How Therapists and Psychologists Can Better Your Life

therapist waiting on her patient

When you have problems, be it mental disorders or just problems in your life, you should turn to a professional for help. While we all want to be able to help ourselves, there is no shame in seeking someone who can diagnose your problems and give you the tools needed to treat it, or someone who can help you make a plan to tackle your problems. Professionals such as therapists and psychologists can help. This is the basis for therapy and psychology, and in this post, we’ll explain more about the two professions and what they can do for you.

 

The Difference Between the Two

Therapists and psychologists are terms that are sometimes used interchangeably, but there is a difference between them. The job of a psychologist is to diagnose their clients. If you believe you have a mental disorder, you go to a psychologist to get diagnosed. They also help to treat the mental disorder, and they usually enact the help of a psychiatrist to give you medication.

Meanwhile, a therapist is someone who provides advice, guidance, and other help to different clients. Some have degrees, others don’t. They can be counselors, life coaches, mentors, or anyone else who helps you with your problems.

A therapist can help with mental disorders. For example, if you’re depressed, they can teach you ways to cope with your depression. However, most therapists deal with life issues. If you are having marriage problems, a therapist can help you repair your marriage. If you need the motivation to finish a goal, a therapist can cooperate with you and help you to build a plan. These are just a few functions that therapists perform.

If you’re trying to diagnose a mental disorder, seek a psychologist. If you need other types of help in your life, talk to a therapist.

What a Psychologist Can Do For You

To summarize, a psychologist can do the following:

  • Test and diagnose for various mental illnesses.
  • With the help of a psychiatrist, give you medication that can treat said illnesses.
  • Offer advice for all the problems you’re having.
  • Build a plan that is based on your psyche. They know how the mind works and can go through all the mental blocks you may have.

 

What a Therapist Can Do For You

A therapist can:

  • Hold you accountable for your problems. If you fail to reach your goal, they will tell you how you can learn from your mistakes.
  • Formulate a plan to reach your goal.
  • Help repair relationships. This may be in the form of couples therapy, or a solo therapy session where you learn how to handle any communication issues you may have.
  • A therapist can be anyone. Some may have training, while others are just mentors or life coaches. A friend or family member can be your therapist. Sometimes, strangers on the Internet can be the therapists you need, and can motivate you to be better. However, a professionally trained one will be unbiased and learn quickly how you operate, and can make a plan based on your psyche.

And those are just a few things a therapist and a psychologist can do for you. If you need help in life, don’t be afraid to go to one, especially if you feel like you may have an undiagnosed mental disorder. Learning about yourself can help you solve problems and learn techniques to make you succeed.

They don’t have to be expensive, either. There are affordable alternatives out there, both offline or online. Seek them out, and get the help you deserve.

Chronic vs. Acute Sinusitis: What’s the Difference and How are They Best Treated?

Chronic vs. Acute Sinusitis

Sinuses are tiny air-filled cavities found in the skull. Their purpose is to produce mucus, which keeps the nasal passage free of allergens and pollutants. On the other hand, sinusitis is the swelling of the tissue that lines these cavities. Sometimes, this swelling blocks the sinuses thus, trapping in air and mucus, which can lead to pain and pressure. If left untreated, it could lead to a bacterial infection. Did you know there is a difference in chronic vs. acute sinusitis?

Types of sinusitis

There are two main types namely acute and chronic sinusitis.

Acute Sinusitis

This is an infection that usually goes away on its own without having to be treated. Its symptoms can be eased through several treatments, though patients only need antibiotic medications at times. It doesn’t have many complications, but it could lead to chronic sinusitis. The infection could spread to surrounding structures also.

With acute sinusitis, the infection takes over the body drastically and goes away the same way. Most acute sinusitis cases go away within a week, although in some cases, it could last up to 30 days. If the sinusitis infection lasts 4-30 days, it is considered acute. In case it persists for 4-12 weeks, it becomes subacute.

A slight bout of acute sinusitis is not a big deal as some people will experience it with a cold. It is, however, uncommon to have severe acute sinusitis and most people only suffer such bouts once or twice in their lives. Some people experience repeated acute sinusitis bouts.

How an Acute Sinusitis is Contracted

In most cases, people develop acute sinusitis after flu or cold infections. These infections come from viruses that spread to the sinus. The flu stays before going away, which leads to a viral sinus infection. In some cases, bacteria add to the infection. This leads to a bacterial sinus infection, which is worse and lasts longer.

Sometimes, infections travel to the maxillary sinus from infected teeth.This can result from a dental infection.

Additional Risks Factors that Cause a Sinus Infection

Factors that make to someone to be more inclined to a sinus infection include the following:

  • Allergic rhinitis- this kind of allergy leads to an inflammation of the inner nose tissue, leading to blocked sinus drainage pathways. This exposes the sinuses to an infection.
  • Asthma
  • Weak immunity
  • Cystic fibrosis
  • Pregnancy
  • Rare nose tumors
  • Past nose or cheek injuries
  • Some medical procedures like the use of a nasogastric tube
  • Smoking

Symptoms of Acute Sinusitis

The common symptoms include:

Treatment

Antibiotics are usually not needed since most of these infections are as a result of viruses. Just like with flu, the body fights off the infection in a few weeks. However, antibiotics might be useful. A doctor might prescribe them if your infection comes with:

  • Severe symptoms and the fact that you are feeling unwell
  • Another infection like cystic fibrosis or a weak immune system
  • Symptoms that seem to be getting worse after a week

Some treatments are prescribed to help in relieving the symptoms. They include:

  • Pain medication like paracetamol, which helps in bringing down the fever and easing the feelings of discomfort
  • Decongestants drops or sprays are sometimes recommended. These help in opening a blocked nose temporarily. However, they should not be used for more than 5 days at one time as they may lead to more congestion in the nose.
  • Drinking a lot of fluids
  • The use of warm face packs over the sinuses and saline drops

Chronic Sinusitis

This kind of infection usually persists for 12 weeks and more despite your efforts to treat it. It usually messes up with drainage thus, causing mucus to build up. This might lead to difficulty in breathing through your nose. You will experience an inflammation around the face and eyes, leading to pain and tenderness.

Chronic sinusitis can be as a result of an infection, nasal polyps, or a deviated nasal septum. This condition is usually common with young and middle-aged people although it can also affect children.

Symptoms

There are different symptoms of chronic sinusitis apart from a blocked nose. They include:

  • Nasal congestion or obstruction that makes it hard to breathe through the nose
  • Thick and discolored discharge from the nose or one that drains down the throat
  • Pain, inflammation, and tenderness around the eyes, forehead, nose, and cheeks
  • Lowered senses of smell and taste
  • Coughs in children, which gets worse at night
  • A sore throat
  • Bad breath
  • Lethargy

As seen above, acute and chronic sinusitis come with the same symptoms. The only difference is that the former is just a temporary infection that comes with a cold. With the latter, the signs last longer and leave the patient feeling lethargic. There is no fever present with chronic sinusitis, though you might experience it with the acute case.

Before developing a chronic case of sinusitis, a patient might have several cases of the acute infection that usually goes for less than a month. A physician might refer the patient to an allergist or ENT specialist for treatment.

Treatment

Patients are advised to treat all underlying problems that might trigger the condition, such as taking care of asthma, allergic rhinitis, fungal, and dental infections. Also, avoid anything that makes the symptoms worse like smoking, scuba diving, and flying.

Medical Treatments

There are several medical treatment options like:

Steroids: these are usually applied to the nasal lining via sprays or drops. These help with the swelling and are to be taken on a long-term basis, which is usually three months. In case the symptoms are severe, steroids might be given orally though these might result in side-effects.

Antibiotics: taking them for 3-4 weeks can be effective. However, it is wise to have them after a full ENT assessment.

In case the patient has a fungal sinus infection, which is usually rare, antifungal medications are prescribed.

If you are in New York and looking for an ENT center, contact the Hudson Valley Sinus Center. These specialists offer services for sinus and nasal disorders.

How is Cartilage Grafted for Use in Rhinoplasty?

girl with nose

The nose is one of the most complex features of the face. It’s shape and texture is due to a combination of skin, soft tissue, and cartilage. Altering the cartilage that gives the nose firmness and height is one of the main aspects of any rhinoplasty. In some cases, your surgeon may recommend that additional material be grafted onto your nose. Grafts during a rhinoplasty require a slightly more complex surgery, but they can provide very impressive and drastic results.

The Reason You May Need Cartilage Grafts

A cartilage graft is a small amount of material that is placed in the nose during a rhinoplasty. It helps to provide additional structure to an area. In many cases, a cartilage graft is necessary because a patient has already had one rhinoplasty. If the first rhinoplasty goes wrong, it can be helpful to get a cartilage graft. This will provide extra support in the area. Depending on the role in your rhinoplasty, you may end up getting one or more types of grafts.

Alar Batten grafts are a type of graft that is placed along the nasal sidewall to keep the nasal valves from collapsing. They can be very helpful for correcting noses that look pinched and make it difficult to breathe. Another method for making it easier to breathe are spreader grafts. These go along the middle of the nose, and they also tend to make the nose a little wider. If the tip of the nose requires more support and form, a doctor may do an onlay graft to project the dome of the nose or an umbrella graft to lift the tip.

Locations That Cartilage Grafts Are Taken From

The cartilage material used in a graft may come from a few different sources. In most cases, it is best to use the patient’s own cartilage because there is less of a risk of rejection. Ideally, doctors take the cartilage from the inside of the nose. Cartilage from the septum is very sturdy, can easily be removed during a rhinoplasty, and will not cause noticeable changes to appearance. If the patient does not have enough cartilage within their septum, the doctor can also take it from the ear and hide incisions and scarring within the crease of the ear.

Cartilage from other sources has a slightly higher risk of rejection, but it is necessary in cases where a patient does not have enough nose or ear cartilage for the procedure. It can be harvested from the rib region, though this typically is not done except for in cases of extreme reconstruction. Patients can also choose to opt for donor cartilage material. This typically comes from a cadaver supply. There are synthetic forms of the material that are used for grafting. Though the procedure of applying it is very similar, it is technically an implant, not a type of graft.

The Process of Grafting During a Rhinoplasty

After you consult your surgeon about your surgery, you will visit the doctor’s office on a schedule date. Most rhinoplasties are done under general anesthesia, so you will be asleep during the procedure. The doctor will start by making incisions along the interior or exterior of the nose. This will begin reshaping the underlying structure of the nose. Depending on the point of origin for your cartilage graft, the surgeon may also make other incisions to remove whats needed.

Once the graft is ready, it will be applied to the appropriate area. It will be supported with pins or small sutures. During the surgery, the doctor will also reshape the nasal region surrounding the graft to create a smooth and unified look. Once the new shape is refined, the surgeon will carefully re-apply the skin and stitch it into place.

Recovery With a Cartilage Graft

Once the surgery is over, your doctor will apply splints both inside and outside your nose. This will keep the graft in place while you heal. You will need to rest for the first twenty four hours after the surgery, and you will not be able to return to work for roughly a week or two. There will be a lot of swelling and bruising surrounding the region of the graft. Many patients find that this looks much worse than it actually feels. Recovery can take a little longer if you have a rib cartilage graft because there is more swelling in the nose and soreness in the chest. Depending on the type of rhinoplasty you have, it can take several months for swelling to go down and the full results to be visible.

Some patients worry that a cartilage graft might dissolve or warp over time. However, the type used in rhinoplasty grafts tends to be much sturdier than the rib cartilage. Most people do not need to worry about the cartilage moving or getting reabsorbed. If you are concerned about it, you should talk to your surgeon. An experienced plastic surgeon can take extra steps like precision suturing to make it easier for the graft to heal well.

Dr. Andrew Frankel specializes in both first time and revision rhinoplasty, at the Lasky Clinic. Click here to learn more.

Factors That Affect Your Joint Health

man stretching hips on field

When most people thinking about joint pain, they imagine a man or woman well advanced in years complaining about arthritis and predicting changes in the weather, but really it can affect anyone at any age along with joint swelling, redness, and limited motion.

The earlier you learn to care for your joints, the more likely you’ll be able to keep up with your favorite activities in later years

Age

As you age, you’re likely to lose some bone density (especially for women after menopause). This means that your bones become more fragile and there’s a better chance of breaking something. The cartilage in your joints also becomes thinner and damage becomes more likely. If not dealt with, these things can easily lead to osteoarthritis and further pain and injuries.

To slow these down, keep exercising and building up muscle. Strong muscles will help to keep ligaments strong and prevent unnecessary damage to your joints. You should also be aware of your limits–you don’t want to push yourself too far and end up with an injury anyway.

Weight

Excessive weight can affect how your joints function and age. Because of the extra pounds, there’s more weight bearing down on your joints than they’re supposed to handle and the added stress will begin to wear them down.

But it doesn’t end there; your cartilage will then begin to wear down, too, and it can’t be regrown. If this keeps up, you’ll likely be headed for hip surgery to get a joint replacement. You can avoid these drastic measures by eating a healthy, controlled diet starting now and continuing to get the right amount of exercise that your body needs to stay fit.

Repetitive Stress or Injuries

You might already eat well and love to workout, but you might have suffered a few injuries that affect your joints. If you continue to put stress on these areas, your joints can also wear down, and more acute injuries may follow. Things like tendinitis, sprains, strains, and dislocations should not be ignored.

Prevent any further injuries by taking the proper precautions for whatever activities you participate in. Wear appropriate shoes and padding to protect yourself, and if you do have an injury, give it time to heal by easing back into physical activity.

Certain Foods

Did you know that certain foods can affect your joint health for better or for worse? Things we love to eat every day are some of the worst culprits. How often do you drink sugary soda or eat fried and processed foods? Be more aware of foods containing saturated fats like your favorite pizza as well as dairy, preservatives, and Omega-6 fatty acids found in corn and other oils.

Luckily, there are some foods you can start adding to your diet to promote joint health. Up the number of fruits and vegetables you’re eating. Opt for low-fat dairy products if you can’t go without. You can also add fish, garlic, and green tea to your current diet plan.

Your Medications

There are several medications out there that people use for their joint pain, especially those with arthritis, but you may be taking other medications that are causing inflammation rather than reducing it, causing you more pain.

Talk with your doctor about your medications. If you don’t think your current prescriptions are doing their job, he may change up what you’re taking. Because he’s familiar with your medication list already, he will be able to balance everything so it’s all working together. If you’re interested in natural joint supplements instead, talk them over with your doctor, too.

It’s Probably Not Cancer, But Just In Case…

lady without cancer laying on couch

When you’re feeling under the weather, but you have no idea what’s causing it, nine times out of ten you jump on the internet and go looking for solutions. Its probably not cancer, even though the symptoms may seem that way. And nine time out of ten, you come away from WebMD thinking you have cancer or some other serious illness that could end unpleasantly.

Before you go have a panic attack, take a look at these risk factors, signs, and symptoms associated with cancer so you can verify that you are not, in fact, dying.

Bodily Functions

Let’s get your immediate worries out of the way. Many physical symptoms of cancer contribute to the symptoms of other illnesses as well, so if you have one symptom out of the ten listed for a particular disease, it’s pretty safe to say that you haven’t contracted it.

Take a look through the following bodily signs to see how you measure up. Remember, some of these may also be the result of recent lifestyle changes or injuries and simply need to be followed up on by your physician.

  • A change in bowel and/or bladder behavior
  • Sudden weight changes
  • Unusual lumps or hardened areas
  • Unexplained and persistent pain, fever, or bleeding/discharge

Behavior & Habits

The next step to take to alleviate your worries about cancer is assessing your current behavior. Are you uncharacteristically tired and seem to have no energy even when you sleep long hours? Symptoms specific to brain cancer would be persistent headaches or issues with your sight and hearing. Your balance could also be off and you might have difficulty forming words.

Other affected aspects of your behavior could be difficulty processing information or remember things. Mood swings and extreme changes in personality may also be signs that something more is going on. If you’re about as weird as normal, chances are that you’re fine.

Now let’s review some of your current habits. While these may not be symptoms of an underlying illness, they can be indicators that put you at a higher risk for cancer. If you’re eating too much greasy junk food and drinking a lot of alcohol instead of getting enough fruits and vegetables, it’s time to make a change. If you spend most of your time sitting or lounging, make a plan to get moving and do more on your feet.

Exposure

So far, it looks like you’ll live, but there are a few more things to run through. If you spend excessive time in the sun or lying in a tanning bed, your at a higher risk for cancer. UV radiation exposure over time can add up and affect how cells are growing in your body.

Review the types of chemicals and infectious agents (like HIV, HPV, or Hepatitis B and C) that you’re exposed to routinely. These can increase your risk of cancer, especially if you haven’t been using the appropriate protective equipment when interacting with such substances or individuals who have them.

Health History

If you’ve made it to this section, then you’re home free. You should already have a good idea of what your health history is like and whether or not cancer risks run in your family. If you don’t, call up a family member to get the story.

Finally, check in regularly with your primary physician, even when you’re feeling fit and healthy, and keep up with your vaccinations. When you do have concerns about your health, don’t be afraid to bring them up at your appointment so your doctor can address them.

If your doctor suspects anything, they can refer you to a specialist like Teton Cancer Institute for further treatment. So stay consistent with tracking your health, and if you still have concerns (even if you’re pretty sure it’s not life-threatening anymore), make an extra appointment just to allay your worries.

Help Your Oral Hygiene Regime

girl smiling with hands above head

It’s common knowledge that brushing and flossing your teeth on the daily is good for your oral health. Maybe swish around some fluoride mouth rinse, avoid sugary foods and drinks, don’t bite your nails – these are all things that we know will contribute in a good way to our dental health.

 

But maybe there are some things that you weren’t aware would affect your dental health in a positive way. Take a gander at these tips and make sure you include them in your daily habits toward improving your oral (and overall) health.

Drink Water

 

Water is so healthy for you! And this is something most people know. It helps with just about every bodily function you can think of, so it should be no surprise that it assists in great oral health too.

Drink water often throughout your day, and try to drink a glass of water after every meal. This will help you wash some of the acidic and sticky foods from your teeth when you are away from your toothbrush.

Eat Fresh Produce

 

Apples, celery, carrots, and peppers are all great for your teeth. These fresh, fibrous, and crispy foods help scrub your teeth as your chew them. They are a great way to finish a meal. And because they are crispy and require more jaw work and more chewing, your mouth produces more saliva, which is great for helping to eliminate some of the bad bacteria that likes to stick to your teeth.

 

When you’re on the go, pack these easy snacks up with you to give your teeth and body some good vibes throughout your busy day.

Wash Your Tongue

 

Did you know that plaque can build up on your tongue too? So don’t neglect your tongue when you are cleaning your teeth. Give it a good brushing with your toothbrush (many toothbrushes now have textured tongue scrubbers on the backside of the bristles). Swishing around a mouth rinse is a good way to kill bacteria on your tongue too.

Try Cinnamon

 

Do you keep cinnamon gum on you for fresh breath? Then you’re ahead of the game, even if you don’t know why.

 

Cinnamon actually has the ability to kill some of the bad bacteria that contributes to plaque and bad breath. That doesn’t mean it’s a replacement for brushing your teeth, but it can definitely help with bad odors in your mouth throughout the day.

 

Try a stick of gum (yes, gum can actually be good for your teeth). You can also try adding some cinnamon oil to a glass of water.

Eat Cheese

 

For all you cheese lovers out there, this might be the best news you’ve ever heard. Yes, cheese can be a positive contribution to your dental health. Cheese has actually been found to neutralize the acidity of plaque and lower the pH levels in your mouth when you eat it.

This doesn’t mean that you should eat a diet that consists only of cheese, but having some cubes of cheese for a snack can be a good thing.

 

Incorporate these healthy tips into your life and you’ll find your Durango dentist raving about the great health of your teeth at your next dental visit.

Exercise Smart for a Stronger, Fitter You

man stretching at beach

You used to be a fitness nut, but after developing some chronic pain, you’ve fallen into a sedentary lifestyle. You would love to get moving again–you miss hiking, long walks, even tumbling–but you’re afraid your old injuries will prevent you from making any progress.

The good news is that you can gain that active life back one step at a time if you consult the right professionals and use the right building blocks to safely build strength, flexibility, and endurance.

Consult a Professional

 

Depending on your health and current level of fitness, you may need an evaluation from your physician. Make a routine appointment and discuss with them the types of movements and exercises that you can start using. They may include other details about how long you should wait before adding new exercises or increasing the intensity of your workout.

It’s also a great idea to consult a professional athletic or personal trainer to put together the best workout plan for your situation. They will likely include recommendations for your diet as well.

Warm Up & Cool Down

 

Whatever level of exercise you plan to engage in, always begin with a warm-up and end with a cool down. Injuries that occur from poor preparation can easily be avoided, but they continue to happen. To avoid pulling a muscle or causing something more serious, take 2 minutes to perform some easy movements that get your blood flowing and your lungs working.

Once you’ve started your workout, you should also take routine stock of how you’re feeling. If you’re struggling to breathe, you might need to ease off on your pace or take a rest altogether. Don’t force your body to do anything it’s not ready to do. Not all pain is good pain, so listen to what your body is telling you.

When you’re workout is finished, remember to end with some calm, relaxing movements and stretches. Make a conscious effort to make kind movements that will help your body, not hurt it.

Balance

 

Unless otherwise instructed, you should be engaging in a variety of exercises meant to work your whole body. Don’t become so focused on those flat abs that you forget the corresponding back muscles. When you put too much focus on one area, you tend to forget to use any others and overuse that one.

Once you begin overusing one set of muscles, you can be sure they are headed for heavy wear and possibly another injury. Get your muscles balanced so you have a solid base to build on. As you strengthen each muscle, you will find you are reaching a higher level of fitness than you’d realized you could. Plus, you will be doing it with more ease.

Variable Movement

 

Lightly touched on above, take care of your body by exploring all types of movement. Look up the terms calisthenics and kinesthetics to get an idea of some skills you can try out and the mindset which should accompany those movements. Training your body to move and function in a variety of ways will help to battle past injuries and prevent new ones.

Think of these exercises as the energetic version of stretching. They increase your range of motion and flexibility while giving you a full body workout. Yoga is a great example of this and an easy place to start.

Body Mechanics

 

We’ve got you thinking about mindful movements, now it’s time to look at body mechanics. When it comes down to it, your posture and spinal health affect everything else. If you’re used to slouching or rounding your back, now is the time to break those habits.

To get an idea of where you’re at, start with some bodyweight squats. Focus on the alignment of your knees, ankles, hips, shoulders, and neck. You might think it’s okay if your form is 90% there, but that missing 10% may be just what sends you back to the couch with severe back pain. Also be mindful of how much weight you are choosing to lift and the length of your workouts.

One Step at a Time

 

It doesn’t take much to get started, and you can achieve your health goals if you give yourself time to grow and gain strength. Once you begin to enjoy the journey, you’ll find that how much better you feel every day is the best reward of all.

 

Healthy Ways You Can Boost Your Mental Health and Mood

mental health

There are times when our mood suffers. Sometimes something tangible happens in life, such as a job loss, divorce/breakup or death in the family that makes us fall into a depression. Other times our mood shifts from upbeat to depressed with virtually no warning. Those moments can be frustrating, but there are actions you can take to improve your mood.

Exercise

There isn’t one kind of exercise that works for everyone. Each person responds differently to different forms of physical activity. Some people love going to the gym, while others despise it. Some folks love running, while others don’t find it enjoyable. Whatever form of physical activity you love, do that. Try rock climbing, Zumba, hip-hop dance class, aerobics, Pilates, yoga or take regular walks in the park. Getting your body moving will inevitably help improve your mental health. You’ll find yourself feeling energized and wanting to continue that momentum.

Supplements

Always consult with your doctor or medical professional before trying new supplements to see if they are safe for use. There are some great mood lifting supplements that people see benefits from! Fish oil or cod liver oil contains DHA and OMEGA-3 fatty acids, which help to stimulate our brains and help put us in a better mood. Magnesium is a great supplement to take if you deal with chronic anxiety or muscle tension. It naturally relaxes the body and the mind. We’ve learned that serotonin originates in our guts. There are scientifically proven benefits to taking probiotics, which promote healthy stomach bacteria and regulate our digestion and can help assist in delivering serotonin to the brain!

Social Activity

When you’re out with friends, volunteering at an animal shelter, going on dates or anything that involves being around other people, your mood will be lifted. It’s hard to motivate yourself to get out there when you’re feeling down, but the more you can take actions that result in you being social, the better your mood will be. It doesn’t have to be anything extravagant. It could just be meeting a friend for coffee, or going out to lunch with a co-worker. As long as you’re getting out of your house and interacting with other human beings, you’re bound to feel better on the inside.

Seek Help

If you find that your mood is consistently low, you’re isolating from your loved ones, having trouble getting up, showering or getting out of the house, it could be time to seek help. There are many options out there from seeing a therapist in person to online counseling. This is a convenient option; you can access your counselor from anywhere you’ve got an Internet connection. Reach out to an online therapist to get the help you need. A counselor can help you develop a plan so that your mood is lifted. We go through difficult times in life, but an online counselor can help you navigate through those hard times and live the life you truly deserve.

No Gym? No Problem 5 Easy Ways to Become More Active This Spring

bicycle

Going to the gym is a great form of exercise, but unfortunately, not all of us have access to one. Gym memberships can be expensive and not everyone has the means to afford one. Just because you’re not hitting the gym, doesn’t mean you can’t stay in great shape. The springtime is the perfect season to get outside and get moving. Here are five ways to become more active in the spring.

Run in a local park

The trees are blossoming with buds and bulbs are sprouting up from the ground. It’s the springtime, people! Find a park near your house and get running. It’s time for you to come out of hibernation and into civilization. If you’re into being social, you can take a running buddy with you! Having someone to go with is motivating and helps you get out. After you take your run, you can treat yourself to a smoothie or something refreshing as a reward for your hard work.

Walk home from work

If you live in a city or somewhere where you don’t have to drive everywhere, walking home from your job is a great way to get exercise and be productive. We’re suggesting walking home as opposed to walking to work because it’s more of a relaxing exercise. If you walk to work, you might be worried about being on time and everything you have to do for the day. Walking home from work, you can take your time.

Break out your bike

Remember your bicycle? It might be collecting dust after sitting there over the winter. It’s the springtime now, and it’s the perfect season to take a bike ride. Whether you live in a city, the suburbs, the mountains or a rural environment, you can use that bike. Enjoy the passing scenery, which could be skyscrapers, evergreen trees, the peak of the mountains or rolling green hills. You can take a break on the side of the road, sip some water or an energy drink and look at the world around you.

Do yoga outdoors

In the wintertime, you may have visited a yoga studio regularly. Your fellow students traded their coats, scarves, and sweaters in exchange for yoga gear in a cozy room with colorful mats. Now, it’s the springtime and you don’t want to be cooped up in a confined space. Take your tree pose outside into nature where it belongs. You can use mindfulness while you do some strength building poses.

Exercise using your kids

Do you have kids? Use them as a means to exercise! Play tag with them in the playground or lift your toddler in the air many times as he/she says “again!” This could be an informal way of weight training! People underestimate how much energy it takes to parent, so use that energy to stay in shape when the weather gets nicer.

Generally, the springtime is a wonderful season to get out and exercise, but for some of us, it’s not so easy to get motivated. If you find that you’re feeling down or having trouble getting out there, it’s okay to seek help. People with other mental health issues, such as bipolar disorder experience sleep disturbances or manic symptoms in the springtime. For any of these reasons and more, don’t be afraid to reach out to a counselor whether that’s in person or an online therapist. You deserve to be happy and getting out there enjoying the great weather!

10 Ways Smiling Improves Your Overall Health

young woman with a smile

If there is one thing you should do every day to improve your overall health, it would probably be to smile.

Smiling has so many health benefits, not to mention it’s contagious and people will definitely enjoy being around you more with a smile on your face.

Our friends at Alligator Dentist, a pediatric dentist in Idaho Falls, know how important a smile can be, so they helped us put together this list of the great benefits of smiling.

Mood Boost

Are you ever really unhappy when you smile? It’s kind of a known fact that when people smile, they are in a good mood. Sometimes you can even trick your mind and body into thinking you’re happy by forcing a smile. Try waking up each morning and putting a big smile on your face to start the day off right. Encourage your friends and family to do the same!

Lower Blood Pressure

Smiling and laughter have the ability to slow down our bodies by relaxing us. Initially, it might cause an increased heart rate, but after that, our muscles relax with a decrease in heart rate and blood pressure.

Stress Relief

As if an improved mood and lower blood pressure aren’t enough to relieve a little stress. Because smiling can help lower your heart rate, it can actually help reduce your stress during particularly stressful tasks.

Better Relationships

People like to be around, and in general just tend to like, other people who are positive and happy. Smiling lets others know that you are a positive and happy ray of sunshine that they want to be near. And because people thrive on that positivity, it improves your relationships with them.

Pain Killer

Laughter and smiling can actually help to reduce pain, or at least make it more tolerable. Smiling releases endorphins that can help lift our moods, and endorphins are our bodies’ natural painkillers.

Longer Life

With the benefits we’ve mentioned so far, it should come as no surprise that smiling can help increase your lifespan. With less stress, lower blood pressure, and great relationships, people who smile often tend to live longer than average.  

Increased Productivity

Think of “we whistle while we work”. Humming a happy tune or, you guessed it, smiling, helps to create a more productive mindset while working. So, smiling can help you be more productive during some of those daunting tasks that you might be dreading.

Build Attraction

It’s no secret that people are more attractive when they smile. Everyone loves a good smile. So, that’s one easy step to making yourself more attractive (and helping others around you since smiles are contagious).

Look Younger

Do you want to look more youthful? Then smile often! Smiling is basically a natural facelift. The results might not be immediate, but it can make a real difference in a few years if you’ve been smiling instead of frowning.

Better Immune System

Smiling helps with our overall health, and that includes your immune system. Because smiling helps us to relax, the immune system is ready to react when unfriendly invaders attach the body. Ergo, smiling can help prevent sickness – so why wouldn’t you smile more?