Thursday, August 14, 2008

Useful Tips to Eat, Drink, and Be Stress Free

Healthy food and beverages help keep our entire system in balance. When our body is balanced, we are less stressed.

*Overeating reduces energy levels. Eat smaller portions of food more times per day rather than indulging a lot of food until you feel stuffed.

*Make fruits and vegetables part of your snack food instead of chips or cookies. Fresh fruit is a good source of energy, and apples and bananas are considered brain foods. Oranges or natural orange juice are full of necessary vitamins needed to boost your immune system.

*Sugary foods may give you a quick burst of energy, but they can also increase irritability or fatigue. It is also possible that too many sweets can induce diabetes in susceptible people, not to mention an increase in fat cells, potentially causing obesity.

*Studies have shown an occasional feast of an all-carbohydrate meal, including foods such as pasta, whole-grain breads, rice, oatmeal, and even popcorn, may help release a brain chemical called “serotonin,” which can induce a sense of calm.

*Vitamin B is needed for your body to produce serotonin. Include foods in your diet rich in B vitamins, most importantly B6 and B12. Your best sources for Vitamin B6 are potatoes, bananas, and beans, while fish, chicken, turkey, and dairy foods are your best bet for Vitamin B12.

*Dairy products such as milk and yogurt may help increase memory function in stressful situations. It is also important to drink at least four eight-ounce glasses of water every day. Water cleanses the body throughout.

*Alcoholic beverages won’t generally harm you in moderation. Many Europeans believe that wine is healthy. In fact, at times, wine is part of the meal, even for children. Most social drinkers say that an alcoholic beverage relaxes them and decreases stress. But alcohol in excess (two drinks a day or more) can go beyond relaxation and cause depression, anxiousness, and clouded thinking. It can also lead to alcoholism and other life-threatening illnesses.

Monitoring your food and beverage intake may reduce the symptoms of stress, but not the stress issue itself. Take action to resolve the problems that initially caused you the stress.

After surviving a stress-related and life-threatening auto-immune disorder, author Carol Denbow realized the need for public knowledge on the importance of understanding and relieving stress was great, thus setting the path for her third book, “Stress Relief for the Working Stiff, How to Reverse the Embalming Effect.” Meet “Frank,” the “star” of this book at Carol’s website at

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

How to Reduce Financial Stress

Nearly half of all working Americans have financial problems. It’s no wonder that one of the leading causes of stress is money. Financial stress is a major contributor to many health issues. Listed below are some of the negative mental, physical, and emotional effects financial stress has on us.

1. Bad habits — When we are stressed, we tend to drink more alcohol, smoke, and eat more, all of which create more stress.
2. Healthcare — With a shortage of money, typically the issue with financial stress, we neglect our health. When there is no money for healthcare, problems are ignored and can become serious.
3. Losing sleep — Our minds don’t function well and our decision-making processes are altered when we are sleep deprived. Not being able to think straight causes more stress.
4. Emotional imbalance — Financial debt can lead to a variety of unhealthy emotions including anxiety, frustration, and depression.

It’s common for people to believe that if they earn and have more money, they will be happier. Having more money may trigger a temporary high and get us a few nifty new things, but people tend to adjust their lifestyles to the level of the added income. They may buy more things and possibly create more debt and greater stress.

It’s better to create goals to be smarter with the money you have. Your first goal should be to get yourself out of debt. There is true satisfaction in owning things free and clear. After you are debt-free, spend your money on things that will make you truly happy and decrease your financial stress. The following are ways to help you lower your debt, increase your happiness, and reduce stress.

*Look for the smallest ways to save money. Start by cutting out the lattes. Usually “coffee on the go” is over three dollars, so making your coffee at home can save you up to a thousand dollars a year.

*If you have a gym membership you use only once a month, drop it and start walking, jogging, or exercising at home. You can save five hundred dollars a year or more.

*Pack a lunch for work instead of eating out, and this alone could save you over two thousand dollars a year. Small expenses add up to thousands of dollars each year causing financial stress.

*Always spend smart — don’t shop just to shop. Ask yourself if you really need the item. Don’t impulse buy. Always give yourself a couple of days to think about a major purchase. Often we buy things and shortly thereafter realize it was something we didn’t really want or need.

*Use your money and stop the credit card madness. If you don’t have the money, don’t buy it. Be sure to never use money allocated for other bills for new purchases. If there’s something you really want to buy, save the money in advance, or try selling something you don’t use on eBay or at a yard sale.

*Implement a budget. Typically experts say you should set aside certain percentages of your income for specific expenses, such as 30 percent of your income for housing, 10 percent for automotive, etc. But we know that each person’s expenses may be different and probably vary from month to month. Implement a budget and reassess it every few months. Don’t include only your monthly rent, food, and gas. The best way to figure your “real” annual expenses into a monthly budget is to search back through your checkbook or bank statements and include the one-payment-a-year expenses, such as car insurance, registration fees, and property taxes. Without taking such expenses into account, your bank balance may show an excess of funds on any particular month. In reality, these funds may be needed to pay one of those one-payment-a-year expenses. If you spend that as “extra” money, you may find yourself stressed out when you fall short of money when an unexpected payment comes due. Add up all the yearly expenses and divide them into a twelve-month plan for a realistic monthly budget total. Then if one month shows you have extra money, realize that over the year that money is allocated for an upcoming expense.

Don’t just look at the big monthly expenses for your budget or for saving money. When we look at our monthly expenses we tend to ignore the small stuff because we see it as insignificant — a few dollars here, a few there. But those little ten- and twenty-dollar-a-month expenses add up over a year’s time. Figure those little expenses into your budget, or, better yet, get rid of them if possible and save that money to start planning for a stress-free retirement.

If your debt overwhelms you and you can’t seem to make your monthly payments, you should contact a debt consolidation company for assistance. There are many non-profit organizations that can help people reduce and consolidate debt.

Overall, the best way to avoid financial stress is to live within your means. Begin living within your means by changing your lifestyle. In addition, learn and practice stress-relieving exercises and incorporate them into your daily routine. To learn more ways of reducing financial burden and stress, visit

Carol Denbow is a three-time award winning author. Her third book, Stress Relief for the Working Stiff, How to Reverse the Embalming Effect is considered by experts to be the most comprehensive and useful stress relief book available today. Visit Carol’s website at to meet “Frank” the lovable “stressed out” character who represents all of us working stiffs!