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Lifestyle:  Self-improvement and Kicking Bad Habits

Changing unhealthy lifestyles can be quite a challenge. Whether you are attempting to quit smoking, drinking, or overeating, kicking bad habits is an emotional process. Get help in the form of a professional, a group, or just a buddy facing the same challenge. It will be worth the pain to turn your life around!

8 steps towards overcoming addictions and bad habits:
  • Admit that there's a problem: Be aware that you don't have full control over yourself in some way.
  • Seek feedback: Find a friend or a professional who will honestly give you input.
  • Prayer, meditation: Realize that there is a power greater than you who you can rely on for help.
  • Inventory character defects which you seek to conquer. Tell a friend your goals.
  • Seek a solution: Find the best way for you to beat the addictive, compulsive, or behavioral problem you've admitted to having.
  • Get support: Find a group such as Alcoholics Anonymous, Overeaters Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous
  • Something new: Start a fitness program, join a gym, or participate in a local sports league to add something positive to your schedule.
  • Help others: Part of a Twelve-step program involves making amends with anyone you have hurt and attempting to work with someone else to conquer their problem.
Quit Smoking Now
Overeaters Anonymous
Improve Self Confidence eBook
Build Self Esteem eBook

Dealing With Stress

Did you know that 90% of doctor visits are for stress related symptoms?
Stress bombards us every day from all directions. Maybe it’s sitting in the midst of highway gridlock when you are already late for an important appointment. Or how about the bill you forgot to pay? It could be a phone call from the school complaining about your child’s behavior. These are just the annoying little stress triggers that we handle every day. What about the larger issues? Retirement, moving, divorce or, heaven forbid, the death of a loved one or friend can come out of the blue and here comes the stress, launching you into treading murky waters one more time. The impression is that the feelings of stress come from outside sources when, in reality, it happens inside of us.

Under Pressure
When we feel as though we are under pressure, our bodies react the same way that we have trained them to do with a rise in blood pressure, tightening of muscles and accelerated breathing. These physical symptoms are generally referred to as “fight or flight” responses. This is a term left over from historical times when the choices were to flee or stand and fight. Unfortunately, today we don’t have those options. Each situation must be dealt with and that’s where the stress comes in. Some stress is unavoidable and is actually good for you as we will discuss further on. But too much stress leads to troubles that can range from upset stomach to anxiety attacks and even as serious as heart attacks.

There’s a whole arsenal of stress busting tools available. Hopefully, the more you understand your stress, the better prepared you will be at controlling your body’s response to stress and restoring a calmer state of mind.

What is Stress?

Chemically, stress is a condition that your body enters as the result of a message received from your brain telling it to prepare to run or fight. The body reacts by preparing for that eventuality. The brain tells the adrenal glands to send a rush of two hormones (adrenaline and noradrenaline) to the muscles in preparation for them to respond to a fear or a threat. It is the job of the brain to protect the body. It accomplishes this by telling the noradrenaline to redirect blood flow from lower priority areas of your body (like skin or your abdomen) to the muscles to give you a “power boost.”

At the same time, the brain is also telling the adrenaline to speed up your breathing to take in more oxygen to feed the work being done on the muscles with the noradrenaline. Unfortunately, when you can’t make a decision about how to react (fight or flight), these two hormones are caught in limbo rushing around madly waiting for you to decide what you want them to do. Since you aren’t doing that, the only choice they have is to cause vomiting, make you tremble, panic or maybe even pass out.

Reaction to perceived threats
It’s actually a very efficient process and has worked wonderfully for thousands of years. When we were running across the plains barefoot with a spear in our hand bearing down on supper, we needed this process to protect us. Indeed, the entire system is just the result of the brain doing what it is supposed to do … keep the body functioning and protect it.

The battles today are demanding employers, uncontrollable traffic, annoying neighbors, partners, children and oh yes, taxes! This is why you have stress. It is merely a response to a perceived threat and the brain will set it in motion on a subconscious level even at the slightest sensation of danger. In fact it will DEMAND this action.

Since we now live in an “enlightened” society, we are conditioned not to throw a spear at the boss, strangle our spouse or set the neighbor’s house afire. What is needed is the ability to change our programmed responses. We need to discern the difference between real threats and our own internalized perceptions of danger. Sounds pretty simple, huh? Sure it does. Until you’re sitting in that freeway gridlock, half an hour late for the most important career busting appointment of your life, knowing full well that your blankety blank boss will turn the account over to that jerk in the office and you’ll never get the raise you were counting on when your son starts college in the fall. … whew!

Too much adrenaline!
Here come the chemical twins, adrenaline and noradrenaline ready to do battle with no battle to go to. They’re rushing through your body and have got to attack something. Your muscles aren’t responding by running or fighting so they’ll just pick any old organ to attack instead. A good one is the heart. Sometimes a dose of the chemical twins is a good thing. After all, even though we are now “civilized” there are still very real threats in the world. Just take a look at the evening news or read about the latest “mugging” in the newspaper. So, here is the paradox. You need the chemical twins to protect you from real danger but you don’t need them to cause illness, unhappiness and stress. The challenge is knowing when to have them and when you don’t need them. Logically you know that you don’t need them under most normal situations like: at work, at a party or when the kids are screaming in your ear. So what can you do? Some people turn to drugs or alcohol and others take out their frustration on the people they care about the most. You can learn how to control the twins.
Let’s do that now



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