Beat Spring Allergies

Spring has now sprung, and that means the occasional runny nose, watery eyes and sneezing.

According to American Academy of Allergy Asthma and Immunology millions suffer from mild to chronic allergy symptoms during the spring season. Allergies are among the most common chronic conditions worldwide. Typically allergens, such as pollen, prompt symptoms in the nose, throat, lungs, sinuses, ears, lining of the stomach and skin.

Unfortunately, there are no cures for allergies. The best way to manage allergies is through prevention and proper treatment.

Here are four preventive measures to survive spring allergies:

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According to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America say allergies are the country’s most common, yet overlooked, diseases. Photo by Berkeley Lovelace Jr.

1. Shut the Windows

  • Keep the pollen out of your home and vehicle. Close the windows, and use air conditioning instead.

2. Check Pollen Counts

  • Limit your time outside if pollen levels are too high. To keep track of pollen levels, check your local news stations for current readings, or go to the AAAI website.

3. Do Outdoor Activities in the Afternoon

  • Pollens levels are said to be higher in the early-to-mid morning, and then decrease in the afternoon.

4. See your Doctor

  • Your doctor is the best person to help with preventative measures for spring allergies. If problems become serious, your doctor can help provide the best medication for you.

For the best information please see your doctor or primary health physician. I do not have a health degree, nor am I substitute for medical advice. This information was found through research.

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Gunter Hans (Here to Fill the Winter Hiatus)

Right now I am on a hiatus from blogging until winter break is over and the spring semester starts up. To add some new material to my blog, I decided to post some photos I took for a team project last semester. The project was essentially profiling a small downtown European bar in Columbia called, Gunter Hans. This does not directly fit my theme of lifestyle and health, but for the sake of adding some material, here ya go viewers!  I hope you enjoy the photos. New, normal material will be posted soon.

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The Magic of Gratitude

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The Magic Tree located in Columbia, MO. Dec. 9, 2013. Acknowledge what is going right in your life instead of what’s going wrong, and find the magic in what you already have. Photo by Berkeley Lovelace Jr.

Find the magic in what you already have.

We humans can get stuck in a rut of negativity. It’s difficult to seek the positive when worries and challenges are impending. So, what do we do? This is a great time to practice gratitude. According to a study in the Harvard Health Publication, practicing gratitude can be significantly beneficial for a person’s social and psychological well-being.

Gratitude is an emotion expressing appreciation for what one has rather than what one wants. It can apply to the past (memories of childhood or successes), the present (not taking things for granted), or the future (keeping an optimistic attitude). For example, a person may want to be better at public speaking but they also can be appreciative that they’re able to publicly speak at all. I find myself in the rut of focusing on what may be wrong instead what is going right. It could be productive or it could be getting in the way of satisfaction and joy.

Here are a few ways to get started on practicing gratitude:

  1. Keep a gratitude journal: Write down and share a thought about a simple gift you received during the day. Try making this a habit–before bed write down one thing you are grateful for.

  2. Thank someone mentally: Even if you can’t thank them in person. Write a thank you to someone in your life expressing your appreciation for them. Make it a habit. Every month write a letter to someone.

  3. Meditate: Meditation is a practice that involves focusing on the present moment without judgements. Be grateful for the warmth of the sun or for fresh air.

Some of the benefits:

Photo by Berkeley Lovelace Jr.

Photo by Berkeley Lovelace Jr.

  • More positive emotions (joy, pleasure, optimism, happiness)

  • More alive, alert and awake

  • More forgiving of oneself and others

  • New outlook on life

  • You may start to feel more helpful or generous

  • Decrease feelings of loneliness and isolation

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A Hidden Obstacle: Anxiety

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Anxiety disorders affect nearly 20 percent of the U.S. population at any given time. Studies do not show whether nature or nurture play a greater role in the development of anxiety disorders.   Photo by Chris@APL

Preparing for a speech: “There is a quick racing of the heart and shortness of breath followed by the whole body quivering. You’re are unable to think or make words,”  a person with Social Anxiety Disorder said. 

Anxiety disorders are the most common mental illnesses in the U.S. They affect nearly 20 percent of the public at any given time, according to the National Alliance of Mental Illness.  Unfortunately, some people do not pursue treatment for their illness because they do not recognize the severity of their symptoms or are too ashamed to ask for help. Untreated anxiety disorders can negatively affect personal and professional relationships, and can impair regular day-to-day activities. Effective treatment for anxiety disorders as well as education of the illness is essential to decrease it’s impact.

Anxiety disorders cause a person to experience symptoms of distress, uneasiness and fear in situations in which most people would not experience those symptoms; for example, going grocery shopping at your local food market. The most common anxiety disorders (in no particular order) are:

  • Exercise is scientifically proven to aid in decreasing the effects of an anxiety disorder. Photo by Berkeley Lovelace Jr.

    Exercise is scientifically proven to aid in decreasing the effects of an anxiety disorder. Photo by Berkeley Lovelace Jr.

    Generalized Anxiety Disorder

  • Social Anxiety Disorder

  • Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

  • Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

  • Phobias

Studies do not show whether nature or nurture play a bigger role in the development of these disorders; however, there does seem to be consensus among medical professionals on how to treat them. For many, psychotherapy techniques and medication are most helpful in severe anxiety disorders.

Personal habits can also decrease the effects of anxiety disorders, such as:

  1. A healthy diet can help those with an anxiety disorder. Avoiding caffeine and alcohol can also be beneficial. Photo by Berkeley Lovelace.

    A healthy diet can help those with an anxiety disorder. Avoiding caffeine and alcohol can also be beneficial. Photo by Berkeley Lovelace Jr. 

    Diet – A healthy diet is essential to treat anxiety disorders. For some anxiety disorders reducing caffeine and alcohol intake can be effective.

  2. Sleep – Those who are deprived of sleep are more vulnerable to anxiety Make sure to get 7 to 8 hours of sleep a night. Hours may vary depending on your age.

  3. Expression/Awareness – Write in a journal or talk to someone about it. Also learn how to control your symptoms through practices and exercises.

  4. Exercise – Exercise has many benefits but it has been shown that regular exercise can help treat an anxiety disorder.

  5. And more – There are different ideas out there on how to most effectively treat an anxiety disorder. So, educate yourself on this issue.

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Bias Left Untreated: African Americans and Mental Health

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This crowd represents the disproportionate number of African Americans there are in health care professions. In fact, less than two percent of psychiatrist and psychologist are African American. Photo by Mrs. Gemstone.

     In the United States, African Americans are less likely to receive accurate diagnoses of mental health than their Caucasian peers. The issue exists on a much wider scale that cannot be covered in a single blog post. Because of cultural bias, lack of cultural understanding, and social circumstances, untreated mental health problems with African Americans still persists.

     Mental health is stigmatized and misunderstood within the African American community. African Americans will often rely on family, religious and social communities for emotional support rather than see a mental health professional, according to studies from National Alliance of Mental Illness. And when African Americans do seek treatment it is usually through primary care doctors rather than through speciality care. These primary care doctors are not equipped with the right type of education to deliver an accurate diagnosis. Often, patients will be given a misdiagnosis; for example, Schizophrenia is over diagnosed in the African American population.

Shown is a foster home in southern Texas. Forty-five percent of foster children are African American. Photo by Kewing

Shown is a foster home in southern Texas. Forty-five percent of foster children are African American. Photo by Kewing

     On the other hand, there is a cultural bias against health care professionals preventing African Americans from accessing health care. Prior experiences, a track record of misdiagnoses, lack of cultural understanding, and poor treatment influence an African American’s decision to avoid health care. In fact, less than two percent of psychiatrists and psychologists are African American, leading to an institutional bias against common understanding. This isn’t to say that all African Americans share the same experiences, but cultural understanding is crucial in the treatment of patients. African Americans are disportionately more likely to experience social circumstances that increase their chances of promoting a mental illness. Forty-five percent of children in foster care are African American, a system that increases a person’s odds of developing a mental illness.

     One way to overcome this issue is to develop an overall awareness of cultural and ethnic differences, such as perceptions of mental illness and predispositions to it. Health care professionals must simply ask more questions before diagnosing a patient. There also needs to be a discussion in the African American community to decrease social stigma against the medical establishment.

     This information did not discuss socio economic issues among African Americans as well.

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Mobile Phone Challenge: Target Hope

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Target Hope, a community service and mentorship/leadership program, would like to make students aware of the opportunities and resources offered on the Mizzou campus. Vice Pres. Danielle Pollard says the resources on campus are underutilized.

“I am basically the presidents right hand man,” Pollard said. “[The President and I] go to an elementary school called Gentry and mentor students. We also focus on making students aware of resources on the Mizzou campus, such as: ARS, Counseling Center and Women’s Center.”

Target Hope wants students to have easy access to their organization. Their twitter can be found at @targethope_mu.

For my regular readers: This was a mobile phone challenge where I could only use my phone to publish, gather media, etc for this blog. My normal blog post will be posted at the end of this week. Thanks!

Fall at Pinnacle Youth Park

PINNACLE YOUTH PARK 

On Sunday Oct. 27th, 2013 my friends and I took a trip to Pinnacle Youth Park located 12 miles outside Columbia, MO. The fall trees changing colors were beautiful accompanied with the crisp cool air. Here are just a few pictures taken on the adventure.

“…And Breathe”

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Deep relaxation can increase energy level and productivity, as well as, improve concentration and memory. Relaxation is essential to overcome anxiety, stress, and tension. Photo by Zucki12

If you’ve ever taken a meditation or low-intensity yoga course you know that “…And Breathe” is at the core of relaxation. As a college student remembering to breathe is that last thing on a person’s mind after being slammed with a deadline, exam or obligation. And when downtime arrives, the activity is usually sedentary.

Relaxation is a bit more than taking a bubble bath or unwinding in front of TV at the end of the day. The relaxation that makes a difference is regular, day-to-day habit of deep relaxation. In fact, to relax is the foundation to overcome stress, anxiety and tension. It engages a number of physiological changes. For example:

  • Decrease in analytical thinking

  • Decrease in blood pressure

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    Photo by ~T.Man

    Decrease in muscle tension

  • Decrease in heart and respiration rate

  • And more.

For 30 minutes on a daily basis, regular practice of deep relaxation can produce benefits for the rest of an individuals life–benefits that include improved concentration and memory to decrease of phobias. There are several methods to attain a state of deep relaxation.

1. Yoga

     Yoga can increase flexibility, relaxation and overall fitness. Similar to exercise, yoga involves both the body and the mind; however, in a much more efficient way. Postures in yoga tend to  follow a certain mental attitude (one pose may be the attitude of strength while the other an attitude of humbleness). Use yoga as a tool for personal transformation

2. Meditation

     Meditation is a process of letting go. And more importantly it is the process of focusing on the here and now. Most students are engaged in activities external from themselves. As a result, they tend to be unaware of their inner feelings. Meditation can bring a person to a place of being. It can be helpful to practice when you have a busy or racing mind. Take some time in the day to close your eyes and be where you are.


3. Music

     Calming music is powerful. It has the ability to uplift a depressed mood, settle down into a deep serenity or obliterate worry and anxiety. Music often seems to connect something within us. Be sure, however, to select music that is relaxing and not rambunctiously stimulating.

Other methods include:

  • Time Management

  • Letting go of perfectionism

  • Saying No

  • Abdominal breathing

  • And More!

 

I wanted to give a shout out to other blog that you may interested in:

Channel9b3.wordpress.com

Justyourordinarygirl94.wordpress.com

Please check these out! They are great!

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</3 Monday

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Monday is probably the word most apathetically used in modern society. However, Monday can be a day to set the tone for the rest of the week! Photo by nhussien

     Monday. 

     It’s probably the word used most apathetically in the free world. After an extravagant weekend away from “the struggle,” Monday loves to remind us that it starts all over again. However, the day can also be a time to start over, to try something new, to celebrate, to be grateful. Research suggest that a person’s attitude on Monday will set the tone for the rest of their week. In knowledge of that, here is a little something to get your week started in the best way.

 

 

A Kiss: Not Just A Kiss

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According to psychologist, a kiss is not just a kiss. Humans use kissing to pass along critical information, and to maintain relationships. Photo by Lori Greig.

The smooch, peck and kiss.

According to research, a kiss is not just a kiss. In an NPR article “What Humans Can Learn From A Simple Kiss,” psychologist say we kiss beyond reason of just pure arousal. Humans kiss for two reasons. 1.) We kiss to assess potential mates and 2.) To maintain attachment.

Whether consciously processing it or not, kissing allows humans to get close enough to their partner to gauge characteristics of them. Kissing passes across important information.  Part of the information is processed through chemical signals called pheromones, and those signals can allow us to even determine the immune system compatibility of a mate. Other information is also passed across through confidence in body language. Moreover, kissing can determine the healthiness of a relationship more than sex. Partners who kiss more often can expect to be together longer. However, men and women value kissing for different reasons.

Men use kissing as a tool for arousal before the initiation of sex. Women, on the other hand, use kissing after sex as a relationship maintenance function. Women also rate kissing more importantly than men. More likely than men, women feel a change in attraction after the first kiss.

The article did not take into account cultural uses of the kiss, such as greeting others. Here is the article!!: http://www.npr.org/blogs/health/2013/10/11/231458850/what-humans-can-learn-from-a-simple-kiss

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