5 Ideas for Developing a Creative Outlet

Do you ever feel stressed, overwhelmed, or boxed in? Developing your creativity is a great way to break up the monotony of your daily routines, release frustration, or find more peace in your life.

In your search for your creative spark, you may discover talents you didn’t realize you possessed, new activities that bring fun and excitement into your life, and new ways to relax and rejuvenate.
Try these ideas for developing your own creative outlet:
1. Delve into activities you know you like. What have you enjoyed doing in the past? Have you noticed that you have a knack for drawing, writing, painting, sewing, or making jewelry? Try some of the same things that have allowed you to be creative in the past.

* If you aren’t sure about a particular creative outlet, start small. Avoid buying everything you need to really explore the new skill until you’re certain that you’ve found something you’d like to stick with.

2. Take a class. If you can’t easily think of a creative outlet on your own, consider taking a class, seminar, or workshop. You can try a variety of different creative arts from basket weaving to painting, from photography to belly dance.

* Check your local college campuses, arts and crafts stores and continuing education schools to find weekend workshops and evening classes that teach these activities.

3. Write or journal. Writing and journaling can be a great creative outlet, whether you’re free writing about your day or putting your feelings into words in the form of poetry or song.
* You don’t have to become a published author to use writing as a productive creative outlet. If expressing your feelings on paper feels good to you, just enjoy the process.

4. Create gifts for others. Experiment with a myriad of different creative outlets by making things for the people that you love. Bake cookies, write a poem, draw a picture, paint pottery or handcraft a piece of jewelry for someone you care about.

* Not only do these tasks allow you to use creativity to deal with feelings and emotions, but they also let you share a part of yourself with people who are important to you.

5. Experiment with food. Whether you enjoy cooking, grilling, baking or candy making, you can experiment in the kitchen as a creative outlet. When you cook with feeling, you may be surprised with the results you create. You may find that you’re more successful in your cooking and baking ventures when emotion is an ingredient.

* Share your creations with others. Regardless of whether you cook tasty meals or bake sweet treats, your gift recipients are sure to enjoy them.

These ideas are just a starting point. There are plenty of other options for you to pursue on your own. Your creative outlet can be anything that you want it to be, as long as you get joy from it. Simply find something that brings you pleasure and use it as your creative outlet. If you do this, you can find joy and peace in every day.

 

Top 4 Reasons Teenagers Smoke

These are the top reasons teenagers use cigarettes:

  • To improve concentration
  • Relieve anxiety and Depression
  • Relieve Anger
  • Suppress appetite to lose weight (and other peer pressure)
  • Take a deeper look at your child’s needs if you catch them smoking. They may need help with one of the above issues.

    Stress: Common Causes and Treatment Options

    We’ve all felt stress at many points in our lives. For many it is dismissed as simply a part of our existence, but when it becomes too much it can help to aggravate feelings of anxiety and diminish our well being. When that happens, the stress that a person is feeling needs to be dealt with effectively, either through home remedies, or possibly with the help of professional care. In either case, the first step is to recognize some of the common causes of stress. That way, if treatment becomes necessary, you can more easily chose the correct one.

    Causes of Stress

    Unfortunately the specific causes of stress can vary widely from person to person and situation to situation. For example, some medications, or recreational drugs have side effects that include anxiety. Other causes of stress include a demanding workload, underlying health problems, and even relationships. Whatever the causes, they certainly need to be addressed for any treatment option to work effectively.
    Perhaps the most effective first step in discovering the causes of your stress and anxiety is to take a personal inventory. Start by sitting down and taking a deep breath. Then ask yourself a series of questions, and be prepared to give honest and complete answers.

    • What is constantly on your mind?
    • What worries you the most right now?
    • Does something in particular make you sad or have feelings of depression?
    • How is your workload? Has it become too much?

    Ask yourself these questions, and also try to keep a diary or a journal of thoughts or actions that seem to be associated with your anxiety or increase in stress levels. While these exercises may seem pointless at the time, soon, you’ll begin to see a pattern. Soon you’ll be able to link the triggers of your increased stress with various thoughts, actions or situations. By knowing the root causes of your stress and anxiety, you’ll be able to better treat them.

    Treatment Options

    Perhaps one of the easiest ways to help alleviate stress is to talk with someone. Often have a good conversation with a friend or a loved one is all that is needed to relieve anxiety and help put your world into perspective.

    In addition, there are a number of different ways to cope with the stress you experience in your life. For starters, take a look at your diet. Eating a well-balanced diet can help to maintain your blood pressure, reduce your cholesterol, and help to alleviate feelings of indigestion, which is a common symptom of too much stress. Also, consider trying to get more rest. In today’s world, very few of us get the sleep that we need on a regular basis. The normal adult needs somewhere between seven and ten hours of sleep a night to function well. How much are you getting? Also, try to eliminate or at least limit your consumption of alcohol, nicotine, or other recreational drugs. Often these substances will cause more harm than good, especially if you are under a high stress situation.

    Finally, consider learning how to meditate or perform relaxing breathing exercises. You would be surprised how much you’ll relax once you start to meditate on a regular basis.

    When to Call the Doctor

    Of course, there might be situations where all these home methods are simply not as effective as you wish them to be. Sometimes in order to deal with the underlying causes of stress, you might need to call in professional health. There is absolutely no shame in doing so; millions of people a year ask for help with wonderful results. The stigma of asking for help in regards to your mental and physical health is lifting rapidly, and with good reason.

    Often, making the choice to talk to your doctor isn’t so much about the symptoms of stress, but rather how they are affecting your life. If your levels of stress and anxiety have become so overwhelming that you can no longer function at the same level you were before, a call to your doctor is in order. Another reason to call your health professional is when you cannot pinpoint the cause or source of your feelings, or if you have a sudden, uncontrollable feeling of panic. Together the two of you should be able to plan a method of dealing with your stress and anxiety. Be sure to discuss any medications you are already taking, including over the counter ones. There are a number of anti-anxiety medications that will often interact with other medicines – so knowing what’s in your medicine chest is extremely important.

    Once you are at your doctor’s office, you can expect a review of your medical history, a physical examination, as well as a detailed conversation with your doctor concerning your life in general, as well as the symptoms that you are experiencing. This is done not to waste time, but rather so that other medical causes for your symptoms can be ruled out. Once this is accomplished, your doctor will determine if you do need to see a mental health professional and can often offer a recommendation.

    The causes of stress and anxiety can certainly vary from person to person, and treatment options can very just as widely. Finding the most effective ways to treat your stress and anxiety can be a long process, and often a combination of different ideas will work the best.

    Stressing Out Your Heart

    Like it or not, stress will affect your physical body. We have all felt the aches in our neck and shoulders, the indigestion, even the stiffness that can come with elevated levels of stress. There is one organ, however, that is often affected much more than any other by stress. It is your heart. Most people, however, don’t realize exactly how stress can directly affect a person’s heart. Here are just a few of the ways.

    Long Term Stress Can Trigger Heart Complications

    While short term stress is temporary, by definition chronic stress is long term, and therefore can contribute to a number of problems. One of the most notable is that increased levels of stress can trigger an underlying heart condition. When a person is under stress, their heart automatically works harder and pumps more blood through the system, preparing it to either fight or flee from the situation. If the heart muscle has to do this on a regular basis, it will most certainly weaken, leading to a time in the future where it can no longer handle the demands placed on it by the body.

    What You Eat Affects Your Heart

    While you might have heard that a morning cup of coffee is bad for your blood pressure, in most cases, you can drink a normal size cup without any real problems. What does cause a problem is the amount of sugary, low fiber and high fat content foods consumed on a daily basis, often with the coffee in question. Foods that are low in fiber, highly processed, and loaded with sugar can lead to a build-up in the arteries of fat deposits, which make your heart have to work that much harder just to get the blood flowing. Often, a person’s hypertension can be managed through simple changes in their diet; so it stands to reason that trying to eliminate overly processed foods might be a place to start.

    Loss or Suffering Can Add Stress to Your Heart

    Nearly everyone has experienced a loss at some time in their lives. Whether it is the loss of a relative, a friend or colleague, the added stress of the emotional turmoil that is felt during the grieving process can place a great amount of stress on a person. This added stress can also lead to an increased heart rate on a regular basis, feelings of depression or anxiety, and poor eating and exercise habits. All these factors can contribute to an unhealthy heart. In addition, if past experience has not been good, as in someone suffering from an abusive relationship, the chronic stress on the heart can be very damaging indeed.

    What Can Be Done?

    As you can see, there are a lot of factors that can contribute to the health, or sickness of your heart; only a few of them has been listed here. Thankfully, there are ways to cope with these stressors in your life, and most of them are fairly easy to accomplish. The first is to realize that not all stress is bad. Temporary stress, something that challenges you to grow and change both mentally and physically can be a good thing. Things such as being challenged by a complicated math problem, or pushing yourself to do a few more repetitions in your exercise routine is a great way to strengthen both your mind and your heart.

    Another great way to reduce the effects of chronic stress on the heart is to find ways to alleviate it on a regular basis. These can include anything from having a weekly Tuesday lunch with friends, or participating in a worship service. Some find going for a bike ride to be therapeutic, while other people find curling up with a great book to be the most relaxing way to reduce stress. Other people will take up a form of meditation, or an exercise such as yoga or tai chi. Whichever method or methods you chose; it is a great idea to do whatever you can to reduce the affect that stress has on you.

    Of course, in order to combat stress, it is important to recognize it for what it is. Sometimes, however, that is easier said than done. If you know what to look for, the warning signs of increasing levels of stress, you can certainly make some changes to bring your stress levels under control. For example, did you know that those extra ten to twenty pounds that you are carrying around could be an indicator of your stress level? Often people will temporarily try to relieve their stress by fluctuating between not eating and all, or eating way to much in one sitting. This leads the body to not know where or when their next source of food and energy will be coming from, so it will store energy in the form of fat. If you have a few pounds that you just can’t seem to lose, consider taking an inventory of your life and seeing what level of stress you have.

    Besides altering your diet and exercise plans, another factor that can help reduce stress is the amount of sleep you get each night. Many people are affected by stress more intensely because they simple don’t have enough energy to cope with the stressor effectively. Providing your body with at least seven to ten hours a sleep per night is one of the best ways to bring your stress levels to a bearable amount.

    Your heart and your body are truly on the front lines in your battle to deal with the many stressors in your life. By understanding how stress can affect your heart and ultimately your health, you can find ways to better combat the effects. From getting regular exercise, to eating a regular and healthy diet, and spending quality time with friends and family, you can make sure that your heart, body and mind remains healthy for a very long time.

    Dealing with Toxic People: Seven Proven Strategies

    We all have them in our lives. Whether they are a family member, an old friend, or the grocery store manager, toxic people seem to be showing up everywhere in our lives. And while we might yearn to get rid of them, chances are someone toxic to you will always be a part of your life. Instead of wishing the problem would go away, try one of these methods of dealing with it. Over time you’ll find that these toxic people can be handled quite effectively.

    Keep a Professional Attitude

    One of the ways that a toxic individual can become so damaging to your self-esteem or spiritual well being is by pulling you into an emotional, opinion-based argument. They thrive on this type of confrontation, and often will leave their victim, unintended or not, gasping for emotional air. The best way to avoid this situation is to take their weapons away from them. Keep your attitude when dealing with a toxic person strictly professional, focusing on the facts of the situation, and not opinions or conjectures. If the toxic person can’t seem to make any progress with resorting to emotional weapons, suggest that the subject be approached at a later time.

    Seek Help From a 3rd Party

    Sometimes no matter how professional you try to be, a toxic person will not work with you. During these times, it is often prudent to bring in a third party to help mitigate the situation at hand. Sometimes a third party can help the toxic person see things from your point of view, or even allow for a toxic person’s ideas to be presented in a more palatable format. Whichever the case, a third party can often mean a new perspective and a fresh idea when everything else has been exhausted.

    Pay Attention to Your Body Language and Posture

    Toxic people are adept at reading your body’s cues and reading your posture. They are looking for weak areas in your defenses, places where your armor is not quite as strong. Things such as crossing your arms, pounding your fists on the table, biting your lower lip, and even glowering can be prime indications that you are frustrated or mad – perfect opportunities for a toxic person to make their move. Instead, try and keep a relaxed pose, with your arms loosely at your sides and your breathing steady and normal. If they can’t see a way to agitate you, chances are they won’t even try. Plus, keeping a relaxed pose has been shown to aid in keeping your mental state relaxed and reduce stress.

    Revenge is not worth it

    Many a movie and book have been created through the idea of revenge. However, in practical terms, revenge is really not all that it is cracked up to be, especially when dealing with toxic people. In truth, it will often make you look even worse than the toxic person that instigated the desire for revenge. Instead, use those feelings for revenge and re-focus them into becoming a better person, professional, or partner. The world itself will eventually bring its own justice to the toxic person. Why put more effort into it when you clearly don’t need to? Trust me, the higher road is the better one to take.

    Create an Exit Plan

    If you know that you are going to encounter a toxic person, take the time to plan and exit strategy. This can be as simple as “remembering an appointment” to requesting more time to research some new information. The trick is to get out of the situation as quickly and as professionally as you can before it turns bad. Remember though, to keep your interaction, no matter how brief professional and above board.

    Be Kind

    Often the only way that a toxic person can truly affect you is if you let them. By answering their vitriolic remarks with words of kindness or a smile, you’ll find that the impact of their attacks won’t be as great. It is also a great way to keep your mind focused on the task at hand, and not worrying about how you’re going to best them during the next round. While it probably won’t change their outlook, it will certainly improve yours.

    Avoid the Situation and the Person

    Every so often, however, there are people and situations that cannot be fixed or alleviated, no matter how hard you try. If you find yourself in this situation, sometimes the best course of action is to walk away. Life is entirely too precious, and too short to waste it on people who bring you down to a level you don’t want to be at. However, if avoidance isn’t a viable option for you, perhaps one of these other methods will be effective.