If you’re having trouble sleeping, but you want to avoid sleeping pills, you’re in for some good news. A new study by Dr. Bryan Raudenbush, assistant professor of Psychology at Wheeling Jesuit University in Wheeling, West VA, has found a natural way to help you sleep better. He conducted a study in which he introduced the scent of jasmine into a room where some of his participants were sleeping. Those who were exposed to the scent performed better on cognitive tests the next day, and they also displayed less anxiety when approaching their daily tasks than those who slept in odorless rooms. The scented group didn’t necessarily sleep more, but they did sleep better. This is great news because depression, anxiety, and stress — all very common among divorcing people — are some of the top culprits in causing insomnia. “Divorce is an anxiety-ridden time, thus people are going to sleep less well and wake up more during the night,” says Raudenbush. He chose jasmine because it’s known to be relaxing, but he believes that other relaxing scents, such as lavender, can do the trick as well.
So try products such as The Body Shop’s Lavender Breeze room spray or home fragrance oil in your bedroom, and settle in for a good night’s sleep.
De-stress with Yoga
You’ve probably heard about the health benefits of yoga: it can reduce stress, help you sleep better, and help you achieve good muscle tone. But did you know that yoga can help you survive your divorce? Rod Stryker is one of the preeminent yoga and meditation teachers in the U.S. and a Yoga instructor for Gaiam, a company that offers goods and services for personal development and healthy lifestyles. He is currently going through a divorce, and he says yoga can help you through this difficult time because it allows you to unwind and release tension from body and mind. Rod believes yoga gives you “a sense of perspective when you become consumed by present circumstances,” it reminds you “to keep an open mind and to not judge yourself for feeling stressed,” and it helps you “to achieve a clarity of mind and feeling of peace” that is useful for dealing with all the emotions you experience during a divorce, including loss, sadness, anger, and stress. As soon as your doctor approves it, you can take a course or practice yoga in your own home with the help of video- or audio-tapes. Gaiam’s Stress Relief Yoga with Suzanne Deason is a 20-minute workout that can help you wash away daily stress, release tension, and become more able to deal with the challenges in your life. The A.M. and P.M. Yoga tapes each offer a 20-minute workout that help you awaken your body and mind in the morning, and balance and calm you at the end of the day. Beautifully filmed and easy to follow, these tapes are ideal for anyone who wants to relax and refresh body and mind.
Managing stress doesn’t happen overnight, but every little step helps, so if you only have five minutes to stretch or focus on your breathing, do it anyway! It will increase your ability to roll with the punches. For more information about Gaiam’s products, visit www.gaiam.com or call (800) 254-8464.
Let Your Inner Light Shine
Your complexion says a lot about your emotional and physical states. A healthy diet and lifestyle are the best beauty-boosters, but there are some new skin-care products that offer a helping hand. Hailed as the first anti-dull skin hydrating care treatment, Vichy Laboratories’ Oligo 25 rejuvenates the complexion by activating microcirculation within the skin. For the complexion to “glow,” microcirculation must be active so that light takes on a new color when it comes into contact with micro-vessels in your face. “When you’re stressed, the body’s blood vessels constrict and become smaller,” explains Vincent Lemieux, Product Manager for Vichy Laboratories. “This prevents the right amount of light from being reflected on the skin’s surface and the skin’s rosy color fades.” Oligo 25 works to repair such damage by blocking the contraction of micro blood vessels that cause the skin to look dull as well as stimulating natural exfoliation to even out the complexion. Think you’re glowing already? Log on to www.oligo25.com and check your “interactive complexion barometer.”
If you want even quicker results, try Lancome’s Photogenic Ultra Comfort Skin Illuminating Make-up, an innovative foundation whose light-diffusing spherical powders and light-reflecting flat powders control and soften the light to even up the complexion and give the skin maximum luminosity. Or you can sweep on some of Revlon’s Skinlights Face Illuminator Powder, a skin-brightening loose powder whose unique formula features light-reflective crystal color and skin-enhancing minerals to instantly brighten skin, soften flaws, and boost radiance.
Take a Stress Pill
Despite our best intentions, most of us don’t eat a balanced diet. As Dr. Luke Bucci, vice-president of research for Weider Nutrition International points out, nerve-racking times such as separation or divorce often lead to bad eating habits, including munching on lots of junk food. Stress also depletes the body of vitamins and minerals — including vitamin B and magnesium, which are essential for a healthy heart and nervous system as well as energy production.The B vitamins are responsible for the production of hormones in the body, including serotonin, the “happy” hormone, says Dr. Penny Kendall-Reed, spokesperson for Jamieson Laboratories.
Supplements can help restore good health and boost the ability to resist the ill effects of stress, so ask your doctor to recommend a good multivitamin. “To spot a good multivitamin, look at the chromium and selenium amounts: they should be 120 mcg or more for chromium, and 70 mcg or more for selenium,” advises Dr. Bucci. “If both criteria are satisfied, you can be assured that whoever designed the product knew what they were doing.” According to Dr. Kendall-Reed, the ideal anti-stress supplement “should include small doses of all vitamins and minerals, with, on average, 50-100 mg of each of the B vitamins, 15 mg of zinc, 500 mg of vitamin C, as well as extra calcium/magnesium.” She recommends Jamieson’s Stress Ease or StressPlex, both of which contain extra zinc and vitamins B and C.
According to Dr. Bucci, some natural stress-busters include Theanine, which is found in green tea, and herbs such as valerian, chamomile, and passionflower leaves.
Taking supplements doesn’t mean that you should stop trying to follow a healthy diet. Make an appointment with your doctor and/or a professional nutritionist and ask for a diet plan custom-made to suit your unique needs.
In 12 Simple Secrets of Happiness: Finding Joy in Everyday Relationships (Prentice Hall Press, 2000), Glenn Van Ekeren discusses how making simple changes to your behavior and to the way you treat other people can help you create a happier, more positive environment for yourself. Van Ekeren says that “the ability or inability to cultivate quality relationships is a choice,” and it frequently depends on “those simple, but often forgotten, accumulations of little things that contribute to building our relationships into what we want them to become.” The following are the 12 “secrets” that Van Ekeren believes will help you achieve this happier state:
- Generosity. Being generous means continually searching for ways to make other people’s lives better. When you give, says Van Ekeren, “the rewards are usually greater than either party expected.”
- Hope. It’s important to encourage others and build hope, instead of “nit-picking and fault-finding” because of a desire “to make people what we want them to be rather than appreciating them for who they are.”
- Kindness. “Never forget that a person’s spirit is easily crushed,” warns Van Ekeren. “Let people know how much you care for them before ever offering corrective advice,” and hold your tongue if you are criticizing them to make yourself feel better.
- Friendship. Friendship isn’t limited to your close friends, but should be extended to everyone you encounter. Think about how others feel, show an interest in their welfare, and always maintain a positive attitude.
- Empathy. What you send out often comes back to you, so try to meet other people’s needs, and you’ll find your needs will be met as well.
- Love. “People’s needs are not inconveniences, irritations, or a disruption to our comfortable lifestyles. Needs are opportunities to share a portion of ourselves, to stretch our ability to give, and to sharpen our ability to become others-minded.”
- Forgiveness. If you’re having trouble forgiving someone, try expressing your feelings in writing. It may help you to achieve resolution and leave your anger in the past, where it belongs.
- Acceptance. “Permit people to be who they are — not what they could be, should be, or would be if only they listened to you. Accept the imperfections and celebrate each person’s individuality,” advises Van Ekeren.
- Understanding. People often get frustrated with each other simply because they don’t understand one another. Take the time and initiative to think about what people need, and you might just end up speaking their language.
- Encouragement. “A word of encouragement during a failure is worth more than a whole load of praise after a success,” says Van Ekeren. “You can be the distributor of hope that propels someone past the present burden and into future possibilities.”
- Communication. Don’t listen selectively or pay attention only to what you agree with. Hear the whole message before making assumptions that may block your understanding of the other person’s perspective.
- Gratitude. Take the time to show the people in your life how much you value them. “People want to believe their efforts deserve praise,” remarks Van Ekeren, “and they are willing to go to great lengths to receive it.”
Although they’re all important, forgiveness is key for separated and divorced people. If you remain angry at the person who hurt you, you’re helping them to continue to wreak havoc on your life, says Van Ekeren. “By not reliving the situation over and over, you will gain peace and victory over the incident.”
So decide what kind of relationships you want to have and follow these 12 simple secrets to help you get there — you’ll be doing yourself and the people in your life a big service! This wonderful little book is available at better bookstores; visit www.Amazon.com for more information.
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