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How music helps you get better sleep

Music has been proven to improve a person's life. For some, it is an outlet for their creative side. For others, it serves as a medium to express themselves. To some people, it serves as a source of their inspiration and hope while for others, music serve as their ultimate relaxing treat. But for people who battle out things just for them to get better sleep, music definitely is their best option. 

People who are having problems to get better sleep are finding ways to get that most-coveted "treat". Some try exercises while others resort to other alternative means such music. Why? because music itself can lull them into deep slumber when chosen properly. 

The power of music 

To be able to avoid the distraction brought by this simple sound, people who are having a hard time sleeping have found a way to fight it off using music. Of all the so many kinds of music out there, people—especially those who are just beginning—are having a hard time choosing which one would suit the practice. 

If you are one of those who would want to use music as a tool to get better sleep, here are some guidelines in choosing the music that may help you achieve that purpose: 

- make sure that it doesn't have lyrics. In choosing music that will help you get better sleep, it is always best to choose one that has no lyrics because it can only distract your concentration. If you find plain rhythm boring, try to play something that has lyrics that your don’t understand so you don’t have to think what the song is saying. Aside from distracting your thoughts through the words you understand, music with lyrics will also encourage you to sing along which will totally shatter your concentration.  

- relaxing music with soft rhythm is always advisable. For starters, this type of music will do you good because it will help you clear your mind and focus on something. But, if want something better, you can choose music that have faster rhythm and beats or anything that your truly enjoy because this can no longer distract you. 

- do some experiments. Although soft and relaxing music is always advisable, try to play other types of music. Who knows? You might find better concentration of you play something that you truly enjoy. 

- try simple and soothing music is sure to focus your attention. If you don’t have the luxury of time to experiment on types of music to be played during meditation, then try surefire hits, which are simple and soothing music. Some of these may include classical sounds, sounds from the nature such as clapping of thunder, sounds of big waves, sounds of insects, and the wind. Other alternative options may also include simple instruments including tibetan singing bowl, flute, sitar, and tamboura which are known to have meditative inducing qualities. 

When choosing music that may help you get better sleep, it is very important to keep in mind that the type you should play must induce you to deep concentration and into deep sleep. You can download the music that you like from various sites in the Internet and burn in a CD. But if you burn have a portable MP3 player, it is best to upload the music there so you can listen to it anytime you to sleep. 


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Superfoods Linked to Longer Life !

Recent research shows that specific chemicals in foods -- such as sulforaphane, a phytochemical in broccoli -- work with your genes to ratchet up your body's natural defense systems, helping to inactivate toxins and free radicals before they can do the damage that leads to cancer, cardiovascular disease, and even premature aging.

And the hope for the future is to be able to tell someone what diseases or maladies they are might be genetically predispositioned to early on, so their diets can be focused accordingly.  We’ll know which ones to add, which ones to avoid, and be able to take a proactive role in preventing or deterring a genetic disease.  In the meantime, many foods have been determined to pack a punch to the aging process.  

photo credit: tookapic

photo credit: tookapic

Lycopene, the pigment that makes tomatoes red, also appears to reduce risk for cardiovascular disease, some cancers, and macular degeneration. It’s also been associated in greater self-sufficiency in elderly adults. While fresh tomatoes have a good hit of lycopene, the most absorbable forms are found in cooked tomato products, such as spaghetti sauce and soup and prepared salsas. Pink grapefruit, guava, red bell peppers, and watermelon are also rich in lycopene.  
Eating at least two cups of orange fruits like sweet potatoes, squash and carrots boosts intake of beta-carotene, which converts to vitamin A, essential for healthy skin and eyes, and which may also reduce the risk of some cancers, cardiovascular disease, and osteoporosis. Lutein and lycopene, also found in orange produce, also help reduce the risk of macular degeneration and may protect skin from sun damage and even reduce wrinkling as well. Mangos and cantaloupes are also beta-carotene endowed. 
And if you don’t do anything else to change your diet, eat your dark leafy greens. They have been showed to significantly reduce your risk for heart disease and may also save your eyesight. Dietary guidelines advise at least three cups of greens a week. Frozen or bagged is as good as fresh.
Don’t forget the mental aging process either. The heart-healthy omega 3 fatty acids have also recently been shown to keep your brain sharp. A recent study found that a higher intake of fatty fish significantly reduced mental decline.  If fresh fish isn't an option, go for canned tuna, salmon, and sardines.


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Her Addiction Story Made Me A Better Therapist

There was a lady that was injected with heroin repeatedly at the age of 12 so that she could be high and prostituted by her mother.  Her mother would force her to have sex with older men to earn money for her heroin addiction.  Twenty years later, I was this woman’s therapist and she was on methadone maintenance trying to maintain sobriety.  I remember my insides feeling like they were on fire as I internally raged against this mother for sending her daughter down this path.  She was repeatedly raped from age 12 to age 16 and when she finally ran away, she had a full blown heroin addiction.  

When she was first admitted to a detox unit, I watched her on her knees at the toilet throwing up for 20 to 30 minutes at a time.  Her nose was running, her body had chills and cold sweats.  She began picking and scratching her neck and her eyes were watery.  As I tried to complete initial paperwork with her, she kept excusing herself to the bathroom because of her upset stomach.  She was put on methadone to help with her symptoms, but it was not working during the initial week.  

Up until this point in my career, I struggled with understanding heroin addiction.  Even though, I was deeply invested in helping people heal, I did not know the full impact of heroin addiction until I walked with this young lady through her withdrawal process.  We talked everyday except Sundays.  She would tell me every symptom that she experienced.  She would talk to me about her "drug dreams".  She would dream that she was high and wake up with her mom's ex-boyfriend on top of her and then, she would wake up again and realize that was a dream also.  The role of trauma significantly impacted her addiction.  How can you face reality when the reality is that you have been a prostitute since 12?  

Her story moved me in such a way that I began teaching her to see herself as more than an addict, and more than a prostitute.  I was fully present in every session with her.  We laughed together, and there were times that I cried with her, even when she tried to minimize certain stories, like having all of her teeth knocked out while tricking on her own.  She cursed like a sailor, and had a great sense of humor.  She'd been through so much and was still able to love, laugh and trust.  What she taught me that clinicians and therapists must get to know the person, because we are treating the person, not just the addiction.  We are working with the whole person. 

I worked with her for over 6 months in inpatient and she was able to maintain sobriety at least a year after that, but now I do not know where she is.  I pray that she is well.   

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The Importance of a Healthy Cry

When we experience a loss, a death of a loved one, a divorce, a physical ailment or the loss of financial stability or a job, there is sometimes a gut wrenching emotional pain that words cannot describe.  Many people hold back their tears in an effort to appear strong in front of their friends and family.  Sometimes people hold back tears to protect themselves from feeling vulnerable.


Family Dynamics & Gender Role Stereotypes – In some families, crying is a sign of weakness.  Little boys are often told to “man up”, “stop crying like a wimp”, or “stop crying like a little girl”.  Crying is looked at as weakness.  Strong people do not cry, they fix things and work things out.

However, there are some situations that cannot be worked out. (Ex: the death of a family member).  No matter what you do, you cannot bring that person back from the dead.  When people who are taught not cry face a situation that they cannot fix, they sometimes freeze and continue to hold back tears.  The holding back of tears can lead to more intense physical discomfort related to the event, such as, a tightness in the chest, a tightness in the throat, tension headaches, hollowness in the stomach or a feeling of depersonalization (i.e. feeling numb – going through life on “auto-pilot”). 


Crying is natural.  From an evolutionary perspective, infants crying communicate to their primary caregivers that they are in distress.  Also, in adults, it communicates the depth of one’s pain when words are not adequate to describe the pain.  “Thirty years ago, biochemist Frey found that emotional tears carried more protein than non-emotional tears (say, from chopping an onion). The implication was that when you cry for emotional reasons, you are involved in a healing process” (Collier, L., 2014).  Although there has been conflicting research in the past, more and more scientific evidence is confirming that “crying” is part of the healing process and that a good cry is better than holding it in.


This is not to say that healing cannot take place without crying, but if you feel the need to cry, don’t hold back.  Releasing tears release tension and after all, a good cry never hurt anyone. 

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