Would my fellow Americans like to take a nap? We Americans value hard work and when we stop working we feel guilty. We believe that we’re falling behind while others are getting ahead. And we don’t want to be viewed as lazy or lacking drive and ambition. However, there are many benefits to a nap.
In case you missed it, October 10th was World Mental Health Day. The annual observance is sponsored by the World Health Organization to raise awareness of critically important mental health issues.
Now it’s time for more people around the world to step up and sustain the momentum by uniting in a daily effort to #EndTheStigma.
Fostering open communication, education, transparency, advocacy and outreach — both online and off — are solid strategies to eradicate myths, fears and stereotypes surrounding people with mental illness.
Before going in for brain surgery in 2013, I feared that studying, researching and thinking too much about my condition would leave me bereft of hope. I dreaded being swept up with sadness or anxiety or both. I resolved to trust in all my doctors and in the destiny already laid out before me. To achieve that state of mind I returned to reciting the quatrains found in the Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyám. As a result, I was able to enter Virginia Mason Hospital calm, a bit exhausted, and filled with acceptance.
Although she may disagree with the frequency (she’s entitled, eh, to be wrong), more often than not Deborah Levine, the founder of The American Diversity Report, and I laugh a lot during our conversations. Hey, given the nature of the kinds of issues we tackle – among them race, religion, harassment), the ability to step back and laugh is an essential survival tool.
So there’s a grain of truth in that old saying, “laughter is the best medicine.” Shucks, a side-splitting guffaw or two is a “day maker” for me. I get amazing energy and creativity boosts right after.
I recently enrolled in MBSR (Mindfulness-based Stress Reduction) course at Chattanooga’s Mindfulness Center, along with several other mature women. One of the items on my mindful To Do list was to attend a wellness panel co-hosted by Chattanooga’s Jewish Federation and Hadassah, a women’s organization with decades of involvement in healthcare of Israelis and Palestinians and who’s hospital in Israel saved my own life years ago.
The panel’s focus was on self-care for a longer, healthier, and more active life for mature women. The panelists included Cady and Ed Jones, the dynamic daughter-father co-owners of Nutrition World, a wellness center providing supplements, yoga, reflexology, acupuncture, and other holistic services. Also on the panel was Nicole Berger, a physical therapist with decades of experience from pediatrics to geriatrics, and Lisa Schubert, an occupational therapist and teacher who specializes in ergonomics.
Some of us have extra-sharp hearing, and others begin to lose their hearing at different times. For the first time in history, 20% of those in their late teens and early 20’s are reporting signs of a hearing loss – a problem that will cause major challenges for commerce and industry. (One cause for this is loud music played through earbuds for too long.) Presbycusis, hearing loss caused by age, is another challenge, and often starts in the late 50’s or early 60’s. By age 65, one third of Americans experience this problem. There are simple, practical strategies that can help. Here are three taken from the e-book, “What did you say?”
Experience Camps are one-week camps for boys and girls who are grieving over the death of a parent, sibling or primary caregiver. It’s a place where kids can laugh, cry, play, create, remember the person who died, or forget the grief that weighs them down. It’s a place where they can feel “normal”, because everyone there has been through something similar and understands what it’s like to lose someone important to them. It’s a home away from home. And just about everyone will tell you…”It’s the best week of the year”.
As our campers settle back into their school year routines, they often tell us that the kids and adults back home just don’t “get it”. We asked our campers what they want their teachers to know. This is what they told us… Please share with anyone who might be working with a grieving child this year!
Who the heck needs it? It’s personal, can hurt deeply and can leave an indelible emotional scar. Fact is, just like the air we breathe, we live in a world where rejection is all around us, always has been, always will be.
Rejection is part and parcel to life in general, to systems and eco-systems, to processes, to negotiations, to decisions, to change and reactions to change. Arguably, the worst types of rejection occurs when the body rejects an organ transplant or chemotherapy.
The Chinese curse “May you live in interesting times,” seems to be active today, activating our anxiety. Globally. The news sounds more and more like the most alarming drum roll. In the past few weeks, the world has been gripped by reports of terrorist plots and attacks in the US, in France, in Bangladesh, in Istanbul, in Baghdad, in Munich. Refugees from Syria are drowning by the hundreds as they desperately seek a safe foothold. Everywhere the number of the dead mounts.
As I look back sixteen years, I can’t help but thank God for how much He has done for me. I especially thank God for my parents who decided to keep me, instead of aborting me. To all my family, friends, classmates and church members, thank you for encouraging me when I was down, and spending time with me when I was recovering from my craniofacial surgeries.