Tag Archives: Health

3 Simple Steps to a Healthy Home

We spend a substantial percentage of time indoors. Between the workplace, home, shopping, entertainment, etc., we can spend as much as 90% of our time in a building. On average, we spend 50% of our time at home.

Recent studies have shown that indoor environments can contain a range of harmful pollutants including mould, radon, volatile organic compounds (VOCs), and that old classic, cigarette smoke.

While there is not much you can do about air quality in most of the public buildings you frequent, you can easily make changes to improve the air quality in your home.

There are three steps you need to look at:

  1. Eliminate
    • products that give off gases: treated drapes, vinyl, plastic, composite wood, etc.
    • chemical cleaners
    • paint and solvents—store them in a shed or garage, away from the house.
    • Standard air fresheners
    • cigarette smoke
  2. Ventilate
    • make sure your home has adequate ventilation
    • make sure the fans exhaust to the outdoors and not into the attic or back into the room
    • run bathroom and kitchen fans for 20 minutes after showering or cooking
  3. Filter
    • Make sure you have good furnace filters and change them regularly
    • Use the kitchen exhaust fan while cooking to eliminate grease and clean the filters regularly
    • Regularly change or clean vacuum bags and filters

Stress Management Techniques

Living is inherently stressful, but how we manage it will determine the number and severity of the stress related symptoms we experience. Many people don’t recognize the symptoms or choose to ignore them. Stress related symptoms can be broken down into four major categories. These include:

A. Emotional

  • Anxiety
  • Irritability
  • Anger
  • Depression

B. Congnitive

C. Physical

  • Sleep disturbance
  • Fatigue
  • Headaches
  • Change in appetite
  • Muscle tension
  • Gastrointestinal problems
  • Weight change
  • Decreased sexual interest

D. Behavioral

  • Increased substance (i.e., alcohol, drug) use
  • Social isolation
  • Conflict with others

These symptoms are your body’s way of telling you something is wrong and you need to pay attention to them. Symptoms that are ignored ultimately lead to much more serious health problems. To reduce both stress related symptoms and the chances of developing these serious stress related disorders, try the following strategies.

Coping Strategies:

Deep Breathing – When you are under stress, you tend to breathe both more quickly and more shallow. Taking slow deep breaths will induce the relaxation response. Breathe in and out to the count of four or five and you will begin to feel a sense of relaxation fill your mind and your body.

Other Relaxation Techniques – These include progressive muscle relaxation, autogenic training, deep muscle relaxation, imagery training, biofeedback, and self-hypnosis.

Develop a Calm Focus – Focus on something in your environment that is pleasant, beautiful, or calming. This could be something visual such as a painting, tree, or flower or it could be something that stimulates your other senses such as a pleasant smell or taste. Experience fully whatever it is you are focusing on.

Focus on the Positive – A lot of stress is created by focusing on the negative in the world around you or in your own life. Train yourself to look for the positive. For example, take inventory each day of what went right, rather than focusing on the problems you had or mistakes you made.

Reduce or Eliminate Stimulants – Two of the most commonly used stimulants are caffeine and nicotine. If stress is an issue for you, then reducing or eliminating these substances from your body will go a long way toward reducing your stress level.

Be Realistic – Lots of stress comes from trying to control events or people you can’t control, or by not controlling those things within your control. If the stressor is under your control, develop a plan to overcome it. If it is not, learn to accept it rather than experience the frustration comes from trying to change it.

Positive Affirmations – What we say to ourselves has an impact on our stress levels and our perception of being able to cope. Change those aspects self-talk based on fear or anxiety rather than fact. Replace them with realistic self-statements and practice daily positive affirmations.

Live in the Now – Much of our stress is created by living in the past or worrying about the future. Develop a ”one-day-at-a-time” mind set, since you can only really control the present anyway.

Keep a Journal – Instead bottling up your feelings and thoughts express them in a journal, which will provide a sense of relief and could serve as the first step in a more problem-solving process to resolving underlying issues.

Laugh – Laughter is considered one of the best medicines for stress. Seek out humorous books, TV shows, movies or life situations that will bring humor into your life. Don’t be afraid to laugh at yourself and your mistakes.

Get Support – One of the best ways to combat stress is to develop and rely on a support system. Whether family, relatives or friends, talking to any of these people is a great way to minimize stress.

Health Eating – Although most people today realize that our diet has a big impact on our physical health, fewer people are aware of how much it affects our resistance to stress. Eating a healthy and well balanced diet is like giving ourselves an immunity to stress.

Manage Your Time – A major source of stress for many people is being over-committed limiting the time available for rest and relaxation. Develop a reasonable schedule, which includes both productive activity and fun or relaxing activities, can significantly reduce stress.

Be Physically Active – Exercise and other physical activity can both significantly reduce stress and prevent the negative effects of stress. Exercise releases endorphins into your blood stream, which produces a natural ”high” that leaves you calmer and less stressed.

Find Solitude – Time on your own is an important strategy to manage your stress. This is particularly true if your day is filled with a lot of contact with other people.

Confront Rather Than Ignore – As a short-term solution to stress, many people simply try to ignore life problems. Unfortunately, problems you ignore tend to get worse over time Problem-solving is a skill that develops with practice, so refine your skill.

Take Control – Learn to express your feelings, values, and beliefs openly and honestly, in a way that respects the rights of others. This particularly applies if you have difficulties saying no to other people and become overwhelmed with tasks that you don’t really want to take on.

Slow Down – As society’s pace continues to increase, step back and slow down the pace of your life.  Slowing down can actually increase our performance and enjoyment of the work we do.

Spirituality – Developing a spiritual life can help reduce stress in a number of ways. Spirituality can help you deal with some of the more existential questions about life. As well, prayer or meditation can have a relaxing effect on the body.

8 mental steps to self-motivation

To be a success you need to know how to motivate yourself. You have to keep your spirits high no matter how discouraging a situation is. It’s the best way to overcome difficulties. If you are discouraged in difficult times, you will lose the battle before it starts.

How do you motivate yourself? Here are several tips I’ve found to be effective to build self motivation:

  1. Use visual motivators: An inspirational quote or poster can keep you focused on a change you’re trying to make in your life. A cartoon or joke can help keep you from taking things too seriously.

  2. Keep positive friends: There are those that will support and build you up and those that will always try and tear you down. Spend more time with the former.

  3. Read and listen well: Charlie “Tremendous” Jones teaches, the only thing that will make you become the person you dream of being is the books and tapes you listen to and the people you associate with.Pick out books, newspapers, websites, encyclopedias, anything with information that teaches you something you didn’t already know. Play Trivial Pursuit or watch Jeopardy. Learn something new every day. There are no such things as useless facts. If it’s part of our world, it’s worth knowing. I will get on my soapbox here again: embrace lifelong learning.

  4. Positive self-talk: One of the most powerful influences on your attitude and personality is what you say to yourself. It is not what happens to you, but how you respond internally to what happens to you. By controlling your inner dialogue, or your “self talk,” you can assert control over every part of your life.
  5. Get healthy: What’s good for the body is also good for the brain. Another reason not to put off taking care of yourself. Sleep enough. Our society is chronically sleep-deprived, which negatively affects our thought processes. So along with “beauty sleep,” go for the “smart sleep.”

  6. Keep a positive attitude: There’s is nothing more powerful for self-motivation than the right attitude. You can’t choose or control your circumstance, but can choose your attitude towards your circumstances.

  7. Take a break: You don’t have an endless supply of energy and drive. Now and again you need to take some time to re-charge your emotional and spiritual batteries.

  8. Share with others: Once you are motivated yourself, start motivating others. If people catch your passion, you’ll find it will drive you to new heights of accomplishment. Support and encourage others, be the cheerleader; it’s about them. Share your experience, by being a mentor, not through arrogance.

10 tips for busting stress

Do you have trouble remembering things? Are you having trouble sleeping or is your stomach in knots? Are you sleeping too little or too much? All of these can be symptoms of stress. A certain amount of stress is good –or

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even necessary– for all of us, but it is easy for it to get out of hand. Here are a few simple tips that can help you deal with stress.

  1. Evaluate the situation. How important is this activity to the overall goals and direction for my life? If it’s not really that important, don’t sweat it.
  2. Be positive. Positive thoughts can generate positive results and negative thoughts, negative results. Even something as simple as changing your perception from, “I have to get the done by Monday,” to ” I am going to get this done by Monday” can make a big difference.
  3. Visualize a successful outcome. Rather than focusing on the pressure of finishing a task, focus on the benefit or reward that will come from completion.
  4. Reward yourself. If the situation or project doesn’t have an intrinsic benefit or reward, create one. “Once I’ve finished painting the bedrooms, I’m going to spend a day relaxing at the beach.”
  5. Change the things that cause you stress. For those stressors that can be changed, do so. If you hate going to the supermarket at peak shopping times, reschedule for quiet periods. If lack of sleep adds to your tension, get to bed earlier.
  6. Strive for excellence, not perfection. Recognize that any number of factors can affect the perfect completion of a job. Strive to make your work the best in can be under the circumstances.
  7. Take care of your health. A fit body responds better to stress.
  8. Have fun. Play as hard as you work. Develop a sense of humour. Don’t take yourself too seriously.
  9. Have a quiet place. Go somewhere that takes you away from the things that cause your stress. Have a peaceful corner at home. Take a walk in a park. Get away from the office at lunch hour and sit on a bench.
  10. Talk to someone. A friend or family member can be a good place to get things of your chest. In more serious situations, perhaps a support group or a counsellor is in order.