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Approximately 40 million Americans, or 18.1% of the entire population, suffer from anxiety disorders. That's a startling statistic, although one that is understandable; nearly 80% of Americans suffer from debt, putting a lot of additional strain on day-to-day life.

Everyone has their own techniques and strategies to deal with the stresses and anxieties of their lives, but there are a few things that have been found to be universally calming. It's certainly true that many people need more than just additional relaxation in their lives, but discovering what soothes your stresses -- even if it's only in a minor way -- is absolutely worthwhile. Let's take a look at three easy-to-obtain sources of serenity.

Cannabidiol Oil

Cannabinoid products are being sold all across the nation. Cannabidiol (CBD) accounts for 40% of the plant's extract and has been considered a viable treatment option for those suffering from anxiety, cognition problems, movement disorders, and pain. Though science has yet to prove the legitimacy of these claims, 80% of users report that they've found CBD products to be "very or extremely effective."

CBD oil can be found in everything from soap to tea. One of its most popular uses is for anxiety; the phytocannabinoid targets 5-HT1A, a receptor for serotonin that is believed to play the strongest role in anxiety disorders.

Puzzles

Research has shown that puzzles activate our brains while relaxing us psychologically, putting our brains into a meditative state. Many people might be surprised by this fact, but it makes a lot of sense when you think about it; when we focus on puzzles, we start paying attention to patterns.

"That's what a huge bit of the cortex is primed to do -- to spot [patterns]," explains Neuroscientist Daniel Bor. "Once we spot them we can assimilate them into our pyramid of knowledge and build more layers of strategy, and knowing how to do that makes us incredibly successful at controlling the world."

That out-of-control feeling contributes to most anxieties and stressors; by stimulating our ability to strategize, we feel more in control and therefore relaxed.

Plants

Recent studies have proven that having plants in an office space actually boosts productivity and employee satisfaction. It makes sense that the same effects would occur at home; the addition of just a few green houseplants can improve mood, concentration, and reduce stress levels. All you have to do is find species that work best for you. If you're terrible at caring for things, select a plant that needs little water and care, such as a succulent. If you're environmentally-conscious, opt for a bamboo plant -- the highly renewable resource grows to maturity in just three to five years.

There are many things you can do and changes you can make to help manage your anxiety and stress levels. If you have been diagnosed with an anxiety disorder, give the above options a try; you'll never know if they make a difference unless you give them a chance.

Published in Health & Fitness

As a guy whose earliest years were well-documents on his parents' Super 8mm camera (which I'd later use for "filmmaking" purposes), I will forever hold a place in my heart for Kodak, and as the film company continues to reinvent itself in both film and digital worlds, today comes news of a partnership that will see some vibrant Kodak imagery come back into the toy department this fall.  Cra-Z-Art has entered into a strategic brand licensing agreement with Eastman Kodak Company to produce and distribute puzzles in the U.S. The puzzles will feature beautiful photo imagery and be available in various size piece counts from 100 to 2000. Those puzzles will be Made in the USA.

PBS KIDS VIP I've long-held that DANIEL TIGER'S NEIGHBORHOOD is one of the top five current programs aimed at preschoolers, and this month PBS Distribution has issued an all-new, entry level collection of episodes on DVD. Airing daily on PBS KIDS, this series from The Fred Rogers Company carries on the legacy of MISTER ROGERS' NEIGHBORHOOD through the adventures of four-year-old Daniel Tiger as he learns and grows with the help of his family and friends, presenting viewers with easy-to-follow lessons that kids can relate to. WELCOME TO THE NEIGHBORHOOD is a bargain-priced DVD (list price is just $6.99) that serves up 3 episodes (one of which is the special double-episode, "Neighbor Day") and comes with a 12-piece puzzle.

Published in Movies, TV and More

In all the time that I've been doing THE ROCK FATHER, my little ones and I have never reviewed a puzzle. On the surface, the reason might be along the lines of what you might be thinking right now - "Why would you review a puzzle? - It's a puzzle!" But, the thing is, I don't believe that I've ever owned a Ravensburger Puzzle, and up until last week, I didn't know just how profoundly different the quality of a puzzle could be.

PBS Digital Studios has a biweekly webseries by filmmaker/photographer David Friedman, called INVENTORS. This week, the subject is Mark Setteducati, a self-professed “mathe-magician” that uses mathematics and illusion in the toys and puzzles that he invents. Check out the full episode below, right here on The Rock Father.