Helping You Define Your Lifestyle

Serious Health Conditions Linked To Erectile Dysfunction

Erectile dysfunction (ED) or impotence is a common sexual dysfunction, especially among men over the age of 40, resulting in difficulty getting or maintaining an erection. Although most men experience difficulties with this at some point, erectile dysfunction is characterised by regular, repeated issues in this area.

In many cases, erectile dysfunction is temporary and can often be a symptom of tiredness, anxiety or stress. Moreover, alcohol and certain medications can sometimes interfere with a man’s ability to develop or maintain an erection. However, long-term erectile issues may be indicative of a more serious underlying health problem.

Physical Causes

There are a number of potential physical causes of impotence because it is often the result of interference with regular blood flow. However, some of these are more serious than others. For example, diabetes can impact upon blood supply and can also hinder the nerve endings in the penis, resulting in an inability to get an erection.

Other vasculogenic conditions which may result in impotence include high blood pressure, or hypertension, and heart disease. Meanwhile, there are a number of conditions which impact upon hormone production, which can cause erectile dysfunction, including having either an over-active or under-active thyroid gland.

According to the National Health Service, erectile dysfunction can affect as many as one in four men who experience a serious head injury. Meanwhile, a variety of other neurogenic disorders can be responsible for the manifestation of this problem, including Parkinson’s disease and multiple sclerosis, as these affect messages from the brain.

Psychological Causes

In addition to the aforementioned physical causes, there are a number of potential psychological explanations for erectile dysfunction. A significant percentage of cases of ED have a psychological root, although this is usually short-term anxiety or the result of stress. Occasionally, however, it is something more serious.

Many patients experiencing clinical depression, or similar mood disorders, including bipolar disorder and seasonal affective disorder, report issues surrounding impotence. This is often because depression leads to a loss of libido or sex drive, but it may also be the result of intrusive thoughts or sleep disturbance.

Similarly, anxiety disorders can also be responsible for erection problems. This can be something of a self-fulfilling prophecy, as a fear or anxiety surrounding impotence, often characterised as a type of performance anxiety, can often result in the physical development of the same problem.

Treatments

There are many treatments available for those suffering from erectile dysfunction, including the prescription of oral medications, like Viagra. However, if erectile dysfunction is caused by a serious health condition, it is usually necessary to treat the underlying problem first.

For example, in instances where impotence is caused by diabetes or heart disease, it is important that medication and lifestyle changes are implemented to help with this. In many instances, treating the underlying cause will also resolve erectile dysfunction, but even when it does not, it allows for ED treatments to follow.

Where erectile dysfunction has a psychological cause, it may be sensible to treat the psychological disorder, rather than the erectile dysfunction. For those suffering from depression or anxiety disorders, cognitive behavioural therapy is usually the main treatment. However, if the erectile dysfunction is contributing to psychological issues, a decision may be made to treat the impotence through medication and then provide psychological therapy.

How to Use Poker as a Mindfulness Practice

Most common mindfulness practices are fundamentally simple. Things like deep breathing, counted breaths, and short breaks and walks can help to calm us, clear our minds, and generate simultaneous states of relaxation and awareness. As much purpose as these small, simple practices have though, there are also some more involved activities that can assist with the development of greater mindfulness. And it may surprise some to learn that the game of poker is among them.

Gaming and Meditation

It is first important to understand that a link has been established between gaming and meditation in general. For a long time there were a lot of misconceptions about gaming as an active, almost violent practice meant solely for young people. But perceptions have changed over time. We now understand that people in all age groups play games of all kinds, and we further accept that a lot of these games have meditative qualities. Gamer testaments and a few scientific studies alike have indicated that the right game can have a soothing effect on one’s mental state.

This is the case with poker as well. A passion for many around the world, it’s a unique game that doesn’t necessarily fall under the umbrella of traditional “gaming” as we tend to think of the term. It is nonetheless similar with regard to mindfulness, however. Approached with intention, it can be a calming, almost meditative hobby for players.

Mental and Emotional Calm

When considering the game of poker specifically, one tends to think first of strategy, luck, and mathematics. In some sense, these are the building blocks of any given game of poker, and it will of course be important for any aspiring player to learn how they all factor in. However, what really helps successful players to win at poker is a sound mindset. The manifestation of a sound overall poker game requires that players learn to accept defeat and to avoid getting too high from a win. It demands reasonable approaches to betting and competition, clear-eyed social interaction, and the ability to operate without ego.

Add those factors up, and what success in poker really demands is mental and emotional calm. Players need skill and strategy to be sure, but above all else they need to be able to clear their minds of various pressures and shut out hasty impulses. This in and of itself is nearly a form of meditation, and certainly serves as a sort of training for mindfulness practice.

Focused Meditation

Beyond helping players to establish a general sense of mental and emotional calm, poker also leads to an ability to focus that, in its own way, is meditative. Generally, a focused meditation is described as the practice of focusing on something intently as a way of staying in the present moment and slowing down inner dialogue. It more or less means zeroing in on one subject to the exclusion of all else for the purpose of clearing one’s head — which is pretty much exactly what one has to do in poker! Even the slightest distraction can be a problem, and while the game demands a lot of attention it still makes for such narrow focus that one can clear one’s mind in a useful and soothing way.

Even given all of these benefits, poker does not comprise an entire mindfulness or meditation routine. For those interested in working on these aspects of personal wellness though, it’s always good to have one more option! Some will find this simple, popular card game to be legitimately beneficial.

If you enjoyed this article, you might also like our piece on how to boost your energy, especially useful as we enter a new year and search for fresh motivations!

Earfree Nitebuds: For Better Sleep

Earfree Nitebuds, the two-in-one speaker and pillow that plays calming music, improving the quality of your sleep, is launching on Indiegogo.

The idea for the Nitebuds sleep pillow came from people who used to sleep with earphones in. Many of us who have trouble sleeping at night use earphones to listen to calming sleep music, but sleeping with earphones in is just too uncomfortable. Using earphones while you sleep can cause pain and inflammation in the ear; plus, earphones tend to fall out in the middle of the night. But the adverse effects of earphones on ear health is undoubtedly the most critical of these issues.

Nitebuds puts music IN the pillow to solve the problems caused by conventional earbuds. All you have to do is lay your head down on the pillow to be serenated with lovely music. There’s no earbuds involved – so you can roll around in bed all you like without having to worry about damage to your ears or earbuds falling out.

Nitebuds are simple to use. Just place the speakers in the special sleep-aid pillow, then use Bluetooth to pair your smartphone and begin your music therapy. Once your music is playing, Nitebuds’ crater-shaped design enhances the acoustics, making you feel like you’re listening in on a concert hall performance. This design also prevents the sound from leaking out, giving you the same quality of sound at a 30% lower volume, so as not to bother whoever’s sleeping next to you.

The Nitebuds app also provides free ASMR music and ambience, soothing the brain and easing any anxiety. This white noise works has great benefits on mental health and attentiveness, making the sleep music from the Nitebuds app particularly effective at inducing a natural sleep.

Nitebuds uses 3D mesh material for full, fluffy comfort. The mesh also helps the music play through the pillow without getting muffled, plus high-quality microfiber cotton is also used to give the perfect amount of depth and coziness. The microfiber cotton is also a renewable, biodegradable material, which means Nitebuds is eco-friendly, too.

Even though Nitebuds is electronic, the speaker and pillow are fully separable, meaning the pillow can be washed without issue. If you want, you can even use the pillow by itself without the speakers, or even place other items inside the pillow to help you sleep.

For instance, if you find yourself sweating a lot in those hot summer nights, you can place ice-packs in the pillow to help cool off. Or, when you’re stressed out and in the mood for aromatherapy, the CYPRESS insert can be used for some phytoncide healing.

Also, if you have a preference for a specific pillow height, just use the COTTON insert to adjust the pillow’s height to your preference.

You can back Earfree Nitebuds – the high-tech pillow that serenades you to sleep – by finding their campaign on Indiegogo.