When I would visit my mom in the nursing home, I would visit the Alzheimer’s unit and ask my mom to come sing with me while I played the piano for the patients. What was remarkable was that the Alzheimer patients, who couldn’t remember who I was from time to time, would join mom and me in singing the words to many old songs. And after we sang, they seemed to converse better.
What I didn’t know at the time was what was discovered in a November 2013 study in the Journal of Neurolinguistics. In the study, researchers had Alzheimer patients choose familiar music . When they listened to familiar music for two minutes and then were asked to do a conversational memory task, they did better than a group who sat in silence and then did the task. The familiar music enhanced the grammar, meaningful words and content of what was spoken. Music improved their conversational skills.
Alzheimer patients experience a decline in autobiographical memory that affects their sense of identity. The thinking is that familiar music may help with recall of deep memories and strengthen the patient’s sense of identity.
Little did mom and I know that our enjoyment of music and playing the old tunes could actually be helping in other ways. We saw the smiles, we heard the joyful singing, we noticed they remembered the words, but we didn’t know that music could do even more.
If you want to eat less of an item, buy it individually wrapped rather than loose in the bag. For example, let’s say you could buy individual wrapped candies and put them in a bowl, or put loose candies in that same bowl. Go for the wrapped candies because you will eat more of the loose candy. I noticed this at Christmas. I had peanut M&Ms in a candy dish. Every time someone would walk by the dish, he or she would grab a few. When I switched the bowl to individually wrapped candies, they lasted longer.
It appears that anything that slows down our availability to food helps us eat less of it. Wrapped foods slow us down! A study in Appetite found that the availability of food influences our eating. If we have a bit of a physical imposition in getting that food, it affects how much we eat.
Not only did the researchers test the difference between unwrapped and wrapped candies, but they also tested the difference between eating candies with your hand versus using a tong. Again, the tong slowed things down and that group ate less.
The take away. If you are going to have candy around the house, buy the wrapped pieces! A little physical effort slows down the snacking! And most of us need all the tricks!
It’s 6 a.m. You begin your day with two cups of coffee, feed the kids, and grab a granola bar as you run out the door to meet the school bus. Then you make a mad rush to do errands. By 10 a.m., your blood sugar is dropping so you stop by 7-11 and grab a high caffeine drink and a couple of cookies. Then it is home to do laundry and clean up from the morning rush. You have a meeting at the school and the dog needs to be seen at the vet so you run by the fast food drive through, grab a burger and fries (you are really hungry now) and a Coke. The guy in the car in back of you cuts you off and you scream out your window—Jerk! And it is only noon! If this is you, time to make major changes:
- Slow down. If you are constantly on the run, something in the schedule has to change. Rushing equals mindless eating. Then the guilt sets in and you eat even more. Rushing also takes a toll on your physical body. You need a few moments of rest and down time.
- Rethink all the activity in your household. Can you cut something out and rethink the kid’s schedules. They feel your stress and also need to play and relax.
- Bring back the family meal. Work it in to the schedule. The benefits are astounding- better nutrition, academic performance, and lower risk for delinquent behavior – a small price to pay for big results. Dust off the crock pot and download a few 30-minute meals.
- Get rest. To function properly, you need at least seven hours of sleep a night. Less than that equals weight gain and causes irritability.
- Be a woman, not just a mom. Moms can get so busy doing, they forget they are women. If you end each day in a state of exhaustion with no time to check in with your spouse, re-evaluate the use of your time. Your husband needs your attention and you need his. Keep the marital bond strong in order to preserve your marriage.
You are important and need to function well in order to take care of others. First, you have to take care of your self. Make the minor changes and add a quiet time to spiritually refresh. Your family needs you!
Everyday, we are exposed to new health findings in newspapers, blogs, on-line websites, and news feature. If you listen to them all, you will end up confused, and feeling like your family gets an “F” in health. And all of this information can create worry and tension. So if you find yourself yelling across the table, “Put down that six ounce steak!” you may need a day at the spa.
Seriously, we need to be careful not to allow the plethora of medical information available to us to make us crazy. We can worry ourselves sick and incorrectly diagnose those we love (this happens more than you think).
When it comes to worry, the Internet is a blessing and a curse. You can easily find a disease or illness that fits any ache or pain. And with media telling us what is healthy and what is not, we need to get a grip on keeping health worries at bay.
In the worse case, worrying about health can become an obsession known as hypochondria, a psychological condition in which any physical symptom is interpreted as a serious medical problem. Even in the face of no evidence, a hypochondriac believes he or she has an illness. Doctors, friends, and families cannot convince a person preoccupied with sickness to think differently. Health anxiety is so excessive that a sore throat is throat cancer, a headache is a brain tumor, a fainting spell means diabetes, etc. This form of excessive worry needs professional help from a mental health provider.
For the less excessive worrier, health anxieties are dealt with like any other worry. You have to take the worried thought captive and bring it to he obedience of Christ. Biblically, we are instructed to be anxious about nothing. Trying to suppress worry thoughts does not work. It only makes you more worried. So the next time you see a lump and begin to panic, take a deep breath. Do not assume the worse. Check it out and do not allow your thoughts to wander into worried waters. Take your worries to God; leave them with Him and focus on His goodness and presence in your life.