Guest Post: WINTER HEALTH MYTHS BUSTED!

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WINTER HEALTH MYTHS BUSTED!

There are endless winter health myths that we have heard from well intentioned grandparents and parents. They have become so ingrained in us that we take them as cold hard facts. Many of these myths have no more basis in reality than Santa Claus.  Of course, everyone wants to stay as healthy as possible during the frosty months. In order to do so sensibly, we turned to Board Certified NYC internist and gastroenterologist Dr. Niket Sonpal.

Myth: Allergies go away in the winter

Allergies might be the real source behind your stuffy nose and scratchy throat this season. According to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, one in five people suffer from indoor/outdoor allergies, and the indoor variety can actually be worse in the winter. Dr. Sonpal cautions that, “If your symptoms last longer than 10 days or ease up after taking an antihistamine, it might be time to visit an allergist.”

Myth: I wash my hands all the time with hand sanitizer, so I should be fine.

Hand sanitizer will kill most viruses, but not all. You must make sure you use the right amount of hand sanitizer and let it dry completely. Dr. Sonpal points out that,” Some viruses, like norovirus, which causes vomiting, is not killed by hand sanitizer. Soap and water are best to get rid of all bacteria and viruses, but the hand sanitizer is better than nothing at all.”

Myth: It’s cold out, I don’t need sunscreen.

The sun’s rays are just as strong in the winter months as they are in the other seasons. Snow and ice can reflect even more sunlight, up to twice as much. Grab the SPF 30 and put it on, regardless of the temperature. Don’t forget those sunglasses to keep your eyes safe as well.

I’ll just drink some alcohol to keep myself warm.

Although it may feel like drinking alcohol is making you warmer, it does not. Dr. Sonpal says that, “when you drink, the blood vessels dilate or get bigger, and blood flows to your skin and away from your internal organs. So, it may feel like you are getting warmer, but you are not.”

Myth: The Flu Shot Gives You the Flu

According to a new survey from the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases and Rite Aide, 44 percent of American women view the flu as a serious threat to their health. Yet nearly half (49 percent) do not intend to get a flu shot this year because they believe the vaccine can give them the flu. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends the flu shot for anyone older than 6 months of age. Dr. Sonpal stresses that, “The shot does not contain a live virus, making catching the flu from it impossible.”

Winter weather makes you store fat and gain weight

Our bodies do not go into some kind of winter hibernation mode, stockpiling every ounce of fat to use for the lean times. It seems logical, like a throwback to our days living in caves foraging for food, but in reality, any weight gain comes from our winter habits. Dr. Sonpal points out that, “we tend to exercise less in winter. We eat more hearty meals and comfort foods, including more sugary snacks and desserts (especially around the holidays).”

Myth: You Lose Most Heat Through Your Head

The saying goes “we lose 90 percent of our body heat through our heads.”  But a 2006 study found that the head accounts for about 7 percent of the body’s surface area, and that heat loss in the region is fairly proportional, according to LiveScience. “Your head is another extremity, and it’s susceptible to cold, so you should wear a hat, but it doesn’t lose any more heat than another part of your body,” says Dr. Sonpal.

Myth: Chicken Soup Will Cure Colds

Many cultures teach us to drink warm liquids like tea, hot apple cider, and soups when we’re dealing with colds. It’s true that something like chicken soup may help soothe and ease congestion, but much like vitamin C, hot soup won’t do immediate wonders.

Myth: Being Cold Gives You a Cold

No matter what your grandma might have told you, spending too much time in the cold air doesn’t make you sick. One study found that healthy men who spent several hours in temperatures just above freezing had an increase in healthy, virus-fighting activity in their immune systems. In fact, you’re more likely to get sick indoors, where germs are easily passed.

Myth: Feed a cold, starve a fever

Dr. Sonpal says that, “This is another myth that comes from a time when people didn’t understand the science of body chemistry. The thought was that if you had a cold, food would warm you up. Conversely, if you had a high fever, not eating would cool you down. This is just patently bad medical advice. In both cases, good nutrition gives your body the fuel it needs to fight infections and recover from an illness. When you have a fever, your body is burning energy at a rapid rate, and that needs to be replenished. So, by all means feed your cold; but also feed your fever, or any other illness. Even if you have stomach issues, find a way to take in lost fluids and electrolytes.”

 

About Dr. Niket Sonpal:

Dr. Niket Sonpal is a native of Long Island NY and a graduate of Medical University of Silesia – Hope Medical Institute in Poland. After completing his residency in Internal Medicine at Lenox Hill Hospital, he was selected to be the 2013‐2014 Chief Resident at Lenox Hill Hospital–Northshore LIJ Health System. He is an Adjunct Assistant Professor at Touro College of Osteopathic Medicine and Clinical instructor at Kingsbrook Jewish Medical Center, Brooklyn. Dr. Sonpal has completed his Fellowship in gastroenterology & hepatology at Lenox Hill Hospital and will continue his work in the field of medical student and resident test preparation. He now serves as the associate program director for the Internal Medicine Residency Program at Brookdale University medical center.

He is the co‐author for the best-selling Master the Boards: USMLE Step 2 CK, Master the Boards Step 3, And Master the Boards: Internal Medicine. He is also the Chief Operating Officer for Medquest Test Prep, Director of Medical Education for Picmonic Test Prep, and a recognized expert on medical test prep.

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Guest Post: Keep pets’ safety in mind this Thanksgiving, Pet Sitters International advises

 

This article was provided by Pet Sitters International (PSI).

Keep pets’ safety in mind this Thanksgiving, Pet Sitters International advises

The association offers tips to ensure pets and humans both have a safe and happy holiday.

KING, N.C. (November 5, 2018) — Thanksgiving—it’s a time for falling leaves, family gatherings and plenty of turkey and stuffing—but the holiday is not always a festive time for pets. Pet Sitters International (PSI), the world’s leading educational organization for professional pet sitters, advises pet owners to keep in mind their four-legged family members’ safety when planning Thanksgiving activities this year.

“Simple holiday traditions, such as hosting a Thanksgiving feast for friends and family, can pose potential problems to pets if not monitored carefully,” advised PSI President Patti J. Moran.

“Fortunately, there are simple precautions pet owners can take to help promote a safe and happy holiday for pets and humans alike.”

PSI offers the following tips for pet owners to keep in mind this Thanksgiving:

  1. Know which treats are “off-limits.” Food is a culprit for some of the most common holiday pet emergencies, so know which foods are off-limits for your pets, and make it clear to any guests. Holiday treats—such as rich, fatty scraps; bones from pork and poultry; alcoholic beverages; chocolate; and other sweets and candies—can be harmful or toxic to pets. Some of these foods have been linked to pancreatitis in pets. Signs and symptoms of an inflamed pancreas include vomiting and abdominal pain, and severe pancreatitis requires emergency medical care and treatment. Other dangerous substances for pets include the sugar substitute xylitol, bread dough and onions. If a pet ingests any potentially harmful product, call a veterinarian or a local emergency animal hospital immediately.
  1. Put holiday decorations out of pets’ reach. Will you be decorating your home with cornucopias, pine cones, plants, lights or other festive décor this Thanksgiving? Or will you put up a Christmas tree or other holiday decorations following the Thanksgiving feast? Be sure to keep out of pets’ reach any decorations that could be harmful if chewed on or ingested.
  1. Provide a safe space for pets. For pets that are easily frightened or not used to being around a lot of people, Thanksgiving can be an especially stressful time. If guests will be at your home, make sure you have a room set aside where your pet can relax with favorite toys and will not be disturbed. It is also important to make sure your pet is wearing an identification tag with your name and current contact information, in case he or she slips out the door as guests come and go. You may also want to consider microchipping your pet.
  1. Don’t delay hiring a professional pet sitter. If you will be celebrating Thanksgiving or another holiday away from home, your pet could benefit from the services of a professional pet sitter. PSI advises pet owners to only use the services of professional pet sitters and to begin the search for pet care as soon as possible. PSI recently surveyed nearly 1,000 professional pet sitters and found that 65 percent say they are usually fully booked for holiday pet-sitting visits at least two to three weeks prior to the holiday.

Anyone can post a profile on a pet-sitting or dog-walking website or app, so it is important to make sure you are choosing a qualified pet-care provider. PSI recommends pet owners schedule an initial consultation with a potential pet sitter prior to booking services and offers a free pet-sitter interview checklist on the PSI website. Pet owners can search PSI’s Pet Sitter Locator free of charge at www.petsit.com/locate.

“Finding a pet sitter you trust allows you to truly enjoy your holiday, so pet owners shouldn’t delay in seeking professional pet sitters to watch their pets while they’re away visiting family, attending holiday parties or simply shopping late,” Moran said.

To learn more about PSI, visit www.petsit.com.

 

About Pet Sitters International

Founded in 1994 by Patti J. Moran, author of Pet Sitting for Profit, Pet Sitters International (PSI) is the world’s largest educational association for professional pet sitters, with member pet-sitting businesses in the United States, Canada and more than 20 other countries. PSI members have access to the widest array of business services and educational resources available in the professional pet-sitting industry. PSI’s Pet Sitter Locator is the largest online directory of professional pet sitters, and pet owners can visit petsit.com/locate to find local professional pet sitters.

This article was provided by Pet Sitters International (PSI).

 

Guest Post: Tips for Traveling with Pets

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Tips for Traveling with Pets

Flying with your pet: If you are going to take your pet on an airplane, it is important to determine whether your pet will need a crate or a carrier. Larger dogs will fly in a crate in the cargo, and smaller dogs that fit into a carrier can fly in the plane. Make sure you find out the requirements for your dog prior to booking your flight.

Familiarize your pet with its crate or carrier: Pets like familiarity. If you plan on keeping your pet inside a carrier or crate while traveling, make purchases at least a month before travel to allow your pet ample time to get comfortable with the new environment. Place him or her in the carrier and provide some treats. Gradually lengthen the time your pet is in the crate or carrier until your pet seems at ease in its new space.

Car safety: It is important that we always think about the dog’s safety while in your car. If you want your pet to sit on the seat, get your pup a dog seatbelt. It allows your dog room to move around, but provides restraint in the case of an accident. If you have an SUV, you can buy a gate that keeps your dog from jumping from the back to the front.

Feed your pet no less than five or six hours before traveling: It is very easy for your dog or cat to become sick during travel. Providing time for food to digest lessens the chances of your pet becoming ill.

Find a pet-friendly hotel:  And if you’ve got plans during the day, since most pet-friendly hotels will not allow pets to be left in the room alone, consider taking your dog to a nearby Camp Bow Wow® doggie day care facility or hire a Home Buddies by Camp Bow Wow® pet sitter to keep Fido company. Camp is open early in the morning until late in the evening, so your pup can play all day.

Make your pet feel at home: Use familiar dishes, blankets, toys and other items from your home to create a sense of comfort for your pet.

And If Fido can’t travel with you, book him an overnight stay at one of Camp Bow Wows 100+ franchises across the country; you can even watch him while on-the-go via Camp Bow Wow’s iPhone App, which has a web-cam feature that is hooked up at every location.

Erin Askeland, CBCC-KA, Pet Behaviorist, Training Manager and #GiveAFetch Pet Expert at Camp Bow Wow

 

Image Source: Pixabay

Guest Post: Quick & Easy Ways to Pet-Proof Your Home for the Holidays

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Quick & Easy Ways to Pet-Proof Your Home for the Holidays

To truly pet-proof your home, start by getting down on the floor to see the world the way your pet sees it. This allows you to spot potential hazards that you might not notice from your vantage point.

Treat your pet like you would a child: Active puppies and kittens can easily get into dangerous situations. Use safety gates in areas where dangerous holiday items are to prevent your pet from getting into trouble.

Take caution with wires: Pets can easily injure themselves with electrical wires and outlets. Use caution when hanging up holiday lights on trees and around the house. Secure all electrical cords and outlets and keep your dog in areas of your home where cords cannot be accessed.

Avoid holiday plants: Plants can be poisonous for pets, so be cautious when placing holiday wreaths, flowers and plants around the house where your dog can easily access them.

Candles: Lit candles pose a serious threat to both your dog and your home. Keep your dog away from candles because they can easily be knocked down creating a fire hazard.

Hide the trash can: A hyper puppy can easily knock over a trash can and spread garbage and bacteria throughout your home. In addition, dogs can choke on hazardous items so be sure to properly dispose of all holiday wrapping and keep it out of your dog’s reach.

Utilize a sofa cover: To avoid fur on your loveseat, use a seat or slipcover to avoid a mess before guests arrive.

Be careful with fruit and candy baskets: Holiday treats will inevitably be present during this season, but grapes, raisins, chocolate and other holiday treats are actually deadly for dogs. Candy wrappers can also be threatening to your dog, so be sure to throw away all wrappers in a place where your dog can’t get to them.

Erin Askeland, CBCC-KA, Pet Behaviorist, Training Manager and #GiveAFetch Pet Expert at Camp Bow Wow

 

Image Source: Pixabay

Guest Post: Is Your Child’s ADHD Possibly A Misdiagnosed Breathing Problem?

Is Your Child’s ADHD Possibly A Misdiagnosed Breathing Problem?

 

Children who breathe through their mouths because of a dental issue may be easily misdiagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD),

The result is resulting in a lifetime of being given powerful drugs unnecessarily.

“Mouth breathing is often caused by an obstruction in the nasal airway, frequently resulting in lower oxygen to the brain,” says Dr. Ami Barakat, author of Perfecting Smiles, Changing Lives. “More than half of the people diagnosed with ADHD are mouth breathers.  That is too significant a statistic to be a coincidence.”

“I don’t believe that every diagnosed case of ADHD can be eradicated with solving mouth breathing issues,” says Dr. Barakat. “But for parents who have a child who is a mouth breather who also has been diagnosed with ADHD, it is best to get a second opinion from a dentist.  Because once they accept the ADHD label on their child, that means the child will take powerful drugs such as Ritalin or Adderall for the rest of their lives.”

About Dr. Ami Barakat


Dr. Ami Barakat, author of Perfecting Smiles, Changing Lives, is a general dentist who has trained extensively in orthodontics.  He has received several prestigious awards in recognition of his talent, achievements and passion for dentistry.  He graduated from the University of Toronto Faculty of Dentistry with honors and served a one-year residency at the Royal Victoria Hospital in Montreal.

 

 

Notice: This post contains affiliate links. If you click a link and make a purchase, we may financially benefit from your transaction, at no additional cost to you. Thank you for your support.

PS Annie! is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.

Guest Post: Santa Warns Kids to Start Doing Chores

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Santa Warns Kids to Start Doing Chores

Tis the season for helping out at home and sharing with people in need

Getting kids to clean their rooms and do other chores around the house is usually a constant battle for parents. But, very soon kids will be hard at work writing letters and making lists of the toys and games they hope to receive for Christmas creating the perfect opportunity for parents to re-motivate their kids.

Santa and his elves will be watching to make sure those chores are getting done and that valuable lessons are being learned as well. For parents with a busy holiday schedule, follow these simple tips to get kids to help more around the house and keep them motivated year-round because Santa is always watching.

Make Like an Elf – It might be hard for kids to understand the concept of a job so put it in holiday terms. Santa and the elves are working hard to make the toys and games, so kids need to work hard to earn them. Treat their chores as their first job and an opportunity to start teaching them about spending, saving, donating and investing.

Divide Up Hosting Housework – Assign your children tasks that match their ages and skill sets to get the house ready for holiday guests. Make sure to give them a deadline to help teach time management and keep them focused. Pay them for the work they do and suggest they use the money to pay for small gifts for a family gift exchange.

Shovel Up the Savings – Broaden the concept of a “first job” for older kids by having them do chores for neighbors. You can either pay your kids for raking leaves and shoveling snow or talk to your neighbors about hiring your kids for a small amount. Have your kids put the money into savings and use this as an opportunity to teach them about the different types of interest that can be earned through savings accounts.

Spread Cheer – Going out of the way to help others during the holidays is in the spirit of the season. To teach kids the importance of helping others and make them feel like they are making a difference have them use part of their earnings from doing chores for a charitable donation or to buy gifts and food for families in need.

Stuff Stockings with Stocks – If you want your kids to help out with chores all year, not just during the holidays, give them a reason to be motivated. Adults work for a paycheck and kids will too, especially if their money starts growing in the stock market.

Gregg Murset, CEO BusyKid

The co-founder & CEO of BusyKid, Gregg is best known as the groundbreaking inventor of My Job Chart which grew to nearly 1 million members in four years. Gregg is a father of six and a certified financial planner and consultant who also became a leading advocate for sound parenting, child accountability and financial literacy.

Guest Post: 2 Ways to Give Thanks Every Day

2 Ways to Give Thanks Every Day

“A simple way to get started with your very own gratitude practice is to keep a journal,” says Julie, author of Life Falls Apart, but You Don’t Have To: Mindful Methods for Staying Calm In the Midst of Chaos. “Visit your favorite bookstore or craft store and pick out a journal that inspires you. Keep it by your bedside for easy access. Make yourself write longhand instead of typing on a device. The physical act of writing has more benefits for your neural health than typing on a keyboard.”

  1. When you wake up in the morning, write down one or more things about your life that you are grateful for.
  2. Notice times when you feel joy during the day. Take in the good mental state for a couple of breaths, allowing the mental state to wire into a neural trait. Before you go to bed at night, write down one or more things that happened that day that you’re grateful for or that you enjoyed.

“You can write one-word answers or whole paragraphs,” says Julie. “The ideas don’t need to be monumental. They could be as simple as gratitude for having a soft pillow. Writing down what you are grateful for, or what you were doing when you felt joy, will open your heart to more happiness. If you can recreate the feeling of joy in your body when you remember the activity that you are writing about, and you let it fill you up with gladness, you are rewiring your brain for more happiness and resilience a second time from the same joyful activity!

To learn more, visit: www.MindfulMethodsForLife.com

About Julie Potiker: Author and mindfulness expert Julie Potiker is an attorney who began her serious study and investigation of mindfulness after graduating from the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction program at the University of California, San Diego. She was trained by Kristin Neff, Christopher Germer, and UCSD as a Mindful Self-Compassion Teacher. She went on to study with Rick Hanson, becoming a graduate of his Positive Neuroplasticity Training Professional Course. Potiker also completed Brené Brown’s Living Brave Semester. Now, she shares these and other mindfulness techniques with the world through her Mindful Methods for Life trainings and her new book: “Life Falls Apart, but You Don’t Have To: Mindful Methods for Staying Calm In the Midst of Chaos.” She holds a B.G.S. from the University of Michigan and a J.D. from George Washington University. Visit: Public Site: www.MindfulMethodsForLife.com

 

Notice: This post contains affiliate links. If you click a link and make a purchase, we may financially benefit from your transaction, at no additional cost to you. Thank you for your support.

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Guest Post: Three Tips to Unleash the Creative Entrepreneurs in Your Community

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Three Tips to Unleash the Creative Entrepreneurs in Your Community

By Alice Loy

The Fourth Industrial Revolution is upon us. If you are wondering how to take on the challenges of a shifting global economy, investing in creative industries entrepreneurs tackles economic, civic, and social challenges and is found in every community in every corner of the globe. From Boston to Bangladesh, creative entrepreneurs are building companies at the cutting edge of digital fabrication, augmented reality, design and entertainment.

The creative economy is huge. And growing. It generates close to $3 trillion in economic output annually. That’s more than the global telecommunications industry. What’s more, creative economy revenues are expanding 8-12% annually, varying by country. In the USA, the creative economy grew straight through the Great Recession, as opposed to all other sectors. Growth will continue as a global middle class rises, expanding demand for entertainment, digital media, and original content and experiences. Consider this: Cirque du Soleil was founded by two street performers who grew it into a global phenomenon and sold it for $1.5 billion to investment firm TPG in 2015. Lynda.com, acquired by LinkedIn in 2015, was started by Lynda Weinman, a graphic designer turned educator. Fashionistas, filmmakers, and foodies are launching creative companies that drive value for investors, and create high-wage jobs.

However, the creative economy is a sleeping giant because leaders and investors, community and economic developers have mostly left the creative economy on the sidelines, its full potential sitting dormant. Many leaders think only of “the arts” when they hear the word creative. However, today’s creative companies are anchored in technologies and digital innovations. Take for example Embodied Labs, a VR film company whose films help medical providers understand patient experiences, reducing costs and improving health outcomes. Or Beacon Hill VR, a software firm with artists and gamers on staff who create and bring to life animated AR characters. We suspect leaders overlook the creative economy because they are unfamiliar with its numbers.

Creative entrepreneurs are market disruptors building a better and more inclusive future. The innovators behind creative companies are designers, coders, gamers, musicians, and engineers. Akin to tech founders, creative founders are driven by a desire to disrupt a market. Unlike many tech founders, most creative entrepreneurs are also inspired by social outcomes such as engaging disenfranchised communities, providing a living wage, and building culturally connected communities. The creative economy is being built by visionaries who strengthen regional identity, increase livelihoods, and build connected communities.

So how can you unleash the creative entrepreneurs and talent in your community? Here are three tips to get you started:

1.) Find ambitious creative entrepreneurs who have been overlooked. They might be building the next Cirque du Soleil but everyone else sees them as clowns. With fresh eyes, you might see a billion-dollar business in the making. I have worked with startups who became extremely successful entrepreneurs who have told us that early on “no one took them seriously” because they were designers, or filmmakers, or musicians.

2.) Host a small gathering with innovative creative founders and investors and ask them to share where they believe your regional creative economy could be more competitive. What assets and competitive advantages do you have that entrepreneurs and investors have already discovered? When we do this we find investors who are already working with creative companies. They are usually interested in further building out their portfolio along these lines. And the founders are excited to meet investors who share their vision for the region’s future.

3.) Assume you just don’t get it–yet. Creatives are disrupting markets and they see a future the rest of us don’t see. Take for example the story of Meow Wolf, an “artist collective” based in Santa Fe, New Mexico. When Meow Wolf started out, they sought business support but were told more than once their venture should be a non-profit. They are artists, after all. Today, with over 1 million visitors and $15 million in revenues in less than two years, Meow Wolf’s out-of-this-world exhibit helped multiply their first investors’ funds within three years. They recently close $17 million with a lead investment by Alsop Louie Partners from Silicon Valley. Meow Wolf is not alone in their ability to see a market before it has fully convened. Lee Francis, Founder of Native Realities, launched the world’s first Indigenous Comic Con to give indigenous youth a chance to see themselves as superheroes. Today Indigenous Comic Con and Lee’s publishing company Native Realities, are leading a global movement to reframe how indigenous youth see themselves in pop culture. 300,000,000 indigenous people are eager to move with them. Ivonette Albuquerque, Founder of Galpão Aplauso, in São Paulo, Brazil, believed she could build a world class theatre company employing youth living in São Paulo’s favelas. Today, she has trained over 10,000 youth, nearly all of whom go on to find well paying jobs after the program.

The Fourth Industrial Revolution, like all good revolutions, is disrupting social and economic structures, forcing leaders to rethink old strategies and adapt to new realities. Relentless creativity and imagination will win the day. Fortunately, a giant ally is waiting in the wings. All you need to do is wake it up.

Alice Loy is CEO and Co-Founder of Creative Startups and author of Creative Economy Entrepreneurs, From Start Up to Success: How Entrepreneurs in the Creative Industries are Transforming the Global Economy. For more information, please visit, www.creativestartups.org.

Notice: This post contains affiliate links. If you click on the link below and make a purchase, we may financially benefit from your transaction, at no additional cost to you. Thank you for your support.

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Guest Post: DO YOU SUFFER FROM PANIC ATTACKS?

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DO YOU SUFFER FROM PANIC ATTACKS?

IF SO, YOU HAVE SOMETHING IN COMMON WITH A- LIST CELEBS

Here’s what to do to cope without breaking the bank

www.comprehendthemind.com

Over 40 million adults in the U.S. suffer from anxiety and panic disorders. And as privileged as they are, celebrities are no exception when it comes to panic attacks. Whether it’s a one-time event or something they consistently struggle with, dealing with a panic attack is never easy. Most recently, in the media and her new book, Gisele Bundchen described the debilitating panic attacks she experienced when she was younger and how they almost led her to suicide.  Gisele is not the only celeb who has confessed to former or current panic attacks. Others include Lena Dunham, Caitlyn Jenner, Emma Stone, Ellie Goulding, Amanda Seyfried, and John Mayer.  We turned to New York City-based neuropsychologist and Teaching Faculty Member at the prestigious Columbia University Teacher’s College for some insight on what average Joe and Janes can to overcome panic attacks. The good news is, recovery is possible does not take an A-listers budget.

What is a panic attack?

Panic attacks typically begin suddenly, without warning. They can strike at any time — when you’re driving a car, at the mall, sound asleep or in the middle of a business meeting. You may have occasional panic attacks, or they may occur frequently. Panic attacks have many variations, but symptoms usually peak within minutes. You may feel fatigued and worn out after a panic attack subsides. Dr. Hafeez states that “One of the worst things about panic attacks is the intense fear that you’ll have another one.  A panic attack occurs when the body experiences a sudden surge adrenaline out of proportion to any perceived danger or threat.”

What is a panic disorder?

You may fear having panic attacks so much that you avoid certain situations where they may occur. It can become so severe as to cause agoraphobia where people become housebound.  When this occurs, it is known as panic disorder.” She adds, “the word ‘attack’ is actually a misnomer as nothing is being attacked. Panic occurs when the body goes into a state of fight or flight even when no real danger is present. A person can be sitting at their desk typing, yet feel as if they are being chased by a lion and the body is responding with adrenaline appropriate to a dangerous situation, but not realistic for the situation the sufferer is actually in.”  Dr. Hafeez stresses to those who suffer from the panic that, “Nobody has ever died from a panic attack! A person may feel as if he/she wants to die, or death is imminent, but it simply will not happen!”

How did Gisele Bundchen reduce her panic?

As Gisele Bundchen has mentioned, her panic attacks subsided when she made lifestyle changes such as not drinking a bottle of wine per day, stopping a pack a day smoking habit, incorporating meditation, yoga, and cutting out sugar.  After a few months, she says she stopped experiencing any panic attacks and had a new outlook on her life and her health.

What can you do to reduce and cope with panic?

Calm breathing

Dr. Hafeez says that “Taking control of breathing is the first step to controlling a panic attack. The goal is to create a slow stream of air by breathing in and out. This prevents hyperventilation and a buildup of carbon dioxide in the blood. It is helpful to practice mindful breathing outside of panic attacks. This equips people who experience panic attacks with the techniques designed to stop them. There are apps and YouTube videos people can watch to practice breathing techniques for panic. “

Progressive Muscle Relaxation

Another helpful strategy is learning to relax the body. This technique involves tensing and untensing various muscle groups. This lowers overall tension and stress levels that can contribute to panic attacks. Start with the feet and work up to your forehead. Tighten the muscle while taking a deep breath in, hold for a few seconds and then release the tension while breathing out. Move up the body, one muscle group at a time.

Mindfulness

This is the act of accepting thoughts as they come, but not letting them blow out of proportion. It is a mental framework designed to help people stay present at the moment without overanalyzing the stressful elements of life. Mindfulness incorporates many relaxation and meditation techniques.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

Panic attacks can originate from thoughts that spiral into deep-seated worries. Cognitive behavior therapy (CBT) is an effective, lasting treatment for controlling panic attack symptoms. CBT is a helpful option for people who experience repeated panic attacks. CBT challenges fearful thoughts. What are you afraid will happen? Is there evidence to support these fears? A practitioner trained in CBT can equip an individual with the tools to successfully control and defuse a full-blown panic attack.

Yoga

There are many uncomfortable physical symptoms of panic and anxiety, such as feelings of tension, tightness, and pain sensitivity. Yoga postures, known as asanas, help ease the physical discomfort that is caused by anxiety. Asanas work to stretch, lengthen, and balance the muscles. These postures can assist in releasing built-up muscle tension and stiffness throughout the body.

Cut Down on Sugar and eliminate caffeine

Although many people can’t start their day without a “cup of Joe,” Dr. Hafeez says that “for panic sufferers, caffeine can trigger panic attacks because it is a stimulant and can cause people with anxiety to have palpitating hearts and shaky hands. Sugar can cause blurry vision, difficulty thinking, and fatigue, all of which may be interpreted as signs of a panic attack, thereby increasing worry and fear. A sugar high and subsequent crash can cause shaking and tension, which can make anxiety worse. While dietary changes alone cannot cure anxiety, they can minimize symptoms, boost energy and improve the body’s ability to cope with stress.”

Stop Smoking

“If you think smoking calms you down, think again,” says Dr. Hafeez.  A study of thousands of smokers shows that they are three times more likely than non-smokers to have panic attacks and panic disorder. Tobacco smoke may induce panic attacks in susceptible individuals. “There can be other mechanisms by which smoking induces panic: the effect of nicotine for example,” says Dr. Hafeez. “Nicotine has a stimulating effect on the brain.”

Reduce or eliminate alcohol

There are clear links between alcohol and anxiety, and between alcohol and panic attacks. Alcohol can trigger panic attacks because on a physiological level drinking can cause low blood sugar, dehydration, increased heart rate, and increased levels of stress. Dr. Hafeez offers that, “A drink from time to time is not harmful, but when people use drinking to deal with anxiety and panic, they can experience severe consequences. Like other frequently abused substances such as caffeine or cocaine, the combination of alcohol abuse, hangover, and withdrawal can lead to an increased risk of panic attacks. As a consequence, this kind of abuse can result in both an alcohol addiction and more severe anxiety and panic disorders.”

Medication

There are many anti-depressants, mood stabilizers, and benzodiazepines like Valium, Ativan, Clonopin, and Xanax that can help keep panic under control when combined with therapy. Antihistamines (such as hydroxyzine) and beta-blockers (such as propranolol) can help mild cases of anxiety as well as performance anxiety, a type of social anxiety disorder. Patients need to keep in mind that benzodiazepines carry the risk of tolerance and addiction and are better suited for short-term or “as needed” usage.

Smartphone apps to assist with panic disorder

There are many great ones that exist such as Dare, Rootd, Anxiety No More, ACT Companion and Pacifica among many others.

About the Doctor:

Dr. Sanam Hafeez PsyD is an NYC based licensed clinical psychologist, teaching faculty member at the prestigious Columbia University Teacher’s College and the founder and Clinical Director of Comprehensive Consultation Psychological Services, P.C. a neuropsychological, developmental and educational center in Manhattan and Queens. Dr. Hafeez masterfully applies her years of experience connecting psychological implications to address some of today’s common issues such as body image, social media addiction, relationships, workplace stress, parenting and psychopathology (bipolar, schizophrenia, depression, anxiety, etc). In addition, Dr. Hafeez works with individuals who suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), learning disabilities, attention and memory problems, and abuse. Dr. Hafeez often shares her credible expertise to various news outlets in New York City and frequently appears on CNN and Dr.Oz. Connect with her via Instagram @drsanamhafeez or www.comprehendthemind.com

 

Guest Post: Safety Tips for Dog Walkers

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Safety Tips for Dog Walkers

  • Refresh on the basics. It’s important to follow basic safety tips when going out for a walk with your dog. Always wearing reflective or bright colored gear, avoid going for walks during early morning and late evening hours and staying in well-lit areas that are near houses or stores in case you need to yell for help can all help assist in keeping you safe.
  • Keep your guard up. It’s easy to fall into a comfortable groove if you take your dog for a walk on the same route every day, but assailants can choose any day to attack. It’s important to never get too comfortable, stay aware of your surroundings and trust your intuition if something feels off.
  • Exude the right body language. Confident body language signals that you’re a tough target can deter an attack before it begins. Hold a posture with your back straight and chin up. Keep a balanced stance and walk with a sense of destination. Make eye contact to show that you’re aware of who/what is around you. And, keep your hands out of clothing pockets.
  • Use assertive verbal skills. This reinforces confident body language and strength, and draws attention from bystanders. It can be accomplished by using short, clear, declarative statements. Volume can range from speaking firmly and clearly to yelling, depending on the situation.
  • Physical training is ideal. Practicing how to fend off an attacker will help you feel empowered, strong and confident and the more often you can train, the better. Training will not only give you the physical skills necessary to defend attacks but also increase the effectiveness of your body language and verbal skills.

About Krav Maga Worldwide

Founded in 1997 to promote Krav Maga throughout the United States and around the world, Krav Maga Worldwide trains and certifies instructors and licenses over 150 authorized Krav Maga Worldwide training centers in the United States, Canada, Japan, Mexico, South America, and Europe, as well as over 800 law enforcement agencies and military units. Krav Maga offers the highest caliber of instruction to thousands of people, supporting the company’s core commitment to improving and saving lives. Krav Maga Worldwide continues to develop, promote and implement self-defense and fitness programs. For additional information, visit: www.kravmaga.com.

Image Source: Pixabay