And the Number One Public Enemy – Stress, Still Remains Standing!

According to the American Psychological Association’s, Stress in America Survey, 2013, high stress does not appear to be going away. It seems that adults are living with stress that is higher than what they believe to be healthy. Women report a higher level of stress than men. Most disturbing is that people are not successful at managing or reducing their stress.

So what’s the problem? Life is full of stress, isn’t it? Perhaps – but it’s how you handle stress and whether you are capable of lowering its impact that’s critical for your health and well-being. People are ignoring the symptoms and most think stress and its ultimate repercussions of heart disease, depression, infections, viruses and immune system dysfunction will just vanish – not true.

According to the Survey, 67 percent of people report experiencing emotional symptoms of stress and 72 percent report suffering physical symptoms of stress. Do colleagues or friends tell you that you seem stressed? If so, believe them.

What Are the Most Commonly Reported Sources of Stress?

1.         Money – 71%
2.         Work – 69%
3.         The Economy – 59%
4.         Personal relationships (spouse, kids, partner) – 54%

Reported Symptoms of Stress:

  • Irritability
  • Anger
  • Lack of interest, motivation or energy
  • Fatigue, depression or feeling sad (feeling like crying)
  • Nervous, anxious
  • Overwhelmed
  • Neglecting responsibilities
  • Upset stomach or digestion

Are Stress Management Techniques Effective?

Many report specific stress management techniques such as going online or watching TV or movies more than two hours a day are only somewhat or not at all effective. While a majority of adults, (62%) who exercise or walk report the benefits as extremely effective for stress reduction. About 56% describe the same effectiveness listening to music and 49% report a good result with reading.

You can reap benefits if you uncover the source of your distress, and determine ways to alter your perceptions of stress. There are people who need and love you. It’s time to take action.

To discover more stress-busting strategies to knock stress to its knees, you’re welcome to join me for my upbeat and informative Free recorded webinar, From Frazzled to Fantastic! Energize with Stress-Relief Coping Strategies. Register as a free member of HR.com at http://web.hr.com/28gsb.

Orthomolecular Medicine…Help and Hope for Mental Illness

Launch of Mindful Campaign, Nov. 15, 2012 – A Better Future for Children’s Mental Health! Visit www.mindfulcharity.ca and see the bold and exciting plan sponsored by the ISF, www.orthomed.org to transform the way children are diagnosed and treated. We can all make a difference.

Most of us know at least one person who has been treated for mental illness. While treatment of the mentally ill has come a long way, there are many pathways yet to be uncovered. Due to mental illness in our family, and having seen the suffering of too many people, in the late ’80’s, I decided to search for alternative/complementary methods that would enhance outcomes. I was intrigued when I learned about Orthomolecular Medicine and glad I found the health professionals that use it in their practice.

I discovered from the Canadian Society of Orthomolecular Medicine (CSOM) and the International Schizophrenia  Foundation, (ISF), www.orthomed.org, that a diagnoses of mental illness doesn’t have to mean the end of a patient’s life as he or she knew it. It was good news.

What is Orthomolecular Medicine?

Orthomolecular medicine, a term coined by Linus Pauling, double Nobel Laureate involves treatment by optimizing health and treating disease by providing correct amounts of vitamins, minerals, amino acids, enzymes, essential fatty acids and other substances which are natural and essential to the human body.

Your body is powered by your dietary intake – nutrients. We can get these nutrients though high quality food and through supplementation. The brain is living tissue and must receive nutrients to do its work. The brain is a ‘nutrient hog’ taking 25% of all nutrients you eat to sustain itself.  The brain is 60% fat and it needs quality fats, vitamins and minerals to thrive. The quality of your food will influence the quality of your brain and its functioning. For example rancid fats from French fries on a repeated basis can get lodged in our bodies in places where healthy fats should be to power the body – especially the brain.

Why Don’t You Know About Mental Health and Nutrition?

Vitamins, minerals or other natural substances can’t be patented. No vitamin sales people knock on physicians’ doors with free samples. Also, nutrition is low on the list of subjects in medical schools. However, those who practice orthomolecular medicine – evidence based medicine, check for nutrient deficiencies as possible causes for mental disturbances. Every other branch of medicine does lab testing, why not psychiatry?

What Physical Problems can Affect Mental Illnesses?

  • High or low blood sugar levels cause mental symptoms to peak.
  • Vitamin B12  deficiency causes confusion, fatigue, weakness and severe mental symptoms. Other B vitamin deficiencies including folic acid can contribute to many forms of mental disorders.
  • Anemia (low iron levels) is sometimes confused with dementia.
  • Low thyroid has been shown to be common for those with schizophrenia.
  • Low levels of Vitamin D stores directly relate to depression.
  • Those with mental illness often have food allergies or digestive problems.

Orthomolecular psychiatrists also use medications since they were traditionally trained psychiatrists. They found that adding nutrients to patients’ protocols reduced medication side effects and enhanced both mental and physical health. Many medical doctors, naturopaths, registered nutritional consultants or other health professionals use these adjunct orthomolecular treatments for both mental health and physical problems. Abundant Information is available about nutrition health benefits.

Are Vitamins/Minerals Safe?

Some fear that vitamins in high dosages are “not safe”. View testimony before the Government of Canada, House of Commons Standing Committee on Health, regarding nutritional supplement product safety (Ottawa, May 12, 2005) by Andrew Saul PhD, at: www.doctoryourself.com/testimony.htm

Ignorance abounds on the subject of vitamins. Using orthomolecular treatments can help people recover, enjoy life and become productive members of society. Other therapies that are helpful include: exercise, relaxation techniques, having adequate housing, social support. Like all people, those with mental illness cannot spend endless time alone unattended. Stigma of mental illness still abounds and must be countered.

CSOM provides peer to peer doctor and other health professional training programs on this subject of therapeutic nutrition. ISF promotes the wide use of orthomolecular medicine and provides public seminars, hosts an annual professional conference, publishes the Journal of Orthomolecular Medicine and a quarterly newsletter.

If you suffer from mental illness or know someone who does, check out www.orthomed.org. You can call or email the office for a practitioner’s list in your area. Ph. 416.733.2117, or email: centre@orthomed.org. You’ll be glad you did.

Rosalie Moscoe, Vice Chair, International Schizophrenia Foundation, www.orthomed.org , Chair of Mindful Campaign – A better future for children’s mental health, www.mindfulcharity.ca

Eating for Vitality at Conferences (and to Stay Awake!)

It’s conference time – time off from work, no household chores, great food and it’s free. Expect to feel exhilarated by all the new information you will take in, yet, wonder why by the end of the trip you feel like you’ve been run over by a steam roller. You may have trouble keeping awake during the long days inside, with no windows in conference rooms and many speakers to listen to. Don’t be surprised if at the end of the conference you end up with a bad case of jet lag. You may feel bloated and irregular. So what can you do to get the most out of conferences and still feel half human?

Being aware of your meals and snacks might help to ease the upset in schedule and to your system. You can be sure that meals will include rich desserts and often there will be plenty of muffins or chocolate chip cookies for snacks. So you think, “a little won’t hurt”. And it’s true a little won’t hurt – if you can stop at ‘a little’. Too much sugar may result is a dip in energy, and mental fog.

A large dose of dense carbohydrates (sugar, bread, desserts, cakes), with its brand of empty calories, can temporarily raise your blood sugar (as can caffeine), so that you feel a high, lots of energy – but not for long. An hour or two later, your blood sugar may plunge and you begin feeling lethargic, not able to concentrate. You begin thinking, “if only I could have a little nap!”

Remember that food alters your mood, and good wholesome foods such as fruit and vegetables nourishes the mind and body along with aiding regularity. Most conferences now include yogurt or fruit for snacks. It would be a good idea to reach for these high energy snacks. If there’s a grocery store near the conference centre, the following is a list of healthful snacks that will feed your brain and body and keep you alert! Some items such as power bars, you can bring with you.

Perfect snacks for high energy include:

×    fresh fruit – apples, peaches, plums, grapes etc. along with nuts or seeds

×    dried fruit; dates, figs, cranberries

×    power bars that contain protein

×    vegetables (baby carrots or cherry tomatoes) and nuts

×    nuts (raw almonds and walnuts) sunflower or pumpkin seeds

×    yogurt and fruit

×    cheese and fruit (or whole grain crackers)

These high powered snacks provide you with the needed protein and complex carbohydrates that your mind and body loves. In small amounts, they won’t make you fat, yet provides your body with needed nutrients. If your concentration is getting low, you just might be thirsty. Carry bottled water around with you and drink often. Water helps prevent dehydration, jet lag and boosts energy.  Some form of exercise – even walking around the block before the conference starts or at breaks will give your muscles an oxygen boost. You’ll feel revived, especially if the sun is shining outside.

Regarding desserts, on a scale of one to ten, have a taste and if it’s a ten, don’t feel too guilty and enjoy, or take a few bites. Otherwise, if the dessert isn’t great, the sugar content may not be worth it.  If it’s a dessert that contains fruit, remember that fruit supplies the body with vitamins, minerals, fiber and antioxidants.

Enjoy the conference; enjoy the meals. However, a few small changes may just help in your overall mood and concentration level so you can be fully aware, energetic and vital.

Are you an Over Comitted, Administrative Assistant? A “Type E” Personality? Take the Test And Find Out!

How many of you are over achievers, over nurturers? Are you an over committed Type E personality – being everything to everybody in many areas of your life?

As Administrative Assistants, you excel in multiple roles – work, home, community, extended family, (chief cooks and bottle washers!) You are often the victims of your own success. But there lies the trap. According to author and researcher Harriet Braiker, PhD, the more a woman shows she can do, the more others demand of her. You may be a Type E Personality! The cost to your physical and mental health?–enormous! Even men can be Type E’s as well. Take the test and then read on to discover the pitfalls and how you can harmonize your life and make the E stand for Enjoyment.

Are You a Type E? Take the Test and find out

Score one point for each Yes you answer to the questions.

1 ) I have to do things perfectly
2 ) I should be able to accomplish more in a day
3 ) I should be able to do everything and still be able to cope
4 ) I have to please everyone and prove myself
5 ) Having it all should make me happy
6 ) I can’t be happy until I have it all
7 ) I can’t relax until I finish my work and my chores
8 ) Doing everything for many people will make them value me
9 ) I should be everything to everybody

Scoring:
If you answered five or more of the above questions with a YES, you likely are a Type E and over committed. You need to learn to drop the guilt mode and reach for a little more rest and relaxation before your health is at stake.

Over committing Leads to Stress

For both men and women, over committing may ultimately lead to stress related disorders– backache, stomach problems, aches and pains, high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, headaches, feeling overwhelmed, extreme fatigue, irritability, insomnia.  Results? Too many sick days.

Assess Your Commitments

Make a list of all the commitments you currently have; job responsibilities; family, home, your roles including extended family; any pet responsibilities; community service work; religious or other groups you belong to.

When you look at your list, do you feel energized and excited or do you feel tired, overwhelmed, wondering how you do it all? If you’re a working women in your 30’s or 40’s with young children, you may be the most stressed. Also, do you strive to be perfect and cannot bear to let anyone down?

But I Have to Do it All! (Don’t I?)

You likely put in a full day at work. If you want to continue to perform at your best, you’ll need to balance your personal AND professional life. Of course, the dilemma is–what responsibilities can you drop?

So What Can You Do?

Practice saying “NO”. Don’t over commit, even if it makes you feel guilty! A little guilt may be okay, however, too much can run or ruin your life. If you must love your neighbor as yourself, it makes just as good sense to love yourself as your neighbor. At work, this may be tricky. However, if you are overwhelmed, ask your boss to prioritize your tasks. Find out the ones that are truly ‘urgent’ and those that can wait.

Recognize the signs of being over committed in all areas of your life. Instead of continuing in old patterns, that may have been passed down from the last generation, do your best to nurture yourself. Eat properly; respect your need for sleep, rest and allow time for spiritual renewal. You’ll need some quiet time alone to recharge. Put your feet up one evening! Take a warm bath. Read a book.

If you’re an overcommitted Administrative Assistant, it’s time to make changes to increase the quality and longevity of your life.
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