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Sunday, April 19, 2015

9 Ways to Lower Your Daily Stress

Mar 23, 2015

By Fariha Jasin Mansur
Stress has unfortunately become a normal part of our lives. In modern society, it is one of the silent culprits that affects anyone. A little might not be too bad for anyone, but continuous stress can cause negative effects on your mind, body and overall life.
stress statistic data showed that 77% of people in the U.S. regularly experience physical symptoms caused by stress.  Long-term stress can cause headache, acne, chest pain, high blood pressure, fatigue, teeth grinding, depression, anxiety etc.
Making use of stress management methods is essential to take charge of one’s own health and mind. Although it is not an easy job, managing stress is a prerequisite to living a healthy and happy life. I have suffered from stress for a long time without realizing it, so to help manage your own stress, here are 9 practical tips that helped me keep stress at bay:

1. Exercise regularly

Exercise is one of the most effective treatments against stress. Not only does it reduce stress levels, but it can also reduce fatigue, improve concentration levels and the physical ability to fight disease. Research shows that doing exercise in the morning on an empty stomach has a greater impact than at other time. If you feel a lack in energy, you can eat a few dates to stabilize your blood sugar levels.
Exercising every morning for 20-30 minutes is a great way to start your day. There are many different types of exercise to choose from, so do whichever is suitable and enjoyable for you.
Start with small changes
Exercise does not always have to be a specific workout; it can include any activity that increases your heart rate, so try being active whenever the opportunity arises. For example, make it a habit to take the stairs instead of the elevator, or walk/bicycle when traveling short distances instead of riding a car.
Our Prophet Muhammad ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) was reported to walk in a fast pace, now known as a power walk. In a hadith, Ali raḍyAllāhu 'anhu (may Allāh be pleased with him) described Muhammad’s ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) vigorous way of walking:
“When he walked, he lifted his leg with vigour. He did not drag his feet on the ground like women do. When he walked, because of the speed and force of the legs, it seemed as if he was descending from a high place.” [Tirmidhi]
In another hadith about the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him), Abu Hurairah raḍyAllāhu 'anhu (may Allāh be pleased with him) narrated that:
“I did not see anyone walk faster than him, as if the earth folded for him. A few moments ago he would be here, and then there. We found it difficult to keep pace when we walked with him, and he walked at his normal pace.” [Tirmidhi]
Remember that if you take exercise as a chore, after sometime you could lose interest or find excuses not to do it. Therefore, try to encourage your family members to join you, as any activity done with others tends to be more enjoyable.

2. Do breathing exercises

Breathing exercises are another excellent antidote for stress. When you feel really stressed out, try this for 5-10 minutes:
  • breathe in with your nose for 5 seconds
  • hold your breath for 3 seconds, then
  • slowly breathe out through your mouth for a count of 7 seconds
This breathing exercise will calm your body and you will start to feel relaxed. Just remember to breathe with your belly, specifically your diaphragm (the muscle that sits just below your lungs), rather than your chest, for more efficient breathing.
Doing this regularly is good for a healthy body and mind. Studies have shown that doing a similar breathing technique while meditating for as little as 8 minutes a day can slow down the negative effects associated with ageing.

3. Eat right

Most people do not realize it, but food can also affect stress levels. Certain types of food and drink can increase stress levels, such as fast foods, butter, cheese, meat, shellfish, sugar, tea, coffee, and soft drinks.
This does not mean that you have to avoid them completely, but you should consume them in moderation.
Remember that Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) says:
“… And eat and drink, but be not excessive. Indeed, He likes not those who commit excess.” [Qur’an: Chapter 7, Verse 31]
Some people like to drink tea or coffee when they are stressed from their studies or work. It may feel refreshing for a short time, but they also contain certain neuro-stimulators like caffeine and theo-bromine, which are proven to increase stress levels.
Fortunately, there are also some foods that can help relieve stress, particularly foods with a high vitamin and mineral content. These include fresh vegetables and fruits, yogurt and green smoothies. Eating fish that are rich in omega-3 fatty acids such as salmon, trout, sardines and tuna three times a week, can also help reduce stress levels.

4. Sleep well

Sleep is a vital part of our life. To reduce stress-inducing hormones, a good night’s sleep is exceedingly important. When you are tired and not well-rested, your stress hormones increase. You can easily remedy this by sleeping 7-9 hours per night.
However, the best quality sleep occurs in the early part of the night, which is in accordance with the sunnah of the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) who advised us to sleep right after ‘Isha salah. Sleeping around 9-10 pm also makes it easier to wake up for Fajr. However, if you happen to wake up in the middle of the night and cannot fall back asleep, get up and pray tahajjud. Also if you get chance, take a short power nap after Dhuhr.

5. Laugh

They say laughter is the best medicine and not only is it good for the body, but also for the mind as it can reduce stress hormones. So whenever you get a chance, try to enjoy the blessings of a good laugh. Of course, a lasting smile (also sunnah) can be just as beneficial, as your brain is tricked into being happy thereby releasing stress-relieving chemicals. You could also try other activities that make you happy, like reading a book, baking, or taking a walk.

6. Enjoy the company of family and friends

The lonelier you are, the more you will attract negative feelings. Keep in touch with your family members and close friends to feel better and spread some love. A study from the University of Michigan found that chatting released hormones involved in bonding, which in turn reduced anxiety and stress, thus making the participants happier.
So to reduce stress, enjoy some time with your family and friends by doing any kinds of activity, for example, go for a picnic, a bike ride or just chat. Not only will it help reduce your stress levels but also help to build a strong bonds between each other.

7. Take advantage of your free time

In our busy life, we need some time to enjoy ourselves. You can use your free time in a productive way by doing something to serve your community, or simply relaxing and listening to Qur’an recitation, a lecture by your favorite lecturer, or reading any hadith or Islamic book.
This way you can increase your knowledge and faith, and also help calm your daily struggles. It is a necessary asset in the life of a person who wants to live stress-free. When you learn about of the struggles the sahabah made for their religion or how difficult it was for them initially to even pray five times in a day, a person can easily see that their struggle is small compared with that of our Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) and his sahabah.
I read an article where a sister mentioned that she had a special place in her house where nobody is allowed to disturb her, not even her children. She went there everyday for some time to praise Almightily Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) as if she was in a cave. Having a similar dhikr zone in your own house is an excellent way to make time to connect with Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) and enjoy some peaceful moments.
As Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) says in the Qur’an:
“… and seek from the bounty of Allah, and remember Allah often that you may succeed.” [Qur’an: Chapter 62, Verse 10]

8. Manage your time well

To manage your time properly, identify your ‘MITs’: most important tasks; and do those first everyday to get them out of the way. You can also develop a routine based on your regular tasks, so you can focus on the tasks that need more attention. There are many apps available to help you, such as 30/30 or Todoist.
If boredom is the reason for your stress, then simply use that time for learning or understanding verses of the Qur’an, or even try to memorize it. As Ibn Abbas raḍyAllāhu 'anhu (may Allāh be pleased with him) narrated that Prophet Mohammad ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) said:
“There are two blessings which many people lose: (They are) Health and free time for doing good.” [Bukhari]

9. Be content with what you have

Most of us are not satisfied with what we have. You might be stressed about not getting that promotion, or unsatisfied with your job/salary, or tensed with your children etc. Remember that there are people dealing with harder situations that yourself; some are homeless, jobless, or without children.
In worldly matters, look to those below you to be humbled (looking above you triggers jealousy and ungratefulness), while in religious matters look to those above you to get inspired to reach a higher level of taqwa.
You must always be thankful for what Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) granted you. You might think that what you want is better for you but He knows what is truly best for you. Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) might be giving you what you need or He may be testing your iman so that you may call upon Him and increase in piety. The path you are on is the right one for you, even if you cannot see that right now.
Stress cannot solve your problems, but it only causes more, especially to your health and social life. So, be happy with what you have, be patient, try to do your best and ask Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) for guidance.
Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) said: “So remember Me; I will remember you. And be grateful to Me and do not deny Me.” [Qur’an: Chapter 2, Verse 152]
In reality, it is difficult to avoid all sources of stress as we encounter a myriad of situations on a daily basis, but do not let stress control your life. Try to make a little time everyday for your health and well-being, as they are blessings from Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He).
I hope these tips have inspired you to take initiative to actively reduce stress in your life. If you have any other stress management tips please leave them in the comments below.

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Friday, April 17, 2015

33 Products Every iPhone Addict Will Want

Posted By  on Dec 31, 2014 |

iPhone Life.
Roel Smart / Getty Images / Via thinkstockphotos.com

1. A bag that charges your phone.

A bag that charges your phone.
Cute, chic, and practical.

2. A brush that helps you take the best selfie.

A brush that helps you take the best selfie.
Brush stray hairs, snap a selfie. Brush friend’s stray hairs, snap a double selfie. Endless brushing and selfie possibilities.

3. A fancy clip-on lens to up your photo-taking game.

A fancy clip-on lens to up your photo-taking game.
The Olloclip lets you take photos through fish eye, wide, and macro lenses.

4. A grassy charging station for all of your devices.

A grassy charging station for all of your devices.
Via houzz.com
An aesthetically pleasing charging station that cushions your gadgets like a dream and hides all of your tangled cables.

5. A pocket projector to display your screen wherever you go.

A pocket projector to display your screen wherever you go.
Keep children entertained on the go, project businessy things during meetings, or host movie night anywhere you choose.

6. A wireless memory card that gives your camera and phone magical powers.

33 Products Every iPhone Addict Will Want
Up your Instagram game with this wireless SD Card that will send your camera’s beautiful snaps to your iPhone in seconds. No more cables, no more software, no more wasted time. Boom.

7. An instant smartphone printer for all of your polaroid-worthy snaps.

An instant smartphone printer for all of your polaroid-worthy snaps.
Print your smartphone selfies straight onto INSTAX film for adorable wallet-sized polaroids of everything you take photos of.

8. A selfie stick to ensure the whole gang gets involved in the action.

A selfie stick to ensure the whole gang gets involved in the action.
Use the selfie stick to capture you and your friends with an awesome background. No more selfie-arm or fingers over the lens.

9. A bluetooth shutter remote to take group shots with ease.

A bluetooth shutter remote to take group shots with ease.
Link up your iPhone and the remote to take glamour shots without a mirror, or a large series of group shots.

10. A laser projection keyboard to type on-the-go.

A laser projection keyboard to type on-the-go.
Type whatever you want with this keyboard that travels with you everywhere. Connect via Bluetooth and type away on your lap, the table, or a cat. The possibilities are endless.

11. A rotating stand to take flawless 360º panoramas or time-lapse videos.

A rotating stand to take flawless 360º panoramas or time-lapse videos.
If you find it difficult to hold your camera steady (it’s okay, you’re only human), let this neat little guy take the perfect time-lapse video or panorama image for you.

12. A digital conversion table to get your old records onto your iTunes.

A digital conversion table to get your old records onto your iTunes.
Convert your records to mp3 right to your iPhone, without a computer middle-man. Amazing!

13. A stereo recording microphone attachment.

A stereo recording microphone attachment.
For the musically inclined iPhone lover, or just the karaoke obsessed iPhone lover.

14. A film scanner to put your old camera film straight onto Instagram.

33 Products Every iPhone Addict Will Want
Grab the seemingly useless old film strips from your old photos and scan them directly into your phone for some #tbt goodness in minutes.

15. An attachable lens-style camera so your DSLR can stay home.

An attachable lens-style camera so your DSLR can stay home.
Connect over WiFi and turn a smartphone into a camera with 10x zoom, or use as a detached camera with your iPhone as the screen for times when the DSLR just isn’t an option.

16. A universal bike mount to improve your ride.

A universal bike mount to improve your ride.
With this one-touch bike mount you can take your phone along for the ride to help you with directions (we won’t tell anyone you don’t know where you’re going), listen to some tunes (One Direction, probably), or keep in touch with your fellow riders (who have somehow turned super-human and are miles in front of you on the trail).

17. A wireless/bluetooth gaming controller to take the game anywhere.

A wireless/bluetooth gaming controller to take the game anywhere.
Big thumbs, tiny buttons, very important game? Problem solved.

18. A detachable lens kit for app-free special effects and filters.

A detachable lens kit for app-free special effects and filters.
No need to download yet another app for crazy filters and effects (we all know you’re out of storage and can’t download the latest update, anyway), just attach the filter lenses to the case and snap away. (Case for iPhone 4/4S here).

19. A car mount that slides into your cup holder.

A car mount that slides into your cup holder.
Safely navigate your way around hands-free with your phone sturdily docked in your car’s cup holder.

20. An easy on/off macro lens rubber band.

An easy on/off macro lens rubber band.
Take crisp and clear close-ups with this rubberized macro lens that will make even the smallest details sharp.

21. Ten-digit touch screen gloves for cold weather texting emergencies.

Ten-digit touch screen gloves for cold weather texting emergencies.
Via moshi.com
Because honestly, being limited to your thumbs and pointer fingers is just INSANITY.

22. A key-sized lightning to USB cable for charging anywhere and everywhere.

A key-sized lightning to USB cable for charging anywhere and everywhere.
This portable lightning cable is tiny, durable, and practical. Bring it wherever your keys go and leave the three-foot cable stuck to the wall at home.

23. A case with a built-in bottle opener.

A case with a built-in bottle opener.
Being stuck without a bottle opener is quite possibly one of the most frustrating predicaments of all time. Save yourself the agony and carry your opener with your phone, because you know you always have that on hand. (For iPhone 4/4S modelclick here, and to sign-up for an iPhone 6 model, click here).

24. A wooden camera case.

A wooden camera case.
Because really, who doesn’t use their phone primarily as a camera these days?

25. A Bluetooth receiver for your headphones to eliminate tangling.

Make any pair of headphones Bluetooth-compatible with this little guy that can go with you everywhere. Use your phone without the long headphone wire sticking out of it, and have buttons to change your music or end your phone call literally at your fingertips. Bonus: the Smartbean will clip onto almost anything for hands-free optimization.

26. A metallic lightning cable to make charging chic.

A metallic lightning cable to make charging chic.
A braided cable that won’t tangle, Apple certified, made for faster charging, and metallic – what more could you need in a cable, honestly?

27. A case to wrap up your wires like a taquito.

33 Products Every iPhone Addict Will Want
Keep your cords and headphones tangle-free and tucked away with this wrap organizer that looks like a leather burrito. Stylish enough to walk around with by itself and compact enough to slip into another bag.

28. A cordless charger that’s with you always.

A cordless charger that's with you always.
For the avid traveller who needs to plug in wherever possible, or the overly forgetful person who is forever losing charging cables, this case helps you ditch the cables and plug right in.

29. A credit card reader to make your business portable.

A credit card reader to make your business portable.
For small business owners, or those who do business on-the-go like a boss, this pocket-sized card reader lets you make a sale wherever you are.

30. A colorful Bluetooth speaker to play your tunes wherever you please.

A colorful Bluetooth speaker to play your tunes wherever you please.
Via bose.com
Play some tuneage from your iPhone all day every day in a stylish way with one of these portable Bluetooth speakers. Take it to parties, put it in the bathroom for shower karaoke time, or make your coworkers’ days better with a Beyonce sing-a-long at the office.

31. A reusable screen cleaner to wipe away dirt and bacteria from your devices.

A reusable screen cleaner to wipe away dirt and bacteria from your devices.
The iRoller cleans your screen and gets rid of pesky fingerprints and the build-up of bacteria and germs due to constant touching. YUCK.

32. A bracelet that will charge your phone for you.

AD-iPhoneChargingBraceletThe QBracelet will charge your phone on-the-go, and you will look like you are sporting a fancy wearable that is counting your steps. The ultimate deceit.

33. A Bluetooth-enabled lock for your house that opens at your touch.

A Bluetooth-enabled lock for your house that opens at your touch.
This deadbolt lock will wirelessly lock and unlock with the touch of a finger while your phone is within signal. Send an “e-key” to family and friends that are visiting, and all they need to get into your home is their phone. ~Cool~.
33 Products Every iPhone Addict Will Want
Via giphy.com
Source: BuzzFeed

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