I Don’t Want to Be Waxed Again

I used to get waxed on a regular basis because I loved spending as much time in the pool or at the beach in the summer months. I always wear a modest swimsuit, but it is still more comfortable for me to be waxed. When a friend told me she had gone for dermatology laser treatments so she would not have to be waxed so much, I knew that I wanted more information for myself too. While it is not the most horrible thing in the world to be waxed, it is certainly not the most pleasant either!

I went to the website for the dermatologist that she had been seeing, and I really liked everything I saw there. There are actually several different laser treatments, and I read the details on each one. Read More


Only One Does the Job

Most of the adult supplements on the market don’t for me. I don’t know if there is something wrong with my body, or if I’m just a special case, but no matter what pill I take, none of them actually work. I’ve tried ones that were recommended to me by doctors, and even over the counter ones, but none of them have any effect. I was ready to accept a mediocre sex life, but then I found hope at australiakamagra.com in the form of an oral jelly. The jelly claimed to offer the benefits of many of the other supplements.

I was skeptical about the jelly, because I had taken other supplements and they did nothing for me. I thought the jelly would be just like all the others and I would only be wasting my time and money by paying for it. Read More


Plastic Is Fantastic . . . for Your Brain

Humans are the only species known to have consciousness, awareness that we have brains and bodies capable of adaptability, that we can affect the course our lives take, that we can make choices along the way that vastly affect the quality of our lives-biologically, intellectually, environmentally, and spiritually. As humans, we have the ability to mold our very beings to become what or who we wish to become. While some of us may, indeed, have genetic and biological imperatives that may require medication or training to overcome, or at least to modulate, the vast majority of us do, in fact, hold our emotional destiny in our hands.

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All that being said, until the last decade, scientists believed that the human brain and its connections were formed during gestation and infancy and remained pretty much unchanged through childhood. They believed that humans had a given number of neurons in a specific brain structure, and while the number might vary among people, once you were done with childhood development, you were set in this mold. Your connections were already made, and the learning and growing period of your brain was over. In the last decade, however, researchers have found significant evidence that this is not so, and that something called neuroplasticity continues throughout our lives.

What Is Neuroplasticity?

In neuroscience, “plastic” means that a material has the ability to change, to be molded into different shapes. Thus, neuroplasticity is your brain’s ability to alter its physical structure, to repair damaged regions, to grow new neurons and get rid of old ones, to rezone regions that performed one task and have them assume a new task, and to change the circuitry that weaves neurons into the networks that allow us to remember, feel, suffer, think, imagine, and dream.

Thanks to neuroplasticity, scientists now believe that most of us have the capability to:

  • Reactivate long-dormant circuitry. The expression “it’s like riding a bike” is very true when it comes to your brain. Often, you never completely forget a skill once learned, though you might need a short period of practice to kick your neurons back into gear.
  • Create new circuitry. For instance, the neurons in your nose responsible for smell are made new and replaced every few weeks, and new neurons are made in other parts of your brain as well. Also, whenever you learn something new, your brain can strengthen existing neuronal connections and create new synapses that allow you to maximize new skills.
  • Rewire circuitry. Parts of your brain that were used for one purpose can be retasked to other uses. This is often the case with stroke victims who relearn to use a limb or to speak after some neurons are destroyed.
  • Quiet aberrant circuits and connections (such as those contributing to depression, posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), phobias, and so on). Some parts of your brain (your prefrontal cortex, for example) can exert control over others (the amygdala, for example) and change how much they affect your mood, decision-making, and thought processes.

Please note that the techniques we are discussing do not apply to those who are dealing with brain chemistry imbalances that require medication (such as schizophrenia, bipolar disease, obsessive-compulsive disorder, ADHD, clinical depression, and so on). No one should ever feel responsible for their chemical imbalances, or stop taking prescribed medication in hopes that they have the ability to alter their chemistry through thought control. What we are saying is that-for most people-situational fluctuations in mood or behavior can be improved by consciously using your mind to tamp down negative neuronal pathways and to bolster positive neuronal pathways. In those cases, how your brain does this, and when, and why are all things that are entirely up to you. The way that you view the world around you, and the associations that you make, are entirely within your ability to shape and control. Those with healthy, balanced brains can affect change in the way their brains think and react, which, over time, can make them-and their brains-happier.

How Neuroplasticity Can Help You Be Happier

You can use your mind to foster neuroplasticity in the following ways:

  • You can change the way your think or react to certain situations. The actions you take can literally expand or contract different regions of the brain, firing up circuits or tamping them down. For example, if you worry excessively, you are activating certain types of pathways due to habit. You can learn, however, to retrain your brain to quiet these pathways and strengthen others, so it doesn’t automatically go down the “worry” highway.
  • You can choose activities that alter the structure of your brain. The more you ask your brain to do, the more space it sets up to handle the new tasks, often by shrinking or repurposing space that houses your ability to perform rarely used tasks. For example, if you typically go into a melancholy funk when you face problems, your brain will continue that habit. If, however, you instruct your brain to come up with creative solutions to your problems, you can shut down the melancholy pathways by making them less used and smaller, and instead open up and increase use of the creativity workshop in your brain.
  • You can use imagination to trick your brain. New brain-scanning technology has shown that conscious perception activates the same brain areas as imagination. In effect, you can neutralize the long-term effects of painful memories by rewriting (or more correctly, rewiring) the past that lives within your brain.
  • You can use visualization as a way to train your brain to get happy. It works because your brain usually cannot reliably distinguish between recorded experience and internal fantasy. If you program your mind with images of you being happy and spend time visualizing the desired images long enough and hard enough, your brain will think those images really happened and will associate happiness with them.

Come On, Think Happy

In other words, whatever you ask your brain to do (employing intention, focus, practice, and reinforcement), it will strive to do. It is a tool you can use in whatever way you see fit. Again, presuming you aren’t dealing with any psychobiological illnesses that require medication, the more often you ask your brain to think happy thoughts, the more your brain responds by forging new or beefing up existing neuronal circuitry to light up your happy board, and by weakening the neuronal connections that drain your happy thoughts.

You can use your clever, industrious mind to train your brain to bury the unproductive, depressing thoughts and habits that drag you (and your brain) down and to shine light on, nourish, and reinforce the productive, cheerful thoughts and activities that recharge your happiness batteries. By using your thoughts and choosing certain activities, you can lay the groundwork for brain restructuring that will make you happier. It’s not a simple undertaking, and it will require focus, intention, dedication, accountability, action, and persistence, but you can reshape your brain-and its taskmaster mind-to experience and create greater happiness.

The good news is that plastic is fantastic when it comes to neuroscience. Plus, everything you do to foster happiness reinforces positive changes in your brain, and the more you continue pursuing happiness with vigor, the more you, and your brain get into a happy groove.

Where to Begin?

As to what you can specifically do to train your brain to get happy, well, we wrote an entire book on the matter, which means we can’t possibly summarize everything in one column, but we’ll be offering concrete suggestions in future columns. In the meantime, things you can do to mold your brain for greater happiness include:

  • Meditation. It helps you monitor and direct thoughts, tamp down stress, increase empathy, and more fully experience pleasant emotions. The Buddhist practice of mindfulness meditation, in particular, has proven very effective in improving brain function.
  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT). It involves using your mind to distract your thoughts, neutralize negative thoughts, stop thoughts, reframe events, concentrate on positive thoughts, and use positive affirmations, as well as other techniques.
  • Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT). It marries the practice of mindfulness meditation with cognitive psychology in a way that is distinct from Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. CBT is about examining your thoughts so you can re-evaluate and redirect thoughts, as appropriate. MBCT employs the tenets of mindfulness meditation (sans any religious aspect) as a way to stay open to the present moment without relying on habitual ways of thinking, feeling, or responding.
  • Visualization. It helps your brain anticipate happiness and neutralize painful memories. Both will reduce stress-related brain chemicals and increase nourishing brain chemicals.
  • Relaxation. It quiets an overactive brain, which affords your mind an opportunity to renew, refresh, and re-imagine desired outcomes.
  • Nurturance. How well you eat and how much you sleep will positively affect your brain’s ability to function. A healthy brain is always a happier brain.
  • Recreation. Factoring play into your life gives your brain opportunities to produce serotonin and dopamine, neurotransmitters that bathe your brain in happiness.
  • Stimulation. Choosing and participating activities that make you feel good reinforces the types of neuronal pathways that will lead to greater happiness.

Sleep key to weight loss

Getting a good night’s sleep may curb those cravings.

Sleep key to weight loss

Researchers at Stanford University in the US have found healthy sleep patterns help balance the hormones responsible for food cravings and overeating.

Ghrelin is the hormone that stimulates hunger and is created when we fast for several hours. Leptin is the hormone produced when we eat, and it creates feelings of satiety that shut down our hunger centre, thereby forcing ghrelin levels to drop.

Studies have found that people who get five hours’ or less sleep a night have higher ghrelin and lower leptin levels than those who get eight hours’ sleep a night. People who were sleep deprived had greater cravings for carbohydrate-rich junk foods. Lack of sleep also led to leptin resistance, which results in the body being unable to burn fat effectively, leading to weight gain.

Melatonin (the sleep hormone) has been shown to help restore leptin sensitivity. When you are sleep deprived you don’t secrete enough melatonin.


11 Things to Know About Keeping Your Brain Healthy

No matter what our age, we all want our brains to function their best. However, this is of particular importance as we age. We all know people who are of an advanced age who are as sharp as a tack, and others who are that same age who don’t think clearly or quickly. We wonder what we need to do to end up like the first person.

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Recently the Institute of Medicine, which is the health arm of the National Academy of Sciences, released a report that identifies what helps and hurts brain function as we age. The results were published in this month’s AARP bulletin.

Let’s start with the bad news first so as to end on a positive note.

THINGS THAT CAN HARM THE AGING BRAIN

1. Depression: People who suffer from depression have an astounding double the risk for brain dysfunction, including dementia. One possible explanation is that depression causes changes in the brain’s hippocampus.

2. Difficulty Seeing and Hearing: Being able to see and hear well are directly associated with healthy cognitive function, including memory. People who can’t see or hear often avoid social interaction, which is a key factor in brain health. Also, according to a Johns Hopkins study, adults with hearing problems appear to have a greater rate of brain shrinkage as they age.

3. Medications: Antihistimines, sleep aids, and antidepressants have been shown to increase the risk of dementia. So if you are depressed, which is also a risk factor, try to deal with it naturally, such as with adequate sleep, exercise, a healthy diet, and prayer.

4. Stress: Daily stress can cause memory problems, but stress that lasts for months and even years is associated with a faster decline of brain health. Many of us can’t eliminate the stress in our live, such as traffic jams and difficult relationships, but we can deal with stress effectively, in the same ways we deal with depressions: adequate sleep, exercise, healthy diet, and prayer.

5. Air Pollution: Long-term exposure to air pollution is linked with brain shrinkage, brain damage, and impaired brain function, according to one new study.

6. High Blood Pressure and Diabetes: These are also risk factors for heart disease. Doctors have been linking brain health and heart health for years now. Exercising, eating right and maintaining a healthy weight can lower blood pressure and reverse diabetes.

THINGS THAT HELP THE AGING BRAIN

7. Exercise: The best is exercise that causes you to breathe heavily for at least 30 minutes straight….combined with weight lifting. People whose brains benefitted the most from exercise were people over the age of 65.

8. Intellectual Stimulation: When it comes to the brain, “use it or lose it.” Having a natural curiosity and continuing to learn are excellent for brain function. Some of the best ways to help your mind stay fit are learning a new language, reading, and writing.

9. Social Stimulation: Connecting in a positive way with other people has been proven time and again to keep our minds young. Spending time with friends and loved ones, such as at church activities, volunteering, and playing games all help preserve brain function.

10. Healthy Diet: Stay away from processed foods containing hydrogenated oils (trans fats) and sugar. Research shows a link between packaged food and brain shrinkage. On the other hand, scientists have discovered healthy fats are good for the brain. These include fish oils and other Omega-3 fats as well as the fats in nuts, avocado, coconut oil, and olive oil.

11. Good Sleep: This means getting plenty of deep, restful sleep. Some people suffer from sleep apnea, a condition that usually affects people who are overweight. It is a condition whereby the throat closes during sleep and causes the person to stop breathing temporarily and wake up momentarily, then go back to sleep…a cycle that repeats itself all night long. As a result of the constant waking-up, people with sleep apnea never enter into the deep, restorative sleep necessary to repair our brains. People with sleep apnea are at increased risk for memory problems and dementia. If you suspect you might have sleep apnea, see your doctor as there is a non-pharmaceutical treatment called a CPAP that works great.


How to build a healthy brain?

Here we will look at how to grow healthy brains vital for a smart and happy kid.

Follow these Four Golden Rules.

Kids -head -fill

BALANCED BLOOD SUGAR

Why is balance so important?

Sugar is your brain’s super fuel. But you have to make sure your child is getting the RIGHT TYPES and RIGHT AMOUNT at the RIGHT TIME.

Too much ‘fast’ sugar means a blood sugar high and hyperactivity. The excess sugar in the blood gets dumped into storage as abdominal fat. Eating little and often helps keep your child’s energy and concentration even.

Too much sugar and your child may be hyperactive and find it hard to concentrate.

Too little and they may feel tired, irritable and find it hard to concentrate.

Swing

How to balance blood sugar?

Go for foods with slow releasing sugars

Oats Brown rice Rye bread
Whole wheat pasta Brown bread
Vegetables (Excluding potatoes and parsnips)

Eat 3 meals and 2 snacks a day

This will help to maintain your blood sugar levels, and prevent highs and lows.

Combine protein with carbohydrate

Protein slows down the absorption of sugars found in carbohydrates.

Cereal with seeds/yoghurt/milk Fruit with yoghurt/seeds
Toast with egg Toast with fish e.g. mackerel

ENSURE ESSENTIAL FATS

Why is a fat head a smart head?

 60greenbrain60% of a dried brain weight is fat, it is no wonder deficiencies in specific kinds of fats can have huge repercussions on intelligence and behaviour.

If your child is having 3 portions of oily fish and a daily portion of seeds they should be getting a good level to help their brains develop and boost IQ.

How do I give my child all the essential fats they need?

Eat plenty of seeds and nuts

You can grind and sprinkle them on cereal, soups and salads.

Source of essential fats:

Mackerel Flaxseeds Sunflower seeds
Herring Pumpkin seeds Sesame seeds
Sardines Chia seeds Walnuts
Anchovies Omega 3 rich eggs
Tuna steak
Salmon

Eat cold-water carnivorous fish 2 or 3 times a week

This includes sardines, mackerel, herring, kipper or wild/organic salmon.

Choose fish oil and starflower or evening primrose oil to supplement fats

Avoid deep fried, browned and processed foods

VITAMINS AND MINERALS


Why does your child need vitamins and minerals?Vitamins and minerals are the intelligent nutrients that keep the brain in tune. They are key to building and rebuilding the brain. They mainly come from fruit, vegetables and wholefoods and can be supplemented for optimum brain performance. Studies giving children supplements show improved IQ.

How do I ensure that my child is having enough?

Make sure that they eat at least 5 portions of fruit and vegetables a day
Choose wholefoods, not refined foods
Give them a chewable multi-vitamin and mineral supplements. Click here to find out why.

AVOID ANTI-NUTRIENTS & ELIMINATE FOOD ALLERGENS


Which foods rob your child’s brain of nutrients?

Anti-nutrients are substances that knock out essential brain-friendly nutrients. Some children develop an allergy or intolerance against particular foods.

How do I avoid anti-nutrients?

Avoid or minimise:

  • Refined sugar: These are essentially carbohydrates robbed of essential nutrients.
  • Damaged fats: These come from fried foods and hydrogenated fats.
  • Chemical food additives: Especially colourings.

Food intolerances can be detected by a pin prick blood test (see www.yorktest.com) or speak to your GP.

Alternatively you could try eliminating a food group you think your child is allergic to, and re assessing they’re mood and behaviour weekly. Click here to understand more about food allergies.