Author Archives: thehealthychange

Six Ways to Look Healthier

Do you look unhealthy and feel bad about it? Don’t give in to self-pity. Look for things you can do or habits you can observe to look healthier today. Here are six routines you might want to try.

1. Take care of your skin. The skin is the largest body organ that can reveal your overall well-being. It is the first layer of your immune system that shields you from harmful elements in your surroundings. Protect it from daily wear and tear by keeping it clean, moisturized and protected against UV rays. Avoid smoking and other unhealthy habits that can damage your skin as well.

2. Take care of your teeth. Bad breath, gum disease, plaque and tooth decay result from poor dental hygiene. Brush your teeth at least twice daily. Use dental floss and mouthwash to remove food deposits and bad bacteria in your mouth. A complete set of pearly white teeth will make you look healthier and younger. If you’re missing a couple of teeth, consider having dental implants. Read this detailed infographic from Aria Dental to learn more about them.

Click here to watch videos about dental implants and other ways to care for your teeth.

3. Keep yourself hydrated. Water aids the circulation of blood in your body. It also makes all your muscles work properly. Make sure to drink 8 glasses of water daily. This will help you avoid dehydration, dizziness, headaches and body aches while you’re completing all your goals and tasks for the day.

4. Wear clean clothes. Wearing the same clothes for a long time or repeatedly can cause the dirt and germ build-up and unpleasant body odors. Change your clothes as often as you need. Clean and good-smelling clothes will make you look and feel fresh and healthy.

5. Stand and sit tall all the time. Standing and sitting tall both refer to good posture. Good posture affects the performance of your digestive system, heart and lungs. It also affects how you feel and your capability to do physical activities. Practice good posture to avoid misaligned bones and joints, body pains, and fatigue.

6. Make your core and upper body strong. A strong core provides better overall balance and posture. It also provides support to your spine to avoid backaches and a tighter midsection. A strong upper body produces powerful arms and chest which help in the stabilization of your core as well. Exercise regularly to achieve stronger and toned core and upper body.

How to Alleviate Stress Through Breathing

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Breathing is an involuntary activity which you learn as soon as you were born (with no one teaching you how to do it). The way you breathe determines how much oxygen your blood transports to your tissues and muscles. Breathing and breathing properly are vital to your circulatory function. You need to breathe properly in order to maintain your body’s good functioning.

Breathing allows you to manage stress. You could be standing in line for coffee at the corner coffee shop and you hear a gunshot. Your body’s stress reaction is turned on. The stress reaction (the fight-or-flight reaction) enables you to meet a perceived danger. However, living with chronic stress tires out your heart and it alters your brain chemistry. Consequently, you become more irritable and even more anxious. Learning how to breathe properly and deeply will help calm you down during times of stress.

Deep versus short breaths

When you are nervous, anxious, afraid, distressed or excited, your heart beats faster. Your pulse races, your heart pumps faster and you breathe in at shorter intervals. Breathing at shorter intervals makes you breathe more often but this does not mean that you are breathing in more deeply. There is a difference.

Deep breathing allows you to use most of your lungs’ capacity to hold in your breath. If you control your breath by breathing slowly and deeply, you stabilize your pulse – consequently, you slow down the beating of your heart.

You can test whether deep and slow breathing will work for you by lying down and putting a hand on your belly. Inhale through your nose slowly while silently counting up to five. You will notice your belly rise. Hold your breath for about four or five seconds. Then, release your breath. Exhale slowly, counting to eight. Make sure you empty your lungs. Do this deep and slow breathing for four or five times. You will notice that your muscles will relax. And you will feel that your tension has melted away.

4 Ways to Breaking Unhealthy Habits

You might  feel overwhelmed when you decide to make some healthy changes in order to live a healthier lifestyle moving forward. This might keep you from making any changes at all. Here are some practical ways that will help you shift from your old routines successfully.

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Identify the root cause of your unhealthy habits. Bad habits start due to some reasons. Dig deep and find the cause of your bad habit. For example, you always find yourself eating junk foods  when you’re stressed at work. Finding these triggers and eliminating the triggers themselves is like taking the fast track to sustainable, lasting change.

Replace your unhealthy habits with healthy ones. This tip will help you ditch your bad habits while you build the good ones. If you’d like to ditch that nightly glass of wine because your sleep is suffering and the pounds are packing on, find something healthy to replace it with. Exchange that wine for a healthy sleepy-time tea, and enjoy better sleep as well. This also goes for reaching for a large bowl of snacks at night, try replacing it with veggies and hummus or a bowl of fruit.

Take things slow. Going cold turkey on refined sugar cold turkey might work for some, but for most of us, it will result in a relapse and possibly a binge. You can better decide to cut one sugary meal or snack from your life each week and slowly decrease your sugar intake. The same goes for healthy habits, don’t start with wanting to work-out twice a day, start with once or twice a week and build up from there.

Don’t be too hard on yourself. A small setback might cause you to give up your goal altogether but don’t let one mistake break all the progress that you made. The all or nothing approach simply does not work. Be patient with yourself and be proud of yourself. While you’re using these tips to break old habits and build new ones, it still won’t be easy, but it will finally stick this time. And, you’re worth it!

Know the Risks of Self-Medication

Coughs and colds and aches and pains are just part of our everyday life. Because of this most people think that it is not necessary to rush to the doctor every time they experience such. Moreover, they self-medicate to alleviate the discomfort and pain they feel quickly. But is self-medication the right thing do? Here are some risks of self-medication which might help you decide if you really want to go about it.

1. Self medication is associated with risks such as misdiagnosis, use of excessive drug dosage, prolonged duration of use, drug interactions and poly pharmacy.

2. Paracetamol, an antipyretic and analgesic in large doses can cause liver failure. Paracetamol toxicity is, by far, the most common cause of acute liver failure.

3. Over usage of anti-hypertensive drug may cause hypo tension, which may eventually lead to heart failure and also hepatic and renal failure.

4. When you use over the counter, you are basically wasting the time you would have used to consult a medical professional, which could aggravate the disease condition.

5.Over the counter drugs could contain some side-effects and sometimes some adverse effects that could be dangerous to our body and so the importance of seeking and experts opinion cannot be overemphasized.

 

The Healing Effects of Gratitude

Gratitude is a powerful attitude. We can use it to expand our happiness, create loving relationships, and even improve our health.

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Gratitude makes you likeable. Gratitude makes you nicer, more trusting, more social, and more appreciative. As a result, it helps us make more friends, deepen our existing relationships, and improve our marriage.

Gratitude strengthens your emotions. It reduces feelings of envy, makes our memories happier, lets us experience good feelings, and helps us bounce back from stress.

Gratitude lets you sleep. People who are thankful for the day that was get more sleep hours than those people who are anxious and angry. Sleeping 8 hours or more a day makes you healthier.

Gratitude makes you more optimistic. Optimism in turn makes you happier and healthier. Studies show that gratitude can increase lifespan by as much as a few years.

Gratitude keeps the doctor away. Gratitude can’t cure terminal illnesses, but it can strengthen your physiological functioning. Positive emotion improves health. In fact, some recent science shows just that – those who engage in gratitude practices have been shown to feel less pain, go to the doctor less often, have lower blood pressure, and be less likely to develop a mental disorder.

Gratitude helps you relax. Gratitude and other positive emotions are among the strongest relaxants known to man.

Gratitude increase your energy levels. Gratitude and vitality are strongly correlated – the grateful are much more likely to report physical and mental vigor.

Know the Effects of Sadness on Your Health

Sadness can have serious physical effects on your body. The most common of these include loss of appetite and change in body temperature. In some cases, it leads to death. Read this short post to learn about the unhealthy effects of sadness and how you can avoid them.

Source: UNSPLASH

  1. Trouble sleeping.
  2. Irritability, anger, and loss of interest in things that used to bring pleasure.
  3. Feeling of emptiness or hopelessness.
  4. Frequent episodes of crying.
  5. Inability to concentrate, memory problems, and difficulty making decisions.
  6. Trouble maintaining a normal work schedule or fulfill social obligations.
  7. Use of alcohol or drugs.
  8. Reckless or abusiveness.
  9. Overeating or binging which lead to weight and obesity-related illnesses like type 2 diabetes.
  10. Stomachaches, cramps, constipation, or malnutrition.
  11. Stress hormones speed heart rate and make blood vessels tighten.
  12. The body stays  in a prolonged state of emergency.
  13. Heart disease and other cardiovascular issues.

Here are some ways to beat sadness.

Give some upbeat music a listen. An upbeat tune can change an atmosphere instantly and create a more positive vibe. Listening to upbeat, happy music alters brain chemistry and can improve your mood.

Monitor your inner negative talk. Reminding yourself that your thinking is that of a sad person, not a healthy functioning person. Don’t take your thoughts seriously when you are feeling low. Acknowledge the thoughts but this doesn’t mean you have to believe them.

Sleep. Sleep and mood are closely connected. Inadequate sleep can cause irritability and stress, while healthy sleep can enhance well-being. Studies have shown that even partial sleep deprivation has a significant effect on mood.Take steps to ensure adequate sleep will this will lead to improved mood and well-being.

How to Avoid Abuse of Prescription Drugs

While most people use prescription medications as prescribed, some people abuse these drugs especially when they are meant to alleviate pain. Such can abuse can easily lead to addiction. Hence, it is important for every prescription drug user to be knowledgeable of the different ways to combat abuse.

1) Understand what ‘abuse’ really means. Prescription drug abuse happens when a person uses a medication outside of its specific prescription. This includes taking a higher dose than prescribed, combining them with alcohol or other drugs and uncommon forms of administration like grinding and snorting a pill.

2) Know the most commonly abused prescription medications. Here’s a short list:

  • Depressants: these include barbiturates, benzodiazepines and sleep medications
  • Opioids: codeine, fentanyl and analogs, methadone and morphine are common examples of abused opioids
  • Stimulants: these include amphetamines and methylphenidate

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3) Make healthy decisions about taking prescription drugs. Understand the drug’s effects. Ask your doctor or a pharmacist to explain exactly what side effects to expect.
Don’t use other people’s prescriptions. They might have different effects on you. Use only the medications prescribed by her own doctor.