Bullies use a small but powerful weapon to torment allergic kids: peanuts

7 Reasons Why Laughter Is Good for You

Con for Care located in Wheaton, IL,  www.comforcare.com/illinois/central-dupage, asks if you have had a good laugh lately? Laughter connects people, eases trouble and makes the day brighter. It releases stress, activates learning, burns calories and supports memory. In short, laughter is good for you.
Why is laughter so beneficial? Here are seven reasons:
  1. Laughter triggers feel-good chemicals. Bursting into laughter stimulates endorphins. This releases dopamine in the brain, which promotes feelings of pleasure and well-being. It even relieves pain.
  2. Laughter helps learning. According to research from the University College London, when people try to understand jokes, it activates parts of the brain important to learning and understanding.
  3. Laughter improves short-term memory. Research at Loma Linda University revealed older adults who watched 20 minutes of funny videos prior to memory recall tests did significantly better than adults who were asked to wait quietly. The researchers report laughter reduces stress levels, and when stress is lowered, memory improves. Making time to laugh may be especially helpful for older adults who are experiencing memory loss.
  4. Laughter engages the whole brain. Laughter sustains high-amplitude gamma waves throughout the entire brain. It provides the brain with a workout that promotes clear thinking, focus and thought integration. Brain MRI studies show laughter has brain effects similar to meditation.
  5. Laughter burns calories. While laughter alone isn’t an aerobic workout, it requires more energy than sitting still. A Vanderbilt University study
    reported episodes of laughter use 10 to 20 percent more energy than sitting in a reclining position. The duration and intensity of the laugh affect the amount of calories used. The energy expended laughing is comparable to sedentary activities such as light clerical work or playing a card game.
  6. Laughter makes exercise fun. Laughter both strengthens and relaxes muscles. According to a recent study, combining laughter with a physical activity program emphasizing strength, balance and flexibility improves older adults’ mental health, aerobic endurance, confidence and motivation. “The combination of laughter and exercise may influence older adults to begin exercising and to stick with the program,” Celeste Greene, lead author of the study, said.
  7. Laughter fosters relationships. Telling a joke might open the door to new relationships. An Oxford University study found when participants who did not know each other had good laugh together, they shared significantly more personal information. The research supports the premise laughter encourages relationship development.

A Landmark Study for Alzheimer’s Prevention

With more than 5 million people living with with Alzheimer’s disease in the US, chances are you know someone who is impacted. Researchers across the country are currently conducting clinical trials aimed at identifying new treatments, and they need your help. Without participants, the pace of new research discoveries is slowed.

The Anti-Amyloid Treatment in Asymptomatic Alzheimer’s Disease (A4) Study is currently recruiting healthy adults between the ages of 65 and 85 who have no cognitive impairment, to test an experimental medication that may prevent or delay the onset of Alzheimer’s dementia. If you fit these criteria or know someone else who does, please call 1-844-A4STUDY (1-844-247-8839) or click here to learn more about the A4 Study and how you can get involved in the fight.

To view a customized list of clinical trials for which you might be eligible, please visit TrialMatch, the Alzheimer’s Association’s free and easy to use clinical trial matching service.

The Alzheimer’s Association is the leading voluntary health organization in Alzheimer’s care, support and research. Our mission is to eliminate Alzheimer’s disease through the advancement of research; to provide and enhance care and support for all affected; and to reduce the risk of dementia through the promotion of brain health. Our vision is a world without Alzheimer’s disease®.

Benefits and Uses of Lavender Essential Oil

The use of essential oils for health and wellness is a practice that is becoming more and more common in homes all over the world. However, every essential oil has its own unique properties, so it’s important to learn what each can do.

This article, provided by Allen Wei from Lean To Relax shares  21 of the best uses and benefits specific to your mental health, skin care, hair, stomach, and more.

Mental Health

1. Get Better Sleep for More Energy in the Daytime

Lavender has been used for hundreds of years as a way to treat insomnia, restless leg syn-drome, and other sleep-related problems.

In the past, people would dry up lavender leaves and put them under their pillows. The scent given off was said to promote relaxation by inducing alpha waves in the brain.

Science-Based Research

A study was published in the Journal of the Medical Association of Thailand which investi-gated the effects of lavender oil on mood, the central nervous system, and the autonomic nervous sys-tem.

The results showed that the lavender oil caused a decrease in blood pres-sure, skin tempera-ture, and heart rate, along with an increase in the power of alpha and theta brain activities.

How to use it?

In order to create your own lavender sleep aid, you can mix five or six drops of lavender essen-tial oil with a half cup of distilled water.

Add in one teaspoon of witch hazel and put it all into a spray bottle. Before bed, spritz your pillow case and linens with the lavender oil mixture.

You can also fill an oil diffuser with a few drops of the oil and set it by your bed.


2. Relieve Headaches

Lavender oil can be used to soothe and prevent headaches. Whether you suffer from mi-graines or other headache types such as gastric, nervous, general, sinus, or tension, this oil may be able to provide relief.

Science-Based Research

Researchers at the Mashhad University of Medical Science Department of Neurology per-formed a study on the efficacy of lavender oil inhalation in treating migraines.

The results showed 71% of those who inhaled lavender oil had symptoms improve partially or in full, while only 47% of the paraffin group reported improvements.

They concluded that inhaling lavender can be effec-tive in the acute management of migraine headaches.

How to use it?

There are a few different ways that you can use lavender oil in order to gain the benefits it has to offer for headaches.

One way is by getting an oil diffuser and running your lavender essential oil through it inside your home or office. Add four to five drops.

Another method is taking two to three drops of the oil and directly rubbing it in on the areas of your head that are feeling pain.


3. Reduce Anxiety and Depression

Lavender is calming, anti-convulsive, and a sedative that is used to reduce anxiety and depres-sive feelings.

For patients suffering from severe anxiety, lavender aromas can be used to aid in reprogramming the mind following a panic or acute attack.

With regular use, the relief process can start with the calming memories that surround the scent of lavender.

Science-Based Research

Forty-two college women studying in a nursing program at Keukdong College had reported is-sues with insomnia and depression.

They were entered into a study to determine if lavender scents would have an effect on their mental health conditions.

The results showed that lavender oil is beneficial for insomnia and depression in female college students.

How to use it?

One way to use lavender essential oils to reduce anxiety and depression is through hand massage. The scent can be mixed in with lotion and gently rubbed onto the surface of the skin.

For those that are suffering from panic or anxiety attacks, simply open up the bottle of oil and inhale the scent. Putting a few drops in a constantly running oil diffuser in your home is never a bad idea either as a preventative measure.


4. Reduce Agitation in Dementia

Lavender scents have been proven to create a relaxing, positive, and stable mood for those that use it.

People that suffer from dementia will frequently become confused which causes irritation and agitation. With the properties that lavender oil has, the ability to reduce these undesirable feelings is possible.

Science-Based Research

There have been a plethora of controlled clinical studies performed to evaluate the effec-tiveness of lavender oil in patients with dementia.

The goal being to determine if there are any changes in the participant’s moods, agitation, alertness, likelihood to wander, and other side effects related to the disease.

In one such study, lavender geranium and other essential oils were applied directly to the skin of 39 patients for an unspecified amount of time.

At the conclusion of the study, it was recorded that these individuals were more alert, less agitated, and they slept better at night. It was determined that lavender does have a positive effect on the mood of dementia patients, but further research is required.

How to use it?

For people that have been diagnosed with dementia, place an oil diffuser in their room with lav-ender oil.

This is an effective way for them to inhale the scent without someone having to ex-plain to them what they are doing and potentially confusing them even more.

Dementia patients that allow hand massages can also benefit from a few drops in their favorite lotion before appli-cation.

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Exercise can help lower dementia risk

The Journals of Gerontology Series A: Biological Sciences and Medical Sciences shared that new research has found that regular physical activity in older adults could increase brain size and decrease the risk of cognitive decline.

New research has found further evidence to support the positive association between exercise and dementia, finding that regular physical activity in older adults could increase brain size and decrease the risk of cognitive decline.

Carried out by researchers from UCLA, Calif., the team used the landmark Framingham Heart Study to look at an association between exercise, brain volume and the risk of developing dementia.

The Framingham Heart Study was set up to look at common characteristics that contribute to heart disease, but since it started back in 1948 it has also looked at factors that contribute to other physiological conditions including dementia.

For their study the team looked at the physical activity levels from the original group of participants in the Framingham Heart Study as well as their offspring who were age 60 or over.

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5 Habits of Happy Relationships

Dr. Colleen M. Fairbanks, Licensed Clinical Psychologist Specializing in Health and Wellness located at 9 North Main Street, Suite 11 in Lombard Illinois 60148 recently shared in a Lombard Town Center Newsletter the following very helpful information.

Relationships are a crucial part of who we are and something that most people need in order to feel they’ve lived a fulfilled life. Although relationships are common, it doesn’t mean they are easy. Whether you are looking to strengthen romantic, friend, work, or family relationships, building and sustaining healthy, meaningful relationships require time, energy, and consistently practicing the following five habits:

  1. Listen. When your partner talks to you about their day, listen. When you are having an argument, listen. When your partner is struggling with a difficult decision, listen. (Shocking that a psychologist would value listening, huh?!) Listening involves putting aside your own thoughts and being fully present and available in the moment for them. Listen without the worry of what you are going to say next. There is power in listening and in being heard. If both of these things are practiced regularly you and your partner will experience a heightened sense of connectedness as well as improved communication. (Que next habit!)
  2. Communication. Learning healthy productive ways to communicate can be a relationship game changer. How you communicate can make the difference in whether your relationship will last or be one in the past. Healthy communication involves sharing what you love about your partner, but also bringing up things that are troubling you. Sweeping things under the rug, rather than discussing them openly and honestly, will undoubtedly build resentment and a faulty foundation. Read more

Meditation for Better Health

College of DuPage Nursing student Joan Jones shared that according to Richard Miller, PhD in “Let Joy In”, the ways in finding joy can be as simple as accepting and welcoming feelings in. It can’t always be as easy as it sounds, but through this article, meditation and yoga can be a vital tool in allowing joy in regardless of a negative or stressful life event.

Meditation Versus Yoga – People may look at yoga and meditation as a form of a religion or maybe a work-out program that just doesn’t quite entice you. Some of us may be confused as far was what yoga is, or maybe how meditation is incorporated with yoga. Then, another part of us may bring up the financial aspect in how much money it costs to attend a yoga class, or join a gym that gives free yoga classes, or maybe even a gym membership that requires more money in attending their yoga classes. Although this may be true, yoga and meditation can sometimes be separate all together and meditation is the start or the only thing you need to fully understand how joy can be found. But for now, let’s just say that yoga can be the advancement of practicing the art of meditation.

Meditation – Meditation can be identified as the simple act of taking a few moments throughout your day, preferably before we sleep, to take some deep breaths and allow the mind to quiet down and think about happy thoughts. Happy thoughts can be a simple as a walk in the park on a spring day, the voice of the person you love telling you that everything is going to be alright, or maybe just the sweetest sound of your child’s laughter. Taking deep breaths and allowing someone to remind you of these events can be found through guided meditation, which can be found anywhere. Looking up, “guided meditation” on google or downloading an app on, “guided meditation” can be found on YouTube and in any app stores on your smart phone, and can be a useful tool in guiding us to help us stop the mind from over thinking the negatives, and thinking purely on the positives of life. This simple form of meditating can allow our bodies to stop from over thinking about the problems that arose in our day, like the people that may have hurt us and allowed any form of negative stress and doubt into our lives. Linking the joy of simply breathing and slowing down our instinct to stress by focusing on the happy events in life, can allow the mind to accept and turn that stressful feeling into acceptance and simply, letting go.

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5-Minute Health Hacks

Sandy Getzky, the executive coordinating editor at The Global Nail Fungus Organization, a group committed to helping the 100+ million people suffering from finger and toenail fungus, and a registered Herbalist and member of the American Herbalist’s Guild composed the following article just for the Healthy Lombard blog. Thanks Sandy!

Hi, busy bee! Can you give me 5 minutes of your time? Yes? Great! I have good news for you then: you have the time you need to take care of your health.  Yes, 5-minute time pockets are all you need to do something kind for yourself: strengthen and tone your muscles, prepare a nutritious lunch, recharge with a healthy snack, feed your brain, and so much more.

Five minutes in exchange for added protection from a myriad of stubborn illnesses and infections — such as coughs and colds, flu, nail fungus infection, digestive problems — which might take you days, weeks, or months to treat! Wouldn’t you agree that investing 300 seconds for your health is well worth it?

So here are 5 fun and quick 5-minute health hacks:

1.  5-minute plank challenge – This is my personal favorite, so it deserves the top spot on this list. Planking strengthens your glute, all your major core muscles, and your back.

Doing planks regularly will improve your ability to carry heavy objects, boost your metabolism, increase your flexibility and balance, and even benefit your brain.

A plank might look easy to pull off, but let me warn you: unless you are already working out regularly, you probably will not be able to successfully accomplish the 5-minute plank challenge on your first try.

But don’t take my word for it, try it out for yourself and find out. This video will guide you in the 5-minute plank challenge.

2.  5-minute recipes – Even if you are a novice in the kitchen, you can whip up something healthy and delicious in 5 minutes.

Eggs are a protein-rich and easy-to-make option — how about a salad made up of organic mixed greens, dried or fresh fruits, olives and feta cheese, topped with poached egg? Try a vegetable omelet or a whole wheat bagel topped with cream cheese, smoked salmon, egg, and chives.

Wraps are also a good idea — tacos, pita bread, nori sheets, Swiss chard, or lettuce wrapped around a colorful and nutritious filling can satisfy your hunger pangs in a healthy way.

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3 Effective Ways to Clear Your Mind

Craig Guillot from CTW Features shared in a recent Daily Herald article that in the age of around-the-clock news coverage, social media and digitally connected lifestyles tied to mobile devices, it’s harder than ever to clear the mind. While it’s not always possible to eliminate the trappings of the modern world, experts say there are things people can due to reduce mental clutter and think more clearly.

Here are three effective ways to help clear your mind:

1. Reduce digital distractions

Digital devices and media are now one of the largest contributors of mental clutter. Psychologist Larry Rosen says in an article at Harvard Business Review that many people now have fears related to separation from technology. Rosen recommends using behavioral principles such as dedicated time periods and alarms to wean themselves from digital devices and forms of digital media. Start with a one-minute period every fifteen minutes then work towards increasing the time between “check ins” to reduce your habit and dependency. “Repeat this process until you are comfortable increasing your off-grid time to an hour or several hours,” Rosen says.

Rosen also recommends abstaining from viewing digital media for one hour before bedtime and to keep devices out of the bedroom. He says sleeping with a phone beside the bed can release neurotransmitters that energize the brain instead of promoting melatonin, which induces rest.

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50 Confidence Boosting Actions You Can Take Today

Self Development Secrets shared that one of the most important ingredients of a well-lived, enjoyable life is self-confidence. Confident people get what they want the way they want it, people enjoy being around them, and they’re appreciated in the workplace. They encounter the same problems as everyone else, but they routinely rise above them, taking life in stride.

This seems innate from the outside, but it’s not – it is the product of a careful, intentional decision to build that confidence. And the simple truth is that everyone can learn to do it, regardless of circumstances.

We don’t learn this in school. They focus on self-esteem, but they don’t understand how it works, so they can’t teach it to others. They focus on the participation award method of instilling self-confidence, but that doesn’t produce real self-confidence, it sets their students up for a rude awakening when they encounter real life after school.

Too few parents are effective at teaching it at home, because it’s widely thought to be a personality trait that’s just automatic. For a few people, it seems to be, but it’s most effective when it’s taught or self-taught intentionally.

Real, lasting self-confidence comes from real, tangible achievements and successes. It doesn’t matter how the rest of the world views these accomplishments, either – they’ve got to be valued by the person who did them to engender self-confidence.

It doesn’t matter where you are in life, or what your circumstances are. You can start working on this part of yourself today, and you won’t have to wait long to see tangible, beneficial results.

Some of this may seem trite, shopworn, or even hackneyed. That’s okay. It got that way by being repeated over and over again because it works. Read more