10 Tips to Reduce Stress for Stress Awareness Month

stress

April is National Stress Awareness Month. I must say, after a fairly stressful March, we all could use a little stress awareness and relaxation.

Our fast-paced modern lifestyle can be very stressful without even considering the daily onslaught of weather-related disasters, mass-shootings, terrorist attacks, and the banter and bickering about the current US Presidential campaign.

These are definitely difficult times to deal with.

Our schedules are often filled with activities, projects, and to-do lists that leave us little time to catch our breath, relax, renew, and rejuvenate. As a society, we teach our children to do the same “busy-ness” from the moment they can sit up. Have you ever noticed how many infant and toddler classes there are now? And teenagers have schedules that would rival Fortune 500 CEOs.

So what’s the problem with stress?

Stress is the result of the interaction between environmental factors and life events plus the mental, emotional, and physical burden that they put upon you as an individual.

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Never Eat Directly From a Bag of Chips and 6 More Ways to Overcome Mindless Eating

How many times have you sat down in front of the TV with a bag of chips for a quick snack only to mindfulness eating quoterealize moments later that you have practically consumed the entire bag?

We’ve all had this happen at some point in our lives. This is just one common example of mindless eating and how it can derail your efforts to get or stay healthy.

The good news is that this problem has several solutions, from not eating directly from the bag to not buying the potato chips in the first place. The one thing that each of these solutions has in common is that they stem from a place of mindfulness.

Mindfulness is the foundation of healthful eating.

What does it mean to be mindful?

Being mindful means being attentive, careful, conscious or aware of something. According Merriam Webster, mindfulness means the practice of maintaining a non-judgmental state of heightened awareness of one’s thoughts emotions or experiences on a moment-to-moment basis. It is a state of awareness.

So why does mindfulness matter when it comes to eating real food? Because when we’re not mindful this happens:

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Wellness Begins with Your Mindset

Wellness begins in your mind. In fact, wellness begins with your mindset. Your mindset is the ideas and attitudes with which you view and feel good conceptapproach the world. In order to truly be healthy, you must begin with a healthy mindset.

Here at BrightFire Living, the focus is on living well despite the challenges we face living in our modern world. Day in and day out, we are constantly bombarded with all sorts of unhealthy situations that have practically become the fabric of our society; whether it be stressful jobs, lack of physical activity, the Standard American Diet, toxic chemicals, etc .

Living well in this day in age requires you to have what I call a “BrightFire Mindset.” You must be bold and fiery. In other words, you have to be willing to do something different than the masses. It takes courage and passion to go against the grain, take responsibility for your health, and reclaim your wellness.

Here are 10 BrightFire mindset principles for igniting your wellness:

1) You are in control of your health and wellness.

Generally speaking, most people have given up control of their health and wellness. Our society tends to rely on pills to make problems better when they occur rather than look for and address the underlying cause. Most people also take a passive role in their wellness only thinking about their health when something goes wrong. Many folks feel helpless, like their fate is beyond their control.

In contrast, the BrightFire approach is a proactive approach. Even if you are struggling with a chronic illness, your fate is not predetermined by your genetics. Chronic illnesses result from a misalignment between our genes, our environment, and our lifestyle. While you may not be able to cure your chronic illness or get new genes, you can alter your environment and your lifestyle so that you can better manage your condition, and in some cases, even turn off those genes that are expressing themselves in a negative way.

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5 Tips for Communicating with Family and Friends Who Just Don’t Understand

One of the most common statements I hear from people with chronic illnesses regarding their friends and family members is, “They just don’tDictionary Series - Marketing: communication understand.” This is particularly true for people with autoimmune disorders (such as, rheumatoid arthritis, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, Lupus, Celiac, etc) and other modern invisible illnesses (like food allergies and ADHD). I am amazed at how many times I have heard someone cluelessly minimize the impact of one of these conditions.

If you are dealing with a chronic condition, I am sure that you have uttered the words, “They just don’t get it” at some point in your life. I know I have on several occasions.

This lack of understanding can be very frustrating for you because whenever anyone speaks to another person they want to feel like they have been heard and understood.

Unfortunately, it is particularly hard for people to wrap their minds around chronic conditions unless they experience them first-hand. Unlike visible disabilities, such as breaking your leg,  people around you have little or no reference point in regards to what might be going on inside of your body. This lack of awareness often leads to miscommunication and misunderstandings.

Communication breakdowns can lead to feelings of anger, anxiety, resentment, animosity, hopelessness, isolation, despair, and depression. All of these emotions negatively impact your relationships and overall quality of life. The stress brought on by conflict can also weaken your ability to manage your symptoms effectively.

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Blessing Your Food Is Good for Your Health and Well-Being

If you are like most Americans, you probably sit down at the dinner table and quickly scarf down your food. And this is assuming that you actually sit down at the dinner table to eat dinner.  Many people are eating on the couch, at their desks, or wherever, while multitasking.

When I worked in hospitals, inhaling your food was actually a necessary job skill. If you didn’t eat fast, it was quite possibOur Meal Prayerle you wouldn’t eat at all.  Reversing this tendency to eat my food in about 30 seconds flat has been quite the challenge. I still have to work on it some days.

One thing I have found that really has helped is saying a blessing before meals. I wanted to teach my daughters gratitude and instill a sense of connection with God, so I created a little prayer that they could model until they felt comfortable coming up with their own words. You can read it on the right.

It’s a very simple prayer but it has worked wonders. When we say this prayer each night before dinner it gives us a sense of peace and calm. When you have life-threatening food allergies and autoimmune disorders, every meal that you eat can be a source of stress and anxiety, so this really is a special gift.

We also feel a sense of gratitude and connection with God when we say this prayer. Research has shown that people who measured high in terms of spirituality also measure high in their ability to cope with chronic illness [1].

Saying a prayer before your meal or just expressing your gratitude for your food allows you to slow down and actually leads you to experience the full benefits of your meal in more ways than one.

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Are You Maximizing Your “Superhuman” ADHD Strengths?

Most often we focus on the negative aspects of ADHD characteristics.  I am not going to lie, ADHD traits can cause many problems sometimes,PowerPosePost729 but they can also be great strengths. In fact, I’d say they are nearly superhuman strengths.

 

According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, “superhuman” can be defined as, “exceeding normal human power, size, or capability.”

“Faster than a speeding bullet, more powerful than a locomotive, and able to leap a tall building in a single bound”–only someone with ADHD has that kind of energy.

Have you ever stopped to consider just how closely ADHD characteristics resemble Superman’s traits? No. I didn’t think so.  Allow me to illuminate them for you.

Here are a few of Superman’s traits that many people with ADHD also possess:

1). Superhuman Strength and Stamina

Hyperactivity anyone?  High energy actually is a positive trait. A person with ADHD can get so much done if they can focus on the task at hand (see hyperfocus) and use their powers for good.  I know many peeps with ADHD who can work circles around neuro-typical folks.

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