Witizia / Pixabay

Psoriatic Arthritis Pain: 8 tips To Help

For those lucky enough not to know, psoriatic arthritis is a form of arthritis that appears in some who have the skin condition psoriasis. It makes moving incredibly difficult due to joint pain, stiffness and swelling, which naturally gets in the way of your job, your off time, your life. One very effective coping strategy involves some gentle, targeted stretches you can do to relieve psoriatic arthritis pain and help to increase your flexibility, make day-to-day activities more possible. Stretching provides localized action of the muscles, no pounding, just an increase in blood flow to the muscle.

In the absence of a cure, controlling symptoms and keeping joints from being damaged is key. Here’s where stretching can be so valuable. The stretches that work best are ones that make it easier for you to do daily tasks, and will vary for you depending on the joints affected. Most who have psoriatic arthritis do best by focusing on two or three exercises that are most relevant to them. That’s why; before you start using these stretches, talk with your own doctor or therapist to be sure what’s right for you.

Other precautions as you stretch:

-Always protect your back

-If you feel back pain, or discomfort, stop

-Don’t be too forceful with stretching

-Feel the stretch, never pain

As you get more comfortable with stretching, you may be able to hold one for 6 to 10 seconds at a time. But not at first, go slow, go carefully for best results.

Here are a few stretches to consider…

Neck roll is great for neck and shoulder pain. This stretch involves sitting straight in a chair that supports your lower back and looking straight ahead. Gently tilt your right ear toward your right shoulder, feeling a light stretch on the left side of the neck. Hold this for 2 seconds and then slowly return your head to the center. Repeat this stretch five times on the right, five on the left.

Knee to chest helps to ease hip pain. Lie flat on your back with knees bent and feet on the ground, flat. Slowly pull your right knee to your chest, using light pressure with one or both hands. Feel the stretch in your hip and the back of the leg. Release slowly and then switch legs.

Knee leg extension is great for easing knee pain because it works the muscles that support your knee. Sit in a supportive chair and put your feet flat on the ground. Take 2 seconds to raise and slowly extend the lower part of your right leg, trying to create a straight line from your hip to your toe. Don’t keep your leg totally straight if this brings pain. Take two seconds to lower the right leg, repeat this stretch a total of 20 times on one side before switching sides.

Arch stretch is perfect if psoriatic arthritis has affected your feet and made walking or standing harder. Holding your right foot flat on the ground, press your toes down into the floor and try to lift up that arch for two seconds, take two more seconds to lower it back to the ground. Repeat this up to 20 times on each foot.

Continues below…


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Psoriatic Arthritis Pain: 8 tips To Help Continued…

Ankle rotation will help you hold onto range of motion. Here’s what you do… while sitting, point your foot and make small, invisible circles using just your big toe. Do five circles slowly clockwise and then five more counterclockwise. Flex and point your toes to give them a bit of a stretch and be sure to rotate the other ankle for the same amount of times.

Open/Close hand stretch is an ideal way to keep your hands from getting stiff, especially if you work on a keyboard frequently. Rest your elbow on a table, raise your lower arm to a 90-degree angle and make a fist. Open all the fingers to a count of two, then slowly close them back into the fist again. Repeat 20 times on each hand.

Finger lift is another simple, do anywhere stretch for the hand. Place your forearm on a table with your palm down, fingers open. Slowly lift and lower each finger of that hand, taking a count of two to raise and another two count to lower it. Now repeat this on the other hand.


Thumb/Finger touch
is another super easy and an excellent way to build strength and flexibility in your hand. Slowly try to touch each fingertip to the thumb tip in order. Don’t force this if it’s painful, but try to get the fingers closer to each other every time you do this.

To your good health,

stux / Pixabay

How Your Body Reacts When You Stop Working out

There are times when life gets in the way of your fitness routine… short circuits your good intentions. The lack of exercise will take away some of the progress you’ve made, but it’s easier than you might expect to get back to those healthy workouts. If you did it once, you can do it again. Here are five common situations when workouts faulter and more importantly, how to get back in the game again.

SCENARIO 1: You’ve had a sudden stop in a workout that’s a mix of cardio and strength training. This will show up in a bit of softness, maybe you can’t carry as much as you used to, or you get winded a little sooner than when you were working out. Studies have found that beginners who exercised for two months saw increases, and when they stopped for the same length of time, they lost half the gains they’d made. That’s still ahead of where they started. And the more fit you were to start, the slower the loss.

Getting back to it: You’ll be tempted to pick right up where you left off, but go easy. Start with about 75% of the resistance you’d been using in strength training, and add as you can. You’ll be back to where you were in about half the time you took off – two weeks for a month long break.

SCENARIO 2: You’re managing a bit of cardio every week, but not the typical weight training intensity you were used to. Here your aerobic health is still in good shape, though your strength and muscle mass have diminished a bit. Without the weight training you probably have lost muscle mass, maybe gained some fat, even if the reading on your scale is the same. Turns out, long time endurance runners lose muscle mass at the same speed as the rest of us, even those who are sedentary. Running or other cardio workouts don’t hold onto muscle mass.

Getting back to it: Add back that strength training, using the 75% of your old resistance as a starting point.

SCENARIO 3: You
trained for a half marathon, working like crazy, and then took a few weeks to
recover
. This kind of break isn’t a big issue aerobically if you were in good shape to start, you might lose a bit of your edge, but it will come right back. Don’t expect to be back at full speed right away.

Get back into it: Ease in, using your heart rate and exertion level as a guide, get some strength training in as a compliment to your workouts.

Continues below…


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How Your Body Reacts When You Stop Working out Continued…

SCENARIO 4: You like yoga a lot, but miss the CrossFit you stopped a few months back. Actually switching out one type of exercise for another isn’t bad, just be aware that if you go back, you won’t be at that same level of performance.

Get back to it: Keep both in your regimen and mix things up as you need to. Workouts should be enjoyable after all, no sense in continuing with an activity that you aren’t having fun doing.

SCENARIO 5: You got hurt and haven’t worked out at all in six months. In this instance you have lost muscle and gained fat, especially if your daily activities were impacted as well.

Getting back to it: Once you’re cleared by your doctor to return to exercise, go slow and light to start. Also you’ll have wanted to up your protein intake to help cut down on muscle loss during your time in recovery. As you start working out, go down to a small resistance that you can do with good form and without pain for 10 to 15 repetitions and build from there. …

To your good health,

AberroCreative / Pixabay

10 Ways Your Workout Won’t Work

If you’ve been exercising regularly for eight full weeks and aren’t seeing any benefits, something isn’t right. Sometimes a little known setback might be working against your good intentions and regular effort. The good news is that being aware of the ways many people sabotage their workout can be the first step toward eliminating them from your own fitness routine.

So here are ten of the most common areas to watch…

1. Not warming up – an adequate and efficient routine to warm up your body is a vital component of any workout. Especially beneficial are ones that get you moving the same way as the exercise you’re about to perform.

2. Not eating enough – if you want to build muscle, you need to take in the right type of fuel. Without energy to burn the body turns to the source that’s most available, muscle protein, exactly the opposite of what you’re after.

3. Not using opposing movements (bench press paired with a row) – as this can cause an imbalance which often results in overuse injuries that can keep you out of the gym for a good while… months sometimes. Serious injuries are known to slow, likely reverse, any progress you’ve made.

4. Working in a limited range of motion - partial reps or working a limited range of motion can lead to a limited range of strength. Also when you use weights that are heavier than what you’re used to, you are at a much higher risk of injury.

5. Training for too much time - anything past 45 to 55 minutes can put the body into a negative hormonal state, this will have a negative impact on your goals of improved fitness. Hours in the gym are not what works best and can put you at risk for overtraining and injury.

6. Not resting between workouts – adaptations take place during the muscle recovery period (also known as rest) and these are essential to losing weight and building muscle. The body must recover and get back to homeostasis so it can build the muscle, burn the fat.

Continues below…


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Fact: Poor Sleep Increases The Risk of Death/ Disease

Ever lain awake at night and counted the hours till dawn? Isn’t frustrating to be in bed and be unable to sleep?

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10 Ways Your Workout Won’t Work Continued…

7. Not getting enough sleep – deprives the body of the chance to let hormones that help build muscle, burn fat, work while the body is at rest. At least 7 to 9 hours a night is a good guideline for how much sleep to be getting.

8. Texting leads to longer rest periods than normal. It can also divert your focus, keeping you from being fully ready to lift or perform. The number of reps you can do might also go down, sabotaging all the effort you’re putting in.

9. Talking too much – can actually decrease the metabolic effect of your exercise. When rest intervals get too long, the body cools down, leading to a slower metabolism. Talking also shifts your focus from exercise to conversation.

10. Copying other exercises – you can do the move incorrectly, and just because it looks like something you can do, doesn’t mean you are ready for it.

Once you remove these from your workout, see how much better you do, and start enjoying the results your hard work and regular effort deserve.

To your good health,

Greyerbaby / Pixabay

Fitness May Fight Depression In Girls

One of the best, most natural ways to ward off the blues (at any age) is being in good physical shape. Now a new study finds that the more fit a middle school girl is, the less apt she is to show symptoms of depression. Though the effect on depression was small, it was there, encouraging us to get both boys and girls up and moving in order to fight off this troublesome problem.

The research involved measuring the fitness of over 400 sixth graders from North Texas. The measure was arrived at by noting how many shuttle runs a middle schooler could do within a specific time, as well as their own assessment of strength and endurance. For the girls, the strongest predictor of symptoms of depression was a history of the disease, but even after taking past depression and BMI into account, more fitness in sixth grade was linked to a lower chance of depression in the next grade year.

No one is suggesting that exercise will cure everything, but it is interesting that depression has been associated with a higher BMI in other studies. Also the middle school years are a period where fitness levels tend to drop off, weight goes up and depression follows suit. This is the reason a focus on these years can be so valuable.

Also of note, depression for sixth grade boys did predict poorer fitness the next year. While there was a trend between fitness level and depression in boys, it wasn’t statistically significant. Keep in mind that boys tend to be less depressed, so the impact of fitness may have simply been harder to detect. A work that used a larger number of male subjects would help to clarify this point.

Continues below…


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Fitness May Fight Depression In Girls, Boys Continued…

The link between depression and fitness levels may be explained by any number of things. Better self esteem, getting more positive reinforcement… biology. Science already knows that some proteins and hormones tied to less depression do respond to more exercise. It seems being active on a regular basis really can’t hurt you.

The reasons behind depression, at any age, are complicated. But imagine being a child living in poverty, perhaps amid violence and difficult life events with little (or no) support from family or friends… poor coping skills, negative thought patterns, self-esteem issues. All these raise the risk of depression, though they do not mean a child who deals with any (or all) of them will be depressed, just that the risk is higher. Kids struggling with depression may also benefit from either at school or family therapy, well recognized as a way to treat and prevent depression in children who are at risk.

There’s no denying that fitness is a good goal for young people. It’s never too soon to start teaching children about preventing obesity, one of those ways being regular physical activity all through life. For this age group, being active is more appealing when it is fun – they drop out when something isn’t enjoyable or has pressure attached. When the focus stays on building personal skills and abilities, physical activity is more likely to take hold.

To your good health,

OpenClips / Pixabay

Why You Should Always Listen To Your Gut…

Examining the bacteria of the digestive tract may one day be a way your doctor diagnoses a disease earlier and more accurately than is possible today. Turns out people with some diseases seem to have a very different mix of bacteria in their intestines compared to healthier people. The relatively new area of microbiome research examines if certain bacteria might cause a disease, or if disease might breed particular types of organisms… it may even be a different of relationship altogether. One thing science does know is that for every body cell, there are an estimated 10 microbial cells – an impressive number that suggests these tiny organisms do have an impact on our health.

Today science is uncovering links between your natural bacterial makeup and the presence of diseases all through the body, not just of the digestive tract. Some of the associations between gut bacteria and illness include conditions like colon cancer, Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, diabetes and even obesity. We also know that some bacteria can strengthen the immune system. Others provoke the inflammation that’s a feature of autoimmune conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis and many others.

One recent study finds that those who had untreated rheumatoid arthritis also had more of a certain kind of inflammatory bacteria in their intestines, less of a beneficial bacteria than healthy subjects. What’s more, science has also found a connection between the bacteria that live in your intestines and mental conditions like depression, anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorder, ADD, autism and Alzheimer’s disease, as well as others. Part of the reason for this is that intestinal bacteria have the ability to create small molecules (metabolites) that are able to reach the brain and impact the way it works.

Continues below…


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Why You Should Always Listen To Your Gut… Continued…

As the numbers of conditions that may be linked to the microorganisms in your digestive tract keeps growing, the natural question is – can you change your digestive bacteria and cure a disease? A long-term dietary change (healthier and varied foods) could reshape the balance of organisms in your digestive tract to create a healthier profile. This would help with better immune function, less inflammation and potentially bring you to a state of overall better health.

What’s more, understanding more about the microbiome (your own unique collection of microbes) that you took in part from your mother at birth, and have determined in part by your lifestyle could lead to advances in treatments for many conditions. Currently, doctors do some of this when they perform fecal transplants on those who have hard to treat c. difficult infections, using healthy feces to help the sick person return to a more healthy balance of bacteria. This is one example of how critical bacteria can be to overall health.

It may be that one day; analysis of your Individual microbiome will be as accessible and easy as routine blood work is today. Customized probiotics could be given that would impact the microbes that are causing the trouble, so a patient would be given a specific organism to help prevent diabetes or becoming obese.

To your good health,

mojzagrebinfo / Pixabay

The Difference Between Weight Loss And Fat Loss

When it comes to looking better, feeling better, what you’re truly after is not weight loss, but rather fat lass. Stop eating and you’ll lose weight, both muscle and fat, which isn’t really what you’re after. What makes weight loss successful is to preserve as much muscle as you can (maybe gain a bit) while losing all the body fat you can.

This is why the body fat percentage is a better indicator of weight loss success than the bathroom scale. What’s worse, the number on the scale can play tricks on your resolve… encouraging you to give in when you are actually making solid progress in terms of body composition.

Muscle is super important to helping you lose the most amount of fat possible. Inside our muscles are fat burning engines known as mitochondria that are responsible for the production of energy. It’s here that fat is metabolized – there’s even a positive correlation between the number of mitochondria you have and the amount of muscle in your body. The more you have, the more fat you can burn.

So how do you get more mitochondria? Offer the body a reason to make more of them by doing high intensity exercise, HIIT (high intensity interval training) or strength training are excellent choices. By naturally creating a demand for energy over and above what your body can produce, you’re forcing the body to create new mitochondria to be ready for the next time your muscles need that extra energy.

Because muscle is active tissue, needing constant energy to maintain, it will burn fat all through the day.

Continues below…


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The Difference Between Weight Loss And Fat Loss Continued…

Focusing on fat loss is a smart way to think about achieving your weight management goals. Try not to get caught up in a number on a device… think instead about how you feel, how you look and how your clothing fits. Before and after pictures are another excellent, unbiased way to judge your progress. Bear in mind that not all progress is able to be measured – you may feel more confident and this is a huge leap in terms of progress toward you long term goal. If you must be obsessed with a number, look to the percentage of body fat you now carry as a great measure of your success and achievement.

Strange as it sounds, the best thing you can do to keep
from sabotaging your weight loss goals is to eat enough calories
. Too few calories causes muscle loss and once you do this, losing the fat is that much harder. This is why so many diets fail.

This is why it’s so important to take in enough calories for your body size and how active you are, making certain they are nutrient dense (from fruits, veggies, meat, eggs, dairy, legumes, tubers, and whole grains). Key the number of calories you get per day on the 10 to 12 times your body weight figure, starting high and dropping the number as needed.

You’ll also want to keep up with the strength or HIIT training, giving your muscles a reason to stay strong. Without constant stimulation your body will naturally shed the unneeded muscle and that’s not what you’re after.

To your good health,

Unsplash / Pixabay

Unexpected Ways Your Tech Devices Can Hurt You

We know that computers, tablets, laptops and cell phones have made life so much easier for many of us. The downside to all the access and convenience is that there are some technology related injuries – milder harm to neck and shoulder for instance all the way to deadly accidents – we need to recognize. A national study from 2009 appearing in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine shows sudden computer associated injuries rising at a rapid pace in the U.S. What’s worse, younger children are even more at risk than adults.

Here are some of the odd ways your tech devices can hurt you…

Lightening strikes are rare things, and bad enough on their own, but far worse when you’re holding an electrical object. When lightening strikes a person, the current goes over the skin (known as flashover) without entering the body, but holding a metal object against the skin disrupts the flashover and can result in internal injury.

PlayStation palmar hidradenitis (PlayStation rash) is a newly identified skin problem that’s named after the popular gaming system because it comes from holding the controllers too tightly for a long period of time. The game maker defends the product and mentioning how hundreds of millions of people use the game without the condition arising.

TV screens and photosensitive seizures happen to a small number of players when watching some light patterns on a TV screen or in a video game. Almost 3-5% of epileptics have a photosensitive form and should stay away from any regular moving patterns or flickering lights. Strobe lights in clubs and emergency vehicle lights may also product the same effect.

Computer vision syndrome is a risk for those who use a computer for move than 2 hours a day, and may affect up to 70% of users. Gazing at a computer screen is visually demanding and does tire your eyes causing issues like eyestrain, headaches, blurred vision and dry eyes. Most often the problems are temporary, but they can be trouble if they happen all the time or every day. You can help yourself by putting the screen 4-5 inches below your eye level and 20-28 inches away from your eyes. Anti glare screens and good lighting may also be helpful.

Continues below…


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Unexpected Ways Your Tech Devices Can Hurt You Continued…

Death from using counterfeit chargers. The inside of our device charges are rather sophisticated yet also rather easy for third parties to take apart, remake and sell more cheaply. Some of these knock offs have been involved of electric shocks caused by malfunctions of the units. Buyer beware.

Disturbing tinnitus is more likely in those who use their cell phones intensely for long periods, at least according to some recent research. Those with tinnitus hear sounds (buzzing, ringing, etc.) in the absence of external sound. The condition can go from mildly annoying to so severe it interferes with daily living for an estimated 1 in 100 adults.

Quiet death due to headphones that let us escape all the noise yet deafen us to warnings of danger that we’d otherwise hear in our environment. The numbers of traffic accidents that involve pedestrians who are wearing headphones is increasing. Most victims are male, under 30 – over half the accidents involved trains, another third involved vehicles that sounded a warning before the crash.

Nintendinitis and Wiiitis (names now used in the medical literature) cover the increasing numbers of injuries that players inflict on themselves as they play the games on the systems. Injuries traced back to the Wii games include shoulder dislocation, bone fractures and head injuries.

To your good health,

bohed / Pixabay

Seven Smart Ways To Beat Stress Fat

We all agree that stress is an unavoidable part of life, but surprisingly research also finds that it’s a part of fat as well. If you eat right and exercise regularly, chronically high levels of stress can keep you from losing weight, maybe even add on a few pounds.

Here’s how it works. Our bodies react to all stress in the very same way, the brain instructing the cells to release some pretty potent hormones. There’s adrenaline to tap into stored energy so you can “fight or flee” as well as a surge of cortisol that urges the body to replenish the energy even though you haven’t really done anything yet. The body keeps pumping out the cortisol as long as the stress keeps up.

And there are very few of us who respond to stress by reaching for some kefir – instead we want the high fat, salty sweetness because this stimulates the release of pleasure chemicals in the brain. These chemicals help to reduce tension, which is why eating junk food seems to be helpful, comforting. Over time, it’s easy to see why this can become addicting – anxious feelings cause you to reach for something fatty and tasty for immediate comfort.

With all the cortisol being pumped out while the body is under stress, the testosterone production slows. Over time this drop causes a decrease in muscle mass, which has you burning fewer calories. This is a natural fact of aging, but having high cortisol levels accelerates the process. Cortisol also makes it easier for your body to store fat, especially the dangerous visceral fat, the kind that sends fatty acids into your blood, ups your cholesterol and insulin while also making conditions right for both diabetes and heart disease.

Of course no one is suggesting we remove all anxiety and stress – this is impossible. But there are things you can to do help get those stress levels under control. This will help with cortisol levels and you may also see the impact on your weight and your overall health as well.

Now for the seven stress beaters…

1. Move your muscles, vigorously, as this is an instant stress reliever that really works. It fools the body into thinking you are getting away from your stress, while also helping your blood circulate and flush out the cortisol.

2. Eat slowly at meals, paying attention to each bit, savoring the taste, smell and texture of what you’re eating. Be open to feelings of fullness as this can bring down cortisol levels and cut the amount of food you eat.

3. Do not follow strict dieting as research has shown always dieting can raise cortisol levels by 18%. This makes blood sugar become variable so you feel cranky and are absolutely starving.

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Seven Smart Ways To Beat Stress Fat Continued…

4. Give in, a little, to cravings, as it’s far better to indulge in a small way and limit your cortisol response before it takes over.

5. Cut caffeine as combining stress and caffeine raises cortisol levels more than does stress on its own.

6. Eating a nutrient rich breakfast helps provide the body with B vitamins, vitamin C, calcium and magnesium. Without enough of these come higher cortisol levels and food cravings.

7. Sleep, getting enough (7-9 hours/night) is amazingly beneficial. Being sleep deprived ups cortisol; appetite and naturally, weight gain as well. Getting enough sleep for several nights in a row will restore the balance.

To your good health,

johnhain / Pixabay

How To Become More Creative, Fast

Start by recognizing that creativity isn’t a talent so much as a skill that you can learn, practice and strengthen. It is not restricted to writers, artists or musicians; but can be put into use for all of us. To help find new ways to solve problems and work through challenges. Turns out the more you try to be creative each and every day, the stronger your skills will get.

To strengthen your creative muscles…

1. Doodle as it can help you stay present and engaged during an activity where your mind might otherwise wander. Some of the greatest creators (Steve Jobs, Henry Ford) used doodling to kick-start their creative process.

2. Take a class in something you’ve never done before. Creativity is encouraged when you push yourself out of your own comfort zone and learn a new thing. If you don’t think you have the time, schedule it in.

3. Create an environment for creativity, one that has you feeling relaxed and comfortable, safe to express yourself.

4. Indulge your curiosity, and give yourself the chance to learn about anything that interests you. Stop thinking of curiosity as an indulgence.

5. Move, go for a walk or do some other physical movement as it has been shown to have a positive impact on creative thinking.

6. Begin a sketch book as this is a simple way to preserve memories and make use of time that might otherwise be wasted. Sketch whenever you have time and do it for the fun of the process, not a critique of what you draw.
Continues below…


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How To Become More Creative, Fast Continued…

7. Keep engaging toys near your desk (or workspace) as playing or building something with your hands can be the jolt your creative juices need to start flowing again.

8. Try flash fiction, a form of writing that is very short (100 words) and based on a prompt that’s been supplied. The small word count is reachable for even non English majors, and it will give you an amazing creative challenge that is sure to have you generating new ideas in no time.

9. Try the 30 circles exercise, a creative exercise where you draw 30 circles on a piece of paper. In one minute, adapt as many circles as you can into objects you can recognize – balls, balloons, flying pans. Go for quality over quantity.

10. Engage in role playing as it can help you come up with new solutions to existing problems by putting yourself in the other person’s shoes – maybe a client or coworker. Physically role playing can generate some impressive revelations or solutions.

One of the most critical keys to building up your own creativity is to be willing to take chances… to fail. Sure your efforts might not pan out every time, people might not “get” your idea, but with these efforts you will continue to make your creative skills stronger. Fear of mistakes or failure can paralyze your progress, so put these destructive feelings aside and trust that you’re moving toward having your creative juices flowing readily and regularly.
To your good health,

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The 6 Most Confusing Health Terms Explained

When you walk the aisles of your local supermarket, it’s easy to be confounded by all the claims and counter claims, all the delicious, nutritious looking foods, packaged and presented to win us over. There are a number of terms that sound healthy… all-natural or fat free come to mind, but are actually are anything but. In fact, a Nielsen survey finds almost 59% of us have trouble understanding nutrition labels.

Let’s touch on some of the worst offenders…

NATURAL: Believe it or not, the US Food and Drug Administration has no formal definition for the term natural. It’s okay to use the word if the product doesn’t have any added color, artificial flavors, synthetic substances. Natural does not mean organic, and it does not mean a food is healthy. When you see this word, check the list of ingredients, as it’s the only way to really see what’s inside.

ORGANIC: The USDA Organic Seal tells you that a food was produced without synthetic pesticides, genetics, petroleum or sewage sludge based fertilizers. On meats it signals animals that were fed organic, vegetarian feeds and had access to outside and were not treated with antibiotics or hormones. Again this term does not necessarily mean healthy, so check the ingredient list of what you’re buying.

LOCAL: This term is only an indication that an item was produced within a certain geographic region as determined by number of miles or state borders. There’s no formal definition here, so you should also keep in mind that local isn’t organic – according to recent surveys in both US and Canada that show the false assumptions we have about the term. Many think local products are more nutritious yet they do not carry a Nutrition Facts label for you to check.

GLUTEN-FREE: The US FDA says that a food must limit the unavoidable presence of gluten to under 20 parts per million (ppm), and must not have any ingredient that is any type of wheat, rye, barley or crossbreeds of such grains or derived from them. Foods that are naturally gluten free (water, fruits, veggies) can be labeled as such, and does not mean that a food bearing the label is a whole grain, organic, low in carbs or healthy. Many gluten free foods are highly processed and have refined ingredients.

Continues below…


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The 6 Most Confusing Health Terms Explained Continued…

GRASS FED: The parameters for feeding animals, as set by the USDA, say the cattle must be fed mother’s milk and forage during their life. The forage can be grazed or eaten as hay but the animal must have access to pasture. These cattle can still be given hormones and antibiotics. Grass fed dairy and meat have been found to have more of the good fats (less of the bad) as well as more antioxidants and vitamins. To be sure the product is organic as well, look for the word “organic” on the label and the USDA organic seal.

ALL NATURAL: There is no Food and Drug Administration definition here either, though a manufacturer won’t be bothered so long as an item doesn’t have any added colors, artificial flavors or synthetic substances. There’s lots of room for interpretation with this one, so watch and read labels carefully.

In the end, understand that no matter what a food manufacturer puts on the label, it’s up to you to be sure that product is what you are expecting it to be. Don’t make assumptions. Check the ingredient list or ask how something was made, where it was grown. If you want to be sure you’re eating healthy, you need to be a careful, attentive gatekeeper to each and every thing you put in your body.

To your good health,