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How to Relieve Stress Using These Powerful Positive Affirmations

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Positive affirmations help relieve stress by changing the negative thoughts you have about yourself into positive thoughts instead. The goal is to train your unconscious mind to think positive thoughts about what you want to happen, rather than negative thoughts about yourself or the world around you.

These statements are empowering, positive, and should be said with confidence in order to solidify the statement in your mind. The affirmation should always allow you to visualize how you want your life to be, as in how you want to feel and react in a certain environment.

Some believe that the way you think begins to be the way you see the world, so when you think bad thoughts, bad things tend to happen. That’s where the belief that positive affirmations reduce stress, by allowing you to notice all of the good things. This belief goes even further, saying that what you think about unconsciously begins to occur in real life.

So, if you go around thinking something negative, you’ll begin making choices that bring those negative thoughts to real life. On the other hand, if you have positive thoughts, you will begin subconsciously making decisions that’ll bring those positive thoughts and images to real life. Because of this, you can train yourself to relieve stress using powerful positive affirmations.

Positive Affirmations in the Commercial Industry and in the Media

You have likely heard of affirmations, as it has become a hot topic of discussion in the media and in marketing techniques. You can find books, seminars, experts, and self-help groups related to changing your life with a positive affirmation, but none of that is going to help you if you aren’t ready to make the change on your own. Those options all cost money and may not be effective while doing affirmation on your own and for yourself are more likely to work for you.

Affirmations should be a private process, one that you do for yourself, not for the world around you. This means that you must look inside of yourself to determine what you need to focus on and what you need to say. The media and commercial industry shouldn’t be your primary source.

How Positive Affirmations Help to Relieve Stress

Since saying a positive affirmation repeatedly can make the thought come true, telling yourself that you are not stressed out or that you have control over your feelings will help to ease the negative feelings that you may have felt otherwise. This simple process changes your own way of thinking and, in turn, changes the way you perceive the world around you. So, situations and environments that would normally stress you out may become more tolerable and less intrusive on your feelings.

This all-natural way of reducing and relieving stress has been proven to be true, and the results only further prove the fact. By telling yourself that you are less stressed, you will become less stressed. There are different ways that this happens, and there are many different affirmations you can say to yourself.

Why Positive Affirmations Are a Good Idea

  • You can do them anytime, anyplace, so this method of stress relief can help you no matter where you are.
  • It’s all-natural.
  • It promotes long-term relief from stress.
  • Affirmations teach you good habits.
  • They teach you to train your brain.
  • Affirmations increase your confidence and belief in yourself.
  • They encourage productivity and goal-reaching.
  • Promote better overall health.
  • It encourages self-awareness and mindfulness.
  • Affirmations lead to greater levels of life satisfaction.

Positive Affirmations That Help Relieve Stress

While you can come up with your own affirmations, sometimes it is easier to start with ones other people have come up with. You could do a quick internet search, or you could take some from the following list:

  • I am not stressed.
  • I don’t feel the stress building.
  • My thoughts are calm.
  • I feel peaceful.
  • I am not allowing myself to worry.
  • The tension is leaving my body.
  • I am in control of my thoughts and my stress levels.
  • I am feeling positive.
  • My thoughts are peaceful.
  • I am relaxed.
  • Each day, I take time to relieve my stress and ease my mind.
  • Even when life gets hectic, I feel like I am at peace.
  • I am not allowing stress to control me.
  • It’s normal to feel stress-free.
  • I can be naturally stress-free.
  • Each day I will find time to de-stress by relaxing and enjoying some time to myself.
  • It’s easy to release stress.
  • I enjoy life when I release my stress.
  • I live a stress-free life.
  • Relaxing at the end of the day is necessary.
  • I am happy and free from worry.
  • I attract positivity and repel stress.
  • I’m able to handle everything on my plate today, so I am not feeling any stress.
  • I am in control of my feelings.
  • Only will I give into joyful thoughts, and I will release any stressful feelings or thoughts.
  • This situation is only temporary, so I will not allow it to cause me stress.
  • There is no problem in my day that I cannot handle.
  • I react positively to every situation.
  • Deep breathing relieves my stress, so I do it every day.
  • I am letting go of my stress.
  • My mind and body are calm.
  • I am peaceful.
  • Finding ways to relieve my stress will make me happier, calmer, and healthier.
  • I am living a more stress-free life.
  • I am becoming a person who does not give in to stress.
  • Thinking clearly is easier now that I am free of stress.

How to Train Yourself to Think Positively

  • Repeat the affirmation. Doing this out loud is more effective, but thinking them helps, as well.
  • Record yourself saying the affirmations. This way you can listen to them while you’re busy doing other things.
  • Write your affirmations on post-it notes. Place these post-it notes in places you’ll regularly seem them, such as on your mirror or in your car. If you find that you get stressed out when you are at work, place one in your workspace to look at when your stress is becoming too much.
  • Come up with affirmations for every area of your life, no matter how minor it seems, to create the habit of positive thinking throughout the entire day.
  • Take a deep breath before beginning the repetition of your affirmations to help clear your mind.

The more you have these affirmations in your life, the sooner it will become a natural habit to think them in moments of stress. Try to incorporate them in as many areas as you can.

How to Know Which Positive Affirmations to Use

Find the affirmations that work for you in your daily life. If necessary, you can use different affirmations while getting ready in the morning, while driving in your car, and while sitting at work. It’s okay to test an affirmation out and changing your mind about it, as there is no commitment to any specific affirmation.

Determine what you want your environment to be like, and then use an affirmation that applies to that image. This way, you are setting yourself up for positive thoughts and minimal stress in that environment.

How to Write Your Own Positive Affirmation

In order to write your own affirmations, you have to think about a number of factors. You also have to put all of your thoughts into a simple statement, or affirmation, that you can repeat. To begin writing your own affirmation, you should do the following:

  • what you want to achieve (a healthier lifestyle, a more supportive person, a better friend, to track your lifestyle better, etc.)
  • Brainstorm a few sentences that you could repeat to yourself. When you do this, make the statements as if what you are trying to achieve is already true, for example; if you want to be calmer in stressful situations, think to yourself “I am feeling calmer”, even if you’re not.
  • Make your statement realistic. If you can’t actually achieve what you are saying, create a new affirmation.

stressFinal Thoughts On How to Relieve Stress Using These Powerful Positive Affirmations

Stress can be overwhelming and negatively powerful when we let it consume us. That is why you should train yourself to think positive thoughts when you feel yourself becoming stressed out. Powerful positive affirmation can turn your entire mood around, and training yourself to do this regularly and subconsciously can prevent stress from occurring in the future.

Whether you choose to write your own affirmations or you use one of the examples provided above, you should ensure that your message to yourself is positive, uplifting, and directly related to your intentions. You will likely notice that these affirmations become second nature in your subconscious thoughts and that those kinds of thoughts eventually become true in your everyday life.

The post How to Relieve Stress Using These Powerful Positive Affirmations appeared first on Power of Positivity: Positive Thinking & Attitude.

Source – powerofpositivity.com

Lifestyle

11 People Explain How Getting Rid of Stuff Has Changed their Life

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Getting rid of stuff might seem scary, but think about our needs vs. wants for a second. What is it that humans really need, anyway? Basically, as long as we have food, water, shelter, and clothing, we pretty much have it made. Anything additional is put into the “want” category, and most people fall into the trap of accumulating things just because they can. However, freeing yourself from this constant state of lack allows you to spend your time chasing other interests besides shopping and engaging in consumerism.

Minimalism is on the rise as more people search for meaning in their lives. Possessions can be taken away, but experiences and inner peace cannot. Many minimalists report feeling much happier and freer after getting rid of clutter in their homes. Also, the objects they do keep tend to serve an important function rather than just collect dust in a corner.

Below, we will share stories from different minimalists on Reddit to show you just how life-changing the practice of giving up your stuff can be.

11 people explain how getting rid of stuff changed their life:

1. Improving relationships and sleep

“I have better relationships because I can connect with friends and family more rather than compete with them. Lastly, I got rid of my bed so I now sleep on the floor which improves my posture and reduces the amount of stiffness in my body.”

2. Finding your inner voice

“It’s helped me to silence the voice of the aspirational life and listen more to the voice of my life right now. I’m more intentional and focused on what I want rather than what I perceive I should want/have/need.”

3. Doing more things you love

“Instead of spending time cleaning, I can spend time doing what I love (practicing music) and what I don’t love (studying math).”

4. Having more time

“I spend less time shopping overall. My weekends are totally free to do whatever I want now to experience new things, instead of buying clothes at the mall. My apartment is a lot tidier and easier to clean as well since I have less stuff.”

5. Less anxiety

“It’s improved my anxiety that everything needs to be perfect. With such little items in my life I can just worry and focus on what’s in front of me. It’s a great comfort.”

More benefits of getting rid of stuff:

6. Finding more meaning in things you already own

“It took away the stress of spending money, making me more focused on the things that I have.”

7. Saving money on Amazon

‘I now pay $0/month for my Amazon Prime credit card vs the usual $200-300/month I used to rack up on it.”

8. Decluttering email

“I stopped worrying about “missing out” on deals and sales for clothes and like items. I unsubscribed to almost all marketing emails and after buying my most recent pair of shoes I told myself I was done buying any new clothing until a situation changed (an essential item broke, I moved to a location with a different office environment or significantly different climate, etc).”

9. Sense of purpose

“Minimalism to me means freedom. I feel like it has provided me a greater purpose, and I am ever thankful to the person who introduced it to me almost 2 years ago.”

10. Dissolving of ego

“I stopped being snobby. I couldn’t be seen in an average car growing up. Now I have the most ghetto ex-cop car in the city and I love it more than any luxury car you throw at me.”

11. More money for important things

“Saved enough money to pay cash for graduate school, I graduate next week. Also paid off my car last week, officially, dare I say it? Debt-free.”

emotional baggage

Final thoughts on getting rid of stuff you don’t need

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Do you practice minimalism? How has it changed your life? Share with us in the comments below!

(C)Power of Positivity, LLC. All rights reserved

The post 11 People Explain How Getting Rid of Stuff Has Changed their Life appeared first on Power of Positivity: Positive Thinking & Attitude.

Source – powerofpositivity.com

Lifestyle

12 People Explain How To Overcome Anxiety

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In today’s fast-paced, “always on” world, many people suffer from anxiety. Most of us feel that we always have to be doing something in order to stay on top of things, but in reality, this business is only making us sick and overly stressed. With rising costs of pretty much everything, more environmental pollutants, constant stimuli demanding our attention, and more chores to do, it’s no wonder so many of us struggle with anxiety. But now…it’s time to overcome anxiety.

According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA), approximately 18%, or 40 million Americans, experience anxiety disorders annually. This number has likely gone up, however, since the data was collected.

Even though the condition is on the rise, though, it doesn’t mean we are powerless in our capability to conquer it. There are plenty of natural ways to heal anxiety, or at least manage the symptoms better. Below, we will feature 12 people who have found ways to calm their anxiety naturally.

Here are tips from 12 people who have overcome anxiety:

1. Journal

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“Today, I wrote down 5 things that I’m grateful for, my affirmations for the day, and any other random thoughts jumbling around in my head. I find that this simple activity centers me and brings me back to the things that are truly important.”

2. Show compassion for yourself and your needs.

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3. “Running is this therapeutic exercise that I engage in to cope with the chatter in my head.”

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4. Stop focusing on what you don’t want.

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“Start focusing on what you DO want. Your mind will look for ways to solve this problem and make it happen. Keep doing this regardless of how long it takes or the obstacles and it will eventually come your way.”

5. “Choose to see it as a temporary state rather than an incurable disease?.”

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6. Practice gratitude for how far you’ve come.

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7. “If you’re nervous, under pressure or not in a clear state of mind: Count 1 – 2 – 3 – 4 slowly while focusing on your breath.”

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8. Acknowledge and face your emotions instead of avoiding them.

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9. Ask why you feel anxious and then let it go.

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10. The headspace app and baking work wonders for this woman.

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11. Running trails in beautiful places such as these helps this man overcome anxiety.

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12. Don’t forget nutrition as a way to help your anxiety!

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(C)Power of Positivity, LLC. All rights reserved

The post 12 People Explain How To Overcome Anxiety appeared first on Power of Positivity: Positive Thinking & Attitude.

Source – powerofpositivity.com

Lifestyle

Scientist Explains How Mindfulness Really Works (and the Benefits)

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(This is part three of a 3-part series discussing the history, culture, and meaning of mindfulness.)

Many who have wandered about the vast field of mindfulness will agree that getting started can be confusing and frustrating. One reason for this is the overwhelming amount of information.

Google ‘mindfulness’ and you get 219 million – that’s 219,000,000 – search results. (Oh, and don’t forget to look at those oh-so-inconspicuous ads placed at the top and bottom of each page.) According to market research data, there are over 1,000 meditation smartphone apps.

Meditation and mindfulness books, CDs, DVDs, and other media bring in a whopping $112 million annually. From its humble, 2,500-year-old roots, mindfulness has become a multibillion-dollar enterprise.

Then there’s the issue of what kind of mindfulness to practice. We won’t find much help here, either. It’s all-too-common to find secular people claiming that meditation is “too religious”; religious people claiming that it’s “too secular,” and spiritual people being too chill to get involved in the conflict.

Here’s are examples of groups challenging the concept mindfulness

Case in point: just this month, a group of Catholic Spanish bishops issued a statement in opposition to mindfulness practices. Why? Because the practice doesn’t happen to have roots in the “The Church.” Nevermind that many famous Catholic priests have traveled to Japan to study Zen Buddhism.

So…

Information overload? Check.

Religious intolerance? Check.

Oh, and then there are the hordes who claim to be mindfulness experts. What makes qualifications do they have? Meh, they said so. Maybe they took a class on Coursera or EdX. That’s enough, isn’t it?

So…

Potentially unqualified teachers? Check.

Again, it’s a confusing and frustrating place. Rather ironic considering that mindfulness was originally conceived for, above everything else, removing the innate confusion from the mind. Someone tell the bishops.

So, how does mindfulness really work? Well, despite what you may have heard, there is a common group among most – if not all – schools of mindfulness practice.

To illustrate this point, we’re going to discuss one scientist’s remarkable journey.

We’ll also discuss the differences between mindfulness and meditation. Let us begin by describing the “default mode” of the brain and mind.

Our crazy default mode

Any technicalities on mindfulness and meditation will be of little benefit if you don’t understand mind’s default mode. Why is such an education necessary? Three reasons. (1) The “default mode” is established science that (2) gives us insight into the inherently abnormal mental state, which (3) motivates us to seek an end to mental and emotional woes.

To put it bluntly: this chatterbox that we call mind is the cause of all of our suffering. This is not only a spiritual declaration but an empirical one that’s roundly accepted by psychologists and other mental health experts. Not to mention that the truth of which is self-evident.

Just ask yourself this question: Is my thinking mind more of a help or a hindrance?

Think about this.

Even when there’s a relatively peaceful environment, the mind will still conjure up feelings of boredom or restlessness. To satisfy the mind’s constant need for more stimulus, we may pick up a magazine, hop on social media, play a mobile game, or indulge in some unhealthy snack. All because this defunct mind of ours refuses contentment.

The Negativity Bias

The thinking mind never shuts up. Worse, the things that it “says” are mostly negative. Psychology has long established the tendency of the mind to lean negative – coining it the negativity bias.

In a paper published in the journal Personality and Social Psychology Review, psychologists and professors Paul Rozin and Edward B. Royzman state that negativity bias manifests in four ways. These four manifestations are as follows:

1) Negative potency: Negative entities (e.g., events, objects, traits) are stronger than positive entities.

2) Negativity dominance: Combinations of equal parts negative and positive events yields a result that is more negative than positive.

3) Negative differentiation: The mental constructs of negative stimuli are more complex and varied than positive stimuli.

4) Steeper effects over time: The perceived negative nature of events grows disproportionately compared to positive events.

Our default mode is the reason why people abuse, maim, kill, and abandon. Wars have been started, people burned at the stake, and tyrants bequeathed with absolute power. Humans rape their Earth, pollute their oceans, and threaten their own habitat. We owe all of this madness to unchecked impulse. We owe all of this madness to the brain’s default network.

The French mathematician Blaise Pascale summed up the human condition rather accurately when he said made the statement “All of humanity’s problems stem from man’s inability to sit quietly in a room alone.”

If there is ever a time for man to become a more mindful creature, it’s now.

How Mindfulness Really Works: The Commonalities

First, we must understand that mindfulness and meditation are not necessarily mutually inclusive. While there is such a practice of mindfulness meditation, there is much more to the holistic practice of mindfulness. Let us start off with the common threads woven between seemingly all schools of mindfulness.

If you’ve ever read up on or practiced mindfulness, you’ve probably got a decent understanding of how it works. At least in theory. Indeed, most mindfulness systems share a set of common characteristics. These are:

1) Non-judgmental observation

Nonjudgmental observation in mindfulness is the ability of the mind to observe whatever’s happening in mind without criticism or cogitation. We observe the experiences of mind without any preconceived notions.

Think of a scientist viewing something under a microscope. During an experiment, the scientist is merely observing. He’s not forming judgments or wishing for a different outcome.

2) Acceptance

In the context of mindfulness, acceptance means responding to emotions without controlling, judging, or reacting to the experience. This is especially important for unpleasant mental states.

We must also freely admit to when we’re feeling anger, aversion, fear, jealousy, and so forth. Only then can we learn to see past the illusions of the mind.

3) Neutrality

Another way to think of mindfulness is neutral watchfulness. It’s neutral because we don’t get hung up on either positive or negative mind states. When mindful, we treat all experiences the same, including feelings and thoughts. We do not repress anything – “good” or “bad.”

4) Present-moment awareness

Mindfulness takes place in the here and now. This means observing whatever is taking place in the present moment. Furthermore, this awareness of the present moment is unceasing and constant.

Let’s say that you’re thinking about your favorite food. When practicing present-moment awareness, you are aware that you are thinking of your favorite food. You are observing the activities of the mind in the present-moment, non-conceptually.

How Mindfulness Really Works: The Missing Pieces

“A veil was lifted. All of a sudden, there was recognition that I’m not my thoughts. Everyone always says it, but I never felt it. It turns out I’m actually not the voice in my “head” that says stuff. That’s separate from me. Immediately after was the recognition ‘I am awareness.’” – Gary Weber, Ph.D., Happiness Beyond Thought, A Practical Guide to Awakening

Dr. Gary Weber, Ph.D., is just about as rational of a person as you’re going to find. He’s got a doctorate in material sciences, was a corporate executive for General Electric, served as an officer in the U.S. Navy, and is on the board of Carnegie Mellon University’s Research Institute.

He’s also accumulated over 30,000 hours of meditation and yoga training, studied with two Zen Roshis, and was a student of the Indian guru Ramana Maharshi. If anyone knows the correct way to practice mindfulness, it’s him.

According to Weber, two vital components for mindfulness practice, often missing from some teachings are concentration and detachment.

Final Thoughts About Mindfulness

Astoundingly, very few philosophies of mindfulness emphasize the importance of stable attention and detachment. First, let us define concentration and detachment in the context of mindfulness practice.

Concentration, or ‘stable attention,’ is the ability to direct your mental efforts to the here-and-now. Practicing mindfulness without stable attention often leads to feelings of frustration and overwhelm. When we’re mindful and stable with our attention, things go much smoother. It is also very important that we not be so hard ourselves in these efforts. The word ‘concentration’ often conjures up images of furrowed brows and red faces. But stable attention needn’t be so difficult. We must allow ease and relaxation to guide our attentional efforts.

Detachment is like viewing your sensory experiences from a third-person perspective. The “real you” is the awareness floating around the mind. You are not your mind or your sense perceptions. Need proof? Do you ever sit back and watch the voice in your head? Do you ever wonder why it doesn’t shut up?

This is important, so please pay close attention.

You can clearly observe this voice. And you know that you’re not the one thinking all these nasty things. Why would you do that to yourself?

Answer: you wouldn’t.

So who are you? You are the one who realizes that. You are this continual awareness that’s capable of sitting back and watching as your mind and emotions go nuts.

This is mindfulness at its core.

The post Scientist Explains How Mindfulness Really Works (and the Benefits) appeared first on Power of Positivity: Positive Thinking & Attitude.

Source – powerofpositivity.com

Lifestyle

Researchers Explain 5 Habits That Can Damage Your Brain

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The brain is our most vital organ. It’s what makes us, well, us. While the debate of “brain vs. mind” is justifiable and even necessary, one thing is for certain. Damage this most vital organ to a certain point and we vanish. Figuratively if not literally.

In this article, we’re going to talk about five habits that can damage the brain. We’ll also give a short primer on its structure and function. To cap things off, we’ll discuss lifelong habits that promote brain health.

Let’s do this!

The Mysterious, Magnificent Brain

“The human brain has 100 billion neurons, each neuron connected to 10 thousand other neurons. Sitting on your shoulders is the most complicated object in the known universe.” ~ Michio Kaku, theoretical physicist (source)

On the surface, there is nothing exceptional about our brain. If you could take the organ out of your head and look at it, what would you see? Nothing pretty. A three-pound mass of what appears to be folds of some grey matter covered in fat.

But it isn’t what’s on the surface that makes this organ remarkable – it’s what lies underneath. Namely, the 100 billion nerve cells, or neurons, that are constantly firing across the brain. Watch a video of a functional magnetic resonance image (fMRI) in real-time, and you’ll see what appears to be a massive, unremitting lightning storm.

Each of our brain’s 100 billion neurons is exceptionally complex. Structurally, the neuron consists of dendrites, soma (or cell body), axon (“tail”) and terminal branches. Called the “basic” unit of the brain, these innumerable, specialized cells communicate with cells across the brain and body. Neurons are solely responsible for the continuous function of our body.

When asked how close we were to understanding the human brain, Christof Koch, Ph.D., scoffs before replying as follows:

“We don’t even understand the brain of a worm.”

To put this gulf of knowledge about the brain into some perspective, the typical worm – a roundworm – contains 302 neurons and some 7,000 connections. Per the Allen Institute for Brain Science, “…we still don’t understand how [the neurons] all work synergistically to give rise to the worm’s behaviors.”

Looks like we’ve got a ways to go.

The Dangers of Brain Damage

Why did we include a section discussing the sheer majesty of the brain? Simply to emphasize just how remarkable of an organ it is – and how critical it is to take care of it. Which leads, naturally, to the real dangers of brain damage.

In the U.S. alone, there are over 2.6 million reported cases of brain injury. Most instances of brain injury occur from serious events like stroke, trauma, or tumor growth. Per the Brain Injury Association of America, 52,000 people die as a result of brain injury every year. More than 5 million Americans require daily assistance due to injury.

Two Kinds of Brain Damage

There are two primary classifications of post-birth brain damage: traumatic brain injury (TBI) and acquired brain injury (ABI).

TBI is the result of an external force that damages the skull. In turn, this skull damage inflicts brain injury. ABI is brain damage that transpires on the cellular level. Catalysts of ABI include most forms of non-impact neurological illness, including a brain tumor and stroke.

Symptoms of brain damage vary. Symptom severity is dependent upon the type of brain injury. Temporary brain injury (not to be confused with TBI) often leads to short term symptoms. Temporary brain injury symptoms include confusion, headaches, memory problems, and nausea.

Severe brain damage leads to disability or death. Symptoms of severe brain damage may include blurred vision, difficulty hearing or speaking, hemorrhage, and loss of consciousness. Cognitive, behavioral, and physical disabilities often result. Many who survive severe cases of brain damage may enter and remain in a comatose (nonresponsive) state.

While not every instance of damage is preventable, many are indeed avoidable. To start with always wear a helmet and protective headgear when playing sports. Reduce your risk of stroke by eating right and losing excess weight. Simple preventative measures can make all of the difference.

Now that we’ve covered the most overt type of brain damage, let’s discuss the more subtle habits that can inflict serious harm.

5 Habits that Damage the Brain

“Smoking is hateful to the nose, harmful to the brain, and dangerous to the lungs.” ~ King James I (1566-1625)

For someone who lived over four centuries ago, King James I showed remarkable insight into the nasty health effects of smoking. The great king probably could have never predicted that people would continue to ignore the noxious health effects of lighting up. And despite the piles of research directly implicating smoking to increased risk of cancer, lung disease heart disease, and stroke.

Oh yeah, and smoking is harmful to this organ as well as others. No big surprise there. Well done, James!

Without further ado, here are five habits that researchers say cause damage.

  1. Smoking

Let’s just pick up where we left off. While most of the attention on the effects of smoking go to the heart and lungs, smoking does indeed inflict brain damage. In a 2017 paper published in the journal Drug and Alcohol Dependence, researchers conclude that smoking shrinks multiple areas of the brain.

Among the organ’s regions affected include the cerebellar cortex, corpus callosum, and thalamus. In “higher pack-year” * users, smoking was also linked to shrinkages of the bilateral amygdala, nucleus accumbens, and subcortical areas.

*Pack-years are a measure of lifetime exposure to cigarettes. Consider the following calculation for comparative and illustrative purposes:

Person 1 smokes 10 cigarettes per day for 10 years: ½ pack (10 cigarettes) x 10 years = 5 pack years.

Person 2 smokes 30 cigarettes per day for 25 years: 1 pack (20 cigarettes) x 25 years = 25 pack years.

Because person 2 is a higher pack-year user than person 1, he or she is likely more at risk for smoking-related conditions.

  1. Oversleeping

On the social forum Quora, a user by the name of Sachin Singh offers up some (mostly) astute advice against taking long naps.

“During the day, short naps no longer than 20 minutes will leave you feeling energized. Longer naps of roughly half an hour will leave you feeling groggy and sluggish. This feeling comes from entering the deeper stages of sleep that occurs after 30-60 minutes,” writes Singh.

It turns out that Mr. Singh is right – for the most part. Per a study published in the journal Current Opinion in Pulmonary Medicine, 30 minutes – not 20 – appears to be just about right. According to the study’s authors, naps exceeding half an hour are associated with sleep inertia and loss of productivity.

  1. Skipping Breakfast

One Vanesh Bhagat warns against the perils of skipping breakfast. “Those who do not eat breakfast will have lower blood sugar levels. After a long night without eating, this can lead to an insufficient supply of nutrients to your brain. If repeated often enough over a lifetime, this can cause brain degeneration.”

Yes and no.

If Mr. Bhagat is implying cognitive deterioration results from skipping breakfast, he is indeed correct. However, physical degeneration of the brain merely from skipping breakfast – assuming otherwise-healthy dietary habits – is probably a reach.

For the sake of agreement, we’ll assume that Bhagat is referring to cognitive function. Indeed, research shows that breakfast sharpens (enables?) cognitive function by supplying vital energy and nutrients. The science clearly shows that a healthy breakfast enhances both working and learning proficiency.

  1. Dehydration

A Quora user named Lokesh Kumar offers up his take on not drinking enough water. “Taking less water every day is also very harmful to both our body and of course our brain. It’s better to take 9 to 10 [glasses] of water every day.”

The organ is composed of 73 percent water. It’s not surprising that H2O is essential for its function. It’s unclear as to what exactly Kumar means by purported “very harmful” effects of inadequate water intake on the brain. Of course, inadequate water intake over a long period can most certainly cause at least low-grade damage.

Water helps to deliver vital oxygen and nutrients needed by the organ. Research also shows that H2O helps cushion and lubricate brain tissue.

  1. Pollution

A Quora user by the name of Humanshi Chaturvedi offers up some advice concerning brain damage and pollution. “Due to … air pollution … we inhale includes lots of toxic substances [that] harms our lungs and brain. The noise pollution due to traffic jams also leads to damaging the brain…”

In a study published in Proceeding of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), Chinese researchers found a direct link between air pollution levels and cognitive decline. However, according to an article in National Geographic, most “researchers aren’t sure exactly how or why.”

On the issue of noise pollution, researchers from the University of Texas at Dallas cite physical alterations to the part of the organ that influences speech processing. The scientists write “Exposure to intensely loud sounds leads to permanent damage” of the ear’s hair cells. Hair cells serve the function of receiving sound waves for interpretation by the brain.

Final Thoughts: The Magic of Neuroplasticity

“Our brains change in response to experience and in response to training. Our brain changes wittingly or unwittingly. Most of the time, our brains are changing unwittingly..”

~ Richard Davidson, Professor of Psychology and Psychiatry at the University of Wisconsin-Madison (source)

Simply by cultivating healthy habits of mind, we can change our brain for the better. That’s because, contrary to popular belief, the brain is plastic.

Okay, so it’s not literally plastic; but it is moldable. This concept is known as neuroplasticity. The definition of neuroplasticity is “the ability of the brain to form and reorganize synaptic connections, especially in response to learning or experience or following injury.” (Emphasis added.)

For years, many people believed – and some still do – that intelligence and other cognitive abilities are fixed. That is, unchangeable. Fortunately, neuroscientific research has obliterated this false notion.

The post Researchers Explain 5 Habits That Can Damage Your Brain appeared first on Power of Positivity: Positive Thinking & Attitude.

Source – powerofpositivity.com

Lifestyle

11 Things to Never Do Around an Aquarius

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Did you know that studies show that least 0.063 % of the American population is Aquarius? This percentage is an indication that there is a high likelihood that one of your family members, family friend, classmate, or even your life partner is an Aquarius. However, a Zodiac signs study shows that few people understand Aquarius.

Thus, it is difficult for you to understand the character traits of your partner if you have in knowledge about zodiac stars. You may miss seeing the clear signs on how your Aquarius spouse expresses love to you. You can nature your relationship with an Aquarius by understanding how he or she represents his emotions.

Basically, the Aquarius zodiac belongs to a unique group of individuals who are exciting thinkers. An Aquarius people are quite difficult to understand because they are deep thinkers who can theorize even a simple coffee table conversation. They like to isolate themselves and get lost in deep thoughts, requiring one to give them personal space. Having this in mind, here are 11 things you should never do around an Aquarius

11 Things You Should Never Do Around an Aquarius

1 – You Should Never Say That That They Are Aloof

Aquarius people can be super detached from your reality. However, never be fooled, they are the most intellectual zodiac members, and they can hear you even when they are lost in their thoughts. Their far-away look should not deceive you to thinking that they are in their world.

Instead, you should reserve your cold remarks. This precaution is because there is a high chance that they can hear you because there is a little that can escape their ears even when they are in their anti-social mode. You may never want your Aquarius friend to hate you because you called him or her cold and thought that they never heard you.

2 – You Should Never Think That They Are Stupid

The best way to build a relationship with a person born of this sign is for you to understand that they have a unique set of character traits. Fast forward, you must be ready to acknowledge their witty nature without making them feel stupid.

Those of this zodiac sign can withdraw from the conventional world if they realize that you are playing with their mental prowess. They are the set of unique individuals living in the future and take pride in the intellect. If your child or life partner is an Aquarius, you must be ready to acknowledge their analytical minds and laugh to their weird humor.

3 – Never Discredit the Ideas of an Aquarius

Aquarius individuals take pride in their prowess minds. They are always in their planets inventing their revolutionary and radical ideas. They have a fearless belief that they are still right. Those living in the popular world should not rubbish their ideas because they are not the Aquarius’s universe.

Rather, you should encourage them because, for them, they believe in the future. Thus, even if an idea is wrong today, it will be right in the coming days. For this reason, you should help them keep the dream going.

4 – Never Question Their Knowledge

Aquarius people do not like hearing people telling them that they do not know something. Aquarius believes that there is an answer for everything. It only that they have not yet found a rational explanation for these particular challenges.

These individuals inherently believe that they can find a solution and take pride in it. Their resilience to be right about everything can push them into not settling for anything less. Aquarius people have a fixed expectation of perfecting thing in their emotional thoughts. Thus, telling them that they don’t know something can drive them into detaching with you completely.

5 -Do Not Start A Fight with An Aquarius

Aquarius individuals have an interesting way of dealing with anger. They will withdraw from reality and lash their anger in activities such as drawing and writing. They will give you a silent treatment to avoid shouting or out bursting with rage.

These people can be seen as emotional zombies when you provoke them, and they consequently want to ignore you. Aquarius hate getting into heated debates, getting angry or even engaging in physical fights.

However, if you continue pissing them off, they will probably explode with anger. You should learn about your partner’s zodiac star to know if he or she is an Aquarius because they may easily hurt you emotionally and never notice the damage if you push them too hard.

6 – Aquarius Do Not Want You to Criticize Them

Aquarius individual does not like being criticized at all. They try as much as possible to avoid confrontation. Even when you provoke them, they tend to say things and assume they never meant to make such comments.

If you have a spouse or child born of this star sign, then you are in trouble. Brace yourself for a life of mood swing. If criticized they can quickly turn from most charming individuals to disengaged being to prevent provocation. You should stay clear from them and let them cool by themselves.

Trying to resolve a disagreement with an Aquarius might cause further damage more than good. Let it pass, and they will come around once they are ready to talk.

7 – Never Interfere With An Aquarius’s Privacy

Privacy is essential in everyone’s life. Many people often feel offended if they feel like someone is infringing their right to privacy. Aquarius get more offended when facing such a situation.

These are individualists who want to be left alone. Aquarius people love their freedom, and hence they can do anything to get space for privacy. You should leave them alone when they disengage from reality.

Although they are socially-minded people the need time alone to reflect their emotional and intellectual needs. Never disturb their alone time. Allow them to adjust and reflect on their next social encounter.

8 – You Should Never Prevent an Aquarius From Exploring Their Creativity

Aquarius individuals view life as an endless possibility of inventions. They spend most of their introverted time to create an ideal solution for the challenges they are facing. Whenever they get bored, they tend to find an intellectual challenge. Therefore, you should never interfere with their creative time.

Instead, focus on challenging them intellectually. This exercise can enhance their mental stimulation. Aquarius people always want to learn a new thing every day. They want someone who can avail an intellectual challenge. If you have a friend of this sign, try to match their intellectual knowledge to help in stimulating your mental thirst.

9 – Do Not Prevent an Aquarius From Travelling

Never mention to an Aquarius that you hate traveling. They can easily withdraw and lose interest in your friendship if they realize that you dislike having an excellent adventure. Aquarius’s minds often get bored with one environment fast.

They love changing their current scenario to help them clear their heads and stay in reality with the environment. Moreover, you will be likely to notice that their hobby is meeting new people and exploring different cultures. Thus, you should never say you hate traveling before an Aquarius.

10 – Never be Petty

Aquarius individuals dislike petty people. The best character trait of an Aquarius is their ability to listen and advice people. If you have an Aquarius friend remember to be frank when around them. Tell them about your emotions and be transparent.

However, if you want to express petty problems like issues in your marriage, an Aquarius will never want to listen to you. To an Aquarius, these are trivial problems that are not worth their mental prowess. They will never want to get along with you if you keep telling them about your life dramas.

Aquarius individuals are more interested when you are honest and having severe problems that can challenge and stimulate their intellectual capabilities. They will refuse to associate with or even lose respect if you are that person who keeps judging or laughing at someone. You must be tight-fisted when surrounded by Aquarius if you want to survive around them.

11 – Never Make Your Life Schedule an Aquarius Schedule

An Aquarius is an unpredictable person to deal with, especially when you want a relationship. Brace yourself for instance of mood swings every time. They can withdraw and deliberately stop talking to you or even participating in life events to avoid you at all cost.

Instead, you must be spontaneous if you want to stay in touch with an Aquarius. Be ready to alter your life schedule and events to suit those of you Aquarius partner.

You can quickly lose your Aquarius friend if you whenever you become strict about following routines. You would instead become flexible to accommodate them and make them feel that you care about them. Aquarius people do not want a controlling person in their lives. You must compromise to maintain a healthy relationship with your loved one.

AquariusNever Do These 11 Things Around Aquarius to Keep Your Relationship on Solid Ground

The Aquarius zodiac star reveals a lot about the personalities of an Aquarius. The Aquarius people are quite challenging to stay around because of their complex character traits. They are individualistic and often impossible to open up whenever they do not trust you.

You must be ready to compromise most of your routines to accommodate your friend or lover. It becomes more challenging if an Aquarius is your child or life partners because you have observed the above 11 things that you can never do whenever you are around them.

The post 11 Things to Never Do Around an Aquarius appeared first on Power of Positivity: Positive Thinking & Attitude.

Source – powerofpositivity.com

Lifestyle

5 Benefits of Using Web Conferencing Software

Web conferencing software has come a long way from its humble beginnings. Now, most web-based conference services can support hundreds of callers from all over the world for less than your monthly phone bill. Online services are versatile, compatible with phones and internet connections, and have global connectivity, among other things. Here are five benefits of using web conferencing software for your next conference call.

  1. Global Connectivity

If you’re still using a landline phone to talk to your clients in Hong Kong, you’re probably familiar with the ridiculous long-distance charges the phone company tacks onto your bill. With an online conference service, global connectivity is standard; giving you a conference room that anyone anywhere in the world can join at no extra charge.

Being web-based, the conferencing software uses the internet to connect callers rather than a phone line. This means that there aren’t any restrictions based on distance. As long as your callers have access to an internet connection of some kind, they’ll be able to connect to the call with crystal clear audio and/or video.

Leave the days of landline limitations behind with web-based conference software. No more dropped calls, long-distance charges, and less-than-perfect audio quality muddying up your calls!

  1. Additional Tools

What’s great about online conference calling services is that they include so many extras with the conference calling software. You can pay for things like cloud storage and sharing, so you can share directly within the chat window. Important files no longer need to be emailed after the call; simply share directly during your conference call.

Online services usually have operator-assisted calls, in-call chat windows, and even screen sharing software and video chat capabilities. Tired of having audio-only conference calls? Using video conferencing software to bring a more in-person feel to your conference calls. Use screen sharing software to explain complex processes or share presentations and graphs.

An online conference service is truly one of the best tools a remote team can have. You’ll get to know your team better, and have all the tools needed at your disposal to make the call feel like an in-person meeting. Combining your software with a time tracker for business will help you have some of the most productive calls you’ve ever experienced!

  1. Higher Number of Participants

Some conference calling services can support up to 1,000 callers. Can your landline do that? Probably not! This incredible versatility makes the online conference option the best option for large businesses or for running online seminars. Without the restriction of just a few callers to a landline call, an online conference call lets you achieve your conference call goals easily with simple interfaces and incredibly lax limitations on the number of participants.

Remember that the more participants you want to join your calls, the more your monthly service will likely be for the conference service. If you only host a few calls per month with less than ten participants, one of the internet’s many free conference calling services is probably your best bet.

Online seminars are quickly becoming the preference for many large businesses. With the expenses associated with renting a venue, hosting a large number of people, and providing travel arrangements for employees, seminars are simply an expense that most businesses could do without. Host your next seminar online with a web-based conference service, and you’ll see why so many businesses are making the switch.

  1. No More Expensive Phone Bills

How much does your landline cost per month? How much are your long-distance and multi-caller charges? These probably add up to hundreds per month if you’re using a traditional landline. That’s where web-based conference services come in. With flat rates for specific service packages, you’ll be able to choose exactly what you need for a price that’s likely 50% or less of what your current phone bill is.

As a business, you’ll want to save money anywhere you can. In fact, you probably don’t even consider your phone bill to be a “major” expense, but if you’re dealing with a remote team or clients, you’re racking up those long-distance charges every time you host a conference call.

Cut your phone bill down and increase the value of your monthly payments with an online service. You’ll get plenty of extras included with your service to make the service well worth the cost.

  1. Versatility

The most important benefit of the web-based conference service is its versatility. Whether you’re calling in from a landline, cellphone, or via the internet, an online service can connect callers from anywhere in the world, at any time. You’ll be able to better synchronize time zones for out of state (or country) callers, and you’ll have the added options of sharing files or your screen. The bottom line is that landlines can’t do half of what web conferencing software can; so why wait to make the switch?

Conclusion

With so many conferencing options available today, it can be difficult to choose the right one for your business. By choosing online software, you’ll be saving money and adding some extra versatility to your toolbelt; as well as providing a secure, stable platform to reach customers and team members anywhere in the world.

The post 5 Benefits of Using Web Conferencing Software appeared first on Born Realist.

Source – bornrealist.com

Lifestyle

Doctors Explain the Dangers of Bed Bugs and How to Identify Bed Bug Bites

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Human beings have co-excited with bed bugs for a many millennia. The survival of these human parasites entirely relies on humans. They solely feed on blood as their primary source of nutrition. They feed on human blood, primarily.

Although these bloodsuckers have not yet shown any sign of transmitting diseases through their feeding, doctors pose a concern on other health risks associated with bedbug bites. They can cause both mild and severe health effects depending on how much your home is infested.

Most people are familiar with bedbugs’ bites. If you have seen the bite in a photo, you must have been scared or even thought they were like a series of skin rashes. If you have had the experience of sleeping in an infested bed, you can attest to the fact that the bites are itchy and frustrating. However, doctors confirm that the bites only rarely cause medical harm to your body. We share those possible effects, also.

Here are doctors’ explanations on how to identify the bite of this bloodsucking insect.

Doctors Explain the Dangers of Bed Bugs and How to Identify Bed Bug Bites

Bedbug bites are often visible and easy to distinguish from other nocturnal bites. The blood-sucking bugs have elongated beaks to pierce your skin and suck blood. They inject you with an anesthetic, and you will not notice the three to ten minutes they spend sucking up your blood. Doctors recommend that you follow the following steps before you can conclude that pierce on your skin is a bedbug bite.

1 – Noticing A Bite That You Did Not Feel Before You Retired to Bed Could Be A Bed Bug Bite

The likelihood of you feeling a bite from this insect is minimal because once they pierce your skin, they hit you with an anesthetic. If you have no allergic reaction as they feed on your blood, you might be having this insect nibble on you without your knowledge.

They use their ability to go unnoticed to feed on you for as many times as possible.

2 – Presence of New Marks on Your Skin When You Wake Up

These insects mostly feed at night. They can stay in their hiding places and wait for the perfect time to feed. Doctors say that the nocturnal timing is also another sign to tell that a bite came from a bed bug.

3 – Presence of Clear or Dark Center Bites indicate a Bed Bug Bite

Commonly when you get a bug bite its easy to differentiate it a typical bug bite from a bedbug. The best way to do it is by examining the center of the bite. For the normal insect bite, you will see a visible hot red bite. The center for their bites is often red and swollen because of your reaction with the toxins from the bug.

On the other hand, the bite of this little blood sucker is unique. In most cases, it is has a clear center. The center may also be darker with bright red fading at the center. The center is always clear because this particular insect has a long beak for sucking your blood. The long beak prevents any reaction between your blood and that of the insect.

4 – Presence of Dried Blood Spots on Your Pajamas or Sheets Is an Indication of a Bed Bug Bite

Bedbugs often leave a large hole after piercing your skin with their big beaks. You should examine your body for bed bug bites if you wake up and find dried blood on your skin or pajamas. In most cases, you can also inspect your bed sheets for blood and physical presence of bedbugs.

5 – If the Bites Are in Line, it May Indicate the Presence of These Insects

Doctors say that you can identify bed bug bite by examining the pattern of their bites. They say that multiple bites that are in a zigzagged or straight line, then such are bed bug bites.

Multiple bites in a straight line are a clear sign of bed bug bites in most cases.

6 – The Presence of Multiple Bites Lines in Three Indicate an Issue

You should also seek help if you notice multiple bites that are often in threes. They refer this tendency as a bedbug triangle. They often move in groups of three and like leaving behind multiple groups of three swollen bites.

7 – Swollen Bites Indicate the Presence of Bed Bugs

Doctors believe that swollen bite may not be a common infestation sign because most people react differently. However, you will get constant irritations if you have swollen bites on your body. For those whose bodies don’t swell after a bed bug bite, you will notice flat red dots that depict typical bed bug bites.

Other people also check for a mosquito-like bite that is a little bite raise or swollen. Be keen to check how your family members react to bed bug bites to prevent life-threatening reactions. For instance, although rare, some people might experience anaphylactic shock due to bed bug bites.

If You See Bed Bugs, Then the Bites on Your Exposed Skin Are from Bed Bugs

Human beings are the primary source of food for bed bugs. Therefore, if you notice them in your house, you can absolutely be sure they are feasting on you. Be sure to check your body for any bites to be sure that they are not just from elsewhere.

Checking cannot be difficult because bed bugs rarely bite in secluded areas. Unlike other bugs you can see bed bug bites on any exposed part of your body.

Now that you know how to identify bed bug bites, your worry should shift to if your life is in real danger. Fortunately, doctors say that bed bugs cannot transmit diseases to humans. Your concern should be on the different physical and mental health effects associated with bed bugs bite. Having shone light on all that, here are the effects doctors explain about the dangers of bed bugs

The Hidden Dangers of Bed Bugs

1 – Bed Bugs Can Cause Allergic Reactions

Many people get these bites each day, but they don’t even notice. Others who quickly see the bite dismiss them as the normal mosquito’s’ bites because the swelling and readiness of both bites look somewhat alike.

Unless you experience allergic reactions upon being bitten, life will continue as usual. However,that if your body undergoes allergic reactions to insects bite, then you should seek attention right away, just like for any other allergen.

The effects of reactions range from no reaction to anaphylaxis that is also known as severe or whole-body reaction. You can treat mild allergic reactions after noticing small bite mark at home. Use your favorite OTC anti-itch ointments or allergic antihistamines or oral corticosteroids to get the relief you need.

2 – Bed Bug Bites Can Cause Secondary Infection

Although these specific bites don’t cause direct infection, they can result in constant scratching and itchy feelings. If you continue scratching your itchy bites, you might break and open your skin, allowing bacterial infections to form. Doctors recommend creams that can be applied directly on the bites to prevent secondary skin infections such as ecthyma, lymphangitis or even impetigo. You can also contact your doctor for a prescription on over-the-counter creams or even antiseptic drugs and ointments.

3 – Bed Bug Bites Can Cause Respiratory Problems

Bed bug bites can be life-threatening for a person suffering from respiratory problems. The presence of bed bugs in your home can cause anxiety or aggravate asthmatic attacks. If a member of your loved one has respiratory problems you should ensure that they are not exposed to bed bug dirt.

Besides the actual bites themselves, related pollutants such as sheddings, dry outer skins, casting, egg shells, and bug feces can trigger respiratory ailments.

4 – These Insects Can Impact the Mental Health of Some People

Those who sleep in bedbug-infested homes can tell how much discomfort they get from bed bug bites. A report Center for Disease Control and Prevention, tasked with devising new ways of controlling bed bugs, shows that American living in infested homes suffer from anxiety.

Some people often find it challenging to relax and sleep at night. Although sleep is important for a person’s health, those affected by bed bugs rarely sleep. They eventually end up to suffer from insomnia and systemic reactions.

Doctors encourage you to have your bites inspected to determine if they are real bed bug bites. Once ascertained it can be easy to protect yourself and family members from mental problems related to lack of sleep and anxiety.

5 – Bed Bug Bites Can Cause Anaemia in Extreme Cases

If a person lives in a home infested with thousands of these creepy pests, he or she can suffer anemia. However, such cases are only possible if the person has prior symptoms and risk factors of iron-deficiency. The fact is that bed bugs cannot cause anemia unless a person has a history of iron deficiency anemia. They can only worsen the symptoms.

bed bugsFinal Thoughts: Bedbugs Are More Creepy Than Dangerous, But May Still Pose a Threat

The possibility that you have encountered bed bugs in your life and failed to notice their bite is very high. Be aware that bed bug bites can cause you extreme distress in the night. Remember to keep in mind that bedbug bites do not cause direct health problems.

Instead, you will suffer indirect mental and health problems related to a bedbug bite. You should examine your body. You should also read on how to identify their bites and remember this explanation on the dangers of bed bugs.

The post Doctors Explain the Dangers of Bed Bugs and How to Identify Bed Bug Bites appeared first on Power of Positivity: Positive Thinking & Attitude.

Source – powerofpositivity.com

Lifestyle

The History of Mindfulness

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(This is part one of a 3-part series discussing the history, culture, and meaning of mindfulness. In each of the three parts, we will provide some practical advice on how to implement the practice in your everyday life. We will also discuss how to practice mindfulness meditation.)

Mindfulness is all the buzz nowadays, but what exactly is it? Where did it come from? How does one practice it?

We will discuss all of these questions and more in our three-part series. In this, part one, we’ll talk about the history of the practice. So let’s get to it!

What is Mindfulness?

“Mindfulness is mirror-thought. It reflects only what is presently happening and in exactly the way it is happening. There are no biases.” ~ VH Gunaratana (source)

Mindfulness is the English translation of the Pali word sati. The word sati denotes an activity. However, describing mindfulness, or sati, using words is tricky. That’s because sati isn’t a logical practice; it doesn’t involve the use of symbols or words.

In easy terms, this is a state of constant awareness. According to Buddhists, mindfulness is the “ability to keep something in mind.” Traditional mindfulness is a trio of practices:

[1] Remembering to remain alert in the present moment.

[2] Recognition of the skillful and unskillful mind qualities as they arise.

[3] Abandonment of the qualities that hinder concentration. Cultivation of the qualities that promote concentration.

In the Satipatthana Sutta, “The Establishing of Mindfulness Discourse,” Buddha provides instructions on the first and second parts of the triune.

We’ll talk more about this in the section titled “The Early History of Mindfulness.”

In the Western World

“…a moment-to-moment awareness of one’s experience without judgment. In this sense, mindfulness is a state and not a trait. While it might be promoted by certain practices or activities, such as meditation, it is not equivalent to or synonymous with them.” ~ The American Psychological Association (source)

There are many ways in which “old” and “new” mindfulness are similar. There are some ways that they are not. Most notably, as traditional mindfulness attempts to answer questions ungraspable by the mind as-is, the latter practice necessitates the addition of mental concepts.

While traditional practice is focused more on the alleviation of suffering, “new” mindfulness is built around making modern life more tolerable. Most definitions around the practice are very similar. Dr. Jon Kabat-Zinn, considered the father of mindfulness in the West, defines mindfulness as:

“The awareness that arises from paying attention, on purpose, in the present moment and non-judgmentally”

Let’s unpack Zinn’s definition.

“The awareness…” Or, being alert to the unfolding of an event; noticeable through the act of “paying attention.”

“on purpose…” Modern mindfulness is an act of intention.

“in the present moment…” The ever-present “Now.”

“non-judgmentally…” Not labeling emotions or thoughts as good, bad, or neutral.

Kabat-Zinn’s mindfulness-based stress reduction program, or MBSR, is perhaps the most popular secular form of mindfulness in the world. The 8-week, evidence-based program is designed to assist people with reducing the symptoms of anxiety, depression, pain, and stress.

So, another possible definition of mindfulness is:

“Being alert to the continuous unfolding of the present, without labels, using deliberate attention.”

So, here are three pretty good definitions of mindfulness. Take your pick!

What are you paying attention to? Mostly emotions, thoughts, or experiences. Some schools of thought preach some form or another of meta-awareness. Meta-awareness involves the monitoring of all three.

The Early History of Mindfulness

“Do not dwell in the past, do not dream of the future, concentrate the mind on the present moment.”~ The Buddha

While mindfulness has taken roots in the West, the theory and practice of the practice go back nearly 2,500 years. It was then that Siddhartha Gautama, who would later become the Buddha, gave his discourses on the early practice of mindfulness.

Contemporary translations of the Buddha’s discourses in the Satipatthana Sutta note the following qualities of mindfulness:

– Acceptance: the ability to accept the state of one’s mind, whether “good” or “bad.”

– Detachment: The observance of the basic nature of physical, mental, and emotional phenomena without attachment.

– Impartiality: Not becoming infatuated with “good” states of mind. Not sidestepping the “bad” states of mind.

– Non-judgmental observation: looking at the contents of the mind without judgment.

– Non-intellectualization: mindfulness does not involve the intellect. Indeed, there is no intellectual awareness. Instead, mindfulness necessitates “bare awareness.”

– Noting: the reflection of three qualities – impermanence, selflessness, and unsatisfactoriness.

– Present-moment awareness: fine attunement to the continuously unfolding Now.

In the Satipatthana Sutta (Location: Majjhima Nikaya [MN] 10) the Buddha notes the importance of mindfulness:

“This is the direct path for the purification of beings, for the overcoming of sorrow and lamentation, for the disappearance of pain and distress, for the attainment of the right method, for the realization of unbinding – in other words, the four establishments of mindfulness…” (source)

The Four Foundations of Mindfulness

The Buddha goes on to mention what Buddhist scholars refer to as the “Four Foundations of Mindfulness”:

  • 1 – Mindfulness of the Body: Mindfulness of the breath, the four postures (sitting, standing, walking, and lying down), clear comprehension, parts and elements, and death and impermanence.
  • 2 – Mindfulness of Feelings: Mindfulness of sensations and emotions, and harmful and beneficial feelings.
  • 3 – Mindfulness of Mind: Mindfulness of mind and consciousness and of mental states.
  • 4 – Mindfulness of Mental Qualities (or dhamma): Mindfulness of hindrances, clinging and the fetters, the factors of enlightenment, and the “four truths and eight steps.”

Then there are three “fundamental activities” of the practice. These include the following:

  • reminding us what we’re supposed to be doing
  • seeing things as they really are
  • seeing the true nature of all phenomena.

The various of mindfulness is based on the Tibetan, Vipassana, and Zen traditions. Thich Nhat Hanh, a Zen master, is often credited with bringing mindfulness Westward.

Uses for Mindfulness

“Methodologically rigorous randomized controlled trials (RCTs) have demonstrated that mindfulness interventions improve outcomes in multiple domains…”

~ Creswell, J. David, ‘Mindfulness Interventions,’ Annual Review of Psychology (source)

Besides assisting one along their spiritual path, this awareness is useful in numerous arenas. Among these arenas is healthcare, where thousands of scientific and medical studies have documented the mental- and physical health benefits.

Since the 1970s, physicians, psychiatrists, psychologists, and other health practitioners have utilized effective techniques to treat numerous afflictions. These techniques, often called mindfulness-based interventions (MBI) have also improved the wellbeing of millions of people.

According to researchers from Harvard University Medical School, there exists a horde of evidence for MBIs in the treatment of anxiety, depression, and chronic pain. There is also evidence that MBIs may helpful in the treatment of numerous physical conditions, from fibromyalgia to psoriasis.

Practicing Mindfulness

“Mindfulness is available to use in every moment, whether through meditations and body scans, or mindful moment practices like taking time to pause and breathe when the phone rings instead of rushing to answer it.”

~ Jon Kabat-Zinn

Next up, we will discuss how to practice it in everyday life. But first, a word of caution.

We’ve seen relatively recent popularity of mindfulness in the West. Thus, it seems like everyone has become a subject matter expert. Moreover, some people are trying to make a quick buck. And, others truly do see themselves as experts in the field.

The bottom line: look at the source. Glean information from only trustworthy, research-based, or Buddhist-based sources.

Moving on!

There are basically two ways to practice mindfulness: on the meditation cushion and off the meditation cushion. To be clear, this is often associated with meditation, but it doesn’t require that one meditate to realize some benefits.

Here are some basic instructions for both techniques.

Mindfulness Meditation

Step 1: Sit in a posture that invites feelings of relaxation, stillness, vigilance, and dignity. You may also lie down.

Step 2: Then, allow your attention to settle on the breath at the nose or the sensations flowing in and out of your body. Wherever you find the sensations of the breath to be most vivid, focus at that point.

Step 3: Keep your attention on the breath through the full duration of each in-breath and the full duration of each out-breath.

Step 4: Keep the mantra in mind: “Breath by breath. Moment by moment.” If you find that you are distracted, do not reprimand yourself. Gently bring your attention back to the sensations of the breath.

Step 5: Finally, repeat steps 3 and 4 for 10 minutes. Slowly increase the allotted time as you become more proficient.

Mindfulness Off the Cushion

Off-the-cushion practice is arguably more valuable than on-the-cushion. In addition, it’s a good thing, considering that almost none of us can – or will – dedicate hours to meditative practice.

Fortunately, you can implement mindfulness into pretty much any daily activity.

When waking up, bring your attention to the feelings of your body. Then arise slowly and deliberately. Here’s another one. While brushing your teeth, pay attention to the sounds of the brush, the taste of the toothpaste, and the motions of your hands. Or, even be aware when washing the dishes, paying attention to the sound of the water, the feel of the detergent, and so on.

When working on the computer, work single-mindedly. Keep your attention on one task. A famous Zen master was once asked, “What is Zen?” to which he replied, “Doing one thing at a time.”

So, do one thing at a time. Then, watch your life transform itself.

This is mindfulness.

The post The History of Mindfulness appeared first on Power of Positivity: Positive Thinking & Attitude.

Source – powerofpositivity.com

Lifestyle

Doctors Explain What Happens During a Colonoscopy

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Let’s start with a definition of colon cancer. This hallmarks of this form of cancer are tumorous growths that form in an individual’s large intestines. Also, please note that it is the third most commonly diagnosed form of cancer in America. Anatomically, the colon is the large intestines. The colon is a part of the gastrointestinal tract that the body uses to rid itself of water, salts, solid waste, and other toxins. Once they have passed through the large intestines, these substances evacuate through the anus. In this article, we will explore the etiology of colon cancer and how early diagnosis and treatments can save your life.

HOW COMMON IS COLON CANCER?

According to the American Cancer Society, there were nearly 100,000 newly diagnosed cases of colon cancer in 2017. In many cases, this cancer often co-occurs with colorectal cancer, a type of cancer that forms in the rectum. According to several studies, those who are age 50 and over are at the highest risk for developing colon or colorectal cancer.

For this reason, physicians will often advise individuals in this high-risk group to schedule regular cancer screenings, namely a colonoscopy. For those who may not be familiar with colonoscopies, they are endoscopic examinations of the large and small bowels. The procedure entails using a CCD camera, a medical imaging system, or a fiber-optic camera attached to a flexible tube. In either scenario, the physician will use these devices to identify polyps (abnormal tissue growth) in the intestines and the anus.

SYMPTOMS OF COLON-RELATED CANCER

Whether an individual has developed colon or colorectal cancer, they will be confronted with a myriad of symptoms, some of which include

  • Abdominal pain
  • An unyielding urge to defecate
  • Constipation
  • Diarrhea
  • Pain while defecating
  • Loose stool
  • Rectal bleeding
  • Fatigue
  • Weight loss
  • Unpredictable stool consistency

Along with these symptoms, it is not unusual for some individuals to also develop irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), a disorder that affects the large intestines. And the symptoms do not stop there as many individuals with colon-related cancer will also become iron deficient, which can lead to anemia. Also worth noting, if colon-related cancer metastasizes to other parts of the body, it can trigger even more symptoms. On that note, the liver is one of the places that colon-related cancer will spread to first.

STAGES OF COLON AND COLORECTAL CANCER

Before detailing how colonoscopies can help reduce the risk of colon and colorectal cancer, let’s take a look at the 5 stages associated with these two forms of cancer:

Stage 0 – In this stage, cancer is localized, meaning it has not spread beyond the innermost layer of an individual’s colon.

Stage 1 – At this point, colon-related cancer has spread to neighboring tissue; however, it has not metastasized to other organs.

Stage 2 – At this point, colon-related can cancer has traveled beyond the outermost layers of the colon; however, it is still very much contained within the colon.

Stage 3 – This stage of colon-related cancer is slightly more severe in that it has spread beyond the outermost layer of the colon, reaching 1 of 3 lymph nodes.

Stage 4 – Even more severe than stage 3, stage 4 indicates that colon-related cancer has metastasized beyond the colon and has made its way to other organs like the liver, for example.

HOW REGULAR COLONOSCOPIES CAN MINIMIZE YOUR RISK OF DEVELOPING COLON-RELATED CANCER

Before an individual ever develops colon-related cancer, they will first develop polyps in parts of their gastrointestinal tract. For those who may not be familiar with them, polyps, similar to cancerous tumors, are abnormal tissue growths that often resemble flat bumps. To prevent polyps from evolving into cancer, an oncologist will remove them, usually surgically. That said, confirming the presence of polyps will require that a patient undergoes a colonoscopy.

WHAT TO EXPECT DURING A COLONOSCOPY?

If you’re in a high-risk category, meaning you’re age 50 or over, genetically predisposed to the disease, or meet other criteria for developing the disease, a colonoscopy procedure can potentially save your life.

The procedure typically lasts anywhere from 30 to an hour. And, doctors will issue one of many sedatives, such as diazepam, diphenhydramine, or promethazine, to help the patient relax.

From there, the patient lies on the examining table on their left side. At this point, the physician will use a CCD camera or a colonoscope, a fiber-optic camera affixed to a flexible tube to look for polyps and other abnormal growths.

WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW ABOUT A COLONOSCOPE

While a CCD camera is effective, colonoscopes are preferred by most physicians. The flexible tubular instrument, which measures roughly half an inch in diameter, provides physicians with an excellent image of the lining of both the upper and lower gastrointestinal tract. This device is inserted into the patient’s rectum and can be moved throughout the large intestine due to its flexibility.

ARE COLONOSCOPIES PAINFUL?

Doctors administer sedatives ahead of the procedure. Thus, most patients will not experience any significant pain or discomfort during a colonoscopy. However, as the device moves along inside the colon, some report feeling a cramping sensation. Patients may ease the cramping by taking deep breaths and slowly exhaling. At the end of the exam, the physician will carefully pull the colonoscope from the patient’s rectum as they continue to review the lining of the bowels for polyps and other abnormalities.

ARE COLONOSCOPIES SAFE?

If you have any trepidations about undergoing a colonoscopy, you should that these procedures are not only safe but also go a long way toward protecting you against this colon and colorectal cancer. With that, patients should advise their physician if they have any of the following conditions:

  • Pregnancy
  • A heart or lung condition
  • You have medication allergies
  • Diabetes (type 1 or type 2)
  • Taking anticoagulant medications

It is also worth noting that many physicians will instruct patients to take antibiotics ahead of their procedure if they recently underwent a dental procedure or have been fitted with an artificial heart valve.

WHAT HAPPENS IF THE PHYSICIAN DISCOVERS POLYPS OR OTHER ABNORMALITIES?

Unfortunately, during a colonoscopy, the physician may identify polyps, tumors, and other signs of colon or colorectal cancer. In these cases, the doctor will request a biopsy to confirm whether or not the patient has either of these two forms of cancer. For those who may not be familiar with what a biopsy entails, it is a medical test whereby a surgeon, interventional radiologist, or cardiologist will surgically remove sample cells or tissue to examine them and confirm whether or not they are cancerous.

WHAT TO EXPECT FOLLOWING A COLONOSCOPY-RELATED SCREENING

Not surprisingly, a colonoscopy procedure can be very taxing on the body. Thus, most physicians will advise patients to remain in the medical facility for at least 30 minutes post-screening. Some of the most commonly reported symptoms following a colonoscopy-related screening include

  • Continued cramping
  • Feeling bloated

While rare, some individuals may experience excessive bleeding, fevers, and severe abdominal pains following these procedures. If this occurs, patients should advise their physicians immediately.

WHAT SHOULD YOU DO AHEAD OF COLONOSCOPY-RELATED CANCER SCREENING?

Before undergoing a colon-related cancer-screening, there are a few things that patients will need to do first. Some of those include the following:

  • Limiting their intake of solid foods
  • Taking oral laxatives as advised

You should also to arrange to have a friend or family member drive you home after the exam. That’s necessary because the effects of the sedatives will take some time to wear off.

WHAT IS THE SURVIVAL RATE OF COLON-RELATED CANCER?

The benefit of colonoscopies allowing physicians to identify and treat colon-related cancers before they spread to other areas of the body. Of course, this early detection ups the chance of surviving this form of cancer is quite high. According to cancer.net, an online resource for comprehensive cancer information, the 5-year survival rate for localized colorectal cancer is an astounding 90 percent. The 5-year survival rate for other stages of colorectal cancer is 65 percent. In short, the earlier doctors catch the presence of colon-related cancer, the sooner they can order treatments.. And the sooner patients receive treatment, the better their chances are of surviving the disease.

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DON’T DREAD THE COLONOSCOPY: IT MAY SAVE YOUR LIFE

Although the thought of undergoing a colonoscopy-related cancer screening may seem off-putting, it is the best way to protect yourself against colon-related cancer, which can be life-threatening.

The post Doctors Explain What Happens During a Colonoscopy appeared first on Power of Positivity: Positive Thinking & Attitude.

Source – powerofpositivity.com