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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 December 9, 2019

5 Simple Ways to Relieve Stress Effectively

5 Simple Ways to Relieve Stress Effectively

Everyone experiences mental stress at one time or another. Maybe you’re starting a new career, job, or business, or you feel incredibly overwhelmed between work, parenting, and your love life (or a lack of it). It could even be that you simply feel that you have way too much to do and not enough time to do it,  plus, on top of everything, nothing seems to be going the way it should!

Yup, we all experience mental stress from time-to-time, and that’s okay as long as you have the tools, techniques and knowledge that allow you to fully relieve it once it comes.

Here are 5 tips for relieving mental stress when it comes so you can function at your best while feeling good (and doing well) in work, love, or life:

1. Get Rationally Optimistic

Mental stress starts with your perception of your experiences. For instance, most people get stressed out when they perceive their reality as “being wrong” in some way. Essentially, they have a set idea of how things “should be” at any given moment, and when reality ends up being different (not even necessarily bad), they get stressed.

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This process is simply a result of perception and can be easily “fixed” by recognizing that although life might not always be going as YOU think it should, it’s still going as it should—for your own benefit.

In fact, once you fully recognize that everything in your life ultimately happens for your own growth, progress, and development—so you can achieve your goals and dreams—your perception works in your favor. You soon process and respond to your experience of life differently, for your advantage. That’s the essence of becoming “rationally optimistic.”

The result: no more mental stress.

2. Unplug

Just like you might need to unplug your computer when it starts acting all crazy, you should also “unplug” your mind.

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How on earth do you unplug your mind? Simple: just meditate.

It isn’t nearly difficult or complicated as some people think, so, if you don’t already meditate, give it a try. Whether you meditate for 5 minutes, 30 minutes, or 2 hours, this is a surefire way to reduce mental stress.

Meditation has been scientifically proven to relax your body (resulting in less mental stress), while also reducing anxiety and high blood pressure.

3. Easy on the Caffeine

Yes, we know, we know—everyone loves a nice java buzz, and that’s okay, but there’s a fine line between a small caffeine pick-me-up and a racing heart and mind that throws you into a frenzy of mental stress.

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Try giving up caffeine for a while and see how you feel. And, if that’s completely out of the question for you, at least try to minimize it. You might find that lots of your mental stress mysteriously “disappears” as your caffeine intake goes down.

4. Attack Mental Stress Via the Back Door

That’s right: your body and mind are part of the whole being, and are constantly influencing and affecting each other. If you’re experiencing a lot of mental stress, try to reduce it by calming your body down—a calm body equals a calmer mind.

How do you calm your body down and reduce physical stress? A  great way to reduce physical stress (thereby reducing mental stress) is to take natural supplements that are proven to reduce stress and anxiety while lifting your mood. Three good ones to look into are kava-kava, St John’s wort, and rhodiola rosea:

  • Kava-kava is a natural plant known to have mild sedative properties, and you should be able to find it at your natural health food store or vitamin store. It’s available in capsules or liquid extract form.
  • St John’s wort is a natural flower used to treat depression. Again, it’s found at your local health store in capsules or liquid. Because it uplifts mood (enabling you to see the brighter side of all experiences) it helps relieve mental stress as well.
  • Rhodiola rosea is a natural plant shown to reduce stress and uplift mood, and Russian athletes have been using it forever. Like the other two supplements mentioned, rhodiola rosea can be found at your natural health store in capsule or liquid form.

While these supplements are all natural and can be very helpful for most people, always check with your health care provider first as they can cause side-effects depending on your current health situation etc.

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5. Good Old-Fashioned Exercise

This tip has been around forever because it works. Nothing relieves mental stress like running, kickboxing—you name it. Anything super-physical will wipe out most of your mental stresses once the exercise endorphins (happy chemicals) are released into your brain.

The result: mental stress will be gone!

So, if you’re feeling overwhelmed or just plain stressed, try using some of the above tips. You can even print this out or save it to refer to regularly.

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