Healthy Lifestyles


Do you worry about things or feel tense and anxious all day with no real reason? This type of worry can drain your energy, interfere with your sleep and wear your body out. Everyone gets anxious at times, but this condition remains constant, you might be experiencing Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD).

Generalized Anxiety Disorder is unlike a phobia where you might have a fear of a certain situation or thing. With GAD, you feel and overall feeling of dread or unease throughout your day and life.

Do these thoughts sound familiar?

  • “I can’t get my mind to stop … it’s driving me crazy!”
  • “She’s late … something terrible must have happened.”

If you have trouble turning off your anxious thoughts, you might try some of these tips to help you reduce your anxiety.

  1. Practice relaxation techniques. Anxiety is your body’s way to react to a perceived threat. Relaxation techniques will help your muscles relax, your heart rate slow down and your blood pressure stabilize. Examples of relaxation techniques include progressive muscle relaxation, deep breathing and meditation.
  2. Look at your worries in new ways. You might think that you’re protecting yourself with your worrying, but actually it saps your energy and exacerbates the condition. Change your thinking from “What if” situations to challenging irrational worrisome thoughts. This will help you postpone worry and provide your body with relief.
  3. Learn to calm down quickly. Self-soothing is a skill like any other task. Practicing methods to self-sooth will help you reduce anxiety. Here are a few ways to practice self-soothing:
    1. Sight – Take in a beautiful view, look at treasured photos.
    2. Smell – Light scented candles. Stop and smell the roses, literally.
    3. Sound – Listen to nature’s sounds or soothing music.
    4. Touch – Take a bath or wrap yourself in a warm blanket. Pet your dog or cat.
    5. Taste – Enjoy a cup of hot coffee or tea. Cook yourself your favorite meal.

Smoking Cessation

Smoking is an expensive and dangerous habit. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, 1 in 5 deaths can be attributed to tobacco use. If you’ve thought about quitting cigarettes for the New Year, here’s some tips to help you along the way.

  • Set a quit date. A plan without goals is just a dream. Set a date and stick to it.
  • Find a Reason to quit. Is it your health? Financial? Your kids? Find something meaningful as your motivation.
  • Get treatment. Find help when needed. Contact the American Cancer Society hotline at 800.227.2345 to find local support groups. Go to websites like for additional help. Only 1 in 3 smokers are successful without support.
  • Take advantage of medicines. Nicotine replacement therapy is very successful. Talk with your doctor about the various forms available.
  • Keep Trying! Experts say it takes 7 to 10 attempts to be successful at smoking cessation. If at first you don’t succeed, Try, Try again.
  • Communicate with those who are close. Let others know you are quitting and look to them for support. Rid your home of any cues that may cause the urge to smoke—matches, lighters or certain foods and drinks.
  • Money! Smokers are spending an extra $2,000 to $4,000 per year on smoking alone. This doesn’t account for the increased health insurance costs and other associated expenses.

Heart Disease

Heart disease is still the #1 cause of death in the United States.  There are several risk factors for developing heart disease, some controllable and some uncontrollable. Uncontrollable risk factors include age, race and family history. Controllable risk factors include smoking, high blood pressure, high “bad” cholesterol and low “good” cholesterol.

Heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women. Cholesterol plays a critical role in your heart health. Cholesterol can be broken down into many different segments, but for today’s discussion, we’ll focus on good cholesterol (HDL) and bad cholesterol (LDL).

While the risk for heart disease increases as your total cholesterol increases, the breakdown is what is important. High Density Lipoprotein (HDL) is the cardioprotective form of cholesterol. It can be controlled through exercise, diet or medications. All people should strive to stay above 40 mg/dl of HDL for men and 50 mg/dl in women, the higher the better. A significant reduction in risk of heart disease can be achieved with HDL levels above 60 mg/dl.

Low Density Lipoprotein is considered the “bad” cholesterol. The higher the level of LDL—the greater the risk of heart disease. Low Density Lipoproteins should be below 130 mg/dl in both men and women. For those with diabetes or multiple risk factors for heart disease, LDL goal should be less than 100 mg/dl.

Periodic screening for high cholesterol is recommended for all men ages 35 to 65 and all women ages 45 to 65.  Catching risk factors early will lead to interventions that can reduce absenteeism and improve productivity.

Heart Disease and Stress

Does stress increase the risk of heart disease? Many studies have shown the correlation of un-managed stress to emotional and physical problems, including high blood pressure, irregular heart beats and heart disease. The jury is still out as to the exact mechanisms, however, it is believed that persistent elevated levels of adrenaline and cortisol, the stress hormones, lead to increased risk for heart disease.

So, what are the warning signs of stress? You can break down the indicators into several areas.

  • Physical – Grinding teeth, dizziness, headaches, difficulty sleeping, ringing in the ears, tiredness, sweaty palms, weight gain or loss.
  • Emotional – Sadness, irritability, anger, loneliness, negative thinking, mood swings, anxiety, crying and depression.
  • Mental – Poor memory, constant worry, inability to concentrate, lack of creativity, difficulty making decisions and loss of sense of humor.
  • Behavioral – Compulsive eating, impulsive actions, increased use of drugs or alcohol, withdrawal from relationships or social settings

Ways to reduce stress

It’s impossible to avoid stress completely, however, there are steps you can take to manage or minimize stress. Like most things, it’s best to first recognize that you are stressed and identify the underlying reasons for your stress.

  • If you’re experiencing a change in your life, try to continue to do some of the things that you did before the change.
  • Be realistic with your schedule. Don’t cram in more than is physically possible. Small victories reduce stress.
  • Take a break when things are at a breaking point.
  • Avoid stressful situations. Rather apparent but necessary. If road rage is stressing you out, take the longer, less traffic path, your body will appreciate it.
  • This is one of the best ways to relieve stress and do other healthy things for your body.

Stress management techniques can include all forms of relaxation that is discussed further in these pages under the stress management section.

Blood Pressure

Blood pressure is one of the simple measures in preventative medicine. It's easy to determine and can help you monitor your ongoing health. For people under age 18, blood pressure should be approximately 120/80; for ages 18 to 50, it should be 140/85 or below; over 50, check your blood pressure periodically because it has a tendency rise.

Blood pressure fluctuates depending on your stress, activity level and many other factors. Therefore, everyone should have his or her blood pressure checked several times a year. You may be able to prevent hypertension or high blood pressure by improving your diet, getting plenty of exercise and maintaining a healthy weight. If you have high blood pressure, you should see your doctor who might prescribe aerobic exercise, changes in diet and medications to treat high blood pressure. Diuretics or beta-blockers are common medications to treat high blood pressure.



Diabetes is the seventh leading cause of death in the United States. This debilitating disease may lead to pain from nerve damage, blindness and amputation. A recent study commissioned by the American Diabetes Association found that the cost of diabetes has risen 41% over the past five years. Diabetes in America has increased by 23% from 2007 to 2012.

The increase in costs is directly related to the increased prevalence of the disease. California leads the country with the highest diabetes cost with New York representing the fourth highest cost. Government insurance, including Medicaid, Medicare and the military, covered about 62% of the costs of diabetes care while 3.2% of the costs fell on the uninsured.

The risk factors associated with diabetes include age, heart disease, obesity, lack of exercise and family history. High levels of blood sugar associated with diabetes may go unnoticed for years because type 2 diabetes develops slowly. Always consult with your doctor if you feel that you may be susceptible to developing diabetes based on the risk factors.

You can live a fulfilled life with proper treatment and care of diabetes. Medication, exercise and proper nutrition will aid you in controlling this disease.

Cancer Prevention

The statistics are staggering—one in eight women will develop breast cancer. When was the last time you had a mammogram? How often do you perform a breast self-exam? Early detection could lead to a positive outcome.

Other cancers are important to consider, too. Are you a smoker? Smoking is the primary cause of lung cancer and emphysema. It’s also a risk factor for bladder, esophageal and other cancers. What steps have you taken to initiate a stop smoking program?

Chronic Low Back Pain

Chronic low back pain can lead to unwanted changes in your lifestyle including increased stress and depression. Here are some basic steps that you can take to reduce the chance of low back pain.

  • Proper lifting techniques: Lift with your knees and tighten your core muscles. Keep the object close to your body and maintain the proper posture throughout the lift. As an employer, you can provide regular reminders or classes on lifting safety. The more often your employers think about lifting properly, the better the chance that they will.
  • Posture: Correct posture isn’t only for lifting. If you stand for long periods, rest one foot on a raised platform or step every so often. Keep reading material at eye level to prevent you from continuously looking down. If you spend most of your day seated, choose a chair that allows you to rest both feet flat on the floor while keeping your knees level with your hips.
  • Reduce Repetitive Activities: While your job may require a repetitive activity, there are things you can do to reduce the fatigue on your muscles. First and foremost, take a thirty second break every fifteen minutes or so to stand up, stretch or relax. If working at a computer, make sure the chair and monitor height allow you to sit without straining and allows you to maintain a natural posture. Don’t talk on a phone wedged between your ear and your shoulder. Switch to a headset to minimize stress and strain.
  • Stress: Reduce stress in the workplace. While you may not be able to control everything, encourage your workers to take a walk during their lunch break, even a quick ten-minute walk can have positive effects.

With back pain, little changes can go a long way. Don’t try all the changes at once, implement them a little at a time.

Communicable Disease

Flu and its complications account for nearly 50,000 deaths a year. Get your flu shot and remember to wash your hands often.


Obesity is at epidemic levels and can lead to heart problems, diabetes and many other conditions. What are your eating habits? How often do you exercise?

Feel free to stop in and ask us about any of the above conditions. We would be happy to consult with you and point you in the right direction.