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Health & Wellness

Why Did I Cry After Having Sex?

There are a lot of articles out there talking about having better sex or improving the experience, but few ever linger on the more emotional side of sex—specifically, crying after sex.

Approximately 32.9% of women have experienced some form of post-coital dysphoria in their lives, which tends to result in tears. Yet, no one ever really talks about this experience even though it’s extremely common.

So, what exactly is post-coital dysphoria and what does it mean when you cry after sex? It’s a complicated subject, but we’ll unpack the most common reasons below.

Understanding Post-Coital Dysphoria

Even if you’ve never shed tears after sex, you may have experienced post-coital dysphoria, or rather, having feelings of depression, melancholy, anxiety, or anger following sex. While it’s more common in females, males can experience post-coital dysphoria, too. And though it doesn’t always end in tears, it usually does.

The good news is, crying after sex doesn’t always mean you’re sad and isn’t always an indication that there’s something to worry about.

If you feel overcome with emotion after sex, it’s best to stop, try to evaluate how you’re feeling, and try to figure out where those feelings are stemming from.

Of course, in the moment, it’s not always so easy to distinguish if your tears are coming from a place or sadness or comfort. To help, we’ll review some common reasons why you might be crying after sex, to help you better understand this unique phenomenon.

6 Reasons Why People Cry After Sex

Sex is complicated and emotional, and everybody’s experience is different. But, there are a few common reasons why people might cry after sex, that can help you better assess your own feelings.

1. You Feel Overwhelmed

Sex can be intense and overwhelming, especially if you’re strongly attached to the person or love them deeply. If you have a good experience with the person, you might be overcome by deep feelings of pleasure or joy.

Sometimes, just finding someone you can express yourself with intimately in a safe and secure setting is powerful enough to bring on some tears.

On the other hand, if you feel like your boundaries were pushed during the experience or if you were extremely nervous or anxious, your tears could be a result of those tense emotions.

While it can be good to let these emotions out, you also need to analyze whether the experience itself was consensual and safe, or if your nerves just got the better of you.

2. You Feel Triggered

Sometimes sex can bring up repressed memories of prior experiences, whether good or bad. If you’ve ever faced abuse, either mental or physical, sex can often stir up these dark emotions.

A good way to figure out if you’re being triggered while it’s happening is to pay attention to where your mind is wandering. Are you disassociating from your body? Are you trying not to think and just going through the motions? If you answered yes, you should stop and let your partner know what’s happening.

Your partner isn’t going to want you to feel unsafe or pressured during sex, and talking about what might have set off these feelings (and knowing it may happen again) is important to discuss.

3. You Feel Happy

Sometimes, it’s just that simple. Maybe you’ve tried roleplaying for the first time and you had a great experience. Maybe you just felt very connected to your partner the entire time. Maybe you felt supported and loved and all of those emotions were very overpowering.

During sex, your body releases oxytocin, often referred to as the cuddle hormone. This hormone can increase your already intense feelings, leading to happy tears.

4. You Feel Ashamed or Embarrassed

These emotions can pop up a lot during powerplay, if you’re playing the submissive role. Even if you and your partner talked about what was allowed beforehand, you might feel ashamed in the moment, even while feeling good.

Acts like slapping, choking, being punished, or just generally being submissive may make you feel embarrassed or ashamed, even if you feel completely safe. This can also come up during other forms of sex, if you try a move that makes you nervous or you aren’t feeling confident in your own skin.

Sometimes it’s helpful to explore these feelings as they can release inner shame you’ve likely had building up for years around sex. But, if the feelings are too intense, they might be damaging. It’s best to let your partner know how you’re feeling and adjust or stop.

5. You Feel Confused

There are many ways you can end up feeling confused during sex. Maybe you feel guilty about sleeping with a specific person. Maybe you’re sleeping with an ex and not sure what the experience means. Maybe you feel degraded or demeaned, but find it confusing that these feelings turn you on.

I can’t stress this enough: sex is so complicated. It brings up complex, deep-rooted emotions and can be confusing to navigate. Experiencing confusion during sex is normal, as long as what you’re doing isn’t hurtful.

Communicating with your partner is always the key to understanding and managing these emotions.

6. You Feel Scared

There are two ways to feel scared during sex. The first one is when you feel nervous or scared because the experience or method is a huge deal to you. This could happen when sleeping with someone for the first time, reuniting with a former lover, or trying something new in the bedroom.

It’s the feeling you get before skydiving or trying something really nerve-wracking. This feeling of apprehension can be scary, but isn’t always a bad thing.

You can also feel afraid during sex — afraid of your partner, afraid of doing something painful, or emotionally terrified for a variety of reasons. This feeling is never okay.

Is what you’re doing consensual? You need to speak up if you don’t feel safe. There’s a fine line between apprehension and actual terror, and you should know in your gut if something feels wrong.

7. It’s Painful

There are many ways to feel pain during sex. If you’re engaging in BDSM, you might cry after experiencing pain, even if you’re enjoying what’s happening to you. As long as you’re safe and feel you have control, this pain is okay and up to you to determine the limits of.

Sex can also be uncomfortable or hurt. Some positions might not feel pleasurable and it’s best to let your partner know so they can try something else that will make you feel good.

There are also more serious conditions like vulvodynia or dyspareunia which will cause pain in the vulva or vaginal canal. You could also have an infection causing pain. In fact, if you don’t feel safe with your partner, you might actually experience physical pain for psychological reasons.

If your pain seems to be constant and not caused by a particular position, it’s best to go see your OB/GYN. Sometimes the answer is as simple as lube or taking an antibiotic, but sometimes it’s more complicated.

Do You Cry After Sex?

Crying after sex can be extremely normal in most situations. A large number of women experience tears after making love, and it can be important to figure out why and let your partner know what you’re feeling.

If you find yourself crying during sex and can’t determine why, it’s best to stop and let your partner know what’s going on.

Remember, sex can be intense, extremely personal, and complicated. If you feel you’re crying after sex for a deeper reason, talking to a trusted friend or medical professional can help you work through what’s really going on.

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Health & Wellness

Does CBD Oil Really Relieve Stress?

Are you looking for natural alternatives to relieve your stress because other traditional methods of stress relief like exercise, meditation and medication aren’t working for you?

We know that stress responses are partially regulated by your body’s endocannabinoid system, which is where CBD reacts upon ingestion. So, it makes complete sense that CBD may actually help regulate stress responses.

If you’re anything like me, you’ve been wondering if you should hop on the CBD oil train to relieve some of that stress. But the oil can cost so much money that it’s a little scary to try it out. Could it be a waste of money?

How do you know if CBD will really help reduce your stress?

We’ll lay out the information for you so that you can make your own informed choice about whether trying CBD oil is worth the investment.

This article is not meant to be a substitute for medical advice from your doctor.

What is CBD Oil?

You may have heard that CBD stands for cannabidiol, the chemical in cannabis and hemp plants known for its medicinal effects, such as pain relief, sleep and anti-seizure effects.

CBD oil is the concentrated form of this medicinal oil, whether it’s sourced from medicinal cannabis or industrial hemp.

But what is the difference between these two plants?

Both plants are actually forms of cannabis; it’s just that a plant must contain less than 0.3 percent tetrahydrocannabidiol (THC), the psychoactive chemical in cannabis, to be considered industrial hemp. Hemp still contains a lot of CBD, though, which can be extracted and converted into an oil.

This means that you can find two types of CBD oils: those extracted from THC-potent cannabis plants and those from nearly THC-lacking industrial hemp. The CBD is the same no matter which plant it comes from; it’s the level of THC in the oils that differs.

Note also that hemp seed oil is different than CBD oil derived from hemp. Hemp seed oil is pressed from the seeds of the hemp plant and doesn’t contain any CBD or THC. It’s a useful oil used in manufacturing and foods.

So, if you use CBD oil derived from 100 percent industrial hemp, you are not consuming a measurable amount of THC to cause any psychoactive effects. You will only be getting the benefits of the non-high-inducing natural chemical, CBD.

But Isn’t CBD Oil Illegal?

As long as CBD oil is extracted from industrial hemp-rated plants, it’s now completely legal according to the 2018 Farm Bill, as long as they contain less than 0.3 percent THC.

Laws vary from state to state on which types of cannabis and its derivatives are legal, whether for medicinal or recreational use. Therefore, in some states, patients use CBD products that come from the full-spectrum THC-containing cannabis plant.

THC causes the “high” feeling that most people associate with cannabis, so in industrial hemp derived CBD oil, which lacks THC at a measurable amount, you don’t have to worry about being impaired and/or breaking the law.

How is Stress Defined?

Let’s define stress before giving the facts about whether or not CBD really helps lower it. For the purposes of this article, we will be talking about:

Stress Associated with Anxiety and Depression

These are serious mental health disorders that can cause physical and emotional stress. Anxiety is when fear causes a patient to go into fight-or-flight mode, activating the body’s stress response and raising adrenaline, cortisol and norepinephrine levels.

Depression and is a deep feeling of sadness and hopelessness that doesn’t go away and affects day-to-day life. It usually results from situational stress or chemical imbalances. The biggest risk in patients with depression is suicide.

Situational Stress

When life gives you lemons, make lemonade. Right? Sometimes, that’s easier said than done.

Life serves up some tough situations which can raise stress levels in the brain and body. This can cause similar effects to anxiety or depression, releasing the same fight-or-flight hormones that can be damaging to your health.

Situational stress is generally be managed by finding new ways of thinking, or cognitive behavioral therapy. That’s the difference between situational issues and chronic depression/anxiety.

Oxidative Stress

When the body can’t eliminate enough free radicals through use of antioxidants, they build up and cause stress. In various organs, the collection of too many free radicals can cause inflammation and tissue damage over time.

Can CBD Oil Help With Stress?

So, we come to the big question. Will CBD oil relieve your stress levels?

It’s important to remember that everyone is unique, responding differently to medications and chemicals introduced in the body.

With that in mind, you should know that the only FDA-approved use for CBD is as an anti-seizure medication. Because of the new legalization for hemp-derived products and the changing laws on medical cannabis in various states, research on the positive effects of CBD is still in its beginning stages.

Using some of the CBD studies that are out there, we’ll give you the information you need to decide whether or not CBD oil would be helpful in reducing your stress levels.

CBD Oil for Stress Associated with Anxiety and Depression

Studies say that CBD oil definitely helps alleviate some of the stress associated with anxiety and depression. One study found that CBD relieved Generalized Social Anxiety Disorder (SAD) symptoms associated with public speaking.

Scientists conclude that those with SAD receive both anxiety-reducing and anxiety-causing effects from full-spectrum cannabis. They think that this is because higher levels of THC can cause anxiety symptoms, while higher levels of CBD can produce the opposite effect.

In fact, these two chemicals seem to work synergistically, balancing each others’ effects.

But more than one study has shown this anxiety-reducing effect from CBD. Another showed that CBD has been found to lower anxiety levels while being a medication with a high safety profile and few negative side effects. This study recommends further examination of CBD to be used as an anxiety-relieving drug.

Yet another study published by medical researchers shows that CBD has anti-depressive effects. This study is based on animal models with observations that can be transferred to human health.

So, the studies seem to support the use of CBD for stress related to anxiety disorders.

CBD Oil for Situational Stress

First, let’s look at the body’s response to stress. Studies have already shown that the endocannabinoid system helps regulate the hormonal response during stressful events.

CBD is a cannabinoid that affects the endocannabinoid system, helping to buffer some of the release of stress hormones. In other words, CBD helps the body regulate its response to stress.

One study used brain scans to measure how CBD affected the stress responses in subjects. The results showed that CBD lowers some of the stress response chemicals in the brain.

Scientists also found that patients who experienced anxiety before the brain scans were less anxious after being given a dose of CBD.

As far as situational stress goes, it seems that CBD can be helpful to the body’s response. Because of the way it interacts with a system so intertwined with stress response, the endocannabinoid system, CBD easily relieves stress chemicals in the body.

CBD Oil for Oxidative Stress

Many human diseases cause and are caused by oxidative stress’s tendency to damage tissues in the body (inflammation).

CBD is a cannabinoid that counteracts the effects of that oxidative stress, which means it can help repair some of the damage done by diseases and prevent them by staving off oxidative damage.

Conditions like pain, depression, immune system disorders and diabetes can all be caused by this type of oxidative inflammation, and therefore relieved through CBD action.

Another study showed that CBD lowered oxidative stress levels in heart patients with issues due to diabetes. This study further supports the idea that CBD can lessen inflammation due to oxidative stress in the body.

The Bottom Line on CBD Oil and Stress Relief

CBD oil is a complex topic debated by many. While some claim that it reduces stress levels, others say there is no proof. We’ve summarized some of the studies for you here so that you can make your own decision in the matter.

I don’t know about you, but the studies have me pretty convinced. I may finally be willing to shell out some money and order CBD oil from a reputable industrial hemp supplier.

It’s pretty evident that CBD could help with the stress in my life. It’s a natural solution that could reduce my stress hormone levels and potentially help protect my body from oxidative stress damage.

Are you ready to give CBD a try, or are you still not convinced? Hopefully, this guide will help you make the decision that is right for you.

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Health & Wellness

4 Activities to Improve Brain Health

A lot of times our brain can go on autopilot. As creatures of habit, we tend to complete the same routine on a daily basis–get up, get dressed, go to work. Then, by the time we get home, we’re usually tired we tend to zone out in front of the TV.

It’s important to keep your mind active because a well-stimulated brain not only improves your mood, but it also keeps you healthy and can reduce your risk for cognitive disorders.

Just like you keep your body healthy and active, you have to do the same for your brain. This doesn’t mean you have to do something drastic like learn a foreign language, but you should focus on a few small things you can practice regularly.

Improving your brain health doesn’t have to be complicated, there are a few easy things you can work into your daily routine to keep your brain sharp.

brain health activities

1. Exercise

Physical activity is important for a healthy lifestyle and exercise not only helps you physically, but it also improves your brain health at the same time. When you exercise regularly, it not only reduces your risk for Alzheimer’s disease, but it also can slow aging by 10 years.

Exercise is good for the brain because it increases blood flow, which is important because it provides oxygen and nutrients to the brain. Fitness also releases feel-good endorphins and can help create new brain cells, slowing down cognitive decline.

According to the Mayo Clinic, you should get at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity a week. Here are some specific workouts you can do to fuel your brain.

Walk or Run

Walking or taking a daily run is an easy way to incorporate physical activity into your day, that won’t take up a lot of time and doesn’t need any equipment.

Just by taking a daily walk you can improve your brain health because when you walk it increases your heart rate and causes you to breathe deeper, which improves oxygen flow to the brain. 

Aerobics

Studies show that aerobic exercise can improve a person’s cognitive function and can also boost cardiovascular health.

Aerobics is a type of workout that will increase your heart rate, but not immediately give you shortness of breath so you can perform the activity for a longer period of time. Some great aerobic exercises include cycling or swimming.

Weight Training

Strength training can help both your body and your brain, and research suggests that it can also enhance a person’s executive function and memory. Combining weight training activities with some aerobic exercises can round out your fitness routine and help you stay healthy.

2. Eat Healthy

According to Medical News Today, the brain uses 20% of the body’s calories, so not only do you need to fuel your body, but you also need to fuel your brain. Certain nutrients in different foods can increase brain power by improving cognition and memory.

Eating healthy is an easy way to improve brain health by incorporating nutrient-filled foods into your daily meals. There are a few main food groups that are a great part of a brain-boosting diet.

Berries

According to Science Daily, studies show that eating blueberries, strawberries, and other types of fruit can help prevent age-related memory loss. This is because berries contain high levels of antioxidants that protect cells from damage and they also prevent inflammation and they improve mental cognition.

Nuts

When it comes to brain health, almonds, hazelnuts and walnuts have been shown to be preventive against memory loss.

Nuts support a healthy nervous system and can protect against cognitive decline and walnuts specifically also have a high concentration of DHA, which improves cognitive performance.

Vegetables

Specifically, leafy green vegetables like spinach are nutrient dense and research suggests plant-based foods may help prevent cognitive decline.

Vegetables like kale and broccoli are also rich in magnesium, which helps dilate blood vessels–increasing blood flow to the brain. Foods like these are full of nutrients and antioxidants that strengthen the brain.

3. Manage Stress

An important way to improve your brain health is by managing your daily stress by regularly practicing stress-relieving activities. Stress can interfere with cognition, attention, and memory–making you more frantic and forgetful.

Stress not only affects you mentally, but it can also have many physical effects that negatively impact your brain and can cause health problems like heart disease and other cognitive diseases. Keeping your stress in check not only helps your brain, but it will improve your overall health.

Meditate

Practicing meditation allows you to clear your mind of the daily clutter that consumes it. Regular meditation sessions can increase your concentration and attention, while also relieving symptoms of anxiety and depression. A study from UCLA also found that long-term meditation can preserve brains as they age.

Sleep

When you sleep, it gives your body and mind a chance to recharge. As you sleep, your brain cleans toxins that build up while you’re awake so that you can wake up with a clear mind. Getting a good night’s rest is vital to brain health and an adult should be getting 6 to 8 hours of sleep a night.

Find a Hobby

Picking up a hobby can be great for your brain. You can either learn something new or enhance a skill you already know. Working on a hobby will give your brain something to focus on while learning a new set of skills, it can be challenging or even relaxing.

4. Playing brain games

A great and fun way to improve your mental functions is by playing a variety of brain games. Training your brain can help increase memory, response time, and also improve logic skills. Brain games are not only helpful for your brain, but they can also be fun.

Playing brain games will increase your mental strength by stimulating your brain with new problems to solve that require a tactful response.

Puzzles

Completing a puzzle can increase the connections between brain cells and help increase short-term memory. Puzzles work both the logical left side of the brain and also the right creative side resulting in a full brain workout.

Crosswords

Working on a crossword can improve mental cognition and also work on your spelling skills. Crosswords are a classic brain game that can be done online or on paper, and if you’re feeling brave using a pen.

Sudoku

This game is a number placement game that relies on memory and can be played either on paper or online. Sudoku is great stimulation for the brain and can also be a relaxing activity to help unwind.

Get Serious About Your Brain Health

Your brain is powerful. But just like any other muscle in your body, if you don’t stimulate it, it’ll deteriorate. Use these four activities to improve your brain health and stay mentally sharp at any age!

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Health & Wellness

How to Lower Your Blood Pressure Naturally

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) about 32%, or 1 in 3 Americans experiences high blood pressure (BP), a condition called hypertension. Then, only half of hypertensive Americans have their high blood pressure under control.

Take a few minutes to learn about blood pressure so that you can get yours checked out and understand what to do if it’s high. High blood pressure can severely damage your heart over time, so it’s important to keep your blood pressure at a healthy level.

These natural ways to lower your blood pressure can be helpful for those who want to stay away from medication, or to those whose medication isn’t lowering blood pressure on its own. A healthier lifestyle will lead to lower blood pressure, so many of these suggestions are great ways to improve your health in multiple ways.

These tips to lower your blood pressure naturally are ways that you can be proactive in improving your heart health.

About Blood Pressure and Hypertension

Let’s learn a little more about blood pressure before we begin. According to the American Heart Association, there are five levels used to report blood pressure:

There are two numbers associated with blood pressure. The first number represents systolic blood pressure, which means the amount of pressure exerted on your arteries when your heart beats. A healthy systolic reading is lower than 120.

The second blood pressure number represents diastolic blood pressure, the pressure within arteries between heartbeats, when the heart is resting. Normal diastolic blood pressure is 80 or below.

Fewer than half of the people who have hypertension have it under control. It can stretch and damage your arteries. It can also cause heart disease, heart failure, stroke, kidney damage, vision loss, memory loss, etc. According to the Mayo Clinic, high blood pressure is more of a risk as you get older.

These natural ways to lower your blood pressure are a great start to lowering your high blood pressure in addition to any other actions your doctor wishes you to take. Becoming healthier is a key part of lowering blood pressure. This article is not a substitute for medical advice.

How to Lower Your Blood Pressure Naturally

1. Regular Exercise

We hate to hear it, but one of the best natural prescriptions for high blood pressure is good old exercise. If your blood pressure is elevated or you are hypertensive, you might have already been advised by your doctor to start taking evening walks or beginning another form of exercise.

Keeping your heart in shape by exercising more often helps it pump blood more easily, which lessens the amount of pressure exerted on the arteries.

Becoming more active has been found to lower peoples’ systolic blood pressure (the top number) by four to nine mm of Hg. This equivalent to the effects of some blood pressure medications. There is no doubt that the simplest solution to high blood pressure is plain exercise.

2. Reduce or Eliminate the Use of Chemicals Such as Nicotine, Caffeine, and Alcohol

Another obvious way to improve your health and therefore lower blood pressure is to eliminate chemicals from your body.

When we ingest too much of these chemicals, our blood pressure can suffer. Start making healthier choices when it comes to your vices.

For example, drink a cup of tea instead of coffee, ask your doctor for help in quitting smoking and practice more self-control when drinking alcohol. Your blood pressure will thank you.

3. Watch Your Diet

Diets high in fat, carbohydrates and sodium can raise blood pressure and damage arteries. Though changing your diet can be difficult, it’s worth it to lower your blood pressure.

Focus on eating whole grains, fruits and vegetables to lower your blood pressure. Avoid fat and cholesterol, and your blood pressure reading could be reduced by 11 mg Hg, according to the Mayo Clinic.

4. Take CBD

Cannabidiol (CBD) has been found to reduce the high-blood pressure response to stress. In a randomized study, scientists administered CBD to those at a resting blood pressure and found that it lowered systolic levels, even though it increased subjects’ heartrates.

CBD derived from hemp must contain less than 0.3% THC to be legal in the U.S. it’s legal for consumption because it doesn’t get you high. Using the CBD component from hemp plants is a great way to lower your blood pressure naturally.

5. Use Natural Herbal Remedies

About 75-80% of people in the world rely mainly on herbs to solve their health problems because of the lowered risk of side effects and better acceptance by the body.

Garlic has been found to decrease BP in those who have a raised systolic blood pressure reading, but not in those with normal systolic blood pressure. Celery seeds reduce blood pressure significantly. Lavender has lowered BP and heart rates in tests on anesthetized rats.

Herbs are natural ways to achieve desired health effects. Make sure to speak with your doctor about any herbs you’d like to add to your diet for medical reasons.

6. Deep Breathing and Meditation

Your heart beats faster in response to stressful situations. Find ways to eliminate some of the stressful things in your life or find better ways of dealing with them.

Deep breathing is one of the central ways to decrease stress levels and therefore decrease your blood pressure. By taking some time (preferably 10-15 minutes per day) to focus on your breathing, you can greatly reduce your stress levels and in turn lower your blood pressure.

One exercise advises you to inhale for four seconds to take a deep breath, and then exhale for four seconds to finish the breath. Repeating this activity can regulate your blood pressure if it’s high.

Meditation can be added to deep breathing, as a way to relax naturally through visualization or an empty mind. Guided breathing or meditation practices can be a great way to take a break and relax, lowering your blood pressure.

There are Alternatives to Blood Pressure Medication

No doubt, there are more natural ways to lower your blood pressure out there. By now, you should realize that your heart health depends on healthy blood pressure, and we’ve given you a few ways to work toward healthy blood pressure along with your medical plan.

If you’re curious about your blood pressure now, stop at one a blood pressure kiosk inside Kroger or Wal-Mart and check your own blood pressure. If you’re like me, you might find out that you have elevated blood pressure (more than one time) from stress and anxiety.

If you receive elevated readings in a self-service kiosk, make an appointment with your doctor. You should seek medical advice if you think you might be experiencing high blood pressure.

Whether you take a medication for blood pressure and you’re looking for added ways to lower your blood pressure, or you have healthy blood pressure and want to know how to keep it that way, you should now have a better idea of ways to improve your health.

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Health & Wellness

Stop Self Diagnosing: 5 Reasons to See a Doctor Instead

These days, it seems like everyone’s a doctor. From nutritional advice to various diagnostic testing services online to natural remedies for everything, it’s easy to find a treatment to almost every problem online.

Sites like WebMD and HealthLine can allow you to quickly look up your symptoms to determine the most likely trigger. Self-diagnosing can be helpful in a pinch (when you need a quick way to bandage a small cut or advice on how to subside a headache), but it may be doing you more harm than good.

Here are five reasons why you might want to seek the advice of a medical professional, rather than self-diagnosing.

1. Online Credibility Can be Questionable

Sure, nerdygUrl684 on that well-established health forum has great advice on coping with depression, but you have no idea who she is. Is she really a licensed therapist? Did she really suffer from depression? And even if so, how can you be sure the natural treatment plan that worked for her will help you?

The truth is, you can’t. Every individual is different and if you’re suffering from a mental illness, working out a treatment plan with a therapist is your best course of action. They can unbiasedly assess your progress and work on goals that best fit your health goals.

The same goes for physical symptoms. Just because a so-called doctor online recommended dietary changes to improve your gut issues, doesn’t mean you should skip the doctor. You might need immediate treatment to help improve your problems, along with making nutritional changes.

2. Home Remedies Can Be Dangerous

Natural remedies are great. Many people want to avoid taking antibiotics, since they can hurt your immune system and cause other problems. And if you can avoid antibiotics and get better, that’s awesome! But don’t forget that antibiotics save lives every day and are a valid form of treatment.

This is particularly important when dealing with women’s health issues. There are many natural remedies online for yeast and other vaginal infections that can be downright scary or even painful to try out. And many of these remedies can make your problems worse or lead to new issues.

Natural remedies are great, but try working with a naturopath or physician who is open to alternative medicine, instead.

3. You Can’t Be Objective About Yourself

Many times psychological illnesses have physical components that people misdiagnose on their own. Those stomach ulcers are physical, without a doubt, but they may be linked to severe anxiety.

Your acne might be helped with topical creams from stores or your kitchen cupboard, but your might be overlooking a problem on the inside that a doctor would catch.

You can’t be objective about your own health or state of mind, no matter how logical you are. Not visiting a doctor can be severely detrimental to your health and can lead to even worse problems down the line.

4. You Can Make Yourself Sick

We’ve all hopped on WebMD and typed in our symptoms, fearing for the worse. It’s hard to find a string of symptoms that doesn’t indicate that you might have cancer or another serious disease.

Even when the odds are likely that you don’t, worrying about the threat of disease can lead you to thinking every mental or physical ailment is a sign of the worst.

That headache? Obviously a brain tumor. Your nervousness about a big interview? Crippling anxiety. That pain in your chest? You’re having a heart attack.

Constantly searching for answers to strange symptoms can lead us to believe we’re always sick or developing worse problems. Googling your symptoms can turn you into a hypochondriac and make you paranoid about every sneeze, cough, or hiccup.

5. WebMD is a Database, Not a Doctor

It’s great having access to medical information whenever you want it, but remember, WebMD and similar sites are databases with stored information. Just look at some of the symptoms of the diseases you’re looking up: headache, nausea, dizziness… they’re common symptoms for so many diseases, both mental and physical!

Talking to your doctor and allowing them to run tests, if needed, is the only way to be sure about your diagnosis and this certainty will allow you peace of mind.

Stop making yourself sick by self-diagnosing and make an appointment with your family doctor, instead.

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Health & Wellness

How to Practice Yoga at Home

These days, Yoga is a popular practice in North America, and for good reason: the ancient Eastern practice can bring many physical and mental benefits to its practitioners. Some of its most touted benefits include increased flexibility, weight loss, and an improved sense of well-being. 

There are now over 6000 yoga studios across the U.S. which offer guided classes to seasoned yogis and beginners alike.

But yoga memberships are expensive and not everyone feels comfortable practicing yoga in a studio environment (especially if you’re just starting out). 

Over the years, I’ve come to prefer practicing yoga in the comfort of my home, so that I can flow how I want, at my own pace. (Plus, there’s no one around to witness my face plants whenever I topple over in bakasana pose!)

Even better, a yoga practice from home is cost-effective and easy to start! If you’re brand new to yoga, here are seven steps to start practicing yoga at home:

1. Attend a Live Yoga Class First

Although not strictly necessary, I would highly recommend attending a few live yoga classes first if you are a total beginner. The reason is that it can be really difficult to know if you’re doing the poses correctly without a teacher there to explain how to get into the poses and how to modify them where necessary.

Even the most basic poses, like Downward facing dog, are surprisingly easy to goof up without guidance. 

I can’t tell you how many moments I had in a yoga class when I was (somewhat smugly) thinking I was doing a pose correctly, but then my teacher would gently adjust me this way or that, and suddenly I’d have a lightbulb moment like, “Ahh, that’s what I should be doing!”)

Most yoga studios do offer a few free or discounted classes for new students. It’s worth the investment to go a few times just to have a foundation on which to build your home practice. 

how to practice yoga at home

2. Pick Your Spot 

One of my favorite things about Yoga is you don’t need much space to get ‘er done. If you can roll out your mat and spread your arms out without touching anything, you’re good to go. 

However, there are still a few factors to consider.

If you have any pets, assume with certainty that they will get in the way. My cat loves to walk through my arms and stick her butt in my face during downward-facing dog. I make sure she is in another room while I’m practicing so that I’m not worried about stepping or tripping over her. 

I’ve heard that dogs are even worse for this. (Even though you can apparently incorporate them into your practice with one of the newer yoga trends, “Doga”.)

And if you have family or housemates around, I don’t recommend using the living room unless you know for sure no one else will be using it. Trying to flow through sun salutations while your sister is watching the Kardashians is a decidedly un-Zen experience. 

You could even try moving your practice outside as some yogis find that nature and sunlight help their practice. 

3. Buy a Quality Yoga Mat (and Optional Accessories)

Another great thing about yoga is that you don’t need much equipment at all to get started, just comfortable clothes and a mat. 

However, yoga mat shopping is not the time to be frugal. Cheap mats will cause you to slide around (possibly hurting yourself), or they may bunch up and tear. 

Take it from me; a poor quality mat is really distracting and discouraging so it’s worth investing in a good one. (B Ma​​t is hands down my favorite!)

How to Choose the Best Yoga Mat

Learn how to choose the right yoga mat for you, and see our favorites!

Other than that, you don’t need much else. Of course, there is a ton of Yoga gear you can spend money on if you want to; everything from bolsters to blocks and straps. But most of these things are easily substituted with household items, like books instead of blocks, or a belt instead of a strap. 

Other nice-to-have accessories for a home yoga practice are a mirror and a portable speaker. The mirror helps if you have one available as it can help you see if you’re doing the poses correctly, and the speaker is for yoga music that gets you in the right headspace for your session.

4. Set an Intention for Your Yoga Journey

What do you want to get out of your yoga practice? More flexibility? Greater strength? A way to tame nervous energy? Just want to figure out how to stand on your head?

There are any number of reasons to practice so setting an intention before you start can help you put a game plan in place and build a consistent routine.

Then once you’ve chosen a goal, decide how often you will practice and schedule it into the calendar. 

Because if you don’t schedule it, you aren’t going to do it. Trust me on this.

5. Choose a Yoga Style

When I first started looking into yoga, I was surprised and a little overwhelmed to learn that there are a plethora of yoga styles to choose from, some wildly different than others. But since you have already set goals and an intention for your practice, it should be relatively easy to narrow down which yoga styles you’d like to try. 

Hatha yoga is probably the most common in the U.S. and typically a more basic style of yoga that’s great for beginners. 

Ashtanga or Vinyasa will be more your speed if you’re looking for weight loss, while Restorative yoga a more passive form that’s great for relaxation and mental well-being. 

But those styles are just the tip of the iceberg! Read up on a few different styles and find the one that seems to best support your yoga goals.

6. Find a Virtual Yoga Teacher

While you could practice yoga on your own without any guidance, I would really recommend finding virtual yoga classes to guide your practice. Virtual yoga classes are my favorite because they keep your practice fresh, structured, and challenging. 

However, there are a ton of yoga apps and online platforms out there, and sifting through them can be a bit overwhelming. My top recommendation is MyYogaWorks which has hundreds of classes and dozens of teachers to choose from, for every style and experience level.

MyYogaWorks: The Netflix of Yoga

Check out our review of MyYogaWorks below!

MyYogaWorks also has “Yoga Journeys” with pre-planned classes and you can also make your own class “playlists” and schedule them into whatever digital calendar you like to use.

7. Practice Safely

The most important thing to remember when embarking on a home yoga practice is that yoga shouldn’t hurt. Yes, yoga should be challenging, but do not force yourself into poses that are painful or you could end up with pulled muscles or worse! 

I once pulled a muscle in my neck doing a supported shoulder stand and it took months to recover.  

Start with easier, shorter classes and work your way up as you build more strength, flexibility, and stamina. You will be shocked at how much bendier and stronger you are after just a couple weeks of 10-15 minute classes!

If you are looking to do more advanced poses I would really recommend going to a yoga class or maybe one-on-one yoga teaching in-home. Always put safety first so that you don’t end up being transported to the hospital looking like a mangled pretzel. 

Start Practicing Yoga at Home

When practiced safely and intentionally, a home yoga practice can be a great way to improve your overall health and well-being. 

My favorite thing about a home yoga practice is that it truly becomes your practice. If I want to spend ten minutes in my favorite restorative pose, or work on my arm balances during my lunch break, it’s just a matter of unfurling my mat.  

It’s such a great feeling when you know that a dose of physical and mental energy is just a yoga mat away!

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Health & Wellness

How to Go to Sleep Earlier: 9 Simple Tips

Nobody wants to deal with sleep problems.

Getting a full night’s sleep is not only important to ensure you’re alert and ready to go the next morning, but it’s also important for your physical and mental health.

Sleep is essential to your overall health, and yet many struggle to get enough sleep at night. Whether it’s due to sleep problems, poor sleeping habits or even your daytime habits (yes, what you do during the day effects how you sleep at night), not being able to fall asleep is a common problem.

Read on to find out why you should make sleep a priority in your life and how to get yourself on a better sleep schedule.

Why Regular Sleep is Important

When you’re asleep, your body undergoes important physical maintenance. During REM sleep (or deep sleep), your body recharges your heart, heals damaged cells and blood vessels, and helps boost your immune system.

It can also ensure you’re more productive and mentally balanced, while reducing anxiety. So you can probably understand why forming good sleep habits and getting good sleep every night is so important, right?

However, 1 out of 5 Americans suffer from sleep disorders, preventing them from falling or staying asleep (sleep loss). This can cause a myriad of other disorders, all stemming from a lack of sufficient 5eep.

If you have sleep problems and struggle to fall asleep at night or find yourself parked in front of the TV or computer until 2 am, there are some helpful tips you can take advantage of to help yourself fall asleep earlier, every night.

9 Tips To Help You Go To Sleep Earlier

You may think you’re a night owl, but once you get on a regular sleep routine, you may change your mind. Here are five tips to help you successfully get to bed earlier.

1. Create an Evening Bedtime Routine

Setting a scheduled bedtime is one of the easiest ways to solve your sleep problems.

This tip won’t work for everyone, especially if you’re constantly working odd hours. However, if you have a predictable job, regular school schedule, or flexibility to manage your own calendar, then take advantage of it by planning your bedtime routine.

The general premise here according to sleep experts, is to set a time to set a specific bedtime and stick to it — even on weekends. Your circadian rhythm thrives on routine and will help ensure you get better REM sleep. You’ll find yourself actually becoming tired at bedtime and your mind will be in sleep mode.

2. Set an Electronic Curfew

Unplugging from electronic devices can help your mind destress and prepare for sleep. You might think you’re relaxing when watching TV or playing a game, but you’re really keeping your mind engaged and active and preventing yourself from getting quality sleep.

If you find it difficult to fall asleep at night, research shows that electronics may be to blame. Even if you’re tossing and turning, resist the urge to reach for your phone. The blue light emitted from electronics can actually halt melatonin and prevent your body from falling asleep easily.

3. Ditch Your Alarm Clock

Most of us have alarm clocks on our phone, but some people prefer old fashioned clocks or alarm clocks. If you can read your clock at night, though, it’s more likely to interfere with your sleep.

Have you ever woken up, only to look at the time and realized you only had an hour and a half left to sleep before your alarm went off? This disruption can interfere with your sleep cycle and natural circadian rhythm, and some people may even find it impossible to fall back asleep, getting up earlier than planned, instead.

Instead of looking to the clock and getting anxious about when you have to wake up, remove the temptation altogether. While you shouldn’t look at your phone, if you think you’ll be tempted, plug it in away from the bed, so you’ll need to get up to peek at it.

4. Eat Four Hours Before Bedtime

Eating late at night really can keep you awake. When the stomach is digesting food, it’s harder for your body to understand it’s time to shut down and go to sleep. To avoid this, it’s recommended you have your last meal a minimum of four hours before you go to bed.

This means if your bedtime is 10:30 pm, you should eat dinner at 6:00 pm or earlier to ensure you give your body adequate time to digest. You also need to eliminate late night snacking — even a small snack can impact your sleep cycle.

5. Establish Bedtime Rituals

If you’re dealing with a sleep problem, one of the first things you should think about is your bedtime habit. What are you doing immediately before you lay down?

Creating a pre-bedtime routine can really help your body get in sync and ready for sleep. Doing the same things every night, in the same order can help your body anticipate sleep, helping you fall asleep faster.

Now, everyone has different sleep requirements to “get them in the mood”. But in general, your pre-bedtime rituals should be lowkey and soothing. 

Washing your face, showering, taking a bath, and brushing your teeth are standard tasks to add to a routine. You might even want to add calming activities like listening to soothing music, or reading for 15 minutes to the start of your routine. Any type of relaxation technique that puts you at rest should work.

Heck, some people even like to do some relaxing exercises like deep stretching or yoga. And there are some people who just have so much energy throughout the day that they need strenuous nighttime exercises in order to fall asleep.

If it helps you relax, you might want to incorporate it into your bedtime routine.

6. Create a Comfortable Sleep Environment

The reason you go to sleep so late might not have anything to do with a sleep problem.

Some people have a tough time going to sleep earlier simply because their environment isn’t set up for a good night’s rest. Everything from the sounds around you to your mattress and pillow impact your sleep environment.

Luckily there are some quick things you can do to fix that. Obviously, invest in a quality mattress and pillows (seriously, don’t skimp out here). Instead of buying a cheap $50 boxspring mattress off Craigslist, find a mattress that fits your sleeping style. Here’s a guide to help.

Second, if you live somewhere noisy like in a major city, invest in some earplugs if you’re not able to drown out the noise. Quietness is a must-have for a good sleep environment.

And for my night owls out there who work overnight and sleep during the day, get yourself a sleep mask to help block out the sun (black-out curtains help too). 

Do whatever you need to create a comfortable sleep environment that lets you relax and unwind.

7. Don’t Rely on Sleep Medicine & Other Sleep Aids

As tempting as it might be to get a bottle of sleeping pills and sleep aids, try to avoid it if possible. That is, unless your doctor tells you that you have a severe sleep problem or sleep behavior disorder that requires medication.

The reason being is you don’t want to become dependent on medication in order to get some peaceful slumber. 

8. Change Your Wakeup Time

The best cure for your sleep problem could be to change your wake time and morning routine. Some people don’t realize it, but your sleep habits also include what happens when you wake up.

So if you want to go to sleep earlier, you need to wake up earlier as well. Think about it. If you’re waking up at 11:00AM every day, the chances of you being tired enough to go to sleep at 10:00PM are slim since your body has only been awake for less than 12 hours.

So how do you wake up earlier? Well, the same way you set a regular bedtime and sleep routine, you’ll need a regular wake time and morning routine. It might be going for a run first thing in the morning, or showering and early meditation. 

The key is just to establish a routine so your body gets in the habit of waking up at a certain time every morning. And of course, it’ll help your body’s sleep rhythm as well since you’re going to sleep and waking up around the same time every day.

9. Nap With Caution

When you’re not sleeping enough at night, your body’s natural reaction is to get sleepy during the day. And of course, that leads to naps.

Naps can be a nice way to recharge your body in the middle of a long grueling day. But be careful! If you’re taking too many naps or napping for too long, it might make your sleep deprivation even worse. 

Remember, your body has a natural circadian clock that it wants to follow. Taking a nap in the middle of the day for hours can throw that off.

So how long should you nap? Generally the shorter the better. But according to some sleep research conducted by NASA, 40-minute naps improved alertness 100%.

Say Goodbye to Sleep Deprivation & Hello to the Best Sleep of Your Life

Falling asleep can be stressful for many of us, and sleep deprivation is no joke. But trying to set a regular bedtime and sleep schedule can help your body fall asleep more easily. Try incorporating these tips into your life to sleep better and see if you’re able to finally wake up feeling recharged and renewed.

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Health & Wellness

How to Talk to Your Doctor About Depression

I’m a lifer—depression for life. It’s hard to remember a time when I didn’t feel depressed. I was diagnosed for the first time at 14, and so began my journey of medication and therapy.

But I was lucky. At 14, my mother was the one who noticed the symptoms and took me in to the doctor’s office for help. I didn’t have to do that myself. I’ve carried the depression diagnosis (plus more) with me ever since then. It’s just a part of me now.

Not everyone has the luxury of being taken for help when they start experiencing depression. The icy, lonely, isolating nature of the illness makes talking about it feel impossible—let alone talking with a doctor you barely know.

The only way you’ll start feeling better, though, is by asking your doctor for help. If you do have clinical depression, lots of treatment options are available to you. Many who are diagnosed with this condition live happy lives due to successful management of their symptoms.

Symptoms of Depression

It’s normal to be sad, lonely or uninterested in life once in a while. When these feelings last for a long period of time and begin affecting your everyday life, you might be experiencing depression.

According to the Anxiety and Depression Society of America, Major Depressive Disorder affects approximately 16.1 million American adults in a given year. Here are some of the many symptoms caused by depression:

  • Extreme fatigue
  • Constant sadness
  • Feelings of guilt, worthlessness or helplessness
  • Irritability
  • Pessimism and hopelessness
  • An “empty” feeling
  • Sleep disturbances (sleeping too much or too little)
  • Loss of interest in activities you enjoy

If you notice you’ve been feeling one or more of these symptoms for a long time, don’t brush them aside. Get yourself some help.

Why You Should Ask for Help

Depression isn’t something you can just talk yourself out of. If you’ve been experiencing strong negative feelings for a long time, they’re not going to disappear with the snap of a finger. 

Clinical depression causes physical and emotional symptoms that can get in the way of a successful life, or even threaten your life. Most of the time, someone diagnosed with depression needs medication, therapy or both to manage their symptoms and feel better.

Nobody should go through the isolation of depression alone, without help. The first place to start is your family doctor or general practitioner. These guys are your first line of defense against depression.

Your doctor can run tests to find out if a physical condition is causing your symptoms. He can also get you started on medication and refer you to other specialists if necessary.

Opening up Is Hard

Depression is a tricky monster because the disorder itself can make asking for help seem impossible.

Depression has a funny way of telling me little lies like, “you don’t deserve help,” “you’re just being a big baby” or “your doctor can’t help you with this problem.” It’s really hard to see through these lies and do the right thing to take care of yourself.

You might not be close with your doctor and have trouble opening up about this problem. You’re probably embarrassed to talk about it at all.

I recommend reading up on the illness to prepare yourself. It will help you realize that this is a clinical disorder, that requires clinical treatment.

How to Talk to Your Doctor About Depression

You’ve decided to make some changes and have a talk with your doctor, but you have no idea how to do it. Something as simple as telling your doctor you’re sad all the time feels like baring your soul to the universe.

You might not be comfortable talking about your feelings, let alone with a near stranger. So how do you break through the barriers and get the help you need?

1. Make the Appointment

First, make an appointment with your doctor. This step alone can be terrifying when you’re facing depression. Call your main doctor’s office to make an appointment, and when asked what the appointment is for, simply say “mental health” or something similar.

That’s all it takes to get on the road to recovery. You can also bring up your suspected depression at an appointment for another issue.

2. Start Talking

You’re at the appointment, and now you have to get the words flowing. Start by simply telling your doctor the symptoms that are affecting your life. This will get the conversation started and spark some questions for your doctor to ask you. Some example conversation starters:

  • “I’ve been spending too much time sleeping lately. I’ve slept for entire days at a time and missed important events or appointments.”
  • “Lately, I’m having trouble making myself accomplish simple things. It feels so draining to do even the most everyday tasks.”
  • “I’ve been much more irritable than usual. It seems like every little thing and person sets me off.”
  • “It’s been hard to eat lately. I usually have such a great appetite but it’s completely gone.”
  • “I’m having trouble enjoying life and feeling weighed down by something. It feels very empty lately.”

It may be extremely difficult to get those one or two sentences out. But if you can get that far, you’ve won half the battle. Now your doctor can take over by asking you more questions and assessing your mental health.

3. Mention Other Symptoms

Now the conversation is flowing, and your doctor is assessing whether or not you might be experiencing depression.

To make the most accurate assessment, your doctor needs to know all your symptoms and history, both physical and mental. This way, she can explore any underlying health issues that could contribute to your depression.

Be sure to mention any of the following, which can help identify underlying health problems:

  • All medications you are currently taking
  • Family history of mental illness
  • Substance abuse
  • A chronic illness
  • Big life events

It’s best to paint the whole picture so your doctor can screen you for depression with as much information as possible. This will lead to a more accurate diagnosis and treatment plan.

4. Ask Questions

You’ve gotten through the hard part. You’ve taken the most important step and asked for help. Now the conversation should be flowing, and you should make sure to ask questions.

Take control of your health by asking the questions that are surely on your mind. Here are some example questions to ask your doctor:

  • “Will I need medication to manage my depression?”
  • “Could any underlying health issues be causing me to feel this way?”
  • “When do you expect me to begin feeling better?”
  • “What should I do in an emergency?”
  • “When should I follow up with you?”

Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Your mental health is just as important as any other aspect of your health, so it deserves the same amount of attention and care.

What to Expect Next

If your doctor diagnoses you with depression, there are a few treatment routes he may take. First, any underlying health problems will be treated. Then, depending on your type and severity of depression, the doctor may:

  • Refer you to a psychiatrist, psychologist or therapist
  • Prescribe medication
  • Adjust current medications
  • Link you with community resources

If you begin taking medication, it’s wise to follow up with a psychiatrist who specializes in mental health medications. That way, you’ll ensure you are taking the appropriate medication and receive care specialized to mental health. Make sure to continue your treatment, even if you’re feeling better.

Living With Depression

Your mental health is as important as your physical health. If you were diagnosed with a heart condition, you’d take medication and see specialists. Why treat depression any differently?

If something seems off, trust your gut and tell your doctor. If you’re still uncomfortable talking about it, bring someone you trust with you to the appointment. They can help explain how you’re feeling to the doctor or just serve as moral support for you.

Your life depends on the proper treatment and management of depression. Seek the help you need and keep faith that you’ll find an effective treatment option.

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Health & Wellness

I Tried CBD Oil for 30 Days. Here’s How I Feel

Chances are you’ve heard about CBD; it’s hard not to. It seems like you can’t walk into any health food store or even spa without seeing CBD for sale. It’s so sought-after these days that its move passed the people-only market and is popular among the pet community too.

I couldn’t stop hearing about CBD, and how it was so amazing for everything, like anxiety, pain stress, even asthma, so I had to try it. And so, I did, every day for 30 days.

If you’re wondering what CBD is and how it can make your life a little brighter, read on.

What is CBD?

Let’s get the technical stuff out of the way first.

CBD stands for cannabidiol, THC’s non-psychoactive cousin. I’m going to repeat that – non-psychoactive, as in – will not get you high.

CBD is the second most prevalent cannabinoid in cannabis and can be derived from the marijuana or hemp plant.

CBD performs multiple functions in the human body, and the research is still growing, but one significant way that CBD works is by supplementing the endocannabinoid system (ECS). 

The human ECS runs through our entire body, and it plays a critical part in our survival by maintaining homeostasis.

Bear with me; we’re almost there.

The ECS works with three components: endocannabinoids, receptors, and enzymes.

The endocannabinoids help bodily functions operate smoothly by binding to specific receptors. The enzymes break down endocannabinoids after they’ve finished doing their job.

Research shows that CBD inhibits the enzymes that break down naturally produced endocannabinoids, allowing them to stay in our bodies longer, and extending their calming and balancing effects.

One of the endocannabinoids that CBD reduces the breakdown of is anandamide, which gets its name from the Sanskrit Ananda, meaning bliss. Anandamide manages the production and uptake of serotonin and also regulates pain.

So with CBD, more of this bliss producing and pain-alleviating compound stays in our bodies for longer. 

In addition to stress, mood, and pain relief, by supplementing the ECS, CBD can also help other vital body processes like immune response, sleep, appetite and metabolism, digestive function, inflammatory response, memory, pleasure and reward systems, fertility, and more stay regulated and perform optimally.

More Benefits of CBD

Clinical research on CBD is still limited, but the research that exists has found that CBD can:

What Did CBD Do For Me?

Now that you have an idea of what CBD is supposed to do, here’s what it actually did for me after 30 days.

(Here’s my review of the CBD oil I tried by the way!)

Easy Breezy Me (Well As Close As It Gets)

The main reason I wanted to try CBD was that I’m always anxious.

Everything from driving to booking flights gives me anxiety.

And let’s not forget the racing thoughts when my brain maps out every possible “what if” scenario for any action: queue racing heart and trouble breathing.

From the first time I took high-quality CBD, I almost instantly felt more mellow and way less anxious.

Over 30 days, I planned my daily CBD dose with my most anxious moments.

While CBD didn’t make my problems disappear, it made everything easier to deal with.

Even in those verge of panic attack moments where it’s hard to breathe or move, it filled me with a sense of calm, grounding, and presentness.

The anxiety that may have otherwise made me want to avoid things and head back to the comfort of my bed was put on the back burner. I was able to tackle whatever had to be done.

Fewer Aches and Pains

I don’t suffer from much physical pain in my life, something for which I have immense gratitude.

But, after arriving back in the states from traveling for five months and adjusting to the routine of things, I became a lot less active.

I went from walking miles and miles a day, going on hikes, climbing up and down cliffs, and more, to driving everywhere and not finding much time to exercise.

During the month when I was first trying CBD, I decided to work out again.

The next day my lower back was killing me. After a full dropper of CBD tincture, it completely went away.

CBD also made my menstrual cramps and body aches that come with them so much more bearable.

And CBD brought me some sweet relief from an awful migraine – the kind where every time you move, your whole head feels like it weighs a ton. After taking CBD, I stopped noticing any symptoms and was able to get on with my day.

Throughout the month, CBD also helped relieve stomach pains from indigestion when I overindulged in some not so healthy foods. It even helped keep me “regular,” if you know what I mean.

Alcohol Hangover Relief

I used to be the girl at the bar drinking straight tequila, not even shots, just straight glasses of tequila. Okay well, I took the shots too.

But I don’t drink much these days, other than some wine here or there or on special occasions.

The 30 days when I tested out CBD happened to coincide with a couple of weddings. The first wedding involved taking multiple shots for the first time in almost two years.

The second wedding was a more casual celebration with no vegan food options, which led me to foolishly drinking lots of prosecco on an empty stomach.

Rookie mistake, I know.

Both nights, I was ready for an unforgiving hangover in the morning, but CBD saved the day.

I took CBD both of the mornings after and was able to get on with my day, as usual. I wasn’t feeling 100% but close enough; no headaches, no nausea, no need to lay in bed all day.

I’d say that’s pretty impressive. Especially since the night of too many Proseccos hit me so hard that I had to leave the venue to go for a walk and keep from puking on the ride home.

Weed Hangover Relief 

I’m not a big fan of the term weed hangover because I don’t think weed and alcohol hangovers are on the same page.

But, I have always experienced some symptoms after smoking weed, a “weed fog” if you will.

I don’t smoke much anymore because it usually makes me anxious. But other times with the right strain and setting, I feel on top of the world right after chilling with Mary Jane.

Either way, I usually don’t feel as great afterwards. Instead, brain fog, sleepiness, lethargy, crankiness, or the occasional slight headache settle in.

If I smoke at night, that means waking up with these symptoms the next morning.

But when I take CBD a few hours after smoking or right before bed, it feels as if I never smoked at all.

My boyfriend, who indulges in the medicinal magic of marijuana a lot more than I do also experienced these results.

CBD can counteract the effects of THC because it’s a negative allosteric modulator of the CB1 receptors.

In simpler terms, CBD and THC both bind to CB1 receptors, but in different areas.

When CBD binds, it changes the shape of the CB1 receptors. This makes THC less binding and reduces the psychoactive effects of THC.

With this reasoning, you should also be able to use CBD to reduce the effects of a too intense high, but I haven’t had to try this yet. But knowing I have the option, does relieve some of the anxiety that comes with THC.

A Reverse Tolerance

Studies show that unlike THC, CBD doesn’t build up a tolerance. Meaning if you keep taking CBD, you don’t have to take more and more each time to feel the effects.

Some people find that CBD has a reverse tolerance effect, meaning the more they take it, the less of it they need.

I mentioned before that I took my daily CBD dose when I was the most anxious. During the first week of taking CBD, there was no shortage of times that I wanted to take it. The second week was similar, but I was overall, less anxious.

During the third and fourth weeks, I felt so much less anxious than usual. I would forget to take my CBD until the late afternoon or evening or sometimes close to going to bed.

Anything that works well enough on my anxiety that I forget to take it because I’m not feeling as anxious is gold as far as I’m concerned.

A Bit of Bliss

I try to be a happy and optimistic person, and most of the time, I succeed, but I’ve also dealt with depressive thoughts and episodes since my early teens.

Sometimes these heavy, dark moments are fueled by literally nothing – my mind’s unfortunate version of a joke, and somehow, I’ve always missed the punchline.

Other times, it’s family issues. These hit me especially hard because as an empath, I feel people’s problems as my own, and feel like it’s my responsibility to fix them.

With CBD, even in these dark moments, there’s a bit of bliss that settles in for me. This little bit of bliss is enough to motivate me to get on with what I have to do with a greater sense of appreciation.

Or if I have nothing to do, it motivates me to go for a walk or paint or do something else I enjoy, which in turn boosts my mood even more.

Better Sleep and More Wakefulness

One of the noted benefits of CBD is helping relieve insomnia, so you might be wondering if it’s going to make you tired all the time.

The few times I took CBD close to bedtime, it did lead to a great night’s sleep. But when I took it during the day, it often inspired a greater feeling of wakefulness or awareness.

To better grasp how this works, it’s important to remember that CBD doesn’t work as a sedative when used as a sleep aid. Instead, it helps improve sleep by reducing anxiety and pain and bringing balance to the wake and sleep cycles.

If it helps, you can think of CBD as an adaptogen that works with your body’s natural rhythms to improve their function.

So, when taken during the day, CBD can help trigger wakefulness through its anti-anxiety and serotonin-boosting properties. At night it can help you get to sleep by relieving ailments that would otherwise keep you up.

If you’re worried about CBD making you too relaxed or not relaxed enough, many brands make specific blends designed to help you chill out or amp up.

Are There Any Downsides to CBD Oil?

I’ve been taking CBD for over 30 days now, and I haven’t noticed any downsides myself. But I’ve heard people mention that it can be rough on the liver.

The only studies that have proven a chance of liver toxicity caused by CBD have been animal studies. In these animal studies, any adverse effects are associated only with extremely high concentrations of CBD – way more than what you need.

Also, in cases related to CBD as a treatment for epilepsy, some participants reported symptoms like diarrhea, weight and appetite changes, and fatigue. These symptoms are a lot better than the side effects of pharmaceuticals for epilepsy.

Overall, research shows that CBD has a favorable safety profile in humans.

So, the cliché “even too much of a good thing can be bad” applies to CBD too. It’s all about using it in a way that helps you, not abusing it.

Getting the Most Out of CBD

To get the most out of CBD, you need to choose a reputable brand that’s using quality full or broad-spectrum hemp extract. This really matters.

You also need to play around with your dosage. I have a moderately sensitive system, so taking the recommended bottle dosage works just fine, but you might need a bit more or even less.

For the fastest and fullest effect, I like to keep the CBD tincture drops under my tongue for longer than the recommended 1-2 minutes, and I try to take it on an empty stomach.

Should You Try CBD?

Okay, CBD isn’t a cure-all, but I don’t think there is one.

But CBD does help, and it helped me a lot. Enough so that before the bottle I had for my 30 day trial period was even close to being finished, I ordered more CBD.

It might seem ridiculous for me to say that CBD has changed my life – but it has.

It’s like I have this little bottle of superpowers that gives me comfort in knowing that when I’m faced with overwhelming anxiety, I’m not feeling well because I have my period, or drank too much, or ate poorly, if I’ve strained my body, need a social boost, or need to elevate my mood, I can.

And I can do it in a natural way. That I think is something worth trying. So, if you ask me if you should try CBD, I 10/10 recommend.

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Health & Wellness

What Is Stress Weight Loss & What to Do About It

When I’m stressed, I generally have two polar opposite reactions to food. I either eat my body weight in pasta, chocolate, and other comfort food, or I just stop eating.

While most people relate stress to overeating and weight gain, stress weight loss is also common. Losing weight might sound like a positive component of stress, but it’s not. You never want to harm your body by losing weight for unhealthy reasons.

Significant weight loss from stress can lead to problems like nutrition deficiency, weakness, muscle loss, and more. So, if you’re on the stress weight loss side of the spectrum, what can you do about it?

What Causes Stress Weight Loss?

If you’re experiencing weight loss from stress, here are some of the possible reasons:

Stress Can Cause Stomach and Digestion Problems

When the body experiences stress, it goes into fight or flight mode. In fight or flight mode, the body receives a burst of energy, which increases heart rate, breathing, blood pressure, enhances vision, and more.

To maintain this spike in energy, digestion slows down, or in some cases, stops completely, which can lead to gastrointestinal distress. Gastrointestinal distress leads to stomach pains, bloating, constipation, diarrhea, or other symptoms.

Chronic stress can also cause irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), or intensify the severity of symptoms.

The symptoms of gastrointestinal distress and IBS commonly lead to a reduced food intake, which in turn leads to weight loss.

Stress Can Cause Anxiety and Depression

Chronic stress can lead to many psychological disorders, including general anxiety disorder. Both general anxiety disorder and less severe levels of anxiety often lead to weight loss.

Anxiety isn’t the only result of stress; stress is also associated with the development of depression. For some people, depression can cause a decrease in appetite, which can lead to weight loss.

Stress Can Lead to More Activity

When I’m stressed or anxious, movement always helps, walking, running, yoga, moving my body in any way. And I’m not the only one.

Physical activity is known to reduce stress while improving mood and self-esteem. Plus, nervous movements like fidgeting, leg shaking, pacing, and more are commonly associated with stress.

In many situations, using physical activity to combat the effects of stress is healthy and recommended. But if you’re too active, especially while not eating enough, it can quickly lead to significant stress weight loss.

Stress Can Make You Too Exhausted to Eat

I know stress and anxiety well enough to have experienced more than my fair share of sleepless nights laying in bed, internally freaking out. We’ve all been there at some point.

Stress is known to cause reduced sleep duration and increased sleep disturbances.

If you’re constantly stressed out or too stressed out, you might reach the point of exhaustion where you’re just too tired to eat, which can cause stress-related weight loss.

Stress Can Make You Skip Meals

When I’m super stressed about a deadline or juggling multiple projects at the same time, I tend to go into work overdrive, and sometimes forget about meals. I get hyper-focused on work, and next thing I know, it’s 4 pm, and I haven’t eaten.

If you tend to forget about or skip meals when you’re stressed or in work overdrive, by the time you’re done working, it’s likely too late for regularly scheduled meals. This increases your chances of squeezing in a quick, unhealthy meal that makes you feel worse.

Stress Can Cause Nausea

I already mentioned that stress can lead to gastrointestinal disorders and IBS, but stress can also cause nausea.

Just like eating is super unappealing when you’re bloated, uncomfortable, or suffering from stomach pains, nausea is a pretty effective appetite suppressant too.

These are just some of the many ways that weight loss from stress happens, so what can you do about it?

How to Deal With Stress Weight Loss

1. Schedule Meals

If you skip meals when you’re stressed, start scheduling them by setting a timer on your phone.

To make these scheduled meals something you can look forward to, allow yourself to take a quick 20-minute break, and do something you enjoy while you eat, like reading a book.

If you’re struggling to finish whole meals, schedule multiple snacks during the day too.

It’s best to schedule your meals around the same time every day. Proper meal timing can help increase stress resistance, reduce inflammation, better manage gut health, and help regulate circadian rhythm.

2. Take Baby Bites

If your stomach feels like it’s in knots or you experience nausea when you’re stressed, eating big or even normal-sized meals can be a challenge, so start small.

Instead of trying to tackle a huge bowl of pasta for lunch, have a nice bean salad with avocado, and eat small portions.

If even tackling three small meals a day feels like too much right now, then drink your calories, but in a good way. Make healthy smoothies that are full of fruits, vegetables, and nut butters.

You can add to your calories by snacking throughout the day, just keep it healthy, like a bowl of grapes or a handful of nuts.

As you manage to eat small meals and snacks, you can help prepare your body for tackling bigger meals.

3. Eat Foods That Fight Stress and Improve Mood

Food is truly medicine, and while it’s a healing tool for the body, it’s also a healing tool for the mind.

Many foods can help reduce stress and get you in a better mood, like Vitamin B. Vitamin B helps reduce stress, and can be found in whole grains, seeds and nuts, dark leafy greens, citrus fruits, avocado, bananas, and more.

And a simple bowl of Oatmeal can reduce stress and release serotonin.

But my favorite pick me up is all-natural, pure cacao. Pure cacao or chocolate that isn’t full of artificial ingredients and too much sugar has positive effects on stress levels, inflammation, memory, and immunity and can reduce depression.

Speaking of cacao, if you ever have the opportunity to join a cacao ceremony, do it! I promise you won’t regret it.

4. Notice What Hurts Your Stomach

When your stomach is in pain due to stress, it’s more important than ever to be present and notice how everything you eat impacts your stomach.

A few months ago, I started developing strange stomach symptoms. I’ll spare you the details, but my stomach hurt almost all the time, and I went from loving to eat to never really being hungry.

After I started paying attention, I realized that I had just gone from traveling around tropical places with tons of fresh fruit everywhere to winter in NY and way less fruit around me. I had also been eating a lot more rice.

So, I changed my eating habits and had oatmeal with fresh fruit for breakfast every day, and ate less rice. My stomach started feeling better after a couple of days and went back to normal after a little more than a week.

So try to keep track of when your stomach is at its worst, and keep a list of what you ate that could have caused it so that you can modify your diet.

In addition to bringing awareness to dietary problems, food tracking can help you make better food choices, and it’s a way to practice mindful eating.

5. Choose Healthy Pre-Made Food

There have been so many times when I’ve opened the fridge door, saw that there was nothing ready to eat, and thought, “I’ll just eat later.”

When you’re super stressed and fatigued, preparing food is probably the last thing on your mind. Not wanting to prepare food can easily make you avoid eating and lead to stress weight loss.

So instead, find some local health food stores that deliver or visit your local health food store and grab a few fresh or frozen meals to keep for the week.

If your stress comes and goes, or you get sudden bursts of energy or downtime, you can also try to get into the practice of meal prepping.

6. Always Fuel Up After Exercising

If you manage stress through exercise but aren’t eating enough, stress weight loss is very likely. So make sure to always eat something after your exercise.

Eat something as soon as you finish exercising, so you don’t forget. This doesn’t have to be a big meal but focus on high protein or carbohydrate foods, like avocado, nuts, yogurt, a banana, an apple with nut butter, rice cakes, or a protein smoothie.

You can even buy premade protein drinks at the store, to make it as easy as can be.

Eating after you exercise will help prevent stress weight loss, and has other benefits too, like increased muscle protein synthesis, reduced protein breakdown, and more effective muscle reconditioning.

Eating protein after you exercise can also help improve your performance the next day.

7. Take a Break and De-stress

Schedule one hour a day where you focus on de-stressing. I know that feels impossible sometimes, especially when you have a mile-long to-do list, but one hour is such a small part of your day.

Even if it means waking up an hour earlier to have extra time in the day, putting time aside that’s only for you to focus on de-stressing is so important.

Here are a few ways you can de-stress every day:

  • Spend Time Outside: Spending time immersed in nature reduces stress and anxiety and improves overall health, even if it’s only for 20 minutes.
  • Practice Yoga: There are so many benefits of yoga, including stress reduction. I love sinking into a relaxing restorative or yin flow at the end of a long day.
  • Practice Self Care: There are so many beneficial self-care habits you can practice daily. One of my favorites is a steamy hot, candle-lit bath combined with some inspiring literature.
  • Unleash Your Creativity: Creativity reduces cortisol levels. You don’t have to create a masterpiece, just create anything. Draw, paint, fill a coloring book, write a poem, etc.

8. Get to the Root of the Problem

While all of these tips will help you fight off weight loss from stress, you must get to the root of your stress. Usually, to be stressed out long enough to cause stress weight loss, something has to be having a pretty big impact on your life.

Is it a long term project for work? A new living situation? An unhealthy relationship? Constantly having too much on your plate?

Whatever it is, identify it, and start working on how you can make it less intense. Remember, while some stress in life is inevitable, you don’t have to be stressed all the time, and it’s always okay to ask for help.

If the tips above and other lifestyle changes and stress management methods don’t help, it might be time to consider other potential causes of weight loss.