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15 Oct

Are You at Risk for Depression?

An excerpt from Beneath the Surface by Kristi Hugstad

Ever since author Kristi Hugstad’s husband, after years of struggling with clinical depression, completed suicide in 2012 by running in front of a train, she has dedicated her life to helping to abolish the stigma of mental illness and suicide.

 

That mission is what inspired her to write Beneath the Surface: A Teen’s Guide to Reaching Out When You or Your Friend Is in Crisis, which speaks candidly to today’s youth — and the parents, teachers, and coaches who love them — about the anxiety, depression, and suicide attempts that far too often accompany the unique challenges that face their generation. We hope you’ll enjoy this excerpt from the book.

 

# # #

 

Most children grow up thinking their home, family, and upbringing are “normal,” even when they’re not. Children and teens living in a home where one or both parents are depressed often don’t realize this isn’t the norm — though this situation is more common than you may think.

 

In fact, fifteen million kids in the United States have parents with depression.

 

As a result, these fifteen million kids are at greater risk of developing depression themselves. But depression can happen to anyone. It can occur after a trauma or during a stressful situation, or it can develop due to someone’s particular brain chemistry. Why someone develops depression is important, particularly if it’s due to situational or lifestyle factors, which can be changed. But more important than the why is the how. As in, how do you deal with depression? That is the real focus of this book because depression can put someone at risk for any number of issues, including suicide. The faster you recognize the symptoms of depression, the faster you can get treatment and reduce the risk of other, even more serious issues. Additionally, the more you know, the better you can help others.

 

Are you at risk for depression? Consider the following questions, all of which may indicate that someone is already depressed or at risk for developing depression. If you find yourself answering affirmatively even to several questions, it doesn’t necessarily mean you’re depressed, but you may have an increased risk of becoming so. Later we’ll talk about what you can do if you or someone you love is suffering from depression.

 

Depression Self-Assessment

 

Do you currently live with a family member who suffers from depression?

Studies have shown that living with a mother or father who has depression, whether the cause is environmental or genetic, increases your own risk of developing the condition. You may not know if a parent suffers from depression; if you feel safe asking, do so. If not, consider whether they exhibit the signs described in this book. Further, you don’t have to live with a depressed family member to be at risk.

Does life feel pointless?

Everyone may occasionally feel hopeless as they navigate through school, work, and life. But if a hopeless feeling persists day after day and affects your daily behavior, it could be a sign of depression.

Do you find it impossible to concentrate?

Depression can make it hard to concentrate even when you’re reading or watching something you love.

Have you withdrawn from your friends and family?

It’s important to do your own thing and be independent, but this should be balanced with a healthy amount of socializing and bonding with friends and family. Depression sufferers often turn down opportunities to be with others simply to be alone.

Have you noticed a sudden change in your weight?

Extreme weight loss or gain can be a symptom of depression. If you’ve lost your appetite or find yourself seeking comfort in food, this may be because your brain chemistry is being affected by depression.

Do you have insomnia, or do you sleep too much?

Look, teenagers need their sleep and often don’t get enough. But if you go through long periods of sleeplessness or of sleeping too much, depression may be the reason.

Do you have physical pain that won’t go away?

Depression doesn’t just cause emotional pain. Depression can cause chemical imbalances in your brain that make you perceive pain differently, and it could be the reason for a persistent physical pain that doctors can’t find a reason for.

Have your grades dropped? Have you stopped participating in extracurriculars?

Depression has two best friends: apathy and lack of energy. These can combine to affect your performance in school and your extracurricular activities, and they can sap your passion for activities you once loved.

Have you ever thought of suicide?

If you answer yes, you’re not alone, and suicidal thoughts can be caused by depression. However, if you’re currently thinking about suicide, seek help and treatment. Tell someone. With counseling and, if necessary, proper medication, you will begin to feel better. When you’re suffering from depression, the idea of feeling better might be difficult to imagine. This is the time to practice trust and courage.

 

# # #

 

Kristi HugstadKristi Hugstad is the author of Beneath the Surface: A Teen’s Guide to Reaching Out when You or Your Friend Is in Crisis. Ever since her husband completed suicide in 2012, after years of struggling with clinical depression, by running in front of a train, she has dedicated her life to helping to abolish the stigma of mental illness and suicide. A certified grief recovery specialist, Kristi frequently speaks at high schools. Visit her online at https://www.thegriefgirl.com.

 

Excerpted from the book Beneath the Surface. Copyright ©2019 by Kristi Hugstad. Printed with permission from New World Library — www.newworldlibrary.com.

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03 Oct

Practice Self-Compassion

**Excerpted from “Thriving as an Empath: 365 Days of Self-Care for Sensitive People” (Sounds True, Oct. 22, 2019)

Self-compassion means directing loving-kindness inwardly. Instead of beating yourself up, give yourself a break and acknowledge that you did your best in any circumstance. When you become your own champion, you will feel more protected in the world.

Research shows that people who are compassionate toward their own shortcomings experience greater well-being than those who harshly judge themselves. We all make mistakes, but the larger lesson of love is how we treat ourselves at those times.

Still, it’s often easier to have compassion for others than oneself. Over the years, many psychotherapist friends have lamented to me about this issue. Don’t worry. This is an area of growth that loving people must address so they can be more compassionate with their own struggles.

Compassion can be learned. Start by planning at least one act of kindness toward yourself daily. For example, turn off your computer and enjoy a walk or tell yourself, “Good job,” or “I’m happy that I didn’t react nastily to a controlling friend.” My Taoist teacher says, “Beating yourself up a little bit less each day is spiritual progress.”

SET YOUR INTENTION

I will be my own best friend. I am not perfect, nor are any of us. I will not beat myself up. I will treat myself with kindness.

 

*    *    *

Judith Orloff, M.D., is a New York Times bestselling author, a member of the UCLA Psychiatric Clinical Faculty, and has a Facebook Empath Support Community with more than 6,000 members. She has been featured on The Today Show, CNN, and in Oprah Magazine, the New York Times and more. Her new book, Thriving as an Empath: 365 Days of Self-Care for Sensitive People  (Sounds True, Oct. 22, 2019), draws from her own experiences as an empath to share the secret to well-being. Learn more at drjudithorloff.com.

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15 Sep

Seasonal Spice Blends

According to Ayurveda, a balanced diet contains all six tastes at every meal. This can be challenging given our western influences. There’s a simple solution! Herb and spice blends called “Churna” that are specially formulated for the seasons. Fall/Winter when it is cold and dry is Vata season. Summer is Pitta season, and Spring is Kapha season. You can use these blends while cooking, or take the shaker with you to sprinkle on your food when you eat out. You can add the churnas to sauces, soups, vegetable or rice dishes, even just sprinkle it on salads, popcorn or snacks. Very convenient, and really delicious. You can make your own at home in the kitchen.
The Vata blend is calming, and includes cardamom, ginger, and other spices. The Pitta blend is cooling, and includes cumin, coriander and fennel along with other spices. The Kapha blend is invigorating, with turmeric, mustard, black pepper and more.
Vata Churna:
Ingredients
2 tablespoons cumin seeds
2 tablespoons coriander seeds
½ teaspoon cardamom seeds
2 tablespoons fennel seeds
1 teaspoon ground ginger
¼ teaspoon asafetida (hing powder)
¼ teaspoon salt (I prefer Himalayan salt, it is unprocessed)
1 tablespoon raw sugar
Directions
  1. In a dry skillet, roast the cumin and coriander seeds until nutty.
  2. Transfer to a spice grinder and add cardamom and fennel seeds; process to a fine powder.
  3. Put the ground spices in a bowl with the ground ginger, asafetida, and salt and mix all together.
  4. Transfer into a shaker bottle to use whenever you’d like.
Pitta Churna:
Ingredients
        2 tablespoons fennel seeds
        2 tablespoons coriander seeds
        2 tablespoons cumin seeds
        1 tablespoon turmeric
        2 tablespoons fresh mint leaves (chopped), or dried mint leaves
        ½ teaspoon ground ginger
        1 tablespoon raw sugar
Directions
1.  In a dry skillet, roast the coriander and cumin seeds until nutty.
2.  Transfer to a spice grinder and add the cardamom and fennel seeds; process to a fine powder.
3.  Put the spices in a bowl with the turmeric, mint, ground ginger and sugar and mix all together.
4.  Transfer into a shaker bottle to use whenever you’d like.
Kapha Churna:
Ingredients
        2 tablespoons coriander seeds
        1 tablespoon cumin seeds
        1 tablespoon fenugreek seeds
        1 tablespoon ground ginger
        1 tablespoon turmeric
        1 tablespoon cinnamon
        1 teaspoon ground clove
        ½ teaspoon black pepper
Directions
1.  In a dry skillet, roast the coriander and cumin seeds until nutty.
2.  Transfer to a spice grinder and add the genugreek seeds; process to a fine powder.
3.  Put the spices in a bowl with the ginger, turmeric, cinnamon, clove and black pepper and mix all together.
4.  Transfer into a shaker bottle to use whenever you’d like.
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14 Sep

Ayurvedic Solutions for Embarrassing Problems

Embarrassing Problem: Bad Breath

Ayurvedic Solution:

Cardamom seeds –  Tasty, just chew up a couple.

Also good for a sore throat, speakers who talk a lot.

A tongue scraper can also help to prevent bad breath. This is in common use in Ayurveda, usually in stainless steel, but also available in sterling silver or copper.

Eat the parsley garnish after a meal to get rid of bad breath, too.

 

 

Embarrassing Problem: Gas

Ayurvedic Solution:

Fennel seeds –

You often see a bowl of these in Indian restaurants and wondered what they were for.  Just chew up about a teaspoon full after a big meal.  Easy to carry in your purse.

 

 

Embarrassing Problem: Hemorrhoids

Hemorrhoids are inflamed veins around the rectum, often caused by the weight of pregnancy, or from constipation, or from heavy lifting.

Ayurvedic Solution:

Mix 1 Tablespoon dry cumin with a bit of water to make a paste.  Apply to the affected area, and leave on for 15-20 minutes and then rinse off.  Twice a day.  This works because cumin is high in potassium, which helps bring down blood pressure, so it helps relieve the inflammation.

 

 

Embarrassing Problem: Overactive Bladder

Ayurvedic solution:

Ayurveda says that an overactive bladder is caused by too much Vata dosha in the pelvic region.  A bladder infection and constipation can aggravate the vata dosha and cause an overactive bladder.  Obesity can also cause an overactive bladder.  Follow lifestyle changes for constipation.  Also, add some dates into your diet, and drink tender coconut water.

 

 

Embarrassing Problem: Constipation

Ayurvedic solution:

There are three parts to digestion, each equally important: digestion, assimilation, and elimination.  When we are not eliminating the waste products of our food effectively, we are constipated.  Those toxins need to be eliminated from the body for us to feel our best.  Constipation can lead to many other issues, including skin breakouts, menstrual cramps, fatigue, depression and more.

Triphala is an ayurvedic remedy for constipation.  It is made of three fruits, and is considered a valuable herbal preparation.   It helps the body to gently release toxins.

Lifestyle changes for constipation:

-Largest meal at lunchtime, when digestion is strongest.

-Sip warm water with lemon throughout the day.  Vata tea is also very healing.

-Avoid eating leftovers and foods that contain preservatives.  Your body has to work harder to eliminate these impurities from the liver and cells.

-Avoid cold drinks, as these reduce digestive power.

-Get to bed by 10 pm, s your body can rest during its natural purification cycle, from 10 pm to 2 am.

-Pay attention to the food you are eating – don’t watch TV, read or work while eating.

-Eat lots of leafy greens, stick to a high-fiber diet of fresh fruits, veggies and grains.

 

 

Embarrassing Problem: Foot Odor

Ayurvedic Solution:

Smelly feet can result from perspiration, dead skin cells, and bacteria.  Synthetic shoes and socka increase the problem by not letting your feet breathe.  What to do?

-FOOT BATH: In 1 quart of hot water (about 100-110 degrees F), add 1 teaspoon Epsom salt or sea salt. Make a small pouch of herbs, include the ones you like from lavender, sage, rosemary and add this pouch to the water.  Soak your feet for approximately 20 minutes.  Gently rub the herbs on your feet.

-Dry feet thoroughly.

-Mix 1 part cornstarch with 3 parts Herbalized Clay and 3-4 drops of peppermint essential oil.  Add cool water to make a paste and apply the paste to the feet for 20-30 minutes.  Wash off with warm water and dry thoroughly.

Follow this procedure daily until the problem disappears, then continue once or twice a week preventively.

 

Embarrassing Problem: Hair Loss

Ayurvedic Solution:

Hair loss is seen as an excess of Pitta dosha, too much fire.  Do Pitta balancing things like:

-Drink 1/3 cup of aloe vera juice with pinch of cumin 3 x/day for 3 months to cool the system.

-Drink fresh juices like carrot and spinach to stimulate hair growth.

-Eat a spoonful of white sesame seeds every morning.  This is a good source of both magnesium and calcium.

-Avoid coffee (any caffeine), alcohol, smoking, and red meat – all of which aggravate Pitta dosha.

-Scalp massage with coconut oil is great to help stimulate hair growth.

 

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06 Sep

DIY Natural Cleaning Products

Here is a list of DIY Natural Cleaning products for just about any job in your home! Follow the recipe and you’ll be amazed by how great your own natural products smell, and how great they WORK! Once you try them you’ll never go back. Saves lots of money, and helps the planet!

Most of these ingredients can be found at your local grocery store. You can make them easily right in the spray bottle. Be sure to label the bottles when you’re done so that you can tell them apart.

 

All-Purpose Cleaner

 

½ cup white vinegar

10 drops essential oil (tea tree, lavender, or lemon)

2 Tablespoons baking soda

Water to fill up a 12 ounce spray bottle

 

Combine vinegar, essential oils, and a small amount of water in a clean, 12-ounce spray bottle. Add baking soda, then fill bottle to the top with water. Shake gently to mix ingredients.

 

 

Carpet Cleaner

 

1 cup white vinegar

2 cups water

2 teaspoons salt

15 drops of lavender essential oil

 

Combine vinegar and water in spray bottle, then add salt and essential oil. Shake to mix ingredients. Spray on carpets and shake in between sprays. When carpet is dry, vacuum all the areas sprayed.

 

 

Wood Polish

 

¾ cup olive oil

¼ cup white vinegar

30 drops essential oil (lemon or orange)

 

Combine all ingredients in a spray bottle and shake to mix. Spray directly on wooden surface and wipe down with a clean, dry cloth. Shake before use.

 

 

Mirror and Glass Cleaner

 

¼ cup rubbing alcohol

¼ cup white vinegar

1 Tablespoon cornstarch

2 cups warm water

 

Combine all ingredients in a spray bottle. Shake to mix. Spray on glass surface, wipe down with a microfiber cloth. Shake well before use.

 

 

Toilet Cleaner

 

1 cup vinegar

½ teaspoon tea tree essential oil

½ cup baking soda

 

Mix vinegar and essential oil in a spray bottle. Spray on toilet bowl, base, seat, and lid. Add baking soda around bowl, scrub with a toilet brush. When all clean use paper towels to wipe down all areas sprayed with the solution.

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26 Aug

Telepractice Speech Therapy for Students Blazing a New Trail in Telemedicine

How a novel telemedicine tactic is bridging gaps in standard speech therapy, improving and accelerating results for families, schools and districts at-large

For those looking toward industries poised to lead the growth charge over the next five-to-ten years, one need look no further than telehealth and telemedicine. These global markets are expected to exceed $185 million from 2019 through 2026, according to the new Advanced Report on Telehealth and Telemedicine Market Analysis Forecast. Yet another new report, “Telemedicine Market 2019,” actually forecasts global industry growth to reach a staggering $78.82 billion during the period 2018-2022. These and a litany of other research endeavors veritably assure that telehealth will become a dominant force, reinventing health care at large in years to come.

For students from K-12 through college-level requiring speech therapy in particular, remote access to professional services and practitioners will clearly become more ubiquitous. In fact, “the demand for speech-language therapists is already outpacing the supply in some cities,” says Licensed Speech Pathologist Orna Kempler-Azulay, president of Abington Speech Pathology Services, Inc. She’s helping spearhead the speech teletherapy charge in America and beyond with her ground-breaking service platform, RemoteSpeech.com.

Underscoring telehealth’s viability for expanding access to quality and effective treatment for both children and adults worldwide, the American Speech and Hearing Association (ASHA) has gone on record to substantiate that, “Telepractice is considered an appropriate model of service delivery for audiologists and speech-language pathologists.” Additionally, a “Speech Telepractice” report not only touts improved access to care that telehealth facilitates, but also engagement and the residual effect benefits of remote care. It cites, “The web-based technology engenders highly personalized and engaging activities, such that clients’ interactions with these high interest tasks often continue well beyond the therapy sessions.”

For students, these advancements easing accessibility, bolstering treatment protocols and expediting results can’t usher in soon enough amid the extreme hardships many children with voice, speech or language issues suffer. Not the least of which is getting bullied or even shunned by friends and family members. In light of the nearly one in twelve U.S. children ages three to seventeen reportedly suffering from some kind of communication disorder, below Azulay outlines key ways remote speech teletherapy benefits students, including and beyond bridging the availability gap:

  1. Eradicates barriers to access. For many, career and other schedule demands, transportation challenges and other obstacles make it difficult––if not impossible––for families with students to participate in on-site speech therapy programs, whether at the school, in clinics or other treatment locales. For those living in rural and remote areas, these problems can be further exacerbated, rendering treatment options an impossibility. This also applies to people who must relocate internationally, including members of the military, business executives and government officials who desire to help family members or themselves. Web-based speech teletherapy offers these and other well-suited patients the opportunity to readily access the on-going care they need to improve their lives, also giving them control over date and time-of-day scheduling and other concerns. Indeed, k ids work one-on-one with teletherapists in-between their activities and busy schedules, whether the sessions are conducted after school, at night or on the weekends. Teletherapy also allows these individuals to start and continue therapy without any interruptions, which can optimize results.
  2. Removes stigma and fear.   For many children, visiting a speech therapist at school heightens their anxiety and makes them even more self-conscious about getting the help needed to improve their speech. These kids are often bullied by their peers, who belittle the speech issue as well as the therapy sessions that make the patient’s schedule “different” from other students. What Azulay is seeing in schools that have embraced teletherapy is how they proffer a quiet location—in an office or a study room in the library—for these students to easily log on to a teletherapy platform via computer or tablets and readily access the expert-level help needed. In effect, these students are more willing to get the help they need because treatment can be rendered with more privacy and at a date and time that better suits. “As far as their other classmates know, they’re just coming up to do some work on the computer,” said one therapist in a recent study. In some rural communities, parents and therapists confirm that teletherapy affords them greater privacy, allowing their loved ones to access the help they need without other family members or other members of the community knowing. Even when other students observe that speech teletherapy is underway via a computer or tablet, it can actually draw curious, positive attention from these peers.
  3. Fosters access to top therapists.  Federal and state law requires all therapists to be licensed in the state they practice in, regardless of how their services are rendered. What teletherapy has created is a vast new channel through which highly qualified practitioners can provide their expertise to patients throughout the entirety of their home states, not just the city in which they live. Relating to her own RemoteSpeech.com platform, Azulay points out that therapists are “lining up in droves” because they’re wanting to help the throngs of patients who are seeking access to high-quality therapists.  Families and patients are no longer relegated to those professionals who happen to be in their immediate area. With access to a deeper roster of talent, caregivers can specifically place students with culturally and linguistically diverse professionals, or make a selection based on specialty. All of these options create a more tailored approach that yields a better outcome. Additionally, through telemedicine, therapists also are able to see more patients per day, which means more people can get the help they need on a regular basis.

    Azulay also underscores that current state lawmakers have established strict criteria for any therapist to practice, and rightfully so. “We’re doing a lot of educating to ensure those inquiring about speech teletherapy services know that quality of care is not being compromised in any way whatsoever and, in fact, quite the opposite is true,” Azulay says. She further underscored that access to a larger pool of highly trained Speech-Language Pathologists and School Psychologists is being provided, with these professionals executing the exact same exercises they would undertake in an in-person session. Also, quality therapists can eliminate prohibitive travel expenses, and better circumvent tardiness, absences, weather events and other unexpected issues that previously required scrambling for a replacement.

  4.  Greater transparency and oversight.  Modern platforms allow every speech teletherapy session to be recorded, giving any parent or other concerned caregiver the ability to access the video and see exactly what is going on and remain involved in the child’s progress. In fact, according to Azulay, teletherapy offers an even greater opportunity to review and assess a given session or overall therapy course as compared to in-person sessions that are usually conducted one-on-one, behind closed doors. Caregivers can procure session notes, schedules, therapy plans and progress updates at any time they desire, and videos can also be referenced during parent meetings. This more readily allows for any course-corrections needed to ensure all of the child’s needs are being addressed—mission critical as treatment evolves and the child progresses.

For teletherapy to work, Azulay says you need to have willing partners, including parents, caregivers, school districts, hospitals and others who embrace the approach. Despite the preponderance of evidence supporting remote speech therapy, Azulay and others in the telepractice business face resistance. For example, among school districts, such push-back is often due to solvable issues like lack of updated technology (and/or an understanding of how to use basic technology); access to tablets, computers or internet access; or adequate space for treatment of these students.

Insurance companies not universally covering treatment costs is another barrier that Azulay hopes will be eradicated in the near future. “Some states have passed laws that make insurance companies reimburse their patients for teletherapy, but too many are still not there yet,” she laments.

Despite some hurdles yet to be overcome, the growth trajectory for speech teletherapy is undeniable and understandable. Overall, the approach is already helping thousands in the U.S. and around the world gain access to care that seemed impossible to receive in the past. The telepractice option is providing needed help far more conveniently to students within the security and comfort of their own home or other “safe space”—an A+ approach soon to graduate to the billion-dollar big leagues.

~~~

By Merilee Kern, MBA
As the Executive Editor and Producer of “The Luxe List,” Merilee Kern, MBA is an internationally-regarded brand analyst, strategist and futurist. As a prolific branding and marketplace trends pundit, Merilee spotlights noteworthy industry innovators, change makers, movers and shakers. This includes field experts and thought leaders, brands, products, services, destinations and events across all categories. Connect with her at
www.TheLuxeList.com / Instagram www.Instagram.com/LuxeListReviews / Twitter www.Twitter.com/LuxeListEditor / Facebook www.Facebook.com/TheLuxeList / LinkedIN www.LinkedIn.com/in/MerileeKern

 

Sources

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17 Apr

REVEALING THE REAL YOU IN LOVE

The Letter Code CoverAn excerpt taking from The Letter Code: Deciphering Why You Love the Way You Love

By Dr. Krystal White, Ph.D
Go to www.thelettercode.com/resources to take the quiz and find out what YOUR letter is.

You know the feeling of being completely yourself, unencumbered and free. It feels like a peaceful contentment. We all want relationships, especially romantic partnerships, where we can be intimately and positively connected to our significant others and be our true selves at the same time. We need to find our own centers to achieve this dynamic. Feeling successful in our relationships is reliant on our ability to uncover and respond to our hidden core love needs.

If you’re like me, you live in a complicated world and find yourself to be rather complicated, too. Being “authentic” is not as easy as it sounds. You need to shift through lots of detail on the surface to quickly get to the simple, real you underneath all the roles, responsibilities, and rules you have adopted. Your letter code is a hack for deciphering all this superficial stuff to get to the most essential way you genuinely connect with your significant others.

Your letter code reveals the basic need you are seeking to fulfill in love—and have been all your life—although you may not have known it. It dictates how you fundamentally relate to your romantic partners and explains the reason why. Everybody has a combination of needs that, when met, facilitate them in clicking with their partner. The love connection just flows when this occurs.

You know this clicking when you feel it. It happens when you are loving from your real code and not a false one. Staying close to your code— your real center of love—will quickly reduce how much effort you put forth to connect, and it will increase your experience of being in the right place to feel love.

In this book, you will be guided to classify your behavior, feelings, and thoughts into their most essential form. Knowing our codes helps us quickly translate and communicate our real selves to the significant others we’d like to love better.

People have only one of four main romantic love profiles that explains their patterns of connectivity. The needs that underlie each of these profiles are recognizable and easy to understand. The four letter codes represent essential patterns of thought, feeling, and actions. These are expressed in how emotionally close or distant people like to be in relationship with their significant others. They also help us decipher the degree to which we seek either autonomy or support from them.

Under different circumstances, some people need either to move emotionally closer to their partners or emotionally away from their partners. Other people don’t need to move at all, needing instead to remain grounded, while either standing together or standing apart. Each of these four behavioral styles conveys how people achieve connectivity with their significant others.

In this book, I’m giving you a quick tool for understanding the four main types of psychological needs driving how we love. Without psychobabble or spending time trying to deduce the origins of your profile, I’m going to give you quick, user-friendly information on how much support, togetherness, groundedness, and separation you naturally need in your love life to click with a partner.

How to feel fulfilled, happy, and aligned with a significant other may have been hidden to you up to now. But I want you to be able to see the real you in love. Knowing your letter code has the potential to powerfully change the way you love from here on out.

You Get the Picture

 

Consider the body language when two people approach one another in greeting. Some people lean in, some people stand upright, and some lean away. Some people even want to be so close that they are practically standing on top of one another.

These physical patterns are like the lines making up letters in an alphabet. Imagine that each person’s body is a straight line. Lines join together to make a letter, just as two adults connect together to form a couple. Being able to read the letters is a hack that can help you quickly understand yourself.

It is not possible to accurately discern anybody’s relationship needs purely from observing the way he or she approaches others. What you see is not what you get. But you can decipher your own core needs in a relationship by examining what’s beneath your patterns of feeling, thinking, wanting, and behaving in love.

The reason to do this is because you can’t change what you can’t see. Once you can see your letter code, you’ll be more effective in connecting with others while being the real you.

The Different Ways We Touch

Looking at how the lines of our energy and behavior touch and connect reveals commonalities and differences in our core needs in relationship.

 

Leaning In

Some people need to lean into a relationship, wanting to establish a mutually supportive connection. If this feels right for you, you want not only to assist your partner, but to also lift her up emotionally. You want both of you to be there to help each other when vulnerable, and receive a significant degree of support from the connection. Without this consistent support, you will feel that something just isn’t right. You may feel slight unease, disappointment, or frustration—perhaps assuming that you are being taken for granted or mistreated. Or you could feel self-judgmental, becoming dissatisfied with yourself for not being enough or doing well enough to have earned and received the support you wanted.

You may be a person who naturally needs a significant degree of emotional vulnerability. You appreciate it when you are needed; and if you are being honest with yourself, you like it when you can trust it is safe for you to need someone. Getting this need met provides you with an essential sense of stability.

Leaning Back

Some people need to lean back from a relationship, wanting to diverge from their significant others. If this sounds like you, there are times when you will seek to go into a completely different direction from your significant other. You  need periodic diversion away from being a couple in order to feel satisfied. Leaning away occasionally, or even frequently, gives you space to reflect on your own life, to feel more gratitude for the relationship, and to bring vitality and renewed passion back to your relationship.

If your partner does not like or genuinely value this type of leaning away, you may feel frustrated, ashamed, or guilty of your desire. You may establish destructive habits to gain this freedom or to repress your need for it. Neither is an ideal solution. By contrast, if you can lovingly express your need to have separate experiences and your partner is willing to embrace your need, as a couple you may discover that adventures external to your partnership actually brings integrity to the relationship.

Standing Side by Side

Some people feel a need to be grounded and upright. They prefer to touch in ways where each person isn’t required to lean in to connect. They prefer to stand side by side in love. If this sounds like you, you tend to find purpose in maintaining a solid, rooted foundation. You feel fulfilled by being steadfast in your commitments, and you value a strong work ethic. You view relationships as partnerships where two people care about each other’s wellbeing and take responsibility for themselves as well. It feels important to you to see eye to eye with your partner and to function as equals.

Reaching Out

Some people are looking for companionship from their significant others. Companionship provides a bridge of connection between otherwise separate entities. If you deeply appreciate it when your partner reaches out to you in reciprocity to enjoy common interests, tasks/projects, activities, and experiences, this may be your preferred dynamic. Sharing and collaborating is a link to your significant other that provides a clear way for you to enhance your mutual pleasure.

Focus on Yourself First

In the next four chapters, you’re going to learn how to decipher your personal letter code and hidden relationship needs. It doesn’t matter if you are in a long-term relationship, such as a marriage, or if you are only casually dating right now. In either case, you have built-in, natural ways of joining your life with a person you genuinely want to love. Once you know your core need and can more easily see it behind your thoughts, emotions, and actions, then you can start to build (or rebuild) your love life from a foundation of empowered awareness rather than false interpretations.

Each letter code visually represents the type of relationship a person is either consciously or unconsciously trying to create according to his or her personal motivation. Understand your letter code and you’ll be clued in about your innermost need.

 

Beware! Trying to guess your significant other’s letter code could lead to disconnection. Remember, these needs are mostly hidden from us. We can spend many years superficially reading our relationships one way, while the truth of what we need is completely the opposite. You’ll get much better results if you work on deciphering your own motivation first before you try to guide your significant partner to decode his/her own needs.

 

Focus on yourself. That often serves as a powerful tool to influence others to do the same.

 

 

KRYSTAL WHITE, Ph.D., is a leadership psychologist with more than 15 years of experience working with individuals, organizations, and communities.

 

Dr. White holds a doctorate in clinical psychology, is a board certified child and adolescent psychologist, and has completed a medical fellowship at Madigan Army Medical Center in developmental pediatric psychology. She also holds a master’s degree in Christian Leadership from Fuller Theological Seminary, and a master’s degree in mind, brain, and education from Harvard University.

 

For more information, please visit www.thelettercode.com and www.drkrystalwhite.com or connect with Dr. White on Instagram and LinkedIn.

 

The Letter Code is available on Amazon, www.thelettercode.com, and wherever books are sold.

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24 Mar

Sleep Your Worries Away

by Lissa Coffey

What’s keeping you up at night? Chances are it is worry. Let’s face it, in our hectic lives there’s always something to worry about, even if it’s the state of the world. Worry can contribute to insomnia, or trouble falling asleep. Worry can also cause what is called “maintenance insomnia” or difficulty in staying asleep. This is when we wake us up in the middle of the night, and then have a problem getting back to sleep.

 

Why does worry affect our sleep so much? During the day we might have all the same worries – but we’re engaged in other activities that take the mind elsewhere. At night, when it is quiet and the mind isn’t distracted, all those same worries come to the forefront of the mind, and we can’t seem to quiet them. It is important to give ourselves that “wind down” time to help settle the mind before hitting the sheets. Read, meditate, listen to soft music, or take a warm bath. And of course, make sure your mattress is supportive and comfortable as this is the key to having a cozy bed to climb into.

 

Worrying is nothing new. It happens to everyone, all over the world. Generations ago, the indigenous people of Guatemala created “Worry Dolls” as a remedy for their stress. These are tiny dolls, hand-crafted with fabrics from Mayan costumes twisted and tied around little pieces of wood and wire. It is all held in place with colorful yarn, which makes up the doll’s head, hair, feet and hands. At just two inches high, the dollars are small enough to tuck under a pillow. The tradition is that when worrying keeps you awake, you tell your worries to the doll, who then does the worrying for you so that you can sleep peacefully through the night.

 

This is the traditional story of how the worry dolls came about, and it is a wonderful way to introduce worry dolls to children to help them get to sleep.

 

The Worry Dolls

 

In the hills of Guatemala there lived an old man, his daughter, Flora, and Flora’s two children Maria and Diego. Their home was a small hut made out of mud and wood. The grandfather was a farmer, as many of his ancestors were, and as he taught his own family to be. One year there was a terrible drought. Without enough rain the crops could not grow well, and they had very little food.

 

The whole family would wake up with the sun and tend to the fields in the hope that the rain would come. Then Maria and Diego would go to school for the day. At night, Flora would make tortillas for dinner with what corn they had, and then weave colorful cloth to sell at the market. Grandfather would tell the children stories before tucking them into their hammocks at bedtime. One of the children’s favorite stores was about a magical doll that could grant wishes.

 

One night a robber snuck in and stole all of Flora’s cloth, everything she had worked so hard to make over many months. She cried that she had nothing to sell at the market and didn’t know how the family would get the money they needed.

 

The next day Flora came down with a fever, and Maria knew that she had to do something to help. She got an idea. She went through her mother’s weaving basket and found scraps of fabric in odd colors and shapes. She brought the basket outside, and told her brother to collect small twigs for her. With the scraps of cloth and the twigs Diego and Maria got to work. They worked late into the night, and kept their project a secret. When they ran out of cloth they saw that they had made dozens of tiny dolls in tiny clothes. Maria hoped that these dolls would be magical like the one in her Grandfather’s story.

 

That night Maria lined up a few of the dolls and spoke to them of her worries: “My little friends, we need your help. My family is in trouble. The fields are dry, my mother is sick, and we have no food or money. Please help us. Good night.” She placed the dolls lovingly under her pillow and lay down to sleep. Maria slept well that night, confident that the dolls would somehow help her.

 

In the morning, Maria and Diego packed up all the dolls and walked a very long way to the market. The family was so poor that the children didn’t even have sandals, they had to walk barefoot. When they finally got to the market they found that it was crowded with people. They had never sold at the market before, and she had never seen anyone else sell tiny dolls there, but she was determined that her plan would work. The two finally found a good spot near a shoe seller.

 

Maria and Diego laid the dolls on the sidewalk. The shoe seller saw them and wondered by anyone would want such tiny dolls. Marie explained that there was magic in the dolls. The shoe seller just laughed and said that the magic in his shoes doesn’t help them to sell. Marie was firm and said: “We shall see.”

 

It was a long day, and no one had bought any of the dolls. The children we getting sad, and worried. As Maria was packing up the dolls to go home, a man in fine clothes and a large hat came by and asked what they were selling. Diego piped up: “These little dolls.”

 

“Magic dolls!” Maria corrected her brother.

 

The man looked impressed. “Well, I could use a little magic. I’ll take all of them!”

 

Maria and Diego excitedly wrapped up the dolls for the man, who then handed them a stack of money, without asking the price. Maria thanked him and the man was gone before Maria could say anything more. She counted the money and found that there was enough for the family to live on for a year.

 

The two bought some food at the market and then excitedly headed for home to tell their mother and grandfather the news.

 

“We sold the dolls we made!” Diego exclaimed.

 

“Magic dolls!” Maria emphasized, and she told them the whole story.

 

“This doesn’t sound like any magic,” Flora said to her children, “It sounds like you worked hard and it paid off.”

 

“Ah,” the grandfather chimed in, “but you are feeling much better, Flora, how do you explain that?”

 

“And look! It’s raining!” Diego jumped up and pointed to the fields. Sure enough, it was raining and the fields were getting the water they needed. The drought was over.

 

That night as Maria got ready for bed, she noticed something in her pocket. She reached in to find a pouch that contained the same dolls she had slept with under her pillow the night before. She was surprised because she was sure she sold all of the dolls to the man. Inside the pouch was a little note that read: “Tell these dolls your secret wishes. Tell them your problems. Tell them your dreams. And when you awake, you may find the magic within you to make your dreams come true.”

 

For lots of great sleep tips visit The Better Sleep Council: www.BetterSleep.org

 

References:

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2911002/

https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/too-early-to-get-up-too-late-to-get-back-to-sleep

http://blog.shamansmarket.com/the-legend-of-the-worry-dolls/

 

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19 Mar

Why Buddha Never Had Alzheimer’s

Guest post by Dr. Sen

Meditation has come a long way since its primordial moments in the deep recesses of a forest, where ancient sages practiced this art as a way of life. From the teachings of Buddha to the research-laden laboratories of Ivy League institutes, it has taken a groundbreaking journey, offering one blessing after another. Scientific tests run by the Mayo Clinic, Johns Hopkins, and Harvard Medical School, among others across the globe, are both testimony and tribute to the endless potential of meditation.

Modern medical management adamantly follows strict, evidence-based findings. Nothing is considered standard unless it is held in our palms and felt. Any proposed advance must follow formal research protocols. A hypothesis is stated; the hypothetical drug and a placebo are given to “active” and “control” groups, respectively, and the results of each are compared. If tests show significant benefits reached through statistical analysis, the drug goes through further trials before being considered therapeutic. Oddly enough, considering its philosophical origins, meditation has gone through identical research routes. The screaming headlines from various universities, much of which has been published in various journals, cannot be ignored. Meditation is being increasingly recognized as a powerful management tool for a variety of mental ailments. Specifically, it has emerged as a comprehensive therapy for minds affected by stress, depression, loss of memory, and other behavioral disorders.

 

“Prevention is better than cure,” said Desiderius Erasmus. Allow me to take the next step, bend the Dutch philosopher’s quote, and re-write it as follows: Prevention is the mother of all cure. Allow me to take you back to way before the fatherhood of Hippocrates, before any medical pedigree was created, to days of patient care when resources were scarce and ideas quite stilted, when diseases flourished and death wooed at will. How did the “doctors” address suffering in those days? How much was prevention, and how much was treatment? It is amazing how many scholarly, emotional, and financial resources we have delivered since then and continue to deliver in the cure of human suffering.

Yet how little do we invest in understanding the birth and development of a brewing disease before its obvious visibility. We doff our hats to the incredible discoveries pouring in from all corners of science. In cancer, for example, since the advent of nitrogen mustard (one of the first anti-cancer drugs), through the numerous permutations and combinations of chemotherapeutic drugs, radiation, and radioimmunotherapy, to the present surplus market of monoclonal antibodies—we have been hurling anything and everything at cancer that is at our disposal. Despite all these remarkable innovative strides, patients continue to succumb to the disease.

If you dig in the mud, you will know the reason. All these drugs and procedures are truly lifesaving, except that when patients present with signs and symptoms of cancer, the disease has already traversed many miles. It is common knowledge that at this advanced stage, any malignancy is meant to be recalcitrant, not by choice, but by definition. Once the blood or lymph nodes or the nerves pick up the mutated process from the primary organ affected, we are looking at a potential disaster. Reins at this moment will fail to harness the beast, which has been let loose and is determined to kill. The problem lies in our approach. We scientists are hunting for a light that is actually hunting for us. We are grappling with the trunk of a tree, when the roots are being left untouched.

When it comes to healing Alzheimer’s disease, we face an identical crisis. Can scientists detect a pathology at its very inception? Can they diagnose the disease when only a hint exists? Along with our intellectual aggression to develop new cures, we must foster an equivalent fervor to capture the disease before it can mature. In order to do that, we need to remove the rust that has collected in the arts of diagnosis that used to be considered masterpieces. We need to start all over again, as students of truth, with the belief that permanence of any solution lies in the prevention of that very problem. Meditation and yoga, as well as spirituality and other holistic approaches offer the promise of such permanence in the art of their practice. They brew well before organs mature, and linger long after they wither. They become priceless accompaniments in our striving for a disease-free sojourn through life.


Shuvendu Sen, MD, is Director, Medical education, and Associate Program Director, Internal Medicine Residency Program at Raritan Bay Medical Center, Meridian Hackensack University. Dr. Sen has been named to America’s Best Physicians, as well as many national and regional awards for received the Oscar E. Edwards Award from the American College of Physicians, as well as many national and regional awards for research, teaching, and community contribution.

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23 Feb

Strengthen the Higher Self

An excerpt from Feed Your Soul by Carly Pollack

There are countless diets, cleanses, and 30-day challenges all geared to help people lose weight, heal their digestion, and feel more energy. Yet, these temporary protocols fall short when it comes to true transformation. With all of the nutrition guidance available, why do millions of people weigh more than they want and feel anxious and depressed about it?

 

Nutrition expert Carly Pollack lived this vicious cycle until trial and error, and over a decade of academic study and self-healing, led her to the incredible insights she’s shared with thousands. In Feed Your Soul: Nutritional Wisdom to Lose Weight Permanently and Live Fulfilled, she presents her unique understanding of body science, brain wiring, and spiritual principles to facilitate real, long-term change. We hope you’ll enjoy this short excerpt from the book.

 

# # #

 

Before you can regain control of your thoughts, beliefs, and emotional state, you must first take a closer look at your internal guidance system. Two different voices are guiding you, and although they both sound like you, one is a much pushier, more obnoxious version and therefore steals most of your attention. This loud voice comes from your monkey mind, which I simply call the “mind” and many spiritual teachers call the “ego.”

 

The mind developed as a way to protect us; it was a means of survival. It helped us avoid danger and kept us alive by continually warning us of what could go wrong. As we have evolved as a species, the mind, sadly, has not. Think of it as an outdated computer that drives you crazy more than it helps you get things done. Now, I’m not saying the mind doesn’t step up in life-or-death situations. I’m talking about the other 99.999 percent of the time here.

 

The mind creates chaos through fear, judgment, comparison, and negativity. Its favorite diatribe is the one that convinces us of scarcity. We aren’t pretty, skinny, or rich enough. There isn’t enough time in the day, there aren’t enough good people in the world, and we don’t have enough willpower to make things happen. Whatever the heck it is, there just isn’t enough of it!

 

The mind’s second favorite story is that something is happening or has happened to us that “shouldn’t be” happening (or “shouldn’t have” happened). It convinces us that we aren’t supposed to have problems — and when we do, the mind creates massive suffering. The mind is excellent at dress-rehearsing a worst-case scenario. It finds a way to judge and blame as much as possible. If you aren’t judging someone else, then you are judging yourself. This constant uninvited commentary is the background of your every waking moment. From the minute you open your eyes to the moment your head hits the pillow, your mind does not shut up. Yeah, mind, I’m calling you out big-time, and I’m telling you to take a backseat; and PS, nobody likes you.

 

Luckily, there is a second guiding voice, and this one comes from your heart and soul, otherwise referred to as your intuition, true self, or inner wisdom. I like to call this voice my “higher self” because it triggers me to think about what I would say to myself if I were holding myself in the highest regard. Find a name for this place of wisdom that feels good to you, and begin to call on this voice to take the upper hand. Your higher self comes through in a whisper, a gentle guidance. It is always kind, compassionate, and loving. This voice lives only in the present moment, and it is available to us anytime we can quiet the mind enough to hear it. From this place, we are never arguing with “what is” because we are living in the moment, making new decisions as they arise.

 

Close your eyes right now (well, after you read these instructions) and place your right hand on your belly and your left hand over your heart. Take three slow, deep breaths. Now ask yourself gently, “What does my higher self have to say about this issue?” If you don’t hear anything right away, simply say, “I’m willing to slow down my mind and make room for my highest wisdom to come through.”

 

Because your mind has taken center stage for most of your life, it may take some practice to get your higher self to begin speaking up. Next time you are in a place of mental anguish, prompt yourself with the following questions:

 

  • What would I tell my best friend in this situation? What would be my sage advice?
  • Could this mean something different? What if the opposite of what I’m thinking is true?
  • What would love do? What would love say?
  • What do I think my future self (twenty years from now) would tell me about this problem or situation?

 

Listening to your higher self is the first step to taking back control from the mind. Witnessing your thoughts without giving in to them, while stepping back and deciding what you choose to think, is one of the most powerful tools you have for living a joyful life. If you control your mind, you control your plate. If you control your plate, you take back control of your body and your health.

 

# # #

 

Carly Pollack is the author of Feed Your Soul and is the founder of Nutritional Wisdom, a thriving private practice based in Austin, Texas. A Certified Clinical Nutritionist with a master’s degree in holistic nutrition, Carly has been awarded Best Nutritionist in Austin five years running and has helped over 10,000 people achieve their health and happiness goals. Visit her online at www.carlypollack.com

 

Excerpted from the book Feed Your Soul. Copyright ©2019 by Carly Pollack. Printed with permission from New World Library — www.newworldlibrary.com.

 

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