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Showing posts with label mental health. Show all posts
Showing posts with label mental health. Show all posts

Navigating life's challenging moments can be incredibly tough, and in the United States, there's a concerning rise in "deaths from despair" – instances of suicide, drug overdose, or alcohol poisoning. When people face these extreme difficulties and are at risk, the usual approaches involve antidepressants and psychotherapy. However, a recent study from Harvard suggests that there's another avenue worth exploring: attending religious services.

Published online on May 6, 2020, by JAMA Psychiatry, the study delved into the self-reported religious service attendance of 110,000 white, middle-aged men and women over about 30 years. Surprisingly, the findings showed that those who attended religious services at least once a week had significantly lower risks of death from despair – a staggering 68% lower for women and 37% lower for men, compared to those who never attended.

How to get over the difficult moments in life

Friday, December 01, 2023

Feeling adrift due to job burnout, an empty nest, retirement, or the loss of a partner is a shared experience, especially as we age. Matthew Lee, a sociologist at Harvard University's Human Flourishing Program, emphasizes that confronting this loss of identity is crucial. The response to this existential question, whether proactive or passive, can significantly impact one's health.

The Power of Purpose:

A sense of purpose is linked to various health benefits, including enhanced cognitive skills, mood regulation, decreased risks of chronic diseases, and longevity. Studies suggest that individuals with a sense of purpose navigate stress more effectively, potentially mitigating the physiological effects of chronic stress. Moreover, purpose-driven individuals tend to adopt healthier behaviors and engage in proactive health screenings.

Embarking on the Journey to Purpose:

While finding purpose is a unique journey for each individual, cultivating it is within reach. The following 10 suggestions, derived from the Harvard Special Health Report Self-Care, can serve as a compass on this transformative quest:

1. Zero in on your strengths: Seek input from friends and family to identify your unique qualities, considering how these attributes can bring meaning to your life and the lives of others.

2. Reflect on overcoming obstacles: Use your life experiences to assist others facing similar challenges, turning personal struggles into a purposeful endeavor.

3. Create a purpose timeline: Trace the evolution of your purpose at different life stages, extracting lessons learned to inform your current situation.

4. Seek inspiration from role models: Identify individuals whose work you admire, exploring ways to incorporate similar elements into your own pursuits.

5. Become a mentor: Share your knowledge and skills with others, fostering reciprocal relationships that contribute to both personal and collective growth.

6. Consider the world's needs: Identify a cause meaningful to you, recognizing that your skills can address unmet needs in your community or the broader world.

7. Read Viktor Frankl's "Man's Search for Meaning": Gain inspiration from Frankl's observations in Nazi death camps, emphasizing the vitality derived from meaningful connections and acts of generosity.

8. Write your story: Chronicle significant stories from your life, detailing childhood memories and answering questions about yourself, creating a legacy for future generations.

9. Compose your obituary: Reflect on what you want to be remembered for, drawing inspiration for your present purpose.

10. Imagine winning the lottery: Envision a life without financial constraints, identifying ways to integrate elements of these desires into your current circumstances.

Initiating the Journey:

Approach this process without pressure, as exploration opens up possibilities. As Lee suggests, "Explore the possibilities; it gets you moving again, and momentum can take you further in ways that you may find rich, rewarding, and even surprising." This journey is not about reaching a destination but discovering the richness and rewards inherent in living a purpose-driven life.

Discovering Purpose: 10 Pathways to Meaningful Living

Tuesday, November 28, 2023

One thing this year has taught me is that peace cannot be traded. I was with someone who never saw the good in me but constantly said bad words to me, especially after leaving Ukraine, and was so sad, losing a lot to the war. I was down, and my mental health was affected. I am not perfect, but this person saw themselves as perfect and always asked for change, never wanting to change or improve anything about themselves.

I consistently told this person they needed to change the way they looked at things. I adjusted, but they remained in the same place, desiring more changes and setting conditions. Despite having high self-esteem, I kept trying to figure out the problem. Eventually, I understood that in life, you have to accept that you are the problem and leave to escape a toxic space and save yourself.

When I accepted that I was the problem, I broke off and decided to stop communication with this person, the same person reached out and said we needed to find a way to fix things. I replied, "You said you needed peace, and I was a problem and never accepted that you could make a mistake. I want you to be at peace, especially with the fact that you made it clear to me that asking questions took away your peace. I won't stop asking questions, and I want your peace to be with you, so no thank you."

Every day we encounter different situations and behaviors; not every meeting needs closure. This includes friendships, relationships, and marriages. Sometimes the fact that you are not seen, valued, or heard is enough for you to leave and find closure when attempts to make things work prove unsuccessful. 

Sometimes you have to accept that you are the problem!

Sometimes you have to accept that you are the problem.

Monday, November 27, 2023

Dealing with mental health is something we all face, and it's essential to talk openly about it. Even though the pandemic brought more awareness, there are still myths and stereotypes around mental health that we need to challenge.

Did you know that over 58 million American adults, which is more than one in five, live with mental illnesses like anxiety, depression, or bipolar disorder? Surprisingly, more women than men seek treatment for these challenges.

However, there's a lingering stigma around mental health, making it difficult for those dealing with these issues. Dr. Arthur Barsky from Brigham and Women's Hospital explains that this stigma can affect people's morale and recovery. Feeling labeled and isolated can worsen depression or anxiety, leading to problems like substance abuse or social withdrawal.

The good news is that science is helping break down these old beliefs. Advances like brain imaging show that certain mental disorders cause structural changes in the brain, reducing the stigma around mental health.

We've all heard that loneliness and isolation can impact our health, but which one is worse? A recent Harvard study delved into this question, looking at nearly 14,000 people aged 50 or older over four years. The findings showed that both loneliness and isolation are linked to health problems, but each has its own impact.

Social isolation, which means living alone or not spending time with family and friends, was found to be a stronger predictor of physical decline and early death. On the other hand, loneliness was more connected to mental health issues like depression or feeling that life lacks meaning.

The study highlighted that both loneliness and isolation are significant and can feed into each other. The key takeaway is that staying connected to others is crucial in combating these feelings. If you ever feel lonely, whether or not it's because you're physically isolated, talking to your doctor might be a good idea. Remember, reaching out to others can make a big difference in how we feel.

Which is worse, isolation or loneliness?

Seasonal affective disorder can be treated and managed with the use of light therapy and medicines.

The winter season brings chilly days and cozy vibes, but for some, it also ushers in a condition known as Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). SAD is a form of depression that kicks in during late fall and winter, easing off with the arrival of spring. While the exact cause remains a mystery, researchers believe a lack of sunlight plays a pivotal role.

Dr. Richard Schwartz, an associate professor of psychiatry at Harvard-affiliated McLean Hospital, emphasizes the significance of recognizing SAD as a serious condition. He notes, "People should not ignore the signs of SAD and should seek treatment if they appear, as left alone, SAD can escalate to serious health issues."

Sunlight and Your Mood

Sunlight exposure has a profound impact on our brains. It stimulates the hypothalamus, a brain region housing our internal sleep-wake clock. Insufficient light disrupts this clock, leading to an overproduction of the sleep hormone melatonin and a decrease in serotonin, the feel-good brain chemical. This chemical imbalance can result in feelings of low energy, lethargy, and depression.

SAD comes with other telltale signs, including diminished sexual desire, an inclination to overeat (especially comfort foods), and sleep disturbances. It also correlates with cognitive challenges like difficulties in concentration and memory. Dr. Schwartz adds, "As you become more lethargic from SAD, you are also less likely to exercise or socialize."

Several factors heighten the risk of SAD, such as a family history of SAD or depression and geographic location. People residing in northern states, where daylight diminishes significantly in fall and winter, are more prone to SAD than those in the south.

A way to get rid of the winter blues?

Saturday, November 25, 2023

How to keep people from getting too angry at gatherings.

The holidays, envisioned as a time of joy, love, and festive lights, sometimes take an unexpected turn into disagreements when family and friends gather. However, with a little planning and awareness of potential triggers, you can avoid getting caught up in arguments.

Understanding Holiday Stress

The holiday season can be stressful due to financial worries, colder weather, and the juggling act of work and time off. Emotional vulnerability is heightened during this time, making it challenging to manage feelings and communicate effectively. Factors like painful memories or a lack of family support can add to the emotional strain.

Alcohol consumption during holiday gatherings can escalate tensions, as it lowers inhibitions and makes it harder to stay calm. In a survey, 57% of respondents noted family members becoming argumentative after consuming too much alcohol.

Two days ago, I attended the conference at the Center for Contemporary Art, marking the end of the Anti-Racism Interim Governance Group (AIGG) and the sharing of their recommendations for the vision, mission, and structure of the Anti-Racism Observatory for Scotland.

It was very insightful, and people had the opportunity to ask many questions. Racism hasn't been adequately addressed in many countries and has often been taken lightly. A great-grandmother from India, who has lived in #Scotland for a long time and has three generations here, shared accounts of how racism hasn't shown significant improvement for a long time.

Another person spoke up and said, if there were not significant changes and accountability for those who engage in racist behavior, then she didn't want to be part of this movement.

Individuals from diverse racial backgrounds were in attendance and poured out their heavy hearts.

The event was attended by the Minister for Equalities, Migration, and Refugees, Emma Roddick, and provided an opportunity to hear from them, ask questions, and engage in conversation with the Co-Chairs of the AIGG.

The event also marked the publication of the AIGG community research report, contributed in various ways. The community research mapped to the AIGG’s work.

Here is the significant question people want answers to:

Observatory Accountability

We would like to know who will be held accountable for how the anti-racist strategy is implemented?

What are your thoughts?

#AntiRacismConference #EqualityInAction #AIGGEvent #InclusiveScotland #RacismAwareness #CommunityResearch #EqualityAdvocacy #AccountabilityMatters #AntiRacistStrategy #EmpowerChange

Who Should Be Held Accountable? Navigating Scotland's Anti-Racism Strategy and the Path to Change

Thursday, November 23, 2023

Sometimes, certain thoughts just won't leave us alone – they keep playing over and over, like a song stuck in your head. If it's just a random tune, it's annoying but not a big deal. But a sticky thought is different; it causes distress, you can't shake it off, and it messes with your day, explains a mental health expert.

These persistent thoughts can pop up due to stress or an underlying issue like anxiety, depression, OCD, or PTSD. For example, if you're dealing with generalized anxiety, you might have sticky thoughts about upcoming events or financial worries. Depression can bring on thoughts of failure or loneliness, while OCD might have you obsessing over germs. PTSD, linked to traumatic experiences, can replay distressing scenes in your mind.

Sticky thoughts aren't just a mental annoyance – they can mess with your concentration, fuel feelings of shame and fear, and even harm your self-esteem. Over time, they might lead to social isolation, making some folks reluctant to leave home.

How to deal with persistent thoughts

Saturday, November 18, 2023

Making friends and improving health by getting over loneliness

It's hard to be lonely. It's possible to feel lonely when you don't have any friends and are missing someone to talk to, or when you are with people you can talk to, or even your family and friends.

In either case, being alone for a long time can be very bad for your health. It makes you more likely to get coronary artery disease, a stroke, depression, high blood pressure, memory loss, failure to do daily tasks, and even early death.

Here are three ways to make new friends and feel less lonely, which will make you happier.

Getting started
You can't always get over being alone by going out to meet new people. If you feel lonely even though you have relationships, you might need to talk to a therapist and check yourself from within.

For people who feel lonely because they don't have enough friends, meeting new people is more of an outward journey for them. As people get older, they tend to become less flexible in the way they live their lives. These days, making friends is harder than it used to be in the past.

These are the tips that will help you.

1. Look for people with similar beliefs.

You can make friends more quickly with people who like the same things you do.
First, think about what you like. Do you read a lot, watch a lot of movies, study history, farm, eat a lot, have a dog, or play sports? Are you really interested in a good cause, your neighborhood, or your history? Do you collect things? Are you crazy about old cars? Do you like changing the way old furniture looks? You might want to learn something new, like how to cook a Nigerian dish or speak a new language. If you are interested in any of these hobbies or things you want to try, Look for clubs, charity workshops, classes, or online groups that can help you achieve them.

When you join a group, you have to keep going to it so that you can make friends. It would be great if you could be there in person.

How to make friends and fight loneliness.


My name is Melody. I am tall and, according to almost everyone I meet, beautiful. Little things make me happy. I like the simple things in life. I am currently exploring Scotland, and I must say it's beautiful. I used to live in Ukraine, but I now reside in Glasgow due to leaving because of the war. I am discovering myself in this new country, working, wearing beautiful dresses, and making the most of life. Did I mention that I speak English, Igbo, and Russian? How are you doing today?

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