Four Practices that Will Help You Recognize Sources of Stress in Your Life

We may not notice stress in our lives until its effects become pronounced. These practices will alert you to the danger and its sources.

Stress kills us in so many ways

When you lead a busy life, the combination of tasks at work and around the house, social commitments, and distractions on our devices can increase your exposure to elevated levels of stress. By the time you realize that you’re dealing with chronic stress, you may already need to see a GI doctor or consult with a therapist to relax and cope with anxiety. Early recognition of stress and its possible sources, also called as stressors, in your life is a vital boost to any successful stress management plan. The following practices will help you do that.

Keep a journal

A journal is a valuable tool for productivity and continued learning. Even if you keep it simple-a bullet journal or assorted to-do lists, for instance-,the information you jot down can provide considerable insight into the everyday factors, patterns, and occasional changes that could bring stress into your life. You can take things further by exploring your thoughts and feelings in a more introspective style of writing. This will help you find clarity and deeper insights into what’s currently working for you and which things might not be turning out so well.

Become a reader of good fiction

Many people read self-help books as an aid to personal development, but the occasional dose of fiction allows you to develop reading as a skill. If you start to explore a variety of well-written works of fiction, you can better develop your powers of empathy and observation. Not only does this practice give the pleasure of stimulating your imagination and experiencing a good story, but it also helps you become more aware of what’s happening in life, improves the quality and restfulness of sleep, and actively works to lower your stress levels (even if you aren’t yet aware that you’re dealing with stress).

Engage in mindfulness practice

Similar to the benefits of reading, several mindfulness practices can offer a dual boost-increasing your awareness of possible stressors while helping to offset or balance their effects.

When we think of mindfulness, meditation is often the first thing that comes to mind. Other options include deliberately slowing down and avoiding multitasking to focus on the present; removing devices such as your phone or computer for some time each day; going out for a walk in green spaces to reconnect with nature; and moving your body regularly through a commitment to exercise, such as yoga.

Explore another perspective

Developing an increased sense of awareness doesn’t have to come entirely from your perceptions. It’s essential to explore other people’s perspectives and thereby gain feedback into what’s happening in your life, which you might never acquire on your own. Talk to the people you love and trust, who are in a position to observe you regularly; family, close friends, and longtime colleagues can offer valuable insights as to what might be changing or disrupting your life. While everyone might have a different opinion, and they can be wrong or right on various points, what matters is you maintain frequent conversations with your support network, so you can piece together a better overview of the big picture.

By practicing these techniques, you’ll become more closely attuned to what’s happening in your life each day. This will alert you to stressors and help you better manage the unwanted effects of stress before things get out of hand.

Five Easy Tips for a Glowing Skin

There is no need to shell out a huge amount of cash to achieve a glorious new look. Some of the tools you need are just around the house. Take a look at this guide for a couple of hair and skincare tips.

Glowing Skin

Give body contouring a try

Are you having problems with diet and exercise-resistant pockets of fat? If you find yourself nodding vigorously, check out CoolSculpting, a non-invasive fat reduction procedure. There is no need to worry because it is completely safe and FDA-approved. Controlled cooling is applied with the use of a handheld applicator. The treatment crystallizes fat cells. This causes them to die and be flushed out from the body.

CoolSculpting, which also goes by the name cryolipolysis, is approved for use in the thighs, arms, and abdominal area. Astudypublished in the journal of Clinical, Cosmetic and Investigational Dermatology in 2014 shows that there was a visible improvement in 86% of the people who were given the treatment. If you are curious about the procedure, local clinics and nearby areas will be able to help you out.

Hydration is the key

Are you going on a date or a night out with friends? Put on a face mask for around five to ten minutes so that your skin can soak in some antioxidants. If you are in a hurry, get a hydrating spray. Using a face mist can improve skin dryness within a few seconds. You can even do it without looking in the mirror. This makes it perfect for a last-minute retouch.

Skin needs everyday care

Get some eggs and essential oils

If your hair is dull and lifeless, do not despair because there is hope. Put two egg yolks on the strands of your hair and top it off with a palm full of shampoo. Leave it on for as long as twenty minutes, and then rinse it with water and dry off with a towel. Eggs are rich in lecithin, which will give your hair the shine that it needs.

It will also help if you use deep cleansing shampoo once a week. If you are uncomfortable with using eggs, give your hair a little luster with the use of essential oils. A mixture of jasmine and Ylang Ylang will work best. Doing this will rejuvenate your crowning glory.

Bronzer tricks

If you want your neck to look lean and have a well-defined jaw line, brush matte bronzer in the middle of the neck, the top of your chest, and along the jaw. This nifty trick will make your face look slimmer in photos.

For a slim-looking shoulder and neck area, put on some bronzer, and then shade and blend it onto the hollows of your collar bones. After doing this, apply translucent powder on the ridges of the collar bones and neck area. This tip will help you achieve the illusion of prominent collar bones.

See the difference with vitamin C

Are you looking for a solution for uneven skin tone? Put vitamin C serum on affected areas to get glowing skin. It works fine on its own, but you can also pair it with an illuminator. Just apply the serum first and dab some illuminator on the skin.

As you can see, you do not have to spend a lot of money just to look amazing. Now that you have gathered some ideas on how to improve your looks, try some of them the next time you get out of the house.

How Acts of Kindness Can Help You Grieve

An act of kindness

Grief is an intensely personal experience, with each of us having to find our own way to get through the worst days. There are, of course, methods recommended to help us. For some, formal counselling can provide us with a valuable sounding board and an expert to provide coping mechanisms. For others there’s comfort to be found in our families. However, one strategy that is too often overlooked is kindness. 

Kindness, applied in a variety of ways, can not only be of comfort to others — it can act as a salve for our own pain. But it can be difficult to know quite where to apply kindness, particularly at a time when we’re suffering. We’re going to take a look at a few key areas in which to place your energy, along with some suggested activities. 

Funeral Arrangements

Funerals can often be an overwhelming prospect. Many of us have little expertise in their arrangement, not to mention the fact that they tend to be costly affairs. At a time when grief is still fresh, being expected to enter into administrative activities can quickly become stressful and confusing for the immediate family of the deceased. This is also an area in which practical acts of kindness can help provide the family with space to experience their own grief, and help your own by directing your energies in a positive way.  .   

If you have financial expertise, or a head for numbers, assisting with planning for funeral costs can be valuable. While the key decisions — such as the choices between burial and cremation — are deeply personal and should be the choice of the immediate family, you can help research and outline cost effective strategies which also apply their wishes. If the budget is particularly tight, it may be prudent to gently introduce them to the idea of direct burial or cremation, which foregoes viewings but can significantly reduce the costs involved.

When offering to lend a hand with funeral arrangements, it’s important to understand that this ritual has an important role to play in the immediate family’s grieving process. The efforts they put into arranging a fitting tribute can help reflect the place their loved one held in their lives. Therefore, it’s wise and respectful to tread lightly. Don’t assume to take over aspects of arrangements. Approach in a manner that makes it clear you would like to help them achieve their goals for the funeral, and how you might be able to do this; but also allow them the space to refuse this if they feel it might be intrusive.

Memorialisation through Kindness

Kindness

Random acts of kindness are something of a buzz phrase of late, but they can have an important role to play in grief. These acts embody the meaning you attribute to them, and by connecting these acts to your memory of the deceased, you can undertake them in a way that would have also been meaningful to them.

Some approaches can include:

  • Paying it forward. Buying coffee for the next person in the queue at the deceased’s favourite coffee establishment.
  • Conservation. Spend a couple of hours alone or in a group cleaning their favorite stretch of beach or green area.
  • Creativity. Create a music playlist to share among friends with their favorite music, or create a photo album with pictures of their favorite images and memories.
  • Gifting. Take a moment to source a meaningful gift for a close friend of your loved one. It doesn’t necessarily have to be for an occasion such as a birthday or anniversary; but make it relevant to the relationship they shared. Personalized gifts can help memorialize their friendship with fondness and even humor. 
  • Donations. Perhaps to memorialize a child or parent, during the holidays make toy and clothing donations to children’s charities.
  • Helping those in need. Volunteer your time every so often to causes that were close to them, offer a helping hand to a stranger at the store in the way that you know your loved one would appreciate.
  • Community engagement. Tie your random acts of kindness to the interests of the deceased. If they enjoyed gardening, spend some time working at a community garden or mowing the lawn of a neighbor. If they were a sports fan, offer a couple of hours per week to help coach a local kids sports team. If they were a baker, bake some cookies for your office.

Increasingly, random acts undertaken in memorial of a loved one have been accompanied by a card. These cards often provide a little bit of information about who the deceased was, what kind of person they were, and why this random act would be important to them. This can help to solidify the idea for both yourself and the recipient that these acts have a deeper meaning than simple generosity, and can open up conversations that can also help you through the grieving process. 

Being Kind to Yourself

Finally, it’s important to acknowledge that kindness at a time of grief shouldn’t always be outward-looking. Too often, when we are applying acts of generosity and assistance we are entirely focused on how these can be applied to others. While this can be an honorable trait, by neglecting to also devote time for kindness to ourselves, we are deprived of important space to grieve and the opportunity to heal.

A regular focus on self-care is a key act of personal kindness that can help you through the grieving process. A couple of times each day, be sure to exercise mindfulness; take a quiet moment to check in with yourself, to honestly examine how you are coping, how your body and mind are feeling. Use this time to remind yourself that you are not expected to be superhuman, immune to the effects of the death of a loved one; exercise self-compassion.

Conclusion

Kindness cannot heal all wounds, and it can never cure the pain we feel at the loss of someone we were close to. However, it can provide a positive focus through which to remember the influence they had upon our lives and the lives of those around them. Whether this is in the immediate aftermath of the death, as frequent random acts, or simply taking time for ourselves, kindness can help us more effectively experience grief, and use it to do some good in the world.

Pueraria Mirifica For Female Health – Benefits and Risks

Starting around the early 20th century, Pueraria mirifica has been studied extensively by Buddist monks for its effects on health. In one of his works, the revered Buddist monk Suntara discussed the rejuvenating properties of the extract from Pueraria mirifica and dubbed it the “Fountain of Youth” for aging men and women.

Female Health

This effect of Pueraria Mirifica, also known as kwao krua kao, is likely based on the action of the shrub’s phytoestrogens. Phytoestrogens are plant-based compounds that mimic the action of estrogens—female sex hormones produced in the body. The most important phytoestrogens in Pueraria Mirifica are deoxymiroestrol and various isoflavones.

But why does mimicking estrogen lead to so many health benefits?

The Impact of Estrogens on Women’s Health

Being essential hormones, estrogens control a wide range of metabolic processes that are extremely important for women. Skin health, mental health, fertility, mood, weight management, even physical performance—all of these are just a few of the factors affected by estrogens.

When a woman approaches menopause (on average, that’s the age of 48-55 years) the ovaries start to wither and shrink, and gradually become unable to produce enough estrogens to meet the needs of the body.

This decrease in estrogen levels is the primary cause of many classic symptoms of menopause, such as vaginal dryness and itching, increased risk of infections, and reduced sex drive. During menopause women can also experience metabolic changes like bone weakness (osteoporosis), which are also caused by a drop in estrogens.

Postmenopausal osteoporosis is often called a silent disease for its ability to escape diagnosis in the early stages. Quite often, it takes a fracture to finally notice the issue!

Low estrogen levels can also cause an increase in LDL (“bad” cholesterol) and a decrease in HDL (“good” cholesterol). This imbalance is said to be the reason for the increased risk of heart attacks in postmenopausal women.

Menopause can also cause psychological issues like a loss of focus, increased irritability, and even depression. And, of course, the famous hot flushes and migraines are also tell-tale signs of low estrogen levels.

But enough with the bad news. Let’s see how Pueraria Mirifica helps menopausal women with these nasty issues!

Health Benefits of Pueraria Mirifica

Relieves symptoms of menopause

Phytoestrogens are plant-derived compounds that have a similar structure to the body’s own estrogens. As a result, they act as a natural alternative by interacting with the body’s estrogen receptors—especially when the body’s own production of female hormones goes down.

Plants Extracts are very effective medicines

That’s why clinical trials have shown that Pueraria mirifica extracts are very effective in reducing menopausal symptoms, including hot flushes and vaginal dryness.

Prevents Osteoporosis

Animal studies have shown that extracts from Pueraria Mirifica prevent osteoporosis and reduce the risk of fractures.

By activating estrogen receptors, phytoestrogens like flavonoids increase bone strength by activating cells called osteoblasts, which form new bone tissue.

Fights Aging

Many phytoestrogens are antioxidants—take flavonoids, for example. They reduce the levels of oxidative stress in the body, which is responsible for skin damage and other signs of aging.

Studies reported that flavonoids prevent skin damage caused by exposure to ultraviolet rays. In other words, they prevent skin aging, loss of skin elasticity, and wrinkling of the skin. Furthermore, they also show anti-inflammatory properties that support wound healing.

Phytoestrogens also promote breast tissue growth and reduce stretch marks in the bust area. Now, that’s a rejuvenating effect!

Has Anti-Cancer Potential

While more research is needed to figure out the details, initial studies have shown that some of the flavonoids in Pueraria mirifica have anti-cancer properties.

Having a structure similar to estrogen, flavonoids compete with the body’s more potent estrogens and block its binding to receptors. This inhibiting effect comes to play only when the body has adequate estrogen stores.

Therefore, isoflavones have shown potential in preventing hormone-related cancers like breast and cervical cancer in women, and prostatic cancer in men. Studies have shown that spinasterol isolated from the roots of Pueraria mirifica has anti-cancer effects on certain forms of cancer like cervical and ovarian tumors.

While it has been shown in multiple studies that Pueraria Mirifica may prevent hormone-dependent cancers, there’s research that states otherwise. That’s why Pueraria Mirifica isn’t recommended for women with a known increased risk of such diseases (for example, with a family history of breast or ovarian cancer). More studies are needed to sort out the matter, but the general opinion is that women without an increased risk for hormone-dependent cancers won’t experience any side effects from taking Pueraria Mirifica.

Also, skincare products with Pueraria Mirifica (creams and serums) are likely safe for anyone to use since they act locally and are absorbed into the blood in minuscule doses.

Reduces the Risk of Heart Diseases

As mentioned before, reduced estrogen stores during menopause causes an abnormal rise in LDL (“bad” cholesterol).

Isoflavones mitigate this imbalance between good and bad cholesterol in older women and may help to prevent cardiovascular diseases like heart attacks.

Prevents Cognitive Decline

Decreased estrogen stores are said to be a contributing factor in the development of Alzheimer’s disease. So, taking oestrogen could improve the course of the condition.

Some animal studies suggest that extracts from Pueraria mirifica may prevent cognitive decline when given at the appropriate time and in optimal doses.

These studies bring to light the potential use of kwao krua kao extracts for preventing Alzheimer’s disease.

Side effects

Being completely natural forms of estrogen, phytoestrogens derived from Pueraria mirifica have minimal to no side effects in recommended doses.

Pueraria Mirifica extracts can be considered as a safer alternative to hormone replacement therapy (HRT). After all, HRT may cause severe adverse effects such as stroke, heart disease, and blood clots.

Conclusion

Extracts from Pueraria mirifica have been used from ancient times to promote health in the aging population. They are useful in reducing menopausal symptoms as well as in preventing osteoporosis. In other words, it can help a LOT with the extreme discomfort that women face during this stressful period.

In general, Pueraria mirifica can be taken as a safer natural alternative to aggressive hormone replacement therapy. And still, just to be on the safe side, consider discussing the matter with your doctor before taking Pueraria Mirifca by mouth.

(Topical products are safe at all times, though!)

4 Simple Tips to Achieving Long, Healthy Hair Fast

Growing your hair can take a painstakingly long time. On average, your hair grows about half an inch per month; that is only six inches additional length after one year.

Long Hair

Although short hair will continue to be popular, there is no question that luscious long locks are making a comeback as shown by fashion icon Kim Kardashian. Luckily, there are ways that can help you achieve a Rapunzel-like crowning glory without waiting for an eternity.

What is in Your Shampoo

Your shampoo does not only remove excess oil and dirt from your scalp and strands. Some incorporate special ingredients that promote healthy hair and hair growth.

Consider moringa, a tree that grows primarily in Africa and Southeast Asia, as it has been popular within the health and beauty industry. In oil form, moringa is packed full of vitamins and minerals that are good for your body. It also contains nutrients that are known to stimulate hair growth.Using moringa shampoo for hair growth may help you get the long hair that you have always dreamed of.

Spread Your Natural Oils

Your scalp, much like the skin on your face, produce its own natural oil. While you think it makes your strands limp and boring, it is actually good for the overall health of your hair.

The reason why the top of your head becomes oily while the ends are dry might be because you are not brushing your hair correctly. Use a boar hair bristle brush which can evenly spread your natural oils from the roots to the tips.Moreover, whatever kind of brush you use, try to be as gentle as possible. Always start from the ends and make your way to the top. Do not, under all circumstances, pull hard to avoid any breakage that can further impede hair growth.

Get a Trim

It might seem counterproductive to get a hair cut when you are on the process of growing your hair long. However, there is one advantage in seeing your hairstylist every two to three months. Getting a hair cut removes all your split ends.

No matter how much you take care of your hair, split ends will naturally occur but it speeds the process when you regularly use heat or chemicals to style your crowning glory. If not addressed, split ends will creep up toward the roots and make your strands brittle.

A Healthy Diet

Your hair’s health depends on the kind of food you eat. You do not have to take supplements to boost the growth of your hair if you consume a varied and healthy diet.

Healthy Diet

If you want gorgeous long hair, you should eat food that is high in protein and biotin. Protein is the primary ingredient of your air follicles. Biotin, on the other hand, contributes to the production of keratin, a type of protein that makes up your hair and nails. Eggs are known as a great source of both protein and biotin.Other food items you should incorporate into your diet are spinach, sweet potatoes, nuts and seeds, beans, avocado, and berries.

Overall, if you want long hair, you have to give it the same attention as your skin and your body. Your crowning glory needs to be taken care of by using the right products and reducing heat or chemical styling as much as you can.