Archives for category: Reducing Stress

In a recent article on msnbc.com they have found that a recent study at San Francisco State University says extroverts are happier than introverts. Well, that’s a surprise isn’t it? We all knew this correct? But don’t jump to conclusions just yet… interestingly enough, these psychologists believe they have found the root of why this is. They found that extroverts are happier because they view their memories with rose-tinted glasses. Study researcher Ryan Howell said, “We found that highly extroverted people are happier with their lives because they tend to hold a positive, nostalgic view of the past and are less likely to have negative thoughts and regrets. People high on the neurotic scale essentially have the exact opposite view of the past and are less happy as a result.” In the study the extroverted people were found to recall the happier moments in their past and downplay the bad moments. This more positive view of the past explained 45 percent of the link between extroversion and greater life satisfaction as well as happiness level and personality link.

All hope is not lost for the introverts though. Howell suggests “savoring happy memories or recasting sad ones in an optimistic light could help.” He said: “You may be able to alter your view of time and boost your happiness.” Now personality doesn’t 100% affect your happiness so just because you may be an introvert doesn’t necessarily mean you are unhappy. However, new studies are emerging that people may have the ability to make subtle changes to their personality.

In another article on the website they give you 5 tips that can help you change your mood when you’re down:

1. Be Grateful

Write letters of gratitude to people who have helped you in your life. Even if you don’t send the letter, writing it down will remind you that people care and help you and people reported feeling better afterwards. “The study found that these people reported a lasting increase in happiness – over weeks and even months – after implementing the habit.”

2. Be Optimistic:

Practice optimistic thinking. Visualize an ideal for the future and describe the image in a journal entry. “After doing this for a few weeks, these people too reported increased feelings of well-being.”

3. Count Your Blessings:

Write down three good things that happened to you during the week. “It seems the act of focusing on the positive helps people remember reasons to be glad.”

4. Use Your Strengths:

Identify your greatest strength and then figure out new ways to utilize this strength. “For example, someone who says they have a good sense of humor could try telling jokes to lighten up business meetings or cheer up sad friends.”

5. Commit Acts of Kindness:

“It turns out helping others also helps ourselves. People who donate time or money to charity, or who altruistically assist people in need, report improvements in their own happiness.”

 

 Try out some of these things they can only help! And summer is  right around the corner sunshine, swimming and barbecues  should bring some light back into everyone’s life!

Advertisements

My sister knows that I haven’t been having the best week so this morning I wake up to an e-mail from her titled “meow.”

Now I know that this e-mail MUST contain something amazing because it is titled “meow” and it definitely did because it contained this website: Cute Roulette. If you love animals and cuteness definitely click on that link right this second.

Just something to brighten everyone’s day because it brightened mine 🙂

In the April 2011 issue of Self, there is an article called Who is Checking Your Status? (written by Jessica Girdwain). The article tells the story of a girl named Nathalie Blanchard, a 30-year-old who was on disability for depression. Her doctor (as would other doctors treating a patient with depression) encouraged socializing to help her combat her depression. However, Manulife, her insurance company at the time, checked Nathalie’s Facebook page to make sure she was still in need of her disability payments. What they saw in her photo albums and on her status updates made them question whether Nathalie was being truthful about her depression, and they felt the need to hire a private investigator to follow her. After all of the evidence came back to Manulife regarding Nathalie’s socialization and her nights out with friends, they refused her disability and told her it was time to go back to work because she seemed healthy enough. Nathalie has since sued Manulife, and the article quotes a health care lawyer David Harlow who says, “after all, depressed people smile.” Her trial is currently pending.

So what does this mean for the rest of us? It means that we need to be much more careful with our Facebook pages. Even though Nathalie was technically doing what the doctor ordered, her insurance company did not see it that way. Legally, an insurance company has the right to search your Facebook page because you have shared this information with others online.

Not only are insurance companies stalking our Facebook pages but so are employers. They use Facebook as a way to screen candidates for jobs and an employee can be fired for any reason the company deems unsuitable. The article cites posts about drinking or “missing too much work for migraines or in vitro fertilization” as reasons why companies have fired employees. The shocking news is this: all of it is legal because YOU are putting this information online where the public has access to it. Insurers and employers feel it would be negligent of them not to check your social media sites because they must protect themselves financially and cruising social media sites is part of their research.

How do you keep yourself safe from insurance companies and employers? Look to your privacy and application settings. The article suggests:

1. Adjust your privacy settings to find out what “Everyone,” “Friends of Friends,” and “Friends Only” can see and change those settings so that no one but “Friends Only” can view your full profile. That way if someone is not your friend they can only see your basic information.

2. Google yourself to find out if your Facebook profile appears on the search. If it does, go to the Apps and Websites page within Privacy Settings and hide your page from search engines.

3. Set up alerts for strange activity on your account. To do this go to Account Settings and then Account Security.

 

All in all, having your Facebook profile completely public is probably not the smartest idea. When applying for jobs or when you are insured you should be more careful about what you post and also what the general public has access to. You’ve been warned!

Some of these tips came from the March issue of Cosmopolitan Magazine. Now I am not a huge reader of Cosmo but I bought it because one of my favorite singers was on the cover, and the fact that I felt the need to explain myself for reading Cosmo is a problem. That said, I came across this short little article titled, “Decorating Tricks Under $50” by Korin Miller, that I knew would be perfect for my blog. I’m a huge proponent of saving money since I always seem to be strapped for cash, but I am also restless and am always feeling the need to re-decorate or do something new.

March 2011 Issue of Cosmopolitan

Here are some of the tips that came from the book titled Small Space Solutions by Libby Langdon (I chose ones I have not previously come across):

Turn Your Bathroom Into Something Funky: Langdon suggests swapping out the lame fuzzy mats for smaller area rugs and adding quirky touches to spice up your bathroom and make it less generic.

From Old Lamp to New: Langdon shows us how to take a busted old lamp and make it glamorous by spray-painting the base with a high-gloss spray in the color of your choice and ditching the white shade for a darker one to make “a bold graphic statement.” I know that there are some spray-paints that are high-gloss but also have a touch of glitter if you wanted to add glamour.

Your Own Personal Gallery: Group together various photos, pictures, or paintings to make a small gallery on one of your walls. Langdon says to aim for a an odd number for a more original feel and also to aim for a common theme. I don’t think that you necessarily need a common theme as long as your gallery somehow ties together and looks fantastic. No need to match–get creative!

Graffiti: Use fabric paint to stencil on the backs of different pieces of furniture. If you are like me and don’t want to get so permanent with your design I think you should buy cheap slip covers for your chairs, couch–(what have you) and stencil on those so they can be easily removed when you tire of the design.

Temporary Wallpaper: Use silver or gold thumbtacks to hang wallpaper without committing to the wallpaper permanently. Langdon says patterned wrapping paper works as a cheap alternative (I don’t believe you should do this in large pieces–it would look too cheap). I think you could cut different designs you like into shapes and hang them on one wall in a collage manner.

Channel Your Inner 5-Year-Old: Apply chalkboard paint somewhere in your home. Langdon suggests on your bedroom door. My sister and I have a chalkboard in our kitchen, which is fantastic because we (and our friends) write funny sayings all over it, or we leave little notes to each other, and it’s a nice way to make your home about you. My friend Chelsea also once sprayed a large section of one of her bedroom walls with this and we definitely had fun with that. You could also spray a fun shape onto a wall rather than a door.

Collection-ista?: If you have collections Langdon suggests arranging them in an unusual way and showcasing them somewhere in your home, or displaying them in a crystal bowl etc. My Dad displays his match-holder collection on a few shelves in his office and it is a great conversation starter let me tell you!

*Another great way to cherish small memories while decorating is drying out flowers and then buying a small funky vase to display them in. My Mom does this with white lilacs that grow on a tree in front of our house, and I am attempting to do this with white roses that my boyfriend recently bought me. No need to throw out those beautiful flowers!*

Those are just a few ideas that Langdon came up with in her book Small Space Solutions and there are always more out there. Get creative, take the ones you like and change them to suit you. After all your living space should be a reflection of you no?

An article on New York Times.com uncovers the idea that the “Fountain of Youth” may in fact not be a fountain at all. The key to staying young forever may be easy as stepping right out your front door… or back door. The key you ask? Exercise. New research just released from the National Academy of Scientists explains that exercise reduces or eliminates almost every detrimental effect of aging in mice. Yes the studies are new and yes they have only been performed on mice, but these mice were injected with a genetic mutation that accelerated their rate of aging. They separated the mice into two groups: one group of mice were forced to exercise daily for 45 minutes while the other group led a sedentary lifestyle (use your imagination for what this would be for a mouse). After one year the mice who led the sedentary lifestyle were dead, and had been showing effects of aging by 8 months (they were bald and frail), whereas the mice (who possessed the same genetic mutation) who exercised daily were still alive and youthful after a year, showing no effects of aging; they weren’t even graying! There have been many studies that have reinforced the idea that exercise helps slow the course of aging but this was the first study to uncover the fact that exercise, “[affects] every tissue and bodily system studied.” Before scientists thought exercise affected just muscle tissue, brain tissue, skin, and hair. And an added bonus: Exercise reduces stress.

(For more in-depth information on this study click the link above to read the full article.)

So what does this mean? We should all get moving, and now. I am currently writing from Steamboat, Colorado where I am visiting my Uncle on vacation. You don’t need special equipment or a gym membership to begin an exercise routine, it is as easy as getting out daily and going for a walk, and perhaps doing some push-ups and sit-ups. As you feel better you can maybe start running and purchase weights from Target or Wal-Mart and add in strength training. Cardio and strength training are the most important.

If you find walking, running, and lifting weights boring, then get back into a sport you used to play (whether in an intramural league or pick-up games) or find a new sport to learn. My Mom started playing tennis when she was 40, and now she plays 8-10 hours a week and my Dad is still playing soccer in a men’s league. Today we went snow-shoeing for a few hours and not only did we get to spend time outside, in the fresh air, looking at beautiful scenery, we worked out our entire body (I am already sore). My parents were able to buy snow-shoes and poles for each other at Christmas for around $150 (give or take $20) from L.L. Bean. They go out every weekend together to snow-shoe and my Mother will go out on her own during the week. What a great investment for the winter.

The bottom line: Even if you don’t have any money for a gym membership or special exercise equipment you can always go for a run or walk a few times a week and do strength training exercises using your own body as resistance — A small effort can keep you young for a very long time.

 

Steamboat Springs, Colorado

Hey Everyone–

I came across this post on Health.com and I love these tips. The slideshow shows you how to turn your bedroom “into a retreat.” Remember: your bedroom should only be for sleeping and after hours fun. Who wants to bring the office into either one of those?

  • Cut The Clutter: Put your books in the bookcase, fold your clothes and put them away, and throw out any item if you can’t remember why you have it or where you got it. If all of your clothes don’t fit into your drawers you can always find a cute wicker basket or patterned boxes to put them in at places like HomeGoods, Marshalls, Pier One, Pottery Barn etc. All your other odds and ends can be stacked up into different size boxes and not only will you be organized but your room will look clean and cute.
  • Bring In Nature: The slideshow says to bring in fresh flowers and plants, but personally as much as I love fresh flowers, most of the time they are more work than they are worth, and if you live in an apartment like I do, they will never see the sun. Instead, I make my own flower arrangements by buying silk flowers from craft places like Michael’s. Real or fake, flowers create a calming effect and that’s what you want in your bedroom.
  • Make It As Comfortable As Possible: Splurge on this one. Get the soft sheets, the furry and soft blankets, and the down comforter and pillows. Another lovely touch is silk or satin pillowcases and sheets. Not only will you feel sexy but you will never want to get out of bed!
  • Bring In Scents That Help You To Relax: Two of the best scents for relaxation are lavender and vanilla. I personally prefer lavender, so either light a candle or a diffuser that emits your favorite scent or you can buy a linen spray from places like The Body Shop and Bath and Body Works. Spray them before you crawl into bed and instantly you will be relaxed.
  • Get Rid of Your TV: I know it sounds like an impossible and ridiculous idea and I’m sure you think I’m a lunatic for even suggesting it but I actually did this and it works. Once I got rid of my TV, it signified that my room was strictly my bedroom and nothing more. Why put a TV in your room when you probably have 3 other sets in your house?
  • Feng Shui Your Room: Put your bed against a solid wall that faces the door and it should also be across the room from a mirror, subconsciously you feel more protected because you are aware of all of your surroundings in your room. Also, try to learn to sleep with the door and the blinds fully closed. This blocks noise, light, and any other distraction, including pets. Your body will not fall into a deep sleep unless your room is completely dark.

You can try all of these or just a few but all of us want a place we can relax and forget the stress of the day, so why shouldn’t that place be your bedroom? And the more relaxing it is, the more refreshing your sleep will be, and I think we can all agree that we need a little more sleep!

With all of the demands on us these days we forget to worry about one important thing… ourselves. When it comes right down to it, we sacrifice sleep, food, exercise, etc all in the name of… what, “responsibilities?” Isn’t our biggest responsibility to take care of ourselves? And once we do, it almost always seems like every thing else falls into place and suddenly becomes easier. Once we figure out what we want, and listen to our needs we have a much easier time accomplishing what we want to accomplish. Here are a few simple ways to re-focus your energy back onto yourself and start treating yourself well every day:

  • Pay Attention To Your Own Needs And Wants: Sounds simple enough, yet we rarely do this. Learn to listen to what your body and mind are telling you to do, whether it’s sleep more, eat more, exercise, socialize, or just stay in and watch a movie. The more in-tune you are with what your body and your mind needs, the better you will be at taking care of yourself by eating right, exercising, and sleeping well and the better your outlook on life will be because you will not only feel great, but that positive energy will spill over into every thing else you do. Also, don’t forget to reward yourself once in a while. If you want those chocolate chip pancakes, eat them. If you have been wanting to buy something in particular for ages, get it. You are allowed to treat yourself once in a while.
  • Take Time To Do Things You Enjoy Or Learn Something New: When we get so busy we tend to forget that we are allowed to have a little fun. The best thing to do is to make a list of the things you enjoy and then try to figure out how to work those activities into your weekly and/or daily schedule. I love to play piano and sing and finally after over a year I brought my keyboard down to my apartment and I am so happy that I did. Now when I am bored or stressed I can sing and play and completely turn my mood around, while also becoming better at something that I love to do. Better yet, you can also take time to do things you have always wanted to do, like learn how to cook or start learning how to play a new sport.
  • Get Something Done That You Have Been Putting Off: Clean, re-organize your closet, pay a long overdue bill, whatever it is, once you have done this it will immediately reduce stress.
  • Dress In Clothes That Make You Feel Good About Yourself: When you walk outside and you have on a fantastic outfit, your make-up is done, and your hair looks great, you automatically have self-esteem and you are starting your day off in a positive way. Try every day to put your best face forward.
  • Spend Time With People Who Make You Feel Good About Yourself: This seems like a no-brainer but if you think about it, how often do you do something because you “feel like you have to” even though, you really don’t want to and it feels like torture. Yes, there are certain things in our lives that we are forced to do whether we like it or not, but friendships and relationships should make us feel happy and supported, not the opposite. Avoid those people who treat you badly. You have the power to choose how YOU respond to this negativity. You can’t control other people but you can control how you react to those people, whether it is ending a friendship, or telling them how they upset you. There is no reason to be around someone who has a negative impact on your life or your self-esteem.
  • Make Your Living Space Relaxing And About You: You can take a few tips from my previous post if you want to re-decorate or you can simply display photos or special items that remind you of things you have accomplished or people who you love. Use creativity to add comfort. Make a space just for you.

In order to accomplish some of these things it takes self-discipline but even doing one or two of these things can have a vast improvement not only on your stress level, but on your overall outlook on life. You want to take small steps toward realistic goals and remind yourself that you have needs too!