When you’ve been through narcissistic abuse, you’ve been through hell. And one of the worst parts of it is that it can literally damage every area of your life – even your physical health. But did you know that you may have the ability to make some positive changes there? It’s true.
In fact, one study in the Journal of Behavioral Medicine has indicated that once anxiety and depression sets in, you’ve unleashed the possibility that you’ll develop heart disease in the future – and we all know that anxiety and depression are standard issues for those of us who have experienced these toxic relationships.
We all know some of the factors that contribute to heart disease – primarily genetics and our poor food consumption (or lack of healthy foods in our diets). But most people never consider sheer stress and anxiety as a source of actual damage to their body’s heart.
The Connection Between Disease and Depression
The study – carried out at the School of Population Health of the University of Queensland in Australia, was focused on women over 40 who had experienced stress but who had no sign of heart disease. Over time, their depression and anxiety seem to be a factor in the development of heart disease.
It was a 15-year look at how heart disease developed in these women. Researchers were looking for both depression and anxiety combined as a contributing factor.
What they found was that in the women who were newly diagnosed with heart disease during the study, they were more likely to have both depression and anxiety.
What scientists concluded is that when you have these types of mental health issues to fight in your life, your nervous system can’t perform accurately. And when you’re depressed, you tend to lack physical activity, engage in unhealthy food, cigarette and alcohol addictions, and neglect your overall well being.
Another 10-year study by the Heart Foundation found that heart attacks can occur from major life traumas, such as the death of someone you love, disasters of nature like hurricanes, tornadoes, etc., and domestic terror attacks.
The study also found that chronic stress – especially in women over the age of 45 – contributed to more heart problems as well. But that doesn’t let men off the hook, though.
No study to date has singled out stress as the sole determining factor for having heart disease, but there’s no mistaking the fact that it can contribute to it. It could be because depression and anxiety cause poor self-care behaviors.
One thing doctors know is that a large number of patients’ visits to the doctor are due to chronic stress. It can take a toll on your body, causing fatigue, panic attacks, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and more.
What happens when you get stressed is that your body experiences a fight or flight reaction. Your adrenaline gets pumping and you tense up. Your heart rate soars. Fat gets released into your blood because it’s used to give you a jolt of energy. Even your blood clots easier.
This wouldn’t be a problem for your heart if it happened once in a while, but for many individuals, depression and anxiety is a never-ending problem. Your heart needs rest and relaxation.
It shouldn’t always be battling increased blood pressure, a barrage of cholesterol, and rapid heartbeat. What will happen is that your heart might start beating abnormally more often than not. Your arteries can thicken, too – setting you up for a heart attack or stroke.
Gauging Your Stress Level for Heart Health
You may or may not have an issue where stress – in the form of depression and anxiety – is affecting your heart health. Some people have minor stress while others are mired in it and don’t even realize how bad it’s become.
Ask yourself if you’ve been going through a lot of traumatic, nerve-wracking or frustrating situations in the past year. That might include:
Changing jobs, having stress in an existing one, or having no job
Adding to your family either with birth or marriage
Think about how you’ve physically felt lately. Stress is evident in our minds, but sometimes we overlook the physical effect until it’s too late. If you’re burdened by an unhealthy amount of stress, you might notice a few common stress signs early on.
Your jaw might hurt in the morning. This is a sign you’re clenching your jaw or grinding your teeth at night. You might also suffer from headaches and feel stiff in your neck area.
As stress really takes a toll on your body, symptoms get more serious. You might have dizzy spells, insomnia, feelings of panic attacks where your heart is racing, you’re sweating and you feel nauseous.
Ways to Cope With High or Chronic Stress
If you make a decision that stress might be an issue for you, then you have to see if you’re capable of getting it under control so that your heart is protected and you’re not setting yourself up for a heart attack or stroke.
First, there are some things you don’t want to do when it comes to managing your stress.
Don’t take the route of asking your doctor to let you pop a pill for your stress unless it’s the last option. Pills just mask a problem – they don’t help you learn to cope.
Don’t use food to help you get in a better mood. The comfort food that many people use to self-medicate during stress only causes more problems for your health.
Never turn to cigarettes and alcohol (or drugs) to help ease your anxiety. None of these things assists you in building a healthier heart. They just do more damage to your body.
Exercise by itself helps your heart – but it also releases endorphins, which help your stress levels plummet back to a manageable level. You can get as little as 20 minutes of exercise a day to reap the benefits of exercise.
Practice good time management. Whether you’re rushing around because you’ve overscheduled yourself or you’ve procrastinated to a point where you’re now panicked, a lack of time is one of the top stressors most people list about their lives.
Implement good sleep hygiene. That means you’re protecting your heart by getting plenty of Zs at night. You can’t function properly and handle stress gracefully when you’re running on empty.
Just as not getting plenty of sleep can be a problem, it can also be a problem if you get too much sleep. That’s a sign of depression, so if you can’t get out of bed and face the day, it might be time to call the doctor and set up an appointment for professional help.
Start replacing bad habits with good habits. Things like nutrition may not sound like it affects stress levels (and in turn heart health), but it does. When you feel like your energy is drained because you’ve crashed from a sugar high, and you’re not tired – it makes you unable to handle stress as well.
Learn how to say no to other peoples’ demands. You might have people from your personal life, from your child’s school, from your church, or from work trying to get you to take on more responsibilities. If you need less stress, don’t be afraid to say no.
If anger is your primary reaction, then you need to focus on anger management so that you can control your reactions to the daily stress that you undergo. And let go of any grudges you’ve been holding against other people because it only wears you down physically and emotionally.
Embracing a Positive Mindset
It’s been proven that optimists live longer than pessimists. That’s because those who look at life with a glass-half-empty are often suffering from heart sabotaging issues like depression and anxiety.
But it’s not as easy as flipping a switch and suddenly thinking everything is all rainbows and unicorns. In fact, you’re not supposed to wear rose-colored glasses and be fake about how great life is, either.
What you need to do is work on a mindset where you’re realistic about what life has given you and then tackle it with a positive attitude that you’re capable of working through any issues that arise.
There’s always going to be stress in your life. It’s unavoidable as a whole. But with the right attitude, you can meet situations head to head and handle them with ease.
Every day you need to reiterate to yourself that you’re capable of handling whatever arises. Stay level-headed about what’s going on. Don’t overreact and make a bigger deal out of something than it really is.
Take a deep breath and look at whatever’s happening and think logically about how you can make it better. Don’t let feelings of doom and gloom overrun your thoughts.
Chances are the worst-case scenario will never happen, and even if it did, it’s not the end of the world. You’ll recover from it. How can you get a better mindset that helps vaccinate you against stress and protect your heart?
Practice positive affirmations. This is when you vocally and mentally reaffirm to yourself that things are going to be okay. Some people start their day off this way and end it this way – or call on positive affirmations during times of crisis.
Smile. Research shows that smiling actually improves your stress handling abilities – but not just any smile will do. It needs to be a full smile where your eyes and the muscles around the mouth actually change shape.
Find ways to laugh a lot. Whether it’s through a funny show on TV or a date night out to a live comedy club, laughter can help people physically and emotionally. When you laugh, the lining of your blood vessels dilates and improves blood flow.
Finding ways to manage your stress won’t just ensure that your heart is protected. It’s going to give you a better quality of life, which will improve your relationships, too.
HEV light is also known as high-energy visible light and is the blue light that electronic screens emit. If you use a phone, computer, tablet, or other device with a modern screen, then it’s probably emitting HEV light.
HEV light can cause serious health challenges, but there are things you can do to reduce the danger to your health.
Consider these factors:
1. Health and aging concerns. One of the biggest concerns with HEV light is its impact on your skin.
HEV light is able to penetrate deep into your skin and can cause premature aging. The light is able to go farther than UVB or UVA rays. It can reach the collagen layers under your skin. This makes it dangerous and harmful.
Research shows that HEV light can cause hyperpigmentation. This results in patches of the skin becoming darker than other areas. They are also called dark spots.
2. Sleep concerns. Multiple studies have shown that blue light affects your sleep patterns.The blue light that comes from electronic devices can suppress melatonin in your body. However, you need melatonin to sleep properly. This can create a vicious cycle of not being able to fall asleep or to stay asleep.
Research reveals that people who use electronics before going to bed or while in bed have more issues with their sleep.
Reduce Your Danger From HEV Light
1. Sunblock remedies. Some experts believe that wearing regular sunblock will help block HEV light from reaching the deep layers of your skin. This is still being studied, but sunblock may help you avoid some of the harmful rays.
2. Reduce electronic usage. One of the most effective ways to stop the damage from HEV light is to use fewer electronics throughout the day.
Turn off your devices more often and enjoy the world around you. If your work requires you to use devices with screens, make a special effort to reduce your usage on the weekends.
Try to avoid watching screens for 2 hours before bedtime.
Put more distance between your face or other body parts and the screens. Avoid holding them too closely for a long period of time.
3. Turn off blue light. Some devices such as tablets let you turn off the blue light. This feature is often called sleep mode or another similar name. However, many users complain that it creates a new, weird color and makes it harder to read things on the screen.
4. Protect your skin. A healthy diet with antioxidants may offer some protection for your skin. Skin creams or lotions designed to help restore the dermis may also help protect your skin and repair the damage from HEV light and other sources such as UVA or UVB rays.
HEV light can negatively affect your health. Avoid neglecting your well-being just so you can check another email or message! Reduce your usage of modern electronics and take steps to alleviate the damage from your devices.
Have you ever wondered how doctors really lose weight? Although not all medical professionals are slim, some seem to have discovered weight loss secrets that could help you.
Doctors often fight their own weight loss battles, so they’ve learned how to keep the pounds off and away. You can learn from their secrets and use them to lose weight too.
Try these effective techniques:
1. Avoid watching the scale. Doctors admit that they don’t pay attention to the bathroom scale. Instead of watching every pound they gain or lose, they share that they focus on how they feel, and how their clothes fit.
* It’s more pleasing to watch your jeans or pants fit you better than to obsess about the numbers on the scale. Your weight will naturally fluctuate on a daily basis. This is mostly due to water retention, so it’s important to focus more on the big picture.
2. They count calories where it matters. Instead of calculating the calories in each piece of lettuce, most doctors pay attention to calories where they matter.
* For example, they don’t worry about calories in fruits and vegetables because these foods have fiber and other nutrients that strengthen your health.
* However, they pay close attention to the calories in snacks such as granola or trail mix. You may be surprised to learn how many empty calories are in some of your favorite snack foods. They may look healthy, but in reality, they pack in the calories.
3. They pay attention to diet supplements. Sometimes, even doctors consider magic pills like diet supplements.
* What separates doctors from most consumers is that they carefully study the ingredients before they take any supplement. They understand that some of the ingredients can have serious side effects in addition to weight loss.
* They also check with other professionals if they need more information.
4. They avoid letting diet failures stop them. Doctors sometimes cheat and fail at their diets. After all, they are human. Failures will happen, but the way you respond to them matters. Doctors understand that they can start a diet again without issues.
* Many doctors admit that some of their diets haven’t worked in the past. Nevertheless, they’re always ready to start again and keep going to reach their weight loss goals.
5. They understand stress eating. Their jobs are filled with stress, so they know that stress eating is a reality. However, they also know that when you eat because of stress, you can seriously damage your weight loss efforts.
* Doctors have stressful jobs that often involve overtime and worrying about their patients. They also have to deal with late payments from patients, insurance companies, pharmaceutical reps, difficult staff members, and huge medical school loans.
* They’ve figured out other coping mechanisms to deal with the worry and anxiety that don’t involve food. One of the best ways to stop stress eating is to exercise or get active. Dancing, running, walking, or hiking can help you fight stress without adding extra calories to your day or night.
Doctors know that weight loss is a long-term goal and not a short-term fight. You don’t have to invest in complicated programs to achieve long-term results. You can use slimming secrets from doctors to keep the pounds away and stay lean.
You may be worried about eating too much, but are you also concerned about not eating enough, Drastically cutting your calories and going on a fad diet can hurt your body and brain. You may be starving your brain of essential nutrients if you don’t eat enough food.
Your brain needs a healthy diet just like the rest of your body. The cells in your brain need the nourishment that comes from food. Food provides your body with carbohydrates, proteins, and fats. It also offers nutrients such as minerals and vitamins that promote brain health.
Your brain benefits from nutrients such as folic acid, omega-3, and others found in food. Your brain needs these minerals and vitamins to function properly.
Find out what happens in your brain if you don’t eat enough to provide the nutrients it requires:
1. Shrinking of the brain. When your diet lacks enough nutrients because you’re starving or participating in a fad diet, your brain can shrink.
* If you don’t get enough B vitamins, your brain can atrophy.
* In addition, if you don’t get enough amino acids by eating protein or omega-3s from fats, then it can shrink.
2. Concentration and memory issues. Without the proper amount of nutrients, your brain can’t focus.
* You may have difficulty concentrating on simple tasks. Math or tasks that are more complex may become impossible.
* You need B vitamins, folic acid, omega-3, vitamin C, vitamin E, niacin, vitamin D, and other nutrients to concentrate effectively. Without them, your brain simply can’t function the way it was designed.
3. Brain damage. If you starve or don’t get enough food for long periods of time, brain damage can be the result. This brain damage may or may not be reversible.
4. Craving food. When you don’t eat enough, you start to crave food. You can’t stop thinking about it or shut off your brain.
* Your ability to make healthy food choices decreases. Since your brain thinks you’re starving, you’ll eat anything you find. You won’t be able to avoid temptations or stop eating junk food.
* Research shows that you’re more likely to eat carbohydrates and sweets to try to refuel.
* The constant cravings for food distract you. They can distract you to the point that you can’t work or study. You may even be in danger as you try to drive or walk since you can’t pay attention to your surroundings.
You may be worried about losing weight, fitting into your old jeans, or looking great in a swimsuit. These things motivate you to reduce your calories and food intake. However, fad diets and desperate attempts to lose weight can leave your brain without the proper nutrients. This is a dangerous and risky practice that can have long-term consequences.
Avoid skipping entire meals for days or weeks at a time. This type of unhealthy practice throws your entire body into starvation mode and hurts your brain, too.
You can avoid overeating without sacrificing important nutrients. You can reduce calories in a healthy way while ensuring you’re getting enough for your height and age. It may take some extra research when considering a diet, but your brain’s health is certainly worth it.
If you’re trying to cut down on caffeine or you accidentally run out of K-cups, there are other ways to wake up fast in the morning. Rub your eyes and take a look at these tips for natural energizers.
Breakfast Ideas for Waking Up without Caffeine
1. Drink water. Your body needs water to function efficiently, so a big glass in the morning will prime your metabolism and help you digest food. Rehydrate with 16 ounces of water served up at room temperature or colder if you prefer.
2. Peel an orange.Citrus smells have a stimulating effect, so indulge in oranges, grapefruits, and tangerines. Whole fruits have an advantage over juice in giving you more fiber.
3. Add mint. Mint is another invigorating choice. Brew a cup of mint tea, sprinkle mint on your eggs, or pop a breath mint on your way to the office.
4. Reach for protein. When you’re planning your breakfast menu, opt for dishes high in protein to give you energy. Some delicious choices are eggs, Greek yogurt, and bean burritos.
5. Focus on complex carbohydrates. Stabilize your blood sugar by eating whole grains, vegetables, fruits, nuts, and seeds. Starting the day with fruits and vegetables will also help you to reach the recommended 7 to 9 servings.
6. Prepare the night before. What if you’d like a hearty meal, but you know you’ll be in a rush, Arrange the ingredients before you go to bed. Whip up a smoothie that’s ready for the blender or a casserole you can pop in the microwave.
Other Lifestyle Ideas for Waking Up without Caffeine
1. Let in the light. Exposure to light signals your brain that it’s time to stop sleeping. Turn on your bedroom lights as soon as your alarm clock goes off. Open a window or go outdoors for at least a few minutes.
2. Skip the snooze button. Those extra few minutes of slumber are actually sabotaging your efforts. You wind up feeling more groggy than if you jumped out of bed. Put the alarm clock out of reach if you need help resisting temptation.
3. Take a cool shower. Count on cold water for an instant jolt. If a freezing shower sounds unpleasant, cool water will do. You can also splash cold water on your wrists and face.
4. Work out. Exercise is a great pick-me-up, especially in the early hours. Join a 24 hour gym where you can visit at dawn, and avoid long lines for the rowing machine. Sign up for a tai chi class in your local park.
5. Have a laugh. You can’t feel drowsy when you’re whooping it up. Spend a few minutes playing with your children or pets. Listen to a funny program during your commute.
6. Make some small talk. Engaging in conversation will challenge your brain to start thinking clearly. Share interesting news stories or daily plans with your family at the breakfast table. Greet your neighbors and chat with retail workers while you run errands before work.
7. Go to bed on time. Giving your body adequate rest is the ideal wake-up strategy. Turn off the TV and computers so you’ll have a full night’s sleep.
Moderate amounts of caffeine are considered safe for most adults, but you don’t have to depend on coffee to help you rise and shine. Even when there’s no Starbucks in sight, there are plenty of options to help you start your day bright and alert.