Living With Christopher

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Mark Haddon wrote a marvelous book that became a bestseller and won both the Whitbread Book of the Year and Whitbread Novel awards. It was said that Mark Haddon himself exclaimed, “Who on Earth would want to read about a fifteen-year-old boy with a disability?,” while he was making this book. Little did he know that it was exactly the fifteen-year-old boy with a disability that made his book stand out, win awards and become a bestseller. The book is called, “The Curious Incident Of The Dog In The Night-Time and the boy is Christopher.”

Christopher is an autistic-savant. He can name all the countries in the world and their capitals. He has a photographic memory and a genius in math and science. Despite of his unusual intelligence, he cannot imagine, understand figures of speech and relate to jokes. He also does not like places with a lot of people and people touching him. People who are autistic-savants exhibit both characteristics common among those with autism and those with Savant Syndrome. Autism is one developmental disorder among the group of Autism Spectrum Disorders. This condition is mainly characterized by impairment in socialization, imagination and communication. Savant Syndrome is characterized by very low general intelligence but extraordinary narrow intelligence usually in the fields of mathematics, music, art and memorization.

In the story, Christopher’s parents are separated. His mother decided to leave Christopher and his father because she cannot cope anymore with the demands of having an autistic child. Parents who take care of special children such as those with autism may probably have a higher stress level compared to most parents. This is mainly because their children have special demands, unusual behaviors and different abilities compared to other kids of the same age. These children will most likely find it difficult to communicate, thus, resulting to unusual reactions. An example of this is when an autistic child cries for no apparent reason and begins hitting himself or herself. Most likely, something has caused him or her to feel upset but cannot convey what it is because he or she does not know how. Some autistic children with sensory integration problems may either be hypersensitive or hyposensitive to touch, pressure, movement and sound. They will show certain behaviors that are sometimes difficult to understand such as avoidance of certain types of food and drinks, pinching or hitting, repetitive movements and screaming. Some of them can also exhibit strong adherence to certain routines and fear of new places or people. To accommodate the needs and cope with the behaviors of these children is not easy and, therefore, can result to a lot of stress.

Autism can greatly limit a child’s world. They thrive in security and anything they perceive as a threat to their security should be avoided. However, a lot of factors, situations and demands of society make them insecure and being forced to deal with these makes them very anxious most of the time. Unconsciously and unintentionally, children with autism have a constant feeling of anxiety to anything that is new or foreign to their understanding. Just like in the book, when Christopher had to go beyond the area of the town that is familiar with him, he felt physically sick and afraid. Unlike most children, those with autism cannot easily adapt to new environment or situations. The process of learning to understand and accept what is previously unknown to them results to a higher level of anxiety.

Despite what seems to be a difficult task of adapting and coping with autistic children, a lot has already been studied and published regarding proper management that will not only lessen the children’s anxiety but also their parents’ stress. Certain methods such as Cognitive Behavior Modification, Behavior Modification Techniques and Environmental Modification Techniques had been proven effective in changing the inappropriate behaviors and improving the learning skills of children with autism. Some, having compounding conditions other than autism, may need additional treatment as advised by the doctors. Autistic children who also have manic depression due to their unhappiness with being involuntarily trapped in their self-protecting behaviors may need more therapy than what was mentioned earlier. Consulting a psychiatrist is highly advisable in this situation and other medications may be prescribed.

Christopher’s story ended with him being able to overcome challenges that have caused him too much anxiety and his mother deciding to return to take care of him. Just like in this fictional novel, the same can be achieved in real life in terms of dealing with stress and anxiety among families who need to cope with the condition. Through proper management, medication or treatment, stress and anxiety among parents and autistic children can be addressed effectively.
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The Perfect Body

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The Perfect Body. Everyone wants it. If we have the perfect body, it becomes a race to keep it. "I can't gain that weight back." If we don't have it we resent it, some to inconsolable longing. This longing can verge on an obsession to extreme measures (Al Roker). We strive for those low body fat numbers 8-10% for men and 15-20% for women. We count calories or eat low carb for that perfect thin body. We want all traces of rolls, dimples and squishy, puffy soft skin gone. All signs of gravity lifted. Our age needs to be defied. We want tone, taught and lean skin and muscles. We have to look like models and superstars who are paid thousands a day to look the way they do. Lithe. long, lean, sinewy, wispy even drawn. Pay no attention that these stars can afford the time and trainers to exercise 4 hours a day in the pursuit of perfection. There's a plethora of diet books out there.

We're all studying weight loss. Each new book brags a new solution. But the diet industry has grown as large and swollen as the American public's waistlines. Diets, pills, patches, concoctions, procedures, prescriptions and remedies to supposedly 'cure your condition'. Meanwhile health care costs are spiraling out of control from high cholesterol, high blood pressure, diabetes and other diseases exacerbated by being overweight. We can turn away from it in anger, disgust or frustration, to give up and get fat (1/4 of America). Or continue from one diet to the next fad, yoyoing into obesity (other 1/4 America). What is going on? As life gets easier with our technological advances and our economic success we become more sedentary. Is it the increased need for instant gratification causing the obesity? Or is it mass produced fast foods with no nutritional value that are just too easy to acquire?

Add to this a sedentary lifestyle. Speaking of instant gratification, liposuction seems an easy solution. It will suck the fat away making us look perfectly thin but our blood chemistry doesn't change. We're still overweight inside, ripe for heart disease and sure to gain the weight back. The weight then tends to come back in all the wrong places exacerbating the situation (look out Nicole Smith!) Self-esteem and body weight are inextricably linked. I have to say that the recognition I receive (as a woman) for being slim is real. Generally the thinner I am the more positive the response. My experience probably reflects others, in that the social recognition for thin is insidious. Media, society, and culture reinforce these perspectives. Self-esteem and body weight I conclude are inextricably linked for most. It will take more than a rebellious few such as Queen Latifa who's refreshing attitude expresses "Thin for who? For what? I like my meals! I'm happy and successful! And I like being full figured!" Her message liberates perfectionist thinking. She's got curves and her body fat is probably a healthy 25%.

The pursuit of the perfect body then becomes a self esteem issue. If we want recognition we can't eat, drink or be merry! We need to always be in control to uphold these rigid standards. That's the rub. For naturally fun loving, giving and sharing folks who want to enjoy life while being healthy and productive here's a solution. Lose control! Queen Latiffa does it by taking off on her motorcycle going from here to who knows where. Lose yourself in something you love to do and forget the rest. I call it 'zoning' when I lose myself in my writing, exercising, playing with kids, music, conversation sometimes even in housecleaning (Beware: this 'zoning' thing is contagious and starts to infiltrate everything you do). Just lose yourself in the moment, and find the zone within. It builds self esteem, burns calories and generates bliss at the same time. What if we all completely forgot about having a perfect body and refocused on being healthy? We'd lose all the emotional baggage that comes with perfection. We'd focus instead, on health and feeling good. We would eat properly and sensibly and exercise. Lots of vegetables, lean proteins and some whole grains. Nutrient packed foods, which have negative calories because they're work for the body to break them down. It's the man made foods that tempt us and make us eat too much because they just taste so...good? These foods spoil our taste buds: sugar, processed foods, white flour, hydrogenated oils. They take away the pleasure of simpler more complex flavors. Plus these once nutritious foods are processed into empty fat storing, blood sugar raising caloric dumping. Yes, okay sometimes we can indulge with a glass of wine or piece of chocolate. We can't always say no. Halloween and the holidays are imminent and we need good habits to fortify our resolve without being rigid. Here's a strategy!

Eat the healthy foods first. Relish them and get satisfied. After the meal is when you go for the 'bad' or 'fun' food if you still need to. You'll only eat a little, because you're sated. There are no diet secrets, only common sense. Of course there is the role of social stigma and the media continuing to rev the engine of needing to have a perfect body. But we know better now. We may not look like a super star or model but maybe our natural healthy glow from our zoning through life in good health will give us the longevity and quality of life we all desire. Part of being productive in our daily life is exercise. Our advanced technology affords us the time to make time for daily exercise. Our bodies need, crave it and respond to it once the habit is formed. One thorough give it your all effort, for one hour a day is plenty. Exercise is what keeps you looking, feeling and being young.

Exercise for survival is part of our evolution. Did our predecessors ever prioritize a perfect body? So forget about perfection. Now get out there eat healthy, exercise and find your zone to enjoy life to its fullest. PS. Can we have the perfect body? Absolutely! Can you keep it once you've got it? Definitely! But the only way it will really stay is a lot of rigid control (saying no) or a lot of losing control by 'zoning' and regular exercise.
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Shopping Tips: What to Look for When Shopping for Tops

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When you are shopping for tops it is important to keep in mind the style of tops and how that style will look on you. 

Will it make you look larger, slimmer, pale or vibrant? Like other clothes tops have the ability to hide your flaws and bring out your assets. Knowing your body type well and how to dress it is the key. A versatile wardrobe has more tops than bottoms. A different top can change the look of an outfit instantly. It can change an outfit from daytime to nighttime and from blah to wow!

* Sweaters are not all equal. Large bulky sweaters, pullover, button down and the cardigan will make you look larger and are worn for a more casual (not workplace casual), relaxed look. Turtleneck and mock turtleneck lightweight sweaters work well under many jacket styles.

* Print tops will add pizzazz to your outfit. Make sure the colors in the top matches the bottom color.

* Blouses without pockets work better with jackets than blouses with pockets.

* Pockets can also be a problem when they are too low. Low pockets can make your bust look low or droopy.

* Tops or shells with glitter paired with a matching skirt can add dazzle to an outfit.

* Sleeves; short, long or sleeveless. If you do not want to show your arms wear long or ¾ sleeves, or for a dressier look sheer sleeves.

* Wearing sleeves, like pockets, that end just below the bust will make your bust appear droopy.

* Cotton, silk and rayon are light and are great fabrics for tops.
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8 Free Tips: The Truth About Handcare

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Look at your hands now and tell yourself what you see?

Beautifull and gorgeous hands are so important.

Hands tells everything about yourself, how you live your life and love your body.

They say that hands give a woman's age away, well so what!

But gorgeous hands are the carriers of your personality, no matter in what situation and age you are.

You wear fancy designer clothes, imagine the negative effects if you combine these fancy clothes with abbandonded hands.

Look around you and see how hands are the centre of communication.

At a party, or even a job interview, your hands are your business card.

Your hands are the ultimate tool invented ever, but you don't realize how importants these tools are. You just use them all day;

Shaking hands, cooking, doing your hair, feel, touch, work, write.

Endless, think about this for a second.

And decide now, no matter what your age is, to treat them as your treassure.

The skin of the hand is so thin, protect the skin.
Pamper your hands with your personal handlotion, 4 times a day.
Exfoliate once a week with a face exfoliater.
Use once a week your face nightcream also on your hands before you go to sleep.
Get accustomed to using rubber gloves whenever you do housework.
Prevent your hands from aging or abusing.
Protect your hands from dry weather as well as protecting them from the sun.
Use daily a protective barrier.
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20 Simple Ways to Beat Fatigue this Winter

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AS Autumn with it's breathless colours of flames and golds comes to an end, we await the arrival of Winter and it's own definitive beauty.

Yes, there is no point kidding ourselves, it will be pretty damp and, at times, downright. It will be cold and chilly and for some the task of dragging ourselves out of bed in the dark mornings will get more and more difficult. The glare of oncoming headlamps will play havoc with your eyes as you head homeward bound during the dark evenings in manic traffic. And as you reluctantly adjust to the shorter days and lack of natural daylight and sunlight, you are also faced with the fact that Christmas, and it's inevitable rush, is heading this way, as it always does, at full speed!

All the ingredients to ensure a good dose of winter fatigue I'm sure you'll agree - but help is at hand! It doesn't have to be unbearable. If you are feeling a little lack lustre, yawning at a ferocious rate and basically have just about enough energy in the evenings to slump down on the sofa in front of the box, you'll be tickled pink you opened this page! You can bring back that 'joie de vivre' and add a little peppering of genuine verve back into your life by trying some (or indeed all) of these 20 simple ways to boost your energy levels this winter!

1) SLEEP - Get as much sleep as you need to and remember your body really needs it at this time of year.

2) VITAMINS - Supplements such as Vitamins A, B and E are all important for well-being. If you want to avoid supplements, however, you can ensure that you eat the necessary foods containing these essentials. Try using 1 teaspoon of Brewers Yeast in a glass of milk or water, it's full of Vitamin B and good for digestion too.

3) LAUGHTER - Bring on the laughter and smiles, it's the most natural way to help depression, anxiety and, believe it or not, it lowers blood pressure too!

4) STRETCH - One really effective way to beat fatigue is to try a Yoga pose known as the 'Standing Stretch'. Stand in the correct posture, that is, with your toes pointed out in front of you, your knees relaxed and your feet at hip distance. Ensure the weight is balanced evenly between the ball and the heel of your foot. Interlace your thumbs and stretch your hands up above your head while keeping your arms against your ears - and stretch upwards from the lumbar area of your lower back. Keeping your breath even throughout, now slowly release the arms down in front of you. Tuck your chin into your chestbone and gently lower yourself down, vertebrae by vertebrae keeping arms hanging loosely and then just hang from the waist. This position encourages the blood flow to the head and is a real winner when you need to energise yourself. After one minute slowly bring yourself back up into a standing position, imagining as you do so that each vertebrae is stacking itself upon the next until you are eventually upright and repeat three times.

5) DIET - Check your Diet and be sure over the winter months to include at least five portions of fruit and vegetables everyday.

6) AROMATHERAPY - Use pure Essential Oils as often as you need them. Burning Peppermint or Rosemary oils is excellent for alertness and both also aid concentration. As these oils are energising oils it is best not to use them in the evening if you are planning to have a good nights sleep.

7) THE MAGIC OF WATER - Don't forget the recommended amount is approximately two litres per day.

8) AVOID toxic people because, quiet simply, they can completely drain you of energy.

9) EXERCISE - Get plenty of exercise - There's no escaping it. The health gurus recommend that we all need to include at least 15 minutes exercise, three or four times a week.

10) LEARN TO SAY 'NO' more often. As the old saying goes 'those that matter won't mind and those that mind don't matter'. You'll be amazed at how much energy you can recoup and even more amazed to discover that if you say 'no' the world will keep on turning.

11) COMBAT PARTY NIGHTS - If you've had a late night on the Town try drinking at least two glasses of water before crawling up to bed, it will make the following day far more bearable.

12) BREAKFAST - We've known from a very early age that we should never miss Breakfast. No matter how tight you are for time try not to skip it. For a quick energy-inducing breakfast grab a mug of hot water with honey and lemon and a quick bowl of cereal, ideally with fibre.

13) REDUCE your intake of Caffeine. While it may give a quick boost, a lot of caffeine daily actually ends up having a negative effect on your energy level. You might even try substituting a couple of cups a day with a herbal tea, such as sage to raise spirits, peppermint to aid digestion or chamomile to enable you to unwind.

14) LEARN - Meditation and Relaxation techniques - they'll be invaluable not just today but for life.

15) MOTHER NATURE - Get out there and make the most of the short daylight hours. Overdose on fresh air. There is nothing more revitalizing than taking the time, even if it's only 15 minutes a day, to soak in our beautiful scenery and breathe in the fabulous scents of the season.

16) MASSAGE - It's a wonderful way of keeping the immune system in ship shape order and the body supple and healthy. So go on invest in your health and schedule a massage once a month for optimum results.

17) DIGESTION - Be kind to your digestive system. Eat slowly and avoid late night eating as much as possible.

18) STRESS - Manage your stress levels and become aware of your react to stress. Remember stress is infectious!

19) MANAGE TIME EFFECTIVELY - Avoid using up your lovely energy by rushing to every appointment. Aim to leave about fifteen minutes earlier, not only will you arrive in plenty of time - you'll be completely unfrazzled.

20) CONCIOUS BREATHING - Believe it or not most of us don't breathe properly. With the speed of modern day life most adults are chest breathers which means the breath doesn't make it right down into the abdomen. Become conscious of your breath each day by taking a little time to become aware of your breathing habits. The following short exercise will benefit you in many ways as well as helping to re-energise your mind, body and soul...Firstly r-e-l-a-x your entire body by taking a deep breath into your stomach. As you slowly release it imagine it traveling up along your spine, relaxing all the muscles as you go and bringing attention to the shoulders by consciously dropping them into a relaxed position. Follow your breath and think about bringing the breath down into the bottom of the lungs and really feel the tummy rising and then exhale fully and slowly. After just a few minutes resume your regular activities and feel the difference.

Now you'll be ready to welcome the coming months with open arms and revel in the wonderful delights this season has to offer leaving you invigorated and ready to enjoy this Winter. You won't know yourself - I promise!
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Using Yoga to Manage ADD

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Exercise is a powerful tool for ADD management. Medical professionals recommend that adults get at least 30 minutes of aerobic exercise (such as running or biking) 3-5 times per week to improve their general health. For ADDers, this type of exercise is particularly beneficial, because it may balance production of neurotransmitters and reduce stress levels. Another form of exercise that ADDers are finding valuable is yoga. When practiced regularly, yoga offers numerous health benefits, such as increased strength and flexibility, and decreased blood pressure and cholesterol
levels. However, the greater benefits of yoga are arguably the psychological ones. Yoga combines physical activity with self-awareness, which promotes a mind-body connection that many ADDers lack.

When ADDers report challenges with impulsivity and hyperactivity, they often describe feeling like they don't have control over their own bodies. They find themselves speaking before thinking their thoughts through, and often regret their words. They constantly fidget, unaware that their bubbling energy can be disruptive to others in work and social situations. And they feel as if they simply cannot stop the whirlwind of thoughts spinning in their heads.

Yoga can help ADDers learn how to forge a mind-body connection that promotes self-awareness and self-control. Yoga practitioners are taught deep breathing and relaxation techniques that help center the mind in the present moment. Practitioners are also guided into holding different postures, called asanas. Each asana is held for an extended period of time, as the practitioner focuses on holding the best posture that they can, while breathing calmly and deeply. The asanas promote stretching, strengthening, and balancing, as the deep breathing promotes relaxation and
mental awareness.

It is important to remember that yoga is not meant to be stressful or taxing on the body. People should be encouraged to concentrate only on themselves and not the others in the class, and to do only what feels comfortable. A practitioner should never feel pressured to perform. If an ADDer finds him/herself at a yoga class that moves too quickly, or focuses heavily on strength training, they will not reap the
intended benefits, and may find themselves overwhelmed. The best place to find yoga instruction is at a yoga center, where the instructors practice yoga as a way of life, and teach both the physical and psychological components.

Yoga can help ADDers feel calm, centered, in control, and in touch with their bodies. Practiced regularly, ADDers will find that yoga is a powerful mental and physical refresher that they can retreat to when feeling out of control or overwhelmed.

Jennifer Koretsky is a Professional ADD Management Coach who helps adults manage their ADD and move forward in life. She encourages clients to increase self-awareness, focus on strengths and talents, and create realistic action plans. She offers a 90-day intensive skill-building program, workshops, and private coaching. Her work has been featured in numerous media, including The New York Times Magazine and The Times (UK).
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Eight Yoga Exercises For the Lower Back

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EXERCISES FOR BACK RELIEF

Many people believe that rest is best for a painful back, but actually, what your back really needs when it's hurt is exercise. Regular exercise relieves back pain by strengthening and stretching the muscles that support the spine and helps to prevent future injury. This is a use it or lose it situation: the more you rest, the weaker your back gets, even if it is hurt. Studies have actually shown that you can heal your back pain faster and get back to your regular activities with just two days of rest. 

This article will focus on Yoga Exercises. Remember to contact your doctor before beginning any exercise program.

YOGA EXERCISES FOR YOUR BACK

A good, regular yoga practice will go far in relieving the stress and tension that sometimes cause mild back pain, and in fact, studies have shown that yoga is the number one most effective exercise for relieving back pain. However, not all yoga poses relieve back pain, and some can in fact aggravate existing pain, so it is important to know which poses will be most helpful in relieving back pain. It is best to do these exercises under the supervision of a certified yoga instructor, and if you encounter any problems with these poses, you should consult an expert. Even just one or two sessions with a yoga instructor can help, as an instructor will help you with your form and posture during poses. Here are some of the best yoga poses for relieving back pain. Each pose should be held from five to ten seconds, depending upon your level of comfort, and should be done on a mat or other soft, supportive surface.
CORPSE: Lie flat on your back in a relaxed position, arms resting at your sides, palms down, and legs lying naturally, with knees turned out slightly. If it hurts your back to have your knees turned outward, do this pose with knees bent, feet flat on the floor. Breathe in and out for a few seconds while allowing any tension to leave the body.
CAT STRETCH: Start out on your hands and knees with a flat back. Your hands should be directly under your shoulders with fingers spread. Knees should be directly under the hips. Head is held loosely so that you are looking at the floor between your hands. Inhale, and as you exhale, arch your back toward the ceiling, tuck your chin in to your chest so that you are looking at your navel, and tuck your tailbone underneath. Hold, then release back into your original position.
WIND-RELEASING POSE: Lie flat on your back as in Corpse pose. As you inhale, bend your knee, place your hands right below the knee, and draw your leg towards your chest. Your left leg should remain flat on the floor. Exhale and bring your forehead up to touch your knee. Inhale, and then as you exhale, return to your original position. Repeat with the other leg.
SAGE TWIST: Warning for this pose-it involves twisting your back, so you should take particular care not to twist too far or you risk aggravating any existing back pain. This should be a gentle stretch; twist just as far as is comfortable. Sit on the floor with both legs out in front of you. Bend your right knee, lift your right leg over your left, and place your right foot on the floor next to your left knee. Sitting with spine straight, place your left elbow on the right side of your right knee. Bend your left arm so that your left fingertips are touching your right hip, while at the same time, twisting to look over your right shoulder. This is where you need to be careful not to twist too far. Hold for a few seconds, release, and repeat on the opposite side.
PALM TREE: Stand with feet facing forward, arms at your sides, weight distributed evenly on both feet. Raise both arms over your head, interlock your fingers, and turn your hands so that your palms are facing upward. Next, place your palms on your head and turn your head so that you are looking slightly upward. Stretch your arms upwards, and at the same time, come up onto your toes if you can do so without pain. Stretch your entire body upward and hold, if you can. Some people have difficulty balancing during this pose, so just do the stretching part if you need to.
FISH POSE: Lie on your back with knees bent and arms at your side. Arch your back as far as you comfortably can and raise it off the ground by pushing the floor with your elbows. If you can, tilt your head backwards and rest the crown of your head on the floor. Breathe deeply from the diaphragm and hold pose for one minute if you can.
LOCUST: Lie face down with arms at the side, palms down, and elbows slightly bent with fingers pointing towards the feet. Raise your legs and thighs as high off the ground as possible without causing your back any pain. Hold for one second and repeat up to twelve times. This can be a vigorous exercise so you must take care to strain already injured muscles.
BENDING FORWARD POSTURE: Stand up straight with feet together and arms hanging loosely along your sides. Breathe in deeply and raise your arms straight above your head. While breathing out, bend forward and touch your toes if you can. If you can't reach your toes, grab hold of your ankles or calves. To complete the pose, you should touch your head to your knees, but this may be too difficult for many who suffer from lower back pain. Your movements during this pose should be smooth, not jerky.
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