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April 18th, 2019
Healthy Lifestyles

stressStress is an issue that knows no geographical boundaries. The Regus Group reports that stress levels in the workplace are rising, with six in 10 workers in major global economies experiencing increased workplace stress. Workers forced to take on too much work or those tasked with performing jobs beyond their abilities might not be able to do much to quell those demands. However, they can employ various strategies to manage their stress.

  • • Embrace planning. A 2011 survey from psychologist Robert Epstein asked more than 3,000 participants in 30 countries which stress management technique was most effective at helping them overcome their stress. Epstein discovered that participants felt planning was the most effective way to manage their stress. Planning is essentially a proactive approach to managing stress and fighting it before it even starts. Smartphone apps make it easier than ever to schedule your time. Utilizing such apps or opting for the more traditional route by using a day planner can be a highly effective way to manage stress.
  • • Practice cognitive reframing. Cognitive reframing is another effective stress-management technique that involves changing the way you look at something so your experience of it changes. Psychologists note that cognitive reframing is effective because the body’s stress response is triggered by perceived stress and not actual events. So by reframing the way you perceive a potentially stressful event, you can change your body’s response to it. This technique is most effective when people are mindful of their thoughts, particularly those that might be negative or stress-inducing. 
  • • Take breaks. A heavy workload may compel people to sit down at their desk and keep working until quitting time. However, that approach takes both a physical and emotional toll. Sitting for long periods of time without getting up not only increases a person’s risk for various diseases, but it also can contribute to something known as decision fatigue. Decision fatigue occurs when someone must make frequent decisions throughout the day. Without a break, such persons’ abilities to reason becomes compromised, and they may end up making poor decisions or feeling less confident in their decisions, which may increase their stress levels. Frequent breaks, even if they’re just brief walks to get a glass of water, can help avoid both the physical and emotional effects of stress.

Stress affects people across the globe. Learning to manage it can make people happier in both their personal and professional lives. 

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appetiteHunger can be a formidable foe, especially for people attempting to lose weight. When hunger strikes, various appetite-control strategies can help people avoid overeating or eating during those times when boredom is more to blame than an empty belly.

  • • Eat slowly. When a person eats, a series of signals are sent to the brain from digestive hormones secreted by the gastrointestinal tract. These signals produce a feeling of pleasure and satiety in the brain, but it can take awhile for the brain to receive them. By chewing slowly, people can give the signals more time to reach their brains, potentially preventing them from overeating.
  • • Choose the right snacks. The right snacks can make it easier to eat more slowly. Instead of reaching for potato chips or pretzels, both of which can be eaten quickly and picked up by the handful, choose snacks that are both healthy and require a little work. Carrots dipped in hummus or baked tortilla chips with low-fat salsa or bean dip are low-calorie snacks that also require some work between bites. The time it takes to dip between bites affords more time for the digestive tract to release signals to the brain that you’re full.
  • • Reach for fiber first. Another way to conquer hunger without overeating is to reach for fiber before eating other parts of your meal. Vegetables are rich in fiber, but since veggies are often served as side dishes, many people tend to eat them only after they’ve eaten their main courses. That can contribute to overeating. Fiber fills you up, so by eating the high-fiber portions of your meal first, you’re less likely to overeat before your brain receives the signals that your stomach is full. Consider eating vegetables as an appetizer or, if the entire meal is served at once, clear your plate of vegetables before diving into the main course or other side dishes.
  • • Drink water. Perhaps the best, and least expensive, way to control appetite and ensure you don’t overeat is to drink more water. A 2010 study funded by the Institute for Public Health and Water Research that included 48 adults between the ages of 55 and 75 found that people who drank two eight-ounce glasses of water right before a meal consumed 75 to 90 fewer calories during the ensuing meal than study participants who did not consume water prior to their meals. Over the course of 12 weeks, participants who drank water before meals three times per day lost roughly five pounds more than those who did not increase their water intake. 

Controlling appetite does not have to be a complex undertaking. In fact, some of the simplest strategies can be highly effective.

 

 

 

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thyroidPeople diagnosed with an underactive thyroid condition may have to make several changes to their lifestyles to feel well and maintain a healthy weight.

The thyroid is a tiny gland located in the neck that produces a hormone to regulate one’s metabolism, or the process that converts what a person eats and drinks into energy. With hypothyroidism, also known as an underactive thyroid, production of that thyroid hormone is insignificant, resulting in a dramatically slower metabolism. 

The endocrinology health site Endocrine Web estimates approximately 10 million Americans have hypothyroidism. The reasons the thyroid gland falters vary. But the symptoms may include fatigue, weakness, weight gain or increased difficulty losing weight, hair loss, muscle aches, depression, and irritability. 

Each of the side effects associated with thyroid conditions can be troublesome, but many people with thyroid issues struggle most with weight gain and their inability to keep weight off. The president of the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists, R. Mack Harrell, MD, says to first visit a doctor, who can determine if a synthetic thyroid hormone medication can help. Regular exercise also can be an important part of the strategy to lose weight and manage other hypothyroidism symptoms.

Christian Nasr, MD, an endocrinologist with the Cleveland Clinic, advises his patients to wait a few weeks before exercising so that their condition is controlled with medication. After that waiting period is over, gradually easing back into exercise can help with the fatigue and weight gain that may not abate with thyroid medications.

The online health resource Everyday Health advises a program of low-impact aerobic exercises and strength training. The aerobics will raise the heart rate without putting too much pressure on the joints. These exercises include using a stationary bicycle or a low-impact elliptical machine. Pilates and gentle yoga can improve core muscles and help alleviate joint pain as well.

Incorporating strength training into a workout can help build muscle mass, which burns calories, even when a person is at rest. That can be essential for a person finding it difficult to control his or her weight due to a sluggish metabolism.

Additional benefits of exercising are improved mood and reduced inflammation. Exercising can release endorphins into the body to help fight off depression. Also, researchers from the University of California-San Diego School of Medicine found a single 20-minute session of exercise was enough to trigger something called sympathoadrenergic activation, which suppresses the production of monocytic cytokines in the body that produce an inflammatory response in the immune system. That means exercise can keep inflammation in check.

Hypothyroidism is a common condition that produces various unwanted side effects. However, with proper care and exercise, many symptoms can be managed effectively.

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