THIS FRUIT CAN HELP REDUCE YOUR STRESS LEVELS NATURALLY

HERE ARE 5 WAYS TO USE IT

This fruit can help reduce your stress levels naturally—here are 5 ways to use it

Wouldn’t it be great if a magical food existed that could miraculously make you feel like you just got an at-home massage? While that unicorn unfortunately doesn’t exist, a certain red fruit comes close.

Which one, you’re wondering? Sweet cherries—specifically, Northwest-grown sweet cherries. Thanks to being high in serotonin (studies show that not having enough serotonin may be linked to increased stress) summer’s favorite stone fruit could help you keep your cool, in more ways than one.

On the same note, a good night’s sleep never hurt anyone’s mood: “Cherries are naturally rich in melatonin, the chemical that helps to regulate the sleep-wake cycle and might even help to tame irritability,” says nutritionist and author Bonnie Taub-Dix, RDN.

And stress-busting is just one of the benefits of sweet cherries. “Cherries have been shown to reduce inflammation which could play a role in promoting heart health and in helping speed up recovery after exercising,” she says.

Plus, one serving gives you three grams of fiber, which can help fuel gut bacteria and support a healthy immune system, Taub-Dix says. Cherries have also been shown to reduce oxidative stress in the body, and with their antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties may also help with symptoms of arthritis. Oh hey, super fruit.

Now that you know all about the benefits of sweet cherries, keep scrolling for five delicious ways to eat them.

benefits of sweet cherries

Double-down on baking

Odds are you’ve realized lately just how helpful stress-baking can be for your mood, and with cherries as a star ingredient, you can take the chill vibes one step further.

Add cherries to the stay-at-home dessert du jour with Taub-Dix’ Banana Cherry Berry Bread or take a stab at a classic cherry pie. Because they’re naturally sweet, cherries can sweeten all sorts of baked goods from bars to cobblers to crumbles without having to add much sugar, Taub-Dix says.

Dry cherries to enjoy later

While we all might wish sweet cherry season was longer than a few months, it is possible to enjoy them year-round. Simply dry cherries by cutting them in half, removing the pits, then bake them for at least six hours at 140 degrees, and you’ve got yourself a sweet, slightly sticky snack to eat plain, add to salads, or bake into your fave dish. Raisins, who?

Upgrade your snack plate

You might not think of cherries as a charcuterie board staple, but the stone fruit is a surprising element that can really take your smorgasbord-style snack or dinner to the next level. Taub-Dix pairs fresh cherries with ricotta cheese and chopped nuts for a delicious and filling snack (brb, drooling), which—thanks to all the cherries you’re going to dry—you can munch on through every season.

benefits of sweet cherries

DIY fresh jam

If you want a fresh, homemade yogurt or toast topper, just go the jam route. When you DIY your own cherry jelly, you control how much added sugar you put into your jar. File jam-making under your weekend plans—or, if you don’t have the time right now…

Freeze ’em for treats

“You can’t have too many cherries,” says Taub-Dix, who recently used frozen cherries to make this cherry-chia jam. “But if you do buy more than you can consume, you can pit and freeze cherries and use them in smoothies and jams well after their sweet season ends.”

Heads up: Cherry season is only a couple months (shorter than most fruits’), so stock up in July while you have the chance. That way, you’ll always have them on hand for a Cherry Lime Smoothie. Once you taste it, you’ll want to keep a bag of frozen cherries in your freezer for, like, ever.

Photos: Northwest Cherries

Article by Wellandgood.com

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Do You Have Low Serotonin Levels?

Hello readers, I’m not sure about this information or what the site is selling. I have posted the article because I felt it might benefit people who are having the symptoms expressed in the article. When in doubt, talk to your doctor about how you are feeling and what can be done to begin feeling better. All the best. DH

serotonin, Do You Have Low Serotonin Levels?

serotonin, Do You Have Low Serotonin Levels?

Natural Strategies to Boost Serotonin Levels

  1. Healthy Sun Exposure: The sunlight stimulates serotonin production.  The best time for this is in the morning and around the middle of the day.  Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is due to a lack of sunlight exposure that dramatically lowers serotonin production (12).
  2. Get in the Dirt: Microbes in the soil have been shown to increase serotonin levels.  This is why gardening is one of the best hobbies for your mood.  Going to the beach and getting in the sand works great too! (13)
  3. Regular Exercise: Get moving!  Walking, running and resistance training all help to boost up serotonin levels.  Exercise beats anti-depressant meds in every clinical trial.
  4. Cultivate Gratitude: Focusing on positive thoughts has been shown to increase the brain’s serotonin levels.  Decide to stay upbeat in spite of your circumstances.
  5. Prayer and Meditation: Focused breathing, empathy and the ability to control your thoughts through meditation and prayer will help you make life so much more enjoyable.

serotonin, Do You Have Low Serotonin Levels?

Source: DrJockers.com

June is PTSD Awareness Month

Learn. Connect. Share. Raise PTSD Awareness, June

Help Raise PTSD Awareness

There are currently about 8 million people in the United States with PTSD.

Even though PTSD treatments work, most people who have PTSD don’t get the help they need. June is PTSD Awareness Month. Help us spread the word that effective PTSD treatments are available. Everyone with PTSD—whether they are Veterans or civilian survivors of sexual assault, serious accidents, natural disasters, or other traumatic events—needs to know that treatments really do work and can lead to a better quality of life.

What are the symptoms of PTSD?
There are 4 types of PTSD symptoms, but they may not be exactly the same for
everyone. Each person experiences symptoms in their own way.


Reliving the event
Unwelcome memories about the trauma can come up at any time. They can
feel very real and scary, as if the event is happening again. This is called a
flashback. You may also have nightmares.
Memories of the trauma can happen because of a trigger — something that
reminds you of the event. For example, seeing a news report about a disaster
may trigger someone who lived through a hurricane. Or hearing a car backfire
might bring back memories of gunfire for a combat Veteran.


Avoiding things that remind you of the event
You may try to avoid certain people or situations that remind you of the event.
For example, someone who was assaulted on the bus might avoid taking
public transportation. Or a combat Veteran may avoid crowded places like
shopping malls because it feels dangerous to be around so many people.
You may also try to stay busy all the time so you don’t have to talk or think
about the event.

Having more negative thoughts and feelings than before
You may feel more negative than you did before the trauma. You might be
sad or numb — and lose interest in things you used to enjoy, like spending
time with friends. You may feel that the world is dangerous and you can’t trust
anyone. It may be hard for you to feel or express happiness, or other positive
emotions. You might also feel guilt or shame about the traumatic event itself. For example, you may wish you had done more to keep it from happening.


Feeling on edge
It’s common to feel jittery or “keyed up” — like it’s hard to relax. This is called
hyperarousal. You might have trouble sleeping or concentrating, or feel like
you’re always on the lookout for danger. You may suddenly get angry and
irritable — and if someone surprises you, you might startle easily.
You may also act in unhealthy ways, like smoking, abusing drugs and alcohol, or driving aggressively.

Why get treatment for PTSD?
Treatment works.
There are many treatment options for PTSD.
For many people, these treatments can get rid of symptoms altogether. Others find they have fewer symptoms or feel that their symptoms are less intense.
After treatment, most people feel they have a better quality of life.

Common questions about treatment
Can a therapist really understand what I’ve been through?
Therapists can treat your PTSD whether or not they have been through trauma
themselves. What’s important is that your therapist understands how you think about your experience, so she can teach you the skills you need to manage your symptoms.

Is it ever too late to get treatment for PTSD?
It’s never too late. Treatment can help even if your trauma happened years ago. And treatment for PTSD has gotten much better over the years. If you tried treatment before and you’re still having symptoms, it’s a good idea to try again.

There is a wealth of information available in the booklet that I have linked to below. If you think you may have symptoms of PTSD, there is a questionaire to fill out. Also, a description of what PTSD therapy is and how it can help you manage your stress. Please have a look. Do it today. And remember, you are not alone !

https://www.ptsd.va.gov/publications/print/understandingptsd_booklet.pdf

11 Little Mental Health Tips That Therapists Actually Give Their Patients

It’s like free therapy.  This time of year, who couldn’t use a little therapy, free or otherwise !
By Korin Miller and Self.com

MentalHealth

The goal of therapy is to give you the tools and strategies for navigating whatever is going on in your life—from stress or relationship issues to managing a mental health diagnosis. But a therapist isn’t going to just hand over some life-changing advice and call it a day.

“Most of the work of therapy happens outside the consultation room,” licensed clinical psychologist Alicia H. Clark, Psy.D., tells SELF. “The best progress happens when you apply what you’ve learned outside that setting, in your real life.”

The good news: This means that you have the power to enact real change in the way you think, behave, and cope on a daily basis. But you need to put in the work.

“There are 168 hours in a week,” licensed clinical psychologist John Mayer, Ph.D., author of Family Fit: Find Your Balance in Life, tells SELF. “It would be terribly arrogant on the part of a therapist to believe that your one-hour intervention will suffice to keep your clients mentally healthy for the rest of the 167 hours.”

But, we get it, therapy isn’t always accessible to everyone. So, while this isn’t meant to be a substitute for professional help, we asked mental health professionals to share the most impactful and least intimidating strategies that they typically give to their patients. If you’re looking for mental health advice that you can start acting on immediately, try some of these tactics:

1. Actually try writing your thoughts down.

Venting is awesome for a reason—it helps you get out your frustrations. That’s one of the reasons why it can be helpful to keep a mental health journal, David Klow, licensed marriage and family therapist, founder of Chicago’s Skylight Counseling Center and author of the upcoming book You Are Not Crazy: Love Letters from Your Therapist, tells SELF.

You don’t need to do anything in-depth or lengthy—just take five minutes or so a day to write down your thoughts, feelings, or ideas. This can be especially helpful if you want to keep track of changes in your moods or behavior over time (maybe to discuss with a therapist later). But it can also just be a place to work through something in a private, non-judgey space—something that you may not feel comfortable talking about just yet.

2. When you’re super stressed and overwhelmed, see if there’s any way to put a positive spin on it.  Stress happens, and it always sucks on some level—whether you’re overworked or overbooked or both.

Still, Dr. Clark says you can take those moments when you’re totally overwhelmed and try to look for the good in them. For example, if you’re stressed because you’re up against an intense work deadline, think about how that stress is actually helping to push you to get it done. “The sensation of pressure doesn’t have to be negative—it can be a positive challenge and motivating,” Dr. Clark says. Or, if you don’t have a free weekend to yourself in the next two months, consider how it’s pretty great that you’ve got such a rich social life these days. In many cases, it’s all about how you view it.

And, of course, if you’re chronically stressed and there really isn’t an upside, consider viewing that as a welcome warning sign that you need to find ways to scale back before you burn out.

3. Plan to take daily, low-key walks (and actually do them).

Sometimes you just need to step away from what you’re doing or dealing with and get some air. Sure, getting regular exercise is important for mental health, but even just taking regular, relaxing walks can be soothing for your mind. Plus, it may literally force you to take a breather when you need one.

“Getting out into the world and connecting with life is usually healing, as is the rhythmic nature of walking,” Klow says. “It can help get you out of your head and into the world.” Try taking a walk when you first get up or after dinner, or try scheduling 20 minutes into your work calendar to remind you to just step out for a bit.

4. Counter negative thoughts with positive ones.

Negative thoughts are just a part of life, but they don’t have to consume you. Instead of trying to ignore those thoughts altogether, try countering them with positive statements, suggests Dr. Mayer. For example, if you’re feeling anxious and regretful about staying in bed til noon one day, follow that with a reminder that you really needed some extra rest and alone time this week. You can get back out there tomorrow.

5. Make a list of “your people.”

You know the ones—these are the people you know you can always call, text, or email when you need to feel a connection, Klow says.

“By building a list of people that you trust, with whom you can talk to in times of need, you allow yourself a strong sense of not being alone,” he says. The next time you’re struggling, check out your list and reach out to someone on it. Then, work your way down if someone you love isn’t free to talk.

6. When you’re stuck in a negative thought spiral, write down two good things.

It’s hard to think of anything else when you’re really upset or frazzled, so this exercise is mostly about hitting pause and broadening your focus.

Just think of two or three positive things in your life in this moment—something that brings you joy, something you’re proud of, someone who loves you. This can help ease your feelings of angst and frustration, Dr. Clark says. “Gratitude is something I work with people to cultivate especially when life feels overwhelming and negative,” she adds. Even being thankful for a hot shower can help you reset.

7. Have a self-care arsenal.

Everyone has certain things or coping mechanisms that give them a boost when they’re feeling crappy, and you might not even realize what yours are, Klow says. Maybe it’s taking a bath, watching that one YouTube clip, putting on the sweatpants with three different holes in them, whatever. Just make sure whatever it is, it’s accessible when you really need it.

8. Talk back to your inner voice.

Everyone has an inner voice, i.e. the way you talk to yourself in your head or out loud. But sometimes that voice can be cruel—even though it’s ultimately dictated by you. It can tell you that you’re a failure or convince you to stress about something that you have absolutely no control over. “Most people have a loud inner critic which makes their life more stressful,” Klow says. “Learning to have a reassuring and soothing inner voice can make a big difference in improving your mental health.”

Obviously that’s easier said than done, but here’s a good place to start: When your inner voice is giving you really crappy freedback and advice, stop and consider how you would talk to your best friend in this situation. Then try to adjust your inner voice to talk like that. Chances are you wouldn’t tell your friend she’s doing everything wrong and everyone hates her. You’d probably tell her she’s overreacting, that she has no reason to think these things, and that she should focus on what she can actually control in the situation.

9. Ask yourself “and then what?” when you’re stuck on an anxious thought.

Ruminating over something that’s making you anxious isn’t going to achieve anything. But you can help push your thought process forward by forcing yourself to think ahead, Dr. Clark says. “This helps elucidate thoughts that are reasonable, probable, or sometimes even rational,” she says.

For example, if you keep worrying that you’re going to lose your job, ask yourself what would happen if that were the case. That might seem terrifying at first (you’d be strapped for money, you could lose your apartment, it could impact your relationship, etc.) but then follow those thoughts—what would happen next? Maybe you would look for a new job, find a cheaper apartment, take out a loan. Eventually your thoughts should come around to reasonable solutions to your biggest worries. You might even realize that these scenarios—while certainly anxiety-inducing—are highly unlikely to come to pass.

10. Think about your alcohol habits and whether you could stand to cut back a little.

Your alcohol intake doesn’t just impact your physical health—it affects your mind, too. So it’s important to consider your drinking habits when you’re aiming to improve your mental health, says Dr. Clarke.

If you find that you’re typically drinking more when you’re feeling depressed or anxious, or that you end up feeling worse whenever you drink, try cutting back on how much you have and how often you have it. Keeping a log of your drinking and your emotions before and after might also be helpful.

11. Have a bedtime ritual.

Quality sleep is a crucial part of your mental health, but it can be especially hard to come by when you’re struggling with anxious or depressed thoughts. So do everything you can to try to quiet your thoughts before you get into bed.

Since it’s unlikely you’re going to solve anything overnight, Dr. Clark recommends pressing pause on your thoughts and trying to get a solid night of sleep before diving back into things. That might include writing down anything you’re worried about so that you can get back to it tomorrow—and stop thinking about it now.

You can also look for winding-down activities that won’t work against you (the way staring at your phone or Netflix might), like coloring, journaling, or reading (as long as you set a stopping point in advance).

The bottom line: There are a number of small but impactful ways to improve your mental health every day.

Of course, this list is no substitute for getting help from a licensed mental health professional who can walk you through individual strategies that can help you. But hopefully this gave you a few ideas that you can use the next time you’re feeling overwhelmed. Remember, don’t be afraid to reach out for help if you need it.

If you or someone you know is struggling with a mental health disorder, visit the National Alliance on Mental Illness website for valuable resources to find help and support, or call the toll-free helpline at 1-800-950-NAMI (6264).

Great tips for living in a stressed out world.  Thanks to Korin Miller for this article.

https://www.self.com/story/11-little-mental-health-tips-that-therapists-actually-give-their-patients