Γιατί το άγχος να καθορίζει τη ζωή μας; (Άρθρο στον Πολίτη)

Επηρεάζει όλους, σε μικρότερο ή μεγαλύτερο βαθμό. Στις προσπάθειές μας για διαχείρισή του δεν πρέπει να ξεχνάμε ότι πρόκειται για μια πολυσύνθετη κατάσταση –διαφορετική για τον καθένα μας- η οποία απαιτεί εξίσου πολύπλευρη και συστηματική αντιμετώπιση.

 

Διάβασε ολόκληρο το άρθρο http://politis.com.cy/article/giati-to-agchos-na-kathorizi-ti-zoi-mas-tropi-diachirisis-tou
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Μελαγχολία των γιορτών – Τι να προσέξουμε;

Αν η περίοδος των γιορτών σε βρίσκει σε αρνητική διάθεση, δεν είσαι μόνος/η. Σύμφωνα με τις στατιστικές, μελαγχολία ή θλίψη επηρεάζουν ένα μεγάλο ποσοστό ατόμων τη συγκεκριμένη περίοδο του χρόνου. Παρόλο που σίγουρα δεν πρόκειται για κάτι ευχάριστο, θα εκπλαγούμε βλέποντας κάποια από την έντονη φόρτιση να εξασθενεί όταν απλά και μόνο αποδεχτούμε ότι την περίοδο αυτή δεν βιώνουμε αυτό που –φαινομενικά- μπορεί να βιώνει ο περισσότερος κόσμος. Χρήσιμο είναι να θυμόμαστε:

 


❄ Η τέλεια απεικόνιση της περιόδου αυτής στην τηλεόραση, στις διαφημίσεις και στις ταινίες, δύσκολα αντιπροσωπεύει την πραγματικότητα.

 

❄ Συχνά οι υποχρεώσεις της περιόδου αυτής είναι πολλές, όμως το πλάνο που δημιουργούμε πρέπει να είναι ρεαλιστικό και να ανταποκρίνεται στις δυνατότητες μας αλλά και στην συναισθηματική μας κατάσταση. Λέμε «όχι» όπου χρειάζεται, και αποφεύγουμε καταστάσεις που νιώθουμε ότι, με τον όποιοδήποτε τρόπο, θα μας επηρεάσουν περαιτέρω.

 

❄ Πρόκειται για μια “ευαίσθητη” περίοδο που μπορεί να ξυπνήσει αρνητικές μνήμες, θλίψη για την απώλεια αγαπημένων μας προσώπων, μελαγχολία για “κενά” στην ζωή μας και για πραγματικότητες διαφορετικές από ότι θα θέλαμε. Τα συναισθήματα αυτά είναι απόλυτα λογικά, επομένως προσπαθούμε να μην ασκούμε επιπλέον πίεση στον εαυτό μας επιβάλλοντας ότι «θα έπρεπε να ήμουν χαρούμενος τώρα» ή θυμώνοντας για το τι βιώνουμε («Γιατί να μην μπορώ να είμαι καλά? Γιατί να χαραμίζω τις γιορτές?»), ή επιβάλλοντας ότι «πρέπει να μου περάσει και να είμαι καλά».
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Emotional Eating-It’s not about self-discipline

A common myth is that what we call Emotional Eating is an excuse for lack of self-discipline. The truth is that Emotional Eating is a sensitive topic -and very frustrating for those who face it- which has nothing to do with food per se. It is rather about turning to food for comfort, stress relief, reward or punishment, rather than to satisfy hanger. Emotional eating can reflect/stem from:

 

🔷 Need for emotional nourishment: When we don’t feel hunger but still striving for food that means that we desire emotional nourishment, as for many people food is the easiest way to feel loved and comforted.

 

🔷 Difficulty managing unpleasant feelings: Food can temporarily smooth uncomfortable emotions, such as fear, sadness, anxiety, loneliness etc and distract us momentarily from highlighting feelings of dissatisfaction with our life.

 

🔷 Bad Relationship with our body: We usually convince ourselves that if we could lose those extra pounds then we would date more or have more confidence. While it seems like a nice “motivation” the only purpose it serves is to make us feel even worse and lower our self-esteem.

 

🔷 Physical Tiredness: Leaving ourselves without food or rest for too long is the best way to resort to emotional eating. When our body is tired, it is unequipped, thus not able to fight impulses or desires for food.
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4 surprising reasons why you should smile more!

“We shall never know all the good that a simple smile can do” Mother Teresa said, and she couldn’t be more right. Although it might be clear by now that smiling is way more than a contraction of muscles in our face, there are some fascinating facts on smiling we overlook.

 

It drastically and instantly makes you feel better!

Smiling releases dopamine and serotonin in the brain, sparking a feeling of happiness. The level of endorphins –the so-called happy hormones- increases when we smile too. Endorphins are the body’s natural pain medication; they alleviate pain, lower stress level, boost up your mood and increase feelings of pleasure.
Interestingly, smiling stimulates the brain’s reward mechanisms. A study conducted in the UK found that a smile can bring the same level of stimulation to our brain as 2,000 bars of chocolate or £16,000!
In short, when you smile your brain feels happy, and when your brain feels happy you feel happy!

 

It benefits your health!

Smiling lowers blood pressure and heart rate. It decreases stress hormones and strengthens our immune system by increasing the number of white blood cells.

 

It boosts your social life!

Social interactions are a vital part of our life, and smiling facilitates those. Research has shown that:
1) We are more willing to engage socially with people who are smiling,
2) People who smile are perceived as more approachable, friendly and attractive, and
3) People who smile are rated as more trustworthy than people with non smiling facial expressions.

 

Fake smiling brings the exact same effects as genuine smiling!

The brain doesn’t differentiate between a real smile and a fake one, as it interprets the positioning of the facial muscles in the same way. Putting a smile on your face, whether genuine or fake, releases the same chemicals in the brain, thus bringing the same benefits. When you force yourself to smile, your brain is tricked into thinking that you’re actually happy. The result is no other than feeling happier! Try smiling next time you’re in a traffic jam, when mad at your kid or when you wake up feeling anxious about your day. Fake it till you make it!
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Dealing with panic attacks

Although unpleasant and scary, both panic attacks and panic disorder (what recurrent panic attacks could lead to if left untreated) can be successfully dealt with. Here are the basics on addressing panic attacks.

1) Educate yourself about panic attacks. There are 4 key points you need to know:
*The majority of people will have at least one panic attack throughout their life.

*Panic attacks result from stress, usually accumulated or unconscious. Although you might not be feeling stressed at the very moment a panic attack occurs, there is underlying stress that the body detects.

*The physical symptoms are due to the fact that the body prepares itself to protect you against a perceived danger.

*Having one panic attack doesn’t imply that more will follow. Having more panic attacks following the first does not mean this will be a lifelong condition.

2) Learn the diaphragmatic breathing technique. Practice pairing it with thoughts like “I will get through it and be fine”, “It will soon be over”, “I am not dying nor having a heart attack, I will soon be okay”. The practice should take place when you are in a calm state, so that you can master the technique. Slow deep diaphragmatic breathing, paired with the thoughts, is what you will concentrate on while having an actual panic attack. It will be a very useful tool to help you through it.

3) Ask for professional help if the panic attacks persist, if you worry a lot about a potential next panic attack, or if you start avoiding certain behaviors, situations or places due to fear of a panic attack.

They might not go away overnight, but following the right steps can certainly aid in overcoming them!

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The simple breathing exercise you can practice anywhere

Are you nervous before a presentation? Are you feeling upset but need to stay calm? Are you having difficulty concentrating due to stress, feeling sweaty or having a rapid heart rate? Does it feel hard to relax after a long day? Whatever the circumstance and wherever you are, it only takes as little as 3 minutes of controlled breathing for you to feel calmer and be able to carry on.

Controlled breathing may be the most powerful tool we have to prevent our brain from keeping us in a state of stress, thus preventing subsequent negative effects due to high stress levels.

How does it work? Although there are several breathing exercises one can use, the common mechanism is more or less the same. Breathing exercises reduce emotional arousal and stress by activating the parasympathetic nervous system (the one that slows down many physical functions and relaxes the body) while turning down the sympathetic nervous system (the one that prepares the body for physical activity and quick responses). This reduces the release of stress hormones such as adrenaline and cortisol, and lowers the heart rate and blood pressure. Deep breathing also aims at full oxygen exchange; more oxygen enters the body and more carbon dioxide exits.

Here’s a simple breathing exercise you can use anywhere:

  • Get comfortable, either sitting or standing; let your shoulders and the muscles of your upper body relax.
  • Place the one hand on the chest and the other on the abdomen. Let your hands be your guide; to maximize oxygen intake you need to notice your abdomen -and not your chest- inflating and deflating as you breathe in and out.
  • Take a deep breath in through the nose counting to 5.
  • Exhale slowly through your mouth counting to 7. Exhaling for a longer time than inhaling is very important. The goal is to slow down your breathing to an average of 5 to 6 breath cycles per minute.
  • As you get familiar with the exercise, you may want to try pairing a thought with your exhaling. For instance, while you breathe out slowly you might repeat to yourself statements such as: “It will pass”, “I can make it”, “I have control over the situation”, “I will manage, whatever happens” and so on, depending on the situation you are in. Pairing the breathing with effective self-statements adds to the breathing effectiveness and increases the positive outcomes.
  • Repeat for a minimum of 10 times. 3 to 5 minutes of deep controlled breathing would be the optimal exercise.

Mastering the breathing exercise might take some time. If you consistently practice it, you will soon notice an increase in its effectiveness. At some stage you will also notice that practicing it will come naturally when needed, without you having to make any effort whatsoever.

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