Try Gardening to Reduce Your Stress Levels

With spring weather finally upon us, there is an opportunity to get outside and relieve some stress. One particular springtime activity that is highly recommended to reduce tension and anxiety is gardening.

Flushing Hospital Suggests You Try Gardening to Reduce Stress

Research has proven that gardening can be one of the most effective ways to reduce stress levels. In one particular study, subjects were asked to perform a stressful task and then asked to either garden or read for 30 minutes. While both groups experienced a decrease in stress, the gardeners experienced a significantly greater decline (as measured by stress hormone levels), as well as a full restoration of a positive mood while the readers actually experienced a further decline in mood.

The reasons why gardening is so helpful in reducing stress are numerous. Some include:

  • Being Outside – Sunlight is not only good for your physical health, but it can actually help improve your mood. Also, just being outdoors helps you feel more removed from the stressors of everyday life.
  • Getting Exercise – The manual labor associated with gardening, whether it is digging, raking, planting, pruning, or weeding provides a physical outlet to release the tension that is stored in our bodies.
  • Creating Beauty – The wonder of nature is a stress reliever in itself, but when you are responsible for creating and nurturing that beauty, it can be very uplifting. Gardening is an exercise in hope.
  • Meditative Qualities – The act of gardening is time consuming, quiet and repetitive. These attributes provide a peaceful atmosphere for contemplation and reflection.

So if you are feeling stressed, take advantage of this beautiful spring weather and try gardening. It doesn’t matter whether you are tending to a large backyard or a small patio garden – the benefits can be great.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

Dealing With Holiday Stress

During the holiday season, many of us struggle to complete an extensive list of tasks in what often feels like very little time.   We run rampant decorating our homes, attending social gatherings, shopping for loved ones, volunteering, traveling or cooking.  These activities are often added to our already busy schedules, which can make us feel overwhelmed.

Contrary to what we may think, these activities which should make us feel happy can actually increase our stress levels.

Although there are various factors such as unrealistic expectations or financial strain that contribute to holiday stress, finding ways to avoid stressors or minimize their effects is very important. If stress is not managed well, it can have a significantly negative impact on our health.

Mental health professionals at Flushing Hospital Medical Center offers  five tips to help you cope with holiday stress and maintain good mental health:

  1. Set realistic goals– Unrealistic goals often equal added pressure and expectations that cannot be met. If these goals are not met, they can lead to negative feelings such as inadequacy or hopelessness.
  2. Know when to take a moment for yourself (Take a break) – We are often pulled in multiple directions during this time of the year. Know when to take a breather to decompress and clear your mind.
  3. Communicate- The added pressures of the holidays are clearly overwhelming and one of the ways that people sometimes deal with this is to isolate themselves. This is not recommended; instead, reach out to loved ones or a trained mental health professional to communicate how you feel.
  4. Do not neglect healthy habits– Taking good care of your health can help combat holiday stress. Moderating your food intake, fitting in a few minutes of exercise and getting adequate amounts of sleep can be profoundly beneficial for your health.   Additionally, maintaining a healthy daily routine can help take your mind off holiday demands.
  5. Ask for help- We live in a time where multitasking has become the norm but if you begin to feel overwhelmed, ask for help. Soliciting the help of friends or family can alleviate some of the holiday pressure. The holidays can also trigger depression; if you are experiencing symptoms of depression ask for help from loved ones or seek the assistance of a mental health professional.

The holiday season can be overwhelming; however, by applying these helpful tips you can take the steps needed to minimize stress and make this time of year more enjoyable.  If you find that you continue to experience elevated levels of stress or symptoms of depression, it is recommended that you seek the help of mental health professional immediately.

To schedule an appointment with the Mental Health Clinic at Flushing Hospital Medical Center, please call 718-670-5562.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

Know the Facts About an Anxiety Attack

We all feel anxious from time to time. It is a natural reaction where we feel apprehension, uncertainty, or fear in anticipation of an event, situation or circumstance that we consider to be threatening. However, some people can develop feelings of anxiety that are so intense and overwhelming that they result in a feeling of “losing control.” These episodes are commonly referred to as an anxiety (or panic) attack.

An anxiety attack usually occurs without warning and has no obvious cause. It may even wake a person from their sleep. In addition to an incredible feeling of fear, anxiety attacks are potentially accompanied by many other symptoms such as:

  • Palpitations, pounding heart or accelerated heart rate
  • Sweating
  • Trembling or shaking
  • Sensations of shortness of breath
  • Feelings of choking
  • Chest Pain
  • Nausea
  • Dizziness, light-headed, or feeling aint
  • Feeling detached from reality

Since each person is different and chemically unique, an anxiety attack can affect each person differently.  One person may experience only a few minor symptoms while another may have many symptoms with much greater severity.

An attack can last anywhere from a few moments to over an hour. The length of the attack is usually determined by how frightened the individual is.  While the symptoms of an anxiety attack can seem very powerful, they are typically not harmful.

Although the exact causes of these attacks are unclear, the tendency to have them runs in families. There also appears to be a connection with major life transitions such as graduating from college, getting married, or having a baby.  Severe stress, such as the death of a loved one, divorce, or job loss can also trigger a panic attack. In some cases, panic attacks can be caused by medical conditions and other physical causes. If you’re suffering from symptoms of panic, it’s important to see a doctor to rule out an underlying medical issue.

The good news is that these attacks are treatable. They can usually be managed successfully with self-help strategies or a series of therapy sessions. To make an appointment with a mental health professional at Flushing Hospital’s Mental Health Clinic, please call 718-670-5562.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

Can Anxiety Cause Hypertension ?

While we all experience anxious feelings from time to time, there are some people who are clinically diagnosed with anxiety disease. One would think that prolonged anxiety could lead to an elevated blood pressure, but is there a link between the two?  Anxiety causes the body to release stress hormones, adrenaline and cortisol and these hormones cause the heart to beat faster and also constrict the blood vessels. This will lead to a temporary increase in blood pressure. When blood pressure is elevated on a regular basis, and for prolonged periods of time, it can lead to damage of the blood vessels, kidneys and heart.
Anxiety can also lead a person to have unhealthy habits as a way of coping.  Smoking, drinking alcohol and a poor diet are examples of some of these bad habits and these can all contribute to elevated blood pressure. Certain medications that are used to control anxiety, such as serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors, can also cause the elevation of pressure levels.

A few of the ways to treat anxiety is by learning what causes a person to be anxious and avoid those situations. This may require a change in lifestyle, eating habits, and learning how to relax.

If you find that you feel anxious frequently and would like to speak to a physician at Flushing Hospital, please call 718-670-5486

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

Small Changes = Big Benefits

Seniors exercising with dumbbells in a health club

When looking for a routine that can bring wellness to your entire being, you don’t have to climb a mountain in Tibet or strip away all food you love.  Experts say that the best way to bring a wellness routine into your life is through a series of small changes that will gradually make a difference.

Changes such as:

  • Meditation – Take a moment in the morning to meditate.  It will set the tone for the day and clear your head to prepare for what the day may bring.
  • Music – Play calming music.  The body’s internal rhythms sync with the rhythms of music. By focusing on the music and its melody, you will start to feel your breathing and heart rate begin to slow down, bringing you to a much calmer place
  • Plan a trip – According to research, happiness spikes when planning a trip.
  • Put down your smartphone – When the impulse to pick up your phone comes, and you resist it, you may feel a wave of anxiety.  Don’t panic! Breath through the anxiety and you will see that there is calm that will follow.
  • Breathe deeply – Sit in a comfortable place, breathe naturally and settle your attention on your breath.  With each inhale and exhale, mentally repeat the words “in” and “out.”  Even if you mind wanders, don’t get distracted; just bring your attention back to your breathing.
  • Don’t check your email when you first wake up – When you wake, sit silently and allow your mind to wander. Take 10 minutes to just center yourself before you start your day.
  • Walk – Use part of your lunch break to take a walk.  This activity will aid with digestion, keep you active and relieve stress.

No one likes change and it rarely comes easy.  That’s why slowly incorporating small steps toward your goals overtime can lead to huge changes in the long run.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

Is Your Nest About To Empty?

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If your last child is all grown up and about to leave home, or he or she has already moved out, you may experience some mixed emotions or what’s commonly called, empty next syndrome.

Empty nest syndrome is not a clinical diagnosis. It is a phenomenon in which parents may experience feelings of sadness and loss when their last child leaves home. You may worry how well your child will function in the world without your parental supervision and question their ability to take care of themselves. If you are the parent of an only child, you may have a particularly difficult time adjusting to an empty nest.

Many parents experiencing empty nest syndrome are confused by these feelings since they actively encouraged their child to become independent. Still, letting go can be painful. The feeling of not being needed by your child anymore, missing being a part of your child’s daily lives, as well as missing the constant companionship of your child can cause some parents to have mild bouts of depression, identity crisis, alcoholism and marital conflicts.

Some tips to help you overcome empty nest syndrome are:

  • Prepare for the departure – Take time to check that your child is aware of how to do the basic essentials for themselves such as, how to wash their clothes, cook for themselves, balance a checkbook and appreciate the value of money.
  • Shift aside the terrifying thoughts – Both you and your child will be better off if you treat this as a big adventure. Try not to transfer your fears onto your child. Help them to understand that once they’re into their new routine, it will be familiar, fun and successful.
  • Explore the ways that you intend to keep in touch with your child – Keeping in constant communication is vital for maintaining a sense of family togetherness and to keep of with the news. Schedule a weekly call-in time, utilize e-mail, texting, social media, Skype, or Face Time as a way of touching base while being sensitive to their need to grow and become their own adult person.
  • Start looking toward your own needs – Once you are satisfied that you child is settled on the right bath, you will start noticing a big change in your life. This is a great time to revive some of your own interests and pursuits.
  • Rediscover the love of your life – Unless you are a single parent, you will be left with your spouse or partner. Re-kindling the relationship you shared, pre-children, can be an exciting adventure of your own to take.
  • Focus on some of the positive points of your kids moving out – You may notice that the refrigerator does not need as frequent refilling, there are less trips to the grocery store and the laundry has decreased. Seeing the brighter side will help you while you are transitioning.

As the time for your child to fly the next approaches, try to reflect on each stage in your child’s life. Each ending was a new beginning. Stay positive, the fact that your child has confidently left home means you’ve done a great job as a parent. After leaving the nest, you can forge a new and even better relationship with your child as independent adults. Enjoy the friendship without having the pressure of hands-on parenting

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

Take a Break

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Studies have shown that taking regular breaks during the work day can improve productivity and mental acuity, reduce fatigue, relieve joint or muscle pain, and increase overall alertness.

Chronic stress from over working can put a strain on your body and put you at risk for poor health. Taking a break can give your body the chance to turn off the stress so that you can recuperate and repair.

Research has shown that people on a break feel healthier, have less physical complaints and could have a reduction in cholesterol levels on their return.

Some other benefits of taking a break or vacation are:

  • Vitamin D – The Sun is rich in Vitamin D which is essential for maintaining healthy bones and keeping the immune systems and nervous system functioning normally.
  • Relaxing – Taking time to relax on a break from working has powerful benefits for adults. It can be as important as sleep.

Break time shrinks stress – Time away from work helps shrink stress and anxiety while boosting mental and physical health.

Keep in mind that regularly scheduled breaks should be approved by your supervisor.

 

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.