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See surprising reasons why you may be feeling worried or anxious
By Sarah Jio

Got stress? Most of us do. And you’re probably already aware of the usual suspects, like money, kids, work, rocky relationships and your health. But maybe you haven’t considered the lesser-known stressors in your life. Without us even knowing it, there are plenty of unexpected causes of day-to-day worry and anxiety. Here, our experts discuss some sneaky sources of stress and exactly how to deal with them.

1. Your Doctor
You go to visit the doctor to feel better, right? But many women may find that certain doctors’ interpersonal skills and lack of “bedside manner” can leave them feeling agitated and anxious. In fact, many women may leave the doctor’s office feeling more stressed out than when they arrived. If this sounds familiar, it’s time to find a new physician, says Phyllis Goldberg, PhD, a family and relationship expert practicing in Marina Del Ray, California. “This is a partnership, and the relationship has to work for you,” she says. “So get in the driver’s seat—talk to your friends, look online, make a list of what you want and interview until you find the doctor that you know is right for you.”

2. Your Coworkers
Most people assume that in a work environment it’s the boss who will be the most anxiety-producing personality, but that’s not always the case, says Linnda Durré, PhD, a Florida-based psychotherapist. You spend the most time, she says, with your professional peers—and it may be that your stress at the office is more about your coworkers than your boss. Just because you’re at the same place in the office hierarchy doesn’t mean that you won’t clash on certain issues. In Dr. Durré’s new book Surviving the Toxic Workplace, she offers the following way to conquer coworker conflicts. “Use the ‘sandwich technique,’” she says. “Start out with a compliment about the person, then go directly to the problems. Be specific, give feedback, stating it clearly and giving examples of the toxic or faulty behavior and how you want it to change. Then end on a positive note with what you’d like to have happen.”

3. Your Dog
Rufus the dog or Fluffy the cat may be your loyal best friend, but pets are a source of stress, too. (Anyone who’s ever had to take their dog to the emergency animal hospital at 2 a.m. or has been awakened by their cat’s whining at 4 a.m. knows about that!) There is such a thing as pet-induced anxiety, says Rosemary Lichtman, PhD, a relationship and family expert in Marina Del Ray, California. If you find that your pet is interfering with your sleep, destroying your house and generally causing you anxiety—it’s time to take action, whether it’s hiring a dog trainer, speaking to your vet about your cat’s destructive habits or even finding your pooch a new home. Your pet should enhance your life, not make it worse. But Dr. Lichtman reminds us that, despite all the hard work, “the benefits do outweigh the costs.” She adds, “Studies have shown that people with pets are happier, have less stress and live longer. So keep that in mind during those midnight wakeup calls.”

4. Your Bedroom
It’s supposed to be the most restful, calming room in your house. Is that true of yours? If there’s unfolded laundry piled high on your bed and clutter on your bedside table, it may not only be interfering with your sleep—it could also be increasing your stress levels. Past studies have found a correlation between messy homes and unhappiness, mild depression and elevated anxiety. “With a busy life, things can pile up before you know it,” says Dr. Goldberg. “But you’re in charge here, and you really can get a handle on this. It’s hard to clean up a huge mess, so take it one step at a time. And if you’re feeling overwhelmed, you can even bring in a professional organizer.”

5. Your Alarm Clock
Research has indicated that alarm clocks illuminated with blue light may interfere with circadian rhythms, possibly interrupting your sleep, which can sap you of energy and leave you underprepared to deal with daily stress. Alarm clocks with a loud, shrill pitch may also produce a jarring effect that can jolt the body with stress upon waking. While it’s not likely that the ring of your alarm clock will cause serious health problems, researchers have linked the morning hours to a higher incident of heart attacks, and some have questioned whether our bodies may be better suited to peaceful, slower wakeups. “Find an alarm clock with a soothing chime,” says Dr. Durré. Better yet, she adds: “Get a good night’s sleep so you don’t even need an alarm.”

6. Facebook
You love taking a midday break from work and finding out what your pals are up to, but could everyone else’s status updates be stressing you out? Maybe, says Dr. Lichtman. “Social networking, like any relationship, can have an impact on your emotions,” she says, adding that online news bites can sometimes, inadvertently, make others feel inadequate. (For instance: the status update from your old friend from high school who announced that she’s just met Prince Charming, who’s taking her on a two-week Mediterranean cruise, just as you’ve signed your divorce papers.) “Notice how you’re feeling when you spend time on Facebook and pay attention to why,” she says. “If it makes you feel bad, trust your instincts and log off. Call a friend, curl up with a good book, go for a walk—do something that genuinely brings you pleasure.”

7. Your Keys
Have you ever lost your keys? Your cell phone? Or—gasp—your wallet? Your heart probably started racing as stress hormones pumped through your body. This kind of stress is normal, but if you’re constantly losing your most important belongings, it may be time to make some changes. “When I was in graduate school, I used to lock myself out of my house and my car all the time because I wasn’t concentrating and was always rushed and in a hurry,” says Dr. Durré. “I bought a long neck chain and put one car key and one house key on it, and tucked it in the middle of my bra, so I was always protected from lockouts. It worked!” Try making a few duplicate house and car keys, she says. Also set your cell phone, keys, wallet and other essentials in one consistent place every day when you walk into your home.

8. Your Computer
If you take your work laptop home on the weekends, maybe you should reconsider—or at least designate one day during which you don’t think about work or feel tempted to turn on your computer. Here’s why: Studies have indicated that when people are in front of a computer they often exhibit stress responses, such as increased breathing rates and tense arms and shoulders. “Information overload is stressful and affects you physically,” says Dr. Goldberg. “You can break the habit and set boundaries for yourself. Limit your screen time, don’t check your e-mail so often and take frequent breaks.”

9. The Light in Your Bathroom
Is the light in your bathroom flattering, or does it illuminate every wrinkle, enlarged pore and blemish on your face? The answer is important, says Dr. Durré. How you see yourself when you start your day may play a role in your self-image and stress levels. “Research has shown that fluorescent lights increase ADD and ADHD symptoms in children because of how they affect their brain,” she says. While it’s not clear whether glaring fluorescent lights have a similar impact on adults, if the light in your house is bothering you, it may be time to make a change. A simple investment in a dimmer switch or a new bulb may be a small way to make you feel better about yourself each morning.

10. Celebrity Gossip
Sure, it can be fun to stay up to date on Brad and Angelina—and did you see Jennifer Aniston’s new house?! But experts have always warned that celebrity ogling may come at a cost to your happiness and stress levels. “Comparing yourself to celebrities and movie stars is difficult at best,” says Dr. Durré. “They have personal trainers, beauticians, housekeepers, maids, butlers, gardeners, chauffeurs, nannies and cooks.” Instead of fixating on such lifestyles, “accept yourself for who and what you are,” she adds. Try this: Only allow yourself to sink into celebrity gossip, whether it’s in print, on TV or on the Web, when you’re doing something to better your own health and happiness, like running on a treadmill or cooking a healthy meal.
Read more: Surprising Causes of Stress at WomansDay.com- Mental Health Tips – Woman’s Day

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You can’t hit that performance sweet spot — in the gym or the office — unless you have stress under control. How far off are you?
Coach Rick Crawford of Colorado Premier Training has a new system worth trying. Rate each of these areas on a scale of one to 10 every day for a week:

STRESS

RECOVERY

  __ Physical (hard workout)

  __ Sleep (quality of it)
  __ Emotional (people stuff)   __ Rest (time away from work)
  __ Mental (hard day at work)   __ Therapy (time doing things you love)
  __ TOTAL STRESS   __ TOTAL RECOVERY

 

If your stress score is way higher than your recovery score, you know what you need to do (sleep, go see art, shop on eBay). Just don’t carry a "stress balance" forward to the next week.
Read more: What Is Your Stress Score? – Marie Claire

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When your man is stressed out, you both suffer. Not to worry — these sweet, pampering moves will send Mr. Cranky Pants packing… and earn you major girlfriend brownie points.

By Jennifer Benjamin

Sure, stress sucks for him, but it’s no picnic for you either. When something is eating at him — whether he’s had a bad day at work, money is tight, or his favorite team just lost a big game — he doesn’t have the energy to give your relationship the attention it deserves. "Stress is a major stumbling block for couples," explains JoAnn Magdoff, PhD, a psychotherapist in private practice in New York. "It’s difficult to feel connected to your partner when he’s anxious or distracted."
Of course, you could just plop him down in front of the TV and wait for the storm to pass, but we have a much better solution. Treat your guy to a few stress busters that will help him return to his former, fun self.

 

1. Treat His Feet

Giving your man a foot rub probably doesn’t fall too high on your list of favorite things to do, so the fact that you’re even offering it lets him know just how much you care. Plus, it feels damn good. "We hold a lot of tension in our feet that connects to other spots on our bodies, so working out the kinks there can help relax us all over," says Jamie Ahn, owner of Townhouse Spa in New York City.
Her tips for giving the ultimate foot rub: First, pop a small, damp washcloth in the microwave for a minute. Find a cushy spot where you’ll both feel comfortable, and have him lie down with his feet in your lap. Then use the toasty washcloth to cleanse his feet, which will warm the area and, for your sake, eliminate any foul odors.
Rub a half dollar-size dollop of an essential oil or body lotion in your hands, grasp the arch of his foot with one hand, and rotate the foot in circles, moving clockwise to the right, down toward you, up to the left, and back toward him to loosen up the joints and muscles. Next, take both thumbs and move them up the bottom of the foot, from the arches to the toe pads and outward. Repeat multiple times.
Between kneading moves, intermittently take your hands and gently glide them all over his foot and up and down his calf. Lastly, gently pull each toe. Then give the other foot the same treatment. Once you’re finished, clean his feet once again with a warm, damp washcloth.

2. Whip Up Some Comfort Food

If you are overwhelmed, you might want to curl up on the couch with a box of chocolates and a bag of buttery popcorn. Men, on the other hand, usually want a hearty, stick-to-the-ribs meal, though they may not even be cognizant of the fact. So it falls on you to create home-cooked fare he will love. "When it comes to comfort food, the simpler, the better," says Food Network chef Dave Lieberman, author of Dave’s Dinners. "The classics, like chicken soup, steak, and mashed potatoes, are always winners…and even better, they are easy to make."
The presentation should be equally fuss free. "You don’t even need to bother setting the table," adds Lieberman. "Just bring out what you need and put it on the coffee table so it doesn’t feel labor intensive and there’s no pressure for it to seem like a special occasion."
A few Dave-recommended menus: roast chicken with mashed potatoes, pan-grilled rib-eye steak with sautéed spinach, and pasta with a hearty meat sauce and garlic bread.

3. Tuck Him In

No, you’re not his mother, but if you see him sleeping on the couch or passed out on top of his bed, throw a blanket over him. This nurturing move brings him back to a kidlike place subconsciously, when paying rent or getting ahead at work didn’t weigh so heavily on his mind. There’s also a bonding benefit.
"Even in a sleep state, he’ll feel a surge of affection from your caring gesture," says Yvonne Thomas, PhD, a Los Angeles psychologist specializing in relationships and self-esteem. "You’re making him comfortable, keeping him warm, and showing him that you pay attention to what his needs are."

4. Make Music

"Music is one of those rare channels that allow men to express their feelings more naturally, whether they’re playing air guitar or even singing," explains Magdoff. "It helps them get out any mindset." When he pops in a playlist, he mentally transports himself back to a great concert, spring break, or his first date with you.
To help bring him to that feel-good mental state, have him lie down, and plug his headphones into your iPod. While you’re both lying there, scroll around, playing stuff that will make him smile. "It’s an instant mood-lifter and an opportunity to show just how well you understand him by choosing songs you know he loves," says Thomas.

5. Cross a Chore Off His To-Do List

No one enjoys ironing shirts, doing laundry, or cleaning the bathroom, so if you jump in and do it for him at a particularly stressful time, he’ll be eternally grateful — especially since the burden of all the things he has to do may be stressing him out even more. "By dealing with one of his mundane tasks, you’re taking some of the load off of him," explains psychoanalyst Gail Saltz, MD, author of Anatomy of a Secret Life. "It’s also a labor of love that shows him you’re invested in making his life easier in whatever way you can."

6. Have Just-for-Him Sex

If there’s one thing that’s guaranteed to put a man at ease, it’s a mind-numbing sexual release. Unfortunately, he often is so caught up in making sure you orgasm, he stresses himself out even more. "Guys become so concerned about performing for you, they’re not able to enjoy the sexual experience as much," says Dr. Saltz. "Obviously, you like him to ante up for you, but occasionally, he’ll appreciate sex that’s all about him and his pleasure."
So tell your guy: "Since you’re always such a rock star for me in bed, I’d like to return the favor and tonight just make you happy." Not only are you giving him a free pass, but see how we threw a little ego boost in there as well? You can further alleviate any pressure to please you by offering him oral sex instead of intercourse.

7. Give Him a Warm Wake-Up Call

No noise is worse than the sound of your alarm clock jarring you awake on a weekday morning. A more pleasant alternative is rousing him yourself. As soon as you hear his alarm sound, quickly reach over and switch it off (it’ll be easier if it’s already on your side of the bed). Then make him a cup of coffee, and bring it to him. "You’re starting his day off with a warmer, softer approach, which sets a more relaxed tone for the rest of the day," says Dr. Saltz.

8. Add a Special Touch

Maybe you already do nice things, like making his bed or cracking open a cold beer for him so he doesn’t have to get off the couch. "But once it becomes a habit, it loses some of its effect, so sometimes, put a twist on it," explains psychologist David Niven, PhD, author of The 100 Simple Secrets of Great Relationships.
Some sweeter-than-usual suggestions: Top off his bowl of ice cream with crumbled bits of cookie, put a dash of cinnamon or cocoa in his morning coffee, or leave his beer mug in the freezer all day so it’s iced by the time he gets home. "These treats are not only thoughtful, but they give him permission to indulge and live his life, rather than worry about his waistline," adds Thomas.
You don’t have to go the food route either — maybe replace his everyday shaving cream with a high-end, luxe brand or throw his towel in the dryer right before he gets out of the shower so it’s nice and heated up when he wraps it around his body.

9. Create Sudsy Fun

Speaking of showers, when your brain is fried and your muscles are tense, sometimes the best thing is a hot shower or bath. And it’s even better if you join him.
"Water has relaxing, therapeutic properties already, and when you enter into the equation, it becomes a sensual experience as well," says Dr. Saltz. "You can pamper him, and possibly even put him in the mood, by getting the shower or bath ready, making sure the water is warm, and setting out sexy-smelling bath oils." Also, let’s not ignore the fact that you’ll be buck naked the whole time. That’s a surefire way to help him forget about his hectic day.

10. Play Hooky

When was the last time you two spent an entire Saturday or Sunday indoors, doing nothing but watching movies in your pajamas? Sounds good, right? "In our fast-paced world, we feel the pressure to be productive all the time," explains Thomas. "That’s why it’s so important to lock yourself away every now and then; and if you do it as a couple, it feels fun rather than antisocial."
So rent a whole bunch of light, brainless flicks that you will both enjoy (like comedies and action films — skip the documentaries on the world’s various problems). "The point is to give your mind a break, not overwhelm it with more anxiety-provoking thoughts," says Thomas. Then hole up at your pad all day, completely guilt free. Consider this an essential opportunity to recharge as a couple.

 

source: www.cosmopolitan.com

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A new study from Purdue University found that when men feel they’re being treated unfairly, they gain more weight over time than women do. The researchers suggest that guys get pudgy because being treated poorly stresses them out, so they’re likely to turn to food for comfort. Here are five things you might be doing that give him major anxiety—and how you can keep him sane (and slim) without sacrificing your own peace of mind.

By Carolyn Kylstra

Read more: What Stresses Men Out – Things Women Do That Bother Men – Cosmopolitan

1. You Hold a Grudge

People whose partners recover well from fights report higher relationship satisfaction, according to research published in the journal Psychological Science. Unfortunately, the reverse is also true: When you hold on to and keep bringing up past beef, even after the fight is supposedly resolved, your dude is going to be unhappy in the relationship.

Do This Instead: When you’re having an argument, address only the specific problem at hand, and resist bringing up issues in the past or perceived patterns of behavior based on one or two unrelated incidents. To that end, avoid the words never or always, as in, “You never want to hang out with my friends,” or “You always forget to take out the trash.”

2. You Issue an Ultimatum

Fighting is never fun, but fighting dirty drives him totally coo-coo. Researchers from Baylor University found that the way a person perceives his partner’s emotions during an argument impacts how he feels. Specifically, when he senses that you’re trying to assert power (by being hostile, critical, blaming, or controlling), he takes it as a threat—which triggers major stress on his part. Delivering an ultimatum is the prime example of you trying to dominate the relationship: Do this, or I’ll leave you. It leaves him feeling powerless…and furious.

Do This Instead: Explain how his actions affect you, rather than issuing an order. Say something along the lines of, “It makes me feel like you don’t care about me when ______.” Besides, wouldn’t you rather he fix his mistakes because he wants to, rather than because he has to?

3. You Give Him the Silent Treatment

That same Baylor University study discovered that people get upset when their partners act distant and cold. Freezing him out makes him feel neglected, another source of stress.

Do This Instead: If you’re the type of person who needs to clear her head before you have a serious talk, tell him straight up that you need a breather, give him a specific length of time (fifteen minutes, one day), and then promise that you’ll discuss the situation at the end of that time.

4. You Bite His Head Off After a Long Day

Surprisingly, guys are a lot more vulnerable to relationship ups and downs than women are, according to a Wake Forest University study. Researchers believe it’s because women have an outlet to express their concerns—we turn to our friends—whereas for guys, their significant other tends to be their primary source of intimate conversation. So when you’re acting a little bit nutty, he has no one to turn to talk about it.

Do This Instead: Check yourself before you snap at him for something silly. Are you actually stressed out or annoyed for an unrelated reason, like work or friend drama, and just taking it out on him? It might seem like not a big deal, but when you let your feelings run wild, you may end up hurting him more than he lets on.

5. You Play It Too Cool

You already know that acting needy is a turn-off…but pulling away too much can also backfire. Recent research published in Psychological Science reveals that couples get rocky when one person’s commitment level is different from the other’s. While it’s true that not returning his text for a day or two will pique his interest if you’re still in the early dating stages, once you’re in a committed relationship, it’s just going to make his cortisol levels skyrocket.

Do This Instead: Ditch the games, especially after you’re official. While it’s definitely good to have your own life apart from him (weekly girls’ night, spinning class, etc.), the only time it makes sense to purposely distance yourself is if he’s pulling away a bit. In that case, creating some space ups a guy’s interest; any other time, it just makes him feel anxious and confused.

Read more: What Stresses Men Out – Things Women Do That Bother Men – Cosmopolitan

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“Stress is an ignorant state. It believes that everything is an emergency. Nothing is that important.”

– Natalie Goldberg

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Calm your nerves when it comes to flying, public speaking and more.

By Tori Rodriguez Posted May 31, 2011 from WomansDay.com

Though stomach knots and sweaty palms are certainly no fun, anxiety is actually our ally, since it’s a warning system designed to alert us to potential danger. It only becomes a problem when our fear grows out of proportion to the actual threat. Even if your anxiety isn’t so extreme that it keeps you from doing things you want or need to do––like a full-blown phobia—it can still make certain situations tough. Fortunately, there are ways to cope. Below, find common anxiety-producing situations, plus tips from experts on how to deal with them. However, keep in mind that if your anxiety has started interfering with your daily life, such as impacting your job because you’re too anxious to make presentations, or causing you to drink excessively to cope with social anxiety, it’s time to seek help from a therapist.

 

Fear of Flying

“While you may rationally know that you’re much safer flying on a plane than driving in a car, it’s the complete lack of control that can overwhelm people,” says Elizabeth Lombardo, PhD, psychologist and author of A Happy You. Instead of imagining the worst-case scenario, Laura Pagano, PhD, psychotherapist and hypnotherapist in Roswell, Georgia, suggests visualizing a happy ending in advance––like exiting the plane after a smooth, pleasant flight––that you can call on when your anxiety arises. “Should the fears surface, change the channel in your mind to the positive scenario you’ve conjured up.” Also, since it’s not physiologically possible to be both anxious and relaxed at the same time, Richard Kneip, PhD, clinical psychologist in private practice in Clarkston, Michigan and director of Great Lakes Psychology Group, recommends that you try calming your body (and thus your mind) with progressive muscle relaxation (PMR) by contracting and releasing each muscle in the body one at a time. Most anxiety-prone people don’t realize how much tension they hold in their muscles, and PMR can teach you what it feels like when your muscles are truly relaxed. To do it, first close your eyes and focus on the rhythm of your breath. Then, starting with your feet, clench each muscle as tightly as possible, feeling the tension in the muscle before you relax it, then noting the release of tension. Repeat this process for each muscle––calves, thighs, buttocks, back, stomach, arms, shoulders and neck, all the way up to your head. Photo: Shutterstock

Mild Claustrophobia

Discomfort about being confined to a small space, like an elevator or MRI machine, often stems from the fear that you’ll get stuck and be helpless, explains Dr. Lombardo. Deep breathing (breathing in and out for six counts each) will help calm you down in the moment, but for a longer-term fix, Dr. Kneip recommends systematic desensitization, which gradually exposes you to anxiety-provoking situations. “Research has shown that individuals prone to this anxiety can learn to overcome it by pairing relaxation techniques with imagining themselves, or better yet, observing others in scenes from TV shows or movies, in increasingly confined spaces.” The key is to progress in small steps, advises Dr. Kneip, who says that it is generally best to start with the least anxiety-provoking images, objects or situations and gradually increase the intensity as you are able to successfully manage each along the way. For example, to combat anxiety about elevators, while practicing deep breathing, you might first imagine yourself walking down the hall toward an elevator. Once that thought no longer makes you anxious, move on to imagery of yourself waiting for an elevator door to open. Eventually, you should work up to picturing yourself actually being in the elevator for the duration of the ride. Photo: Shutterstock

Fear of Public Speaking

According to research from Emory University, the fear of public speaking is prevalent in up to 34 percent of the general population. Nick Titov, PhD, associate psychology professor at Macquarie University in Sydney, Australia, who has extensively studied treatments for phobias, notes that most good speakers have spent years practicing the skill, which is essential for minimizing anxiety since it helps desensitize you to the actual experience. First, do all you can to address factors you can control, like having handouts prepared in advance and timing your speech as you practice. Dr. Titov also suggests that you use cue cards with notes and focus on perfecting the beginning of your speech; if you have a smooth start, your anxiety will ease up once you get further into the presentation. And whenever possible, work in anecdotes about topics you’re passionate about, he suggests, since “most of us love to hear about what inspires others, and it’s much easier to talk about things we enjoy.” Finally, in the time leading up to the day of your speech, try to identify any irrational thoughts driving your anxiety. Dr. Kneip says that you can reduce your sense of vulnerability by confronting these fears with rational rebuttals. If, for example, you’re worried that everyone will think you’re stupid if you make a mistake, he suggests countering with, “If I make a mistake it might be embarrassing, but it certainly doesn’t mean I’m stupid.” Photo: Comstock/Thinkstock

Social Anxiety

Social situations can cause anxiety because we worry that others will think negatively of us, or that we won’t know what to say. To prevent that, Dr. Lombardo suggests keeping things in perspective: Most people are worried more about themselves than they are about you. And instead of dwelling on how others might be viewing you, focus on being truly present. “Really listen to, think about and direct all of your attention to the other person and the conversation at hand,” she says. “It will help reduce your anxiety and enhance the perception the other person has of you.” If you’re worried about not having anything to talk about, she recommends keeping some topics in your “back pocket” in case you need them. “Asking questions about the other person (without it seeming like an interview) can be great too, since it moves the focus from you to them.” Some examples she suggests are “Have you tried that new restaurant yet?” and “Did you watch American Idol last night? What did you think?” You could also ask topic-specific questions: For instance, at a cocktail benefit, ask someone if he or she is involved with the cause. Photo: Shutterstock

Job Interviews

Because there is a real risk here––of not getting a job and therefore not being able to support yourself––this situation often triggers a great deal of anxiety, says Dr. Titov. To lessen pre-interview jitters, he recommends doing research to learn as much as you can about the position and company to give you an idea of what they’re looking for. He also suggests preparing responses to likely questions and having practice interviews with friends or colleagues. Counter self-doubt by writing down ways that you’re qualified for the position. To keep your anxiety in check during the actual interview, Dr. Lombardo says that in addition to taking deep breaths, you should “remind yourself of a specific success you have had in the past where you felt proud of yourself, and use those feelings to propel yourself during the interview.” And focus on the interviewer, making sure to listen closely to what he or she is saying rather than just focusing on what you want to say. “Being truly mindful and present will help boost how the interviewer views you,” she says. Photo: iStockphoto

Visit to the Doctor or Dentist

There are a couple of reasons this can cause anxiety. For instance, you could be engaging in “what-if” thinking and dreading the worst-case scenario, says Dr. Lombardo, such as “What if the doctor finds a tumor?” She recommends keeping your fear in check by being diligent about regular checkups and cleanings, and “keeping in mind the difference between possibility and probability; just because your headaches could be a brain tumor, it’s overwhelmingly more likely that there’s something more innocuous causing them, like stress, fatigue or dehydration.” On the other hand, some people have really had a painful experience during a visit to the doctor or dentist, causing anxiety about future appointments. Systematic desensitization can be helpful here, too: At first, you might use relaxation strategies like deep breathing or PMR while imagining entering the dentist’s office. Once you’re no longer anxious about this step, advises Dr. Kneip, repeat the process while “imagining yourself sitting in the dentist’s chair, and then the dentist inserting dental instruments into the mouth, etc.” He says this approach is highly successful because it uses baby steps that don’t overwhelm people struggling with anxiety. Photo: Shutterstock

Read More About: conditions and diseases, mental health

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By: Francis McKenzie

There never seems to be enough time. Each day starts with a schedule, an inbox, a calendar filled with obligations. It’s no wonder we lie awake worrying about our to-do list or leave work at lunch (if we’re lucky) with a brain mumbling random tasks and frustrations. There is not enough quiet.

There’s no easy fix for a busy life, but there are ways to escape it, to master it, and to balance it out with calm. Yoga teaches a great deal on this concept, which is perhaps why it has become so popular. To those less familiar, yoga might appear to be another workout fad. In fact, the teachings of yoga become most fruitful when they exercise the mind. It doesn’t take becoming a complete yogi or keeping a rigid schedule of classes to learn some of the tricks. There are a few simple exercises, inspired by yoga, that help mellow out even the most torturous, active mind. 

Breathing
Breathing is something we do all the time. Breathing consciously is not. Thinking about taking slow, deep breaths means we are not thinking about all the other things that normally occupy our mind. Yoga breath, called pranayma, is done typically through the nose, breathing in slowly and out with a throaty, audible sound. Deep breathing consumes our entire body and its calming effects are immediate. Learning to breathe consciously can transform our state of mind, which is a handy tool for everything from placating petty fights at work to simply falling asleep.

Forward Fold
Another simple tactic to help calm the mind is a standing pose common in yoga. Stand with your feet hip-width apart and bend at the waist, taking hold of opposite elbows and letting the weight of the arms and the head draw you forward and down. You can keep your knees slightly bent, and simply hang for a few minutes.

Legs up the Wall
This is a great one to pull out on nights you can’t sleep. Sometimes laying in this position and breathing for a little while will do the trick. Simply lie on your back and extend both legs up the wall. Keep your spine flat to the floor and your arms by your side. Keep breathing slowly and consciously.

Tree Pose
Tree pose helps shut our mind chatter off because it forces us to balance (or fall over). Stand on one leg and bend the knee of the opposite leg and hold it for a second until you feel you have your balance. Concentrate on keeping the standing foot solid. Move the foot of the bent leg to rest on the inside of the thigh of the standing leg and keep the bent knee out to the side. Pause again, and when you feel balanced, lift your arms above your head, palms together. Hold this one for a few minutes  and let yourself fall out and come back in to it until you can keep it long enough to forget what you wanted to forget.

Headstand
Note of caution: this pose is not for beginners, and not one that should be tried without learning the proper pose with the help of a yoga instructor. If you’re a headstand expert and you’ve done it in a yoga class, the pose is definitely one to bring home. Standing on your head not only takes practice and focus, there is something about looking at the world upside down for a while that makes you feel calmer and blessed with a new perspective when you arrive right side up.

Meditation
Meditation, according to Wikipedia, is defined as “a mental discipline by which one attempts to get beyond the conditioned, ‘thinking’ mind into a deeper state of relaxation or awareness. It often involves turning attention to a single point of reference.”

The thought of meditating may seem daunting and out of reach to anyone who doesn’t consider themselves “new age,” but all it takes is a solid try (don’t be afraid to engage your iPod to talk you through it) and even the most cynical will be a convert. There are hardly any rules—you can try it sitting or laying down. There’s no better way to tame the devil of an active mind.

Calm Down
Sure, all of this sounds great, but how do we incorporate it into our busy lives? Some of these ideas may help get you motivated to mellow out.

Discover lunchtime yoga.
There’s something about escaping for an hour during the middle of the day that allows us to return to the office and have a completely different perspective and a renewed focus on what we’re doing. Suddenly that annoying woman in marketing is slightly understood; that email that seemed insurmountable is a five-minute response.

Use online tools to help structure your relaxation.
There are several yoga and meditation segments available online to download. The beauty of building your own mash-up meditation or yoga is that you can design it to fit whatever space of time you can allot.

Create a space at home for chilling out.
(The couch with a TV does not count.) The space doesn’t have to be big—it should simply be a spot where you can sit and meditate or go when you’re not sleeping to practice any of the above methodologies.

It’s amazing how peaceful it can be to forget about the past and the future and simply focus on the present moment, whether it’s ten minutes of breathing or an hour of yoga. Keeping the mind calm adds a sense of flexibility that makes everyone a nicer person.

Read more: http://www.divinecaroline.com/79972/55542-simple-ways-calm-chaos/2#ixzz1CTOdwbj9

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50 ways

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If you’ve recently fantasized about slapping a too-slow cashier or stabbing a rude party guest, you’d better read these nerve-soothing tips, pronto.

By Zoe Ruderman

This time of year can try even the sweetest chick’s patience — what with crowded stores, too many parties (and hangovers), and annoying family demands — and experts are saying this month will be a "perfect storm" of stress because of financial worries on top of everything else.

"Stressful situations increase cortisol levels and cause a dip in feel-good hormones," explains Claire Wheeler, MD, PhD, author of 10 Simple Solutions to Stress. "And since women are conditioned not to express their anger in an aggressive and direct way, they deal with those hormonal changes in what seems like a more subtle manner: by getting in a bad mood." Meaning, we get bitchy. In the interest of not totally losing your shit, we suggest you read our 10 strategies for keeping cool.

1. Schedule tasks that are making you anxious — like buying a dress for a party or finishing a tough work assignment — for early in the day. If you leave them for later, you’ll spend more time worrying and end up snapping at people.

2. Take a coffee break with friends or coworkers rather than going solo. A study found that getting a caffeine fix in a group lowered stress levels. But sipping coffee alone left people feeling more stressed.

3. Bookmark these sites: CollegeHumor.com and FunnyorDie.com. According to one study, anticipating watching a funny video can reduce stress hormones by up to 70 percent.

4. Practice saying the word no. Women, being social creatures, tend to feel obligated to show up for everything they’re invited to. But saying yes to something when you don’t really want to go leaves you bitter and annoyed. Tell people you’re prepping for a presentation, then enjoy the free time.

5. Make a budget for gifts, going out, and travel. It’s a drag to do and you may not stick to it, but feeling in control of your finances helps squash anxiety.

6. Lock lips with your guy. Psychologists found that even just a little bit of physical contact is enough to lower your blood pressure and make you feel calmer.

7. Do short, high-intensity workouts. Research found they have a greater effect on stress than slower-paced exercise does. So instead of an hour of yoga, hit the treadmill on high for 20 minutes.

8. Or if you’re feeling too beat to work out, skip the treadmill and relax in the sauna at your gym (or take a steamy shower). A study found that pampering yourself — even for a few minutes — calms you down.

9. If you feel ready to snap — at the rude cashier or airline clerk — talk slower. When you’re tense, you speak more rapidly, which changes your body’s chemistry and turns you into an F-bomb-dropping machine. Talking at a calmer pace will chill you out, and you’ll be more likely to get what you want.

10. Skip the New Year’s resolutions. While you might think that giving yourself goals is a positive thing, they’ll make you feel inadequate and pressured rather than hopeful and happy. Instead, make some great plans for January.

Sources: Journal of Behavioral Medicine; Oklahoma State University; Research Quarterly For Exercise and Sport; Edwin Riley, Phd, Author of Stress Rx; University of Bristol; University of California at Irvine; Claire Wheeler, Phd, Md.

source: www.cosmopolitan.com

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To everyone who is a little uneasy about their classes this semester…whether it be your first time at college, away from home, or your freshman year of high school, or just another semester that proves to be a challenge…you can do it. We all think we can’t at some point, but as long as you stay calm and believe in yourself, you can do it You’re going to do fine this semester.

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