Showing posts with label health. Show all posts
Showing posts with label health. Show all posts

Do Word Puzzles Keep Your Mind Sharp Or Not?

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For years, companies have been encouraging adults to engage in regular “brain training” to train their neurons, just like their muscles, and make them stronger. But the relationship between solving puzzles and cognitive performance is anything but clear cut. Doing crosswords doesn’t seem to have a one-to-one relationship with the sharpness of our minds. So what the heck is going on? 

What Does The Evidence Say? 

When psychologists and brain researchers examined the question, they found conflicting results. A 2001 study in Brain and Cognition, for instance, found that as people get older, they perform worse on games designed to test working memory. Younger subjects almost always had the upper hand.

A study in the Journal of Experimental Psychology from 1999 found that older people who do crosswords don’t experience any reduction in the speed of cognitive decline. So, the researchers concluded that the brain might not be analogous to muscle tissue at all. 

But then another study in Psychology of Aging in 2000, found that doing crosswords regularly did, in fact, reduce the speed of memory loss as people get older.

So what the heck is going on here? Can you really train your brain like the rest of your body to keep it youthful?

The Importance Of Hidden Information

Although the science is mixed, some researchers think that certain types of word puzzles can actually help cognition. 

Consider a riddle, “what is full of holes but still carries water?” 

You can’t just read the statement and then think it through analytically to solve it. You won’t get anywhere. No matter how long you stare at it, the answer won’t pop out at you from the words on the page. 

Instead, you have to think “out of the box,” drawing on your knowledge of context. Eventually, if you think broadly enough, the idea of a sponge will enter your mind, and you will solve the riddle. 

The cognitive processes here are profound. Not only do you have to unscramble the problem, but you also have to open yourself up to novel ideas. Otherwise, you can’t resolve the riddle at all. It is a necessary part of the process. 

Finding hidden information is essentially what riddles are all about. They appear to allude to something that doesn’t make sense on the surface, but that can be resolved with the right idea. 

Riddles have appealed to people down the centuries, partly because their solutions are so unexpected and novel. You get a buzz of satisfaction when you solve one that makes you want to go on and do the next. 

Word puzzles, like riddles, therefore, could help train the mind by creating new connections in a way that many other types of problems don’t. Perhaps that’s why there have been mixed results in the literature. Performing rote calculations (in sudoku, for instance) uses well-worn neural pathways. But solving a riddle necessarily implies having to come up with an entirely novel solution. 

What do you think? Can solving riddles make you a better thinker overall? 


Having a Baby? Here are 3 Top Tips to Ensure You’re Prepared

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Photo by Andreas Wohlfahrt from Pexels

Finding out that you’re pregnant is one of the most exciting experiences in your life. However, it’s also one of the most daunting. Although no one can be fully prepared for what comes your way, it’s good to do your research so that you’re as prepared as possible. Motherhood and fatherhood is a journey unlike any other, and without this preparation, it might come to the due date and you’re not ready for the changes.

7 Health Worries You Shouldn’t Have to Deal With Right Now

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Struggling with one specific health issue every day can seem daunting and overwhelming; you may even feel as though there is no way to escape. There is nothing more debilitating than waking up with a continual symptom, ache or pain that you just don’t know how to get rid of.

When you’re struggling with aspects of your health, life can seem like too much to manage. Try not to enter panic mode right away as this will cause more stress and may even heighten your symptoms to another level. Luckily, there are a number of ways in which you can deal with these unwanted health hang-ups and pains. Going to the doctor right now is nearly impossible; surgeries are busier than ever and you simply don’t have time in your schedule to leave the house. Although medical advice is highly advised, there are several ways to alleviate symptoms yourself. With a mixture of professional advice and some tried and tested home remedies, you will be back on track with your health in no time.

1.Your Eyesight

This is something you definitely take for granted on a daily basis. You have never had to deal with any eyesight problems before, so why would they cross your mind? At the moment you might be experiencing some rather unusual symptoms that might prompt you to visit an eye doctor near me. Booking regular eyesight tests are so important as this will not only keep your eyesight in check, but it will help to detect wider health issues too such as diabetes and high blood pressure. If you find yourself straining to see the television or signs on the road when you’re driving, you definitely need to book in for an eye test as soon as possible. Like many people right now, your job probably relies heavily on staring at a computer screen all day. Without the proper measures in place, your eyes will be put into regular stress and strain. Do as much as you can to rest your eyes when possible; look away from your screen every twenty minutes and focus on something that is further away. These daily habits will protect your eye health and prevent your symptoms from getting worse. Remember that postponing appointments with your optician can lead to more harm than good, so it’s definitely worth getting checked out as soon as possible to put your mind at ease.

2. Sore Back

Dealing with daily back pain is something you can’t forget about when you’re trying to get out and about or complete daily tasks around the house. Back pain can transform into something so severe that it even prevents you from going to work or taking care of your loved ones. Although there are many pain relief methods out there in the form of tablets, you could consider other methods. A chiropractor or osteopath will be able to provide you with some in-depth information about what’s going wrong inside your body right now. With a few sessions of professional treatment, your aches and pains might even disappear altogether.

3. Hearing Problems

Being unable to hear conversations properly is not only frustrating, but it is hindering your ability to create connections with people. You might not be able to hear people talking during meetings at work and you may need to turn the television volume right up every evening. Living like this isn’t sustainable, so why not look into hearing aids? No matter how young or old you are hearing aids come in all sorts of discreet and effective styles. Speak to a medical professional if you think you’re in need of hearing aids; they will be able to advise you on which ones to choose.

4. Skin 

When you’re going through skin problems it can be very difficult to go about your life as normal. You can’t always cover up your blemishes with makeup; very often it stems much deeper than this. Whether you have cystic acne or eczema, you need to seek out advice from a dermatologist if you can. Reading about the latest skin care tips online won’t do you any good, because they are not tailored to your unique needs. When your best friend recommends a life changing skin product to you, it may not necessarily work for your skin type. This is why it’s so important to book an appointment with a registered skincare specialist. Not only will they be able to carry out an in depth analysis of your skin cells, pigmentation and surface appearance, they will also be able to offer you tailored advice that is specific to your skin type.

5. Hair

Your hair is such a huge part of your identity, when something goes wrong, you don’t feel like yourself. There are so many people living with alopecia, which is when your hair falls out of your head, eyebrows and even parts of your face if you’re a male. This can be embarrassing and knock your confidence. Although there are no cures for alopecia there are a number of ways to mask the side effects. Opt for a hairstyle that makes your hair loss less obvious or even try extensions or wigs if it will give you a boost in confidence.

6. Headaches

Suffering from ongoing headaches and migraines can be extremely painful; a lot of over the counter medication doesn’t even do anything to alleviate the symptoms. Persistent headaches in the same spot may be a sign of an underlying medical issue, so try not to pop too many painkillers if this is the case. You should definitely seek out advice from a medical professional and they will be able to conduct further tests.

7. Anxiety

Although this is a hidden health problem, anxiety is so real amongst many people. So many members of society are suffering from anxiety right now and they aren’t opening up about it in an honest and healthy way. If you think you have depression or anxiety, you don’t have to go through this alone. Confide in a friend or family member that you trust and they will be there with a listening ear. If you don’t think any of your immediate loved ones will understand the problem, you can speak to therapists and online counselors who will guide you through various techniques. Obviously, every individual is completely unique so it depends on your circumstances. As soon as you start opening up about how you feel, you will start to make slow and gradual improvements with regards to your mental health.

All in all, you don’t need to deal with any of these ongoing health issues. Not only are they irritating, but they are also highly inconvenient. Many of these health problems can prevent you from feeling confident or going about your day to day life. Your first port of call should always be seeking medical advice. Whether you call up your medical practitioner on the phone or you make an appointment online; this will always help to put your mind at ease during these rough times with your health. Your symptoms may worsen if you don’t take action and do something as quickly as possible. So make sure you don’t keep dealing with these health hang ups; try at home remedies and seek out professional advice as soon as you can. Once your mind has been put at ease, you will feel happier, healthier and so much more content in your life.


Health Checks to Keep Yourself In Top Condition

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Most of us have busy schedules that largely revolve around our work life, social lives and home lives. It’s not all too surprising that many of us don’t pay sufficient attention to our overall health and wellbeing. But we really do need to keep our health at the forefront of our minds at all times. Good health can lead to a better quality of life and a happier you! Attending a variety of health checks regularly can help to ensure that you’re in good condition. If any problems are identified, you can tackle them sooner rather than later! Here are just a few you should add to your schedule!

Eye Tests

You only need to have an eye test every two years. No matter how busy you are, you should be able to fit this short appointment into your schedule within that time frame. When you have your eye test, an optometrist will check the health of your eye from the front to the back. This could identify warning signs of serious eye problems like glaucoma, cataracts and displaced retina. Your eye test can also help to identify illnesses like diabetes by evaluating the health of blood vessels inside of your eye. On top of this general health checks, you will be able to receive a prescription for glasses or contact lenses if your vision seems to have deteriorated and is anything but perfect!

Hearing Tests

We don’t tend to think of hearing tests as much as eye tests. For one, we don’t have them as regularly. Generally speaking, you will only book in to see an audiologist for a hearing test if you notice a change in your hearing. But it’s absolutely essential that you do get checked if you have any concerns. A hearing test can help to identify a deterioration in your ability to hear clearly and will be able to recommend any hearing devices you might need to rectify any issues.

Dental Check Ups

You should see your dentist for a check up at least once every year. If possible, go once every six months. A regular dental checkup will allow the dentist to have a check of your mouth and its overall health, including the health of your teeth and your gums. If you have any issues with decay, they can be resolved early on with simple procedures, such as fillings. This will prevent you from having to face a more complex procedure, such as root canals or tooth extraction, which become more likely when problems are left unchecked. Your dentist can also conduct a scale and polish, which will see you leave their surgery with a gleaming, clean smile!

These are just three health checks you need to add to your diary. Sure, they may seem routine - and they should be! But so many people neglect them that it’s always worth reminding you to book in and be seen by the professionals!

On The Verge of 40

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Sunday is my birthday and I will be 39.  It's such a lackluster sort of birthday - you aren't quite yet the BIG 40, but you are literally at the threshold of moving into your forties.  

Setting Your Kids Up For Success

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You want your children to be happy and healthy above all else. You also want them to grow up strong and secure in themselves and to be able to achieve whatever it is they want out of life. After all, as a parent, it’s your job to give your child everything they need in their first years of life! (And of course, for the next couple of decades too…)

7 Amazing Anxiety Busters That Will Do The Trick

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Woman Spreading Both Her Arms

When you suffer from depression or anxiety, it’s no walk in the park. Your day to day to day life is consumed with thoughts that can spiral out of control if you don’t take action. Even if you are suffering from mild anxiety it can take a whole lot of energy to get on with normal life without feeling insecure or unsettled.

An Age-Old Problem: Helping Our Children Understand Their Grandparents’ Failing Health

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While there is a lot of focus on children and their mental health these days, it can be a very difficult situation when we've got to have a heart to heart conversation with our children about their grandparents. Whether their grandparents aren’t doing very well or they have to go into care because they're too old, these issues can eat away at us until we decide to sit down with our children and have that conversation. But when it comes to this sort of thing, how can we help our children understand what's going on, but also help them to cope?
Prepare For The Conversation
You could chew away at every word permutation in your mind, but the best thing to do is to sit down and just plan how you intend on saying it. It's important that you don't sugarcoat the language so much that it becomes almost unreal what you're saying. It at the same time, the reality of the situation needs to present itself, and it's something that your children need to know. Ultimately, it can be a very difficult thing if you have difficulties in trying to speak to your children in the first place. On, there are some handy hints for being a parent that your child actually wants to talk to. This is something that could tip the balance firmly in your favor. Ultimately, you need to break the news, but if you're someone that they don't really take seriously, or they just ignore, it can prove to be more of a shock when you do deliver bad news.
Be Open And Receptive
They may have a million questions or they may have none. Whatever their response, it's important to be open and honest, but also be receptive to any questions they have, no matter how grizzly the details they want. This can be a very difficult thing for us to go through as parents, but it's important that our children understand exactly what's going on. If they have only half the information, they're going to walk away feeling more confused. What's happening to the grandparents? Are they been taken away? Are they not coming back ever again? It's these sorts of things that need answering in the most straightforward manner. This requires openness and honesty.
Offering Them Ways To Help
Your children will want to see them, or they may want to help. Ultimately, if it's something like your parents going into a home, if your child is old enough to have some of the responsibility, you can give them things to help with so they can contribute. Something as simple as visiting  can be a great way for you to give your child the time they need to adjust. This can mean that they may be able to process the news easier. If they feel they are far away from the situation, and you're not letting them get involved, this could very easily compound their anxiety.
It's never easy, and it's an age-old problem, but by discussing with your children these difficult situations, it's going to have a more positive outcome than you realize, no matter how long you have been putting it off.


How to Help Someone Struggling With Their Mental Health

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Mental health struggles affect most families across the world. If you aren’t struggling with issues yourself, you’re likely to know someone who is. It’s important that we educate ourselves on how to help someone struggling with mental health problems. If you aren’t quite sure what to do, here are some suggestions on how you can help.


Listening to someone doesn’t mean you are charged with having to find solutions to their problems. Sometimes, people don’t want solutions- they just want someone to listen. If you can sit and listen to someone’s problems without passing judgment, you can be a really good friend to someone suffering from mental health issues. By truly listening, you’ll be able to gauge what a person’s needs are in that moment. It could be helping to find a solution, or it could just be recognition of the difficulties they’re facing.

Don’t Assume

Some people make the mistake of assuming they know what someone with mental health problems needs. Perhaps they’ll attempt to cheer them up or bring them a glass of wine. There are times when all the effort in the world won’t get the desired result because they’ve made an assumption. Ask the person you’re supporting what they need. More often than not, someone suffering from a mental health disorder will be able to tell you what kind of support they require.

Get Help

Supporting someone with mental health issues can be tiring work. The last thing you want to do is burn yourself out, so you’re forced to stop providing support when they need you most. It’s okay to reach out and ask for help. For example, teen bipolar disorder treatment is a great way to help a teenager suffering from bipolar without taking on too much yourself. You can also approach medical practitioners, with the sufferer’s permission, to see what help is available in your area. Whether it’s medication, therapy sessions or intermittent support, it all helps.

Avoid Arguments

When you’re supporting someone who's struggling with mental health, there will be times when things can get tense. Either one of you is likely to get frustrated at any point and it’s easy for arguments or confrontation to start. Try not to engage in arguments in order to keep a strong relationship. If you find it difficult to avoid an argument, make sure to leave the room and the other person’s presence and take some time to cool down.

If You Don’t Know the Person

If you’re in a situation where you’re trying to support someone you’ve never met before, try and stay calm. Offer as much information as you can and try to direct the person to any information or resources that could be of help. Ask the person if there’s anyone you can contact to help them further. If the person seems too distressed and you’re worried about his/her safety, always call the authorities to be on the safe side.

There are no tricks to looking after someone with mental health issues, so just do the best you can.


Health Issues To Think About As You Get Older

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Maintaining a healthy lifestyle is important at any age. But as you get older, taking care of your health can require further effort, as well as being prepared to handle a range of issues. From maintaining a healthy weight to making sure your mental health is in order, there are things to consider that can help you live a longer, healthier life, and even help the signs of ageing too.

Need to start thinking about your health as you age? Use some of the following as food for thought.

Image Credit: Unsplash under Creative Commons

Eating well and keeping fit

We spend a lot of our lives focusing on our weight, and while the pressure to be ‘thin’ can be unhealthy, it is important to keep your weight within a healthy range. Being overweight can increase your risk of Type 2 diabetes, heart disease, stroke and cancer, but healthy living is considered one of the most effective ways of reducing your risk.

Get to know the basics of a healthy, balanced diet and start planning meals that are nutritious and healthy. Meanwhile, help give your cardiovascular health a boost by working out regularly and making sure you get moving during the day. It’s simple advice, but effective for keeping your health in check as you age.

Birth control

While you might have spent a large portion of your life trying not to get pregnant, your birth control needs will change as you start a family and get older. It’s a good idea to have a conversation with your doctor about appropriate birth control methods and to make sure you’re on the right type for your circumstances. You might want to consider coming off hormonal contraception altogether. A vasectomy is an option for your partner, and there are reversal vasectomy procedures available in case circumstances change. Your sexual and reproductive health is important, so don’t neglect these areas of your wellbeing.

Looking after your mental health

We focus a lot on our physical health, but mental health is just as important. You can start focusing on your mental health by learning how to manage stress, making time for yourself and relaxing. Sleep can also have a considerable effect on your mental health, so aim to get around 8 hours a night to allow your body to recharge ready for the next day.

Mental health can be a taboo subject, but it doesn’t have to be. Talk about your feelings and encourage open conversation in your family too. The sooner problems get picked up, the sooner you can get help.

Your health needs change as you get older, but that doesn’t mean you should neglect them. Self-care can help you stay healthy and happy, allowing you to enjoy the good things in life. It’s never too late to start taking care of yourself, so if you’ve been letting things slip lately, start over today and look forward to looking and feeling fabulous no matter what your age.