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Posts Tagged ‘stress reduction’

Friday FiveA short Friday Five post at Attorney at Work that has five of my favorite productivity tips, gleaned from interviews with five successful people who are able to accomplish loads.

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A Matter of Time DownloadHere’s a recent article I wrote for Attorney at Work, a great blog. The article, like the blog, is geared toward lawyers, but the tips are helpful to anyone who is busy and trying to figure out how to make it all work! The article is part of their quarterly download, which is a really great e-zine. This one is called A Matter of Time. I hope you enjoy it!

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I really like the Eating Well blogs; I always find helpful information there and I almost always agree with the advice. Today is no exception. Brierley Wright has a great article on chronic inflammation, what it is and how to avoid it. All the tips are simple changes to your diet and guidance for an exercise regime. Her ten ways to beat inflammation are:

  1. Increase Omega-3 fatty acids and reduce Omega-6 (i.e. add salmon and olive oil to your diet)
  2. Practice yoga.
  3. Consume soy.
  4. Get a massage.
  5. Limit trans-fats and saturated fats.
  6. Eat green leafy vegetables.
  7. Keep stress at bay.
  8. Sleep at least 6 hours each night.
  9. Exercise often.
  10. Drink green tea.

Read the entire post here.

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Water dropletTwo weeks ago, I posted on the importance of protein and suggested that you take some time to determine how much is the right amount for you. This week, our food diary follow-up is more simple but just as important to a healthy diet: the importance of water.

Water is important for a properly functioning body. Staying hydrated can rid you of stress, headaches, tension, and cravings for sweets, all of which are caused by dehydration.

We Need Water For Good Health. Because our bodies are 70% water, we need a constant supply in order to function properly.  Everyday we must replace the fluids that our bodies use and lose through breath, sweat, urine, and stools. We can even promote weight loss by speeding up our metabolisms and lessening our desire for food, particularly sweets. In addition, increasing your water intake allows your body to efficiently eliminate waste products by increasing the need to urinate and therefore flushing more toxins out of your body, which can help reduce problems like acid reflux, ulcers, gastritis, and ailments of the colon, kidneys, bladder, and urethra.

How Much? We need at least 64 ounces, though recent studies suggest that we need much more and that different people need differing amounts depending on their weight, level of physical activity, climate, and diet. For example, a larger person will most likely need more water than a smaller person; a person living in the desert will need more water than a person living in a humid environment; a person who exercises regularly will need additional fluids to replace those lost through perspiration; and a person who eats a diet full of water-rich foods will need to drink less water than a person who does not.

What You Eat Helps Determine How Much Water You Need. Three main categories of foods will require you to take in additional fluids to maintain hydration and efficient elimination of waste products from your body:  sugar, caffeine, and meats.

For example, sugar is 99.5% carbohydrates and only 0.5% water, so you need large amounts of water to balance the intake of refined sugar. This is why sweets make you thirsty. Similarly, caffeine is a diuretic that increases your need for water, so you will need to increase your water intake for every caffeinated beverage that you consume.  Lastly, consider the amount of meat in your diet because a high-protein diet demands a large amount of water for metabolism and efficient elimination.  (This explains why high-protein diets like Atkins have high initial success rates: the body siphons its own water reserves in order to metabolize the protein, resulting in water weight loss.)

Get Your Water From Food Too. In her book Food and Healing, Dr. AnneMarie Colbin details the water content in various foods:

  • Lettuce, iceberg: 95.5% water
  • Carrots: 91.2% water
  • Cow’s milk: 87.4% water
  • Apple, raw: 84.4% water
  • Grapes, green: 81.6% water
  • Potato, baked: 75.1% water
  • Brown rice, cooked: 70.3% water
  • Kidney beans, canned, cooked: 69.0% water
  • Fish, cod, broiled: 64.6% water
  • Chicken, broiled, no skin: 63.8% water
  • Beef, T-bone, broiled: 36.4% water
  • White bread: 35.5% water
  • Sugar: 0.5% water

Knowing the water content of the food you eat is important: it will help you determine how much supplementary water your body needs to obtain through drinks.

Get The Fluids You Need – Not Just From Water. Any beverage without caffeine or added sugar is hydrating.  Good choices include real fruit juices (without added sugar, so check the label) and herbal coffees and teas. Herbal teas do not contain any tea leaves.  They are generally made from flowers, herbs, spices, and other plants; because they are brewed like tea, they are called “tea.”  Check the contents of your tea; if it has any kind of tea in it—whether black, white, or green; or contains leaves or tips—then it is not herbal.  Herbal teas can be great hot or iced.  Brew some at home, add stevia or agave nectar (both natural sweeteners) if you want a little sweetness, and keep it in the fridge.  Delis and groceries sell many good varieties of bottled herbal teas; find the ones you like most.

The same is true for herbal coffee, which is not the same as decaf and, unfortunately, is not widely available.  You can, however, purchase it at most health food stores.  My favorite brand is Teeccino (www.teeccino.com), made from carob, chicory root, and other herbs, and brewed in the coffee pot like regular coffee.

Ultimately, remaining hydrated and ensuring that your body is working as an efficient elimination system is not difficult.  And you might feel much better by simply drinking and eating more water each day.

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RESOURCES

Batmanghelidj, Fereydoon, M.D., Your Body’s Many Cries for Water: You Are Not Sick, You Are Thirsty; Global Health Solutions, Inc., 2001 (2d ed.).

Cherniske, Stephen, M.S., Caffeine Blues: Wake Up to the Hidden Dangers of America’s #1 Drug; Warner Books, 1998.

Colbin, AnneMarie, Food and Healing: How what you eat determines your health, your well-being, and the quality of your life; Ballantine Books, 1986.

Gittleman, Ann Louise, M.S., C.N.S., get the sugar out: 501 Simple Ways to Cut the Sugar Out of Any Diet; Three Rivers Press, 1996.

Helmenstine, Anne Marie, Ph.D., “Can You Drink Too Much Water?,” at About.com.

Lipski, Elizabeth, Ph.D., CCN, Digestive Wellness: How to strengthen the immune system and prevent disease through healthy digestion; McGraw-Hill, 2004.

Lipman, Frank, M.D., Total Renewal: 7 Steps to Resilience, Vitality, & Long-Term Health; Penguin, 2003.

Rosenthal, Joshua, Integrative Nutrition: Feed Your Hunger for Health & Happiness; Integrative Nutrition Publishing, 2008.

Steward, H. Leighton, Morrison C. Bethea, M.D., Sam S. Andrews, M.D., Luis A Balart, M.D., Sugar Busters! Cut Sugar to Trim Fat; Ballantine Books, 1995.

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Peaceful chairsHere’s a great post by Jeff Gitterman on the importance of meditation. It is adapted from his book “Beyond Success: Redefining the Meaning of Prosperity” © 2009 Jeffrey L. Gitterman, published by AMACOM Books (www.amacombooks.org).

As you’ll see, he’s not necessarily talking about “sitting crossed-legged on a cushion” but rather he’s referring to any activity that allows us to stop listening to the endless chatter in our heads. Some people call it the “monkey mind”; I know my “monkey” is very chatty most of the time and meditation will help “get me out of my head” and out of my own way so that I can accomplish things.

Here’s an excerpt from his article:

“When I use the term meditation, I don’t necessarily mean sitting cross-legged on a cushion but rather participating in any deliberate activity that helps us to disengage from a compulsive relationship with our stream of thought. There are numerous books that have been written over the years on the subject of meditation and how to disengage from the thinking mind or, more simply put, how to stop listening to the voice inside our head. It’s important that each of us find our own method that works best.

The benefit of learning how to disengage our attention from the thought stream is that we can then apply our minds more readily toward more constructive things, such as accomplishing tasks and connecting with other people and our own true purpose. It creates space within us — an opening that allows more energy to flow into us. In this seemingly paradoxical way, having more space in our minds allows us to accomplish more and more things in the world.”

Read the full article here.

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“I know, I know,” you say, “getting a massage regularly would be great. I wish I had the time to fit one into my super-hectic-crazy-busy schedule once a week, or at least once a month. What a luxury that would be!”

Yes, it would be a luxury. But you need to think about it differently because it’s not just a luxury. It turns out that massage is very important to a healthy and happy lifestyle. We all probably know these benefits of massage:

  • Woman getting a massageMassages release toxins that build up in muscles and thus have a calming effect on the body.
  • They also help relax the mind with the quiet time that goes along with the massage.
  • Another benefit is the release of endorphins, the body’s natural painkiller.

But there’s a lot more. Recent research by the Touch Research Institute (TRI) at the University of Miami School of Medicine shows some surprising benefits. For example, massaging any part of the body — not just the part that hurts or is tight — has benefits because it reduces a brain chemical called substance P that is related to pain. According to TRI, massage also has the following benefits:

  • Boosts your immune system by reducing stress and thus cortisol, which kills cells important for immunity.
  • Blood pressure benefits. Massage has a positive effect on blood pressure because it reduces hypertension, which can increase blood pressure.
  • Technique doesn’t matter that much; in other words, any good massage — whether it is shiatsu or swedish or deep tissue — provides benefits.
  • Even self-massage is beneficial.

So find the time — make the time — to get that massage. Not only do you deserve it, you NEED it for your good health!

Source: “Five Surprising Benefits of Massage,” Newsweek

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Here’s an article written by Gretchen Rubin (of The Happiness Project fame) that I recently revisited. It is entitled Emergency Tool Kit for Happiness: Take a few measures now and you’ll save yourself stress later. I like it because it is simple and helpful:

When we are stressed out, we tend to become even more stressed out. Why? Because when we are rushing around putting out fires, we don’t take the time to do the little things that can end up saving enormous amounts of time and trouble.
Here’s a list of preventive measures to save yourself stress later. These tasks don’t seem particularly important, and they’re  easy to skip when you’re rushed, but if neglected, they can snowball into major stress. Remember: A little effort now means a lot less stress later.
  • Keep stamps in the house.
  • Keep extra cash in the house.
  • Have a good book to read.
  • Bring a hat and an umbrella.
  • Don’t wear tight pants or uncomfortable shoes.
  • Don’t let yourself get too hungry.
  • Make a list.
  • Always keep your passport in the same place.
  • Always put your keys away in the same place―and keep an extra set of keys.
  • Keep a Band-Aid and a small bottle of pain reliever in your purse.
  • Make your bed.
  • Never let your car’s gas level fall into the ”empty” zone.
  • Have at least one friend who lives in your neighborhood.
  • Go to bed 30 minutes earlier than usual.
  • Get up 20 minutes earlier than usual.
  • Laugh at yourself.

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