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

Parkinson’s Therapy Gets Fresh Look From Device Makers

St. Jude Medical is offering a new deep brain stimulation system in the U.S., joining Medtronic in what the device makers view as an underdeveloped market. The image above includes an IPad Mini that serves as a physician’s programmer and an iPod Touch that patients use to control their therapy. At the bottom is a wire lead. PHOTO:ST. JUDE MEDICAL.

St. Jude Medical Inc. recently introduced a new DBS system in the U.S., and Boston Scientific Corp. is planning its own entry late next year. Both already sell the implantable devices for DBS in Europe.

The shake-up in the U.S. reflects the promise that St. Jude—which recently combined with Abbott Laboratories—and Boston Scientific see in a market that for years has been served by just one company: Medtronic PLC. Read more

Did you know essential oils can help release emotions?

Carrie Raab from Young Living Oil Lady asks, “Did you know that 80% of illnesses are emotionally related? Emotion is stored in the cells of the body.”  Essential oils work not only on a physical level but also on an emotional level. Have you ever noticed how the sense of smell can take you back to a familiar setting or memory? For example, you smell chocolate chip cookies. Immediately you are brought back to your childhood and your grandma making chocolate chip cookies for you. That is because the sense of smell accesses the limbic system of your brain where your emotions are stored.  Think about it: the Ancient Egyptians used essential oils to clear specific emotions and recorded them on the walls of certain healing temple hangers.

Molecules of essential oil are picked up by the nasal cavity, carried past the pineal and pituitary glands right to the smell sensory cortex. Every endocrine gland in the brain is affected simultaneously and instantly within microseconds of the inhalation of essential oil molecules. Research at Cornell University in 1989 demonstrated that the only stimulus that triggered a response in the amygdala was smell. The amygdala is the gland that controls sexual drive, desire and appetite, as well as trauma, flight and fear. When this gland is stimulated, old experiences often come to the surface. Read more

How to Protect Your Children’s Future: Legal and Financial Considerations

Jackie Waters, jackie@hyper-tidy.com shared the following information based on her real-life experiences.

Parents of young children often start thinking about what the future holds, wanting to take steps to ensure that their children are cared for throughout life. From making arrangements for a trusted guardian to care for children should parents become unable to do so, to putting financial plans in place to fund college education and ensure that your property is easily transferred to your children when the time comes, there are several important considerations in protecting your children’s future.

Use Deeds to Ensure the Smooth Transfer of Property

There are several legal mechanisms that can be used to dictate the transfer of property ownership following a person’s death. One such tool is a life estate deed, which facilitates the automatic transfer of property following one party’s death, while incorporating a life estate while the original property owner is still living that enables them to continue use of the property until their death. Pay close attention to your deed, because some types are higher risk to the recipient.

Most other legal tools designed to ensure that children or other beneficiaries are able to assume property ownership involve a form of co-ownership, in which the beneficiary actually assumes partial (or even full) ownership of the property while the original owner is still living. These legal options can be complex, so it’s worth talking to an estate attorney who can guide you in making the proper arrangements to ensure a smooth transition of property.

Start Saving for College with 529 College Savings Plans

College savings is another important consideration for parents of young children, and like deeds and other inheritance concerns, there are several ways to go about it. Of course, you can simply start stashing money away in a savings account, but other college savings options available today have several benefits beyond what a standard savings account offers.

One popular method parents utilize to save for their children’s college education is the 529 College Savings Plan, a program administered on the state level that enables parents to pre-pay for college credits at today’s tuition rates or, alternatively, invest funds to accumulate a greater dollar amount when it’s time for your kids to head to college. Other college savings options include Roth IRAs (retirement programs that can also be used as a means to save for college), Coverdell Education Savings Accounts (Coverdell ESA), and different types of custodial accounts. Read more

Show Gratitude, Be Happy

Kaitlyn Pauly, Product & Marketing Coordinator for Welco shaded that one of the greatest pieces of advice that her mother has ever given me was that “Life is all about perspective.” Her mother has been her biggest role model and although she grew up in the home of an alcoholic, lost her birth mother at the age of 4, and sometimes didn’t have much food to eat, she has always been able to see the silver lining. How amazing that the people who are carrying some of the heaviest burdens in life, those who have all the reasons in the world to wallow in self-pity, are some of the most optimistic individuals. Whenever Kaitlyn gets in a woe-is-me mentality she slaps out of it, because when she really take the time to consider her life she finds that she is often the creator of herown “problems.”

InKaitlyn words … While I might not have the hottest new handbag, a perfectly landscaped yard or an awe-inspiring house, I do have a roof over my head, food on my table, a great job and some really amazing family and friends. When I stop putting all of my focus on the things that I don’t have and redirect it to all of the things I do have, only then do I achieve true happiness.

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Turn Resolutions into Lasting Change

Kaitlyn Pauly, Product and Marketing Coordinator for WELCO asks, “How long do your New Year’s resolutions last?”  If you are with the majority of Americans, your good intentions to lose a few holiday pounds and get healthy at the beginning of the New Year take a back burner as soon as life starts to get busy.

For example, they might start a weight loss program in order to fit into their jeans again or because their doctor told them that it would help them control their blood sugars/cholesterol/blood pressure etc. Unfortunately these reasons don’t keep most people motivated for long. In fact, research suggests that those who are motivated to be physically active for reasons other than weight and health do a better job at sticking with their goals long term. Sounds odd right? However, researchers have found that motivators such as “running makes me more patient,” “weight lifting helps me clear my head,” or “yoga is my time for me” are more effective at encouraging people stick with the activity long term.

In addition to the right “whys” for making healthier resolutions, you might also consider thinking loftier about your goals. A great recommendation from Sean Foy, fitness expert for WELCOAs On the Move online wellness program is to consider “kedging” to help pull you in the direction toward your goals. Kedging is a nautical term that refers to moving a ship by means of a line attached to a small anchor dropped at the distance and in the direction desired—you can see the analogy. Read more