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9 Tips to Recover From an Emotionally Challenging Situation

9 Tips to Recover From an Emotionally Challenging Situation

Part of the human condition involves dealing with emotionally challenging moments, but some of them are much more difficult to recover from than others.

For example, although everyone’s experience will vary, it can take years to fully recover from the death of a close loved one. We all have our own coping mechanisms for situations ranging from a death to a breakup. However, here are some tips that are universally helpful.

1. Keep a Journal of Your Feelings

Your feelings aren’t going to go away because you opt not to deal with them. Instead, they will pop up in unexpected ways and may take much longer to deal with if you don’t face them head on.

One of the best ways to do this is to write in a journal on a regular basis. Make sure that your journal is completely private so that you can freely write all of your thoughts and feelings, no matter how bad they might seem. Doing this will enable you to purge your feelings, which makes it easier to move past them.

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2. Seek Out a Like-Minded Community

Talking to people who are like-minded can offer you a safe sounding board for your feelings and fears. If you are afraid to openly express your current feelings to someone you know, you can utilize an anonymous app or online services such as Paralign or Samaritans.

Both of these services are free, and they stress the importance of getting your feelings out via writing. Paralign will even connect you anonymously with other people who are dealing with similar issues so that you can receive the support you need from like-minded individuals. Samaritans offer anonymous email support for people who are dealing with suicidal feelings.

3. Create Space for Yourself

Sometimes, an emotionally challenging situation requires people to give a lot of themselves to others. During this time, they may be unable to deal with their feelings because they are too busy helping others.

If this has happened to you, it’s important to make some space for yourself so that you can begin the recovery process. Making space could mean anything from taking 15 minutes out of every day just for you all the way to going on a solo retreat in a cabin or hotel room for a couple of days.

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4. Consider Counseling

A staggering 16 million American adults suffer from at least one major depressive episode per year. This is often caused by situational depression, which is something that you may be able to successfully deal with more quickly by enlisting the help of a trainer counselor.

A professional will listen to you without passing judgment or telling you what to do. Instead, they will provide a safe space for you to vent and show you how to deal more effectively with your emotions. Counseling doesn’t have to last forever in order to work. In fact, most people attend an average of eight or fewer sessions per year.

5. Meditate Daily

Often, the easiest way to gain some perspective on our issues is to take a break from them. The entire goal of meditation is to be mindful and avoid dwelling on your problems or emotions.

If you can work yourself up to truly meditating for 5 to 15 minutes per day, you will benefit by taking a break from whatever is challenging you emotionally.

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6. Put Down the Snack Food

It is normal to be attracted to comfort food and snacks when you’re feeling upset or depressed. Studies have found that comfort food offers a strong positive association for most people, so it’s okay to indulge for a day or two.

After that, though, you’ll only do yourself more harm if you persist in eating junk food. Adding more vegetables and fruit into your diet will actually make your body feel better, which in turn can have a positive impact on your mental health.

7. Start Exercising

When your stress levels are through the roof, it can feel impossible to fit in some exercise. Unfortunately, this is exactly when you need it the most. If you can make time for even a 20 minute walk each day, you’ll lower your cortisol levels.

Most people also experience a boost in their ability to talk about their issues during physical activity. This should make it easier for you to get your feelings out, which is a critical step in your recovery. You may even want to consider taking a walk before therapy or journaling.

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8. Be Honest with Those Who Have Hurt You

Is your current situation linked to emotional pain that was caused by someone else? It may be necessary to express this pain to them in order to truly move forward. The important thing to remember is that you always have the right to say how you feel, but you don’t have the right to expect a specific response.

In other words, after you’ve said your peace, the other person might not apologize or admit to any wrongdoing. Getting your feelings out will still help you as long as you don’t place expectations on the other person. Also, remember to stick with saying how you feel instead of making personal attacks.

9. Finds Things to Be Grateful For

Science has proven that expressing gratitude can improve your mental and physical health. Therefore, even if you currently feel like the world is a dark cesspool, it’s vital to look for anything that you can feel grateful about. Make a gratitude board or journal and challenge yourself to express gratitude for at least one thing per day.

This doesn’t have to be overly complicated. It could be something as simple as “I’m grateful for pizza.” The point is to look at things in your life that are positive in order to help you move past the negative stuff.

Ultimately, only you can ensure that you do fully recover from an emotionally challenging situation. If you choose to continuously dwell on what happened instead of taking positive steps, you may continue to feel emotional pain for many years. Instead, start taking helpful action right now, including adding the 10 mood lifting superfoods to your diet.

Featured photo credit: Michelle Tribe via flic.kr

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Holly Chavez

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12 Best Brain Foods that Improve Memory

12 Best Brain Foods that Improve Memory

Nutrition plays a vital role in brain function and staying sharp into the golden years. Personally, my husband is going through medical school, which is like a daily mental marathon. Like any good wife, I am always looking for things that will boost his memory fortitude so he does his best in school.

But you don’t have to be a med student to appreciate better brainiac brilliance. If you combine certain foods with good hydration, proper sleep and exercise, you may just rival Einstein and have a great memory in no time.

I’m going to reveal the list of foods coming out of the kitchen that can improve your memory and make you smarter.

Here are 12 best brain foods that improve memory:

1. Nuts

The American Journal of Epidemiology published a study linking higher intakes of vitamin E with the prevention on cognitive decline.[1]

Nuts like walnuts and almonds (along with other great foods like avocados) are a great source of vitamin E.

Cashews and sunflower seeds also contain an amino acid that reduces stress by boosting serotonin levels.

Walnuts even resemble the brain, just in case you forget the correlation, and are a great source of omega 3 fatty acids, which also improve your mental magnitude.

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2. Blueberries

Shown in studies at Tuffs University to benefit both short-term memory and coordination, blueberries pack quite a punch in a tiny blue package.[2]

When compared to other fruits and veggies, blueberries were found to have the highest amount of antioxidants (especially flavonoids), but strawberries, raspberries, and blackberries are also full of brain benefits.

3. Tomatoes

Tomatoes are packed full of the antioxidant lycopene, which has shown to help protect against free-radical damage most notably seen in dementia patients.

4. Broccoli

While all green veggies are important and rich in antioxidants and vitamin C, broccoli is a superfood even among these healthy choices.

Since your brain uses so much fuel (it’s only 3% of your body weight but uses up to 17% of your energy), it is more vulnerable to free-radical damage and antioxidants help eliminate this threat.

Broccoli is packed full of antioxidants, is well-known as a powerful cancer fighter and is also full of vitamin K, which is known to enhance cognitive function.

5. Foods Rich in Essential Fatty Acids

Your brain is the fattest organ (not counting the skin) in the human body, and is composed of 60% fat. That means that your brain needs essential fatty acids like DHA and EPA to repair and build up synapses associated with memory.

The body does not naturally produce essential fatty acids so we must get them in our diet.

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Eggs, flax, and oily fish like salmon, sardines, mackerel and herring are great natural sources of these powerful fatty acids. Eggs also contain choline, which is a necessary building block for the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, to help you recall information and concentrate.

6. Soy

Soy, along with many other whole foods mentioned here, are full of proteins that trigger neurotransmitters associated with memory.

Soy protein isolate is a concentrated form of the protein that can be found in powder, liquid, or supplement form.

Soy is valuable for improving memory and mental flexibility, so pour soy milk over your cereal and enjoy the benefits.

7. Dark chocolate

When it comes to chocolate, the darker the better. Try to aim for at least 70% cocoa. This yummy desert is rich in flavanol antioxidants which increase blood flow to the brain and shield brain cells from aging.

Take a look at this article if you want to know more benefits of dark chocolate:

15 Surprising and Science-Backed Health Effects of Dark Chocolate

8. Foods Rich in Vitamins: B vitamins, Folic Acid, Iron

Some great foods to obtain brain-boosting B vitamins, folic acid and iron are kale, chard, spinach and other dark leafy greens.

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B6, B12 and folic acid can reduce levels of homocysteine in the blood. Homocysteine increases are found in patients with cognitive impairment like Alzheimer’s, and high risk of stroke.

Studies showed when a group of elderly patients with mild cognitive impairment were given high doses of B6, B12, and folic acid, there was significant reduction in brain shrinkage compared to a similar placebo group.[3]

Other sources of B vitamins are liver, eggs, soybeans, lentils and green beans. Iron also helps accelerate brain function by carrying oxygen. If your brain doesn’t get enough oxygen, it can slow down and people can experience difficulty concentrating, diminished intellect, and a shorter attention span.

To get more iron in your diet, eat lean meats, beans, and iron-fortified cereals. Vitamin C helps in iron absorption, so don’t forget the fruits!

9. Foods Rich in Zinc

Zinc has constantly demonstrated its importance as a powerful nutrient in memory building and thinking. This mineral regulates communications between neurons and the hippocampus.

Zinc is deposited within nerve cells, with the highest concentrations found in the hippocampus, the part of the brain responsible for higher learning function and memory.

Some great sources of zinc are pumpkin seeds, liver, nuts, and peas.

10. Gingko biloba

This herb has been utilized for centuries in eastern culture and is best known for its memory boosting brawn.

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It can increase blood flow in the brain by dilating vessels, increasing oxygen supply and removing free radicals.

However, don’t expect results overnight: this may take a few weeks to build up in your system before you see improvements.

11. Green and black tea

Studies have shown that both green and black tea prevent the breakdown of acetylcholine—a key chemical involved in memory and lacking in Alzheimer’s patients.

Both teas appear to have the same affect on Alzheimer’s disease as many drugs utilized to combat the illness, but green tea wins out as its affects last a full week versus black tea which only lasts the day.

Find out more about green tea here:

11 Health Benefits of Green Tea (+ How to Drink It for Maximum Benefits)

12. Sage and Rosemary

Both of these powerful herbs have been shown to increase memory and mental clarity, and alleviate mental fatigue in studies.

Try to enjoy these savory herbs in your favorite dishes.

When it comes to mental magnitude, eating smart can really make you smarter. Try to implement more of these readily available nutrients and see just how brainy you can be!

Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

Reference

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