12 Effects of Chronic Stress on Your Brain

Aging Well, Health and Medical, Stress Management No Comments »

 

Article adapted:
Thank you to Deane Alban at Be Brain Fit for this information.
See link at bottom for full article, filling in more information under 12 Ways.

 

 

Stress is an unavoidable part of modern life, but organizing your life around well-being and less stress is truly a formula for freedom you want to strive for and nurture daily.

TWO KINDS OF STRESS

There are two main kinds of stress – acute stress and chronic stress – and not all stress is bad for you.

Acute stress is the reaction to an immediate threat, commonly known as the “fight or flight” response.

Once the threat has passed, your levels of stress hormones return to normal with no long-lasting effects.

Some degree of acute stress is even considered desirable as it primes your brain for peak performance.

CHRONIC STRESS KILLS

But chronic stress – the kind most of us face day in, day out – is a killer.

97% of doctors’ visits are for stress-related health complaints.

Chronic stress makes you more vulnerable to everything from cancer to the common cold.
– weight gain
– mood swings
– poor sleep
– short attention span
– and memory issues
are common signs of stress due to elevated cortisol.

But most of these effects of stress on your brain are “behind the scenes.” You don’t notice they’re happening but you will notice the side effects … eventually.

12 Ways Chronic Stress Impacts Your Brain Health and Mental Well-Being

1. Stress creates free radicals that kill brain cells.

2. Chronic stress makes you forgetful and emotional.

3. Stress creates a vicious cycle of fear and anxiety.

4. Stress halts the production of new brain cells.

5. Stress depletes critical brain chemicals causing depression.

6. Stress puts you at greater risk for mental illnesses of all kinds.

7. Stress makes you stupid. Stress can cause your brain to seize up at the worst possible times – exams, job interviews, and public speaking come to mind.

8. Chronic stress shrinks your brain.

9. Stress lets toxins into your brain.

10. Chronic stress increases your risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s.

11. Stress causes brain cells to commit suicide.

12. Chronic stress contributes to brain inflammation and depression.

It’s generally believed that depression is caused by serotonin deficiency, but there’s a growing body of evidence that brain inflammation is the root cause of depression instead. It’s also associated with anxiety, memory loss, and inability to concentrate, as well as some serious disorders including schizophrenia, Parkinson’s, and Alzheimer’s.

On Top of All This …
Chronic stress destroys your happiness and peace of mind. It wears you down mentally and emotionally, and saps the joy from life.

Some side effects of stress that impact your mental well-being include:
– excessive worry and fear
– anger and frustration
– impatience with self and others
– mood swings, crying spells or suicidal thoughts
– insomnia, nightmares, disturbing dreams
– trouble concentrating and learning new information
– racing thoughts, nervousness
– forgetfulness, mental confusion
– difficulty in making decisions
– feeling overwhelmed
– irritability and overreaction to petty annoyances
– excessive defensiveness or suspicion
– increased smoking, alcohol, drug use, gambling or impulse buying

It’s no fun experiencing these stress symptoms. It’s no picnic for those around you either.

WHAT TO DO?

7 Simple Steps to Help a Chronically Stressed Brain
1.  Stop free radical damage by eating a diet high in antioxidant-rich foods like fruit, vegetables, dark chocolate, and green tea.
2.  Increase levels of brain-boosting BDNF by getting daily physical exercise. It doesn’t have to be strenuous. Walking is excellent. So are exercises with strong mind-body orientations like yoga, tai chi, and qi gong.
3.  Start a daily meditation practice. Meditation not only reduces stress, it’s a proven way to keep your brain young by keeping telomeres long. Meditation is also the best tool for learning how to master your thoughts. Stress does not come from events in your life as much as it comes from your thoughts – your automatic negative reactions and cognitive distortions – about these events.
4.  Try one of the many mind-body relaxation techniques such as self-hypnosis, biofeedback, or autogenic training.
5.  Look into taking an adaptogenic herbal remedy. Adaptogens increase your resilience to stress while supporting overall health. They promote balance between feeling energetic and feeling calm. Examples of adaptogens include ginseng, holy basil, Arctic root, and bacopa.
6.  Have a healthy support group. Talk to friends who are supportive often to release looping stress thoughts and emotions.
7.  Choose to let go of and get out of thinking, situations, relationships and experiences that cause you stress. You have control over these. Your brain health and well-being depend on you to take charge.

Chronic stress may seem to be an unavoidable part of life, but these proactive steps will definitely reduce its wear and tear on your brain.

**Read the full article and more information at Be Brain Fit.

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10 Ways to Manage Stress

Goal Setting and Success, Health and Medical, Inner Clutter: Consciousness Building and Self-Care, Stress Management, Time and Money Management No Comments »

Stress is a normal part of life and usually comes from everyday occurrences. As a culture, or species, we’re not doing very well “managing” it.

Here are some ways you can deal with everyday sources of stress to keep your balance and calm, no matter what. Try a few and see how they help. Then try a few more!

1. Eliminate as many sources of stress as you can.

For example,

  • if crowds bother you, go to the supermarket when you know the lines won’t be too long.
  • Rent movies rather than going to crowded movie theaters.
  • Clear up the clutter in your life by moving out the things that get in your way.
  • Limit your time with people who are stressful and push your buttons.

2. Time Management.

If you are always running late, sit down with a pencil and paper and see how you are actually allotting your time. Say it takes you 40 minutes to get to work. Are you leaving your house on time? You may be able to solve your problem (and de-stress your life a bit) just by being realistic.

If you can’t find the time for all the activities that are important to you, maybe you are trying to do too much. Make a list of what you do during the day and how much each activity takes. Then cut back.

3. If you can’t remove the stress, remove yourself.

When in a crowd, gathering, party or work day, slip away once in a while for some private time. Excuse yourself from conversations when they are going nowhere or escalating for more stress and possible negative outcomes. Quiet moments and a time out may give you a fresh perspective on your problems. Avoid stressful people.

4. Avoid predictably stressful situations.

Don’t go in the first place. If a certain sport or game (whether it’s tennis or bridge), or event makes you tense, decline the invitation. After all, the point of these activities is to have a good time. If you know you won’t, there’s no reason to go.

This means you need to get to know yourself better and better. Plus, start finding new groups, friends, activities that are fun so that you can go and be involved.

5. Don’t compete.

Competing with others, whether in accomplishments, appearance, or possessions, is an avoidable source of stress. It’s just the ego trying to survive. Have a chat with your ego – nothing is that important. Reality TV takes care of more of that than any of us ever need to be around! Let them deal with it. Heck, they’re even getting paid a ton of money to do it? Plus…stop watching them too.

6. Slow down.

Labor saving devices, such as cell phones or computer hookups, often encourage us to cram too many activities into each day.

Before you buy new equipment, be sure that it will really improve your life. Be aware that taking care of equipment – maintenance – and getting it repaired can be stressful.

7. Try doing only one thing at a time.

Multi-tasking really isn’t good for us. So, for example, when you’re riding your exercise bike, you don’t have to listen to the radio, watch television, read a book or learn from an audio program.  Sometimes it’s okay to do nothing.

8. Pay attention to your health – body, mind and spirit.

If you suffer from insomnia, headaches, recurring colds, or stomach upsets, consider whether stress is part of the problem. Being chronically angry, frustrated, or apprehensive can deplete your physical resources.

Don’t ignore your body and health. Pay attention to signs and symptoms and get serious about your life. There is no magic pill or surgery that can fix problems forever.

9. Eat nutritious foods.

Nix fast foods, sugar, fried and processed foods. Change your lifestyle around food and watch stress, weight and craziness dissolve! Eat raw and healthy foods to rebuild your body and brain. Find more information on this at my health blog. (Though my health blog is thyroid focused, it is clean food focused – so great for everyone.)

10. Seek professional help

Early signs of excess stress are loss of a sense of well-being and reluctance to get up in the morning to face another day.  If you feel stress (or anything else) is getting the better of you, seek professional help, a doctor or therapist.

How To Stop Forgetting Your TO DO List At Home

- ORGANIZING TIPS AND TOOLS, Stress Management, Time and Money Management No Comments »

 

Can you relate?

SOLUTION:
Utilize your mobile device!!

Take a photo of your list every time you think your done with it… you’ll always have it with you and maybe only be missing a few of the last items. 

You’re welcome!!

Thanks to TheYardener for creating this fun image! https://www.facebook.com/TheYardener/ 

Organize, Sort and Donate Christmas Supplies, Decor and Ornaments NOW!

- ORGANIZING TIPS AND TOOLS, Environment: Green, Sustainable, Recycle, Reuse, Holiday Organizing All Year Round, Sorting, Storage No Comments »

 

 

Deck the halls, and then… what to do with all the left over deck-ing stuff?

 

 

SORT 

While going through all of your wonderful holiday supplies, decorations, ornaments, dishes, etc., this is a great time to sort out (ruthlessly!) those items that you’re

  • “just not that into” anymore,
  • tired of looking at,
  • items that bring up feelings that don’t feel “festive” or good,like sadness, loss, grief, guilt, resentment, etc.

and move them out of your home.

Ahhhhhhhhhhh. Doesn’t that feel better? 🙂

DONATE HOLIDAY STUFF NOW!

NOW is the time to move these items out for donation to thrift.

Why now? Because AFTER the holiday is over thrift stores WILL NOT take them. They’ll throw them out.

Why? Because they don’t have the room to store this holiday stuff for another 10-11 months.

SORT OUT RUTHLESSLY, LET IT GO and FEEL SOOOO MUCH LIGHTER!

You’ll be so happy you did this when next year rolls around and it’s so much simpler.

Do this same exercise for EVERY holiday, every year.

I hope these tips are helpful for you. Have a wonderful Christmas and all other holidays you may be celebrating this month!

Kim, “Dr. DeClutter!”

P.S. Need help? In the Colorado area I’m available to for House Calls to help you out, pre- and post-holiday!! 🙂 Let me know! Contact me.

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12 Holiday Family Travel Checklist Items Not To Forget

Goal Setting and Success, Holiday Organizing All Year Round, Stress Management, Time and Money Management No Comments »

The holidays are busy for travelers. Families everywhere take trips to visit relatives that they haven’t seen in a while.

It is advisable to be prepared if you must travel of course. There’s nothing worse than getting on the road, or arriving at your final destination, and realizing that you forgot something important.

If your family is going on a trip during this holiday season, use this checklist to help you keep track of what to take.

Note: I didn’t include passport or other ID paperwork, credit/debit cards, etc. These this should of course be at the top of your take pile!! (Or, it can be #13!)

1. Medications and other supplements usually taken.

2. Toothbrushes and toothpaste. Mom and Dad find it easy to remember to pack their own dental hygiene items. Younger kids may need reminding, though. Be sure everyone packs a toothbrush and toothpaste.

3. Sewing kit. Mishaps always happen. A button pops off. A skirt hem falls out. Pack a mini sewing kit in your suitcase to have on hand, just in case you need it.

4. Proper clothing. Call ahead of time and find out what the weather will be like where you are headed. Get specific temperatures if possible so that you will know what type of clothing to bring.

5. Bring extra clothes. Don’t forget to pack extra clothes as well, for everyone. Kids will need more clothing than adults, but it won’t hurt to throw in an extra outfit or two for you as well.

6. Shoes. Be sure you have matching shoes to wear with your outfits and don’t forget to bring the right shoes for the right weather.

7. Hair accessories. If you have daughters and they wear hair accessories, be sure to pack plenty to go along with their outfits.

8. Games for the kids. Kids get bored on road trips, especially if the trips are more than an hour or two. And, if tech-toy/mobile device connectivity is unavailable… t0 save your sanity… be sure to bring along several fun games that they can play in the car. Puzzle books and printable games online are just a few ideas you can use.

9. You of course have a camera on your mobile device, but don’t forget the camera if you use that too! You’ll definitely want to record all your family Christmas memories and make sure it has batteries and any extra memory cards as necessary.

10. Tech chargers and a case to put them in to not forget them.

11. The presents!  It’s a much too common scenario, you pack up the car, start your road trip to visit relatives for a relaxing family Christmas only to realize you’ve left the presents behind.

12. Your patience. Yes, not all holiday travel adventures are a joy coming, going and staying… airports, cars, trains, busses and family. Breeeeeathe-2-3-4 during the next few weeks and enjoy all the moments, no matter what. Not all moments will be wonderful, that’s life!

Make that list, check it five times!! Make a list of everything you’ve decided to take and check things off one by one.

Happy Holidays! Kim “Dr. DeClutter”

Use This Tool to Relieve Tax Time Stress – A Tax Time Checklist from SMEAD

- ORGANIZING TIPS AND TOOLS, Office, Paper, Time and Money Management No Comments »

Paper. Receipts. Files. Documentation. STRESS. It’s tax time!

Here’s a novel idea… instead of struggling with it, just do the doing, let it go and enjoy your life!

It is what it is, and all the complaining we hear people do doesn’t change it.

I HAVE A HELPFUL CHECKLIST FOR YOU!

I follow several office supply stores, I love office supplies. And SMEAD has a great TAX TIME page and FREE TAX TIME CHECKLIST for you.

They say, “Reduce your worries this year by following this step-by-step tax time checklist as you prepare your return or meet with your CPA or tax advisor.”

Checklist: Tax Time Checklist

Download Checklist

Review the checklist.

Download the checklist.

B-R-E-A-T-H-E…

Do the doing.

Get your taxes done BEFORE the deadline!!

BAM. DONE!

You’re welcome! 

By the way, SMEAD is women owned. You can tell. Check out all their cool lists and helpful paper/office organizing ideas!! Go girls!

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4 Ways to Organize Your Insides, When You Feel Out of Control All Over

Stress Management No Comments »

When you have too much going on on the outside and find yourself feeling out of control too often, the toll it takes on your health (mental, physical and spiritual), your relationships and more can be devastating.

Most people experience times of overwhelm at least once in their lives, many have many experiences that wear them down, even making them cynical about life, setting the stage for them to shut down and shut out the good things about life, not letting the good back in.

If you’re experiencing “too much too often” in your life, and hopelessness is creeping in too often, here are some ideas to help you get yourself grounded and your balance, hope and a positive outlook back.

1. PLAN your time and energy as best you can for each day, and each moment by moment depending on the stressors you’re dealing with. Don’t just jump into each day with no plan.

2. CHECK IN with yourself often during the day:

/////a) FOOD: Do you need to eat? Don’t let low blood sugar starve your body and brain making it harder to react, act, think, decide and move forward logically.

/////b) WATER: Do you need to drink water? Don’t rely on sodas, coffee, etc. to get you through the day. Drink pure water often to keep hydrated and blood and body flowing well.

/////c) SLEEP: Are you sleeping 7-9 hours/night and sleeping well? Are you in pain? Body aches and pains can keep you from getting your needed sleep. Exercise, walk, stretch during the day even if it’s for a few minutes here and there. Sometimes you may need to take a mild pain reliever to help you. I sometimes use ibuprofen, but not often as it’s not good for the kidneys.

/////d) MEDITATE: Take time to just be. Meditation, even for 5-10 minutes at a time, is a proven method to slow down the racing mind, support health and better decision making and so much more.

/////e) PRAY: Meditation and prayer are different. For some people, active prayer is very helpful to reach up and out to their spiritual guidance and solace.

3. KEEP IN TOUCH with friends and family who are supportive of your best you. Make sure to reach out in any way that you can make the time for: phone call, text, email, etc. Keep connected to those who you love and love you back unconditionally.

4. DO SOMETHING THAT YOU DO HAVE CONTROL OVER. A task, project, routine, anything that for even seconds makes you feel like “you” again and in control. Writing this newsletter is one of those things for me! 🙂

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PRIORITY COACH: TELECOACH BY PHONE
I CAN WORK WITH YOU ONE-ON-ONE
If you’re tired of feeling stuck, down and frustrated – if you need help re-deciding what you need to stay more balanced and stress-free, make better decisions and prioritize your life now so that time doesn’t pass you by, I can work with you by phone. Find out more here.

TOOLS AND TECHNIQUES IN MY TELECLASS: ONE RABBIT: The 7-Step Method to Get Unstuck and Live the Life You Want Now

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New Program Available: ONE RABBIT: The 7-Step Method to Get Unstuck and Live the Life You Want Now

Change and Transition, Dr. DeClutter Workshops/Events, Goal Setting and Success, Inner Clutter: Consciousness Building and Self-Care, Stress Management, Time and Money Management No Comments »

.Frustrated With Your Life Not Going Where You Want?

Tired Of Waiting And Feeling Stuck?

Want To Get Moving And Complete Your Everyday TO DO’s Or Big Life Dreams?

Need A Jump Start?

 

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I’m Inviting You And Your Friends Who Are Ready To Jump Start Your TO DO LISTS, GOALS and DREAMS — To Be, Do and Have — More Of Your Best Life NOW!

Why wait longer?

My new program is ready for you to hop in and get going!

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ONE RABBIT:

The 7-Step Method to Get Unstuck and Live the Life You Want Now

 

 YOU RECEIVE:

1) 60 minute recorded teleclass

2) Learning materials and worksheets to use and reuse for every new “rabbit” decision you need to make, and need the tools to remind your to focus and do the doing for quicker completions

Learn a bit more here, or order below now.

 

Not sure?

Question: Where will you be in 6-12 months if you don’t do this?

“This program is great. It got me off square one and moving again.” ~ Doreen, Dallas, TX

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//I look forward to hearing of your unstuck achievements!

“Thank you Kim for your ONE RABBIT program. I’ve used your steps to sanity (as I call them) a million times already on the smallest issues to my big dreams. They always work!  Then adding personal coaching with you has made a world of difference. I really stick to my plan now. Thank you!.”  ~ Sandra, St. Louis, MO

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NEED PERSONAL COACHING?

You can also work with me one-on-one by phone. Find out more here.

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Find Out Where I’ve Been!

Business Success, Change and Transition No Comments »

Old Town Guesthouse staircase

If you’ve wondered where I’ve been for months… here I am! Nothing like working 24/7/365 to make you look at a calendar (and a blog) and wonder what happened to the past few days, weeks, months!

CHANGE AND TRANSITION: OWNERS AND INNKEEPERS ARE WE

My brother, Dave, and I decided a few years ago that we were going to try something we’d each been thinking about for decades. He spent years in the big hotels industry and in marketing them and more. He loves cooking and decorating (gets to use his Art History degree!) and always wanted to run a B&B. I, on the other hand, as a speaker and Social Worker, have looked at many retreat center properties over the years. So, when we looked at B&B properties, in three different states, a conference center was always a must first, then the rooms.

So, here we are! . . . the new owners and Innkeepers of the Old Town Guesthouse, Bed & Breakfast and Conference Center in Historic Old Colorado City (first city in the state in late 1800’s), Colorado Springs, Colorado! (Enough “Colorados” there?) 🙂 We walked in June 3, 2014 and haven’t stopped moving. In fact, I lost 14 lbs the first two months because all I was doing was “moving” and running up and down our lovely staircase a gzillion times a day! (Visit our Facebook page and see more photos of our lovely painted garden staircase! One photo above.)

VIEW, VISIT, STAY AND PLAY!

I’m so happy to be able to share our cool new journey with you as I continue doing my usual work too – speaking, teaching, writing, coaching and Dr. DeCluttering far and wide! Come play and stay with us this year! I will be offering programs here as well as private coaching retreats. Make sure you’re signed up to receive my newsletter (see opt in box to right) to find out about my programs.

Now, get some popcorn and enjoy!

 

Follow us on Facebook for exclusive offers and more!  https://www.facebook.com/OTGHCS

Just living my motto: Life’s short! Try stuff!

Find out more on our site too: http://www.oldtown-guesthouse.com/  We’re working on a new website, can’t wait! 🙂

Thanks for watching! Come visit soon! 🙂

 

computer with HELP on screenPS   Email me at kim@drdeclutter.com if you need organizing help (I can drive to your house!), a speaker or priority telecoaching. I’m excited to help you where you are to make the shift to where you want to be.

 

 

Organize Your New Year’s Thoughts Around What You Want, Not What You Don’t Want

Change and Transition, Goal Setting and Success, Inner Clutter: Consciousness Building and Self-Care No Comments »

bland-piece-of-paper.gif

WHAT DO YOU WANT?

This would seem an easy question to answer, right? But, how hard do you find it to answer right now? And, even if you say, “I just want to be happy,” what does that mean exactly? What does that mean specifically? Do you know?

What do you want? . . .

  • in your relationships?
  • in regards to your health?
  • in regards to your finances?
  • in your job?
  • in your education?
  • in your recreational activities?
  • in your spiritual life?

Wherever you don’t find peace and flow in your life, there is where you will “want” something different.

THE MILLION DOLLAR QUESTION

“How can you live your wants now (peace, happiness, joy) instead of just wanting your wants? (struggle, frustration, yearning)”

To be a conscious creator we need to be aware of our intentions, attentions and actions. The key here is to start to think, know, believe, intend and act upon what you WANT, not upon what you DON’T WANT. Step forward into your best life instead of backwards, or freezing in neutral. Lean in, not back.

Our minds naturally go for the negative, the don’t want. “I don’t want to gain weight!” Instead of, “I want to stay at the weight that I am.” Or, better yet, “I love being the weight I am and will do what it takes to stay here!”

Being proactive is paramount in setting your New Year’s Goals and Intentions. Your “New Year” starts any time you choose. Set your DO WANTS now!

EXERCISE: On a piece of blank paper make two columns. On one side write all of the DON’T WANTS. Go ahead and get them out of your head! After you have a good list of them, in the other column, rewrite the DON’T WANTS into DO WANTS like the example above. Keep doing this until you find that your brain has been retrained to start thinking DO WANTS first!

Start thinking, communicating and acting from DO WANT more and more often and see how you feel better, life seems more positive, people, ideas and experiences show up in better ways because you are showing up in a better way!

Share your experiences with me in the comment section. It’s great to hear how you’re doing!

NEED HELP KEEPING YOUR CHOICES, HEALTH, WEALTH AND HAPPINESS A PRIORITY?

phone - ear-mouth part only with cordI’d love to work with you if you just can’t seem to stay focused and on track with your daily decisions about any and all areas of  your life.

I’m a PRIORITY COACH and will be happy to help you choose, redecide, plan and stick with it, whatever your end goal may be.  We’ll work together by phone… FIND OUT MORE HERE…

 

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