November 23, 2010 [Volume 4, Issue 24]
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In this issue of To Your Health:
Engage Your Senses to Reduce Stress
Keep Your Children Safe From Concussions
Don't Miss Your Weight-Loss Goal

Engage Your Senses to Reduce Stress

Many people exist in such a perpetual state of stress that activities generally considered stressful actually come as a welcome relief. When you've been under the gun at work all day and find yourself faced with a screaming carload of kids, suddenly spending a little quiet time doing household chores or catching up on the bills - in silence - doesn't sound too bad. Really? You deserve much better than that. Here are a few ways to engage your senses and leave stress behind.

Taste: There's nothing like a soothing cup of tea and your favorite dessert to take some of the edge off a hectic, stressful day, particularly when combined with a little time to enjoy your own time, far away (as far as you can get) from the stress-inducers that seem to surround you.

Touch: When you're overworked, overstressed, overwhelmed and just plain over it, find the time to escape and experience the power of touch. Schedule a chiropractic adjustment or a massage, or retreat into the soothing, stress-releasing luxury of a bubble bath and see how your attitude changes in a matter of moments.

See: The so-called "daily grind" is a major source of stress, and it only gets worse when the work hours get long and the days get short. In fact, during the winter months, many people never see the light of day, arriving at work before sunrise and leaving after sunset. Take a midday walk around the block and open your eyes to what the world has to offer. And at night, turn off the glare and light a few calming candles instead.

Smell: The next time you're on the brink of losing it, let your nose take you to a better place. Sounds funny, but it's oh so true. Just try to stay stressed after smelling your favorite food wafting up at you from your plate. And don't discount the power of a scented candle or two; replace the unpleasantry of another dreary day with the aroma of peace and tranquility.

Hear: When was the last time you truly appreciated the lyrics, melody and arrangement of a song? Music has an incredible ability to soothe the soul, but many of us don't take the time to listen - we just use it as background noise while working out or flip from song to song, station to station in the car. Tune out the stress and tune into the relaxing power of music.

If you're feeling particularly stressed these days and are dreading the holiday crush and additional stress that's sure to come, talk to your doctor for ways (above and beyond the above) to reduce stress and improve your life.

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Keep Your Children Safe From Concussions

Children reap a variety of benefits from athletics. Organized sports in particular help foster a sense of teamwork, pride in accomplishment, individual drive and commitment, and of course, a background in physical fitness that is likely to stay with them their entire lives.

There's also a risk of injury, of course, and the latest news isn't encouraging. According to a study in the September 2010 issue of Pediatrics, which analyzed data from emergency-room departments nationwide, approximately half of the nearly 500,000 ER visits for concussions (from 2001-2005) involving children and adolescents 8-19 years of age were sports related. Football and ice hockey topped the team sports most likely to lead to concussion, while bicycling and playground activities accounted for the most non-team concussion injuries. Even more disturbing, an estimated 40 percent of concussions were suffered by younger children - ages 8 to 13.

Be familiar with the warning signs that indicate your child may have suffered a concussion, and talk to your doctor about steps you can take to reduce your child's injury risk.

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Don't Miss Your Weight-Loss Goal

If you boil life down to a few fundamental concepts, goals are sure to be on the list. Much of life is about the goals you set and the journey you take to achieve them. Accomplish your goals - or even fail while trying your best - makes you a better person; don't give it your all (or don't set goals in the first place) and you'll likely float adrift in life's waters and end up somewhere you never intended (or wanted) to be. Here are three ways to miss a popular goal - weight loss. Make sure you're not guilty of any of the following.

Overdo It: Enthusiasm is key when you're trying to lose weight, but jump in headfirst and without any sense of pacing, and you'll likely fail. Any good plan requires good planning; when it comes to weight loss, that means you need sensible goals and a plan of attack that's reasonable, not extreme. Deprive yourself of all your favorite foods or become a slave to the gym, and you'll burn out fast.

Make Excuses: Whether you're fit as a fiddle or struggling with your weight, we've all had those days when working out and eating right were last on our list. The difference is in the choices we make - to fit in that workout or prepare that healthy meal, regardless of time constraints; or make every excuse imaginable for why we can't. Remember, you're only as busy as you convince yourself you are.

Lose Focus: Focus is the ultimate tool for achieving any goal; that means focusing on exactly what you're trying to accomplish and then making sure you retain that focus throughout the process. Start off vaguely and with limited direction, and you'll steer south before you know it. Instead, outline how much weight you want to lose, when you want to lose it by, and exactly how you'll get there, step by step.

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The information provided is for general interest only and should not be misconstrued as a diagnosis, prognosis or treatment recommendation. This information does not in any way constitute the practice of chiropractic, acupuncture, massage therapy, medicine, or any other health care profession. Readers are directed to consult their health care provider regarding their specific health situation. MPA Media is not liable for any action taken by a reader based upon this information.

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