Posts Tagged ‘health’

Have you had your “silence” today?

February 7th, 2018 11:35pm
Spending some quiet time with my busy boys is a struggle but we make it happen!

Spending some quiet time with my busy boys is a struggle but we make it happen!

As busy moms, we definitely value the beauty of silence! It may be a rare treat in some households! But did you know there could be benefits far beyond the initial enjoyment? In 2013, a study was published by the journal Brain, Structure and Function. It was a study conducted on mice to understand the affect different types of noise and lack thereof could have on their brains. They used what they thought was just a “control” group of mice that were only exposed to silence. What the study found was well beyond what they intended to study. They discovered that the mice that were exposed only to two hours of silence a day (their control group) actually developed new cells in the hippocampus (the region of the brain most associated with memory, emotion and learning)! According to researcher, Imke Kirste, the cells appeared to become functioning neurons!

In a sense, silence quite literally grew the brain!

A similar study in 2001 discovered that even when our brains are in a “resting” state, they are constantly internalizing and evaluating information. It never truly “sleeps”.

This “resting” state is also active during self-reflection. Joseph Moran et al. wrote in Frontiers in Human Neuroscience that the brains’ resting mode “is observed most closely during the pshychological task of reflecting on one’s personalities and characteristics (self-reflection), rather than during self-recognition, thinking of the self-concept, or thinking about self-esteem, for example.”

It is during our quiet, focused meditation that allows our consciousness to process information from our day. These moments of silence give our brains the opportunity to reflect, associate and correlate our internal and external worlds. It gives rise to our imaginations and allows us to tap into creativity we probably never recognized was there!

Did you know that your body can release stress hormones just because you heard a noise in your sleep that you didn’t even consciously recognize?? Gary W. Evans, a professor of human ecology at Cornell University discovered that children exposed to consistently loud noises begin to cope by ignoring the noise. This may sound logical and beneficial at first glance but what he also found was that not only did these children learn to tune out the disturbing noise, but every other noise too…including things they should be registering, like speech! The results from this study were published in the 2002 Psychological Science (Vol. 13, No. 9).

In our family, we discovered this through personal experience. I first decided to keep a dream journal…not only was I recording about my dreams, but also recording the events that transpired right before bed and during sleep. For instance, my husband enjoyed falling asleep with the TV on. This would drive me nuts because it would invariably wake me at some point during the night. So for a week, I also paid attention to what was running on the tv during out sleep hours. What I discovered was interesting…my dreams correlated directly with what was airing on the television during our sleep hours! My brain was still processing every sound it heard, even when I wasn’t “really” listening! Now my husband and I have come to an agreement…I will allow the tv on but I set a timer so that it turns off within a short time. BOTH of sleep MUCH better as a result! This is also a big reason we don’t allow tv’s or digital devices in our kids rooms…ever! We try to keep these areas as designated quiet zones.

IMG_4565One more example. My youngest has by far been one of my worst sleepers. He would frequently wake throughout the evening screaming inconsolably. What we realized is that he was never getting his “quiet” time! My older kids were always up and about through the early evening, up late with homework or coming home late from activities. Every sound was triggering a stress response in our little one! We had no idea until we moved him upstairs to a much more secluded area where the sounds and activities of my older crew were not so apparent. He has been a different child! Ironically, the cognitive functions that are most handicapped during exposure to frequent noise are reading attention, memory and problem solving…pretty sure we all could use more of these in our day!

So bottom line? Forget your “safe zones” and start working on your “quiet zones”! Make this a quiet, focused and meditative time and your brain will reap the benefits!

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Summertime = WATER VIGILANCE!!

June 5th, 2013 12:54am

It is never a thought we want to entertain for long…a childs young and innocent life cut short by a drowning accident. But living in a climate where swimming happens nearly all year, it is constantly on our minds. We stumbled across a wonderful article on Slate.com written by that brought our attention to the fact that while most of us are insanely vigilant with our kids around water, it might not save our children if we don’t know what to look for. They have offered up some very helpful tips to assist us in knowing what drowning really looks like…

  • Head low in the water, mouth at water level
  • Head tilted back with mouth open
  • Eyes glassy and empty, unable to focus
  • Eyes closed
  • Hair over forehead or eyes
  • Not using legs—vertical
  • Hyperventilating or gasping
  • Trying to swim in a particular direction but not making headway
  • Trying to roll over on the back
  • Appear to be climbing an invisible ladder

Notice there is no mention of “flailing madly in the water” or “loud splashing” noises. That is because if someone is truly drowning, they will not make a sound. As a witness to a child slipping under the water literally right by my side, I can attest to the shocking truth that no sound is made and most of their panicking will happen under the water where we are least likely to notice. Luckily, we had fast acting help all around and this particular child was rescued quickly without trauma. But it is frightening to realize how quickly and quietly drowning happens. Vigilance is necessary but please be sure you know what it is EXACTLY that you are supposed to be vigilantly looking for!

Keep your kids safe by being informed. You can also look into getting CPR certified or other water safety classes. Check your local hospitals for information or visit the Red Cross “Take a Class”  to find out about classes being offerred near you. CPR training can be a valuable tool in protecting our kids around water but wouldn’t it be better to never have to need it??…STAY VIGILANT!

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Encouraging Goal Setting

January 21st, 2013 1:45am
New Years Resolutions

It's time to remind ourselves as well as our children about the importance of goal setting and achieving!

Yes, it is once again that magical time of year when we sit down with ourselves, evaluate our progress over the last year and recommit to (or redefine) our goals for the new year. This is challenging task for us adults and even more so for out children. Oftentimes we put ourselves and our families on autopilot and miss out on the importance of goal setting in our lives. Leading by example and teaching our kids to set their own goals helps give them focus in their work and play. It helps them, as well as us parents, make decisions about the use of their time. And being in sync with our children’s goals can help us guide them to making better choices throughout each day.

Here are a few suggestions that I have opted to try out on my own family this year. Sometimes the greatest challenge to goal setting is knowing where to start. Here are a few prompts to get you going!…

• Set goals that build spiritual strength
Whatever your religious beliefs, seek after goals that bring you closer to your spiritual self. Pray and teach your children to pray. Freely forgive others. Read to your children from scriptures or stories that teach good principles and values. Develop a habit of study (help your kids learn to give over a part of their day to some kind of practice or study). Participate in your religious meetings with your children.

• Set goals that increase knowledge
Select a subject of interest to study (a great way to discover some of your childs hidden intersts!). Learn another language (kids love learning even a few words of a different language…make it a secret way to communicate between you!). Develop or learn about a new skill or interest (a great way to start identifying your child’s abilities). Improve your ability to communicate with others (teach your children manners in…how do we talk to one another?).

• Set Goals that increase personal well-being and health
Develop healthy eating habits (make a game of the pantry…what is good, better, best to eat?). Learn to prepare healthy foods (kids especially love this one! Use a cookie cutter to cut those healthy bites down to a more manageable and fun size!). Develop a program of regular exercise (dancing in the family room with your toddler definitely counts!). Create opportunities to be active with family and friends (bike riding is very popular in our household).

• Set Goals that increase your ability to serve others
Give service to your family (what jobs can we do for each other?). Volunteer to help a neighbor or friend (have your child ask themselves “who needs me today”). Write (or draw for younger kids) a letter/picture to send to someone special. Commit to finding someone to help each day.

• Set goals that increase moral strength
Overcome a bad habit (any thumb suckers out there? How about interrupters? Waiting your turn to speak is a tough one for kids). Learn to be grateful and express your appreciation (teaching kids the value of thank you notes after the holidays is a great way to accomplish this!). Improve your ability to manage time (print your calendars!). Learn to enjoy hard work (chore charts, anyone?). Cultivate patience and tolerance for others (helping them identify ways to get along with a sibling). Identify ways to recognize in yourself when you are doing your best.

We hope these guidelines will help you shape some wonderful goals for yourselves and your  family this year! Remember, “Goals are the fuel in the furnace of achievement!” (Brian Tracy, Eat That Frog). Good luck stoking those little furnaces this year!

We hope you will sound off in our “Inspiration for Parents” forum about the ways you have found success in your own families with goal setting.

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Halloween Safety!

October 31st, 2012 1:09am

As your kiddos get ready to run out into the neighborhood, please be prepared with some basic safety tips and guidelines!

If your kids are anything like ours, they are chomping at the bit to get out and show off their coolest costume creations while collecting an insane amount of candy from strangers! While we want everyone to have a great time this Halloween, we are most concerned about the safety of our little ones and want to share a few reminders and tips for keeping our kiddos safe this Halloween night!…

• Children should always be accompanied by an adult whether it’s at a party, trick or treating or sitting around watching scary movies with their friends!

• Have a plan in case you get separated. Set a place and/or time where you can meet up if you should happen to lose one another.

•Make sure your children wear a light of some kind while they are trick or treating. It makes finding them easier and helps drivers to see them better.

• Remind your kids never to cut across back alleys or fields. Encourage them to stay together in large groups at all times.

• We know some consider it old fashioned, but PLEASE don’t let your kids eat their candy until an adult has checked through it. Throw out any candy that looks tampered with (ie. loose wrapping, unidentifiable treats, etc.).

• Never go into a strangers house. Whenever possible, you should stick with houses of people you know.

• Always be careful crossing streets!! Look both ways and avoid crossing altogether whenever possible. Remember, it’s dark and cars are not always able to see you, if they happen to be looking at all! Rule of thumb: remember, in a mash up between you and a car…the car will ALWAYS win! So be looking for them, don’t expect them to look for you.

For more information on Halloween Safety, please take a moment and breeze through www.halloween-safety.com.

Be safe out there and have a Happy Haunted Halloween!

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The weather is finally starting to cool down…YES! Although Arizona doesn’t often show her fall colors to just anyone, we have found a few recommendations to help you on your quest for fall! Www.azcentral.com got us started with their recommendations. But we compiled a few from our fellow hikers that we thought might interest you as well…

Let’s start with Flagstaff. The Kachina Trail is right next to Humphrey’s Peak (the highest mountain in Arizona). From Flagstaff, take U.S. 180 northwest 7 miles to Snowbowl Road. Turn north and go 7.3 miles to the large dirt parking area just outside Arizona Snowbowl. The trail begins at the south end of the parking area. The views in any direction are impressive and the Aspen forest is a joy. This is a moderately difficult hike.

Sedona has some beautiful options as well. Boynton Canyon is considered one of Sedona’s most scenic canyons and a powerful vortex site. The canyon has lush riparian vegetation, towering red sandstone formations, voodoo rock spires and an ancient Sinagua Indian cliff dwelling dating back to 1,200 A.D. The view from these ruins is stunning. The sandstone and limestone sculptures loom 1,000 feet high on both sides. At the mouth of the canyon sits Enchantment Resort!

Secret Canyon lies within the most popular area for hiking around Sedona, the Red Rock Secret Mountain Wilderness, centered around Dry Creek a few miles northwest of town. To get to the lower trailhead, take I-17 from Phoenix north to exit 278 onto highway 179. Turn left off the exit ramp and drive west into Sedona. At the “T” Intersection, turn left onto Highway 89A. After a few miles, turn right at the light onto Dry Creek Rd. and drive 2 miles to a right turn onto the unpaved Forest Road #152 at the sign for Vultee Arch (quite bumpy). Drive another 3.4 miles to the signed Secret Canyon parking area on the lefthand side. To get to the upper trailhead, take I-17 north to Flagstaff, head wes on I-40 to the first exit (Flagstaff Ranch Road, exit 192). Turn left at the bottom of the exit ramp, drive a short distance to a “T” Intersection and turn left. After a couple miles, you’ll come to a stop sign, turn right onto Woody Mountain Road (Forest Rd. #231) which becomes a well graded dirt road shortly thereafter. Drive for 13 miles, then turn right on FR #538. Another 5.5 miles will bring you to an intersection and sign pointing right for Dorsey Spring Trail (1 mile), Kelsey Spring Trial (2 miles). Turn left and remain on FR#538 until it ends at the Secret Mountain Trailhead.

Usery Mountain is located at 3939 N. Usery Pass Rd. in Mesa, Arizona. There are two trails at this area. The Pass Mountain trail circles the mountain and is 7.5 miles round trip, while the Wind Cave trail hikes up its face and is about 3 miles round trip. Most people head for the Wind Cave Trail. To get there, take McKellips east, turn north on Ellsworth (turns into Usery Pass Rd.) and follow that road to the entrance of Usery Mountain Recreation ARea. Turn right to enter. Park fees are $6.00 per car.

Perlata Trail in the Superstition Mountains is a great family-friendly hike. To get there, follow the US60 to Peralta Road which is just east of mile post 204 and turn north on Peralta Road. At 5.5 miles from US60, follow the sign and take the left fork up the hill to the Peralta Trailhead.

Fossil Springs hike is a fun hike where if you go far enough, there is a rope hanging from a tree and you can swing from it and land in the water! To get there, first get to the Strawberry area. Turn west on Route 708 (also known as Fossil Creek Road). The road is paved for 2.5 miles then becomes unpaved. Stay on FR708 to the 81.1 mile point where you will see the signed road to the trailhead to your right. Turn off on this access road which has some washouts, but can be driven by any car that has reasonable clearance. You will reach the loop parking area at 82 miles.

We hope these give you some fun family options for enjoying the cooler temperatures and hopefully give you a glimpse of Arizona’s fall! Make sure to make your child a calendar to remind them of the upcoming hiking adventures!

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Method 5:  Stop Working So You Can Maximize your Opportunities

When you are constantly working, you seldom recognize your achievements.  Without taking these moments to recognize your accomplishments, you are constantly stretching for what’s next and never appreciating and enjoying what you have completed.  This cycle often leads to burn out, health issues, personal relationship issues, and low self esteem.  And, many times, it does not have a clearly defined end of moment of victory.  When you change your mindset from working to maximizing opportunities, you reposition your thought process and how you approach your life.  You are able to separate and segment your work from other areas of your life because maximizing the opportunity has a beginning and an end.  You are quicker to recognize when to end or remove your self because you understand what you are spending your time on is meant to be an opportunity not a burden you spend time on with out benefit or value.

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Method 3:  The Importance of Having a Giving Heart and Spirit

Most know that giving back to society and those in need is one of the most meaningful activities we can engage in. In fact, many very successful people believe that giving is directly tied to their continued success. Having a giving heart and spirit not only creates more opportunities for you to provide for others, but doing so allows more opportunities for your continued success to manifest in your life, and others: what impacts one impacts us all. Achievement and accomplishments come from the work of our hands and minds, but true success and fulfillment comes from giving of the heart. Not just donating your time through charitable work or financial donations, but also allocating precious time to family and friends. Being present and accessible to loved ones is the ultimate gift for others…and yourself.

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Sheri Riley offers these 9 methods to help high achievers tap into the other 90% of “who they are,” beyond “what they do,” and realize greater life balance, joy and fulfillment in kind:

Method 2:  Peace and a Positive Mind – Your Defender in the Face of Distractions

Cultivating and maintaining a peaceful life must be a goal of paramount importance.  Distractions and life’s distresses both small and large will pull you away from this goal each and every time you allow it.  Your thoughts are the training ground and spring board for your overall disposition and perspective on life.  Many accomplished people never pause to revel in or acknowledge their success.  They are constantly striving for what’s next. While not entirely a bad thing, when your desire to achieve becomes bigger than your desire to BE, your existence will be likened to a hamster running in an endless circle, never at peace and never at a point of rest.

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Sniffle Solutions: Expert Q+A

June 21st, 2010 10:14pm

My daughter almost always gets sick after we return home from a trip on an airplane. Is there anything I can do to keep her healthy?

By Dr. Roy Benaroch for Sniffle Solutions

Many cold and flu viruses are transmitted when you touch surfaces. And when you’re on an airplane, you’re touching armrests and tray tables that may not be very clean. Since so many people are touching the same surfaces, it’s all too easy to pick up germs on your hands.

So always have your child wash hands thoroughly before and after using the bathroom on a plane. And when you can’t get access to a sink and soap, use a hand sanitizer that has at least 60 percent alcohol. If you’re worried about the drying effects of alcohol, use a hand sanitizer that has added moisturizers, like aloe.

And since the air on planes is so dry and uncomfortable, you might also want to bring along some saline nasal spray, which you can use to help keep both yours and your daughter’s nasal passages well moisturized.

It’s also important to stay hydrated by drinking lots of water — that goes for you and your daughter.

Finally, try to avoid sick people when possible. If you’re sitting next to someone who’s coughing and sniffling and the flight is not full, speak up and politely ask a flight attendant if you can move to different seats.




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If you are searching for that perfect valentines gift for a techno-mommy on your list, we’ve got a winner for you! We have stumbled across an iPhone app that is truly a mommy-tool calendaring wonder! The TotalBaby app definitely makes our MyTime Calendar recommendation list!TotalBaby iPhone Application The TotalBaby Application is a calendar and event tracking solution for kids and babies whose application is limitless!

Developed in 2009, this application was the brain-child of ANDESigned, LLC and is truly inspired work. It allows you to track multiple children from birth to whenever! To better explain this application, I will use my own family of 4 children as an example. Each child was entered with all their birth information and a current photo. I was then able to enter all their vaccination information through a slick interface that allows you to record by vaccine, date and even be as specific as the time of day. You can also make notes at each vaccination entry about how they reacted, doctor recommendations, etc. Next, I was able to enter all the doctor visits I wanted to for each child. For most of my children, this included just the well-visit check-ups for which I entered their measurement info and any pertinent doctor advice I wanted to keep track of. But I have one child that has had health conditions that necessitated specialists so I was able to enter these “sick” visits as well to track exactly when he went and what was discussed.

Total Baby is the most Complete Baby Logging and Tracking Application available for the iPhone and iPod Touch.

But it doesn’t stop there! There is a wonderful diary entry area for each child where you can use pictures from your iPhone gallery or snap one for immediate use and couple it with any information you want to include. This is great when your child says or does something funny or memorable and you want to remember it but may not remember at the end of the day to write it into your journal. This app lets you jot it down right as it happens! There is also a milestone area…you title each entry so you can track when they took their first step (with photos!), first words, first smile, or even their first day of school! How about those parent/teacher conferences, concerts or special assignments? Yup, you can record those too! This area also comes with a timing feature so you can track the exact moment you want to notate through a handy drop-down menu that deafaults to the current moment!

If you choose, you can email the TotalBaby reports. Just specify dates or "all data" and you get a well organized synopsis of your child's history!

This event timing is one of the coolest features. Total Baby combines 13 separate timing and tracking functions into a single complete solution. You can track events for each child like diaper changes, bottle feedings/nursing (even which side they nursed on and for how long!!), naps, bathtimes, and one of my absolute favorite features (because I have multiple children to track) is the ability to track doses of medication. For instance, if I have more than one child that requires medication, I can track exactly what I give each child (time, quantity and specific medication) so I know exactly what they’ve received and when they are due for another dose. This is invaluable for sleep deprived mothers who may or may not have the ability to trust their memories at two o’clock in the morning.

To wrap up our review, all this information is literally at your fingertips! So when your friends ask you “so when was she born?” or your doctor asks “how many wet diapers did he have today?” or your child asks you “what did I do when I was 2?”. Not only is it easily accessible but you can also back up the files as well as email them (choosing all information or just specific dates)! We have looked at several other baby/child tracking apps and this one truly shines above all the rest. For only $4.99, it is a totally fun app that is so practical every mom should have it!

Our only complaint (and we had to reach to find a complaint with this app!) was that a growth chart would be very helpful to have in addition to the growth recording abilities it now has. We’re keeping our fingers crossed that this feature will be included in future updates!

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