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

Happy New Years!

Some New Year thoughts from Healthy Lombard:

  • This year if you want a different result, make a different choice and do things in a different
  • New Year is like a restart button. Use it to start things over.
  • This year try and make small efforts to see big changes in your life.
  • Every year life gives us 365 days to find the meaning to our life.
  • Celebrate your life as each day comes. Happy New Year.
  • If you already tried things, this year focus on doing it.
  • Don’t wait for the luck to come to you, work hard and grab it with both hands.

So …   have a fabulous 2017 with full of great achievements and experiences.

Sleep-deprived drivers have plenty in common with drunken drivers

Those are the findings of an AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety report released recently that draws on original research and past studies to create a troubling picture of the risk caused by a go-go world where many people don’t get enough rest.

“Managing a healthy work-life balance can be difficult, and far too often we sacrifice our sleep as a result,” said Jake Nelson, director of Traffic Safety Advocacy and Research for AAA.

About 35 percent of people get fewer than the needed seven hours of sleep, and 12 percent say they sleep for five hours or less, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Earlier research by AAA Foundation showed that 21 percent of fatal crashes involved a sleep-deprived driver. The group’s new work uses data from the National Motor Vehicle Crash Causation Survey to delve into how much driving ability decreases based on varying lack of sleep.

Not surprisingly, the less sleep, the higher the risk of a crash.

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Want to be healthier? Help someone else!

older folksDanica Patrick for Edwards-Elmhurst Hospital shared that it’s impossible to walk away from an event where you’ve helped somebody (especially if it involves kids) feeling angry or bitter.

There’s something about shifting your focus off yourself and onto others in a positive way that lifts the dark clouds.

Giving of yourself — helping someone or using your own experiences to inspire others — is selfless, yet it boosts our mental and physical health.

Studies have shown that people who volunteer experience physical benefits such as weight loss, lower cholesterol and a decreased risk of high blood pressure.

Studies also suggest a mental benefit to volunteering. By creating a sense of purpose, volunteering eases us out of depression and stress.

The key is being genuine. If you want to help others, you’ll reap the benefits. If you’re only thinking of yourself the whole time, you won’t get much out of it.

Maybe you would like to help out, but feel like you don’t have the motivation or the time. Take it from me – you should make time. I do. And I find that giving back can be really fulfilling both mentally and in your heart.

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