1. 8 Reasons To Stop Smoking Through Hypnosis

    June 29, 2013

    you got to stop smoking

    Tobacco use started in the late 15th century as a harmless habit, but by the 20th century people realized just how dangerous the long-term effects of smoking are. Today, it is one of the leading causes for premature death in various countries. Vigorous advertisement campaigns and awareness programs have helped in many ways. Almost everyone knows the dangers of smoking, especially those who smoke. Yet, you still find them smoking cigarettes day after day. The reasons for not quitting may vary, but one of the most common reasons is the lack of will power.
    If you have tried different ways to quit smoking but come out unsuccessful every single time, you may want to give a chance to hypnotherapy. The biggest challenge of quitting the habit is leaving the smoking routine you followed. Hypnotherapists generally do this by reminding you of the benefits of quitting and dangers of smoking. Here are the top 8 ways in which hypnotherapists convince you to stop smoking while you are in a deep state of relaxation.

    1. A longer life

    Did you know that you can increase your life expectancy by 10 years if you quit smoking by the time you hit 30 years? Imagine what you could do with that decade and how many more years can be saved by quitting early. Even if you quit when you are 60 years old, you can still add a few more years to your life.

    2. Better quality of life

    Quitting the habit will not only prolong your life but also improve the quality of life you enjoy. You have fewer health problems and feel better too.

    3. Improved immunity

    When you quit smoking, your immune system is no longer affected. Smoking lowers the efficacy of the body’s immune system and makes it more susceptible to various diseases.

    4. More energy

    Moreover, quitting helps in increasing your energy because your lungs and muscles function better and you sleep more soundly without nicotine in your system.

    5. Reduced stress

    Smokers often start the habit to reduce their stress, and the immediate effect of nicotine after withdrawal does give a relaxed feeling, but the feeling is short-lived. In the long run, smoking actually increases stress levels.

    6. Better looking skin and healthier feeling

    Smoking ages the skin prematurely by causing it to dry and dull and making it more prone to wrinkles. This effect reverses when you stop smoking because the skin begins to receive the necessary nutrients.

    7. Protecting your loved ones

    When smokers think of the dangers of their habit, they often focus on the dangers of active smoking. However, passive smoking can be as dangerous as active smoking, if not more. Passive smokers are those who breathe the same smoke that is exhaled by the smoker. Your family members, friends, and even children could be passive smokers. Quitting the habit helps ensure that they do not run the risk of developing diseases related to smoking.

    8. Better smell and taste

    The chemicals present in cigarettes tend to dull the taste buds in your mouth, which in turn affects the way you smell. As a result, the food and drink you have lose their taste and smell. Quitting the habit reduces the dullness and improves your sense of taste and smell.

     

    Author Bio: Tom is the guest blogger who blogs on behalf of Balance For Life, interested in writing articles that creates awareness on stop smoking through hypnosis.

    Image Credit: Mark Sebastian

     


  2. Why Exercise is Good For Your Brain

    June 24, 2013

    by Christine Hanchett

    We all know that exercise is important for maintaining a healthy body weight and gaining muscle, but did you know that exercise is good for your brain as well?  To be more specific, it is actually cardio exercise that has been shown to be great for the brain.  That is not to say that anaerobic exercise isn’t good for the brain—it’s just that there hasn’t been too many clinical studies to conclude one way or another yet.   But there has been a lot of research into cardiovascular exercise and improved cognition and brain plasticity.  So as to the specific reasons for the cardio exercise being good for the brain, here are the five main benefits:

    Sends More Oxygen to the Brain

      Physical exercise increases breathing and heart rate, sending more blood to your brain. The extra oxygen and glucose you receive from the improved blood circulation is used for enhanced energy production and waste removal. Exercise can actually make cerebral blood vessels grow, even in people of an older age. Walking is one of the best exercises you can do for your brain; you get the increased blood circulation and because it is not as strenuous as running, for instance, you do not get a buildup of oxygen and glucose in your leg muscles.

     

    Stimulates Growth of Neural Connections and Cells

      Exercise aids in the release of hormones, particularly those that aid in the growth and nourishment of new brain cells. New connections are also able to grow between important cortical areas of the brain. The growth of new neural cells (neurogenesis) and new connections between cells allows your brain to have what is called “plasticity.” Plasticity refers to the brain’s ability to reorganize neural pathways. These types of changes occur when we learn something new or memorize new information. Research supports the idea that if someone experiences a brain injury, plasticity allows another part of the brain to actually adapt itself to be able to perform the duties of the injured part!

     

    Better Cognition

      Exercise not only makes you look better, it can make you smarter as well! The increased blood flow to your brain from your increased heart rate can improve your memory, learning ability, concentration, executive functioning (planning, organization, the ability to mentally juggle several different tasks at once, etc) and abstract reasoning. To really improve your brain, take some ballroom dance classes; you’ll be getting the brain benefits of exercise and improving your cognition mentally (by having to remember the steps) at the same time!

     

    Reduces Effects of Stress

    When you are stressed, cortisol levels in your brain become higher, leading to slow, scattered thinking, impaired learning, and forgetfulness. High levels of cortisol can increase blood sugar and suppress the immune system. If prolonged, it can lead to muscle wasting (atrophy). Exercising helps to lower your cortisol levels, leading to clearer and faster thinking again.

    Protection Against Diseases

    Studies have shown that physical exercise can have a protective effect on the brain against diseases such as Alzheimer’s. The more an individual exercises, the less likely he or she is to develop dementia or lose their mental abilities. Even light or moderate exercisers reduce their risk for mental decline significantly. Risk of stroke is also cut in half for those who spend at least twenty minutes a day exercising. Interestingly, the positive effects of exercise against age-related diseases are shown to be particularly beneficial for women.

    With all of these mental benefits in addition to the obvious physical benefits, why are you still reading this?  Get your butt down to the gym—now!

    Image credit: Bruno Hotz


  3. Yoga Therapy For Addiction

    June 23, 2013

    Yoga Therapy for Addiction

    There are many different techniques and methods that can be used to help individuals during recovery from drug addiction or alcoholism. One new type of therapy that makes use of ancient practices is yoga therapy. Participants who use yoga during recovery find that it provides a sense of calm, improves their spiritual connection, and offers them the opportunity to get in shape physically. These benefits are all things that can improve the individual’s life and also greatly assist in recovery.

    Yoga Provides Relaxation and Balance between Mind and Body

    Yoga helps patients manage their emotions more effectively by promoting relaxation and self-peace. Yoga has been known to decrease depression and anxiety, reduce outbursts of anger and fatigue, and lessen confusion. A core value of yoga is self-control, which is practiced by training the mind to direct the body. Patients who struggle with addiction are able to decrease their compulsive behaviors by practicing yoga. Yoga helps the mind and body to work in synergy, by fostering self-discipline and concentration during movements.

    The overall sense of calm that yoga participants experience helps patients who are in recovery accept the challenge of sobriety, and to patiently work toward a new life. “Yoga and meditation do several things, and perhaps one of the most important is that they allow individuals to cope with stress better,” an assistant professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School, Sat Bir Khalsa, said. “At the core of a lot of addiction is a search for that kind of relief from the stressful world.”

    This type of addiction therapy has been proven to help individuals overcome addiction. Excersize acts as a stress reliever and a mood enhancer, both of which can aid in recovery. Individuals who participate in exercise such as yoga are generally stronger mentally and physically, and even after one session they become more capable of tackling the challenge of sobriety.

    Developing an Inner Strength

    Yoga also assists in recovery by enabling a patient to connect spiritually with themselves and their god. Yoga encourages participants to focus inwardly and address their underlying issues. The practice of personal assessment and growth allows patients to identify the reasons they fell into addiction. Yoga helps individuals feel empowered to overcome the challenges that lead them to addiction. Like the 12 step method, yoga helps individuals develop an inward strength that comes from being personally and spiritually connected to a higher power.

    One group of residents in yoga therapy in Boston were featured in a NY Times article. They told the newspaper that they are encouraged every day through their program. One instructor tells them every day, “Tap into your breath to deal with the unknown. Whatever hurts, whatever bad energy you have in your life, you can let it go here.”

    Patients respond well to yoga therapy, and the effect is a strong motivation to continue in sobriety. “The teacher always says how you’re a good person and to love yourself. That makes you feel good about yourself, and you want to stay clean,” said one patient.

    Image Credit: Angela Kukhahn (flickr.com/photos/kukhahnyoga/6052362466)


  4. Raise Your Confidence and Reduce Pressure with Meditation

    June 22, 2013

    benefits of meditation

    by Colin Zauner

    There are many situations in your daily life that can contribute to pressure, anxiety, stress, and loss of confidence. If you want to raise your self confidence and alleviate pressure, all you have to do is adopt meditation in your daily routine.

    Meditation is just one of the most effective anti-stress remedies when done regularly. Meditation state could be facilitated by different techniques which include visualizations, affirmations, breathing, mantras, and many others. Though it can be difficult at first, regular practice will make meditation effortless.

    To boost your self confidence, you should learn about affirmation meditations. This is done in a sitting position. You must be relaxed and comfortable, while closing your eyes. You can choose a daily affirmation and it must be said [silently] in an engaging voice. Do this for ten minutes, and don’t forget to observe proper breathing.

    You can also do visualizations. Try to visualize yourself in a confident or self-assured state. This is something that you can do every day and almost anywhere. If you are busy at work, you can squeeze this into your schedule without difficulty. I know some people who, to release work stress, schedule a 5 min slot for silent meditation every 2 hours when in the office.

    To be able to learn everything about yourself and your go deep into your thoughts, you have to practice mindful or present moment meditation. This is an ancient technique, and it is one of the most effective relaxation tools that you can find.

    Meditation also helps you to maintain your inner energy (read on Qigong to see how to improve and increase your energy), here is what you can do:

    ·    Spend more time with people having positive energy and positive mindset

    ·    Calm your mind and meditate. While you are in a relaxed state, you must try to feel the energy that is flowing inside your body. Visualization can serve as your protective shield.

    – You can also increase your energy levels through meditation. There are various ways to reduce pressure and increase positive energy. Just sit still and pick a quiet place inside the room or office. Hang out with positive and energetic friends and avoid the ‘energy vampires’ – negativity draws energy away. You also need to spend more time outdoors. This is your chance to ease the stress and burdens of daily living. Enjoy the sun and fresh air as you stroll at the park or go shopping.

    Meditation should be effortless and it is a great opportunity to do nothing. There are many mindless activities that you can do prior to meditating. For instance, you can stare at the starry sky, read magazines, take a walk, and even watch your favorite TV show.

    Did you know that laughter is one of the best things that can elevate energy levels? This helps the body in boosting the levels of endorphins (or “good hormones”) and it decreases stress or anxiety.

    Start practicing meditation today, your mind needs as much relaxation as your body.

    Image Credit: Mark Sebastian


  5. Psychological Benefits of Feng Shui

    June 21, 2013

    Feng Shui - Flower

    by Jennifer Barnum

    What is Feng Shui?

    Feng Shui is a traditional art of living based on a philosophy strongly rooted in Chinese history, spirituality, and its ancient culture.  A simple definition of Feng Shui, is that it is the idea of living in harmony with the five natural elements in the world that are used in Feng Shui practices. Dating back to 4000 BC, Feng Shui might be an ancient practice, but it is still widely used today in all cultures. It is often recommended by psychologists because of the benefits of the organization, productivity, and relaxation from Feng Shui.

    6 Reasons for Using Feng Shui


    1. Feng Shui increases and improves the energy flow at homes and in workplaces
    2. Feng Shui can harmonize your environments for optimum living and working
    3. Feng Shui will raise the vibration of your home or workplace
    4. Feng Shui is used to energize your environments to become a magnet for opportunities and prosperity
    5. Feng Shui helps to increase your personal luck factor
    6. Feng Shui can help to avoid negative influences such as geopathic stress and EMF (electromagnetic) pollution

    The 5 Feng Shui Elements:

    The words Feng Shui mean “wind” and “water” in Chinese.  The five Feng Shui Elements are wood, fire, earth, metal, and water. Experts in Feng Shui say that you should include all five elements in your home design in some way to achieve balance. The element you are more in tune with should be used slightly more than the rest, just be careful not to still maintain balance. You can also increase use of the elements as your needs fluctuate.

    Water Elements such as a fountains or fish tanks will help improve communications with your family in your home. If you are unable to add an actual water feature, glass or design features in the colors associated with water are blue and black, can be a good substitute. Your water elements should be placed in the northern corner of the room or house.

    Metal Elements should be added to your décor if you are looking to make more money or just improve your overall financial success. Metal can be represented with silver, grey, gold, or any metallic colors or pieces made of stone, marble or metal. Metal elements should be placed in the western corner.

    Earth Elements help create a firm ground for building your family relationships. Adding earth tones such as light browns, yellows, oranges and sandy colors will bring that added foundation for strengthening relationships. Balance and stability can also be achieved with clay or ceramic decoration pieces, or paintings of landscapes hung on walls. Whenever possible this element should be in the center of the room or the room most central to the home.

    Fire Elements help to increase productivity and passion. Feng Shui experts advise to always place the fire element in the southern corner of the room or house. Fire is the most powerful element; therefore, be careful when adding this element to your home and maintain moderation.  Red is the color most associated with fire and it is well received and liked by most people. However, red is such a bold color it may not go with all home décor. Alternatively, you can use candles or lamps to represent the fire element.

    Wood Elements symbolize loyalty and are said to promote creativity and inspiration. Different woods are usually present in home designs; they can be furniture, wood floors, or wood panel walls. Besides the usual brown color associated with woods, green can also be used to represent the wood element when. If your wood element is not mobile, then it is best when placed in the eastern corner of your room or home.

    Feng Shui’s Psychological Benefits

    When you come home to your house, do you feel the stress of the day wash away? You should feel self-satisfied, lighter, energetic, and motivated. If you do not get positive feeling from coming home, but rather feel tired, restless, and overwhelmed, then your home and family life can definitely benefit from balance through Feng Shui. Balance through Feng Shui can also lead to a balance in your mind between the right and left side. Removing clutter in your home also has proven to reduce clutter in your mind and allow you to relax and have ideas flow more freely, making it easier for you to make decisions. Colors also affect your mood, so taking colors into close consideration to the personalities of your family members will go a long way towards improving the mental Feng Shui in your home. The vibes created from the flow of proper chi in your home can actually cause healing within your body.

    Adding plants to a room may not always seem like a Feng Shui concept, however adding plants bring balance to your home. They can help to promote growth in your home and family, in both the literal and implied sense. Before you start thinking that Feng Shui is just some ancient practice filled with superstition, check out the NASA research that shows that indoor pollution is worse than outdoor and proves that plants are the solution.

    Image Credit: Kiddharma (flickr.com/photos/kiddharma/233451177)


  6. Boosting Fertility the Natural Way

    June 20, 2013

    Boosting Fertility

    Getting pregnant is a struggle for many couples. In fact, according to the Fertility Society of Australia, one in six Australian couples experiences problems with infertility. If infertility is a problem for you, you’re certainly not alone.

     

    When you first realise you’re experiencing fertility problems, the natural tendency is often to panic. The thought of having to undergo lots of invasive procedures and investigations is a daunting one. The fact is though; there are certain simple changes you can make to your lifestyle and environment that can provide a real boost to fertility – for both men and women.

     

    Natural Ways to Boosting Fertility – Lifestyle and Diet Changes

     

    Relax

    It’s easy to say it, but it’s true. We’ve all heard stories of couples who’ve been trying to conceive for months or years who find that it’s only when they take a break from their strict ovulation-centered routine that conception actually occurs. Research shows that the odds of pregnancy increase when stress is reduced. Light exercise, yoga, meditation: all of these can aid relaxation for both of you and in doing so can prepare your body for conception.

     

    Exercise

    There are lots of great reasons why both of you should exercise to increase fertility. For one thing, weight problems can be one of the major factors inhibiting fertility. Underweight women produce too little estrogen to fuel optimal ovulation whereas overweight women produce too much. A tailored exercise regime can address both of these problems. In a more general sense, exercise strengthens muscle, builds stamina and improves circulation; all of which are factors which can increase your prospects of conception as well as helping to grow healthy sperm.

     

    Positive Thinking

    We’ve all been told to “think positive” at some time or other. There are actually some pretty good scientific reasons why staying positive can aid conception. Worry and stress are essentially defense mechanisms; instigating the production of adrenaline and prolactin – hormones which provide us with the “fight or flight” impetus. Unfortunately such hormones are definitely not what we need when looking to conceive as these hormones inhibit the pregnancy hormone, progesterone. Positive thinking can be an incredibly effective weapon in combating infertility by aiding the reduction of stress hormone levels in the body.

     

    Quit Smoking

    Smoking can be a huge barrier to fertility. Not only has smoking been linked to poor conception rates and an increased risk of miscarriage, there is also a connection between smoking and poor sperm mobility in addition to distinct general fluctuations in male reproductive hormone levels.

     

    Limit Exposure to Environmental Toxins

    Traffic fume pollution, trace elements of mercury and other metal contaminants from sea food, chemical in detergents: there are many chemicals that can have a detrimental effect on reproductive health. Studies indicate that pesticides and herbicides sprayed on crops contain xenoestrogens that can cause damage to the female reproductive system. Choosing organic produce, avoiding BPA-containing plastic products and consuming filtered water are three practical steps you can take to help maintain a healthy reproductive system.

    Say “Yes” to healthy fats:

    Healthy omega-3 fats are an effective boost to fertility. Nuts, avocados and flax seeds are prime sources of omega-3. Butter from grass-fed cattle and eggs are high in arachidonic acid, which has also been shown to aid reproductive health.

    Include plenty of greens

    Dark green, leafy vegetables such as spinach, kale and broccoli are excellent sources of foliate, an important vitamin that’s vital for laying a strong foundation for conception. Greens are also rich sources of many vitamins, minerals and antioxidants vital for maintaining reproductive health.

     

    Get adequate vitamin D

    Vitamin D is a vitamin that behaves like a hormone. It is important for the production and secretion of many hormones in the body and helps to maintain a proper hormonal balance. Sensible, limited daily sun exposure without sunscreen helps your body produce enough vitamin D for the day. For light skin an exposure of 15 minutes is sufficient whereas for darker skin, a slightly longer exposure time may be beneficial. If you live somewhere that has long winter months and you have limited scope for exposure to sunlight, consider taking a vitamin D supplement after consulting with your healthcare provider.

     

    These tips can help to promote fertility naturally as well as promoting general good health. If you are actively trying for a child and are experiencing difficulties, you should also consult your physician and a fertility specialist.

     

    Author Bio: Al writes on sexual health and fertility issues in Australia and abroad.

    Image Credit: Mark Sebastian

     


  7. Just what is bipolar disorder exactly?

    June 17, 2013

    living with bipolar disorder

    by: Tricia Chilcott

    What is bipolar disorder?

    What is bipolar disorder? Who gets it? What are the symptoms? What about medications? These
    are all important questions about bipolar disorder, and I’m going to try and answer them here.
    According to the National Institute of Mental Health, bipolar disorder is ‘ a brain disorder that
    causes unusual shifts in mood, energy, activity levels, and the ability to carry out day-to-day
    tasks. Symptoms of bipolar disorder are severe. They are different from the normal ups and
    downs that everyone goes through from time to time. Bipolar disorder symptoms can result in
    damaged relationships, poor job or school performance, and even suicide’.

    Living with bipolar disorder

    I know from experience just how much havoc being bipolar can create in your life. Since I was
    diagnosed 8 years ago, I’ve had 4 hospital stays, with the first one lasting 6 weeks, and the most
    recent stay lasting 3 weeks. This has been a huge burden on my family, and problematic in my
    marriage as well. I made the decision to go off my meds back in December, and by February I
    had crashed hard, thus landing me back in the hospital. It was not a pretty sight in the slightest.
    Thanks to a good doctor and a wonderful husband, I’m back on my meds and doing fantastically.
    But what about medications for bipolar? There are a number of medications avaialble, and
    literally hundreds of ways they can be mixed together to try and find the perfect cocktail.
    Medications include mood stabilizers such as lithium, anticonvulsants such as Lamictal, atypical
    antipsychotics such as Abilify, and antidepressants such as Zoloft. One issue with medication
    management is that many people with bipolar disorder have comorbid conditions, making
    them need additional medications as well. For example, in addition to being bipolar, I also have
    ADHD, PTSD, and anxiety, so my cocktail consists of Concerta, Welbutrin, Abilify, Klonopin,
    Ambien, and Xanax. My psychiatrist is trying to convince me that I need Trileptal as well, but
    it’s a battle he’s not winning.

    Who gets bipolar disorder?

    So who gets bipolar disorder? It is estimated that approximately 2% of the general population
    has bipolar disorder whether diagnosed or not. According to the DSM-IV, there are actually
    4 variations of bipolar disorder, which include Bipolar I, Bipolar II, Bipolar-NOS, and
    cyclothymia. What do all of these mean? People with Bipolar I not only have the severe downs,
    but they have severe ups as well, or they have what’s called a mixed state, which includes
    features of both depressive and manic symptoms. People with Bipolar II don’t have the manic
    highs, instead they swing from very depressed to hypomanic. Bipolar-NOS are people who have
    symptoms, but don’t fall into either of the above two categories. And then cyclothemia is a mild
    form of bipolar disorder, one in which the person experiences highs and lows, but not the very
    low depressive states, and not the high manic states. You may also have genetic predisposition to bipolar disorder. It’s been recently discovered that that bipolar disorder, ADHD, and schizophrenia may all be linked to the same set of genes.

    You are in excellent company

    So what does this all mean for the bipolar patient? It can mean a lot of time spent with a doctor
    figuring out medications. It can mean a lot of frustration as medications are sorted out and
    therapy is started. But it also means you are in excellent company! You may feel alone in this battle, but many others have fought it and won. I’m sure you’ve heard of Abraham Lincoln, as well as Winston Churchill, and even Charles Dickens. Or perhaps you’ve heard of a lovely lady named Marilyn Monroe? Kurt Cobain? Or if you’re more current than that, how about Catherine Zeta-Jones? These creative geniuses all have or had bipolar disorder. Many bipolar patients are creative geniuses in their own right, but it comes with that hefty price tag of the extreme mood swings.

    Don’t give up!

    One thing many people living with bipolar disorder pride themselves on is having the ability
    to walk that fine line between insanity and brilliance. We may stumble and fall off that tight rope occasionally, but there is hope for us, and we are not alone in our fight with this. There is support available, there is treatment that works, and recovery is possible. I am living proof of
    this, as are many other successful bipolar people I know. So don’t give up! Don’t give in! The night is always darkest before the dawn, and when you’re in the pits of despair and want to give up, that is the darkest hour. But I promise you, the dawn will come, perhaps when you least expect it. You’ll find a medication that works, a treatment plan that is right for you, and you will see that there is a light at the end of the tunnel. I was in the pit of despair for a long time, but I pulled myself out of it with the help of medications and therapy. I know for a fact this can happen for others suffering from this disease as well. Keep the faith, and hold on tight to the knowledge that there is the right treatment plan for you, and you too can lead a productive life as well. Good luck, and God bless!

    Image Credit: Spencer Williams


  8. Research Quantifies Benefits of Exercise Against Depression

    June 16, 2013

    exercise against depression

    by Jessica Josh

    We all heard that: exercise to avoid or alleviate depression. For years, mental healthcare providers have universally agreed on the merits of exercise as complimentary therapy for depression. But no clinical research has been performed in order to quantify its power over mental illness. Until now.

    In the May issue of the Journal of Psychiatric Practice, psychiatrists from the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas reported unprecedented research findings on benefits of physical activity for treating clinical depression, known in medical parlance as major depressive disorder (MDD).

    “Despite the substantial evidence supporting the use of exercise in the treatment of MDD, previous studies have not provided a clear indication of the proper dose of exercise needed to elicit an antidepressant effect,” wrote authors Chad Rethorst, PhD, and Madhukar Trivedi, MD.

    According to World Health Organisation, depression afflicts around 350 million people worldwide, with 9 million adults in the US alone suffering from clinical depression.

    Specific guidance

    Reviewing findings from existing randomised trials, the authors found that exercise is indeed an effective antidepressant, either by itself or in conjunction with drugs and psychotherapy, among other treatments. These trials also suggest that MDD patients respond optimally to aerobic exercise and, to an extent, resistance training.

    Based on statistical results of their study, Rethorst and Trivedi recommend depression patients to aim for 50 to 85 percent of their HRmax (maximum heart rate) when performing aerobic activities. They also prescribed weight training at 80 percent of 1-RM (repetition maximum); three sets of eight repetitions involving both lower- and upper-body muscle groups are adequate.

    All in all, MDD sufferers should clock in three to five exercise sessions weekly, with each session lasting 45-60 minutes. However, Rethorst and Trivedi warned that measurable health benefits can manifest within four weeks of starting the regimen.

    Granted, clinical psychologists argue that exercise of any frequency and intensity is better than doing nothing at all. Even in the study by Trivedi and Rethorst 15 percent of patients did not finish the physical activity regimens required by the trials. So, why does it work? Physical exercise increases the rate at which serotonin (aka “hormone of happiness”) is generated by the brain, thus causing the increase in release and synthesis of serotonin.

    Stubborn depression

    Alas, even the best treatments may prove futile against depression. Sometimes other conditions, can aggravate it. Bipolar disorder, thyroid disorders, cardiovascular ailment, and anemia have all been known to make depression resistant to treatment.

    Psychiatrists may prescribe, in addition to antidepressants, medications indicated for other mental illnesses, e.g. mood stabilizers, stimulants, and antipsychotics. They may also request a cytochrome P450 genotyping test, which tells if the patient can efficiently metabolize a drug.

    Clinical psychologists are essential participants in the treatment of depression. Psychodynamic treatment, a relatively drastic kind of psychotherapy, helps the sufferer dig up deep-seated beliefs and feelings that contribute to the depression. This method obviously takes time but, unlike medication, it arms the patient with tools to avoid depression in the future.

    It is rarely used nowadays, but if worse comes to worst, psychiatrists may proffer options like transcranial magnetic stimulation and electroconvulsive therapy (ECT), both of which make use of electric currents.

    In the former, a large coil builds magnetic fields that affect the mood-controlling parts of the brain. ECT, on the other hand, offers stopgap relief from severe depression by practically passing electricity through the brain; patients experience a seizure each time.

     Image Credit: Mark Sebastian


  9. How To Manage Stress During Your Job Search

    June 15, 2013

    Need to manage stress

    by Adrienne Erin

    If you’ve been looking for a job, you probably know that new opportunities don’t show up as quickly or as easily as you would like. There can be long stretches between jobs, when money and your happiness starts to run thin. When this happens, you can become frustrated and disappointed.

    No matter how long you’ve been looking for a new job, stress can enter in as part of the process at any time. Everything from customizing cover letters to waiting for a call from the hiring manager can cause major tension and anxiety. It’s important to cope with this stress, both for the sake of your sanity and for the success of your job search. Seeming desperate, depressed, or cynical can hurt your chances at scoring an interview or an invitation back.

    How do you manage stress when the phone doesn’t ring or there are no emails asking for an interview? Well, the good news is that although job hunting can be challenging, there are choices you can make to decrease stress.

    Get a Support Group

    Every stressful situation is handled more effectively when you have people around you who are supportive. Reaching out to your family and friends about how you’re feeling during your job hunt is a good way to relive stress and lessen the burden. These individuals can give you a boost of confidence right when you need it most and help keep you feeling motivated.

    If you don’t have a support group and you’re feeling uneasy with your job search, try joining an anxiety support group or a group for job searchers to help ease the tension. Being around others who are in similar situations will remind you that you’re not alone in your struggles. Plus, it can be great networking – most of you will not be in direct competition, and you may have contacts that could help your fellow members and vice versa.

    Don’t Overdo It

    Don’t apply for any and every job you find just because you’re feeling a little desperate. Take it easy and only apply for jobs you’re highly qualified for. Even if the bills are piling up or you’re fed up with your boss’s demands, applying for too many jobs will most likely result in a lot of rejection. It will also drain your energy and open the doors for stress to come into your life.

    Make Time for Relaxation

    Your job search should not consume your life and only take up a few hours of your day. Take time to relax and rest so you will be energized when you get back on the job-search grind. Have fun while you’re job searching by keeping an active social life with family and friends. You can also try to take on new, relaxing hobbies, such as organic gardening – this one is excellent to manage stress. It’s important to focus on positive thinking instead of looking at the downsides.

    When you are mentally relaxed, your job search will be more effective — and mentally relaxed candidates are more attractive candidates.

    Keep a Positive Attitude

    It can be hard to keep a positive attitude if you’ve lost your job or hate the one you do have, but you must have one in order to keep stress away. Your job search will be more useful if you remain focused and motivated throughout the process. If you don’t think you are worthy of being hired, this will be evident in your interview skills and affect your desire to look for work. Instead, put your best foot forward and focus on the positives. When you have confidence, it will show in your demeanor and transfer over to your job searching skills.

    Image Credit: Alec Couros


  10. How to Create a Positive Action Mindset

    June 11, 2013

    positive thinking

    by Ryan Rivera

    It’s become an increasingly difficult world. People tend to focus on the negative side of living, and that negative thinking causes not only worsen their quality of life – it also translates to a lack of action. After all, if the world is seen as a negative place, what is the point of achievement and goal setting? What would be the benefit of working hard?

    Of course, this becomes a self-fulfilling issue. If you’re not taking action in your life, you’re not going to achieve anything, and the world really is going to be a more negative place (thus reinforcing your beliefs). If you really want to make very real life change, you need to be able to motivate yourself into not only a positive mindset, but a positive action mindset – a mindset that is actively working towards completing goals and making your life better.

    Combatting Years of Negative Thinking

    Of course, in some ways this is easier said than done. After all, it’s very hard for people to break their own thought habits. Those that are used to looking for the negatives are usually going to find them while blocking out all of the positive things. Regaining that positive mindset takes time and commitment.

    But there are some strategies that can help. Consider all of the following:

    • Fake Positivity

    Perhaps the best activity to try is faking positivity. Pretend that you are an actor in a play that has to pretend to be a completely and genuinely positive person. What would you do? How would you act?

    The human brain adapts to the mindsets you display outwardly. It’s the reason some actors end up becoming more like someone they played in a movie. The brain doesn’t understand why you’re acting the way you do, so it turns you into that person. Positive mindset pays off and faking positivity can really rub off over time.

    • Never Sit Down

    Remember that one of the things you’re trying to do is take action, not just become positive. When you have chores to do, goals to complete, or things you want done, you need to be able to give yourself the energy to take action. So do your best to avoid sitting still. Always be up and about doing something whenever you can, and if you have nothing to do or need to sit because your feet hurt, try your best to make sure you’re sitting with a purpose – like to complete your bill payments, do art, or otherwise be active.

    • Utilize Technology

    Technology is generally the enemy of action and positivity, often increasing anxiety and stress and decreasing action. But there are ways you can use technology to vastly improve your positivity, productivity, and energy. First, make sure that any time you are using technology – computer, TV, etc. – you’re using it for positive things, like watching humor shows on television (not dramas, reality, horror, etc.) and looking at things that improve your mood and your drive.

    But you can go further. Most people have a smartphone these days. You can schedule in reminders for positive thinking, alarms for taking action, and more. You can use your phone as something that constantly reminds you that you need to enjoy various activities, while programming it with the type of music that gives you energy and motivates you forward. Technology has its downsides, but you can use it in ways that improve your positivity overall.

    • Place Reminders Around Your Home

    Similarly, make it harder for yourself to sit and mope by placing reminders of what you should be doing around your home. Whether it’s post it notes with inspirational phrases or multiple copies of your “to do” list, performing this activity will keep you accountable to yourself, and that can go a long way towards making sure you don’t fall back into the negativity trap.

    Controlling Your Positivity

    Becoming that positive person you’ve always wanted to be is a process. It’s not something that’s going to magically occur overnight, and it’s something that requires a dedication to yourself and your advancements. But everyone can obtain this positive mindset if they’re willing to put in the work. Consider the above tips, and dedicate yourself to true positivity to see a real difference in your life contentment.