Thought Free Meditation Sun, 25 Sep 2022 19:07:00 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Thought Free Meditation 32 32 The UHV Counseling Center helps students in various ways | Readers’ stories Sun, 25 Sep 2022 19:07:00 +0000

For many students, navigating through life, higher education, careers, and adulthood can be overwhelming at times. It’s something that Hannah Hayward, health educator at the University of Houston-Victoria Counseling Center, wants students to know they don’t have to struggle with these overwhelming feelings and thoughts on their own.

“Going to college, for some, is part of finding out who you are and figuring out the next steps of who you’re trying to become,” Hayward said. “Students here can do that and they have access to free advice to help them navigate these changes.”

The UHV Counseling Center offers a variety of ways for students to receive counseling services and learn about health and wellness topics. The center offers free and confidential individual, couple and group therapy services to all enrolled students, including graduate students and those taking courses at the UHV Katy teaching site. Students also do not need to live on campus to receive counseling and can choose to meet in person or schedule a virtual session with a member of staff. To schedule a therapy appointment with a counselor, students can email or visit the center in person located at University Commons, Student Services Suite 2108.

“I recently read a study that found that one-third of college students experience some form of significant anxiety or depression,” said Michael Wilkinson, senior director of student services and legal affairs at UHV and director of the Counseling Center. “This statistic speaks for itself. Our students face a wide range of difficult challenges. It’s our job at the Counseling Center to help break down barriers that can get in the way of student success. In my opinion, focusing on mental health is one of the best gifts an individual can give themselves. I encourage students to be brave and determined to improve their own mental health while at UHV.

Although traditional counseling services are available, the center also offers online therapy assistance, also known as TAO. This online self-help tool and confidential service is available to help students at their own pace and does not involve speaking to an advisor. Students can listen and explore self-help techniques such as mindfulness exercises to help manage stress and anxiety.

The center hosts educational events throughout the year for students that focus on physical, mental, and sexual health and other related topics such as substance abuse.

Some events, such as Tuesday’s “Let Talk About: Healthy Relationships” and the upcoming Clothesline Project, where students, faculty and staff will have the opportunity to help raise awareness about domestic violence, are being co-hosted with community resources such as Mid-Coast Family Services, so that students have information about the services available to them in the Victoria area. The Clothesline Project is scheduled for 2-4 p.m. on September 27, and UHV students, faculty and staff are invited to decorate and write a positive message on a t-shirt for survivors of domestic violence. The shirts will be displayed on campus during the month of October.

In October, the center will host events where students can learn about their mental health and the issues that affect people around the world. On National Depression Screening Day on October 6, the center will offer virtual screening to students online to answer survey questions about their health. Based on the student’s survey results, Counseling Center staff will check with the student to see if they would like to see a counselor or access other counseling services. On October 10, students can learn about mental health issues around the world at an event celebrating World Mental Health Day from 2-4 p.m. in the UHV University Commons lobby.

In addition to educational presentations, the center also hosts events, including Walk With Us Wednesdays. During the months of September, October, and November, students, faculty, and staff are invited to meet at the jaX statue on a Wednesday. out of two on campus for a walk around the jaX track. Different times are offered for each event, so university students, faculty and staff are encouraged to check the UHV or JagSync calendar for start times.

The Light Up the Night: Glow 5K, an event to help raise awareness about domestic violence, will take place from 6-10 p.m. on October 20 from Pyramid Row. The university is partnering with Victoria College for the event, and all students, faculty and staff are welcome to attend. Organizations involved in helping victims of domestic violence, including organizations that help male victims, are invited to join the event to help spread the information. To participate in the event, contact Hayward at

Kai Martinez, a junior biology student and president of the UHV Student Government Association, is grateful for the counseling services and educational events held on campus. She appreciates that the university has a center that offers so many different ways to help students, especially after graduating from high school where counseling services were limited.

Martinez enjoys using TAO so she can learn mindfulness techniques at her own pace. As a student leader on campus, she actively encourages students – especially young males on campus – to take advantage of the counseling services offered at UHV. Even for students who feel shy or intimidated about talking to an advisor, confidential services like TAO are still available to students.

“There’s nothing wrong with asking for help and talking to a counsellor. It doesn’t define you in any way to take care of yourself,” Martinez said. “Even if you’re not ready to talk to a counselor yet, they’re there for you when you’re ready.”

The UHV Counseling Center is available to all UHV students. To learn more about the center and its services, visit

Check it out: cake molds and other unexpected loans from the library Sun, 25 Sep 2022 10:00:00 +0000

By Jessica Hermiller
Director of Bluffton Public Library

September marks a special month in libraries – it’s the National Library’s pay-per-view month.

Anyone can benefit from a library card and registration is simple. Adults, go to the library and bring photo ID and proof of address. Anyone under the age of 18, bring a parent/guardian and make sure they have their photo ID and proof of address.

When you have a library card, you can view our extensive collection of materials! We offer books (of course) but many other things, such as:

Audio books (books on CD, MP3 or digital player)

BluRays and DVDs

Comics and graphic novels

Magazines and newspapers


Having a library card also opens up possibilities outside of the library. You can use your card at home or on the go and enjoy a variety of databases, access to the Ohio Digital Library (eBooks, audiobooks, magazines, and comics), and services such as language applications. Still can not find what you are looking for ? We can borrow the article from another library.

Each library has its own collection of materials, but it may also have its own collection of unique items, some of which may be requested and some of which may be reserved for local members (depending on whether they are safe to ship). Cake pans, Ellison cutouts, book club kits and video games are common requests.

When you search the library catalog, if you use the term [realia] in the search bar you will see a variety of options – you can also use a search term for a specific item, such as cake pans, games consoles or kits. A few libraries have collections of toys and games for their local patrons, some have educational kits for classrooms and one even has a light therapy lamp! Our library has a special collection of video games, big books, one-off comic book issues, early learning kits, and Ellison cutouts.

Be sure to drop by the library in September (or any other month) and sign up for a library card. By using our library services, you are helping our community grow, learn and create – we hope to see you soon.

The state of education, loans and more…see what’s happening in the Allen community | American Allen Sat, 24 Sep 2022 14:44:00 +0000

“It’s a good thing” | News, Sports, Jobs Sat, 24 Sep 2022 07:03:13 +0000

HOUGHTON — Recovery from addiction is a long-term process that continues after treatment ends, staff at U.S. addiction centers said in a Sept. 12 posting titled Addiction, Aftercare Programs, Activities & Support Groups Near Me.

“Aftercare is any type of ongoing care you receive after leaving rehab,” AACS states. “The most common forms are 12-step meetings, outpatient care, counseling and sober living.”

Twelve-Step Programs are powerful peer support groups that help people recover from substance use disorders, behavioral addictions and sometimes other co-occurring mental health issues, the website says. ‘AACS. Twelve-step programs also help people achieve and maintain abstinence from substances. The site says, however, that while the 12-step movement can be a powerful and helpful force for many, some people struggle with what they interpret as a strong religious element of the program. Yet literature publicly available through Alcoholics Anonymous states:

“AA is not affiliated with any sect, denomination, policy, organization or institution; does not wish to engage in any controversy; neither endorses nor opposes any cause. Our main goal is to stay sober and to help other alcoholics get sober.

An October 9, 2020 article published by the editorial staff of the American Addiction Centers titled Religion and AA stated that to nonbelievers it may seem that AA is a deeply religious organization. It promotes the idea of ​​a higher power controlling people’s lives. It also encourages members to adopt a code of conduct that has a definite religious connotation. Alcoholics Anonymous is certainly not anti-religious, but the early members of the group were keen to present themselves as a spiritual program.

Jeff Williams, director of outpatient services at Copper Country Mental Health Services, Houghton, touched on the perceived religious element that many people point to.

“You can’t have a higher power, like going to church,” he said, “but I think the 12-step program is very open to higher powers.”

While the popular myth that AA is a religious program persists, there is no denying that it is effective enough in aiding long-term sobriety to have survived and grown exponentially since its founding in 1935. But there are Are There Real Benefits to 12-Step Programs? ?

Williams said there are absolutely benefits to 12-step programs like AA.

“I think if someone goes to 12 steps, they will get something out of it,” he said. “These are great meetings to just go to.

Williams said people, however, are afraid to go to 12-step meetings, mainly because of the lingering religious perception.

The American Addiction Centers article, in addressing the religious/spiritual debate controversy, does not deny a spiritual element to the program, but is also quick to differentiate what it states is the difference between the two:

“Spirituality generally refers to an inner path that people follow in search of a higher type of power,” indicates the site. “The path they take may be heavily influenced by the religious teachings of the world, but it will be more of a personal journey. It is typical for spiritual seekers to borrow ideas from different belief systems and mix them with their own ideas.

“Religion is less a personal journey than a matter of following an established path. There will usually be the belief that this path is the best, and so other paths should be avoided. A religion will provide rules to be followed and specific teachings that adherents must follow.

A 2006 report published on the Psychiatric Services website stated that there is a positive benefit in spirituality in 12-step programs:

“Physiological research suggests that spirituality may be relevant to the healing of psychiatric disorders.”

The report states that spirituality is a latent construct, which is inferred from several dimensions, such as social psychology, neurophysiology, and treatment outcome research.

Williams suggested that there is more to consider than religion/spirituality debates regarding the effectiveness of AA. These include the support, understanding, compassion and unity of its members.

“There are peers who know what you have been through” he said, “It may not be exactly what you’ve been through, but they know the program — they know the loss, the addiction. There is a lot of help in these meetings.

Recovery, he said, is a very personal thing.

“People talk about ‘I’m recovering'” he said. “Your recovery may be totally different from that of another person who says they are in recovery.”

At the same time, if someone goes to an A.A. meeting, a 12-step meeting, any kind of self-help meeting, other recovery meetings – whatever they are – said, “it’s just that they’re on the way; they think about it. It’s on their radar. So that’s a good thing.

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The surprising link between bedtime and dementia Fri, 23 Sep 2022 22:02:19 +0000

  • Alzheimer’s disease, a common form of dementia, is one of the top ten leading causes of death in the United States.
  • New research indicates that time spent in bed and bedtime may impact dementia risk.
  • People aged 60-74 are the most affected.
  • Previous research has also highlighted the role of sleep quality in memory and dementia..

Sleep can influence physical and mental health and is linked to illnesses ranging from heart disease and stroke to depression and obesity.

And a new study published on September 21 in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society provided new insights into the role of sleep in dementia.

Researchers in China, Sweden and the UK looked at sleep data from 1,982 Chinese with an average age of 70, none of whom had symptoms of dementia at the start of the study.

An average of 3.7 years later, 97 participants (5%) had been diagnosed with dementia according to the criteria of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition (DSM-IV).

Those mainly affected were between the ages of 60 and 74. Men were also at higher risk, which contradicts what many other dementia researchers have already found.

“In most studies, women are known to have twice the risk of dementia than men. It is unusual that this study found otherwise,” said Dr. Alex Dimitriu, dual board certified in psychiatry and sleep medicine and founder of Menlo Park Psychiatry & Sleep Medicine and BrainfoodMD.

The study found that longer time spent in bed (TIB) was associated with a significantly increased risk of dementia. Those who stayed in bed for more than 8 hours were much more likely to show cognitive decline on a Mini Mental State Examination (MMSE) – a test used to measure cognitive impairment.

So why might older people need to spend more time in bed?

“As we age, we see a fragmentation of sleep states,” sleep specialist and clinical psychologist Dr. Michael Breus told Healthline. This means “we don’t seem to be getting the same type of physically restorative sleep (stages 3/4) as when we were younger.”

As such, “people with poor sleep quality may need more sleep time to compensate,” Dimitriu added.

Other factors may also play a role, explained Dr. Carl W. Bazil, PhD, Caitlin Tynan Doyle, professor of neurology at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons.

Depression (for which the elderly are at greatest risk) can make it difficult to sleep, he explained. “But there are also many other medical conditions (such as heart disease or diabetes) and the medications taken for them that can increase fatigue and sleep needs.”

The time at which individuals went to bed has also been highlighted by researchers as a key contributing factor. Early evening hours were considered the riskiest. The research paper stated that “every 1 hour advance to bedtime [before 10 pm] was associated with a 25% increased risk of dementia.

The study authors hypothesized that earlier bedtimes could be driven by a disturbed circadian rhythm.

“The parts of the brain responsible for sleep management begin to change with age. It impacts our circadian rhythm cycles,” said Dr. David Rabin, PhD, neuroscientist, board-certified psychiatrist and co-founder of Apollo Neuro, a wearable stress relief device.

Age-related factors, such as having to use the bathroom more frequently during the night, “also impact our deep, good-quality sleep,” Rabin continued. Cumulative sleep deprivation “leads to a change in brain structures that regulate circadian cycles.”

Other influences could also be at play, Dimitriu said.

“It’s possible that people in the early stages of dementia experience brain fatigue earlier in the day, leading them to want to sleep earlier,” he said. “Sunset is a well-known effect in older people prone to dementia, where they can become confused and disoriented in the evening.”

Limitations of the study to be taken into account

One of the main disadvantages of research is that the TIB does not necessarily reflect the weather. spent sleeping. Sleep duration has been noted by scientists as a crucial factor in cognitive health and dementia risk.

Breus said a longer TIB could indicate an underlying sleep-related issue, such as insomnia, that “could affect this situation and make it worse.”

A recent Canadian study also pointed out that people with insomnia were at a higher risk of memory loss.

Additionally, the BIR does not take into account the quality of a person’s sleep, which is also thought to be important in cognition and dementia. For example, not sleeping deeply enough can have a huge impact on memory (more on that later).

There is one final consideration to keep in mind.

“This study, along with many others like it, are association studies and as such do not show cause and effect,” Bazil explained.

“It is therefore never clear whether the observed association (in this case, short or long periods in bed or time of falling asleep) actually causes dementia, or is indirectly related to it,” he said. added.

A key sign of dementia is memory loss. However, at all stages of life, “we know that quality sleep is necessary for many, if not all, types of memory,” Bazil explained.

So what happens when you are in a state of sleep? When it comes to memory, two main actions occur.

The first is the processing and “storage” of memories.

“Short-term memory is initially stored in the hippocampus when it arrives in the brain, which is the area where information is stored for short-term recall and use,” Rabin explained.

“When we sleep, information from the hippocampus is transmitted to higher cortical structures in the brain, allowing it to become long-term memory and integrate with memories from the past,” he continued.

Rabin revealed that this process is called memory reconsolidation – and is particularly affected by poor REM sleep quality or shorter sleep duration.

Second, sleep is when our brain eliminates harmful toxins that over time can impact memory.

“When the brain is active during the day, it produces a lot of what we call ‘reactive oxygen species,’ or inflammatory waste products,” Rabin said. “When the brain is asleep and able to recover, especially in deep and REM sleep states, [it] detoxifies and eliminates inflammatory waste.

A buildup of toxins ultimately puts additional stress on the brain and prevents it from achieving memory reconsolidation.

“In summary, the quality of sleep, as much as the quantity of sleep, can be important,” Dimitriu said.

This study monitored the onset of dementia in older people – the time in life when its symptoms are most likely to appear.

“Dementias, such as Alzheimer’s disease, often present with symptoms [among people] in your 60s, although an early onset in your 40s or 50s can occur,” Dr. Sandra Petersen, senior vice president of health and wellness at Pegasus Senior Living, told Healthline.

She continued: “Dementia is an ‘umbrella’ term for a group of conditions, of which Alzheimer’s disease is the most common, in which progressive changes occur in the brain.”

Petersen explained that the common signs and symptoms of dementia are:

  • Persistent and pervasive difficulty with memory, cognition, and the ability to perform daily tasks
  • Loss of concentration
  • Inability to pay attention
  • Loss of language skills
  • A decrease in visual perception
  • A loss of problem-solving skills
  • Impaired reasoning and judgment

Dementia risk factors

If this new study (among others) reveals that sleep is a risk factor for dementia, it is not the only player involved.

“Researchers have looked at a number of possible causes of dementia,” Petersen said. “We don’t know for sure, but it’s probably a combination of factors that contributes to [its] development and evolution. »

She revealed that scientists hypothesize that dementia may come from:

  • Inflammation – resulting from poor sleep, poor diet, lack of exercise and other unhealthy habits
  • The appearance of abnormal ‘tau’ proteins in the brain
  • Genetic
  • Untreated and prolonged depression
  • The inability of the brain to properly use insulin

Sleep has long been linked to dementia. Poor sleep is thought to increase the risk, while people with dementia often struggle to get a healthy, restful night’s rest.

This study did not explore some critical aspects of sleep, such as quality. However, it does highlight the link between dementia and BIR and bedtime – things the article noted as “poorly understood” and “rarely explored”, respectively.

More research is needed on how BIR and bedtimes may influence the onset of dementia.

But, until then, the study authors said their findings “suggest that cognitive function should be monitored in older adults who report prolonged time in bed and advanced sleep patterns.”

Pierre Gasly focused on recovering from Monza illness Fri, 23 Sep 2022 14:04:00 +0000

Ian Parkes and Ewan Gale

Pierre Gasly is focused on returning to peak fitness for the Singapore Grand Prix after being struck down with illness in Italy.

The AlphaTauri pilot was forced to miss Thursday’s media responsibilities at Monza after falling ill, although he was able to return to the cockpit for the weekend.

Gasly was clearly not 100% for the race but was able to battle with Daniel Ricciardo’s McLaren before taking advantage of the Australian’s disappearance with engine trouble and finishing eighth.

Drivers were given a two-weekend break to prepare for Singapore after the Russian Grand Prix was cancelled.

With the humidity in Singapore mixed with the bumpy, twisty nature of the Marina Bay circuit and the nearly two-hour duration making the event one of the most strenuous on the calendar, Gasly will need layoffs every day. for preparing.

“I’m going to try to rest, get some sleep and get back into physical shape for this race,” Gasly said. “We know these are very extreme conditions.”

Singapore returns to the calendar for the first time since 2019 following an enforced absence from Covid-19 and Gasly is delighted to return to Asian territory.

“It’s a track that I love…I love this place,” he added.

“I’ve missed this place for the past few years and can’t wait to get there.

“I go there with an open mind. We will do our best, we will prepare in the best way and hopefully we can fight for the top 10 again.”

Virtual VA tools to support your mental health care Thu, 22 Sep 2022 20:00:02 +0000

Your mental health plays a fundamental role in your overall well-being. It is therefore important to have access to mental health care when and where you need it.

VA offers veterans safe virtual tools for mental health care outside of the traditional office visit. With the VA Video Connect app, you can access your mental health visits from home or any other preferred location. And you can use other VA Mobile apps to complement the treatment and support your personal care.

Virtual visits via VA Video Connect

Talking about mental health can be intimidating. And in-person appointments can create additional challenges for those seeking help. With VA Video Connect, you can connect with your VA mental health providers from the comfort of your home.

VA Video Connect allows veterans to meet with VA vendors through secure video conferencing. If you have a smartphone, tablet or computer with an internet connection, you can use VA Video Connect to attend TeleMental Health appointments wherever you are.

Over 97% of VA mental health outpatient providers have conducted video telehealth visits using VA Video Connect. If you wish, you can invite family members or caregivers to join your video visits. Some AV providers also offer group therapy sessions or other group appointments using the app.

To learn more, visit the VA Video Connect app page.

Annie App for veterans

Annie is a VA courier service that empowers veterans to take an active role in their care, including their mental health. The messages you receive from Annie may include mental health support, such as tips for reducing stress, setting boundaries, and practicing mindfulness and relaxation techniques.

For those who need bereavement support, you can subscribe to receive coping strategies, encouragement and educational materials. To learn new stress management strategies, subscribe to receive weekly motivational and skill-building text messages.

To learn more, visit the Annie app page.

PTSD Coach

The PTSD Coach app provides veterans with tools to manage their PTSD symptoms. It also provides resources for family members and caregivers looking to support veterans in their lives who have PTSD.

You can use the app to track symptoms, find information about care and treatment options, complete a PTSD self-assessment, and learn anger management and relaxation techniques.

The app was developed by the VA National Center for PTSD. A clinical psychologist at the center, Dr. Pearl McGee-Vincent, said the PTSD coach supports veterans’ self-care by helping them track their progress and self-manage their symptoms continuously throughout recovery.

To learn more, visit the PTSD Coach app page.

Mindfulness Coach

You can use the Mindfulness Coach app to create a simple and consistent mindfulness practice. Mindfulness can help those who suffer from anxiety, depression and chronic pain. It reduces stress, improves emotional balance and increases self-awareness.

“Mindfulness can be defined as paying attention to a purpose — being in the present with a non-judgmental attitude,” McGee-Vincent said.

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To learn more, visit the Mindfulness Coach app page.

insomnia trainer

Insomnia can make it difficult to function during the day. It causes concentration and mood problems and interferes with work and relationships.

If you have trouble sleeping, the Insomnia Coach app can help. You can use the app to access guided weekly workout plans to track and improve your sleep. You can use the app’s interactive sleep diary feature to track changes and get feedback on your sleep.

To learn more, visit the Insomnia Coach app page.

For many, the stigma surrounding mental health can be a barrier to seeking treatment. VA virtual care tools can reach people who might otherwise not want or be able to seek care.

To learn more about VA virtual care tools and mental health resources, watch the presentation recorded on Facebook Live, VA Tools and Technology for Mental Health Month.

OPINION: Me against my student loans | Opinion Thu, 22 Sep 2022 14:30:00 +0000

I am an adult of age (whether in spirit also remains to be determined). It’s known and accepted by everyone, including my parents, but there are still some things that my mom doesn’t let me forget despite this new phase of my life. Un: She brought me into this world and, if she needed to, could take me out of it. Two: it would be wise to portray her well as someone she raised, or as she puts it, “don’t embarrass me there.” And three: I have a decently sized debt hanging over me, waiting to be taken care of after I graduate in December.

She will bring this into our conversations every few months or so and urge me to think about how I can repay the loans I have taken out. I never really get an answer, so I rely on my nonverbal communication skills—heavy sighs, low grunts—just to stop her. I know she won’t.

It bothered me until the sight of the end of my college experience began to creep into my life. Today, it’s squarely in plan, but it’s not exactly centered. Soon, however, a director will wave his hand, signaling him to go up some stairs. In a few months, I’ll be done, and I’ll have a degree and tens of thousands of dollars in loans to prove it.

When President Joe Biden announced plans to forgive up to $20,000 in student debt for American borrowers, my mom and I talked about what it meant to me. Sure, that’s a reduced amount, but it only reduces a dark 6-foot figure to, like, 5-foot-10. My debt is basically the average size of an American man. The match was not canceled. I’m always being waved on the mat, and I have to find a way to pin it down. For reference, I am only 5ft 3in.

Writing this has been easy so far, but now I’m getting nervous. At some point, I will have to bring up the topic of how I accrued this undisclosed amount of debt. I can already see the comments on Facebook about people who got away with it and paid for their education without any help, especially government help. I imagine that if the text could speak, the last part would be whispered. Who is to blame besides me and my lack of financial literacy? they will ask. They will ignore my words that blamed no one, and they will also ignore any evidence that larger systemic issues may be at play for the $1.75 trillion student loan debt this country has.

To them, I’m just a black girl complaining and angry that I couldn’t get an all-expenses-paid trip to higher education. Maybe that’s right. What’s not fair is that student loan debt disproportionately affects black students, making them the racial group most likely to have higher student loan debt and not be able to repay it. What’s not fair is that without at least a bachelor’s degree, people will earn an average of $30,000 a year, according to the Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities. For those who borrowed large sums just to earn a coveted degree that was supposed to propel them toward upward economic mobility, a good portion of their post-graduation earnings will now have to be repaid.

There’s no way the level playing field will ever be level as long as there are people drowning in debt. Up to $20,000 forgiven is a good start, but it’s not a solution.

I would not write this without having taken out loans. It took a lot to go to a private school in my first two years of college, but since the transfer, I’ve always found myself having to use them to pay my rent. I couldn’t dedicate myself to learning to be a journalist without doing it.

In addition to loans, I have a job and scholarships, so I have the privilege of not having to worry about money now. However, I cannot deny that the fight that I and so many others have fought and will have to fight to repay our loans is frightening. And after December, I’ll have new access to a part of our world that often feels like it’s betting people like me to lose.

VA Loan Vs. Conventional Loan: Your Guide Thu, 22 Sep 2022 05:11:10 +0000

What are the main differences between VA loans and conventional loans?

Conventional loans generally have stricter loan requirements than VA loans and other government-backed loans — such as FHA and USDA loans — because lenders assume most of the risk with conventional loans.

Let’s dive deep into the different requirements for VA and conventional loans so you can decide which mortgage product is best suited to your home buying needs and goals.

VA Loan Vs. Conventional Loan: Property Type

One of the biggest differences between VAs and conventional mortgages is the type of property you can finance with each type of home loan.

  • VA Loans: According to the VA loan occupancy requirements, if you are financing with a VA loan, the home or property must serve as your primary residence. Although you cannot use a VA loan to directly purchase a second home, investment property, or vacation home, you can purchase a multi-family property of up to four units for rent – as long as you occupy one of the units as Principal residence. .
  • Conventional loans: Conventional loans do not require you to occupy the home you are buying as your primary residence. This means you can use a conventional mortgage to buy a second home, vacation home, rental home, or other investment property with no strings attached, as long as your lender approves it.

VA Loan Vs. Conventional Loan: Credit Score

Because your credit score represents how well you’ve managed your debt, mortgage lenders rely on this three-digit number to assess your risk as a borrower.

And while the VA doesn’t set a minimum credit score requirement, you’ll still need to meet your lender’s minimum credit score requirement, no matter what loan product you’re applying for.

Here are the credit score requirements for conventional and VA loans:

  • Conventional loans: The minimum benchmark credit score varies by lender, but in general you will need a score of at least 620 to qualify for a conventional loan.
  • VA Loans: Since the government insures VA loans, lenders may offer lower credit score requirements than conventional loans. Some lenders may still require a score of 620 credits, but a score of 580 may qualify you for a VA loan with Rocket Mortgage®.

VA Loan Vs. Conventional Loan: Down Payment

One of the coolest features of VA loans is that they generally don’t require a down payment, although some lenders may require a small down payment if your credit rating is low.

For conventional loans, most lenders will require you to pay at least 3% of the purchase price, depending on your financial situation and credit score. However, if you make a down payment of at least 20%, you can also waive paying for private mortgage insurance (PMI) at the start of your loan term.

VA Loan Vs. Conventional Loan: Mortgage Insurance

Depending on your loan type, down payment amount and other factors, lenders may charge you mortgage insurance to offset the risk of default. Mortgage insurance can be a one-time cost you pay at closing, a regular fee built into your monthly mortgage payment, or both.

Let’s look at the mortgage insurance requirements for conventional versus VA loans:

  • Conventional loans: Lenders will require you to pay private mortgage insurance (PMI) on a conventional loan until you reach 20% of the equity in your home. Although the exact amount varies from lender to lender, the PMI is generally 0.1% to 2% of your loan amount per year. Once you reach 22% of your home’s equity, your lender should automatically remove PMI from your monthly payments, but you can ask them to do so once your home’s equity reaches 20%.
  • VA Loans: Although VA loans do not require mortgage insurance, they do require you to pay a VA financing fee, which is an upfront cost of 1.4% to 3.6% of the loan amount. Like mortgage insurance, finance charges offset the potential risk of default and can be rolled into the total loan amount.

PV Loan Vs. Conventional Loan: Debt to Income Ratio (DTI)

Your debt-to-income ratio (DTI) is a percentage representing the portion of your gross monthly income spent on recurring monthly debts such as rent, student loans, auto loans, and credit card payments.

Your lender reviews your DTI to determine how likely you are to make your mortgage payments on time each month. The lower your DTI, the less risk you pose to your lender.

  • VA Loans: Although VA loans do not have specific requirements for DTI, most lenders prefer a DTI of 41% or less. Lenders are also required to review compensating factors — such as your credit score, cash flow, or military benefits — so you can potentially qualify with a DTI above 41%.
  • Conventional loans: While most lenders prefer your DTI to be below 40%, you could qualify for a conventional loan with a DTI as high as 50% – although your lender will likely increase your mortgage interest rate to compensate for the risk that your high DTI may pose.

VA Loan Vs. Conventional Loan: Mortgage Rates

Housing market conditions, inflation and even the Federal Reserve are all factors that affect current mortgage rates. The interest rate on your personal mortgage will also be influenced by the amount of your loan, your down payment and your credit score, as well as whether you are applying for an adjustable rate mortgage (ARM) or a fixed rate mortgage. fixed.

VA mortgages generally offer lower interest rates than conventional loans, with a percentage difference of 0.25% to 0.42%. For example, for a 30-year fixed rate loan ending at the end of July 2022, the average mortgage rate for a VA loan was 5.375% compared to 5.5% for a conventional loan of the same duration.

However, if you took out a 15-year fixed-rate conforming loan at the end of July 2022, you might have locked in an interest rate as low as 5.125% in exchange for a higher monthly payment.

VA Loan Vs. Conventional Loan: Loan Limits

For a single-family home in most US counties in 2022, you can use a conventional loan to finance a home for up to $647,200. The conforming loan limit increases to $970,800 for high-cost areas in California, Alaska, Hawaii and other states. If your property exceeds the conforming loan limits for your area, you will need to use a jumbo loan – a type of conventional non-conforming loan.

VA loans technically have no loan limits. Instead, they have VA loan rights. If you’ve never used your VA loan benefit — or if you’ve fully repaid a VA loan — you’re fully entitled, which means the VA will repay up to 25% of any loan amount you’re approved for. .

However, if you are making payments on a VA loan or have defaulted on a VA loan, you have partial entitlement. You can still buy a home with a VA loan using a partial entitlement. The VA, however, will only guarantee your loan up to the conforming loan limit minus the entitlement you are using.

VA Loan Vs. Conventional Loan: Closing Costs

Closing costs are various fees you pay to your lender to process your loan. These costs include origination fees, home appraisal fees, title search fees and more.

While VA loans cap their origination fees at 1% of the total loan amount, those fees also tend to range only from 0.5% to 1% for conventional loans. Appraisal fees for conventional loans are generally lower, typically ranging from $300 to $400 for a single family home versus $425 to $875 for a VA appraisal. It is important to note that the appraisal fee for a loan financed home can cost north of $600 or even $2,000 depending on where you live, the size of your home, etc.

Overall, you’ll typically pay 3% to 5% of your loan amount to close your VA loan, and you’ll likely pay 2% to 6% to close your conventional loan.

NLE Choppa insists he’s not a ‘spiritual fake’ Wed, 21 Sep 2022 21:06:35 +0000

NLE Choppa defended his spirituality on Wednesday, September 21.

After making headlines for a breakup, NLE Choppa has addressed critics who claim he is “fake spiritual“. The 19-year-old rapper explained what spirituality meant to him in a Twitter Publish.

“People say I’m a spiritual faker, let me tell you something,” he wrote. “Spirituality isn’t about crystals, being super nice all the time, and completely disconnecting from reality. It’s actually about AWAKENING to find your PURPOSE. Then you go on that spiritual JOURNEY to REALIZE IT!”

NLE Choppa made the comment days after ex-girlfriend Marissa Da’Nae mourned their breakup on social media. He previously spoke out on the cover of their split and tried to clarify why the relationship ended.

“I broke up with my last partner not because I couldn’t ‘cheat in peace,'” he wrote on Twitter. “Also not because ‘my polygamous views’ but if that’s what you got out of a 30 minute explainer video I’ll let y’all run with it but if you want the real reason I’ll drop it the link again. Thanks.”

NLE Choppa added: “I had to leave this there now, I’m sorry I dragged this out for so long, I’m done this time. But stop paying blogs to promote something that isn’t true. Promoting the real reason I left. Imma keep dropping the link. I refuse to have false stories about my name!

Watch NLE Choppa’s explanation below.