Doing Life Together

Doing Life Together

Discover One Benefit to Aging

posted by Linda Mintle

As we age, our bodies ache a little more. We forget things and lose energy. But not everything about aging is negative. In fact, stress and worry actually decrease with age!

Older people, it turns out, have a higher ratio of positive to negative feelings. Part of this is due to the fact that older people have developed coping skills and can look back on accomplishments and goals. Anger lessens and we feel more joy.

But not everyone is aging in a healthy way when it comes to worry. There is a small percentage of people who still struggle with worry. However, you can train yourself  to put aside negative emotions and focus more on the positive.

For those not feeling so worry free, Dr. Brassen and his colleagues at the Geriatric Mental health Foundation decided to develop a treatment program for the elderly who were depressed and unable to focus on the positives. The treatment involves learning to better adapt to life circumstances and focusing on accomplished goals and positive experiences.

Dr. Laura Castensen at Stanford University does caution the elderly to not be too trusting, especially when it comes to scam artists who regularly target the elderly. Case in point, my elderly father gave personal information to a scam artist posing as someone who was going to deliver a hospital bed for my ill mom. My dad simply trusted the telephone caller who turned out to not be who he said he was. Dad was vulnerable because he trusted in the good will of people and didn’t ask enough questions.

So the bottom line is to be aware of those who prey on the elderly, but also approach aging with optimism. Our positive emotions help us live longer and happier lives.

Are You as Over Politics As I Am?

posted by Linda Mintle

I hate politics. I feel assaulted every time a political ad comes on the air. Name calling, accusations, a total disregard for truth.. I could go on but you are experiencing it too! It’s so disgusting that I am clicking off the channel when ANY political ad comes on TV.

In my perfect world, politicians would tell us their vision, their plan and how they will accomplish such. Then, the pundits and commentators would remain silent. OK, maybe not silent but accurately summarize what was said. I think they used to call that reporting!

I don’t need people on TV telling me how to think. I don’t need them to interpret what I just heard. And I certainly don’t need them to engage in rude behavior and bias and expect me to find that interesting.

I know, I’m dreaming.

But the constant modeling of anger, intolerance, hate towards those who don’t agree with you, name-calling and so on can’t be good for any of us. What does it teach us about relationships?

Let’s see. When you don’t agree, attack? When you don’t understand a person’s point of view, call him a name? Make fun of those who believe differently. And ridicule moral and religious beliefs. Call people with standards phobic.

If any of you are taking notes from these political “discussions”, please throw your notes away. Class over. This is dysfunction on display! It’s like those first 20 minutes of the movie, Saving Private Ryan– I sat in the theatre, head buried in my husband’s side, quietly pleading, “Please make it stop. It’s too much. I can’t take it!”

I can’t take it. If you feel passionately about this election, I am glad. I am passionate about my vote. But I am not going to name call, put down, accuse you of hate, racism and all the other crazy things we hear. I’m not going there. If you want a civil conversation on issues, I’m all for it. But what we see in media is embarrassing. It’s like watching a bunch of mean kids. And I don’t find mean kids entertaining or funny.

 

 

Believe! Bieber Fever is All in the Brain

posted by Linda Mintle

“I can be a gentleman, anything you want. If I was your boyfriend, I’d never let you go.”

Those lyrics can create fan hysteria. “Bielievers” (Justin Bieber fans) are star struck once again. His BELIEVE album has topped the charts and  adds to his 15 million albums already sold since 2009. His hit, “Boyfriend (lyrics above) brings teen girls to tears, fainting and hysteria.

Let’s just say the kid is big! Really big, and has a following of swooners like those of Elvis and the Beatles. So is all this Bieber obsession good for teens?

It is safe to have a crush on a celebrity you will never meet and actually stimulates the brain the same way chocolate or other addictions do. According to researcher Daniel Levitin, musical tastes formed in the teen years become internally hard wired in the brain. This music then stimulates the release of the pleasure neurotransmitter, dopamine, giving the rush feeling that makes teen girls scream and cry over our boy Justin. And because teen girls are awakening to their feelings of romance, the Biebs can be a safe infatuation for budding sexuality.

Songs like, “If I was Your Boyfriend” play into girl’s fantasies of romance and love.

But can Bieber Fever go too far?

Yes, if it gets in the way of doing homework, developing real relationships and is fueled to ridiculous levels. I read that one mom spent huge amounts of money to send her daughter to a Bieber concert. The cost put the family in financial trouble. Definitely not a good choice in helping her daughter put some reality on the infatuation.

Teens need to learn balance in their lives and also understand the impact of commercialism and hype media throw at them. So while Bieber Fever may be in the brain, the obsession needs to be managed.  Parents, be sensible and talk to your teens about balance and infatuation. Some experts agree, at some point, your teen needs to give up the fantasy and operate in the real world. I’m trusting that most teens see the hype and can have a little fun with the infatuation, but move on with the rest of their lives.

So while Beiber Fever may all be in the brain, teen brains can still operate in reality. Infatuation is just a phase and real life romance much more challenging.

 

Prevent Child Depression: Treat Mom or Dad

posted by Linda Mintle

It is a sober statistic–one in eight women can expect to develop depression at some point in her life. One of those risk times is during the childbearing years. And when mom is depressed, it impacts the kids. In fact, when a child has a depressed mother, he or she is three times more likely to develop depression too.

Children who have depressed moms are sad, anxious, irritable and more disruptive than kids with moms who are not depressed.  They may feel responsible for their parents’ moods and have difficulty regulating their own emotions.

We also know that when a mom is depressed during her child’s first year of life, the baby is vulnerable because of the unresponsiveness or withdrawal of mom. Studies show that the baby senses the lower engagement and looks at mom less often (Pediatrics).

But here is the good news. When mom gets treatment for depression, her children get progressively better too. The faster she responds, the faster the kids responds. So early treatment is key! Depression is very treatable and needs to be addressed as soon as possible to help mom, but also her children.

So many people with depression choose not to get treatment. Obviously, this is not a good choice. And moms are not the only ones who impact their kids where depression is concerned. Depressed dads are less likely to read to their kids and  four times more likely to spank their kids.

So moms and dads, if you are struggling with depression get immediate help. Your action may prevent depression in your children.

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