Monthly Archives: June 2013

Job-related stress, unhealthy lifestyle a bad mix

People with job stress and an unhealthy lifestyle are at higher risk of coronary artery disease than people who have job stress but lead healthy lifestyles, found a study published in CMAJ (Canadian Medical Association Journal). Continued…

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Are You An Addict?

“The tabloids and reality TV shows documenting the erratic, out-of-control behaviors associated with drinking and drugging may be giving us a skewed image of what constitutes addiction. You don’t have to off-road into a Beverly Hills boutique or engage in raging encounters to qualify as being an addict. Understanding whether you may have an addiction involves asking yourself certain questions. Do you look forward to that glass of wine every evening? Does having that cigarette calm you down when you are stressed? Does that rich dessert leave you feeling full and soothed? Do sexual fantasies offer you an escape from the unsatisfying reality of your life? If your answer is “yes,” you may be addicted.” Continued…

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Progress Pyramid

“In order to make progress, three things are necessary–a thought, a feeling, and an action. They form a pyramid. If we have a thought and a feeling, but no action, we’re just spinning our wheels. If the thoughts and feelings are negative, this combination usually becomes worry, depression, and frustration. If the thoughts and feelings are positive, it’s often just unproductive “positive thinking.” A physical action is required to make the thought and feeling tangible. If we have a thought and an action but no feeling, the action will probably not continue for long. Our feelings are our greatest motivators. For sustained physical action, we need to feel something about what we’re doing. If we have a feeling and an action, but no directed thoughts, we’re like a powerboat without a rudder. There’s no logical, rational direction. This happens a lot with addictive behaviors–drug abuse, alcoholism, compulsive sex. The emotions say, “I want it.” And the body says, “You got it,” before the mind can even engage. Later, the mind may say, “You know you shouldn’t have done that.” We knew, but we “forgot.” Temporary insanity. If any one of the three sides of the pyramid is missing, the structure collapses. We cannot do productive work. We cannot accomplish what we want to accomplish. Knowing this, I offer the following advice: if you don’t have a matching thought, feeling, and action all available at the same time, release yourself from whichever ones you do have.” (Peter McWilliams)

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Biopsychosocial Responses to Divorce

“The fact that an estimated 50 percent of marriages in America now end in divorce doesn’t make breaking up any easier to do. The pain of a divorce can feel like an assault on the body, mind and spirit, and that may not be far from the truth. Scroll through the list below for seven ways that a divorce could affect your physical and mental health — and ways that you can take charge to begin the journey to healing.”

1. Chronic Stress
2. Trouble Sleeping
3. Weakened Immune System
4. Depression & Anxiety
5. Identity Crisis
6. Digestive Problems
7. Weight Gain

Take a more detailed look and be sure to come back for full discussions on overcoming these hurdles.

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Social Media Promoting Teen Drinking

“Public-health professionals have a new force to contend with in their battle against the bottle: social-networking sites (SNS). Writing in a recent issue of Critical Public Heath, researchers from New Zealand consider the extensive, and not entirely positive, impact SNS may have on their efforts to encourage more responsible youth drinking (McCreanor et al., 2013). The authors argue that although SNS users benefit from creating and sharing content, the sites are “quintessentially commercial platforms” which provide entirely new vehicles for alcohol marketing. The very characteristics that make SNS popular — blurring boundaries between public and private spaces, acting as extensions of face-to-face relationships and being regularly viewed and updated — also contribute to their commercial potential by bringing alcohol producers and consumers closer together.” Learn more.

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Less Grid, more sanity!

My wife and I often speak to each other as well as family members and friends about reducing significant levels of stress by decreasing our access to the meaningless,  countless demands and strains placed on us by society. We like the term “homesteading“. Our own teachers speak endlessly about leaving the mundane, stressful, distractions behind. They also teach about and lead lives of austerity and asceticism, spending more and more time away from the hustle and bustle of large cities and urban lifestyles.

What does living in urban areas mean for African-Americans today and what shock & awe might develop as a result of going off the grid? How might they, or anyone in the modern U.S. benefit from less Kim Kardashian, less Andersen Cooper, less smog, less Internet, less chatter, complaining, posturing and bickering on social media, less TV and on and on and on…

Think about it this way. Seeing Kim in her glamour either challenges our moral fortitude or maybe our sexual aptitude. Either way, it’s a biopsychosocial stressor. Andersen Cooper does the same, well for some anyway, and also impresses on our mind that every news topic he discusses must be the most important topic of our day. Here we have another biopsychosocial stressor. The smog presents an obvious biopsychsocial stressor. Try telling anyone with any respiratory problem that smog isn’t an issue. And lastly, for now, the Internet stands to challenge everything we hold dear, from our own self-image to the use of and lack of personal time. Can you say biopsychosocial stressor? At every turn it seems we’re being drowned by the sea of society and shackled by industrialized modernity.

Though the majority of African-Americans still live below the Mason-Dixon line, they have chosen to cluster in urban areas with the hope of attaining all things grand. But is that really what’s happening?

Check out the findings from a study conducted at the Central Institute of Mental Health, University of Heidelberg/Medical Faculty Mannheim, 68159 Mannheim, Germany:

“There are higher concentrations of psychiatric illnesses in the city than in the country.  There is increased risk for anxiety disorders, mood disorders, and schizophrenia.  Of course, there are lots of possible reasons for this. There is a greater socioeconomic divide in cities, and people of low socio-economic class have a higher risk for psychiatric disease.  There is also better access to health care in cities, and someone who might pass as just “very odd” in the country is more likely to get diagnosed in the city.  Finally, it is often easier to function in a city with a severe mental illness, with some better access to shelter, care, and emergency medicine. But there is also some evidence that living in a city can “bring on” mental disorders.  While many mental disorders are thought to have a genetic component to some degree, the addition of stress may be able to bring out an underlying mental illness.  And of course, cities are stressful. Specifically, cities produce social stress, the stress of living around and being seen (or feeling you’re being seen) by lots of people, constantly.”

There are also heavy correlations between residence and stress. Daily hassles impact our levels of stress and urban areas bring about higher levels of it. Depression has also been found to be higher in urban areas in contradistinction to rural environments.

In a series of functional magnetic resonance experiments researchers showed that city living was associated with greater stress responses in the amygdala, an area of the brain involved with emotional regulation and mood. There is more and more evidence supporting a strong shift away from urban living and desensitization. In fact, there is so much evidence today in 2013 that I need not bother posting anymore! A quick Google search is enough to feed your need but if you insist, take a look at the vast majority of psychological and medical journals on this topic and ask yourself, “Why are all the black people trying to live together? ala “Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria?” The same logic applies to our choice to live in urban areas and it’s keeping/making us sick.

 

 

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Cadmium covered Kitchenware?

If your family is like our’s, full of kids, full of kid’s toys, and full of batteries needed to power them, you know that your kitchen drawers, closets, and children’s rooms are full of batteries! And like us, you probably can’t tell which ones still contain an iota of juice and which ones are ripe for use as ammunition in the event one child decides he/she was offended enough by another to turn that solid chunk into a stone-cold killing projectile.

A few days ago my son and I were researching ways to make a BBQ pit when we came across an article and a few journals about avoiding the use of shelves containing cadmium. So the trek began. Just what is cadmium? Cadmium, in its purest form, is a soft silver, white metal that is found naturally in the earth’s crust. However, the most common forms of cadmium found in the environment exist in combinations with other elements. For example, cadmium oxide (a mixture of cadmium and oxygen), cadmium chloride (a combination of cadmium and chlorine), and cadmium sulfide (a mixture of cadmium and sulfur) are commonly found in the environment. Cadmium doesn’t have a distinct taste or smell. EPA CAS Number: 7440-43-9

As it turns out, for a long time BBQ grills were coated heavily in cadmium. Cadmium was also found on some oven grills and even in refridgerators..oh and kitchenware as well.

Welp, off to the kitchen we go! Looks like somebody will be getting wooden bowls and utensils really soon!

 

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Seeking Help, Having Hope

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From Till to Martin, the image of the black man rarely tells the whole truth

“Evidence suggests that children observe things in the media and apply those observations to their view of themselves. They may even imitate the behaviors they watch on the news. In isolation, these negative stereotypes cause young black men to wonder, how can I overcome these conditions, how can I escape my circumstances, and even if I do why bother if I can get shot for just walking down the street? These negative self-images and low expectations can lead to depression, anxiety, poor self esteem, poor academic performance, and even disruptive behaviors like aggression.”

Media and the Black Male Image – BlackMentalHealthNet.com – An online community empowering the Black community by promoting mental health..

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Ohio School Bans Afro Puffs | Black and Married With Kids.com – A Positive Image of Marriage and Family

Ohio School Bans Afro Puffs | Black and Married With Kids.com – A Positive Image of Marriage and Family.

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