Monthly Archives: October 2022

Biofeedback As An Effective Stress Management Tool


Did you know that Biofeedback can help us manager stress and other ailments?

Biofeedback is a tool that gathers information using specialized instruments that measure one or more physiological markers including muscle tone, breathing rate, heart rate, blood pressure, brainwaves, skin temperature, and sweat production.

We experience biofeedback all of the time. When you watch a scary movie, your hands might become sweaty and your heart rate increases. If you move your attention away from the movie and think about something pleasant, these physical responses diminish. This is a simple, but valid, example of biofeedback

There are different types of biofeedback devices available:

  1. Clinical. These devices are generally only available to professionals and require training to use properly. It can be useful to receive biofeedback therapy if you have the time and financial resources to do so.
    • Home interactive computer programs. There are sensors that can be plugged into your computer or mobile device. These sensors often attach to your finger or ear or are worn like a headband. The software often provides verbal prompts or other instructions to help you relax and provides feedback regarding the results.
    • Wearable. These are more mobile and less intrusive to use. They often consist of a watch-type device or sensor that goes around your waist. They can provide alerts if your stress levels are above an acceptable level.

    You have more control than you think over your stress response:

    1. Breathing. Slow and relaxed breathing can reduce the severity of stress quite significantly. A biofeedback device can help you discover the best way to breathe and reduce your stress response.
    2. Muscle relaxation. Helps can also reduce the amount of stress you feel. 
    3. Your thoughts. They can either be stressful or peaceful. Maybe thinking about the beach is more effective for reducing stress than thinking about puppies. Biofeedback can show you.

    Biofeedback devices allow you to measure your stress in a variety of ways. You can systematically determine which breathing techniques work for you. You can figure out which muscles you need to relax and the best way to relax them. Which thoughts are the most calming for you? Biofeedback can teach you.

    Biofeedback is a non-invasive way of dealing with stress that doesn’t require medication. It requires some equipment and a willingness to practice.  Learning to relax yourself is a skill that takes practice. As you practice the best techniques for you, you’ll become more skilled at applying them.

    Most home biofeedback devices have not been reviewed by the FDA, but a few have. Do some research before purchasing .  Although it takes some practice, you’ll see that it’s definitely worth the time and effort as your stress melts away.

    Meditation, exercise, yoga, etc are all ways of handling stress, and with the availability of biofeedback on the market, we have another tool at our disposal.

    What do you think about this tool? Have you used one before? Did it work, and will you recommend it to your fiends and family?

    To Your Success,
    Juan

    Clutterly Stressed


    Photo Credit: Todd Kent

    Deadlines, financial difficulties, and competing responsibilities are some well-known causes of stress in our lives. Research shows that clutter can also be a hidden cause of stress at home and work. 

    A 2011 study at the Princeton University Neuroscience Institute examined the effect of clutter on the brain. According to the study, “Interactions of Top-Down and Bottom-Up Mechanisms in Human Visual Cortex,” clutter does more than take up space in our homes and offices. Clutter limits the brain’s ability to focus and process information.
    Individuals that limit clutter in their home and work environment are less irritable, less distracted, and more productive.

    Try these steps to pare down and organize your belongings:

    1. Start small. If you’ve been living with too much stuff for a long time, you probably feel overwhelmed at the thought of going through your things.  Get started by setting small cleaning and organizing goals.
    • Avoid setting an unrealistic goal of cleaning your whole house overnight. One small space at a time. It will give you the boost of confidence you need to continue your efforts.  
    • Once you’ve established order to a small space, keep going. Build upon your success. After your drawers and closets, focus on cleaning an entire room. Clean and organize one room at a time until your entire home is filled only with necessary items that you use on a regular basis.
    • Keep your closets and drawers organized by adopting a “one in, one out” rule. Get rid of one old item each time you buy something new.
    1. Be ruthless. If you haven’t worn or used an item in a year or longer, do you really still need it? Get rid of duplicate items, as well as worn out and broken items that you haven’t fixed.
    • Items received as gifts from loved ones can be particularly difficult to part with, especially if the loved one is now deceased. Take the time to acknowledge your loss, but realize that holding on to your loved one’s possessions won’t bring them back.
    • One option that may make it easier to part with an item and honor your loved one’s memory, is to sell the item and donate the proceeds to their favorite charity.
      1. Straighten the focal points of your bedroom, living room, and kitchen at the start of each day. Set the tone for your day by spending 15 minutes straightening the central areas of your home each morning.
      • Make your bed, wash any dirty dishes, and eliminate clutter from the living room, counters, and kitchen table. Reverse this strategy at work, and clear your desk before you leave at the end of the day.
      • By removing the clutter from these key areas, you’ll feel more calm and relaxed when you return.

      Having too much stuff is visually distracting and it adds to your daily stress level. Following these simple steps will contribute to greater feelings of serenity in your life as you say “goodbye” to clutter.

      To Your Success,
      Juan

      How To Manage Stress As A Single Parent: Five Tips To Help You Cope


      Photo: Sydney  Rae

      Any parent knows that raising a family is hard work, but for single mothers, the challenges can be especially daunting. Not only do you have to juggle the demands of work and child-rearing, but you must do it all  on your own. It’s no wonder that stress levels for single parents are through the roof.

      Many single parents, especially moms, are experiencing dangerous levels of stress, and they don’t see any way around it. Chronic stress is harmful to your body, mind and spirit. Between work, finances, and caring for the kids, it’s easy to let the little things fall by the wayside. Here are some helpful suggestions:

      Don’t be afraid to ask for help from friends or family. They can watch the kids while you run errands or take a break, and they’ll be happy to lend a helping hand. When you have people that you can turn to, you’ll be able to release stress in a positive way. When you need a bit of reinforcement, it helps to know you can pick up the phone and call in backup!
      Your support system might consist of family members and friends who are willing to
      listen to you vent or even help you around the house.

      Remember to take care of yourself both physically and emotionally. Eating right, getting enough sleep, and exercise are all important for managing stress levels. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, talk to a therapist or counselor who can help you develop healthy coping mechanisms. Make time for yourself. Schedule at least 10 to 15 minutes just for you into each day. This time can even be for something simple, like painting your fingernails, taking a hot bath, or reading for pleasure. Your alone time will refresh and revive you!

      Plan ahead. The best thing you can do when you’re a single parent is to plan ahead. You’ll find that the simple things in life that often cause the most stress can be managed or outright eliminated when you plan ahead. Prepare meals in advance and freeze them until you’re ready to use them. Have everyone put out their clothes the night before, shoes by the front door, so getting the day started will be a breeze.

      Involve the kids. You can’t do everything by yourself, so get your kids involved in getting things done. Any help they are able to contribute will save you a lot of time and stress each day, plus it’s teaching them the importance of responsibility and contributing to the family. Teach them age-appropriate tasks like cleaning their room, doing laundry, making the grocery list, planning meals, cooking, taking out the trash, vacuuming, cleaning the bathrooms, and so on.

      Know your limits. When a friend, co-worker, or family member asks something of you that you know you can’t do, say no. It may not make the other person happy, but knowing your limits can help you from being overworked unnecessarily. If you don’t respect your time, who else will?

      These are all very simple, yet effective, ways to deal with the stress of being a single parent. These tips won’t do away with stress altogether, but they’ll help you manage it in a way that will allow you to get things done and enjoy your life and kids. Your kids will only be small for a short time, and you don’t want to waste these years in a stressed out daze. Instead, take advantage of the here and now by incorporating these stress management tips into your life. 

      With a little bit of planning, help, and effort, you can juggle being both the parent and
      provider of your family. Which one of these suggestions will you implement today?!

      To Your Success,
      Juan

      The Relationship Between Money and Stress: What Research Says


      We all know the feeling: you’re sitting at your desk, scrolling through social media, when you see it. That friend from college who just bought a new house, or the coworker who just got a new car. And suddenly, the little voice in your head starts asking questions. “Why can’t I have nice things like that?” “What am I doing wrong?”. It’s unbelievably easy to get caught up in keeping up. Sometimes at our own very peril

      Finances are one of the leading causes of stress in our lives. But it doesn’t have to be that way! With a little bit of planning and budgeting, you can take control of your finances and reduce your stress levels. So let’s get started!

      The financial burden: how finances cause stress
      If you’re already struggling with other issues in your life, such as a divorce or dealing with a serious health condition, the last thing you need is to worry about money.

      A recent survey by the American Psychological Association found that 72% of Americans report feeling stressed about money at least some of the time, and 22% say they experience extreme stress about finances.

      Financial stress can come from a variety of sources, including job insecurity, debt, unexpected expenses, financial planning and more. And it can have a major impact on our mental and emotional well-being.

      When we’re under financial stress, we may experience symptoms of anxiety or depression, including trouble sleeping, irritability, lack of focus, strained relationships and more. This stress can also lead to physical health problems like headaches, stomach problems and high blood pressure.

      Our relationships. Although money is not the root of all evil, it is a significant source of stress for many couples. Money troubles can cause arguments and breakups and divorce. It’s not limited to intimate relationships. Partners  feel overwhelmed, anxious, or depressed. When you borrow money from a friend or family member, and cannot repay on time, it can create strain. 

      Our health. Money troubles can also take a toll on one’s mental and physical health. A 2013 study found that financial strain was associated with an increased risk of depression, anxiety and sleep problems. A 2012 study found that people who were stressed about money were more likely to have high blood pressure and cholesterol levels.

      The impact of financial stress on work is well documented. A 2016 survey by the American Psychological Association; fmoney is the top source of stress for Americans, with 72 percent of respondents reporting experiencing significant stress about money at least some of the time.

      Work performance.  A study by the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, found that workers who reported experiencing financial stress were more likely to have poorer job performance, more absenteeism, and more difficulty concentrating at work.

      The follow up post will offer suggestions for each aspect of your lives. Let me know below if this post helped!

      To Your Success,
      Juan

       

       

       

      How To Effectively Handle Workplace Stress: What You Can Do Right Now


      Photo Credit: wocintechchat

      Workplace stress is a growing problem in today’s fast-paced, constantly connected world. If you’re struggling to keep up with the demands of your job, it’s important to take steps to manage your stress. 

      Let’s dig in. First, try to set realistic goals for yourself and your team. Secondly, make sure you’re taking time for yourself outside of work.  Lastly, don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need it. There’s no shame in admitting that you can’t do everything on your own.

      The role of employers in managing workplace stress
      Employers play an important role in managing workplace stress. By fostering a healthy work environment and supporting employees’ well-being, employers can help reduce stress and improve productivity. By taking steps to address workplace stress, employers can create a healthier, more productive workforce. A few suggestions include:

      • Identifying and addressing potential sources of stress in the workplace
      • Providing employees with resources and support to manage stress
      • Promoting healthy workplace habits and practices
      • Encouraging open communication about stress and its impact on work and well-being

      YOUR role  in managing workplace stress
      While employers are responsible for ensuring that the workplace is safe and healthy, employees also play a role in managing stress at work. There are a number of things that employees can do to help themselves manage stress, including:

      • Taking regular breaks, both during the day and on weekend
      • Eating healthy meals and snack
      • Getting enough sleep
      • Exercising regularly
      • Taking vacations and days off when possible
      • Connecting with family and friends outside of work Support available for employees experiencing workplace stress
      • Talk to your HR Manager about what is causing the stress
      • Does your job have an EAP-Employee Assistance Program? Time to use it!

      -Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs) offer confidential counseling and support to employees experiencing personal or work-related problems. -Workplace health and wellness programs can help you manage stress and improve your overall health. -Stress management training can teach you techniques for managing stress in the workplace.

      Conclusion: Managing workplace stress for a healthier workplace
      Workplace stress is a concern for employers and employees alike. There are other ways to manage workplace stress. Some employers may provide employee assistance programs (EAPs), which offer counseling and other services to help employees deal with stress. Other employers may offer on-site child care, flexible work schedules, or fitness facilities to help employees balance work and life demands.

      Employees can also take steps to manage their own stress. Some tips for managing workplace stress include: Identifying sources of stress, setting realistic goals, creating a support network, taking breaks, practicing relaxation techniques.

      What is your takeaway? Do you now feel more empowered to move forward in your 9 to 5?If this post was helpful, let me know below! 

      To Your Success,
      Juan

      Workplace Stress: Cause and Effect


      Photo Credit: Elisa Ventur

      While millions continue to work from home, millions more have either returned to the cubicle, or never left to begin with. We all know the feeling: You’re sitting at your desk, trying to focus on your work, but your mind is racing and you can’t seem to calm down. Your heart is pounding, your head feels like it’s going to explode, and you can’t focus on anything. You’re experiencing a full-blown case of workplace stress.

      While some stress is normal and even necessary for peak performance, too much stress can be debilitating. If you’re struggling to manage your workplace stress, here are a few tips to help you get back on track.

      1. Identify the source of your stress
      2. Develop a positive mindset 
      3. Take a break. No matter how short
      4. Manage your time wisely
      5. Get organized
      6. Seek professional help if necessary 

      1.  

      If you’re finding it difficult to cope with workplace stress, remember you’re not alone.

      Defining workplace stress
      Workplace stress is defined as a harmful reaction employees have to undue pressures and demands placed on them at work. An important distinction can be made between pressure and stress. Pressure at work is a situation where demands are placed on employees, which can be motivational, stimulating and enjoyable. Stress occurs when these demands are excessive and unreasonable, leading to feelings of anxiety, overload, tension and worry.

      There is a range of factors that can contribute to workplace stress, including long hours, tight deadlines, demanding bosses or clients, unrealistic workloads, lack of control or autonomy over work tasks, lack of support from colleagues or management

      The causes of workplace stress
      There are many factors that  contributes to stress in the workplace. Job insecurity, unpredictable work hours, heavy workloads, lack of control over work tasks, lack of support from supervisors or co-workers, poor working conditions, violent or threatening behavior from clients, patients, or customers. Does any of these causes apply to you?!

      The effects of workplace stress
      Chronic workplace stress can have serious effects on your health and well-being. It can contribute to a variety of problems, including anxiety, depression, insomnia, heart disease, gastrointestinal problems and weight gain. Workplace stress can also lead to absenteeism and decreased productivity.

      There are a number of things you can do to reduce the amount of stress you feel at work. These include developing a support network of colleagues, family and friends, eating healthy meals and getting regular exercise. You can also try relaxation techniques such as yoga or meditation. If you find that your stress levels are consistently high, it may be time to seek professional help.

      Not ready to seek professional help just yet? Come back in a few days to get advice on  effective strategies on how to manage the triggers, so you don’t end up being consumed by your 9-5

      To Your Success,
      Juan

       

      The Scary Ways Stress Affects Our Health. Conclusion


      Welcome Back to the LETS TALK ABOUT STRESS series!

      Diet and eating habits
      When you’re under stress, you may find yourself turning to unhealthy comfort foods or overeating. You may also have trouble sleeping, which can lead to fatigue and make it even harder to make healthy choices. There some things you can do to try to improve your situation. First, try to identify the sources of your stress and determine what you can eliminate or reduce. If work is a major source of stress, how can you change your job or reduce your workload. If you’re dealing with personal issues, talk to a therapist or counselor.

      In addition to making changes in your life, you can also take steps to improve your diet and eating habits. Eat regular meals and snacks throughout the day to keep your energy up, and make sure to include plenty of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. Avoid sugary and fatty foods as much as possible,  limit caffeine and alcohol intake. Exercise regularly, get plenty of sleep, and take time for relaxation and fun activities that help reduce stress.

      How Stress affects your overall well-being.
      When you experience stress, your body goes into fight-or-flight mode. This causes a number of changes to occur, including an increase in your heart rate and blood pressure, as well as a release of stress hormones like cortisol.

      While some amount of stress is normal and even necessary (it helps you to stay alert and perform under pressure), chronic stress can have negative effects on your health. Over time, it can contribute to conditions like anxiety, depression, heart disease, and even obesity.

      There are a number of things you can do to manage stress and improve your overall well-being. Exercise, relaxation techniques like meditation or deep breathing, and getting enough sleep are all good options. You can also try to keep a positive outlook and find ways to better cope with stressful situations.

      How to manage Stress to improve your health
      Stress is a common problem that can have a negative impact on your health, it can make it difficult to manage other health conditions. There are many different ways to manage, the best approach may vary depending on the situation. Some people use relaxation techniques, such as yoga or meditation. Others may find that exercise or journaling helps to relieve stress.

      If you are struggling to cope with stress, it is important to talk to your doctor or a mental health professional. They can help you to identify healthy coping mechanisms and develop a plan to improve your overall health.

      What are your thoughts? Sound off below! See you in a few days!

      To Your Success,
      Juan

      The Scary Ways Stress Affects Our Health. Pt 1


      Photo: Simran Sood

      Welcome Back to the LETS TALK ABOUT STRESS series!

      It’s no secret that stress takes a toll on our mental and emotional health, but did you know  it can also wreak havoc on our physical health? In fact, stress is a major contributing factor to many of the most common health concerns, from heart disease to obesity. So what exactly happens to our bodies when we’re stressed? And more importantly, what can we do to combat the negative effects of stress?

      Chronic stress can take a toll on your body, causing  a variety of symptoms. You may experience:
      Headaches
      Muscle tension or pain
      Chest pain
      Fatigue
      Digestive problems
      Sleep problems

      We will divide this segment in two parts, for the sake of time and attention span. Today, we will look at how stress affects our mental, emotional, social wellbeing and sleep habits, as well as useful coping mechanisms. Part two concludes by examining the affects on diet and eating habits, overall wellbeing.

      Stress is a normal part of life, but it can take a toll on your mental health. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, anxious, or just not yourself, stress could very well be the culprit. Chronic stress can lead to problems like anxiety, depression, and trouble sleeping. It can also make physical health problems worse.

      If you’re struggling to cope with stress, there are things you can do to feel better. Talking to a therapist can help. So can exercise, relaxation techniques, and making lifestyle changes such as eating a healthy diet and getting enough sleep.

      How Stress affects your emotional health
      When we’re stressed, our bodies release a hormone called Cortisol. Cortisol helps us regulate our metabolism, but when we’re constantly under stress, it can have a negative impact on our emotional health.

      Studies have shown Cortisol can cause symptoms of anxiety and depression, and interfere with our ability to form new memories and concentrate. In addition, cortisol wears down our immune system, making us more susceptible to illness. 

      Exercise is a great way to reduce stress levels, spending time with friends and family can also help. If you’re still finding it difficult to cope, it’s important to talk to your doctor or a mental health professional.

      How Stress affects your social health
      Chronic stress can have negative effects on your social life. You can become withdrawn and irritable, anxious and depressed, which in turn negatively affects your relationships. It is important to make time for yourself, and focus on your mental and emotional health.

      How Stress affects your sleep.
      Stress can cause us to have trouble falling or staying asleep, and it can lead to restless nights. Over time, you can suffer from sleep deprivation. Stress hormones like cortisol, can make it hard to fall and stay asleep. Cortisol is a hormone that helps us deal with stress, but it also makes us more alert and can keep us awake at night. Racing thoughts and worry keeps us awake at night. Physical symptoms like headaches or muscle tension are not uncommon.

      There are a few things you can do to try to improve your sleep. First, try to stick to a regular sleep schedule as much as possible. This means going to bed and waking up at the same time each day, even on weekends. Second, create a relaxing bedtime routine; taking a warm bath or reading a book. And finally, try some relaxation techniques like deep breathing or visualization before bedtime.

      Let me know if you found any of these suggestions helpful!

      To Your Success,
      Juan

       

      Let’s Talk About Stress


      Growing up, you heard friends and family lamenting about being “stressed out”. Then came the moment you experienced it first hand. Stress is a part of life, but where does stress come from?  What is the origin of stress?.

      Where Does Stress Originate?
      If you ask 10 people where their stress comes from, they’re likely to mention kids, family, work, and especially money.  These are stress factors that are common.  Yet, these are causes of stress but not where the stress actually comes from.  

      There are many different schools of thought. The fact of the matter is that stress is our body’s response to the demands that we place on it.  The demands may be physical, mental, or emotional in nature and when we place these demands on our body, chemicals and hormones like Cortisol and Neuropeptide Y are released into our bodies and then we feel stressed. 

      Stressful Thinking Leads to Stressful Feelings
      Some believe that stress can stem from our own minds.  This is true to some extent because we can cause stress through our worries, fears, and anxiety.  

      We often get into the habit of negative thinking where we can somehow convince ourselves about things that are untrue. For example, have you ever convinced yourself that you aren’t good enough, smart enough, or pretty enough to do something? This negative self-talk creates stress within our own minds. Unfortunately, these thoughts are going on unbeknownst to us because we have come to accept our negative thoughts as truth, even when it’s far from it. This is precisely why we need to begin to tame our negative thoughts and replace them with positive truths.

      Stress is a normal part of life so we’ll never be able to escape it. What really matters is how we deal with stress, but we all experience stress differently; hence there’s no universal stress treatment!

      Dealing with Stress
      As we now know, stress is a bodily response to the pressures and demands that we place on ourselves in every day life.  To limit the negative effects of stress – such as heart attack, breathing problems, reproductive problems, and stomach problems – you need to learn how to actively manage your stress.  There are many simple stress coping strategies that you can employ such as:

      •  Getting more exercise
      •  Using positive self-talk
      •  Getting more restful sleep
      •  Eating a healthier diet
      •  Knowing your work limits
      •  Saying no when you need to
      •  Asking for help
      •  Creating time for fun
      •  Using positive imagery
      •  Employing deep breathing techniques
      •  Listening to calming music
      •  Clearing your life and workspace of clutter
      •  Keeping things simple

      These are all effective ways to deal with the stress in your life, however, you need to remember that the goal is to proactively manage your stress.  If you react to your stress, you’ll be spending most of your time putting out fires.  Instead, if you constantly implement just a few of these stress management techniques, you will live a healthier, happier, and more productive life!

      Over the next several weeks you can expect more articles on the subject, including how, in some instances, stress can be good for you! Other topics will include ways to manage and limit the amount of stresses in our daily lives. Hope to have you.

      To Your Success,

      Juan