Archives for March, 2010
If you are like me when you get very busy and overwhelmed and need to concentrate, exercising can take a back seat. It seems like the smartest decision, as you can't get work done while working out. However, this is pretty much the worst thing you can do when under stress as this is precisely the time you need to exercise. A book by John Ratey, Spark: The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain, is absolutely fascinating and goes into great detail as to showing how exercise grows brain cells, improves functioning, allows for focus, and reduces stress. Let's see why.
It is no fun to be diagnosed with any kind of illness - cancer, diabetes, depression, ADHD ... you want to be in perfect health forever and anything that impedes that is basically a drag. Sure, we can absolutely focus on how ADHD makes it more challenging to focus, follow-through, finish things, and stay clear of addictions.
I find because of my ADHD I am often impulsive, change my mind, and moving from one project to another. It makes it challenging for others to trust me but I have found effective strategies - as those that know me well will say I am the most honest person that they know. So how do I manage? It may take some work but I do have some ideas. I have found a number of things to be extremely effective in helping secure follow-through on my end. Things that I shared with others, and let them know would be helpful if they implemented on their end. In the end, we were both happy. What are they?
I just realized I had it all wrong this whole time. I hate it when that happens! It feels like starting over. Maybe 9 years ago I came back from a trip and had to buy a car. I knew the price range, the options (everything I could possibly get that I could afford!), and that I wanted it American-made (as much as everyone says our cars aren't great -- this is officially the best car I have ever had and personally I like it when my fellow Americans are working). Back to the story. So I bought a Ford Focus ZW wagon. It was quick, as sporty as I could be needing room for my big two dogs, had a great warranty, and came with every perk imaginable, but still I could afford it. But you know what the kicker was? The name. Focus.
Medications, in my opinion, get a bad rap. I think it happens for a few different reasons: Often times a person has to try many medications before finding the right one that works. We spend a great deal more money on heart research than we do on brain research. While it is very hard to get numbers, one source is the National Institute for Health Budget (still can't believe we spend more on 'smoking' than we do 'depression', though depression may be linked up into other categories. Why we spend money proving again and again smoking will kill us when we should be spending it on why people smoke in the first place is baffling to me). Doctors may prescribe medications without knowing much about the disease. Med school teaches doctors very little about mental health issues. This is according to doctors I have spoken to about the issue, far and wide, although I can't find specific data. Any help? We do not understand the underlying cause of our problem and look for the quick fix. Most people do not realize it takes a lot of work to improve health issues. We can not just pop a pill and expect to feel better in any disease state -- we need to exercise, eat right, sleep well, and add other healthy lifestyle habits to our daily routine.
There was a recent response about the cost of coffee / those with mental health issues. I thought it was pretty insightful so I would explore it some more. Are people that have problems paying bills buying coffee? Are we sacrificing our mental health or our electric bill for a $5-7 cup of coffee from Starbucks? And what, exactly, are the effects of coffee and debt on our mental health? So I think I will first look at some statistics: We know that about 1 in 4 people are struggling with a mental health issue at any given time. And an article on MSN Money points out that over 43% of households are spending more money than they make, and have an average of $8,000 of credit card debt. In regards to coffee consumption, 54% in the U.S. drink coffee regularly, and 18.4% of those drink gourmet coffee daily.
In this economy it is getting increasingly difficult to take care of mental health needs. Medications are increasing in some respects, insurance not covering much, and all the little 'extras' that we have in our lives that keep our brains working well (gyms, vacations, etc.) seem to go by the wayside. Ironically, it is even more important than ever that in stressful times we keep our brain in tip top shape to ward off the stress that hard financial times bring. So what are some strategies for reducing costs / maintaining mental health under tight budgets?
I know it seems impossible, at least to me. But I just read it in an organization book -- and there is actually a book called Never Check E-mail in the Morning: and Other Unexpected Strategies for Making Your Life Work. It is written by Julie Morgenstern, a world renown organization expert. Julie is an Oprah favorite, and Cathy Black, president of Hearst, says the book is one of the top five best business books.
My mind seems to work with so much data it is juggling and so fast sometimes that it can get overloaded and come to a grinding, screeching halt. A standstill. Where all is quiet because it is just overloaded. Almost like when you flood your car or motorcycle or overheat the engine. These are times of real challenges because it is often times when I need my brain's clarity the most. When I have so much to do or deadlines to meet and I can't seem to reach up and grab that sting hanging that seems to anchor me and balance my mind. So what do I do to get it unstuck? Remember the Milk? I start there.