Menopausal women tend to lose confidence in themselves because of how their skin turns dry and wrinkled. They sometimes feel uncomfortable undressing in front of their spouses as they feel disgusted with the imperfections brought about by menopause on their skin. According to psychologist Kristina G. Gorbatenko-Roth, “The skin is the most noticeable part of our body that could be impacted by psychological factors, yet very few psychologists are studying it.”
(Enjoy The Life You Deserve)
We all have the right to feel good about ourselves. Each day is an opportunity to make things better and feel good about life. But sometimes due to neglecting our diet, we deprive ourselves of this and deny ourselves with the life we deserve.
According to Sona DeLurgio, Psy.D, LMFT, “Struggling with food and body appearance and becoming highly focused on changing it can lead to shame, depression, and unhealthy relationships with food and exercise.”
Stress has its way of taking a toll on our lives. And sometimes, it seems so hard to put an end to our stress because we have developed an addiction to it. We try to equate our level of stress as a gauge of our success, while in all actuality, stress blocks our happiness and wellbeing. According to Laurie Leinwand, MA, LPC, “Psychological resilience is the ability to adapt to life’s constant changes and cope with stress or adversity, such as a major tragedy, trauma, health problem, or some other life difficulty.”
I’ve been undergoing counseling for quite some time now for my depression and passive suicidal ideations, and one thing the counselor told me is that all men, without exception, are in search of happiness according to Blaise Pascal. People may have different ways, may take different paths, have different views about it, but their desire is just the same. It is the reason for our every action, even those who end up taking their own lives. Dr. Barbara Fredrickson has concluded that “positivity helps “broaden our ideas about possible actions, opening our awareness to a wider range of thoughts and actions than is typical.”
Some people try to look for happiness in their work, relationships, in school, in achievements, in the family, in religion, in spirituality, and those who failed to find it sometimes just give up out of feeling tired and frustrated. “Even when we have the things that “make us happy,” it’s a fragile happiness because we’re always at least half aware that we could lose the basis of our happiness,” shares Seth J. Gillihan Ph.D.
I am no different, for I too am in search of this elusive happiness. I have tried many ways to find it. Now that I’m in my menopausal age, happiness has become more and more hard to find.
Happiness In My Brain
Our brain produces four essential chemicals that are said to influence our happiness.
- Dopamine makes us high and happy, responsible for that “love at first sight” feeling.
- Serotonin puts us in a good mood, makes us feel good about ourselves, controls our appetite, memory, and sleep.
- Oxytocin is the love hormone, responsible for the maternal-infant bonding, regulates our ability to empathize, makes us feel generous. It increases when we are hugging, kissing, and especially during orgasm.
- Endorphins reduce our perception of pain and lessen stress, inducing feelings of pleasure or euphoria.
The release of these chemicals makes us happy which keeps us coming back and want more of the same feelings.
Apple Cider Vinegar For A Healthy Body And Mind
Apple cider vinegar is known to do a lot for our body, the very reason why many people make it a part of their daily diet.
It aids in weight loss, improves digestion, helps sustain bone mass to prevent arthritis and osteoporosis, relieves constipation, eradicates hiccups, and helps reduce inflammation. But besides your body benefits from the consumption of apple cider vinegar, it is also very beneficial to feeling happy and alleviating depression and stress.
Apple Cider Vinegar Cracks Chemicals For Our Happiness
Apple cider vinegar consumed before meals helps break down proteins to amino acids. These amino acids are responsible for the formation of hormones in our body, the tryptophan. Tryptophan plays a significant role in the release of our serotonin in the brain – remember our feel-good neurotransmitter mentioned earlier.
Serotonin enhances our mood and makes us feel relaxed. Serotonin is best in warding off the symptoms of depression and anxiety. The more serotonin is released, the lesser is our tendency to be depressed, the lesser tendency to have suicidal ideation and aggressive behavior.
Apple Cider Vinegar For Menopausal Women
According to my counselor, Eastern medicine believes that menopausal women (like me) experiencing depression is an indication of an immobile liver. The life is under stress when a woman reaches her menopausal stage, so it is essential to make sure that it is in its best condition to ward off depression, and a daily dose of apple cider vinegar is one best way to detoxify and cleanse it.
“Working effectively with stress requires taking control of our responsibility and our attitude,” says Alicia H. Clark, PsyD
An annoying cough that keeps you awake all night can cause you to be more irritable and stressed. Adding honey to apple cider vinegar can assist in decreasing the irritation caused by this tickling cough.
Put together two teaspoons of apple cider vinegar and two teaspoons of honey and place it on your bedside at night. You take a sip once you feel a tickling cough and feel instant relief.
Since counseling has introduced to me the many benefits of apple cider vinegar, I have been stirring in two teaspoons of apple cider vinegar in my water which I drink before my meals, and I can say it benefited me a lot. The feeling of happiness may come and go, and it may not only be because of the apple cider vinegar, but there are also other things that contribute to my happiness now. Nonetheless, I can say that it gives a kick in my mood when I don’t feel like doing things.
Apple cider vinegar may have tons of benefits to having a healthy body and mind, but its use should be in moderation. Because like any other, it also can have negative effects, especially if you have other diseases. Before considering using apple cider vinegar, be sure to consult your doctor first.
The trick is not what you take, but how much you take it.
What do France, Korea, and Japan have in common? Aside from having exquisite and delectable menus, these countries are said to have the lowest numbers of heart diseases all over the globe.
Social media brings out the best and worst in people. Here are ways to enjoy and manage the technological platform minus the stressful impact on your professional and personal life.
“Some benefits to improving resiliency include greater confidence, sense of personal power, and the capacity to reduce the fear and anxiety that often goes along with stress-provoking situations,” said Laurie Leinwand, MA, LPC.
Not Everything Is True
While social media is an excellent source of reliable day-to-day information about current events, it’s also the place where people throw in their garbage of lies. People who are obsessed with likes and appreciations are the ones who post fabricated or exaggerated details about themselves. A person’s profile is a reflection of their edited characterization of themselves to show the public that they are positively living their lives with general depictions of milestones, success, and happiness.
People who are not careful and mindful of what’s real and what’s not are often fooled into believing that everyone seems to be having a more prosperous, happier, and better life, whether it’s true or false. If updates on social media make you feel inferior, veer away from the platform and don’t forget to tell yourself that whatever you see is usually just a laboriously edited and distorted parcel of other people’s reality.
Jeremy Savage, MA, LPC said “The good news is that we can learn how to minimize and navigate stress by adopting specific skills.”
Binges and surfing are just some of the multitude of reasons why technology is considered as a revolutionary escape from daily stressors; however, attachment to the system can also nurture isolation. Increased use of social media has a negative impact on real-time relationships, romantic or not, by being physically present but mentally absent. Instead of giving significant consideration to the person you’re with, your mind is in too deep with what’s happening with everybody else updating their feeds and posting shallow announcement.
Put down your phone for a while and be courteous and respective enough of other people’s presence and time. Live the moment while you still have a group of people who are willing to stick around even if your attention is elsewhere; otherwise, you’ll find yourself being isolated and only having the company of your device.
“We think we just need to toughen up, and stop being so fragile,” said Daniela Paolone, LMFT.
Disable Notifications And Communicate Offline
Unless necessary, do not use social media to address a particular issue or to communicate with people. Don’t be that person who gets anxious whenever you hear your notification ringtone or when you see that blinking light just above your screen. Be less dependent on social media especially if it has something to do with communicating with other people. For example, if it’s somebody’s birthday, don’t be lazy by posting some random birthday greeting on your friend’s page. Instead, give that person a call. It’s more meaningful to hear somebody’s voice once in a while than just go through meaningless greetings and liking them one by one.
Yes, social media is called as such for the primary intention of reaching to other people. However, its purpose has now gone awry because it also cultivates negativity and animosity between people. Furthermore, social media is now flooded with useless information that it can fool people into thinking that what they’ve read are facts, not fakes.
The point is, if you log into your social media account less frequently, you’ll find it more rewarding to accomplish tasks and to talk to people genuinely.
Travel Without The Wi-Fi
When going beyond the comfort of your borders, make it a point that you don’t connect to the internet. Why else would you travel if you’ll just get stuck the entire day looking at your phone and being active on social media? Traveling is meant to be enjoyed in all its glory. When you’re in a different place, marvel at the structure, delight in the food, snap some shots, mingle with the people, and most importantly, appreciate your surroundings.
Don’t travel just for the sake of traveling; do it because you deserve a break from everything including the internet. Even if you get back to your hotel, refuse to look at your social media feed as it can just bring you down. For as long as you’re out there, might as well enjoy the view – social media can wait.
Don’t Be A Slave
By knowing how to handle your social media account, you are teaching yourself how to be an efficient and responsible individual who does not rely entirely on other people’s feeds and lives. Avoid falling deep into the hole of hate and self-pity. Do yourself a favor and stop endlessly scrolling through your timeline. Just take a moment to enjoy life minus the social media hype.
We need more highs in a world bombarded with lows.
Do you hear that? That’s the sound of seriousness and gloominess overtaking the world. Be immune from the weariness and doom with these ten outrageous ways to provoke laughter and happiness wherever you are. These are guaranteed effective and are 100% free from harmful chemicals. After all, laughter is perceived to be the most appropriate and effective medicine against medical conditions because it fights stress and increases a person’s happy hormones.
Warning: Jaw and cheek pain with breathing difficulty might ensue.
Enroll In A Laughing Yoga Class
When people hear the word “yoga” the first thing that would come to mind would be someone doing meditation along with a demonstration of exercises that lasts for an hour or two. However, with laughing yoga classes, you can disregard those pricey outfits and whispering because this type of yoga mainly focuses on inspiring contagious and genuine laughter.
If you ever hear someone laugh hysterically, there is a considerable chance that you’ll be laughing along with that person for no apparent reason; this is the core principle of laughing yoga with facts to back it up. According to studies, the brain does not discriminate laughter, whether it’s fake or not. Therefore, doing fake laughter, which is the central concept of laughing yoga, can elicit real laughter and will quickly tap into the brain’s response center to release hormones responsible for making the body feel better.
Use The Power Of Social Media
Apart from the toxic, stressful, spiteful side of social media, there are priceless funny and intelligent jokes, videos, and memes that can instantly extract laughter out of you. Today’s technological world requires people always to be connected to the Internet and somehow be productive. When you’re glued to your seat 40 hours a week, the best source of humor is social media where you can get the hilarious puns, vines, podcasts, videos and a whole lot more. According to John Duffy, PsyD, “Writing about negative emotions also helps.”
Talk To An Intelligent Personal Assistant
Alexa and Siri bring out the best and worst answers of all time. Most of the time, those worst answers are outrageously funny you don’t even know why you asked those questions in the first place. While these intelligent personal assistants are efficient in providing information, they are also equipped to make your day by offering a lot of entertaining elements. Ask Siri and Alexa for a joke, and you’ll be surprised how an interactive device can make you guffaw. Also, be as random as you can by asking silly questions like, “Who’s the fairest of them all?”
Joel Silverman, MA, LPC said “Recent studies have found that laughter is good for your heart, can reduce pain, lower blood pressure and strengthen your immune system. How many medications can make that claim!”
Not everyone is good at reading each other’s lips and watching someone struggle to understand what’s coming out of another person’s mouth is utterly entertaining. Try it out! What makes lip-reading funny is that people are so terrible at it, the words formed make no sense or may sound nasty. Do some scenes from movie clips, interviews, or political talks.
Make No Regrets With Failed Autocorrect
Let go of your OCD for a while and be spontaneous with your messages to family and friends. Allow autocorrecting to play with you. Just go along with it and stand by at the funny reactions that may come from your parents, partner, or friends. Typing something like, “Hon, I’ve picked up the chickens from school,” then finding out after you’ve sent the message that your autocorrect function betrayed you by doing its thing is a surefire way to snort at the horrible, ridiculous mistake.
Shana Mercer, M.Ed., LPC said “When you laugh, serotonin is released into the brain which elevates your mood for a few minutes.)”
Just because this world is ridden with problems and issues left and right doesn’t mean that you don’t have a lot of reasons to be ROFL-ing and LOL-ing every once in a while. If happiness is hard to find lately, there are a lot of reliable ways and resources where you can get it. Laughter need not be complicated or expensive; it’s entirely free and conveniently available so make the most of it.
Though it’s an uphill battle, it’s a battle you can win.
When saying “no” is not enough, there are still a couple of ways to start your journey towards cleaner lungs and a smoke-free existence.
Create Your Love And Hate List
Similar to a pros and cons list, your love and hate list is more personal; noting down the things that you love and hate about smoking. Writing down your thoughts on a piece of paper about your smoking habits will give you a better perspective on how far gone you are on your addiction.
Be honest about the things that you despise – for example, how smoking interferes with your mental focus, how it severely affects your physical well-being, and how it has created a rift between family, friends, and co-workers. On the other hand, jot down the positive impacts of smoking in your life like how it relaxes your mind or whatever made you continue opening those pack of cigarettes.
Does your hate outweigh your love or is it vice versa? The moment you recognize how adversely smoking has personally done to you, it’s a vivid sign that you are quitting.
TRIVIA: “We see the end result in older people, but we know that people who smoke start before they turn 17, and that is when the disease process begins, which makes these pediatric illnesses.” – Amy V. Lukowski, PsyD.
Create A List Of Why Quitting Is Hard
Be as comprehensive as you can be, even if what you’re writing becomes somewhat discouraging and disconcerting. One of the primary reasons why people have a hard time quitting is because they just see the reasons why it’s hard and not the things that can counter those reasons.
So here’s what you’re going to do: Opposite each reason, think of options on how to overcome that hindrance. For example, if you wrote that smoking is a form of stress reliever, you can respond on the opposite side that you can meditate or do walks instead. There are a lot of sound techniques to manage your stress and smoking is most certainly not one of them.
When smoking addicts look forward to the challenges connected to quitting, it’s easier to find an appropriate solution to help you fight the habit and be successful in your goal.
According to Amy Lukowski, PsyD, “Nicotine is highly addictive and is associated with cardiovascular disease, birth defects, lung infections. Inhaling nicotine stimulates production of saliva and phlegm, increases heart rate and blood pressure, elevates serum cholesterol levels, promotes blood clot formation, and aids in plaque formation in the cardiovascular system.”
Note Down What To Do When Your Craving Arises
Without a to-do list, people often find themselves aggressively needing to quench their thirst for nicotine. Here are some suggestions to satisfy your craving immediately without turning to that one stick of cigarette.
- Walking, jogging, hiking, or biking
- Taking your dog for a stroll
- Drink water or tea
- Do household chores
- Take a nap
- Brush your teeth and wash your face
- Chew some gum
- Practice deep breathing
- Have sex
You can add more to the list for as long as the activities will keep your mind off of thinking about smoking. Bring this list everywhere you go so that when the craving starts, you know how to retaliate healthily.
Vaughn I. Rickert, PsyD said “Although only 5% of daily smokers enrolled in high school think that they will be smoking in 5 years, 75% of these adolescents still smoke 5 to 7 years later.”
Throw Away Smoking Paraphernalia And Memorabilia
Do not keep anything that reminds you of smoking as it will serve as a trigger to continue with your bad habit. Smoking paraphernalia includes boxes of full or empty cigarettes, ashtrays, matches, cigarette holders, and even car lighters. They will serve as a temptation that can easily lure you and convince you to smoke just this once. In other words, break up with your habit because it’s toxic and destructive.
Always consider those who will be severely affected by your smoking habits, especially your family. Think of how your addiction directly affects their physical and mental health through secondhand smoke. Furthermore, remind yourself of how smoking has ruined the majority of your life.
If you find yourself relapsing, just start all over again because if you fail the first time, there’s always a second, a third, a fourth, and the list goes on until you get it right. Just be determined and know why you’re doing this and who you’re doing this for.
Some days are incredibly mundane. These are the days we have nothing special planned, no occasions to attend after work or deadlines to meet. The absence of special events or daunting deadlines also brings a lack of stressors. During these days, we should feel relaxed and unpressured.
However, people who typically have busy days with their plate full of tasks have issues with ordinary days. Are you the kind of person who develops panic and anxiety because a day without deadlines scares you? There is a huge possibility you are a stress junkie.
Stress junkies feel off when they’re not stressed with work. They crave the busyness and long list of assignments to accomplish for the day. Sometimes, a stress junkie’s rest day turns into a waste of a holiday.
Laurie Leinwand, MA, LPC said “Increased resiliency can improve someone’s life by enabling them to move through transitional phases or stressful situations with greater ease.”
Why Are Stress Junkies Like This?
Psychologists suggest that stress junkies’ goal is productivity: having more work done means higher productivity. This assumption is a complete misconception. Productivity does not equate to the quantity of work but to the quality outputs and efficient use of resources like time and energy.
We need to break this toxic habit of punishing ourselves on ordinary days. There’s nothing wrong with it at all! What’s wrong is people’s hungry pursuit of wanting to become their idea of productive.
Casey Radle, LPC said “When we are in distress and lack feelings of safety, our thinking brain is hijacked by our emotional limbic system and we move into primitive drives to fight or flight.”
Breaking The Cycle
Proper Mind-Setting: Goals and Priorities
Visualize the life you want to lead. Think of your priorities—a balanced lifestyle, a stable career, and good relationships. Regardless of what our goals are, stress is an unhealthy practice that hampers our progress from achieving them. Moreover, too much stress can have adverse effects on our emotional and mental health, as well as on our physical and social well-being.
Let’s get rid of the mindset that stress helps us grow. It is a passing feeling that makes us feel productive but otherwise destroys other aspects of growth. Instead, focus on long-term goals and the sustainable lifestyle that can have a significant impact on your well-being.
Jeremy Savage, MA, LPC said “Mindfulness is a helpful skill to learn because it lets you observe these “uncomfortable thoughts, feelings and physical sensations without judgment.”
Mindful Social Media Use
In this digital age, people have developed an unhealthy habit of competing with other people on social media. Sourcing social acceptance and affirmation on social currencies such as likes and comments can be dangerous.
We spend a considerable part of our day scrolling through social media. Subconsciously or not, we start comparing ourselves to people’s feeds online. When you catch yourself thinking negative thoughts about yourself or others, stop it. According to psychologists, limiting your social media use to 30 minutes per day can improve your mental health.
Start eating healthy. When people are stressed, they either eat too much or too little. Strike a balance by eating the prescribed amount of vegetables, carbs, and proteins every day. This practice means no skipping of meals. Eating food rich in Omega 3 protects your brain from having too much cortisol when under stress. Taking vitamin C also reduces the feeling of anxiety.
A strong enabler of stress is coffee. Unfortunately, caffeine will only make you feel more anxious. Cut back on the caffeine and try replacing it with a soothing cup of chamomile tea instead.
Building habits requires a commitment to a routine. The tricky part is starting. Replace chasing stress with building a healthy lifestyle. Once a rhythm develops, facing ordinary days gets easier for stress junkies. Remember: quantity is not productivity; it is the quality of life.
[A Splash Into The Pool]
There were days when I used to be so self-conscious that I don’t want to leave my home. I even pretend to be sick, though more often I was, just so that my mother will allow me to miss my class. I barely make friends. Usually, I would just sit on a bench and pretend that I was reading books, but the truth is, I was observing how good the cheerleaders were as they were practicing their stunts. Deep inside me, I was so jealous of them, and I was drowning in my own insecurities. How were they able to maintain those figures?