Category: Stress Management

Why Am I Waking Up at 3am?

Whenever I write about sleep, I hear from a chorus of people who struggle to sleep through the night. Anecdotally, it seems a far more common complaint than difficulty falling asleep in the first place.

These complaints are one of three types:

People who have trouble falling asleep
People who sleep fitfully, waking multiple times throughout the night
Those who reliably wake once, around the same time most nights

Understandably, this is a hugely vexing problem. Poor quality sleep is a serious health concern. Not to mention, sleeping badly feels simply awful. When the alarm goes off after a night of tossing and turning, the next day is sure to be a slog. String several days like that together, and it’s hard to function at all.

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The Lost Art of Play: Reclaiming a Primal Tradition

Experts have long studied the benefits of play for children, and the evolutionary logic is undeniable.

Play introduces and hones practical skills like hunting, cooking, building, child care, and health care. Playing doctor? Cops and robbers? And so on.

Play teaches children social boundaries. If you’re nice enough but not too much, you can get your way without being a pushover or turning off potential friends.

Play teaches you to cooperate. If you don’t play well with others, other people won’t play with you. That’s no fun.

Play makes the body stronger, faster, and fitter.

Play is very important for child development. The benefits are well-established. Trust the Science. But what about play for adults?

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6 Mind-Body Approaches for Menopause

Perimenopause and menopause comes with a complex web of physical, psychological, and social symptoms.

The treatment usually prescribed by doctors, hormone therapy (HT), is controversial and not appropriate for some women. I won’t get into the HT debate here—Mark did a great job covering the pros and cons recently. Suffice it to say that HT isn’t the answer for everyone, and it’s not a panacea by any means.

Whether or not they choose to go the HT route, many women desire additional support during perimenopause and beyond. For the sake of keeping this post from becoming a novella, I’m going to focus on mind-body therapies today.

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What’s All This Talk About Inflammation?

We talk a lot around here about inflammation, and some of you have raised good questions (and answers) regarding what we’re really getting at. A continuing thanks for your comments and thoughtful responses.

So, what do we mean by inflammation when we harp on the evils of sugars, grains, trans fats and other nutritional fiends? Ah, the many sides of swelling: abscesses, bulges, distensions, engorgements, boils, blisters, bunions, oh my! Do swollen ankles and puffy black shiners really have anything to do with the inflammation of arterial walls? Can flossing possibly help prevent heart disease? Let’s explore.

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Why Do I Get a Gluten Reaction from American Wheat but not Overseas?

Seems like every international traveler who normally follows a Primal way of eating has had the experience of splurging on pasta in Italy or baguettes in France or pita in Greece without any of the negative effects they normally experience back home. There are even people with confirmed gluten sensitivities who can get away with eating wheat overseas. Whenever I’m in Europe, I enjoy the local cuisine without worrying too much, even though I definitely get a reaction back in the US. I may not be eating entire baguettes or plates of pasta, but I don’t shy away from smearing raw brie over crusty bread—and yet back home, I avoid wheat as a general rule.

What’s going on here? Why do some people get gluten reactions from American wheat but not European wheat?

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How to Cope with Feeling Overwhelmed

“Some days you will feel like the ocean. Some days you will feel like you are drowning in it.”

—Lora Mathis

Ain’t that the truth. Life comes at you fast. You get laid off and don’t have enough money in savings, a family member gets sick, your car gets totaled. All of a sudden, you’re totally underwater.

Often, though, it’s not one catastrophic event that gets you; it’s the sum total of all the small-to-medium-sized stressors in your life. Death by papercuts, if you will. Overwhelm results from having too much or not enough — too much to do, too many responsibilities, not enough money or time.

Overwhelm quickly becomes a vicious cycle, as it requires energy and resources (neither of which you have in abundance) to dig yourself out. A classic sign of overwhelm is feeling like you’ve lost control over your circumstances, like things are happening to you instead of for you or because you chose them.

You can’t govern all the sources of stress in your life, but you may have more control than you realize. At the very least, there are probably ways to manipulate your schedule and environment so your stress triggers aren’t so triggering.

Start by asking yourself, “What would need to change in order for me to feel less overwhelmed?” If just that step feels overwhelming, don’t worry. You’re about to start taking action, and action is empowering.

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