The Importance of Music Education in Schools

The benefits of music education are immense and highly beneficial to students. Music positively impacts a child’s academic performance, assists in developing social skills, and provides an outlet for creativity that is crucial to a child’s development. Music education catapults a child’s learning to new heights, and because of this, it should always be considered a pivotal part of a child’s educational process.

Music Education and Its Impact on Student Learning

Music education improves and develops language skills in children. Music stimulates the brain, and with its varied sounds and lyrics, students are exposed to a large amount of vocabulary in a short amount of time. Music also provides exposure to other languages, which creates a foundation for the student’s ability to understand and communicate in a different language.

Music is a vehicle for excellent memory skills. Have you ever listened to a song for the first time in a long time and still remember the lyrics? Even individuals who are not musicians experience this phenomenon. Through catchy melodies and a variety of sounds, music has a way of “sticking” with us and is a powerful tool for learning when used appropriately — just think of singing the ‘A, B, Cs’ or ‘The State Capitols’ song.

On the flip side, students also increase their mental capabilities in multiple ways when participating in music education. As stated before, music fosters memorization skills. In addition to song lyrics, students must memorize all aspects of music when preparing for a performance. Students must recall rhythms, pitches, dynamics, and several other elements all at once. Students can then transfer those memory skills to the academic classroom and employ those skills in their studies.

Social Benefits of Music Education

The mental benefits of music education are extremely advantageous to students in schools; however, the social benefits are just as wonderful! Music education requires teamwork and collaboration. While playing instruments together, students develop listening skills. They must listen to others to better gage volume levels, the implementation of dynamics, and so much more. Teamwork and collaboration is also required when completing simple musical tasks such as rhythmic and melodic notation. Students quickly learn to value the opinions and ideas of others and how to efficiently combine those thoughts to complete the task at hand.

In addition to teamwork, music education creates long lasting friendships and relationships. Students involved in band or choir bond over their love and enjoyment of music. They share exciting moments together through music, help develop one another’s abilities, and become a support system for each other. This special bond also increases student engagement in school.

Music education allows students an opportunity to experience different cultures. In early music education, the use of songs and games from other countries is extremely prevalent. Students learn how other children play and compare that knowledge to their own lives. In addition, students develop an understanding of other cultures, which leads to a beautiful acceptance of others. Students realize that recognizing differences is good, and it creates a greater respect for others.

Other Benefits of Music Education

Music education promotes improved coordination, specifically hand-eye coordination. Musicians must multitask! They must do multiple things all at once, all of which improves coordination and further develops the brain. Student musicians must read music, interpret it, and physically initiate the music through the playing of their instrument. These steps are repeated continuously throughout any performance of a piece of music, and even the youngest of learners slowly develop their coordination skills through continued music practice.

Music education fosters greater work ethic and discipline in children. Students of music learn from an early age that hard work, determination, and a positive mindset are all you need to succeed, but with those characteristics, continual practice is required. Students learn that improving musical skills does not come easy, as it requires hours of study and practice. Through this, students gain a greater concept of work ethic and learn to discipline themselves to reach goals. Work ethic and discipline are huge factors of music education, and it is important to note that those life skills will positively impact a student when entering the work force, completing tasks, etc.

Because music education is an outlet for creativity, it can be a source of stress relief. Unfortunately, there are many stressors present for children at school and at home (pressure to pass the test, make the grade, make the team, exceed expectations, and so on). Music education allows students a chance to excel with fewer limits and greater possibilities. It also gives students something to look forward to during the school day (not that students do not look forward to math, science, etc.); thus, directly impacting student engagement in school. Music simply provides a different means of student expression, and there are fewer barriers to what students can do and explore. Students who are involved in music education generally have an overall increase in engagement and enjoyment in school.

The final benefit of music education may be one of the most important benefits. Music transcends the limits of language. Music has no language barrier. It is something that brings people together regardless of ethnicity or background. Music also transcends academic barriers as well. All learners can be successful in music. Sometimes, students who are not very inept academically soar in the arts! Students who cannot remember basic math skills can remember and employ the use of various rhythmic patterns effortlessly. Music literally becomes their best subject, and they shine in it! Through this, a student’s sense of self and his/her confidence is dramatically boosted. All children desire to be good at something and develop a sense of achievement for a job well done, and music education produces an outlet that is perfect for that.

Amanda Martin

Elementary school music teacher; M.A.Ed. In Curriculum and Instruction

Family Therapist Tips for Healing a Broken Family

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Whether something has just happened to cause a family rift or there’s a long history of problems, broken family relationships can seem impossible to mend. The good news is if you really want to heal, there are steps you can take to help you get there. Start with these six tips from a family therapist:

Check In With Yourself

Find a Family Therapist at Kayenta Therapy

Before you can reconcile with your family members, you’ll need to check in with yourself, and make sure you’re ready. If you’re not mentally in a place where you feel like you can move on, don’t push it. Trying to force things too soon will often lead to failed attempts and disappointment. If you go through this exercise and decide you’re not ready, don’t beat yourself up over it. Simply decide to table it for a while, and check in again later. 

Let Go of Your Anger

Holding onto anger and grudges robs you of your inner peace. Decide to let it go, whether the person who has upset you has made amends of not. Forgiveness is the first step toward healing, and doing so allows you to give yourself the gift of happiness.

Set Realistic Expectations

Our state of mind often influences the outcome of a situation, whether we intend it to or not. When you reach out to reconnect, a healthy perspective is important. Staying optimistic with minimal expectations is the best way to keep from getting frustrated or disappointed and takes the pressure off of the person you’re trying to reconnect with.

Take It Slowly

Remember, the person you’re reaching out to might also need time to decide whether they’re ready to move forward. Think about sending a letter, sending a private message on social media or simply making small talk at your next family function. This allows both of you to ease into interactions without feeling forced or obligated.

Decide If You Need to Get Closure From the Past

Some people can make amends by agreeing to let the past go. Others won’t get the closure they need until they hash things out. If you decide you need to revisit previous issues, do your best to come from a place of peace. Listen to the other person’s side with an open mind, and calmly express your feelings. Be willing to agree to disagree for the sake of family harmony.

Seek Professional Help

If you and your family member aren’t able to resolve your conflict, don’t give up. A qualified family therapist can help you work through your issues and find a resolution that works for all parties involved. Agreeing to go to therapy together is a huge first step because it shows you’re both committed to working on repairing your relationship.

To learn more about what to expect during a therapy session, connect with a family therapist in your area today.

Kayenta Therapy

Importance of Music in your life

Music plays a very important and vital role in the lives of the people. We can work, shop while hearing the music. According to some Archaeologist, music came into existence over 55000 years ago. Some of the Musicologists describes the origin of the music is to be nature and nature best part is Man. It is said that the song sung by men in a different form is the music of nature. The sweet and humming tone of nightingale, skylark and cuckoo is the song of nature same like the sound of air, river, thundering and sounds of sea waves are termed as nature song and due to the massive revolution in technology and most advanced and best sound card in 2020 given wings to produced exact same sound which were very difficult to produce.

Music is also known to be the universal language of humanity. It has the power to bring positivity and entertainment in the lives of people. Everyone loves music because it holds the power to transform the mood and bring a sense of relief in their daily life. We can get all answers to our unsolved questions through music. Music can make a person loyal and loving as it stays with people until the end of their lives. It never leaves the person alone during their difficult times in life.

Music plays an important role in the world as it helps us in easily expressing ourselves. It has different impacts on the daily lives of the people. There are different emotions attached to every kind of music as we can easily relate music with everything or everyone around us. Music has the power to bring people together in different ways on several occasions. It can also be termed as a good source of communication. In our daily life, there are certain feelings which we fail to express but through music, all the missing words find its way and we can easily communicate our message to the people. We find the words to express either by writing songs or just listening to it.

Music can be defined as a form of art that requires creative skills and great imagination power similar to other forms of art. Music can bring a sense of relief and reduce the struggle of our daily life. It can be a good escape to calm your mind.  A calm mind can increase our self-confidence and make us a kind and positive person.

Music can also be described as a therapy for many people because it has the power to heal the problems of many people. According to some doctors, music therapy has been a great source of help for them in the treatment of problems like dementia, depression, anxiety, trauma, etc. There are many children with a learning disability who have responded to the music sets pieces. Music is a part of the meditation in many workshops to make people positive and to make them aware of their emotions. Music has an impact on everyone’s life in different ways in different phase of life. In the online web there is Portal Finder – CEE Trust approved website with help to find best music websites.

Conclusion

Music can transform the emotions and feelings of the people within no time. It can lessen the stress, pain, struggle, distraction and bring positivity and calmness in our daily life. Music holds the power to bring people together in different ways. Music can make us expressive and help us in understanding our feelings and emotions in a better manner.

How to Repair a Relationship in 5 Steps

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There are a couple things we know about power and relationships: Power is the ability to have influence on others. Power is relational and relationships are messy. We inevitably hurt each other.

Good intentions are essential, but not enough to ensure we are using our power well. Our impact is often different from our intentions. We may be surprised by cultural differences, differing world perspectives, and differing values. We make mistakes, and we may (often accidentally) misuse power. Most misuses of power are made by people who have lots of power due to their roles and privilege, good intentions, lack of awareness about their impact on others, and limited understanding about the dynamics of power.

There are three main reasons why many conflicts escalate and don’t turn out well. We may avoid conflict because it is often associated with loss, pain, and even trauma. We might respond defensively to misunderstandings, hurt, and feedback. And because we most often don’t intend to cause harm, it can be hard to acknowledge or even see when we are responsible for hurt or conflict.

Here’s the good news: Most relationship difficulties can be resolved quickly, and the relationship can be repaired and even grow stronger. When hurt or misunderstood, most people need one or more of the following things. Here is an example: A teacher, trying to promote growth and learning, gave a student some challenging feedback about their presentation. Later, the student came to the teacher confused and hurt by what they had said.

5 STEPS TO REPAIR ANY RELATIONSHIP

1. Acknowledgement

It’s important for someone to have their pain, upset, or confusion acknowledged. “You seemed really upset about my feedback. I realize my words may have been painful. Can you tell me more about what that was like for you?”

2. Intention

Someone may want to know what your intention was without having you reassign blame or validate your behavior. “I was intending to offer you some useful information about how you were using your voice.” (Please note that this is a short description. If you use only this step, or go too deeply into intention, people may experience this as an excuse.)

3. Apology

They want an apology. Here is a good formula: This is what I regret (specific behavior), and this is what I learned and what I’m doing to make sure it doesn’t happen again. For example, “I regret several things—that I didn’t ask you if this was a good time, didn’t give you a concrete example, and didn’t clarify that it was about how you used your voice, not who you are. Next time, I will be more clear in what I say and check in first about whether this would be a good time.”

An effective apology is deeply important for healing and repair. For an apology to land well, it needs to be behaviorally specific and involve taking personal responsibility. These are some examples of apologies that don’t get the job done:

  • “I’m sorry.” No behavior is named in this apology.
  • “I’m sorry you were hurt.” This apology does not take responsibility.
  • “I was really busy and didn’t mean to hurt you.” This apology does not take responsibility and neglects any action to repair.
  • “What’s your part in this?” This apology shifts blame to the other person.
  • “I was maybe a little unskillful.” This apology does not take the issue seriously.
  • “I was under a lot of stress and feeling badly at the time.” This apology is defensive.

4. Learning

As you are repairing a relationship with someone, they may want to know what you have learned. People can be very generous when they understand their hurt contributed to learning and growth. “I’ve learned more about what kind of feedback works for you. I will, in the future, ask if this is a good time, and leave time at the end to hear your responses and clear up misunderstandings.”

5. Repair

When a relationship has been ruptured, an invitation to repair is important and welcome. Although an individual may bring their hopes forward to you, it also can convey a lot of caring when you initiate by asking what would work best for them. “Is there anything I can do that would help repair this relationship?”

Try this: Think of someone, a friend or someone at work, with whom there has been an unresolved relational difficulty. (Start with a fairly low-stakes relationship and situation.) Try these steps, and see if you can resolve and repair. After the repair is made, ask for feedback from your other person about what you said or offered that was helpful in moving toward understanding and resolution.

© Copyright 2019 GoodTherapy.org. All rights reserved.

10 Health Benefits of Eating Vegetables, According to a Dietitian

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There’s a lot of reasons that nutrition experts are always telling people to eat more veggies. Here’s more about why this food group is so good for you.

When it comes to eating vegetables—Mom was right. They’re good for you! That probably doesn’t come as a surprise. Most of us know that eating vegetables (and fruits) is a healthy habit. But still, most Americans are not eating the recommended 2 to 4 cups (the exact amount varies depending on age and sex). All veggies count towards your daily quota. That includes starchy ones (like potatoes), leafy greens, canned tomatoes and frozen spinach. To help nudge you towards upping your intake, here are 10 reasons why vegetables are so good for your health.

Related: I’m a Dietitian, This Is the One Vegetable I Never Leave the Grocery Store Without

1. Fight inflammation

Sometimes inflammation is good, but too much chronic inflammation isn’t great for our bodies. Veggies are one of the best foods to eat to help you fend off inflammation. They are rich in antioxidants and phytochemicals to help your body.

2. Improve blood pressure

Nearly half of Americans have high blood pressure, according to the CDC. When it comes to your diet and blood pressure, eating too much salt isn’t great. But, eating more potassium-rich foods can help reduce the damage of a high-sodium diet. Vegetables, like beets and spinach, deliver potassium (amongst other nutrients) and the fiber from vegetables also helps your heart.

3. Up your fiber

Most of us don’t hit our recommended fiber intake (that’s 38g/day for men and 25g/day for women). Eating high-fiber foods like whole grains, fruits, legumes, nuts and yes, vegetables can help you get enough of this key nutrient. Fiber is great for your heart and gut, but also can keep you full and reduce your risk of developing diabetes. All vegetables have fiber, so choose a variety to get your fill. Artichokes, sweet potatoes and peas all make our list of foods with more fiber than an apple.

4. Help your eyes

Eye health may be top of mind if you stare at a computer and phone all day, which can strain your eyes, according to the American Optometric Association. If you want to protect your eyes, eat more vegetables (you’ll also want to take some screen breaks and see your eye doctor). Lutein and zeaxanthin are two carotenoids that help reduce the risk of age-related macular degeneration (AMD). You’ll find them and other eye-protecting carotenoids in basil, corn, red peppers, spinach and broccoli.

5. Improve your skin

You can help take care of your skin by staying hydrated and getting quality sleep, but what you eat can help too. Tomatoes deliver lycopene, which can actually help protect your skin from sunburn (sunscreen is important too). Kale and avocados can help keep your skin more elastic. Many vegetables, like cucumbers and celery, also have a high water content to help you meet your hydration goals for glowing skin.

6. Reduce risk of heart disease

Heart disease is the leading killer of men and women in America and diet plays a big role in helping keep your heart healthy. Vegetables give you potassium and fiber, two nutrients that are good for your heart. Adding lots of veggies to your diet can also help you keep your weight in a healthy range, which takes some pressure off your heart. Leafy greens, avocados and tomatoes make our list of top heart-healthy foods, but all veggies have benefits for your heart.

7. Benefit for blood sugar

Whether you have diabetes or not, vegetables are low in calories and high in fiber and nutrients, so they can help fill you up and can minimize blood sugar spikes during meals. Adding some arugula to your pasta helps bulk up your plate and keep you satisfied. Try adding peppers to tacos or cauliflower to stir-fries. Some vegetables are higher in starches and carbs—think potatoes, corn, squash, peas—but they can still be included in your diet. (Here are 10 of the best vegetables to eat when you have diabetes.)

8. Reduce risk of cancer

No diet choice is guaranteed to keep you cancer free, but vegetables are full of cancer-fighting nutrients and antioxidants that may reduce your risk of certain types of cancers. Cruciferous vegetables, like Brussels sprouts and cauliflower, have been studied for their cancer-fighting power. They deliver potassium, folate, vitamin C and phytochemicals, as well as sulforaphane (highest in broccoli) which may protect your cells from carcinogens. Variety is key here, as all veggies have different nutrients and protective effects.

9. Keep your brain young

If you want to keep your brain sharp, including vegetables in your diet is the way to go. Vegetables, especially leafy greens, are part of the MIND Diet, which was designed by researchers to help reduce your risk of Alzhemier’s disease and dementia. The antioxidants and folate they deliver are key nutrients for your brain.

10. Improve your immune health

It’s no secret that what you eat impacts your immune system. Vitamin C is a key nutrient that’s found in lots of vegetables (people are always surprised to learn that broccoli and bell peppers have more vitamin C than an orange) that helps keep your immune system strong. Eating a well-balanced diet with a variety of foods is also important for your immune system, so include lots of different veggies as well as fruits, whole grains, healthy fats and protein sources.

10 Surprising Health Benefits of Love

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“I need somebody to love,” sang the Beatles, and they got it right. Love and health are intertwined in surprising ways. Humans are wired for connection, and when we cultivate good relationships, the rewards are immense. But we’re not necessarily talking about spine-tingling romance.

“There’s no evidence that the intense, passionate stage of a new romance is beneficial to health,” says Harry Reis, PhD, co-editor of the Encyclopedia of Human Relationships. “People who fall in love say it feels wonderful and agonizing at the same time.” All those ups and downs can be a source of stress.

It takes a calmer, more stable form of love to yield clear health benefits. “There is very nice evidence that people who participate in satisfying, long-term relationships fare better on a whole variety of health measures,” Reis tells WebMD.

Most of the research in this area centers on marriage, but Reis believes many of the perks extend to other close relationships — for example, with a partner, parent, or friend. The key is to “feel connected to other people, feel respected and valued by other people, and feel a sense of belonging,” he says. Here are 10 research-backed ways that love and health are linked:

1. Fewer Doctor’s Visits

The Health and Human Services Department reviewed a bounty of studies on marriage and health. One of the report’s most striking findings is that married people have fewer doctor’s visits and shorter average hospital stays.

“Nobody quite knows why loving relationships are good for health,” Reis says. “The best logic for this is that human beings have been crafted by evolution to live in closely knit social groups. When that is not happening, the biological systems … get overwhelmed.”

Another theory is that people in good relationships take better care of themselves. A spouse may keep you honest in your oral hygiene. A best friend could motivate you to eat more whole grains. Over time, these good habits translate to fewer illnesses.

2. Less Depression & Substance Abuse

According to the Health and Human Services report, getting married and staying married reduces depression in both men and women. This finding is not surprising, Reis says, because social isolation is clearly linked to higher rates of depression. What’s interesting is that marriage also contributes to a decline in heavy drinking and drug abuse, especially among young adults.

3. Lower Blood Pressure

A happy marriage is good for your blood pressure. That’s the conclusion of a study in the Annals of Behavioral Medicine. Researchers found happily married people had the best blood pressure, followed by singles. Unhappily married participants fared the worst.

Reis says this study illustrates a vital aspect of the way marriage affects health. “It’s marital quality and not the fact of marriage that makes a difference,” he tells WebMD. This supports the idea that other positive relationships can have similar benefits. In fact, singles with a strong social network also did well in the blood pressure study, though not as well as happily married people.

4. Less Anxiety

When it comes to anxiety, a loving, stable relationship is superior to new romance. Researchers at the State University of New York at Stony Brook used functional MRI (fMRI) scans to look at the brains of people in love. They compared passionate new couples with strongly connected long-term couples. Both groups showed activation in a part of the brain associated with intense love.

“It’s the dopamine-reward area, the same area that responds to cocaine or winning a lot of money,” says Arthur Aron, PhD, one of the study’s authors. But there were striking differences between the two groups in other parts of the brain. In long-term relationships, “you also have activation in the areas associated with bonding … and less activation in the area that produces anxiety.” The study was presented at the 2008 conference of the Society for Neuroscience.

5. Natural Pain Control

The fMRI study reveals another big perk for long-term couples — more activation in the part of the brain that keeps pain under control. A CDC report complements this finding. In a study of more than 127,000 adults, married people were less likely to complain of headaches and back pain.

A small study published in Psychological Science adds to the intrigue. Researchers subjected 16 married women to the threat of an electric shock. When the women were holding their husband’s hand, they showed less response in the brain areas associated with stress. The happier the marriage, the greater the effect.

6. Better Stress Management

If love helps people cope with pain, what about other types of stress? Aron says there is evidence of a link between social support and stress management. “If you’re facing a stressor and you’ve got the support of someone who loves you, you can cope better,” he tells WebMD. If you lose your job, for example, it helps emotionally and financially if a partner is there to support you.

7. Fewer Colds

We’ve seen that loving relationships can reduce stress, anxiety, and depression — a fact that may give the immune system a boost. Researchers at Carnegie Mellon University found that people who exhibit positive emotions are less likely to get sick after exposure to cold or flu viruses. The study, published in Psychosomatic Medicine, compared people who were happy and calm with those who appeared anxious, hostile, or depressed.

8. Faster Healing

The power of a positive relationship may make flesh wounds heal faster. Researchers at Ohio State University Medical Center gave married couples blister wounds. The wounds healed nearly twice as fast in spouses who interacted warmly compared with those who demonstrated a lot of hostility toward each other. The study was published in the Archives of General Psychiatry.

9. Longer Life

A growing body of research indicates that married people live longer. One of the largest studies examines the effect of marriage on mortality during an eight-year period in the 1990s. Using data from the National Health Interview Survey, researchers found that people who had never been married were 58% more likely to die than married people.

Aron tells WebMD marriage contributes to longer life mostly through “mutual practical support, financial benefits, and children who provide support.”

But Reis sees an emotional explanation. Marriage protects against death by warding off feelings of isolation. “Loneliness is associated with all-cause mortality — dying for any reason,” he says. In other words, married people live longer because they feel loved and connected.

10. Happier Life

It may seem obvious that one of love’s greatest benefits is joy. But research is just beginning to reveal how strong this link can be. A study in the Journal of Family Psychology shows happiness depends more on the quality of family relationships than on the level of income. And so we have scientific evidence that, at least in some ways, the power of love trumps the power of money.

Nurture Your Relationships

To foster a loving relationship that yields concrete benefits, Aron offers four tips:

  • If you are depressed or anxious, get treatment.
  • Brush up on communication skills and learn to handle conflict.
  • Do things that are challenging and exciting with your loved one on a regular basis.
  • Celebrate each other’s successes.

This last point is crucial, Aron tells WebMD. Although partners often provide support during a crisis, this support is even more beneficial during good times. As the proverb goes, Shared sorrow is half sorrow; shared joy is double joy.

Lower Blood Pressure, Fewer Colds, Better Stress Management Are Just the Beginning

By Sherry Rauh

 Medically Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD

Can random acts of kindness help your health?

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How random acts of kindness can benefit your health?

Engaging in acts of kindness produces endorphins, the brain’s natural painkiller! Perpetually kind people have 23% less cortisol (the stress hormone) and age slower than the average population! A group of highly anxious individuals performed at least six acts of kindness a week.

What are the health benefits of kindness?

  • Helping others feels good.
  • It creates a sense of belonging and reduces isolation. …
  • It helps keep things in perspective.
  • It helps to make the world a happier place – one act of kindness can often lead to more!
  • The more you do for others, the more you do for yourself

What happens to the body when completing a random act of kindness?

Hamilton, acts of kindness create emotional warmth, which releases a hormone known as oxytocin. Oxytocin causes the release of a chemical called nitric oxide, which dilates the blood vessels. This reduces blood pressure and, therefore, oxytocin is known as a “cardioprotective” hormone.

The Love Hormone

Witnessing acts of kindness produces oxytocin, occasionally referred to as the ‘love hormone’ which aids in lowering blood pressure and improving our overall heart-health. Oxytocin also increases our self-esteem and optimism, which is extra helpful when we’re anxious or shy in a social situation. Natalie Angier, The New York

Energy

“About half of participants in one study reported that they feel stronger and more energetic after helping others; many also reported feeling calmer and less depressed, with increased feelings of self-worth” Christine Carter, UC Berkeley, Greater Good Science Center

Happiness

2010 Harvard Business School survey of happiness in 136 countries found that people who are altruistic—in this case, people who were generous financially, such as with charitable donations—were happiest overall.

Lifespan

“People who volunteer tend to experience fewer aches and pains. Giving help to others protects overall health twice as much as aspirin protects against heart disease. People 55 and older who volunteer for two or more organizations have an impressive 44% lower likelihood of dying early, and that’s after sifting out every other contributing factor, including physical health, exercise, gender, habits like smoking, marital status and many more. This is a stronger effect than exercising four times a week or going to church.” Christine Carter, Author, “Raising Happiness; In Pursuit of Joyful Kids and Happier Parents”

Pleasure

According to research from Emory University, when you are kind to another person, your brain’s pleasure and reward centers light up, as if you were the recipient of the good deed—not the giver. This phenomenon is called the “helper’s high.”

Serotonin

Like most medical antidepressants, kindness stimulates the production of serotonin. This feel-good chemical heals your wounds, calms you down, and makes you happy! Talya Steinberg, Psy.D for Psychology Today

Blood Pressure

Committing acts of kindness lowers blood pressure. According to Dr. David R. Hamilton, acts of kindness create emotional warmth, which releases a hormone known as oxytocin. Oxytocin causes the release of a chemical called nitric oxide, which dilates the blood vessels. This reduces blood pressure and, therefore, oxytocin is known as a “cardioprotective” hormone. It protects the heart by lowering blood pressure.

Stephen Post of Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine found that when we give of ourselves, everything from life satisfaction to self-realization and physical health is significantly improved. Mortality is delayed, depression is reduced and well-being and good fortune are increased. Dr. Stephen Post, Ph.D. bioethics professor, Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine

Pain

Engaging in acts of kindness produces endorphins—the brain’s natural painkiller! Lizette Borreli, Medical Daily

Stress

Perpetually kind people have 23% less cortisol (the stress hormone) and age slower than the average population! Integrative Psychological and Behavioral Science, 1998

Anxiety

A group of highly anxious individuals performed at least six acts of kindness a week. After one month, there was a significant increase in positive moods, relationship satisfaction and a decrease in social avoidance in socially anxious individuals. University of British Columbia Study

The Health benefits of Swearing

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Growing up, our parents taught us it’s bad to swear. Even as adults, we’re told it’s highly unprofessional to drop f-bombs at the slightest triggers. Be that as it may, science begs to differ. Turns out, using dirty words can not only improve people’s mental health but also allow us to live longer, happier lives.

Growing up, our parents taught us it’s bad to swear. Even as adults, we’re told it’s highly unprofessional to drop f-bombs at the slightest triggers. Be that as it may, science begs to differ. Turns out, using dirty words can not only improve people’s mental health but also allow us to live longer, happier lives. No, I’m not f*****g kidding you!

According to a study by researchers in the U.S., cussing can prevent people from giving up sooner in adverse situations by allowing people to vent their frustration. They performed an experiment requiring the study participants to keep their hands immersed in ice-cold water. Individuals who cursed and swore during the process could keep their hands immersed for longer compared to those who didn’t.

2018 study, too, had reached similar conclusions upon finding the usage of swear words during workouts involving the gripping of a hand vise enabled people to squeeze harder and longer.

But how does cursing make us more tolerant of physical pain, like those from immersing our hands in ice-cold water or exerting ourselves in a gym? Experts believe it’s because swearing can trigger people’s “fight or flight” response, pumping more adrenaline through their body and increasing their heart rate. Both can raise one’s pain tolerance on a physiological level by triggering “stress-induced analgesia” or pain relief. “It increases your resilience and strength temporarily,” Emma Byrne, a language expert, explained.

From an early age we’re taught not to curse — usually right around the first time we hear an adult let an expletive slip in front of us (and immediately repeat it back to them). While we typically try to curb our “dirty mouth” when in the presence of family or co-workers, swear words make up almost one percent of our daily vocabulary, according to research done by Timothy Jay, psychological scientist and author of Cursing in America. To put that number into perspective, we use words like “we, our and ourselves” at around the same daily rate.

The repercussions of inappropriate cursing are pretty obvious (calling your boss that expletive likely won’t end well), but are there any pros to letting the occasional expletive slip when something doesn’t go our way? Hell yes there are. As it turns out, that potty mouth of yours can be beneficial in certain scenarios. Here’s a look at when and how cursing can actually be helpful for your health.

It helps with pain management

You’re rushing to get ready for work in the morning. Just as you’re about to head out the door you stub your toe on the corner of the kitchen table and yell your expletive of choice as a knee-jerk reaction. If that stinging foot doesn’t feel quite as painful immediately after you’ve cursed it out, it’s not just in your head. A study done at Keele University in the U.K. measured the effects swearing had on pain tolerance, and found that we can withstand more pain when using profanity. Why is that? “When we swear, it sends a message to the amygdala in the brain,” explains Amy Cooper Hakim, Ph.D, practicing in Florida. “The words themselves don’t help us to better tolerate pain — but the emotional and physical reaction that we have by saying the words triggers the fight or flight response, which then gives us that burst of energy to make it through the difficult or painful task.” So the next time you hurt yourself, feel free to curse at whatever inanimate object is to blame.

It improves your workout

If the most grueling parts of your workout have you cursing your instructor in your head, there’s research to support that vocalizing those swear words can actually help boost your performance. (Though you might want to stick to a general expletive rather than directing it at Chad during TRX.) The study found that participants who swore saw a 2 to 4 percent increase in performance and 8 percent boost in strength compared to those who kept their mouths shut. Why does this help? Researchers surmise that when you’re alone with your thoughts, suffering through your workout in silence, there’s nothing distracting you from the task at hand. Cursing diverts your attention, which makes you work harder than if you were only focusing on how tough the workout is.

It releases stress

As it turns out, there’s some science behind why cursing when you’re angry or frustrated makes you feel better. “Cursing can be an effective emotional release, especially for anger and frustration,” explains Laura MacLeod, LMSW practicing in New York. “By using words that are not welcomed or appropriate in most settings (professional, family, social) it can be very liberating to throw caution to the wind and curse.” According to MacLeod, this stress release initiates from the physical exercise of cursing. “Curse words are usually uttered with fury or frustration — the whole body is involved,” she explains. This provides a different release than when we’re simply venting without expletives, because we’re doing so without self-imposed limitations. “When we complain, vent or share anger without cursing, we are keeping ourselves in check,” she says. “The stress is not released because we are sharing within guidelines, not totally releasing all feelings. When cursing, our whole body and all emotions are connected — no guidelines, no filter. The release is complete, and thus stress relieving.

Cursing can be an effective emotional release, especially for anger and frustration.

It can help you express yourself

You’d probably think that frequent cursing is a sign of limited vocabulary — but one study published in the journal Language Sciences actually shows the opposite. The study had a group of 43 men and women say as many curse words as they could in one minute. Next, they had to name as many animal names as they could in the same amount of time. Researchers found that the more curse words a participant was able to generate, the more expansive a vocabulary they had. They hypothesized that having an expansive vocabulary of taboo words means that person is better able to express themselves in a verbose, nuanced way. So get creative with your swear words!

It makes you appear more honest and authentic

You probably don’t want to curse during your next performance review. But clinical therapist Amy Deacon, explains that cursing can make you appear more genuine within your social circles. “Cursing in a positive scenario makes us come across as honest, authentic and assertive because swearing is such a raw form of expression,” she says. “You are getting an uncensored, raw, unfiltered response that is a gut reaction and reflective of what the person is really feeling of thinking.” A recent study found that profanity is correlated with genuine feelings and emotions in social interactions, which indicated that those who curse may also be more likely to be truthful.

So the next time you’re venting to friends, in pain or doing another round of burpees, let your inner sailor come out and play!

What to expect if you have an Autoimmune disorder

Photo by Matthias Zomer on Pexels.com

Autoimmune diseases can affect many types of tissues and nearly any organ in your body. They may cause a variety of symptoms including pain, tiredness (fatigue), rashes, nausea, headaches, dizziness and more. Specific symptoms depend on the exact disease.

Autoimmune disease symptoms

Symptoms vary widely based on the type of autoimmune disease.

MOST COMMON TYPES:

Rheumatoid arthritis

Rheumatoid arthritis affects joint linings, causing painful swelling. Over long periods of time, the inflammation associated with rheumatoid arthritis can cause bone erosion and joint deformity.

Lupus

Symptoms vary but can include fatigue, joint pain, rash, and fever. These can periodically get worse (flare-up) and then improve.

Celiac disease

The classic symptom is diarrhea. Other symptoms include bloating, gas, fatigue, low blood count (anemia), and osteoporosis. Many people have no symptoms.

Sjögren’s syndrome

The main symptoms are dry mouth and dry eyes.


Multiple sclerosis

Multiple sclerosis causes many different symptoms, including vision loss, pain, fatigue, and impaired coordination. The symptoms, severity, and duration can vary from person to person. Some people may be symptom free most of their lives, while others can have severe chronic symptoms that never go away.

Polymyalgia rheumatica

Symptoms usually develop quickly and include aching of the shoulders, neck, or hips

Ankylosing spondylitis

Symptoms typically appear in early adulthood and include reduced flexibility in the spine. This reduced flexibility eventually results in a hunched-forward posture. Pain in the back and joints is also common.

Type 1 diabetes

Symptoms include increased thirst, frequent urination, hunger, fatigue, and blurred vision.

Alopecia areata

The main symptom is hair loss.

Vasculitis

Symptoms include fever, fatigue, weight loss, and muscle and joint pain.

Temporal arteritis

Symptoms include headaches, jaw pain, vision loss, fever, and fatigue. Diagnosis usually requires biopsy of the temporal artery.

Your body’s disease defense system, called the immune system, goes to battle every day. It helps keep you healthy by fighting off viruses and bacteria that sneak into your body. But sometimes, your immune system makes mistakes. If it sees your body’s healthy cells as a threat, it may attack them. This can cause an autoimmune disorder.

There are many different autoimmune diseases. Some involve only one type of tissue. For example, in a disease called vasculitis, your immune system attacks your blood vessels. Other autoimmune diseases involve many different parts of the body. Lupus, for example, can damage the skin, heart, lungs, and more.

Most autoimmune diseases cause inflammation. But the symptoms they cause depend on the body parts affected. You can have pain in your joints or muscles. Or you may experience skin rashes, fevers, or fatigue.

Researchers still don’t know what causes most autoimmune diseases. But they’ve made progress in understanding what puts you at risk and figuring out ways to diagnose and treat them.

What Are the Triggers?

Some autoimmune diseases are rare, but others are fairly common. About 1% of people in the U.S. have rheumatoid arthritis, explains Dr. Mariana Kaplan, an NIH specialist in autoimmune diseases. Rheumatoid arthritis damages the joints.

Certain genes put you at higher risk for developing an autoimmune disorder. But genes alone aren’t usually enough, says Dr. Peter Grayson, an NIH expert on vasculitis. His team recently found a single gene change that can cause vasculitis in older men.

Most people who carry genes linked with autoimmune diseases still won’t develop one. Usually, one or more triggers are needed to set off the immune system.

Different things in your environment can serve as triggers, explains Dr. Andrew Mammen, an NIH expert on muscle diseases. His team studies myositis, a disease in which immune cells attack the muscles.

Too much sun exposure can trigger a type of myositis in people who have certain genetic risk factors, Mammen explains. But, he says, most people need other triggers as well to develop the condition. What they are aren’t always clear.

Certain viruses can also jump-start an autoimmune attack. A recent NIH-funded study found that a virus called Epstein-Barr may trigger some cases of multiple sclerosis, or MS. MS is an autoimmune disease that damages the nerves.

Other risk factors can be your age, sex, smoking history, and weight. Many autoimmune diseases are also more common in women than men.

Getting a Diagnosis

A diagnosis of an autoimmune disease can take time, says Grayson. Especially if it’s one that affects many parts of the body.

People often turn to different doctors for different symptoms. “If you’re seeing, for example, an eye doctor, a skin doctor, and a lung doctor separately, they may not see that your symptoms are connected,” says Grayson.

Symptoms of autoimmune diseases can also mimic those of many other conditions. “For example, we call lupus ‘the great imitator,’ because it can look like many other diseases,” Kaplan says.

Talk with your health care provider if you’re having muscle, bone, or joint pain that’s not related to an injury. Or if you’ve had pain in multiple areas or for long periods of time. They may refer you to a rheumatologist. This is a doctor who specializes in diseases that cause inflammation.

Your doctor may use blood tests to look for antibodies that are attacking your own tissues. These are called autoantibodies. But having them in your blood isn’t enough to be diagnosed with an autoimmune disease. Many people have them in their blood but don’t get sick, Kaplan explains.

Imaging technologies can be used to look for signs of an autoimmune disorder, too. X-rays can show joint issues. MRIs can reveal damage deep in the body.

Researchers are trying to find new ways to use imaging to help diagnose or monitor autoimmune disease. Grayson’s lab is testing whether PET scans can find hidden inflammation in the blood vessels of people with vasculitis.

Tamping Down the Attack

There are no cures for autoimmune disorders yet. But researchers have made progress in managing symptoms.

Drugs called corticosteroids are often the first treatment for an autoimmune disease. “They work quickly, and they’re effective,” Mammen says.

But steroids suppress your entire immune system. So they can have serious side effects. These include high blood pressure, bone loss, and weight gain.

Other drugs suppress only parts of the immune system. These tend to have fewer side effects and can be used for longer. Some of these drugs get rid of cells that make certain antibodies. Others target specific immune-system proteins. One such drug was recently the first new drug approved for lupus in a decade.

You may need to try several different drugs to find the one that works best to control your symptoms, Grayson says. It’s important to work with your doctor to balance quality of life with treating the disease, he adds.

Lifestyle changes can also help control symptoms. Movement is especially important for autoimmune diseases that affect the muscles, like myositis and MS, Mammen says. “We actually prescribe exercise,” he says. “It’s not optional; it’s part of the treatment.”

Talk with your health care provider about different activities you can try. Low-impact workouts like yoga, water aerobics, or walking can be helpful for some people.

Quitting smoking can help those whose disease affects their blood vessels, Grayson says.

Researchers are working to develop better treatments. NIH projects are bringing together scientists, nonprofit groups, and drug companies to find new treatments and research tools for autoimmune diseases.

Researchers also want to find ways to detect autoimmune diseases before they cause symptoms, Mammen explains. “Maybe there’s a time period where early treatment could put the brakes on one developing,” he says.

Reference by: NIH News in Health











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