Why You Should Never Store Sunscreen in the Car

As ironic as it sounds, sunscreen and sunlight don’t mix. Elevated temperatures cause the ingredients in sunscreen to break down, making it less effective at protecting your skin against UV rays. That SPF 50 suddenly becomes SPF 15 or worse without you knowing. To keep your skin safe, take good care of your sunscreen.

Common Mistakes When Storing Sunscreen

If you’ve ever ended up with a sunscreen that looks like cottage cheese, overheating is the reason why. Here’s how it usually happens:

  • Keeping sunscreen in the car: On paper, this sounds like a great idea. The problem is that vehicle interiors get insanely hot. Comfortable 70-degree weather outside translates to 104 degrees Fahrenheit inside the car, and that’s in just half an hour!
  • Leaving the bottle in direct sunlight: At the beach, some people slap on sunscreen, toss the bottle on top of their towel and jump into the water for a swim. Unfortunately, direct sunlight cooks sunscreen like an egg on the sidewalk.
  • Storing sunscreen near sunny windows: A cool house doesn’t mean sunscreen is safe from the sun’s rays. Keep your sunscreen somewhere else if the sun shines on your desk or nightstand during the day.
  • Forgetting to close the cap: Leaving the sunscreen bottle open can let hot air, bacteria, sand and salt inside. This combination isn’t good for your skin. When sunscreen smells funny or looks yellow instead of white, it’s time to buy a new bottle.

Tips for Keeping Your Sunscreen Cool at the Beach

At home, it’s pretty easy to keep sunscreen at the right temperature. However, things are trickier when planning to spend all day at the lake or the beach. Follow these tips to keep sunscreen cool when it’s blazing hot outside:

  • Wrap the bottle in a towel: Layers help insulate your sunscreen from the sun. Fold the towel in half and wrap away until your bottle is snug as a bug.
  • Use a large tote: Instead of a small purse, opt for your mammoth beach tote with snacks, water, sunglasses and other beach essentials. This gives sunscreen an extra barrier against the sun.
  • Take along a beach umbrella: Shade is your best bet for keeping sunscreen cool. At the lake, set up camp under a shade tree. At the beach, make your own shade with an umbrella. Beach umbrellas also protect your skin if you decide to nap on the sand.
  • Bring the ‘screen with you to the bathroom: If you need to run off to the bathroom, take your sunscreen with you, so it gets a chance to cool off. You need to reapply every few hours anyway.

Every Day Is Skin Protection Day

Using sunscreen every day is a great habit for skin health. At home, store it somewhere easy to reach and comfortably cool, such as a bathroom countertop or bedroom dresser. At the office, keep it in clear view instead of stashing it in a drawer. That way, it’s easier to remember to apply sun protection regularly.

To enhance your barrier against UV rays and keep skin moist, make sure you’re getting plenty of antioxidants. These natural cellular protectors are found in blueberries, black raspberries, strawberries, goji berries, pecans, red cabbage and leafy greens.

3 5-Minute Routines To Start You Day Off on the Right Foot

Though most people dream of being the types of individuals who wake up each morning with hours to spare in which they can exercise, meditate, journal, read and simply do whatever makes their souls happy, the truth is that most humans are the get-up, get-dressed and run-out-the-door types. While there is nothing wrong with sleeping in now and then, living your life in a harried state is not fun, nor is it healthy. You need a little “you” time, and it’s hard to find that once the rest of the world wakes up. The good news is that you can get that you-time by carving out just 15 minutes of your morning to dedicate to three simple yet, refreshing routines.

Meditate

Per several studies, mediation has several benefits for the mind and body. Among others, included are stress reduction, improved memory and a strengthened immune system.

While these benefits may sound good, you likely think you don’t have time to sit and “ohm” for an hour or more each morning. Well, you don’t have to.

Sitting for just five minutes each morning to detach yourself from all thoughts can profoundly positively affect your entire day. For help with getting into the habit of meditating properly, check out UCLA’s resource of free guided five-minute meditations.

Make Note of 3 Things You’re Grateful For

Similar to the “three good things” strategy used by Martin Seligman, this strategy — as brought to you by a user on Quora — involves writing down three things for which you are grateful each morning. The user encourages you to think about what you have in your life that is good, beyond material objects. These can include friends, family members, helpful neighbors, the laugh of a child, a shift in mindset or a positive development that occurred the day before.

If you have time after coming up with three items, provide an explanation for why you are grateful for them. Starting the day off by showing gratitude — rather, than, say, bemoaning your early work schedule — can help you approach the day with a more positive mindset.

Make Your Bed

Making the bed is a simple habit that has several powerful and surprising benefits for people who actually do it … Which, most people don’t. According to the data, as many as 59% of people don’t make their beds at all, while 12% pay people to do it for them. Only 27% of individuals make the bed on their own. Those individuals are happier and more productive. This is not just a broad generalization, either. Per the data, 72% of bedmakers claim to be happy, while an astonishing 62% of non-bedmakers say they are unhappy.

There are a few reasons this may be so. For starters, making the bed is a keystone habit, which means it can start a chain reaction that could help other positive habits take hold. It’s also a manageable task that, once completed, contributes to a sense of accomplishment. In addition, Bedmaking helps to improve the visual appeal and reduce the clutter effect of your bedroom, which can help to alleviate stress. It also prepares you for things you don’t want to do.

Finally, and interestingly, making the bed may contribute to a better night’s sleep. According to the Sleep Foundation, individuals who make their beds every day are more likely to enjoy a good night’s sleep every day or almost every day compared to individuals who leave their beds a mess.

Starting your day off on a positive note does not have to involve hours of free time in the morning. By setting aside just 15 minutes to meditate, express gratitude and make the bed, you can improve your morning routine and your life.

Giving New Definition To the Term Slacker: 4 Reasons To Try Slacklining

A long piece of webbing stretches the span between two trees in a local park, and a young woman balances on the inches-wide material a couple of feet off the ground. The line bends slightly under her weight as she moves forward and back, at one point appearing still on a single foot. It is incredible, astonishing; it is slacklining.

Despite the reduced risk of injury, with the slackline only two to three feet off the ground, spectators cannot be 

blamed for assuming the girl is a tightrope walker. While the activities are similar, slacklining is more approachable for novices and provides tremendous benefits.

Unfortunately, too many people cannot get past their nerves to try the activity. While there are risks involved with learning, you can mitigate those risks with proper planning. Using padded mats and lowering the line to a comfortable height, injuries become unlikely.

If you have ever wanted to try slacklining, what is holding you back? While it will take time to build confidence and become proficient, the benefits of the exercise make it worth the dedication.

1. Improves Balance

One of the crucial components of health and longevity is balance. People too often settle into a life of desk jobs and limited movement, resulting in worsening balance as they age. Poor balance can be a death sentence for seniors — 21% of people over 60 die within one year of a hip fracture.

Slacklining is a balancing and core strength exercise. Not only will participating in the activity result in better balance, but it will also result in improved posture and strength, enhanced athletic performance, and reduced impacts of arthritis.

2. Benefits the Brain

Many people are freaked out the minute they step on a slackline because it usually starts shaking. They immediately think they are going to fall, and many will. The key to slacklining is concentration and focus. Sure, balance has a lot to do with it, but without concentration and focus, you will fall every time. 

The best part about continued slackline practice is improving your focus and concentration. The brain is like a muscle, and the more you force it to focus on an intense or strenuous activity, the better it gets. In fact, a study published in Hippocampus Magazine in August of 2011 found a direct correlation between slacklining and enhancements in the memory and learning centers of the brain.

3. Promotes Muscle Gains

As slacklining is an exercise and activity, it will lead to muscle gains. The most gains are realized in the core and lower body, which are muscle groups directly associated with balance. The benefits of slacklining are often equivalent or greater than more traditional core and lower body workouts, such as squats and sit-ups.

Many practitioners express tremendous athletic gains because slacklining focuses on the core, gluteals, and quads. Think about it, every sport requires some level of balance, and slacklining is the best balancing exercise.

4. Improves Self-Esteem and Confidence

Slacklining is more than an exercise; it is potentially a life-changing experience. The amount of focus and dedication required to become proficient with the activity can often alter one's outlook.

Challenging yourself and exceeding your expectations or even meeting them is a tremendous confidence boost. Many people find that commitment and improvement on the slackline directly correlate to feelings of self-esteem and confidence.

What's your take on slacklining? Do you think you will ever give it a try?

How Many Steps Should You Take in a Day?

Everybody needs to move their feet. Walking can improve your blood circulation, protect your heart, reduce pain and improve your mood. According to several studies, people who walk every day spend less time in the hospital, have lower blood pressure and feel less depressed.

If you want to burn calories, you probably need to kick things up a notch to brisk walking, but even going for a calm, relaxed walk is good for you. How many steps should you aim for every day?

“Are You Serious … 10,000 Steps?!”

Many health professionals recommend reaching about 10,000 steps a day. That equals about 5 miles. If you feel a little shocked, you’re not alone. Most Americans only walk 3,000–4,000 steps on average, or around 2 miles.

Good news! A recent study says that you’re OK aiming for between 7,000 and 10,000 steps a day. It’s that 7,000-step marker that’s really important for your heart and your health.

Keep in mind that counting the steps you take looks at your physical activity throughout the day. It includes walking from place to place at work, walking around the store when you’re shopping for groceries and doing activities at home.

The Benefits of Walking More

Any physical exercise has a positive effect on your health, but hitting that range of 7,000–10,000 steps a day can make a major impact:

  • Lower risk of heart problems
  • Reduced risk of developing diabetes
  • Lower overall weight
  • Lower cholesterol levels
  • Reduced risk of cancer
  • Reduced risk of stroke

All of these benefits add up. People who walk every day are nearly 40% less likely to die compared to people who live a sedentary lifestyle.

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Tips for Upping Your Step Count

You don’t need a gym membership or expensive equipment to meet your step count goals. Here are a few tips for success:

  • Use a comfy pair of shoes: Walking shoes can help you enjoy your exercise more. The happier your feet are, the more likely you’ll get into a walking routine.
  • Set smaller goals: You don’t have to reach your magical number from one day to another. If you’re hitting 4,000 a day this week, aim for 5,000 a day next week.
  • Walk at work: Visit co-workers in person instead of sending emails or calling their extension. Physical activity does you good.
  • Go for a walk after lunch: Instead of heading back to your desk right away after lunch, take advantage of your time to go for a short walk outside. Plus, the fresh air is good for mental focus and mood in the afternoon.

Put on some music: An energetic tune gets you in the mood to move your feet without even thinking about it.

Ways To Stay Active During Cold Months

What if you can’t spend much time outdoors because of freezing temps? Instead of counting 7,000–10,000 steps, focus on doing moderate exercise for 150–300 minutes a week (20–40 minutes a day). Riding a bike, jumping rope, vacuuming your house, using an elliptical trainer and following a dance routine are examples of moderate-intensity exercise you can do at home. Remember that the main goal is just to increase your heart rate and get your muscles working!

7 Best Hobbies To Improve Your Mental Health

Do you recognize the signs when your mental health needs TLC? Anxiety, irritability, insomnia and depression aren't normal. They're your brain's way of saying, "I need a spa day!" One of the best things you can do is make time every week for a hobby. What are the best hobbies for mental health?

1. Singing

Music is amazing for your heart and mind. It has the power to touch your emotions. Whenever I feel depressed or sluggish, I pop in my favorite records (now they’re on a USB stick) and go wild. Singing connects you with music on a deeper level and helps you remember happy memories with loved ones. If you want to improve your technique, sign up for vocal lessons at the community college.

2. Playing a Musical Instrument

Happy or sad, when you play your instrument, you let your emotions flow in a healthy way. Learning to play a musical instrument gives you a sense of satisfaction and boosts your self-esteem. It’s also good for keeping your brain sharp. The guitar, piano, ukulele, harmonica and drums are fairly easy for adults.

3. Jamming

I really love music. It offers so many possibilities for chasing the blues away. Jamming means playing in a band with friends or family members. This hobby it exercises your memory and keeps your mind active. It's also a surefire cure for loneliness.

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4. Dancing

Dance in your living room in your socks. Invite a special someone to take ballroom dancing lessons. Go to YouTube to find the latest dancing crazes and learn the steps. Every kind of dancing offers mental health benefits. 

Dancing combines exercise with music. Physical activity is a smart idea if you’re depressed because it activates feel-good hormones called endorphins. Just let go as the rhythms flow through your body. You can literally dance your worries away!

5. Gardening

Sunshine, fresh air, blue skies, green plants and beautiful flowers are a perfect recipe for getting rid of stress. They take your mind off other things and let you appreciate the little things in life. On days when the phone keeps ringing off the hook, this is my way of telling the world to leave me alone for an hour. Make yourself some refreshing iced tea with lemon ahead of time!

6. Photography

Creative activities exercise all parts of your brain: imagination, problem solving, decision making, memory and analysis skills. Your brain’s neural pathways keep growing and adapting. Photography is an excellent way to put your creativity to good use.

To take the mental health benefits to the next level, go for a hike with your camera. Hiking in nature, and stopping to snap pictures of beautiful scenes, can break up repetitive negative thoughts and replace them with positive emotions. By the time you get back home, I guarantee you’ll have a big smile.

7. Cooking Classes

One of my favorite hobbies is inviting a few friends over to my house for girls’ night and paying for a cooking class in my kitchen. We drink a little wine, learn to cook some exotic food together and feel way happier afterward. YouTube is a cheap substitute when you want to learn a new recipe, eat delicious comfort food and show off for friends.

Hobbies are good for your physical brain and your emotional wellbeing. They protect your mental health and lower stress. And when you're happier, it benefits your entire body, from your immune system to your blood pressure!

Understanding Meditation and The Advantages of Daily Contemplation

Meditation is typically viewed as a spiritual experience, but that does not mean it is inherently religious. While several religions have traditions steeped in meditative practices like prayer and daily readings, meditation is not deliberately faith-based.


Many mindfulness instructors have shared their techniques and experiences to help bring more people into the mindfulness fold because the benefits of continuous practice are bountiful. However, while a person might meditate to form or nurture a connection to their spiritual self, they do not have to adhere to a specific ideology or religious group.

Meditation, more than anything, is a period of intense focus on the present. It is a time to shut off intrusive thoughts and feelings, like stress and anxiety. The reason so many people now meditate daily is the numerous health and wellness benefits.

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Understanding the Benefits of Daily Meditation or Contemplation

Mindfulness meditation is an excellent way to separate your feelings from your negative thoughts. Most people spend their days fixating on their challenges and shortcomings rather than taking time to reflect on something positive or taking time to calm down and focus on the problem analytically.

By taking a break from intrusive and negative thoughts, you can return to a problem with a fresh perspective, often finding a peaceful way to resolve your dilemma. If you are not used to meditation, try reading a passage from a book that inspires you. Take five to 15 minutes to reflect on the selection and nothing else. You should find that your body and mind relax during this meditative break.

Well-Being and Self-Confidence

Many people struggle to remain still for only a minute with their thoughts. The idea of change and impermanence are so terrifying they feel that every second of every day must be filled with some activity, some worry. However, as people build the habit of meditation, they begin to develop a healthier relationship with change and fear.

Meditation forces people to be present at the moment, and that feeling solidifies the knowledge that time is ever-shifting. Practitioners become comfortable and at peace with the idea of change and the passage of time, especially when they are forced to acknowledge the importance of each moment. Eventually, practitioners begin to feel an improved sense of self-worth and well-being, leading to enhanced confidence.

Physical and Psychological Health Benefits

Meditation has likely been studied more than any other mindfulness practice. According to the bulk of research, meditation has many physical benefits, including:

  • Improving metabolism

  • Regulating heart rate

  • Reducing cholesterol

  • Improving sleep quality

  • Regulating blood pressure

Additionally, meditation can help improve psychological characteristics. Many practitioners explain seeing or feeling an improvement in three areas:

  1. Happiness

  2. Focus

  3. Emotional stability

Achieving the benefits of daily meditation means you must first establish a habit. As you begin the practice of meditating, it can feel strange. You do not have to start with 20-minute sessions; many instructors explain that starting with only a few minutes a day is ideal for building a habit and routine.

Do you have any meditation practices to share? Leave a comment below.

The 3 Best Yoga Moves To Stretch and Relax a Desk Chair Body

Many people work desk jobs, which typically equates to a sedentary lifestyle despite being super productive during your eight to 10-hour shift. Beyond being compared to smoking or cancer, sitting all day can lead to sore hips and a knotted back.

While there isn’t much to be done at work, aside from purchasing a better chair or a standing desk, you can improve your health and wellness outside of the office. Yoga is one activity that is surprisingly helpful when it comes to relieving sore muscles and stiff joints. The focus on breathing, stretching, and slow and controlled movements are the key to relaxing your body and finding relief. While all yoga is beneficial, several moves can help ease a rigid desk chair body.

1. Standing Forward Fold

The forward fold can help relieve compressed muscles by slowly stretching them. It is a simple move but quite effective when performed correctly. You want to stand with your feet slightly apart, about hips-width. With your hands on your hips, inhale deeply and stretch your arms straight out above you. As you exhale, you want to bend at the hips, folding forward and engaging your abs. Tuck your chin to your chest and relax your shoulders as you extend the top of your head toward the floor, stretching your spine. You want to keep your legs as straight as possible and shift your weight forward. You can either let your hands hang down toward the floor or grab the opposite elbow. Hold the pose for 30 seconds before slowly returning to an upright position.

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2. Downward Facing Dog

The downward-facing dog pose focuses on strengthening all those areas that are stiff or sore from sitting all day: shoulders, back, hamstrings, and calves. To perform the pose, start on your hands and knees, your hands should rest on the floor beneath the shoulders, and your knees aligned with your hips. Inhaling, tuck your toes under your heels, and exhaling, lift your hips into an upside-down V shape. Spreading your fingers wide, create a line from your elbow to your middle finger on each side. Relax your head. Hold for 30 seconds.

Try to improve your posture every time you perform this pose. Work on lowering your heels to the ground and straightening your legs for the best possible stretch.

3. Cat-Cow Pose

The shoulders, chest, and spine tend to be the most affected by sitting all day. The Cat-Cow pose is a way to open up these areas while mobilizing the spine. Start in the same position as the downward dog pose, on your hands and knees, each aligned under the shoulders and the hips, respectively. Inhale deeply, and on the exhale, you want to pull your belly button up toward the spine, curving your back toward the ceiling. Allowing your neck to relax, bring your chin toward your chest. You are now in the cat position.

As you inhale, let your belly drop toward the floor and arch your back, lifting your head and tailbone toward the ceiling without straining your neck. You are now in the cow position.

Cycle through each position 10 times, controlling your breathing and focusing on posture. Remember to limit tension on the neck. These poses are intended to focus on the back, shoulders, and chest.

While yoga has many benefits overall, these three positions offer significant benefits to those who sit at a desk all day. What are some poses you would suggest? Leave a comment.

Can Positive Stress Really Be Good for Your Body?

The idea of stress that is good for you seems weird. You’re probably thinking that the words “positive” and “stress” don’t even belong in the same sentence. But it’s true: certain types of stress produce beneficial effects instead of negative ones.

What Is Positive Stress?

We’re not talking about situations that make you feel terrified or anxious. Instead, healthy stress is associated more with activities that are challenging but also produce excitement, fun and happiness.

Positive stress makes life worth living. It’s about overcoming obstacles. It’s about celebrating accomplishments. It’s about trying new experiences. Positive stress gives every day more zing.

What Are Your Healthy Stress Sources?

Everyone views stress in a different way. Some writers love deadlines and get more done with them (I’m not one.) Do any of these situations get your blood flowing in a good way?

  • Work assignments
  • Fixing your car
  • Flying
  • Having a baby
  • Preparing for vacation
  • Working out
  • Taking care of DIY projects
  • Throwing a party

Someone who loves working on automobiles will probably see taking care of minor repairs as something enjoyable. That’s positive stress.

The same thing goes for dating. Falling in love makes your heart beat in a good way. You stay awake at night, maybe a little anxious, but mostly because you’re excited and can’t wait to see the person again.

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What Are the Benefits of Positive Stress?

Unlike chronic stress, which weakens your immune system, gives you headaches and triggers inflammation, positive stress has great effects on your mind and body:

  • It motivates you: Reaching your goals can give you a sensation that’s even better than chocolate. It can give your life meaning. It also improves your self-esteem. Running a business can be stressful, but for entrepreneurs, it’s really rewarding to see their company flourish.
  • It improves your creativity: Feeling excited about a project helps you produce better results. My best work is always with topics that I feel passionate about. A little positive stress can help you come up with incredible ideas and solutions, too.
  • It feels amazing: If you’ve ever heard about sports enthusiasts talking about the “adrenaline rush,” that’s what positive stress is. Whether you’re into skydiving, rock climbing, skiing or snowmobiling, adrenaline makes your brain happy.
  • It helps your immune system: Excitement is good for your body’s defenses. Science has shown that good stress activates your immune cells and even helps your body heal faster after injuries. That’s one reason why doctors often recommend that people who are depressed take the time to exercise regularly.
  • It gives you energy: When you have a goal you’re trying to reach, your body literally feels more energized. Imagining yourself fitting into that tight red dress can give you the energy you need to swim, bike, hike or Zumba like never before.

How Can You Boost Positive Stress Levels?

Personally, I find that being a mom is my source of positive stress. I’m nervous sometimes, but also excited and happy. Hearing that “I love you Mommy” is irresistible, and according to science, it’s good for my health, too!

Get more positive stress in your life by doing things that are worth it to you, things that are exciting. Set aside more time for family adventures.

Go on a road trip. Ride a roller coaster with your eyes closed. Try new recipes. Make new friends. Visit new places. Zumba. Find something to be excited about every day!

5 Ways To Protect Your Eyes From Screen Glare

If you’re like me, you spend a LOT of time in front of the computer. I work, shop, chat with friends, watch videos and pay bills from the comfort of my desk. Is staring at a computer screen for a long time bad for your eyes?

Can Staring at a Screen Too Long Hurt Your Vision?

The good news is that using your laptop, tablet or smartphone isn’t going to hurt your eyes. You don’t have to worry about a screen ruining your vision or making you need a stronger prescription. Those are all myths.

It’s still important to take good care of your eyes, though. Bright screens can cause dry eyes. Many people experience eyestrain, or tired eyes, after a long workday. Some people even get headaches from this. There are times when my eyes feel like sore grapes!

Why Can Staring at a Screen Cause Eyestrain and Dryness?

One reason screens make your eyes feel uncomfortable is that they slow down your blinking. Blinking is essential for keeping your eyes hydrated and clean. Normally, you should blink at least 15–20 times per minute. But when you’re staring intently at a screen, you only blink half that much! This can make your eyes really dry, especially after using a computer for hours.

Bright screens can also make your eyes exhausted — literally. Whether you’re absorbed in a book or shopping online, the tiny muscles around your eyeballs are constantly moving. Your eyes have to focus over and over, similar to how a photographer adjusts a camera lens.

Like any other muscle, eye muscles can get tired, too. After a while, focusing gets harder and concentrating on words requires a ton of effort. That’s a sign you’ve pushed your eyes too far. They need a break, just like how your feet want to kick back and relax after standing all day.

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How Can You Prevent Eyestrain?

Follow these tips to protect your eyes:

  1. Avoid screen glare: Some newer screens have an anti-glare coating. For extra protection, you can buy a cheap ($10) matte screen filter for your computer. If you wear glasses, another option is to get an anti-reflective coating for your eyeglasses.
  2. Turn down screen brightness: A screen that’s too bright can tire your eyes out more quickly. Turn down brightness as much as possible while making sure reading is still comfortable.
  3. Increase the text size: Most apps let you adjust the size of words on the screen. Making text bigger doesn’t have anything to do with age. It’s about reducing eyestrain. Larger text is just more comfortable. Trust me, I kicked the settings up a few notches and it made a huge difference for my day.
  4. Take a break every 30 minutes: If possible, stop what you’re doing every 15–30 minutes so your eyes can rest and rehydrate. Get up, grab some water, eat a handful of almonds or check on your pot roast. Then, go back to writing your novel or working.
  5. Don’t sit too close: For a computer screen, position your chair so your eyes are about two feet away. For a tablet, hold it at the distance you would a book.

The solution to dry eyes and eyestrain isn’t to use eyedrops constantly. That's actually a bad idea. Prevent CVS instead by making life easier on your eyes. You can still use your laptop or tablet whenever you want; just remember to blink more and take more (healthy) snack breaks!

Does Crystal Therapy Really Work?

You hear so much talk about crystals these days, both good and bad. Some folks swear by them, while others claim their just a lot of new age nonsense. Still, you can't help but be curious when hearing all the positive stories about them.

The truth is, many people do experience benefits from crystals. They might not be able to do all the magical things people claim, like curing major illness or making your dream man fall in love with you, but they can give you a real boost spiritually and mentally when you know what you're doing with them.

Types of Therapeutic Crystals

Healing crystals are not one size fits all. There's actually a wide variety out there, each of which is associated with specific benefits:

Obsidian

Obsidian is said to have protective qualities. If you're feeling emotionally stifled or blocked, it can also help you release some of those built up emotions to achieve a sense of clarity. The stone can be identified by its glassy black color.

Turquoise

You're probably already familiar with turquoise jewelry, which is indeed quite eye catching. However, the stone offers more than just aesthetic appeal. It's also thought to bring balance to your mind and spirit, as well as having intense healing powers.

Moonstone

Looking for a new beginning? Then moonstone is your go-to crystal. It can also quell feelings of stress and anxiety, which far too many people struggle with these days. Moonstone has a sort of earthy look, with grayish-white coloring.

Rose Quartz

Pretty pink rose quartz has a strong association with love. If you're having trouble in any type of relationship, romantic or otherwise, ruminating with some rose quartz can bring you some peace. It can also help you build up the love you have for yourself.

Amethyst

Deep purple amethyst is known for its purifying qualities. It can also help you tap into a deeper spiritual nature. Its healing power is great for dispelling those negative thoughts rattling around your mind.

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Tips for Using Healing Crystals

You basically have two options when using your healing crystals. Some people swear by wearing them on their bodies for all day protection through constant contact. Of course, not everyone is comfortable wearing jewelry, especially something like crystals. In this case, just carry them with you. Put them in your purse or pocket when you're out and about.

Before your crystals can do their thing, you must program them. I know what you're thinking, programming is something you do with a computer. What you're actually doing is associating your crystal with an intention. Hold the crystal in your hand and state what you wish to get from it: improved mental health, a better love life, greater self-confidence, whatever it might be. After stating your intention, be sure to thank the universe for the gift it's about to give you.

More intensive crystal therapy may be required if you're really struggling. In this case, do a crystal ritual each morning where you lay down to meditate with crystals on different parts of your body. Place crystals over your seven chakras, or energy centers on the body: base of the spine, lower abdomen, above the navel, over the heart, base of the throat, between the eyebrows, and the crown of the head.

Make sure crystals are also placed liberally throughout your home. Not only can they heal your mind and spirit, they can also make your living space feel more positive and nurturing. If you work from home, make sure there are quite a few hanging around your work desk!

The mind is a mysterious thing, and using crystals to achieve mindfulness is not as silly as it sounds. Also, having a little faith in something kind of whimsical never hurt anyone. Why not expand your mind and give it try?