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Habitually Grateful

This weeks blog comes to us from guest contributor, Jan Leasure.  Currently Jan is a Senior Loan Officer in Libertyville, but previously was a teacher and nationally syndicated columnist for over 20 years.

Why was November chosen as “National Gratitude Month”? The obvious reason is because Thanksgiving happens in November and that gives everyone a reason to stop for a moment and visualize the things for which they are grateful.

When I was an English teacher, one of the things that I had my students do was keep a Gratitude Journal. Many students had a lot of ups and downs in their lives so sometimes writing down one thing was a struggle.  What we all learned from this exercise is that there were a lot of intangible things to be grateful for; love, friendship, a sunny day, trading lunches with your bestie, or the fact that Mrs. Leasure did not read your love note over the intercom!  What was the purpose of this exercise? We learned that although there...

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The Trapezius : Muscle of the Month

The trapezius is one of the major muscles of the back and is responsible for moving, rotating, and stabilizing the scapula (shoulder blade) and extending the head at the neck. It is a wide, flat, superficial muscle that covers most of the upper back and the posterior of the neck. Like most other muscles, there are two trapezius muscles – a left and a right trapezius – that are symmetrical and meet at the vertebral column

The trapezius starts at the occipital bone and the spinous processes of the cervical and thoracic vertebrae. Then extends across the neck and back to insert via tendons on the clavicle, acromion, and spine of the scapula. The name trapezius is given to this muscle due to its roughly trapezoidal shape. The trapezius can be divided into three bands of muscle fibers that have distinct structures and functions within the muscle:

Upper Trapezius, Middle Trapezius and Lower Trapezius

 Upper Trapezius

This portion helps with elevating (shrugging) the...

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Hello?! Is it Tea You're Looking For?

Cold weather equal warm drinks! Winter is still upon us here in the midwest and with so many sugary coffee drinks to choose from we like to shed some much-deserved light on our other cold weather favorite beverage- TEA!

Did you know that tea is the second most widely consumed beverage in the world, after water! Not only are there so many different types to choose from, tea can have some amazing health benefits!

HERE’S SOME GREAT FACTS THAT MIGHT HAVE YOU SECOND GUESSING YOUR REGULAR COFFEE ORDER.

  1. Tea, especially green tea, has an abundance of antioxidants called polyphenols that help fight disease
  2. Research shows that tea can reduce risk of heart disease and even aid in Alzheimer’s Disease and Cancer prevention
  3. Peppermint tea is believed to help combat stress and aid in digestion
  4. Scientist have claimed that drinking chamomile tea could help control diabetes and can also be used for a great skin care treatment
  5. Regularly consuming green or oolong tea has been shown to...
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Fan the Flames of Inflammation

Inflammation is a word that is used often, yet hard to define.  Most of us have a hard time separating inflammation from an ankle sprain vs. inflammation contributing to heart disease and arthritis.  In order to understand how to fight it, it’s important to understand how and why it occurs!

Inflammation is a very common and innate response to an injury, pain or stress.  It is part of our bodies natural defense system to prevent something worse and/or speed up healing time.

Acute inflammation is the first response to an injury or pathogen.  It’s acute because it should only last several days or less.

EXAMPLES OF WHAT CAN CAUSE THIS:

  • Illness (virus, bacteria)
  • Trauma (punch, kick, sprain)
  • Burn
  • Frostbite
  • Allergic Reaction
  • Stress

There are a lot of players involved in the inflammatory process, but the basics are: heat, redness, swelling, and pain.  These four eventually lead to loss of function as a way to prevent future injury. Acute...

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