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Benefits - Health and Financial

Benefits – Just Crying

Whether it’s to mourn the end of a close relationship or because of the sheer frustration of a bad day at work, once you come to wipe the tears away, the world can seem like it’s been put back together again.

Now research has suggested that tears could actually be a way of flushing negative chemicals out of the body and doing you a world of good. We look at why it’s good to cry.

 

Three types of tears

Emotional/stress-related tears

A study by Dr William H. Frey II, a biochemist at the St Paul-Ramsey Medical Centre in Minnesota, found that there is an important chemical difference between emotional or stress-related tears and those simply caused by physical irritants – such as when cutting onions.

They found that emotional tears contained more of the protein-based hormones prolactin, adrenocorticotropic hormone, and leucine enkephalin (a natural painkiller), all of which are produced by our body when under stress.

Basal tears

We all need the layer of protective fluid covering our eyeballs known as continuous or basal tears.

This fluid is secreted by the lachrymal glands, which sit above each eye, and without it our eyes would be in danger of drying out and become susceptible to bacterial attack.

Basal tears contain lysozyme, a powerful and fast acting antibacterial and anti-viral agent. Without this, the eye – because it’s a moist environment – would suffer enormous amounts of bacterial attack and you could potentially go blind.

Eye watering

One of the most important functions crying can have is to protect our eyes from irritants and foreign bodies, such as dust or getting rid of the acidic fumes when cutting onions.

These tears are known as reflex tears. When our eyes come under attack from irritants, the lachrymal glands in our eyes start stimulating more fluid to wash away the irritant and drain it from the eye.

So, how do tears help us emotionally?

Emotional or stress-related tears are thought to help us through difficult times in a number of ways.

Physically, they are thought to wash toxic chemicals out of our bodies, while psychologically giving your feelings a good airing is thought to be a healthy tonic.

Stress release

Crying is thought to help reduce stress, which can have a damaging effect on our health and has been linked to a number of health problems including heart disease, high blood pressure, type-2 diabetes and obesity.

According to the Minnesota study, crying can help to wash chemicals linked to stress out of our body, one of the reasons we feel much better after a good cry. Higher levels of adrenocorticotrophic (ACTH) have been found in emotional tears (compared to reflex tears).

Removing this chemical from the body is beneficial because it triggers cortisol, the stress hormone – too much of which can lead to health problems associated with stress.

‘Crying can help release tension and stress, as well as expressing emotions,’ says Dr Abigael San, chartered clinical psychologist.

‘When you’re upset and stressed, you have an imbalance and build up of chemicals in the body and crying helps to reduce that.’

Dealing with sorrow

Aside from removing toxic substances from our body, crying can also have the psychological benefit of lifting our mood and helping us to deal with painful situations.

Deep crying is generally felt to be good for you in that it exposes and expresses deep emotions, which means they can then be dealt with.

‘The Freudian theory is that it’s beneficial to get feelings out, that if you let them fester they can affect you physically and psychologically,’ says Professor Gail Kinman, an occupational health psychologist who has carried out research on crying in the workplace.

‘Whether crying is good for you depends a lot on the reasons for it, the context, and how it is handled.

‘Public displays tend to be looked down on, and any emotional catharsis in a situation, such as the work place, may be far outweighed by disapproval, embarrassment and guilt.

‘Many women from my research, however, do say they sometimes feel like they need a good cry – and that they feel emotionally cleansed afterwards.’

Crying can also signal a need for help from others and bring people together.

People are usually more likely to help someone when they see them dissolve into tears, and it can prompt helpful behaviour.

It may also be a signal for physical contact, such as a hug or reassuring hand placed on an arm – and touch has been linked with helping stress reduction.

A group approach can help individuals in overcoming upsetting or difficult situations.

Too many tears

However, frequent crying is not always good for you and can be a sign of more serious conditions, such as depression, post-traumatic stress disorder and postnatal depression.

What’s more, the healing affect of crying won’t work for everyone.

Researchers have discovered that people who suffer a mood disorder are less likely to feel better after crying.

‘If you’re depressed and crying all the time, it’s not good and you might need help,’ says Dr Abigael San.

Counting the tears

88.8 per cent of people feel better after crying, with 8.4 per cent feeling worse.

On average women cry 47 times a year and men a mere seven.

Until puberty, crying levels are much the same for each gender – testosterone may reduce crying in boys while oestrogen and prolactin increases the tendency in girls.

Men may excrete more of the toxins related to emotional stress in their sweat because they have higher sweat levels than women.

The mantra to children ‘Be brave, don’t cry’ might not be the most helpful because some believe crying can actually help reduce pain.

– Written by Natasha Mann, health journalist

http://www.netdoctor.co.uk/healthy-living/wellbeing/the-health-benefits-of-crying.htm

​Emotional or stress-related tears are thought to help us through difficult times in a number of wayS

Many people claim to feel better after a good cry.

 

 

 

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Benefits - Health and Financial

Benefits – Giving and Sharing

I have a friend who has had a terrible case of lupus for nearly twenty years. She has been hospitalized many times and is constantly on medication that has horrible side effects, including cataracts. She had to quit her job as a graphic designer and now is completely supported by her husband. She can get really down about her life. Recently she decided to become a volunteer at a soup kitchen. She goes when she feels up to it, and she’s started to discover that the more she goes, the better she feels—emotionally and physically. Her arthritis (a consequence of lupus) isn’t as severe and she has more energy.

Helping others can not only make us feel good about ourselves; it can also increase our physical well-being. The mind and body aren’t separate. Anything we do to elevate our spirits will also have a beneficial effect on our health. A recent study by Cornell University found that volunteering increases a person’s energy, sense of mastery over life, and self-esteem. Other studies have demonstrated that such positive feelings can actually strengthen and enhance the immune system. Positive emotions increase the body’s number of T-cells, cells in the immune system that help the body resist disease and recover quickly from illness. Positive emotions also release endorphins into the bloodstream. Endorphins are the body’s natural tranquilizers and painkillers; they stimulate dilation of the blood vessels, which leads to a relaxed heart.

While we don’t quite understand all the reasons why giving creates good health, many studies have documented generosity’s positive effects. Michigan researchers who studied 2,700 people for almost ten years found that men who regularly did volunteer work had death rates two-and-one half times lower than men who didn’t. In a separate study, volunteers who worked directly with those who benefited from their services had a greater immune system boost than those whose volunteer work was restricted to pushing papers.

Harvard researchers also conducted a study that showed how giving is such a powerful immune booster that it can be experienced just by watching someone else in the act of giving! In this well-known experiment, students looking at a film of Mother Teresa as she tended the sick in Calcutta—even those who purported to dislike Mother Teresa—got an increase in immune function.

Psychologist Robert Ornstein and physician David Sobel are well known for their examinations of the health effects of altruism. In their book Healthy Pleasures, they describe what they call the “helper’s high,” a kind of euphoria volunteers get when helping others—a warm glow in the chest and a sense of vitality that comes from being simultaneously energized and calm. They compare it to a runner’s high and claim it is caused by the body’s release of endorphins. Because of all these health benefits, as Stella Reznick says in The Pleasure Zone, “the one who ends up getting the most from a good deed may, ultimately, be the good Samaritan.”

Generosity Alleviates Fear

I’ve never had the privilege of meeting writer Anne Lamott, but I have loved her books, particularly Operating Instructions. Her emotional honesty leaps off every page—here is a woman who is not afraid to show herself, warts and all. In admitting her vulnerabilities, she makes it okay for us to be just who we are too.

In an interview, she was asked about her relationship to money. As a single mother living off her writing, her financial security has been precarious at best. She spoke of having survived, at times, off the generosity of friends, and then said something that leaped out at me. “I know that if I feel any deprivation or fear [about money], the solution is to give. The solution is to go find some mothers on the streets of San Raphael and give them tens and twenties and mail off another $50 to Doctors Without Borders to use for the refugees in Kosovo. Because I know that giving is the way we can feel abundant. Giving is the way that we fill ourselves up…. For me the way to fill up is through service and sharing and getting myself to give more than I feel comfortable giving.”

To me, a person who has a great deal of fear when it comes to money, the thought of giving money away precisely when I felt like clinging to it seemed terrifying. Sick of constantly being fearful about money, I decided to give it a try. Amazingly, it really works. I feel less afraid the more I give.

It’s a paradox. If we are afraid of not having enough, we think we need to hold on tightly to what we have and work hard to get more. As Anne Lamott and I found out, that perspective only makes us more afraid, because we get caught in a cycle of clinging and hoarding. When is enough enough? Is $5,000 enough? $50,000? $100,000? $1 million? A recent study found that no matter how much money people made, they thought they would be happier if only they had more. Whether they made $20,000 a year or $200,000, everyone thought they needed a bit more.​

If we turn around and give instead of hoarding everything, we suddenly experience the abundance we do have. Most of us, particularly those of us living in Western societies​, have a great deal, and when we share what we have, we feel our abundance. It becomes real to us, and that diminishes our fears. I read about a woman who was suffering from depression and contemplating suicide because of back pain and poverty. She found a kid foraging in the Dumpster and thought to herself, “I don’t have a lot, but at least I can fix this kid a peanut butter sandwich.” Giving away that peanut butter sandwich reminded her of the abundance she still had, even in the projects. If she could still give, her life wasn’t so bleak after all. She now runs a volunteer program in Dallas that feeds hundreds of kids a day. It started from that one day when she gave away the sandwich

by M.J. Ryan.

Source : http://thepowerofgiving.org/home

 

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Benefits - Health and Financial

Benefits – Eating Apples

Many of us forget that sometimes, the simplest answers are the best. Better health could be as easy as reaching for the fruit bowl for some apples next time you need a snack

 

What makes apples so great?

In 2004, USDA scientists investigated over 100 foods to measure their antioxidant concentration per serving size. Two apples—Red Delicious and Granny Smith—ranked 12th and 13th respectivelyAntioxidants are disease-fighting compounds. Scientists believe these compounds help prevent and repair oxidation damage that happens during normal cell activity. Apples are also full of a fibre called pectin—a medium-sized apple contains about 4 grams of fibre. Pectin is classed as a soluble, fermentable and viscous fibre, a combination that gives it a huge list of health benefits.

1. Get whiter, healthier teeth

An apple won’t replace your toothbrush, but biting and chewing an apple stimulates the production of saliva in your mouth, reducing tooth decay by lowering the levels of bacteria.

2. Avoid Alzheimer’s

A new study performed on mice shows that drinking apple juice could keep Alzheimer’s away and fight the effects of aging on the brain. Mice in the study that were fed an apple-enhanced diet showed higher levels of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine and did better in maze tests than those on a regular diet.

3. Protect against Parkinson’s

Research has shown that people who eat fruits and other high-fibre foods gain a certain amount of protection against Parkinson’s, a disease characterized by a breakdown of the brain’s dopamine-producing nerve cells. Scientists have linked this to the free radical-fighting power of the antioxidants contained therein.

4. Curb all sorts of cancers

Scientists from the American Association for Cancer Research, among others, agree that the consumption of flavonol-rich apples could help reduce your risk of developing pancreatic cancer by up to 23 per cent. Researchers at Cornell University have identified several compounds—triterpenoids—in apple peel that have potent anti-growth activities against cancer cells in the liver, colon and breast. Their earlier research found that extracts from whole apples can reduce the number and size of mammary tumours in rats. Meanwhile, the National Cancer Institute in the U.S. has recommended a high fibre intake to reduce the risk of colorectal cancer.

5. Decrease your risk of diabetes

Women who eat at least one apple a day are 28 percent less likely to develop type 2 diabetes than those who don’t eat apples. Apples are loaded with soluble fibre, the key to blunting blood sugar swings.

6. Reduce cholesterol

The soluble fibre found in apples binds with fats in the intestine, which translates into lower cholesterol levels and a healthier you.

7. Get a healthier heart

An extensive body of research has linked high soluble fibre intake with a slower buildup of cholesterol-rich plaque in your arteries. The phenolic compound found in apple skins also prevents the cholesterol that gets into your system from solidifying on your artery walls. When plaque builds inside your arteries, it reduces blood flow to your heart, leading to coronary artery disease.

8. Prevent gallstones

Gallstones form when there’s too much cholesterol in your bile for it to remain as a liquid, so it solidifies. They are particularly prevalent in the obese. To prevent gallstones, doctors recommend a diet high in fibre to help you control your weight and cholesterol levels.

9. Beat diarrhea and constipation

Whether you can’t go to the bathroom or you just can’t stop, fibre found in apples can help. Fibre can either pull water out of your colon to keep things moving along when you’re backed up, or absorb excess water from your stool to slow your bowels down.

10. Neutralize irritable bowel syndrome

Irritable bowel syndrome is characterized by constipation, diarrhea, and abdominal pain and bloating. To control these symptoms doctors recommend staying away from dairy and fatty foods while including a high intake of fibre in your diet.

11. Avert hemorrhoids

Hemorrhoids are a swollen vein in the anal canal and while not life threatening, these veins can be very painful. They are caused by too much pressure in the pelvic and rectal areas. Part and parcel with controlling constipation, fibre can prevent you from straining too much when going to the bathroom and thereby help alleviate hemorrhoids.

12. Control your weight

Many health problems are associated with being overweight, among them heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes and sleep apnea. To manage your weight and improve your overall health, doctors recommend a diet rich in fibre. Foods high in fibre will fill you up without costing you too many calories.

13. Detoxify your liver

We’re constantly consuming toxins, whether it is from drinks or food, and your liver is responsible for clearing these toxins out of your body. Many doctors are skeptical of fad detox diets, saying they have the potential to do more harm than good. Luckily, one of the best—and easiest—things you can eat to help detoxify your liver is fruits—like apples.

14. Boost your immune system

Red apples contain an antioxidant called quercetin. Recent studies have found that quercetin can help boost and fortify your immune system, especially when you’re stressed out.

15. Prevent cataracts

Though past studies have been divided on the issue, recent long-term studies suggest that people who have a diet rich in fruits that contain antioxidants—like apples—are 10 to 15 per cent less likely to develop cataracts