Interior Design Techniques That Reduce Stress

The way we design our home and work environments can have a dramatic impact on our stress levels and emotions. Learn to make your surroundings more peaceful and calming so you feel at ease all day long. Here are some decorating ideas that will soothe all of your senses.

Visual Techniques 

  1. Opt for warm colors. Warm colors tend to advance toward your eye to create a more intimate feel. Colors have different degrees of warmth, depending on the shade you pick. Warm colors will help to heat up adjoining cool colors. This means you can include any of your favorite colors as long as you pick the right shades and coordinate carefully.
  2. Get organized. Clearing away clutter will instantly make any space look more serene. Plus, it won’t cost you a penny! Return everything to its proper place. Sell or donate stuff you no longer use.

  3. Layer your lighting. Take advantage of as much natural light as you can get. Trade in your harsh overhead lights and high wattage bulbs for a variety of floor and table lamps that provide a softer effect. Mirrors will also brighten things up.

  4. Work with the space you’ve got. If you need to tie together a big area, consider decorating with patterns. A striped couch will make your living room look cozier. On the other hand, when you’re trying to feel less cramped, select furniture with legs and cutouts and clear tops to maximize your air space.

Sound Effects

  1. Get a water fountain. The sound of running water has appealed to people for centuries. You can even get desktop fountains for your office or solar powered versions for your garden if you want something environmentally friendly.
  2. Put up chimes. Try hanging a few on your back porch. If you prefer bird song, put out a feeder. You’ll get serenaded every morning.
  3. Play digital files. Wherever you live or travel, you can now access pleasant sounds with your laptop or any media player. Browse online or buy a CD full of recordings of falling rain, splashing waves, or the natural music of the Florida Everglades.

Scent Appeal

  1. Pick up a diffuser. Diffuser kits with natural reeds will disperse scent for months. That way you can avoid the safety risks of leaving burning candles unattended.
  2. Rely on traditional scents. Oils like lavender, chamomile and sandalwood are old favorites because they work well for calming the mind. If you have a green thumb, try some living herbs. Lavender is easy to grow yourself and requires little maintenance. Just cut a few sprigs and take them indoors whenever you need to bring freshness to a room.
  3. Experiment with new fragrances. If you want more variety, shop around for new oils. Neroli is becoming increasingly popular. This fragrance is produced from Bitter Orange blossoms and has a subtle but complex flowery aroma.

Textural Elements

  1. Put something unusual on the walls. There’s more to wall art than framed paintings and photographs. Try an unusual object that will make you want to touch it, like a twisted rubber sculpture.
  2. Pay attention to your bedding. You spend about a third of your life sleeping, so turn your bed into a comfort zone. Stock up on feather beds, soft flannel sheets and plush comforters.
  3. Use accent pieces to add interest. Unusual and inexpensive accent pieces can add textural interest to any room. Knit your own throw blanket for a sofa or make small pillows covered in soft velvet or chenille.

Transform your home and office with design choices that will help you breathe easier and reduce your stress levels. Especially if you’re coping with a demanding schedule, create rooms that accommodate all your senses and help you feel composed. This will bring you peace not only at home, but everywhere you go.

3 Simple Actions That Lower Your Stress Level

If the hustle, bustle, and challenges of everyday life are making your stress levels inch up each day, you must find a way to break free! Holding onto the stresses of yesterday will simply add to the tension of today and tomorrow. Soon the amount of pressure you carry around inside you from this stress may become unbearable.

You work hard to provide a good life for your family, but stress can prevent you from enjoying that life. Don’t allow stress and worries to rob you of the happiness you deserve!

Follow these easy strategies to help you banish daily worries and stress:

1. Ask for help. If you’re constantly running on empty, your mind, body, and soul will suffer the repercussions of your tenacity. There’s no shame in asking for a helping hand. Sometimes, you’ll be able lean on a spouse, coworker, or friend, but other times you may have to hire help.

  • If your mounting responsibilities are barely allowing you the necessary time to eat and sleep, you may have too much on your plate. Streamline your responsibilities by creating a time-effective plan for crossing the items off of your to-do list in less time.
  • Most people are delighted to be needed and will be more than willing to help you. If housework is the culprit of your stress, divide the tasks equally amongst the family members in your household.

2. Set aside time for yourself. What do you enjoy doing? Knitting, relaxing in a bubble bath, drawing, lounging in bed watching reruns of the Golden Girls? Indulge yourself in your favorite lazy activity a few times each week.

  • Carve out a few hours each weekend to indulge in your favorite lazy activity. Choose at least one weeknight to relax after work. Sitting in a candlelit bubble bath while listening to your favorite CD and reading a magazine is an effective treatment for washing the day’s stresses away.
  • Refrain from feeling selfish for taking time for yourself. You may be a busy professional, a spouse, a parent and have a home to maintain all at the same time; however, taking two hours now to de-stress will save you from going into overdrive and possibly stressing out your loved ones later.

3. Socialize! Making time for socializing with friends and family is a vital aspect of managing your stress levels. Friends and family make you laugh and provides you with a shoulder to lean on. This, in itself, will deplete your stress levels exponentially.

  • If possible, designate one day per week (like Sundays) to spend time with extended family and friends. You could host a neighborhood barbeque in your backyard, host a Sport Sunday gathering, or simply have coffee with your closest pals.
  • Living far away from friends and family can truly dampen your ability to socialize. You can meet friends at church, neighborhood gatherings, at the park with your kids, or on the community meeting site, MeetUp.com to find a group of likeminded folks.
  • When hosting events in your home, avoid fretting about the details. This will counteract your efforts to de-stress! Have a simple plan, such as using paper plates, napkins and plastic utensils for easy cleanup. Perhaps you can order pizza rather than cooking.

Stress seems like a normal part of life, but it doesn’t have to be that way if you’re willing to put your sanity first. Most of the time there’s a simple fix to the challenges that are causing you stress. Simply readjust the way you perceive the issues and how you address them. Both beauty and stress are in the eye of the beholder!

Stress: What it is, and How to recognize it

Just about everyone has felt it at some point. The quickening of your breath, the aches in your shoulders, even the beating of your heart gets faster. We hear about stress all the time, but do you really know what it is, and how it can manifest in your life? Here are a few surefire ways to recognize it, and the effect that it is having on you and your body.

Generally speaking, stress is something in a situation, action or thought that can make you feel frustrated, angry or anxious. Specifically what may cause stress to your neighbor or brother probably won’t be as stressful for you and vice versa. Everyone has different stress triggers.

Of course, this definition can be a bit useless because it is so broad. In most cases, a better way to handle stress is to recognize what symptoms it has, or how it manifests in your daily life. One of the most debilitating symptoms is that of anxiety. Anxiety is a feeling of apprehension and fear, especially when the source of such feelings cannot be easily ascertained. This not knowing often adds to the feeling, making it worse than before.

Other symptoms associated with stress often depend on the situation, and the person suffering from undue stress. For example, one person may feel tension in their shoulders, while another will feel nauseous. If faced with a stressful situation, your neighbor might break out in a sweat, while your mouth feels dry as a desert. Often a prolonged exposure to stress will lead to higher blood pressure and other health problems as well. The physical symptoms vary widely, and it can be hard to recognize them for what they are. In most cases however, if the stress is removed, the symptoms will dissipate soon after.

In addition to the mental symptoms that can signify a rise in stress levels, there are some mental ones that should be considered. First, people under high levels of stress find it difficult to concentrate. Thoughts might become jumbled, or incomplete. Add to that the frustration and anger normally felt under times of stress, it can be easily seen why undue stress has become such a problem in today’s society.

It should be noted, however, that not all stress is bad. In truth, stress, in small quantities can be beneficial. A small amount of stress allows us to test our potential limits, to grow and change to meet new challenges. One way to think of stress is like a weight on an exercise machine, offering resistance to our muscles. Too much stress (or weight) and the muscles or ourselves are damaged. But if there is no resistance, over time we lose our strength, both physically and mentally.

If you feel that you might be experiencing undue stress, take a quick inventory of your body and mind. Are there any aches or pains that can’t be explained away through previous injuries? Are you snapping to judgment and being more irritable than normal? Do you often feel sick to the stomach in a given situation? If you have answered yes to any of these, there is a good chance that the situation that you are in could be causing you stress. By learning to recognize the symptoms of stress for what they are, you can learn how to adjust your life to alleviate their impact.

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.

Want to Live to See a Century? Twelve Signs that Say You Will

Nearly everyone at one time or another will wish for a long and happy life. If you think you might live to be a hundred, you may just be right. Here are a few reasons why the way you live can help you live to one hundred.

Reason # 1: Exercise is a Major Part of Your Life

According to scientist in California, middle aged people who ran for at least 40 minutes a day – or exercise for at least five hours a week lived longer and were more mentally active as they aged. The study focused on both runners and non-runners for approximately 21 years, and found that the runners did not just suffer from fewer cases of heart disease, but also cancer, neurological diseases, and infections.

Reason # 2: You Have a Friendly and Outgoing Nature

Everyone loves the life of the party. Did you know, however that if spend your time being friendly and smiling, you are about 50% less likely to develop dementia? According to a study of more than 500 men and women over 78 years old conducted by the Karolinska Institute in Sweden. It was found that the participants also maintained a relatively low stress levels, and lower levels of cortisol can enhance the brain’s ability to communicate effectively. Thankfully, the reduction of cortisol, or the stress hormone is relatively easy. Take some time to meditate, sip a cup of black tea, or even take a short nap.

Reason # 3: A High Fiber Diet

If you want to decrease you chance of developing heart disease, consider eating more fiber. According to a study conducted in Netherlands, an increase in dietary fiber was shown to reduce the total cholesterol, as well as LDL, otherwise known as “bad” cholesterol, improve insulin sensitivity, and even help with weight loss. And adding more fiber in your diet is fairly easy. For example did you know that a cup of raspberries has nearly 8 grams of fiber? It can be easy and tasty to increase your fiber intake to about 20 grams per day.

Reason # 4: You are Technically Savvy

It seems that every time you turn around, there is a new technological trend. If you quickly get the gist of these devices and programs, it can be another sign that you’re likely to live for a century or more. Using programs such as Twitter or Skype has been shown to help keep your brain cells young and healthy, which in turn can help make your life longer. By sending a few emails, searching for information on the internet, and even dating online, a person can keep the quality and quantity of their life in high order.

Reason # 5: You’re a Kid at Heart

According to a survey conducted of more than 500 men and women aged 70 years or older, simply feeling young can lead to a healthier and longer life. Feeling, and acting young at heart can improve your outlook in life, motivate you to overcome challenges, and even boost the effectiveness of your immune system.

Reason # 6: You Started Menopause after 52

For the women in the world, experiencing the “change of life” at a later time can often mean an increase in their lifespan. According to Jane Minkin, M.D. of Yale University School of Medicine, the risk of heart disease is also much lower.

Reason # 7: You were Blessed with Children Later in Life

If you got pregnant naturally later in life, a study from the University of Utah indicates that you are less likely to die during any year after the age of fifty than your friends who had children in their mid-twenties. Having the ability to naturally get pregnant later in life may indicate that you have the genetic markers that can contribute to a long and healthy life.

Reason # 8: You Get the Most Out of Every Calorie

According to researchers in St. Louis, people that limited their daily calorie intake to 1,400 to 2,000 calories per day had hearts that functioned like those who were fifteen years younger. And it wasn’t about simply eating less. It was more about getting the most from what you eat. By increasing the nutritional value of each calorie, the body gets more of what it is needing, and craving. Foods such as vegetables, whole grains, lean meats and fat-free milk all can contribute to an improvement in your health.

Reason # 9: You Don’t Snore

Believe it or not, your wife’s or husband’s insistence that you stop snoring can help you live longer. Snoring is a major sign of obstructive sleep apnea, a common disorder that causes you to stop breathing because the tissue of your throat collapses and blocks your airway. This may happen multiple times a night for some people. It’s like suffocating for a brief moment several times a night. An 18 year study found that people who did not suffer from sleep apnea were three times more likely to live longer.

Reason # 10: A Slower Pulse Means a Longer Life

For most healthy people, a resting pulse rate of sixty beats per minute is common. People who ultimately live to one hundred often experience that resting rate more often than those who do not. A slower pulse rate means that your heart doesn’t have to work as hard, and can therefore last more years than normal.

Reason # 11: You have a relatively flat belly after Menopause

Generally speaking, if you are a woman with a little bit more around the middle than you would like, you are also more likely to die sooner. At midlife, you have to put more effort into keeping your waist trim because hormones cause more extra weight to settle in the middle. Thankfully with consistent effort, a smaller flatter tummy is possible. Just add one or two 20-minute strength training routines into your regular exercise routine, increase your intake of anti-oxidants, and get a quarter of your daily calories from healthy fats.

Reason # 12: You have the Right Amounts of Vitamin D

If you want protection from disease, consider having your blood tested for its vitamin D content. In general, we need at least 30 nanograms of Vitamin D per millimeter of blood. Most Americans have much less. Vitamin D not only helps bones fend off osteoporosis, but has also been shown to reduce the risk of cancer, heart disease, and infection. A simple blood test can indicate if your levels of vitamin D in your blood is at the optimal level. But be warned; monitoring may be necessary since higher levels of vitamin D (above 100 nanograms) may be toxic.

These are just a few of the indications that you may live a long and healthy life. Plus, if you’re interested in increasing your chances, a conversation with your doctor, and better, more nutritional choices may just be the ticket.