02
Dec

Dr. Lipman’s Wellness News Roundup (Dec. 2)

Wellness News
By the Be Well Team

Every day, we scour the Web looking for compelling wellness stories that provide the information — and inspiration — you need to make good choices. Here are this week’s must-read wellness articles.

Lack of Sleep Costs U.S. More Than $400 Billion a Year

Too little sleep costs the United States economy as much as $411 billion annually. That’s the word according to a new report released by the RAND Corporation, which linked sleep deprivation to reduced work productivity and an increased risk of death. “Sleep deprivation not only influences an individual’s health and well-being but has a significant impact on a nation’s economy, with lower productivity levels and a higher mortality risk among workers,” noted lead author Marco Hafner. “Improving individual sleep habits and duration has huge implications, with our research showing that simple changes can make a big difference. For example, if those who sleep under six hours a night increase their sleep to between six and seven hours a night, this could add $226.4 billion to the U.S. economy.” Of the five countries studied in the report, the U.S. had the largest economic toll. Japan was second, with a $138 billion annual cost linked to sleep deprivation, followed by Germany ($60 billion cost), the United Kingdom ($50 billion cost), and Canada ($21 billion cost). (HealthDay)

The United States of Diabetes

It’s no secret that the U.S. is in the midst of a diabetes epidemic, but some states fare far worse than others, according to new research from the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index. Alabama and West Virginia have the highest rates of diabetes in the country — more than 16 percent of each state’s residents have diabetes — while Utah, Rhode Island, and Colorado have the lowest incidence of diabetes (less than 8 percent of adults have diabetes). (Time)

6 Books to Build Resilience

Looking for thoughtful holiday gifts? Check out this intriguing list of books that covers everything from mindful eating to coping with PTSD to bringing together mindfulness and creativity. (Mindful)

Step Away from the Energy Drink

Yet another study is raising concerns about energy drinks, especially when consumed by adolescents. Researchers surveyed young people who said they frequently drank energy drinks and found they were more likely to report headaches, anger issues, and difficulty breathing in the past six months. Although the researchers could not confirm a causal link between the energy drinks and these symptoms, the evidence against energy drinks is mounting, says study co-author Amelia Arria, director of the University of Maryland School of Public Health’s Center for Young Adult Health and Development. “While more research is needed, accumulating evidence exists to suggest that energy drink consumption is linked to adverse cardiovascular events, sleep disturbances, and other substance use among adolescents,” she says. (Time)

Rx: Exercise!

When it comes to chronic disease, good old exercise can deliver so many of the benefits of drugs and surgery with almost none of the side effects. Unfortunately, many docs underprescribe exericse. “If a pill could give you all benefits of exercise, it would be the best pill around,” says Edward Laskowski, co-director of Mayo Clinic Sports Medicine and a specialist in physical medicine and rehabilitation. (The Washington Post)

Having Trouble Sleeping? Drugs Aren’t the Answer

Although a third of Americans have trouble sleeping, popping a pill is not the answer, say a growing number of experts. Instead, they say, cognitive behavioral therapy along with a host of lifestyle-based changes, including avoiding caffeine and alcohol, taking up yoga and sleeping in a cool, dark room, can help. “Drugs don’t provide a natural sleep, and the side effects are significant,” says Nitin Damle, an internist and president of the American College of Physicians. “It’s true in all age groups, but even more problematic for older adults.” (The Wall Street Journal)

French Lessons: Is Taking Pleasure in Food the Key to Not Overeating?

When it comes to losing weight, most Americans think of dieting, restriction, and sacrifice. But, we should learn from the French who take real pleasure in their food, notes Marie-Anne Suizzo, an American professor who spent eight months researching French parenting styles in Paris. According to Suizzo, the cultivation of culinary pleasure starts very early in French families and is supported in childcare centers where even 2-year-olds are served four-course lunches of real, i.e., adult, food. Suizzo thinks the cultivation of pleasure leads to an overall healthier attitude towards food. “What if we could have it all? Keep the pleasure and stick to our resolution?” Suizzo asks. “In the US, people tend to compartmentalize pleasure, separating it from our daily chores and relegating it to special times. They have happy hours, not happy days. They have guilty pleasures, as if enjoying chocolate or a favorite movie is a moral failing.” (Quartz)

 

Posted by on Dec 02, 2016 | 0 Comments

Acupuncture: Getting to the Point

acupuncture
Written by Selene Yeager with illustrations by Stephanie Dalton Cowan
Reprinted with permission from Experience Life Magazine.

Four years ago, John Pacharis crashed his off-road motorcycle on a rough stretch of trail, tearing his ACL, MCL, and PCL — three of the four major ligaments in his knee. He needed surgery, and afterward he plummeted into a period of pain and depression that lasted for weeks.

“I did everything wrong,” says the 42-year-old from Saint Lawrence, Penn. “I just sat on the couch feeling depressed, taking too many painkillers. Then I found out I needed a second surgery and was determined to do it better.”

He began searching online for ideas about how to better manage his recovery and came across a support group where someone suggested acupuncture. “I was very skeptical but figured I might as well try it,” recalls Pacharis. “The first thing the acupuncturist did was put needles in my hands to calm me down and lower my heart rate. I felt an immediate, amazing flow of euphoria. It was like Dilaudid — but obviously so much better for me.”

Pacharis received weekly acupuncture treatments for two months, both to keep swelling under control and to manage pain with fewer drugs. He still gets treated on occasion, and says he’d do more if it were covered by his insurance.

“I don’t know how it works,” he says. “But it definitely works.”

Time for Acupuncture

Once regarded as alternative medicine in the United States, acupuncture has repeatedly been proven successful in treating cases like Pacharis’s. Today it’s no longer confined to specialized clinics; acupuncturists now work side by side with physicians in many hospitals and other medical settings.

“The current opioid epidemic has opened the door for safer, more natural ways to reduce pain,” says acupuncturist Adam Reinstein, LAc. He was hired in 2013 to work in the emergency room at Abbott Northwestern Hospital in Minneapolis as part of the hospital’s campaign to integrate Eastern techniques with a Western medical approach. He’s the first acupuncturist on an ER hospital staff in the United States.

During one shift, he might treat a car-accident victim and someone suffering complications from chemotherapy with the same basic approach. “We look at acupuncture as the first level of pain and anxiety relief,” he says. “Pain, anxiety, and nausea are the big three I treat most in this setting. In many cases, I can help patients start to feel better in the first two to five minutes.”

As patients like Pacharis will attest, acupuncture can provide as much relief as painkillers. A preliminary observational study Reinstein conducted at Abbott Northwestern, which was published in the journal Pain Medicine in February 2016, found that among 182 patients tracked over the course of 13 months, those who received acupuncture alone reported reduced pain scores equivalent to those who received a combination of acupuncture and analgesic painkillers. Reinstein notes that acupuncture has even preempted the need for prescription painkillers for some patients.

Acupuncture’s efficacy in relieving acute and chronic pain has also made it standard practice for many professional sports teams: The Kansas City Chiefs hired the NFL’s first acupuncturist 23 years ago. In 2008 the U.S. Air Force announced it would train medics in the use of battlefield acupuncture (BFA), using points based in the ears, because of its proven efficacy in relieving acute pain. The VA hospital in Boston began offering acupuncture to veterans in 2013 because of its ability to reduce dependence on opioids for chronic pain and to manage posttraumatic stress.

Though pain relief is still the primary reason many Westerners seek acupuncture, more have discovered what people in China, where acupuncture is part of routine medical care, have long understood: Acupuncture can offer relief from a vast array of health problems, including digestive issues; stress, anxiety, and depression; respiratory disorders, such as asthma and allergies; hormone-related issues like infertility, PMS, and menopausal symptoms; and more. Read on to explore whether it might be right for you. (more…)

Posted by on Dec 01, 2016 | 0 Comments

Want to Make ‘Diseases Disappear’? Then, Watch This TED Talk with Dr. Rangan Chatterjee

functional medicine
By the Be Well Team

Is it possible to make diseases disappear? If we’re talking about chronic diseases like Type 2 diabetes and heart disease, then absolutely, says Dr. Rangan Chatterjee in his wonderfully insightful TED Talk about functional medicine.

“The reasons I can make diseases disappear is because diseases are just an illusion,” Chatterjee says. “Diseases don’t really exist — at least not in the way we think we do.”

If we’re interested in optimal health — instead of simply managing disease or suppressing symptoms — we need to look at the root causes of illness. Once we look at factors like diet, stress level, sleep quality, physical activity levels, and environmental toxins, Chatterjee says, we being to realize that seemingly separate diseases, such as depression, heart disease, and dementia, “actually at their core share common causes.”

For more about functional medicine and making chronic disease disappear, check out Chatterjee’s TED Talk:

Posted by on Nov 30, 2016 | 0 Comments

The Truth About Statins

Statins
By the Be Well Team

For years, we’ve been told that cholesterol-lowering medications called statins can prevent heart disease and that the drugs do far more good than harm. Not so fast, says British cardiologist Dr. Aseem Malhotra who, along with several other experts, recently wrote a scathing opinion piece in the medical journal Prescriber about the latest study to exalt the efficacy and safety of statin therapy.

One critical problem, say Malhotra and his colleagues, is that the raw data behind statin studies have not been published and there is no way to independently verify the findings. To boot, most of the studies that have concluded statin therapy is safe and effective have been industry-funded.

“Decades of misinformation on cholesterol and the gross exaggeration of statin benefits with downplaying of side effects has likely led to the overmedication of millions of people across the world,” says Malhotra.

“The lack of transparency in the prescription of statins is just one symptom of a broken system of healthcare where finance-based medicine has trumped independent evidence and what is most important for patients. At the heart of the problem is that those with a responsibility to patients and scientific integrity — namely medical journals and institutions — collude with industry for financial gain.”

Until access to raw clinical trial data is released, Malhotra and his colleagues note, there is no way to advance an evidence-based claim about the efficacy or safety of statins.

“It’s time to enter a new era for full independent access to all clinical trials data so doctors can make decisions on treatments with patients with full transparency about true benefits and risks,” Malhotra says. “Until then let’s open our eyes and stop buying into the great cholesterol con.”

For more on the truth about statins as well as the flawed “cholesterol hypothesis,” check out this interview with Dr. Malhotra on Sky News.

Posted by on Nov 29, 2016 | 0 Comments
28
Nov

Meat Smarts: 3 Ways to Get Healthy About Meat

Eating Meat
By Dr. Frank Lipman

Eating meat – it’s nothing new. In fact, it’s estimated that we’ve been doing it for more than 2 million years. Through the ages, we’ve come up with endless ways to season it, cook it, and enjoy it, and if you were a child of the 1970s and 1980s when American meat consumption was hitting its peak, you may have grown up eating quite a lot of it.

I’ve always said that eating animals is a personal choice, but I also believe that when it comes to meat-eating, there are ways to be smarter about it. And, the smarter you are, the better for your health.

So, what’s the way forward? Here are my top three meat-eating strategies:

Eat the Happiest, Healthiest Critters Possible

Hankering for some beef, lamb, or bison? Look for meat from grass-fed animals who’ve spent their lives doing what they do best — grazing. In other words, skip the industrial feedlot animals raised on grains and antibiotics. Meats from pasture-raised and grass-fed animals also tend to be higher in beta-carotene (Vitamin A), conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), and anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids. If you don’t have access to pastured or grass-fed meats, then organic would be my next choice. Keep in mind though, that organic meats may still come from animals that have been raised in confinement and fed grains. (For more about why you should learn how your meat was raised and treated, check out my 5 reasons to avoid factory-farmed meats.)

Say ‘No’ to Faux

Some people think they’re being virtuous by replacing real meat with faux meat crumbles, Tofurky ‘roasts,’ veggie bacon, veggie burgers, and more. Bad move. Though the raw materials for these meat substitutes may include vegetables, by the time they make it in the package, they are ultra-processed, lab-made Frankenfoods. Most faux-meat products wind up offering little in the way of nutritional value, but lots in the way of chemical preservatives, fillers and other additives, as well as unhealthy fats. For example, here’s a complete ingredient list for a popular brand of veggie bacon strips:

EGG WHITES, SOYBEAN OIL WITH TBHQ FOR FRESHNESS, TEXTURED SOY PROTEIN CONCENTRATE, MODIFIED CORN STARCH, WHEAT GLUTEN, HYDROLYZED VEGETABLE PROTEIN (CORN GLUTEN, WHEAT GLUTEN, SOY), CONTAINS TWO PERCENT OR LESS OF GLYCERIN, SALT, SOY PROTEIN ISOLATE, SODIUM CITRATE, SODIUM PHOSPHATE, SUGAR, NATURAL AND ARTIFICIAL FLAVORS FROM NON-MEAT SOURCES, TORULA YEAST, CARAMEL COLOR, MONOCALCIUM PHOSPHATE, SODIUM TRIPOLYPHOSPHATE, NATURAL SMOKE FLAVOR, MALIC ACID, GUAR GUM, YEAST EXTRACT, LOCUST BEAN AND GUAR GUM, SODIUM SULFITE, CARRAGEENAN, RED #3, DISODIUM INOSINATE, DISODIUM GUANYLATE, NIACINAMIDE, IRON [FERROUS SULFATE], AUTOLYZED YEAST EXTRACT, NONFAT DRY MILK, YELLOW #6, VITAMIN B1 [THIAMIN MONONITRATE], VITAMIN B6 [PYRIDOXINE HYDROCHLORIDE], VITAMIN B2 [RIBOFLAVIN], CITRIC ACID, CYANOCOBALAMIN.

Yikes! My advice: Keep it simple and just say ‘no’ to faux.

Make Room for Veggies

While well-sourced meat is a good way to fill up on protein, healthy fats, and other nutrients like vitamin B and zinc, we still need to leave plenty of room on our plate for disease-fighting plant-based foods such as veggies, nuts, seeds, and possibly some legumes. Instead of thinking of meat as the centerpiece of your meal, why not build around it? Take your traditionally meat-heavy chili and throw in a bunch of veggies. Instead of that humongous steak you were going to have for dinner, slice up a portion to throw on a Southwestern-style salad of Romaine lettuce, avocado, red onion, and pumpkin seeds. Seek out plant-based foods that have a meatier mouth feel, such as beans and even mushrooms like shiitake and enoki. An added bonus of rightsizing your meat consumption? It will be easier on your wallet. Pastured and grass-fed meat are definitely more expensive than factory-farmed meats. However, if you’re making more room for veggies and eating less meat, the cost differential will be slight – and well worth the extra health benefit.

Posted by on Nov 28, 2016 | 3 Comments

How To Support Family Members With Making Healthy Changes

healthy changes
By Be Well Health Coach Jenny Sansouci

We all know how exciting it can feel when we find a new healthy lifestyle plan that really works for us, or when we learn something new that we think could help people we love. We want our enthusiasm to spread to everyone we know, and we often expect that people will be as quick to jump on the healthy bandwagon as we were. We suddenly want to motivate everyone to live a healthier lifestyle as soon as possible. 

Have you ever found yourself nitpicking at other people’s diets or lifestyle choices, constantly making comments about what other people “should” be doing, or acting like an authority figure around other people when it comes to healthy living? While your intentions are undoubtedly to help the people you love, sometimes the best way to truly support people in making healthy changes is a less aggressive approach.

Here are a few ways you can lovingly support people you care about with making healthy changes: 

Be a Power of Example for Others

Instead of always offering up your opinion about what other people are doing, focus on being a strong power of example and really walking the talk – for yourself. If something you’re doing is really working for you, radiate that happiness and vitality with the intent to inspire. Other people will see the changes and will be curious about what you’ve learned. If people want to know what’s going on with you, share what’s working for you without suggesting it’s the right way for everyone. If you show how pleasurable and rewarding it has been for you to make healthy changes, others will want to jump on board.

Make Sure They’re Actually Looking for the Advice You’re Dishing Out

People aren’t going to change their lifestyle or behavior until they’re really ready to. Make sure you’re not offering up your endless health wisdom all the time to unwilling ears — that could cause rebellion and resentment in close relationships. The desire and readiness for change has to come from the other person, so pay close attention to when people are actually asking for your help and when you’re just volunteering information.

Listen More, Talk Less

People are pretty impressive and intelligent about what they need if you give them the time to talk through it themselves without interruption. Most people who are behaving in ways that are damaging to their health already know – more or less – what they need to do. Once they share, relate to them and offer up suggestions where it’s relevant.

(more…)

Posted by on Nov 25, 2016 | 2 Comments
24
Nov

Real Thanks

gratitude
Written by Courtney Helgoe
Reprinted with permission from Experience Life Magazine.

What is the essence of true gratitude?

Beloved children’s book author Maurice Sendak once shared a story about a memorable exchange of thank-you notes. After receiving a drawing in the mail from a little boy named Jim, Sendak sent a return note with his own drawing, telling him how much he liked the gift.

He soon received a letter from the child’s mother that read, “Jim loved your card so much that he ate it.”

It seems unlikely that anyone coached young Jim to cultivate an “attitude of gratitude,” yet his unmistakably sincere gesture feels good to us, even when described secondhand. Perhaps that’s because it reminds us of just how wonderful it feels to give and receive genuine thanks.

This is something we often forget how to do as adults.

Rote thanks have long been a polite convention, so most of us learned to say thank you unthinkingly. And ironically, our developing knowledge of gratitude’s many benefits may pose another potential obstacle to actually feeling it.

A raft of research now shows that a grateful disposition positively affects physical health, from kidney function to blood pressure. And the social benefits are legion. Gratitude combats entitlement, reduces stress, and improves relationship bonds like little else. It eases workplace relationships and bolsters romantic ones.

Is it even possible to get too much of anything that does this much good?

Well, yes. Because with gratitude, sincerity counts. And when gratitude effectively becomes the new kale, another panacea for all ills, we may become more likely to treat it like eating our vegetables. Just one more dutiful obligation.

And when we hear someone chirping on about finding the blessing in something he or she is clearly bummed about, that sincerity can be called into question. Who wants to hear someone suggest that we should be grateful for our mother’s death, or a cancer diagnosis, or the fact that we “only” lost a leg in military combat?

At moments like these, it can start to feel like the gratitude Zeitgeist has taken a diabolical turn.

But it is possible to find our way back to the genuine heart of gratitude. Often, a little skepticism — or at least some restraint — may be exactly what’s needed to find it.

Discover Real Gratitude

If we habitually practice gratitude exercises but aren’t detecting any noticeable improvements in our worldviews, it may be because we’re coming at gratitude from the head rather than the heart.

To more fully feel the positive effects of gratitude, we may need to challenge our own reflexive tendencies to express it without really feeling it, suggests Amie Gordon, PhD, a postdoctoral researcher who studies gratitude at the University of California at Berkeley.

This might mean, for example, deciding not to automatically say thank you to someone who has ceased standing on your foot. (more…)

Posted by on Nov 24, 2016 | 0 Comments
23
Nov

Fight Inflammation With These 10 Foods

inflammation
By Be Well Health Coach Katie Ulrich

If you want to use food as medicine, there is no better place to start than a diet rich in anti-inflammatory foods.

Inflammation, a sign that something is off balance in the body, can trigger everything from fatigue to poor digestion to muscle and joint pain to chronic disease. Adopting an anti-inflammatory diet is a great way to fight free radicals, reduce inflammation on a cellular level, and help prevent and ease such ailments.

Instead of the standard American diet, which is chock full of processed foods, sugar, and refined grains, follow a diet rich in whole foods that are high in minerals, antioxidants, and essential fatty acids. Chinese and Ayurvedic practitioners have also used herbs and spices to treat ailments for centuries due to their high antioxidant properties. Incorporating spices and herbs into your daily routine as well may help combat unwanted inflammation.
Here is our top-ten list of anti-inflammatory foods, as well as how to incorporate these delicious foods into your life today!

1. Dark Leafy Greens

Organic dark leafy greens (especially Swiss chard!) are rich in antioxidants, vitamins, and flavonoids that restore cellular health.

How to use: Lightly steam and toss with extra-virgin olive oil and lemon juice, throw into a salad, or blend into a smoothie daily.

2. Beets

This root vegetable is loaded with minerals and vitamins that help fight inflammation.

How to use: Roast with spices and herbs, steam and toss in a salad, or use the beet greens in a smoothie.

3. Cruciferous Vegetables

Organic cruciferous vegetables help combat free radicals and reduce chronic inflammation (especially broccoli and bok choy!). These veggies are antioxidant powerhouses.

How to use: Lightly steam and toss with extra-virgin olive oil and some lemon juice, roast with spices and herbs, or sauté with aromatic garlic and onions.

4. Bone Broth

Broths made with bones from grass-fed/pasture-raised animals contain both compounds that reduce inflammation and minerals that are easy to absorb and can help heal a damaged, inflamed gut.

How to use: Use in a soup or enjoy a cup with turmeric and ginger in the morning or as a midday or evening snack.

5. Berries

Organic berries (especially blueberries!) are high in quercetin, a flavonoid that helps fight inflammation, and relatively low in natural sugars.

How to use: Eat as a snack, blend into a smoothie, or add to high-quality coconut yogurt.

6. Spices

Spices (especially turmeric and ginger, but also garlic, cayenne pepper, cinnamon, and cloves) are highly concentrated powerhouses that contain antioxidants as well as antiviral, antibacterial, antifungal, and anticancer components. They are key for those suffering from chronic illnesses and inflammation.

How to use: Add to salad dressings, sprinkle into a smoothie, or add to roasted/sautéed/baked foods. Also great to add to herbal teas and coffee. (more…)

Posted by on Nov 23, 2016 | 0 Comments
22
Nov

The Be Well Recipe: Sweet Potato Soup with Garam Masala

sweet potato
Photo by Betsy Nelson

Looking for a different way to do sweet potatoes this Thanksgiving? Try this warm and nurturing (and Cleanse-friendly!) sweet potato soup, which is spiked with garam masala, a delicious Indian blend of spices that can aid digestion and help regulate blood sugar.

Sweet Potato Soup with Garam Masala (serves 4)

  • 2 T. coconut oil or ghee
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 T. minced fresh ginger
  • 1 tsp. turmeric
  • 1 T. garam masala, plus more for garnish
  • ½ tsp. freshly ground black pepper, plus more for garnish
  • 1 cup diced celery (about 2 stalks)
  • 1 large sweet potato, peeled and cubed (about 4 cups)
  • 1 (13.5-14 oz) can coconut milk
  • 1 ½ cups chicken or vegetable stock
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 T. pumpkin seed oil or toasted sesame oil

Heat the coconut oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat and add the onion, ginger, turmeric, garam masala and black pepper. Stir until fragrant.

Add the celery, sweet potato, coconut milk and stock, bring to a boil, and then simmer until the vegetables are tender.

Blend until smooth with an immersion blender or in a blender and season with salt to taste. To serve, drizzle with pumpkin seed or sesame oil and sprinkle with garam masala and freshly ground black pepper.

Posted by on Nov 22, 2016 | 0 Comments
21
Nov

8 Tips to Manage Post-Election Stress

post-election depression
By Dr. Frank Lipman

No matter which side of the fence you were on, it’s safe to say it’s been a very long election season. While some Americans were pleased with the outcome, for others the results were deeply upsetting. In recent days, I’ve seen many people struggling with a kind of post-election hangover. While everyone copes in their own way, I’ve put together a few simple ‘do-now’ strategies to help soothe tension and support physical and emotional health through the transition and beyond. Here are some tips to let the healing begin:

1. Clear Your Head

Turn off the social media firehose for a while, or at least dial it way down. The info will still be there when you’re ready to turn the spigot back on. With tensions high and the post-election vitriol clogging up everyone’s Facebook and Twitter feeds, take a stand for your mental health — and a cue from the hippie days and just ‘tune out, man.’ Give your brain some quiet time for the next few days (or weeks) instead of filling it with the non-stop negative chatter (from both sides of the aisle) that’s at a fever pitch right now.

2. Soothe Your Heart and Mind

If you haven’t done so before, now is a great time to begin a meditation practice, either with a local meditation group or with an individual home practice. Many people find a group ‘sit’ experience is a great way to foster a sense of community and calm when both are elusive. A regular meditation practice will help take stress down a notch and enable your cooler head to prevail. It’s also an excellent way to help support heart health and brain function, so indulge frequently.

3. Unleash Your Endorphins

Again, step away from the digital world and hit the gym, hop on a bike, jog around the neighborhood, or dance around your living room — whatever it takes to get the blood flowing again after all that sitting around waiting for the election to end. Get the heart rate up, trigger the release of your endorphins, aka ‘Mother Nature’s happy hormones,’ and enjoy the free, natural, good-for-you high. There’s no fighting the contagious, sweaty fun of a Zumba class so get out there and lift your spirits while doing something positive for your body.

4. Indulge in Ubuntu

As you go about your day, regardless of the mood you may be in, remember to practice ‘Ubuntu.’ It’s a concept that means, “I am because you are.” In other words, be conscious of how you treat others, and interact with humanity and kindness — now more than ever. In those little moments of simple, positive connection, we have the power to spread good feelings and help build some bridges over the chasms that have recently opened up.

5. Play Better with Others

Here’s an idea one of my patients recently shared regarding getting together with friends who were also feeling down: engage in discussion, not obsession. In other words, agree to set a time limit (or frequent time-outs) on talking politics. For example, if you wish, do a deep political dive while having drinks, but as soon as the main course arrives, table the political talk and move on to other subjects. While some people may enjoy an entire evening chewing over the political changing of the guard, if you’re not one of them, it can drag spirits down further. To prevent this, graciously ask that the rhetoric be contained and be prepared to gently guide conversation elsewhere if it starts to get too negative.

6. Give Back — Not Up

If the change that took place on November 8 is making you feel sad or stressed, do something good for those people and organizations who need your help. Give your time, energy, expertise, and/or money to the causes you believe in, and particularly to those groups whose funding may be compromised going forward. Don’t just vent on Facebook — get out there and protest (peacefully) to support causes in a tangible way. By standing up for what you believe and taking action, you’ll lift so much more than just your spirits.

7. Just Say ‘No’ (to pharmaceuticals)

That often-mocked phrase made famous by Nancy Reagan back in the 1980s is one I agree with, but for different reasons. I am not a fan of prescription drugs that aid sleep or settle jangled nerves because their overall health cost is simply too high. Cocktails and wine aren’t a healthy way to take the edge off either. If you’re finding it difficult to unwind or fall asleep these days, skip the drugs and try Be Well’s Sleep Bundle or Be Well’s Stress Support formula.

8. Have a Mood-elevating…Cry

Try something you probably haven’t done in a while: have a good cry. Studies indicate that crying, for most people, can actually elevate mood and instantly reduce stress. So don’t hold those tears in — let ‘em go. If tears won’t come easily, listen to a few of your favorite sad songs or check out some renditions of the late Leonard Cohen’s ‘Hallelujah’ — here’s a great one by Choir! Choir! Choir! (led by Rufus Wainwright) — for a little tear-inducing inspiration.

Last but not least, think of things that make you feel good and do more of them, more often. Get a massage. Sit in the sauna. Sign up for kickboxing class. Hug the kids. Listen to comedy radio or binge a little on funny movies. Find ways to lift your spirits — as long as they’re healthy for both body and mind.

Posted by on Nov 21, 2016 | 1 Comments