Nine Steps to Better Sleep.

In 1965, a 17 year-old college student tried to set a world record for staying awake. During his quest he experienced the following symptoms: visual and auditory hallucinations, increased heart rate, low blood pressure, and psychosis. After 264 hours and 12 minutes (just over 11 days), he collapsed due to profound weakness. Thankfully, he made a full recovery after sleeping 14 hours and 40 minutes.

While this is an extreme example of the consequences of not sleeping, many in today’s society are suffering from health challenges that are partly due to chronic sleep deprivation.

Sleep is essential for optimal health. The amount and quality of sleep we get each night will influence the way we feel and our performance during daytime hours.

High-level functioning of the nervous system requires that we receive enough quality sleep. Inadequate rest results in reduced ability to remember, concentrate, plan, make decisions, and carry out math calculations. Too little sleep also results in drowsiness and reduced physical performance, which may result in a higher rate of injuries, including motor-vehicle accidents.

When we sleep deeply, we allow for efficient cell growth and repair. The release of growth hormones takes place during deep sleep. Sleeping deeply at night helps us to engage at our best, emotionally and socially, with others during the day.

Too often, people who have difficulty falling asleep and sleeping deeply turn to medication. Experience has shown that many sleep disturbances can be solved through natural means. The following are 9 steps you can take to ensure a good night’s sleep.

1. Reserve your bedroom for sleep.

Your bedroom should be reserved for sleep and lovemaking. Homework, office work, and other stressful and stimulating activities should be kept outside of the bedroom, as should televisions, radios, stereos, and other entertainment equipment. This will condition your body to relax and anticipate sleep once you walk into the bedroom. You want to keep any stress and unnecessary stimulation as far away from the bedroom as possible.

2. Be consistent with sleep and wake times.

Go to sleep at the same time each night, and get out of bed at the same time each morning. This will condition your body to fall into a routine of sleep and wakefulness. It is best not to disrupt this routine, such as by sleeping in on weekends.

3. Avoid nicotine, caffeine, sugar, and alcohol close to bedtime.

Nicotine, caffeine, sugar, and alcohol often cause insomnia. Nicotine, caffeine, and sugar are stimulants that cause you to sleep lightly and to wake up before you need to because of withdrawal. Common sources of caffeine are coffee, soft drinks, non-herbal teas, and some over-the-counter and prescription medications. Alcohol prevents deep sleep and interferes with REM-stage sleep, the stage of sleep that stimulates the learning centres of the brain. Adopting an unprocessed and whole food diet will help you avoid these stimulants.

4. Sleep in complete darkness.

Melatonin is a hormone that initiates our desire to sleep and affects the depth of sleep we achieve. Melatonin regulates our sleep-wake cycles and is produced by a gland in the brain. The amount of light we are exposed to at any given moment is what tells this gland whether or not to produce melatonin. Darkness stimulates melatonin production while light inhibits it. Thus, the darker it is when you sleep, the better your melatonin production, and the better the quality of your sleep. Even dim light from a night-light or hall light can disrupt sleep cycles and prevent you from getting deep sleep.

5. Exercise regularly.

Exercise at least 30 minutes a day. Being active promotes a greater need for deep sleep and decreases stress. Do not exercise close to your bedtime, however, as exercise is stimulating and can create difficulties in falling asleep. It is best not to exercise vigorously within 3 hours of your bedtime.

6. Make sure you have a comfortable mattress.

This sounds simple, but there are countless numbers of people out there who are sleeping on a mattress that is too hard, too soft, or not supportive enough and are wondering why they can’t fall asleep. Invest in a mattress that you feel comfortable sleeping on.

7. Claim your bed space.

Don’t share your bed with a companion who takes up your space or who moves around so much that you have difficulty falling or staying asleep. This includes your partner, children, and animal companions. Children after a certain age and animals should have their own designated places for sleep. If you share a bed with your partner and/or children and find it crowded, consider investing in a bigger bed, push two beds together, or try sleeping with separate blankets. You may also want to consider sleeping in a separate bed.

8. Get up if you can’t sleep.

If you have not fallen asleep after 15 minutes, get up and do something else in another room. Thinking about your inability to sleep will contribute to the inability to sleep, which creates a vicious cycle. When you get up to do something else, make sure that the activity you engage in is relaxing and doesn’t involve bright light. Reading and listening to music can be good activities. Watching television and surfing the internet are not.

9. Figure out how much sleep you need.

To determine how long you need to sleep in order to function optimally, take the time to sleep until you wake up on your own without external motivation such as alarms or loud noises. Through this exercise you can determine the optimal amount of sleep for you.

If you are following these steps and are still experiencing sleep difficulties, you may want to consult with a qualified professional to explore organic causes of sleep disturbance.

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What It Takes to Be a Champion?

Every so often you meet a bodybuilder who is very different. They radiate a mysterious strength, power, and charisma that is seldom seen. You may not be able to put your finger on exactly what it is that is that makes this person stand out, but something special is definitely there; they are a champion.

Skeptics would say that it is drugs that makes these athletes better than the rest, but if you had the opportunity to study a group of these exceptional athletes, you would find that every single one of them has certain outstanding characteristics in common that the losers do not. They all take specific actions every day. They all have similar thought patterns and belief systems. They all talk alike. They all have specific personality traits. They all have certain habits. It is these traits that set them apart from the failures.

What are these qualities that make these people so exceptional? And why do so few have them while most do not? This list of 12 traits will describe what qualities separate the winners from the losers. If you cultivate these traits in yourself, you too can become a champion and you will grow with an aura of strength and power that will set you on the road to bodybuilding success.

The 12 Traits of Champions:

(1) Champions are positive thinkers; they believe in themselves.

Undoubtedly the most important quality that all champions share is an unwavering belief that they will succeed. Champions always look for the good in every situation. No matter what obstacles they encounter, they always continue to think positive. Without confidence, faith in your abilities, and positive mental attitude, you’ve defeated yourself before you ever step onstage.

(2) Champions visualize their successes.

Champions understand the importance of positive mental imagery or visualization. Champion bodybuilders visualize exactly how they want their bodies to look, they see themselves standing onstage accepting the first place trophy, and they mentally rehearse every workout in vivid detail. They do this over and over in their minds hundreds or even thousands of times before it becomes physical reality.

(3) Champions surround themselves with positive people and avoid negative influences.

Champions keep themselves in a “positive shell” and do not associate with negative people, places, or things. Arnold Schwarzenegger put it this way: “I have nothing to do with negative relationships. I stay away from negative influences. I have no time for negative thinkers and pessimists. Such people will suck you dry until you have become as pessimistic as they are. Then you’ll have not just one but two losers.”

(4) Champions are goal setters.

Champions realize that if they don’t know where they’re going, that is exactly where they’ll end up; nowhere! Champions consistently set long and short-term goals. From day to day workout goals to long term career objectives, champion’s have written out specific, measurable goals with a deadline.

(5) Champions have a burning desire to succeed.

Champions not only have goals, but they ardently desire them. Robert Collier, summed up the idea of desire beautifully in his 1926 self-help classic Secret of the Ages.” He said, “Very few people know how to desire with sufficient intensity. They do not know what it is to feel and manifest that intense, eager, longing, craving, insistent, demanding, ravenous desire which is akin to the persistent, insistent, ardent, overwhelming desire of the drowning man for a breath of air, or a desert-lost man for a drink of water, or the famished man for bread and meat.” Champions have burning desire. They want it and they want it badly.

(6) Champions are disciplined and consistent.

Champions live and breathe the bodybuilding lifestyle all year round. They are committed and disciplined in training and dietary practices. They know that in bodybuilding there is no off-season and success does not come overnight. Champions never miss a scheduled workout and never miss a meal. Champion bodybuilders are probably the most dedicated athletes in any sport.

(7) Champions are persistent

Champions never, ever quit. Thomas Edison was the epitome of persistence: He conducted 10,000 experiments before finally finding a filament that would burn in the electric light bulb. Champion bodybuilders approach their vocation with the same diligence of an Edison. They know that if they persist long enough, eventually they must succeed.

(8) Champions learn from their failures

Champions don’t view losses as failures, they see them as learning experiences. When asked how it felt to fail 10,000 times, Thomas Edison replied, ” I didn’t fail, I learned 9,999 ways that wouldn’t work.” Champions know that they haven’t failed until they quit; but once they quit, then they have failed. A champion finds a lesson in every apparent loss and finds ways to grow from it.

(9) Champions have incredible powers of focus and concentration

Champions set goals and then maintain a laser-like focus on them. They have the ability to always keep the long term objective in their sights while focusing 100% on what they are doing at the moment. If you watch a champion train you will notice that they are completely oblivious to their surroundings. 100% of their focus and concentration is on what they are doing. They almost appear to have slipped into a hypnosis-like trance. This peak physiological and psychological state has often been referred to as being in “the zone” or being in “flow.” Champions can access this state instantly at will. When it comes time to train they turn everything else off and zero in on what they are doing.

(10) Champions have a deep love and boundless enthusiasm for the sport.

To a loser, training and dieting is work and drudgery. To a champion, training and dieting are a love, a joy, and a passion. Champions are enthusiastic about what they do; they can’t wait to train each day. Motivational speaker Tom Hopkins once said, “Work is anything you’re doing when you’d rather be doing something else.” Champions are doing what they love, so to them it’s not work at all, its fun!

(11) Champions strive for constant and never ending improvement

Champions are never satisfied with the status quo; they never rest on their laurels. Champions aim for small improvements every day in every way. Champions are open-minded and are always looking for a better way to do things. Although champions are always striving for more, they also realize that success is a journey, so they enjoy each moment and savor every step along the way.

(12) Champions are hard workers; they are willing to go the extra mile

Positive thinking, goal setting, visualization, desire, persistence, and enthusiasm are vital, but without action and hard work, these traits are all worthless. Edison said, “Success is 98% perspiration and 2% inspiration.” Champions are hard workers. Champions take consistent action and they are willing to do the things that the losers are not. Champions make themselves go to the gym when they don’t feel like going. Champions stay on the bike another 15 minutes, even when they are exhausted. Champions do 5 extra reps after the losers have stopped. Champions are steadfast with their diets when the failures break down and cheat. Champions have the willingness to train through the pain barrier while the failures quit when it starts to hurt. In short, champions go the extra mile.

RESOURCES

Tom Venuto is a bodybuilder, gym owner, freelance writer, success coach and author of “Burn the Fat, Feed The Muscle” (BFFM): Fat Burning Secrets of the World’s Best Bodybuilders and Fitness Models. Tom has written over 150 articles and has been featured in IRONMAN magazine, Natural Bodybuilding, Muscular Development, Muscle-Zine, Exercise for Men and Men’s Exercise. Tom’s inspiring and informative articles on bodybuilding, weight loss and motivation are featured regularly on dozens of websites worldwide. For information on Tom’s Burn The Fat e-book, click here:

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Easing Arthritis Pain.

My sister-in-law was devastated when diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis at the age of 28. In her mind, arthritis was a disease of the elderly, not a young woman with three small children.

Her doctor wanted to prescribe various prescription drugs and aspirin daily. Her eyes wandered around his waiting room, filled will people in various stages of arthritis: People using wheelchairs, walkers; joints that were swollen and disjointed; people in obvious discomfort and pain. She said, “Thanks, but no thanks.”

She decided to turn to alternative means to combat her arthritis. While she isn’t “cured”, she is pain free most of the time.

According to the Arthritis Foundation, nearly 40 million Americans have arthritis – the number one cause of disability in the country. The word “arthritis” however, is a general term. There are many different types that affect different parts of the body. Some of those are:

  • Tendinitis – targets tendons
  • Sclerodermal – thickening of the skin and connective tissue
  • Fibromyalgia – muscles will be sore and tender to the touch
  • Articular or joint types of arthritis – gout and lupus, tend to be the most painful

Osteoarthritis is the most common type of arthritis. It is termed the “wear and tear” disease. It tends to develop after years of hard physical labor or intense exercise, or as a result of obesity.
Good Nutrition Can Help

When I developed arthritis, my knees were weak, sore and opening my car door became impossible because of my thumb joints. It was a constant hurt and throbbing.

I started researching alternative means of therapy. Through my studies, I discovered meat and dairy were the two main culprits, as far as nutrition. So, out went the meat and dairy from my diet. What happened?

Within in one week, my arthritis was completely gone. I was pain free!

Below is a testimonial from one of my clients, Jan Kingston. Jan’s knees were in such bad shape that she was almost wheelchair bound. At the time I spoke with her, she was using a walker and was taking anti-inflammatory drugs.

Hi Cyndi,

Thank you, Thank you, Thank you! It isn’t enough, but I don’t know what else to say! My arthritis of the past 6 years is gone, Just gone! The dairy was the problem. As long as I stay completely away from the dairy, no pain. I can have chicken and fish without any problem, but if I eat any dairy, the pain returns. I’ve spent so much money and time trying to get this under control and to find it was something so simple.. well, I’m just amazed.
Jan

Jan isn’t an isolated incident. I counsel many who have found partial or total relief by changing their dietary habits. Below are a few recommendations that can help the pain of arthritis:

  • Do away with refined and partial foods: white flour and white sugar – get them out of your diet. More information click here.
  • Eat a diet composed mainly of: fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, beans, nuts, seed, lean meat and fish.
  • Take dairy out of your diet and see if that helps. If not, try eliminating meat – Especially red meat.
  • Some people with arthritis do well be eliminating allergenic foods which include; dairy, wheat and corn.
  • Avoid the foods from the nightshade family: tomatoes, peppers, eggplant and potatoes.
  • The herb Ginger has been known to help some people.
  • Consume foods containing the amino acid histidine, which includes; brown rice, wheat and rye. (if wheat isn’t a problem)
  • Be sure and take a good calcium/magnesium supplement. Very important for the health of the bones and ligaments.
  • Include the essential fatty acids; wheat germ oil, sesame seed oil, flax oil. The good oils will lubricate the joints and ligaments and promote healing.
  • Get plenty of sunshine. Exposure to the sun prompts the synthesis of vitamin D, which is needed for proper bone formation.
  • If you are overweight, lose the extra pounds. Easier said than done, I know : ) but an overweight condition can cause and aggravate arthritis.
  • Glucosamine Sulfate is one of the most talked about natural remedies for arthritis. A Swiss study found it was as effective in decreasing stiffness and pain as ibuprofen, but without the side effects.

Exercise

Making exercise part of your daily life is one of the best decisions you can make for overall good health.

Many arthritis sufferers have reported tremendous relief be adding an exercise program to their daily regime. Water aerobics is a wonderful exercise for those with arthritis. With water aerobics, an arthritis sufferer can exercise with little or no pain.

As for my sister-in-law… Since she has made the above lifestyle changes, her pain is gone and her disease is under control. She has had a fourth child and her whole family’s health has benefited from a situation that could have been devastating.

Jan continues to do very well. Her walker is in the closet and she is determined to keep it there.

As for me – Well, I still sneak in the occasional bowl of ice cream, but I always feel it the next day. So dairy is one food I don’t consume more than once a month, if that.

Taking a proactive approach to the management of arthritis and finding what works best for you will enable you to feel strong and healthy for life.

You control the disease, don’t let it control you!

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Eating for Health, Happiness and Successful Weight Control.

Don’t diet, just eat and lose weight!

First, the following “diet” is really not a diet, in the conventional sense, but a natural way of eating. It allows one to eat essentially anything one wishes, while attaining weight loss or weight control goals and consuming the necessary nutrients for a long and healthful life. The term “diet” implies restrictions by either eliminating or radically reducing the intake of certain foods or food groups. Most diets are inappropriate, unhealthful (some are even dangerous) and ultimately doomed to fail.

The most important objective of eating any food is to provide the body with all the essential nutrients for a long and healthful life. Almost every food provides some element needed by your body. If you do not care about being healthy, avoiding sickness and disease and living a long life, then this natural way of eating is not for you. The second most important reason for eating any food is because you enjoy it and it makes you happy. It is highly unlikely that you will consistently, and for long term, eat foods that you do not enjoy. Similarly, it is extremely unlikely that you will be able to completely eliminate foods that you do enjoy from your diet.

Many diets and dieticians expect a person to continually keep count of every calorie, carbohydrate and/or gram of fat that enters your mouth! Again, what is likelihood of being able to maintain this tedious ritual for any meaningful length of time? Nothing could be more depressing and stress-inducing as the constant monitoring of calories, carbs or fat. Therefore, if enjoying your meals is not important to you, then this natural way of eating is probably not for you.

Finally, you should eat food to maintain an appropriate weight for your height and frame. Being over-weight or under-weight is not conducive to a long, healthful life nor does it promote a positive self image. If being too heavy or too thin is not important to you, than this natural way of eating may not be for you.

Tips for Successful Weight Control

Lose or gain weight because you want to and not to please others.Otherwise, you will not be sufficiently motivated to change your bad eating habits. In fact, when the inevitable happens and you fail to achieve you goal, it will reinforce and, most probably, escalate the inappropriate behavior (i.e. over-eating, exclusively eating junk food, bulimia, etc.)

You must begin this natural way of eating with a positive outlook and the belief that you can achieve your goals with a minimal amount of effort. If you lack the self-confidence and motivation, or you do not believe that you can lose or gain weight, you will not!

It is extremely important for you to learn about the nutrients contained in the foods you eat. This is the only part of this natural way of eating that requires some effort on your part. The only way to accomplish this is to read. The internet is probably the best and easiest venue for obtaining this type of information. The following are excellent sources of health and nutrition-related information:

1) Medline Plus –
    http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/foodnutritionandmetabolism.html

2) Food and Nutrition Information Center –
    http://www.nal.usda.gov/fnic/

3) McKinley Health Center –
    http://www.mckinley.uiuc.edu/

4) USDA Nutrient Data Laboratory –
     http://www.nal.usda.gov/fnic/foodcomp/

Remember, the key to weight control is to be healthy, happy and fit. You must understand which foods will provide these three, all-important elements. Believe it or not, there are foods which you enjoy that are actually good for you!

Incredibly, many overweight people actually do not eat enough! Listen to your body, not your mind. Your body knows when it has had the appropriate amount of food and, more importantly, the appropriate amount of nutrition. Because many people do not understand nutrition, they eat food that does not supply sufficient nutrients to the body. They will feel hungry even after a large meal because theirs bodies are “starving” for proper nutrition click here. For this reason, most diets do not work or the individual cannot stay with the diet because it is an unnatural way of eating. Your body literally believes it is starving; therefore, it will take actions to survive the famine. It is a self-preservation mechanism, if you will. The body begins drawing off your muscles and stores the fat for later use in the event that it does not receive the necessary nourishment for an extended period of time. When a person finally falls off the diet (which is inevitable), they gain back all the lost weight and, in many cases, even more! The reason is because it takes the body sometime to adjust from its self-preservation mode, so all the food that is consumed is stored as fat while your body continues to draw from muscle.

There is no such thing as losing weight fast. It will take 3 to 6 months (or more depending on the amount of weight loss needed),to lose a significant amount of weight. The good news is that once you have lost the weight, you should not gain it back because you will have learned about the food you eat.

Yes, you have heard it before and you are now going to hear it again – exercise! Even a small amount of exercise (1/2 hour per day, 3 days per week) will greatly accelerate weight control.

If you feel like having a snack or something sweet, have it. Your body is telling you it needs something. Of coarse, it would be better to eat a piece of fruit rather than a candy bar. However, either is preferable to over-eating at your next meal or agonizing over the decision to indulge the urge.

Dr. Parsons reveals the keys to successful weight loss in the remainder of this article, which you can receive absolutely FREE,by visiting Health Products USA.

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Avoid Gaining Weight This Holiday Season …while still enjoying the festivities.

This holiday season don’t be trendy – avoid the Seasonal Seven (the average weight most Americans gain between Thanksgiving and New Year’s). That’s one trend you don’t want to participate in!

I know what you are thinking – the holidays are a time for fun and indulgence. You don’t want to think about fitness during that time. You want to enjoy yourself. Don’t worry! The festivities don’t have to be eliminated or avoided. You can have a fabulous time while also maintaining your weight and your fitness regimen.

The secret to achieving a holiday season that is both full of fun and also includes fitness is found in moderation. There are two typical approaches to the seasonal festivities: 1) throw all healthy habits out the window and indulge in every guilty pleasure 2) starve and binge approach (for example, you eat nothing all day long to allow yourself to overindulge in party food). Of course, neither approach is successful at maintaining a healthy, fit lifestyle throughout the holiday season.

As mentioned above, the key is found in moderation. With a moderate approach both to what you eat (or don’t eat) and how much exercise you do (or don’t do), you can avoid packing on extra weight AND also partake in all the fun of the season. So this season, get a head start on the New Year instead of starting January with extra pounds to lose.

Here are some tips to help you:

Create a plan ahead of time. Before the holidays sneak up on you, create a plan for incorporating fitness and good nutrition into your daily routine. Evaluate your holiday schedule and then determine how much time you will realistically have available to devote to working out and/or eating healthy meals.

Don’t put your fitness goals on hold until the New Year. If you can’t exercise as often during this time period as you normally do, adjust appropriately. Don’t use the excuse that since you don’t have time for your full workout you just won’t workout at all. Instead accept your limited availability and simply reduce the frequency and/or duration of your exercise. It’s much better to cut your fitness time in half than to completely eliminate it.

On the day of a party, be sure to eat regularly all day long. If the party is in the evening, eat breakfast, lunch and a snack before hand (just as you would on any other day). Once you are at the party, go ahead and indulge in some of the fun, delicious foods. Since you have eaten meals earlier in the day, you probably will find that you aren’t tempted to go overboard and eat everything in sight. However, if you starve all day long attempting to save up all your calories for the party, you will be so famished by the time it begins that it will be difficult not to overeat.

Schedule your workouts. Mark them on the calendar and set-aside time to complete them. Consider them as important as any other appointment or event you have marked on your calendar.

When at a party, start by eating some of the healthy offerings. For example, vegetable sticks (without dip), fruit pieces, plain chicken pieces, etc. Then move on to some of the less healthy (but yummy) offerings. You will be less likely to overindulge on these foods if you have already filled-up on some of the healthier items. Yet, you will not click here feel deprived or unsatisfied.

On days that you really lack motivation or simply do not have time for your complete exercise routine, commit to do just 10 minutes of exercise. You’ll probably end up doing more than that once you get started. Even if you only end up completing 10 minutes, that is still a lot better than zero minutes. When presented with a large variety of food options, it’s tempting to want to eat everything. Rather than eating one large slice of chocolate cake or a huge plate of meatballs, select a sampling of bite size pieces of several of the desert or appetizer offerings. This way you get the enjoyment of trying many different foods without overeating.

Exercise at home. You’ll be more inclined to follow-through on your exercise commitment if you don’t have to drive somewhere to do your workout. Plus, you won’t waste any time on driving, parking, the locker room or waiting to use equipment. Working out at home requires very little equipment (even can be equipment-free) and is quite inexpensive.

Avoid wasting calories on alcoholic beverages. The average alcoholic drink contains 150-200 calories per glass. Indulge in just 2-3 drinks and you’ve drunk the equivalent calories of an entire meal. If you partake in these beverages, choose wisely. For example, instead of having a full glass of wine, try mixing half a glass of wine with sparkling water or with a diet cola. This will help cut your calories in half.

When running errands or shopping, be sure to pack some healthy snacks to have on-hand. Then after you work-up a big appetite, you won’t be tempted to grab something at the mall food court or the fast food restaurant on the way home.

Hopefully these tips will help you find a balance between staying fit and also enjoying the fun of the season. Remember, moderation is the key.

Have a great holiday season!

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Unique Holiday Gift Ideas.

Well, it’s that time of year again – the holiday shopping season has arrived. Have you thought about what you are going to give those people on your “hard to shop for” list? Instead of another tie for your dad or music CD for your sister, why don’t you give them a truly unique and invaluable gift? I’m talking about the gift of fitness.

The gift of fitness is something that you can give to just about everybody on your shopping list, from your parents, to your spouse, a friend, your siblings, an employee or co-worker, even your children. And it’s a gift that is invaluable to everyone. After all who doesn’t want to look better, feel better, and be healthier?

And, it’s a gift that you can truly feel proud to give. When you give someone the gift of fitness, you are helping him open a door to better health (both physically and mentally). I can’t think of a more thoughtful gift that shows the recipient how much you care about their well-being. By giving the gift of fitness you are providing them with unlimited health benefits.

Of course, we all know that exercise can help people stay slim and fit. But, do you also know about all the other great benefits of exercising? Daily physical activity reduces stress and can help you sleep better. Fitness has been linked to reducing the risk of some diseases and to warding off depression. Researchers also believe that strength training can help prevent osteoporosis. Not to mention that exercise also improves self-esteem, increases stamina and ultimately helps you be able to do continuous work for longer.

I bet a lot of people on your shopping list would find these fitness benefits incredibly invaluable. If the people on your list are like most of us, they’ve probably even mentioned how they want to drop a few pounds of just get in better shape. In fact, experts say that about 62% of Americans are currently on a diet. By giving the gift of fitness you are helping provide them with motivation (which is one of the biggest obstacles in getting fit). They may feel more motivated to actually get fit because they don’t want to feel guilty for ignoring such a thoughtful gift (this is especially true when you give an online personal training gift certificate, which is a great motivator).

While fitness gifts are incredibly valuable, they don’t have to be expensive. Gifts can cost as little as $5 or range into the $100s of dollars. Here are a few suggestions in the various price ranges:

Under $15:

• Resistance Band (also makes a great stocking stuffer)
• Dumbbells
• Jump Rope (also makes a great stocking stuffer)
• Exercise Mat

$15 – $35

• Fitness Ball
• Online Personal Training Program (custom designed for the gift recipient)
• Home Exercise Video (also makes a great stocking stuffer)
• Heart Rate Monitor

Over $35

• Full dumbbell set
• Treadmill
• Bicycle
• Yoga Kit

Giving something that supports health and wellness will be appreciated for years to come and may even turn someone’s life around. The gift of fitness will make the recipient feel special – they’ll know that someone cared enough to give them the opportunity to improve their health. And, giving a gift that will help someone lead a healthier life is also one of the most rewarding gifts you can give. So why spend another holiday season searching for the perfect gift only to end up with the same old things like gift certificates or socks or books? Surprise everyone this year and give the gift that comes from the heart and truly keeps on giving throughout the New Year and beyond. And don’t forget yourself – you deserve the gift of fitness too!

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Tips For Keeping Your New Year’s.

The New Year is quickly creeping up on us. Do you have a New Year’s Resolution? Well, if you’re like most Americans (88 percent in 2001 according to a General Nutrition Centers poll), you have at least one resolution. And, if you are like the majority of these promise-makers, your resolution is probably related to health and fitness. In 2001 (according to GNC), 55 percent promised to eat healthier, 50 percent resolved to exercise more, and 38 percent wanted to lose weight.

While resolutions are well-intentioned, unfortunately most people fail at keeping them. With all the hype surrounding these promises, it’s easy to get caught up in them without really taking them seriously.

We live in a throw-away society and even our resolutions, I’m afraid, are not immune. However, especially for promises that include improving our health it’s in our best interest to not take them lightly.

So, what’s the secret to successful resolutions? While you can’t wave a magic wand and make your resolution come true, there are some easy steps to take to make it easier to fulfill your promise to yourself.

• Choose an obtainable goal. Resolving to look like a super model is not realistic for the majority of us, but promising to include daily physical activity in our lives is very possible.

• Avoid choosing a resolution that you’ve been unsuccessful at achieving year after year. This will only set you up for failure, frustration and disappointment. If you are still tempted to make a promise that you’ve made before, then try altering it. For example, instead of stating that you are going to lose 30 pounds, try promising to eat healthier and increase your weekly exercise.

• Create a game plan. At the beginning of January, write a comprehensive plan. All successful businesses start with a business plan that describes their mission and specifics on how they will achieve it. Write your own personal plan and you’ll be more likely to succeed as well.

• Break it down and make it less intimidating. Rather than one BIG end goal, dissect it into smaller pieces. Set several smaller goals to achieve throughout the year that will help you to reach the ultimate goal. Then even if you aren’t able to reach your final goal, you will have many smaller, but still significant, achievements along the way. For example, if your goal is to complete a 10K race, your smaller goals could be running a 5K in less than 30 minutes, adding upper and lower body strength training to increase your muscular endurance, and running 2 miles with a personal best completion time.

• Ask friends and family members to help you so you have someone to be accountable to. Just be sure to set limits so that this doesn’t backfire and become more irritating than helpful. For example, if you resolve to be more positive ask them to gently remind you when you start talking negatively. Reward yourself with each milestone. If you’ve stuck with your resolution for 2 months, treat yourself to something special. But, be careful of your reward type. If you’ve lost 5 pounds, don’t give yourself a piece of cake as an award. Instead, treat yourself to a something non-food related, like a professional massage.

• Don’t go it alone! Get professional assistance. Everyone needs help and sometimes a friend just isn’t enough. Sometimes you need the help of a trained professional. Don’t feel that seeking help is a way of copping out. Especially when it comes to fitness, research studies have shown that assistance from a fitness professional greatly improves peoples success rate.

• Limit your number of promises. You’ll spread yourself too thin trying to make multiple changes in your life. This will just lead to failure of all of the resolutions. On average only about 20% of us keep our New Year’s resolutions. Unfortunately, some of the biggest failures are found in fitness resolutions. But don’t let the statistics get you down. By following the tips above you’ll be better equipped to fall into the successful 20% category.

If you need professional help with a fitness-related resolution, click here:

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Mad Cow Disease Spread More Extensive than U.S. Officials Realize.

In October 2001, 34-year-old Washington State native Peter Putnam started losing his mind. One month he was delivering a keynote business address, the next he couldn’t form a complete sentence. Once athletic, soon he couldn’t walk. Then he couldn’t eat. After a brain biopsy showed it was Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, his doctor could no longer offer any hope. “Just take him home and love him,” the doctor counseled his family. Peter’s tragic death, in October 2002, may have been caused by Mad Cow disease.

Seven years earlier and 5000 miles away, Stephen Churchill was the first in England to die. His first symptoms of depression and dizziness gave way to a living nightmare of terrifying hallucinations; he was dead in 12 months at age 19. Next was Peter Hall, 20, who showed the first signs of depression around Christmas, 1994. By the next Christmas, he couldn’t walk, talk, or do anything for himself. Then it was Anna’s turn, then Michelle’s. Michelle Bowen, age 29, died in a coma three weeks after giving birth to her son via emergency cesarean section. Then it was Alison’s turn. These were the first five named victims of Britain’s Mad Cow epidemic. They died from what the British Secretary of Health called the worst form of death imaginable, Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, a relentlessly progressive and invariably fatal human dementia. The announcement of their deaths, released on March 20, 1996 (ironically, Meatout Day), reversed the British government’s decade-old stance that British beef was safe to eat.

It is now considered an “incontestable fact” that these human deaths in Britain were caused by Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE), or Mad Cow disease. Bovine means “cow or cattle,” spongiform means “sponge-like,” and encephalopathy means “brain disease.” Mad Cow disease is caused by unconventional pathogens called prions—literally infectious proteins—which, because of their unique structure, are practically invulnerable, surviving even incineration at temperatures hot enough to melt lead. The leading theory as to how cows got Mad Cow disease in the first place is by eating diseased sheep infected with a sheep spongiform encephalopathy called scrapie.

In humans, prions can cause Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD), a human spongiform encephalopathy whose clinical picture can involve weekly deterioration into blindness and epilepsy as one’s brain becomes riddled with tiny holes.

We’ve known about Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease for decades, since well before the first mad cow was discovered in 1985. Some cases of CJD seemed to run in families; other cases seemed to just arise spontaneously in about one in a million people every year, and were hence dubbed “sporadic.” The new form of CJD caused by eating beef from cows infected with Mad Cow disease, though, seemed to differ from the classic sporadic CJD.

The CJD caused by infected meat has tended to strike younger people, has produced more psychotic symptoms, and has often dragged on for a year or more. The most defining characteristic, though, was found when their brains were sampled. The brain pathology was vividly reminiscent of Kuru, a disease once found in a New Guinea tribe of cannibals who ate the brains of their dead. Scientists called this new form of the disease “variant” CJD.

Other than Charlene, a 24-year-old woman now so tragically dying in Florida, who was probably infected in Britain, there have been no reported cases of variant CJD in the U.S. Hundreds of confirmed cases of the sporadic form of Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, however, arise in the United States every year, but the beef industry is quick to point out these are cases of sporadic CJD, not the new variant known to be caused by Mad Cow disease. Of course, no one knows what causes sporadic CJD. New research, discussed below, suggests that not hundreds but thousands of Americans die of sporadic CJD every year, and that some of these CJD deaths may be caused by eating infected meat after all.

Although the fact that Mad Cow disease causes variant CJD had already been strongly established, researchers at the University College of London nevertheless created transgenic mice complete with “humanized” brains genetically engineered with human genes to try to prove the link once and for all. When the researchers injected one strain of the “humanized” mice with infected cow brains, they came down with the same brain damage seen in human variant CJD, as expected. But when they tried this in a different strain of transgenic “humanized” mice, those mice got sick too, but most got sick from what looked exactly like sporadic CJD! The Mad Cow prions caused a disease that had a molecular signature indistinguishable from sporadic CJD. To the extent that animal experiments can simulate human results, their shocking conclusion was that eating infected meat might be responsible for some cases of sporadic CJD in addition to the expected variant CJD. The researchers concluded that “it is therefore possible that some patients with [what looks like]… sporadic CJD may have a disease arising from BSE exposure.” Laura Manuelidis, section chief of surgery in the neuropathology department at Yale University, comments, “Now people are beginning to realize that because something looks like sporadic CJD they can’t necessarily conclude that it’s not linked to [Mad Cow disease]…”

This is not the first time meat was linked to sporadic CJD. In 2001, a team of French researchers found, to their complete surprise, a strain of scrapie—“mad sheep” disease—that caused the same brain damage in mice as sporadic CJD.“This means we cannot rule out that at least some sporadic CJD may be caused by some strains of scrapie,” says team member Jean-Philippe Deslys of the French Atomic Energy Commission’s medical research laboratory.

Population studies had failed to show a link between CJD and lamb chops, but this French research provided an explanation why. There seem to be six types of sporadic CJD and there are more than 20 strains of scrapie. If only some sheep strains affect only some people, studies of entire populations may not clearly show the relationship. Monkeys fed infected sheep brains certainly come down with the disease. Hundreds of “mad sheep” were found in the U.S. in 2003. Scrapie remains such a problem in the United States that the USDA has issued a scrapie “declaration of emergency.” Maybe some cases of sporadic CJD in the U.S. are caused by sheep meat as well.

Pork is also a potential source of infection. Cattle remains are still boiled down and legally fed to pigs (as well as chickens) in this country. The FDA allows this exemption because no “naturally occurring” porcine (pig) spongiform encephalopathy has ever been found. But American farmers typically kill pigs at just five months of age, long before the disease is expected to show symptoms. And, because pigs are packed so tightly together, it would be difficult to spot neurological conditions like spongiform encephalopathies, whose most obvious symptoms are movement and gait disturbances. We do know, however, that pigs are susceptible to the disease—laboratory experiments show that pigs can indeed be infected by Mad Cow brains—and hundreds of thousands of downer pigs, too sick or crippled by injury to even walk, arrive at U.S. slaughterhouses every year.

A number of epidemiological studies have suggested a link between pork consumption and sporadic CJD. Analyzing peoples’ diet histories, the development of CJD was associated with eating roast pork, ham, hot dogs, pork chops, smoked pork, and scrapple (a kind of pork pudding made from various hog carcass scraps). The researchers concluded, “The present study indicated that consumption of pork as well as its processed products (e.g., ham, scrapple) may be considered as risk factors in the development of Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease.” Compared to people that didn’t eat ham, for example, those who included ham in their diet seemed ten times more likely to develop CJD. In fact, the USDA may have actually recorded an outbreak of “mad pig” disease in New York 25 years ago, but still refuses to reopen the investigation despite petitions from the Consumer’s Union (the publishers of Consumer Reports magazine).

Sporadic CJD has also been associated with weekly beef consumption, as well as the consumption of roast lamb, veal, venison, brains in general, and, in North America, seafood. The development of CJD has also, surprisingly, been significantly linked to exposure to animal products in fertilizer, sport fishing and deer hunting in the U.S., and frequent exposure to leather products.

We do not know at this time whether chicken meat poses a risk. There was a preliminary report of ostriches allegedly fed risky feed in German zoos who seemed to come down with a spongiform encephalopathy. Even if chickens and turkeys themselves are not susceptible, though, they may become so-called “silent carriers” of Mad Cow prions and pass them on to human consumers. Dateline NBC quoted D. Carleton Gajdusek, the first to be awarded a Nobel Prize in Medicine for his work on prion diseases, as saying, “it’s got to be in the pigs as well as the cattle. It’s got to be passing through the chickens.” Dr. Paul Brown, medical director for the U.S. Public Health Service, believes that pigs and poultry could indeed be harboring Mad Cow disease and passing it on to humans, adding that pigs are especially sensitive to the disease. “It’s speculation,” he says, “but I am perfectly serious.”

The recent exclusion of most cow brains, eyes, spinal cords, and intestines from the human food supply may make beef safer, but where are those tissues going? These potentially infectious tissues continue to go into animal feed for chickens, other poultry, pigs, and pets (as well as being rendered into products like tallow for use in cosmetics, the safety of which is currently under review). Until the federal government stops the feeding of slaughterhouse waste, manure, and blood to all farm animals, the safety of meat in America cannot be guaranteed.

The hundreds of American families stricken by sporadic CJD every year have been told that it just occurs by random chance. Professor Collinge, the head of the University College of London lab, noted, “When you counsel those who have the classical sporadic disease, you tell them that it arises spontaneously out of the blue. I guess we can no longer say that.”

“We are not saying that all or even most cases of sporadic CJD are as a result of BSE exposure,” Professor Collinge continued, “but some more recent cases may be—the incidence of sporadic CJD has shown an upward trend in the UK over the last decade… serious consideration should be given to a proportion of this rise being BSE-related. Switzerland, which has had a substantial BSE epidemic, has noted a sharp recent increase in sporadic CJD.” In the Nineties, Switzerland had the highest rate of Mad Cow disease in continental Europe, and their rate of sporadic CJD doubled.

We don’t know exactly what’s happening to the rate of CJD in this country, in part because CJD is not an officially notifiable illness. Currently only a few states have such a requirement. Because the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) does not actively monitor the disease on a national level, a rise similar to the one in Europe could be missed. In spite of this, a number of U.S. CJD clusters have already been found. In the largest known U.S. outbreak of sporadic cases to date, five times the expected rate was found to be associated with cheese consumption in Pennsylvania’s Lehigh Valley. A striking increase in CJD over expected levels was also reported in Florida and New York (Nassau County) with anecdotal reports of clusters of deaths in Oregon and New Jersey.

Perhaps particularly worrisome is the seeming increase in CJD deaths among young people in this country. In the 18 years between 1979 and 1996, only a single case of sporadic CJD was found in someone under 30; whereas between 1997 and 2001, five people under 30 died of sporadic CJD. So five young Americans died in five years, as opposed to one young case in the previous 18 years. The true prevalence of CJD among any age group in this country remains a mystery, though, in part because it is so commonly misdiagnosed.

The most frequent misdiagnosis of CJD among the elderly is Alzheimer’s disease. Neither CJD nor Alzheimer’s can be conclusively diagnosed without a brain biopsy, and the symptoms and pathology of both diseases overlap. There can be spongy changes in Alzheimer’s, for example, and senile Alzheimer’s plaques in CJD. Stanley Prusiner, the scientist who won the Nobel Prize for his discovery of prions, speculates that Alzheimer’s may even turn out to be a prion disease as well. In younger victims, CJD is more often misdiagnosed as multiple sclerosis or as a severe viral infection.

Over the last 20 years the rates of Alzheimer’s disease in the United States have skyrocketed. According to the CDC, Alzheimer’s disease is now the eighth leading cause of death in the United States, afflicting an estimated 4 million Americans. Twenty percent or more of people clinically diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, though, are found at autopsy not to have had Alzheimer’s at all. A number of autopsy studies have shown that a few percent of Alzheimer’s deaths may in fact be CJD. Given the new research showing that infected beef may be responsible for some sporadic CJD, thousands of Americans may already be dying because of Mad Cow disease every year.

Nobel Laureate Gajdusek, for example, estimates that 1% of people showing up in Alzheimer clinics actually have CJD. At Yale, out of a series of 46 patients clinically diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, six were proven to have CJD at autopsy. In another study of brain biopsies, out of a dozen patients diagnosed with Alzheimer’s according to established criteria, three of them were actually dying from CJD. An informal survey of neuropathologists registered a suspicion that CJD accounts for 2-12% of all dementias in general. Two autopsy studies showed a CJD rate among dementia deaths of about 3%. A third study, at the University of Pennsylvania, showed that 5% of patients diagnosed with dementia had CJD. Although only a few hundred cases of sporadic CJD are officially reported in the U.S. annually, hundreds of thousands of Americans die with dementia every year. Thousands of these deaths may actually be from CJD caused by eating infected meat.

The incubation period for human spongiform encephalopathies such as CJD can be decades. This means it can be years between eating infected meat and getting diagnosed with the death sentence of CJD. Although only about 150 people have so far been diagnosed with variant CJD worldwide, it will be many years before the final death toll is known. In the United States, an unknown number of animals are infected with Mad Cow disease, causing an unknown number of human deaths from CJD. The U.S. should immediately begin testing all cows destined for human consumption, as is done in Japan, should stop feeding slaughterhouse waste to all farm animals (see http://organicconsumers.org/madcow/GregerBSE.cfm), and should immediately enact an active national surveillance program for CJD.

Five years ago this week, the Center for Food Safety, the Humane Farming Association, the Center for Media & Democracy, and ten families of CJD victims petitioned the FDA and the CDC to immediately enact a national CJD monitoring system, including the mandatory reporting of CJD in all 50 states. The petition was denied. The CDC argued that their passive surveillance system tracking death certificate diagnoses was adequate. Their analysis of death certificates in three states and two cities, for example, showed an overall stable and typical one in a million CJD incidence rate from 1979 to 1993. But CJD is so often misdiagnosed, and autopsies are so infrequently done, that this system may not provide an accurate assessment.

In 1997, the CDC set up the National Prion Disease Pathology Surveillance Center at Case Western Reserve University to analyze brain tissue from CJD victims in the U.S. in hopes of tracking any new developments. In Europe, surveillance centers have been seeing most, if not all, cases of CJD. The U.S. center sees less than half. “I’m very unhappy with the numbers,” laments Pierluigi Gambetti, the director of the Center. “The British and Germans politely smile when they see we examine 30% or 40% of the cases,” he says. “They know unless you examine 80% or more, you are not in touch.”“The chance of losing an important case is high.”

One problem is that many doctors don’t even know the Center exists. And neither the CDC nor the Center are evidently authorized to reach out to them directly to bolster surveillance efforts, because it’s currently up to each state individually to determine how—or even whether—they will track the disease. In Europe, in contrast, the national centers work directly with each affected family and their physicians. In the U.S., most CJD cases—even the confirmed ones—seem to just fall through the cracks. In fact, based on the autopsy studies at Yale and elsewhere, it seems most CJD cases in the U.S. aren’t even picked up in the first place.

Autopsy rates have dropped in the U.S. from 50% in the Sixties to less than 10% at present. Although one reason autopsies are rarely performed on atypical dementia cases is that medical professionals are afraid of catching the disease, the primary reason for the decline in autopsy rates in general appears to be financial. There is currently no direct reimbursement to doctors or hospitals for doing autopsies, which often forces the family to absorb the cost of transporting the body to an autopsy center and having the brain samples taken, a tab that can run upwards of $1500.

Another problem is that the National Prion Disease Pathology Surveillance Center itself remains underfunded. Paul Brown, medical director for the National Institutes of Health, has described the Center’s budget as “pitiful,” complaining that “there isn’t any budget for CJD surveillance.” To adequately survey America’s 290 million residents, “you need a lot of money.” UK CJD expert Robert Will explains, “There was a CJD meeting of families in America in which…[the CDC] got attacked fairly vigorously because there wasn’t proper surveillance. You could only do proper surveillance if you have adequate resources.”“I compare this to the early days of AIDS,” says protein chemist Shu Chen, who directs the Center’s lab, “when no one wanted to deal with the crisis.”

Andrew Kimbrell, the director of the Center for Food Safety, a D.C.-based public interest group, writes, “Given what we know now, it is unconscionable that the CDC is not strictly monitoring these diseases.” Given the presence of Mad Cow disease in the U.S., we need to immediately enact uniform active CJD surveillance on a national level, provide adequate funding not only for autopsies but also for the shipment of bodies, and require mandatory reporting of the disease in all 50 states. In Britain, even feline spongiform encephalopathy, the cat version of Mad Cow disease, is an officially notifiable illness. “No one has looked for CJD systematically in the U.S.,” notes NIH medical director Paul Brown. “Ever.”

The animal agriculture industries continue to risk public safety, and the government seems to protect the industries’ narrow business interests more than it protects its own citizens. Internal USDA documents retrieved through the Freedom of Information Act show that our government did indeed consider a number of precautionary measures as far back as 1991 to protect the American public from Mad Cow disease. According to one such document, however, the USDA explained that the “disadvantage” of these measures was that “the cost to the livestock and rendering industries would be substantial.”

Plant sources of protein for farm animals can cost up to 30% more than cattle remains. The Cattlemen’s Association admitted a decade ago that animal agribusiness could indeed find economically feasible alternatives to feeding slaughterhouse waste to other animals, but that they did not want to set a precedent of being ruled by “activists.”

Is it a coincidence that USDA Secretary Veneman chose Dale Moore, former chief lobbyist for the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, as her chief of staff? Or Alison Harrison, former director of public relations for the Cattlemen’s Association, as her official spokeswoman? Or that one of the new Mad Cow committee appointees is William Hueston, who was paid by the beef industry to testify against Oprah Winfrey in hopes of convicting her of beef “disparagement”? After a similar conflict of interest unfolded in Britain, their entire Ministry of Agriculture was dissolved and an independent Food Safety Agency was created, whose sole responsibility is to protect the public’s health. Until we learn from Britain’s lesson, and until the USDA stops treating this as a PR problem to be managed instead of a serious global threat, millions of Americans will remain at risk.

Unconventional Yet Effective Weight Loss Measures

Are you tired of trying out the conventional weight loss programs and yet not getting benefits? Are all the dieting, exercising, pill-popping and other weight loss regimens failing to flatten up your tummy? Think about testing some unconventional measures now. These have produced remarkable results on many an obese person and may well prove to be effective for helping you lose weight too.

Making use of the Intestinal Plaque Loosener is one such unconventional weight loss technique. This employs sound waves to bring about the weight loss. It is been found that plaque buildup is an important reason behind development of bulging intestines. Now plaque is the residue of old mucoid matter that lines the inside of the intestines. Such plaque spread throughout the length of the intestine gives rise to a great bulk and weight and tummy protrusion. No wonder why people with thin arms and legs are often seen with protruding bellies. Now the Intestinal Plaque Loosener generates sound waves in a specially set pattern that causes loosening and elimination of plaque from the large and small intestines. This leads to flattening up of the tummy and reduction of body weight.

Addressing of the psychological causes for increase in body weight is another unconventional way to help bring about body weight loss. Efforts are made herein to understand the little known secrets of thin people that they unconsciously follow and remain thin. As per these weight-control guidelines it is suggested that:

  1. Skipping a meal is harmful as there is a tendency to overeat in the next meal. So, one must never skin a meal.
  2. Pushing away nurturing and gratifying experiences coming one’s way (a compliment, a gift, a favor etc.) is harmful. This leads to creating of a mental void resulting in overeating as an effort to compensate for this unconsciously thus gaining weight in the process. Thus shying away from the gentler moments of life only makes one a loser in terms of mental and physical fitness.
  3. Getting distracted and trying to concentrate on more than one thing at a time leads to carelessly eat and gain weight. Therefore, one need especially concentrate on one thing at a time.

Again, yet another unconventional weight loss measure that is fast becoming popular is the making use of music to keep you delighted and fit in both mind and body. As per this weight loss measure piano compositions and other transformational music pieces are played to help overweight persons listening feel relieved of the burden of excess weight and associated stress. The feeling that this process generates in the mind manifests in the physical wellness and fitness of the body. This can serve good as an accompaniment to natural healing, treatments and diet plans too.

Latest Stress Control Suggestions

Stress is a major menace of our times. Findings indicate that 70-90 percent of the population today is suffering from some kind of stress (in the workplace and elsewhere). Isn’t this really alarming?

To combat this growing menace competent physicians expert in the field of stress control and management have suggested several measures. Some of the latest suggestions offered by them are:

  • Find time to relax and drink a cup of tea two to three times a day. Pure teas have a very soothing and relaxing effect on the whole system and have been proved by researchers to be one of the best stress busters. Herbal teas i.e. teas prepared from various herbs acclaimed for their medicinal and curative properties over the ages are a wonderful option. However, it is suggested that teas should not be mixed with milk and/or refined sugar for giving the best results.
  • Rudraksha- a bead obtained from an Indian tree has been found to be very effective in stress management. This is actually a fruit that is believed to possess miraculous powers. It finds usage in spiritual and occult practices. It is the proven curative effect of the fruit on several physiological and psychological diseases that it is being brought into use in stress management. Wearers of these beads tied in a string or chain have testified to its remarkable stress reducing properties.
  • Good planning and setting up of realistic and achievable targets is a key stress control measure. You need to identify your priorities and goals and pursue only those and organize your time accordingly. This will keep stress and tension at bay.
  • Eating sensibly helps ease out tension and reduce stress too. Make sure you avoid caffeine. You must resolve never to try coping with high levels of stress by using alcohol or drugs. These will do more harm than good.
  • Set aside a period for complete relaxation in your daily schedule. Just a 25-20 minutes time spent each day in an undisturbed atmosphere and taking of 40 deep and slow diaphragmatic breaths will considerably help out in managing stress. Practicing some aerobic exercises like jogging, swimming or simply walking will further help in providing freedom from stress.

Though researchers are finding out new stress control measures such as these yet we must understand that the root cause of the problem lies in the busy modern way of life that we follow. This way of life as characterized by hectic activity, tight deadlines and packed schedules is very much taxing on our system thereby affecting both our physical and mental health in more ways than one. Now, since we cannot change our lifestyle altogether we need advocate at least some of the advanced stress busting measures as suggested above.