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Self Help


  • 10 Techniques to Instantly Reduce Stress

    Stress can appear in our lives at any time with varying levels of intensity. It could arise from a conversation you have or get triggered from an event that takes places. Stress can even emerge after a slow build up, with one event pushing you over the edge. No matter how it’s caused, the fact is consistent stress in our body is not only detrimental to our health; it’s also preventable and unnecessary.

    Physiologically, stress exists as our body’s response to life threatening situations. When we feel endangered, our nervous system responds by releasing stress hormones such as adrenaline and cortisol. This is our body’s way of protecting us through the “fight or flight” stress response. In emergency situations stress can help us stay alert, energetic, and give us superhuman strength to get out of danger.

    Once the threatening event is over, our body is designed to return back to its natural calm and relaxed state. Although life-threatening situations are not as common in Western Society, what is common is for people to be constantly living in “flight or fight” mode. Staying in this mode over extended periods of time can cause health problems such as nervous system disorders and fatigue. This in turn can create ongoing anxiety as we are constantly on alert waiting for a crisis to happen at any time. For a lot of us, entering the office switches our body into a life-threatening state.

    Next time your chest gets tight or you feel overwhelmed, try these techniques for instant relief.

    1. Focus on your breath
    Your thoughts are directly related to your breath. If you have a tight chest, worried thoughts, or feel anxious, chances are, you are breathing too fast or shallow. Slow down your breath to balance your mind by inhaling for a count of 5 seconds, hold your breath for 5 seconds, and exhale for 5 seconds.

    2. Cool down
    Cooling down your mind and body re-balances your energy and allows you to take action from a more centered place. An ancient yogi technique to cool down your mind and body is shitali pranayam. Open your mouth slightly, curl your tongue and allow it to slightly protrude past your lips. Breathe in through your mouth and out through your nose. If you can’t curl your tongue, inhale through a round O mouth instead. Try this technique for 2–3 minutes.

    3. Pause
    If you react too soon during stressful situations, you may say or do things you later regret. Unless you are in an emergency situation, your response can often wait at least a few seconds. Transform the pattern of immediately responding to taking the time to pause, breathe, get calm, and gather yourself. Then respond verbally or by taking action.

    4. Get out in nature
    Getting out in nature has an instant calming effect. Whether you choose to sit on a beach to hear the waves crash, walk through a lush green forest, listen to the sounds of a nearby waterfall or hike up mountains, just get yourself outside and allow nature to put everything back into perspective.

    5. Mindfully exercise
    Exercise releases natural adrenaline and endorphins that make you feel good. Add more mindfulness to your workout by focusing intently on the activity you are doing. Observe your technique and how it makes you feel. Get connected to your body. This workout window allows you to get fit and even take a break from your stress. Head outside and run or cycle, hit the gym, or attend a yoga class. Working out during your lunch beak also allows you stay more focused and calm when you return to work.

    6. Take a cold shower
    Hydrotherapy is a precise and sophisticated science with a multitude of benefits for your body and mind. As well as reducing stress, cold showers open up your capillaries which when returned to normal push the blood back to your organs. This causes a flush effect in the heart, kidneys lungs and liver. This process stimulates the healthy secretion of the glandular system, which leaves your skin radiant and keeps your blood chemistry young healthy. Remember to start with outer extremities—feet, hands, and arms.

    7. Put on relaxing music
    Everything is made up of energy including both our bodies and music. Music has the power to instantly transform your energy whether that’s by lifting you up or pulling you down. Choose music that is uplifting in tone, lyrics, and beat so your body’s energy can match this higher energy frequency. Positive music also helps create more positive thoughts.

    8. Give gratitude
    Whatever you are stressed about is just a thought pattern or belief. You’re ultimately in control of your thoughts (even if it often doesn’t feel that way). Two people could be in exactly the same situation and only one could feel stressed because they have a negative thought pattern. So take a break from worry or panic and make a list of what you are grateful for in your life—whether that’s having a roof over your head, living in a nice city, having a vehicle that gives you freedom etc. List around 10 things.

    9. Visualize success
    Prevent your mind from imagining the “worst case scenario” or “what if” by visualizing and focusing your whole attention on what you want to bring into your life, not the fears of what you don’t want. Remember where your attention goes energy flows, which means you can’t afford to spend anytime engaged in picturing what you don’t want.

    10. Drink a green smoothie
    Get a natural mental boost from the phytochemicals of green vegetables. Smoothies are a great way to gain all the nutrients from vegetables and fruit as all the content remains in the drink. Green smoothies can also help strengthen your immune system, eliminate unhealthy cravings (which can cause more stress), and give your brain more energy. Try kale, spinach, ginger, and lemon with a touch of banana and blueberries.

    Source: lifehack.org

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  • 20 Easy Ways to Save More Money

    How do you save more? There doesn't seem to be enough money to save anything by the end of the month, does it? Saving money is not easy when you have never done it. But if you manage to form the habit, it will become second nature. Here are 20 tips to use.

    1. Have a spending audit

    For a week, write down everything you spend. Tedious, I know. But for every expense, ask yourself: Did I really need to spend that money? How could I avoid that expense? Did it bring me value? If it doesn't, stop. If it does, let's move on. I used to spend a lot on nights out, until we decided with my friends to gather at someone's place. Half the cost, same fun. It doesn't have to be drastic, or affect your lifestyle. Challenge the spending and find alternative ways to get the same value for less.

    2. Turn saving into a challenge

    One such challenge could be getting rid of one bad spending habit, such as eating lunch out every day. Try bringing lunch to work once a week. Then make it twice a week. Put the savings into a jar or a savings account. Throw all your spare change into a jar at the end of the day, and deposit the savings into your bank account at the end of the month. By making it fun, you will make it easier.

    3. Start slow

    You won't go from zero savings to $1,000 a month the first month. Try saving $5 or $10. Then try saving $5 more the next week. Before you know it, the slow increment led you to saving $50 a month. Which is better than nothing. Keep going until you feel the pinch.

    4. Have a savings goal

    Why do you want to have savings for? Is it for a holiday, for a new car, for a deposit on your house? By having a goal, you will be able to ponder whether it is worth to spend $100 going out tonight, or have one day of fun on your next holiday.

    5. Round it up

    When you spend $54.11 at a restaurant, round it up and save the $0.89. Some apps will do it for you and reroute the excess to savings automatically. Small amounts add up.

    6. Get rid of the waste

    Do you often throw food? Have magazines piling up unread? Clothes you just wore once? All this is money you spent on things you don't need. Get rid of the ones you can (and make money in the process!), and stop buying anything you don't use. Buy half the food you use to, and go through your freezer and cupboards for the rest of the week. Send the difference to savings.

    7. Prioritize

    Pretend there is only money for one thing. Would you rather have HBO or go out once a month? Only keep the one you prefer.

    8. Get a cashback card Or a loyalty membership to your favorite supermarket. Put the savings into... savings.

    9. Get a discount On everything you buy

    Try to get it for less. Look for online coupon codes, cheaper stores, ways to get it for free on Freecycle.

    10. Cut down meat And other expensive items in your groceries, such as cheese or nuts

    You can make a ton of delicious vegetarian dishes, or recipes with just a little meat as a way to add flavor.

    11. Make your own coffee

    Coffee on the go is expensive! Buy a nice thermos for your car, flavorful beans and you're all set for a $0.10 cup.

    12. DIY

    Be it painting the living room, fixing a leak, moving house, try to do things yourself instead of hiring out. There are plenty of online tutorials to help you out.

    13. Master your FOMO

    It is OK to say no to peer pressure. Find cheap and free activities to do with your friends instead of the expensive one they suggest.

    14. Get a roommate

    An easy way to save $500+ on rent, if you don't mind having less privacy. Again, remember why you are doing it and it will be much easier.

    15. Carpool or cycle to work

    Socialize or get free exercise on your way to work, cutting on your commuting expenses.

    16. Reconsider your car (or second car)

    Do you really need a car or two? How often do you use it? How much does it cost in maintenance, fuel, insurance, parking... is it cheaper than using Uber or renting one when you need?

    17. Keep track of your progress

    It is easy to get frustrated when saving money. By keeping track of your progress, you will remain motivated.

    18. Repair broken things

    Try to DIY or have things repaired for a fraction of the price of replacing them.

    19. Look for free entertainment

    Your nearby college, the adult learning center, your church.. may have free or cheap activities for you to enjoy.

    20. Bring your water bottle

    Bring water everywhere you go and avoid buying bottles that are not only expensive but also bad for the environment.

    Saving money is a slow process, but it doesn't have to be painful. With these little tips, you can easily get started and gain momentum to save more and more!

    Source: huffingtonpost.com 

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