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Improving Mental Health Through Meditation

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While there are always reasons to count our blessings, and certainly causes for joy and happiness in this life…

We can’t escape the fact that there are seasons and circumstances of great stress and sorrow as well. 

2020 has been a year that has multiplied stress, grief, sorrow, and even trauma on levels that many of us haven’t experienced in some time, if ever. 

Our mental health determines how we are able to handle these situations, and for many, it has certainly been affected by these trying times. 

In fact, health experts across the globe agree on one thing: we are in the midst of a full-blown mental health crisis! 


So then, let’s look at…

  • what constitutes mental health and well-being, 
  • some common effects we may all be finding familiar in these uncertain times, and 
  • some ways to improve our mental health amidst such stress and trauma. 

Mental Health And Well-Being

Mental health refers to your social well-being, emotional health, and psychological health. 

It determines how you deal with day to day or lifetime stresses. And, it governs the choices you make and how you relate to those around you. 

Your mood, behavior, and ability to think about situations properly are all determined by the state of your mental well-being. 

While genetics and brain chemistry affect our mental well-being, what we experience throughout our lives can greatly contribute to mental health problems. 

Let’s face it, sometimes life throws things at us, and we don’t walk away unscathed. 

From financial stresses to marital problems, from abuse to other trauma, the things we walk through in this life do affect our mental health. 

Some signs that your mental health or well-being is declining:

  • Sleep (too much or too little)
  • An increase in the use of alcohol or cigarettes (even drug use)
  • Feeling detached from friends and family
  • Feelings of hopelessness
  • Excessive feelings of confusion, fear, anger, worry, or forgetfulness
  • An unusually short fuse (lack of patience)
  • Mood swings
  • Unable to perform normal daily tasks
  • Thoughts of harming yourself or others

The Mental Health Crisis

If you felt like you could put a checkmark next to most of what has been mentioned thus far, life probably feels extra heavy the past several months…

And you are NOT alone. 

Even prior to this year, as a nation, we were already fighting so many battles on the mental health front. 

Here in America in 2018, there were 1.4 million suicide attempts.

As of March 1 (note this is pre-pandemic as far as statistics are concerned), suicide was the 10th leading cause of death in the United States. 

Major depression is considered to be one of the most common mental disorders in America.

And, as of 2017, approximately 1 in 10 people globally were living with a mental health disorder. 

So, what about now, in the midst of a global pandemic? 

I mean, it’s no secret that this year has been severely stressful. This pandemic and its subsequent fallout has caused:

  • Death and illness (this sad reality has caused trauma to those experiencing it within their circle of friends and family)
  • Lack of job security, job losses, financial strain, foreclosures, bankruptcies, and homelessness have been an all too common reality 
  • Isolation for the elderly as they’ve been kept away from their loved ones over fears of the spread of the virus 
  • Quarantining the healthy has led to loneliness and isolation for people of all ages and walks of life 
  • A similar point: lack of social gatherings, lack of school classes (many are still not doing in-person classes even now), sports, and other extra-curriculars 
  • Limited family visits (other than the elderly) due to virus fears 
  • Postponed weddings and limited to no attendance for funerals (denying closure for grieving families)
  • Routines have been completely uprooted, and some are still constantly changing (proving challenging and stressful for adults and children alike)
  • Opinions abound on mask usage, vaccines, school or no school, businesses closing and opening, states closing and opening leading to increased tension and stress 

I feel like I could go on for days, each item getting more specific, each item hitting closer to home for so many. 

No one has been immune. 

When you find yourself breaking down in the middle of Kohl’s because it’s the first time you’ve been in an actual store seeing other human beings in months. Yep…this has been weighing on your mental health. 

When it’s 9 am and you already need a glass of wine. Yep…the stress of these last months has been weighing on your mental health. 

When you look at the emptying fridge, the funds dwindling in the checkbook, and you’re eagerly awaiting an interview for a “hail Mary” job…this is affecting your mental health. 

What about your children? How are they fairing? 

The twins, who loved school and each other (most days), are fighting non-freaking-stop! Weary momma, they’re affected too…just as much as you are. 

So, what’s the real crisis here? Is it even covid? 

I’m not negating its potential for severity, even death, but less than 2% (1.75 actually) of our fellow Americans have contracted the virus according to numbers given by the CDC right now. 

But, how many of us have been affected in our mental health and well-being?

According to the CDC on June 2020:

  • Trauma or stress-related disorder symptoms have increased by 26% amidst the pandemic
  • 11% of Americans have seriously considered suicide in these last months
  • 13% of adults in America started or have increased substance abuse since the onset of the coronavirus
  • Anxiety and depression symptoms have risen by 31% in the United States
  • 40% of adults in the US reported struggling with mental health as of late June in light of the pandemic

And, we haven’t even mentioned the other stressors we are facing as a nation (riots, politics). 

We are indeed in the midst of a crisis, a mental health crisis! 

And, while there are definitely times and reasons to reach out to mental health professionals, there are also things you can do on your own to relieve some of these stresses that are continually mounding (pandemic or not). 

Incorporating Meditation To Facilitate Mental Health

Meditation, when done properly, can greatly improve your mental health and well-being. 

But, meditation can mean different things for different people, too. So, here are a few methods to choose from:

Deep Breathing

One prominently noted method of meditation incorporates the practice of deep breathing. Some refer to this as mindfulness or mindful meditation. 

Trauma, continual stress, and anxiety can all affect our brain function in regard to how we think and react to real-life situations. 

And, deep breathing, or mindful meditation practices can help here. 

But, don’t just start huffing and puffing, hoping to inhale and exhale your troubles away.

Quickly breathing in and out can have the same result on your body as stress and anxiety do! 

When you’re stressed or anxious, whether you realize it or not, you tend to hold your breath which causes a tightening in your chest.

 And, when you breathe in and out rapidly, your body senses the same chest tightness, making your brain think you’re stressed out again.  

But, done properly, some say that as few as 3 breaths can reset the fear centers in our brain. 

So, how can you properly meditate through deep breathing?

  • Find a quiet place. 
  • Sit comfortably.
  • Breathe in gently for 5 counts (seconds), and focus on filling your whole belly with air. People often think they are to fill their chest with air, and while your lungs will indeed fill, focus on your belly here while you inhale. (like filling a balloon)
  • Hold this for 5 seconds. (Pro tip: Use your diaphragm and core muscles, not your throat, to hold in your breath)
  • Then, breathe out slowly for another 5 counts (seconds), emptying your belly of the air. 
  • Repeat

When you do this, your mind is focused solely on breathing air in and breathing air out, thus freeing your mind of the burdensome thoughts that may be surrounding you. 

Don’t underestimate the power of this technique. It is taught to first responders for use in some of the most stressful situations humans ever encounter because it works.

And the physiological effects are well documented by top institutions, so… use it when you notice that you are feeling stressed.

It takes 45 seconds.

Walking or Moving Meditation

Another form of meditation is referred to as moving or walking meditation. 

For some people, the benefits of meditation are much needed, but the practice of stillness is something very elusive and even uncomfortable. 

So, perhaps you already include exercises like walking or running in your daily routine. That’s great and can already be beneficial to your mental health! 

But, you can take it a step further (no pun intended) and focus your mind and your attention while you are walking. 

  • Count your steps as your walk. 
  • Try counting forward to 10 and then backward back down to 1.
  • Focus on the raising and lowering of your feet with each step. 
  • Essentially what you are doing here is super focusing your mind on this activity which will clear your thoughts of the effects of the stresses you are facing. 

Consider for example those who can attest to going for a walk and coming back with a renewed sense of strength to face their day.

Or, perhaps you have heard of those who went for a walk and were able to realize a solution to a problem soon after returning. 

Some attribute this to the mind-clearing and stress-relieving benefits of these movements. 

From personal experience, I will say that you can do this while running as well. 

As you focus on your pattern of breathing, zero in on your footwork. Diverting your focus from any pain (not injuries, just pushing past muscle pains for growth), you can achieve this same stress relief and freeing of your mind. 

And, in case this was muddied in the description, I want to make perfectly clear that while moving (running, walking, or other exercises like yoga or tai chi), you aren’t “zoning out” during these meditation practices. And you aren’t listening to something.

You are focused on your breathing and the steps you are taking. And you are fully aware of your surroundings, all five senses engaged in just being in the moment.

It’s all about being present and mentally letting go of everything in the past or the future.

Try it today.

Bonus Tip

And as a final “bonus” tip… if you haven’t heard of CBC, recent research reported that it is 10 TIMES as effective as CBD at improving depressed moods.

It has many therapeutic properties that were recently discovered.

  • Mood: A recent study showed CBC has 10x the effect of CBD on relieving depressed moods
  • Calm: Several studies have shown CBC to be an effective relaxant, making users feel at ease quickly
  • Pain: CBC has also been shown to have powerful pain-relieving effects
  • Brain Growth: CBC appeared to increase the viability of developing brain cells – a process known as neurogenesis.
  • Anti-virus and anti-microbial: It has been shown to be an effective anti-viral

Even more encouraging is the fact that CBC makes CBD are most powerful when they are ingested together in a full-spectrum CBD oil.

One study showed that CBD was up to 3x more powerful when taken with CBC, CBG, and other natural cannabinoids. This is called the ‘entourage effect’ and dozens of studies show it is now the most effective way to get the most out of a CBD supplement.

Now you can enjoy all these cannabinoids in one powerful dose with Prosper CBD’s 1000mg Full Spectrum Oil.

It has 35mg of full spectrum CBD in every dose, plus 2mg of CBC and 1mg of CBG.  And it’s patented liposomal delivery mechanism makes it 20X more bioavailable to your body.

Try Prosper CBD 1000mg Full Spectrum oil for 20% off today only.  This is a special introductory price and costs as much as many companies charge for 300 or 500mg.  

References: 

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HEALTH

Exploring the Role of the Health Belief Model in Preventative Health Behaviors

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Preventative health behaviors are essential for maintaining overall well-being and preventing the onset of various illnesses and diseases. One model that has been widely used to explain and promote these behaviors is the Health Belief Model (HBM). The HBM is a psychological model that was originally developed in the 1950s by social psychologists Hochbaum, Rosenstock, and Kegels. It aims to explain and predict health behaviors by taking into account individual beliefs and perceptions.

The HBM is based on the premise that individuals are more likely to take action to prevent or control a health issue if they believe that they are susceptible to the issue, that it is severe, that taking action will be beneficial, and that they are capable of taking the necessary steps. These four key elements are known as perceived susceptibility, perceived severity, perceived benefits, and perceived barriers, respectively.

Perceived susceptibility refers to an individual’s belief about their personal risk of developing a particular health issue. For example, someone who believes that they are at high risk of developing heart disease may be more likely to engage in preventative behaviors such as exercising regularly and eating a healthy diet.

Perceived severity is the individual’s belief about the seriousness of the health issue. If someone believes that the consequences of not taking action to prevent a particular health issue are severe, they may be more motivated to engage in preventative behaviors.

Perceived benefits refer to the individual’s belief that taking action to prevent or control the health issue will be effective in reducing the risk. If someone believes that exercising regularly and eating a healthy diet will help to lower their risk of developing heart disease, they may be more likely to engage in these behaviors.

Perceived barriers are the obstacles that may prevent an individual from taking action to prevent or control a health issue. These barriers may be financial, logistical, or psychological. For example, someone may be deterred from exercising regularly due to a lack of time or access to a gym.

The HBM has been applied to a wide range of preventative health behaviors, including cancer screenings, vaccinations, and healthy lifestyle choices. Research has shown that individuals who have higher levels of perceived susceptibility, severity, benefits, and lower levels of barriers are more likely to engage in preventative health behaviors.

Healthcare providers and public health professionals can use the HBM to design interventions and communication strategies that promote preventative health behaviors. By addressing and changing individuals’ beliefs and perceptions, these interventions can help to increase motivation and enable people to take action to protect their health.

In conclusion, the Health Belief Model is a valuable framework for understanding and promoting preventative health behaviors. By considering individuals’ beliefs and perceptions about their health, healthcare providers can design effective interventions that motivate and empower people to take control of their well-being. The HBM plays a crucial role in shaping public health strategies and encouraging individuals to adopt healthy lifestyles to prevent the onset of diseases and illnesses.

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How to Perform CPR Fast and Effectively

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(NaturalHealthyNews.com) – EVERYONE HAS SEEN THE tense moments in movies where someone collapses, and someone else dashes to the scene to begin cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR).

One crucial action, such as retrieving an automated external defibrillator (AED), can make the difference between life and death. This action is typically not given much emphasis.

Follow these life-saving steps immediately:

Step 1: Check the Scene

Check to see if the person is alright by tapping them and asking if there are any chemical spills or downed electrical lines.

Step 2: Check for Breathing

Proceed to the next step immediately if they are not breathing or are only sometimes gasping for air.

Step 3: Call 911 and Grab the AED

Tell anyone close to perform these actions so that you can start CPR. Gordon Tomaselli, M.D., a former president of the American Heart Association, advises skipping the AED and beginning compressions as soon as possible if you have to search for the device that shocks the heart back into rhythm.

Step 4: Start CPR

Use the AED first if it’s nearby: When an AED shock is administered within the first minute of a cardiac arrest, nine out of ten victims survive. Perform chest compressions until aid comes if an AED is not available.

Compressions can increase the chances of survival by two or three times if performed in the first few minutes after cardiac arrest.

How to Do Chest Compressions: Place the heel of one hand in the center of the chest, precisely at the nipple line, while kneeling next to the individual to perform chest compressions.

Put the other one on top of the initial one. Put your fingers together. Locked elbows, apply force quickly. Compress between 100 and 120 times per minute; this is the beat of “Stayin’ Alive.”

Each time, delve two inches deeper.

Step 5: Follow the AED’s Instructions

The AED’s audio instructions walk you through every stage of using it after you turn it on. All you have to do is listen and answer. The instructions will tell you how to position the electrode pads and whether you should click the button to shock someone.

They also recommend restarting CPR if a shock is ineffective.

Step 6: Continue CPR

Hands-only CPR is equally successful in the initial minutes following cardiac arrest in adults and teenagers as it is when combined with rescue breathing.

Continue until your breathing returns, assistance comes, or you cannot continue.

If you are faced with a situation where someone near you requires CPR, follow the step-by-step guide below to potentially save a life.

Copyright 2024. NaturalHealthyNews.com

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HEALTH

Your 4-Week Plan for Better Mental Wellness

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(NaturalHealthyNews.com) – Everything in your day to day and your life is impacted by your mental health. There are other options outside therapy, medication, and even meditation to maximize it.

You can do many little things to improve your mental health, remove obstacles in your path, and achieve your life goals.

Being happy with your mental health does not imply that you never experience terrible days. It means you can handle those days with more extraordinary fortitude and less effort.

And perhaps you can figure out how to prepare yourself for even fewer of them down the road.

This four-week strategy helps you do things differently, think outside the box, overcome obstacles, and feel joy and amazement. In essence, it improves your mental health.

Week 1: Take a Breather

Day 1: Pause for a Minute

Take a moment to ground yourself by noticing 5 things you can see, 4 you can touch, 3 you can hear, 2 you can smell, and 1 you can taste.

Day 2: Focus on Your Breath

Practice 4-7-8 breathing: inhale for 4 seconds, hold for 7, and exhale for 8. Repeat a few times to relax.

Day 3: Let Your Mind Wander

Sit quietly without distractions, allowing your mind to relax and think positively, boosting creativity and mood.

Day 4: Embrace JOMO

Limit social media use and enjoy the joy of missing out (JOMO). Focus on what matters to you rather than online content.

Day 5: Get Some Rest

Prioritize sleep by setting a bedtime, keeping your room cool, and avoiding screens before bed.

Week 2: Ask a Question a Day

Day 1: What’s Going Well?

Focus on what’s working well to boost positivity and well-being.

Day 2: How Will This Decision Affect Me?

Consider the short-, medium-, and long-term consequences of your decisions to reduce anxiety.

Day 3: How Am I Feeling Right Now, Really?

Identify and understand your genuine emotions without labeling them as good or bad.

Day 4: What’s Possible Today?

Adapt to daily challenges by asking what’s achievable rather than striving for perfection.

Day 5: What Can I Let Go Of?

Identify and start letting go of negative self-talk or unhealthy relationships.

Week 3: Fuel Your Mood with Food

Day 1: Eat a Day’s Worth of Greens in One Meal

Incorporate two cups of leafy greens, such as spinach or kale, into your diet for mental and physical benefits.

Day 2: Sample the Rainbow

Eat various colorful fruits and vegetables to boost optimism and reduce stress.

Day 3: Dive Into Seafood

Include fatty fish like salmon for omega-3s and vitamin D, which support brain health.

Day 4: Shift Your Snacks

Choose nuts like almonds or walnuts to nourish your brain with essential nutrients.

Day 5: Add Friends

Share meals with friends to enhance mental wellness through social connections.

Week 4: Use These Mind Hacks

Day 1: Embrace Uncertainty

Accepting what you can’t control helps reduce stress and anxiety.

Day 2: Plan for Hurdles

Prepare for daily challenges to stay balanced and resilient.

Day 3: Change Your Language

Reframe negative emotions by noting them as feelings rather than defining yourself by them.

Day 4: Balance Your Negativity with Positivity

Counter negative thoughts with positive ones to improve mental well-being.

Day 5: Be Amazed

Experience awe through nature, art, or inspiring talks to boost creativity and mood.

Mental health impacts how we think, behave, and feel. It’s closely tied to physical health, and nearly everyone faces mental health challenges at some point.

This 30-day plan offers simple daily changes to help reduce stress and anxiety, enhancing mental well-being and resilience.

Copyright 2024. NaturalHealthyNews.com

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