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Early Warning Signs Of Stress And What You Can Do About It

Early Warning Signs Of Stress And What You Can Do About It

By time you throw a fit due to stress, it’s too late.

You might have offended someone close to you or let your guard down during a stressful rage.

Either way, if only you knew what the early warning signs of stress were, you’d be able to do something about it.

Leo Babauta covers this topic in his latest blog post, which can help you prevent sudden bursts of anger.

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Subtle habits such as clenching your jaw or tightening your shoulders are actually signs that you need to take a breather. No one likes to be told to take it down a notch; therefore, it would be extremely beneficial if you catch your stressful ways as early as possible.

How is stress affecting your life? Do you think Babauta’s tips can help keep your emotions and stressful thoughts in check? Let us know what you think.

Being Mindful of Your Stress | Zen Habits

 

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Yesterday I had to drive somewhere, which I don’t do much anymore, and it was a fascinating experience.

I kept checking in on my body, and finding myself clenched, as if ready for an attack.

My entire torso would be tensed, my neck and shoulders were scrunched up, my face was tight. For no good reason other than I had to react to a lot of cars around me.

And so, noticing this, I was able to relax in that moment. Straighten up, let my muscles stop clenching themselves, breathe, smile. Instant calm, because I knew there was nothing actually attacking me.

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This is a skill I’ve been getting better at, though I’m far from perfect: becoming aware of when my body is tensed up. It’s a cue, something that indicates what’s going on in my mind, and a way for me to look into what I’m stressing out about and decide whether I really need to be in fight-or-flight mode.

Some of the cues I’ve learned about myself: a clenched jaw (happens a lot), face is scrunched up (eyebrows like I’m mad, mouth is frowning, cheeks tensed), neck and shoulders tensed, sometimes entire torso tensed, legs might be stiff like I’m bracing myself, hands might be clenched sometimes.

And so, during the day (when I remember, which isn’t always), I will check in on these cues. And very often I’ll see them tensed up.

This tells me something’s going on, so I check in with my mind: what are you stressing about? And often it’s something like other cars or people getting in my way, or I’m getting competitive in laser tag or go carts (my daughter’s birthday celebration yesterday), or someone is frustrating me, or someone on the Internet is being less than enlightened (I know, that’s pretty rare).

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So when I see that going on, I can see that I have an ideal, an expectation, that other people or life in general aren’t living up to. And I realize that’s a completely made-up ideal that I don’t need to hold on to, and I can just accept this moment. And when I do, nothing is so bad. (Read a short guide to dealing with stress.)

Or sometimes I just relax my body, unscrunch my face, unclench my jaw, breathe and smile, and that’s all I need to get the world in order again.

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Last Updated on November 11, 2019

How to Improve Memory and Boost Your Brainpower

How to Improve Memory and Boost Your Brainpower

Have you ever noticed that some people are able to effortlessly remember even the most mundane details and quickly comprehend new things? Well, you can too!

To unlock the full potential of your brain, you need to keep it active and acute. Wasting time on your couch watching mindless television shows or scrolling through facebook is not going to help.

Besides getting out flashcards, what can you do to help remember things better and learn new things more quickly? Check out these 10 effective ways on how to improve memory:

1. Exercise and Get Your Body Moving

Exercising doesn’t just exercise the body, it also helps to exercise your brain. Obesity and the myriad of diseases that eventually set in as a result of being overweight can cause serious harm to the brain.

Furthermore, without regular exercise, plaque starts to build up in your arteries, and your blood vessels begin to lose the ability to effectively pump blood. Plaque buildup leads to heart attacks and it also reduces the amount of oxygen and nutrients that your blood carries to your brain. When the nutrients don’t make it there, the brain’s ability to function is compromised.

To prevent this from happening, make sure you get moving every day. Even if it’s just a brisk walk, it’ll help you maintain and increase your mental acuity. Brisk walking, swimming and dancing are all excellent activities. Take a look at these 5 Ways to Find Time for Exercise.

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2. Eliminate Stressors and Seek Help If You’re Depressed

Anything that causes you major stress, like anger or anxiety, will in time begin to eat away the parts of your brain that are responsible for memory. Amongst the most brain-damaging stressors is depression, which is actually often misdiagnosed a a memory problem since one of its primary symptoms is the inability to concentrate.

If you can’t concentrate, then you might feel like you are constantly forgetting things. Depression increases the levels of cortisol in your bloodstream which elevates the cortisol levels in the brain. Doctors have found that increased cortisol diminishes certain areas of the brain, especially the hippocampus which is where short-term memories are stored.

Prolonged depression can thus destroy your brain’s ability to remember anything new. Seek professional help to combat your depression – your brain will thank you.

3. Get a Good Night’s Sleep and Take Naps

Getting a consistent 7 to 8 hours of sleep each night will increase your memory. During sleep, the brain firms up memories of recently acquired information.

Getting enough sleep will help you get through the full spectrum of nocturnal cycles that are essential to optimal brain and body functioning during the waking hours. Taking a nap throughout the day, especially after learning something new, can also help you to retain those memories as well as recharge your brain and keep it sharper longer.

4. Feed Your Brain

Fifty to sixty percent of the brain’s overall weight is pure fat, which is used to insulate its billions of nerve cells. The better insulated a cell is, the faster it can send messages and the quicker you will be thinking.

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This is precisely why parents are advised to feed their young children whole milk and to restrict dieting – their brains’ need fat to grow and work properly. Skimping on fats can be devastating even to the adult brain.

Thus, eating foods that contain a healthy mix of fats is vital for long-term memory. Some excellent food choices include fish (especially anchovies, mackerel and wild salmon) and dark leafy green vegetables. Here’re more brain food choices: 12 Foods that Can Improve Your Brain Power

Deep-fried foods obviously contain fat but their lack of nutritional value is not going to help your brain or your body, so think healthy foods and fats.

5. Eat Breakfast and Make Sure It Includes an Egg

According to Larry McCleary, M.D., author of  The Brain Trust Program, an egg is the ideal breakfast. Eggs contain B vitamins which help nerve cells to burn glucose, antioxidants that protect neurons against damage; and omega-3 fatty acids that keep nerve cells firing at optimal speed.

Other foods to add to your breakfast include fruits, veggies and lean proteins. Avoid trans fats and high fructose corn syrup. Trans fats diminish the brain cells’ ability to communicate with each other and HFCS can actually shrink the brain by damaging cells.

Having a healthy breakfast in the morning has been shown to improve performance throughout the day. If you’re too busy to have a healthy breakfast, this maybe just right for you: 33 Quick And Healthy Breakfasts For Busy Mornings

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6. Write it Down

If there’s something you want to remember, writing it down can help.

It may sound like a no-brainer, but do you really know why? Writing it down creates oxygenated blood flow to areas of your brain that a responsible for your memories and literally exercises those parts of it. Here’s How Writing Things Down Can Change Your Life.

You can start a journal, write yourself emails or even start keeping a blog – all of these activities will help to improve your capacity to remember and memorize information.

7. Listen to Music

Research shows that certain types of music are very helpful in recalling memories. Information that is learned while listening to a particular song or collection can often be recalled by thinking of the song or “playing” it mentally. Songs and music can serve as cues for pulling up particular memories.

8. Visual Concepts

In order to remember things, many people need to visualize the information they are studying.

Pay attention to photographers, charts and other graphics that might appear in your textbook; or if you’re not studying a book, try to pull up a mental image of what it is you are trying to remember. It might also help to draw your own charts or figures, or utilize colors and highlighters to group related ideas in your notes.

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Here, you can learn How to Become a Person Who Can Visualize Results.

9. Teach Someone Else

Reading material out loud has been shown to significantly improve memory of the material. Expanding further upon this idea is the fact that psychologists and educators have found that by having students teach new concepts to others, it helps to enhance understanding and recall.

Teach new concepts and information to a friend or study partner, and you’ll find you remember the information a lot better.

10. Do Crossword Puzzles, Read or Play Cards

Studies have shown that doing crossword puzzles, read or play cards on a daily basis not only keep your brain active but also help to delay memory loss, especially in those who develop dementia.

So pick up the daily newspaper and work on that crossword puzzle, read a book or enjoy a game of solitaire.

Pick one to two of these tips first and start applying them to your everyday life. Very soon you’ll find yourself having better memories and a clearer head!

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Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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