In a world of go-go-go, there’s not much time left to relax between work and endless to-do lists.
To some people, it may seem like a waste of time, but putting in that little bit of effort can make those few minutes of relaxation well worth it.
Take a look at why relaxing is important and how you can enjoy these benefits. Without relaxation you can remain tired, stressed, unhealthy and get sick more often.
Many say rest is as important as the work we do day to day as without it, we wouldn’t be effective.
Benefits of Relaxation
Not sure if you have the time or willpower to take a relaxing break? Consider these benefits:
1. It Boosts Your Productivity
Too many people never take the time for a breather. Only one in five employees actually take a proper lunch break — with 39 percent citing that they eat lunch at their desk — according to Right Management research. However, research has shown that taking the time to relax can actually help you get more done. The New York Times reports that working in 90-minute intervals with a break in between can maximize productivity and actually help you get more done — even if you’re spending less time working.
2. It Improves Memory & Relaxation
Perhaps one reason relaxation boosts productivity is because it can help improve memory and concentration. This is evidenced by a study conducted by researchers at the University of Washington. In this study, they found that employees who were trained in relaxation and those who were trained in meditation showed improved memory. Those who practiced meditation also stayed more focused and reported feeling less negative about tasks performed.
3. It Improves Your Well-Being
In 2014, Gallup surveyed Americans about their vacation habits. What they found was that those who took more vacation time also reported a higher level of well-being than those who didn’t take vacations. In fact, their research concluded that vacation frequency may be a better predictor of well-being than income level.
4. It Reduces Stress
Stress is a natural response that has its benefits in certain situations, but stress can become overwhelming to a point where it interferes with your everyday life. In America, 75 percent of adults feel so stressed that they feel unhealthy because of it. Taking the time to relax can combat this stress by activating your body’s natural relaxation response, which in turn can boost your mood!
5. It Boosts Health
While it may seem like common sense that relaxing helps soothe the mind, did you know it can actually have benefits on the body as well? The Huffington Post reports on the benefits of relaxation, citing that it can:
- Reduce your risk of heart problems
- Lower your chance of catching a cold
- Lower your risk of stroke
- Promote healthy eating and therefore a healthier body weight
- Reduce acne
- Slow onset of breast cancer
Relaxation techniques have even been shown to reduce physical aches, too. For instance, certain yoga stretches can help relieve lower back pain.
While relaxation boosts your mood and makes your mind feel better, it also has a physiological response on the body, including lowering blood pressure, which makes it a beneficial exercise for both the physical and mental aspects of health.
Ways To Relax
Are you ready to start enjoying all these benefits of relaxation? Start with these exercises and lifestyle practices:
1. Schedule Downtime
Perhaps the best way to get your relaxation in is to treat it as a necessary part of life. Just like you schedule lunches and meetings, work in a time for relaxation throughout your day. During this time, try to avoid distractions (i.e. shut off your phone), and engage in activities that relax both your mind and your body. Examples of relaxing activities include:
- Doing yoga
- Getting a massage
- Deep breathing
- Listening to music
- Doing puzzles
- Playing with a pet
- Talking with a friend
2. Follow A Relaxation-Promoting Routine
Relaxing isn’t just something you do on the weekends, and it doesn’t always have to come with a schedule. If you find that certain things about your day stress you out, take action to tweak your routine slightly so you’re ready to take on those stressful situations.
For instance, when you wake up in the morning, that first glance at your phone may stress you out because you’re often bombarded with emails. But those emails will still be in your inbox in 10 minutes. So instead of checking your phone immediately when you wake up, take the first 10 minutes of your day to start with some deep breathing exercises, stretching, or even good old-fashioned cuddling (with a pet or loved one).
Another technique that doesn’t need any scheduling is to get up out of your desk throughout the day. Take a short, quick walk around the office to give your mind a mental break and to stimulate blood flow.
3. Take Advantage Of Your Vacation Time
As mentioned, individuals who take advantage of their vacation time report higher levels of well-being, yet in 2014, nearly 42 percent of Americans didn’t take any vacation days. Use this time to go traveling if you can. Otherwise, plan a “staycation” where you enjoy activities throughout your town or the surrounding area. Just be sure you’re not using this time to catch up on work since that defeats the whole purpose and won’t help you relax (however, if you must work on your trip, work ergonomically).
4. Get More Sleep
Sleeping, in and of itself, can help you relax (learn about proper sleeping positions here), but the amount of sleep you get can greatly impact its effectiveness. For example, one research study showed that basketball players who got more sleep at night drastically improved their performance on the court. With a target goal of 10 hours of sleep per night, free throw accuracy improved by 9 percent! It’s recommended that adults ages 18-64 get 7-9 hours of sleep each night. By using other relaxation techniques, you’ll find that it’s easier to fall asleep at night, too.
As you can see, relaxation isn’t only beneficial, it’s an important part of building a healthy, happy life. Start with one goal — such as taking your full lunch break every day — and continue to add more relaxation exercises into your daily routine once you’ve established new habits. Soon you should start noticing that you’re in a better mood, you’re more productive, and you feel better all around.
Written by Dr. Thomas B. Trafecanty, the Director of Operations at TheBackStore.com. He is a chiropractor who attended Southern California University of Health Sciences along with receiving a BS in Biochemistry at California State University, Northridge. His hobbies include boating and spending time with his two kids.
30-Year Study Finds Weekly Use Of Disinfectants Greatly Increases Your Chances Of Lung Disease
- The Facts:
A 30-year study conducted by Harvard researchers and the French National Institute of Health and Medical Research determined that people who use disinfectants just once a week have a 22-32% of developing lung disease.
- Reflect On:
There are many other natural alternatives out there these days. Some are listed in the article, be sure to do your research!
One of the most versatile cleaning supplies in the home, bleach disinfects anything it comes into contact with and can not only clean every surface but remove stains from fabrics, too. Despite its cleaning power, we’ve also long heard of the effects such chemicals can have on our health and wellbeing. The labels on such products make some of these clear, explaining they are corrosive and can irritate eyes, skin, and respiratory tract, often through simple inhalation. Despite these warnings signs, people continue to buy into this corporate propaganda.
As previously stated in an article of ours from 2013:
It is important to note that there is no FDA-type organization that regulates the cleaning products that are brought into your home. Instead groups such as the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) make warnings of the use of Chlorine Bleach publicly available. Under the assumption that consumers will continue to use Chlorine Bleach within their households, the following safety precautions are widely recommended:
- Dilute the chlorine bleach with water. The lower concentration poses a potentially lesser risk of unwanted exposure.
- Wear a safety mask and rubber gloves when working with bleach as a preventative measure.
- Only use chlorine bleach in a well ventilated area to allow for sufficient air flow and to prevent the unwanted gasses from remaining stationary in the working space.
- Never mix chlorine bleach with any other household cleaners.
It’s unlikely people exercise these precautions when dealing with this chemical, and it’s also interesting to note that even more studies have come forward since then confirming these risks.
A new study has found that people who use disinfectants just once a week have a 22-32% increased chance of developing chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
“COPD is the third leading cause of death in the United States. More than 11 million people have been diagnosed with COPD, but millions more may have the disease without even knowing it. COPD causes serious long-term disability and early death. At this time there is no cure, and the number of people dying from COPD is growing,” according to the American Lung Association.
The 30-year study was conducted by Harvard University and the French National Institute of Health and Medical Research. This new study could potentially link COPD to specific cleaning chemicals, as two other studies in European populations showed that “working as a cleaner was associated with a higher risk of COPD,” according to Orianne Dumas, a researcher at Inserm. Dumas goes on to say, “Earlier studies have found a link between asthma and exposure to cleaning products and disinfectants at home, such as bleach and sprays, so it is important to investigate this further.”
In 1989, the Harvard researchers found 55,185 working female nurses in the U.S. who did not have COPD, then analyzed those who were still working in 2009 over the next eight years. Participants were given a questionnaire to determine which disinfectants they used most frequently and why they used them. The disinfectants included glutaraldehyde (a strong disinfectant used for medical instruments), bleach, hydrogen peroxide, alcohol, and quaternary ammonium compounds (known as “quats”). In addition to the questionnaire, they took into account factors such as age, weight and ethnicity.
During this period they found that 663 were diagnosed with the condition. “In our study population, 37% of nurses used disinfectants to clean surfaces on a weekly basis and 19% used disinfectants to clean medical instruments on a weekly basis,” says Dumas.
The study aims to highlight the lack of health guidelines when it comes to cleaning and disinfectants, especially in healthcare settings, and researchers hope their results will prompt further investigation and better safety precautions.
We need more people like these researchers, who dedicate their time to ensuring our safety when it comes to items we have incorporated into our lifestyle and assume are safe, doing this kind of work. This information isn’t meant to scare anyone, especially those of us who actively use these materials, but rather to bring more awareness so that we can educate ourselves and make healthier choices. There are countless healthy and safe alternatives when it comes to what we clean with, what we wear, and what we eat. You have to play the role of researcher in your own life if you expect to make positive change, and by having an open mind, you allow yourself to accept opportunities that can further your growth, mentally, physically, and spiritually.
Joe Rogan May Take Down The Original Criticism Of “The Game Changers” Documentary
- The Facts:
Joe Rogan recently had James Wilks, the maker of "The Game Changers" documentary on to discuss the benefits of a plant base diet and to refute a previous episode where Chris Kresser debunked it.
- Reflect On:
When it comes to health, it's important sometimes to suspend what we believe and have been made to believe, and simply look at the information from a neutral perspective.
Joe Rogan has long ‘criticized’ vegans in various ways, and has also emphasized his belief that one cannot be optimally healthy on a vegan diet. He’s done this a number of times, which was hard for some onlookers to watch and listen to who have educated themselves on plant-based diets. Until recently, Rogan mainly focused on guests that were geared towards promoting meat-eating as optimal, and there’s nothing wrong with that, but a balance of understanding and information can go a long way to educating people.
One of the most recent examples of Joe Rogan and his guest ‘”debunking” a plant-based diet came from a critique of a recent documentary that is now airing on Netflix, called “The Game Changers,” made by filmmaker, James Wilks – a retired English mixed martial artist. The film was executively produced by James Cameron, and features interviews with the top scientists and doctors in their field who present an abundance of research and publications showing the benefits of a plant-based diet.
Not long ago, health coach and author Chris Kresser came on the “Joe Rogan Experience” after the documentary received a lot of attention, and the title of the podcast was titled: “Chris Kresser Debunks ‘The Game Changers Documentary.’
For someone like my self who has done a lot of research into the topic, it was frustrating to listen to it given the fact that it was quite clear, for me and others who had actually done thorough research from a neutral standpoint, that Kresser wasn’t really addressing all the facts, and was simply a big believer in what he was saying without even examining the information on the other side.
The challenge is, Rogan’s podcast was listened to by millions of people, and many came away actually believing the information that was said in the original debunking episode – information we later find out was completely incorrect. These types of episodes that massively mislead people are not just an issue with people who have large followings discussing vegan diets and health, but it’s a big issue with many other topics. This is why it was great that Rogan decided to have James Wilks on for a chance to defend his documentary, and the truth is he absolutely destroyed Kresser’s claims that were presented as facts in the previous podcast with Rogan. The best part was Kresser was on the show as well so he had a chance to truly make sure everyone was on the same page.
Wilks addressed every single criticism made by Kresser in the previous episode, from topics such as B12, protein amount, and protein quality, among many others. He also brought up the fact that we shouldn’t be listening to people like Kresser on such topics, but should be relying on properly published peer reviewed research that’s repeatable, non-industry conflicting research, as well as information that comes from the world’s leading scientists in the field of biology and nutrition, many of whom were presented in the Game Changers documentary. Or, people like Wilks, who have throughout done their research. This episode really exposes how Kresser is not accurate or factual in his position on this topic, an important note for his followers.
It’s important to keep in mind that not everything Kresser said previously had time to be addressed in this podcast, but it could have been. 100 percent of Kresser’s criticisms that were addressed were 100 percent completely debunked by Wilks, so much so that this is what Joe Rogan had to say via an Instagram post:
View this post on Instagram
Vegans, you’re gonna LOVE this one! @lightningwilks, one of the producers of “the game changers” came on to challenge some of the criticism that Chris Kresser presented about the movie, and to say he did well would be a tremendous understatement. James knocked it our of the park, and defended himself and the film quite spectacularly. So much so that I’m actually considering taking the original breakdown of the film offline. This podcast will be up today at noon PT.
If interested, you can watch The Game Changers documentary on Netflix, and check out the podcast in question below.
Some Quotes From The Game Changers Documentary
One of these experts is Dr. Christina Warinner, who earned her Ph.D. from Harvard University in 2010 and received her postdoctoral training at the University of Zurich (2010-2012) and the University of Oklahoma (2012-2014). She became a Presidential Research Professor and Assistant Professor of Anthropology at the University of Oklahoma in 2014, and is currently a Leader in Microbiome Sciences at the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.
Her work has led to some very interesting findings and conclusions:
“Humans do not have any specialized genetic anatomical or physiological adaptations to meat consumption. By contrast, we have many adaptations to plant consumption.” (The Game Changers documentary)
She goes deeper in her presentation at the 2016 International Conference on Nutrition in Medicine, and in this TEDX talk she gave a number of years ago.
Gradual increases in brain sizes of early humans have also been attributed to meat, but research is showing that “because there is not a very strong match between meat consumption and gradual increases in brain size, scientists have looked to other options. And given that plant foods are such an important part of modern humans that hunt and gather foods, the money is on plant foods and shift in the kinds of plant foods as being the major driving factor in increasing brain size.” – Nathaniel J. Dominy
“We have a brain, that just is desperate for glucose. It’s such a fussy organ, that’s the only thing it really takes in for energy. Well, meat is not a very good source of glucose, to have a big brain like this you need to eat something different. And the most efficient way to get glucose is to eat carbohydrates.” – Dr. Mark Thomas, geneticist, University College, London (The Game Changers documentary)
With overwhelming scientific evidence to many of the most common deadly diseases, I discovered that the meat, egg, and dairy industries have been engaged in a covert response, funding studies that deny this evidence while burying their involvement in the fine print. One of the hired guns paid to conduct these studies is Exponent, INC. A company whose research was used by the Tobacco industry to deny the connection between second hand smoke and cancer. For more than 50 years, Exponent has generated studies that challenge the health-risks of everything from asbestos, arsenic and and mercury, to animal foods.” – James Wilks, “The Game Changers” documentary
“The formula, works beautifully for people selling food, it works beautifully for people selling drugs to treat the diseases that bad food causes, and it works beautifully for the media, which can give us a new story about diet, everyday. But despite the appearance in our media of confusion, there’s massive global consensus about the fundamentals of a health-promoting, and it’s a diet that every time… In every population, every kind of research, it’s a plant food predominant diet, every time.” – Dr. David Katz, Founding Director of Yale University Prevention Research Center (The Game Changers documentary)
A Related CE Articles With More Information:
Half of All Commonly Used Drugs Seriously Affect The Gut Microbiome, Scientists Warn
- The Facts:
Many commonly prescribed medications have been found to have a drastic affect on the "good bacteria" in our gut.
- Reflect On:
It is important to be aware of all potential side effects before taking a new drug to decide whether or not it's worth it for you.
The link between a healthy gut microbiome and overall well-being has been established in recent years as we are learning that around 95% of the serotonin (commonly referred to as the “happy hormone”) produced in our bodies actually comes from our gut! This is one of many reasons why it is important to take care of our health, be mindful of the foods we are eating and be aware of adverse reactions from any drugs we are taking.
A recent study presented at UEG Week 2019 (United European Gastroenterology) has found that 18 commonly prescribed prescription drugs extensively affect the taxonomic structure and metabolic potential of the gut microbiome. Another eight drugs from different categories were also found to increase antimicrobial resistance mechanisms in study participants, and that’s not good.
According to the official press release regarding the findings of the study,
“Researchers at the University Medical Center Groningen and the Maastricht University Medical Center looked at 41 commonly used drug categories and assessed 1883 faecal samples from a population-based cohort, patients with IBD and patients with IBS intermixed with healthy controls. The researchers compared the taxonomic and metabolic functions profiles of drug users to non-drug users, looking at the effect of single medication use and then combined medication use. The changes observed could increase the risk of intestinal infections, obesity and other serious conditions and disorders linked to the gut microbiome.”
In a healthy gut, we all have a microbe population living inside our intestines. This microbe population consists of tens of trillions of microorganisms, which include over 1000 various species of bacteria. There are many different factors that can affect the microbiota population in the human gut, including various forms of medication.
The drug categories that were concluded in the study to have the biggest impact on the gut microbiome are as follows:
- Proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) – used to treat dyspepsia which affects between 11% and 24% of the European population. PPIs are also used to treat peptic ulcer, H. Pylori eradication, Gastro reflux and Barrett’s oesophagus.
- Metformin – used as a treatment for Type 2 diabetes, affecting 10% of European adults
- Antibiotics – used to treat bacterial infections, taken by 34% of the European population each year
- Laxatives – used to treat and prevent constipation, affecting 17% of European adults
More Important Findings
The study also showed that the gut microbiota of PPI users resulted in an increased level of upper gastrointestinal tract bacteria as well as increased fatty acid production. Metformin users showed higher levels of bacteria Escherichia coli (E.coli).
The research also showed that seven more categories of drugs were linked to significant changes to the levels of bacteria populations found in the gut. Oral steroids were related to higher levels of methanogenic bacteria, which has is associated with an increased BMI and obesity. Also, certain antidepressant drugs (known as SSRIs) used by those who also suffer from IBS was linked to an abundance of a bacteria species called Eubacterium ramulus, which can be harmful.
Lead-researcher of the study, Arnau Vich Vila said: “We already know that the efficiency and the toxicity of certain drugs are influenced by the bacterial composition of the gastrointestinal tract and that the gut microbiota has been related to multiple health conditions; therefore, it is crucial to understand which are the consequences of medication use in the gut microbiome. Our work highlights the importance of considering the role of the gut microbiota when designing treatments and also points to new hypotheses that could explain certain side-effects associated with medication use.”
It is important to understand all potential side effects when deciding on introducing a new drug into our system. The bacteria in our gut is there for a reason and it assists our bodies with many functions and if they are killed off or thrown off-balance it could result in more serious issues down the road.
If you are experiencing any of these issues and taking any of these medications it may be worthwhile to talk to your doctor about it and see if there are any alternative methods for treatment.
Our health is our greatest wealth!
Humans Are Not Designed To Eat Meat – Leading Microbiome Scientist Explains
There are many experts in the fields of anthropology, biology and all other sciences who have been creating awareness about...
Alcohol Is Killing More People Than The Opioid Epidemic. So Why Aren’t We Talking About It?
In recent years, we have been hearing a lot about the opioid epidemic that is sweeping the nation. The Center...