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Tips for Keeping Your Kids Internet Safe Online and Off

The Internet, at times, can be an unbelievably, mind-blowing, helpful resource. On other occasions, it can be a potential danger to our children’s welfare. As parents, a new responsibility that has been added to our list of jobs is teaching and monitoring Internet safety. Here are some tips to help keep our kids safe online and off.

Internet Wonderland

Most of us reading this article did not have Internet when we were growing up. For those of you who did, it may be doubtful that your parents knew enough at the time to advise you on its possible dangers. The time has come, however, where awareness and guidance is necessary to keep youngsters safe while still allowing them the great experiences that the Internet can provide.

The Perils of the Process

Some news material can be alarming and create more fear for parents than necessary. With that said, however, there are extremely unfortunate incidences that that can result from a youngster being online, and parents should take this topic seriously. Here are some grave concerns:

  • Approximately 90% of children under the age of 17 have seen online pornography. Many times the viewing has been unintentional. Sexual content is pervasive on the Internet, not just on porn sites, but regularly on random YouTube videos and online games.
  • One in five teenagers in America who are regularly online report that they have received an inappropriate, unwanted, sexual solicitation. This would include a request for photos, to look at photos, share in sexual talk, or a request for a sexual encounter.
  • Online predators can befriend your child and then exploit them emotionally and/or physically.
  • Online predators can gain information from your child and use it to commit identity fraud or steal from you, the adult.
  • Everything your child posts on the Internet can be seen or sent to anyone, anywhere. The material and/or photos never disappear. This is called a digital footprint.
  • Cyberbullying is pervasive and can lead to extreme emotional disturbance or, at worst, suicidal thoughts and/or actions.

Tips for Keeping Kids Safer

The more information we are armed with, the better we can approach this modern phenomenon known as Internet safety practice. First of all, without frightening your children, explain to them that bad things can happen if they don’t take precautions. Remind them that you are trying to keep them safe. Here are some tips you may want to utilize:

1) Set up filters and blockers on your children’s devices (phone, tablets, computers). It’s helpful to know what programs they are using and what they are downloading. There are also apps that will allow you disable their devices at a preset time.

2) Remove electronic media from your child’s bedroom when it’s time for bed.

3) Monitor your children’s texts every so often. Let your kids know you trust them, but also let them know that you reserve the right to check their media to keep them safe (and especially if you suspect secret activity.)

4) Remind your children to never give personal information. Do not share last names, addresses, phone numbers, and mother’s maiden name. (Online predators will often use social networks and chat rooms to uncover personal information.)

5) Talk to your youngsters about their digital footprint. Remind them that any action they take on the Internet can affect them later when it comes to getting into college or getting a job.

6) Learn who your child’s friends are online and off. Remind your kids that someone they’ve only met online may seem like a friend, but in reality, he/she is a stranger.

7) Be mindful of your children’s emotional life. Let them know they can come to you if they need help. Listen to them (without judgment) and allow them to feel safe sharing their thoughts and feelings with you. (Online predators often act as a “good friend,” listening to kids’ problems, consoling them, and taking their side. Most teens consort with a predator willingly.)

8) Be mindful if your child is acting secretive. Rather than being accusatory, ask your child if there’s something he/she is keeping from you. Remind him/her that it’s OK for them to share with you (or another trustworthy adult like a grandparent, teacher, etc.)

9 )Be mindful if your child seems more withdrawn or depressed. He/she may have been cyberbullied. It’s OK to ask. It’s also OK to check texts and social media.

It is unrealistic to think that you can keep your kids away from electronic devices. It is part of our culture and world, and it is most likely here to stay. How your children use social media will depend on how you explain its perks and pitfalls and how you set up rules. And as any realistic parent knows, our kids will sometimes do what they want to do, regardless of what we have asked. The best we can do is to provide information, safety, guidance, and lots of love—and hope they make good choices.

For other material related to parenting and family health, check out







Trick or Treat? 6 Tips for a Healthier Halloween

Kids love the idea of dressing up in Halloween costumes, but they are more interested in getting a barrage of sweets in their little Halloween treat bags after the end of a long night of trick-or-treating. Halloween is a holiday many children wait for all year long.

1. Candy is the Main Attraction

However, parents have to be extra careful when monitoring their children’s Halloween sweet consumption. Candy is the main feature of this holiday, and with it comes potential health concerns. Consuming too much candy is never good for a child’s health.

Parents should encourage children to limit their consumption of candy. Instead of eating all the sweets collected on Halloween night, parents should encourage children to share with others, perhaps those less fortunate.

2. Talk to Kids before Halloween

Kids go out to enjoy perusing the neighborhood with their friends and family on Halloween night. However, parents should not wait for Halloween to speak to their children about healthy habits. And you don’t want to send mixed messages to your children on Halloween.

Parents should oversee the distribution of sweets on Halloween. Decide how many houses your child will visit and how much candy is enough. In other words, parents should set certain limitations so kids don’t go overboard with the treats that they collect.

3. After Halloween

After the Halloween night, parents should take a look at the amount of candy that their son or daughter has collected. Put away some of those sweets in a place where it is out of sight and hard for your child to reach. That means the child has to ask for them. And if the child doesn’t see the sweets, then he or she may eventually forget about them.

Parents can also place limitations on how much candy is consumed while ensuring that the child gets something healthy alongside. This will help to show your son or daughter a healthy balance.

For example, a parent can have their child choose one or two sweets, but only under the condition that the child drinks a healthy glass of low-fat milk, too.

Make sure you hide the candy in a secretive place where the child won’t find it. If your child is clever or sees where you are hiding the candy, then he or she might go into your secret place when you are not looking.

4. Get the Caregiver on Board

If your child is staying with a caregiver at any time, such as a grandmother or babysitter, make sure that they know your intentions with regard to candy consumption for your child. Take time to explain, and make sure they respect your wishes and carry out your plan the same way you would. Children know how to manipulate others so don’t underestimate them.

5. Other Tempting “Treats”

Parents can give the kids toys that look like candy. This alternative works great for small kids. Feed your children before they go out trick or treating. That way, they are full and probably not interested in snacking while they are out. Get rid of candy with bright colors. Let the child know why they have limitations. Remind the children that they can have more candy later, if they don’t consume a lot now.

Use your best judgment for each child, as they all have different personalities and eating habits. Prior to the trick or treat event, you should not only make sure that they eat, but that the meal is healthy.

6. Separating the Stash

If your child is obese, then parents should curtail the Halloween candy stash. Offer to buy back some or all of the Halloween candies that the child collected. A child often sees it as a treat to sell candy for money. To help the child avoid the temptation of eating too much candy, parents could eat one or two pieces to exemplify moderation to their son or daughter. Parents can also replace candy or junk food with healthier options:

  • A small box of raisins
  • A small bag of pretzels
  • Trail mix
  • Popcorn
  • Sugar-free gum
  • A bowl of their favorite cereal

When your child returns home from their Halloween expedition, put their collection in two piles. Place candies that you would like them to keep in one pile, and put the candies that you don’t want them to eat in the other pile. Encourage your son or daughter to make a candy donation to a children’s hospital, food pantry, or senior citizen home.

And remember, Halloween is just one day of the year. Practice healthy habits in your home throughout the year and your children will adapt to it, whether it is trick or treating time or not.



5 Super Easy Ways to Successful Weight Loss

Losing Weight the Easy Way!

Successful Weight loss and weight management always seem to be a challenge, but it can be easier by starting with 5 simple things. Although it’s a challenge to maintain a healthy diet all the time—especially in amidst of our on-the-go, busy routines—nevermind finds time to exercise. But even when we go through periods where we “behave,” why does it still seem like a challenge to lose weight—and keep it off?

While some diets might seem useful at the beginning, such as cutting down on carbs or cutting them out completely, “detoxing” from fast food, sugar or red meat, or even adjusting to the taste of kale, they all seem to have one result: the pounds eventually creep back on.


Weight loss and weight management are about balance.

Check out this site to learn more about the weight loss basics.

Here are the top 5 components that you should learn to balance in order to lose weight…and keep it off:

1. Routine

This doesn’t necessary have to be an exercise routine, (but that helps) this could just be your daily routine. Whether you get up at a certain time, head to work or school, you probably have a regular routine each day. If not, do your best to create one. Getting up at the same time, eating meals at the same times throughout the day, and going to bed at the same time can be a crucial component to weight management.Obviously weekends might be the exception, and while routines could differ from day to day, depending on your job or extra-curricular, even maintaining a consistent wake up and bed times can prove to be beneficial to overall weight management.

2. Sleep.

Believe it or not, sleep is a crucial component to weight loss and weight management. Adults should get an average of 6 to 8 hours of sleep each night. Any less than that and we begin to feel sluggish, less productive, and we might even suffer from migraines or headaches.Getting a regular and consistent amount of sleep can seriously help with overall weight loss and weight management. Do your best to get at least 6 hours of sleep each night. Not only will you feel great and feel more productive, your body will thank you.

3. Water.

We all know it’s important to stay hydrated. But did you know that drinking enough water can also help with weight loss? Not only is it important for your body to flush out toxins, but drinking water can also make you feel full and less likely to grab an unhealthy afternoon snack, or sneak dessert after dinner.

4. Exercise.

Many diets promise weight loss without exercising. However, the hard truth is that while you will likely lose weight initially when starting a diet, the pounds are likely to pack back on after some time—and without a consistent physical exercise routine.But not only does exercise help significantly with weight loss and weight management, but it also has other benefits such as boosting good cholesterol while lowering bad cholesterol, increasing endorphins to the brain, and even helping to regulate sleep patterns.

5. Diet.

Save the best for last, right? Diets can be frustrating components to weight loss. Most often when an individual starts a new diet, they are frustrated about how little they can eat, and how hungry they feel all the time. However, it’s important to be patient as it can take up to two weeks in order for your body to adjust to a new diet.Over this two-week adjustment period, your brain and body will “learn” its new diet, and your cravings will adjust accordingly. In fact, you may be surprised to find out how you no longer crave that bowl of ice cream after dinner!

Of course, each individual’s genetic makeup and body type are different. So a diet or exercise routine that works for one person doesn’t necessarily mean it will work for another. Visit here to read more about weight loss facts and fiction.

While these top five components are effective in helping with weight loss and overall weight management, you also need to discover what works for you, which could mean a lot of trial and error. But be patient and persistent, and your hard work will pay off!

To learn more about weight loss and weight management, learn more about how you can THRIVE today.



Helping Kids Overcome Trauma

According to the 2016 National Survey of Children’s Health, half of the children in America have faced at least one type of traumatic event in their young lives. In lieu of the recent violence (from humans and weather), that statistic has probably, sadly, increased. The good news is that early acknowledgment and treatment has shown to help youngsters successfully recover from various types of trauma.

What is Trauma?

The clinical definition of trauma includes a personal experience of injury, threat of death or injury, or witness of the same. A child’s response generally involves helplessness, intense fear, and horror. Additionally, children may experience trauma from seeing or hearing about events that did not happen to them personally. Even an event that occurred far away can trigger feelings of danger and extreme worry.

Signs of Trauma in Youngsters

Unfortunately, childhood trauma can result from many different events. The most common are: physical or sexual abuse, the death of a loved one, bullying, violence or substance abuse in the home, war, terrorism, and natural disasters. Keeping an eye out for particular signs may help you recognize if your child may be affected by trauma.

For children under six, some of the symptoms of trauma may be: extreme clinging to a caregiver, excessive crying, screaming or whimpering, moving aimlessly or becoming immobile.

For children between six and 11, you may notice: nightmares, complaints of physical problems, loss of interest in friends and fun activities, depression, development of unfounded fears.

For adolescents age 12 to 18, they may reveal signs such as: having flashbacks or nightmares, abusing alcohol or drugs, being disruptive or destructive, feeling isolated or depressed, having suicidal thoughts.

The Importance of Expedient Intervention and Help

The need for early intervention and treatment for children who’ve experienced trauma is tremendous, especially if it’s been more than one event. The stress of the event(s) can interrupt brain development. Physical health, the ability to learn, and proper socialization are all at risk. Emotional issues, if not confronted in a timely space, can create negative challenges for many years to come. As adults, without treatment during childhood, the ramifications of trauma can effect successful employment and increase risk of psychiatric disorders.

Treatments for Psychological Trauma

Any type of appropriate, caring intervention from an adult will reap benefits to a child. Specifically, however, many experts suggest trauma-based cognitive therapy if the youngster’s state doesn’t improve after several weeks. In the meanwhile, here are a few tips for helping your kids at home.

  • Listen to your child’s fears. Even if they seem absurd or unfounded to you, remove judgment and comfort your child. Do not feed into their fears, but don’t discard them either.
  • Reassure your child is safe. Create routines to keep stress levels low. Keep your own stress in check—that will help you both.
  • Make positive future plans. Help your child focus on something optimistic. Distract his/her thoughts from the negative past or dark thoughts.
  • Take away any blame your child might be placing on him/herself. Remind the child you love him/her and you have his/her back.
  • If you don’t know the answers to questions, don’t make them up. It’s OK to admit to your child that you don’t know.
  • Encourage a healthy diet and good rest.

Children can be pretty resilient, so any help that can be offered will have value.

Recently, the Sesame Workshop launched a new program. It’s aimed at helping kids deal with fear resulting from the increase in natural disasters and mass shootings. Their program offers videos, books, and digital activities created to help provide coping strategies.

Sesame’s initiative is similar to what cognitive-behavior therapists would suggest as an effective treatment. Parents, caregivers, teachers, and other adults can learn how to better empathize with the child (by trying to see the child’s perspective.) The child is offered suggestions on how to recognize thinking and behavior patterns and replace them with other, more positive ones. Puppets, art, music, talk, etc. are all tools that can be used to help the child feel safe and learn how to self-soothe and heal.

Check out GetThrive! for other informative articles to help keep you and your family safe and healthy.







4 Strategies to Help You Kick Soda to the Curb

Whether you call it pop or soda, you probably know that sweet, carbonated beverages are bad for you. Many people have taken a look at what soda does to your body.

One pharmacist even created a detailed infographic showing the effects of one can of Coca-Cola on a person’s system. Check out that infographic here.

Of course, all of this information is of little use if you struggle with a serious soda addiction. Although a soda addiction may not seem like a big deal compared to other kinds of addictions, it can still take a serious toll on the body.

If you’re still not convinced kicking soda can be difficult, just try going without it for a few days. You are likely to experience mood swings, headaches, and irritability.

Even diet soda can be hard to give up, since aspartame – the artificial sweetener that gives diet soda its sweet taste – has been shown to interfere with how the body processes tryptophan, which in turn helps regulate levels of serotonin in the brain. Read more about the effects of diet soda here.

So, how do you kick your soda habit to the curb? Here are a few ways to put your dependence on these calorie-laden drinks behind you:

Make a Switch to Diet Sodas

There is something to be said for baby steps. If you don’t think you can go cold turkey on soda, try switching to diet drinks. Although diet sodas are not the best thing you can put in your body, they don’t pack the caloric punch of regular soda.

They are also free of the sugar (20 teaspoons!) found in sodas like regular Coca-Cola. Over time, you may find it easier to wean yourself off the diet drinks in favor of healthier alternatives.

Transition to Caffeine-free Sodas

Another option is switching to caffeine-free soda. Caffeine is a drug, and like any drug it can get you hooked quickly. Just ask a coffee drinker to function without his or her morning cup of coffee (or two or three). By eliminating one substance from your diet at a time, you can gradually work your way toward giving up soda altogether.

Try Flavored Water

Many people turn to soda because they simply don’t like water. They’re looking for flavor, and soda delivers. If you are bored by water, consider flavored water as a replacement.

The Food Network has a list of flavored water recipes that are both healthy and delicious. Options include strawberry-cucumber water, tomato-basil water, and pineapple-mint-ginger water. Now who said H20 wasn’t exciting?

Give Sparkling Water a Try

Some soda devotees claim they struggle with a soda addiction because they love the carbonation. If you need to feel the burn, carbonated or sparkling water may be for you.

Although most brands of sparkling water contain sodium, they are usually calorie-free. In fact, Americans spend $1.5 billion on these drinks every year. Research has debunked myths linking sparkling water to osteoporosis and tooth decay.

The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition says soda is linked to low bone mineral density in older women, but other carbonated beverages show no such correlation.

There is some evidence that certain types of sparkling waters can damage tooth enamel, however, the studies suggest the decay is caused by the acidity found in fruit-flavored water – not the water itself.

Check out the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition here.

If you have tried to give up soda before and failed, there is still hope. Tales abound of soda aficionados who have abandoned soda for good, even after two, three, and sometimes four attempts have been successful. By replacing soda with something else, you can create new habits, and you can be proud of making a meaningful change in your health.



Frankenstein the 3D Printer

New body part?

As long as you’re printing off the latest Groupon coupon for dinner and a movie, how about adding an earlobe or working kidney to the print queue. Just because you’re printer can’t do it doesn’t mean it can’t be done.

Is it the toner?

Though it’s been around for a while, 3D printing – the process of making an object by layering metals, polymers and other materials instead of starting with a block and chiseling away at it – is now coming to the front of the line in manufacturing, science, and medicine. Researchers have “printed” ears, livers and other tissue with living cells instead of plastics. Titanium bones have been printed to replace cancer-ravaged originals.

Not so fast – But Susan Dodds of the University of Tasmania wonders whether  cost and access to the technology and treatment along with whether technology-based enhancement to our natural state and other issues have been thought through in this burgeoning aftermarket industry for the human body?  Printers have come a long way, baby!

New Antibody Injection May Protect Against Zika

With the rise and spread of the devastating Zika virus, researchers have been racing towards the creation of a vaccine. A new antibody injection, however, may prove more effective and may become available in a timelier manner. A recent lab study has shown success deterring the risk of contracting Zika using a blended dose of three potent antibodies.

Interception with Injection

Modern researchers have been steadfastly working on new forms of immunology to deter and/or fight viruses. Immunology is the branch of science/medicine concerned with the function of the biological immune system and its responses. Immunologists experiment with laboratory techniques that involve the interaction of antigens with antibodies. Antigens are the invaders (toxins, viruses) that trigger and immune response. Antibodies are blood protein molecules that attack antigens.

For decades, immunology has focused on utilizing vaccines to help keep certain diseases and viruses at bay. Vaccines train our immune system to produce its own antibodies to fight off the foreign invader. Instead, injecting pre-made antibodies to provide instant protection against pathogens is a newer practice of immunology. This type of disease-fighting implementation may last temporarily, but it is effective and immediate.

Calling All Antibodies

Antibodies basically block pathogens (like the Zika virus) from entering human cells. The beauty of this science is that the virus can’t spread (or survive) because it can’t make copies of itself outside a cell. Therefore, injecting specific antibodies that targets a specific virus seems like a palpable preventative step. This is exactly what researchers at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine were thinking.

Anti-Zika Cocktail

The team of researchers, which included pathologist David Watkins, collected over 90 antibodies from a Zika patient in Columbia. They chose the three most potent antibodies and cloned them to create enough for a series of experimental injections. The injection was introduced into four monkeys a day before being exposed to the Zika virus. None of them became infected—even after three weeks of observation. (Unfortunately, the others who were exposed who were not given the injection of antibodies developed the virus.)

The less-appealing factor of implementing antibodies is that they don’t live incredibly long. They may remain effective for weeks, perhaps months in some instances. So, in order to lower the risk for a pregnant woman from contracting Zika, she would need a few injections over the course of her pregnancy to ensure she remained virus-free.

Pregnant women living in or traveling to areas where Zika is abundant is perilous to the health of their fetus. The Zika virus can cause microcephaly and other neurological birth defects. To understand more about the virus, how it’s contracted, spread, avoided, see

A Protection Against Zika Breakthrough

Although this antibody study was conducted on monkeys, it provides information (and hope) that humans may soon be protected from contracting the Zika virus. It is not a vaccine, but that may be OK. Vaccines can provide longer-lasting protection, but their effects can also vary amongst different individuals.

The next step will be to test the antibody cocktail on pregnant monkeys. Then, after that, clinical trials will need to be conducted with humans. There are several positive notes in this regard: for one, antibody injections may carry fewer or less severe side effects than vaccines; another perk—antibody therapy may contribute to the decrease in many different viruses, including HIV and Ebola.

GetThrive offers an abundance of material on up-to-date, positive, scientific and medical breakthroughs. Check it out to read more about how to help you and your family become the healthiest you can be!


4 Practical Steps To Maximize Productivity

For centuries, actually millenia, one of mankind’s greatest struggles has been finding the motivation to get up and do something that matters. To this day, I can still recall my father reminding me to “do something constructive today” when he would be away from home and I had the benefit of idle time on my hands.

It wasn’t an overbearing admonition, but a simple reminder to invest rather than spend the minutes and hours made available to me. Of course, I didn’t always listen.

In 2017, squandering our time is easier than ever. If Netflix and chill was the only pastime competing for our attention, that “lifestyle” could stand effectively on its own merit. But, alas, it is not.

We have smartphones…with apps! I mean, have you seen these things?!? If iPhones had existed in the 90s, I would’ve never left the house as a teenager. Because I’d be Too Busy…

Setting records on Candy Crush.

Reviewing the latest selfies on Snapchat.

FaceTiming with my people.

Honestly, I’m not sure how today’s generation manages their time at all. The other day, I was watching my seven-year-old play a game on the iPad. I mentioned that there were no cell phones or tablets when I was his age. His response: Were there cars?

And suddenly, I felt very old, very quickly.

With the resources available nowadays, it is possible to be as efficient as ever. However, in order to do so, it requires focus and commitment to your craft—whatever that may be.

There are no shortage of sources with tips offering insight on how to be more productive, less lazy, and, in turn, happier. Thankfully, I’ve taken the time to distill the never-ending supply of information into a handful of trusted resources for your consideration.

1. Plan, Plan, Plan

You’ve heard it before—failure to plan is planning to fail. It’s a maxim that was true then and it’s a maxim that is true now. Cal Newport is a Georgetown professor, author, and dedicated family man.

Despite the incredible demands on his time, he still manages to finish his day by 5:30pm and rarely works on the weekends. Impossible, you say? A closer look at Cal’s habits reveals just how he maintains such a productive schedule.

2. Working Moms of the World Unite

I may not be a mother, but I can see the unrealistic expectations clear as day. The unwritten rules of motherhood require that you raise 2.4 beautiful children, design your home with the flair of a Pottery Barn catalog, maintain a visible volunteer role at the school, shape and tone your body to look as you did in college, and, in your remaining time, grow a successful professional career if you so choose.

Seriously, just writing that wore me out. Now, to be clear, those thoughts were both embellished and FAR from my own views. But, you get the point. It’s not easy being an American mother in the 21st Century.

Some additional thought courtesy of SkinnyMom provide a little more insight on better ways to approach motherhood.

3. Exercise, No Seriously

When you think of laziness, exercise usually does not come to mind. That’s no coincidence. Keeping a regular workout routine can be both invigorating and therapeutic. It goes without saying that exercise comes more naturally to some than others.

But, moving your body does not have to come in a one size fits all routine. If the idea of CrossFit or Boot Camp makes you want to run and hide under the covers with a pint of Ben & Jerry’s, there are other options. Take a walk. Go for a hike. Try a yoga class.

Staying active does not mean you have to train for the upcoming Olympics. Find what works for you and develop a routine. You’ll be pleasantly surprised at the reserves of energy you forgot existed.

4. Eliminate Those Distractions

We’ve already established the very real obstacles that can prevent us from being productive. If you count yourself among the many who are easily distracted by technology, try the Pomodoro Timer.

For the uninitiated, the Pomodoro Timer is a productivity tool that breaks down tasks into manageable chunks of time. The idea being, if you can work in small bursts punctuated by short breaks, your projects won’t seem as insurmountable.

For every 25 minutes of uninterrupted work (this includes avoiding multi-tasking), a five minute break is the reward. Following four such cycles, a longer 15 minute break is given. I’ve begun using the Pomodoro strategy recently with positive results.

Admittedly, it takes some time getting used to. I found myself wanting to reach for my phone 10–15 minutes into the initial 25 minute cycles, but over time, things have improved. There are a variety of free Pomodoro apps available as well. Give it a try.

We have only one chance in this life. And what we do with our time is completely up to us. I am not a fan of the breakneck pace that some wish to keep. Going non-stop is unhealthy in its own kind of way.

Laziness is far removed on the other end of the spectrum with a healthy work-life balance found somewhere in between. If you struggle with apathy or finding motivation in general, think about how you can employ some of the aforementioned strategies. Maybe it’s time to take a personality inventory or meet with a career counselor to explore a new pathway.

Not looking for a career? Well, volunteerism may be for you. Give some thought to what you value and find opportunities to plug into things that matter to you. Laziness as you know it will become a thing of the past in no time.