How Gratefulness Improves Our Health

How Gratefulness Improves Our Health

November often kicks off the season of family, giving and gratitude. With almost 30 major holidays that focus on celebrating life worldwide between the end of October and the end of the year, November is often when we start turning our minds toward the things that make us feel grateful. Gratitude is something we should practice year-round, though, and not just because saying “thank you” is polite. As it turns out, concentrating on the things for which you’re thankful instead of the things that trouble you boosts your physical, psychological and mental health. Maintaining Positivity Makes Your Body Healthier Studies show plenty of correlation between gratitude and positive health effects. In one, subjects who journaled weekly for 10 weeks about positive things that happened in their lives reported feeling more optimistic and exercising more than subjects who focused in their journals on negative aspects. The positive group also went to the doctor less often. Likewise, other studies show that people who express their thankfulness regularly are more likely to go to their regular checkups at the doctor. People who are grateful also sleep better. Writing in a gratitude journal for 15 minutes a day or more can lead to longer, more restful sleep. Gratitude Improves Your Outlook in Life You know how when you, say, buy a yellow car, you suddenly see yellow cars everywhere? That’s not a coincidence — it’s called the Baader-Meinhof Phenomenon, and it’s scientific. Your mind takes in a ton of information every day, and it filters out a great deal to keep you focused on what’s important to you. When you learn about or experience a new...

Tips and Tricks To Avoid Skin Aging

“I hope I look 70 by the time I’m 40,” said no person ever. Starting in our early 20s, we want to stave off looking and feeling older as long as possible. With all the skin-care products, diet promises and other options available, you may struggle to find anti-aging tips you can trust. Here are five time-tested ways to address aging in your everyday life. Break Habits That Cause Premature Aging, and add Some That Keep you Young Some habits are much harder on our bodies than others. If you smoke, quit. If you drink alcohol a lot, cut back. These two habits affect not just how you look but how likely you are to stay healthy into older age. At the same time, adding positive habits can improve your health and appearance. One key habit to pick up is sleep. Getting adequate rest gives your body a chance to repair its cells and fend off the pollution you’re exposed to every day, and your brain needs sleep to operate well. Likewise, exercise energizes your body and mind and builds endurance, cardiovascular function and other essential functions that help you live comfortably longer. Take Care of Your Skin and Hair As we age, our skin becomes less elastic and dries out easier. To combat this, experts recommend two beauty secrets above all others: Sunscreen during the day and a retinoid-based cream at night. Sunscreen helps protect your skin against UV damage, one of the main reasons people who tanned a lot in their youth look older than their years now. Retinoids, which come from vitamin A, prevent wrinkles, stop acne in its...
How to Choose More Healthy Cheeses

How to Choose More Healthy Cheeses

If you want to pack nutrients into your diet like calcium, B12, magnesium and phosphorus and also watch your cholesterol rise reach for some cheese. Yes, cheese. Not all cheese is created equal, but there are plenty of options out there that contain both the nutritional value your body needs and the filling satisfaction you crave. Isn’t Cheese a “Bad” Food? For years, we’ve heard that cheese, with its high fat content and sodium, isn’t the best choice when you’re trying to get healthy. However, in recent studies, scientists have started seeing trends in which even people who eat large amounts of it tend to have better heart health than those who eat copious amounts of butter, for example. Scientists are looking at cheese as a whole food instead of, say, its fat or salt content. Despite cheese having a high saturated-fat content, what they are also seeing is a healthful, protein-loaded food that provides nutrients your body needs without impacting bad cholesterol levels or other health factors that have had us avoiding the creamy goodness we love. They also point out that most cheeses are tolerated well for even lactose-intolerant people to eat, because cheese is naturally low in lactose, or milk sugar, while it’s high in calcium that helps flush excess fat from your digestive tract. Some Cheeses are Healthier than Others Of course, you won’t get the same health boost from processed American cheese as you will, say, an aged cheddar. The best cheeses for your health are natural, not processed, and combine a lower calories composition with a multitude of macro- and micronutrients. These are five types of cheese you can add to...
Staying Healthy this Winter

Staying Healthy this Winter

Winter is officially cold and flu season. Instead of getting walloped by a nasty bug this year, there are many some small, preventative steps that will keep you healthy. Many of the recommendations below may mean that you and the kids won’t have to miss any more work or school.   Say Yes to Hand Washing The number one way to spread the rhinovirus (cause for the common cold) is through hand-to-hand contact. If your work involves shaking a lot of hands or dealing with a lot of people, wash your hands, especially if you have a meeting with someone who visibly has the sniffles. Keep a bottle of hand sanitizer (there are natural remedies, too) in your purse, backpack, or desk at work. Make sure the alcohol content is at least 60 percent and that when you apply it, you use enough that your hands still feel damp after rubbing them together for 10-15 seconds. You don’t have to become a complete germophobe, to stay healthy this winter but you should probably wash your hands at least 5 times a day. Use Your Own Pen and Stylus That communal pen at the grocery store or bank is basically a germ factory. Carry around a stylus/pen combo all winter so you can minimize your exposure. Get in the habit of grabbing it as soon as you reach for your debit card or your wallet. Be cognizant of using it everywhere, especially places like gas stations and medical offices, and you may just stay healthy all year. Get Plenty of Sleep More and more research is showing a direct connection between good health and a...
How to Get a Better Nights Sleep

How to Get a Better Nights Sleep

If you feel like you’re exhausted all the time, you aren’t alone. One third of Americans regularly miss out on the recommended seven-plus hours of sleep they need. That’s bad news, because studies show getting less than seven hours a night can lead to higher susceptibility to severe chronic conditions including obesity, stroke, heart disease and mental distress. Need to get your beauty sleep? Here are five ways to improve your chances of a restful night. Get Your Body on a Schedule that Honors Your Sleep Cycle With our on-the-go mentality, many of us cram extra hours at work, time at the gym or connections with family and friends into our daily routines to the detriment of our sleep. Then, we rush to bed and hope for a few hours of rest before we’re back at it again. If you’re one of these people, try setting boundaries based on a 90-minute sleep cycle. This rhythm of deep and light sleep helps you wake up refreshed even when you don’t always get enough shut-eye. To take the guesswork out of when you need to go to bed, try an online sleep calculator. It’ll help you choose the right times of night (or morning) to hit the hay so that the rest you get is high quality. Make Your Bedroom an Oasis What do you do in your bedroom? If you answered anything other than “sleep” or “sex,” it’s time for an overhaul. Instead of doing crafts, watching TV or otherwise using your bedroom as a multi-purpose area, try creating a sanctuary for sleep and intimacy only. This calms your mind...
Visually Impaired Who Have Changed the World

Visually Impaired Who Have Changed the World

There was a time when a physical disability meant living in a society that was completely unwelcoming, impossible to navigate, and harshly judgmental. Throughout Europe and the United States, many visually impaired and hearing impaired people were institutionalized permanently even if they were completely able bodied and mentally competent enough to live independently. Today, thanks to the efforts, inspiration, and activism of stalwart pioneers, blind people are no longer forced to live in the margins of society. Many of those pioneers not only forever changed the status of disabled citizens, they also changed the world. Helen Keller Perhaps no other international figure has done more in her lifetime to raise the profile of disabled people than the late, and truly extraordinary, Helen Keller. Born in 1880 in Alabama, Ms. Keller suffered a traumatic brain injury at 19 months from what was likely meningitis or scarlet fever. She was famously left blind and deaf, unable to speak until she met her life-changing and teacher, Anne Sullivan. Sullivan taught Keller how to communicate namely through sign language. Keller has become a historical figure for many reasons, but it is her fortitude and almost superhuman work ethic that is capital to her success. For 25 years, she worked tirelessly to learn to speak clearly so mainstream society could understand her. Keller attended college and became a national celebrity. She used her fame to influence humanitarian causes, including other people living with disabilities, women’s suffrage, and birth control. In 1920, she was one of the co-founders of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). Stevie Wonder Wonder’s list of hits spans multiple eras and decades....