Archive for July, 2012

Too much Baggage? You know it will cost…

July 31, 2012
Emotional Baggage

Liberate Yourself

Are you carrying around all the baggage from your life? Do you still keep the burdens of the past strapped onto your shoulders? If yes, why? Why are you hauling all of that extra luggage around? It’s slowing you down and crowding your space! Instead, do you want to raise your vibration and move forward with joy and lightness?

Seriously, I know it may seem that remembering and carrying all the hurts from the past protects you from future pain, but let’s look at this in more detail.

How free could you feel if you dropped all of your baggage? How quickly could you move without all of that extra weight? (A little hint: A LOT! I dropped some excess baggage recently that I didn’t even know I had and let me tell you- it felt absolutely amazing and freeing to finally let it go.) Carrying your past hurts and disappointments around closes you off, and it hinders you from opening up to new, wonderful experiences.

If you are a little pinched off because of all your baggage, fine. Don’t beat yourself up, but observe your burdens. Be aware of what you are holding on to, and just be with the question, “Can I let this go?” And then ask yourself, “can I afford not to let it go?” What opportunities are you missing out on because you are closed off? Are you missing your bus, so to speak, because you can’t run to catch it with all of your bags?

To begin releasing those bags, just start by simply saying to yourself, “I am releasing this. I am letting go of all of these old burdens. I am ready to let it go!” You don’t even need to know what the burdens are. You may be so used to carrying your baggage that you don’t even know it is there. When you decide to let go, be determined to move forward. You don’t need to think about it. Just decide to let it go and then do it.

When you begin releasing these bags, you will feel lighter and freer. I guarantee it.  Who doesn’t want that? Your heart will open. Don’t be afraid of it- it’s an amazing experience!

Now, emotions may come up for you to release. This is normal, and it can be a fairly easy process. Don’t resist it. When stuff comes up for you (in other words, these may be recurring patterns of emotions that are ready to go once and for all), don’t fight it or slap a smiley face over it. Feel it and then let it go. I’ll repeat that. Feel it, then let it go. Don’t think about it. Don’t tell the story over and over. When you simply feel without thinking it to death, this stuff will leave easily!

For now, just be aware when you are thinking too much. Learn to drop the endless mental dialogue and clear your mind. Practice letting go on a daily basis. Every morning, be determined to release old burdens and resistance. And remember- no story about the burdens. Do you want to feel lighter and freer? Are you ready to create the life of your dreams? Then check your baggage in.

Bag lady you gone hurt your back
Dragging all them bags like that
I guess nobody ever told you
All you must hold on to
Is you, is you, is you

~ Erykah Badu

Article sourced from: http://www.yourjoyouslife.com/

Olympic Junk Food

July 29, 2012
2012 London Olympics Sponsored by McDonalds

2012 London Olympics Sponsored by McDonalds

London 2012 Olympic games — Best of our Best

By Michael F. Jacobson

The Olympic Summer Games — the quadrennial sports and advertising extravaganza — are now underway. Once again, we’ll be thrilled (and perhaps even inspired) by the graceful gymnasts, the lightning-fast sprinters, and the seemingly inexhaustible swimmers.

Less thrilling is the endless drumbeat of ads from long-time sponsors Coca-Cola (since 1928) and McDonald’s (since 1976). Their ads are too clever to nag you to fill up on Big Macs and large Cokes. Instead, they worm their way into your heart to create warm, fuzzy feelings.

Companies love to sponsor the Olympics. They reach millions of eyeballs with their seductive TV ads, and they know that some of the squeaky clean, healthy images of star athletes will rub off on their sooty reputations.

How ironic! The global event that showcases the fittest people on the planet is bankrolled — to the tune of about $4 billion — by companies whose foods undermine our health. Major sponsors pay roughly $100 million and provide 40 percent of Olympics revenues. And that won’t change until at least 2020. But the obesity epidemic is leading some to recognize the irony:

  • The London Assembly urged the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to adopt criteria for sponsors that would bar companies like McDonald’s and Coca-Cola.
  • The Academy of Medical Royal Colleges said that McDonald’s and Coca-Cola’s sponsorship “sends out the wrong message” to children.
  • The Lancet, the premier British medical journal, lamented, “Harder to erase will be the long-term effect of Games-associated junk food advertising on people’s hearts and waistlines — definitely one Olympic legacy the world can do without.”
  • Even the IOC president, Jacques Rogge of Belgium, acknowledged a problem.

Of course, the companies have silky-smooth retorts. A Coke spinmeister said, “We believe all of our drinks can be enjoyed as part of an active, healthy lifestyle.” McDonald’s said, “Many athletes tell us we are their favorite place to eat.”

The next summer games will be held in Rio de Janeiro in 2016. Brazilians are one of the world’s biggest consumers of soda (fueled by Coca-Cola’s billion-dollars-a-year investments), and host to over 650 McDonald’s outlets. Experts predict that Brazil’s bulging waistlines may grab the world record from the United States by 2022. Will junk-food marketers get an Olympic carte blanche again?

I hope that the four-year breather will give Olympic officials and companies time to work out a deal: If you want to link your brand names to the games, you may only promote and sell your healthier products.

 

 

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/michael-f-jacobson/olympic-sponsors_b_1703395.html?utm_hp_ref=health-news&ir=Health+News&ncid=edlinkusaolp00000009

Recipe of the Week – Fried Cauliflower Rice

July 26, 2012

Fried Cauliflower Rice

Serves 6
2 vegetable, | 2 fat

Ingredients

  • ½ red onion, finely diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 Tbsp fresh basil, diced
  • 1 cauliflower, cut into florets
  • 1 egg
  • 2 Tbsp coconut flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 Tbsp coconut oil

Method

  1. Steam the cauliflower until soft but not mushy.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, combine the cauliflower, onion, garlic and basil. Add the egg, coconut flour, salt and pepper and mix well.
  3. Using a potato masher, mash the cauliflower until it resembles the consistency of rice.
  4. Heat the coconut oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the cauliflower mixture and sauté for 7 to 10 minutes, or until the onion is tender.

Variations:

  1. Add extra vegetables to the mixture.
  2. Add your choice of meat, poultry, seafood or tofu.

Kids’ diet benefits whole family

July 24, 2012
At Coffs Coast Health Club we are committed to healthy individuals, families & communities.  This Sydney Morning Herald article highlights how the way we eat affects EVERYBODY.  If your child needs to lose weight it might be an ideal opportunity to think about your own eating habits.
Chicken with sesame and bok choy.Diet dish … chicken breast with bok choy. Photo: Vanessa Levis

Step One: Pull everything from your kitchen pantry and inspect the ingredient labels closely. Look for glucose, sucrose, fructose, any kind of sugar. Now, for a reality check, consider that about 4.2 grams of sugar equals one teaspoon.

Step Two: Open the fridge and calculate the sugar load in sweetened beverages such as soft drinks and sports drinks. Visualise the 10 teaspoons of sugar in some 600ml sugary drinks.

Step Three: Congratulate yourself. You now know almost as much as a five-year-old. That is, a five-year-old being schooled in healthy eating in a new, innovative paediatric weight management program for kids aged five to 18 at Kaiser Permanente Medical Centre in Sacramento, California.

The program echoes heightening concern over the obesity epidemic in the United States.

Obesity can lead to Type 2 diabetes, a chronic ailment once known as adult-onset but now increasingly seen in youths who lack access to healthy food and activity choices. Diabetes can cause heart disease, strokes, amputation and, when advanced, can bring on early death.

Already, some of the youths enrolled in the Kaiser Permanente program are pre-diabetic, with higher than normal blood pressure and high lipids levels, said Dr John Struthers, a paediatrician who helped develop the program.

Though the program is free, it’s in high demand and competitive. Families are screened before being allowed to participate.

Every 10 weeks, 20 new participants are added to the 20-week program, but not before parents sign contracts, agreeing to support their child, attend the sessions and provide healthy meal choices.

Making the program a family affair is one of the benefits that Tiffany Romano, 16, a participant since late April, most enjoys.

“I like how the family is involved and how we do activities,” said Tiffany. “We have family meetings, take family walks and learn about food together.”

When Tiffany attends weekly sessions, her father, Bryant Romano, is there to back her up. At age 50, her father said he’s been watching his health, too, and he’s shed around 21kg while accompanying his daughter.

The most surprising fact that Tiffany has learned so far, she says, is the extent to which sugar is found in processed foods, and that “low-fat” processed foods often have sugar added to fool the taste buds.

Tiffany said her goal is “to be healthy and more active”. She rises at 5am, works out, plays basketball and touch football, and has stuck to a regimen of chicken breasts, broccoli, protein drinks and salads.

According to America’s Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, making modest behaviour changes such as improving food choices and upping physical activity to at least 150 minutes per week is enough to help participants lose five to seven per cent of their body weight. And that’s enough to reduce the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes by 58 per cent in people at high risk.

One of the key components of the program is a reward of sorts that the kids have to earn by coming to each session on time and demonstrating their commitment. It’s a money-clip-sized wireless physical activity tracker they wear, or pocket, to track calories spent walking, climbing stairs, running, even dancing.

Called a Fitbit, the device automatically uploads data from up to 4.5 metres away to a base station connected to a computer.

The information then goes to a website that shows the day’s activity in a pie chart that represents the past 24 hours and how much of it was spent being lightly active, fairly active, very active or sedentary.

The device appeals to the kids because it syncs to mobile phones they use to input what they ate and information about their activities. Then they, or their parents, can go online to check progress.

Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/lifestyle/diet-and-fitness/kids-diet-benefits-whole-family-20120713-21zvd.html#ixzz21WPFFGi0

The Australian Bureau of Statistics:  FEATURE ARTICLE 1: CHILDREN WHO ARE OVERWEIGHT OR OBESE

Obesity is a major contributor to the global burden of chronic disease and disability. Around the world, levels of childhood obesity have been rising for a number of reasons including a shift in diet towards increased intake of foods that are high in fat and sugars and a reduction in the amount of time spent on physical activity.

Obesity not only has significant health and social impacts, but also considerable economic impacts. According to Access Economics, in 2008, the total annual cost of obesity in Australia, including health system costs and productivity and carers costs was estimated to be around $58 billion.

In 2007, the Australian Government announced the development and promotion of healthy eating and physical activity guidelines for children. These measures will form part of the Government’s Plan for Early Childhood and Plan for Tackling Obesity. One of the main aims of the National Preventative Health Taskforce is to develop a National Obesity Strategy.

Changes over time

In 2007-08, one-quarter of all Australian children, or around 600,000 children aged 5-17, were overweight or obese, up four percentage points from 1995. The obesity rate for children increased from 5% in 1995 to 8% in 2007-08 (graph 11.9).

11.9 CHILDRENS BODY MASS INDEX – 1995, 2007-08(a)
Graph: 11.9 CHILDRENS BODY MASS INDEX – 1995, 2007–08(a)

Age and sex

Between 1995 and 2007-08 there was a significant increase in the proportion of boys who were obese. The rate of obesity for boys aged 5-17 years doubled from 5% in 1995 to 10% in 2007-08. Increases in obesity occurred for younger and older boys. For boys aged 5-12 years, 8% were obese, up from 4% in 1995. Of boys aged 13-17 years, 13% were obese, up from 6% in 1995.

While for boys there were significant increases in obesity, there were no such increases for girls. The obesity rate for girls aged 5-17 remained unchanged at 6%. While the obesity rate for girls did not change from 1995 to 2007-08, the proportion of girls who were overweight increased. The increase occurred for girls aged 13-17 years, up from 12% in 1995 to 20% in 2007-08. In contrast, there was no change for younger girls aged 5-12 years, with the overweight rate remaining constant at 17% in both time periods.

Socio-economic factors

The Socio-Economic Indexes for Areas (SEIFA) Index of Disadvantage summarises various attributes such as income, unemployment and educational attainment of an area in which people live. Children living in the areas of greatest relative disadvantage had more than double the rate of obesity (28%) of children living in areas with the lowest relative disadvantage (13%). Aside from socio-economic differences between areas in terms of education, income and employment, some areas may also offer greater opportunities for physical activity and greater access to healthy food options.

Physical activity

The 2004 Australia’s Physical Activity Recommendations for Children suggest that children aged 5-18 years need a minimum of 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity every day. The following section looks at physical activity using results from two ABS surveys. The 2006 Children’s Participation in Culture and Leisure Activities Survey collected information on the participation of children aged 5-14 years in organised sports and informal sports during the 12 months prior to interview. It provides insight into some of the physical activities in which children aged 5-14 are participating. The 2007-08 National Health Survey collected information for children aged 15-17 only.

11.10 CHILDREN’S PARTICIPATION IN ORGANISED SPORT(a) – 2006
Graph: 11.10 CHILDREN'S PARTICIPATION IN ORGANISED SPORT(a) – 2006

Children aged 5-14 years

In 2006, 63% of children had played sport which had been organised by a school, club or association outside of school hours, an increase from 59% in 2000. Over the six year period, girls’ participation in organised sport rose by six percentage points from 52% to 58%, compared with three percentage points for boys from 66% to 69%. While the participation rates of about 45% were similar for children aged 5 years, by 13 years of age the participation rate for boys was 73% and for girls was 55%. The highest rate of participation for boys was at 10 years (77%), while for girls it was 9 years (67%) (graph 11.10).

Children who did participate were spending 6 hours per fortnight on average on organised sport participation. Swimming and outdoor soccer were the most popular sports. The survey also collected information on informal sports, such as bike riding, rollerblading and skateboarding, to get some indication of children’s involvement in informal physical activity. The survey found that around two thirds of children had been bike riding and a quarter had been skateboarding or rollerblading in the previous two weeks. The amount of time spent on these informal activities was the same as organised sport participation, with an average of 6 hours per fortnight (graph 11.10).



Children aged 15-17 years

In 2007-08 over three-quarters of children aged 15-17 took part in sport or recreational exercise in the two weeks prior to the National Health Survey. However, just under one quarter said that they either did no exercise, or very low amounts during the two week period.

Sedentary lifestyles

According to the Department of Health and Ageing Australia’s Physical Activity recommendations for children, children who do not get enough physical activity and spend significant amounts of time in sedentary states increase their likelihood of poor fitness, raised cholesterol and being overweight in adulthood. Related research has also shown that the incidence of obesity is highest among children who watch TV for long periods each day, compared with children who watch TV for a smaller amount of time each day. Australian guidelines recommend that children should not spend more than two hours a day watching TV, playing computer games or using other electronic media for entertainment.

11.11 PROPORTION OF CHILDREN’S TIME SPENT ON SELECTED ACTIVITIES(a) – 2006
Graph: 11.11 PROPORTION OF CHILDREN'S TIME SPENT ON SELECTED ACTIVITIES(a) – 2006

In 2006, almost all children aged 5-14 had watched television, videos or DVDs during the two-week period of the survey and almost two-thirds had played electronic or computer games. Around 45% of children who watched television, videos or DVDs, and 10% of children who played electronic or computer games, did so for 20 hours or more over the fortnight period. Overall, the average amount of time spent on these two activities by most children averaged across a two-week period, was 2 hours per day (graph 11.10).

Data sources and definitions

The information in this article comes from the 2007-08 NHS and 2006 Children’s Participation in Cultural and Leisure Activities Survey (4901.0). Physical activity results from these surveys may not represent total physical activity, since the surveys only cover sport organised by a school, club or association which has been played outside of school hours. The article looks at children aged 5-17 years unless stated otherwise. Body Mass Index (BMI) was calculated from measured height and weight information (using the formula weight (kg) divided by the square of height (m)). Height and weight were measured for children in the 2007-08 NHS. Overweight and obesity are defined according to the BMI scores, indicating a relationship between height and weight. There are BMI cutoffs for children which are based on the definitions of adult overweight and obesity adjusted to specific age and sex categories for children. For a detailed list of the cutoffs used to calculate BMI for children, please see the ABS National Health Survey Users’ Guide(4363.0.55.001).

REFERENCES

World Health Organisation Global Strategy on Diet, Physical Activity and Health, Overweight and Obesity, viewed 6 July 2009.

Access Economics, The Cost of Obesity, Canberra, 2008.

Department of Health and Ageing, Early Childhood Nutrition, viewed 15 June 2009.

Australian Health Ministers Communique, Delivering Results, 18 April 2008.

Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, Making Progress, Canberra, 2008.

King, T et al. 2005, ‘Weight and place; a multilevel cross sectional survey of area-level disadvantage and overweight and obesity in Australia‘ International Journal of Obesity, viewed 5 August 2009.

ABS Australian Social Trends, (4102.0) September 2009.

Department of Health and Ageing, Australia’s Physical Activity Recommendations for children, viewed 21 May 2009.

http://www.abs.gov.au/AUSSTATS/abs@.nsf/Lookup/1301.0Chapter11062009%E2%80%9310

Symptoms of a Heart Attack

July 22, 2012

Would you know if you were having a heart attack?

A heart attack occurs when one of the arteries that supplies blood to the heart is blocked. The underlying cause is coronary heart disease (CHD). Risk factors for CHD include smoking, a high total blood cholesterol level, obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure and increasing age. A heart attack is a medical emergency. Call triple zero (000) for an ambulance if you have warning signs of heart attack.

To perform its duties, the heart muscle needs a generous supply of oxygen and nutrients, which it receives from blood pumped through the two coronary arteries and their branches.

A heart attack occurs when a blood clot blocks one of the arteries that supply blood to the heart muscle. The underlying cause of heart attack is coronary heart disease (CHD). CHD is when fatty deposits (called plaque or atheroma) slowly build up on the inner wall of the coronary arteries and cause the arteries to become narrow.

If a blood clot forms in the narrowed artery and completely blocks the blood supply to a part of your heart, it can cause a heart attack. The severity of the heart attack depends on how much heart muscle is permanently damaged.

Heart attack is a medical emergency

Call triple zero (000) for an ambulance if you or someone you are with experiences the warning signs of heart attack.

Warning signs of heart attack

Warning signs vary from person to person and they may not always be sudden or severe. Although chest pain or discomfort is the most common symptom of a heart attack, some people will not experience chest pain at all, while others will experience only mild chest pain or discomfort.

When having a heart attack you may experience pain, pressure, heaviness or tightness in one or more parts of your upper body, in combination with other symptoms. People have described this as ‘like an elephant sitting on my chest’, ‘a belt being tightened around my chest’, ‘bad indigestion’ or ‘feeling not quite right’.

The most common warning signs of a heart attack are pain, pressure, heaviness or tightnessin your:

  • Chest
  • Shoulder(s)
  • Neck
  • Arm(s)
  • Jaw
  • Back.

You may also:

  • Feel nauseous
  • Feel dizzy or light-headed
  • Have a cold sweat
  • Feel short of breath.

You may have just one of these symptoms or you may have a combination of them. Symptoms can come on suddenly or develop over minutes and get progressively worse. Symptoms usually last for at least 10 minutes.

If you have warning signs of heart attack that are severe, get worse quickly or last more than 10 minutes, call triple zero (000) immediately and ask for an ambulance.

Why call triple zero (000)?

Calling triple zero (000) gets you:

  • An ambulance fast
  • Treatment as soon as you phone
  • Advice on what to do while waiting for the ambulance to arrive.

Ambulance paramedics are trained to use special lifesaving equipment and to start early treatments for heart attack inside the ambulance. Early treatment can reduce the damage to your heart.

The ambulance is the safest and fastest way to get you to hospital. It gets you medical attention straight away.

It is always better to go to hospital and be told it’s not a heart attack than to stay at home until it is too late.

Diagnosis of a heart attack

Tests to diagnose a heart attack include:

  • Electrocardiogram (ECG) – a reading of the heart’s electrical impulses. Sometimes this test is done while you are exercising on a bike or treadmill, which is called an exercise or a stress ECG
  • A blood test – to measure levels of substances released into the blood when the heart muscle is damaged
  • Angiogram (or cardiac catheterisation) – a special x-ray of your coronary arteries.

Treatment of a heart attack

Treatment for heart attack may include:

  • Medicines to dissolve a blood clot – for example, one that is blocking a coronary artery
  • Angioplasty and stent implantation – a procedure to open up a blocked coronary artery using a balloon at the point of narrowing. Once the artery is open, a special expandable metal tube (stent) is left in place to keep it open
  • Bypass surgery – an operation in which blood flow is redirected around a narrowed area in one or more of your coronary arteries. It is also called coronary artery bypass graft surgery (often shortened to CABG)
  • Long-term use of medicines – to lower the risk of further heart problems. Be advised by your doctor, but medicines may include a small regular dose of aspirin, a statin (a type of cholesterol-lowering medicine), a beta-blocker and an ACE (angiotensin-converting enzyme) inhibitor
  • Implantable cardiac defibrillators (ICD) – a small device that is sometimes implanted near the heart to manage abnormal heart rhythms (arrhythmias) that may occur after a heart attack.

Risk factors for coronary heart disease

You can reduce your risk of developing coronary heart disease and having a heart attack by removing or reducing risk factors for it. Risk factors are things that increase your chance of developing a particular disease.

The risk factors for coronary heart disease include:

  • Smoking
  • High total blood cholesterol level
  • Physical inactivity
  • Unhealthy eating
  • Being overweight
  • High blood pressure
  • Diabetes
  • Depression, social isolation and lack of social support.

Other factors that can increase the risk of developing coronary heart disease include:

  • Getting older
  • Having a family history of early death from coronary heart disease, such as a first degree relative younger than 60 years old
  • Being postmenopausal.

Changing your lifestyle can reduce your risk of heart attack

Addressing the lifestyle factors that contribute to coronary heart disease can help reduce your risk of heart attack. Things you can do include:

  • Take medicines as prescribed
  • Be smoke-free and avoid exposure to second-hand cigarette smoke
  • Enjoy healthy eating
  • Be physically active
  • Manage your blood pressure
  • Manage your cholesterol and blood lipid levels
  • Achieve and maintain a healthy body weight.

Where to get help

Things to remember

  • Warning signs differ from person to person.
  • No two heart attacks are the same.
  • Knowing the warning signs of heart attack and acting quickly can reduce the damage to your heart muscle and increase your chance of survival.
  • A heart attack is an emergency. If you experience the warning signs of heart attack, get help fast. Call triple zero (000) for an ambulance.

http://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/bhcv2/bhcarticles.nsf/pages/Heart_attack_explained

Recipe of the Week – Moroccan Vegetables with Chickpeas

July 19, 2012

Moroccan Vegetables with Chickpeas

Moroccan Vegetables with Chickpeas-serves 4

Main Course
Serves 4

1 protein | 3 vegetables | 1 fat

Ingredients:

  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 4 baby eggplants, chopped
  • 1 large red capsicum, sliced
  • 1 cup mushrooms, thickly sliced
  • 1/2 tsp ground chilli
  • 1 tsp mild paprika
  • 1 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • pepper
  • 2 x 400g cans diced Italian tomatoes
  • 1 cup hot water
  • 1 cup small cauliflower florets
  • 1/2 cup green beans, sliced
  • 1/2 cup yellow squash, sliced
  • 1/4 cup parsley, chopped
  • 2 x cans chickpeas, drained
  • 4 eggs, beaten

Directions:

  1. Heat the oil in a large saucepan over low heat. Add the onion and garlic, cook for 5 minutes.
  2. Add the eggplant, capsicum and mushrooms, and cook until the eggplant is soft. Add the chilli, paprika, cumin, cinnamon stick and pepper, stir and cook until fragrant.
  3. Add the tomatoes and water, bring to the boil, then add the cauliflower,beans and squash. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cover with a lid. Cook for 8 minutes.
  4. Add the parsley and chick peas, stir, then gently pour in the eggs without stirring. Replace the lid and cook for 5 minutes longer to set the eggs.
  5. Gently stir to break the eggs into smaller pieces. Serve immediately.

Are you Addicted to Your Smartphone?

July 17, 2012
Addicted to your Smartphone

Are you Addicted?

Are you addicted to your smartphone?  I know I am.   If you own a mobile phone this article might be for you;  for you to decide if you’re addicted to YOUR smartphone.
By Susan Davis
I’ll admit it,  I check my smartphone compulsively. And the more I use it, the more often the urge to look at it hits me.

In the orthodontist’s office. Walking my kids to school. In meetings. Even while making breakfast. Sometimes it is in my hand before I even know what I’m searching for. Sometimes I tap the screen absent mindedly — looking at my email, a local blogger, my calendar, and Twitter.

I’m not the only one struggling with this very modern compulsion. According to a 2012 survey by the Pew Research Center, 46% of all American adults now own a smartphone — up a whopping 25% from 2011.

And smartphone use can get very heavy. In a study of 1,600 managers and professionals, Leslie Perlow, PhD, the Konosuke Matsushita professor of leadership at the Harvard Business School, found that:

  • 70% said they check their smartphone within an hour of getting up.
  • 56% check their phone within an hour of going to sleep.
  • 48% check over the weekend, including on Friday and Saturday nights.
  • 51% check continuously during vacation.
  • 44% said they would experience “a great deal of anxiety” if they lost their phone and couldn’t replace it for a week.

“The amount of time that people are spending with the new technology, the apparent preoccupation, raises the question ‘why?'” says Peter DeLisi, academic dean of the information technology leadership program at Santa Clara University in California. “When you start seeing that people have to text when they’re driving, even though they clearly know that they’re endangering their lives and the lives of others, we really have to ask what is so compelling about this new medium?”

Hook or Habit?

Whether smartphones really “hook” users into dependency remains unclear.

But “we already know that the Internet and certain forms of computer use are addictive,” says David Greenfield, PhD, a West Hartford, Conn., psychologist and author of Virtual Addiction: Help for Netheads, Cyber Freaks, and Those Who Love Them.

“And while we’re not seeing actual smartphone addictions now,” Greenfield says, “the potential is certainly there.”

A true addiction entails a growing tolerance to a substance (think drugs or alcohol) so you need more to get “high,” uncomfortable symptoms during withdrawal, and a harmful impact on your life, Greenfield says.

Computer technologies can be addictive, he says, because they’re “psychoactive.” That is, they alter mood and often trigger enjoyable feelings.

Email, in particular, gives us satisfaction due to what psychologists call “variable ratio reinforcement.” That is, we never know when we’ll get a satisfying email, so we keep checking, over and over again. “It’s like slot machines,” Greenfield says. “We’re seeking that pleasurable hit.”

Smartphones, of course, allow us to seek rewards (including videos, Twitter feeds, and news updates, in addition to email) anytime and anywhere. Is such behavior unhealthy?

That really depends on whether it’s disrupting your work or family life, Greenfield says.

Such a disruption could be small — like ignoring your friend over lunch to post a Facebook status about how much you’re enjoying lunch with your friend.

Or it could be big — like tuning out an distressed spouse or colleagues in a meeting to check email, or feeling increasingly stressed by the fact that everyone else seems to be on call 24/7, so we perhaps we should be, too.

Other researchers are seeing clear signs of dysfunction, if not an “addiction.”

According to a 2011 study published in the journal Personal and Ubiquitous Computing, people aren’t addicted to smartphones themselves as much as they are addicted to “checking habits” that develop with phone use — including repeatedly (and very quickly) checking for news updates, emails, or social media connections.

That study found that certain environmental triggers — like being bored or listening to a lecture — trigger the habits. And while the average user checks his or her smartphone 35 times a day — for about 30 seconds each time, when the information rewards are greater (e.g., having contact info linked to the contact’s whereabouts), users check even more often.

The Interrupted Life

Besides creating a compulsion, smartphones pose other dangers to our mental life, says Nicholas Carr, author of The Shallows: What the Internet is Doing to Our Brains.

“The smartphone, through its small size, ease of use, proliferation of free or cheap apps, and constant connectivity, changes our relationship with computers in a way that goes well beyond what we experienced with laptops,” he says. That’s because people keep their smartphones near them “from the moment they wake up until the moment they go to bed, and throughout that time the devices provide an almost continuous stream of messages and alerts as well as easy access to a myriad of compelling information sources.

“By design,” he says, “it’s an environment of almost constant interruptions and distractions. The smartphone, more than any other gadget, steals from us the opportunity to maintain our attention, to engage in contemplation and reflection, or even to be alone with our thoughts.”

Carr, who writes extensively in The Shallows about the way that computer technology in general may be diminishing our ability to concentrate and think deeply, does not have a smartphone.

“One thing my research made clear is that human beings have a deep, primitive desire to know everything that’s going on around them,” he says.

“That instinct probably helped us survive when we were cavemen and cavewomen. I’m sure one of the main reasons people tend to be so compulsive in their use of smartphones is that they can’t stand the idea that there may be a new bit of information out there that they haven’t seen. I know that I’m not strong enough to resist that temptation, so I’ve decided to shun the device altogether.”

Managing Your Smartphone Use

Can’t give up your phone altogether? Experts suggest these steps to control your usage:

  • Be conscious of the situations and emotions that make you want to check your phone. Is it boredom? Loneliness? Anxiety? Maybe something else would soothe you.
  • Be strong when your phone beeps or rings. You don’t always have to answer it. In fact, you can avoid temptation by turning off the alert signals.
  • Be disciplined about not using your device in certain situations (such as when you’re with children, driving, or in a meeting) or at certain hours ( for instance, between 9 p.m. and 7 a.m.). “You’ll be surprised and pleased to rediscover the pleasures of being in control of your attention,” Carr says.

One group of business people at The Boston Group, a consulting firm, discovered just that when they participated in an experiment run by Perlow.

As described in her book, Sleeping with Your Smartphone, the group found that taking regular “predictable time off” (PTO) from their PDAs resulted in increased efficiency and collaboration, heightened job satisfaction, and better work-life balance.

Four years after her initial experiment, Perlow reports, 86% of the consulting staff in the firm’s Northeast offices — including Boston, New York, and Washington, D.C. — were on teams engaged in similar PTO experiments.

To manage my own smartphone well, more smartly, I weaned myself away from it.

I started by not checking it for 15 minutes at a time, then 30, then 60 (unless I was dealing with an urgent situation).

I decided to avoid using the web browser on the smartphone unless I truly needed information (such as an address or phone number).

And I swore off using social media on it entirely. I also made a firm commitment to not text, email, or surf the web on my smartphone while driving.

The result? Even after a few days of this self-discipline, I found that I was concentrating better, more aware of my surroundings, and more relaxed — and I was more aware of when I was looking for something specific, as opposed to just looking for some kind of connection.

Information sourced from: http://www.webmd.com
By Susan Davis
WebMD Feature

10 Things You Didn’t Know About Kissing

July 15, 2012
By Susie Pearl
Everyone loves a kiss, don’t they? When someone leans over and plants a big kiss on us, don’t we just smile inside? We somehow feel a glow – unless of course we don’t really like that person, in which case it’s another story…
What’s with all the kissing?
Kissing is big news. It’s good for us. It extends our health, makes us happier, promotes all sorts of amazing chemicals to go flooding through our body, and makes us smile.  All round, it’s a very fine thing that perhaps we should be doing more of day by day. If we read the research on the positive benefits of kissing, we would be at it all day long.
Top 10 Facts on Kissing

1. Kissing helps people relax and significantly reduces the effects of stress.
2. On average, people spend 20,000 hours (two weeks) of life kissing.
3. Kissing uses 29 facial muscles – it’s a very effective exercise to reduce wrinkles.
4. 66 percent of people close their eyes while kissing. The rest take pleasure in watching the emotions in the face of their partner.
5. A quick kiss burns three calories, an energetic kiss more than 10 calories.
6. Lips are 200 times more sensitive than fingers.
7. People who kiss their partners goodbye before going to work live longer than those who shut the door.
8. Eskimos do it this way: they rub noses together. Their lips open up once their noses meet. Then they take a deep breath and send air out while holding lips closed. After this, they notice the smell and scent of one other, followed up by pressing noses against each other’s cheeks for a freezing minute or two.
9. Kissing in public is a no-go in Japan, Taiwan, China and Korea.
10. When kissing, the body produces a substance that is 200 times more powerful than morphine, releasing a powerful narcotic effect on the body.
The Bottom Line
Kissing can create powerful feelings of euphoria and bliss – woo hoo! So, forget about the rush and the getting some place today. Instead, take a deep breath, smell your friend’s scent and rub noses – if you’re an Eskimo. Or, if you’re not an Eskimo, just reach over and give that person you love a great big gorgeous narcotic-inducing kiss.
Kissing rocks. It’s official.

Information sourced from: http://www.mindbodygreen.com

Recipe of the Week- Wicked Prawn Stir Fry

July 12, 2012

Wicked Stir Fry Prawn-serves 2

Wicked Stir Fry Prawn-serves 2

1 protein | 3 vegetables

 Ingredients

  • 1 Tbsp cornflour
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 Tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 Tbsp fish sauce
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 red chilli, seeded and finely sliced
  • 18 green king prawns
  • 4 cups mixed vegetables
  • Fresh chopped coriander, to garnish

Method

  1. In a medium size bowl, combine the cornflour with a lttle water and mix to make a paste.  Gradually add the remaining water, mixing well to ensure there are no lumps.  Add the soy sauce, fish sauce, garlic and chilli.  Add the prawns and stir gently to coat. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.
  2. Heat a wok over high heat.  Add prawns and marinade to wok and cook until prawns are pink, adding more water if needed.  Add the vegetalbes and toss for 2 minutes.
  3. Remove from heat, stir through the coriander and serve.

Alison C – Maitland

What can massage do for you?

July 10, 2012
Coffs Coast Health Club Massage

Coffs Coast Health Club Massage

Did you know that Coffs Coast Health Club now offers massage?  That’s correct, you asked for it and now you have it!  So what can massage do for you?  Well let’s highlight the benefits of massage & if you would like to experience these benefits for yourself why not make a booking on: info@coffscoasthc.com.au  or ring 6658 6222.

The many benefits of massage

There are many ways in which the benefits of massage can improve the quality of your life. Many people think the benefits of massage are restricted to relaxation (which in itself is hugely important!). But there are numerous other health and wellbeing benefits.

Peer-reviewed medical research has shown that the benefits of massage include: pain relief, reduced anxiety and depression, and reduced blood pressure, heart rate. The release of endorphins and serotonin can: prevent fibrosis or scar tissue, increase the flow of lymph, and improve sleep.

Relief from pain due to musculoskeletal injuries and other causes is one of the other major benefits of massage. It can also relieve tension headaches.

Growing knowledge in Australia about the benefits of massage therapy

The benefits of massage therapy are fully integrated into the Australian health care system (via alternative and complementary medicines and practitioners). Awareness of the many benefits of massage therapy is increasing all the time.

Acupressure or trigger point massage may be very beneficial in relieving back pain. After massage, EEG patterns indicate enhanced performance and alertness on mathematical computations, with the effects perhaps being mediated by decreased stress hormones.

Massage has been shown to reduce subclinical depression. Massage has been used in an effort to improve symptoms and disease progression in HIV and terminal cancer patients. The benefits of massage therapy for these patients are significant in improving and maintaining quality of life.

The benefits of massage for your body

Massage stimulates the immune system by increasing blood flow and lymph drainage. It improves circulation and relieves congestion in the tissues. It stimulates the production of blood cells and promotes lymph flow which hastens the elimination of cellular wastes. It helps clear muscles of lactic and uric acid that build up during exercise and relaxes muscle hypertonicity as well as relieves muscle tension.

Benefits of massage also include improving muscle tone and delaying muscle atrophy resulting from inactivity. Deep massage can separate fascial fibres, and prevent the formation of adhesions and helps reduction of inflammation and oedema in joints and soft tissue. Massage stimulates increased proprieties and kinesthetic awareness of the body

Massage assists the body’s natural ability to heal itself. It relaxes and tones the muscles preventing injuries, increases circulation and therefore improves the delivery of oxygen and nutrients to all body cells.

One of the best benefits of massage is that it makes you feels great!!!

Body of research highlights effectiveness of massage therapy.
Massage therapy is now being recognised as an evidence-based therapeutic modality effective in treating non-acute low back pain and improving well being for people with chronic illnesses, according to the ‘Effectiveness of Massage Therapy’ report released recently.

The report, commissioned by AAMT, comprises a review of 740 Australian and international evidence-based academic research papers, published between 1978 and 2008.

For a summary version of The Effectiveness of Massage Therapy report on current research, download by clicking here.

For a full version of The Effectiveness of Massage Therapy report on the current research, download by clicking here.

information source from:  http://aamt.com.au