How Massage Therapy Can Help Reduce Stress

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As part of the  2017 Michigan Stress Relief Week, they gave free massages and desserts to all students to help them relieve their stress, relax, and refresh. This event is an excellent initiative since massage therapy is known to help those who suffer from stress find a way to unwind and prioritize their health and wellness. Moreover, students experience much stress due to their deadlines, research, and exams. But how does massage therapy help people reduce their stress?

Nowadays, massage therapy is offered almost everywhere. Gone are the times when massages are only available through luxury spas and health clubs. Whether you are in airports, clinics, hospitals, or malls, people who seek massages can get soothing treatment quickly. A session of massage therapy usually goes on for about 50 minutes. It uses low and subtle lighting in the room to help create a comforting and relaxing environment. It also utilizes the power of music to support the soothing atmosphere. 

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Massage strokes and manipulates your skin, muscles, tendons, and ligaments to release tension and pain. A massage therapist can use a variety of techniques for a session, and it may range from light stroking to deep pressure. There are more than 80 types of massage therapies in the world. You can discuss your preferred treatment with your therapist.

Benefits of Massage Therapy

Massage therapy has a couple of benefits, including the following:

  • Allows people to respond better to medical procedures and other related treatments
  • Reduces muscle tension or soreness and helps rehabilitate muscle tone
  • Increases range of movement and flexibility
  • Increases autoimmune function
  • Helps people cope with pain, depression, stress, and anxiety-related illnesses

Some studies also found massages can be helpful for the following:

  • Anxiety
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Digestive ailments
  • Headaches
  • Sleeplessness due to stress
  • Myofascial pain syndrome
  • Sports injuries
  • Temporomandibular joint pain
  • Soft tissue tensions or injuries 

Beyond the conditions and benefits it can bring, most people enjoy massage therapy because it often makes them feel light, comforted, and connected. However, it is no way a means to replace your regular medical care. If you have specific health conditions, it’s best to consult your doctor if massage therapy can help you.

It’s not a crime to seek ways to reduce your stress and find solace in your world; we all need a little help sometimes.

Simple Stress Management For High School Students

But can you really go back to your high school days for a moment? Back then, as a student wasn’t there anything that caused you worry? I am sure there was. High school students do face stress and sometimes they are major ones which affect their physical and mental health.

From pubertal changes to peer pressure, from emotional sparks to ongoing pressure of board exams– high school days are really tough as perceived by most teenagers. Many adolescents become over stressed and feel they just can’t take the pressure anymore.

According to Rachel Fintzy Woods, M.A., LMFT, “Since we differ in what we consider stressful., it’s important to determine your personal threshold for stress.”

Stress can be managed. Talk therapy can help which can be done through BetterHelp. Specialists are ready to talk to you anytime to relieve you of your stress.

The Common High School Stressors

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The factors causing stress in high schoolers can be categorized into four broad types:

  1. Academic Stressors – Including home works, tougher academic responsibilities, grades, assignments, too much syllabus, too less time, examinations, and so on. These things really do impact a high schooler’s mind. As such, it is important to take a break every now and then. “People need time off from work (school) to recover from stress and prevent burnout,” said David W. Ballard, PsyD, MBA.
  2. Family Stressors – It is the “have to do” stress that many families put on their kids. Like the pressure of doing better than siblings or cousins and living up to parents’ expectations. Parenting styles, broken homes and parental divorce also stresses an adolescent mind hugely.
  3. Social Stressors – The impending need of complying with peers, looking, staying in shape, social networking (which has recently become a big cause of stress for high school students), all these social attributes do nothing except increase the social stress on the young minds.
  4. Stressors Related to Future – The stress of getting into a good college, passing the boards with good grades, choosing the right career, making the love successful, there is so much to achieve.

A quick guide for high schoolers on how to handle their stress.

Here are few stress management strategies for the high school students.

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  1. The 3 A’s of stress management:
  • Accept – Accepting that we can never excel in everything reduces the overwhelming stress of achievement to some extent. Know your capabilities and set your standards accordingly. Too high or too low expectations would bring nothing but disappointment.
  • Adapt Learn to adjust. Adolescence is “the” period of transition. Any new change brings stress, but the ones who can adapt themselves to the changing situations are the survivors.
  • Alter – If you are stressed try to make some positive change in the situation. Rather than sitting back and letting the stress engulf your mind, it is always wise to take the initiative and change your circumstances. Remember you are in charge of your happiness.
  1. Learn from your past mistakes – Never allow the same mistake to affect you twice.

 

  1. Have a healthy diet – Diet is very crucial to keep our mind and body going well. High schoolers are prone to binge eating, junk food, smoking, drinking, etc, which can bring long lasting health hazards. Following a smart diet can really help you accomplish health goals and maintain a good look.

 

  1. Exercise daily – It is the ultimate stress release mechanism for all age groups. Doing regular exercise keeps you fit, mentally and physically, lets you communicate with yourself and gets you the energy to deal with the everyday stressors of life.

 

  1. Have a confidante – Be it siblings, friends, cousins, teachers or even parents sometimes, having someone with whom you can share every small thing can be really helpful. It will give you support, a better understanding of the situation and help you cope with the stress more efficiently.

 

  1. Use stress busters – You can make stress balls at home, write down the causes of your stress, maintain a personal diary, listen to music, play, or use any other activity that makes you happy. You may make your own stress management plan and follow it, that can also be helpful in managing the stress.

 

No matter how much we say or how hard we try, these stressors are part of life. There is no student who has not faced any stress during his/her high school years. So, what is important is not what causes the stress, but how we can deal with them.

 

As they say,  Don’t stress, do your best, and forget the rest —- So look for the right ways and remember it is not the stress that puts you down, it is the way you carry it. Make sure to try therapy too. According to Lisa M. Vallejos, MA, LPC, NCC, “Therapy is confidential and therapists are bound by both laws and ethics to maintain client confidentiality to the best of their ability. There are exceptions that I will cover in detail.”

 

 

 

 

Why Your Psychiatrist Recommends A Vacation

People are currently living in an extremely demanding world. In the United States alone, about 86 million people were employed full-time by private companies in 2014, and these people mostly take part in keeping the country afloat.

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The living cost is continually on the rise, and the needs only seem to increase. It’s not hard to see why people obsess over their careers, but it’s important to talk about why people need to take a step back.

It’s Widely Accepted

It’s only quite recently that mental health and positive working environments became a priority for private companies. For a significant population, gone are the days where strict hours need to be completed or terrorizing employees to deliver results. It’s been proven that a good work environment is also a great business decision, and many employers acknowledge that.

There is less reason to hesitate about requesting for a vacation. It won’t be considered as a risk of an adverse career move or seen as a negative light by other people. Granted, it’s harder for traditional companies, but it’s definitely worth it.

Stress Relief

It’s pretty self-explanatory, but a vacation is one of the best ways to relieve stress and anxiety, precisely for reasons like it lifts a person’s mood when they have something to look forward to. It’s something that breaks routine, and it’s naturally exciting to deviate from a pattern. On vacation itself, worries and the weight of the stress become diverted from your mind.

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Many people might see taking a break as being left behind or an opportunity for work to pile up, but you still need to prioritize the balance.

Family Time

Scientifically, many basic human needs are better satisfied by family time more than work. The family is the source of loving relationships, comfort, safety, enjoyment, and many more. Going on vacation means some free time and a chance to nourish relationships with the family, with little regard to what kind of vacation, or for how long, or who with.

It could be a solo trip, a long break from work, or even just a few mental health days. It’ll still go a very long way.

Post-Vacation High

Studies show that people who come back from vacations exhibit better work performance, so it’s even more evident that taking a vacation is a great career move. Things like an improved sleeping pattern, becoming less irritable, and fewer chances of burnout, in the long run, are all career-related benefits of taking an enjoyable vacation.

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In summary, being in a better mood has numerous effects on one’s personal mental and physical health, but a vacation transcends explicitly to many other aspects of adult life. Read more about the benefits and take time for yourself.

Here are the things that therapists and counselors have to say about vacation:

A vacation might be one of the best things for your mental health, but remember that it’s not meant to be a one-time quick fix. Mental health must be nurtured and given importance to. Engage in other activities good for your mental health like regular exercise, reading and doing things that inspire you.

When going on a vacation, be sure that you will not deny the truth that you are having problems. Instead, remember what Janis Manalang, LPC says “

Ways To Relieve Stress: Blogging

As opposed to what most people think, blogs are not only for commercial purposes. Other than being a platform for building your business brand or as a way of making money from promoting, reviewing, and advertising different products, blogging can also be a form of treatment or therapy for troubled and stressed minds.

Whether it is an exhausted mind from the things you deem you cannot control or even an unusual blue feeling from lots of pending work, blogging can be therapeutic in a lot of ways. No, it is not maintenance-heavy.

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Blogging can provide you with the following:

  1. You Make Your Own Rules

Remember that in your blog, there are no boundaries and no limitations. You can write whatever you feel, whatever you want to say, whatever you wish to think without anyone restricting you to do so.

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As your own boss to your own space, having the freedom to write anything is one of the ways to relieve stress and relax. Blogging acts like someone you can share the burden with. You can flow all your problems from your body and mind to your blog without any consequences. Furthermore, writing your problems and issues can make you focus and think of the possible solutions in an organized manner.

  1. It Can Lead To Personality Development

Blogging is your own stage and a platform to express yourself. Most of the time, you will feel the need to elaborate things that you specifically write if it’s an issue or a problem you are facing. As a result, it will deepen your opinions, and you will grow more critical about the possible scenarios in your life.

Moreover, talking to yourself about any topic that you want or comfortable writing about is an excellent avenue to hone your communication skills. Blogging is an effective activity not just to release stress but to unleash your creativity and thought-organization skills.

Blogging can also make you active on social media, which can help in improving your mood. According to Stephanie Smith, PsyD, “Social media can be a good adjunct to treatment, but not necessarily a replacement.”

  1. You Can Find Great Support From Visitors And Commenters

A lot of people who turned to blogging as a form of escape from reality have found a lot of positivity from their audience and commenters. If you think that there are lots of negativity from every aspect of your life, you would be surprised by the positive vibes and words of encouragement from those who comment on your blog.

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Some studies have shown that the online community has significantly improved the way people look at their problems after they post it on their own blogs and allow their audience to comment on them. As opposed to the traditional diary, blogging opens the blogger or writer to the outpouring support from online groups and people that share their own experiences and give advice to troubled and stressed minds.

Similar to a counselor, blogging encourages you to open up and express your feelings freely, completely, and honestly. It is also an outlet for people to connect with each other as if in group therapy. With this, it is indeed a common misconception that blogging equates to profit and to an income-generating hobby that needs a lot of attention and demands many hours of writing.

Bonus tip from Shelby Harris, PsyD, “We encourage people to make their bedroom a sanctuary for sleep.”

Healthy Ways To Avoid Needing A Therapist Post-Separation

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Ending your relationship with your spouse of many years can only be different, but a therapist once told me that sometimes it’s necessary. After all, not every woman in the real world lives like the ones in fairy tales, who get pampered, loved, and honored by their husbands. At the same time, not all men are seen as Prince Charming-material by their wives because they either cheat on them or harbor too many vices. When there are no longer petty quarrels but full-on yelling match in the house for months on end, it is often better to accept that separation is key to a peaceful life.

Continue reading “Healthy Ways To Avoid Needing A Therapist Post-Separation”

Counselors’ Pro Tip: 7 Ways To Stay Healthy While Traveling

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Based on what counselors often say, being away from home evokes a sense of freedom to most people. “People need time off from work to recover from stress and prevent burnout,” based on the statement of  David W. Ballard, PsyD, MBA It’s as if you can eat or do anything that comes to mind without much care in the world. Many also forget their diet and exercise routines, thinking they can accomplish both once they’re back. Richard Shuster, PsyD “Staring at the ocean actually changes our brain waves’ frequency and puts us into a mild meditative state.”

As tempting as that may sound, we should try not to get lured by such distractions. You may be in a different place, but the risks to your well-being still exist. That thought may even amplify them, to be honest.

Before hopping on to the vehicle that’ll take you to your holiday destination, therefore, read these seven ways to stay healthy while traveling.

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1. Start With Stretches

Perform warm-up exercises before beginning your day so that the blood can freely move in your veins. A routine that covers your head, shoulders, arms, legs, and feet can keep your muscles from tiring out quickly.

2. Go For Healthy Food Options

Every time you’re not busy touring the place, make sure to cook your food. Although all you may want to do is relax and sample the specialty of the restaurants there, you need to do that to be able to choose the ingredients you’ll consume.  Considering you no longer have the energy to prepare a meal, then order more greens than meat. Luckily, there are franchises now that offer such varieties everywhere. They’re not as common as McDonald’s, yet you may stumble upon one in each block. Mandy Rubin, LPC says “Malnutrition could also lead to stress and concentration problems.”

3. Be Wary Of Ultraviolet Rays

Once you find various tourist hotspots, you may not mind being under the sun all day long. However, you should look into lathering your skin with cream that has a high SPF value. That will prevent you from soaking up the harmful UVAs and UVBs, which can cause many types of diseases.

Begin with a body lotion. It is very relevant, especially when your arms, legs, and other parts are exposed to sunlight. Even if your goal is to get a nice tan, a sunscreen can stop your skin from burning. As for your face, opt for moisturizers or lip balms that contain SPF too.

4. Remain Hydrated

Whether you travel for work or relaxation, chances are, you’ll always be on the move. When you have friends living in that place, they’ll want to tour you around as well. Though these are exciting adventures, it’s impossible to survive the day without proper hydration.

What you can do is fill an insulated tumbler so that you have cold water wherever you go. You don’t need to chug that – leave space for food – but your body can function better with enough fluid in it.

5. Carry Hygienic Items

The top items to stash in the bag are your toothbrush and toothpaste. This combination ascertains that you can maintain with your oral and dental health regardless of the location. There are comfort rooms in establishments where you may brush your pearly whites; that’s why cleaning them won’t be a problem. If you cannot do that, you can always bring a travel-sized mouthwash.

Furthermore, you should have a hand sanitizer and wet wipes. In this manner, you’ll get to clean the handles on the bus or train before holding on to them. You may also carry disinfecting wipes to scrub any table or chair that you want to use.

Some may lift an eyebrow when they notice you doing these, yet pay those people no mind. After all, you can’t be sure of what kind of bacteria already latched on such objects.

6. Prioritize Physical Activities

You surely can’t spend hours in the gym when there are so many areas in town for you to explore. Despite that, remember that fitness does not need to stop within this room. You are free to exercise even when you intend to do other stuff.

Walking through the city is the easiest way for you to workout. Instead of hailing a cab to go to a restaurant that’s several kilometers away, walk towards it. In case your destination is a bit farther than that, you may rent a bicycle. A lot of folks in the metro do that these days to get rid of traffic. Not only will you be able to reach different locations without hassle, but you can also exercise your lower body and cardiovascular muscles.

Traveling to a tropical area, on the other hand, most likely ensures you’re going to sweat throughout your vacation. Nevertheless, to keep your muscles working, find a beach where you can swim, snorkel, dive or row.

Likewise, being in a winter wonderland is not a valid excuse to stop thinking about your fitness. With your perfect snowmobile goggle and perhaps shoes for plantar fasciitis on, hit a ski resort during your downtime. This way, you’ll be able to ride a sled, a snowboard, or skis and sweat through it all.

7. Sleep As Much As Possible

Going from one spot to another, even though you’re only a passenger, is exhausting. Your mind and body cannot function well together in that case, no matter how much you want to sightsee.
The best thing you can do is to sleep whenever you get the opportunity. That will give your system all the rest it needs. Assuming you don’t have a tight schedule the next day, you may forget setting the alarm too.

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Final Thoughts

The list above shows you the various ways to stay healthy while traveling. In case you’ve already been doing some of them, that’s fantastic. However, you can still benefit more from remembering all the tips from 1 to 7 anywhere you’re headed.

Your “mind” can also travel virtually. Talk to a specialist through BetterHelp, and learn more on how counseling and therapy can help you.

Good luck!

Realities That Can Make You Hate Stress Less

When a conversation with friends leans towards stress, everyone has to voice out his or her two cents on the topic. A married one with young kids tends to say that she cannot wait for the day when all her brood can take on chores at home so that she can relax. Another fellow is outspoken when it comes to the fact that he does not delegate work to his subordinates unless they can perfect it to avoid redoing the task. The others may then chime in to talk about the things that cause their fatigue.

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If we base our opinion on how the folks mentioned above think of stress, we can tell that people are either annoyed or afraid of it. It makes you restless; it keeps you from having quality time alone or with family. Not to mention, stress is known as the ultimate factor that triggers many physical and mental disease out there. That’s why it undoubtedly has a bad reputation in the eyes of everyone.

Nonetheless, you should not hate stress too much when it’s only on a low level. After all, it enables you to:

1. Boost Memory

Pressure on its initial stage pushes you to use your brain more than usual. There is a problem in front of you, and so it is your system’s natural reaction to try to resolve it. Although you may not always find a solution for the issue at once, the process allows you to boost your cognitive function and slow down your memory decline.

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2. Increase Sense Of Control

Being too relaxed is not often ideal since it prevents you from getting an excellent grip on things. When you are at work, for instance, and the project you’ve only given 80% of your attention falls apart, the shock you might experience from that may transform into regret and depression. However, if you have been pressured about it from the get-go, you can stay in control of the entire process and limit the margin of error. Stephanie Adams, MA, LPC says “Just keep doing what you’re doing or find a job that makes more money.”

3. Make Sound Decisions

Stress tends to make you see as well that you only have two choices in everything. It shortens your fuse; that’s why you won’t feel as if you have all the time in the world to ponder about various ideas too much. The decision you will voice out in that tensed situation may eventually be the best because you did not have a chance to overthink.

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Stephanie Adams, MA, LPC says “Just keep doing what you’re doing or find a job that makes more money.”

4. Gain Motivation

Lastly, stress can motivate you to work hard for your goals at all costs. The conventional driving force here is your dream of getting rid of the stressor. The faster you complete the job, after all, the sooner you won’t have to deal with the source of your problems. Elizabeth S. York, M.Ed., LPC, LMFT says “Stress has both positive and negative impact on our lives.”

To Sum Things Up

Low level of stress is not something to lose your head over. Not only is it manageable at this point still, but it is more beneficial than you realize for your well-being. At the same time, do not forget to get moving always. Laurie Leinwand, MA, LPC says “Increased resiliency can improve someone’s life by enabling them to move through transitional phases or stressful situations with greater ease.”

The next time you experience short-term pressure, therefore, don’t hate it too much. Use the burst of energy it gives to strengthen your body and mind. Cheers!