“As your weight goes up, the size and function of your brain goes down.” This, according to psychiatrist, Daniel Amen. It’s true, smaller doesn’t always mean better, especially when it comes to the size of your brain!
Dr. Amen, author of Change Your Brain, Change Your Body, wants us all to get on his brain program and avoid what he calls the “Dinosaur Syndrome.” Yes, dinosaurs, those creatures with little brains and big bodies. Apparently some of us fit the description. Our bodies are growing in size, but are brains are getting smaller.
When a person is overweight, brain function decreases, especially in the area know as the prefrontal cortex. The prefrontal cortex in the brain is responsible for impulse control, decision-making and other reasoning functions. So when you see that large scrumptious piece of chocolate cake, your overweight brain may say, “Go for it!” When you are confronted with multiple choices of tempting concoctions at that buffet, reason goes out the window. You give in and eat!
And to add insult to injury, when Dr. Amen imaged overweight brains, he found that the overweight brain also appears to be more typical of older people. To use the dinosaur metaphor, not only are our bodies bigger, our brains smaller , but like the dinosaur, our brains appear older! You might be thinking, “Great, is there any good news here?”
Yes. With so many of us overweight, Dr. Amen says exercise can help increase gray matter and even help avoid dementia in some cases. He also advocates a healthy diet that includes eliminating sugars, too much alcohol and processed foods. You can make lifestyle choices to not only improve your brain, but make it bigger. In this case, bigger is better!
As usual, the solution here is one that you have heard repeatedly–eat better and exercise more. There seems to be no way around this tried and true advice. So if you want a bigger brain that functions along with your age, get on that treadmill, walk the dog and commit to those five servings of fruits and vegetables we all need daily. When you do, your expanded brain will thank you!
Downsizing, added work loads, difficult co-workers, budget cuts and poor leadership can cause even the calmest person to worry on the job. On way to deal with stress and job worries is to control the things you can and trust God for the rest.
Here are 5 proactive steps you can take in order to get rid of job worry:
1) Organize the clutter. If you are running around your office like the White Rabbit in Alice and Wonderland, thinking, “I’m late. I’m late, for a very important date!” you may need to declutter. You control your workspace. Clutter creates distraction. Distraction slows you down and can cause you to miss deadlines or turn in late assignments. Cleaning papers off your desk can free your mind.
2) Find positive, supportive people. Find at least one person in your workplace that will help you stay positive on the job. Befriend that person or better yet, become that person for others.
3) Use humor to break tension. Humor is a self-care tool that fosters a positive and hopeful attitude. It releases emotions and stimulates the immune system. Studies at Cornell University concluded that people exposed to humor in the workplace were more creative problem-solvers and could better see the consequences of their individual decisions.
4) Lose the perfectionism.Perfectionists worry about every detail on the job. They want approval and don’t want to disappoint. Perfectionism impacts productivity and job satisfaction and can also damage relationships with supervisors and colleagues. It is self-imposed stress. Look at the big picture and stop getting lost in the details.
5) Evaluate your working conditions. If they are poor, see if you can make changes in small things or decide to look for another position if the workplace is dangerous or toxic. For example, is the worked too demanding with too few people, are expectations unclear, is communication poor, do you lack the resources needed for the job, is there air pollution or ergonomic problems that are not getting solved? When working conditions are poor you can suggest changes, accept the poor conditions or find another position.
Adapted from Letting Go of Worry by Dr. Linda Mintle (Harvest House 2011)
When the New York Post reported that 14-year-old Glynis Coyne has been getting her legs waxed since she was eight years old, I just gasped. Apparently, I am not up on the trend–hair removal for prepubescent girls! Instead of a trip to the candy store, a growing number of moms choose spa visits. The menu includes leg and bikini waxing and eyebrow shaping.
Honestly, did you ever think about body hair at the age of eight? Who is pointing out the hair and telling children this is a problem? It has to be the parents.
And what about potential side effects of inflammation of the hair follicle and irritation of the skin? I cannot wait to hear what dermatologists think of this.
Hair removal for cosmetic purposes is just one more way to sexualize and objectify young girls, making them even more obsessed about their appearance. And with record rates of eating disorders and body image disturbance, the pressure to have and maintain the perfect body is not relieved.
How does a young girl learn to like her body, flaws and all, when her mother is taking her for “treatments” at the ripe old age of 8? This is beauty obsession gone wild! Children are already bombarded with repeated images of what they are supposed to look like and know they will never measure up. Every day, they face a culture obsessed with cloning Barbie. Children do not need their mothers adding to the problem. They need to know they are unconditionally loved.
To be fair, there is probably a mom or two who thinks waxing is an answer to the problem of mean-spirited classmates who tease girls who physically develop early. More girls are reaching puberty at younger ages. But even these well-meaning moms must rethink how they solve the teasing problem. Hair removal for self-esteem is not an answer. Better to have talks about normal development and physical changes. And kids who tease a girl’s physical development should be disciplined and taught respect.
So any parent who is considering hair removal for their tweener, please rethink this decision. Do not play in to the cultural prescriptions for beauty that only lead to anxiety and obsession. Teach your children that true esteem cannot be found in a hair treatment but in the loving treatment of an accepting parent.
If you are a Christian couple, does it matter who you see and what approach the person uses to help you?
Absolutely. So much of couples therapy is based on a secular humanistic approach and not on the truths of Christianity. Here is why it matters:
1) Secular therapies are often based on the idea of evolution, not creation. As Christians, we see the handprint of God’s design in all we do and believe we are made in the image of God.
2) Christian therapy is not based on the postmodern idea that truth is relative. Jesus is the Truth and He sets people free. We are guided by the truth of Scripture, not the cultural think of the day.
3) Everything we do is seen through a Christian lens. Thus, there is no separation between the secular and sacred, faith or reason, the spiritual or natural. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do EVERYTHING, in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. (Colossians 3:17).
4) Christian therapy integrates what is good and doctrinally sound with nonChristian approaches. Discernment and wisdom are needed to integrate.
5) Christian therapists believe in sin and that sin can be a root of problems. Other therapies believe in the goodness of man and have no place for a sin doctrine.
6) Christian therapists believe there is a close link between couple and spiritual growth. Without a spiritual base of unity, marriages are much harder to navigate.
7) Christian therapists rely on God in the person of the Holy Spirit to change us.
8) Christian therapists hold to a covenant view of marriage versus a contract only view.
9) Christian therapists see forgiveness as a command, not something you do if you feel like it, or think the other person deserves it. We were forgiven by God when we didn’t deserve it and He commands us to do the same with each other.
10) Christian therapists believe in hope and leave room for the impossible.
So if you are a Christian couple looking for a therapist to help your marriage, find a therapist who shares your faith. Several sites like Focus on the Family and The American Association for Christian counseling (aacc.net) have referral information. The world view of the therapist shapes the direction of therapy and is important.