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Monthly Archives: October 2013

  1. Affirmations…for the Ride of Life.

    Affirmations…for the Ride of Life.

    One of the wonderful benefits of working at Health Journeys has to be the inspiring, heartwarming stories from our customers and clients that regularly flow into our offices.  In a world where we are bombarded by awful, tragic stories and a breakneck-speed way of living, it does one’s soul well to hear the good stuff.

    A story just like this crossed my desk last month, accompanied by a great photo that is sure to make you smile.  That sharp lady you see on the Harley-Davidson motorcycle is Hattie Goodman – a 91-year-old Harley enthusiast, and a volunteer at the St. Ann Center for Intergenerational Care in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. This building, by all accounts, is everything from a daycare and respite facility for children, the disabled and elderly alike, to a do-it-all community center and outpatient rehab center.  It takes the most treasured resources of our society – the elderly and children – and brings them together in an incredible environment of sharing, learning and love.  Ms. Goodman serves in loads of ways there, not the least of which being their Mrs. Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny’s Helper and their Halloween’s Pink Pirate!  She does all this and more, while enjoying her great-granddaughter who attends daycare at the Center.

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  2. I Love the Way Men Crack

    Here’s another great poem from Ellen Bass, that marvelously acute and compassionate observer of the human condition. 

    What can I say?  She just knocks my socks off.  

    This is about the transformation that can occur in a guy as a result of heartbreak. Please check it out if you have a minute.

    I Love the Way Men Crack
    by Ellen Bass

    I love the way men crack
    open when their wives leave them,
    their sheaths curling back like the split
    shells of roasted chestnuts, exposing
    the sweet creamy meat. They call you
    and unburden their hearts the way a woman
    takes off her jewels, the heavy
    pendant earrings, the stiff lace gown and corset,
    and slips into a loose kimono.
    It's like you've both had a couple shots
    of really good scotch and snow is falling
    in the cone of light under the street lamp—
    large slow flakes that float down in the amber glow.

    They tell you all the pain pressed into their flat chests,
    their disappointed penises, their empty hands.
    As they sift through the betrayals and regrets,
    their shocked realization of how hard they tried,
    the way they shouldered the yoke
    with such stupid good faith—
    they grow younger and younger. They cry
    with the unselfconciousness of children.
    When they hug you, they cling.
    Like someone who's needed glasses for a long time—
    and finally got them-they look around
    just for the pleasure of it: the detail,
    the sharp edges of what the world has to offer.

    And when they fall in love again, it only gets better.
    Their hearts are stuffed full as éclairs
    and the custard oozes out at a touch.
    They love her, they love you, they love everyone.
    They drag out all the musty sorrows and joys
    from the basement where they've been shoved
    with mitts and coin collections. They tell you
    things they've never told anyone.
    Fresh from loving her, they come glowing
    like souls slipping into the bodies
    of babies about to be born.

    Then a year goes by. Or two.
    Like broken bones, they knit back together.
    They grow like grass and bushes and trees
    after a forest fire, covering the seared earth.
    They landscape the whole thing, plant like mad
    and spend every weekend watering and weeding.

    "I Love the Way Men Crack" by Ellen Bass, from Mules of Love, Vol. 1. © BOA Editions, Ltd., 2002.
    Reprinted with permission.

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  3. Computer CBT for Depression Yields Lackluster Results in the Long Term

    Researchers from the Institute of Psychiatry at Kings College, London, UK,  conducted a meta-analysis of Computerized Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CCBT) to evaluate its short- and long-term effectiveness for treating depression.
     
    Five databases were used (MEDLINE, PsycINFO, EMBASE, CENTRAL and CiNii). Investigators included all randomized, controlled trials with proper concealment and blinding of outcome assessment,  for the clinical effectiveness of CCBT in adults (aged 18 and over) with depression.
     
    Using Cohen's method, the standard mean difference (SMD) for the overall pooled effects across the included studies was estimated with a random effect model. The main outcome measure and the relative risk of dropout were included in the meta-analysis.

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  4. Taking the Fear out of Visiting a Friend in the Hospital

    Question: 

    I struggle with doctors and all things related to hospitals. I get 'angry' tense and stressed just walking into a hospital to visit with someone else. I need to 'get-over-it' do you have a CD that might help this situation?

    thanks,
    Sara Jane

    Answer:

    Dear Sara Jane,
    Probably you have some scary associations with hospitals from your past which have now taken on a life of their own.  It’s not uncommon.  (And certainly most people have some discomfort or queasiness walking into a hospital anyway – they’re pretty weird places after all, even under the best of circumstances).  

    From your description, it sounds like getting angry is a diversion from feeling anxious, and it’s the underlying anxiety that’s primary and needs addressing.

    I’ve got a couple of suggestions for you.  First, you might want to train yourself to relax at will, using a guided imagery audio like Relaxation & Wellness.  You could listen to it regularly – once or twice a day - and every time you listen, position your hands over your belly or one hand over your breast bone, so that you develop a conditioned response to relax whenever your hands are placed that way. 

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  5. Tips & Tools to Counter Domestic Violence

    Hello again.

    With all the focus on Pink Ribbons and Breast Cancer Month, I don’t want us to lose sight of the fact that it’s also Domestic Violence Awareness Month - another real scourge that needs our attention.

    You can find excellent personal safety guidelines, public advocacy suggestions and opportunities to volunteer or donate at the National Coalition against Domestic Violence website.

    And if you’re in a violent or abusive relationship, please check out their safety plan – if only one or two people see this and use it, this is worth posting.  Please send this information along to anyone you think can benefit from it. 

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  6. HJ Staffers Buzzing About Belleruth’s New Audio Program.

    HJ Staffers Buzzing About Belleruth’s New Audio Program.

    The excitement at Health Journeys lately is all about the newest guided imagery program, titled A Guided Meditation to Help with Concentration, Focus & Learning (Including ADD, ADHD & LD) by Belleruth Naparstek. As each of us finished listening to the program for the first time, we used one word to describe it. Awesome!

    That, in itself, is amazing, because we are blessed to be involved with so many truly wonderful guided imagery programs at all times, we are a hard bunch to impress. We were blown away by this program from the first strains of Steven Kohn’s ethereal music, to the gentle imagery, progressive relaxation and the affirmations, which seemed to be speaking specifically to each of us, though we are a vastly diverse group, in terms of our goals, aspirations and foibles. This was an amazing experience for us and we are excited about providing it to the many who have requested this program, those who are on our pre-order list and everyone who could benefit from it.

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  7. Autoimmune Condition Can Cause Scarring and Affect Sex Life

    Question:

    Dear Belleruth,

    I am a psychotherapist and hypnotherapist with a private practice out West.  I am post-menopausal and was just diagnosed this week with lichen sclerosis.

    This chronic skin condition affects primarily post-menopausal women, but also affects young women, and sometimes children and men.  It is believed to be an auto-immune disease. It can affect the vulvar and anal areas in women.

    If left untreated, it causes scarring and the fusing of tissues in the genitalia area, including narrowing the opening to the vagina.

    Needless to say, intercourse may either be impossible or very painful. The treatment I've been recommended is fluocinolone Acetonide ointment and my gynecologist is very optimistic.

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  8. A Great “I Quit Smoking” Testimonial

    We just found this comment posted online – very inspiring.  Now, it’s not usually this easy for people (myself included – I quit smoking 44 years ago and it was so difficult, I swore I’d never do it again!).  But it does sometimes happen this way, and when it does, it’s pretty awesome.  (Her decision to wait until she was on a break from her regular routine was very wise, by the way.)

    Here it is, verbatim:

    I had a ten-year [smoking] habit I wanted to break, but no confidence I could do it in my regular routine.  So I decided to quit on vacation. I smoked my last cigarette at the airport, listened to these [Stop Smoking] meditations on the plane - and that was it.

    It was almost as if I'd never smoked. I barely thought about smoking at all, although I listened to one or two of the meditations every day just in case.

    Back at home, I listen to them every once in a while to keep my non-smoking energy up.

    I can't say for sure that these meditations worked the miracle, but they certainly helped! Thank you!

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  9. Findings Show How Hypnosis Boosts Human Learning

    Investigators from the School of Medicine, University of Szeged in Szeged, Hungary, looked into the mechanism whereby hypnosis boosts human learning.
     
    It is known in a general way that learning and memory depend on different cognitive systems that are related to separate and distinct brain structures. These systems interact, not only in cooperative ways to optimize performance, but also sometimes in competitive ways.
     
    Previous studies have shown that by reducing the engagement of frontal lobe-mediated explicit attentional processes, improved performance can result in striatum-related procedural learning.

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  10. A Pink Ribbon Survive & Thrive Pack

    Well, it’s Breast Cancer Month and pink is everywhere.  I walked into a Columbus, Ohio Kroger’s yesterday and there they were, giving out pink shakes in return for a dollar donation to breast cancer research.  

    Yep, you’ll find pink pretty much everywhere you go, and everyone knows what that stands for, too. Very nice to see what a successful campaign this has become.

    And we’re joining the crowd with our Pink Ribbon Survive & Thrive Pack for those who’ve gotten past cancer, not to mention the friends and family who’ve survived it too.

    Particularly good for people who got a lot out of their guided imagery during the scariest times of their diagnosis or cancer treatment, and are now feeling the need to keep doing something, this is a way of keeping up this empowering, reassuring practice, in the service of continued wellness. 

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