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Thursday, July 16, 2015

Blue Minds and Summer Tips from an Insurance Co; see Below

Most people agree that the sight and sound of water can be soothing. But why? In his best-selling book, the Blue Mind, marine biologist and conservationist, William J. Nichols, claims that being near water increases levels of feel-good hormones. And it reduces stress hormones.

Nichols describes a "Blue Mind" as "a mildly meditative state, characterized by calm... and a sense of satisfaction with life in the moment." Experts call this mindfulness. And being mindful may help lower stress and improve mental clarity.

But don't rush out and buy a beach house yet. "I'm not sure there's enough scientific evidence to prove Nichols' claims," said Aetna Senior Medical Director Terry Golash, MD. "We intuitively think it's a good thing, as long as it's safe to be near the water."

And there may be other ways besides a day at the beach to reach this state.

Take a vacation
Golash stressed the importance of vacations. "The most common response to stress is moving away from it," he advised. "If I go on vacation, it's to have time for myself and my family. Don't bring stress with you." We have more tips on how mindfulness can reduce stress and promote wellness. Or to explore the Blue Mind, here's a story from the CBS Morning Show.
 
   imgBe sun savvy to make the most of summer

AetnaWe've waited patiently for long summer days. The warmth of the sun lifts our spirits, melts away tension and makes us feel good. Enjoy it. And treat it with respect, every day and everywhere.

The sun is the source of life. But it can also hurt our skin, the very organ that literally keeps us in one piece. Skin cancer is diagnosed in more than 2 million Americans each year.

Ultraviolet (UV) rays from the sun (and tanning beds) are the main cause of skin cancer. UVB rays are the primary culprit for sunburns. And UVA rays can age skin.

Melanoma is the least common type of skin cancer. But it's also the most deadly. Intense, occasional sunburns are the usual cause, especially in those with sensitive skin.

Simple tips to prevent skin cancer


Wear proper clothing
Wear clothing to guard against the sun's rays. And don't forget your sunglasses. UV rays hurt the eyes and may cause cataracts.

Use broad-spectrum sun protection
Apply SPF 30 or higher every two hours. This is really important if you're swimming or perspiring. Keep in mind that sunscreens aren't waterproof. They can't hold up to a game of volleyball or a jog on the beach. They'll rub off with wiping or toweling.

Spend some time getting to know your skin

See a doctor if you find moles that have changed shape or color.
Take our quiz on sun safety and test your knowledge. Have a safe and happy summer.
 
   img Fun in the sun takes a little planning and common sense

AetnaFor many, summer spells carefree days at the beach, pool or lake – or just hanging out with friends. And that can be great for mind, body and soul. It can also pose risks, especially for children. But with a little planning and some common sense, you can still have fun in the sun.

Swim safely
Go ahead, take the plunge. But remember some basic safety tips:
  • Learn how to swim and know your limits.
  • Swim with a buddy or two. There's safety in numbers.
  • Swim only in supervised areas.
  • Never let young ones out of sight around water.
Wear protective gear
Always remember to wear proper gear such as helmets, life jackets and knee and wrist pads. They help if you're bicycling, boating or skating.

Don't let insects bug you
Tick and mosquito bites can cause diseases. To prevent them, be sure to use effective repellent. Wear light-colored clothing to help spot ticks. And always check for ticks after spending time outdoors.

For more on summer safety, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the American Academy of Pediatrics websites. The CDC also has a special website, Play it Safe. It talks about how to play safely at a variety of activities.

 
   img Make summer a little sweeter with healthy fruit smoothies

Aetna Kids, both young and old, will enjoy these refreshing fruit smoothies on warm summer days.

Strawberry Banana Cooler
In a blender, combine all ingredients and blend until smooth. Makes about 4 servings.

Ingredients:
2 cups unsweetened orange juice
1/2 cup whole frozen strawberries
1 banana, sliced
4 ice cubes

Orange Banana Crush
In a blender, combine all ingredients and blend until smooth. Makes about 3 servings.

Ingredients:
1 orange, peeled, cut into chunks
1 medium banana, peeled, cut into chunks
1 can (6 ounces) unsweetened pineapple juice
1 cup crushed ice
1 tablespoon honey

Pineapple Fizz
In a blender, combine all ingredients and blend until smooth.

Ingredients:
1 1/2 cups pineapple juice
2 large scoops pineapple sherbet
1/2 cup sparkling water

These recipes come courtesy of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website, BAM! Body and Mind. Visit the site for more cool summer treats, including snacks, salads and desserts.

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