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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 January 21, 2020

The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

Creating a vision for your life might seem like a frivolous, fantastical waste of time, but it’s not: creating a compelling vision of the life you want is actually one of the most effective strategies for achieving the life of your dreams. Perhaps the best way to look at the concept of a life vision is as a compass to help guide you to take the best actions and make the right choices that help propel you toward your best life.

your vision of where or who you want to be is the greatest asset you have

    Why You Need a Vision

    Experts and life success stories support the idea that with a vision in mind, you are more likely to succeed far beyond what you could otherwise achieve without a clear vision. Think of crafting your life vision as mapping a path to your personal and professional dreams. Life satisfaction and personal happiness are within reach. The harsh reality is that if you don’t develop your own vision, you’ll allow other people and circumstances to direct the course of your life.

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    How to Create Your Life Vision

    Don’t expect a clear and well-defined vision overnight—envisioning your life and determining the course you will follow requires time, and reflection. You need to cultivate vision and perspective, and you also need to apply logic and planning for the practical application of your vision. Your best vision blossoms from your dreams, hopes, and aspirations. It will resonate with your values and ideals, and will generate energy and enthusiasm to help strengthen your commitment to explore the possibilities of your life.

    What Do You Want?

    The question sounds deceptively simple, but it’s often the most difficult to answer. Allowing yourself to explore your deepest desires can be very frightening. You may also not think you have the time to consider something as fanciful as what you want out of life, but it’s important to remind yourself that a life of fulfillment does not usually happen by chance, but by design.

    It’s helpful to ask some thought-provoking questions to help you discover the possibilities of what you want out of life. Consider every aspect of your life, personal and professional, tangible and intangible. Contemplate all the important areas, family and friends, career and success, health and quality of life, spiritual connection and personal growth, and don’t forget about fun and enjoyment.

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    Some tips to guide you:

    • Remember to ask why you want certain things
    • Think about what you want, not on what you don’t want.
    • Give yourself permission to dream.
    • Be creative. Consider ideas that you never thought possible.
    • Focus on your wishes, not what others expect of you.

    Some questions to start your exploration:

    • What really matters to you in life? Not what should matter, what does matter.
    • What would you like to have more of in your life?
    • Set aside money for a moment; what do you want in your career?
    • What are your secret passions and dreams?
    • What would bring more joy and happiness into your life?
    • What do you want your relationships to be like?
    • What qualities would you like to develop?
    • What are your values? What issues do you care about?
    • What are your talents? What’s special about you?
    • What would you most like to accomplish?
    • What would legacy would you like to leave behind?

    It may be helpful to write your thoughts down in a journal or creative vision board if you’re the creative type. Add your own questions, and ask others what they want out of life. Relax and make this exercise fun. You may want to set your answers aside for a while and come back to them later to see if any have changed or if you have anything to add.

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    What Would Your Best Life Look Like?

    Describe your ideal life in detail. Allow yourself to dream and imagine, and create a vivid picture. If you can’t visualize a picture, focus on how your best life would feel. If you find it difficult to envision your life 20 or 30 years from now, start with five years—even a few years into the future will give you a place to start. What you see may surprise you. Set aside preconceived notions. This is your chance to dream and fantasize.

    A few prompts to get you started:

    • What will you have accomplished already?
    • How will you feel about yourself?
    • What kind of people are in your life? How do you feel about them?
    • What does your ideal day look like?
    • Where are you? Where do you live? Think specifics, what city, state, or country, type of community, house or an apartment, style and atmosphere.
    • What would you be doing?
    • Are you with another person, a group of people, or are you by yourself?
    • How are you dressed?
    • What’s your state of mind? Happy or sad? Contented or frustrated?
    • What does your physical body look like? How do you feel about that?
    • Does your best life make you smile and make your heart sing? If it doesn’t, dig deeper, dream bigger.

    It’s important to focus on the result, or at least a way-point in your life. Don’t think about the process for getting there yet—that’s the next stepGive yourself permission to revisit this vision every day, even if only for a few minutes. Keep your vision alive and in the front of your mind.

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    Plan Backwards

    It may sound counter-intuitive to plan backwards rather than forwards, but when you’re planning your life from the end result, it’s often more useful to consider the last step and work your way back to the first. This is actually a valuable and practical strategy for making your vision a reality.

    • What’s the last thing that would’ve had to happen to achieve your best life?
    • What’s the most important choice you would’ve had to make?
    • What would you have needed to learn along the way?
    • What important actions would you have had to take?
    • What beliefs would you have needed to change?
    • What habits or behaviors would you have had to cultivate?
    • What type of support would you have had to enlist?
    • How long will it have taken you to realize your best life?
    • What steps or milestones would you have needed to reach along the way?

    Now it’s time to think about your first step, and the next step after that. Ponder the gap between where you are now and where you want to be in the future. It may seem impossible, but it’s quite achievable if you take it step-by-step.

    It’s important to revisit this vision from time to time. Don’t be surprised if your answers to the questions, your technicolor vision, and the resulting plans change. That can actually be a very good thing; as you change in unforeseeable ways, the best life you envision will change as well. For now, it’s important to use the process, create your vision, and take the first step towards making that vision a reality.

    Featured photo credit: Matt Noble via unsplash.com

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