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.

//

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/ 

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”

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?

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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.

 

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The 5 Key Steps to Organize Your . . . Anything, Anywhere!

- ORGANIZING TIPS AND TOOLS, Change and Transition, Goal Setting and Success, Sorting, Stress Management No Comments »

closet-organized.jpg

Here’s what I know after years of helping others get organized. There are only a few basic or core organizing keys you need to use to organize anything. Ready?

1.  Have sorting containers ready into which to pitch!
2.  Choose the heap, lump, pile or stack you’re ready to declutter.
3.  Stick with this one pile until you’re done (keep piles to about an hour each so that you don’t get overwhelmed!)
4.  After finishing that pile, start on the next, or if done, move the containers out to where they’re going: donation, recycle, reroute, trash, etc.
5.  Shine and buff up your newly decluttered space and enjoy anew!

Got it?! Easy, huh!

Dive in! Enjoy!

 

NEED HELP KEEPING YOUR HEALTH AND HAPPINESS A PRIORITY? Staying organized is high on the list!

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 getting and staying organized or anything else.

I’m DR. DECLUTTER “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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Eat Healthier – Preplan and Bag It!

Goal Setting and Success, Health and Medical, Stress Management No Comments »

mirror - woman walking by one looking at self

Post holiday weight worries can take up way too much of your time and energy.

Don’t call it a New Year’s Resolution, it’s too easy to “break it” and feel bad about yourself. Who needs more of that?

Just make a commitment to yourself to start afresh with your food plan this week.

ORGANIZE AND PREPARE

Studies show that preparing your food for each day ahead of time lessens the chance for over eating and eating foods that are not good for you.

Take time to organizer and prepare your food to make a huge difference in your energy and emotions about and towards it.

BAG IT! PORTION CONTROL

Bag it! Take pint and quart zipper baggies, or plastic or glass containers (glass is always better than plastic) and portion out your food for the day. You can gain control over what you’re eating, as well as how much and the calories you eat, relaxing your mind and body to enjoy your food while taking care of yourself.

You can do this with fruit, veggies, snacks and more.

Bonus! You also waste less food and money by planning ahead. Good job!

WASH, RINSE, DRY, REUSE

Reuse your containers over and over again. Unless baggies have had raw meat in them, they can be washed and reused to save money and them from ending up in the landfill.

NEED HELP KEEPING YOUR HEALTH 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 food or anything else.

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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Thanksgiving Expectations, Be Gone! Less Stress Equals More Happy!

Holiday Organizing All Year Round, Relationships, Support System, Stress Management 1 Comment »

pie.gif

 

Loosen up this Thanksgiving. Enjoy your friends and family and the quiet that engulfs a holiday. Don’t let perfectionism and “It has to be my way (or the highway!)” cost you your happiness and good relations with those around you.

At the same time, don’t let other’s too high of expectations ruin your day either.

It’s all about flow… no matter what! Sometimes it’s about stopping and regrouping, redeciding mid-stream. That’s absolutely okay to do. Laugh more. Love more. Enjoy more.

COMMUNICATE

Discuss everyone’s needs and ideas for what they want to make the day work. Compromise and enjoy it more.

At the same time, do all that you can do, want to do and love to do to prepare, get ready and feel good about your holiday table and home, while at the same time, lighten up and know that something will be forgotten, missed, broken, spilled, smashed, crashed, dropped or eaten (by your dog). It’s okay.

broken plate

 

THE EASY WAY TO GET READY FOR NEXT YEAR! . . . AND GET AHEAD OF DRAMA, CHAOS AND FRUSTRATIONS

Next year? Too early? Never!

What this means is to take the time today and in the next few days after Thanksgiving to go back over your prepared lists and plans and see what you can alter for next year that will make it even easier, better and more stress-free for YOU and for others. The sooner you do this the better off you’ll feel year after year. And, that’s what gratitude looks like!

Happy Thanksgiving!! 

Kim

Oh! PS! If you really need an escape for some R&R (promo here!), my brother, Dave, and I bought the Old Town Guesthouse B&B and Conference Center in June. Come stay and get away with us!! I also offer private and group wellness and healing Retreats here. Contact me – kim@drdeclutter.com – and let’s discuss your personal needs, or a group you’re part of that may like to come stay, play, get away and take the time for self-care; find answers and solutions to everyday issues in our Retreat Learning Center programs.

6 Things NOT To Do When Decluttering Your House

- ORGANIZING TIPS AND TOOLS, Sorting, Stress Management No Comments »

org - clutter ann's basement USED

5 Things NOT To Do  When Decluttering Your House

1. Start Without A Plan

If you keep trying to jump into an emotionally deep well of piles and stacks from the past, you’re setting yourself up for overwhelm and a walk, or run, away experience within minutes. Been there done that already, right?

calendar page

DO THIS

Schedule uninterrupted time focused on one, doable, small area and “chunk” at a time. You can then “chip” away at it and really get it done and feel good about it when your time is up.

“I was so inspired after I heard you speak last week that I went right home and conquered several small piles in a few short 30 minute spurts of time. I feel so great! Thanks!” ~ Calli, Boulder, CO

2. Buy Lots Of Tubs And Organizing Systems First

There are hundreds, if not thousands, of different types of lidded tubs/bins and containers for your “stuff and things” out there at all different price points. But, you really don’t know what you need until you start sorting through everything.

DO THIS

Sort through an area or whole room first. Use cardboard boxes to categorize like items. When you’re done, you’ll know what you need – size, shape, amount.

KEY TO BUYING CONTAINERS

Then, when you do buy containers, especially tubs or bins with lids, buy a few extra than you think you need and keep the receipt should you need to take any back. If you buy them all at one time you are guaranteed they will stack correctly. If you buy at separate times the tubs can change design, they won’t stack right, will wobble and lids will crack over time.

3. Don’t Use Sorting Containers

If you don’t have sorting containers, like tubs or cardboard boxes designated for actions like, recycle, donate, returns, reroute, storage, etc., you’ll have to stop decluttering quickly as you have no where to put your sorted items.

org - labeled boxes USED

DO THIS

Get several containers and label them (tape on a piece of paper) with the basic topics as noted: recycle, trash, donate, reroute, give to a friend, deep storage, etc.. When a box is full, replace it and attach the sign and keep going.

“This tip really made all the difference. I could decide and pitch stuff into the designated boxes so quickly. Thanks for your Burn Your House Down teleclass so that I could join your class live!” ~ Janice, England

4. Keep Doing It Alone And Don’t Know What To Do With It So Stop And Never Get Back To It

Sometimes the sheer volume of piles, or history that triggers your emotions, is just too much for you to do it alone.

DO THIS

Ask for help. Get past any embarrassment or fear of judgement and just do it! Ask a friend or a professional organizer like me to help you decide, take action to sort faster, to let go of more than you might if alone, and to help process your emotions and stories while working away.

“I should have called you years ago, but was so afraid you’d judge me. Wow. You did not, it was all me! You were kind and compassionate and really didn’t see my clutter, you just focused on the solutions and we got the job done so quickly. Thank you. I love my home again.” ~ Pat, Colorado Springs, CO

 5. Your Keep Thinking “All Or None, It Must Be Perfect!”

How’s that workin’ for ya?! When you think something hast to be perfect, does that help you start the project any faster? Usually not. Perfectionistic, rigid thinking will only keep you from starting and keep you procrastinating waiting for the perfect time, containers, systems, etc.

DO THIS

There is no such thing as perfection. And, if you do create it, you have to maintain it! That can be exhausting. Do the doing of the above 1-4 which will make your space decluttered, organized, livable, and functional. Then, in some small area, make it “perfect!” Enjoy that little spot of Heaven. The rest of your house is to be lived in and decluttered daily to maintain it and “good enough” so that you can enjoy living in it.

 “Wow, calming down my “perfection button” really helped me to “just start and do it.” I guess I knew I was doing that to myself, but you really nailed it. I really like living in my home, not trying to make it something perfect that it doesn’t have to be and will never be, for long enough.” ~ Jana, Las Vegas, NV

6. Keep The Sorted Items For Donations Around Too Long

If you keep the bags and boxes of items you’ve sorted to go to donation or give away in the garage or in your house too long, do you start bringing items back in?

truck - driving away

DO THIS

If you can’t take the items yourself within a day or so to donation, call a donation/charity to pick up the items the same day or within 24-hours of your sorting to get boxes out of your environment to keep from sneaking items back into the house. You really will forget about them and you really don’t need them.

// 

Red ticket in black handGet Your TICKET TO SHIFT! 

If you’re stuck, frustrated or need help with organizing or other life goal areas, I’ll work with you One-on-One, PRIORITY COACHING, by Phone.

If you need help SHIFTING any area of life, I will help you re-decide, create a strategic plan of action to make the changes you desire and support you in staying accountable to your decisions.

If not now, when? Find out how I can be your Priority Coach here. 

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