Healthy Thoughts

Positive thinking can have a positive influence on your health. It is currently believed that one of the main advantages of positive thinking may be an increased life span. Other possible benefits may include: lower rates of depression, improved resistance to illness, increased overall physical well-being, and reduced risk of death from cardiovascular causes. Positive thinking can help improve self-esteem, raise confidence, suppress illogical fears, give the strength to face difficulties and not be overwhelmed by them – instead show an individual ways in which to tackle problems though positive action after visualizing being able to remove obstacles and emerging victorious.

For example, if one is keen on losing weight and needs to fit in a regular physical exercise regime in their daily plan, the power of positive thinking can be harnessed to motivate and help one to stick to the fitness program if one focuses on how energetic one will feel on shedding those extra pounds and probably even imagine how the new wardrobe will make one look.

The essential first step is to identify your negative thinking streams and reduce and remove this kind of head-talk from your repertoire. Once you are more aware of your habits, you can then consciously work to putting a positive spin on your thinking. If you allow the mind to sift out the negative thoughts and only hold on to the positive, it will help you move closer towards the happiness you deserve.

Use these tips to help stay positive:

  • Infuse your life with a sense of humor. Being able to laugh away the negativity is a great tactic.
  • Exercise regularly. Besides improving your physical and cardiac shape, this can bring up your endorphin levels to a better-feeling mood fairly instantaneously.
  • Follow a Healthy Eating Lifestyle.
  • Learn techniques to minimize stress in your everyday life.
  • Spend quality time with close, understanding, upbeat friends. Filling your life with positive people.
  • Volunteer for a charitable organization. Helping others will make you feel good about yourself.

Experts aren’t completely sure why individuals who practice positive thinking tips also encounter countless health benefits. One idea is those with a positive outlook often have better ways to cope. They can handle the stressful situation in a healthier manner, reducing the harmful effects on the body. An optimistic person also tends to live a better lifestyle, as they follow a healthy diet, get regular exercise, stay away from smoking and consume limited amounts of alcohol. When all of this comes together, those who are positive usually stay healthier and can manage the negative self-talk. Start today, use positive thinking to becoming a more healthier you.

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Beat the Winter Blues with Exercise

Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) also known as winter depression, winter blues or seasonal depression is a mood disorder that affects many during the dark, cold winter months. People experience mood changes during the winter that find them sleeping more, having little energy and may also leave them feeling depressed. Adding a good dose of daily exercise can help beat these mood changes.

Stay Consistent
You can only benefit by exercise by staying consistent. Allow yourself time each day to do some kind of physical activity. Visit your gym for a workout and on off days, head out for a walk with the family. If your time schedule is tight, break it up into segments of ten minutes for example. Consistency makes you more productive. The more productive you are, the more you will accomplish.

Strength Train
Strength training has many benefits for you. It will help with looking good and adding to your self esteem. If you tend to gain weight this time of year, the increased muscle mass will help aid those unwanted pounds by boosting your metabolism. You will also have an increase in energy so you will not feel so lethargic all the time and be tempted to sleep so much. If you tend to get sick this time of year, strength training will help boost your immune system.

Do Your Cardio
Cardiovascular exercise holds many benefits for you. It is great for relieving stress. You can run or walk off pent up frustrations, disappointments and anger. You will have more clarity after a bout of aerobic exercise. Cardio exercise increases your metabolism. It will help you control the body weight normally gained this time of year. Your heart will become stronger. You can lower your blood pressure, cholesterol, and heart attack risks through regular aerobic exercise.

Add in Friends
Find a fitness buddy. Friends or family can help motivate you and keep you going. If you don’t have someone to join you, attend a group exercise class. Group exercise classes are a great place to make new friends, learn new exercises, and relieve stress. Being social can also help with the feeling of depression.

The benefits of exercise last longer than quick-fixes such as comfort-eating, smoking, or drinking coffee/tea, all of which may contribute to the problem. While exercising you body produces endorphins or feel-good chemicals which will make you feel instantly better and happier. Don’t let the winter blues get you down. Get out there and fight them with daily exercise! You’ll end up benefitting in many other ways.

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Helping With Postpartum Depression

Giving birth is a life changing experience for a woman, whether it is her first time or not. After giving birth, your partner will have intense emotions and may feel tired or tearful for no reason. These symptoms are known as baby blues, and will pass within a few days. However, when your partner is still moody or withdrawn days later, postnatal depression can often be the cause. PND is an illness that will not suddenly disappear, and your partner will need your understanding and your help.

What is postnatal depression?

Unlike the baby blues, PND is a long term illness that is more common than one might think. With around one in eight moms now being diagnosed, this illness is indeed very real. Signs that your partner may be suffering from PND include her being tired all the time, sad, withdrawn and even feeling guilty. She may feel that she is an inadequate mother and feel hopeless all the time. When you partner is suffering with PND she will require professional help as well as a strong commitment from yourself.

Never be too hasty to presume that your wife is suffering from postnatal depression; after childbirth it is only normal that she will be suffering from at least one of the aforementioned symptoms. However, PND will not always develop straight after birth, and in many circumstances it will not develop until well into the first year post partum.

Causes of PND

There is no one reason why a woman will suffer from post natal depression, and not all women will show the same symptoms. A woman who already has a child and showed no signs of depression may develop PND on giving birth for the second time and vice versa. There are no rules that define who should develop post natal depression and when, although women who have suffered from depression during pregnancy are more likely to develop PND. Other common causes will be a traumatic birth, difficulty in bonding with your child, or outside influences such as financial worries or the lack of a family network for support.

How to get help for your partner when she is suffering from PND

If you suspect that your partner is suffering from post natal depression, it is vital that you see your health visitor or family doctor. Mild cases may be treated with self help strategies, but one of the most important things to remember is that is you want your partner to get better, that you should be as supportive as possible at all times. Try and understand your partner and how she is feeling, and never get angry with her or blame her.

Living with a partner who is suffering from PND will be extremely difficult at times, but with help and perseverance she will get better. Help as much as you can with night feeds, diaper changes, and the everyday running of the household. Never judge her parenting skills and never scorn her for not keeping a tidy home. Where at all possible, make sure she is not left alone, and encourage family and friends to visit as often as possible.

In the case that she has been prescribed medication for her PND, encourage her to take her medication and remain positive about her future. Interacting with other new mums is essential, especially those that are also suffering from depression. In short, put your own needs and also your sexual desires to one side, and focus on your partner and your new baby and be encouraging and positive every step of the way.

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Feeling sad, blue, bad, tired, overwhelmed and fatigued? Your physical well-being is heavily affected by your thoughts and emotions. Try these natural tips to boost our mood:

  1. Take a music break. Listen to some of your favorite music while you lay comfortably on your bed, couch or chair.
  2. Smile. Smiling is contagious, inspiring others to smile back. It makes you feel better and boosts the mood of others around you too.
  3. Get outside and walk.
  4. Watch what you eat. Some types of food can help with your mood. Limit your intake of sugar, caffeine and alcohol. Eat crunchy foods, they make us happy by creating sound waves that trigger pulses in the brain that cause pleasure.
  5. Bask in the sunshine. Getting plenty of natural sunlight will boost your mood and your energy.
  6. Get some rest. Maintain a regular sleep schedule that will improve your energy, focus and creativity while you are awake.
  7. Aromatherapy. Scented candles, oils and fragrance diffusers add an uplifting fragrance to any room.
  8. Spread love. Hug your child, snuggle with a loved one or cuddle your pet, you’ll feel instantly better.
  9. Exercise. Exercising, no matter how light, increases endorphins. It will improve your mood and make your feelings of fatigue disappear.
  10. Clear the clutter. Keeping your home and workspace organized and clutter-free will also increase your energy and productivity.

When you are looking for a little added help through supplements and herbs, you can try these to boost your mood.

Natural Supplements and Herbs

Sage is probably not the first herb that springs to mind for mood disorders. It’s not just a great natural antiseptic in the treatment of sore throats and coughs, but helps change your mood for the better. What really makes sage stand out is its rapid action. Studies have shown reductions in stress and improvements in mood as quickly as one hour after taking the powdered form of the herb.

Passion flower has a long history of use in traditional medicine, and not just in the treatment of mood disorders and anxiety. Studies have shown that passion flower has similar affects as pharmaceutical drugs, but without all the risk of addictions found with drugs. Anxiety, insomnia, and stress symptoms all responded equally well and results can be obtained in as little as two weeks of use.

Guarana is increasingly found in herbal mood and anxiety formulas. Guarana is also a healthy form of an energy drink that is not just an energy booster but will benefit mood.

Omega-3 Fatty Acids will significantly brighten moods. They are safe to take and can be taken alongside prescription and anti-depressant pills.

Bright light therapy can be just as effective in treating depression as antidepressants. Bright light activates circuits in the brain that cause mood-boosting chemical reactions.

St. John’s Wort often works well as an antidepressant. It does so by causing same mood-enhancing chemical changes to the brain as medications prescribed for depression.

SAMe (S-adenosylmethionine) is an all-natural compound that increases the brain’s production of two uplifting hormones.

Always make sure you talk to your physician before taking any of these supplements, especially if you are already taking medication for depression.

There are lots of ways to naturally boost your mood if you find yourself waking up on the wrong side of the bed one day. Try some of these suggestions, but if you find it not helping, be sure to talk with your doctor about some other options. Be Happy!

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Man’s Best Friend

It is often said that a “cat has nine lives” and unfortunately we humans only are gifted with one. Though we don’t have the said nine lives of cats, owning a cat, or any pet for that matter, has been proven to be helpful in sustaining and improving our lives and health. Various studies have been conducted to show how pet ownership can greatly contribute to the health of humans and all of them have turned out remarkable results. A lot of our health depends on lifestyle choices, but our genetics, biology and chemistry also dictate how long and fruitful our lives are. As it turns out, our furry friends can vastly affect our chemistry and moods, thereby allowing us to live longer and be more emotionally stable.

Watching Animals Adds Years to Your Life
Anyone who has sat and just watched their animals frolic about and play will probably tell you that a feeling of calm has come over them. It’s not just the jolly playfulness that makes us relax and smile. Each time our moods shift, so too does the cortisol level within our bodies, especially when we feel happy and calm.

Cortisol is a natural hormone within the body and it is directly associated with the level of stress we feel when overwhelmed. A few minutes of watching your animal at play or playing with them can increase or balance our cortisol levels, giving us a peaceful feeling or diminishing the amount of stress we feel at that moment. The less stress we feel, the less instances of wear and tear our bodies experience, adding years to our lives over the long-term.

Lower Blood Pressure
Studies conducted by the American Heart Association have concluded that pet owners, specifically those that own dogs, have shown that individuals who own pets often have lower cholesterol levels as well as blood pressure levels that are lower.

One recent study showed that of the 5,200 adults, 54 percent who were dog owners had lower cholesterol and blood pressure levels than those who were not dog owners and in addition these owners were also less likely to be obese as their activity levels were higher than non-canine owners. Researchers have long noted lower levels of cholesterol and triglycerides in those with pets which is thought to be because pet owners often have less sedentary lifestyles than those who do not own pets.

Less Instances of Depression
This is not to say that some who deal with diagnosed depression should not seek out medicinal remedies such as therapy and medications which can help alter and balance the chemicals in our brains that contribute to depression and mania. However, many therapists and medical professionals often will prescribe pet ownership as another tool to combat these conditions and assist in recovering from depression.

In various studies, those who owned pets and spent time with them either talking or playing with them (or both!) reported that they felt better emotionally and that it also gave them added responsibility so there was less focus on being sad and more reason to get out of bed during the day.

Even simple acts such as petting a dog or cat was found to have a lasting and calming effect on those with depression as the focus of hardships is placed on the back burner and instead they are able to enrich their pet’s lives and their own at the same time.

Better Physical Fitness
This works more with dogs than other animals, but the FDA recommends that everyone get a minimum of 30 minutes of exercise each day. Owning a dog that requires walking each day for better health can also ensure that the pet owner meets these minimum requirements as well.

As an added benefit, weight loss often occurs but more importantly, when we walk our blood and circulation improves which contributes to better heart health overall. Your pet will appreciate the exercise and live longer themselves and they make excellent workout companions.

Fewer Strokes
Research has been done on cat owners and these studies show that those who spend a lot of time stroking and petting their cats have fewer instances of stokes. Though it isn’t entirely understood what the correlation is, some schools of thought include believing that the stroking assists in the blood flow and increases circulation, both of which can contribute to less instances of strokes.

Better Emotional Stability
We can’t help but talk to our furry friends and communication and interaction does wonders for the soul and mind. Studies show that conversing with our pets and interacting with them naturally makes us feel more calm and relaxed, and increasing our social interactions also increases the serotonin in our brains. Serotonin is responsible for the “good feelings” we have and thus by increasing the level, we naturally feel more at ease and happier.

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