Doing Life Together

Doing Life Together

Chew on This If You Chew on Gum

posted by Linda Mintle

gum 2When that new flavor of gum hits the grocery store, its tempting. Watermelon sour, triple berry fruit…sounds like dessert in a stick, but what is the skinny on gum chewing?

As a mom, I didn’t let my kids chew gum, probably because I am not a gum chewer, so we never had gum in the house. But I know a lot of people who smack away. So I wondered, does chewing gum have benefits or does it do some harm?

Don’t panic! Gum chewers don’t end up in the ER! But those of you who are a little orally fixated, might want to know your gum facts! And who knows, this could be a Jeopardy category one day!

Dr. Bell, a GI in Virginia Beach, VA. weighs in on the pros and cons of gum chewing in a recent article in the Wall Street Journal. According to him, we need to get our gum facts right!

Some people think gum chewing causes an upset stomach. Dr. Bell explains that when you first put that gum in your mouth, you signal the brain to begin the digestive process. Saliva is released thinking food is coming. Since no food shows up, you might think, uh oh, the stomach is tricked and acid is released. I feel boated or gassy. That feeling  comes from the air intake that comes with chewing, not the acid. So gum is not upsetting the stomach. I guess that gives credence to the old saying, chew with your mouth closed!

Gum doesn’t act like a weight loss agent either. Remember it kick starts the digestion system which might make you feel even more hungry. So despite the claims, chew because you like it, not to lose weight! And if you want to freshen your breath, gum is true to that promise!

If you listen to your dentist and chew sugar free gum, you aren’t completely in the clear. The main ingredient in sugar free gum, Sorbitol, taken in large amounts, can give you GI problems. Some people can get excessive gas from that ingredient taken in high doses, so moderate or stop if you are sensitive to Sorbitol.

Dr. Bell also notes that there are studies linking adolescent gum chewing to migraine headaches and that people with mild jaw problems could irritate those problems even more.

So is there any good news here? Yes, other studies say chewing gum during a task can help you think better. Maybe that is why so many teens smack away during their exams!

I probably just took the fun out of gum, but hey, if you need to chew, it’s way better than tobacco!

 

 

 

#NOT TALKING TO YOU #FIGHTINGAGAIN: Tweeting Our Way to Conflict

posted by Linda Mintle

snsTWEET: You didn’t follow through on your promise today#madatyouagain

TWEET: How about the way you responded #outofcontrol

TWEET: No way. Call me @JohnSmith. I’m over Tim!

TWEET: #overreacting. #outofcontrol and trying to blame me. I guess I eat out tonight!

TWEET: Seriously, no dinner with me is right! Checking my options @JohnSmith

What would be your guess as to the relationship health of this couple? Good, problematic, headed for trouble?

If you said problematic or headed for trouble, you are right!

In fact, one researcher, Russell Clayton, discovered that active Twitter use leads to greater amounts of Twitter-related conflict among romantic partners. In other words, couples may find themselves fighting over those tweets and creating conflict that leads to a break up or infidelity.

Twitter, a social networking site (SNS), can have a damaging effect on romantic relationships. Those 140 character tweets can create jealously, flirting, distrust and strong emotions. Just add the hashtag (#) or @replies and you’ve got a public conversation that should have remained private. This gives new meaning to airing your laundry in public!

Like other SNSs, it’s a good idea to keep your private life private. Don’t use SNS to stir up jealousy or engage in betrayal. If you are having problems in your relationship over the use of Twitter, stop using it and start talking to your partner in person.

#DoneWithTwitter until we can work out a plan!

#StoppingHurtingOurRelationship!

Good idea @drlindahelps!

 

 

Source: ClaytonRussell B.. Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking. -Not available-, ahead of print. doi:10.1089/cyber.2013.0570.

I’m Trying to Fall Asleep But I’m Too Wound Up!

posted by Linda Mintle

sleepI spent too much money on a pillow that was supposed to help me sleep better. The promise was that it would stay cool and not cause any neck discomfort. It is a comfortable pillow, but I still find myself waking in the middle of the night, turning the pillow over to cool it down. So much for the stay cool part of the promise!

When it comes to falling asleep, we have everything from drugs to special pillows to help aid us to dream land. Still, too many of us find ourselves thinking about the deadlines for tomorrow and stressing over things out of our control. Our thoughts race. We need to unwind and let it go. Maybe we need a relaxation coach!

That’s right, a coach to help us let go of our cares and wind down without medications!  The coach assesses our nightly habits, asking questions about sleep routine, and worry levels at bedtime. Then he/she asks about relaxation sounds–do we prefer the sound of the ocean, the crackling of a fire, a beautiful chime, etc. The coach will provide us these sounds to help us fall asleep.

Next, we work on a bedtime routine. No more throwing in a load of laundry at 11:00 at night or finishing that last minute deadline on the computer. NO! Instead, we wind down with stretches and maybe a relaxing bath. We establish a sleep ritual like drinking hot herbal tea, darkening the room and reading. Next, we might play a relaxation CD made with a soothing voice or those relaxing sounds to help us relax. I like the ocean with seagulls, but found it made me get up to go to the bathroom too often! Something about the sound of water!

The relaxation coach incorporates a few  basic principles that you can probably figure out yourself.

1) Lessen your activity level towards bedtime.

2) Develop a bedtime routine.

3) Come up with a few rituals that help you relax.

4) Make the room calm, dark and cool to help with sleep.

5) Think of something positive, meditate on the goodness of God and be grateful for the day.

The main idea is to be intentional about relaxing and getting ready for bed.

Yes, the relaxation coach is a good idea. But I’ve found one that really works. I get coached through the Word of God. Turn off the thoughts of the day by praying and meditating on a Scripture. I find myself  drifting off to a good night’s sleep! God’s Word is comforting like a warm bath. It soothes like the sounds of the ocean. And it takes my mind to a place of rest. He will keep me in perfect peace when my mind is stayed on Him.

Your Doctor May Be Checking a New Vital Sign!

posted by Linda Mintle

doctor smallerLet’s say you just had a check up and found out your blood sugar was too high. Your doctor talked to you about managing your diet in a way that might bring those levels down. Now, it is up to you to follow through with a plan.

Will you do it?

In order to get a sense of your compliance, your doctor might give you an assessment called a Patient Activation Measure (PAM) in which you agree/disagree with 13 statements that are rated on a score from 0 to 100 points. Based on your score, you will fall into one of four categories that measure how well you will engage in your own care.

If you are highly motivated, you will most likely have a better outcome with your health issue and incur lower costs along the way. If you are not so well motivated, well…you are probably unlikely to take your medications, follow through on advice and instruction, skip preventative measure or end up back in the doctor’s office or the hospital.

If you’ve had surgery and need to change your eating habits or deal with a chronic condition like high blood pressure, your activation score matters.  Health care providers want you to become confident in your ability to change your own behavior and do what is necessary to take charge of your health.

Most doctors who use this measure are not going to tell you how you score. If you rank low on the score, you are considered passive when it comes to your own care. You lack confidence and problems-solving and may need some coaching. If you score in the second level, you probably have some knowledge of what to do, but could use help. Level 3  people take action and are goal-oriented. If you score in level 4, you are doing new things to make changes, but may need a little help when stress hits high. The higher the score, the more engaged you are in your health destiny.

Why do doctors care about this score? Low scores relate to cost of care. The lower the score, the more likely you will be readmitted to a hospital post 30 days of discharge than those with higher scores (Journal of General Internal Medicine).

For the patient, it’s all about controlling your own destiny and taking charge of your health care. So get activated. You don’t need an assessment to know that the more you care about doing what you can to prevent and manage illness, the better your life will be and the less money you will spend on health care.

 

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