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10 Natural Ways To Soothe Your Painful Monthly Cramps

10 Natural Ways To Soothe Your Painful Monthly Cramps

Around 40 percent of women go through crippling cramps that put a break on normal functionality during their menstrual cycle.The culprit is usually increased production of prostaglandins, a hormone-like substance that can cause intense uterine contractions. For many women, cramps and bloating are the most uncomfortable parts of a menstrual period.

Make these 10 simple lifestyle changes around that time of the month to relieve menstrual pain and have a smooth, cramp-free period.

1. Pop a calcium, vitamin D and magnesium supplement

This helps curb PMS. Calcium along with vitamin D also relaxes your muscles. During the last two weeks of the menstrual cycle, magnesium levels drop, which can contribute to water retention, cramping, headaches, and an oversensitive nervous system. Getting 320 milligrams (mg) of the mineral a day could help counter these problems.

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2. Yoga

Try this yoga pose. A couple days before the onset of your period, do the bow pose once in a day. The body’s pressure on the abdomen positively stimulates the organs of digestion and reproduction, which helps to relieve constipation and menstrual discomfort. Bow Pose also helps to relieve fatigue, stress, and anxiety. However, avoid this one if you have a hernia, high blood pressure or have had surgery.

3. Walking

Light aerobic exercise also helps to decrease the severity of cramps and increases your endorphin levels. Endorphins help the body cope with depression and physical pain.

4. Sleep it off

Sleeping will numb your pain and relax your body.

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5. Use a heating pad

Applying heat to your abdomen reduces muscular spasms and provides relief.

6. Take a hot shower

Taking a hot shower soothes away the pain. Also wash the genital area well with mild soap a day before your period starts even if you normally don’t douche.

7. Eat these foods

Eating calcium-rich foods, such as milk and yogurt, along with potassium-rich banana just before and at the onset of your cycle will reduce the severity of cramps and food cravings. Banana also contains serotonin, which reduces moodiness and overeating. Salmon or a handful of almonds that contain omega-3 fatty acids also provide much needed relief from cramps and food cravings.Opt for easily digestible greens that are a rich source of calcium and iron. Chicken also provides the iron that gets depleted during this period. Avoid salty foods as they cause bloating that can lead to cramps. Eliminate foods that are baked or fried.

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8. Herbs

During menstruation, the body releases the inflammatory kind of prostaglandins. Evening primrose oil contains an omega-6 essential fatty acid, gamma-linolenic acid (GLA). By interfering with the production of these prostaglandins, the GLA in evening primrose oil may help alleviate menstrual cramps. Low levels of GLA in some women during menstruation cause PMS and breast pains. Avoid if you are taking other medication, however. Other herbs like black cohosh, ginger, and sesame seeds have also proved helpful.

9. Avoid caffeine and stay hydrated

Avoid caffeine, alcohol, and nicotine. These stimulants will encourage your muscles to contract and cause pain. Drink warm water, coconut water or pineapple juice. Warm water is usually better for cramps, as hot liquids increase blood flow to the skin and may relax cramped muscles. Calcium-rich coconut water relieves spasms, brings relief to stomach disorders like flatulence, diarrhea and vomiting, and prevents water retention. Pineapple contains bromelain, a natural anti-inflammatory enzyme that also beats bloat.

10. Get Intimate

Sex relieves menstrual cramps. Orgasm causes a surge in the calming hormone oxytocin (a natural chemical in the body that surges before and during climax) and feel-good hormones, such as endorphins, that may ease PMS.

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Of all the above, yoga is by far the most effective, followed by consuming yogurt with banana, and staying hydrated. You will be amazed at how normal your body feels. For mild cramps a heating pad is just as effective. Try what works for you and stay comfortable.

Featured photo credit: Natural ways to soothe your monthly painful cramps via flickr.com

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Last Updated on July 10, 2020

How to Take Control of Your Life with Better Boundaries

How to Take Control of Your Life with Better Boundaries

We all have them—those hurtful, frustrating, offensive, manipulative people in our lives. No matter how hard we try to surround ourselves with positive and kind people, there will always be those who will disrespect, insult, berate, and misuse you if we allow them to.

We may, for a variety of reasons, not be able to avoid them, but we can determine how we interact with them and how we allow them to interact with us.

So, how to take control of your life and stop being pushed around?

Learning to set clear firm boundaries with the people in our lives at work and in our personal lives is the best way to protect ourselves from the negative effects of this kind of behavior.

What Boundaries Are (And What They’re Not)

Boundaries are limits

—they are not threats or ultimatums. Boundaries inform or teach. They are not a form of punishment.

Boundaries are firm lines—determined by you—which cannot be crossed by those around you. They are guidelines for how you will allow others to treat you and what kind of behaviors you will expect.

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Healthy personal boundaries help protect you from physical or emotional pain. You may also need to set firm boundaries at work to ensure you and your time are not disrespected. Don’t allow others to take advantage of your kindness and generosity.

Clear boundaries communicate to others that you demand respect and consideration—that you are willing to stand up for yourself and that you will not be a doormat for anyone. They are a “no trespassing” sign that makes it very clear when a line has been crossed and that there will be consequences for doing so.

Boundaries are not set with the intention of changing other people. They may change how people interact with you, but they are more about enforcing your needs than attempting to change the general behavior and attitude of others.

How to Establish Boundaries and Take Control of Your Life

Here are some ways that you can establish boundaries and take control of your life.

1. Self-Awareness Comes First

Before you can establish boundaries with others, you first need to understand what your needs are.

You are entitled to respect. You have the right to protect yourself from inappropriate or offensive behavior. Setting boundaries is a way of honoring your needs.

To set appropriate boundaries, you need to be clear about what healthy behaviors look like—what healthy relationships look like.

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You first have to become more aware of your feelings and honest with yourself about your expectations and what you feel is appropriate behavior:

  • Where do you need to establish better boundaries?
  • When do you feel disrespected?
  • When do you feel violated, frustrated, or angered by the behavior of others?
  • In what situations do you feel you are being mistreated or taken advantage of?
  • When do you want to be alone?
  • How much space do you need?

You need to honor your own needs and boundaries before you can expect others to honor them. This allows you to take control of your life.

2. Clear Communication Is Essential

Inform others clearly and directly what your expectations are. It is essential to have clear communication if you want others to respect your boundaries. Explain in an honest and respectful tone what you find offensive or unacceptable.

Many people simply aren’t aware that they are behaving inappropriately. They may never have been taught proper manners or consideration for others.

3. Be Specific but Don’t Blame

Taking a blaming or punishing attitude automatically puts people on the defensive. People will not listen when they feel attacked. It’s part of human nature.

That said, you do not need to overexplain or defend yourself. Boundaries are not open to compromise.

Sample language:

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  • “You may not…yell or raise your voice to me…”
  • “I need…to be treated with respect…”
  • “It’s not okay when…you take things from my desk without asking…”
  • “I won’t…do your work…cover for you anymore…”
  • “It’s not acceptable when…you ridicule or insult me…”
  • “I am uncomfortable when…you use offensive language”
  • “I will no longer be able to…lend you money…”

Being able to communicate these without sounding accusatory is essential if you want others to respect your boundaries so you can take control of your life.

4. Consequences Are Often Necessary

Determine what the appropriate consequences will be when boundaries are crossed. If it’s appropriate, be clear about those consequences upfront when communicating those boundaries to others.

Follow through. People won’t respect your boundaries if you don’t enforce them.

Standing our ground and forcing consequences doesn’t come easily to us. We want to be nice. We want people to like us, but we shouldn’t have to trade our self-respect to gain friends or to achieve success.

We may be tempted to let minor disrespect slide to avoid conflict, but as the familiar saying goes, “if you give people an inch, they’ll take a mile.”

It’s much easier to address offensive or inappropriate behavior now than to wait until that behavior has gotten completely out of hand.

It’s also important to remember that positive reinforcement is even more powerful than negative consequences. When people do alter the way they treat you, acknowledge it. Let people know that you notice and appreciate their efforts.

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Final Thoughts

Respect is always a valid reason for setting a boundary. Don’t defend yourself or your needs. Boundaries are often necessary to protect your time, your space, and your feelings. And these are essential if you want to take control of your life.

Start with the easiest boundaries first. Setting boundaries is a skill that needs to be practiced. Enlist support from others if necessary. Inform people immediately when they have crossed the line.

Don’t wait. Communicate politely and directly. Be clear about the consequences and follow them through.

The better you become at setting your own boundaries, the better you become at recognizing and respecting the boundaries of others.

Remember that establishing boundaries is your right. You are entitled to respect. You can’t control how other people behave, but you do have control over the way you allow people to treat you.

Learning to set boundaries is not always easy, but with time, it will become more comfortable. You may eventually find that boundaries become automatic and you no longer need to consciously set them.

They will simply become a natural extension of your self-respect.

Featured photo credit: Thomas Kelley via unsplash.com

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