenges here and there, deadlines, frustrations, disappointments and expectations. As a result of this, many have taken up stressful living as a life style.  Stress is the psychological and physical reaction to the challenges of everyday life. It originates from the body’s response to a perceived threat or danger, this response is known as the “flight or fight response which helps the body deal with unexpected situations by releasing some stress hormones like adrenaline and cortisol and  prepares the body for action resulting in an “emergency state”.  In this state, there is an increase in heart beat and blood pressure, breathing becomes faster, there is also more stamina and speed. However, when an individual is constantly operating on this “emergency state”, It often results in serious health consequences.

stress_responseStress affects certain parts of the body such as the brain and nerves, muscles and joints, pancreas, intestine, stomach, heart, respiratory system and reproductive system. Therefore, problems associated with these parts of the body are common when an individual is going through a lot of stress.

Stress has been linked to various physical and emotional problems some of which include;

  • Hypertension
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Relationship problems
  • Burnoutblack_man_stress2
  • Heart problems
  • Insomnia
  • Migraine
  • Memory problems
  • Aches and pains

It also increases the body’s susceptibility to infections by weakening the immune system.

 

Anything that can cause stress is known as a stressor, which can be negative events or positive ones. Here are some common stressors:

  • Financial problems
  • Excessive job demands
  • Family problemsgeneral-stressors-banner20130829-28277-1g37to3-0_540x245
  • Fear
  • Worrying
  • Death of a loved one
  • Threatening life events such as accidents and disasters
  • Marriage
  • Getting a new job
  • Divorce
  • Unemployment

 

Keep in mind that negative things will happen in life but it is how you are able to handle these negative situations that determines how much you can cope with stress. The warning signs of stress and more information will be discussed in the next article.

kindly visit www.mobilehealth consult.org also, follow @Drmorayojimoh for more interesting update on stress management.

 

 

 

 

 

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The 3 “Be”s to finding happiness within

internal dialogueGetting this promotion will make me the happiest person ever”

“I just need to seal this contract and all my dreams would have come true”

“Obtaining a PhD degree will give me satisfaction beyond measure”

“I love him so much, I can’t be happy without him”

These  statements whether as internal dialogue (conversations we have with ourselves) or while interacting with others, reveal what gives rise to happiness in our lives . It is common place to attach happiness, fulfillment and satisfaction to achievements, material possessions or significant others. Some people tie their happiness to the approval they get from friends and colleagues while others derive their worth and sense of self from the acceptance they receive from society. These statements become beliefs which are often held on to so rigidly such that falling short of them could lead to emotional problems. It is opined that when there is a large inconsistency between who we are (real) and who we would like to be (ideal), anxiety may result. When we make our happiness solely dependent on others, then our fate and destiny may as well  be  in their hands. In a sense, we have no control over what we feel and we allow other factors other than ourselves determine our happiness.

Should this be the case?  What then happens when the storms of life throw you off balance? Is happiness a function of your environment or YOU?

While it is very important to have goals, strive for achievements and accomplish great things in life, they should not be held on to as sources of happiness and fulfillment. Life is, most times unpredictable and to leave our emotions in its hands would be unwise.

How then can you find the silver lining in the cloud?  Very simple! Open your mind’s eye to the secrets below to experiencing moment by moment happiness:

Thankful hands1. Be thankful: Have a heart of gratitude! By being grateful for the little things in life, the air you breathe, the food you eat, the water you drink, and your health,  you will find happiness. These seemingly little things make life count and remain the basis of other achievements,after all it would be impossible to be at work or function effectively to achieve any goal when ill. Don’t forget that a thankful heart is a happy heart.

smile

2. Be Cheerful: Smile, Smile and Smile. Work out your happiness from inside out. Research shows that facial expressions can influence emotions felt. So even when  you are not in a good mood, Smile! Even when your boss demands more than is required from you, Smile! When your account is red, Smile! When you can’t seem to figure life out, Smile. Just Smile!

mindful

3. Be Mindful: By accepting your present status without judgment and by paying attention to the NOW, you can find happiness. You can be mindful each day of the week, by identifying 3 things that brightened your day and listing them out in a journal. You can also boost your mood by practicing mindfulness meditation. It is a beautiful and well rewarding practice that can boost positive emotions by guiding you into a calm state. You can find out more by registering for a FREE training on http://www.mobilehealthconsult.org. Here you will learn about mindful sitting, walking, eating and incorporating mindfulness into your daily activities.

Remember happiness is a DECISION that YOU are responsible for.

It is by Choice and not by Chance.

Be! and Be Happy!happiness-balloons


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Improve Your Thinking

Mental-health-007-300x180Our greatest friend and also our most devious enemy could easily be our own thoughts. It is the most sheltered part of our being and is who we really are. Both good and bad experiences shape our thought processes which in turn shape our perception of other people and the world around us. A majority of good experiences usually initiates more positive thoughts but bad experiences or stress could really adversely affect one’s thoughts and damage one’s view of life. More importantly, we find that our actions are usually extensions of our thoughts. Negative thoughts usually elicits negative actions. Therefore it is important that we monitor and pay attention to our thoughts.

Thought patterns

These are created when we have the same type of thoughts again and again, creating a habit of thinking in that particular
way. The battle we have withing ourselves have to do with these thought patterns because they determine how happy, confident and active we are each day. How ready we are to take on lifes challenges and hope for the future. This is when our thought patterns are in tune with our desires. As we know, sometimes our thoughts conflict with our desires. For example, someone who has a pessimistic view to life believes he or she is more likely to fail at a certain task at hand. However they are aware of how much joy they’d feel if they completed the task, but even this joy is usually not enough to eradicate their negative thoughts of failure. At the end of the day, if they let their negative thought pattern prevail, they end up quitting the task.No-Negativity-Stop-Negative-Thoughts-Coral-Springs-Counseling-Center

We all have the inner negative thoughts we have to battle when we set out minds to do something. Those thoughts that remind you of when you tried something similar in the past and you failed or reminds you of how you never get anything right or complete any tasks. These Automatic Negative Thoughts (ANTS), as neuropsychologist author Daniel Amen calls them, invade our minds usually when we are concerned about the outcome of an event to make us anxious by exaggerating the negative outcomes that could possibly happen and undermining our ability to deal with them. Negative thinking makes us focus on the negative things in life and magnify them while we filter out the brighter side. These negative thought patterns are especially difficult to get rid of because they are formed over time.But do not give up hope, they can be “killed” if we pay attention to our thoughts and realize that because we think something bad will happen does not make it true.

Thinking healthily

First realize that your mind is supposed to be your safe haven and your thoughts your best friend. It should be filled with positivity, encouragement and hope. We cannot control alot of external factors in our everyday lives, but we have, or should have, full control of our own thoughts.The quickest way to begin thinking healthily is to remove ‘absolutes’ from our thinking. Words such as ‘always’ and ‘never’ can be very harmful by causing you to give up and despair. “I always make the same mistake” “I can never do this” “I will be forever alone” Such thoughts encourage self pity, anxiety andpositive-people depression. Instead, though we realize our shortcomings, we should also acknowledge that we can indeed improve on them and be better. “I can never do this” should then become “This is very difficult, but since i have to do it i’m going to keep trying”. “I always make the same mistake” becomes “I make this same mistake a lot and i don’t like that, i’m going to try my best not to do so again”. This way you remind yourself that you can control the outcome and that you’re not powerless against the circumstances.

You also have to pay attention to your thoughts. Ask yourself what you think about the most each day and why. Trace the genesis of your most common thoughts and begin to break negative thought chains. This is a daily practice as thought patterns were also formed over time and are hard-wired in our minds. Each day as soon as we are conscious of a negative thought pattern we must redirect our thoughts in order not to further solidify such patterns. You’ll figure that there would be more room for innovative thoughts and ideas and a wider perspective in situations. Maintaining control over your thought patterns and having positive thoughts as much as you can is the basis of thinking healthily. 

Forgive yourself for your mistakes. Be satisfied with things you genuinely cannot change. Pay attention to your thoughts and stay positive.


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The Importance of being Honest

Take a moment and try to remember the last time you told a ‘small’ or a ‘white’ lie…

Do you remember how it felt?

Now, take another moment and try to remember the last time you told a major lie…

Do you remember how it felt?

If you were caught, can you recall how you felt at that time? Not a very good feeling I presume. person_ashamed1

Whatever the size of the lie, big or small, lying makes us feel uneasy. There’s a valid reason why Benjamin Franklin professed Honesty as the best policy. It affects us psychologically, emotionally and even physically. Here are a few points to emphasize the importance of being honest.

1. You become less anxious when you’re more honest. There’s no such thing as a relaxed liarrelaxed-woman
. Studies have found that lying triggers the release of stress hormones. These hormones make us anxious and increase our heart rates and blood pressure. Hence the more we lie, the more anxious and stressed we become. Honesty makes us more relaxed generally, psychically and mentally.

handshake2. Honesty improves self-confidence and trust. When we lie often, especially about ourselves, we get caught up in that fantasy that we become dissatisfied with our present selves and begin to lose confidence. It’s almost like one has to lie to look good, and deep down is aware of that. You begin to depend on lies instead of your ability to improve yourself and cope with the circumstances. In addition, others would soon begin to realize that you lie often and consequentially lose confidence in you and brand you as dishonest to others. You also begin to lose trust in yourself. On the other hand, an honest person is almost always acclaimed by his or her peers and has a lot of peoples trust. He would have a lot of responsibilities due to this trust, which will in turn boost his or her self confidence. Being honest makes us self-affirmed.

3. Honesty improves relationships. In all types of relationships, once trust is broken it is normally difficult to fix. laughing-coupleContinuous dishonesty goes the extra mile to damage almost every relationship you are in. This would be evident soon enough to make you unhappy and could cause you to sink into depression. Honesty does the exact opposite. It solidifies every relationship you’re involved in and improves the likelihood of you forming new good relationships with people you meet. Good relationships ultimately improves our overall happiness and well-being.

There is no little or ‘white’ lie. Habitual lying begins from lying about the little things and almost always ends up with one lying about the bigger things which could cause substantial damage in ones life. On your road to habitual honesty, start by telling the truth about the littlest things and in time you’d find that recourse is always telling the truth.

The truth shall set you free! That’s psychotherapy is very effective, it’s based on complete honesty. It’s the first step towards solving any problem. Be honest, with yourself and with others.

Life comes down to honesty and doing what’s right. That’s what’s most important.

– Bob Feller


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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!


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The ‘Perfection’ illusion

perfectionIn life, we find that those people who are seeking for the “perfect” job, the “perfect” child, the “perfect” lover and so on are unhappy. This is because they are chasing shadows in the dark;”perfect” is an illusion. No job is perfect and neither your lover nor your child is or will be. It may be difficult to come to terms with, for some, but for most this is expected. One way of testing this is by asking yourself if something or someone can be improved. We find out that 99% of the time the answer is “yes, we can improve this – he or she can be even better”. This is not a pessimistic approach to life, but a realistic one. So most times we find that we have to compromise with life, amend our wants and embrace the reality. But not everyone is willing to do so and they often end up falling into depression or having anxiety disorders.

This happens because their NEED for perfection in whatever aspect of their life would not let them be happy. By way of illustration,  insisting whoever you meet must tick ALL your boxes before you move forward with them. Or you keep focusing on the one small mistake you made during a presentation which in reality was still brilliant regardless. To base your happiness on someone or something being perfect, even yourself, is just like tossing all your life savings into the ocean and hoping it will all float back. Nothing will ever be perfect so therefore your happiness would be ‘out of your control’. One of the easiest ways to fall into depression is believing you’re not in control of your own happiness.

????????????????????????????????Such a person would need to learn satisfaction. Being satisfied with your job or with someone helps you appreciate and enjoy the job or the person more. You’re not anxious that they’re not good enough or that they will never be perfect. You are aware of their imperfections and you’re satisfied with them that way. Focus only on the things you can change. Learn to live with the thing you can’t.

Note that being satisfied does not mean you should not aim for the best. In everything, do your best, then be satisfied. 

SATISFACTION, not PERFECTION, is the key to HAPPINESS.