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  • Top Three Ways Thinking Positively Helps in Anti-Aging

    Written by Dr Sandra Miranda, ND

    The mind can be a very powerful tool. Over the recent decades, there has been much talk about positive psychology and the workings of the mind. The belief is that the more you are grateful for, the more you will have to be grateful for in your future. Thinking positively is equated with drawing even more positive things into your life.

    What does this all have to do with aging? Well, research and studies are showing that the way we choose to think will have a direct impact on how we react to the changes of aging.

    There are three main ways how thinking positively can help in the anti-aging process.

    1. Resilience

    Resilience is better known as bouncing back. The greater your resilience is, the greater your chances are for a successful life. When you think positively, it helps with your resilience.

    Everyone but everyone has a setback or disappointment and even an unexpected life event; however, how an individual reacts to such events is key to keeping the mind, body, and spirit alive and active.

    When you are resilient, you have the ability to take another look at the situation at hand. When one door closes, you can see an opportunity as perhaps a window opening. Getting right back up no matter how many times you fall is an important component of being resilient.

    Being resilient in your younger years absolutely equips you to face those changes that come (what seems like) fast and furiously in your older years.

    2. Being Positive

    Having a positive mindset is something that for certain individuals comes easily. For others, however, it is not so straightforward. The good news is that being positive is something that you can learn, although it does take some training of the mind and a bit of practice.

    Individuals who practice positivity in his or her early years, have a tendency to keep that sunnier disposition throughout the aging process. Having a positive outlook, knowing that you lived your life as best as you could ñ mistakes and all ñ is a benefit for you as you age.

    Learning to have a positive outlook and making it a part of your nature equips you to better face unexpected health issues, changes, and the losses that inevitably occur in later years.

    3. A Health Benefit

    Who would have thought that thinking positively would have health benefits. Studies show that the simple act of smiling or listening to happy music may have an impact on an individualís health.

    The release of certain chemicals to the brain can create a happier and healthier individual.

    A happier and healthier individual is more likely to age more successfully than an individual who is negative.

    So, as you can see, learning the art of positivity and practicing it may just be good for your health.

    Read more »
  • Yoga and Meditation as Preventative Medicine

    Written by Dr Sandra Miranda, ND

    Every one of us has probably used the escuse that we do not have time for exercise and eating right, much less for yoga or meditation. For many of us, thoughts of meditating probably bring images of the kids running around after the dog, the doorbell ringing, and a loud noise somewhere in the background, as we try to go into meditative state.

    However, those reasons may be the exact reasons why we need to consider yoga and meditation as preventative medicine.

    Incorporating yoga and meditation as preventative medicine is just like adding anything else to our to-do list.

    There are several ways to incorporate yoga and meditation as preventative medicine.

    The Buddy System

    You would not have to search far or long to find a buddy who is in need of some serious de-stressing, relaxation, or chilling out. Just start talking about the need for some rest, relaxation, and rejuvenation and you will find that attentive listeners suddenly surround you.

    Yoga and meditation are beneficial to preventing illness in many ways:

    * A relaxed body promotes a relaxed mind

    * Studies show that positive emotions lead to healthier lives

    * Studies also show that stress can cause major disease such as heart disease and high blood pressure

    * Yoga and meditation relieve stress and cleanse the mind

    It is in our best interest to incorporate yoga and meditation into your busy lifestyle. However, how do you do that? The answer is to grab an accountability partner. When one of you starts to say that you are too busy, too tired, or have too much to do, the other is responsible for wiping that negativity out and grabbing the other and going.

    Being Intentional

    Without intention, nothing will be successful. Whether you have chosen to take a new study class, join a gym, or practice meditation and yoga, you have to be intentional about it. If being intentional is difficult, here is a tip. Think about being an example and role model to your children. Tell them of your goal and this will motivate you to reach that goal. When your children see that you are achieving a difficult task, it will give them an example to follow in their own lives.

    When you are intentional and you have a buddy to partner up with, yoga and meditation become easy. Once you discipline yourself to take care of yourself, you will find that you have more energy, more peace, and less illness in your life.

    Read more »
  • What is a Panic Attack?

    Written by Dr Sandra Miranda, ND

    A panic attack can be a very frightening thing. Some sufferers feel as if they are choking or having a heart attack. But knowing what's going on can go a long way in helping you cope with such an attack. Here is what a panic attack is, and some of its possible causes and symptoms.

    What Is a Panic Attack?

    When you experience sudden, terrifying feelings of fear over which you have no control, it may be a panic attack. Such feelings are often accompanied by physical sensations, such as pain in the chest or abdomen or a feeling of suffocation and choking. Panic attacks are often a symptom of an anxiety disorder.

    Causes

    As noted above, panic attacks are often a manifestation of an underlying disorder. Thus, to find the cause(s) of the attack, doctors and therapists must look at causal factors of the disorder.

    Sometimes, panic attacks don't have any apparent cause, or may have specific triggers. For example, you may experience a panic attack every time you try to get into an elevator or drive under a bridge. The elevator and the bridge are not causing the attacks, but something about your perception of them is. Thus, there is an underlying anxiety or fear that needs to be addressed.

    You may have a family predisposition for having anxiety or it could be a hormonal or a neurotransmitter imbalance causing these symptoms.  I have also seen patients that are more likely going to feel anxiety and panic attacks from having too much coffee, soda pop, chocolate, and sugar.

    Symptoms

    One of the most difficult and frightening aspects of panic attacks is that they can strike without warning. There are both symptoms of a panic attack itself, and symptoms of a panic disorder that may give rise to an attack. First, let's look at the symptoms of a panic attack itself.

    Symptoms of a panic attack are numerous. They include feelings of detachment from reality or from your surroundings; pain in the chest; heart palpitations; rapid pulse; dizziness; sweating; gasping for breath (or hyperventilating); and nausea or stomach pain. Sometimes you may feel like you're dying. The symptoms feed on themselves, so to speak, so that the longer you experience the attack the more the fear grips you. Panic attacks do pass, however - usually after about 10 minutes or under 1/2 hour.

    Symptoms of a panic disorder actually include panic attacks themselves. In addition, signs of panic disorders may also include fear of panic attacks; an inability to socialize; desperate attempts to avoid another panic attack (such as avoiding all possible triggers and obsessing over what those triggers are/were); and, in the case of panic disorder with agoraphobia, you are so afraid of having a panic attack in public that you avoid crowded places or even any public place.

    If you suffer from any of these problems or symptoms, there are effective treatments available. Discuss the problem with your doctor, and he or she can refer you to a therapist who can help.

    Read more »
  • What is Anxiety?

    Written by Dr Sandra Miranda, ND 

    Anxiety is basically worry that never stops. Its symptoms can be severe or mild, and include emotional, physical, and/or psychological manifestations. Here are some of the symptoms and possible causes of anxiety. 

    SYMPTOMS AND MANIFESTATIONS

    -Abdominal Problems

    Anxiety can cause pain in your abdomen. Anxiety can also cause nausea, vomiting, and/or diarrhea. Have you ever had "butterflies in your stomach"? This refers to the fluttery feeling you get in your middle when you're nervous. This is caused by the "flight or fight" response, during which the body decreases circulation to non-vital body processes such as digestion. This allows your body to go into full alert, able to run or fight as the case may be. When this is prolonged, however, the digestive organs become worn out and, without the return of normal circulation, begin to malfunction.

    -Muscle Tension

    This can cause pain throughout the body, the most frightening being the chest tightness in a "panic attack." (Panic attacks are also symptoms of anxiety.) The muscle spasms can feel like you're choking or like a heart attack, increasing feelings of fear and anxiety.

    -Phobias

    Phobias are irrational fears of harmless or specific things. Fear of heights, spiders, or flying in airplanes are some of the more common phobias.

    -Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)

    People with OCD feel the need to enact some sort of ritual to alleviate anxious feelings. Probably the most well-known example is obsessive hand-washing, but OCD can also involve other ritualistic behaviour, such as checking all the doors and windows multiple times to see that they are locked, even when you just locked them.

    -Headaches

    Probably a result of muscle tension or chemical imbalance in the brain, headaches often are part of anxiety.

    -Heart Palpitations

    This is when the heart seems to flutter or beat rapidly and irregularly. Like the butterflies in the stomach, heart palpitations are part of the fight or flight response, only in the case of anxiety it's chronic.

    -Restlessness/Insomnia

    People with anxiety often have trouble relaxing in general and sleeping in particular.

    CAUSES OF ANXIETY

    -Genetics

    There is evidence to suggest that the tendency to develop anxiety can be inherited. This genetic tendency may need an environmental trigger of some sort to develop actual anxiety symptoms.

    -Traumatic Event(s)

    Veterans of wars, survivors of rape and/or sexual abuse, and other victims of traumatic experience can suffer from anxiety. It's as though the brain can not "move on" from the event, creating patterns of anxious thoughts and physical symptoms.

    -Brain Chemicals or hormonal imbalances

    Those who suffer from anxiety tend to have abnormal levels of neurotransmitters or hormones, which means their brains have trouble transmitting information on a cellular level.  This is why it is not unusual to see women more affected by anxiety before their periods, or during peri-menopause or menopause.

    Read more »
  • Types of Stress

    Written by Dr Sandra Miranda, ND

    Stress is stress, right? Well, not always. There are actually categories of stress. They vary according to frequency, severity, and symptoms. Let's take a look at some of them.

    -Eustress

    This may be a new term to some. Eustress refers to "good" stress, or the kind of stress that actually enhances health and performance. This is the kind of stress you feel when you see your child about to topple down a flight of stairs, and it kicks your body systems into gear so that you can act quickly and efficiently to catch your child. Other ways that eustress manifests are in creative and athletic efforts. An artist who is driven by eustress becomes inspired and full of energy. An athlete gains excited energy and his or her body performs to its highest potential.  Eustress is brief, intense, and does not wear the body out. 

    -Hyperstress

    The prefix "hyper" denotes too much of something, or an excess of some sort - hyperactivity, hyperthyroidism, etc. Hyperstress is no exception. It refers to relentless stress that forces you to perform optimally and continually. It's like being asked to give your all every minute of every day, and sometimes through the night as well. Hyperstress is not healthy, and can cause burn-out.

    Hyperstressed people often feel tense and edgy. You may find that your emotions are always just below the surface and are easily provoked. 

    -Hypostress

    The opposite of the "hyper" prefix, "hypo" denotes a lack, as in hypoglycemia (low blood sugar). If you are hypostressed, you don't have enough stimuli. You're bored and do not have much motivation. This does not mean you're not doing anything; you just are not doing anything that interests or motivates you. For example, if you have a job that involves repetitive, mechanical action, such as on an assembly line, you may experience hypostress. Hypostress can make you feel restless, discontent, or apathetic.

    -Distress

    Distress is caused by a traumatic event or events, or some sort of negative environmental factor. It is sometimes used synonymously with anxiety. Distress itself is divided into two types: acute and chronic distress.

    *Acute distress results from a perceived threat. It may be real, such as being physically attacked, or it may be purely psychological. Either way, the result is distress. It's your response to being threatened. Acute distress can also be a reaction to a change or upheaval in your life. It is always temporary. 

    *Chronic distress is more on-going. It can result in illness and depression. It may still be caused by perceived threats or difficulties in the environment, but they are continual or frequent. Chronic distress can result if you are yelled at by your boss every day, for example, or if you are in a problematic marriage. Where acute distress is like a hammer blow, chronic distress is like a slow wearing down with sandpaper.

    Read more »

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