Quiet Personal Time

Many of us are insanely busy from the time we get up in the mornings until the time we lay our weary head down to rest at night. We have work and family responsibilities, some of us belong to a church group or social group such as a book club, or donate our time in other ways to our community. Our relationships with others, including loved ones and co-workers can be emotionally taxing. That is why it is so important to have quiet personal time - as it can help restore our balance and energy levels as well as reduce stress.

Some of us can recognize the symptoms of feeling stressed out and needing to get away from the outside world. Some of those signs include irritability, problems sleeping, and problems concentrating. Sometimes all we need is a little time to ourselves to do a project we enjoy or to get online and lose ourselves in our computer for a little while. Sometimes it can be very relaxing to just turn on the television and watch a few mindless shows that don't require much thought or concentration. Watching your favorite television show or curling up to read a good book can be good ways to recharge yourself after a busy day.

Finding your passion through a favorite hobby is a gratifying way to spend some time alone. Some people find crafting to be a good release for pent up stress. Others find that exercise works well for them. It can help calm the mind and burn off excess nervous energy while building muscle and increasing overall health. Clearing your mind can help you reduce the clutter in your head so that you can focus on your goals in life - goals that are often forgotten in the day to day activities that we face as we move through our busy lives. So don't forget to take some time alone and don't feel guilty about it - not only do you deserve it, you'll feel much better and be more productive overall.

Don't Forget to Love

One of the biggest stressors in many people's lives is the state of their finances. We often get caught up in working hard so we can pay the bills and have some money left over to do other things for our families. We get consumed with work and other obligations, causing our stress levels to inch higher and higher every day. However, it is important that we don't forget what we should really focus our sights on - it isn't how much money we have (or don't have). What we don't want to lose sight of is the relationship we have with our family members, such as our children and spouse.

Many of us our busy from the time our feet hit the floor in the mornings until we lay our head down on the pillow at night. Too often, our relationships with others can suffer due to the fact that we have so many obligations. We need to remember that our connections with our loved ones should be something that we don't let fade into the background. We need to work on finding that balance more between our loved ones and our jobs. Learn that it isn't necessarily a bad thing to have to say no to the boss if he or she wants you to stay late or come in on the weekend on a regular basis.

Spending time with loved ones is one of the best gifts we can give each other. And keeping that love alive with our spouses is what keeps us content. That's why we need to choose to slow down a little bit every once in a while. And don't think that you have to make a big production out of spending time with loved ones. Why not take a walk around the neighborhood and check out the fall colors? Or have a movie day - pop some popcorn and have a movie marathon. Play some games, read a book, channel surf. Really talk to your loved ones about what's going on in their lives. Simply be. Sometimes a lazy day at home doing nothing except being with each other is exactly what you need to recharge.

Hyperthermia: Dangers of Spending Too Much Time Outside

Many of us like to spend time outdoors during the warm summer months. We like to garden or enjoy other activities such as boating or fishing. But almost every summer deadly heat waves sweep the nation, causing heat related conditions that can be deadly. Hyperthermia is a condition during which a person can become extremely overheated. Unfortunately if not treated effectively and quickly enough, it can be fatal. It can affect a person at any age but most people who die from hyperthermia are over 50 years old each year. This is due to the fact that normal aging causes changes in skin, making it thinner and therefore less able to protect the body from the effects of extremely warm temperatures.

Some of the symptoms of a heat related illness include dizziness and confusion. Heat syncope, otherwise known as fainting, is another sign that relief is needed quickly. Keep in mind that these conditions can happen very quickly. Other signs can include not sweating, dry flushed skin and heat cramping. Medical emergency signs: fainting, a slow weak pulse, and body temperature over 140. The heart can become stressed and stop beating, so if any of these conditions occur, it is absolutely imperative that medical treatment should be gotten very quickly.

Also keep in mind that even if you aren't out under the direct rays of the sun you may still be at risk of developing a heat related condition. Heat causes seating in vehicles to become warm, therefore making the inside of a car into an oven-like environment. Don't every leave children or anyone else in a hot car.

There are ways to avoid heat related illnesses and catastrophes such as heat cramps, heat exhaustion, and heat stroke. First, drink plenty of liquids. Secondly, take frequent breaks and get out of the warm temperatures into cooler areas on a frequent basis. Keep an eye on yourself and others - if starting to get confused or faint, get to shade as quickly as possible. And although the sun's warm rays often feel good, keep in mind that too much heat not safe for anyone.

Easy Ways Men Can Reduce Heart Disease

Heart disease is a real and silent killer. In fact, doctors rank heart disease leading cause of death in U.S - that's the bad news. However, the good news is that some cases can be preventable due to diet and exercise. While it's true that people who have a family history of heart issues are at a higher risk, there are ways to decrease your chances of cardiovascular problems. You can do this by becoming an active participant in your own care - take care to listen to your doctor and ask about preventative medicine. Pay attention to your diet, weight, and physical activity.

One of the easiest ways we can enhance our health is to get enough sleep. Studies have shown that people who do not get enough rest are more at risk for being overweight and have trouble fighting infections due to weakened immune systems. Not sleeping enough also puts stress on your heart. Do yourself a favor and strive for 7 to 8 hours of sleep each night. You'll find that your energy levels will stay stronger for longer - and that will help you get through the day in a much better mood.

The foods you eat also have a huge impact on your heart health. Opt for choices that have a lower cholesterol intake. This means limiting your intake to foods that are high in fats - especially saturated fat. Eat a wide array of foods from all different food groups including lean meats, fruits, vegetables, and complex carbohydrates. Also be sure to drink plenty of water. Sometimes people feel bad due to mild dehydration - something that can also sap your energy levels.

People with heart and circulatory problems often are diagnosed with high blood pressure. When you lower blood pressure you actually lower your risk of having a cardiac incident. Do what you can to reduce stress in your life. Try natural cures first - such as going for long hikes, getting out for regular bike rides or trying some yoga or tai chi. You have the ability to reduce your stress levels - especially if you can pinpoint what causes you stress and find ways to decrease the impact of it on your life. Another consideration: no smoking. Smoking damages your body in so many ways and it just isn't worth it. See your doctor about programs that will help you kick the nicotine habit for good - and get you on the road to being healthy.

As The Body Slows Down With Age: Knowing What we Are Up Against

Taking care of ourselves is something many of us don't think about when we're in our teens and twenties. But as we pass 30, then 40 and beyond, our health and the ability of our internal organs to keep working properly often becomes a priority. This might be due to the fact that we feel differently as we get older - and we also start to look different. Bodily functions peak after 30. This means that we may develop a slow metabolism. Changes in digestive tract also occur. The rate at which food moves through large intestine slows down and levels of good bacteria in gut drops. This can lead to gut disease risk, food intolerance, poor digestion, and weight gain. Changes in food tolerance can also make constipation more likely or it might lead to diarrhea. Avoiding these issues is possible, however, by making healthy changes.

Certain chemicals and hormones within our bodies also decrease as we age. One example is lactase. A lactase decrease means the body does not digest dairy products very well. The result is often uncomfortable bloating and gas. Testosterone levels decrease as well. As a result, our muscles shrink. Another area that we may notices changes in is our alcohol intake. We may realize that our tolerance for alcohol is decreasing - resulting in more hangovers. And hangover bounce back time is increasingly higher. This means it takes us longer to recover after ingesting adult beverages. Mental decline in 40's might be yet another side effect of the aging process.

Food allergies, gray hairs, and wrinkles may not appeal to us. However, getting older is a fact of life. And one of the ways to ensure good health is through prevention. This means avoiding the foods that are no longer needed by our bodies. It means getting plenty of exercise and fresh air. It means eating well - ditch the foods that are high in preservatives, sodium, and other ingredients that aren't good for us in high doses. Eat more fruits and vegetables. Focus on eating lean meats, complex carbohydrates, and protein. Those foods have the nutrients our bodies need to function at a high level and keep our energy levels where they need to be.

Pre-eclampsia: A Condition All Pregnant Women Should Know About

Pre-eclampsia is a serious health condition that strikes during pregnancy. It is characterized by a sudden change in blood pressure and protein in the urine, or albuminuria, and affects 1 in 20 pregnant women. Although edema, or swelling, is common in pre-eclampsia, some women may have no noticeable symptoms, which is one reason routine prenatal appointments are so important. Pre-eclampsia can develop at any point in a pregnancy but is most common in the third trimester. Undiagnosed pre-eclampsia or untreated eclampsia can put you and your baby at grave risk.

The cause of pre-eclampsia is not yet understood, but genetic factors, insufficient uterine blood flow, poor nutrition and high body fat may all play a role. Your risk may be higher if you are over 40 or under 20, if this is a first-time pregnancy or if you are pregnant with twins or multiples. You may also be at a higher risk if you have a first-degree relative who had pre-eclampsia, if you have a history of pre-eclampsia or if you have a history of high blood pressure, kidney disease or diabetes.

Symptoms can include:

  • Rapid weight gain
  • Swelling in your legs, hands and face
  • Reduced urine output
  • Vomiting and nausea
  • Vision changes
  • Headaches
  • Dizziness
  • Poor reflexes

Your doctor will usually screen you at each appointment for symptoms, but you should contact him or her immediately if your blood pressure rises suddenly or if you have other symptoms. Early diagnosis can help you manage your symptoms and increase the odds of a positive outcome. Left untreated, pre-eclampsia can develop into eclampsia, which is associated with maternal seizures, convulsions, placental abruption, stroke, coma and death.

The only cure for this condition is delivery. However, both premature delivery and pre-eclampsia can lead to negative effects in baby, so your doctor may focus on controlling your symptoms as much as possible to give you and your baby the best possible chance. You may be prescribed medications to control your blood pressure, corticosteroids to improve your liver function and mature your baby’s lungs and anticonvulsant medications. If your symptoms are severe, you may need to be hospitalized. Induction of labor or c-section may be necessary. During your delivery, your doctor will give you magnesium sulfate to reduce the risk of seizures.

Most women recover within a few weeks of delivery, but some may need to continue to take blood pressure medicine for a few months until their health stabilizes.

Reasons Why You May be Feeling Older Than You Really Are

Feeling or looking older than you really are can be depressing or alarming. It can be disconcerting when strangers or even friends within our social circles are guessing our age and over estimating by five or ten years. But before you get too worked up about it, you need to realize the behaviors and reasons that make us look and feel older. And the reasons may be simpler to tackle than initially thought.

Diet, exercise, and sun exposure all have effects on our energy levels and our appearance. Making a few dietary changes can help you gain more energy and boost your metabolism. But what does that mean? Too many of us eat diets that are high in fat, high in sugar, and high in processed foods. Our bodies actually get damaged by high sugar diet and foods that are fatty. Processed foods are full of preservatives and sodium that are simply not good for us. Instead, try eating minimal processed foods. This means a lot of fresh fruits and vegetables. No refined sugars or buying things with ingredients that are difficult to pronounce. Don't eat fatty meats that will clog your arteries and raise your cholesterol. Instead, work to incorporate healthy fats, such as omega-3 fatty acids. Foods such as fresh salmon and other types of fish as well as nuts and seeds are great sources of this important nutrient.

Another culprit that adds years to our appearance is the sun. Failing to protect ultraviolet radiation rays from hitting your skin is one of the ways we add wrinkles and blemishes. Add that to the fact that collagen and elastin production slow down as we age and there's yet another reason we look in the mirror and see those wrinkles that weren't there just a few years ago. Too much sun can also lead to skin cancer. Take the extra time to put sunblock on and cover your face with a hat.

Of course, another culprit of looking or feeling older than we are is stress. When we are stressed out our bodies produce certain hormones. Those hormones might not be bad during the short term, but long term they are not good for you. They can interfere with our sleep patterns and our appetites. Wipe out stress by exercising. Stretch out muscles on a daily basis - try some yoga. When done correctly it can help reduce stress and tone your body. And that is something that will enhance your overall appearance and your outlook.

Post Labor Day Fun

While it's true that Labor Day often signifies the end of the summer, that doesn't necessarily mean all summer related activities must end. It isn't like the weather automatically changes due to the holiday. There will still be a number of days that will be perfect for family fun such as a BBQ. This is the time of year that other changes occur - including going back to school. That usually means no more vacations for a while but it will also give you time to plan your next trip - whether it is at Christmas, spring break, or next summer.

One of the great things about living in a place with different seasons is that it gives us a chance to enjoy all types of different activities throughout the year. And it helps to remember that we must be flexible regarding our plans during the changing seasons - we may have plans outdoors that will change to possibly indoors. Cooler temps and passing storms are very real possibilities, especially during the fall and spring seasons.

Keeping an eye on the weather and dressing appropriately for it will also help enjoy activities during the cooler months. If you're going to be out and about, such as at a festival or sports outing, pack up extra windbreakers, sweaters, and rain gear. You may not need it, but it is always better to be safe than sorry. However, if you're looking for activities that aren't dependent on sun and warmer temperatures, why not go for some indoor fun? Bowling is a great family activity. So is a trip to the movie theater. And it doesn't matter if the sun is shining or if rain is pelting down from above because you will be inside.

Having a good time post Labor Day isn't going to be difficult. It just means adjusting to different types of activities. Maybe it means more game nights around the kitchen table or spending afternoons in the kitchen learning how to cook different dishes. And colder temps doesn't mean you can't still enjoy the great outdoors - it actually just opens the door to new possibilities and new scenery.

Teen Pregnancy Rates Dropping

Teen pregnancy is a difficult topic to address. The rates were at an all time high for females between the ages of 15 and 19 at the beginning of the 90s. However, they have recently dropped to an all time low. There are probably numerous factors that have contributed to this decrease, with the first one being education. This includes education about sex and birth control. Another reason might be the availability of birth control as well as the way certain parents are handling the topic - meaning that many parents are having frank and open discussions about the repercussions of having a baby at such a tender age.

Having a baby obviously changes a person's life. Many teenage girls might see their friends having babies and as a result they witness the fact that those friends may have some difficulties embarking on certain paths. They might witness those friends who are young mothers missing out on travel, educational opportunities, as well as jobs. They often aren't available to go out and have fun with their friends due to the massive responsibility of caring for a child. Teen mothers often find there's not enough time to socialize - and they probably don't have enough disposable income to afford a babysitter anyway.

Having a child doesn't mean you still can't have a full life ahead, but the younger mothers will probably face more difficulties than those who are in their 20s and 30s. And then there's the issue of relationships - how many teenaged relationships actually develop and evolve into lasting partnerships? And how many teenage boys are willing to take on the challenge of fatherhood?

Talking about sex to your teenagers is not something most parents want to experience. However, that open and honest dialogue can make a huge difference. It isn't a topic that can be ignored. Parents owe it to themselves and their children to have discussions about sex and the repercussions that can happen as a result. Stressing the importance of abstinence is something most parents strive for but at the same time, the topic of birth control should be addressed. Being open about using condoms and how it can lower the chance of pregnancy as well as the chance of contracting a sexually transmitted disease should be addressed in a calm and reasonable manner.

What are Phobias?

A phobia is an excessively irrational or unrealistic fear of an object, activity, creature or situation. It is persistent disorder in which an individual experiences an unreasonable fear of an object or situation. When confronted with the source of the phobia, a person might experience extreme distress and think it is dangerous enough to cause serious harm.

About 50 million people in the United States suffer from some type of anxiety. Depending on the severity of the condition, a sufferer might experience emotional pain and chronic stress even when there is no real threat. Persistent anxiety can evoke a very unusual experience in the brain. Subsequently, the body reacts with an atypical stress response to elude the made-up situation. 

Different Types of Phobias:

Phobic disorders can be broadly classified into three major categories:

1. Social Anxiety Disorder
This condition is marked by an extreme fear of normal social situations. People with the disorder are constantly worried about being judged by others. They can go to great lengths to avoid routine social settings for the risk of being embarrassed or singled out. 

2. Agoraphobia
Individuals suffering from agoraphobia are afraid of being trapped in a desperate and inescapable situation. Sufferers might dread the thought of traveling in trains or buses and avoid crowded places or tight spaces, such as cafes, shopping malls and movie theaters. 

3. Specific Phobic Conditions
There are four different types of specific phobias:

  • Medical – injections, the sight of blood, doctor visits or any other trigger
  • Animal – the fear of snakes, spiders, rats or other species
  • Environment – water, lightning, thunders, storms or other natural occurrences
  • Situational – specific triggers, such as flying, heights, driving through a tunnel or an elevator ride
Symptoms of Phobic Disorders

Phobic symptoms typically occur upon exposure to the particular object or situation in question. Sometimes, even the thought of the object can trigger intense anxiety. Common symptoms associated with the condition include:
  • Shortness of breath
  • Anticipatory symptoms, such as extreme nervousness
  • Nausea
  • Panic attack symptoms, such as sweating, dizziness, heart pounding, numbness and trembling
  • Fear of death

Depending on the patient’s specific condition and type of phobia, a combination of several treatment approaches might be recommended. The primary objective of treatment is to help the patient overcome his or her anxiety and live as normal a life as possible. Treatment might include one or more of the following:
  • Self-help techniques, such as regular exercise and a healthy diet regimen
  • Cognitive behavioral therapy, such as exposure therapy and systematic desensitization 
  • Hypnotherapy with guided relaxation and focused attention to achieve a heightened level of awareness
  • Medications to reduce anticipatory symptoms or to treat clinical conditions, such as depression 
In most cases, phobic conditions can be treated successfully with appropriate therapy, medications or both.