“My job creates so much stress.” “My marriage is so stressful.” “The holidays are always a stressful time of year.” We hear the word “STRESS” so often, we are almost immune to the REAL HARM it often produces. It is NOT just a NOUN or VERB. It is an EMOTION that causes SERIOUS HEALTH COMPLICATIONS […]
via STRESS ISN’T REALLY THAT DANGEROUS; IS IT? — All About Healthy Choices
After reading this superb explanation of the damage stress wreaks on your body, please check out my post – Some super tools for handling stress. There is an answer for it.
Regular readers know that I am a senior citizen; will be 77 in January. So, I have a lot of senior friends. We have all experienced ‘senior moments’ when we find our memory becoming slightly elusive. Because my family has had Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia I am particularly sensitive to any brain stuff. So I was impressed with the suggestions that Harvard brought forward regarding enhancing our memory.
The way you live, what you eat and drink, and how you treat your body can affect your memory just as much as your physical health and well-being. Here are five things you can do every day to keep both your mind and body sharp.
1. Manage your stress. The constant drumbeat of daily stresses such as deadline pressures or petty arguments can certainly distract you and affect your ability to focus and recall. But the bigger problem is an ongoing sense of anxiety — that can lead to memory impairment. If you don’t have a strategy in place for managing your stress, protecting your memory is one reason to get one. Deep breathing, meditation, yoga, and a “mindful” approach to living can all help.
I have posted a number of times on stress. You can find them by searching s t r e s s in the box at the right. If you want one excellent example check out: Super tools for handling stress.
In view of the upcoming elections, I thought this was a particularly timely post. Whether you want to trumpet the Donald or pillory Hillary, there are some worthwhile ideas here.
Our Better Health
Imagine getting into a political discussion with someone who is highly passionate about their beliefs. If the conversation is a good one, those beliefs will likely, at some point, come under question. If their emotional PH is high enough, they’ll interpret that as not only their ideas being threatened, but their identities too. Soon, you’re not having a conversation anymore, but a back-and-forth defense match. It’s not about listening, it’s about being right. You reach for over-generalizations, they argue with singular, personal anecdotes, you make sweeping assumptions, cite studies you read once-upon-a-time, their faces widen with bewilderment at how you cannot possibly see what’s so logical and self-evident to them.
This is a really common example of what happens when people allow their emotions to color their thoughts.
Being passionate is fine. Feeling a lot is fine. But when you lose your ability to differentiate what you feel from what…
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This being the weekend, I thought it appropriate to offer some ideas on how good it is to laugh.
Most people have back pain at some time or another in their lives. WebMD says, “Most people have experienced back pain sometime in their lives. The causes of back pain are numerous; some are self-inflicted due to a lifetime of bad habits. Other back pain causes include accidents, muscle strains, and sports injuries. Although the causes may be different, most often they share the same symptoms.”
Back pain is one of the most common complaints that show up in the Emergency Room, according to Alan G. Shepard, M.D., Neurologist, Northwestern Memorial Hospital, speaking to the Northwestern Memorial Healthy Transitions Program®.
“Some 60 to 90 percent of the population will experience back pain in their lifetime.
“Back pain is second only to upper respiratory infection as a cause for lost work time.
“Over 5 million people are disabled with low back pain which makes it the number one disability for workers less than 45 years old.
“The bad news is that no definitive diagnosis will be found in over 80 percent of the back pain cases.
“The good news is that over 90 percent of patients, even those with sciatica, will be better in two months regardless of the type of therapy given.
“Determining which patient with back pain is the ‘true emergency’ is one of the biggest diagnostic challenges that an emergency medicine physician can face. ”
WEbMD says to call your doctor if:
- You feel numbness, tingling, or weakness in your groin, arms or legs; this may signal damage to the spinal cord. Seek immediate medical help.
- The pain in your back extends downward along the back of the leg; you may be suffering from sciatica.
- The pain increases when you cough or bend forward at the waist; this can be the sign of a herniated disc.
- The pain is accompanied by fever, burning during urination, or frequent and/or urgent urination. You may have an infection.
- You begin to have problems controlling your bowels or bladder; seek immediate medical help.
None of us escapes stress in our lives. When we deal with it positively we escape its damage and grow stronger in the bargain.
Check out the following posts for more on stress reduction:
How to deal with a day of stress
Some super tools for handling stress
Yesterday I had a series of events that would have had my hands trembling with frustration and stress a year ago. However, I have been using some tools for dealing with stress that served me very well. Maybe this recounting will help you to do the same.
The day started with a dentist visit. That wasn’t the stressor. I was simply having a crown fitted. The problem was that the appointment was at 9:00 AM. The weather forecast said very hot.
All the while I could feel the bike path beckoning
Stressor number one. Normally, I would be out first thing in the morning to ride my bicycle and avoid the afternoon’s extreme heat. But, I couldn’t because I had to go to the dentist. A year ago, I would have raced off to the dentist fretting about how hot it was going to be and all the attendant difficulties. I chose not to. The dentist visit was something I needed to do and I decided that I would adjust my riding accordingly even if it meant riding in hotter weather than I would have liked. It was simply a matter of priorities. I looked at it in a positive way. When I finished with the appointment I relaxed and walked home, I didn’t race home to save seconds and stress myself further. I changed clothes, got the dog and went downstairs to the bike room.
Stressor number two. My bicycle speedometer battery had died. I needed to go to the bike shop and get it replaced. That would set me back at least a further 15 minutes. Take a deep breath; let it out slow. Okay, I could deal with that. The alternative of riding without a speedometer and odometer was not acceptable as how many miles I ride is relevant to me. I rode down to the bike shop.
Stressor number three. My two regular bike mechanics weren’t there. They are familiar with my speedometer and have changed the batteries before. I was going to be stuck a longer time as the new guy figured out the workings of the little gadget. Take a deep breath; let it out slow. Okay, it’s still a day I can ride. So, that is a plus for me. Just a little further delay to deal with. The new guy got it changed, reprogrammed and I was ready to go. The charge $3.00. No biggie. But wait, it rained the other day and I had to hang up my cycling shorts to dry out. I keep my money in the pocket. The shorts are still hanging up in the bathroom and I am wearing a different pair. I have no money! Take a deep breath; let it out slow.
I like these eight simple mental actions. They can clearly make a mountain of difference in your daily life if your aren’t practicing them.
These reminded me of the ideas from Dr. Maggie Crowley in Super tools for handling stress. Check it out.
Our Better Health
MARK DENICOLA MARCH 17, 2016
As much as our lives may be impacted by our circumstance, I’m a firm believer that they are far more influenced by our attitude. While we may collectively look down upon certain things, you can almost always find an opposing, positive stance to pretty well everything.
Take a rainstorm, for example. Most would find it annoying, gloomy, and/or unfortunate, but others (such as a farmer) would consider it something to be happy, relieved, and/or excited about.
With so much of our experience being within our control, why do so many of us continually choose to take such pessimistic and negative views towards things? Here is a list of 8 mind shifts that I personally feel could be the keys to finding the always sought-after success and happiness:
(NOTE: Of course there are certain experiences that will be far more difficult to apply these…
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I love the simplicity of this. Truly the best things in life are free.
When I bought my apartment, one of the major selling points was the fact that it overlooks Lake Michigan. My east view gives me sunrises every morning. Truly food for the soul.
To read further on positivity, check out PHow to harness positive psychology for you – Harvard.
For more on number three – stress, check out Super tools for handling stress.
Our Better Health
Which of these uncomplicated activities to you do most days?
Do these most days and it will help protect your mental health.
1. Dwell on the positive
Positive memories could be used as a way to help boost mental well-being, new research finds.
People in the study were asked to focus on positive social memories.
Participants focused on their own positive feelings from that memory as well as on the positive feelings of the other person.
The results showed that people felt socially safer and more positive and relaxed after the exercise.
At the same time feelings of guilt and fear were reduced.
2. Drink some tea
Tea is both calming and can make you feel more alert.
It improves cognitive performance in the short-term and may help fight Alzheimer’s in the long-term.
Finally, it is linked to better mental health.
I’ll raise a cup to that!
From: Tea: 6…
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It’s nice to hear your own ideas come out of someone else’s brain. To amplify this very useful post, check out these posts:
How much do you need to exercise?
Super tools for handling stress
Sleep habits affect weight loss and more
I have a Page on How important is a good night’s sleep?
Lastly, there is a cute video on Positive Psychology.
Our Better Health
Elson M. Haas, MD
What is called “Preventive Medicine” in America in the 21st Century is really more appropriately termed early intervention and early diagnosis. Having immunization injections or taking tests such as x-rays and mammograms, prostate exams, and blood tests are not really preventive in nature. Rather, they are an attempt to detect diseases in an early state. What is promoted as cancer prevention with the use of mammograms or prostate exams, sigmoidoscopes or colonoscopes is really early cancer diagnosis. This is done in hopes that cancer can be aggressively attacked before it spreads and destroys the entire body and life. Cancer represents a state of toxicity and its reaction on cellular mechanisms in the body; it is a disease of our body and not separate from it, and represents some breakdown or misguidance of our intricate immune system. After it occurs, it clearly is difficult to treat without…
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I like this needs overview of the organic machine in which each of us lives. It’s no accident that exercise figures in each of the segments.
Filed under aging, Exercise
How much sleep is optimal for weight loss? Between seven and nine hours a night is best. Less than seven hours increases the risk of obesity approximately 30 percent and adds an extra five pounds on average.
According to Jean-Philippe Chaput, M.Sc., from Laval University in Quebec City, Quebec, Canada, and colleagues, current treatments for obesity have been largely unsuccessful in maintaining long-term weight loss, suggesting the need for new insight into the mechanisms that result in altered metabolism and behavior and may lead to obesity, HUFFPOST HEALTH reported.
The increase in body weight in the U.S. population has been paralleled by a reduction in sleep times. For the past four decades, daily sleep duration has decreased by one and a half to two hours, and the proportion of young adults sleeping less than seven hours per night has more than doubled, from 15.6 percent in 1960 to 37.1 percent in 2002.
Sleep deprivation is a serious problem for physical and mental health reasons even when it is mild, according to Dr. Anthony Goodman in The Great Courses course Lifelong Health: Achieving Optimum Well-Being at any Age.
Sleep deprivation is prevalent in all age categories from late teens to the elderly.
The National Sleep Foundation reported that 67 percent of Americans are sleep-deprived. Some 40 percent of Americans sleep less than 7 hours a night and 70 percent sleep less than 8 hours.
College students who have been carefully tested showed that even the slightest decrease in the amount of sleep caused major deficits in their memory and test performance.
I wrote Stress Will Kill You a while back. I was halfway through the Course on Stress from The Great Courses at that point. Now I have finished the class and wanted to share some very important concepts from the final lecture. They deal with exercise, its benefit and our attitude toward it.
The following two paragraphs are quoted from the course Guidebook:
“The first thing you can do is exercise. Exercise helps in all sorts of ways: it decreases your chance of cardiovascular disease, and that seems to protect against certain aspects of brain aging and cognitive decline. If your cerebrovascular system is not getting gummed up, you are going to have a brain that works better and that ages better. Exercise also stimulates neurogenesis and helps your neurons grow new processes and new connections. One qualifier to keep in mind is that if you overdo it, it can negatively impact your reproductive system.
“There are certain qualifiers that apply to exercise…. First, you cannot save your stress management for the weekend; it has got to be done virtually daily. Next, you need to take the time out for it. It needs to be something that is important enough to you that you are going to say no to all these stressors competing for your attention. In the realm of aerobic exercise, for example, most studies suggest that you need to do 20 to 30 minutes to begin to get the cardiovascular advantages, Last, you have got to like doing it. If a personal trainer is forcing you to exercise, you do not get anywhere near as much of the health benefits.”
Another aspect of the enjoyment concept quoted in the Unworkout comes from Cedric Bryant PhD. “The Number one reason people say they don’t get regular physical activity is lack of time, says Cedric Bryant, PhD, chief exercise physiologist for the American Council on Exercise (ACE) in San Diego. Yet, he adds, “we’ll find time to do what’s enjoyable.”
The Unworkout also suggested that you make play your workout. Remember begging your mother to let you stay outside five more minutes? Whatever you were doing — playing catch, jumping rope, or riding your bike — it was too much fun to quit. The key to fitting more activity into your life is rediscovering that joy of movement.
Regular readers know that I have found bicycling to be the perfect exercise. I hope you are able to find one that works as well for you. Lucky me. Turns out it really makes a difference.
When I was a kid and watched hundreds of double feature cowboy movies on Saturday afternoons, one of the phrases that I heard in almost every movie was, “Let’s head ’em off at the pass.” I knew the bad guys didn’t have a chance to get away because the good guys always headed them off.
Amazingly, that is also an example of one of our best defenses against stress. Head it off at the pass. Don’t even let it get get into your head. Works like magic, but it isn’t at all.
The Harvard Medical School has produced a special 52 page report on stress management and offered some superb guidelines on exactly that. It is called Cognitive Restructuring.
Here is an example: “Stop for a moment and try to remember the thoughts that were running through your head the last time you were late for work. Perhaps a simple thought, such as “the train is late,” quickly transformed into “I’ll be late to work. I won’t make it to my meeting on time. My boss will be angry with me. My job is in jeopardy. This always happens to me.” Continue reading
This seemed particularly timely in view of the fact that Thanksgiving is little more than a heartburn away. Harvard HEALTHBeat Offers the following:
“Maybe you’ve just eaten, or finished a meal an hour or so ago — and now your stomach just doesn’t “feel right.” You feel bloated and uncomfortable. Or maybe it’s more of a burning sensation. Maybe you feel queasy, or even throw up. You might say you have an “upset stomach” or indigestion. If there is no known medical cause for your symptoms, your doctor would call it “dyspepsia” or “bad digestion.”
“Indigestion is real. The medical term for persistent upper abdominal pain or discomfort without an identifiable medical cause is functional dyspepsia. The symptoms can come and go at any time, but often eating is the trigger. Sometimes the discomfort begins during the meal; other times, about half an hour later.
“If you suffer from functional dyspepsia, you’re not alone. Roughly 25% of the population is affected, and it hits men and women equally. It’s responsible for a significant percentage of visits to primary care doctors, in part because many people worry they might have an ulcer. While it’s frustrating that the cause of functional dyspepsia is unknown, it’s even more frustrating that there is no surefire cure.
The good news is that there are simple things you can try to help get some relief:
1 Avoid foods that trigger your symptoms.
2 Eat small portions and don’t overeat; try eating smaller, more frequent meals throughout the day, and be sure to chew food slowly and completely.
3 Avoid activities that result in swallowing excess air, such as smoking, eating quickly, chewing gum, and drinking carbonated beverages.
4 Reduce your stress. Try relaxation therapies, cognitive behavioral therapy, or exercise. An aerobic workout 3-5 times per week can help, but don’t exercise right after eating.
5 Get enough rest.
6 Don’t lie down within two hours of eating.
7 Keep your weight under control.
For more on diagnosing and treating indigestion, buy The Sensitive Gut.
When I was younger I always had music playing no matter what I was doing. Now that I am an old man, I still love music, but I don’t play it when I am writing blog posts or doing things that require concentration.
It’s nice to know that it lowers blood pressure and reduces stress.
How about you?