Clearing the decks of the million little things that have been fraying your nerves is essential to creating a healthier lifestyle, stress experts at the Mayo Clinic report. Building on decades of research on what creates stress and why its so difficult to manage, Amit Sood, M.D., M.Sc., a professor of medicine at the Mayo Clinic, offers valuable advice about how stress gets under our skin.
At any given time, we each have an average of 150 open files, or unresolved tasks, that are competing for our attention. We are a generation of jugglers, Sood says, and that leads to a cluttered, wandering mind. When the mind wanders, stress increases which, in turn, causes the mind to wander even more, which creates more stress.
This vicious cycle makes it nearly impossible for people to focus on breaking bad habits like smoking or overeating. To break the pattern, Sood explains that you have to work against the minds natural tendency to create stress. It also helps to close as many of those open files as possible or remove them from your life.
In his book, the Mayo Clinic Guide to Stress-Free Living, he explains how the brain produces unwanted stress and offers actionable steps to help you calm your mind. The book addresses:
? How stress is linked to the wandering nature of the mind.
? Why common stress management practices dont work for most people.
? How you can apply real-world skills to achieve weight loss, smoking cessation and other behavioral changes.
Spare the Praise; Encourage a Child
Every child needs occasional praise from a loving adult. African-American parents may work especially hard to encourage their children to help compensate for the challenges our kids face in the world.
But in order to be effective, that praise should be balanced, a new study reports.
Over-praising a child who has low self-esteem may do more harm than good, concluded researchers who observed parents tendencies to over-praise and childrens responses to different evaluations of their work.
Inflated praise can backfire with those kids who seem to need it the most kids with low self-esteem, says Eddie Brummelman, lead author of the study and a visiting scholar at The Ohio State University.
While children with very high self-esteem respond well to high praise, children who are less secure about their abilities may find it a heavy burden that impacts performance on future tasks.
The research team defined inflated praise as sometimes adding an extra word to an evaluation of a childs work. For example, adding words such as incredibly or perfect or using phrases such as, Youre incredibly good at this, as opposed to Youre good at this, or a more appropriate and balanced form of praise such as well-done. Parents in the study also used inflated responses like fantastic! or super good!
To measure the impact of praise, Brummelman and his team asked 240 children to draw Wild Roses, a famous Vincent van Gogh painting. Each child then received inflated, non-inflated or no praise written by someone they thought was a professional painter.
After reading the evaluations, the children were asked to draw other pictures, but they were allowed to choose which ones they would copy. They were told they could select pictures that were easy but told, you wont learn much. Or they could attempt more difficult pictures in which you might make many mistakes, but youll definitely learn a lot too.
The research team reported that children with low self-esteem were more likely to choose the easier pictures if they received inflated praise after drawing the initial picture. By contrast, children with high self-esteem were more likely to choose the more difficult pictures if they received inflated praise.
The problem seems to be that however well-intentioned, inflated praise may put too much
pressure on those with low self-esteem, Brummelman says.
If you tell a child with low self-esteem that they did incredibly well, they may think they always need to do incredibly well. They may worry about meeting those high standards and decide not to take on any new challenges.
Vitamin E May Delay Alzheimers Decline and Reduce Caregiving Time
More than 5.1 million Alzheimer’s patients struggle with activities of daily living. For many reasons including social and economic stressors Alzheimers disease is more prevalent among African Americans, and black women are more likely to be caregivers than women from other groups. Those who care for loved ones with Alzheimers are often frustrated because physicians have little to offer in the way of effective medication.
So, new research from the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai offers a bit of good news. It seems that alpha tocepherol, fat-soluble Vitamin E (easily purchased in any drug store) may slow functional decline including problems with dressing, preparing meals, shopping in patients with mild-to-moderate Alzheimers.
This trial showed that vitamin E delays progression of functional decline by 19 percent per year, which translates into 6.2 months benefit over placebo, says Mary Sano, Ph.D., trial co-investigator and professor in the department of psychiatry at the Icahn School of Medicine. Taking the supplement also reduced the caregiving time.
Study participants were given a daily dose of 2,000 IU of vitamin E, but caregivers should consult a physician before adding vitamin E therapy to an Alzheimers patients daily medications. A large dose of vitamin E may interact with other medications or reduce blood clotting.