Important Reads for the Healthy-Minded Person
The following articles are divided into three (3) categories.
The first series belong to the 1st School of Thought, named the FOUNTAIN OF YOUTH. Its main focus is on the most recent inventions and developments in medical technology.
The second series of articles relate to the 2nd School of Thought which is concerned with A HEALTHY BODY - LIFESTYLE CHOICES i.e. nutritious food, exercise and sound sleep.
The third series of articles are concerned with the 3rd School of Thought which relate to A HEALTHY MIND AND HEALTHY EMOTIONS i.e. how emotive thoughts affect our health and indeed our cells.
Don’t be shy to seek help
Does being in the public make you feel uncomfortable? Do you dread social encounters and have sweaty palms, rapid heartbeat, and panic attacks when you go out and meet people?
You are certainly not alone. According to Statistics Canada, over 2 million Canadians age 15 or older have a history of social anxiety. This condition can be described as extreme and even debilitating shyness.
Report says that only about 37% of people with social anxiety seek professional help, while many others are too embarrassed and have fear of being judged. It is important to address the problem before it gets out of control. In Canada, there are several organizations listed below that you can turn to for help:
1. The Canadian Mental Health Association (www.cmha.ca) - has more than 135 locations across the country, and provides information on the support that’s available locally.
2. The Anxiety Disorders Association of Canada (www.anxietycanada.ca) – offers information about disorders and related resources.
3. The Canadian Network for Mood and Anxiety Treatments (www.canmat.org) – provides information on the disorder and links to provincial mental-health groups and resources.
A good starting point would be to make an appointment with your family physician to discuss the issue. Take the first step and deal with this disorder by reaching out for help.
Source: Don’t be shy to seek help By: Stuart Foxman, readersdigest.ca 08/09
Are you resilient?
A Dutch research found psychological health to be a key component of successful aging, according to 600 people age 85 or older.
What is considered resilient? A resilient person would resemble a rubber band, with the ability to be stretched to the maximum limit and can still snap back. To achieve this state of mind, one needs to have self values, and assess oneself by measuring success instead of failures.
Studies find that under stressful conditions, someone who is resilient is able to recover from stress faster. This in turn can reduce the damaging impact that stress can have on your body. Try the following tips which may help you become more resilient:
1. Laugh more – Laughing can make a person more optimistic and helps the body cope with stress. Try watching comedies, read funny books, and have playful conversations with friends.
2. Don’t panic – When problems arise, first take a deep breath. Think of the positive aspects of the situations first, then make a list of things that you can do to control the situation.
3. Have reasonable expectations – Make plans accordingly. Thing do not always go perfectly. Setting too high of expectations will equal to setting yourself up for disappointment. Always anticipate the possibility of disaster that may strike in every situation. After all, life is full of unexpectedness.
Remember that the more resilient you are, the happier you will be, and the healthier you will be in the process of aging.
Source: “Are you resilient?” Long Life Prescription: Fast and Easy Ways to Stay Energized and Healthy, Readers Digest. By: Sari Harrar and Debra Gordon.
The idea of controlling objects with our thoughts
It may one day be possible that paralyzed people may be able to control objects through their thoughts using brain-computer interfaces.
Spinal-cord researchers have conducted experiments using EEG electrodes taped to the scalps of participants. Through electrical impulses, both paralyzed and non-paralyzed participants were able to control a computerized on/off switch by either moving their fingers or just simply thinking of moving them.
It will be years until an actual working model can be developed. However, this amazing technology can be used to perform more complex tasks in the home and will definitely be a useful tool for individuals with physical impairment.
Source: “Humans, 2.0” - Cutting-Edge Medicine, readersdigest.ca 07/09
Your religious beliefs can affect your brain. Have you ever wondered what goes on in your brain while you pray or meditate?
According to neuroscientist Andrew Newberg at the University of Pennsylvania, different parts of the brain are activated when we engage in spiritual practices. For examples, if you think of God in a positive way, part of the brain known as the frontal lobe is affected, making us feel more compassionate, more loving and forgiving towards ourselves and others. People with these positive feelings in turn have lower levels of depression and anxiety.
In Newberg’s study, participants who have never done meditative practices were selected. Participants were trained in simple meditative techniques for 12 minutes a day. After 8 weeks of training, participants were evaluated. Significant improvement was seen in memory scores and emotional measures such as anxiety, anger, and tension.
The most interesting finding was that, after the 8-week training program, the frontal lobes of the participants were still activated when they were not meditating. This shows that the spiritual practices generate continuous effects that become a part of you.
It is important to note that it is not the type of religion that governs this brain activation, but is your positive thinking and the action of believing that derives the benefits. So regardless of what religion you are affiliated with, it is your thoughts and focus on the sacred object that promotes the overall benefits.
Source: “Your religious beliefs alter your brain, says author Andrew Newberg.” By: Nancy J. White. April 21, 2009. http://www.thestar.com/living/article/621471