Beliefnet
Daily Cup of Wellness

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Shutterstock.com

New research found that forty-five percent of adults find it hard to make new friends.

The new study on the social dynamics pooled 2,000 Americans. The research revealed that the average American hasn’t made a new friend in five years.

The study conducted by OnePoll along with Evite found that one of the biggest reasons why adults are struggling to make new friends is a result of introversion or shyness.

Some of the other big reasons Americans struggle to make friends responders admitted was commitment to family, not having any hobbies that allow them to meet new people and moving to a new city.

While those who participated in the study find it difficult to make friends they said they would go out of their way to make new friends if the right opportunities were presented.

“For the 45 percent who are looking to make new friends, the best and most underrated way to do that these days is still in-person. You can host a party, or something more low-key like book club or happy hour, and tell each of your guests to bring a friend,” said Evite’s in-house party specialist, Piera Pizzo.

“You’ll be surprised at how naturally social circles can come together, and at the lasting connections you can make when bonding face-to-face.”

Another interesting thing the study revealed was that the average American has around 16 friends.

The study showed that the average American has three friends for life, five people they would hang out with one-on-one, and eight people they like but don’t spend time with one-on-one or seek out.

Shutterstock.com

Shutterstock.com

It is really tough dealing with loss, especially the loss of a close family member or friend. Many of us have no idea how to handle the emotional turmoil we’re experiencing and not dealing with that loss adequately can lead to even more pain. While the grieving process is never easy, there are some simple and effective ways to handle the loss of a loved one. Here are five mindful methods for staying calm in the midst of grief.

1. Up your meditation practice: Try 10 minutes twice a day – or 20 minutes twice a day if you can make time. Look for guided meditations on Insight Timer or the free Balanced Mind with Julie Potiker podcast on iTunes. Mix it up so that your mind is relaxing into the practice.

2. Stay connected with other humans: We are wired to connect and it feels supportive when we share the burdens with each other. I attended a rally against hate after the horrendous events in Charlottesville, Virginia. Intellectually, I knew that me being there would not make one bit of difference. Emotionally, it was just what I needed to feel connected to 500 other human beings who share my values.

3. Take self-compassion breaks throughout the day: Place your hand on your heart or where you find it most soothing. Acknowledge what’s going on. For instance, say to yourself, “This is a moment of suffering; this is hard.” Then connect yourself to the multitudes of humanity that are also suffering, knowing in your bones that you are not alone in your existential angst. Then tell yourself something helpful. My mom used to say, “This too shall pass.” I tend to say, “You’re going to be okay,” or something along those lines.

4. Stay grounded: Ground yourself through the soles of your feet. No kidding; put your feet on the ground and send your attention down to the soles of your feet. How do they feel? Are you in socks and shoes? Barefoot? Cold or warm? Moist or dry? The act of doing this breaks the discursive loop of thoughts and emotions. You can also ground yourself with a “here and now stone.” Feel it, look at it, notice everything about it. Focusing on the stone will break you out of the loop of painful thoughts and feelings.

5. Get outside: There are huge health benefits to being in nature. While you are there, see if you can feel the temperature of the air, the breeze where it touches your skin. Notice any smells, and really look at the sights – leaves, flowers, etc. If you are walking, pay attention to how your feet feel hitting the ground, how your legs feel working, how your arms feel swinging at your sides. While you are noticing all these sensations, you are not ruminating.

While death is an inescapable fact of life, how we deal with grief has the power to keep us from losing it and help us get through the loss. Applying these mindful strategies can help you. During these trials, know that you are not alone. There are people around who will walk with you every step of the way. You will get through this.

Contributed by Julie Potiker, author of “Life Falls Apart, but You Don’t Have To: Mindful Methods for Staying Calm In the Midst of Chaos.”

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pixabay.com

Almost half of the U.S. population is taking prescription drugs.

In a survey published by the National Center for Health Statistics, approximately 46 percent of the population used one or more prescription drugs in the past 30 days.

“Changing trends in prescription drug use over time may be influenced by changing disease prevalence and diagnosis, expanded treatment recommendations, and decline in the use of inappropriate or ineffective therapies,” the report said.

According to Bloomberg Quint, this is a slight improvement from 10 years prior .

They also reported that the types of drugs Americans use vary by age group.

For example, the most popular drug taken by adolescents between 12 to 19 years old were stimulants to treat attention deficit disorder.

Anti-depressants were most popular among both young and middle-aged adults aged 20-59.

The highest share of drug use went to older adults, aged 60 and above.

Nearly half of the older population used prescription drugs to combat high cholesterol, while more than one in five use anti-diabetic drugs, according to the report.

Do you think these numbers will increase over time or do you trust that the trend points to a decrease in use over time?

 

Dave Haygarth/Flickr.com

Dave Haygarth/Flickr.com

The viral infection was declared eliminated from the U.S. in 2000 but has since come back with a vengeance. One of the big reasons measles is spreading is because of the many surrounding the disease. Here five of the top myths about measles debunked. It’s time to separate the fact from the fiction.

Myth 1: There is no measles outbreak.

Some are in denial surrounding the severity of the outbreak but it’s a serious reality. In 2019, the U.S. has experienced the greatest number of measles cases reported since the disease was eliminated from this country in 2000, the Infectious Diseases Society of America reports. According to the CDC, an outbreak is defined as three or more cases in a community and we’ve seen numerous measles outbreaks throughout the nation. The truth is the outbreak would be way worse if the majority of Americans weren’t vaccinated.

Myth 2: The measles vaccine causes autism.

This is one of the most popular myths surrounding measles but it is completely false. One of the reasons this idea may have developed is because the MMR vaccine is given around the first birthday. This is around the same time the signs of autism become more obvious and it is diagnosed. There have been countless large studies done and there hasn’t been one that has showed any connection between autism and the MMR vaccine.

Myth 3: Only children get measles.

Yes, adults have a significantly lower chance of contracting measles but there are cases where they should still be vaccinated, particularly adults born between 1957 and 1989. Those who were born before 1957 are considered immune because they either had or had been exposed to measles. Those born between 1957 and 1989 may have had one of the earlier doses of the measles vaccine that may have been less effective. If you’re in an area where the measles outbreak is prevalent, it is recommended that you get a second dose of the MMR.

Myth 4: My child is only a year old and is too young to be vaccinated.

Given the current situation, it is recommended that vaccinations begin at 12 months. Most children get their first measles vaccine between 12 and 15 months. If there’s a local outbreak, it is recommended that your child be vaccinated sooner, as young as 6 months.

Myth 5: There are natural ways to prevent the measles.

Don’t trust sources that say that there are natural ways to prevent the measles. There are no natural preventative measures for measles. Orlando Health reports that vaccinations are the single most effective way to prevent yourself from contracting measles.

It can’t be stressed enough that the measles outbreak is a serious matter. According to the World Health Organization, measles cases have continued to climb this year and preliminary global data shows that reported cases rose by 300 percent in the first three months of 2019. They also reported that there are spikes in case numbers in countries with high overall vaccination coverage like the U.S. The best thing you can do is read about vaccines on accurate sites such as the CDC website, talk to your doctor and get vaccinated.

The measles is a serious disease that can lead to serious complications.

grieving friend on Mother's DayA mother’s love is unconditional. A mother’s love is the glue that holds us together. What happens when we are forced to endure Mother’s Day without Mom? What happens to the bereaved Moms on Mother’s Day?

Holidays that focus on mom are an emotional roller coaster when you have lost your mom or a child. What do the motherless do on Mother’s Day if they lost Mom? What does a mother do on Mother’s Day if she is a bereaved mom? Even if Mom has surviving children, a day devoted to mothers only can heighten her sense of isolation and loss. Starting as early as April, we are bombarded by the ads for selecting the perfect gift for mom on Mother’s Day. How do we help those that are hurting this Mother’s Day? What do we get the motherless and childless on Mother’s Day?

Unless you are directly in a grieving person’s shoes, it is difficult to comprehend the magnitude of loss the person grieving feels. For many, Mother’s Day becomes a day of surviving and struggling to get through the day. Although nothing can relieve the gut wrenching loss and hurt, below are some unofficial rules on speaking to a grieving person this Mother’s Day or pretty much throughout the year.

1. It’s not about you and your feelings.

Grieving isn’t a one size fits all thing. You may have lost your nephew, but your sister lost her son. You may have lost your aunt, but your cousin just lost her mother. Each and everyone of us are grieving in different ways, but all of us are hurting. Countless well-meaning friends and acquaintances have a tendency to discuss how loss has affected them. It is not uncommon for someone who is grieving to encounter endless people who want to share their own grief stories. They believe by doing this it will demonstrate that they understand grief and they know how you feel. But the problem is everyone grieves different. And many times, your newly grieving friend will only end up dredging up emotional energy that they do not have now to comfort you. There are no adequate words for losing a loved one, only the gift of compassion and love.

2. Always think before you speak.

Many grievers endure an onslaught of self-serving remarks making them want to retreat into their bereavement bunker away from the world.

Well-meaning friend: “You are so strong! I could never handle what you are going through!” Actually, you could because you have no choice but to move forward and be strong. An empathetic friend knows how to be there and truly listen without projecting their own insecurities.

Well-meaning friend: “I didn’t call you because I knew you wanted to be alone.” Maybe your friend did want to be alone, but a good friend who is truly compassionate always calls or texts. In today’s tech savvy society, it is not difficult to stay in touch with friends.

To be fair our society pretty much avoids grief. It is an uncomfortable reminder of our mortality and rather than deal with it, we avoid it. Many of us have little or no experience with people who are drowning in grief, so we are not sure if we are helping or hurting the person. Always try to think to yourself, would I want someone to say this to me if my heart was shattered?

3. There is no bright side for someone grieving.

Sometimes the most horrible, unimaginable things happen to most amazing, incredibly loving people on the planet. And guess what? Sometimes life does not make sense. Children should never, ever die before their parents. When we lose someone we love we are inundated with tons of remarks of how there is no more pain and suffering and that our loved one is in a better place. And the truth is deep down many of us know this and believe our loved ones are waiting for us in a better place. But in reality, your grieving friend does not want to hear this. There is no bright side and these comments are never, ever welcome. These comments are only painful reminders of what was taken away too soon. Observations that begin with, “At least he isn’t suffering” or “At least you have other children.” are agonizing for your grieving friend. If you want to support your loved one in the best way possible, keep “as least” out of your conversations with her. Try instead, “I miss him too” or “What’s your favorite memory of her?”

4. Grief is not something we conquer.

Grief is something that is not linear, it is chaotic, messy and complicated. Grief is something we learn how to live with. And we learn this by experiencing the painful ebb and flow of grief. After the funeral is over and the period of grieving that society thinks is “normal” ends, those emotions do not simply disappear. The immediate family returns home to an empty home filled with emotions. A grieving parent learns how to survive in a society that has no idea how to handle them because their grief is inconceivable and an uncomfortable reminder to many of their own mortality. Loved ones return to an empty home of memories. An empty chair at the dinner table that triggers a memory, causing feelings of sadness, longing and loss. All the firsts and life events that will no longer happen. Grief is not about achieving closure, it’s trying to figure out how to handle all the emotional and often painful memories that are triggered throughout a lifetime of mourning all the love we want to give but can no longer give.

5. Let your grieving friend feel their emotions.

Grief knows no boundaries. Whether you are at the grocery store or minding your own business reading a book, the weight of losing someone you love can crush you at a moment’s notice. The emotions of grief come and go just like the waves in the ocean. And when the waves of grief threaten to suck you in, many times your heart is not prepared for the intense pain. Some days and holidays, those waves of grief hit more forcefully, more fiercely that we can ever imagine possible. For many it can feel like a tsunami of sadness all over again. Society has a tendency to put a time limit on grieving and is unable to comprehend how vital it is for the grieving to feel their emotions. Your grieving friend will have stormy days, and that’s okay as a matter of a fact it’s normal. Try to help your friend adjust their sails and work within the waves.

We all grieve differently, but one thing we often need is someone to listen. Whatever you do, try to help your grieving friend believe that she will make it through the day. Try to help your grieving friend believe that she will be okay and give her hope that in the future she will find herself in a place where she can grieve and maybe someday celebrate Mother’s Day all in the same time. There is no guidebook for the loved ones, but we can strive to take care of each other this Mother’s Day.

 

Lisa Ingrassia is a freelance writer who writes regularly for Beliefnet, Her View From Home, The Mighty and also blogs for the Huffington Post.