STAYING FIT AND HEALTHY DURING THE HOLIDAYS

With the holidays coming up, the highlight for many people during this season is gathering with family and friends and enjoying favorite holiday treats. Here are some tips that will help you enjoy your holidays to the fullest while not increasing your waistline.

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MAKING AND KEEPING NEW YEARS RESOLUTIONS

Only 8 percent of individuals achieved their resolutions in 2016, according to Statistic Brain. This is likely due to most people having unrealistic expectations about the speed, ease and consequences of the resolutions they make. People attempting self-change rarely succeed the first time; most need five or six attempts, according to a paper published in American Psychologist by Janet Polivy and Peter Herman. The authors suggest false hope syndrome is the cause for failure.

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HEALTHY HOLIDAY OPTIONS

The holidays are a wonderful time to gather with family and friends to celebrate. These celebrations often consist of many delicious treats and hardy meals. You can still maintain a healthy diet with a little thought and planning in advance. Research from a recent Web-based survey found 18 percent of people feel they cannot eat healthily during the holidays because they don’t want to miss out on their favorite foods. You can still eat the foods you enjoy this season, just in moderation.

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Anxiety disorders are complex. They often interfere with daily life and may last a lifetime, especially if left untreated. A significant number of people do not seek help, at least not until the problem becomes very uncomfortable. Professional help can make a difference, but there is much someone can do on his or her own along with the assistance of an expert. The following activities often help those with anxiety:


•  Consult your family doctor and have a physical to make sure nothing else is wrong that could be contributing to the anxiety.

•  See a mental health expert for an evaluation. It is impossible for the layperson to accurately diagnose his or her particular type of anxiety.

•  Avoid caffeine, alcohol, smoking and recreational drugs.

•  Practice stress management, relaxation techniques and deep-breathing exercises. Give yourself a time out. Do something relaxing, such as listening to music.

•  Start an exercise program. Physical activity may have a calming effect.

•  Aim for seven to eight hours of sleep at night.

•  Give your medication a chance before giving up on it, and do not go off it without your physician’s OK.

•  Create a support network.

Emily burst into her parents’ bedroom one night, crying and moaning. “I think I’m dying,” she gasped, clutching her chest. Her heart was pounding wildly and sweat soaked her nightshirt. Her mother called 911 when Emily fell to the floor in a daze. This was not some exotic West African disease; this was a panic attack.


Daniel Watson, MSW, LISW, says depression was at one time the most common mental health problem in the United States. Today anxiety has surpassed depression to become the No. 1 mental health problem in this country. Anxiety disorders affect 40 million adults (18 percent of the population) yearly. The National Institute of Health says about one in five adults are affected.


Daniel A. Barlow, in his book, “Anxiety and Its Disorders” (2004) says there are different types of anxiety:


•  Generalized Anxiety Disorder — chronic, excessive, uncontrollable worry. Symptoms include restlessness, irritation and fatigue.


•  Social Phobia — a marked fear and avoidance of social situations. Feeling hopeless and obsessing about being watched are characteristics of social phobia.  

THE MANY FACES OF ANXIETY

JEAN JEFFERS

Jean is an RN with an MSN from University of Cincinnati. She is a staff writer for Living Well 60 Plus and Health & Wellness magazines.

more articles by jean jeffers

•  Panic Disorder — recurrent, unexpected, intense panic attacks the patient often mistakes for a more serious malady.


•  Agoraphobia — fear and/or avoidance of situations due to severe stress when in a place other than home.


•  Specific Phobias — fear and/or avoidance of objects or situations. Here, excessive, constant fear of an event is prominent, such as riding in an elevator.


•  Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) — reliving a trauma repeatedly or having a recurring distressing dream or flashbacks of a traumatic event.


•  Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) — a person with OCD may have frequent unwanted thoughts (obsessions) or behaviors (compulsions) that create anxiety. A person with this disorder may check the oven frequently, wash his hands repeatedly or perform any number of activities obsessively, all to allay his anxiety.