Can the Brain Reverse the Aging Process? 7 ways to exercise your brain

Cognitive brain function peaks in our early fifties, but staying mentally active can prevent brain loss in the years to follow.

If you are over 40, you are not going to like this (and if you are not yet 40, get ready for a reality check): Early in your fifth decade, researchers believe, your cognitive brain performance peaks. From there, it’s a downhill slide for the remaining years of your life.

The good news is that the brain is highly adaptable (plasticity); it responds to experiences. In particular, “spaced practice” (repetitive exercise) helps the brain to learn, grow, strengthen, and develop. As we age, there are ways to combat the reduced function of mental processes such as memory, speed of thinking, problem solving, reasoning, and decision making. Starting to incorporate easy exercises today can help forestall decline tomorrow.

Your brain is responsible for five main cognitive functions: executive function, memory, attention, language, and visual-spatial skills. If you already squeeze aerobic exercise into your schedule (studies recommend at least three times per week for an hour), then you have a good routine that is increasing brain blood flow to critical memory centers and improving your ability to remember facts. Adding any of the following cognitive function–building practices will amplify your brain health benefits:

1. Strategize! Logic and reasoning skills are the basis for making decisions and considering possible outcomes of your actions. The more you challenge yourself to do these kinds of tasks, the more you deepen the neural pathways necessary for this type of brain function. If you like games, this kind of exercise is right up your alley. Video games and strategic board games (such as chess) are great ways to engage this aspect of brain training. Other options include social interaction or any activity that requires you to identify a desired outcome and then calculate choices and develop a plan to achieve success. Screen Shot 2017-03-06 at 7.09.26 PM

2. Challenge your memory. You highlight how important memory is to your cognitive function every time you read, reason, or do any type of mental calculation. Memory is also the first place you’ll probably notice your cognitive function altering. Training your memory is incredibly easy and can be done while you commute or listen to the radio: Commit to learning all the lyrics of a song while you are driving, or memorize a poem while sitting on the bus. Do not commute? Force yourself to do a task by memory. For example, wash your face and brush your teeth with your eyes closed, or learn to perform a task with your non-dominant hand.

Clever writing

3. (Re)focus your attention. Attention is one of the foundational elements of cognition and it decreases with age. Your ability to place your focus (and hold it there) allows you to concentrate and be productive despite distractions, which means this is a part of your brain function you want to keep sharp. Increasing this brain ability is as simple as changing your routine. Ninety-eight percent of what you do every day is habit; changing the routine guarantees your brain has to pay attention. There are two ways to work this part of your brain muscle: (1) Identify what you do by rote day after day and change it. That can mean taking a different route to work or school or changing your exercise routine (i.e., do the exercises in reverse order); (2) When you combine activities that require cognitive function, you force your brain to do more in the same amount of time. For example, cook and listen to talk radio or an audiobook, or drive while making a list of groceries in your head.

mouse

4. Reset your brain. As important as it is to be able to pay attention, sometimes it is even better to give your brain a break. Stilling your mind breaks its rhythm, which causes it to refresh. Giving your mind a break allows it to return to tasks later with increased perspective and creativity. You can think of this as a sort of interval training for your brain. We suggest a “Five by Five” principle “where you take a break from whatever you are doing five times a day for at least five minutes to reset.”

keep-calm-i-am-taking-a-break-1

Make an effort to process information beyond its superficial level. When you read a book or article (including this one!), share what you learn with someone else. Rather than just recounting the facts, identify and discuss the theme(s) in what you read and how they relate to your life.

5. Buff up your lingo. Language games stimulate your brain to understand, remember, and recognize words. The more you practice fluency in language, the more quickly your brain will retrieve old words and embrace new ones. Taking the time to understand new words in context especially trains your brain to remember them, since you increase the associations linked with the definition. A simple way to engage this process is to read articles outside your normal realm of interest. Rather than reading the business section of the newspaper, read the sports or science section instead.

Handmade board game Oflameron

6. Synthesize, synthesize, synthesize. Synthesis is the skill of joining up. Essentially, it is the process of forming new knowledge or new ideas by taking different existing ideas and knowledge, sometimes from different areas… It is a skill that involves activities like linking, connecting, joining together.” To exercise yourself in this way, make an effort to process information beyond its superficial level. When you read a book or article (including this one!), share what you learn with someone else. Rather than just recounting the facts, identify and discuss the theme(s) in what you read and how they relate to your life.best-word-games-android

7. Take a really good look. One of the most dominant senses your brain uses to understand and encode your experience is your visual sense. Being able to visually analyze your environment gives you many cognitive clues about how to behave within it. Developing this part of your brain muscle can be done in two easy ways: (1) In any setting, pick out three items and their location. When you leave the setting, close your eyes and see if you can accurately remember each item and its location; do this again two hours later; (2) For more of a challenge, try noticing everything you can see in your full range of vision (front and peripheral), then write it all down from recall.

memorize

Considered in these micro-elements, the ease of adding brain exercise to your day seems obvious. I think you can handle it, so I am going to sneak in one more surefire way to bump up your gray matter: Stop multitasking. Constant simultaneous in/output fatigues your brain and leads to reduced efficiency and productivity. When you need to focus on higher-order thinking (those tasks that really require full access to your brain power), you will achieve more if you allow your focus to remain uninterrupted for at least 15 minutes at a time.

All this sounds promising, but understanding the concept that your brain can hold off the aging process is a lot like buying a membership to the gym: It only helps if you actually use it. Which means incorporating these ideas into your everyday experience will require a tiny bit of intention on your part. If you have been reading this while also listening to the news on television—an example of combining activities that require cognitive function and thus working out your ability to pay attention—then you have already got a good head start.

Posted in Advice, Encouragement, Exercise | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

YOUR BIOLOGICAL HIGH-PERFORMANCE DEPENDS ON D VITAMIN (By Luciano Pontarolli, MD)

HOW DOES MY HEALTH CAN BE AFFECTED IF I DON’T INCREASE MY D VITAMIN LEVELS NOW?

D vitamin can treat any disease, from flu to cancer as it has receivers in almost all cells from the body. In addition, it is involved on thousands of gens functions and actively sustain our immunity.

We could list the major diseases that have its effects reduced with D vitamin supplementation: osteoporosis, breast, prostate, intestine and ovary cancers, obesity, circulatory and cardiac problems, muscle weakness, depression, all autoimmune diseases and seasonal diseases like cold, flu, rhinitis and sinusitis.

We were taught to use medicines for any kind of pain, symptom or disease, but few of us really understand that acting like this, we enter in a dependency cycle and outsource the responsibility of our health. We use medicine for all diseases and start even earlier to take synthetic substances that promote an immediate cure, not a state of health. To medicate a symptom is just like “sweep the dirty under the carpet”.

This flawed combination between DISEASE/MEDICAMENT is used by most of health professionals.

But I am a different kind of MD. My name is Luciano Pontarolli and a believe and do a different kind of medicine.

I believe in a new combination, a perfect combination: PREVENTION/HEALTH.

To prevent is not just make exams because if there is already a disease, it will be too late for prevention. To prevent is to provide conditions for the body to remain healthy, since in a healthy body diseases can’t find a fertile ground. Health and disease, each on its own way, need a favorable biological ground to arise. This biological ground is the result of good or bad choices.

I believe in the power of health/prevention combination, so I have a mission to bring information and biological high-performance products to human health. Products that don’t cause side effects, composed by elements that already exist in the nature, not created by another human being. These products are the supplements that, as the name suggests, have the function to add, complement your health.

Your biological high-performance depends on the difference between medicate and supplement.

I believe that the lack of D vitamin caused by the low exposure to sun light is the main responsible to keep our body susceptible to so many diseases. That is the reason why I offer a supplement as the solution to obtain a super health.

BECOME AWARE THAT THERE IS NO HEALTH WITHOUT OPTIMAL D VITAMIN LEVELS.

You can eat real food (instead of industrialized food), sleep far from cell phones and other electronic equipments and keep a positive view of life. You can practice exercises, administrate the stress and keep the hormonal modulation on time.

But all this is just not enough.

Without optimal D vitamin levels, there is no biological high-performance.

Luciano Pontarolli, MD stands for a company that provides injected D Vitamin. They have being following extremely positive results with their users. For more information about the product and availability for importation access the website and watch the video bellow.

Posted in Advice, Encouragement, Knowledge, Rehabilitation | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Why should our opioid receptors system be substituted by the cannabinoid receptors system?

This is a very interesting (however a bit long) video about the use of cannabinoids not only as medical purposes, but in the daily routine as well.

Dr. Stuart Titus claims that the traditional medicine field has being exploring opioids as treatment for centuries, and the new view to approach the human body is through cannabinoids substances, due to the body already has endocannabinoids receptors system and sensitiveness.

The final product to be consumed is extracted from hemp, and not from marijuana, which avoids the buzzy feeling of being stoned.

The video is a boom of information and it will certainly make you review concepts and lifestyle. You will at least, think about the implications of this new point of view.

Enjoy it!

screen-shot-2017-02-27-at-9-33-55-am

Posted in Encouragement, Knowledge | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

What does your poop tell you about your health?

screen-shot-2017-02-23-at-8-45-47-pm

 

Separate hard lumps, like nutsscreen-shot-2017-02-23-at-8-48-56-pm

You are lacking fibre and fluids. Drink more water and chomp on some fruits and vegetables.

Sausage shaped, smooth and soft

screen-shot-2017-02-23-at-8-51-51-pm

Optimal poop! You are doing fine.

Watery, no solid pieces, all liquid

You are having diarrhea! This is probably caused by some sort of infectiscreen-shot-2017-02-23-at-8-56-57-pmon and diarrhea is your body cleaning it out. Make sure you drink lots of liquids to replace the liquids lost otherwise you might find yourself dehydrated.

Sausage-shaped, but lumpy

screen-shot-2017-02-23-at-9-00-37-pm

Not as serious as separate hard lumps, but you need to load up on fluids and fibre.

Soft blobs with clear-cut edgesscreen-shot-2017-02-23-at-9-37-44-pm

Not too bad.Pretty normal if you are pooping multiple times a day.

Sausage-shaped but with cracks in the surface

This is normal, but the cracks mean you could still up your intake of water.

screen-shot-2017-02-23-at-10-10-23-pm

Fluffy pieces with ragged edges, a mushy stool

You are on the edge of normal. This type of poop is on its way to become diarrhea.

screen-shot-2017-02-23-at-10-43-52-pm

Soft and sticks to the side of the toilet bowl

Presence of too much oil, which could mean that your body is not absorbing fats properly. Diseases like chronic pancreatitis prevent your body from properly absorbing fat.

screen-shot-2017-02-23-at-10-48-07-pm

*********************************************************************

 

screen-shot-2017-02-23-at-10-49-57-pm

 

screen-shot-2017-02-23-at-10-52-04-pm

Brown: You are fine. Poop is naturally brown due to bile produced in your liver.

 

screen-shot-2017-02-23-at-11-04-54-pm

Yellow: Greasy, foul-smelling yellow poop indicates excess fat, which could be due to a malabsorption disorder like celiac disease.

 

screen-shot-2017-02-23-at-10-54-34-pm

Green: Food may be moving through your large intestine too quickly. You could have eaten lots of green leafy veggies or green food colouring.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

screen-shot-2017-02-23-at-11-09-48-pm

Black: It could mean that you are bleeding internally due to ulcer or cancer. Some vitamins containing iron or bismuth subsalycilate could cause black poop too. Pay attention if it is sticky, and see a doctor if you are worried.

screen-shot-2017-02-23-at-11-10-30-pm

Light-coloured, white, or clay-coloured: If it is not what you are normally seeing, it could mean a bile duct obstruction. Some medicine could cause this too.                         See a doctor.               

screen-shot-2017-02-23-at-11-11-13-pm

Blood-stained or Red: Blood in your poop could be a symptom of cancer. Always see a doctor right away if you find blood in your stool.

 

 

 

 

Posted in Advice, Knowledge, Vegan | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Exercises you can do in the office

Posture in the office

If you are primarily desk-bound in your work, correct posture and alignment is essential to prevent work related pain and injuries. Most of us get a little lazy with our posture at some point. You can expect some serious health problems, aches and pains if you adopt a poor sitting position for long periods of time, day in and day out.office-posture

Poor sitting posture can lead to:

  • Headaches
  • Lower back pain
  • Neck pain and stiffness
  • Interscapular and thoracic pain and stiffness
  • Shoulder pain and muscular tension
  • Wrist, forearm and elbow pain
  • Lumbar disc bulging and irritation

A good sitting posture

  • Chair height should be so that your upper legs are parallel to floor (or knees slightly lower than your hips).
  • Both feet should be flat on the floor.
  • Push your hips into the back of the chair.
  • Ensure your chair supports your upper and lower back (use support cushions if required).
  • Relax your forearms on the table to keep weight off your shoulders. Use armrests on your chair if required.
  • Pull up close to your keyboard, placing it directly in front of you. Adjust your keyboard tilt to achieve a straight wrist position.
  • Your screen should be directly in front of you.
  • The top of your screen should be little above your seated eye level, at least an arm’s length away. Use a monitor stand if required.
  • If text is too small at this distance, use your computer’s settings to increase display resolution or magnification (as opposed to moving the screen close to your face).
  • Screen (and your desk) should be positioned to reduce glare from windows and other ligh sources. Use curtains or blinds if required.
  • Keep your telephone within easy reach. Use a headset if you are regularly on the phone.
  • Take 1-2 minute short breaks away from your desk every 30 minutes to stretch. Take longer breaks or change tasks every hour. Get away from your computer during lunch break.
  • Give your eyes a rest. Look away in the distance during your short breaks.

Finally, how can you exercise and be active in the office?

Stand

Try standing at a high table or counter while working or answering the phone. risk_db2

Walk and talk

Many people use their cell phones for business calls. Those frequent calls can provide a good reason to walk while conducting your business. Better still, walk out of the building and into the fresh air. You will feel energised when you return.

Take the stairs

You know this one already, but if you have to speak to someone on another floor, don’t call them or send an e-mail. Go and speak to them in person. Who says you can’t work and socialise at the same time?

Work it!

What’s in your drawer? Not chocolate, but fitness bands, squeeze balls, small weights. While reading that report, pull something out and work it.

Stretch

Office workers acquire a lot of tension in their necks and backs from hours of sitting. tiryaka-tadasana-is-a-modified-asana-of-urdhva-tadasana-e1318319999963There are many stretching exercises you can do as frequently as you like.

These are just a few ideas. You may be able to come up with some of your own and pretty could soon be cancelling your gym membership. Make an appointment with us to discuss other ideas, especially if you have on-going aches and pains from sitting down all day.

Most important!

Do not be shy to stretch your body in front of others. In fact, you can take action and be the first to motivate your co-workers to be more active in the work environment. They may like your initiative and everyone will benefit from that!

Posted in Advice, Encouragement, Exercise | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

The Evolution of Psychotherapy

evolution-of-psychotherapy

Image | Posted on by | Tagged , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

3 (unusual) ways to improve Gut health

Gut health

The gut is composed of the Gastro Intestinal system and often referred to as the 2nd brain.

The Gastrointestinal system includes the mouth and teeth, the oesophagus, the stomach, the small intestine, the colon or large intestine, the pancreas, liver and gall bladder.

Our large intestine or colon is home to billions of bacteria, in fact, in a 70kg male there are approximately 30 trillion human cells and an estimated 30-60 trillion bacterial cells. This symbiotic bacterial system is termed the micro-biome. You may have heard the phrase ‘good bacteria’ and ‘bad bacteria’, well the micro biome, as long as it stays where its supposed to and doesn’t get the chance to travel around to other parts of our gut are the good guys.

gut-health

Unfortunately, poor diets high in sugars, not dealing with emotions appropriately, not performing tasks that keep our brains activated and unfortunately the use of frequent medications such as antibiotics and contraception can upset the microbiome and thats when it may start to give us problems.

Those with genuine gut problems may suffer certain symptoms such as;

  • Bloating
  • Regular constipation and or loose stools
  • Poor concentration
  • Brain fog
  • Rosacea
  • Acne
  • Psoriasis
  • Mood disturbances

And a whole host of other possibilities depending on the history and severity of the problem. Unfortunately, with the inclusion of other factors there is correlation between the severity of gut issues impacting the micro-biome and autoimmunity.

Even if you are symptom free, the following practices can be beneficial to the health of your gut and all of the happy little bacteria the live there running the show.

Intermittent fasting

Intermittent fasting refers to a reduced ‘feeding window’ and extended ‘fasted state’. A classic way of approaching this is the 16/8 split.

That means 16 hour fast and 8 hour feeding window. People will commonly run the fasting time between 9pm and 1pm, eating all of their calories then between the corresponding 1pm to 9pm window. This time split can be adjusted to fit your lifestyle and isn’t as hard to do as you would think if you are completely new to the idea of not eating for a slightly extended duration.

Other fasting time splits could be:

12pm – 8pm

11am – 7pm

Or if you get up very early, around say 5am or before

10am – 6pm

Benefits include

Fat loss!

It takes around six to eight hours for the body to metabolise glycogen stores, at which point it shifts to fat as the primary fuel source. 16 hours fasting time is really the key here.

Starving the bad bacteria

If you only consume water during the fasting state and even take some light to moderate exercise you will be burning through those glycogen stores nicely. Eating sensibly and cleanly during the feeding window, which means not gorging on sugar will result in effectively starving the bacteria in your gut that make you crave sugar in the first place!

Growth hormone

Intermittent fasting has been shown to boost growth hormone in both men and women. Sometimes referred to as the ‘fountain of youth hormone’. 

Brain health

Intermittent fasting has been shown to increase production of the protein Brain Derived Neurotrophic Factor (BDNF). If you’ve ever felt particularly chipper and pumped about a creative phase your experiencing, chances are BDNF was high. There is a direct link between the large intestinal health and BDNF.

BDNF is also present and important for neuromuscular function.

Cellular adaptation and brain cleaning

Fasting increases our ability to deal with oxidative damage within the cell. When we remove sugar, bad carbohydrates and exitotoxins from the diet, whilst providing a regular and extended period of time in which the cells can heal, the damaging effects of unhealthy lifestyles begin to unwind.

When fasting, our cells can also be considered to be under a certain level of stress. This is “good” stress, much like appropriate exercise, to which there will be a positive adaptation.

If you are keen to give this lifestyle a go, start slow and easy. Begin with one to two days x week and make sure you always have good water on hand. Hunger pangs are just habituated hormonal responses. They tend to disappear within 10minutes or so. If you feel that intermittent fasting is for you, gradually build up to more consecutive days.

The benefits will be noticed over an extended period of time, for example over an 8 week period or so. There are plenty of people that restrict their caloric intake time to a 6-8 hour window on a daily basis.

See how you get on and record how you feel.

Timed Water Intake

If you don’t fancy Intermittent fasting then this next option can also work in improving health of the Gastrointestinal system.

Delay eating breakfast for at least 60 – 90 minutes from waking. During that time, consume anywhere between 500ml and 1.5ltrs of water depending on your body size. There is no need to purge with water immediately upon waking. Simply delay eating for an extra 90 minutes and consume cold water during that time.

As we have already covered, the fasted state is one of healing and regeneration. There are obviously many benefits to maintaining adequate hydration levels but consuming water on an empty stomach may aid in the detoxification processes.

Gargling

The vagus nerve is a long cranial nerve that connects all of our internal organs to the brainstem and subsequently the brain. One of the big roles of the vagal nuclei is to fire down to the gut to promote motility.

Within the gut are further complexes of nuclei called migrating motor complexes or MMC’s. These guys fire the smooth muscles of the intestinal walls promoting peristalsis and crucially they control the timed opening and closure of the intestinal valves.

The MMC’s should be fired eleven times per day. It has been shown that in those with small intestinal bacterial overgrowth or SIBO, the MMC’s only fire three times per day. SIBO is a presentation in which bacteria that should only reside in the large intestine manages to migrate in to the small intestine where it shouldn’t be. In some cases, this is due to poor vagal tone.

A simple way to train the vagus nerve just like any other part of the body with a view to improving gut motility is gargling.

Before every meal take water in to the mouth and gargle nice and hard until you feel it becoming difficult. Spit out the water and eat your meal.

This is simply an activation drill for a very important part of the brain that can lead to improved digestion and gastrointestinal health.

Posted in Advice, Encouragement, Knowledge, Vegan | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

11 Foods That Can Help You Sleep Better

Find out what to eat and drink to catch more quality zzz’s

Trying to get more shut-eye? Take a look at your diet. Eating the right foods in the hours before you hit the hay may help you fall asleep faster, say experts, and even improve the quality of your sleep. Keep reading for your get-sleepy grocery list, and remember to stop noshing two hours before bedtime to give your body enough time to properly digest.

1 Edamame

edamame

Craving a salty snack before bed? Turn to lightly salted edamame, says Dr. Dalton-Smith—especially if you’re dealing with menopause-related symptoms. “The natural estrogen-like compounds found in soy-based products can be very beneficial in controlling those nighttime hot flashes that can disturb your sleep,” she says. If it’s crackers and dip you’re craving, try making this easy edamame recipe: In a food processor, blend together 2 cups of shelled, cooked edamame with 1 tsp salt, a drizzle of olive oil and 1 clove garlic (optional) until smooth.

2 Hard Cooked Eggs

If you have trouble staying asleep at night, it may be because you didn’t eat a pre-bedtime snack high in protein, or perhaps your snack was too high in simple, high-sugar carbohydrates, like cake and candy. “The problem with simple carbs is that they can put you on a ‘sugar roller coaster’ and drop your blood sugar while you’re sleeping, causing you to wake at 2 or 3 in the morning,” says Dr. Teitelbaum. A better bet? “Eat an egg, cheese, nuts or other protein-rich snack instead,” he says, “so you can not only fall asleep, but stay asleep.”

Miso Soup

 

You love to order this comforting, broth-based soup in Japanese restaurants, but keeping a few 8-ounce packs of instant miso soup at home may be key when you’re having trouble falling asleep, says Stella Metsovas, CN, a nutritionist in Laguna Beach, California. Here’s why: Miso contains amino acids that may boost the production of melatonin, a natural hormone that can help induce the yawns. Bonus: Research shows that warm liquids like soup and tea may also relieve cold symptoms, helping you sleep better when you’re feeling under the weather.

Cereal

There’s no need to feel guilty about having a small bowl of cereal before bed, especially if it’s a low-sugar, whole-grain cereal. Not only is it a healthy snack (make sure you top it with milk to give your body the protein it needs), but it may also help you snooze. “Complex carbohydrate–rich foods increase the availability of tryptophan in the bloodstream, increasing the sleep-inducing effects,” says Dr. Dalton-Smith. Bonus: Top your bowl with a sprinkling of dried cherries (see above) for extra help catching your zzz’s.

Broccoli

What you eat during the day could help you feel well-rested tomorrow morning. A study in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine found that the more fiber in a person’s diet, the more time they spent in restorative sleep. On the other hand, researchers found that people who ate a lot of saturated fat spent less time in the deep-sleep phase. Opt for fiber-filled foods like beans, broccoli and raspberries, and cut back on foods high in saturated fat, like bacon, steak, butter and cheese.

Posted in Advice, Knowledge, Vegan | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

11 Sneaky Reasons Why You’re Always Tired

Stop pressing the snooze button!

Are you consistently exhausted — even when you’re getting enough sleep? If so, there might be a few not-so-obvious reasons you’re so sluggish. Lucky for you, there are also a few pretty easy fixes!

sleepy

1. YOU’RE NOT WAKING UP EARLY ENOUGH.

Take your hand away from the snooze-button. While it may seem counter-intuitive, sleeping until the last possible second might actually be harming you more than helping you! “Early to bed, early to rise, makes a (wo)man healthy, wealthy and wise” isn’t just a cute rhyme. You really do need to get up and take some time for yourself to de-stress before heading out for the day. Don’t believe us? A 2008 Harvard study showed that morning people better anticipate problems than night owls and are more proactive, which is linked to better job (and life) performance and success.

2. YOU’RE SURROUNDED BY TOXIC PEOPLE.

Complaining coworkers and whining pals can actually make you tired. “People you allow into your life not only have the power to affect you emotionally, but can also take a toll on you physically,” explains Vicky Vlachonis, osteopath and author of The Body Doesn’t Lie. “If people that are cynical and tend to complain surround you, they can be draining your energy.” So how do you fix it? Vlachonis suggests getting “rid of time-wasters and move forward with feelings of positivity and gratitude — feelings of happiness bring your body lots of energy!”

3. YOUR SEX LIFE IS A SNOOZE.

Most people complain about being too tired to have sex, but guess what? Intimacy can actually help you get a better night’s rest. This is because an orgasm releases prolactin, which is naturally higher when we sleep. And if a morning quickie is more your style, there’s good news: Highly active sex can actually make you feel more energized than sleepy. So maybe stick to a more subdued session at night — or get frisky when you wake up!

4. YOU’RE MAGNESIUM-DEFICIENT.

Yes, it sounds weird, but think of magnesium “as the relaxation mineral,” explains Dr. Mark Hyman, director of the Cleveland Clinic Center for Functional Medicine. Why? It helps improves how effective your sleep is, how long it takes you to fall asleep, and how long you’re out, according to the National Institutes of Health. To make sure you’re getting a healthy dose, Jaclyn London, Nutrition Director at the Good Housekeeping Institute, suggests foods like nuts, seeds, beans, avocados, and leafy greens. (Note: Just remember that this magical mineral can sometimes have a laxative effect!)

5. YOU HATE YOUR JOB.

Let’s be honest: Waking up day in and day out for work already can take a toll, but that’s exacerbated when you hate what you do or are surrounded by challenging coworkers. If you’re always feeling sluggish, it may be that you need a change of office scenery. Need proof? Multiple studies have shown that people who hate their jobs have trouble falling asleep or sleeping deeply, mostly because of stress.

6. YOU’RE SKIPPING THE GYM.

If you’re in a slump, you may want to get moving. Regular physical activity can “reduce your risk of depression and may help you sleep better,” according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. It doesn’t take much: Just 150 minutes of moderate exercise a week can make you 65% less tired during the day!

7. YOU’RE NOT GETTING ENOUGH SUNLIGHT.

It’s all about the circadian rhythm. “When people are exposed to sunlight or very bright artificial light in the morning, their nocturnal melatonin production occurs sooner, and they enter into sleep more easily at night,” wrote M. Nathaniel Mead in an article in Environmental Health Perspectives. (This is also why you should shut off screens long before bed.) And while too much unprotected exposure can increase your risk of skin cancer, you should definitely aim to get an hour or two of sunlight each day. Bonus: Sunshine also offers a free dose of Vitamin D, which helps fight against diseases — and nothing brings your energy down like getting sick.

8. YOU’RE A BALL OF STRESS.

Everyone knows that anxiety isn’t good — especially because it causes ulcers, gray hair, and exhaustion. Stress is also the top cause of insomnia, according to the Mayo Clinic. And it’s a vicious cycle: The lack of sleep leaves you more irritable and anxious, making problems loom larger and it more difficult to sleep the next night. So take some time for you to de-stress, and try to put problems in perspective.

9. YOU MAY HAVE AN AUTO-IMMUNE DISORDER.

Yes, they are known to cause fatigue and tiredness, the U.S. Department of Health of Human Services reveals. And since women are three times more likely than men to suffer from one, be sure to speak to your doctor if you’re always tired. There may be a much deeper health issue that you’re not paying attention to.

10. YOUR BEDROOM IS A DISASTER.

If it’s a mess of clothes, shoes, and piles of papers, you’re not doing yourself or the quality of your sleep any favors. According to the National Sleep Foundation, your bedroom should be clean, comfortable, and conducive to rest. So, burn some scented candles (lavender will do!), use some dim lights, tidy up, and create your own calming sanctuary. Your brain will thank you.

11. YOU EAT TOO MUCH PROCESSED FOOD.

We’re talking about high-carb foods like burgers and fries, white rice, pasta, and bread, which usually cause a not-so-fun energy crash. Instead, you want to load up on fruits, veggies, whole grains, and lean protein, “which can boost energy by giving you the vitamins and minerals — not to mention antioxidants! — you need,” says London. “And since fruits and veggies are mostly water, the hydration may help give you a boost as well.”

From: Good Housekeeping
Posted in Advice, Encouragement | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Making low-tech Assistive Technology and Adaptations

Low-tech assistive technology (AT) and adaptations are cheap and easy strategies that families and professionals can use to increase their children’s participation in daily activities and routines.

If you have the right supplies, most of these ideas only take a few minutes to make. Creating a make-it take-it kit to keep at home, in the office, or take with you on the go is a great idea for making sure that you’ll have the needed supplies when you want to create low-tech AT or an adaptation.

Below is a list of general materials that may be useful for all of your AT and adaptation projects. In addition to these items, we have also included lists of materials for making devices and adaptations based on functional need.

low-tech-compact

GENERAL LIST

  • Velcro
  • Various kinds of tape – Duct tape, masking tape, cloth tape, electrical tape
  • PVC pipe
  • Sewing kit
  • Empty containers
  • Cardboard boxes
  • Scissors and X-acto knife
  • Glue and hot glue gun
  • Various kinds of paper – construction, cardstock, 3×5 cards, etc.
  • Markers, pencils, pens, crayons
  • Styrofoam trays
  • Fabric scraps
  • Sandpaper
  • Spray adhesive
  • Pool noodles
  • Non-slip material
  • Felt
  • Phonebooks
  • Tool set
  • Battery interrupter and switch

POSITIONING & MOBILITY LIST

  • Quilt Batting
  • Cushions, pillows, towels
  • Phonebooks
  • Plastic buckets
  • Foam – soft & firm kinds
  • Hula hoops
  • Wood pieces
  • Screws
  • Rope
  • Wheels/Casters
  • Washers
  •  Tri-wall

SOCIALIZATION/BEHAVIOR LIST

  • Shower curtain rings
  • Popsicle sticks
  • Pictures, magazine clippings, drawings, etc.
  • Poster board
  • Magnets
  • Stress balls

USING ARMS AND HANDS LIST

  • Shower curtain rings
  • Popsicle sticks
  • Contact lenses containers
  • Film canisters, prescription canister
  • Hairbrushes
  • Magnets
  • Pop-poms
  • Stress balls
  • Tennis balls
  • Wiffle balls/golf balls
  • Clay
  • Large beads
  • Foam hair curlers
  • Cookbook stand or PVC for homemade stand
  • Wooden knobs
  • PVC
  • Paper clips
  • Poker chips
  • Margarine lids
  • Buttons
  • Cookie sheets
  • Felt
  • Wood pieces
  • Corrugated cardboard
  • Empty roll-on deodorant bottle
  • Plaster of paris
  • Elastics

COMMUNICATION/ LITERACY LIST

  • Shower curtain rings
  • Popsicle sticks
  • Pictures, magazine clippings, drawings, etc.
  • Contact lenses containers
  • Phonebooks
  • Pop-poms
  • Plastic bags, clear plastic covers
  • Clear keychains
  • Styrofoam trays
  • Paper clips
  • Magnets
  • Pipe cleaners, feathers, other textured objects
  • Highlighter tape
  • Talking picture frame, talking greeting cards, etc.
  • Pouch laminators
  • Binders and binder rings

To have more ideas, and understand better how to use the materials and create your own loew-tech AT and adaptations, check these two webpages for more info: functional skills and activities & routines.

Posted in Advice, Encouragement, Knowledge, Rehabilitation | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment