Coping with Stress? Cheat on Your Diet.

Coping with Stress? Cheat on Your Diet.

By: SMP Staff"That which you resist, tends to persist" - and gets bigger.Ever noticed that the longer you battle a craving, the stronger it gets? Suddenly, the thought of a satisfying piece of chocolate becomes the uncontrollable urge to eat the whole bag.A recent study showed this result when they asked three groups of female college students to think about chocolate, avoid thinking about chocolate, or think about whatever they wanted. Guess who ended up eating the most chocolate? Yep, it was the group that tried to avoid thinking about it.1 (more…)...
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Why Bright Lights and Dark Nights are Essential for Sleep

Why Bright Lights and Dark Nights are Essential for Sleep

By: Dr. Mike OlpinThe human wake and sleep cycle is naturally regulated by the bright light of day and the darkness of night. When the light of day first hits the retina and stimulates a nerve pathway to the hypothalamus, it sets off a chain reaction that sends messages to other parts of the brain that help us feel more awake, like raising body temperature and increasing hormones like cortisol.1The body also decreases the production of other hormones like melatonin which is both a hormone and an antioxidant.2  Melatonin, sometimes referred to as the “Dracula of Hormones,” is made by your pineal gland which is inactive during the day, but is turned on when the sun goes down and darkness occurs.1 Melatonin production helps us to fall asleep and to stay asleep during the night. ...
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Do I Have Insomnia?

By: SMP StaffInsomnia is generally taking longer than 20-25 minutes to fall asleep which occurs more than three times a week. 1 According to Sleep Expert Michael J. Breus, PhD., at any given time, one third of the population will have trouble falling asleep, and ten percent of those have chronic insomnia.This means a myriad of extra health problems for many chronic non-sleepers, not to mention the frustration of not being able to fall asleep when you know you need it. (See Sleep - Frequently Asked Questions for more help and information on health problems associated with not getting a good night’s rest.)There are many things that may affect your ability to fall asleep including the amount of light you get in the day and the darkness of your room at night, (see Why Bright Lights and Dark Nights are Essential for Sleep). For many, young children, teenagers, traveling, schedule changes, health issues or injuries, diet, and other factors may...
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Don’t Eat That for Breakfast!

Don’t Eat That for Breakfast!

By: SMP StaffHow does your breakfast effect your health?You wake up. You’re hungry. You open the cupboard and see two cereals, Captain Crunch and Raisin Bran. What you do next may not only effect your day, but your life.What you eat for breakfast is vitally important to your health. It influences many things; what nutrients you get, how healthy you are, your ability to fight disease, how much energy you have, your cravings, your ability to focus, your mood and how much and what else you eat for the rest of the day.Skipping breakfast is not a good idea. For one thing, people who skip breakfast tend to weigh MORE than those who don't. This sounds contradictory. It would seem that not eating breakfast calories would help people to lose weight, actually the reverse is true. (Read Why Diets Don't Work to find out why.) (more…)...
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Meditation – Wire Your Brain for Success?

[frame align="left"][/frame]Not only does meditation reduce stress, but it also improves your mind by helping you learn and remember new things. It also improves memory and the ability to focus - permanently. In other words, meditation can wire your brain for success - here’s how . . . While you meditate, your brain goes from the beta waves, which are the awake and alert brain waves, to the slower, more restful levels of brainwave activity called theta and delta waves. This is usually where the brain goes during deep sleep, dreaming, or deep hypnosis. This is also the time when the body undergoes its most restorative rest.1 While the brain is resting in these deeper rhythms, the body is at work. The immune system gets boosted and the body also repairs the damage done to it during the day, including healing cuts, bruises and internal problems that we may not even know about. This restorative state is also when the mind shuffles...
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Breathing Techniques Reduce Test Anxiety and Increase Performance

Breathing Techniques Reduce Test Anxiety and Increase Performance

[frame align="left"][/frame] Have you ever been disappointed with a test score because you knew you could have done better but were just so nervous you didn’t do your best? How about on a job interview, or when giving an important presentation? When we are anxious or nervous our breathing changes from deep diaphragmatic breaths to shallow chest breathing.  This kind of breathing restricts oxygen flow to the cells of the body and may cause drowsiness, irritability and even headaches. (more…)...
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The Dimensions of Health and Wellness

The Dimensions of Health and Wellness

By: Dr. Mike OlpinOn the first day of class every semester, I usually ask the students, “What is a healthy person?”Typically, I get answers like, someone who exercises, eats right, is thin, has good hygiene, gets enough sleep, doesn’t do drugs, has nice skin, is in shape, isn’t sick, is tan, isn’t overweight, someone who has lots of energy.Did you notice something about all of these responses?They all have to do with a person’s physical health. That is usually what people think of when they think of health, but there are other aspects to a healthy person. What else is a healthy person? (more…)...
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How Do Books and Downloads Relieve My Stress?

How Do Books and Downloads Relieve My Stress?

How do books & downloads relieve my stress?[divider style="shadow"][frame align="right"][/frame] When you are under stress, your autonomic nervous system thinks you are being threatened and turns on the stress response. This is the mechanism that helps you get out of dangerous situations. Some people refer to it as being in “fight or flight” mode. Hormones like adrenaline and cortisol rush through the body. The heart beat, breathing rate, and blood pressure increases. Blood and energy is diverted away from things like digestion and the immune system to places like muscles which may need extra energy to escape danger. This response is designed to be short-lived, only on for a few minutes at a time. The problem is that most of the time we are stressed, our bodies are not in physical (more…)...
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The Science Behind the Power Nap

[frame align="right"][/frame]Want to take a nap, but don’t feel like you have the time? You are probably like a lot of Americans who find they are lagging in the late afternoon – tired, lethargic, irritable, brain turned to mush – sound familiar? Before you turn to the vending machines or a nasty energy drink that just postpones the crash, try a short nap instead. These naps are not only free, but quick and extremely effective, even more effective in fact, than (more…)...
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Relax with this Easy Breathing Technique

Have you ever asked yourself, “How’s my breathing?” It seems like an odd question, but breathing is the foundational component of most relaxation exercises.                 Take a minute to sit in a chair with your back straight. Now put one hand on your chest, and the other one on your stomach. Which hand moves in and out when you breathe? Ideally, you would want the hand on your stomach to be the one moving the most when you breathe. Fight or flight, or stressful breathing, (more…)...
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