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I love a good cry every now and then. Sometimes all you need to do is sob to your heart's content when life gets a little overwhelming.

We may feel embarrassed or silly when we cry but fear not my friends, a new study has found that crying is actually good for you.

Researchers in Japan confirmed that crying can actually make you happier. The team of researchers explained that crying can help reduce stress meaning you live a happier and calmer life.

Basically, crying is an act of self-defence against accumulating stresses.

“The act of crying is more effective than laughing or sleeping in reducing stress. If you cry once a week, you can live a stress-free life," said Hidefumi Yoshida told the Japan Times.

Hidefumi Yoshida believes watching heart wrenching movies, listening to emotional songs or reading harrowing books can help make you feel better, even when you’re a blubbering, snotty nosed wreck.

So, next time you’re having a bad day fetch the tissues, watch The Fault In Our Stars and just let the tears roll.

Having a cry is good for the soul so don’t be afraid to let the tears out after a bad day at work, after arguing with your bestie or when you're watching a tear-jerker at the cinema.

Trust me, holding back the tears is no good for you. I tried to do so in a very quiet cinema whilst watching A Star Is Born and ended up with a headache for the remainder of the day, so when you gotta cry, cry.

Don’t be ashamed about it. If scientists say it’s good for you then let the tears fall.

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Periods are already an absolute pain in the arse – in fact just thinking about that time of the month can make us feel stressed out. 

However, new research indicates that the stress we feel on the day-to-day can contribute to an increase in the level of pain we feel during cramping week. 

According to Women's Health Concern, around 80% of women experience period pain at some stage in their lifetime.

In 5% to 10% of women the pain is severe enough to disrupt their lives – from missing school, work or college due to pain, or being unable to attend social events or partake in sports or hobbies. 

Now, research published in the Journal of Women's Health have found that there could be a link between the stress we feel in the weeks before our period, and the intensity of pain we feel.

PMS is a major pain, and the research found that women who said they were stressed in the two weeks before the start of their period were much more likely to describe their period as extremely painful. 

In fact, up to four times as many women who were in the 'stressed' category said they had moderate to severe symptoms.

In 40% of women, period pain is accompanied by premenstrual symptoms, such as bloating, tender breasts, a swollen stomach, lack of concentration, mood swings, clumsiness and tiredness.

'Each woman is an individual, and some women may experience severe symptoms that require medications,' said the study's author.

'However, future studies may show that stress reduction techniques can prevent or reduce the severity of premenstrual syndrome, which might provide a cost effective alternative to medications for some women.'

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Whether you suffer from anxiety, panic attacks or depression, dealing with the symptoms of a mental health issue is a daily struggle. 

Trying to keep your stress levels down can be a challenge in itself, especially when much of it comes our normal daily routines. 

Here's some of the most common habits that could contribute to low mood levels. 

Drinking too much caffeine

Whether it's your go-to morning coffee or a relaxing cup of tea in the evening, a lot of us rely on caffeine to get us through the day.

However, it might be time to cut-back on the flat whites as studies have shown a link between excessive caffeine intake and depression, moodiness and anxiety.

Try replacing one cup a day with a caffeine free alternative. Your energy levels may still benefit from the placebo effect, but you'll be doing your mental health a huge favour.

Avoiding exercise

The amount of physical activity we get each day can have a huge impact on our mood.

Research has suggested that regular exercise could even ease the symptoms of depression and anxiety.

Start small. Set aside 20 minutes a day for a brisk walk and you'll be amazed at how quickly your mood will improve.

Constantly checking social media 

Comparing yourself to others on social media is a slippery slope that rarely leads anywhere good.

It's easy to fall into the trap of believing that all your school mates are living extraordinary lives, but guess what, they're not .

Sure, maybe Sarah from the Gaelteacht is off raising baby elephants in Thailand for a month, but just remember that social media posts of just the 'highlight reel' of other people's lives.

Staying indoors

Underexposure to natural daylight can wreak havoc on our mental health.

Apart from the natural calming effect nature has on our minds, vitamin D, which is only produced when the body is exposed to sunlight, has been shown to protection against depression.

Overloading on carbs

Simple carbohydrates such as sugary, processed foods are broken down rapidly, providing the body with a quick source of energy.

Eating these types of foods on a regular basis can result in mood swings caused by fluctuating blood sugars.

Instead, try eating more complex carbohydrates such as whole grain breads and legumes.

Working too hard

This one is a bit of a no-brainer.

It's important to take a step back from your working life in order to focus on yourself.

So, turn off the work e-mails and go visit an old friend or family member – you'll be shocked at how relaxed you'll feel afterwards.

 

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When it comes to balancing our super-sensitive skin, it can be a nightmare trying to figure out what each of our faces need to be perfectly soothed.

Our latest recommendation comes as no surprise to those in the beauty industry who have been raving over the product for months; Payot's Crème N°2 Cachemire.

Everything from stress, hormones and UV rays to air pollution and diet can damage our skin, making it hyper-sensitive as a result.

Drawing on the latest discoveries in the skin biology industry, the Payot Crème N°2 Cachemire strengthens and restores balance to your sensitive skin.

The cachemire cream nourishes your system, calms any sensation of discomfort and reduces the irritations and redness of sensitive and dry skin. What could be better?

As a result of the science, skin is reinforced and protected from external aggressions because of the cutaneous flora action, which helps to maintain the natural balance of the skin.

Payot Crème N°2 Cachemire has a gorgeous, healthy formula containing Boswellia extract, Jasmine Flower extract, Prebiotic and Probiotic.

Its creamy texture envelops your skin straight from application. Day after day, your skin is left feeling soothed and luminous, and the sensation of discomfort from redness is alleviated.

Gain total facial calmness and soft, brightened complexion for just €50- We insist that it's worth the money. 

All Payot products are available in pharmacies and selected stores nationwide, as well as online.

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Nearly two-in-five third-level students are experiencing serious levels of anxiety and depression as a result of stress, a new survey has revealed.

The newly published 'Report on Student Mental Health in Third-Level Education' was compiled by the Union of Students in Ireland (USI), with the support of the HSE Mental Health and the National Office for Suicide Prevention.

Almost one-third of students have been diagnosed with a mental health disorder, with the results painting a worrying picture of the extent of pressures and struggles on the shoulders of Irish students.

The statistics examined the occurrence of mental health distress and ill health among third-level students and the availability and use of mental health support service for young people.

Multiple factors influence depression and anxiety, and women were found to be more likely to suffer anxiety than men. Non-binary students had the highest levels of severe anxiety.

The survey, which was conducted in 2018, was open to students in every college, North and in the Republic, and most of the respondents were undergraduates aged between 18 and 24-years-old.

74 percent of participants were female, and experiences varied largely depending on the type of college attended, the area of study and whether it was inside or outside of Dublin.

One in five of those surveyed identified as LGBTQ+ and just over 1 percent identified as transgender. 38 percent are experiencing extremely severe levels of anxiety, alarmingly.

30 percent of people are reporting suffering from depression and 17 percent are experiencing stress. Almost one-third reported that they had a formal mental health difficulty which was diagnosed.

One of the most distressing points is that 21 percent of participants did not have someone to talk to about personal and emotional difficulties. Free on-campus counselling is imperative for students.

Students were found to use on and off-campus services to aid their mental health, and the student union made 35 percent of students aware of support services. 

The study had a large response of 3,340 students, but the findings may not be a full picture of the student population.

Employment during college was also found to affect students' ability to socialise with their classmates, and those involved in activities outside of coursework had improved mental health.

USI president Lorna Fitzpatrick in Trinity College Dublin said students had provided a vast amount of vital data which would be used to improve mental health services at third level for everyone.

Numerous institutions were found to be problematic in terms of the quality of care offered to students, and a quality assurance tool must be made to ensure consistency between institutions.

Transitioning from secondary school to college is a huge step for all students, and comes at a time when they are most at risk of developing mental health difficulties.

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Amy Hart has revealed that the Love Island producers forced her to eat following her break-up with Curtis Pritchard.

The air hostess quit the show earlier in the week after her devastating split from the professional dancer, whose head was turned by Jourdan when Amy left for Casa Amor.

She announced to her fellow Islanders on Tuesday night that she'd be leaving the villa, after sitting Curtis down to explain that they both needed to move on separately.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Amy Hart (@amyhartxo) on

The brutal dumping took a serious toll on Amy, and she even lost six pounds in weight from the difficulty of the situation. 

After arriving home, she's spoken out about the extent of her distress, saying the bosses noticed her weight loss and told her to eat.

The 26-year-old told The Sun : "I felt so numb. I didn’t feel hungry. When I wouldn’t eat, they would stand over me and make me eat a bowl of food or I couldn’t do the challenges."

Amy emphasised that she left the show for the sake of her mental health, and decided to retain her "sanity" over remaining in the villa. Good choice, gal. 

She said: "I was in a very horrible place over the last week, to be told that the gloves were off with Maura and I had to ‘brace myself’, like a storm. I knew I had to leave when I did."

She admitted that she'd be "kidding herself" if she thought she could cope with watching Curtis and Maura cracking on. The beauty was "grieving" the loss of Curtis and it was too hard to stay in the villa.

Feature image: ITV/REX

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It's time to celebrate one of the biggest holidays in the employment calendar; National Sickie Day. *Tosses confetti*

We figured it's time to do some healthy digging and find out what gems people were using to call in sick to work, and we also desired to know the dumbest excuses too. Natural curiosity gets the better of us…

Employment Law Experts (ELAS) are saying that the estimated number of employees calling in sick in 2017 on National Sickie Day was… wait for it…350,000 WORKERS. Wow.

Why is the first week of February just too unbearable for everyone to face their jobs? A combination of factors are predicted, such as the first weekend after Dry January and the first post-Christmas pay-day.

mean girls wink GIF by T. Kyle

ELAS have also predicted that National Sickie Day will cost the British economy around £45 million (€51.3 million), due to hours lost, wages and overtime. Good God, that's a LOT of wasted labour.

According to a survey by AXA PPP, using the flu excuse seemed to be satisfactory for four out of 10 bosses. However, eight percent of managers weren't convinced by a single one of the nine 'best excuses' listed below…

The number one excuse for ringing in sick (according to the boss) was the flu, with back pain coming in second, and injury caused by accident in third place.

Stress, elective surgery, depression, anxiety, common cold and migraine finished up the top nine, with 'none of the above' in 10th place, meaning there were some other crackers outside of the top 10 that we just NEED to hear.

According to ELAS, the absolute WORST excuses in 2016 for missing work were:

“My only pair of work trousers is in the wash”, “It’s my dog’s birthday and I need to arrange a party for him”, “The dog ate my shoes”, “I got arrested”, “I lost my PPE”, and of course; “I stayed out partying last night and haven’t had any sleep”.

Classic. Other contenders were; “My friend is on annual leave so I can’t get a lift”, “I have no way to get to work” and “My wife earns more than me so I have to look after the kids”

Ah lads, you've got to do better than that. A bit of creativity would go a long way with that lot…

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Meditation has been long regarded as an excellent way to clear one’s mind and help centre and focus the brain for specific purposes. For some, it means improving their overall mental health or outlook on life.

Many doctors even recommend meditation for helping reduce various symptoms or also promote healing from specific ailments and diseases.

If you happened on this article looking for information about meditation and how it relates to education, you are in the right place. You might also want to take things a step further by collaborating with service like essay help to maximise your grade on the paper.

Every effort you make to excel in academics will help boost or maintain your GPA.

Meditation Increases Self-Discipline

Students, in particular, can gain much from learning how to meditate. Meditation is a discipline and, like any other, it takes time to develop the ability to do it well.

The upside is that it is one of the most powerful avenues of self-discipline there is and it can help in all areas of academics, particularly study, and test-taking.

Let’s have a look at a few of the ways it can assist students to perform better on the test.

Meditation Improves Focus

The act of clearing one’s mind and controlling incoming or outgoing thoughts, regardless, of external stimuli, can help with exams in some ways. Most notably, it teaches the brain how to block out unwanted stimuli.

This is an integral part of staying focused while studying as well as keeping one’s mind on the task of taking an exam.

Students who meditate are less likely to let their minds wander during tests or study sessions. They don’t worry about other classes, work responsibilities, or relationship woes in the middle of study sessions.

Those extraneous details don’t interfere when it is time to take the exam either.

Meditation Reduces Stress

Being able to relax body and mind at will also gives the mind a chance to regroup and prioritise emotional stimuli. Learning how to meditate makes the brain more efficient at managing negative emotions like anger, fear, worry, nervousness, and more.

These things don’t just go away, but they become more compartmentalised. This also makes it easier to deal with the stresses of studying for and taking exams.

Meditation Helps Students Retain More When Studying

Students who meditate tend to remember more of the fine details when studying for tests. Having a deeper understanding of a subject than average puts students in the position to perform better on tests and even turn in more detailed written assignments.

Ask the students on campus who tutor or provide homework help what their secret is for retaining so much great information and it is very likely that more than a few will cite meditation as one of their most significant strategies for learning.

Meditation Builds Confidence

Meditating is not easy. It can take years to develop the skill to do it for more than just a few minutes at a time. Students who strive to get better at it also feel more motivated to excel in other areas, particularly academics.

As they surpass milestones in meditation, they also develop confidence in their abilities to reach difficult milestones in education, like performing well on exams under challenging classes.

Learning how to meditate and getting good at quieting your mind will help in many areas of life, particularly in academics. The more you do it, the more you will see its applications in other areas as well.

Job performance, relationships, and increased mental clarity are just a few of the many benefits of committing to meditation as a discipline.

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Christmas shopping is stressful, but Christmas shopping just days before December 25 is a different experience entirely.

Unlike more organised festive shoppers, your desire to buy all around you has little to do with love for friends and family, and more to do with an all-encompassing need to tackle your entire list in one shop.

You may have pictured grabbing a coffee while enjoying the festive hustle and bustle, but in the lead-up to Christmas Day, you're more likely to grab a collar and fling an assuming randomer out of the way in order to get your hands on that final 3 for 2 offer.

And the following list is why next year is going to be different… very, very different.

1. Forgetting every single thing about your friends and family members which makes them unique.

"Will I get Dad a book? Does Dad like reading books? Wait, can Dad read?"

2.  Feeling like you're about to pass out from the sheer heat of an overcrowded, overheated cosmetic hall.

"Can I get this blush in a… sorry… I'm about to… you'll have to excuse me…"

3. Assuming that the deep crevices embedded in the palms of your hands from multiple shopping bags are officially here to stay.

"Well, nothing a good hand cream and Shellac job won't help disguise, right?"

4. Finding five gifts that would suit one friend, and no gifts that would suit the rest of the squad.

"Why can't Siobhan, Aisling and Ruth be more like Claire? Rude."

5. Reminding yourself that Christmas has become nothing more than an overblown commercial fest, and there's more to life than 3 for 2 offers.

"I can't believe they're putting me through this. I hate them all."

6. Wishing your boyfriend could be more like you because you've found 100 things that you'd love.

"He's pushing his luck, I'm serious."

Look, we know we got ourselves into this situation, but that doesn't help when we're stumbling into equally stressed and overloaded shoppers who, frankly, hate us just as much we hate them at that moment.

Thankfully, its4women and their Bag Butler have our backs on this one, and are currently assisting frazzled Christmas shoppers with their festive hauls.

From lugging our Christmas load to providing reassuring words of advice, the Bag Butler is man of the hour right now, and frankly we need all the help we can get.

Stand back ladies, there are just four shopping days left, and the Bag Butler can only assist one person at a time…

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Do you have a mountain of dirty laundry sitting on your floor, dishes in the sink, work deadlines all over your diary and feel totally overwhelmed? Join the club.

Let’s face it, organising our lives can be hectic, tedious and downright exhausting. You’re only human, and we all need a little help sometimes.

Introducing Ireland’s first trained Professional Organiser

Sarah Reynolds is an expert in organisation and the owner of Dublin’s first professional de-cluttering and organising business- Organised Chaos.

Organised Chaos was established in 2010 during Sarah’s career sabbatical.

Having always been passionate about organising, she decided to follow this passion and develop her business idea which she had close to her heart for nearly fifteen years.

As the first trained Professional Organiser in Ireland, she experienced the business first hand under the personal guidance of America’s number one Professional Organiser, Julie Morgenstern in New York.

Sarah has been helping home owners and companies reach their full potential through effective organisation by transforming oppressive spaces into functional, productive and stylish places to live and work.

Sarah has some fabulous advice to help you go from feeling overwhelmed to calm and in control by tweaking just a few minor things in your daily routine.
 

-Make sure you have a great diary that you are up to date at all times, or else keep your lists of chores digitally online so you can’t lose them.

– Analyse all your tasks and pinpoint the ones that stress you out the most.

If you work out a plan to simplify your chores based on the level of importance, you’ll find that getting the worst one out of the way will allow your brain to think.

– By planning your menu for the coming week and doing only one big grocery shop per week, this will spare you so much frustration and uncertainty when you come back from work tired and hungry.

– If you’re working a full-time job, you can bet it will be difficult to find time to clean and tidy your whole house in a single mega-cleaning session.

We recommend tackling it one room or chore at a time, to make it easier on yourself.

-Have everything you need for the next day packed before you go to bed, to ensure you're not totally stressed in the morning rush. This way, you won't forget anything important for work.
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Sarah Reynolds (@organisedchaosireland) on

-Let’s face it, most of us spend silly amounts of time stuck in our cars on commutes to work or running errands.

Keep extra supplies in the car, like spare outfits for after those sweaty gym sessions or extra grocery bags, we guarantee you'll be glad you did it.

-Minimise distractions as much as possible. Turn off your phone, clear your head and focus on the task directly at hand without texts or noises pulling you away.

-Dirt and dust collects in cluttered places, and you can’t hoover over strewn clothes everywhere.

We all have ‘The Chair’ in our bedrooms that we throw every single item of clothing over after a long day, but its time for the chair to only be used for sitting.

-Throw out any clothes that you haven’t worn in over a year. If it’s been that long, the chances are that you won’t be wearing them anytime soon! Make more space in your closet, and donate anything you don’t need to charity shops.

-Prioritise your happiness and learn to say no.

Make time for yourself, practice mindfulness, yoga or meditation to add some much needed relaxation, or else keep some days free per month for date night.

-Make room in your life for your friends, and don’t forget to have some fun.

Nights out with your girlfriends are a rare luxury for busy mums, but everyone needs some friendship to ease the burdens of everyday life.

Arrange a shopping trip, cocktail evening or even just a coffee, and we promise you’ll feel rejuvenated. Sometimes you just need a good mate to vent to.
 

You can’t declutter your house, schedule or your mind without focusing on you.

Remember, if you can’t organise yourself, how can you expect to organise everyone else? Consistency is key, and balance is the goal.

Check out Sarah’s new book ‘Organised – Simple Tips to Declutter your House, your Schedule and your Mind’ for advice on how organisation can improve our home and family life, workplace productivity, time management and overall wellbeing.
 

Sarah has regular television and radio appearances, as well as contributing to renowned publications such as Image, The Irish Times, The Irish Independent and the Irish Tatler among others.

To contact her for speaking engagements, send her an email, and make sure to have a look at her website and blog here for some great tips

 

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There is nothing quite like a holiday – first we have all the planning, which can be semi-stressful but oh so satisfying. 

Then the lead up, the packing and the scrolling through Instagram at the location tag wishing you were there already. Finally theres the actual trip – the cocktails, the beach, the sun and the relaxation. 

The aftermath is also beneficial, you get to come back to work feeling well rested and with a spring in your step – however, taking time off work for a vacay can do much more than elevate your mood and outlook on life. 

In fact, having a nice long holiday from work can add years to your life expectancy, according to a new study. 

As if we needed an excuse, but the study, published in the Journal of Nutrition, Health and Ageing, suggests a reasonably strong connection exists between time off and a later mortality rate. 

1,222 middle-aged male executives in Finland, born between 1919 and 1934, were studied over a whopping 40 year period

The participants recorded when they were going on vacations from work throughout the study.

Many of the original participants have since passed away, and the data they left behind is pretty damn interesting. 

Within the group, men that took three weeks or less annual holiday days had a 37% higher risk of dying between 1974 and 2004 than those who took more time off. 

The men who contributed to the data were healthy, with regular check ups and limited health issues, and it seems that their healthy lifestyles combined with adequate time off work to truly relax on holidays benefited them astronomically. 

So, if you're lucky enough to have paid vacation time, you better be taking it. 

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Mental health issues are now the number one workplace illness, according to a new study, with 2 in 5 workers admitting to suffering from stress and anxiety during their career. 

The study by B&A and released by Friends First, found that mental health issues emerged as most prevalent amongst younger workers, with almost half of under 35s having taken extended sick leave (more than one week) due to stress or anxiety.  

More generally, 4 in 10 workers reported having taken extended sick leave due to an accident or illness with the resulting sick leave period being on average 14 weeks – with many workers finding themselves without income when on sick leave. 

Despite being aware of the prospect of their income being interrupted due to unexpected sick leave, 2 in 5 of those surveyed admitted to having no plan and no idea what they would do if they found themselves on sick leave with no income. 

One in two said they would dip into their 'rainy day' fund, while 2 in 5 said they would turn to family and friends for financial support 

"The research shows that mental health has the potential to impact on us all and the effects of stress and anxiety know no boundaries when it comes to age, gender or profession," Karen Gallagher, Protection Director with Friends First, said.

"It is also concerning to see that despite a strong level of awareness around the potential to be without an income in the event of extended sick leave of over one week, a large cohort of workers remain financially unprepared. 

"Income protection as a form of cover is often overlooked in the false optimism of our ‘it won’t happen to me’ attitude. 

"I would really implore income earners to think about taking steps to safeguard one of their most valuable assets, their ability to sustainably earn a living."

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