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Archive for the category “health”

Sugar public enemy #1

Humans are suppose to consume only natural sugars! Only 4 grams per day is the health raw intake, but person consumes about 36 grams!! Here a list of thing your doing to your health because you are consuming so much refined sugars!

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1. Sugar can suppress the immune system.
2. Sugar upsets the mineral relationships in the
body.
3. Sugar can cause hyperactivity, anxiety,
difficulty concentrating, and crankiness in
children. 4. Sugar can produce a significant rise in
triglycerides.
5. Sugar contributes to the reduction in defense
against bacterial infection (infectious diseases).
6. Sugar causes a loss of tissue elasticity and
function, the more sugar you eat the more elasticity and function you loose.
7. Sugar reduces high density lipoproteins.
8. Sugar leads to chromium deficiency.
9 Sugar leads to cancer of the ovaries.
10. Sugar can increase fasting levels of glucose.
11. Sugar causes copper deficiency. 12. Sugar interferes with absorption of calcium
and magnesium.
13. Sugar can weaken eyesight.
14. Sugar raises the level of a neurotransmitters:
dopamine, serotonin, and norepinephrine.
15. Sugar can cause hypoglycemia.
16. Sugar can produce an acidic digestive tract.
17. Sugar can cause a rapid rise of adrenaline
levels in children.
18. Sugar malabsorption is frequent in patients
with functional bowel disease. 19. Sugar can cause premature aging.
20. Sugar can lead to alcoholism.
21. Sugar can cause tooth decay.
22. Sugar contributes to obesity
23. High intake of sugar increases the risk of
Crohn’s disease, and ulcerative colitis. 24. Sugar can cause changes frequently found
in person with gastric or duodenal ulcers.
25. Sugar can cause arthritis.
26. Sugar can cause asthma.
27. Sugar greatly assists the uncontrolled growth
of Candida Albicans (yeast infections). 28. Sugar can cause gallstones.
29. Sugar can cause heart disease.
30. Sugar can cause appendicitis.
31. Sugar can cause multiple sclerosis.
32. Sugar can cause hemorrhoids.
33. Sugar can cause varicose veins. 34. Sugar can elevate glucose and insulin
responses in oral contraceptive users.
35. Sugar can lead to periodontal disease.
36. Sugar can contribute to osteoporosis.
37. Sugar contributes to saliva acidity.
38. Sugar can cause a decrease in insulin sensitivity.
39. Sugar can lower the amount of Vitamin E
(alpha-Tocopherol in the blood. 40. Sugar can decrease growth hormone.
41. Sugar can increase cholesterol.
42. Sugar can increase the systolic blood
pressure.
43. Sugar can cause drowsiness and decreased
activity in children. 44. High sugar intake increases advanced
glycation end products (AGEs)(Sugar bound
non-enzymatically to protein)
45. Sugar can interfere with the absorption of
protein.
46. Sugar causes food allergies. 47. Sugar can contribute to diabetes.
48. Sugar can cause toxemia during pregnancy.
49. Sugar can contribute to eczema in children.
50. Sugar can cause cardiovascular disease.
51. Sugar can impair the structure of DNA
52. Sugar can change the structure of protein. 53. Sugar can make our skin age by changing
the structure of collagen.
54. Sugar can cause cataracts.
55. Sugar can cause emphysema.
56. Sugar can cause atherosclerosis.
57. Sugar can promote an elevation of low density lipoproteins (LDL).
58. High sugar intake can impair the
physiological homeostasis of many systems in
the body.
59. Sugar lowers the enzymes ability to
function. 60. Sugar intake is higher in people with
ParkinsonÕs disease.
61. Sugar can cause a permanent altering the
way the proteins act in the body.
62. Sugar can increase the size of the liver by
making the liver cells divide. 63. Sugar can increase the amount of liver fat.
64. Sugar can increase kidney size and produce
pathological changes in the kidney.
65. Sugar can damage the pancreas.
66. Sugar can increase the body’s fluid
retention. 67. Sugar is enemy #1 of the bowel movement.
68. Sugar can cause myopia (nearsightedness).
69. Sugar can compromise the lining of the
capillaries.
70. Sugar can make the tendons more brittle.
71. Sugar can cause headaches, including migraine.
72. Sugar plays a role in pancreatic cancer in
women.
73. Sugar can adversely affect school children’s
grades and cause learning disorders..
74. Sugar can cause an increase in delta, alpha, and theta brain waves.
75. Sugar can cause depression.
76. Sugar increases the risk of gastric cancer.
77. Sugar and cause dyspepsia (indigestion).
78. Sugar can increase your risk of getting gout.
79. Sugar can increase the levels of glucose in an oral glucose tolerance test over the ingestion
of complex carbohydrates.
80. Sugar can increase the insulin responses in
humans consuming high-sugar diets compared
to low sugar diets.
81 High refined sugar diet reduces learning capacity.
82. Sugar can cause less effective functioning of
two blood proteins, albumin, and lipoproteins,
which may reduce the bodyÕs ability to handle
fat and cholesterol.
83. Sugar can contribute to AlzheimerÕs disease.
84. Sugar can cause platelet adhesiveness.
85. Sugar can cause hormonal imbalance; some
hormones become underactive and others
become overactive.
86. Sugar can lead to the formation of kidney stones.
87. Sugar can lead to the hypothalamus to
become highly sensitive to a large variety of
stimuli.
88. Sugar can lead to dizziness.
89. Diets high in sugar can cause free radicals and oxidative stress.
90. High sucrose diets of subjects with
peripheral vascular disease significantly
increases platelet adhesion.
91. High sugar diet can lead to biliary tract
cancer. 92. Sugar feeds cancer.
93. High sugar consumption of pregnant
adolescents is associated with a twofold
increased risk for delivering a small-for-
gestational-age (SGA) infant.
94. High sugar consumption can lead to substantial decrease in gestation duration among
adolescents.
95. Sugar slows food’s travel time through the
gastrointestinal tract.
96. Sugar increases the concentration of bile
acids in stools and bacterial enzymes in the colon. This can modify bile to produce cancer-
causing compounds and colon cancer.
97. Sugar increases estradiol (the most potent
form of naturally occurring estrogen) in men.
98. Sugar combines and destroys phosphatase,
an enzyme, which makes the process of digestion more difficult.
99. Sugar can be a risk factor of gallbladder
cancer.
100. Sugar is an addictive substance.
101. Sugar can be intoxicating, similar to
alcohol. 102. Sugar can exacerbate PMS.
103. Sugar given to premature babies can affect
the amount of carbon dioxide they produce.
104. Decrease in sugar intake can increase
emotional stability.
105. The body changes sugar into 2 to 5 times more fat in the bloodstream than it does starch.
106. The rapid absorption of sugar promotes
excessive food intake in obese subjects.
107. Sugar can worsen the symptoms of
children with attention deficit hyperactivity
disorder (ADHD). 108. Sugar adversely affects urinary electrolyte
composition.
109. Sugar can slow down the ability of the
adrenal glands to function.
110. Sugar has the potential of inducing
abnormal metabolic processes in a normal healthy individual and to promote chronic
degenerative diseases.
111.. I.Vs (intravenous feedings) of sugar water
can cut off oxygen to the brain.
112. High sucrose intake could be an important
risk factor in lung cancer. 113. Sugar increases the risk of polio.
114. High sugar intake can cause epileptic
seizures.
115. Sugar causes high blood pressure in obese
people.
116. In Intensive Care Units, limiting sugar saves lives.
117. Sugar may induce cell death.
118. Sugar can increase the amount of food that
you eat.
119. In juvenile rehabilitation camps, when
children were put on a low sugar diet, there was a 44% drop in antisocial behavior.
120. Sugar can lead to prostrate cancer.
121. Sugar dehydrates newborns.
122. Sugar increases the estradiol in young men.
123. Sugar can cause low birth weight babies.
124. Greater consumption of refined sugar is associated with a worse outcome of
schizophrenia
125. Sugar can raise homocysteine levels in the
blood stream.
126. Sweet food items increase the risk of breast
cancer. 127. Sugar is a risk factor in cancer of the small
intestine.
128. Sugar may cause laryngeal cancer.
129. Sugar induces salt and water retention.
130. Sugar may contribute to mild memory loss.
131. As sugar increases in the diet of 10 years olds, there is a linear decrease in the intake of
many essential nutrients.
132. Sugar can increase the total amount of food
consumed.
133. Exposing a newborn to sugar results in a
heightened preference for sucrose relative to water at 6 months and 2 years of age.
134. Sugar causes constipation.
135. Sugar causes varicous veins.
136. Sugar can cause brain decay in prediabetic
and diabetic women.
137. Sugar can increase the risk of stomach cancer.
138. Sugar can cause metabolic syndrome.
139. Sugar ingestion by pregnant women
increases neural tube defects in embryos.
140. Sugar can be a factor in asthma.
141. The higher the sugar consumption the more chances of getting irritable bowel
syndrome.
142. Sugar could affect central reward systems.
143. Sugar can cause cancer of the rectum.
144. Sugar can cause endometrial cancer.
145. Sugar can cause renal (kidney) cell carcinoma.
146. Sugar can cause liver tumors.

References below

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63. Ibid. 64. Yudkin, J., Kang, S. and Bruckdorfer, K.
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65. Goulart, F. S. “Are You Sugar Smart?”
American Fitness. March_April 1991: 34-38
66. Ibid. 67. Ibid.
68. Ibid.
69. Ibid.
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71. Grand, E. “Food Allergies and Migraine.”Lancet. 1979:1:955_959.
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75. Ibid.
76. Cornee, J., et al. “A Case-control Study of Gastric Cancer and Nutritional Factors in
Marseille, France,” European Journal of
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77. Yudkin, J. Sweet and Dangerous.(New
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78. Ibid, 44 79. Reiser, S., et al. ÒEffects of Sugars on
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80. Reiser,S., et al. ÒEffects of Sugars on
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81. Molteni, R, et al. ÒA High-fat, Refined
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82. Monnier, V., ÒNonenzymatic
Glycosylation, the Maillard Reaction and the
Aging Process.Ó Journal of Gerontology.
1990;45:105-111.
83. Frey, J. ÒIs There Sugar in the AlzheimerÕs Disease?Ó Annales De Biologie Clinique. 2001;
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84. Yudkin, J. “Metabolic Changes Induced by
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88. Ibid
89. Ceriello, A. ÒOxidative Stress and Glycemic
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90. Postgraduate Medicine. Sept
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91. Moerman, C. J., et al. ÒDietary Sugar
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92. Quillin, Patrick, ÒCancerÕs Sweet Tooth.Ó
Nutrition Science News. Ap 2000.
Rothkopf, M.. Nutrition. July/Aug
1990;6(4).
93. Lenders, C. M. ÒGestational Age and Infant Size at Birth Are Associated with Dietary Intake
among Pregnant Adolescents.Ó Journal of
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94. Ibid.
95. Bostick, R. M., et al. “Sugar, Meat.and Fat
Intake and Non-dietary Risk Factors for Colon Cancer Incidence in Iowa Women.” Cancer
Causes & Control. 1994:5:38-53.
96. Ibid.
Kruis, W., et al. “Effects of Diets Low and
High in Refined Sugars on Gut Transit, Bile
Acid Metabolism and Bacterial Fermentation.Ó Gut. 1991;32:367-370.
Ludwig, D. S., et al. ÒHigh Glycemic Index
Foods, Overeating, And Obesity.Ó Pediatrics.
Mar 1999;103(3):26-32.
97. Yudkin, J and Eisa, O. ÒDietary Sucrose
and Oestradiol Concentration in Young MenÓ. Annals of Nutrition and Metabolism.
1988:32(2):53-55.
98. Lee, A. T. and Cerami A. “The Role of
Glycation in Aging.” Annals of the New York
Academy of Science. 1992; 663:63-70.
99. Moerman, C. et al.”Dietary Sugar Intake in the Etiology of Gallbladder Tract Cancer.”
Internat J of Epi. Ap 1993; 22(2):207-214.
100. “Sugar, White Flour Withdrawal Produces
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Colantuoni, C., et al. ÒEvidence That Intermittent, Excessive Sugar Intake Causes
Endogenous Opioid Dependence.Ó Obes Res.
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101. Ibid.
102. The Edell Health Letter. Sept 1991;7:1.
103. Sunehag, A. L., et al. ÒGluconeogenesis in Very Low Birth Weight Infants Receiving Total
Parenteral NutritionÓ Diabetes. 1999 ;48
7991-8000).
104. Christensen L. et al. ÒImpact of A Dietary
Change on Emotional Distress.Ó Journal of
Abnormal Psychology .1985;94(4):565-79. 105. Nutrition Health Review. Fall 85. Sugar
Changes into Fat Faster than Fat.Ó
106. Ludwig, D. S., et al. ÒHigh Glycemic
Index Foods, Overeating and Obesity.Ó
Pediatrics.Mar1999;103(3):26-32.
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with Attention Deficit Disorder.Ó Pediatrics Research. 1995;38:539-542.
Berdonces, J. L. ÒAttention Deficit and
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113. Sandler, Benjamin P. Diet Prevents Polio.
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Doctors and Patients. May, 2001.
115. Stern, N. & Tuck, M. ÒPathogenesis of
Hypertension in Diabetes Mellitus.Ó Diabetes
Mellitus, a Fundamental and Clinical Test. 2nd
Edition, (Phil. A:Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, 2000)943-957.
116. Christansen, D. ÒCritical Care: Sugar Limit
Saves Lives.Ó Science News. June 30,
2001;159:404.
117. Donnini, D. et al. ÒGlucose May Induce
Cell Death through a Free Radical-mediated Mechanism.ÓBiochem Biohhys Res Commun.
Feb 15, 1996:219(2):412-417.
118. Allen S. Levine, Catherine M. Kotz, and
Blake A. Gosnell . ÒSugars and Fats: The
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133:831S-834S. 119. Schoenthaler, S. The Los Angeles
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Stress reducing techniques

This tool introduces three useful physical relaxation techniques that can help you reduce muscle tension and manage the effects of the fight-or-flight response on your body. This is particularly important if you need to think clearly and perform precisely when you are under pressure.

The techniques we will look at are Deep Breathing, Progressive Muscular Relaxation and “The Relaxation Response”.

Deep Breathing

Deep breathing is a simple, but very effective, method of relaxation. It is a core component of everything from the “take ten deep breaths” approach to calming someone down, right through to yoga relaxation and Zen meditation. It works well in conjunction with other relaxation techniques such as Progressive Muscular Relaxation, relaxation imagery and meditation to reduce stress.

To use the technique, take a number of deep breaths and relax your body further with each breath. That’s all there is to it!

Progressive Muscular Relaxation

Progressive Muscular Relaxation is useful for relaxing your body when your muscles are tense.

The idea behind PMR is that you tense up a group of muscles so that they are as tightly contracted as possible. Hold them in a state of extreme tension for a few seconds. Then, relax the muscles normally. Then, consciously relax the muscles even further so that you are as relaxed as possible.

By tensing your muscles first, you will find that you are able to relax your muscles more than would be the case if you tried to relax your muscles directly.

Experiment with PMR by forming a fist, and clenching your hand as tight as you can for a few seconds. Relax your hand to its previous tension, and then consciously relax it again so that it is as loose as possible. You should feel deep relaxation in your hand muscles.

The Relaxation Response

‘The Relaxation Response’ is the name of a book published by Dr Herbert Benson of Harvard University in 1968. In a series of experiments into various popular meditation techniques, Dr. Benson established that these techniques had a very real effect on reducing stress and controlling the fight-or-flight response. Direct effects included deep relaxation, slowed heartbeat and breathing, reduced oxygen consumption and increased skin resistance.

This is something that you can do for yourself by following these steps:

Sit quietly and comfortably.
Close your eyes.
Start by relaxing the muscles of your feet and work up your body relaxing muscles.
Focus your attention on your breathing.
Breathe in deeply and then let your breath out. Count your breaths, and say the number of the breath as you let it out (this gives you something to do with your mind, helping you to avoid distraction).
Do this for ten or twenty minutes.

An even more potent alternative approach is to follow these steps, but to use relaxation imagery instead of counting breaths in step 5. Again, you can prove to yourself that this works using the biofeedback equipment.

Summary

“Deep Breathing,” “Progressive Muscular Relaxation,” and the steps leading to the “Relaxation Response” are three good techniques that can help you to relax your body and manage the symptoms of the fight-or-flight response.

These are particularly helpful for both handling nerves prior to an important performance, and reducing stress generally.

Physical relaxation techniques are as effective as mental techniques in reducing stress. In fact, the best relaxation is achieved by using physical and mental techniques together.

Centering helps!!!

Performance experts and life coaches have told you, time and time again, that you should walk onstage excited and confident about this opportunity. But inside, you’re a mess. You’re shaking, sweating, and afraid you won’t remember what you’re supposed to talk about. As you walk onstage, your inner voice tells you that you’re not ready, and you never will be.

Have you ever been in a situation like this? Have you been so stressed and nervous that you don’t want to go through with the speech, the interview, or presentation? Have you ever wished you could find a way of managing and overcoming this ‘performance stress’?

Well, there is an effective process that can help: It’s called centering, and anyone can learn it. The technique basically helps you change stress into concentration, and it can take as long as you want it to – from 10 seconds to 10 minutes or more. In this article, we’ll explain what it is, and how to do it.

What is Centering?

Centering is a technique that originated, and is still used, in Aikido – one of the Japanese martial arts. Aikido is nonviolent, and is perhaps the most cerebral of all the self-defense arts. It literally means ‘the way of unifying life energy.’

You may wonder how this is connected with stress. At its most basic level, stress is energy. And centering is a process that helps to manage energy.

One of the most fundamental principles of Aikido is learning to relax the mind during the stress caused while in a fight. In Aikido, when fighters approach attacks with confidence and directness instead of fear, they start down the path of mastering themselves.

They accomplish this by learning how to center.

If you stop and think for a moment about how stress affects you, you’ll notice that you usually have a strong physical reaction when you’re stressed. You may lift your shoulders, take short breaths (which means you use the upper parts of your lungs instead of the lower, deeper parts), your heart rate increases, and you may feel as if you’re ‘floating.’

Centering, on the other hand, is designed to bring you back down to earth. It helps you focus on the here and now, and doesn’t allow outside concerns to intrude on your inner strength and calm. Centering helps you remain stable and grounded – something you would no doubt appreciate when you’re about to go onstage to present.

How to Center Yourself

To help you center, you first have to learn how to focus on your breathing. Deep, abdominal breathing is best for relaxing you. If you’re not familiar with deep breathing, try this: Sit down, take a deep breath in, and focus on letting the air fill up your stomach (or diaphragm). Don’t move your chest – just breathe in, and let the air go down deeply into the center of your body. Exhale slowly and deliberately through your mouth.

Be clear about what you want to achieve, and focus on thinking positively about your outcome. For example, the affirmations you have in your head could be “The job is mine,” or “I give great presentations.” It could even be one word, such as “success,” or “confidence.”

There are three basic steps to centering.

Be aware of your breathing.
Spend a few seconds completely focusing on your breathing. Use the technique described above: Breathe deeply into your abdomen, and exhale slowly. Do this until your entire focus is on your breathing – and nothing else.
Find your center.
Locate your physical center of gravity. This is usually a little below your waist. Become familiar with where your center is, and remember what it feels like. This part of your body grounds and stabilizes you. When you begin to feel stressed – like you’re going to ‘float away’ – the feeling of your center will remind you that you have balance and control. Once you’ve found your center, breathe in and out deeply at least five times. Focus on your center. Feel the sensation of being stabilized and on the ground.
Release your negative energy.
Imagine all the negative energy in your body is collecting in one place. Find imagery that works for you. This could be a ball of energy that you’re going to throw away. Or the negativity could be held in a balloon that’s going to carry your negativity far away. Visualize this energy starting from your center, and moving up toward your eyes. As you inhale, say “Let.” As you exhale, say “Go.” If your energy is a ball, identify a spot across the room, and imagine yourself throwing the ball to hit that spot. If your energy is a balloon, imagine it floating away above your head. Let go of everything that is stressing you. Imagine your center filled with calm.
Using the centering method confidently takes some practice. It’s a good idea to start learning how to use it long before you actually have to do something stressful, like giving a speech, or interviewing for a job. Try the technique during situations that are stressful on a smaller scale – perhaps something you experience at work each day.

Once you’ve mastered the method, you can use it any time you feel stressed and out of control. It will also help you trust your ability to let your instincts take over in whatever you’re about to do.

Other Variations on Centering

You can add your own variations to the centering technique. For instance, let’s say you have to make a major decision this afternoon. You’re stressed about it, and you know that once you sit down with your team to make the decision, your stress level is going to increase dramatically.

You can begin centering early in the day. Do the technique every time you start to feel yourself getting tense. For more on this, read our article on relaxation response.

To lengthen the process, try this:

Close the door to your office, or sit in a place where it’s quiet, and you won’t be disturbed.
Choose a word or phrase – such as ‘peace’ or ‘ocean’ – that relaxes you, and helps you visualize something that’s calming.
Sit in a chair, close your eyes, and begin relaxing your muscles.
Focus on your deep, abdominal breathing. As you breathe, say or think about your word or phrase.
Continue this for 10 minutes or more.
There are several different ways to center, so find the process that works best for you.

If believe in yourself read this

Every person should start there day with a rehearsal of reading this poem. This poem should guide you, and motivate you to be the best you can. It with teach you a lessons that can enlighten you as a individual, for this poem mean something different to everyone.

IF you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies, Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,
And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise: If you can dream – and not make dreams your
master;
If you can think – and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build ’em up with worn-out tools: If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breathe a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone, And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: ‘Hold on!’ If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
‘ Or walk with Kings – nor lose the common touch,
if neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run, Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
And – which is more – you’ll be a Man, my son!

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How never fear anything again using visualization

Sometimes we are not able to change our environment to manage stress – this may be the case where we do not have the power to change a situation, or where we are about to give an important performance. Imagery is a useful skill for relaxing in these situations.

Imagery is a potent method of stress reduction, especially when combined with physical relaxation methods such as deep breathing.

You will be aware of how particular environments can be very relaxing, while others can be intensely stressful. The principle behind the use of imagery in stress reduction is that you can use your imagination to recreate and enjoy a situation that is very relaxing. The more intensely you imagine the situation, the more relaxing the experience will be.

This sounds unlikely. In fact, the effectiveness of imagery can be shown very effectively if you have access to biofeedback equipment. By imagining a pleasant and relaxing scene (which reduces stress) you can objectively see the measured stress in your body reduce. By imagining an unpleasant and stressful situation, you can see the stress in your body increase. This very real effect can be quite alarming when you see it happen the first time!

    Using the Tool:

Imagery in Relaxation

One common use of imagery in relaxation
is to imagine a scene, place or event that you remember as safe, peaceful, restful, beautiful and happy. You can bring all your senses into the image with, for example, sounds of running water and birds, the smell of cut grass, the taste of cool white wine, the warmth of the sun, etc. Use the imagined place as a retreat from stress and pressure.

Scenes can involve complex images such as lying on a beach in a deserted cove. You may “see” cliffs, sea and sand around you, “hear” the waves crashing against rocks, “smell” the salt in the air, and “feel” the warmth of the sun and a gentle breeze on your body. Other images might include looking at a mountain view, swimming in a tropical pool, or whatever you want. You will be able to come up with the most effective images for yourself.

Other uses of imagery in relaxation involve creating mental pictures of stress flowing out of your body, or of stress, distractions and everyday concerns being folded away and locked into a padlocked chest.

Imagery in Preparation and Rehearsal

You can also use imagery in rehearsal before a big event, allowing you to run through the event in your mind.

Aside from allowing you to rehearse mentally, imagery also allows you to practice in advance for anything unusual that might occur, so that you are prepared and already practiced in handling it. This is a technique used very commonly by top sports people, who learn good performance habits by repeatedly rehearsing performances in their imagination. When the unusual eventualities they have rehearsed using imagery occur, they have good, pre-prepared, habitual responses to them.

Imagery also allows you to pre-experience achievement of your goals, helping to give you the self-confidence you need to do something well. This is another technique used by successful athletes.

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Stress diary

Stress Diaries are important for understanding the causes of short-term stress in your life. They also give you an important insight into how you react to stress, and help you to identify the level of stress at which you prefer to operate.

The idea behind Stress Diaries is that, on a regular basis, you record information about the stresses you are experiencing, so that you can analyse these stresses and then manage them.

This is important because often these stresses flit in and out of our minds without getting the attention and focus that they deserve.

As well as helping you capture and analyse the most common sources of stress in your life, Stress Diaries help you to understand:

The causes of stress in more detail.
The levels of stress at which you operate most effectively.
How you react to stress, and whether your reactions are appropriate and useful.
Stress Diaries, therefore, give you the important information that you need to manage stress.

Using the Tool:

Stress Diaries are useful in that they gather information regularly and routinely, over a period of time. This helps you to separate the common, routine stresses from those that only occur occasionally. They establish a pattern that you can analyse to extract the information that you need.

Download our free Stress Diary template and make regular entries in your Stress Diary (for example, every hour). If you have any difficulty remembering to do this, set an alarm to remind you to make your next diary entry.

Also make an entry in your diary after each incident that is stressful enough for you to feel that it is significant.

Every time you make an entry, record the following information:

The date and time of the entry.
The most recent stressful event you have experienced.
How happy you feel now, using a subjective assessment on a scale of -10 (the most unhappy you have ever been) to +10 (the happiest you have been). As well as this, write down the mood you are feeling.
How effectively you are working now (a subjective assessment, on a scale of 0 to 10). A 0 here would show complete ineffectiveness, while a 10 would show the greatest effectiveness you have ever achieved.
The fundamental cause of the stress (being as honest and objective as possible).
You may also want to note:

How stressed you feel now, again on a subjective scale of 0 to 10. As before, 0 here would be the most relaxed you have ever been, while 10 would show the greatest stress you have ever experienced.
The symptom you felt (e.g. “butterflies in your stomach”, anger, headache, raised pulse rate, sweaty palms, etc.).
How well you handled the event: Did your reaction help solve the problem, or did it inflame it?
You will reap the real benefits of having a stress diary in the first few weeks. After this, the benefit you get will reduce each additional day. If, however, your lifestyle changes, or you begin to suffer from stress again in the future, then it may be worth using the diary approach again. You will probably find that the stresses you face have changed. If this is the case, then keeping a diary again will help you to develop a different approach to deal with them.

Analyze the diary at the end of this period.

Analyzing the Diary

Analyze the diary in the following ways:

First, look at the different stresses you experienced during the time you kept your diary. List the types of stress that you experienced by frequency, with the most frequent stresses at the top of the list.
Next, prepare a second list with the most unpleasant stresses at the top of the list and the least unpleasant at the bottom.
Looking at your lists of stresses, those at the top of each list are the most important for you to learn to control.
Working through the stresses, look at your assessments of their underlying causes, and your appraisal of how well you handled the stressful event. Do these show you areas where you handled stress poorly, and could improve your stress management skills? If so, list these.
Next, look through your diary at the situations that cause you stress. List these.
Finally, look at how you felt when you were under stress. Look at how it affected your happiness and your effectiveness, understand how you behaved, and think about how you felt.
Having analyzed your diary, you should fully understand what the most important and frequent sources of stress are in your life. You should appreciate the levels of stress at which you are happiest. You should also know the sort of situations that cause you stress so that you can prepare for them and manage them well.

As well as this, you should now understand how you react to stress, and the symptoms that you show when you are stressed. When you experience these symptoms in the future, this should be a trigger for you to use appropriate stress management techniques.

Summary

Stress Diaries help you to get a good understanding of the routine, short-term stresses that you experience in your life. They help you to identify the most important, and most frequent, stresses that you experience, so that you can concentrate your efforts on these. They also help you to identify areas where you need to improve your stress management skills, and help you to understand the levels of stress at which you are happiest, and most effective.

To keep a stress diary, make a regular diary entry with the headings above. For example, you may do this every hour. Also make entries after stressful events.

Analyze the diary to identify the most frequent and most serious stresses that you experience. Use it also to identify areas where you can improve your management of stress.

This is an abridged excerpt from the ‘Knowing Yourself’ module of the Mind Tools Stress Management Masterclass.

Warning: Stress can cause severe health problems and, in extreme cases, can cause death. While these stress management techniques have been shown to have a positive effect on reducing stress, they are for guidance only, and readers should take the advice of suitably qualified health professionals if they have any concerns over stress-related illnesses or if stress is causing significant or persistent unhappiness. Health professionals should also be consulted before any major change in diet or levels of exercise.

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