Can Positive Stress Really Be Good for Your Body?

The idea of stress that is good for you seems weird. You’re probably thinking that the words “positive” and “stress” don’t even belong in the same sentence. But it’s true: certain types of stress produce beneficial effects instead of negative ones.

What Is Positive Stress?

We’re not talking about situations that make you feel terrified or anxious. Instead, healthy stress is associated more with activities that are challenging but also produce excitement, fun and happiness.

Positive stress makes life worth living. It’s about overcoming obstacles. It’s about celebrating accomplishments. It’s about trying new experiences. Positive stress gives every day more zing.

What Are Your Healthy Stress Sources?

Everyone views stress in a different way. Some writers love deadlines and get more done with them (I’m not one.) Do any of these situations get your blood flowing in a good way?

  • Work assignments
  • Fixing your car
  • Flying
  • Having a baby
  • Preparing for vacation
  • Working out
  • Taking care of DIY projects
  • Throwing a party

Someone who loves working on automobiles will probably see taking care of minor repairs as something enjoyable. That’s positive stress.

The same thing goes for dating. Falling in love makes your heart beat in a good way. You stay awake at night, maybe a little anxious, but mostly because you’re excited and can’t wait to see the person again.


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What Are the Benefits of Positive Stress?

Unlike chronic stress, which weakens your immune system, gives you headaches and triggers inflammation, positive stress has great effects on your mind and body:

  • It motivates you: Reaching your goals can give you a sensation that’s even better than chocolate. It can give your life meaning. It also improves your self-esteem. Running a business can be stressful, but for entrepreneurs, it’s really rewarding to see their company flourish.
  • It improves your creativity: Feeling excited about a project helps you produce better results. My best work is always with topics that I feel passionate about. A little positive stress can help you come up with incredible ideas and solutions, too.
  • It feels amazing: If you’ve ever heard about sports enthusiasts talking about the “adrenaline rush,” that’s what positive stress is. Whether you’re into skydiving, rock climbing, skiing or snowmobiling, adrenaline makes your brain happy.
  • It helps your immune system: Excitement is good for your body’s defenses. Science has shown that good stress activates your immune cells and even helps your body heal faster after injuries. That’s one reason why doctors often recommend that people who are depressed take the time to exercise regularly.
  • It gives you energy: When you have a goal you’re trying to reach, your body literally feels more energized. Imagining yourself fitting into that tight red dress can give you the energy you need to swim, bike, hike or Zumba like never before.

How Can You Boost Positive Stress Levels?

Personally, I find that being a mom is my source of positive stress. I’m nervous sometimes, but also excited and happy. Hearing that “I love you Mommy” is irresistible, and according to science, it’s good for my health, too!

Get more positive stress in your life by doing things that are worth it to you, things that are exciting. Set aside more time for family adventures.

Go on a road trip. Ride a roller coaster with your eyes closed. Try new recipes. Make new friends. Visit new places. Zumba. Find something to be excited about every day!

Best Natural Sleep Aids

Remember the days when you slept like a baby and always woke up feeling refreshed and energized? The last time I slept that way was when I was a teenager. It seems like sleep has become more evasive the older I’ve gotten and the more I’ve had to “adult.” If you’re like me and you can’t seem to get enough shuteye at night no matter what you do, here are some of the best natural sleep aids I’ve discovered.

Valerian

This herbal medicine is made from a plant’s root. Though it’s not very well-known, it’s a great ingredient for achieving deep, restful sleep. If you have trouble finding it at your grocery store, look for it at your local health food store. Most people add it to tea and take it an hour or so before bedtime.

Though valerian is a great sleep aid, it may interact with some medications. So before you give it a try, talk to your doctor. You should also know that if you take valerian regularly, you shouldn’t suddenly stop taking it. Doing so can cause some anxiety or withdrawal symptoms (eek!)


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Chamomile

Chamomile flowers are some of my favorites because they’re so bright and cheerful. They look a lot like daisies. But as energetic as their appearance may be, these little flowers are very effective at helping you sleep. Chamomile tea promotes relaxation and can help you wind down in the hours leading up to bedtime. You may also find that drinking chamomile tea before bed improves your quality of sleep as well.

Just make sure you don’t consume more than the recommended dose. Taking too much chamomile may cause you to get nauseous or to throw up. You may also want to consult with your allergist or doctor before consuming if you have known allergies to flowers in the daisy family.

Melatonin

Melatonin is a hormone your body naturally produces in the pineal gland. It helps control circadian rhythms so you sleep better. Unfortunately, some of us don’t seem to create sufficient melatonin to help us nod off at night. Taking anywhere between 1 and 5 mg of melatonin right before bed may help induce sleep.

If you decide to try melatonin, only use it for a maximum of two weeks. Using it longer than that could potentially hamper your ability to produce your own melatonin going forward. Some people may discover that melatonin helps them fall asleep quickly, but causes them to wake frequently in the night. Others may feel more depressed or irritable when using melatonin as a sleep aid. If these things happen to you, discontinue using melatonin products right away.

Lavender

Lavender is a highly fragrant plant that is used in many sleep aid products. It produces a calming effect and may help you fall asleep more easily at night. You can use lavender in a variety of ways. My favorite way is to dilute a few drops of lavender essential oil into a diffuser in my room. I turn the diffuser on at bedtime to enjoy the relaxing benefits of the fumes.

You can also put a few drops of diluted lavender oil right on your pillowcase. Some people even rub a little diluted lavender oil around their nose before going to bed. Just keep in mind that this is a very fragrant oil, so you only need a little bit.

Magnesium

Magnesium is an important mineral that helps boost heart and brain function. However, it may also help relax the body and mind so you can get a restful sleep. Studies show that insufficient levels of magnesium are associated with insomnia and troubled sleep. You can take magnesium in supplement form before bed to see if it helps you get more rest at night.

I love each of these sleep aids and alternate between them regularly. To find out which one works best for you, give each of them a try on different nights over the next few weeks. Happy sleeping!

Does Crystal Therapy Really Work?

You hear so much talk about crystals these days, both good and bad. Some folks swear by them, while others claim their just a lot of new age nonsense. Still, you can't help but be curious when hearing all the positive stories about them.

The truth is, many people do experience benefits from crystals. They might not be able to do all the magical things people claim, like curing major illness or making your dream man fall in love with you, but they can give you a real boost spiritually and mentally when you know what you're doing with them.

Types of Therapeutic Crystals

Healing crystals are not one size fits all. There's actually a wide variety out there, each of which is associated with specific benefits:

Obsidian

Obsidian is said to have protective qualities. If you're feeling emotionally stifled or blocked, it can also help you release some of those built up emotions to achieve a sense of clarity. The stone can be identified by its glassy black color.

Turquoise

You're probably already familiar with turquoise jewelry, which is indeed quite eye catching. However, the stone offers more than just aesthetic appeal. It's also thought to bring balance to your mind and spirit, as well as having intense healing powers.

Moonstone

Looking for a new beginning? Then moonstone is your go-to crystal. It can also quell feelings of stress and anxiety, which far too many people struggle with these days. Moonstone has a sort of earthy look, with grayish-white coloring.

Rose Quartz

Pretty pink rose quartz has a strong association with love. If you're having trouble in any type of relationship, romantic or otherwise, ruminating with some rose quartz can bring you some peace. It can also help you build up the love you have for yourself.

Amethyst

Deep purple amethyst is known for its purifying qualities. It can also help you tap into a deeper spiritual nature. Its healing power is great for dispelling those negative thoughts rattling around your mind.


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Tips for Using Healing Crystals

You basically have two options when using your healing crystals. Some people swear by wearing them on their bodies for all day protection through constant contact. Of course, not everyone is comfortable wearing jewelry, especially something like crystals. In this case, just carry them with you. Put them in your purse or pocket when you're out and about.

Before your crystals can do their thing, you must program them. I know what you're thinking, programming is something you do with a computer. What you're actually doing is associating your crystal with an intention. Hold the crystal in your hand and state what you wish to get from it: improved mental health, a better love life, greater self-confidence, whatever it might be. After stating your intention, be sure to thank the universe for the gift it's about to give you.

More intensive crystal therapy may be required if you're really struggling. In this case, do a crystal ritual each morning where you lay down to meditate with crystals on different parts of your body. Place crystals over your seven chakras, or energy centers on the body: base of the spine, lower abdomen, above the navel, over the heart, base of the throat, between the eyebrows, and the crown of the head.

Make sure crystals are also placed liberally throughout your home. Not only can they heal your mind and spirit, they can also make your living space feel more positive and nurturing. If you work from home, make sure there are quite a few hanging around your work desk!

The mind is a mysterious thing, and using crystals to achieve mindfulness is not as silly as it sounds. Also, having a little faith in something kind of whimsical never hurt anyone. Why not expand your mind and give it try?

How and Why To Try Hot Yoga at Home

Hot yoga is the “hot” new workout trend that offers a wide variety of benefits. If you think the idea of doing yoga in a hot and sweaty environment sounds like torture, you’re in for a treat! While it’s true that yoga isn’t “hot” unless it’s done in a humid and warm environment, it’s a much more enjoyable practice than you’re probably imagining in your head. You don’t have to take my word for it, though. Here’s how and why to try hot yoga in your own home this week.

Understanding the Point of Hot Yoga

I have to admit, I used to look that people who did hot yoga were a little crazy. Why in the world would you choose to exert your body in an environment that forces you to release as much sweat as possible? But now that I’ve learned more about it, I’ve come to understand the point of this unconventional form of exercise.

Hot yoga offers the same benefits as traditional yoga (you know, the standard benefits like improved strength, stress reduction and flexibility), but it also gives you an even more intense workout in less time. So if you don’t have an hour to spend on a typical yoga routine, you can spend half an hour doing hot yoga and get the same benefits! Plus, the humid environment a hot yoga session provides is meant to replicate the humid natural environment found in India, where yoga originated. So you get a more authentic experience from doing hot yoga than from doing traditional yoga in an air-conditioned environment. Just make sure you drink lots of water before you get your sweat on!

Benefits of Hot Yoga

Now that I’ve got you thinking hot yoga may not be so bad, here’s a list of some of the impressive benefits the practice can provide.

  • Increased calorie burn

  • Improved flexibility

  • Reduced stress

  • Improved mood

  • Boost in cardiovascular health

  • Improved bone density

  • Decreased blood glucose levels

Now keep in mind that in order to maximize these benefits and stay safe during your hot yoga session, you need to stay hydrated. Drink water before, during and after your hot yoga session. You may also want to guzzle a low-calorie sports drink to restore your body’s electrolyte balance.

If you’re pregnant, don’t do hot yoga unless you’ve been given the green light from your doctor. And if you have certain health conditions, such as low blood sugar, heart disease, anorexia or a history of fainting, hot yoga may be too intense for you.


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How to Start Hot Yoga at Home

While prepping your space for a hot yoga session requires a little effort, it’s worth it if you don’t have a gym membership or don’t have time to go to an official hot yoga class. Here’s how to set up any room in your home for hot yoga.

  1. Designate one room in your home for you hot yoga session, and close the doors and windows.

  2. Put a small space heater in the room to bring the space to your desired temperature.

  3. Consider adding extra layers if the space heater isn’t getting the room warm enough for your liking.

  4. Bring in a humidifier and steam things up!

  5. Have a water bottle on-hand at all times.

  6. Complete your planned yoga session, making sure to take frequent water breaks throughout.

  7. If you need help coming up with your own hot yoga workout routine, look online or find a favorite workout on YouTube. You can also make things more fun by inviting a friend to come work out with you.

Hot yoga isn’t for everyone. But for those who like a challenging workout that delivers maximum benefits in minimal time, it’s a must-do routine to work into your weekly schedule. Give it a try this week to see if you’ll fall in love with it like I did!

5 Reasons You Should Start Writing a Gratitude Journal

Sometimes people can get overwhelmed by the negativity in their lives despite plenty of sunshine and daisies outside. The problem with these cycles of sadness is they can become permanent fixtures in your personality library, meaning that it becomes challenging to experience any day without noticing its negative characteristics. While such an evolution sounds tragic, there is a straightforward practice you can incorporate in your day to improve mood and stave off pessimism: a gratitude journal.

Gratitude journals are only about accentuating the positives in your life. The best part, it's only a 15-minute practice. If you are not sure such a journal is right for you, consider the following five advantages.

1. Improves Self-Esteem

While it might sound strange, taking the time out of your busy day to acknowledge the good in your life can improve your self-esteem. When people spend too much time focused on everything wrong in their lives and the world, it is easy to begin thinking introspectively in the same way. Suddenly, the things you feel are flaws in your attributes get accentuated and hard to ignore, even when everyone else sees you as beautiful.

By writing and focusing on all that is good in your, the opposite happens. You see the positives, and any of those supposed flaws become an afterthought, a spec on an otherwise beautiful existence.

2. Creates a More Optimistic Worldview

In the same way that a gratitude journal can help you focus on positive attributes and bolster self-esteem, it can also broaden and create a more optimistic Worldview. If you surround yourself with everything ugly, concentrating purely on discouraging news, the positive stories and influences become buried and challenging to uncover. By writing for 15 minutes a day about things that you are thankful for, that make you happy, you begin to rewire your brain to find more of those feel-good things. In a way, gratitude becomes like an addiction, but with positive effects.

3. Reduces Stress and Anxiety

Most of the time, stress and anxiety are amplified when people focus too much on the negatives or problems they are facing in life. By shifting focus to positive experiences and feelings, your problems begin to take up less space in your head, and you begin to calm down and enjoy living.

In a way, a gratitude journal is meant to overwhelm your brain with positivity. It helps you psychologically push negative thoughts and emotions out of the way to make room for happiness and motivation. While gratitude will eventually make you a more joyful and relaxed person, it is a process and requires deliberate practice.


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4. Improves Quality of Sleep

Many people feel that nighttime is the worst time for worry and anxiety. Their homes are quiet, with nothing but their thoughts to fill the void. Unfortunately, it doesn't take long for work or relationship problems for many people to start bouncing around in their heads.

A good way to silence these problems is through journaling. Instead of watching TV or browsing the social media rabbit hole before bed, spend 15 minutes with your gratitude journal. Spending that time with positive thinking can make sleep more comfortable and more sound.

5. Makes You Happier

What a gratitude journal comes down to is positivity. By focusing on the good in your life, you can become a happier and more fulfilled person.

Do you use a gratitude journal? If so, how has it affected your mood? Leave a comment below.

8 Ways To Get Rid of Stress Naturally at Work and at Home

Feeling stress is a pretty common part of life, but that doesn’t make it OK. Your body needs to relax. Whether you’re at work or at home, there are things you can do to get rid of anxiety naturally. These eight tips have made a huge difference for me:

1. Take an Exercise Break

Whether you play basketball, go for a brisk walk, dance or do aerobics, physical activity helps your muscles release built-up tension. Meanwhile, your brain releases chemicals called endorphins, the same feel-good hormones responsible for the euphoria you get from eating triple-chocolate ice cream (I won’t tell if you don’t).

2. Help Someone

Instead of focusing on stressful situations, take a few minutes to do something nice for another person:

  • Text your mom you appreciate how she raised you

  • Treat your child to a cookie just because

  • Buy a cup of coffee for a friendly coworker

  • Open the door for someone

You’ll be amazed the effect these little acts of kindness have on your own emotions. Doing something nice for other people feels good. It lets you stay in control of your life.


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3. Make Yourself Laugh

The next time you have a lot of anxiety, look for a new joke. Google “adorable animal videos” or “epic animal fails” online. I guarantee you’ll feel a lot better after something tickles your funny bone. Afterward, send the link to a friend and share the love.

4. Listen to Music

Personally, I like to psych myself up with peppy songs from my golden age of music, the 90s. If you’re working at home, don’t be shy! Sing along, get up and dance, or break out your air guitar for a bit. Music makes everything look brighter.

5. Write Down How You Feel

It’s no secret that having a girls’ night out is one of the best ways for letting go of stress. Being able to talk to someone else about your problems can put things in perspective. In fact, after talking it out, the things causing your anxiety may not feel as big or important anymore.

If one-on-one time with a friend isn’t possible, the next best thing is your trusty journal. The act of writing can produce the same comforting feeling of “getting things off your chest.”

6. Get Hugged

Hugs are amazing for your body. They lower stress levels, strengthen the immune system and improve mood. Deep-down, most people love to be touched. Did you know this tactile sensation is the same reason that wrapping yourself up in a heavy blanket is so soothing? When you’re feeling stressed, ask your kid, partner or pet for a hug.

7. Eat Some Yogurt

Recent studies suggest that probiotics may help to reduce stress and improve mood. That means that reaching for a cup of tasty yogurt isn’t just good for your physical heart, it’s also great for your emotions. Add fresh fruit and pumpkin seeds for an extra-nutritious stress-fighting boost.

8. Light a Candle

Aromatherapy can have an excellent effect on stress, but it’s something that most people don’t associate with work. Why not bring your own diffuser for your desk? Soothing scents such as vanilla, apple-cinnamon, lavender and orange can ease anxiety naturally.

These eight “anxiety breaks” give you a chance to clear your head. For 15 or 20 minutes, you don’t have to think about whatever problem has you stressed. Instead, focus on the sound of your tennis shoes hitting the pavement or look at beautiful scenery.

Does Acupuncture Heal The Mind And Body?

Acupuncture is a therapeutic practice that’s been around since approximately 2500 B.C., when it was practiced as Traditional Chinese medicine. If you’ve avoided it because it looks a lot like voodoo, you’re not alone! I too used to be mildly frightened and a little repulsed by the idea of someone sticking needles into my body. Fortunately, I decided to venture out of my comfort zone and see what acupuncture is really all about. I’m glad I did! Here’s what I learned.

Acupuncture is the practice of using solid, thin needles to penetrate the skin in strategic areas. It sounds cringy, I know, but it can be surprisingly relaxing! The action of placing the needles into specific areas is purported to create a healthy energy flow (also known as Qi, pronounced “chee”.)

It is thought that disruptions in the body’s natural flow of Qi can lead to a variety of ailments, including disease states. When acupuncture is applied professionally to certain acupuncture points in the body, it may improve overall health by improving the flow of Qi. Sounds pretty simple, right?

But, is acupuncture really helpful for most people? Before you schedule an acupuncture appointment, here’s what I think you should know about the ancient practice that’s experiencing increasing popularity.

How Acupuncture Affects the Body

According to the theory of acupuncture, there are different points in the body known as acupuncture points. These areas are believed to help promote the body’s natural healing processes when pierced by a needle to stimulate the central nervous system. In addition to aiding physical recovery, acupuncture also releases feel-good chemicals such as beta-endorphins that produce a calming effect much like morphine. Because of this effect, acupuncture is often touted as a healing treatment for both the body and the mind.

Physical Conditions Treated With Acupuncture

According to studies done by the National Institutes of health, acupuncture is an effective treatment for the following physical ailments:

  • Fibromyalgia
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Dental pain (after surgery)
  • Nausea
  • Headaches
  • Myofascial pain
  • Tennis elbow
  • Addiction
  • Menstrual cramps
  • Asthma
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome
  • Lower back pain

Keep in mind that this is not a comprehensive list of all the physical conditions acupuncture is used to treat. People use it to treat everything from irritable bowel syndrome to bronchitis. Acupuncture is frequently used as a stand-alone treatment for these conditions, but it is also sometimes used in combination with other therapies to achieve the best results.


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Emotional Conditions Treated With Acupuncture

In addition to all of the physical conditions in the list above, acupuncture is also thought to help with the following emotional issues:

  • Insomnia
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Neurosis
  • Nervousness

If you’ve tried other methods to help with any of these issues but experienced minimal success, why not schedule an acupuncture treatment and see if the ancient practice can help with your modern-day issues?

What Acupuncture Feels Like

OK, let’s get down to the nitty-gritty. Some people avoid acupuncture because it looks scary. I get it, you’re wondering “shouldn’t it hurt to have dozens of needles sticking into your body?” And yes, it seems like it should hurt a lot. But for most people, acupuncture just feels like a slight tingling sensation or a dull ache in the areas of needle insertion. Some people even describe feelings of warmth coming from the acupuncture points.

So if fear of discomfort is holding you back, don’t worry! The treatments cause no pain or very little discomfort for most people.

Give It a Try

If you’re raising your eyebrow right now and wondering if acupuncture could really help with all of the things I’ve mentioned, I have only one piece of advice: try it for yourself and see how you feel. I believe in putting things to the test instead of relying entirely on the experiences of others. It’s the best way to see if this amazing treatment option is right for your situation.

Understanding Hygge and How To Incorporate It Into Your Life

People often assume that daily stress and anxiety are part of existence, that there is no way around or resolving the emotional struggles of life, but is that true? To a certain extent, pressure and emotional wear are routine; however, that does not mean you cannot alter it or reduce your psychological interaction with it.

For centuries, people have practiced mindfulness to take back control from corrosive emotions that drain feelings of happiness and acceptance. The practices and techniques used to accomplish this task vary, such as yoga or meditation, but at the heart of every exercise is finding equilibrium with life, work, socialness, relationships, and everything that makes you who you are.

Despite dating back to the 18th century, hygge — pronounced “hue-guh” or “hoo-gah” — is beginning to dominate the mindfulness generation. People are claiming health, psychological, and social benefits from the practice based on cozy living. To learn more, the remainder of this article will focus on defining hygge and examining some of the benefit claims, wrapping up with how to implement the practice in your own life.

Understanding Hygge

Hygge, a quality of coziness that promotes a feeling of contentment and well-being, originates in Danish culture. It is the practice of focusing on peace, comfort, and coziness in your daily life. To experience hygge, participants must create a warm atmosphere with positive attributes and share that atmosphere with good people who ultimately contribute to optimistic feelings.

While the description can seem a little vague — create a happy place for happy people — in practice, hygge offers profound improvements on both mental and physical health. It would seem that the focused act of finding and cultivating positivity and comfort leads to comparable feelings, leading to the reduction of stress and anxiety.

Advantages of the Practice

Hygge promotes a healthy and calm lifestyle, which, in turn, creates opportunities for psychological, health, and social benefits. For most people, the assumption that hygge can lead to improved mental health seems obvious. Focusing on comfort and serenity, your body naturally responds with less stress, leading to less depression and anxiety risks. Even more profound, hygge can lead to improved self-worth, increased optimism, and a practice of gratitude and compassion.

With routine practice, hygge expands on these emotional benefits with real health advantages. People who practice hygge claim they experience improved sleep and self-care, less dependence on alcohol and drugs, and sustained dietary practices, like weight regulation.

An unexpected benefit of hygge is an improved social life. Since the practice encourages comfort and emotional safety, practitioners are more inclined to build and nurture stable relationships with family, friends, and coworkers. Since people feel more comfortable and safe with hygge, they tend to be more trusting, intimate, and more in-tune with in-person interactions.


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Incorporating Hygge Into Your Daily Life

Incorporating hygge into your daily routine is not challenging. You can use several techniques for both home and the office. For example, at home, try incorporating one or all of the following:

  • Neutral colors

  • Soft textures (blankets, pillows, rugs, etc.)

  • Plants

  • Wood elements

  • Personal items (family pictures, art, etc.)

  • Fireplace or candles

  • Warm, soft lighting

  • Casual gatherings with friends and loved ones

In the office, it can be a little more challenging to customize your space. However, you can consider some or all of the following:

  • Accent lamps with soft white bulbs

  • Area rug

  • Family pictures

  • Potted succulent plant

Hygge is a useful tool that contributes to a person’s emotional, physical, and social health. The key to any mindfulness technique, however, is finding peace within yourself. Do you practice hygge? Leave a comment below.

New Year, New You: How to Use Resolutions to Become a Morning Person

Woman Waking Up

Be honest: would you say you're a morning person? If the answer is a resounding no, you're not alone.
Lots of people dread waking up early or can't function until they have at least two cups of coffee coursing through their veins. While molding yourself into a chipper and cheerful morning person may seem unlikely, it's absolutely possible.

With a new year comes a renewed commitment to health, wellness, and personal goals. Like everything else, you just need to tease out those bad habits and develop a strategy for eliminating them. Here are a few great tips to help you beat the morning blues and attack every day with everything you got.

Alarm Clock

Say No to the Snooze Button

The snooze button is an evil temptress. You tell yourself "just a few more minutes", only to find that an hour has passed, and now you're late for work. While it's best to not use the snooze button at all, it can be difficult to go cold turkey completely. Once again, technology comes to the rescue. Smart alarm apps offer creative ways to snooze, including math problems that must be solved before you can secure that ten extra minutes. If you're not a math person, don't fret. The act of working out a problem can help wake up your brain, even if you don't get the correct answer.

Glass of water

Drink a Glass of Water Upon Waking

It's true that coffee is associated with a quick pick-me-up in the morning, but water is a better choice of beverage. Water rehydrates the body, fuels the brain, and gives you the burst of energy you need to function optimally in the early hours. For an even greater rejuvenating effect, make the first beverage you drink in the morning a chilly glass of ice water.

Good night


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Establish a Sleep Schedule

A consistent sleep schedule gets your body in tune with waking up early each morning. Additionally, your schedule should extend to the weekends as well, meaning if you get up at 7 am for work during the week, you should get up at the same time Saturday and Sunday. If you have problems falling asleep at a reasonable hour, develop a bedtime ritual. Avoid exercise, digital screens, and caffeine at least two hours before bedtime. Make your bedroom a work-free zone, meaning no laptops, no emails, and no texting. Try reading or taking a relaxing bath to get you in the mood for sleep.

Morning Yoga

Exercise Right After Waking Up

Much like math problems help wake up your brain, exercise helps wake up your body. Now, that doesn't mean you should pop out of bed and go run a half-marathon every morning. Something simple and low-key, like yoga or stretching exercises, should be enough to get you up and moving. There are plenty of free videos online featuring quick and easy exercises you can do each day. Fair warning, the first morning of exercise will probably be difficult. Stick to it, and you'll find each day getting easier and easier.

Cup of coffee

Invest in a Wake-Up Alarm

A bit of sunlight is just the thing to get you up in the morning. When your bedroom lacks strategically placed windows, or you're faced with a gloomy morning, a wake-up alarm is the next best thing. Also known as sunrise lamps, these devices gradually illuminate to mimic sunrise. This signals to your body that it's time to wake up, which is a more comforting process than being roused out of sleep by a blaring alarm.

Anyone can be a morning person when properly motivated. Using one or more of the above techniques can change your perspective, and your life. With the right attitude, you'll be greeting mornings with a smile before you even know it.

Do Calming Teas Really Work?

Cup of Tea on railing

If your doctor ever tells you to drink calming tea to deal with stress or help you fall asleep, he or she is a genius. First, let’s talk science. Then I’ll tell you about my personal experiences (spoiler alert: some herbs are AMAZING).

Scientists have discovered that many types of herbal tea are effective at reducing anxiety. Plenty of studies prove it. For example, green tea leaves lower levels of cortisol, a stress hormone. This benefit comes from special plant nutrients called catechins, tiny stress fighters. They’re like your own personal Secret Service, keeping anxiety far away from you.

Cup of tea

Valerian Root Tea at Night

First, I tried a cup of valerian root tea in the evening. I wanted something to help me unwind after a particularly stressful day trying to get my kids to apologize to each other over a broken toy.

I took a few sips and … the effects were unbelievable. I’ve never felt so genuinely relaxed and sleepy in my life. It was like that feeling you get from curling up in front of a warm fire. I slept like a baby all night long. In the morning, I woke up feeling completely refreshed.

Woman having tea in bed

Green Tea at Breakfast

Next, I decided to try drinking some green tea during the day. I’ve read studies saying that green tea helps you stay alert but also less stressed at work. For breakfast, I made myself whole-grain toast with plain cream cheese and a few sliced strawberries. As I read the news, I sipped on my green tea.

How did my work-from-home day go? First, I felt WAY less stress than normal. I even felt energized enough to throw a load of clothes in the washer while I was working. Usually, thinking of everything I have to do stresses me out in the morning, but green tea changed that. It empowered me, like I was checking things off my list one by one. My attitude and outlook were more positive, as if the whole world was brighter.


Soup’s On!

There’s a new science-backed, all-you-can-eat soup diet that has folks losing 7, 10, even 12 pounds in a single week.

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Turmeric Tea for Avoiding a Meltdown

I love my sisters, I really do. But family members know exactly which buttons to push sometimes. Long story short, we had a smallish argument (we smoothed everything out later on Zoom and now we’re best friends again). I was crying and angry and … well, you know the drill.

That’s when I decided to try brewing an exotic turmeric tea I’d read about. It uses fresh turmeric, ginger, honey, cinnamon and peppercorns, together with some coconut milk and coconut oil. The whole kitchen smelled heavenly, and the tea tasted spicy, creamy and delicious.

It turns out that turmeric has the ability to release “happy hormones” in your brain: dopamine and serotonin. They help to fight sadness and alleviate stress. As I sat there, sipping my turmeric and honey tea, smelling the spices and feeling the warmth of the mug, my heart started beating more slowly. I felt … much better.

Turmeric Tea

Other Great Herbs and Spices for Fighting Stress

Calming herbs can help you get rid of anxiety and feel happier. They’re an amazing way of treating yourself to a moment for relaxation.

Herbal teas

Now it’s your turn. What calming teas work best for you? Are you a believer in lavender, chamomile, ashwagandha root, passionflower, lemon balm or another popular soothing variety? Share your experiences below!