Live longer

In a recent Ted Talk, I was intrigued to hear about what makes a difference with longevity, health and happiness. This chart will show you the findings of the study, but you really need to listen to the talk by Susan Pinker. 
Of course, paying attention to the other factors on the list is also a pretty good idea. These are the usual suspects of health. Smoking and alcohol are top candidates for you to modify and very much in your control. However, there are genetic and learned factors that predispose you to addiction. It will take professional help to treat longer standing and deeper issues related to addiction. The message is clear, stay connected socially and keep, develop or enhance close relationships. Take classes, join groups, find purpose and meaning to make your life more interesting, adventurous and especially FUN. Book clubs, bible studies, retreats, bingo, games nights, bowling, or continuing education classes helps your brain and connect to others. Why are the people in Scandinavian countries also cited at the happiest people and cultures? They are the most socially connected. Surprise yourself by trying some new things to do with your life and free time. 
Click on this link.  Longevity Talk by Susan Pinker 

Test Anxiety........Harms Performance

Harnessing difficult material for any standardized test can be difficult by itself. Anxiety interferes with concentration, focus and retention. There are many tools that can minimize or even eliminate performance anxiety. Managing anxiety is a skill to be learned, not magic. Learning to let go of fear, pressure, perfection are important aspects of breaking free of fear. When there is a great deal riding on a score to get into business school, medical or law school or even college, many people simply lock up. Scores go down and more anxiety sets in and performance suffers. Learning to be present, mindful, positive, confident and calm contribute to better performance and higher scores. Keeping your life in balance helps achieve better life balance and greater satisfaction with managing the sacrifices necessary when you chose to advance yourself.  Follow some the tips from this blog. Be sure you have a strategy, have developed the ability to calm yourself when you need to. If you follow the tips and strategies of your tutor, you will not only improve, you will feel better about the entire process or preparation. Mental rehearsal used by athletes, relaxation techniques, meditation, cognitive re-framing, and imagery are a few of the tools that will help you perform at the level you need to advance you life, career and education.
Click on this link for more information.
Additional blog

Vaping....the new addiction: What is it?

Vaping—the use of electronic cigarettes—has largely replaced traditional tobacco in schools. Peters has caught kids as young as 11 trying it, and use seems to be growing more common by the month. From the high school on down, its popularity has boomed in the past year, and teachers are scrambling to get ahead of a phenomenon with unknown long-term risks, and no sign of slowing down.
E-cigarettes, or e-vaporizers, are battery-operated devices that people use to inhale an aerosol, which typically contains nicotine (though not always), flavorings and other chemicals.
While e-cigarettes don’t have the tar found in traditional cigarettes, users usually don’t know exactly what’s inside—some of which may be equally harmful, according to preliminary studies. However, the plot thickens. 

Vaping now has moved way beyond nicotine as the liquid being inhaled.

ELECTRONIC cigarettes are being modified to enable users to inhale vapour from banned drugs. People admit using the devices to vape cannabis, crack cocaine, ecstasy and heroin, plus former legal highs such as mephedrone. Don't start and don't believe it is safe. This is the newest device to deliver drugs into your system. Get help, stop, quit and find healthy ways to manage your life, emotions, stress and anxiety
CNN Link on Vaping Story
More on Vaping


"Worry is the darkroom in which negatives develop."

Getting out of negative self-talk is part of the answer to releasing anxiety, stress and depression. If you are spending your life force and mental energy in this place, you are causing yourself needless suffering. Worry robs you of the present.  If you're preoccupied with "what ifs" and worst-case scenarios, worry becomes a problem. Unrelenting anxious thoughts and fears can be paralyzing. They can sap your emotional energy, send your anxiety levels soaring, and interfere with your daily life.

Chronic worrying is a mental habit that can be broken. You can train your brain to stay calm and look at life from a more balanced, less fearful perspective.  Always expecting the worst can take a toll on your emotional and physical health. It can leave you feeling restless and jumpy, cause insomnia, headaches, stomach problems, and muscle tension, and make it difficult to concentrate at work or school. You may take your negative feelings out on the people closest to you, self-medicate with alcohol or drugs, or try to distract yourself by zoning out in front of screens. Chronic worrying can also be a major symptom of Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD), a common anxiety disorder that involves tension, nervousness, and a general feeling of unease that colors your whole life.

Cognitive Behavioral Thearpy (CBT) can help reduce and even eliminate worry, thus reducing anxiety and helping your overall attitude, happiness and health. Meditate, relax, exercise, pray, listen to inspiring music, plan for fun, schedule time to be social, engaged in some hobbies, interests, or meaningful endeavors. These can replace worry. You can become so busy and fulfilled, worry dissolves. 

Presentations on TeleMental Health Videoconferencing

On May 4th, I will be presenting a workshop at the Spectrum 44th Annual Conference on Addiction Studies in Houston at the Westin Hotel at Memorial City. The topic is what is occurring in the mental health field related to technology and mental health programs, services, groups, teaching, training, support, and overcoming addiction. The world of mental health is changing rapidly. Technology, health related apps help you track your life, blood pressure, A1C blood levels for diabetics, sleep cycles, heart rate, mood and much more. The new wave is telemedicine, telemental health, coaching, support groups, 12 Step work, nursing and virtual doctor visits. My presentation will provide an overview of the different platforms that are most popular providing encrypted and HIPAA compliance for patient privacy. There will be a reception for networking from 5:00 to 6:00 pm in the Willow Room, 4th floor for Professional Development. 
Link to conference registration below. 

Worry....Where does it get me?

How much of your time and life is spent in worry, fear and anxiety?  Worry can be all consuming if you don't tackle it head on. Some strategies to consider to get started below;
1) examine your negative thinking patterns,
2) explore how worry is limiting your life,
3) what is worry doing to your energy?, 
4) how does your worry impact those around you?,
5) What percentage of the time do worries actually happen?
Research says, 85% of What We Worry About Never Happens.
Worrying gives the illusion of control. You think that by imagining all the worst things that could happen, you can have solutions in place beforehand. But the reality is that since you'll never think of all the possibilities, your worrying work is never done. In fact, worry becomes a habit and can take over your life.  According to Kat McGowan in a Psychology Today article, “The weird logic of fretting, many worriers actually think that their concern somehow prevented something bad from happening.” 

Five hundred years ago, Michel de Montaigne said: My life has been filled with terrible misfortune; most of which never happened. Now there’s a study that proves it. This study looked into how many of our imagined calamities never materialize. In this study, subjects were asked to write down their worries over an extended period of time and then identify which of their imagined misfortunes did not actually happen. It may be time to take charge of your negative thinking patters.  Free yourself from worry by focusing on positivity, gratitude, distraction, and validate all the good in your life. It may be time to let go of worry to improve the quality of your life, attitude and mental/emotional well-being. Hang around positive people, don't watch the news or at least limit your viewing of it. Not much good is reported to help you not worry. 

So, now I will give you something to worry about. How ironic is this?

The stress hormones stress and worry dump into your system shrinks brain mass, lowers your IQ, makes you prone to heart disease, cancer and premature aging, predicts martial problems, family dysfunction, and depression, and makes seniors more likely to develop dementia & Alzheimer’s. Learn to meditate, pray, exercise, listen to music, but mostly, change the script of your inner dialogue. So, what is the point of the brain scans? Worry, stress and  anxiety change your brain functioning. You release stress hormones and activate different neurons & receptors which makes the "worry circuit" even stronger ultimately changing your entire physiology. Find a coach, therapist, program to help you master your mind and free yourself from worry. 

Living a Life of Digital Distraction

Have you recently been to a dinner or coffee shop and seen a group of people all on their phones at the same time? It's sad to say that this has become all too common. A person's connection to their phone is reaching new dependence.
The numbers on phone use have become quite staggering:
  • 42% of people look at their phone within the first 10 minutes of being awake.
  • 59% of people between the ages of Millennials reported texting while driving, compared with 50% of Gen Xers (age 34 to 45) and only 29% of baby boomers.
  • The average American checks his or her phone 46 times in one day.
  • People underestimate their phone usage by 100%. In other words, they are on their phones twice as much as they believe!
Not only have the addiction to phones changed the social landscape and primary method of communication for many, but scientists are finding that such constant use is actually reshaping our brain! Independent studies have concluded that heavy smart phone users showed:
  • Impaired attention
  • Lower ability to process numbers
  • Reduced excitability
  • Worse performance on cognitive control tasks
  • Less production of Melatonin (chemicals that put you to sleep)
  • Less gray matter in their brains overall (brain connections and functioning)
At this point, you may already have an idea of your connection with your phone. But are you a Nomophobic? In other words, due suffer from... NO MObile PHOne phoBIA.

Consider the following: 1) less FaceTime on your phone, 2) less phone checking, 3) less screen time, 4) not viewing the phone or tablet in the evening (blue light and brain activation is not good for sleep) 5) more awareness about how much of your time and attention has you occupied with your phone. Where is your consciousness? Make you life and time a higher quality by real face to face interaction and more quiet time without your phone to distract or direct you to be less present in the world. 

Take the quiz here to find out: Nomophobia Quiz