Lifestyle Vibes
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Stress is a part of everyday life. We stress out over our jobs, our friends, and our families, which is normal. However, the amount of stress we feel can have a negative impact on our bodies as a whole, and no part of the body is immune to its effects.

We can’t do away with stress completely, as a little bit of stress is a good thing. During a fight or flight situation, stress allows us to make decisions on the fly, ignore certain actions that aren’t useful in the present moment, and ultimately deal with a tough situation. But too much stress can lead to anxiety, heart disease, headaches, digestive issues, insomnia, or a loss in concentration. Over-stressing isn’t good.

Here are seven signs you’re too stressed out, and don’t even know it.

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1. Digestive Issues

Medical experts believe that there is a direct connection between the brain and the digestive system, which means stress wreak havoc on your stomach. If you’ve been having digestive issues, it could be because you’re over-stressing about a tough situation at work, home, or within your personal relationships.

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2. Regular Colds or Infections

Stress causes the circulatory system to work harder than it should, which can raise your blood pressure and suppress your immune system. This means that your body is going to have a much harder time fighting off colds or infections than it normally would.

When you’re too stressed, it’s not uncommon to get sick.

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3. Chest Pain

Stress and anxiety go hand-in-hand, which means that you could experience tightness in the chest or even pain.

Chest pains only make things worse as they tend to frighten someone already dealing with anxiety. If you’re having regular chest pains or palpitations, it’s probably because you’re overstressed.

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4. Fatigue

When you’re stressed, your body and your mind are working harder than they should. When you feel stress more often than not, it’s going to take a mental and physical toll. Fatigue is common in people who are too stressed out, as they can’t seem to get their minds to relax.

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5. Weak Sex Drive

Stress can weaken a person’s desire to have sex, which applies to both men and women.

Stress overtakes chemicals in the brain that are responsible for stimulating sex drive. Stress has been linked to problems in ovulation for women and a lower sperm counts in men. Again, stress makes it hard to focus or concentrate on anything, including the things you typically enjoy doing.

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6. Weight Fluctuations

Stress can cause a person to lose or gain wait, depending on how a person deals with stress specifically. Some people who feel too much stress find comfort in food, others simply don’t have an appetite at all. It all depends on the person, but stress will usually cause abnormal fluctuations in weight.

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7. Headaches

According to the Mayo Clinic, headaches are more common in those who feel regular amounts of stress than those who don’t. If you’re prone to migraines, stress can make these much worse than they already are, which is hard to imagine. Tension headaches are the most common headache you can experience, and stress is their number one cause.

Lao Tzu was an ancient philosopher and writer from China, and is typically dated around the 6th century BCE. He is credited as the founder of Taoism, and as the author of the Tao Te Ching. Followers believe that Lao Tzu was able to achieve the highest state of consciousness a human can experience, which has made him more of a deity than an actual man.

Lao Tzu established four spiritual rules of living, or four virtues through which to center your life. He believed that if you were able to live your life in accordance with these virtues, you would be able to achieve a level of wisdom and consciousness that most people never have the chance to experience. Below are the four spiritual rules he laid out for his followers, which you can find in the Tao Te Ching.

1. Gentleness

Gentleness is something the world needs more of, and it simply applies to all living things. Lao Tzu believed that all life deserved kindness, and that humans shouldn’t be motivated by egotistical desires.

Essentially, being gentle means giving up the need to be right; being kind is more important than being correct or asserting your own beliefs. When we’re gentle, we stop trying to dominate the situation and instead live in harmony with others.

2. Natural Sincerity

This virtue is all about staying true to who you are. Being authentic is incredibly important in regards to being happy or living harmoniously. If we’re constantly swayed by external forces, we’ll lose sight of who we really are, and who we really need to be.

By accepting the truth about ourselves and others, we not only find peace in this life, but we can help others along their paths as well.

3. Reverence for All Life

Lao Tzu believed that respecting all forms of life was essential for harmony.

All creation and creatures were equally important, and they require equal respect. Trying to dominate and control life only leads you away from enlightenment; you can’t find peace in the midst of a struggle for control. Loving and honoring oneself will lead to a mutual respect for all life in this world.

4. Supportiveness

Similarly to the other three virtues, the virtue of supportiveness applies to all life on Earth, including ourselves. When we help ourselves, we become more equipped to help others along the path to happiness. Not only do we need to love and respect all life, but we need to support it as well. Giving is more important than receiving, and that’s what this virtue is all about. Lao Tzu believed that this comes natural for humans, but the world we live in today teaches us to be the opposite.

Adults in the United States typically don’t get enough sleep. This is a bigger problem than it sounds as a lack of sleep can be linked to a variety of other issues. Not getting enough sleep will impact your workday, your ability to drive a car, and even the attention you give to your friends and family. Lack of sleep is actually considered a major health problem by most medical organizations because of its effect on society as a whole.

According to the experts, adults need between 7 to 9 hours of sleep every night in order to be healthy. If you’re active, this number could be even more as your body needs sufficient time to recover.

Insomnia is incredibly common in the United States, and it affects one out of every three adults at some point their lifetimes. Not only is it dangerous for the person suffering from insomnia, but it’s dangerous to the rest of us as well.

However, insomnia’s link to depression is the most notable and dangerous risk on the list. The inability to fall or asleep or stay asleep at night is a key contributor to the onset of depression.

The problem is that when you start to have negative thoughts regarding a personal situation, those thoughts are hard to remove from your mind. When you lay in bed at night, those thoughts keep your brain from relaxing and falling asleep easily. Instead, you stay up at night thinking about problems, possible solutions, and other things that make it almost impossible to get a goodnight’s rest. If this persists for some time, depression will set in, and your inability to sleep will make everything much worse.

There are a number of things that can contribute to a lack of sleep, including Seasonal Affective Disorder, or SAD. This is a form of depression that’s triggered in people when the days start to get shorter and the nights start to get longer. Less sunlight during the day can really mess with a person’s circadian rhythm, thus resulting in an inability to fall or stay asleep. Although the symptoms of SAD will go away in the spring, an entire season is too long a time with insufficient sleep.

The key is to figure out what you need to do to relax your brain before bedtime. Clearing your mind of thoughts before you fall asleep will help fight depression and ensure you’re rested for the next day.

Meditating before bed can be a great way to relax the mind and clear your head of any negative thoughts. If you have trouble letting go of all the tasks that need completing the following day, trying making a list before you go to bed as way to empty your thoughts down on paper. Journaling has even been used as a helpful tool for those who seem to obsess about the day or the days to come.

Exercise is another great way to ensure a peaceful sleep at night. Not only is it perfect for relieving stress, but it also releases chemicals in the brain that make you feel good; the release of endorphins will not only make you feel good, but give you more positive outlook on life in general.

Sleep is important. If you aren’t getting enough, you’ll suffer throughout the day, and you may even fall into a state of depression. If you’re having trouble getting 7 to 9 hours of sleep a night, you might need to think about making some lifestyle changes that will ensure you live a happy, healthy life.

Breakups are hard. Even if you’re the one doing the breaking, it can be emotionally and physically stressful. When you breakup with your partner, it may feel like you’ll never be able to experience those same feelings with anyone else ever again. It’s easy to identify the emotional pains that stem from the ordeal, but the body experiences more than just emotional stress during a breakup.

A breakup can have a detrimental impact on the body as a whole. Both your brain and your body suffer during a breakup, and in turn, so does your overall health. Here are six major effects you’ll feel during a painful breakup.

1. Loss of Sleep

Insomnia is common after a painful breakup. Not only are you focusing on your partner, the cause of the breakup, and how to patch things up, but the breakup itself has stimulated the area of your brain associated with stress. Stress can cause insomnia quite easily, which is why your sleep suffers when your relationships do.

2. Self-Medication

Relationships and people make you happy. When you’re in a relationship, your brain produces a steady amount of dopamine, oxytocin, and serotonin in response to the love you feel for your partner.

When you breakup with your partner, the body and brain go through a dopamine withdraw, which makes you more likely to self-medicate.

3. Decline in Sex Drive

When you’re in love, sex is just better.

Sure, you can go hookup once you’ve untied the knot, but your brain knows it won’t be nearly as good as it was with your partner. This is why you don’t feel like seeking out the next big romance after a recent breakup; your brain, and your heart, need time to heal.

4. Depression Risks

When you’re sad that you’ve lost your partner, it can seem like nothing makes you happy. However, there’s a big difference between being sad about a breakup, and being clinically depressed. Negative experiences have the power to trigger major mental health issues like depression, so seek professional help if you feel it’s necessary.

5. Physical Pain

It isn’t uncommon to experience physical pain after a breakup.

In fact, some people have chest pains as if their hearts are literally breaking on the inside. This pain can feel like a heart attack, and there have even been abnormal heart contractions occurring in the middle to upper regions of the muscle recorded in individuals experiencing breakups.

6. Weight Fluctuations

Gaining or losing weight is another common physical symptom of a breakup. Binge eating can actually release dopamine, which your body will naturally want to do in the wake of breakup, or you could just lose your appetite completely, like you do when you’re sick. Your change in weight will depend on how your brain copes with grief.

I’ve been called an old soul many times throughout my life. Eventually, I stopped worrying about what exactly that meant, and started learning why people say that about me through my experiences with others. I learned most about what makes me an old soul through my romantic relationships and how I interact with the people in my life who mean the most to me at the time.

I learned that being an old soul is awesome, really. Not only do we make it easy for people to be attracted to us, but we also make it easy for people to be in a serious relationship with us as well. Here are five important things to know when you’re dating an old soul.

1. A Relationship with an Old Soul is Simple

The simplest things in life capture us as old souls.

We don’t care about the extravagant lifestyles that some people want to live, we don’t care about how much money you have, and we don’t care about going out to a fancy dinner every night, we just want you around. What’s important to us is the time we have to spend with our partners, not how we spend that time. If you’re around, that’s good enough for us.

2. We Need Alone Time

This can turn people off sometimes, but it really has nothing to with anyone but ourselves. Old souls understand the importance of self-reflection, which means that we may have to turn down a trip to the bar every now and again.

Our path in life is important to us, and we have to spend the necessary time to reflect on that path by ourselves. Don’t take our absence or desire to be alone personally, we’ll hang out next time.

3. Old Souls Are Romantics

If you’ve dated an old soul before, you already know we’re romantic.

Sure, relationships with us are simple, but that doesn’t mean we don’t have a desire for romance. The thing is, romance isn’t difficult, it just takes some thought and some time. If you aren’t willing to put in the effort to be romantic, we’re going to think the reason why is that you just aren’t into it.

4. We’re All Dreamers

Most people only dream when they sleep, but we dream almost constantly. In school, we’re the students who are constantly being told to pay attention or to stop staring out the window.

Having a partner can help us get back to reality when we need to, but a partner worth staying with will understand that dreaming is a part of our lives; it’s what we do.

5. Our Approach to Life is Unorthodox

Old souls don’t have the typical outlook on life that most people do. This can be discouraging for people in our relationships, but the right partner will like that we view life as a canvas that has yet to be painted. We’re philosophical, with deep feelings about our existence, and what that means to the people around us is everything.

When you enter into a relationship with someone, a serious relationship, you want to give what you can on an emotional level. Physical connections are obvious, but emotional connections open windows into another person’s very being. Those windows will never open all the way unless you and your partner are truly emotionally available.

It’s not hard to tell if the person you’re in a relationship with isn’t emotionally available; the hard part is accepting it. If you’re giving yourself emotionally and the other person isn’t, you can probably feel it. Emotional connections involve a give and take, and you’ll be able to tell if you’re the only one giving.

Here are four signs someone is emotionally unavailable…

1. They Don’t Consider Your Feelings

Empathy and sympathy are things felt by those who are emotionally available. If you’re in a relationship with someone and they don’t take your feelings into consideration, it’s because they aren’t allowing themselves to connect with you on an emotional level.

A working, serious relationship involves two people who feel the same things; when one person is upset, the other person feels upset for them.

2. They Don’t Try to Get to Know You

When you first start dating someone, you can tell it’s serious by how much they want to know. You may be asking questions, really listening to them talk about themselves, or really just trying to figure out what makes them tick.

If they aren’t reciprocating this behavior, it’s a sign they don’t really want to know you on a deeper level. You have to know someone to connect with them emotionally, otherwise no bond is possible.

3. They Don’t Open Up in Person

Modern technology has made it easy for the emotionally unavailable to fake legitimate connections.

It’s easy to come across as vulnerable when you’re texting or sending an email; writing has a way of allowing the reader to feel what they want to feel instead of seeing the truth. If you’re wondering if this applies to the person you’re interested in, talk to them in person, see if they make eye contact or are as willing to open up as they are via message.

4. They Create Distance

This is a big sign someone is emotionally unavailable. Someone who doesn’t truly want to connect with you will create distance in order to remain safe. Two people in love, or at least two people willing to be serious, try to close the gaps in their relationship by any means necessary. Even if someone has trust issues, you’ll be able to see them actively working on getting over them if they’re serious.

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Relationships aren’t easy. Not only do they take work, but they can be hard to interpret as well. When you’re in a bad relationship, you often don’t realize it until after it’s run its course. Hindsight is always perfect, but there are ways you can tell if the person you’re in love with really deserves you, or they’re just taking you for granted.

No one likes to be used or treated as if they don’t matter, especially in the midst of a romantic relationship, but it happens. People get used all the time; they get cheated on, insulted, manipulated, and so much more. If you think you’re in love with someone who may not deserve you, here are four signs you could be right.

1. They Think About Themselves

If you want to be in a relationship with someone, seriously, you need to stop thinking about yourself. This doesn’t mean that you can’t watch out for your own wellbeing, it simply means you aren’t alone anymore.

Any decision you make needs to be the best for you, AND your partner; selfish tendencies need to stop as soon as you know you’re serious. If your partner only thinks about his or herself, it could be time to call it quits.

2. They Cheat and Lie

When your partner cheats, it’s over. I know some people believe in second chances, but there’s no excuse good enough for a partner who cheats. It’s obvious they don’t value the emotional or physical bond the two of you share, because they can apparently get the same thing from somebody else.

Lying is another red flag, and it walks hand-in-hand with cheating. Relationships are built on trust, so if your partner is lying to you, even about the little things, you have some issues that need to be resolved.

3. They Belittle You

Belittling behavior stems from selfishness.

If your partner belittles you or your feelings, it’s because he or she is so self-involved that the things you care about don’t matter. Most of the time, these feelings are kept inside, but they’ll come out in the form of hurtful comments sooner or later. Someone who truly loves and respects you will also respect what you care about, which means they deserve you.

4. They Can’t Be Counted On

Part of being in a relationship means accepting that someone else is counting on you. If you aren’t willing to accept that responsibility, you should be in a relationship. If your partner can be where they say they’re going to be, remember important dates or events, or simply show up when you need them, it’s time to move on to someone who will.

Sugar is a drug. In fact, sugar activates the same area of the brain as cocaine, is more addictive, and can cause a wealth of problems that even Tony Montana didn’t have. Excess sugar in the body can eventually lead to diabetes, cancer, depression, dementia, acne, infertility, and of course, heart disease. This isn’t a new discovery recently made in the world of health and food; we’ve known about the detrimental affect sugar has on our body for years.

According to the research, the average American consumes around 152 pounds of sugar each year. The average American male weighs about 195.5 pounds, while the average American female weighs in at about 167. These numbers are more significant when they’re compared to statistics from the 1960s; the average American male weighed about 167 pounds, and the average woman around 141 pounds.

This is exactly why Mark Hyman M.D. created a 10-day diet which attempts to rid sugar from the body. More than 600 people tried out his program, and they collectively lost 4000 pounds in just ten days. This specific diet is interesting because it changes the way a person looks, thinks, and craves food. It’s full of foods that reverse sugar addiction and reset the body so that you can cut the dangerous substance from your life. A true sugar detox.

Here’s what the 10-day diet really looks like.

1. Make the Decision

This is step one in the diet, and if you’ve decided to rid sugar from your body, you’re already on the right path.

2. You Have to Do It Cold Turkey

Just like an alcoholic can’t have one more drink, you can’t have one more sugary snack. As soon as you cheat just a little bit, your cravings will spike and it will all be over. Stay strong for ten days and let the diet do the work.

3. Don’t Drink Calories

Soda and sugary liquids are worse than sugary foods, according to the expert. It’s a fact that one soda a day can increase a child’s chance of being obese by 60 percent, and a woman’s chance of having type 2 diabetes by 80 percent.

4. Get Protein

Protein helps balance blood sugar and insulin levels, and most importantly, it’s a source of energy that is carb free. If you’re looking to cut even more weight from your body, you can invest in some great tasting protein powder that will give you all you need. Nuts are also a great source of raw protein, but be careful, they’re also fatty relative to their size.

5. As Many Good Carbs as You Want

You can eat any veggie you want, as long as they aren’t full of starch like potatoes, sweet potatoes, winter squash, or beets. Any green vegetable your heart desires you can have. Some good ones are broccoli, kale, peppers, asparagus, and artichokes.

6. Use Fat

This seems counterintuitive, but fat makes you feel full, which will limit your cravings for sugar. Believe it or not, there is such a thing as good fat, and it’s a necessary part of your cellular structure.

7. Be Prepared

You can’t even get in the car nowadays without seeing a wave of fast food restaurants waving at you from the side of the road. When blood sugar is low, these burger joints can look like an oasis in the desert. Keep an emergency pack with you filled with proteins and healthy snacks so that you aren’t tempted to make the wrong choice.

8. Don’t Stress

The stress hormone called cortisol makes you feel hungry and it activates fat storage in the body. Simply taking deep breaths can reverse this process, and actually move your body from a fat storage state to a fat burning state. Take five slow, deep breaths to the count of five, five times in a row, before every meal. You’ll be amazed at what happens.

9. Stop Gluten and Dairy

These two hidden food sensitivities are what most people have, and they crave these allergens. They’re going to be tough to quit, but after ten days of the diet, you’ll find your cravings have subsided drastically. You’ll also have more energy throughout your day.

10. Get Sleep

Not getting enough sleep will give rise to hunger hormones, decrease in appetite-suppressing hormones, and cause huge cravings for sugar and carbs. When you aren’t getting your energy from sleep, your body will look for it elsewhere. Sleep is one the best ways to ensure that cravings don’t overpower you.

Anxiety is the most common form of mental illness in the United States. It has its hold on more than 40 million adults over the age of 18, which equates to roughly 18 percent of the population. Not only does it affect millions of people, but it’s also responsible for more than $42 billion each year in mental health bills. Those figures alone are enough to trigger anxiety in a person.

Since so many people suffer from anxiety, it makes sense that we should identify the most common triggers of the disorder, and figure out a way to avoid them completely. Here are seven habits that will make your anxiety worse, and most importantly, how to avoid them.

1. Expectations

People who suffer from anxiety have a fear of the unknown. They have their own expectations for everything, and when those expectations don’t align with reality, their anxiety becomes much worse.

You can avoid this trigger by living in the present moment; don’t put all your energy into the future, which is outside the bounds of your control.

2. Overthinking

Overthinking only creates problems that don’t need to exist.

Even if the problems you’re worried about do exist, dwelling on them won’t make them go away. The more you think about things, the more exaggerated they become in your head, and in turn, the worse your anxiety becomes. You can avoid overthinking by setting some boundaries. Give yourself a time to worry each day, and then stop once that time is up.

3. Denial

Denying issues that need to be addressed will only exacerbate your anxiety and stress you out. If you choose to deny your issues before you confront them, the confrontation will only get worse. Avoid denial by accepting what you need to overcome, and then do what you need to do to overcome it.

4. Relying on Medication

Medication can be a great tool in order to help you overcome your anxiety, but it shouldn’t be the only tool.

Anxiety is created by you, not by an outside force, which means that the power to rid yourself of anxiety is already within you. Studies have shown that meditation can be equally as effective for anxiety as prescription drugs, so give it a try.

5. Extreme Control

People with anxiety usually get worse when they are confronted by something outside of their control. The world itself is outside of our control, so to assume that we can control everything is like throwing resources into a black hole; it’s a complete waste.

Save your energy and stop trying to control everything and your anxiety won’t get worse.

6. Substance Abuse

People who can’t cope with their anxiety sometimes turn to substances like alcohol or drugs in order to bury their feelings.

This might be a temporary fix, but it will only make things worse in the long term. When you feel the need to self-medicate, use that moment as a learning experience and examine your feelings. Identify exactly why you feel that way and find a new outlet.

7. Avoidance

When you have anxiety, avoiding it seems like a good fix, but it really just makes everything that much worse. Repressing emotions or feelings is never a good solution because you’ll just have to confront them later. Accept that you have anxiety and that you need to work on getting better. Never avoid something because you don’t want to face it; you need to work through it to get over it.

Depression has its hold on millions of people worldwide. According to the World Health Organization, or WHO, it’s estimated that depression cripples 350 million people around the globe. During the winter, this number rises as people fall victim to seasonal affective disorder as a result of less exposure to the sun.

Depression sets in with little warning, making it difficult to overcome. Though, if you know you’re at risk for depression, there are signs you can be aware of that will help you avoid it completely. The symptoms of depression are always treatable if you’re willing to seek help, and it’s important to understand you can get better. Here are six signs you’re falling into depression.

1. You Overeat, or Don’t Eat at All

Changes in your diet are a good indicator something is going on. If you’re overeating on a regular basis, it could be your body’s way of coping with stress, less dopamine in the body, or a lack of sleep; all stemming from the onset of depression.

If you’ve lost your appetite completely, it could be because your mind is responding to depression as if the body was physically ill.

2. You Can’t Sleep

Not being able to sleep is extremely common amongst people suffering from depression. Unfortunately, a lack of sleep stimulates the stress hormone in the body and just makes everything that much worse. Professionals believe that if insomnia is treated in adults with depression, the rest of their symptoms would decrease drastically.

3. You’re Increasingly Isolated

If you find yourself isolating yourself or spending time alone more often, you could be suffering from depression.

When you’re depressed, you don’t want to spend much time around other people. This is because socializing feels useless; people suffering from depression don’t believe they can connect with those around them or be understood.

4. You Have Stomach Issues or Headaches

Migraines and depression aren’t normally thought of as connected, but both health issues are responsive to the same medications. About 40 percent of people with migraines also suffer from depression, which is a statistic too large to ignore. The stomach is also directly related to brain health, which is why depression can lead to digestive concerns.

5. Focusing is Difficult

Having trouble focusing or paying attention to others is an indicator of depression.

It’s often described as a fog within your brain that makes every aspect of cognitive reasoning difficult. You can’t remember things, listen to others for extended periods of time, or really do anything else. If you notice any of these things in your everyday life, you might be suffering from depression.

6. You Feel Tired

Although you may have trouble sleeping or staying asleep, you might find that you’re tired all the time. A lack of energy is a huge warning sign of depression; it can make it difficult to do the things you’re normally interested in. However, this symptom of depression can be counteracted through a healthy diet, drinking plenty of water, and socializing even when you don’t want to.