How smartphone apps can actually make you healthier Comments Off on How smartphone apps can actually make you healthier 1620

Imagine having a way to make even the most stressful situations seem less daunting. It may seem a bit unrealistic, but there’s a practice dating back to prehistoric times that makes this possible.

The benefits of meditation are well-documented – it can help with anxiety, depression, and even help you with insomnia. It’s also been shown to help calm you down about day-to-day worries.

But how do you take the time to unplug and meditate? Funnily enough, it may take your smartphone. This may seem counterintuitive, but some of the best tools for relaxation are found on your trusted device.

In order for you to experience the full benefits of meditation, it’s imperative you don’t get distracted while using meditation apps – don’t steal glimpses at your Facebook news feed in between sessions. With the right amount of discipline, you’ll be able to take a device that’s often the cause of stress and use it for health and happiness.

Whether you’re a beginner or you’ve been meditating for years, these smartphone apps – all available for both iPhone and Android – will kick start your wellness journey.

Headspace: Guided Meditation

This is easily one of the most popular guided meditation apps on the market. With a star-studded fan base (Emma Watson and Gwyneth Paltrow have shared their love for the product) and nearly 62,000 five-star reviews, it’s not hard to see why Headspace has become so trendy.

Fortunately, the app isn’t all hype. Founded by a former Buddhist monk and advertising exec, Headspace has hundreds of sessions on everything from stress to sleep. Additionally, the app has “SOS” exercises in case you run into an unexpected situation and need to de-stress quickly.

Available for iOS and Android. Free for a basic plan; monthly subscriptions start at $12.99.

Relax Melodies

Whether it’s humming your favorite tune in the car or seeing a beloved band in concert, you likely already use music for comfort in some form. But it turns out that music is good for more than that – it’s been proven to improve mood, get rid of burnout, and reduce anxiety.

If you prefer your relaxation with some background noise, it’s imperative you choose sounds that will calm you down instead of creating an unnecessary distraction. That’s where Relax Melodies comes in.

The app specifically focuses on sleep meditation but can be used at any time. The basic plan gives you 52 sounds for free and allows you to mix them as you please. Maybe you prefer listening to the sounds of the ocean over a relaxing piano tune – have no fear. There’s something here for everyone.

Available for iOS and Android. Free for a basic plan; lifetime subscriptions start at $19.99.

Meditation Studio

This is an all-encompassing app with an impressive variety of topics. Since we all use meditation for different reasons, the app doesn’t try a one-size-fits-all approach. If you’re looking to boost your confidence, trying to reduce stress, or dealing with military-related PTSD, there’s a meditation plan specifically designed for your needs. While many of the apps on our list have subscription plans, Meditation Studio has a one-time fee of $3.99.

The team at Meditation Studio boasts over 30 experts who have an array of meditation skills. You can sort by topic or by the teacher, depending on what you’re looking for.

Available for iOS, Android, and Alexa. $3.99.

Simple Habit

Are you too busy to take time to relax? Even if you think the answer is yes, Simple Habit would beg to differ. The app is designed for those with hectic lives and asks for only five minutes of your time daily. According to the folks at Simple Habit, that’s all you need to reap the benefits of meditation.

Founded by an entrepreneur and designed by meditation experts and a psychologist from Harvard University, Simple Habit has been lauded as the go-to app for busy people.

Available for iOS and Android. Free for a basic plan; monthly subscriptions start at $11.99.

Stop, Breathe & Think

This is another option for those who are constantly on-the-go. Feeling overwhelmed at work? These guided meditations are short enough to be done in between meetings, and it picks an exercise based on the user’s current mood.

Additionally, there’s a breathing timer that allows you to practice deep breathing, which is a key part of meditation and a proven way to reduce stress. Bonus: The team at Stop, Breathe & Think donate 10 percent of net revenue to a non-profit that teaches inner-city youth how to use meditation skills to their benefit.

Available for iOS, Android, Alexa, and Slack. Free for a basic plan; monthly subscriptions start at $9.99.

It’s time to take that pesky phone that always demands your attention and use it for good. What are you waiting for? Get started on your meditation journey today.

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Getting your kids to read this summer Comments Off on Getting your kids to read this summer 64591

Summer means different things for different people. For twenty-year-old’s, it’s the time to work and party; for parents, it’s the time to hold neighborhood events and start saving up, and for kids, it’s the time to kick back and finally have some fun. School’s out! 😃 It’s that one time of the year when they can go to the beach and hang out with all their friends without worrying about some project or homework. For them, the entire summer is all about having fun, and as a parent, it’s your sacred duty to balance fun with continuing education. You might even be able to replace “fun” with something more rewarding – like reading!

Knowledge attained outside the classroom tends to stick around longer

You don’t want to be the “uncool” parent that forces your kid to do something school-related during the summer, but you don’t really have that much of choice, here’s why. The lessons that really stick with you long after you finish school are the ones that you learned when you didn’t really have to.

The knowledge that is acquired without some form of ultimatum or consequence always leaves a lasting impression. It also introduces you to a new side of knowledge that is not purely scholarly.

Reading is right for you regardless of what it is that you decide to read – obviously you will have to control your kids’ intake in your spare time. Reading strengthens the mind, and continual learning increases the speed at which you assimilate and process information. Just imagine the kind of impact a fantastic reading speed could have on your kid educational future. You could be adequately preparing them for a future in academia.

Exposure

The reward of “ruining” their obsessively fun summer will be some exposure to other subjects and topics that are unfamiliar to them. Recreational reading could be very instrumental in building up their overall personality. Plus, proper exposure ensures that they have enough information to make smarter and more informed decisions at a tender age.

It can teach them to research and ask questions

Summer reading could form the basis of a voracious reading habit that could beautifully complement their curiosity. It’s not every kid that thinks about something strange that eventually go on to investigate, summer reading could introduce them to the concept of research.

How to get your kids to read during the summer

It’s easy to talk about getting your kids to read during the summer, getting them to do it another issue entirely.

Kids can be especially stubborn or pigheaded when you are trying to force them to do what they simply have no interest in. The only way to have them do what you want the right way is to either introduce a reward system or trick them that it’s all their idea. Local library’s often offer summer reading lists per age group.

Reward system

Are you having a hard time getting your kid to do anything you want? Wait patiently, there is always something they’ll want, and you can use that to get what you want – in this case, it’s a healthy reading habit.

When they come to you with a ridiculous demand, you can propose a fair trade that will engage their mind and keep it focused on a book that you’ll recommend. You can even choose to deliver the reward after the completion of several books, that way, you are getting the most out of your deal.

You can also choose to limit or restrict play time, and the completion of a certain number of pages could be the requirement they must fulfill before they are allowed to play again.

Making them think it’s their idea

In my experience, people are always more motivated to complete a project that they believe to be totally theirs. When it’s your plan, you just tend to pay more attention to it, it’s like you want to prove something to yourself and others around you. Adults think this way, and so do kids. They can be pretty devoted to completing a book they just accidentally stumbled upon or saw you flip through.

Sometimes you don’t have to be so obvious or aggressive, you could give a rousing speech about reading and hand them a book that you know that they’ll enjoy and leave the rest to them.

The summertime doesn’t have to all about vacations and parties, it could also be an opportunity for your kid to develop a reasonably analytical mind.

Is your partner complaining about your snoring? You might have a problem. Comments Off on Is your partner complaining about your snoring? You might have a problem. 55019

Your partner might not have the heart to tell you, but your snoring sucks. They might tell you that it’s slight and cute and they don’t mind, but they are just trying not to hurt your feelings. I, on the other hand, have no such obligation. In truth, snoring isn’t as annoying and unbearable as I make it out to be. It might actually be “cute” but something has to be done about it nonetheless. It might be a sign of something more serious than just a mildly distasteful sleeping habit. So, is your snoring far more serious than you think, or am I just being hard?

Having sleep apnea isn’t necessarily a bad thing (ok technically it is). But it doesn’t always have to be life or death. You could see a doctor and try to get things sorted out before it’s too late. After all, sleep apnea deprives your entire body and brain of some much-needed oxygen.

An individual is said to have sleep apnea when they don’t get enough oxygen during sleep because their brain isn’t sending signals fast enough to the rest of the body. It doesn’t know to breathe in during sleep; or it could be caused when the muscles of the throat are relaxed which causes the pathways to narrow, so the body doesn’t get enough oxygen during sleep. There are three major types of apnea and although their causes vary, they pretty much cause similar problems down the road.

I’m not typing this long list of diseases to scare you, but they are some of the possible conditions that might result from prolonged sleep apnea.

Some of the diseases that can arise from sleep apnea are:

  • High blood pressure
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Metabolic syndrome
  • Liver problems
  • Sleep-deprived partners

Although the diseases on this list are scary and often life-threatening, they rarely happen in most cases. Like with most life-threatening diseases out there, early identification is what it’s all about.

Here are a few ways of identifying sleep apnea:

  • Loud snoring
  • Short moments when you stop breathing completely
  • Dry mouth in the morning
  • Falling asleep during the day
  • Insomnia
  • Irritability
  • Short attention span while awake

Note: Sleep apnea isn’t quite identical across the spectrum. Some people don’t even snore loudly at night. I know that this might sound confusing but things aren’t always as simple as they seem. You have to watch out for some of the other symptoms if you think that you might have sleep apnea. Your best bet is to just get yourself checked out whenever you can.

Now then, how exactly can we help ourselves when we find out that we have sleep apnea?

Although there are some home remedies and radical dietary alternatives, the safest solution is going with modern medicine. In-person sleep studies, surgeries, and even medications are all options that might be available to you. With that said, here are a few things easy ways to help with your sleep apnea.

Keep your weight under check

Although this symptom is particularly restricted to obstructive sleep apnea, it’s a great idea to adopt it nonetheless. It’ll look after you long after the sleep apnea has passed and it does come with some added physical advantages. It is well known that obesity has a lot of unsightly consequences, but what most people don’t know is that it can also be the cause of sleep apnea. Obesity blocks some of the essential pathways such as the nasal passages and this often results in sleep apnea.

Change your sleep position

It has been noted that certain sleeping postures actually help with your sleep apnea. Something as simple as sleeping on your side can greatly impact the overall frequency of your snores and gasps. Sleeping on your side makes it less likely for your tongue to obstruct your airway. Although not everyone is immediately relieved by this simple home remedy, it’s still quite memorable all things considered.

Quit smoking

In case you might not know, smoking can kill you eventually. They don’t only break down the cells in your lungs, they also increase inflammation and fluid retention in the throat which can cause sleep apnea.

Sleep regularly

I understand that gasping for breath in the middle of the night can be problematic but adequate sleep goes a long way in improving the quality of your sleep and your life span altogether.

Your partner’s sporadic sleep pattern might not be a result of his or her strange sleeping habits. It might be something more serious than that and you should always watch him or her when they are asleep. That is when you will really know if they are at risk.

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