How to improve your focus

How to improve your focus

Most of us wish it was easier to be productive and stay alert throughout the day. Unfortunately, most of us have trouble focusing at one point or another. Everyone eventually has a day where it is a problem to focus and keep their mind alert in order to memorize things faster and become more productive. Luckily there are ways to improve your focus so you can reach your maximum potential at work, school, and whatever else you want to focus on.

  1. From now on if you are in the middle task and losing focus or getting ready to give up just do five more. This could mean five more pages, five more math problems, or five more minutes of work. Athletes use this technique to build physical stamina by pushing past the point of exhaustion if you can build mental stamina you can build past the point of frustration and seriously improve your focus.
  2. If you are beginning to feel all over the place, overcome the scatter brain by making your mind a deal that it can’t refuse. Your mind will respond to bribes. Instead of telling yourself not to worry about something which will cause your mind to actually begin thinking about it, give it a task with a start and stop time limitation. An example of this would be you need to go home and walk the dog, instead of thinking about how you need to go home and do it think about how long will you give your complete focus to the task at hand. This can greatly improve your focus for the time being. If you have other thoughts you cannot get rid of just write them down on your to do list so you are free to forget about them for the time being.
  3. If you really don’t feel like focusing and find yourself procrastinating then ask yourself three easy questions:
  • Do I have to do this?
  • Do I want it done so it’s not on my mind?
  • Will it be any easier later?

These three questions can give you the incentive to get the job done and make your realize the task isn’t going to just go away and delaying will only add to your guilt and make the task occupy more of your energy and your time. Want to improve your focus don’t procrastinate.

  1. Next time you are having trouble focusing bring yourself into the present moment to improve your focus. For example you could study an object on your desk or peer out a window for a moment. This will make the present moment come alive to you and you will all of a sudden be able to focus better on what is going on right now thus improving your focus.
  2. If you really want to improve your focus use the physical act of moving your hands as blinkers around your face. Cup your hands around your eyes so you have tunnel vision and are solely looking at what you need to focus on. This takes the quote “out of sight out of mind” to a literal level. And if you do this enough times you will even teach your mind to focus when you put your hands on either side of your eyes like this.

http://altmedicine.about.com/od/optimumhealthessentials/a/Concentration_2.htm

Why processed foods are bad for you

Why processed foods are bad for you

Processed foods are foods that have been changed or altered in some way different than how they are naturally in order to make them last longer. Many if not most foods that come in a box, can, bag or cartons are processed. Processed foods are usually poor quality and cheap which makes sense why are they getting a bad rap. Processed foods have been implicated in most of today’s chronic disease and health conditions including obesity, diabetes, heart disease and cancer. This is one of the many reasons processed foods are so bad for you.

But what exactly is it that makes processed foods so bad for you? Most processed foods contain Trans fats which is also known as hydrogenated oil. Trans fats are a dangerous type of fat that raises bad cholesterol and lowers good cholesterol. Most processed foods are also extremely high in salt which is also not good for the heart and is also addictive. Ever wonder why you have never been able to eat just one potato chip? Processed foods have more than just addictive salt in them too. Processed foods are bad for you because they have high fructose corn syrup in them and high fructose corn syrup is linked with obesity and diabetes. Sugar is burned and turned into energy; high fructose corn syrup turns into fat. Potato chips and French fries may or may not come in a package but they often contain what is known as acrylamide. Acrylamide is a carcinogenic substance that forms when foods are heated at certain temperatures, usually during baking or frying.

We’re not done either with the reasons why processed foods are bad for you. Are you wishing we would just stop? We are too. Processed foods are bad for you because they also contain many additives. The FDA keeps a list of more than 3,000 chemicals that are added to processed food to add color, stabilize, texturize, preserve, sweeten and think etc. your favorite junk foods. Some of the additives have never been tested for safety and require no kind of government approval. These additives are on the FDA’s “generally recognized as safe” list.

And last but not least when foods are processed it removes a lot of (if not all) of the vitamins, minerals, and fiber in the food. Then the processing adds in unhealthy stuff on top of that as well as synthetic vitamins and minerals.

So how do you keep an eye out for processed foods that are bad for you? Well basically anything you don’t cook yourself or anything that is already at least partially prepared when you buy it is considered a processed food. Anything that comes in a package like chips, cookies, crackers, and even cereal are processed food. Lunch meat and hot dogs are processed foods. Frozen pizza and even the healthy frozen dinners are processed foods.

In order to stay away from processed foods that are bad for you what you need to do is make healthy substitutions. For instance, make your own pizza using whole grain flour, roast a turkey breast and slice it up, or eat steel cut oats for breakfast instead of instant oatmeal. For all the processed foods that are bad for you there are healthy alternatives that you can make on your own.

How to tap into Serenity in Recovery

Serenity in Recovery

“God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.”

These are the first lines of what’s known as the Serenity Prayer, which is well-known to many recovering alcoholics. It is often recited in the rooms of 12-step programs, and it reminds us of the main goal of recovery-to achieve a serene state, no matter what is going on around us. To be able, at any time, to tap into serenity in recovery.

Before becoming a member of Alcoholics Anonymous, my life was absolute chaos. Every day was consumed with getting, buying, and using drugs and alcohol. The smallest bump in the road or comment by a friend or family member would send me into a tailspin. I was irritable, bad-tempered, and angry towards everyone around me. I hurt people around me and I didn’t even care.

I almost lost it all; my friends, my family, and most importantly my life. My body was dying, and if I didn’t get help, I was going to overdose or commit suicide. I went to treatment, and I was given a chance to see what life had to offer.

This didn’t mean, however, that I was able to tap into serenity in recovery as soon as I put down drugs and alcohol. In fact, at first, the chaos got worse. Every emotion that I had been numbing with drugs and alcohol came surging back, all at once. Without my chemical escape, I was brutally aware of all the terrible things I had done in my addiction and all the harm I had caused. Thoughts of drinking and using pervaded my every waking moment. Even when I was asleep, I’d be bombarded with dreams of drugs and alcohol.  I had to learn how to tap into serenity in recovery, and it took time.

Part of how to tap into serenity in recovery comes from exactly what the prayer states, understanding and accepting that some things cannot and will never change. Also, from having the courage to change the things I can, which I came to realize was actually one thing: myself. I have no power over people, places and things. I am responsible for taking the action, not the outcome of the action. I can’t control how people behave, but I can control how I react to that behavior and in some cases whether I choose to spend any more time around that person.

This I achieved from working twelve steps with a sponsor, taking life one day at a time, and practicing steps ten, eleven, and twelve every day. I don’t do these things perfectly, and sometimes I find it difficult to tap into serenity in recovery. However, today I know how to fix it. I know which action to take to get myself back into serenity in recovery. My life today is peaceful and I live with a sense of calmness which I never thought I could have.

How Holistic Drug Treatments Are Different From Traditional Treatment

Holistic vs Traditional Drug Rehab

There are differences between all drug treatment centers but the difference between a holistic drug treatment and a traditional treatment center vary greatly. Holistic drug treatments are a newer approach to treating drug addiction and alcoholism but this doesn’t mean they are any less effective than traditional treatment; in fact holistic drug treatments may be more effective in treating drug addiction and alcoholism.

So how are holistic drug treatments different from traditional treatment? Let’s look at holistic drug treatment first.

Holistic drug treatment is extremely beneficial for addicts and alcoholics. Most people don’t understand exactly what the word holistic means especially in reference to drug treatment. Most people usually know what kind of practices are under the category of holistic such as acupuncture or yoga. Although, they don’t really know why these are called holistic and how it applies to the addict and alcoholic. Holistic by the exact definition or in medical terms is relating to the medical consideration of the whole person, physically and psychologically in the treatment of a disease. It’s a wellness approach that addresses the body, mind and spirit or the physical, emotional/mental and spiritual aspects of an individual. Holistic drug treatment is therefore focused on a person’s entire being and not just the physical or mental, but the entire make up of who they are. This is how holistic drug treatment is different from traditional treatment. Another way holistic drug treatment is different than traditional drug treatment is the treatment methods, therapies and activities it uses.  A few of the practices that are included in holistic drug treatment are but are not limited to:

•             Aromatherapy

•             Ayurveda medicine

•             Natural diet

•             Exercise

•             counseling

•             Herbal remedies

•             Homeopathy

•             Acupuncture

•             Naturopathic medicine

•             Bodywork

•             Energy-based therapies

•             Prayerful intention

•             Chinese medicine

For those of with the disease of alcoholism and addiction a holistic drug treatment is almost essential to their overall health. Alcoholism and addiction are a physical, spiritual, and psychological disease, meaning it pertains to the body and the mind. So a holistic approach that tackles the human being as a whole instead of in parts really benefits those affected.

Traditional treatment follows the guidelines of modern medicine with therapies and medicine. While this is an approach that can work it is also how holistic drug treatment and traditional drug treatment are very different. Traditional drug treatment follows the same kind of simplicity as modern medicine does. You break a bone they put a cast on it. You get sick they prescribe antibiotics. The same goes for traditional drug treatment’s approach, you have the disease of addiction and they treat it with what works medicine and therapy. And traditional drug treatment does work but a lot can be said for holistic drug treatment and their approach to the disease of alcoholism and addiction.

Either way it all depends on the person attending drug treatment and what they want out of their experience. There are some pretty big differences between holistic drug treatment and traditional drug treatment though it’s just a matter of everyone finding what is right for them and what works especially.

Holistic Health Care

Holistic Health Care

Holistic health care is the practice of treating the human body as a whole. It is the idea that all parts of a person- physical, mental, emotional and spiritual- must be healthy and in balance in order for a person to recover from an ailment. Therefore, those who practice holistic health care not only address the physical symptoms of an illness, they also address the other aspects of the person.

Holistic Health Care: History

Holistic health care has its roots in ancient medicine. For 6000 years, medical practitioners believed that physical ailments had roots in emotional and spiritual illness. Then in the seventeenth century, Rene Descartes presented his ideas of two substances, matter – material and immaterial. He believed that the body was material matter and followed the laws of physics and the soul was immaterial matter and did not follow physical laws. He also believed that there was a barrier between body and soul that could not be breached. This idea formed the basis of modern medicine. It wasn’t until the 1950’s that ideas began to change again and it was recognized that psychological and spiritual issues could affect physical health.

Holistic Health Care: Principles

  • The core principles of holistic health care include:
  • All people have innate healing powers
  • The patient is a person, not a collection of symptoms
  • Healing takes a team involving the patient and doctor and addresses all aspects of a person’s life
  • Treatment involves fixing the cause of the condition, not just alleviating the symptoms.

Holistic Health Care: Types of Treatment

Holistic health care providers use a variety of treatment approaches to help patients take responsibility for their own well-being and achieve optimal health. These could include:

  • Patient education on lifestyle changes and self-care including diet, exercise, psychotherapy, relationship and spiritual counseling, etc.
  • Complementary and alternative therapies like acupuncture, chiropractic care, homeopathy, massage therapy, naturopathy, etc.
  • Western medications and surgical procedures.

Holistic Health Care: How to Find a Holistic Provider

Holistic providers may include medical doctors, doctors of osteopathy, naturopathic doctors, chiropractors, and homeopathic doctors. To find a holistic health care provider, you can:

  • Check with labs that perform alternative medicine nutritional testing and ask them for a list of holistic doctors in the area
  • Ask friends to refer you to a competent holistic doctor: Referrals can often be the best way to find a holistic doctor that has a reputable practice.
  • Go to local health food stores: Health food stores and holistic medicine stores often will have bulletins or ads by holistic doctors in the area.
  • Check the internet: Several holistic medical associations have online directories which can be searched for your area. Some of the sites contain just holistic doctors while others also list doctors in in other holistic fields, such as N.D.s (doctors of naturopathy).
  • Look in the local phone book or online yellow pages under the headings for complementary doctors, integrative medicine or alternative therapies, or under the headings for the treatment you are looking for such as acupuncture, homeopathy or naturopathy.

Source:

http://www.webmd.com/balance/guide/what-is-holistic-medicine

 

The Importance of Environmental Change In Recovery

Environmental Changes in Recovery

In recovery you have to make a lot of changes in order to stay sober. Not only do they have to be spiritual, mental and physical but they also have to be tangible. A great example of this tangible outside change is an environmental change. An environmental change in recovery is so important and vital to staying sober it is the reason many people do it when they decide that they want to give up drugs and alcohol. So what is an environmental change? It is a change in the environment. It is when an addict or alcoholic chooses to move away from the environment they are in now and go to a different environment. They choose to hang out with people who are doing things the right way and are sober etc.

Here are some of the reasons that show the importance of an environmental change in recovery:

  1. Your environment is where you live. It would be really hard to stay sober living in an environment that has drug use and drinking in it. Believe it or not spending 24 hours a day or living in a place where there are drugs and alcohol available can wear on someone who is in recovery. That is why it is so important for addicts and alcoholics whose present day environment includes drugs and alcohol to get away from it and move into a fresh new environment where there are no drugs and alcohol involved.
  2. An environmental change in recovery is important to get a fresh start. Believe it or not our environments affect us drastically. The environment you are in can influence your mental, spiritual and physical health. That is why people tend to be more depressed in winter or in places where it is raining all the time. For instance, if you live in the mountains a great environmental change in recovery would be to move near the ocean. It gives an addict or alcoholic the ability to experience and be somewhere totally new while also trying to experience and live a whole new life.
  3. Another reason an environmental change is so important for recovery is because it keeps you safe. Being in a new environment, one where you don’t know where to get drugs etc. is part of the reason an environmental change is so important. Can you imagine being in your same environment knowing where every house was that sold drugs and trying to remain in recovery? It wouldn’t be so easy. An environmental change allows you to associate new places, new people, and new things with recovery instead of already having associations to places and people that are connected to drugs.

An environmental change is important in order to recover but it is not necessary. Anyone can stay in recovery or get into recovery anywhere regardless of their environment. Unfortunately without the environment change there are going to be some extra obstacles. Because it is true, we are products of our environment. So if you want to be sober, become a product of a sober environment!

Are you addicted to sugar?

Are you addicted to sugar?

Sugar addiction is something most people laugh about. They may joke that they are addicted to sugar in order to rationalize having another slice of cake or piece of candy. And most wouldn’t consider sugar addiction to be as serious as alcohol or cigarette addiction. However, new research suggests that sugar addiction could be a very real thing, and it may be just as strong as an alcohol or drug addiction.

Studies show that humans are programmed from a very young age to crave sugar. And once your body experiences pleasure in response to the sugar, it does not take long to become addicted to sugar. Some common long term effects of being addicted to sugar include weakened immune system, chronic fatigue, hormonal problems, and gastrointestinal issues. Psychological issues, like anxiety and depression, can be made worse by being addicted to sugar.

A study in the 80’s found that eating sugar can release the same “feel good” chemicals that are released when you use drugs of abuse like cocaine and heroin. This “reward system” is the basis for all addiction. Your body releases chemicals in response to something you did, and you instantly want to replicate the feelings of pleasure.

When we eat, the pancreas secretes insulin, which takes the sugar into the body’s cells so it can be utilized. But high carb foods like bread, pasta, cereals, soda, and candy make insulin levels soar and then drop off again quickly. This causes your body to crave even more sugar a couple of hours later. Repeating this high-low cycle of sugar can make your body numb to insulin’s effects, so you need more and more of the hormone to get even sugar levels. Eventually, the cells may become unable to process insulin altogether, which leads to type-2 diabetes.

There are different types of people addicted to sugar. The first type are people who are chronically fatigued from lack of sleep, overworking, and poor nutrition. They tend to reach for caffeine and sugar to combat exhaustion. These are Type 1 sugar addicts.

Type 2 sugar addicts turn to sugar to fuel a fast-paced, high stress life. Those that are addicted to sugar in this category get anxious and irritable when they are hungry due to low blood sugar. They are constantly in a state of fight-or-flight and it causes stress and overtaxes the adrenal system.

The last type of people who get addicted to sugar are women experiencing hormonal fluctuation entering menopause which can cause anxiety, depression, and insulin resistance. This can lead to sugar addiction in some women.

The cure for people who are addicted to sugar is simple: Stop the cycle by cutting out foods that are high in sugars and carbohydrates. It also involves cutting out excessive caffeine intake, and eating more whole, unprocessed foods. Getting adequate sleep is also crucial for those who find themselves addicted to sugar.

At first, withdrawals from sugar and refined carbs can include cravings, headaches, low energy, irritability, and jitters. But experts agree that it usually takes just four to seven days for these feelings to wane.

Sources:

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/home/you/article-2182575/YOU-special-report-Are-addicted-sugar.html

http://abcnews.go.com/Health/Diabetes/addicted-sugar/story?id=10869006

http://www.foxnews.com/health/2011/06/05/addicted-to-sugar-how-to-kick-habit/

5 Natural Remedies for Headaches

 

Traditional headache remedies don’t work for everyone. In fact, about one-third of people who get migraines get no relief from prescription medication. And pain medications can cause rebound headaches if taken too often. Some migraine sufferers have turned to natural remedies for headaches for help in preventing migraines or minimizing pain. A few natural remedies for headaches have proven effective in small studies. Supplement manufacturers do not generally have the resources to do large scale studies, but the smaller studies have convinced some specialists and many patients to give natural remedies for headaches a try.  If you are considering trying one of these natural remedies for headaches, be sure to discuss your treatment with a doctor first.

5 Natural Remedies for Headaches

5 Natural Remedies for Headaches: Feverfew and Ginger

Feverfew is an herb with a long history of use for migraines. Ginger is a well-known anti-nausea remedy. These two are combined in a sublingual tablet called LipiGesic. A study showed that 63 percent of migraine sufferers using LipiGesic found relief, compared to 39 percent of those taking a placebo.

5 Natural Remedies for Headaches:  Butterbur

Butterbur is an herb that has been studied for its use in treating both migraines and allergies. It acts as both an anti-inflammatory and a beta blocker. It has been fairly well studied in its use in preventing migraine attacks. However, this is one of the natural remedies for headaches that is not effective once the headache as started. The recommended dose of Butterbur is 75 milligrams twice a day.

5 Natural Remedies for Headaches: Magnesium

Magnesium is a mineral that helps to calm nerves, which can become overexcited during a headache or migraine. Some studies even suggest that migraine sufferers may be deficient in this mineral, which may be a contributing factor in headaches. This is also one of the natural remedies for headaches that is used to prevent migraines, not to treat it once it has begun. You’ll need more magnesium than the average multivitamin contains. Most experts recommend 400-600 milligrams daily. The amino-acid chelated magnesium is better absorbed than the more traditional magnesium oxide. You can also eat magnesium rich food like dark green veggies, nuts, and seeds.

5 Natural Remedies for Headaches: Vitamin B12 (Riboflavin)

Vitamin B12 is another supplement that migraine sufferers can take on a daily basis to reduce the frequency of headaches. One theory of migraines is that the occur because too many demands are placed on the nerve cells, and there is not enough energy to compensate. Vitamin B12 and magnesium are both important in boosting energy production in nerve cells. To take advantage of this natural remedy for headaches, take about 400 milligrams per day.

5 Natural Remedies for Headaches: Vitamin D

As people spend more time indoors, Vitamin D deficiency is becoming more common. Vitamin D may play a role in how you perceive pain, so taking Vitamin D on a daily basis can help make your headaches less painful. Most people can safely take about 2,000 milligrams a day.

 

Source:

http://www.foxnews.com/health/2012/04/11/5-natural-headache-remedies/

 

 

5 Immunity Boosting Foods

5 Immunity Boosting Foods

5 Immunity Boosting Foods

The human body is a miraculous thing. It can heal itself and fight off sickness all on its own. The immune system is a vast and complex system within the human body. It is specifically designed to ward of foreign invaders, illness and also to detoxify. Sometimes the human body needs a little help though and it can get that help through food and the nutrients in it. Fortunately there are specific things that you can eat or add to your diet that can help your body to not only boost its immune system but also boost its overall health as well as relieve some stress. Here are some great ways to give your immune system a boost with these 5 immunity boosting foods:

Chicken Soup

Turns out that there is a definite and legitimate reason that your mom made you eat chicken noodle soup as a kid when you were sick. Hot chicken soup is more effective than hot or cold water at making noses run which is a good thing since nasal secretion helps the body get rid of viruses and bacteria. Soup also helps a person to stay hydrated and raises the temperature of the airways which is great for loosening secretions.

Yogurt

Yogurt is filled with good bacteria. Yogurt could help your immune system to work better as well as help with your digestion. Probiotic bacteria in food, such as yogurt, helps boosts immunity. Probiotics boost immunity by helping your body fight candida and other infections, it also produces B vitamins, helps with detoxing, and builds up a defense against stress which as we know can severely lower the immune system rather than boost it.

Green Tea

Polyphenols or plant antioxidants are what are believed to make green tea an immunity boosting food or beverage in this case. Polyphenols have been shown to kill influenza viruses. Whatever you do though don’t add milk to the green tea because it binds to the polyphenols and makes them ineffective.

Ginseng

Ginseng is world renowned for its ability to restore energy and strength. Ginseng is an adaptogen that can help the human body to adapt to stress and other environmental conditions. Ginseng root can boost energy, help with endurance and it can also help to keep you mentally alert. Ginseng is also a great pain reliever and is also really good with getting rid of radiation damage in healthy tissues.

Reishi Mushroom

Reishi Mushroom is a medicinal mushroom. Reishi is considered the elixir of immortality by the Daoists. Reish Mushroom has been celebrated for its properties that aloow it to improve the function of the immune system. Reishi mushroom does this by protecting the human body from viruses, bacteria and unwanted pollution, chemicals, molds and other toxic things that we encounter throughout our daily lives. Reishi mushrooms also help the immune system by protecting against stress which can end up lowering the immune system within the human body.

The Effects of Alcohol on Fitness

The Effects of Alcohol on Fitness

The Effects of Alcohol on Fitness

As we head into spring, the days are getting warmer, the clothes skimpier, and many of us are heading to the gym to get in shape. And while a cold beer after a hard workout may sound enticing, you may want to consider the effects of alcohol on fitness before you indulge. Alcohol consumption, even moderately, can reverse all the work you just put in at the gym.

The Effects of Alcohol on Fitness: Athletic Performance

Athletic performance requires coordination and cognitive precision, so your ability to exercise and play sports can be negatively affected by alcohol. Alcohol impairs reaction time, balance, and hand eye coordination.

In addition, alcohol acts as a diuretic, which means it increases the speed at which fluids and electrolytes leave the body. This can impair the body’s ability to stay hydrated, especially while working out. Alcohol also increases the production of lactic acid-causing and increase in muscle soreness, and can dilate blood vessels which increases sweating and causes further dehydration.

The Effects of Alcohol on Fitness: Weight Gain

Alcohol contains what nutritionists call “empty calories.” This means that one of the effects of alcohol on fitness is that it contains a lot of calories with no nutritional value. Also, alcohol consumption increases belly fat.  Experts recommend that you limit your intake to one drink a day and keep an eye on overall caloric intake.

The Effects of Alcohol on Fitness: Muscles

One of the most negative effects of alcohol on fitness is the way that it inhibits muscle growth. Protein synthesis is the main way that the body builds muscle. It is the growth process within muscle cells. Drinking alcohol can inhibit this process. Excessive alcohol consumption slows the growth process down by up to 20%.

Another major way that alcohol affects muscle growth is that it affects the release growth hormone. Growth hormone plays a role in building muscle, stimulating cell growth, and promoting bone growth. When this hormone is low, it’s going to affect muscle growth. Growth hormone is usually secreted during sleep, and since alcohol can disrupt natural sleep, growth hormone production can be inhibited up to 70%.

Binge drinking can also cause a drop in testosterone levels while increasing cortisol, a hormone that destroys muscle. Avoid drinking alcohol right before or after hitting the gym.

The Effects of Alcohol on Fitness: Heart Health

Many people have heard that drinking alcohol can be good for your heart, but it must be pointed out that these health benefits extend only to moderate drinking (one to two drinks a day). Once drinking passes that point, alcohol can actually damage your health.  And keep in mind that the positive benefits of moderate alcohol consumption likely only apply to people who are 45 and older.

Overall, if you are looking to get fit this spring, its best to limit yourself to moderate drinking or cut out alcohol altogether. Most of the effects of alcohol on fitness are negative, and they can counteract the good things you are doing for your health like exercising and eating right.

Sources:

http://www.livestrong.com/article/345415-the-effects-of-alcohol-on-fitness/