The Stress Cure – Is Stress Zapping Your Memory?

Is Stress Zapping Your Memory?What is it about stress that causes us to dwell at length on negative thoughts? The answer has a lot to do with our memory. Although it’s miraculous the brain – a three pound lump of neural tissue can store any memories at all. But the human memory system has some surprising quirks. Most notable, we forget things. The forgotten information is still in our brains somewhere; it’s just that it’s difficult for the brain to put its (metaphorical) hands on any one specific memory when it’s needed. There is so much other competing information there.

To solve this problem the brain often has to rely on memory cues or bits of information related to the thing we’re trying to recall “to jog” our memory. Pretty much anything can serve as a cue, as long as it’s associated somehow with the information we’re looking for.
As it turns out, the brain uses our mood state as it’s single most important memory cue. Believe it or not the brain tags every one of our memories according to the emotional state we’re in when the event occurs. And whenever we’re in the same mood this serves as a powerful retrieval cue.

When you’re sad, for example that despondent mood triggers all sorts of memories from other moments when you were sad or in low spirits. When you experienced a sense of failure, during times of loneliness and rejection all show up and it becomes difficult to remember any specific times in the past when things were going well. If you are in a relationship that break up all you can think about are all the other break-ups in the past you can’t remember the good times that you had with anyone. It becomes a downward spiral of reminiscing.

When you are overwhelmed with stress, you might identify with a decline in your emotional health. Besides being quick tempered and easily agitated your memory may also be affected. Stress is frequently the result of a chaotic schedule, and with too much to do, when stressed it’s not unusual to forget things.

If you are feeling stressed out and “scatterbrained” you need to spend time improving your concentration to relieve overload and overwhelm during times of extreme chaos and tension. When your attentiveness decreases, it’s up to you to regain control.
There are a few ways to increase your mind’s ability to perform during duress. My first choice is to exercise. Exercise helps your brain generate new cells that are linked with the enhancement of memory. Physical exercise increases oxygen to the brain and increases neural firing.

If you feel isolated because you work long hours, or home taking care of your family or you don’t drive or for whatever reason – find new friendships. Make sure you socialize with the friends and family you have. Invite a friend to dinner or out to lunch. If it’s someone you work with don’t talk about work. And if you can’t get out to meet your friends or meet new people develop new friendship with people you meet on-line. There is a whole world out there and a lot of people are lonely and would love to find a new friend. This give the brain a new workout as you adjust to a different conversations in a new environment all while activating or re-activating different senses.

If you have a long drive, consider listening to an audio book. You’ll be surprise how delightful you drive becomes and the traffic becomes much less stressful allowing you to arrive at your destination in a much more relaxed state. You can also break-up the routine of the drive by trying a new route once in a while. If you normally drive on the highway find a route that allows you to drive on a country road.

Stress doesn’t have to cause your memory to decline that is if you don’t allow it to. As long as you give your mind a workout by creating new neural pathway the same way you would build new muscles when you work out your body, you’ll have a healthy memory that allows you to remember the important things during times of stress and anxiety.

Explosive Danger Of Ignoring Stress

iStock_000008468808XSmallWhen I was dealing with one of the most stressful periods of my life I never thought about stress.  In fact I didn’t even know I was even stressed
.  I thought that what I was dealing with and how I was managing my life was just a part of life and I might as well get use to it.  In fact, if anyone looked at my life they would never know I was under any stress at all.  It was a well hidden secret.  So much so it was a hidden from me too.

I remember recently my son told me something I use to think myself “I work better under stress”  in reality nothing could be further from the truth.  We get things done because we have no choice but what we fail to recognize is the damage stress has on your body.  The truth is no one is completely immune to stress and does affect you in profound ways.

Do you stay busy because you hate feeling bored?  You consider yourself someone who loves life and lives it to its fullest, so you are always on the go, meeting new people doing new things.

Maybe others come to rely on you when they need help to get through a stressful situation in their life because of your positive optimistic attitude.  To the outside world all  seems well.  But if you are paying no attention to the stress in your own life  don’t be too surprised when you explode over some small thing that now seems like too much to handle.

Rather than waiting for stress to explode and totally disrupt your life and business, take time to observe the small disruptions and interruptions  that cause stress for you on a regular basis.  Dealing with problems as they come up will prevent a build-up of stress that can later cause an explosive reaction over something small.

When you hide or ignore the small stressor thinking that as long as I use affirmations and stay upbeat everything will be ok you are actually putting your head in the sand.  You may notice this happening with your life partner.  You ignore something that you find  irritating, for instance, your partner leaves their dirty clothes on the floor.  This may even go on for years.  But one day they leave a dish in the sink and POW you explode in anger but was it really the dish in the sink or the years of being irritated by the clothes left on the floor.

Dealing with stressor as they come along is far more manageable then if you wait until you are in crisis mode.  Commit to dealing with one problem a week.  In one year you would have fixed 52 problems and resolving 52 problems will change your life.

What small problem are you committed to resolving this week? Keep a list in a journal and look back at it in one years time and see how your life has change.


Diagnosing Your Stress Reflex

There are some days that just go terribly wrong.  Your schedule gets thrown off kilter, you get into spats with the people you love, and like Murphy’s Law – anything that can go wrong, will go wrong!

When these kinds of days occur, how do you normally react to the stress?  The methods you automatically turn to in an effort to help you deal with the increased anxiety levels is known as your stress reflex.

Just as your knee jerks when the doctor taps it, there are certain things you do when stress gets the best of you.  It may be that you head straight for the kitchen and drown your sorrows in a big bowl of Ben and Jerry’s Ice Cream.

Or maybe you snap at the first person who crosses paths with you.  Your stress reflex kicks in when the pot boils over.  We like to refer to it as the straw that broke the camel’s back, but what it actually means is – you’ve had enough!

When stress levels get to this point, it’s too late to react with your emotions intact.  You need to find ways of coping with stress as it builds, to diffuse the situation before it gets out of control.

Evaluate what your stress reflex is.  You may not have ever thought about it before, preferring instead to not think about anything when stress takes its toll and sends you into a flurry of coping mechanisms.

One you have a finger on the pulse of how you manage stress when it tips the scales, you’ll be able to steer clear of detrimental behaviors and find an outlet that is healthier for you when this type of anxiety seeps into your life.

Your stress reflex may depend on many factors, such as whether you’re male or female. Men and women tend to react differently to stress.  The benefit in pinpointing your stress reflex isn’t to turn off the anger switch forever.

In fact, getting mad to a certain degree can be healthy for you.  Instead, you want to prevent damaging reactions that can affect your personal health or endanger others, such as the case where road rage occurs because a bad driver cut you off after a stress-filled day at the office.

The next time you feel stress beginning to boil over, watch to see how you react to the situation.  Do you blow your lid like a pressure cooker, eat the entire contents of the kitchen, or get physically sick to your stomach?  Keep a journal and then find ways to react differently.

So what’s your stress reflex?

More Stress Tips For Stress Free Living

  1. Avoid negative people
  2. Use time wisely
  3. Simplify meal times
  4. Always make copies of important papers
  5. Anticipate your needs
  6. Repair anything that doesn’t work properly
  7. Ask for help with the jobs you dislike
  8. Break large tasks into bite size portions
  9. Look at problems as challenges
  10. Look at challenges differently

How Yoga and Meditation Can Help You Balance Your Mind and Body

 Yoga and meditation are both great activities for bringing your mind and body into harmony with one another. They can keep you calm and centered and may even help shield you from disorders of the mind and body.

 Yoga and meditation can be practiced separately or together, although in order to fully get the benefits of a yoga practice, you’d technically be meditating while you’re centered on your yoga breathing.

Once you’ve begun yoga and meditation practices, you can continue to deepen them by practicing every day. Persistence pays off, especially in the beginning while you’re still forming this healthy habit.

 When you practice yoga and meditation consistently, you’ll feel the harmony forming between your mind and body. You’ll also look forward to your daily relaxation session that makes you feel so good! In the end, you’ll wonder how you could have ever waited so long to give them a try.

Surviving the Holiday Crunch With Stress Free Living

Don’t be surprised or feel guilty if your holiday is stressful — and don’t entertain the fantasy that everyone else’s season is picture-perfect. Some moments will be memorable, some will not, and some you’ll want to forget, but remember: We’re all in this together!

The holidays are supposed to be a wonderful time for you and your family, though sometimes the stresses leading up the holidays make it seem like quite the opposite. Remember that even in poor economic times there are ways to enjoy yourself and survive the holiday crunch.

Spending Money

Chances are you’ll be spending at least some money during the holiday season. With careful planning, you can make a small budget go quite a long way.

Consider the following holiday money saving tips:

Save Throughout the Year. Most people let the holidays creep up on them. All of a sudden they realize it’s two weeks before Thanksgiving and they need to begin preparing. You can’t pull money out of nowhere and you should resist the urge to put all of your purchases on credit. If you’ve done this in the past, you know first hand that you’ll still be paying off last year’s gifts for years to come!

  • Automatically withdraw a small amount of money from each paycheck that goes toward your Christmas savings. Those small amounts add up to something big at the end of the year.

Shop Early. When you shop early you can avoid the stress of the crowds and the urgency of having to make decisions quickly. Start by making a list of gift ideas for everyone. This way, as you see the items throughout the year, you can pick them up. You may even find that they’re cheaper during off-peak times than during the holiday rush.

 Handmade Gifts. If money is extra tight this year, consider giving your loved ones handmade gifts. Handmade gifts are given straight from the heart. They’ll provide memories that last a lifetime and are important reminders that the holiday season is not just about spending money.

Shop for Deals. While it can end up taking a great deal of extra time, make sure you do your homework when it comes to shopping for deals. Prices can vary greatly from vendor to vendor. Luckily, the internet can be your best friend when it comes to shopping for deals. It allows you to comparison shop quickly and easily from the comfort of your own home.

 While you’re shopping online, always remember to stay safe. If you haven’t heard of the website you’re purchasing from, make sure that you’re shopping on a secure server and do additional research into the company to seek out reviews and opinions.

Planning Your Budget

Whether or not you’ve saved throughout the year, it’s always a good idea to put yourself on a strict budget. Give yourself a total dollar amount and then decide how much you’ll spend on each person. If you need money for entertaining, decorating, food, or other things, budget for that as well.

Remember to check in with yourself from time to time to make sure that you remain on budget. While it may be extra work, it’ll save you the stress of dealing with big credit card bills in the new year.

Dealing With Stress

If the stress of the holidays has gotten you down, you’re certainly not alone. It’s not fun to have to deal with the financial aspect, but it’ll help to keep the reward in mind.

If you’ve spent your money well, and your family gets through the holidays in a peaceful manner, then you’ve done your job. You’ll be adding to the memories that will last a lifetime. Remember that you can’t place a price tag on memories. When you keep that positive goal in mind, it’ll be worth the stresses you have to endure.

In A Rut? Then Stop Settling And Start Sizzling

Ok you’re trying to find your way to live a stress free life or at least reduce your stress to a dull roar.  But, it looks like you’re stuck in a rut. Are you bored with your life and the same routine day after day? Of course you can’t be happy like this!

There’s an exciting world out there with a lot to offer. Deep down you know you want to get out and take a big bite of it (and not let it take a big bite out of your).  Sure, it may be a bit overwhelming, and even scary at times, but you can’t let your life just pass you by.  Personally I let a lot of years pass me by – but no more.  It’s never to late to start sizzling.

It’s time to live those dreams, take a leap of faith, and get out of your comfort zone! But how do you get started?

Read on for some valuable tips and suggestions to help you be all you can be, now and always:

1. Decide what you want to do. Put your fears aside and step outside of your comfort zone. If you could do anything without fear, money, or time being an issue, what would you choose?

• Make a list of everything you would like to accomplish someday. It doesn’t matter how crazy or outrageous you may think it is, just write it down.
• It also doesn’t matter if your list has three or thirty-three things listed. Just search your heart and your mind and write down what you would really like to do.

2. Faith. It’s important to have faith to see your journey until the end, yet this may be one of the hardest qualities to develop. Remember how it feels to be stuck where you are with no excitement and no real purpose. You know things can be better than they are now, but how?

• All you need to do is believe in yourself. You know that countless people before you have lived their dreams, so why not you? What makes them so different?

• There really is no difference between you and others, except for the belief in the possibility for great success. You can be just like they are; you just have to believe you can do it!

3. Don’t keep it a secret. If you’re ashamed of how you’re feeling, you shouldn’t be. Many people find themselves in the same predicament. The only thing that should embarrass you is if you intentionally decide to stay in that rut! Do yourself a big favor and open up to someone you trust.
• Whether that’s a parent, spouse, or best friend, tell them that you’re ready to make a change in your life and they’ll be able support you throughout your journey. They’ll encourage you on the good days and cry with you on the bad days.

• Most importantly, they’ll be there to support you throughout it all. It’s just what you need to achieve great success!

4. Take the first step. It’s time to take that first leap of faith. As much as you want to step outside the box and get out of this rut, nothing will happen without taking that first big step.

• No matter how frightening you may be, you need to focus on the big picture and the pot of gold at the end of that rainbow. Muster up all the encouragement and support you can find and just do it. Once the first step is accomplished, it gets easier!

• You deserve to be the best that you can possibly be, and deep down inside you know this. You’ll be so glad you took action – and you’ll be so proud of yourself when you celebrate at the finish line!

No one enjoys being in a rut and just going through the motions of life. Don’t let your fears hold you back. After all, this is a wonderful world that you deserve to enjoy to the fullest!

Go out and experience everything life has to offer. Take that first leap of faith and you’ll never look back again!

Developing Your Inner and Outer Strengths

Stress free living is all about finding your strengths.  Everyone has unique talents and strengths, but whether you’ve discovered and actively developed them is the real question! Maybe you have been told that you’re good at something, but your let your skills go untapped while waiting for the confidence and courage activate.  You may be in for a long wait.

There are even some people whose self-esteem is suffering to the point that they truly believe they don’t possess any talents at all! If this is you, please believe that your talents are there, just waiting to be revealed to you!

These tried and true strategies will help you develop your strengths to their full potential:

1. Research. Perhaps you think that you’re strong in one area, but you aren’t completely sure. This is where you need to look into things that interest you or that you believe you might be good at. See what resources are available and what it would take to make the commitment to strengthen your strengths.

2. Patience. Developing your strengths to their full potential won’t occur overnight. To fully develop a talent, you must be patient. Patience is not easy and many of us tend to struggle with it. But if you can be patient, you’ll definitely reap the benefits at the end of the process.

• A useful way to think of developing your talents is to consider it as a journey. It may take a while, but you’ll learn a lot along the way.

• You’ll make mistakes and celebrate milestones, and by the time you’re done, your strength will be fully developed to the peak of your abilities.

3. Set goals. People are more successful when they set goals. Write down what you’d like to accomplish and what date you’d like to achieve this by. Remember to be realistic and review your goals frequently to keep yourself on track.

• Post your goals in places where you’ll see them throughout the day. The refrigerator, bathroom mirror, and your computer monitor are a few ideas. This will not only keep you on track, but it’ll also motivate you to reach these goals as quickly as possible.

4. Believe you can do it. Confidence can be one of your greatest strengths and assets. When trying to improve yourself in any capacity, if you truly believe that you’re able to accomplish anything, you’ve won half the battle.

• The battle with your mind is often greater than any challenge you face in reality.

• You may have tough days when you’re unsure of yourself, but as long as you get back on track quickly, you’ll build momentum.  Remember, you can do this!

Final Thoughts on Developing Your Strengths

Strengthening your strengths may be a daunting and overwhelming journey at times. And, yes, it will take some work. But everything worth anything involves hard work!

It’s important to focus on the big picture and remember the rewards you’ll enjoy once this process is over. Also, ensure that you have the unwavering belief that you can accomplish anything you set your mind to.  By possessing these two attributes, you’ll be on the road to success in no time!