November 2008 Coping With Stress
A few ideas to help you put the thanks back into Thanksgiving
- Go around the table and ask each person to share what they are most thankful for.
- Put everyone's name in a bowl and have each person at the table pick a name and tell why they are thankful to have that person in their life.
- Begin a family journal - each family member can add their thoughts about all the good things that happen to them throughout the year, then read it aloud each Thanksgiving.
- Have the entire family volunteer to deliver food to the elderly or infirm, or donate time or money to a food bank or homeless shelter.
- Don't forget about those living in nursing homes - many are lonely and have no family, and greatly enjoy having visitors.
- Invite co-workers, neighbors, and friends who can't get home for the holidays to join your family for dinner.
- Express your gratitude and appreciation to everyone you encounter for the rest of the month...then think about how it feels to spread positive energy, and how living in gratitude improved your own life?
The Power of Vitamin D
You may have been hearing a lot about Vitamin D lately. It appears this vitamin is beneficial for many things, including prevention of disease. The great thing about Vitamin D is it is readily available to the body - all you need is a little sun each day! Women to Women.com, one of my favorite sources of health information had a great article in a recent newletters about Vitamin D, and why it is so important to our good health.
Here are some fast facts:
- One doctor estimates that 85-90% of people do not get enough Vitamin D
- As we age we lose our ability to synthesize and absorb it
- Not all forms of Vitamin D are the same, some are more bio-available (usable) such as D3 (D2 has greater potential for toxicity)
- The body has a natural checks & balances system and shuts off the Vitamin D it manufactures once we get enough (from natural sources)
- Sunlight and dietary Vitamin D go into circulation, then to the liver where it is converted into calcidiol (the circulating form of the vitamin)
What Does Vitamin Do In The Body?
- Supports mineral absorption (calcium & phosphorus in blood and bones)
- Regulates normal cell differentiation (prevention of cancer)
- promotes insulin & blood sugar regulation
- regulates over 200 genes through binding to Vitamin D receptors throughout the body
Symptoms of Vitamin D Deficiency:
- low energy & fatigue
- muscle pain
- sleep irregularities
- weak bones/fractures
- lowered immunity
- symptoms of depression
- mood swings
Get Your Daily Dose of Vitamin D
- Just 15 minutes of sun once or twice a day will do the trick. Avoid being in the sun during peak hours of 10-2, try early AM or later in the PM
- Eat whole foods including fatty fish (mackerel & sardines), egg yolks, fortified organic milk and dairy, organ meats
- If you think you need supplementation disucss this with your doctor, especially if you are over 50
- Simple blood tests are available so you can make sure your levels are adequate
- The U.S. Food & Nutrition Board recommends a dose of up to 2,000 IU, though some studies show that we may need as much as 3,000-5,000 IU per day.
"Tough Times Never Last, But Tough People Do"
Written in 1984 by Dr. Rober H. Schuller the message of this book is still relevant today. I read it when it was first published, and the title has always stuck with me. Whenever life gets a little uncertain, as the world seems to be right now, I remind myself that "tough times never last, but tough people do." For more information about Dr. Schuller's book available on Amazon.com: http://www.amazon.com/. And if you are looking for other ways to navigate through these uncertain times, below you will find some ideas to help you maintain a more positive frame of mind.
Want to Feel Better and Be Healthier?
Although this may seem fairly obvious, laughter is actually good for your health, in addition to making you feel better.
According to Psychology Today:
- Laughter causes the inner lining of blood vessels to expand, increasing blood flow.
- Chuckling heartily pumps up the expression of at least 14 genes that regulate natural killer-cell activity, which destoy tumors and cells besieged by viruses, on contact.
- Laughter increases the receptors for certain proteins that prevent cellular damage in diabetics, and can also curb spikes in blood glucose after meals.
- Even the expectation of laughter can have benefits - expecting to laugh can increase endorphins in the body which helps the immune system.
- And just hearing laughter can activate neurons in the brain that prepare the face to smile. Plus we all know how contagious laughter can be, which promotes bonding and spreads the benefits of laughter's physical benefits.
7 Mood Boosters
US News & World Report offers these tips for easing mild depression:
1. Get moving: 30 minutes of activity a day, six days a week can alleviate chronic sadness as well as antidepressants, according to a 2005 study in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine. Even a 15 minute walk can improve mood and increase energy says Robert Thayer, a professor of psycology at California State University. For more exercise ideas, click here.
2. Draw upon positive memories: Food and alcohol may provide a temporary lift, but you may feel more drained later. Try thinking back to a time you felt really good, like after taking a nice long walk, and reliving that memory may be just the motivation you need to get moving again.
3. Take a breathing break: Spend 10 minutes focused on the flow of your breath moving in and out of your lungs, which can lower breating rate, heart rate, and blood pressure, thus reducing tension. As you are doing this add a meaningful word like "love" or "peace."
For more relaxation techniques, click here.
4. Try getting better sleep: Most adults need 7-8 hours sleep and often don't get it. Prolonged sleep deprivation can actually lead to depression. For tips on getting a good night's sleep, click here.
5. Think fish oil: Salmon, herring, tuna, and mackerel are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which appear to protect against depression. You can also look for omega-3 fortified foods (listed on the label) such as eggs and yogurt. Try eating several servings per week, although I personally advise caution against eating too much tuna as it is high in mercury, a toxin.
6. Listen to music: In his research, Professor Thayer found that listening to music was an effective way to tlisten to musicurnaround a bad mood - it was second only to exercise. And it didn't have to be any special type of music, although he did suggest trying toe-tapping, energizing beats.
7. Talk it out: Try talking to family or friends about how you are feeling, sometimes just sharing things with others helps. Also incorporate pleasurable activities into your life - do the things you enjoy doing!
I have personally found the use of visualization helpful for releasing negative thoughts and feelings. I also realign my focus to all in my life that I am grateful for - by counting the blessings instead of the troubles. For more ideas, read about My Healing Journey and the 6 lessons that helped me to create healing in my life.
And remember, we all feel down once in a while, but if you are feeling more than mild sadness, or it lasts for more than a few days, consult with a mental health professional, or discuss the situation with your primary care doctor.