Tag Archives: health

1: The link between music and health

It’s no surprise that music has the ability to fight depression—but did you also know it has the ability to improve blood flow and lower your levels of cortisol (a stress-related hormone)? Even listening to music before surgery can improve post-surgical results.

All the technical language summed up is that is activates chemicals in the brain that make you feel good and helps regulate emotion and memory. The benefits of music can be compared to meditation. Both had outstanding improvements involving mood and quality of sleep. Let’s be honest, more people would much rather listen to music than partake in meditation.

BUT, music also has the ability to make us incredibly nervous. (Cue the Halloween theme song). In that case, silence would be better than listening to something random. Some music can also encourage negative emotions in us such as anger and aggression. The rhythm and other musical elements have the ability to change our brain’s activity just like it can do the opposite and make us feel good. So confusing, I know.

Just like you would expect, slow tempo music with gradual chord progressions make us feel calm whereas chaotic, up-tempo music can do the opposite. To make matters a little more complicating, not everyone is the same. While some people may think AC/DC is too hectic, some people claim for that to be their relaxation music. http://time.com/5254381/listening-to-music-health-benefits/

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Reclaiming My Health

I talked about the various ways that I manage stress in my last post, Stressed: the New Normal. I’ve allowed stress to take over my life in the past, to the point where my health noticeably began failing. Two years ago I decided to take my life back and made some drastic changes.

I kept telling myself that being a workaholic is necessary to getting ahead in your career. That people commute long distances to work all the time, it’s no big deal. I just needed to believe in myself and things would fall into place.

I love this card and have had it posted up at every home I’ve lived in for years. But a while back, I started thinking more about my limitations. No matter what I’d like to believe, I’m not super woman, and I cannot handle everything. I do have a breaking point.

I had taken on too much at work, spending close to 70 hours each week attempting to complete everything that had been put on my plate. My health started to decline and my relationships suffered. At first, I thought I was a failure. I thought that I should be able to handle anything, and more, that it was necessary to be successful in life.

Finally, I broke down and went to see my doctor. She calmly explained that the high level of stress I was enduring was causing my migraines, rashes, digestive issues, and erratic mood swings. My body was screaming at me to “STOP! SLOW DOWN!” but I wasn’t listening.

I needed to prioritize my health.

I quit my job and found a company that would allow me to find some kind of balance in my life. During my interviews I was open about my need to cut back. I let them know that I was not willing to be a workaholic, and that – honestly – I didn’t really have the ambition anymore to work my way up the ladder. I wanted a career that I enjoyed, at a company that allowed for lateral movement if I so desired.

With a renewed focus on being my best self I started working on a lifestyle focused on feeling good – every day. I don’t think about calories or weight loss. I’m not in it for a short-term fix. These are the three things I prioritize:

  • Start moving more. I walk and take the stairs when practical. I found workouts that I actually enjoyed, rather than ones I felt that I “should do”.
  • Focus on REAL FOOD. I’m not perfect, but I strive for 75/25 – 75% of the time I stay away from processed foods and refined sugar. 25% of the time I allow myself to relax. And whenever possible, I add more veggies – you can never have enough veggies.
  • Invest in your health. Going to the chiropractor on a weekly basis, buying high quality foods, and memberships to workout facilities are expensive. But they’re worth it. I’M WORTH IT.

The Thing About Taxes

I will preface this by saying I am not well-researched in the areas of politics, national financing, or whatever actually goes into this mess, in the United States or elsewhere.

But I think it might be worth mentioning my thoughts on a few things, based on personal experiences, and some things I’ve heard that just… don’t make a lot of sense.

Taxes aren’t inherently bad.

The word “tax” in itself has come to have largely negative connotations–if you’re being “taxed” by something, you’re being weighed down or put upon. We have classic examples of people, like the Sheriff of Nottingham from the Robin Hood stories, who abuse taxes.

In a truly ironic state of affairs, my dad is adamantly against any kind of raise in taxes, but he also works for the state of Minnesota, and part of our taxes are what pay his own wages.

But if taxes are being abused, for things like… oh, say, a giant wall, or a football stadium… then, yeah, I wholeheartedly understand the aversion.

I don’t think anyone is ever entirely sure what taxes are used for, but there’s obviously some mismanagement going on somewhere, and that’s the bad thing. Taxes themselves? They have some truly positive possibilities.

Let’s just, for the sake of imagination, pretend that a perfect world is possible. What should taxes, in a perfect world (and my opinion) be used for?

  • Protecting/conserving the environment
  • Researching and developing important new innovations in energy, transportation, and health (cure for cancer, anyone?)
  • Providing/maintaining a basic standard of health and well-being for everyone
  • Paying first responders, health professionals, and peace-keepers
  • Educating people well
  • Preserving culture by investing in arts, museums, libraries, archives, and community centers
  • Community improvements, like road construction, parks & rec, etc.
  • Providing some kind of safety net and/or rehabilitation programs for those who are  out of work and/or homeless. (This would include retirement, and being out of work due to an injury, veteran benefits, and other things of that nature, in addition to being in a bad situation for other reasons.)

Some people are really put out by the thought of providing for others. Which… I get, to some extent. At the moment, it’s hard to fathom providing for myself, let alone anyone else in the country–but that’s because a lot of things in “the system” are broken. They’re not being used the way they should.

If I had the peace of mind that came with guaranteed good health, the basic ability to learn the things I need to know without being in debt for the foreseeable future, and the reassurance that life as we know it wasn’t on its way to being toasted out of the Earth like a bad virus, I would happily give away a third or more of my income for the rest of my life.

In a perfect world, what would your taxes be used for?

What would you be willing to provide, to make your own life and the lives of others easier?

Obesity is Contagious?/ BLOG 3

Throughout the world, beauty is defined in numerous ways. In some countries, being heavier is considered healthy and beautiful. But, as we all can tell, in most culture and/or countries, the standard for what is beautiful, sexy, and attractive leans more towards being thin. Because of social media, women in particular are proceeding that in order to be attractive, you need to be a certain size, weight, or have a specific body shape (coco cola, etc.) Even though weight gain is no longer looked down upon, hence the weight gain for body building; there are still cases of obesity and how contagious it is. In the article http://www.newsweek.com/weight-gain-contagious-and-you-could-catch-obesity-your-neighbors-study-finds-789547, researchers found that people were up to 57% likely to be obese if a friend or family did the same during that time. Because of the environment you live in and those you surround yourself with, it would more than likely affect your consumption intake.

Also, you should consider yourself. Just think, when you were in a relationship, did you and your significant other eat out a lot? Consider this, when you were together, you just wanted to do everything together, and when you ran out of things to do, eating out was fun (in it’s own way.) In the article, https://www.livestrong.com/article/130602-people-gain-weight-after-marriage/, it talks about couples who gained weight after marriage (in my argument, you can gain it even while dating.) This correlates with obesity being contagious and how much easier it is to gain weight because of those around you and their influence. Because of weight gain, health conditions can slowly draw it’s way into your life and slowly build up on your insecurities, leading back to what the world/society considers as the standard of what is attractive.

Staying Healthy in School

It’s that time of year where everybody is hacking and sneezing all over the place. If you aren’t sick, the person sitting next to you in your Media Studies class probably is. The best way to deal with the sickness is to avoid it altogether. Here are a few tips for keeping yourself healthy while on your grind.

-Antibacterial wipes

Our cellphones are great for keeping us connected at all times, but they’re also breeding ground for the germs that will make us sick. Check out this article from CBS regarding how much…stuff…is on your phone.

https://www.cbsnews.com/news/the-best-way-to-clean-your-grimy-bacteria-laden-cellphone/

The best way to prevent flu-causing bacteria from being transferred to other surfaces, including yourself, is to clean your phone. Bye, bye, germs!

-Drink lots of water

Yes, even if you hate the taste of it. Water is necessary for the body to function properly. It keeps everything moist and doing what it’s supposed to do. Here’s an article about how water can prevent you from getting the flu. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-203142/Why-water-ward-flu.html

There are lots of simple ways to stay healthy this time of year, and these are just a few examples. Take the time to keep yourself healthy!

Invest In Yourself

Who doesn’t want to feel good? No matter what your age, race, gender, weight, healthy eating in combination with exercise will positively impact YOUR overall health. Yes, I said YOU. There are so many other weight loss products on the market right now that promise miraculous weight loss and boost in energy. The only promise they will fulfill is a dent in your bank account. The only proven way to look and feel better is through good old fashioned eating healthy in combination with exercise.

food_exercise

Think of eating healthy as an investment to your body. Eating out is not only expensive but can lead to poor food choices. The top 5 benefits of eating healthy according to Heathline.com highlight why committing to a healthy diet can be one of the best decisions you’ve ever made.

1) Controls weight

2) Improves mood

3) Combats disease

4) Boots energy

5) Improves longevity

I get it, everyone has really busy schedules, but the gym doesn’t have to be a huge time commitment. The top 5 benefits of exercise according to naturalbalancefoods.co.uk highlight why adding just 30 minutes of exercise 3-5 times per week can change your life.

1) Get a natural high

2) Sleep better

3) Look good

4) Get a healthier mind

5) Improve your health

Do all of these benefits sound like something you are interested in? There are obvious benefits to each action but you cannot be successful with one without the other. Imagine the endless possibilities that eating healthy in combination of exercise will bring to your life.

Your Mental Health, You Should Care

Being a college student is stressful in itself due to deadlines, major projects, and weekly assignments. Many students work a full time job while juggling multiple courses and some students have families too that they need to take care of. Personally, I have had a terrible past year for my mental health due to a stressful job and major life events but I have recently been working on bettering my mental health by leaving that stressful job and starting a new one that is a lot less stressful with a lot of fulfillment throughout my day.

When trying to understand how to improve my mental health, I stumbled upon a study from the University of Michigan (www.uhs.umich.edu) that provides 10 ways to better your mental health and they include sub points as well. Such as, take care of your body by drinking more water, get enough sleep, or eat nutritious meals. There are so many important aspects to improving your mental health and even the littlest of steps can make a huge difference.

As a college student, I often stay up late working on homework or writing papers and then I work early in the morning so my sleep schedule gets ruined during each semester. Sleep is a very important factor in maintaining a adequate mental health routine. There are a lot of other factors associated with not getting enough sleep which are laid out in www.livingly.com

I wish you all the best of luck with improving your mental health because there is always room for improvement especially during the semester. I wish you all the best of luck and hopefully these links come in handy.

Let’s Talk Teavana

Yes, I know, another post about tea.

In my last post on tea, I talked about shaking up the coffee-drinkers routine by adding tea to the mix. With different flavors for all palates, great health benefits, and less caffeine jitters, tea is truly a great option for people who are tired of coffee or want to add another caffeine addiction to their day (I, personally, drink both because I love having multiple beverages to choose from at any given time).

 

Now I want to talk about bad tea, and how certain companies sell it by thriving off the terrible, terrible sugar epidemic in America.

Basically, I want to talk about Teavana.

Continue reading Let’s Talk Teavana

Could a vitamin D deficiency lead to pre-mature death?

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Image Credit: Getty Images

Late this winter I was feeling worn out, run down, and straight up exhausted. After suffering through weeks of this I finally threw in the towel, and made a visit to my doctor. Turned out, my excessive exhaustion was the result of a vitamin D deficiency. After picking up a bottle of vitamin supplements at the local pharmacy, I decided to get on the computer to investigate my prognosis further.

The main purpose of vitamin D is to aid calcium, and phosphorus absorption in our bones. It also helps cell communication throughout the body. If you are healthy, active, and get outdoors enough than the suns exposure should regulate the vitamin within your body with no extra supplementation needed. People that live in climates that force them to be indoors, those with darker completions, and individuals that wear a lot of sun protection are more likely to suffer from this particular deficiency.

Recently, a study was released from the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine, which caught my eye. It suggests those with lower levels of vitamin D in their body are two times more likely to die a premature death than those with higher levels of the vitamin. Diseases such as Osteoporosis, Cancer, Heart Disease, High Blood Pressure, and Diabetes have all been linked to vitamin D deficiencies.

These findings are both scary, and startling for someone who has just learned of their own vitamin D deficiency. Interestingly enough, I am not alone in this battle. Nearly two-thirds of the U.S. population is living with the same problem, some unknowingly. Suffering from fatigue, muscle cramps, or chronic joint pain may be an indication that you are also in need of vitamin D. There are endless resources to acquire this information, however the best way to know for sure is to visit your doctor.

Visit Headlines & Global News to read more!

Design Meets Healthy Living: Three Personal Favorites

 

I am hooked on my devices: the iPhone, the iPad, and even the Sync system in my car. I also love great design. I think that great design paired with desirable technology can inspire healthy lifestyle choices. Bottom line, if it looks cool, or makes you look cool, you are more likely to do it.

Here are three of my favorites.

 TERA Fitness Mat

Where do put home exercise equipment? While I prefer to go to yoga class and practice with a group, a trip to the gym is not always possible. However, it can be difficult to feel the same motivation when you are alone. I was excited then, to learn about  TERA, an interactive fitness mat that actually senses your movement and responds by training you. BONUS: It is also a beautiful wool area rug.  

 Fitbit Bracelet

Do you have any idea how far you walk in a single day? The fitbit bracelet tracks your activity level and even how well you are sleeping.

Lifefactory Water Bottle

Do you drink enough water? I drink about 12 glasses a day, and as silly as it sounds, it is because I love my water bottle. I love how it looks, how it feels in my hand. Another plus, this bottle is non-toxic glass protected by a stylish silicone sleeve—basically, the bottle is unbreakable.