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3 Ways to Monitor Your Health From Home

3 Ways to Monitor Your Health From Home

While there certainly is a time and a place for going to see a doctor (which we very much encourage!),[1] there are ways to monitor certain aspects of your health from the comfort of your own home. Understanding this will not only help save time and money but hopefully, save lives as well. It’s fairly simple to teach oneself how to perform various body scans. The topics we’ll cover in this article include self-breast exams, self-skin checks and measuring your pulse. It’s always best to be aware of what’s normal for your unique anatomy; this will allow you to manage any concerns with maximum efficiency.

Self-Breast Examination

The first indication of most forms of cancer will happen at home. While there are specifics to search for as far as breast cancer signs go,[2] the first step is knowing what your normal breasts appear and feel like. Ideally, this exam should be done monthly, though it will only take a few minutes on each occasion. All that you have to do is move your fingers around each entire breast and armpit one at a time, applying varying degrees of pressure. According to an article entitled “5-Minute Health Checks You Can Do at Home” found on Everyday Health’s webpage, you should examine yourself for “anything unusual — and not just lumps, but also any skin dimpling, bruises, and changes to your nipple, including discharge. Call your doctor right away if you notice any difference from the norm. If you have lumpy (or cystic) breasts, ask your doctor how often you should monitor them.” It’s also recommended to receive an annual breast exam when going to see the ob-gyn.

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Self-Skin Examination

Skin cancer is one of the most common forms of cancer in the U.S., though it is also the easiest to detect. What’s more, in the vast majority of cases it’s entirely treatable or curable when caught in the beginning stages (particularly the most commonly occurring, less serious forms, basal and squamous cell carcinoma; melanoma is the most dangerous). This exam should also be performed monthly. The Skin Cancer Foundation has a very informative article by the title of “Do You Know Your ABCDEs?” That same page broke the process of this exam down in a straightforward way. The specifics to search for include: asymmetry, borders, coloring, diameter and evolution. Keep a mental diary of how your skin normally appears for optimum results. In addition to your self-skin examinations, booking with a dermatologist once or twice annually for a full skin exam provides the most preventative care. They can help identify abnormalities of moles in areas of the body more difficult to see.

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Checking Your Pulse

It’s also a positive to get to know what’s typical for your body when it comes to your pulse. Higher resting heart rates[3] can be an indicator of heightened risk for cardiovascular issues or heart attack. Ideally, a resting heart rate should measure anywhere between 60 and 100. A bit lower than 60 is acceptable and perfectly normal for a healthy, more athletic individual. To check your pulse rate, simply place the middle and index finger of one hand on the neck or inside of the opposite wrist. Looking at a watch, count for 30 seconds; double your calculation when that timing stops.

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That was the guide we compiled for health-related checks easily done solo in a matter of minutes. Hopefully, you and your family will be able to use them as you continue to be aware of what’s personally normal. Performing these exams on the advised routine basis can make a world of difference in health awareness and your ability for early detection.

Featured photo credit: Bench Accounting via heart.org

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Reference

[1] Lifehack: 5 Ways to Have a More Productive Doctor’s Visit
[2] The Truth About Cancer: 5 Rarely Discussed Early Warning Breast Cancer Signs
[3] American Heart Association: Target Heart Rates

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Last Updated on January 21, 2020

The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

Creating a vision for your life might seem like a frivolous, fantastical waste of time, but it’s not: creating a compelling vision of the life you want is actually one of the most effective strategies for achieving the life of your dreams. Perhaps the best way to look at the concept of a life vision is as a compass to help guide you to take the best actions and make the right choices that help propel you toward your best life.

your vision of where or who you want to be is the greatest asset you have

    Why You Need a Vision

    Experts and life success stories support the idea that with a vision in mind, you are more likely to succeed far beyond what you could otherwise achieve without a clear vision. Think of crafting your life vision as mapping a path to your personal and professional dreams. Life satisfaction and personal happiness are within reach. The harsh reality is that if you don’t develop your own vision, you’ll allow other people and circumstances to direct the course of your life.

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    How to Create Your Life Vision

    Don’t expect a clear and well-defined vision overnight—envisioning your life and determining the course you will follow requires time, and reflection. You need to cultivate vision and perspective, and you also need to apply logic and planning for the practical application of your vision. Your best vision blossoms from your dreams, hopes, and aspirations. It will resonate with your values and ideals, and will generate energy and enthusiasm to help strengthen your commitment to explore the possibilities of your life.

    What Do You Want?

    The question sounds deceptively simple, but it’s often the most difficult to answer. Allowing yourself to explore your deepest desires can be very frightening. You may also not think you have the time to consider something as fanciful as what you want out of life, but it’s important to remind yourself that a life of fulfillment does not usually happen by chance, but by design.

    It’s helpful to ask some thought-provoking questions to help you discover the possibilities of what you want out of life. Consider every aspect of your life, personal and professional, tangible and intangible. Contemplate all the important areas, family and friends, career and success, health and quality of life, spiritual connection and personal growth, and don’t forget about fun and enjoyment.

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    Some tips to guide you:

    • Remember to ask why you want certain things
    • Think about what you want, not on what you don’t want.
    • Give yourself permission to dream.
    • Be creative. Consider ideas that you never thought possible.
    • Focus on your wishes, not what others expect of you.

    Some questions to start your exploration:

    • What really matters to you in life? Not what should matter, what does matter.
    • What would you like to have more of in your life?
    • Set aside money for a moment; what do you want in your career?
    • What are your secret passions and dreams?
    • What would bring more joy and happiness into your life?
    • What do you want your relationships to be like?
    • What qualities would you like to develop?
    • What are your values? What issues do you care about?
    • What are your talents? What’s special about you?
    • What would you most like to accomplish?
    • What would legacy would you like to leave behind?

    It may be helpful to write your thoughts down in a journal or creative vision board if you’re the creative type. Add your own questions, and ask others what they want out of life. Relax and make this exercise fun. You may want to set your answers aside for a while and come back to them later to see if any have changed or if you have anything to add.

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    What Would Your Best Life Look Like?

    Describe your ideal life in detail. Allow yourself to dream and imagine, and create a vivid picture. If you can’t visualize a picture, focus on how your best life would feel. If you find it difficult to envision your life 20 or 30 years from now, start with five years—even a few years into the future will give you a place to start. What you see may surprise you. Set aside preconceived notions. This is your chance to dream and fantasize.

    A few prompts to get you started:

    • What will you have accomplished already?
    • How will you feel about yourself?
    • What kind of people are in your life? How do you feel about them?
    • What does your ideal day look like?
    • Where are you? Where do you live? Think specifics, what city, state, or country, type of community, house or an apartment, style and atmosphere.
    • What would you be doing?
    • Are you with another person, a group of people, or are you by yourself?
    • How are you dressed?
    • What’s your state of mind? Happy or sad? Contented or frustrated?
    • What does your physical body look like? How do you feel about that?
    • Does your best life make you smile and make your heart sing? If it doesn’t, dig deeper, dream bigger.

    It’s important to focus on the result, or at least a way-point in your life. Don’t think about the process for getting there yet—that’s the next stepGive yourself permission to revisit this vision every day, even if only for a few minutes. Keep your vision alive and in the front of your mind.

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    Plan Backwards

    It may sound counter-intuitive to plan backwards rather than forwards, but when you’re planning your life from the end result, it’s often more useful to consider the last step and work your way back to the first. This is actually a valuable and practical strategy for making your vision a reality.

    • What’s the last thing that would’ve had to happen to achieve your best life?
    • What’s the most important choice you would’ve had to make?
    • What would you have needed to learn along the way?
    • What important actions would you have had to take?
    • What beliefs would you have needed to change?
    • What habits or behaviors would you have had to cultivate?
    • What type of support would you have had to enlist?
    • How long will it have taken you to realize your best life?
    • What steps or milestones would you have needed to reach along the way?

    Now it’s time to think about your first step, and the next step after that. Ponder the gap between where you are now and where you want to be in the future. It may seem impossible, but it’s quite achievable if you take it step-by-step.

    It’s important to revisit this vision from time to time. Don’t be surprised if your answers to the questions, your technicolor vision, and the resulting plans change. That can actually be a very good thing; as you change in unforeseeable ways, the best life you envision will change as well. For now, it’s important to use the process, create your vision, and take the first step towards making that vision a reality.

    Featured photo credit: Matt Noble via unsplash.com

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