Lifestyle, Uncategorized

10 Toxic Habits That You Should Get Rid Of Immediately

10 Toxic Habits That You Should Get Rid Of Immediately

 

Bad habits are behaviors that we’ve internalized and carry out almost without noticing. We might not realize some of these habits right away, but they usually make themselves apparent in the long-term. This is why it is so important to be conscious of these toxic habits and do what we can to erase them. By recognizing and erasing our toxic habits from our lives, we’ll improve well-being and quality of life.

 

1. Not recognizing mistakes

We’ve all make some mistakes, but admitting them is probably the hardest part. Mistakes can affect our self-esteem negatively, but learning to accept and take responsibility for our mistakes is a big part of learning and growth. If we let ourselves believe that we never make mistakes and are never responsible for things going wrong, we don’t leave ourselves any room to grow.

What to do: Admit to yourself when you’ve make a little mistake, like putting too much salt on your food. You can say something like “I made a mistake and I used too much salt. Next time I’ll be more careful”. Start off with small mistakes, and work your way up to more important ones. By doing this, it’ll be easier for you to take responsibility for mistakes and ask for forgiveness when it affects others.

Thinking negatively quote

 

2. Thinking negatively

Negative thoughts are a threat to our self-esteem and mood. If we constantly tell ourselves that we’re not good enough or that we’re stupid, we’ll start to really believe and internalize it. Berating yourself continuously can lead to more serious disorders, like depression and anxiety.

What to do: Sometimes we have these thoughts without realizing it and without doing it on purpose. Learning how to realize when we’re having these thoughts is important for being able to stop! Write down your negative thoughts on some paper and try to figure out some alternative thoughts.
good-vs-bad-posture-infographic

3. Poor posture

Our body language and posture can say a lot about us, but it can also affect our mood. According to a study, sitting with your back straight makes you feel more confident than slouching, and other research shows that it can help us feel more powerful and relieves stress.

What to do: The first step is to feel more confident in your own body. Practicing yoga or mindfulness techniques can help us understand our body better, and it can help improve posture. Try to keep your spine straight when you’re sitting, standing or walking. Imagine that you’re a marionette puppet and that you have a strong thread coming from the top of your head. Your head guides the rest of your body- if you look down, your spine will bend. Look with your head up, focused on the world in front of you.
Sleep Loss Infographic

4. Poor sleeping habits

Sleep is one of the most important things for our bodies and our brains. Our bodies use sleep time to restore itself and integrate all of the new information that it learned. Lack of sleep has been shown to produce impairments equivalent to those of alcohol intoxication, and can lead to various problems, like irritability, slower processing speed, poor decision making, low cognitive performance, increased risk of depression, obesity, and cardiovascular problems.

What to do: Most people need about 7-8 hours of sleep, but some people only need 6, and others can’t perform well if they don’t get 10. Try to get in bed an hour early and meditate, listen to relaxing music, or read. This time should be for relaxing, so turn your phone on airplane mode and put it on the other side of the room. This is also a good way to help become a morning person!
procrastination-infographic

5. Procrastination

Procrastination seems to be a modern epidemic. Continuously postponing things that we have to do actually impacts our motivation and self-esteem negatively. Procrastination can lead to stress and keeps us from completing projects, assignments, etc.[5] It also prevents us from starting those tasks and goals that we’ve given ourselves, which can result in feelings of worthlessness.

What to do: Have a list of things you need to do and divide the tasks into smaller, easier tasks. Avoid distraction and visualize yourself reaching that goal.

poor diet

6. Poor diet

Our diet affects our brain, which is why it’s so important to eat well. Poor nutrition weakens mental functions and causes us to under-perform. A healthy diet doesn’t only help our brains work better, but it also improves our physical health and our self-esteem.

What to do: To make sure that our bodies and brains are getting all of the nutrients it needs, you don’t necessarily need to only eat those “miracle” foods that everyone is talking about. Eat more fruits and vegetables and cut down on processed meat (like hamburgers, hotdogs, and cold-cuts). Also try to reduce your intake of sugars and salt, especially in pre-packaged foods. Drink water when you’re thirsty and stay away from sugary drinks (even if they’re diet).
multitasking-infographic

7. Multitasking

Our society is constantly asking more of us- we want instant feedback and automatic updates. We want to do everything as quickly as possible, which causes us to multitask. There are some things we can do without thinking, like walking or eating, which hardly use any mental resources and is why we can walk and talk, or eat and read. The problem comes when we want to do two things that require more attention, like study with the TV on, or talk to someone and surf the web. In these cases, one (or both) of the activities will be affected.

What to do: Practicing mindfulness can aslo help us here. Do one thing at a time. First study, then watch TV. First cook, then help your kids with their homework. This way, we’ll be able to put all of our cognitive resources towards one activity and the outcome will be much better.
blaming quote

8. Blaming others

It can be easy to fall into the habit of blaming other people. “People don’t listen to me”, “I was late because they wouldn’t let me leave”…if you do this, you’re not taking responsibility for what is your fault.

What to do: Are other people in charge of your life? No. Take responsibility for things in your life. Obviously a vase falling on your head while you’re walking down the street isn’t your fault- accidents happen and you shouldn’t blame yourself for them. However, there are many other things that you are responsible for, like what you do when you’re faced with a problem and how you handle when things don’t go your way. If there is something in your life that you’re not happy with, change it. Don’t blame other people for your situation.
Taking things personally

9. Taking things personally

You’re not the center of the world. We often think that other people’s actions are related to us, but they usually don’t. Taking it personally when someone is rude or mean to us without any reason will just make us feel badly about ourselves and hurt our self-esteem. People have bad days and may just be taking it out on you without any reason.

What to do: When you think that you have something to do with that’s going on, determine if you really have proof. Think about possible alternative explanations. Ask the person directly if their reaction had anything to do with you. You’ll realize that most of the time, it’s not related to you at all.

10. Haste

Going everywhere in a hurry isn’t good for us. It’s true, just like with multitasking, society generally expects us to do things quickly and hurriedly, but some things need to be taken slowly. Cooking for example, will take time, and you should let it. If we do everything quickly, we don’t have time to enjoy life! Besides, it can also cause stress and anxiety, which can cause serious problems.

What to do: Practice some relaxation techniques or exercise. Physical exercise can help reduce stress and help you stay in the present moment. Take your time when doing your daily tasks. Leave your house earlier in the morning so that you’re not running to get to work. Start your project earlier so you’re not stressing at the last minute. Take the time to read a book or cook a great meal- you’ll be more relaxed and have time to enjoy life!

 Are Your Daily Habits Toxic To Your Brain Health Infographic

Remember, we are in this together!
-People Start to Heal The Moment They Are Heard-
Health and Wellness Associates
EHS Telehealth

WordPress:  https://healthandwellnessassociates.co/

 

Lifestyle, Rx to Wellness, Uncategorized

Schizophrenia: Symptoms, Types, Causes, Treatment

Schizophrenia: Symptoms, Types, Causes, Treatment

 

A panoramic concept shows the face of a man with schizophrenia.

 

Schizophrenia is a chronic, severe, debilitating mental illness characterized by disordered thoughts, abnormal behaviors, and anti-social behaviors. It is a psychotic disorder, meaning the person with schizophrenia does not identify with reality at times.

Who is Affected

Schizophrenia affects more than 2 million people in the U.S.

  • Schizophrenia affects about 1.1% of the world’s population
  • 3.5 million Americans have schizophrenia
  • Schizophrenia is most commonly diagnosed between the ages of 16 to 25
  • Schizophrenia can be hereditary (runs in families)
  • It affects men 1.5 times more commonly than women
  • Schizophrenia and its treatment has an enormous effect on the economy, costing between $32.5-$65 billion each year

How Common Is Schizophrenia in Children?

 

Children may also be affected by schizophrenia.

Schizophrenia in young children is rare. The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) estimates only 1 in 40,000 children experience the onset of schizophrenia symptoms before the age of 13.

Types of Schizophrenia

Schizophrenia health care check list.

There are five types of schizophrenia (discussed in the following slides). They are categorized by the types of symptoms the person exhibits when they are assessed:

  • Paranoid schizophrenia
  • Disorganized schizophrenia
  • Catatonic schizophrenia
  • Undifferentiated schizophrenia
  • Residual schizophrenia

Paranoid Schizophrenia

A woman suffering from paranoid schizophrenia is distressed.

Paranoid-type schizophrenia is distinguished by paranoid behavior, including delusions and auditory hallucinations. Paranoid behavior is exhibited by feelings of persecution, of being watched, or sometimes this behavior is associated with a famous or noteworthy person a celebrity or politician, or an entity such as a corporation. People with paranoid-type schizophrenia may display anger, anxiety, and hostility. The person usually has relatively normal intellectual functioning and expression of affect.

Disorganized Schizophrenia

A young woman pours a pot of spaghetti on her head.

A person with disorganized-type schizophrenia will exhibit behaviors that are disorganized or speech that may be bizarre or difficult to understand. They may display inappropriate emotions or reactions that do not relate to the situation at-hand. Daily activities such as hygiene, eating, and working may be disrupted or neglected by their disorganized thought patterns.

Catatonic Schizophrenia

A man is in a catatonic state.

Disturbances of movement mark catatonic-type schizophrenia. People with this type of schizophrenia may vary between extremes: they may remain immobile or may move all over the place. They may say nothing for hours, or they may repeat everything you say or do. These behaviors put these people with catatonic-type schizophrenia at high risk because they are often unable to take care of themselves or complete daily activities.

Undifferentiated Schizophrenia

A young man with undifferentiated schizophrenia wears a tinfoil hat while staring into a TV.

Undifferentiated-type schizophrenia is a classification used when a person exhibits behaviors which fit into two or more of the other types of schizophrenia, including symptoms such as delusions, hallucinations, disorganized speech or behavior, catatonic behavior.

Residual Schizophrenia

A schizophrenic girl's reflection shows her inner turmoil.

When a person has a past history of at least one episode of schizophrenia, but the currently has no symptoms (delusions, hallucinations, disorganized speech or behavior) they are considered to have residual-type schizophrenia. The person may be in complete remission, or may at some point resume symptoms.

What Are Causes of Schizophrenia?

Rate of gray matter loss: Composite MRI scan data showing areas of gray matter loss over 5 years, comparing 12 normal teens (left) and 12 teens with childhood-onset schizophrenia. Red and yellow denotes areas of greater loss. Front of brain is at left.

Schizophrenia has multiple, intermingled causes which may differ from person to person, including:

  • Genetics (runs in families)
  • Environment
  • Brain chemistry
  • History of abuse or neglect

Is Schizophrenia Hereditary?

Twin sisters look at each other.

Schizophrenia has a genetic component. While schizophrenia occurs in only 1% of the general population, it occurs in 10% of people with a first-degree relative (parent, sibling) with the disorder. The risk is highest if an identical twin has schizophrenia. It is also more common in people with a second-degree relative (aunts, uncles, cousins, grandparents) with the disorder.

Schizophrenia Symptoms

Intense anxiety is a symptom of schizophrenia.

Many people with schizophrenia do not appear ill. However, many behavioral changes will cause the person to seem ‘off’ as the disease progresses. Symptoms include:

  • Social withdrawal
  • Anxiety
  • Delusions
  • Hallucinations
  • Paranoid feelings or feelings of persecution
  • Loss of appetite or neglecting to eat
  • Loss of hygiene

Symptoms may also be grouped into categories, discussed in the following slides.

Positive (More Overtly Psychotic) Symptoms

A person with schizophrenia may experience psychotic symptoms.

The “positive,” or overtly psychotic, symptoms are symptoms not seen in healthy people, include:

  • Delusions
  • Hallucinations
  • Disorganized speech or behavior
  • Dysfunctional thinking
  • Catatonia or other movement disorders

Negative (Deficit) Symptoms

A man sits by himself.

“Negative” symptoms disrupt normal emotions and behaviors and include:

  • Social withdrawal
  • “Flat affect,” dull or monotonous speech, and lack of facial expression
  • Difficulty expressing emotions
  • Lack of self-care
  • Inability to feel pleasure (anhedonia)

Cognitive Symptoms

A schizophrenic may have difficulty remembering simple tasks.

Cognitive symptoms may be most difficult to detect and these include:

  • Inability to process information and make decisions
  • Difficulty focusing or paying attention
  • Problems with memory or learning new tasks

Affective (or Mood) Symptoms

A depressed woman.

Affective symptoms refer to those which affect mood. Patients with schizophrenia often have overlapping depression and may have suicidal thoughts or behaviors.

How Is Schizophrenia Diagnosed?

Doctor with stethoscope.

The diagnosis of schizophrenia is made both by ruling out other medical disorders that can cause the behavioral symptoms (exclusion), and by observation of the presence of characteristic symptoms of the disorder. The doctor will look for the presence of delusions, hallucinations, disorganized speech or behavior, and/or negative symptoms, along with social withdrawal and/or dysfunction at work or in daily activities for at least six months.

The doctor may use physical examination, psychological evaluation, laboratory testing of blood, and imaging scans to produce a complete picture of the patient’s condition.

How Is Schizophrenia Diagnosed?

A mental-health professional diagnoses a patient.

Mental health screening and evaluation is an important part of the diagnosis process for schizophrenia. Many other mental illnesses such as bipolar disorder, schizoaffective disorder, anxiety disorders, severe depression, and substance abuse may mimic symptoms of schizophrenia. A doctor will perform an assessment to rule out these other conditions.

Schizophrenia Treatment – Medications

Zyprexa 10 mg vial, Abilify Discmelt 15 mg tablet, Risperdal M-Tab 1 mg ODT, Geodon 20 mg vial

Antipsychotic medications are the first-line treatment for many patients with schizophrenia. Medications are often used in combination with other types of drugs to decrease or control the symptoms associated with schizophrenia. Some antipsychotic medications include:

  • olanzapine (Zyprexa)
  • risperidone (Risperdal)
  • quetiapine (Seroquel)
  • ziprasidone (Geodon)
  • aripiprazole (Abilify)
  • paliperidone (Invega)

Schizophrenia Treatment – Medications (Continued)

Lamictal XR 25 mg tablet, Depakote 125 mg sprinkle cap, Zoloft 100 mg tablet, Cymbalta 20 mg capsule

Mood swings and depression are common in patients with schizophrenia. In addition to antipsychotics, other types of medications are used.

Mood stabilizers include:

  • lithium (Lithobid)
  • divalproex (Depakote)
  • carbamazepine (Tegretol)
  • lamotrigine (Lamictal)

Antidepressants include:

  • fluoxetine (Prozac)
  • sertraline (Zoloft)
  • paroxetine (Paxil)
  • citalopram (Celexa)
  • escitalopram (Lexapro)
  • venlafaxine (Effexor)
  • desvenlafaxine (Pristiq)
  • duloxetine (Cymbalta)
  • bupropion (Wellbutrin)

Schizophrenia Treatment – Psychosocial Interventions

Family psycho-education teaches family members problem-solving skills.

Family psycho-education: It is important to include psychosocial interventions in the treatment of schizophrenia. Including family members to support patients decreases the relapse rate of psychotic episodes and improves the person’s outcomes. Family relationships are improved when everyone knows how to support their loved one dealing with schizophrenia.

Schizophrenia Treatment – Psychosocial Interventions (Continued)

A psychiatrist, nurse, case manager, employment counselor, and substance-abuse counselor often make up an ACT team.

Assertive community treatment (ACT): Another form of psychosocial intervention includes use of out-patient support groups. Support teams including psychiatrists, nurses, case managers, and other counselors, meet regularly with the schizophrenic patient to help reduce the need for hospitalization or a decline in their mental status.

Schizophrenia Treatment – Psychosocial Interventions (Continued)

About 50% of individuals with schizophrenia suffer from some kind of substance abuse or dependence.

Substance abuse treatment: Many people with schizophrenia (up to 50%) also have substance abuse issues. These substance abuse issues worsen the behavioral symptoms of schizophrenia and need to be addressed for better outcomes.

Schizophrenia Treatment – Psychosocial Interventions (Continued)

A group socializes around a laptop computer.

Social skills training: Patients with schizophrenia may need to re-learn how to appropriately interact in social situations. This kind of psychosocial intervention involves rehearsing or role-playing real-life situations so the person is prepared when they occur. This type of training can reduce drug use, and improve relationships.

Schizophrenia Treatment – Psychosocial Interventions (Continued)

A woman helps a job applicant fill out forms.

Supported employment: Many people with schizophrenia have difficulty entering or re-entering the work force due to their condition. This type of psychosocial intervention helps people with schizophrenia to construct resumes, interview for jobs, and even connects them with employers willing to hire people with mental illness.

Schizophrenia Treatment – Psychosocial Interventions (Continued)

A doctor uses cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) intervention with a patient.

Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT): This type of intervention can help patients with schizophrenia change disruptive or destructive thought patterns, and enable them to function more optimally. It can help patients “test” the reality of their thoughts to identify hallucinations or “voices” and ignore them. This type of therapy may not work in actively psychotic patients, but it can help others who may have residual symptoms that medication does not alleviate.

Schizophrenia Treatment – Psychosocial Interventions (Continued)

Weight gain can be a side effect of some antipsychotic and other psychiatric medications.

Weight management: Many anti-psychotic and psychiatric drugs cause weight gain as a side effect. Maintaining a healthy weight, eating a well-balanced diet, and exercising regularly helps prevent or alleviate other medical issues.

What Is the Prognosis for Schizophrenia?

A family supports each other.

The prognosis for people with schizophrenia can vary depending on the amount of support and treatment the patients receives. Many people with schizophrenia are able to function well and lead normal lives. However, people with schizophrenia have a higher death rate and higher incidence of substance abuse. When medications are taken regularly and the family is supportive, patients can have better outcomes.

 

-People Start to Heal The Moment They Are Heard- 

Health and Wellness Associates
healthwellnessassociates@gmail.com
Lifestyle, Uncategorized

Poor Diet = Poor Mental Health

Poor Diet = Poor Mental Health

In this groundbreaking talk, Dr. Weil illuminates the worst trends in American nutrition, and the toll they are taking on our health.

Researchers at Loma Linda University in California have found that adults in the state whose diets are poor are more likely to have poor mental health regardless of their gender, age, education, marital status or income level than those with healthy diets. The team reported that increased consumption of sugar was associated with bipolar disorder and that fried foods, or those that contain a lot of sugar and processed grains, were linked with depression.

To reach these conclusions the researchers reviewed data from more than 240,000 telephone surveys conducted with California residents over a 10-year period. The team found that nearly 17 percent of adults were likely to suffer from mental illness – 13.2 percent with “moderate psychological distress and 3.7 percent with severe psychological distress. Those whose diets were poor (they ate more French fries, fast food, soda and sugar) were more likely to be among those with mental illness than people whose diets were deemed healthy Study leader Jim E. Banta, Ph.D., M.P.H., said the results are similar to those from earlier studies conducted in other countries that found links between mental illness and unhealthy diets. While the new findings don’t prove that unhealthy diets contribute to mental illness, Dr. Banta said evidence seems to be pointing in that direction.

May take? These findings are disheartening but not surprising. The evidence from previous investigations conducted in Europe that Dr. Banta referred to suggests that the trans-fats and saturated fats in some junk foods increase the risk of depression. In 2010 researchers from Spain who followed the diet and lifestyle of more than 12,000 men and women for 6 years reported that at the outset, none of the participants had been diagnosed with depression, but at the study’s end, 657 were found to be depressed. They noted that the risk of depression increased among participants who consumed junk foods. In 2009, British researchers reported that among nearly 3,500 midlife men and women participating in a 5-year study those whose diets were high in processed meat, chocolates, sweet desserts, fried foods, refined cereals and high-fat dairy products were 58 percent more likely to be depressed that those whose diets were composed mainly of fruit, vegetables and fish.Contact us and we can get you started on the right track.

 

-People Start to Heal The Moment They Are Heard- 

Health and Wellness Associates
EHS Telehealth

WordPress:  https://healthandwellnessassociates.co/

Rx to Wellness, Uncategorized

Are You Taking Buspirone : Buspar or Vanspar

Buspirone (Oral Route)

 

Mayo Clinic: Opioid Prescribing Has Not Changed — Pain News Network

US Brand Name

  1. Buspar
  2. Buspar Dividose
  3. Vanspar

Descriptions

 

Buspirone is used to treat certain anxiety disorders or to relieve the symptoms of anxiety. However, buspirone usually is not used for anxiety or tension caused by the stress of everyday life.

It is not known exactly how buspirone works to relieve the symptoms of anxiety. Buspirone is thought to work by decreasing the amount and actions of a chemical known as serotonin in certain parts of the brain.

This medicine is available only with your doctor’s prescription.

 

Before Using

The Following Information was prepared by the Mayo Clinic, Rochester MN.

In deciding to use a medicine, the risks of taking the medicine must be weighed against the good it will do. This is a decision you and your doctor will make. For this medicine, the following should be considered:

IBS, Celiac Disease, Hodgkins Lymphoma, Crohns Disease, Gastric ByPass Patients, and other digested conditions, taking it in tablet form my increase your symptoms.

Allergies

Tell your doctor if you have ever had any unusual or allergic reaction to this medicine or any other medicines. Also tell your health care professional if you have any other types of allergies, such as to foods, dyes, preservatives, or animals. For non-prescription products, read the label or package ingredients carefully.

Pediatric

Appropriate studies on the relationship of age to the effects of buspirone have not been performed in the pediatric population. However, no pediatric-specific problems have been documented to date.

Geriatric

Appropriate studies performed to date have not demonstrated geriatric-specific problems that would limit the usefulness of buspirone in the elderly.

Pregnancy

Information about this buspirone-oral-route
Pregnancy Category Explanation
All Trimesters B Animal studies have revealed no evidence of harm to the fetus, however, there are no adequate studies in pregnant women OR animal studies have shown an adverse effect, but adequate studies in pregnant women have failed to demonstrate a risk to the fetus.

Breastfeeding

There are no adequate studies in women for determining infant risk when using this medication during breastfeeding. Weigh the potential benefits against the potential risks before taking this medication while breastfeeding.

Drug Interactions

Although certain medicines should not be used together at all, in other cases two different medicines may be used together even if an interaction might occur. In these cases, your doctor may want to change the dose, or other precautions may be necessary. When you are taking this medicine, it is especially important that your healthcare professional know if you are taking any of the medicines listed below. The following interactions have been selected on the basis of their potential significance and are not necessarily all-inclusive.

Do not eat grapefruit or drink grapefruit juice, orange juice, tomato juice, or other heavily citric juices while you are taking this medicine.

Using this medicine with any of the following medicines is not recommended. Your doctor may decide not to treat you with this medication or change some of the other medicines you take.

  • Isocarboxazid
  • Linezolid
  • Phenelzine
  • Tranylcypromine

Using this medicine with any of the following medicines is usually not recommended, but may be required in some cases. If both medicines are prescribed together, your doctor may change the dose or how often you use one or both of the medicines.

  • Alfentanil
  • Almotriptan
  • Amitriptyline
  • Amoxapine
  • Amphetamine
  • Benzhydrocodone
  • Benzphetamine
  • Bromazepam
  • Bromopride
  • Buprenorphine
  • Butorphanol
  • Carbinoxamine
  • Ceritinib
  • Clorgyline
  • Clozapine
  • Cobicistat
  • Codeine
  • Conivaptan
  • Desvenlafaxine
  • Dextroamphetamine
  • Dihydrocodeine
  • Dolasetron
  • Doxylamine
  • Duvelisib
  • Escitalopram
  • Esketamine
  • Fentanyl
  • Flibanserin
  • Fosnetupitant
  • Granisetron
  • Hydrocodone
  • Hydromorphone
  • Hydroxytryptophan
  • Idelalisib
  • Iproniazid
  • Ivosidenib
  • Larotrectinib
  • Levomilnacipran
  • Levorphanol
  • Lisdexamfetamine
  • Lithium
  • Lofexidine
  • Lorcaserin
  • Lorlatinib
  • Loxapine
  • Lumacaftor
  • Meclizine
  • Meperidine
  • Metaxalone
  • Methadone
  • Methamphetamine
  • Methylene Blue
  • Metoclopramide
  • Midazolam
  • Mirtazapine
  • Moclobemide
  • Morphine
  • Morphine Sulfate Liposome
  • Nalbuphine
  • Netupitant
  • Nialamide
  • Oxycodone
  • Oxymorphone
  • Palonosetron
  • Pargyline
  • Pentazocine
  • Periciazine
  • Procarbazine
  • Remifentanil
  • Scopolamine
  • Selegiline
  • Sertraline
  • Sodium Oxybate
  • Sufentanil
  • Tapentadol
  • Toloxatone
  • Tramadol
  • Trazodone
  • Vilazodone
  • Vortioxetine
  • Ziprasidone
  • Zolpidem

Using this medicine with any of the following medicines may cause an increased risk of certain side effects, but using both drugs may be the best treatment for you. If both medicines are prescribed together, your doctor may change the dose or how often you use one or both of the medicines.

  • Diltiazem
  • Erythromycin
  • Fluoxetine
  • Ginkgo
  • Haloperidol
  • Itraconazole
  • Nefazodone
  • Rifampin
  • St John’s Wort
  • Verapamil

Other Interactions

Certain medicines should not be used at or around the time of eating food or eating certain types of food since interactions may occur. Using alcohol or tobacco with certain medicines may also cause interactions to occur. The following interactions have been selected on the basis of their potential significance and are not necessarily all-inclusive.

Using this medicine with any of the following may cause an increased risk of certain side effects but may be unavoidable in some cases. If used together, your doctor may change the dose or how often you use this medicine, or give you special instructions about the use of food, alcohol, or tobacco.

  • Grapefruit Juice

Other Medical Problems

The presence of other medical problems may affect the use of this medicine. Make sure you tell your doctor if you have any other medical problems, especially:

  • Kidney disease or
  • Liver disease—Effects may be increased because of slower removal of the medicine from the body.

Proper Use

Drug information provided by: IBM Micromedex

Take buspirone only as directed by your doctor. Do not take more of it, do not take it more often, and do not take it for a longer time than your doctor ordered. To do so may increase the chance of unwanted effects.

This medicine comes with a patient information insert. Read and follow the instructions in the insert carefully. Ask your doctor if you have any questions.

You may take this medicine with or without food, but take it the same way each time.

Do not eat grapefruit or drink grapefruit juice, orange juice, tomato juice, or other heavily citric juices while you are taking this medicine.

After you begin taking buspirone, 1 to 2 weeks may pass before you begin to feel the effects of this medicine.

Dosing

The dose of this medicine will be different for different patients. Follow your doctor’s orders or the directions on the label. The following information includes only the average doses of this medicine. If your dose is different, do not change it unless your doctor tells you to do so.

The amount of medicine that you take depends on the strength of the medicine. Also, the number of doses you take each day, the time allowed between doses, and the length of time you take the medicine depend on the medical problem for which you are using the medicine.

  • For oral dosage form (tablets):
    • For anxiety:
      • Adults—At first, 7.5 mg two times a day. Your doctor may increase your dose as needed. However, the dose is usually not more than 60 mg a day.
      • Children—Use and dose must be determined by your doctor.

Missed Dose

If you miss a dose of this medicine, take it as soon as possible. However, if it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and go back to your regular dosing schedule. Do not double doses.

Storage

Store the medicine in a closed container at room temperature, away from heat, moisture, and direct light. Keep from freezing.

Keep out of the reach of children.

Do not keep outdated medicine or medicine no longer needed.

Ask your healthcare professional how you should dispose of any medicine you do not use.   ( We always recommend calling the local Veterinarian Office to see if he can use it)

 

Precautions

Drug information provided by: IBM Micromedex

If you will be using buspirone regularly for a long time, your doctor should check your progress at regular visits to make sure the medicine is working properly and does not cause unwanted effects.

Do not take buspirone if you are also taking a drug with monoamine oxidase (MAO) inhibitor activity (e.g., isocarboxazid [Marplan®], phenelzine [Nardil®], selegiline [Eldepryl®], or tranylcypromine [Parnate®]). If you do, you may develop extremely high blood pressure.

This medicine will add to the effects of alcohol, ( so no alcohol ) and other CNS depressants (medicines that make you drowsy or less alert). Some examples of CNS depressants are antihistamines or medicine for hay fever, other allergies, or colds; sedatives, tranquilizers, or sleeping medicine; prescription pain medicine or narcotics; barbiturates; medicine for seizures; muscle relaxants; or anesthetics, including some dental anesthetics. Check with your medical doctor or dentist before taking any of the above while you are taking this medicine.

Buspirone may cause some people to become dizzy, lightheaded, drowsy, or less alert than they are normally. Make sure you know how you react to this medicine before you drive, use machines, or do anything else that could be dangerous if you are dizzy or are not alert.

Avoid drinking alcoholic beverages while you are using this medicine.

Do not suddenly stop taking this medicine without checking first with your doctor. Your doctor may want you to gradually reduce the amount you are taking before stopping it completely. This is to decrease the chance of having withdrawal symptoms such as increased anxiety; burning or tingling feelings; confusion; dizziness; headache; irritability; nausea; nervousness; muscle cramps; sweating; trouble with sleeping; or unusual tiredness or weakness.

If you think you or someone else may have taken an overdose of buspirone, get emergency help at once. Symptoms of an overdose are dizziness or light headedness; severe drowsiness or loss of consciousness; stomach upset, including nausea or vomiting; or very small pupils of the eyes.

Do not take other medicines unless they have been discussed with your doctor. This includes prescription or nonprescription (over-the-counter [OTC]) medicines and herbal or vitamin supplements.

Side Effects

Drug information provided by: IBM Micromedex

Along with its needed effects, a medicine may cause some unwanted effects. Although not all of these side effects may occur, if they do occur they may need medical attention.

Check with your doctor immediately if any of the following side effects occur:

Rare

  1. Chest pain
  2. confusion
  3. fast or pounding heartbeat
  4. fever
  5. incoordination
  6. mental depression
  7. muscle weakness
  8. numbness, tingling, pain, or weakness in the hands or feet
  9. skin rash or hives
  10. sore throat
  11. stiffness of the arms or legs
  12. uncontrolled movements of the body

Get emergency help immediately if any of the following symptoms of overdose occur:

Symptoms of overdose

  1. Dizziness or light headedness especially when getting up from a sitting or lying position suddenly
  2. drowsiness (severe)
  3. loss of consciousness
  4. nausea or vomiting
  5. stomach upset
  6. very small pupils of the eyes

Some side effects may occur that usually do not need medical attention. These side effects may go away during treatment as your body adjusts to the medicine. Also, your health care professional may be able to tell you about ways to prevent or reduce some of these side effects. Check with your health care professional if any of the following side effects continue or are bothersome or if you have any questions about them:

More common

  1. Restlessness, nervousness, or unusual excitement

Less common or rare

  1. Blurred vision
  2. clamminess or sweating
  3. decreased concentration
  4. diarrhea
  5. drowsiness
  6. dryness of the mouth
  7. muscle pain, spasms, cramps, or stiffness
  8. ringing in the ears
  9. trouble with sleeping, nightmares, or vivid dreams
  10. unusual tiredness or weakness

Other side effects not listed may also occur in some patients. If you notice any other effects, check with your healthcare professional.

Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to the FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

 

 

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How to Cope with Loneliness During the Holiday Season

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How to Cope with Loneliness During the Holiday Season

loneliness2

Tips to make your holidays brighter when you feel alone

Christmas evokes images of green and red for many. But for those suffering from loneliness, the holiday blues are also a very real thing.

Loneliness is common during the holidays. When we feel there is an expectation is to experience extreme joy or happiness, feelings of sadness and loneliness can strike even harder.

Whether you’re feeling alone or you want to be there for those around you, understanding what causes loneliness, as well as how to minimize it, can make your holidays much more joyful.

Understanding loneliness

Feeling lonely doesn’t mean you don’t have friends, family or loved ones who care. In fact, it’s very possible to feel lonely while having a loving support system in tow.

Some studies have called loneliness a disease, and others have called it a “hidden killer” of the elderly. While there are many studies on loneliness, there is no exact definition.

Loneliness is a subjective feeling. It can refer to a state of solitude, as well as the perception of feeling alone. While loneliness is a universal human emotion, it amplifies is different ways. Lonely people often dread the holidays, because of the perception that everyone around them is experiencing human connection in a way that they are not.

Examples of groups that tend to experience this more than others include those who are recently single, divorced or widowed, those who live far from family, and those who stay emotionally distant from others. Studies have shown that adults under age 30 tend to experience significantly higher levels of loneliness than other age groups, though those ages 80 and older can experience high levels as well.

How to beat loneliness during the holidays

One thing that is agreed upon is that there are ways to overcome loneliness. However, because these ways tend to involve emotional risk, many are slow to adopt them. Whether you’re feeling alone or you are in solitude, here are some tips to use this holiday season:

Tips to overcome loneliness when you feel alone

  • Practice self-care. While you may be thinking about giving gifts to others this season, don’t hesitate to give yourself the gift of a spa treatment, invest in a hobby, or other activities that will get you to socialize and enjoy the season. Taking your focus off feeling alone can help curb the feeling.
  • Choose the right people to surround yourself with. When you’re lonely, it may be tempting to call up your friend who loves to co-commiserate. But because loneliness is contagious, you won’t be doing yourself any favors. Choose to surround yourself with positive people.
  • Pursue gratitude. Whether you prefer journaling, meditation or prayer, taking the time to write or say what you’re thankful for can shift your attention away from what you don’t have, and spotlight what you do have. Always remember that thankfulness is a choice.

Tips to overcome loneliness when you are alone

  • Be vulnerable. If you’re waiting for your neighbor to be the first to say hello, take the risk and say hi first. Call a friend you haven’t spoken with in a while, or learn more about that person you always take a fitness class next to. Remembering that we’re all seeking human connection can take the pressure off the situation.
  • Give back. Helping others who have less than we do often reminds us of all we have to be thankful for. Bonus: you may meet some volunteers who have similar interests to you, and are open to helping others.
  • Release your expectations. In the age of social media, it’s easy to think the holidays are supposed to look as perfect as a Christmas card. Rethinking your expectations can stop you from playing the comparison game, at which point you may realize you have plenty to be thankful for.

 

Stepping out of your comfort zone is never convenient or easy, but it may be just the thing you need this holiday season.

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Dr Mark Williams

healthwellnessassociates@gmail.com

 

 

Lifestyle, Uncategorized

What to do when Anger tries to Get the Best of You?

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What to do when Anger tries to Get the Best of You?

anger

 

What to do when Anger tries to Get the Best of You.

 

A brass chandelier looms over my kitchen table.

It waits for me to finish my work, stand up, and meet it with my cranium. It’s a jarring blow.

 

First comes pain. Then comes anger.

 

That’s right. I get angry at a lamp.

 

I’ve had plenty of contact with that fixture over the years, so when I bashed my head for the third time one day, I thought little of it. Upon later reflection, however, I realized there was something special about that particular incident. Let me explain.

 

You see, my head-bashing routine is like a controlled experiment for my temper. My reaction is more or less the only variable. And my reaction is not typically one I’m proud of.

 

In my defense, I never hit back. Instead I clench and stew with my blood boiling until I realize that I am, in fact, angry at a light fixture. But this realization doesn’t come until anger successfully infests my mind and leaves my composure in tatters. Not ideal.

 

“The other vices drive the mind on,” wrote the Stoic philosopher Seneca. “Anger hurls it headlong. […] Other vices revolt from good sense, this one from sanity. […] And it makes no difference how great the source is from which [anger] springs; for from the most trivial origins it reaches massive proportions.”

 

Anger hurls the mind headlong. Under its spell, we become senseless beasts.

 

And it doesn’t take much to set us off. A stubbed toe. A barking dog. A paper jam. In the movie “Office Space,” Peter and the gang steal the company copier—infamous for getting jammed—and demolish it with baseball bats. When angry, this is our level of mental maturity.

 

Can anger be willed away? Seneca thought so. He wrote that anger should be “driven” and advised us to “do battle” with this destructive emotion.

 

But here’s where I part ways with the great Stoic. This struggle to suppress emotion—though it could avert some embarrassing displays—only creates more internal strife. We get angry and then feel guilty about getting angry.

 

But the truth is, we all get angry—even the Dalai Lama.

 

When asked if he ever gets angry, the Dalai Lama responded in typical fashion: “Oh, yes, of course,” he said, “I’m a human being. Generally speaking, if a human being never shows anger, then I think something’s wrong. He’s not right in the brain.”(2)

 

If that doesn’t give you permission to accept your anger, I’m not sure what will. But that doesn’t mean anger should be ignored. There’s a world of difference between noticed anger and unnoticed anger. The first can spoil a few moments. The second, a few days.

 

There’s an art to noticing anger. Everyone has their own warning signs: a flushed face, a contracted abdomen, a clenched jaw. These physical symptoms carry the implicit message, “Ah, I’m getting angry.” Try it out. It’s actually hard to stay angry when you’re fully aware of this process.

 

“The best way of dealing with these hindrances is to be aware of them, to be mindful,” recommends the meditation teacher Joseph Goldstein. “Sit back and notice ‘anger, anger.’ Not identifying with it, not condemning oneself for being angry. Simply watch.” (3)

 

The method described by Goldstein is mindfulness in a nutshell: a non-judgmental watching of phenomena arising in the mind. When this attitude is cultivated, we are less likely to be swirled away by a torrent of thoughts and emotions. The chain is broken, and we can settle back to a relaxed state.

 

Yet this goes beyond mere theory. Neuroscientists have, in fact, examined this phenomenon.

 

According to their research, a regular mindfulness practice rewires the brain for increased emotional stability. In brain regions that govern emotional regulation—the hippocampus and ventromedial prefrontal cortex—experienced meditators had more gray matter than controls. And the amygdala, the stress center of our brains, actually shrinks through meditation. (4)

 

So through mindfulness practice, the brain gets rewired for less emotional reactivity. Very cool.

 

This leads back to my last encounter with the chandelier. As I suggested, this encounter was different than the others. When I blundered into the lamp, I felt the blunt sensation of pressure radiating through my skull. I watched it closely. The pain, of course, didn’t last for long.

 

And that was that. No destructive impulse arose. Not even one fantasy of tearing it out, Hulk style, from the ceiling.

 

The results of this experiment have left me convinced. I’m not a long-term meditator, yet it seems I’ve already rewired my brain. And thankfully, some of my temper has gone extinct.

 

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The 4 Words holding us back from Happiness.

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The 4 Words holding us back from Happiness.

 

Embracing the Freedom that comes when we Stop Asking, “Are we there Yet?”

 

 rwethereyet

 

Last night, I had the pleasure of enjoying dinner and a “few” cocktails with a very dear old friend of mine.

Because of life and its happenings, this person and I had not seen each other or really been in touch for a little over six years, but our connection was still fierce.

 

When we knew each other way back when, this was someone who I viewed with great admiration—a man with truly staggering ambition as well as genuine insight into the sensitivities of the world. Our conversations in the past have been filled with lighthearted laughter and deep soul searching. I was excited to see him again and relight the fire that our friendship possessed so many years ago.

 

Lately, my run-ins with old friends have inspired me and stirred up the pot in my mind with fresh ideas; I knew this interaction would do exactly the same. I pulled up to the restaurant and walked inside. Immediately, I was greeted with the warmest embrace and the sound of a familiar voice in my ear. He found me.

 

Right off the bat, we started catching up: How is so-and-so? What is so-and-so up to? It was exhilarating to hear about all of these people I once lived with and to see friends of mine thriving in their lives as travelers, doctors, writers, and up-and-coming celebrities.

 

Slowly, our conversation delved deeper and deeper into our latest thoughts. As a writer—a published writer I might add—my friend has a way with words that draws a conversation out smoothly and with great ease. These are my favorite kinds of friends. It did not take long for our talk to approach a point that has been circling in my consciousness for quite some time now.

 

There’s a message that the universe, or something like it, has been sending me—by any means necessary. Finding it in books, street art, social media posts, and conversations with old and new friends, I have felt so bombarded by this message over the last several weeks that it has finally hit me that it’s probably time I listen.

 

Sitting across the table from my friend in this dimly lit booth of a train car-themed cocktail bar, we locked eyes as he said to me, “The key is to be present.” I couldn’t believe it. I wondered how long this point had been trying to get my attention. I looked back at him and said, “I can’t believe you just said that,” and from there, our conversation took off.

 

So many profound thoughts came to us in this discussion. Through the weaving and twisting conversation, I walked away with one important message. You see, my friend and I are both at very different stages in our lives. A lifelong goal of his has recently come to fruition; he is a published author and has the opportunity to travel and live his dream. I, on the other hand, am at a starting point. I have realized that my personal passion is to travel, and although I know my career will one day require my full attention, that day is not today. My direction is changing, while he is reaching his next highest peak.

 

But regardless of those differences, we are both completely aware that none of that really matters. Why? Because we are not our careers. He is not a published author, and I am not a waitress. Those are roles that we play, and they are important and necessary, but they do not make us who we are. At any given moment, our jobs, our careers, or our passions can change in the blink of an eye…and what then?

 

All we will have is this moment, all we will know is the person we are in the present. But what if we do not know them? What if we become so engrossed in the roles that we play that we become doctors or lawyers or CEOs, and we are successful and well-established and rich and powerful, but one day we don’t want to do that anymore? And what if one day we realize this but because we haven’t paid attention to the person inside of us that isn’t just a doctor, but is also a writer or a yogi or a traveler or an artist, we don’t know how to be anything else?

 

By completely identifying ourselves with the roles that we play, by considering myself inferior because I’m a waitress or by seeing himself superior because he’s an author, we are losing ourselves to our roles. We are not being present with our true selves because we are seeing these roles as who we are. But I’m not a waitress—I’m Erin.

 

And, when I look at it that way and take a look at what that provides me in the current moment, it’s actually perfectly aligned with who I want to be—someone who loves travel, who has the freedom to explore California, and the freedom to explore myself. I want to be on my feet and constantly meeting new and interesting people. Those are the things that I want at this moment, and I have all of them. For that, I am grateful.

 

When we stop asking, “Are we there yet?” with every decision we make, when we stop imagining that there is some finish line out there somewhere in the distance that we will reach, when we stop looking forward to our happiness as something that hasn’t even happened yet, we can take a moment like this—a moment with a dear friend in a train car bar with a margarita—and we can say:

 

“Yes, we are here now.”

 

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Cultivate Self Compassion

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Cultivate Self Compassion

 

 

rosequartz

Life-changing strategies can help you be kinder to yourself.

 

Self-compassion not only helps you be kinder to yourself, but it also gives you the power to be kinder to the world around you.

 

These benefits have been empirically validated by Kristin Neff, PhD, one of the world’s foremost researchers on self-compassion. She established it as a field of study almost a decade ago, during her postdoctoral work at the University of Denver. In her book, Self-Compassion, Neff walks us through the scientific research underpinning the whys and hows of cultivating self-compassion. The volume is packed with both theoretical and practical goodness.

 

Neff’s basic argument is that self-compassion is made up of three components:

 

 

Self-kindness. We need to be kind to ourselves. Beating ourselves up is not helpful.

Common humanity. We’re not alone. It’s important to see that our suffering is part of a shared human experience.

Mindfulness. We want to observe our experience. We can learn to hold it in “balanced” awareness without trying to push our pain away or make it a bigger deal than it is.

Now let’s take a look at each of these elements in more detail.

 

 

 

BE KIND TO YOURSELF

 

“Self-kindness, by definition, means that we stop the constant self-judgment and disparaging internal commentary that most of us have come to see as normal. It requires us to understand our foibles and failures instead of condemning them. It entails clearly seeing the extent to which we harm ourselves through relentless self-criticism, and ending our internal war,” Neff writes.

 

“But self-kindness involves more than merely stopping self-judgment,” she adds. “It involves actively comforting ourselves, responding just as we would to a dear friend in need. It means we allow ourselves to be emotionally moved by our own pain, stopping to say, ‘This is really difficult right now. How can I care for and comfort myself in this moment?’ With self-kindness, we soothe and calm our troubled minds. We make a peace offering of warmth, gentleness, and sympathy from ourselves to ourselves, so that true healing can occur.”

 

I love the image of treating ourselves the same way we would treat a dear friend or family member. By slowing down and allowing ourselves to be emotionally moved by our own pain, we actively comfort ourselves.

 

The first step is to stop the internal heckling. Quit beating yourself up with thoughts like Why am I such an idiot? or, I can’t believe I did or said that. Instead, replace that heckling with phrases like I feel my pain right now. This is tough. How can I best take care of myself right now?

 

In short, be nice to yourself. It’s not as simple as it sounds, but learning to do it can lead to huge breakthroughs in your life.

 

 

ACKNOWLEDGE THAT WE’RE IN THIS TOGETHER

 

Once we’re in the practice of being kind to ourselves, we can work on the second fundamental element of self-compassion: recognizing the common human experience.

 

Neff argues that seeing our common humanity “helps to distinguish self-compassion from mere self-acceptance or self-love.

 

 

 

“Although self-acceptance and self-love are important, they are incomplete by themselves. They leave out an essential factor — other people. Compassion is, by definition, relational. Compassion literally means ‘to suffer with,’ which implies a basic mutuality in the experience of suffering.

 

“The emotion of compassion springs from the recognition that the human experience is imperfect. Why else would we say ‘It’s only human’ to comfort someone who has made a mistake? Self-compassion honors the fact that all human beings are fallible, that wrong choices and feelings of regret are inevitable, no matter how high and mighty one is.”

 

In our hyper-individualistic, hyper-comparative society, it’s easy to always try to outdo everyone and feel disconnected — either better or worse than those around us. But what if, instead, we slowed down and appreciated our sameness? Doing so gives us the ability to see the threads of our common humanity. It leads us to recognize that we all struggle and can connect to one another through our shared triumphs and failures.

 

 

 

FACE UP TO REALITY WITH MINDFULNESS

 

 

 

One way to stay connected to our own experience and to cultivate our connection to the experiences of others is by practicing mindfulness.

 

For Neff, “mindfulness refers to the clear seeing and nonjudgmental acceptance of what’s occurring in the present moment. Facing up to reality, in other words. The idea is that we need to see things as they are, no more, no less, in order to respond to our current situation in the most compassionate — and therefore effective — manner.”

 

Like many wise teachers, Neff reminds us that pain is inevitable, but suffering is optional. How we respond to pain determines our level of suffering. Resisting pain by trying to wish away whatever is happening — whether it’s something mundane, like traffic on the way to work, or something more significant, like a serious illness or death of a loved one — only causes our suffering to grow.

 

 

 

“Our emotional suffering is caused by our desire for things to be other than they are,” Neff explains. “Once something has occurred in reality, there is nothing you can do to change that reality in the present moment. This is how things are. You can choose to accept this fact or not, but reality will remain the same either way.”

 

 

Mindfulness is one tool we can develop to appropriately relate to reality.

 

 

 

TAKE NOTE

 

Neff’s “noting practice” is one of my all-time favorite tips for building mindfulness. She writes that “the idea is to make a soft mental note whenever a particular thought, emotion, or sensation arises. This helps us to become more consciously aware of what we’re experiencing.”

 

Noting is a simple way to create awareness, and I love to use it during my own meditation sessions. For example, when I observe my mind wandering off into strategizing or planning, I softly say the word “strategy” to myself  and then bring my attention back to my breath.

 

Give it a try and see if noting helps you become more conscious of your life experience.

 

Using the three components of self-compassion improves our chances of reaching our goals and living the profoundly beautiful and fulfilling life we all deserve.

 

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How Friends Impact Your Health

How Friends Impact Your Health

How Friends Impact Your Health

 

There is a strong connection between friendship and health. Recall the happiest times of your life, and those memories likely include friends celebrating with you. Just as important, true friends support you through the bad times that happen in every life, from everyday disappointments to the heartbreak of loss. That’s what good friends do.

Friendship enriches our existence and makes life’s journey more enjoyable. Friends give us a sense of belonging and bolster our self-esteem. Yet, our closest friends will “tell it like it is” and encourage us to change bad habits or adopt good ones. Best friends assume the role of trusted confidante. Who better to listen to your rant in a non-judgmental way than your best friend? Having someone with whom you can talk about anything promotes healthy stress management.

Even self-described loners need interaction with people. Appropriate doses of companionship are especially helpful to prevent loneliness if you live by yourself. The never-married or single-again adult can too easily fall into the trap of staying home too much and eating solitary dinners off a tray in front of the TV. A tendency toward reclusivity may become more pronounced after retirement. Finding one still wearing pajamas mid-day is a red flag that it’s time to get out of a rut.

Many people carry friendships from high school or college into adulthood. New friendships are formed with compatible individuals met through work or after moves to new neighborhoods. Sometimes, life changes—increased workloads, rearing children, caring for aging parents—interfere with existing friendships, and we let them slip out of our lives. Career moves may require relocation and leaving friends behind.

Extroverts—naturally outgoing and sociable— find it easy to meet people and form new friendships. They are often described as, “She never meets a stranger,” or “He makes friends everywhere he goes.”

The naturally shy, socially anxious, or introverted person does not meet people or form new attachments easily. Social events are often avoided. Small talk is dreaded like torture. Without coaxing from others to join in or a personal effort to overcome inhibitions and fears, this individual may let friendship slide—perhaps forever.

It takes effort to make friends and nurture friendships. While social networking can provide connections and relieve loneliness to some extent, making 100 new “friends” online does not take the place of face time in offline relationships. Meeting new people and discovering common interests and values requires getting off the sofa and going out there….Go where you will find other people doing things you are likely to enjoy.

If you like to read, join a book discussion group. Think about those things you really enjoy—cooking, gardening, crafts, music, live theater—and search for groups that share your interests. Volunteer your time with a charitable organization where you’ll come together with others whose compassion for these issues matches your own. Take a continuing education class at your local community college—inexpensive, short-termed and a broad variety of topics. Learning something new enhances conversation.

Friendships—whether existing or new—must be nurtured to last and grow. In order to have (and keep) friends in your life, you must also be a good friend. Forge a positive attitude, practice tolerance, and don’t be judgmental. Friendship is a two-way street, and both parties in the relationship must be willing to give, not just take. Cultivate active listening skills. (Some of the best listeners are those who don’t like to talk, but make a great audience for the more talkative.)

Cultivating and cherishing friendships can affect anyone’s longevity. A ten-year Australian study of 1500 senior citizens by Flinders University’s Centre for Ageing Studies found that the participants who had a large support group of friends outlived those with the least friends by 22%. As one’s social connections decrease, the risk for mortality increases. Julianne Holt-Lunstad, PhD, assistant professor of psychology at Brigham Young University, states the mortality risk is nearly as great as that created by smoking.

So…fill the friendship “prescription” for good health. It’s a renewable prescription for life!

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The High Cost of Ignoring Your Intuition

The High Cost of Ignoring Your Intuition

 

The High Cost of Ignoring Your Intuition

 

Cindy met Bill through her tennis club. He was charming, good-looking, and he swept her off her feet in a whirlwind courtship. Pushing for a quick marriage, he proposed after only two months. Though she felt a few flutters of anxiety, Cindy accepted, hoping for true love. Six months later, she deeply regretted the haste. Bill turned out to be both alcoholic and verbally abusive, with the threat of physical abuse lurking in the volatile atmosphere. Frightened, she moved out and filed for divorce. Later, she reflected on how she had gotten herself in such a painful place.

Something deep inside Cindy had sent up warning flares, telling her that she was moving too fast. But she’d plunged ahead, repressing her own better judgment, which was trying to get her to slow down. Why had she ignored the signals?

“I was afraid that if I told him I wanted to slow down, he might lose interest. He was so passionate, so full of life, and I felt so flattered that this great looking guy wanted me. All the women liked him. It wasn’t hard to imagine that he might drop me and move on to someone more willing.”

The high cost of ignoring your own signals? High-risk relationships and the likelihood of divorce. But most of all, the cost is to your own self-esteem, because the bottom line is that you let yourself down. You failed at your most basic job in life: taking care of you.

These days, Cindy is reluctant to accept even the most seemingly safe dates. She doesn’t trust herself, fearful of repeating the past and making another disastrous mistake. Self-forgiveness is the hardest when we know we didn’t protect ourselves.

The lesson is simple: never let your desire for a particular person override your common sense. When your gut is screaming at you, listen, honor what it is telling you, and proceed with caution. And this goes for any area of your life, not just relationships – trust your intuition, go with your gut.

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