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Meditation and Creativity – How One Helps the Other

Meditation and Creativity – How One Helps the Other

Meditation is heralded by many as being a ‘cure all’ – a panacea that can prevent all of your woes and help you to find peace and enlightenment.

They’re not wrong per say. Compared with many other strategies, meditation is certainly one of the most effective when it comes to overcoming anxiety and getting a better perspective on things. But unfortunately, nothing is perfect. That includes meditation.

Meditation is all about getting ‘out of your own head’ and focussing. It’s about being in the moment and not reflecting on problems.

But here’s the thing: reflecting on problems is useful. Even a little bit of stress is useful – it’s called eustress.

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And the biggest potential casualty when it comes to meditation is creativity and the default mode network. The default mode network is the selection of brain areas that light up when you daydream, or think about your own future. People associate this part of the brain with a) being distracted from what’s happening, and b) being negative.

But the truth? The default mode network is also where many of us come up with our very best ideas – including Albert Einstein. Daydreaming about the future is how we learn more about who we are, and what we want to accomplish.

So, the risk is that we throw the baby out with the bathwater.

The good news is that meditation isn’t to blame. The problem is with the way it is sometimes pedalled – by people who claim we should always be in the moment.

The truth is that the brain has many different states and we perform best when we’re able to choose those states and jump between them as needed.

So we need to be ‘in the moment’ when delivering a speech or spending time with friends, but there’s no harm in letting our mind wander when we’re going for a stroll and thinking about writing a great story.

This is where something called ‘productive meditation’ comes in. Suggested by author Cal Newport in his book ‘Deep Work’, this form of meditation means you are focussing on a problem or a creative endavor. Instead of thinking about nothing, you are thinking about something you want to work on.

And in fact, this kind of meditation agrees with what some new research suggests: that we are most creative when we active both the ‘daydreamy’ default mode network and the focussed ‘executive control network’. When you focus on being unfocussed, amazing things happen.

How to Meditate ALL Day for Amazing Results

How to Meditate ALL Day for Amazing Results

When we think of meditation, we tend to think of the most common form of the practice – or at least the one we see most commonly depicted. That is of course, the kind synonymous with the image of a sage guru sitting cross legged, hands perched on their knees, with their minds calm, chanting ‘OM’.

While this is one example of a form of meditation, it is far from the only one. Just as beneficial in fact – if not moreso – is practicing focussing the mind during your daily activities.

Because what meditation is really, is nothing more than focus. Meditation is what happens when you choose to focus your mind on something, rather than letting it bounce from one thing to the next. And the result is that you stop feeling so panicked and forget all those unhelpful thoughts that may have been racing through your mind before.

Many of the activities we engage in daily can already be considered as ‘meditative’. A good example is reading a book, or even watching a good film. Have you ever been to an amazing film at the theatre, then been completely disoriented when you exit? Because you aren’t sure what time it should be, or how long you’ve been in there? That’s because you’ve been so transfixed on what you were doing, that everything else fell aside.

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The same thing happens when you read a good book. Put it this way: you can’t be engaged in an enthralling read and worrying about what tomorrow might bring. These two activities are mutually exclusive.

Now your objective is to bring that same sense of calm focus into other parts of your life.

Take ironing for example. While you might be ironing while you watch TV, you may also find that at times, you iron as you allow your mind to go blank. You focus purely on the activity itself – the ironing – and everything else seems to fall away.

There’s something about the repetitive motion of moving an iron back and forth that can be perfectly meditative. You just have to let it! So calm your mind and choose to think about nothing else. If you can do this, then you will be able to turn ironing into meditation.

From there, the next step is to try becoming meditative while you’re washing the dishes. Then maybe while you’re walking.

Top Types of Meditation

Top Types of Meditation

Did you know there is more than one type of meditation? In fact, there are countless forms of meditation – each of which has different goals and methods.

The question then, is which type of meditation is right for you – and how do you get started with the one you choose? This guide will help you to understand more and decide.

Mindfulness Meditation

We’ll start with this one, only because it has become so popular recently that it’s the type many people may be familiar with.

Mindfulness meditation comes from cognitive behavioural therapy – a psychotherapeutic approach in psychology. The idea here is not to empty your mind of thoughts – as it is in many other forms – but rather to try and detach yourself from those thoughts and not be affected by them. Note which thoughts float by, but don’t try to change them.

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Body Scan Meditation

Closely linked to mindfulness meditation is body scan meditation – this is a form of meditation that involves focussing on each part of your body and progressively relaxing. It’s great for refreshing the brain and chilling after a hard day.

Transcendental Meditation

This is another of the more popular and well known forms of meditation. The goal here is to clear your mind and to do so usually by focussing on a mantra or perhaps an imaginary point in space. Doing this can help you to eventually close down areas of your brain while retaining consciousness.

Loving Kindness Meditation

Loving kindness meditation is a form of meditation that involves focussing your mind on a specific feeling – in this case love and kindness! By doing this, you will feel happier and you will become better at forgiving people. It also feels fantastic in the moment.

Kundalini Yoga Meditation

Kundalini yoga meditation is a form of moving meditation. The idea here is to move gently into different positions while focussing on controlling your breathing and staying calm and focussed. The result can be highly relaxing while also improving your overall health and wellness.

Religious Meditation

Religious practitioners can engage in meditation by focussing deeply on a passage of text from their scripture, or on a prayer.

Zazen

Zazen is a form of meditation associated with Zen Buddhism. It must be taught under the leadership of an instructor and involves a number of specific steps. However, the objective is once again to focus primarily on detaching yourself from your thoughts and letting go of judgement.

How to Start Meditation in 3 Easy Steps

How to Start Meditation in 3 Easy Steps

More and more people are now beginning to appreciate the amazing power of meditation. No longer does the average Joe or Josephine view meditation as being some kind of black magic – it’s now understood as a highly scientific and practical tool that anyone can and should use for better brain health.

But how do you start? It’s still a daunting and somewhat abstract concept. So to help you overcome that notion, here’s how to start meditation in 3 easy steps.

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Find a Quiet Place

Meditation can be done anywhere, but it’s certainly easier when you are free from distractions. And that’s especially true for beginners. So find a quiet spot, and if you want to make this a regular practice, try to make it somewhere that you will be able to come to often.

Now sit down however is comfortable. Don’t lie down though – only because you risk falling asleep if you do!

Set Some Time

The next step is to set yourself some time out. You can do this by setting a timer – which means you won’t need to keep checking your watch, or worry about overshooting and missing some appointment.

If you’re starting out for the first time, then ten minutes is more than enough. But in all honesty, you can even get benefit from just five minutes. This is what many people don’t realize when they make excuses for not starting. We all should be able to find five minutes of quiet in our day. If you cannot, then the issue is more deep routed than perhaps you realized!

Focus

Finally, the next step is to focus. That means focussing on something like breathing or perhaps repeating a word or phrase. You can also try focussing on something in the environment around you. A popular practice for instance is to focus on a single flame.

Then there’s the option to focus on emptying your thoughts, or perhaps to focus on reflecting on those thoughts in a dispassionate manner.

Whatever the case, all you are trying to do is to take conscious control over your attention and to direct it towards something that is non-stressful, and that will help you to recover a little energy and mood. That’s all there is to meditation and it’s really rather simple.

If you’re still struggling, then at this point you may wish to consider using a guided meditation – like something from Headspace. These guided meditations talk you through a script that will help to direct your attention for you.

How to Overcome Social Anxiety With Mindfulness

How to Overcome Social Anxiety With Mindfulness

Social anxiety is something that can be crippling for some people. This prevents us from being able to talk in public, meet new people, or in some cases even go to the shops. It’s also one of the most common forms of anxiety there is.

In fact, almost all of us will experience it to some degree.

But while there’s no simple cure to this complex problem, using mindfulness can certainly make a huge difference.

What is Mindfulness and How Can it Help?

When we think of mindfulness, we might think of mindful meditation. In fact though, this is only one facet of a larger topic.

Really, mindfulness just means being more mindful and aware of your own thoughts. It means being a little ‘self-reflective’.

In the case of a phobia or an anxiety like social anxiety, that effectively means learning to better recognize the stress-inducing thoughts that are causing your anxiety.

An example might be that you think:

“I’m going to stutter, and everyone will laugh.”

Or perhaps:

“What if what I say is stupid?”

The first step is in identifying precisely what it is that you’re afraid of. And from there, you can go about tackling it head-on.

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Cognitive Restructuring

That then, is when the next part comes in: cognitive restructuring. This is the process of understanding your negative thoughts, and so deciding that you’re going to get rid of them.

How do you do this? One way is by disproving them.

So for instance, if you’re afraid that if you stutter everyone will laugh, then you should try testing that theory. This is called ‘hypothesis testing’. Build up the courage to allow yourself to stutter, or just observe the next time it happens naturally. Do people laugh? Or are they kind?

You can also try something called ‘thought challenging’ to just pick apart the statement and see how accurate it’s likely to be.

Are your friends the sort of people to laugh at you?

Do you normally say stupid things?

Of course, this still takes a lot of time and practice. Actually, changing your beliefs is extremely hard. But using these tools it is possible to overcome your fear.

And one last tip: try adding in new beliefs. For example: what does it matter if people laugh at you anyway? Are you that wrapped up in your own ability to speak? If you’re training to get better, then let a few idiots laugh!

5 Way to Feel Calmer Instantly

5 Way to Feel Calmer Instantly

Feeling panicked and overeworked? Stressed out all the time and struggling to focus? You just described pretty much the majority of the population.

Unfortunately, being stressed and burned-out is rapidly becoming the ‘new normal’ in a world where we have too much to do and not enough time to do it in. The good news is that with the ubiquity of this issue, there is also a large array of options when it comes to treating and solving it. Here are five ways you can feel better almost instantly.

Tidy

You can go Marie Kondo on your home, or you can just do a little spring clean. Whichever you choose, you’ll find that having a more organized space can instantly help you to feel better about your current predicament.

If you only have five minutes, then just clear your immediate area. It’s often enough!

Eat

If you’re feeling very anxious, it might well be because you have allowed your blood sugar to drop. Something as simply as eating a meal can help to boost it back up and significantly improve your mood again. Our moods are tied extremely closely to what we eat, due to the link between our blood sugar and the release of cortisol and serotonin (the stress and feel good hormones respectively!).

Go for Walk

Walking helps to engage the ‘default mode network’ – the network of brain regions that spring into action whenever we’re not doing something highly active. The result is that your mind wanders and you feel calm and creative. Fresh air and scenic views will do the rest. A five minute spin around the block is all it takes!

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Meditate

Just five minutes of meditation can be more than enough to help boost your mood and help you to feel better. The aim of meditation is to calm your brain by focussing on something other than the negative thoughts you’re currently experiencing – even if that ‘something else’ happens to be nothing at all!

Just set a timer for five minutes, and make an effort to push all concerns out your brain. It’s that easy!

Exercise

Another way that you can overcome stress and anxiety is to exercise. This stimulates the release of serotonin, not to mention being extremely good for distracting yourself!

Again, five minutes might well be enough. Just take a moment out and do 30 push ups. You’ll get the blood circulating and feel better in no time.

5 Reasons You Need to Stop Stressing NOW

5 Reasons You Need to Stop Stressing NOW

If you’re currently feeling overwhelmed, stressed, and burned out, then you are certainly not alone. This is pretty much the status quo for countless millions of people around the globe.

But that doesn’t make it okay! In fact, it makes it even more important that we explore the reasons for this stress and work out ways to stop it.

Here are five reasons why you shouldn’t just ‘put up’ with serious stress.

It Makes You Unhappy

Not only does stress make you extremely unhappy in the moment – kind of by definition – but it can also lead to longer term issues with your mental health such as depression, anxiety, and mental fatigue.

When you feel low, anxious, and depressed, the world will feel as though it has no color. In order to really enjoy the things you’re doing – you need to allow yourself to.

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It Damages Your Immune System

Stress forces the body to redirect blood and oxygen away from the organs and toward the muscles. Your body assumes that if you’re very stressed, you must be in danger. Hence you are more likely to need your biceps than your spleen!

Problem is, that this then means that your immune system stops working as well as it should – leaving you open to attacks from harmful bacteria and germs. The result is that you’ll get sick more often, the longer you are highly stressed.

In the long term, stress can actually be dangerous and even cause fatal illnesses.

It Prevents Nutrient Absorption

Likewise, stress causes blood to be directed away from your digestive system (hence the feeling of getting ‘butterflies’). That then means you absorb nutrients less effectively.

Over time, this can result in serious malnutrition and nutrient deficiencies, resulting in a host of other issues.

It Causes You to Make Mistakes

When you are stressed, you will struggle to focus on the task in hand. Simply, whatever it is you’re worried about is going to seem more important.

The more you stress, the more mistakes you’re likely to make and this can lead to all kinds of complications and issues.

It Damages Relationships

Stress can make you short tempered, it can rob you of the energy you need for socializing, and it can result in you being less pleasant to be around. This has knock on effects and can place strain on your relationships.

If you don’t fix your stress for yourself, think about the impact it’s having on your children or other loved ones.

Plan Your Summer Fitness Diet

Plan Your Summer Fitness Diet

With the impending arrival of summer comes the need to get into shape. You want to make sure you have your summer beach body ready when it’s time to have fun in the sun. To do that, you need to take action without another moment’s delay.

Consider Plans You Can Stick To

To have your beach body ready to go, you need to think about choosing a fitness diet plan that you can stick to. They’re not all the same and if you pick one that you find too hard, too boring or just isn’t doing the job for you, then you’re going to end up getting discouraged and abandoning it before you achieve your goals.

You’ll want to consider a few things when you’re trying to decide on a plan. Think about the amount of money that you have to invest in your fitness and diet. Some plans can be expensive, and you don’t want to start something you won’t be able to afford after a few weeks.

When considering what you can spend on your plan, you have to look at everything that goes along with it. Some of them might want you to buy supplement products or others might have you purchasing instructional videos.

Sometimes people think that if they spend a lot of money, it means the fitness plan will give them the exact beach body that they want. But keep in mind that expensive doesn’t necessarily mean it’s the best option for you.

You also want to keep in mind any extra issues or constraints that you may have. If the plan has you eating a lot of foods that don’t go along with your particular needs, then it won’t work out.

For example, if the diet plan calls for a lot of fast paced workouts, but you’re still nursing an injury or you have a mobility limiting health problem, then that won’t work for you. You also want to factor in the convenience level for you.

If you’re someone who’s hard pressed for time and you’re always on the go, then choosing a plan that calls for making everything from scratch at home may not be the best selection for you.

If you don’t have time to make healthy food choices that can help get you the beach body you want, then you need the simplicity of having those meals readymade. When choosing a plan, you also have to consider if you’re good to handle it on your own or if you need more guidance.

Having someone in your corner to cheer you on and give you instruction through your fitness goals can be the difference between failure and success if you have a hard time going it alone.

To get the future beach body you want, you have to look back. Think over what you’ve done before. If you did something that was successful before, then consider trying that plan again.

But if you tried to lose weight and get fit in the past and it didn’t work out, then you need to know why. You don’t want history to repeat itself - not when summer is fast approaching.

If you had a fitness plan before and couldn’t stick with it, then examine why that happened. This will help you to avoid problems with a new plan. If your prior plan was too boring so you didn’t stick with it, then your beach body plan needs to offer you more variety.

Choosing a plan that you can stick to will help you achieve your beach body in time for summer. You want something you can commit to for several months at a time, so progress is on the horizon – not something you’ll walk away from shortly after you get started.

Be Careful Not to Sabotage Your Nutrition

When you want to lose weight so you can get into shape for summer, it can be tempting to take a few shortcuts. One of these shortcuts might be foregoing nutrition so that you drop the weight quickly.

Eating healthy to get the right nutrition is the best way that you can lose weight and get fit. You don’t want to hurt your health just for a few weeks’ worth of looking good. The best way to make sure you don’t sabotage your nutrition is to make sure that your eating plan is filled with foods that are nutritionally dense.

This means eating lean meats and including more fish or poultry while avoiding processed or fast food meats, which are full of chemicals. Keep your nutrition on course by choosing foods like leafy green vegetables and plenty of fresh fruits.

Give up eating foods that are packaged for convenience. These foods are high in salt, fat and just aren’t good for you. If something is a grab and go item, then it’s usually bad for your health.

That means you should stay away from those. Let go of empty calories. You’ll usually find those in beverages like sodas. Consider the carbs when you think about nutrition. You can drop your carbs and eat a low carb diet to get fit faster without undermining your health.

You might think that following a quick fit plan would be best, but anything that involves you not eating healthy is not good for your body. Especially if it’s a fad diet. Fad diets rob you of nutrition and can be extremely dangerous.

To get the beach body you want, you have to protect your nutrition. Any plan that severely limits your food intake, or has you skipping meals might not be one that’s best for you.

There are plenty of diets you can follow to obtain a beach body. The ones that focus on good nutrition, filling meals, healthy snacks and steady weight loss will help you lose weight the right way – and keep it off.

Most of the low carb diets, diets for diabetics or diets for people with heart health issues are great to follow. Some people choose to follow a low fat diet, but you want to be careful with these kinds of diets.

Low fat doesn’t necessarily equal nutritious. In fact, many of these eating plans have you eating a lot of carbohydrates found in foods that are known to cause health problems.

When you’re ready to choose an eating plan, look for one that gives you three meals or five to six smaller ones per day. Make sure that snacks are part of the menu. You’ll want to ignore any kind of weight loss plan that sounds too good to be true.

Pick a Plan That Targets Your Trouble Areas

While you can choose from a selection of different diets, it’s always best to choose one that’s customizable to whatever your personal needs are. Some people struggle with getting their tummy in shape.

Other people have a problem with bloating. You might have inflammation that causes you to struggle. Pick a plan that can deal with that. Your summer fitness diet should be one that targets the areas you have the most trouble with.

If you do that, then you’ll have greater success. If you’ve been having trouble getting your tummy in shape and it’s been making you wonder if you’ll ever get the beach body that you want, rest assured that there is a way to deal with that.

While it can sometimes appear that you might have a lot of abdominal fat, that might not be the case. Sometimes, just eating the wrong foods can cause your stomach to pooch out.

You might feel like you’ve gained weight in that area. If that sounds like what you’re dealing with, then you might be having a problem with abdominal bloating. This can happen whether you’re a man or a woman and the older that you get, the more likely it is that a sagging or protruding tummy is connected to bloating.

This can be caused by eating certain foods - especially foods that are high in fiber. Your stomach pooch might be caused by eating beans or broccoli, by having dairy products and even certain fruits such as apples.

Choose a summer fitness diet that avoids consumption of foods that are known to cause bloating. If you do this, you’ll notice a marked improvement. For people who struggle with tummy fat that’s not caused by bloating, you’ll want to focus your diet plan on eating foods that are known to promote a slimmer stomach, thanks to their minerals or insulin leveling ability.

Some of these are foods like bananas, green tea, yogurt and avocados. Having a problem with inflammation in the body can cause you to have all sorts of fitness issues including bloating, swelling throughout the body, fatigue and more.

To beat inflammation, choose a healthy diet that’s anti-inflammatory. While a diet that’s anti-inflammatory won’t heal a condition, what it does is it limits your body’s reaction to inflammatory triggers.

The fewer inflammatory foods you eat, the less your body has to deal with the side effects caused by certain foods. This means fewer painful reactions in addition to eating healthy.

Because the anti-inflammatory diet is considered healthy and lower in calories and carbs, you will lose weight and trim your shape. It kills two birds with one stone – pain relief and weight loss.

Save Money Shopping for Plan Foods

Having a food plan can help you discover how you can eat nutritionally balanced meals and still get a summer beach body. Though there are dozens of food plans available for you, when it comes to saving money when shopping for plan foods, the steps you’ll take are the same for each of the different plans.

You might think that you can’t afford to buy the foods on a fitness diet plan, but it’s actually easier and less expensive than you think. Contrary to what some believe, you don’t have to eat only organic foods and you don’t have to buy everything fresh.

You do want to eat lean meats and you do want to have plenty of fruits and vegetables as most plans suggest. But you can buy these in a different section of the store rather than from the fresh meat counter or the produce section.

When it’s time to shop for your plan foods, take a look in the freezer section. You’ll find a big selection of foods that are listed on your plan. There’s a mistaken belief that if a food is frozen, then it’s not as good for you as buying it from the other sections, but that’s simply not true.

If you’ll read the packages, you’ll see that most frozen foods are the best of the pick and aren’t prepared with chemicals. You just get the vegetable or the fruit. But best of all, you spend a whole lot less.

For the cost of two fresh apples, you can get an entire week’s worth of apple slices for your menus. You can choose a bag of frozen green beans that will keep for a month or longer versus fresh ones that keep a week, if that.

Besides the frozen area, don’t forget the canned goods. You might assume that foods in a can aren’t as good for you as fresh foods, but that’s not true either. The majority of canned fruits or vegetables don’t contain anything extra.

All you have to watch out for is to make sure the food isn’t packaged with anything that adds calories such as gravies or syrup. You can make canned healthy foods last longer than fresh foods and they’re just as good for you nutritionally.

You’ll spend less money, the food won’t spoil as quickly and you’ll be able to stick to your fitness plan. When you buy frozen or canned healthy foods, it can be easier to make what you need and freeze the rest so you get the added convenience of having already prepared foods that you simply thaw out and use.

Even if you’re one person, it’s cheaper to buy meat in family size portions. You can divide these up into individual recipe portions and freeze them. When shopping for meat on your fitness diet plan, make sure you keep an eye out for sales. Most stores will put meat on sale after a holiday event.

Should You Go Delivery or Start from Scratch?

The kind of effort you’ll have to put into what you eat will depend on the diet plan that you choose. You can find some of them that will bring the food right to your front door.

But in other plans, you’ll be the one doing all the work.

So how do you know which one is the right plan for you? Look at the pros and cons for both. With a delivery diet service, you don’t have to spend any time shopping for the food.

You don’t have to make it to the grocery store when you’re tired. Your food is just there when you need it. Delivered food is nutritionally sound. All the guesswork is done for you.

Plus, if you need something extra because you have a health issue or you have strict food preferences, those are taken care of for you. You won’t have to spend time in the kitchen after the meal washing dishes or loading the dishwasher.

The food comes in disposable packages. When you use a delivery service, you get a lot of healthy choices. The person preparing the meals makes sure that the foods that you eat are going to offer you tons of different options.

You’ll get fruits and vegetables galore. The calories will be figured for you. No more wondering if you’re dieting right. You’ll know that you are. On the other hand, there are some cons to using a delivery service.

They can be extremely expensive. You won’t always enjoy the foods that you get because while you have choices, these aren’t unlimited. Some of the options might be foods you’ve never heard of and just aren’t what you’d prefer.

Sometimes there can be a lot of repeat foods. If there’s a problem with your order, you might not have the food that you want when you need it. There is a risk of the food spoiling if it’s not delivered to you at the right temperatures.

You sometimes have to arrange to be home when the food is delivered. You can choose to make your diet foods yourself when you’re following some plans. The pros to doing this are that you always get to pick exactly what you want.

You can make sure that the foods are ones you know you like. You can make your diet meals bigger so that you end up having leftovers to take for lunch or to use to create another meal.

It’s much cheaper to buy and prepare your own foods than it is to pay a delivery service.

But the cons are that when you’re tired, it’s easier to skip making a healthy meal at home and stop for fast food or order take out.

When you’re lacking time, you can find yourself just throwing things into the shopping cart so you can get done with the grocery shopping. What you pay for when you use a delivery service is the convenience - and you just have to decide if the cost is worth it to you.

Planning your summer fitness diet is something that requires consideration for your personal preferences, your budget, your available time and most importantly – its ability to help you achieve your goals.

You might need to lose weight or you might already be at or near your goal weight, but want to get started on a plan that will help you tone your body and build muscle, so you’ll want to pick a plan that caters to your needs and isn’t something generalized for the masses.

A look at common joint problems

A Look at Common Joint Problems

A common source of joint discomfort is inflammation. In fact, many of the problems associated with joint pain stem from inflammation. This can cause joints to become inflamed, swollen, stiff and even rickety when cushioning in the area gets affected.

Here’s a look at some of the most common issues causing joints to become inflamed and painful.  

Arthritis

Arthritis, despite being very common, isn’t well-understood. It’s not a single disease but a name given to group of about 200 problems that affect the joints. The root cause behind all of these problems is inflammation of the joints.

Arthritis can affect people of all ages but is most common in women and older individuals. The common symptoms that you can experience during arthritis are pain, swelling, decreased mobility and stiffness. Symptoms can range from mild and moderate to severe. As arthritis worsens, you may find doing everyday tasks a nuisance. Inability to climb the stairs or bend down are common symptoms of progressed arthritis.

Osteoarthritis is arthritis that occurs when wear and tear of cartilage takes place. Being the most common type of arthritis, this problem is characterized by excessive pain and stiffness. As the cartilage wears away, there’s no cushioning left for the bones. So, when you move, the bones run against each other and this friction causes the feeling of discomfort.

If the problem persists, the condition can get worse and joint strength is lost. The risk factors for this problem are obesity, age and any previous injury. Anyone with a family history of osteoarthritis is also likely to get it at some point in their life.

Arthritis can impact any set of joints, but its effects are felt most in the hips, knees, neck, back or the hands.

Another example is rheumatoid arthritis which is a kind of autoimmune disease. In this condition, inflammation increases in the body which causes joint damage and pain. Risk factors include genetic and environmental reasons.

For example, smoking is a risk factor that can cause rheumatoid arthritis in specific people who have a particular gene. The aim of medication that is given for treating this disease is to increase mobility and reduce stiffness.

Arthritis is diagnosed by a physician by doing blood testing and taking some imaging scans. If the problem gets bad, an orthopedic surgeon performs joint replacement surgery. Arthritis may also affect other parts of the body when it progresses, so other specialists like dentists and ophthalmologists may also be needed.....

What are joints?

What Are Joints?

Imagine if the skeleton had only one solid bone. That would make it very difficult to move. So instead nature solved this problem by dividing the skeleton into many bones, and creating joints where the bones intersect. 

Joints are also known as articulations forming strong connections that join bones, teeth, and cartilage to one another. Now you have the freedom of movement in different ways and directions.

Some joints open and close like a hinge such as your knees and elbows, allowing you to straighten or bend your legs and arms. You sit down, stand up, pick up, and put down stuff using these joints without giving it a second thought.

Others joints are meant for more complicated movements such as your shoulder or hip joint. These allow for forward, backward, sideways, and rotating movements. Just think of everything you can do with these joints and you’ll get an idea of how limited your movement can become if any of these joints suffer damage.  

But not all joints are created equal. For instance, while joints like the knees provide stability, others like the wrist, ankles, and hips let you move, glide, skip, or run.

And just as their functions vary, so does their anatomy. Which means that you also need to take care of them in specific ways.

Some joints are purely made of tough collagen fiber while others have cartilage binding bones together. Yet others have something known as synovial fluid in between cartilage pads at the end of articulating bones.

So while you may think that all joints can be maintained using the same methods, you may need to rethink your joint-health strategy. Let’s first take a look at the different types of joints found in the body before discussing how to take care of them...

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