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Blog Description:

Focus on mindfulness, nutrition, and exercise to help improve each dimension of health for overall well-being.
Blog Added: April 27, 2017 08:02:08 AM
Audience Rating: General Audience
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Blog Country: United-States   United-States
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The Couch Ain't Dat Comfortable

A question that often comes up when people are considering change is: How do I even start? One answer is, begin with the problem that you find is the most painful. Many issues may be causing pain in your life, but there is one that hurts the most. This is the one you want to start with to begin the process of change and improving yourself. Taking on too much at one time can be overwhelming and cause procrastination or prevent you from even beginning at all, which can result in stress. So,...

A question that often comes up when people are considering change is: How do I even start? One answer is, begin with the problem that you find is the most painful. Many issues may be causing pain in your life, but there is one that hurts the most. This is the one you want to start with to begin the process of change and improving yourself. Taking on too much at one time can be overwhelming and cause procrastination or prevent you from even beginning at all, which can result in stress. So, you’ll have at least three stressors at this point: the thing that you want to change, overwhelm, and the stress that occurs with procrastination.
Before I continue the how, I should tell you the why. Procrastination is harmful to your well-being and overall health. Studies have shown that “…people who procrastinate have higher levels of stress and lower well-being,” (Jaffe, 2013 pp. 2). Procrastination is complicated because it is more than just putting something off; it is failure to self-regulate. Individuals who procrastinate are more likely to perform poorly and have higher amounts of stress and illness than those who don’t (Jaffe, 2013).
Stress can be harmful to your mental and physical health and, if left untreated, can cause high blood pressure, heart disease, obesity, and diabetes.
These are only a couple of reasons why you should act on your desire to change, now the how. First, you must want to change. If you are trying to change for someone else, it probably won’t last. You have to do it for yourself. You should also make it as enjoyable as possible. For example, you want to lose weight but the thought of going to the gym makes you nauseated. You might want to consider replacing “exercise” with something fun like hiking or sports, whatever physical activity you enjoy. However, if you’re like me and the thought of exercise (at all) makes you slide deeper into your sheets, try whatever you find least offensive. I have tried many different activities, and hated them or wasn’t very good at them and too embarrassed to continue, until I discovered yoga. I found videos (Shout out to Yoga with Adriene) on YouTube that you can do in the comfort of your own home. I also invested in an inexpensive rowing machine because it is fun (to me, anyway) and gives you a full body workout.
Next, make it a habit. Set aside some time at least 5 days per week, 30-60 minutes per day (after you get the okay from your healthcare provider). If it has been awhile since you have exercised, you might want to start out slow and work up to 30-60 minutes per day. Maybe you start out walking around the block for 15 minutes and move on from there.
Finally, don’t be too hard on yourself! If you backslide it’s no big deal, just start again. We all have days that we just can’t even and nope through the day. It happens. But the more you do it, the better you will feel. You have to own your life and be accountable for what you do (or don’t do). It is up to you to effect the change that you desire!
So,
Get off the couchBe accountableEstablish a routineDo something you enjoy
Resource
Jaffe, E. (2013). Why wait? the science behind procrastination. Retrieved from https://www.psychologicalscience.org/observer/why-wait-the-science-behind-procrastination



The Relationship Between Breathing and Anxiety

Living life with anxiety and panic attacks can often be difficult, frightening, and all consuming. As anxiety progresses, the lightheadedness, chest pains, and rapid breathing can become terrifying and make you feel as if you are having a heart attack or that something else is seriously wrong. As I have mentioned before, these symptoms led me to believe that I was having a heart attack and ended up in the hospital. I was thankful that it was not a heart attack. However, if the anxiety and...

Living life with anxiety and panic attacks can often be difficult, frightening, and all consuming. As anxiety progresses, the lightheadedness, chest pains, and rapid breathing can become terrifying and make you feel as if you are having a heart attack or that something else is seriously wrong. As I have mentioned before, these symptoms led me to believe that I was having a heart attack and ended up in the hospital. I was thankful that it was not a heart attack. However, if the anxiety and panic persisted, I would lead a life feeling like I was dying on a daily basis. I did not want to live like that and I would almost put money that you don't either. This is why I am here.
As I began my research into natural remedies (I didn't want to be on pharmaceuticals the rest of my life, the side effects are horrible) I discovered that there are many treatments and therapies that help relieve anxiety. One thing I did not consider, however, is that I can control one major problem that was contributing to my anxiety: BREATHING! That's right, many times, the way we breathe can induce or exascerbate anxiety and lead to panic. According to CalmClinic "Shallow breathing affects all those with anxiety." When we breathe short, rapid breaths we are getting too much oxygen, not too little as most people think. Therefore, when we begin to feel symptoms of anxiety and take deep breaths to compensate, we are making things worse.
When we begin to feel anxious, the fight or flight mechanism in our bodies kicks in, our hearts beat faster and we begin to take fast, shallow breaths to prepare for fleeing or fighting. Anxiety disorder occurs when we aren't actually in danger but our bodies react as if we are. Continuous shallow, rapid breathing leads to hyperventilation, which causes chest pains, lightheadedness, weakness and tingling and rapid heartbeat associated with anxiety (source).
The good news is that there are relaxation techniques that can help us overcome these
symptoms. Cardiologist Dr. Herbert Benson developed the relaxation response technique at Harvard Medical School in the 1970's. This technique relaxes the individual through breath, focus, and routine. The first step is to undertand the difference between chest breathing (the way many of us breathe) and diaphragmatic or abdominal breathing (deep breathing). Deep breathing occurs when we breathe deeply through the nose so our lungs fill and bellies rise.
The second step is to "practice breath focus". First, find a quiet place to sit or lie down and take a normal breath. Then, take a slow deep (abdominal) breath and slowly release it. Finally, combine deep breathing with thinking about a calming image or word. Practice this technique twice per day for 10-20 minutes each day to elicit the relaxation response and create a habit (source).
I find this technique extremely helpful. Leave a message and let me know if it works for you!
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Mindfulness-Living in the Moment

Individuals who suffer from panic and/or anxiety find it difficult to live in the moment because they are consumed with what has happened in the past or what will happen in the future. The main problem with this is that we have no control over the past or the future; we only have the now. The past has already happened and we cannot change it. The future has not happened yet and we cannot know what will happen because there are so many variables that can change the outcome. Worrying about...

Individuals who suffer from panic and/or anxiety find it difficult to live in the moment because they are consumed with what has happened in the past or what will happen in the future. The main problem with this is that we have no control over the past or the future; we only have the now. The past has already happened and we cannot change it. The future has not happened yet and we cannot know what will happen because there are so many variables that can change the outcome. Worrying about what happened in the past or what you think might happen in the future
creates fear that increases anxiety or panic. Living in fear prevents us from having a life filled with happiness or enjoying the happiness of the moment and cause other health problems.
"
Anxiety disorder may cause loss of appetite and lack of interest in sex. Other symptoms include muscle tension, headaches, and insomnia. Frequent panic attacks can cause you to fear the anxiety attacks themselves, thereby increasing overall anxiety. The constant state of stress can lead to clinical depression. You are also at increased risk of diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart disease. If you already have heart disease, anxiety disorders may raise the risk of coronary events,"(Pietrangelo, A.)
When we practice mindulness, we learn to live in the moment-because all that exists is now. We are also able to begin to understand that the thoughts that cause anxiety pose no benefit, as researchers from Johns Hopkins University discovered while analyzing nearly 19,000 meditation research studies (source). Dr. Hoge, a psychiatrist at the Center for Anxiety and Traumatic Stress Disorders at Massachusetts General Hospital and an assistant professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, conducted a study in which subjects who participated in mindful-based stress reduction were more likely than individuals who were only taught general stress management techniques. Dr. Hoge states "“People with anxiety have a problem dealing with distracting thoughts that have too much power. They can’t distinguish between a problem-solving thought and a nagging worry that has no benefit.” (source)
I, personally, have had much success dealing with fear and anxiety using meditation techniques. I have reduced symptoms of anxiety, improved my overall health, and have become a happier person using mindfulness techniques. I remind myself that worrying does not do any good; it ruins any happiness that you can have in this short existence. You either have to let it go and trust that it will work out for your highest good or work to change the situation (without worry). You can find many useful free meditation videos on youtube or you can go hereto purchase digital meditations.
Don't forget to leave a comment about your experiences or shoot me an email at improveyourhealthwithbrandi@gmail.com!
Image credit: 1. Healthline.com



What is Vitamin A and Why Do We Need it?

Our bodies need certain amounts of many different vitamins and nutrients in order to obtain or maintain optimum health. Some vitamins (B-complex and C) are water-soluble, meaning the vitamins are present in watery parts of food and are distributed through the body in fluid and excreted in urine. Other vitamins (A,D,E, and K) are fat-soluble and are found in fat and oily components of food and must be absorbed into the lymph with fat and transported via lipoproteins, not dissolved and absorbed...

Our bodies need certain amounts of many different vitamins and nutrients in order to obtain or maintain optimum health. Some vitamins (B-complex and C) are water-soluble, meaning the vitamins are present in watery parts of food and are distributed through the body in fluidand excreted in urine. Other vitamins (A,D,E, andK) are fat-soluble and are found in fat and oily components of food and must be absorbed into the lymph with fat and transported via lipoproteins, not dissolved and absorbed in the blood stream. Fat-soluble vitamins, when consumed in excess, are stored in fat cells and in the liver instead of being used immediately or excreted. I will be discussing each of the vitamins and nutrients over time, however, today We will focus on Vitamin A: why it is important, how much do our bodies need, and in which foods it can be found.
Why do we need Vitamin A?
Health benefits from Vitamin A include: improved immune system and protection against infections, healthy skin and mucous membranes, improved night vision, and protection against free radicals from carotenoids.Vitamin A is also essential in normal formation and function of the heart, lungs, and kidneys. The table below shows the recommended dietary allowances for Vitamin A for normal people:
Age Male Female Pregnancy Lactation
0–6 months* 400 mcg RAE 400 mcg RAE
7–12 months* 500 mcg RAE 500 mcg RAE
1–3 years 300 mcg RAE 300 mcg RAE
4–8 years 400 mcg RAE 400 mcg RAE
9–13 years 600 mcg RAE 600 mcg RAE
14–18 years 900 mcg RAE 700 mcg RAE 750 mcg RAE 1,200 mcg RAE
19–50 years 900 mcg RAE 700 mcg RAE 770 mcg RAE 1,300 mcg RAE
51+ years 900 mcg RAE 700 mcg RAE
* Adequate Intake (AI), equivalent to the mean intake of vitamin A in healthy, breastfed infants. (Source)
What foods contain Vitamin A?
Foods that contain Vitamin A include: Liver. fish oils, leafy greens (kale, spinach, etc.), orange and yellow fruits and vegetables (bell peppers, corn, tomatoes, carrots), dairy products, and broccoli. Foods highest in Vitamin A include: carrots, broccoli, cantaloupe, and squash. (Source)
While incorporating more foods that contain Vitamin A is a good start to a healthier diet, it is important to include a variety of foods to ensure that you consume all the necessary nutrients your body needs. If you are craving more health information before the next post comes out, you can find 5 Ways to Stop Overeating hereand read about Good Fats and Bad Fatshere



Gratitude

Gratitude. Have you ever noticed that when negative circumstances arise in life that you focus on the negative, and as a result more bad things seem to follow? A sort of snowball effect? This often happens to me because I tend to allow stress and anxiety take over and forget that there is still good in my life. Being mad, stressed, anxious, or sad lowers your vibrational frequency, and in return, you are stuck in a negativity loop. You reap what you sow, negativity breeds negativity. You...

Gratitude. Have you ever noticed that when negative circumstances arise in life that you focus on the negative, and as a result more bad things seem to follow? A sort of snowball effect? This often happens to me because I tend to allow stress and anxiety take over and forget that there is still good in my life. Being mad, stressed, anxious, or sad lowers your vibrational frequency, and in return, you are stuck in a negativity loop. You reap what you sow, negativity breeds negativity. You get what I am saying? Now, you are probably thinking, "It makes sense...kind of, but what does vibrational frequency have to do with anything, and how on earth do I even begin to see the positive in this crap storm I call life?"
First, an important point: We cannot have all good in our lives at all times. There is a balance that must be maintained. Without the yin there is no yang and vice versa, as everything is interconnected. Also, not everything we label as "negative" is bad. For example, you had a bad day because you were running late for whatever reason and your boss yelled at you. However, had you seen the news that evening you would know that all the "bad" that happened that day was actually good because if you had left at your normal time you would have been involved in a massive accident on the highway.
Now for the scientific part: (This will be a short segment, so for those of you who are not into science bear with me.) Dr. Masaru Emoto was curing people from disease by using a device that measured vibration. According to his treatment plan, the MRA (vibrational device) measures a humans negative emotional vibration. When the individual consumed water with the opposite (positive) vibrational frequency, the negative feeling disappeared. He later realized that many people did not believe in the benefits of his treatment because they could not see any difference in the water, so Dr. Emoto performed an experiment on the effects different words had on water crystals. When positive words were directed at the water crystals, they formed beautiful shapes, and when negative words were directed at the water crystals the crystals were misshapen and ill formed.