All Articles Tagged "stress"

Ways To Live A More Peaceful Life Instead Of A Stressful One

March 27th, 2015 - By Opal Stacie
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Source: Shutterstock

Source: Shutterstock

We tend to have misconceptions about what is readily available to us to help when it comes to dealing with a brain that won’t stop thinking or stressing over absolutely everything. But using any of the solutions on this list will help you find a sense of peace even in the most chaotic places. The trick to lasting peace, however, will take a bit more time and commitment. This isn’t your traditional, “find peace with Yoga and meditation” article. Nope! Instead, we believe that making simple lifestyle changes will go a long way in helping you feel less stressed. Most of these methods are scientifically proven to boost your mood and improve your quality of life, and I personally use quite a few of them as a way to find peace in my own life.

Money On My Mind! The #1 Stress For Women Is Money

February 5th, 2015 - By Ann Brown
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Most Americans have lots of stresses, but the number one turns out to be money. And despite the country’s economic turnaround, financial woes are still what’s most on our minds.

According to a new survey by the American Psychological Association called “Stress in America,” a whopping 72 percent of adults say they are stressed out about money at least some of the time in 2014. Another 22 percent responded that they have extreme stress about money.

Women worry more about money than anyone else. In fact, it has kept more women up at night than men. An incredible 51 percent of women say they lay awake at night worrying about money, versus 32 percent of men.

The main triggers for money stresses include paying for unexpected expenses, paying for essentials, and saving for retirement. Basically, handing over money for stuff.

Only wealthy Baby Boomers seem to be immune from such money stress. Everyone else — from parents to millennials to Gen X-ers and lower-income households (with less than $50,000 per year) — expend lots of brain power on financial concerns.

And all this stress is affecting our health. “Parents are more likely than nonparents to report engaging in unhealthy stress-management techniques, such as drinking alcohol and smoking,” reports Yahoo.

Lack of money also kept 32 percent of adults from living a healthy lifestyle and 12 percent report say they even cut out doctor  visits because of financial concerns. Chronic stress is nothing to take lightly, it can lead to high blood pressure, ulcers, irritable bowl syndrome, headaches, and depression.

The stats may seem depressing but actually stress is trending downward, with lower overall levels currently than in 2007.

How worried are you about money?

Ask Dr. Renee: Depression Is Real

January 2nd, 2015 - By Dr. Renee Matthews
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Depression Is Real

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In the last year we have heard more and more about Black women committing suicide. The first person that shocked us was Karyn Washington the creator of committed suicide at age 22. Then a few months ago Simone Battle committed suicide at age 25, she was on “X Factor” and in the pop group G.R.L. And then December 4, Titi Branch committed suicide at age 45, she was one half of the Miss Jessie’s hair empire. Although details of this most recent incident have not been released, it is important to know that mental illness is real and should not be ignored. It is very important if you are feeling down for an extended period of time that you seek help. Let’s admit we all get down for a day or two but if that turns into a week or more you need to seek professional help.

This time of year can be particularly hard for people who are single, have recently lost a loved one, or perhaps they are having financial hardships this holiday season. It is very important, if you can, to check on someone who you know may be alone this holiday season. Another suggestion would be invite any people you know are without family this season, to your family for the weekend to make certain they are not alone during the holidays. Here are some more tips to help prevent the holiday blues.

It is always best to prevent stress and depression in the first place, especially if the holidays have taken an emotional toll on you in the past. If that is not possible please try some of these helpful tips.

Express your feelings. If someone close to you has recently died or you can’t be with loved ones, realize that it’s normal to feel sadness and grief. It’s OK to take time to cry or express your feelings. You can’t force yourself to be happy just because it’s the holiday season. But try to set a time limit on those tears. If you try to find one thing to be grateful a day more things will come and you will one day realize you are no longer sad.

Help others: If you feel lonely or isolated, seek out community, religious or other social events. They can offer support and companionship. Volunteering your time to help others also is a good way to lift your spirits and broaden your friendships. It is amazing how helping others will help you in return and maybe even more than the people you were helping.

Be Realistic: The holidays don’t have to be perfect or just like last year. As families change and grow, traditions and rituals often change as well. Choose a few to hold on to, and be open to creating new ones. For example, if your adult children can’t come to your house, find new ways to celebrate together, such as sharing pictures, emails or videos. Be open to change and realize that it is inevitable.

Love your family: Try to accept family members and friends as they are, even if they don’t live up to all of your expectations. Set aside any arguments, differences until a more appropriate time for discussion. The dinner table is not the time to bring up conflict in the family nor verbally attack a family member. Be understanding if others get upset or distressed when something goes awry. Chances are they’re feeling the effects of holiday stress and depression, too.

Don’t overspend. Before you go gift and food shopping, decide how much money you can afford to spend. Then stick to your budget. Don’t try to buy happiness with an avalanche of gifts.

Try these alternatives:

• Donate to a charity in someone’s name.
• Give homemade gifts. (cookies, cakes, bath soaps etc.)
• Start a family gift exchange.

Make a list and check it twice. Set aside specific days for shopping, baking, visiting friends and other activities. Plan your menus and then make your shopping list. That’ll help prevent last-minute scrambling to buy forgotten ingredients. And make sure to line up help for party prep and cleanup.

Don’t be a people pleaser. Saying yes when you should say no can leave you feeling resentful and overwhelmed. Friends and colleagues will understand if you can’t participate in every project or activity. If it’s not possible to say no when your boss asks you to work overtime, try to remove something else from your agenda to make up for the lost time.

Stay healthy, don’t forget to workout. Don’t let the holidays become a free-for-all. Overindulgence only adds to your stress and guilt.

Try these suggestions:

• Have a healthy snack before holiday parties so that you don’t go overboard on sweets, cheese or drinks.
• Get plenty of sleep.
• Incorporate regular physical activity into each day.

Relax, relate, release. Make some time for yourself. Spending just 15 minutes alone, without distractions, may refresh you enough to handle everything you need to do. Find something that reduces stress by clearing your mind, slowing your breathing and restoring inner calm.

Some options may include:
• Taking a walk at night and stargazing.
• Listening to soothing music.
• Getting a massage.
• Reading a book.

Seek professional help if you need it. You may find yourself feeling persistently sad or anxious, plagued by physical complaints, unable to sleep, irritable and hopeless, and unable to face routine chores. If these feelings last for a while, talk to your doctor or a mental health professional. Please never be ashamed to seek help. The Crisis Call Center is available 24 hours a day (800)273-8255.

Depression Is Real

Source: Ask Dr. Renee

Dr. Renee Matthews has appeared on television shows such as “The Oprah Winfrey Show” and WGN’s “People to People”  where she discussed different health topics. She started her media career with her own radio show on ReachMD, a programming source for health professionals. In addition Dr. Renee has been a featured medical correspondent on Sirius XM’s “Sway in the Morning.” 

Dr. Renee earned her undergraduate degree in 1999 and her Medical Doctorate in 2005. She spent the early part of her medical career as an educator for numerous hospitals and attending staff on cord blood. 

Twitter: @AskDrRenee

How To Apply Workplace Professionalism To Stressful Holiday Situations

December 16th, 2014 - By Tanvier Peart
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Holiday/Christmas stress


If the holidays are supposed to be a wonderful time of year, why do folks test your patience? Have you ever been shopping and experienced the most ugly of attitudes? Instead of getting caught up in nonsense, make the decision to keep your calm and continue with your endeavors. Here are some tips on how to apply your professionalism to stressful holiday situations.

Are You Guilty? Top Stresses We Bring On Ourselves

November 26th, 2014 - By Tanvier Peart
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When it comes to stress in your life, how do you manage it? Are you someone who can take things in stride, or do you freak out over the littlest of things? Sooner or later it’s important to realize the more you harp on a situation, the greater the damage you cause yourself. Check out these common stresses we bring on ourselves.

No Stress Zone: Do Thanksgiving With Ease

November 25th, 2014 - By Rich
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“Cook the turkey and ham, see if Cynthia is baking the pies, clean the house, make sure I have games for the kids, call Uncle Joe to pick up Grandma in time for dinner, yada, yada, yada. . .”

That’s the inner monologue of most of us super-mamas as we prepare for Thanksgiving. While the Butterball turkey commercial shows serene moms preparing meals in anticipation of a peaceful family Thanksgiving meal, that scenario is far from true for most of us.  Honestly, for many of us the holidays are just plain STRESSFUL!

And there’s good reason!  Holidays bring lots of pressure.  Often sparks fly as family members who feud all year gather together for hours at a time.  There’s a huge pressure to prepare a delicious meal.  And then there are dozens of screaming nieces and nephews running around the house.  Not to mention the finances involved with big family gatherings.  And guess who gets to coordinate it all?  That’s right, mama – it’s you!

According to the Mayo Clinic, holiday stress is extremely common.  But you don’t have to just smile, and pretend to be the holiday version of Wonder Woman.  There are several easy things you can do to de-stress your Thanksgiving.  Here are a few tips:

Own your feelings.  If you have a case of the “holiday blues,” it’s okay.  Acknowledge your feelings.  Faking happiness during the holidays won’t help you become happier.  But taking time to recognize your own feelings are the first step to feeling better.

Don’t try to be a superhero.  Thanksgiving is about gathering with family and friends and giving thanks.  It’s not about stressing yourself out to have a perfect holiday.  Be sure to delegate various holiday preparation tasks to family members.  There’s no reason for you to do everything yourself.

Let bygones be bygones.  Thanksgiving is a great time to lay aside differences with family members.  Instead of spending time fuming over past arguments, focus on how thankful you are to have your family altogether.

Make a budget and stick to it.  You can’t buy holiday happiness, so don’t grow broke trying.  Stay within your means when shopping for the Thanksgiving meal.  And if the projected bill seems overwhelming, call on other family members to do their part.

Keep up your healthy behaviors.  Continue to eat right and exercise as Thanksgiving approaches.  It will boost your mood and help you handle stress.  According to Psychology Today, regular exercise has the same effect on brain chemistry as prescription antidepressants!

So now you’re ready to take on Thanksgiving.  Be sure to pass the turkey, but skip the holiday stress.

Mommies, what’s your favorite tip for staying cool during the holidays?

Yolanda Darville is a mom, writer, communications strategist and blogger focusing on philanthropy and empowering women.  Learn more about her on her blog .

Tips To Keep Business Pressures & Problems From Overwhelming You

November 20th, 2014 - By Ann Brown
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On November 11, Renee Mancino, who for years owned Carrot Top Bakery in Washington Heights, shot herself in the head in front of her husband and business partner, Bob, amid health complications and the possibility of losing her storefront, reports The New York Post. It appears the beloved NYC bakery owner felt so overwhelmed, she chose suicide.

Mancino, 66, who had her bakery in the same location for 31 years was in the midst of heated rent negotiations with her landlord; her monthly rent could have risen to $15,000. Her husband said the stress was just too much for his wife.

Like Mancino, many people get so stressed out over business situations that things seem helpless. In fact, according to Missouri Department of Mental Health, businesspeople and professional are in the high risk group for suicide. “The pressures to succeed and disillusionment over unfulfilled dreams place business people and professionals at risk,” states a report by the department’s Division of Comprehensive Psychiatric Services.

“Business/financial PTSD is a big issue for entrepreneurs. To cope they must be strong mentally, physically, and spiritually. This requires being proactive and developing strength before the cliff is in front of you,” explains executive trainer Hasani X. “Because that’s what it feels like. It’s like being on a cliff 24/7. That’s bad enough, but when things really get bad you feel like you have no safety harness, no ropes, and no way out.”

And sometimes it is difficult to extract yourself from the situation, but that’s something you need to do. If you see you are being pushed to the edge mentally due to stress at work, “be honest, admit you need help, create a plan to reduce the root causes, and  recognize that stress can be deadly, ” executive coach Farrah Parker explains to MadameNoire.

There are steps to take before things spiral out of control.

Focus on yourself: “Deposit more into yourself daily so that you become stronger. This will fortify you against stress and pressure. Think, meditation, exercise, connecting to purpose, and doing enjoyable things as Teflon to a nonstick pan. Nothing can stick to you,” suggests Hasani X. “Have an outlet that focuses on physical and emotional health. Whether it’s a brisk outdoor walk, yoga, or kickboxing, find a physical activity that provides solace while simultaneously improving your health,” adds Parker.

Be prepared for a crisis: “Setup rehearsed responses to stressful triggers. Psychological studies have proven that the mind can’t tell real from imagined experiences. So use this to your benefit. Use what I call Perfect Practice Therapy. Imagine the stressful scenario, but imagine yourself having a perfect response. Meaning, no stress, no fear, no worry,” says Hasani X.

Examine the stress: “Tackle the source of the stress. Strategically identify the root cause and diplomatically address it. If you feel your boss has placed too much on your plate, write an email outlining your current responsibilities and stress your commitment to doing a good job. Then carefully outline how you are unable to thoroughly meet the demands without sacrificing quality,” offers Parker.

Learn to let go: If your business is in ruins, take a hard look at the situation and future. If you have to let go, let go.  “Take an honest assessment. Decide if your business is salvageable or needs to close. It’s never too late to start fresh,” concludes Parker.

If you are unable to handle the stress, reach out for professional help, talk to a trusted confidant or contact the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-TALK. Don’t bottle those feelings inside.

Your Guide to Beating Holiday Season Burnout

October 31st, 2014 - By Rich
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I know we’re just headed into November, but I have been to at least three stores in the last few weeks with Christmas trees out and decorated. As much as we want to enjoy the leaves and savor the last warm days, the holiday season is almost here. Sure, we have a couple of months, but we all know how quickly time can fly by.

The quickness of it all is part of what makes it a stressful time if we aren’t mindful. The holiday season has this way of creeping up on us, even though we know it’s coming. And not only does it creep up on us, but it comes with a “to do” list that seems to never end.

I have made a few holiday season mistakes in the past. Some were so stressful; I can remember them like they happened yesterday. But, as with all things in life, if we learn the lesson, we don’t have to go through the experience again. Thank goodness I learned something, because I definitely don’t want to experience holiday burnout once more, and I don’t want you to either.

Here’s a guide to help you beat holiday season burnout. I think the information shared will give you what you need to create a happier, calmer, low-stress season.

1. Start your Christmas shopping as early as possible. I know, I know—it pains me too when I see a Christmas tree up in September, so the thought of shopping so early can seem unsettling, too. The thing is, if you go ahead and shop now you will spare yourself from a lot of last minute stress. I already started and I don’t plan to be in anyone’s store (or waiting for the delivery man) on Christmas Eve.

2. Avoid hosting Thanksgiving and Christmas if possible. If you are the one in your family who always ends up hosting all the holiday dinners, ask someone else to take the lead on something this year. Maybe you enjoy it, and if you find it brings you no stress, go right ahead and cook up a storm, my friend. But if you find all that cooking and cleaning exhausting, and you never even get to enjoy a plate of all that food your made until it’s super cold—well, I think you should give yourself a break this year.

3. Don’t get crafty if you just aren’t crafty. My kids are really young (4 and 2) and crafts are always a hit. The problem is, this mama is not all that craft. I mean I can glue a few sticks together and find some glitter, but it’s not something I am great at. So, I do my best to keep it simple. I buy tons of stickers, construction paper, and glitter pens. I also purchase a few craft kits that already include everything I need to help my kids make a wreath, card, or whatever else they desire. Everybody wins.

4. Say no… a lot. I have a gift. I say no to people… a lot. I am not mean at all (I swear I’m not), but I am also not in the business of burning myself out or letting people take advantage of me—even if it is family. That said, if I don’t want to attend an event, make something, or commit to a particular project around the holidays, I respectfully say, “thanks, but no thanks.” I just can’t be everything to everyone. There is nothing festive about that life.

5. Secure childcare. If your kids are older, this may not be an issue, but with my little ones a simple trip to buy decorations can quickly go south. If you are able to secure childcare for a few random days during the season, it can help you keep your sanity. Maybe you want to have the kids come along for some trips (like buying gifts for family members), but some time alone will allow you to get their gifts and do some store hopping to catch deals, which is often not an option when you have little ones in tow.

6. Pamper yourself. Aromatherapy treatments, a trip to the spa, and a massage from your hubby are all examples of ways you can pamper yourself during this potentially stressful season. Think about things that bring you peace and calm, and make them a priority in your life. If you lose your sense of balance and become overwhelmed, you can ruin the season for yourself and those you love most.

I know it’s early, but I am already wishing all of you a happy, stress-free holiday season. Leave comments and let me know what you do to make sure you don’t burnout during the holidays.
Martine Foreman is a freelance writer, lifestyle blogger, and family & relationship coach. To follow her journey as a busy mom, wife and honest chick from Brooklyn, NY (now living in the burbs), check out her personal blog, CandidBelle.

How My Daughter’s Book Helped Me Get Through A Rough Patch

October 17th, 2014 - By Kendra Koger
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How My Daughter's Book Helped Me Get Through A Rough Patch

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During idle days, my daughter and I like to walk down to the nearby thrift store and stock up on books.  Now, I’m not going to lie, not every time is a great one.  Sometimes we’ve came back with some duds, but for the most part we’re able to find some great books (including a bunch of “Goosebumps” books that I cannot wait to give her when she gets older).

After one mouth-wateringly (yes, I made that word up) great trip, we came back with about three bags of books and three board games (because, why not?), and immediately dumped them on my bed when we got home to really dig into them.  After reading about two or three duds, we came across:  “Jenna and the Troublemaker.”

The first time we read it, my mind wandered the entire time, thinking about what to cook, what I had left to do that day, and how lucky I was to get a “Sex and the City” trivia game for only $2 (it was still wrapped in plastic!  Score!).

When I finished the book, I placed it on our pile, and then left to fix us something to eat.

It wasn’t until a few months later that the book came back up in the rotation during a time that I really needed.

Sometimes life hits you hard, and that’s what I was going through then.  Things weren’t extremely horrible, but it was a difficult time nonetheless.  However, no matter how bad things get, there are no off-days for responsibilities, especially parenting.  So, when it was our reading time, and I picked the book up I wasn’t expecting it to touch me the way that it did.

“Jenna and the Troublemaker” is about an androgynous figure who creates troubles and delivers them to people (thus making him a “Troublemaker”).  While making a delivery he comes across a little girl named Jenna who is crying about how hard her life is due to the troubles that he keeps on bringing her.

To make her feel better he tells her to pack up all of her troubles and he invites her to come to his field of “troubles,” so she can trade her bag with someone else’s.

As Jenna goes through each bag, it seems to get worse and worse until she finally finds a bag that she can handle.  She takes it home, unknowing that (SPOILER) the troubles she picked were the ones she initially brought.

While reading, I didn’t realize that I was beginning to get choked up.  As my daughter started playing with her Spongebob pillow, completely oblivious to my moment of clarity, I was still looking down at the book.  I was caught off guard as to how ten cents bought me so much perspective.

Even though things might not have been perfect in my life at that time, the book reminded me that things could always get worse.  It also encouraged me to look a little more objectively at any trouble that comes my way, and know that not only is it temporary, but it’s also something that I can handle.

So to you, dear reader, if things aren’t going as great as you’d hoped, or your life is veering off your planned course, know that as horrible as it might feel now, it could be worse.  Instead of looking at the perceived notion that other people’s lives are better than yours, focus on doing what you can to help you lighten your own load.  At the end of the day, you might not like the troubles that are handed to you, but if you had the chance to trade, you’d probably still pick your own.


Kendra Koger doesn’t create trouble, but she does tweet @kkoger.


14 Habits To Help You Let Go And Move On

October 15th, 2014 - By Kendra Koger
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"Woman pulling out her hair pf"

Life can be tricky sometimes.  Sometimes you want to progress, but you find yourself stuck in rut.  You don’t know what’s wrong, or why you can’t move forward, but it’s not happening in the way that you want it to.  Well, here are 14 things that could be hindering your progress.