Driving To De-Stress

de-stressMany people find a relaxing drive a wonderful way to de-stress and get rid of anxious, overwhelming feelings.   Driving can be a good way to get some alone time, while giving you a chance to reconnect with nature, listen to a book, or some relaxing music.

An article from the Huffington Post lists 9 reasons that driving can be de-stressing.  One of the best things a nice drive can do is allow you to get away from daily distractions and technology. Driving can also be a great opportunity to bond with friends or your partner.  Chatting with friends helps to relieve anxiety, especially if you have something on your mind that you need to rant about.

Check out the slide show from the Huffington Post to see all 9 reasons driving is a great way to de-stress here:9 Reasons Driving Can Be A Great Way To De-Stress.

Eating Disorders and Your Dental Health

For some, eating disorders are unfortunately a part of every day life. These abnormal eating habits often involve either insufficient or excessive food intake to the detriment of an individual’s physical and psychological health. Just like a nutritional, balanced diet influences our overall health, a lack thereof can negatively influence it and in turn, create multiple oral and general health problems.

Eating disorders such as Anorexia Nervosa (anorexia), Bulimia Nervosa (bulimia) and compulsive over-eating can create an array of dental and periodontal ailments. The most common of these being: tooth enamel erosion, tooth decay and soft tissue damage. Click the link below to learn additional dental issues associated with eating disorders.

Eating disorders are serious threats, not only one’s dental health but more importantly, their life. If you or anyone you know is suffering from an eating disorder, please seek help.

You can read more about the individual eating disorders and how they affect oral health here.

New Study Shows Reading Increases Brain Function for Days

reading increases brain functionI know I’ve been on a reading kick lately but it is a passion of mine and really beneficial to your health. Reading does for your mind what exercise does for your body. A new study out of Emory University shows that reading increases brain function.

According to scientists, reading a gripping novel can make heightened connectivity and neurological changes in the brain that can last several days after reading the book. It’s similar to muscle memory.

A study was conducted where 21 students read the same book–Pompeii by Robert Harris. The book was chosen for its strong narrative line and thrilling plot. Each day the students read a section of the book and received an MRI. They were also scanned for five days after finishing the book. The scans showed changes in brain activity during the reading of the novel and for all five days afterward. This is called shadow activity and acts a lot like muscle memory.

The biggest changes were found in the left temporal cortex where neurons are known for grounded cognition (basically tricking the brain to think it’s doing something it’s not really doing). It’s almost as if the reader is literally putting themselves in the protagonist’s shoes, even though their just reading the story.

This study shows that reading does not only have an immediate impact but also a long-lasting influence. Just one more reason to crack open that book.

For more info: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/science/brain-function-boosted-for-days-after-reading-a-novel-9028302.html


16 Books to Read Before They Hit Theaters This Year

books to readLike I said in a previous post, I love to read. It helps reduce my stress and allows me to escape. Another activity that allows me to escape is going to the movies. Of course they are related because no matter what medium is used, a good gripping story is the thing that transports you to another world.

I think it’s safe to say that in recent years, most movies are adaptations of novels or real-life stories. Many people get excited to see their favorite novel come to the big screen, even though the book is always better than the movie. Some people insist on reading the book first. Others want to read the book after they see the film. Either way, it’s the story that makes the difference.

However, if you’re like me and want to read the book first, here is a list of 16 books to read before the movie comes out this year. Check it out: http://www.buzzfeed.com/ariellecalderon/books-to-read-before-they-hit-theaters-this-year

Reading and Stress Reduction: 10 Books that Inspire Me

stress reductionI love to read. Although once in a while I’ll read something non-fiction, I tend to read novels. My husband doesn’t quite understand it. He reads primarily non-fiction for the purpose of gaining knowledge. He considers novels as a pure form of entertainment. But there are so many benefits to reading. One of them is stress reduction.

I love stories. But not just any story. There is something inspirational about a character that triumphs over their adversity–that shows courage, strength, self-control and does the right thing, even when it’s hard.

The author of one of my favorite trilogies, The Muirwood Trilogy, wrote a blog post that describes exactly how I feel about stories.

Reading is a way for me to escape. When I’m going through a difficult time, instead of soothing myself with a drink or other things, I turn to stories. Somehow, I think that if Frodo can get the ring back to Mordor, or if Harry Potter can overcome The Dark Lord, I can have the strength and courage to overcome my trials.

So here is a list of 10 books that inspire me:

Not in any particular order…

1. Pride and Prejudice (by Jane Austen): There is something about going back to a place where manners and self-control have value. I love that Darcy is so much more than it seems on the outside. He lets go of social expectations and pressures and becomes the ultimate hero. I love that Elizabeth and Darcy overcome their weaknesses to realize that they are the perfect match.

2. Lord of The Rings Trilogy (by J.R.R. Tolkien): Epic fantasy is not my favorite genre, but this story is so gripping. It has so many characters that show courage and sacrifice. My favorite scene in the entire trilogy is when Samwise Gamgee carries Frodo up the mountain because his friend has no more strength. His loyalty is something to emulate.

3. The Muirwood Trilogy (by Jeff Wheeler): This is another epic fantasy. I absolutely love the theme that someone who may seem worthless at first can become the greatest of all. We all have potential inside of us, whether we see it or not. Even though this is not a romance, it has the best romantic tension that I have ever read. Tension makes for great romance, not smut.

4. The Harry Potter Series (by J.K. Rowling): One of the main themes of this series is the power of love. This series is my all time favorite!

5. Between Shades of Gray (by Ruta Sepetys): This book is about the forced relocation of the Lithuanians by Stalin during World War II. Some of the things they had to go through are not easy to read, but this book has stuck with me through the years. It shows the unconquerable human spirit.

6. Edenbrooke (by Julianne Donaldson): Some books leave deep impressions and some are just fun and take you away to another world. This is a true escapist book with one of the best love letters ever!

7. The Lunar Chronicles (by Marissa Meyer): So far the first two books have come out, Cinder and Scarlet. Everyone likes a fairy tale and there are so many re-tellings out there, but this series is quite original. Again, I love the theme of the underdog. Everyone has potential and those who seem worthless might have the most potential of all.

8. A Tale of Two Cities (by Charles Dickens): A lot of people might not consider this a favorite of Dickens, but it was the first classic book I read and the sacrifice of one man so that another can have happiness has stuck with me for years.

9. Les Miserables (by Victor Hugo): I have to admit, I haven’t read the book. But I love the musical! There is so much oppression and misery in the world. The ability to rise above it and become better than your surroundings is truly inspirational.

10. My Story (by Elizabeth Smart): This book is difficult to read because it tells of Elizabeth Smart’s experience in captivity after being kidnapped from her bedroom at age 14. She underwent some horrific experiences. The thing that I love about this book, however, is her resilient spirit. Her ability to rise above her circumstances and find a happy and fulfilling life. The love of her family and her faith got her through. I actually read this while I was going through a very difficult time in my life. It inspired me!

I could go on and on. There are so many books, authors and stories that I love. I had a really hard time determining what to put on this list.

Now it’s your turn. What are some of your favorite stress-busting books?