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Emotional Mastery

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The Benefits of Traveling Alone, Mid-Divorce

WHILE TRAVELING WITH FRIENDS OR A ROMANTIC COMPANION CAN BE FUN, TRAVELING ALONE HAS UNIQUE ADVANTAGES, ESPECIALLY WHEN UNDERGOING LIFE- ALTERING EVENTS, LIKE A DIVORCE. WE ARE SURROUNDED BY NOISE AND DEMANDS AND GETTING AWAY ALONE ALLOWS US TO SEPARATE FROM OUR NOR- MAL ROUTINE AND FAMILIAR ENVIRONMENT, WHICH CAN OFTEN CLEAR OUR HEAD AND PROVIDE US WITH A FRESH PER- SPECTIVE. THERE ARE FIVE SIG- NIFICANT BENEFITS TO SETTING TIME ASIDE TO GET AWAY ALONE.

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5 Healthy Habits to Help Reduce StressFeatured

Between work, family obligations and a constantly changing world, people in the United States are stressed. In fact, U.S. workers are among the most stressed in the world, according to a State of the Global Workplace study. While some stress is unavoidable and can be good for you, constant or chronic stress can have real consequences for your mental and physical health.

Chronic stress can increase your lifetime risk of heart disease and stroke. It can also lead to unhealthy habits like overeating, physical inactivity and smoking while also increasing risk factors, including high blood pressure, depression and anxiety. However, a scientific statement from the American Heart Association shows reducing stress and cultivating a positive mindset can improve health and well-being.

To help people understand the connection between stress and physical health, the American Heart Association offers these science-backed insights to help reduce chronic stress.

Stay Active

Exercise is one of the easiest ways to keep your body healthy and release stress. Physical activity is linked to lower risk of diseases, stronger bones and muscles, improved mental health and cognitive function and lower risk of depression. It can also help increase energy and improve quality of sleep. The American Heart Association recommends adults get at least 150 minutes per week of moderate-intensity activity, 75 minutes of vigorous activity or a combination.

Meditate

Incorporate meditation and mindfulness practices into your day to give yourself a few minutes to create some distance from daily stress. Some studies show meditation can reduce blood pressure, improve sleep, support the immune system and increase your ability to process information.

Practice Positivity

A positive mindset can improve overall health. Studies show a positive mindset can help you live longer, and happy individuals tend to sleep better, exercise more, eat better and not smoke. Practice positive self-talk to help you stay calm. Instead of saying, “everything is going wrong,” re-frame the situation and remind yourself “I can handle this if I take it one step at a time.”

Show Gratitude

Gratitude – or thankfulness – is a powerful tool that can reduce levels of depression and anxiety and improve sleep. Start by simply writing down three things you’re grateful for each day.

Find a Furry Friend

Having a pet may help you get more fit; lower stress, blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar; and boost overall happiness and well-being. When you see, touch, hear or talk to companion animals, you may feel a sense of goodwill, joy, nurturing and happiness. At the same time, stress hormones are suppressed. Dog ownership is also associated with a lower risk of depression, according to research published by the American Heart Association.

Find more stress-management tips at Heart.org/stress.

Stress 101

Understanding stress is an important step in managing and reducing it. Consider these things to know about stress and how it could affect your life:

  • Today, 1 in 3 adults in the U.S. report being worried or depressed.
  • Higher levels of the stress hormone cortisol are linked to increased risk of high blood pressure and cardiovascular events like heart disease and stroke.
  • The top sources of stress are money, work, family responsibilities and health concerns.
  • Work-related stress is associated with a 40% increased risk of cardiovascular disease like heart attack and stroke.

Photos courtesy of Getty Images

in Emotional Mastery

Emotional Safe Spaces Help Children Express Their Big Feelings

Many internet memes have been made about toddlers and their temper tantrums. While the outpouring of oversized emotions can be amusing when viewed from afar, most parents and caregivers simply want to know what they can do to help children express their feelings in less dramatic ways.

According to child development experts, one of the keys to helping children learn to regulate their emotions is to develop emotional literacy; the ability to identify feelings. This can help children learn to recognize those feelings and apply coping strategies to (hopefully) calm down before their feelings overwhelm them. One way to help children work on their emotional literacy is to talk about emotions other people feel.

“Sometimes it’s difficult to process our own emotions because that puts you in a vulnerable position,” said Taunya Banta from KinderCare’s Inclusion Services team. “When we’re able to find some detachment from the immediate emotion, like talking about characters in a story – ‘How do you think they feel?’ or ‘Why do you think they feel that way?’ – it opens an opportunity for kids to safely process their own emotions because they’re not in the spotlight.”

Another way to help children work through their emotions before becoming overwhelmed is doing what many early childhood teachers do and create a space filled with things that allow children to find emotional release in a safe way. If space allows, Banta recommends creating both a quiet area and an active area.

Quiet areas allow children to work through their emotions using fine motor or listening skills. Items in this space could include blankets or pillows to cuddle up in or headphones to listen to relaxing music or audiobooks. Some children may find comfort in expressing their feelings through art, so consider including some drawing materials or a journal. For young children, a set of pictures or cards showing faces expressing different emotions can help them as they learn to identify their own feelings.

Active areas provide children opportunities to use their gross motor skills to work through emotions. If outdoor space is easily accessible, encourage your children to go outside and jump, stomp or run when they start to feel the urge to “let it all out.” An indoor active space could include pillows to scream into or hit and plastic bottles or bubble wrap to stomp on or squeeze. The action and noise can help get out the desire to hit or punch. Watch how your children show their emotions and give them safe alternatives. For example, if they tend to yell and hit when they’re upset, give them pillows to scream into or hit. You can also help them designate a box or a specific spot on the wall or floor that they can throw beanbags, wadded up socks or any soft object at.

Acknowledge the emotions your children are experiencing and reassure them that while it’s fine to feel that way, it’s just as important they find a safe outlet for their emotions.

For more tips to help children identify and regulate their emotions, visit KinderCare.com.

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Top Tools for Self-Care

The idea of self-care is thrown around a lot. But most of my clients look at me blankly when I mention the concept. Now, before you turn the page thinking you do not have time to take care of yourself, try this: Think of how you might respond if I told you this article was about how to help or take care of someone else in your life. You’d likely get your pen and paper out and get cracking, right? But when the focus is caring for you, there is likely more hesitancy and disinterest. Keep reading to save you time, money and stress when managing your divorce.
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Working through the Anguish of Betrayaland Infidelity

Your life has suddenly been turned upside down and your stomach has been turned inside out. You most likely feel that you have no solid ground on which to stand. You may ques- tion all that you have believed about your past, present and future because it has changed overnight. You may feel like your relationship was all a total lie. You might wonder “who is this person I have been living with all of these years?”

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