Archive for the ‘Mental Health’ Category

Beat the Winter Blues

Friday, January 13th, 2017

The winter season brings the least amount of sunlight of any time during the year – and people who work indoors get a mere 30 minutes of sunlight a day, compared to 90 minutes of sunlight a day in the summer time.

So instead of sitting indoors and enduring the winter blues… get outdoors, have some fun, and the winter months will fly by!

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Get outside:  To fight the winter blues, you have to join the winter blues… or something like that.   Bundle up, build a bonfire and roast some marshmallows.  Campfires don’t need to be just for summertime anymore!

Create a positive playlist:  Studies show that when people listen to happy music that their mood increases.  While you clean the house or do the laundry, pump up the jams and listen to some music that puts you in a good mood to fight the blues.

Cheer yourself up with color:  When all you see outside is shades of blue and grey, cheer yourself up by adding a little bit of color to your life.  You don’t have to do anything drastic like paint your walls a bright pink or anything, instead fill up some vases with colorful flowers.  Or fill a bowl with fresh lemons and limes for the beautiful yellow and green hues.

Start planning your vacation:  While you may not be able to get away from work or life during the winter months, there’s no reason why you can’t start planning your spring, summer or fall vacation.  Many people get more pleasure from the anticipation of the vacation, than the actual vacation!  Brainstorm about where you want to go, when you want to go there, what new foods you want to try or what new activities you will try out this year.

Have a snow day:  Snow days can be either indoors or outdoors.  An outdoor snow day includes building snow forts and having a snow ball fight.  While an indoors snow day includes lots of hot chocolate, popcorn, funny movies and family-friendly games.

Winter Motivation Tips

Tuesday, December 13th, 2016

When the weather outside is frightful, it’s easy to get lazy and to lack the motivation to even get out of bed some days.  So how do you stay motivated when everything is keeping you down?   Try some of these tips:

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  • Set goals and document them. By keeping a list you will see this daily and you will feel more inclined to want to check things off this list.
  • Set clear dates of when you need to complete things by, whether they are long term or short term goals. By giving yourself a deadline, you will work harder to keep them.
  • Reward yourself for meeting your deadlines and reaching your goals.  Whether you allow yourself to buy something nice or a day of pampering at the spa, you will work harder to do things when you know there is a reward at the end.
  • Listen to motivational tapes and/or read motivational books to help gain some inspiration to keep going.
  • Learn to breathe correctly.  You will feel more relaxed and when you are more relaxed you will also be more apt to stay motivated than when you are stressed.
  • Keep a positive attitude.  Even though it is easy to be depressed when the long, cold winter months drag on, try to remain positive and you will notice that motivation comes along with being happy.
  • Remind yourself that progress is what is important and not perfection.  This is especially important when you are looking at your long-term goals, as they may seem like the most unreachable.  Remember all of the short-term goals that you have met and you will be more successful.
  • Build a support system of friends and family members that are typically motivated.  By keeping like-minded people close to you, you will become motivated by just being in their presence.

Building a Smarter Child

Sunday, March 20th, 2016

In the News

Smarter Child

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Every parent wants to believe that their child is a genius or has the genius potential.  While intelligence clearly has a genetic component, there are some things you can do to boost learning and intelligence in your child.

Play brain games – Games like chess, cryptograms, riddles, and crosswords all train the brain to perform harder than other games.  These games promote strategic thinking, problem-solving, and complex decision making.  If you keep these games on hand and challenge your children with them you will help boost their intelligence… in a fun way.

Encourage them to play an instrument – While the early days of your child learning an instrument may not be the most pleasing to the ears, by encouraging your child to take up playing an instrument they learn to utilize their right brain more than others who do not play an instrument.

Avoid junk food – Cut out (or significantly reduce) the amount of sugar, trans fats and other junk food in your child’s diet and replace them with high-nutrient alternatives for early childhood mental and motor development.  Pay attention to what your child is eating and good grades will come in time!

Encourage curiosity – Allow children to explore new ideas and become interested in different hobbies and interests to foster intelligence.  Ask your child about their interests and allow them to try a number of different hobbies and activities throughout the course of their childhood.

Read – While this method often gets lost in today’s hi-tech world, reading to your child and/or encouraging them to read may be the oldest, easiest and one of the most effective ways to boost your child’s brain power.

Health Benefits of Deep Breathing

Sunday, August 30th, 2015

Deep breathing exercises is perhaps one of the simplest exercises we can do. Whether we are in the office or feeling stressed at home, all it takes is a few minutes to enjoy the health benefits that deep breathing brings.

Stress Reliever

Deep breathing helps take your mind off stressful situations. It forces you to concentrate on performing the exercise momentarily clearing your mind and reducing your stress level. This can be done anywhere, anywhere. Whether you’re in the middle of a stressful meeting or at the gym, deep breathing does not only help you clear your mind but also relaxes the different muscles in your body.

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Mind over Pain

Feeling the urge to pop a pill for that bothersome headache? Go natural and take a few deep breaths. Focus on your breathing and momentarily distract yourself. Pain can be caused by an aching muscle or poor circulation. Deep breathing gives your body time to relax and recuperate. This could also act as your starting point for mediation.

Strengthen your lungs

People suffering from respiratory conditions such as asthma or bronchitis can benefit from deep breathing exercises. This trains your body to make deeper and longer breathes. Deep breathes can improve air flow to the lungs and improve air capacity.

Improves Meditation

Deep breathing exercises enhances your meditation technique. Breathing is an essential discipline in yoga. Deep breathing brings you closer to the level of consciousness needed to perform yoga.

Improve your workouts and sports performance

Proper breathing technique improves overall physical performance. Deep breathing exercises improves lung capacity and make more oxygen available for your muscles. This is exactly what running out of breathe means. Your lungs are unable to compensate for increased oxygen requirements during high impact or prolonged physical activities.

Relaxation

Deep breathing helps relax your mind and body. Performing deep breathing exercises after a physically exhausting activity helps relax your muscles. It also brings much needed oxygen to the different cells in your body. Deep breathing exercises help relax shoulder muscles while releasing pent up stress. If you’re having a hard time going to sleep, deep breathing exercises sets your body up for relaxation and good night sleep.

Detoxification

The simple act of exhaling helps you release harmful toxins from the body. Exhaling for example helps remove carbon dioxide a byproduct of cell activity. It also improves the flow of oxygen back to the body that feeds the cells.

It is amazing how a few deep breathes can do wonders for your mind and body. These are very simple to perform and can be done almost anytime and anywhere. So the next time you feel stress building up or find yourself too tired to move a muscle, take a few deep breathes to rejuvenate your mind and body.

 

 

Recharging our Body Naturally

Saturday, September 27th, 2014

couch potatoEnergy and power drinks are a common way of boosting our energy levels after a long day at work or a grueling workout. These are quick fixes that don’t provide any real solutions to long term problems. You end up relying on energy foods each time you end up feeling exhausted.

A drop in your energy levels should not be ignored. It does not only leave your body feeling weak but it can also affect your psychological well being. Fatigue increases your stress levels which affects the quality of work and relationships.

Rather than relying on over the counter energy foods and drinks, energy boosting Superfoods can be a more reliable option. What it gives you is a steady source of energy to power your body throughout the day.

Negative Effects of Fatigue

The brain sends different signals when it feels the body is experiencing fatigue. It is manifested both physically and mentally.

  •  Sleepiness
  • Poor concentration
  • Stress
  • Decreased coordination
  • Irritation
  • Slow reaction time
  • Poor judgment

Fatigue and Poor Sleeping Habits

The incident of fatigue increases with aging. This is natural but could be minimized with the right amount of sleep and diet. Sleep allows the body to repair itself and stock itself with energy. A healthy diet provides the fuel for repairing and restoring energy levels during sleep.

Energy Boosting Superfoods

Spirulina Powder

Spirulina is power packed with nutrients. It is rich in iron, magnesium, B12 and protein. All of these are needed for giving your body a steady supply of energy daily. Having Spirulina in its powder form makes it easy for you to mix this with fruit or vegetable juice. It could also be used in shakes, salad dressing and soups.

Coconut Oil

Coconut oil contains MCTs (multi-chain triglycerides), fats that are actually good for your health. These are easier to digest and could be easily converted for providing energy. Coconut oil is a flexible ingredient and can be used for baking and raw food recipes.

Cacao Powder

Cacao powder is a good substitute for those with sweet cravings. It helps satiates your cravings without the bad fats contained in common sweet delights. Cacao is rich in iron and magnesium that are essential for producing energy. It can also give that “sugar rush” to help elevate your mood. But just like its other sweet counterparts, too much cacao can be unhealthy.

Chia Seeds

Keep your energy levels charged up with Chia seeds. It helps sustain your body’s batteries to give you that extra energy. Chia seeds are loaded with calcium, magnesium, iron and good fats (omega 3). Chia seeds may appear small in stature but could easily double up when ingested helping you feel fuller.

Maca

Coffee has a natural effect of stimulating the brain and revitalizing the body. But for people searching for a healthier alternative, Maca has been proven to be quite as effective in providing a natural boost. It stimulates the production of energy to replace lost reserves.

Lifestyle Changes

Aside from eating a healthier diet there are simple lifestyle changes that could reinforce the change in eating habits. Maximize your energy levels by following these lifestyle changes.

  • The Numbers Game – you may not be aware that some foods actually require more energy to burn than what they give. Instead of feeling refreshed after a meal, you might actually feel tired and lethargic. Switch to unprocessed or whole foods and back this up with fruits, vegetables, whole grains and protein.
  • Stick to an Eating plan – we may not have the same working schedule. Some people’s working day start much, much earlier while others start in the evening. Develop an eating schedule that covers the three major meals (breakfast, lunch, dinner). These can be customized according to your workday. Try eating meals at 3-4 hours to provide enough energy and keep you focused.
  • Avoid Quick Fixes – minimize your coffee, energy bars and drinks consumption and consider these as a last resort. Switch to healthier options like dried fruits, vegetable salads and nuts. These contain the same amount of energy without the added poundage.
  • Hydration – liquids are lost as we try to keep our body’s internal temperature cool. 2 liters of water a day is recommended. Make this healthier by adding fruit juices into the mix.
  • Exercise regularly – regular physical activities keeps your mind and body prepared for any emergency. It keeps your mind and body fit and ensures that is ready for a grueling day at work.

Kick that Bad Habit!

Tuesday, May 27th, 2014

couch potatoFrom overeating to watching too much TV, there’s really only one way to break a bad habit – make a plan!

Unfortunately what may work for one person, may not work for another.  So here are some ways to break some of the most popular bad habits.  Hopefully it works for you!

Watching too much TV. – Studies show that ptoeople watch an average of 4 hours of television each day and these studies also show that excessive TV. watching can be linked to developing Type 2 diabetes and heart disease.  Here are some ways to avoid watching too much TV: only watch when there is something specific you want to see, do chores during commercials, make a list of things you need to accomplish before sitting down to watch TV, and create a TV-watching plan and stick to it.

Drinking too much alcohol. – Tired of being hung over and sluggish? Then you should do everything you can to cut back on drinking too much alcohol.  To cut back try these tips: drink one glass of water for every alcoholic drink you have, drink only when you are having a meal, or try drinking something that looks like an alcoholic drink, like rootbeer or a drink with a slice of fruit in it.

Smoking. – While this may be one of the hardest habits to break, it’s still possible as many, many people do it every year. The best plan is to talk things over with your doctor because they can offer the best cessation treatment for you.  But some other approaches that you may consider include: hypnotherapy, exercise or electronic cigarettes.

Nail biting. – Because most nail biting habits are linked to anxiety, stress, or nervousness, your plan should start with creating a relaxation plan.  Think about what makes you bite your nails before you start.  When you get the urge to bite your nails or catch yourself in the act, do something with your hands – garden, cook, play with your kids or pets, clean or do the dishes.  Do something that takes your mind off of biting your nails.

Overeating. – No matter how hard you try to cut calories, it still seems like sometimes the cravings are still there.  Experts say that sometimes it is best to give into those cravings.  When people do give into their cravings every once in awhile they have a better chance of losing weight and keeping it off, than those who ignore their cravings and avoid certain foods.  Experts also advise that if you can avoid nighttime eating that you will be well on your way to prevent overeating as well.

Not flossing. – Not flossing your teeth increases your risk of gum disease, as well as contributing to heart disease… still only half of Americans floss their teeth every day.  To make sure that you are flossing every day try these tips: keep your floss in your shower so that you are already in “cleaning” mode when you see it, keep your floss on your nightstand to remind yourself to floss before you go to bed, or keep your floss in clear view of some place where you will see it each and every day.

 

Tea Time, Natural Ways to De-stress

Saturday, January 11th, 2014

The increasing number of people suffering from stress continues to be a growing concern for many health professionals. Some people might simply dismiss this as part of everyday life. After all, popping a pill is a simple solution to this common malady. But wouldn’t it be better if there was a more natural and safer solution to the problem?

Drinking tea for example is a simple and more natural way of relaxing your body and mind. This is not only an effective stress reliever but also helps reduce risks for other deadly diseases.

Ginseng is a popular traditional ingredient in many alternative treatments. It is known for its relaxing and mind clearing effects. A cup of ginseng tea helps calm the nerves and brings stress levels down. For people suffering from sleeping problems, drinking a cup of tea before bedtime also ensures that you get a good night’s sleep.

Ginseng has a bitter property. This is why it is often blended with other herbs to make it taste better. The herb is readily available in stores and supermarkets. Ginseng is mixed with other ingredients such as orange peel, Logan fruit, rose herbs, cinnamon and hibiscus flowers to make tea. Ginseng tea is not only served hot but could also be chilled for a more soothing effect.

Chamomile – this herb is a popular treatment for nausea and indigestion. It helps provide immediate relief that it is commonly used as a treatment for these maladies. Chamomile also has soothing effects that calms the nerves and reduces pent up stress. People who are hyperactive could use chamomile to calm their nerves and relax. It can also be used as a natural treatment for people suffering from insomnia.

Skullcap – has quite an interesting name for an herb that is known for its mind relaxing properties. Sipping this tea lowers your stress levels and helps you focus better mentally. Skullcap can also be an effective muscle relaxant, great for those long hours at the gym. High stress levels can leave people suffering with headaches and migraines. Skullcap tea eliminates these symptoms and alleviates moodiness. Its muscle relaxing properties can help women suffering from PMS or premenstrual syndrome. It reduces naturally reduces muscle cramps and pain during this difficult period.

Lavender – its smell alone could help relax a stressed out body. Combined with tea, it can help relax the mind and reduce stress levels. Lavender has the ability to relax the body after a grueling day at the office. It can help revive an exhausted body by rejuvenating and relaxing it.

Lavender could be used as a natural treatment for indigestion. It calms the muscles and decreases muscle spasms. Lavender can be blended with other herbs to reduce other symptoms such as irritability, sudden mood changes, nervous breakdowns, tensions, headaches, anxiety and migraines.

Mint – its cool taste and smell is enough to soothe even the most stressed body. Its aroma is so relaxing that even a sniff can relax your mind. Just like other teas, min tea is especially effective for treating stomach upset and indigestion. Mint flavored tea is one of the most popular blends. Its flavor easily mixes with other herbs and ingredients to make healthier and tastier blends.

New Year, New You

Thursday, December 26th, 2013

Fitness woman happy smiling

Everyone wants to be healthy and the start of a new year is always a good time to start fresh.  If you are looking for some ideas on how to get healthy in 2014, here are some suggestions.

Portion Control – The best way to start downsizing your body is by downsizing your plate… and the contents on your plate.  Studies show that if you use a smaller plate or bowl that it will promote weight loss because you are not overeating at any one meal.

Be Active – One common bond between people that are healthy and trim is that they are all active and remain active throughout the year.  If you shoot to add at least 30 minutes of some sort of exercise into your day, each and every day, you will begin to notice significant changes over time.  Stick with it even on the days where you lack the energy because exercising always helps to boost your energy.

Cut the Salt Out – According to studies, the average American eats close to twice the recommended daily allowance of sodium in their day.  Besides making your feel and look bloated, sodium also can significantly raise your blood pressure.  Processed meats contain some of the highest amounts of salt of any food so it is extremely important for you to read labels and be a conscious shopper when it comes to sodium.  People that cut the salt out of their diet have been shown to have a decreased risk of heart disease, lower blood pressure and better weight management.

Increase Antioxidants – When your body processes food it releases free radicals…. as does cigarette smoking and radiation.  As time goes by, damage from free radicals can cause cancer, infection, heart disease and inflammation.  That’s why you should increase your antioxidants.  You can defend your body from the harmful effects of free radicals by eating a diet rich in antioxidants.  Antioxidants can be found in pomegranates, chocolate and coffee.

Quit Smoking – Although it nearly goes without saying, if you are a smoker you really should try to make a resolution to quit smoking.  The pros definitely outweigh the cons ten times over, so make 2014 the year that you put the “butt” out for good!

Wear Sunscreen Year Round – According to the National Cancer Institute, most skin cancers do not begin to develop until after the age of 50, but sun damage starts at a much earlier age.  Sun exposure can also make wrinkles appear before their time.  You should resolve to wear sunscreen year round because you can still be exposed to the sun’s harmful rays even in the winter.

 

 

Food Tip: Halt Cravings With Pleasant Mental Images

Thursday, July 25th, 2013

outdoors mood boosterTired of your food cravings getting the best of you?  A new study shows that you can curb cravings with one simple step – mental images.  Just picture something, anything that isn’t food-related – a white sandy beach, a starry sky, a beautiful mountain range, the sight of your significant other.

Studies have shown than when people have a craving for food if they picture something that makes them happy, but isn’t that hot fudge sundae, that they can actually curb their cravings on their own without caving in.

Researchers suggest that by enlisting the help of your other senses and picturing some enjoyable activity that it takes the edge off their food urge.

While those studies didn’t resist their cravings each and every time, it did help to prevent them from giving in each and every time.  Over time using mental images just may help to keep off those extra pounds.

Diet Soda Drinkers Prone to Depression Diagnosis

Thursday, February 7th, 2013

While many people enjoy the taste of a diet soda now and again, new studies have shown that people that drink diet sodas or fruit drinks on a regular basis are more likely to be diagnosed with depression.

The study, which took place over more than a decade of time, looked at more than 263,900 U.S. adults who answered questions about the beverages that they drank.  Ten years later, these same people were questioned whether or not they had been diagnosed with depression.

Men and women who regularly drank four or more cans of any type of soda were 30 percent more likely to have been diagnosed with depression than those who did not drink soda at all.  Diet soda drinkers had a higher risk of depression – a 31 percent risk versus a 22 percent risk of regular soda drinkers.

If a diet soda drinkers, drank more than four cans of diet soda a day the percentages of depression skyrocketed to 51 percent.

In contrast, people who drank four or more cups of coffee a day were 10 percent less likely to be diagnosed with depression than non-coffee drinkers.

While a family history of depression and stressful life events are some of the biggest predictors of depression, the study focused primarily on frequent beverage consumption of sweetened drinks.

More research will continue to be done on diet and fruity drinks, but in the mean time anyone diagnosed with depression should always continue to follow their doctor’s orders and prescriptions.