Reduce Stress Through These Simple Steps

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Hi there my beautiful lovelies! Hope you all are doing well and staying safe. As promised I will share with you today some simple steps to reduce stress. One thing for sure, the current pandemic and brought out stresses in our lives that we never thought existed. It is also put havoc on our body and digestion. Read the entire blog and I have a bonus for you at the end. Don’t scroll down….

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Stress…what do we mean when to talk about stress?How do we describe stress. It’s our body’s fight or flight response. National Institution of Mental Health (NIMH) defines stress as the following:

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“Stress can be defined as the brain’s response to any demand. Many things can trigger this response, including change. Changes can be positive or negative, as well as real or perceived. They may be recurring, short-term, or long-term and may include things like commuting to and from school or work every day, traveling for a yearly vacation, or moving to another home. Changes can be mild and relatively harmless, such as winning a race, watching a scary movie, or riding a rollercoaster. Some changes are major, such as marriage or divorce, serious illness, or a car accident. Other changes are extreme, such as exposure to violence, and can lead to traumatic stress reactions.”

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Nevertheless, our exposure to stress might be it can have a big toll on our health, hence my today’s blog. I, like many of us have dealt with stress to the point that I always had palpitation, high heart rate (higher than my usual benign high heart rate), insomnia, and anxiety. However, all that changed when I decided to take the 8 week Mindful Based Stress Reduction class Dr. Gina L Sager. She is a retired board-certified general surgeon, named one of Baltimore’s Top Docs in October 2000. Gina taught us to be aware of the present and be in the moment. I am currently in the 7th week of the class and I have so much difference in the class. You can talk her class in Town for $500 or simply her CDs 10% of the proceed of which will go to HopeWell Cancer Support. I use her Yoga Nidra, a deed relaxing guided meditation CD every night help me fall asleep along with Melatonin. I have to say that has been a lifesaver for me. I also use her guided Sitting meditation CD during my one hour subway commute to work everyday that help feel focused and ready to take on the day with all my attention even with my ADD personality.

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During one my long morning commute to work in the past, a lady tapped my shoulder while I was on my meditation mode, and gave a local Washington Post Express newspaper pointing to a particular newspaper article, and saying “this is you”. What was interesting was that she observed it right. The lady in far left was like me. This is what I do everyday. So I am not alone. The article provided the following mindful commuting tips: 1) Focus on your surroundings: Focus you attention from when you will get to you destination to what you notice via your senses, like the sounds, the feel of you feet touching the ground, or places of your body that feel tense. 2) Focus on your breath: If you’re not riding a bike or driving take five slow, deep breaths, then return to normal breathing but try to notice each breath and the space between breaths. 3) Refuse your thoughts: you red lights or stops on a train or bus as a reminder notice whether you’re lost in though. Then refocus on your breathing or your senses.

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There are some great free apps with guided meditation. The one that I love that most is Calm. It’s free in both Google Play. This app can help you meditate, sleep, relax, focus and much more. Don’t let stress take over your health and life. Let’s start by focusing on the moment and being aware of the present. However, in on order to conquer stress to we have to be aware of our feeling.

Now I will share with a bonus video that I have created to help reduce step. Just follow this guided meditation everyday and improve your mental awareness and health, and reduce stress and anxiety in your life.

Please come back tomorrow to learn more about my short 7 days workout challenge toward a flatter stomach and healthier me. Also I will add a separate post on mindful eating (remember the side effect of eating fast?). Until next time, I leave you with the following quotes from Jerry Spinelli,

“Live Yesterday.
Not Yesterday.
Not tomorrow.
Just today.
Inhabit your moments.
Don’t rent them out to tomorrow.”
 

Hope you enjoyed my post as much I enjoyed writing it. What do you do to reduce stress. Did you find my video helpful. What more would you want do see. Please leave your comments.

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Healthy Life

Fitness

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My Ultimate Fight Against Bloating and Water Retention:

Hi there my lovelies! Hope you all are doing well and staying safe. Have started various diets and workout challenges just to stop and give up in the middle? Then you are not alone. I have probably now gone through several of this ‘so called’ diets and workouts just to give after few days.

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Before I talk about any workout and diet let me first give you a short background about my heath. I suffer from severe chronic pains, and being in few car accidents and a nasty fall aggravated such pains. Additionally, several gastrointestinal issues has not only restricted the diets I could get into, but also cause horrible bloating and water retention. After every meal, small or big, my stomach would bloat so much that I would look as if in my third trimester. I call is my gas baby, because that’s exactly what it is. It happens when large amounts of air or gas build up in the gastrointestinal tract. Eating is a common cause of bloating because when the body digests food, it produces gas. People also swallow air when eating or drinking, which then enters the gastrointestinal tract.

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As a public health and data driven person, I needed to find out what are the real culprit behind bloating and what happens if I eliminate one by one. So begins my search. Bloating can be caused by several culprits/

Common triggers of bloating:

  1. Stress
  2. Fizzy drinks
  3. Diet
  4. Lack of exercise
  5. Eating too quickly
  6. Dysbiosis
  7. IBS
  8. Food intolerances

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Stress: In order to address stress, I started relying a lot on Mindfulness Based Meditation (Look Out for My Repost Tomorrow). The main goal of mindfulness based meditation is living in the moment. My dear lovelies, if you are a regular to my blog you may already know about my struggle with generalized anxiety symptoms and ADD. I will post detail post about each later. One of my regular regiment for dealing with stress and anxiety is being present in the moment. I actually took part in a stress study, where biofeedback mechanism was used to control stress. It’s then I actually got a measurement of extremely high stress level. That what the beginning of my mindful meditation journey. Through techniques as deep breathing and guided meditation I have learned to control my stress and anxiety. There is a saying:

That’s exactly what I have learned from mindfulness based meditation. Through mindfulness yoga and my trusty guided tai chi app in my Occulus Quest. Do visit my blog tomorrow for more detail information about guided meditation and a bonus video.

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Frizzy Drinks:Any carbonated drink (yes, even sparking water) can cause bloating. The fizzing bubbles in carbonated drinks are actually gas, which can get trapped in your stomach and make you feel like you’ve been pumped with helium. I have eliminated fizzy drinks from my diet complete. Though I have seen some improvement but I have a long way to go.

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Diet: Certain food in your diet can increase bloating. Diets such as, beans, lentils, carbonated drinks, onion, cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower), diary, garlic, apple, wheat, rye, barley (commonly found in cereal), sugar alcohol (found in sugar free gums), and beer. If you have problems with bloating, then chances are that a food on this list is the culprit. That being said, there is no reason to avoid all of these foods, only the ones that cause you problems personally. If you find that a certain food consistently makes you bloated, then simply avoid it. No food is worth suffering for. That being said, don’t stop eating every, but opt for complex carbohydrates, such as quinoa and sweet potato wedges, over cous cous and regular chips. Opt for papaya instead of watermelon and drink nut milk as opposed to cow’s milk.

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Lack of Exercise: Gas is a normal part of digestion, but how much you have depends on many variables, including your diet, when and how fast you eat, and the efficiency of your digestive system. One way to ease bloating discomfort is to get moving. Although you might feel like taking a nap after a big meal, walk for 10 to 15 minutes instead. Walking, jogging, calisthenics, and other types of exercise can help stimulate the passage of gas through your digestive tract. Lack of exercise can cause constipation, so you may feel like taking a nap after a large meal but getting in 10-15 mins of exercise can be really beneficial. Whether it’s running or walking, most forms of physical activity will help expel gas that causes pain and get your digestion moving.

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Eating too quickly: Drinking or eating too quickly increases the amount of air a person swallows, which can lead to more gas building up in the gastrointestinal tract. For people who eat or drink quickly, this may be a cause of bloating; slowing down the rate at which they eat might help to reduce the problem. Hence, I have made it a habit of chewing my food at least 10-20 times before swallowing. Yeah I know, I have taken it from the book of Sheldon Cooper from Big Bang Theory.

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Dysbiosis: Dysbiosis means that the ecosystem of microbes living in your gut has become imbalanced or dysfunctional. When dysbiosis occurs and the environment of the gut changes, levels of microbial byproducts such as methane and hydrogen can ramp up. I myself have suffered from dysbiosis, and have been put on antibiotic for that. I really did see an improvement on bloating level. Additionally, I have also found low FOBMAP diet to be very helpful. I will add another post on that diet.

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IBS: Uncomfortable and unflattering bloating is one of the main symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), along with abdominal pain, gas, diarrhea, and constipation. All of the symptoms are frustrating, but bloating can really make you feel down. IBS is a common disorder that affects the large intestine. Signs and symptoms include cramping, abdominal pain, bloating, gas, and diarrhea or constipation, or both. Some people can control their symptoms by managing diet, lifestyle, and stress. Others will need medication and counseling.

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Food Intolerance: A food intolerance, or a food sensitivity occurs when a person has difficulty digesting a particular food. This can lead to symptoms such as intestinal gas, abdominal pain or diarrhea. Food intolerance involve the digestive system. Food allergies involve the immune system. With a food allergy, even a microscopic amount of the food has the potential to lead to a serious or life-threatening reaction called anaphylaxis. Whether you have lactose intolerance, gluten intolerance, or even sucrose intolerance, it will effect your digestion. Talk to your physician or gastroenterologist you have any symptoms after eating certain food. I would suggest keeping a food diary and noting symptoms after each food.

My dear lovelies! I hope you enjoyed reading this post as much as I enjoyed reading this post.  I wanted to share with you things I have gone through and learned from my experience. Hope this post allows you have to move towards a more healthy and less gassy journey.

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How I got into public health!

Good morning my lovelies! Hope you all are doing well and staying safe. I have been blogging on an off for few years now. I thought, since I have not shared much about myself with you, why don’t do that. Today, I will tell you the story of how I got into Public Health. It was definitely not my first choice, but I am glad that I am in Public Health.

Growing up, I had a clear plan about my future and what I wanted from life. I had a notebook planning the detail intricate of my future. Why? Isn’t it obvious? I was a control freak, who wanted to control every part of my life. I wanted to be a doctor since I can remember, and I had every goals planned. I wanted to go to college with full scholarship (since my parents couldn’t afford to pay my tuition) and then go to medical school. So simply…but is it?

I almost fulfilled the first part of my goal. I did get 90% scholarship to attend George Washington University. I had full scholarship to other universities but GW was my first choice. In college, not have I learned about the typical educational lessons but some great practical lessons as well. It taught me that live can’t be under my control. I will need to let go of things in order to succeed. Struggling with that gave rise to the beginning of my generalized anxiety disorder (Stay tuned for a separate post about that), which led to so many panic attacks.

My dear lovelies! Each time my life did not go account to my plan, I had a major panic attack. I graduated with honors in Biology, a typical premed major. Little did I know that it will really limit my career choice if I didn’t go to medical school. Well, my dad did tell me to consider other major, but at that time my crazy teenager self thought my dad was against me. To tell you the truth, I had quite a decent MCAT (Medical College Admission Test) school but could have led to acceptance to any in-state schools, but the problem that I faced was that I was a Washington DC resident, and there were no DC in-state medical school. Hence, the competition was already tougher for me.

After graduation, I was put on wait list to medical school and what threw me out. I did not apply for work because my plan was to go to medical school, the fall after my college education. Hence, I was unemployed after graduation. When I applied for job I did not get any job offers because all potential employers believed I will leave either for grad school or other further education.

They were right. Frustrated and angry, I decided to apply for a dual masters and medical school program. One thing I knew at that time is Biology will not take me anywhere. This was the very first time in my life I did not have an answer. I decided to do some research and dig deep and hard into my soul. Those were some very long months. My research led me to realize how much I loved taking this public health course in college. I told myself may be that would be a bonus to have as a background. Well, it will add to my medical degree. Hence, I started to apply to dual MD/MPH programs.

Of course, I heard back from graduate school first. So, I started my Master is Public Health Program in Epidemiology that fall. Boy, this program opened my eyes. While being a full time student again, I was working part time at Children’s National as a research assistant. I worked as a research assistant before but they were all lab job. This was the very first time I was working in clinical research. My work and school made me release how much I liked public health, that looks at the overall big picture. In medicine I would have only been looking at individuals. That was the very first time I realized I did not know what I wanted to do in life. I ended up getting into medical school but by then I realized that medical school after all, was not for me.

Dear lovelies, it was at time I realized that things will happen to us when we are ready for it, not before or after. I graduated with a MPH is epidemiology. I graduated with a full time job offer in my hand to work in clinical research at Children’s National. I graduated and became a full time clinical research professional. I ended up working at Children’s for 10+ years with a second graduate degree for free. I am working in clinical research as an analyst and I could not have asked for me.

What the past decade has taught me is ‘to always live in the moment’. I know it’s very easy to say but very heard to do. Those very words have set me free. I remember when I first started my training in Public Health I used to be addressed as Poop Inspect. I was not taken seriously. Even when I talk about how little we are prepared for an eminent pandemic, all of us public health professionals were laughed at. Now, I am longer called a poop doctor, but at what cost?

My lovelies! I still leave every moment in the moment and l love working in the public health program. I am so glad I have grown from my experience, which has led me to being who I am today. I still have anxiety disorder but have learned to manage it quite easily. Once thing life has taught me is that live in the moment and be happy with the way things are. Well, it could have been worse. I see the world as glass half full and “Miles to go before I sleep, and miles to go before I sleep”.

My dear lovelies! That’s a small glimpse in my life. I would love to hear how you came to be who you are now. Hope will love reading this post as much as I loved writing it.

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Wear A Damn Mask

Hi there my lovelies!!! It has been a long delay. Like many of you, I have been dealing with the personal cost of COVID-19 pandemic and and it’s impact on our lives. The past few months I have been going through all the stages of grief all at the same time. I have finally decided to write this post because I believe that it’s more important now more than ever is for all of us to come together and work hand-in-hand to free ourselves from the leash of this unprecedented and deadly virus that have kill over half millions of innocent lives worldwide and over 128,000 in the United States.

By training I am an Epidemiologist. When I was in school, I have never thought that we will have to face something so unprecedented. Actually, Public Health has been sounding the alarm for a long time on how unprepared we are to face a pandemic, and that fear is now a reality. I bet if I poll all the subscribers will find someone who know someone who were infected by or succumbed to COVID-19. Think about it’s not just over 10 million worldwide or over 2.7 millions in US, the virus has impacted the lives of all of us. It has drastically shifted our view of normalcy. Even as a public health person, I have been dealing with the feelings of denial, anger, depression, bargaining, and acceptance all at the same time. I have even gone through a stage of ‘learned helplessness’, with a feeling of powerlessness. Does that sound familiar?

What is COVID-19 virus? What is this new ruthless villain that has invaded our planet? It’s a form of virus that primarily spread between people during close contact, most often via small droplets that are produced by coughing, sneezing, and even talking. The droplets usually fall to the ground or onto surfaces rather than travelling through air over long distances.However, research as of June 2020 has shown that speech-generated droplets may remain airborne for tens of minutes. It’s simple, if we wear mask we can protect each other and our loved ones.

Both of my parents and my sister are high risk individuals. I bet you know too have loved ones who have underlying heart, lung disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, and on so on. Think about them. They are relying on us to keep them safe. My mom has not gotten out of the house in the past few months. She has been dealing with lingering pneumonia, worsening lung conditions. She said cannot rely on her loved ones to protect her, who else can she rely on?

My dear lovelies! It is upon all of us to come together and help eradicate COVID-19. It might be a novel, or new virus, but it’s not unbeatable. If we all follow some basic rules we can stop the spread of the virus and go back to normal. Think about our everyday heroes, our healthcare workers, grocery store workers, delivery people, bus/train operators, who are all making extraordinary sacrifices to keep us safe. We all owe it to them, and our loved ones to just follow some simple guidelines: Wear mask, social distance, wash your hand for 20 seconds often or use a alcohol-based hand sanitizers with greater than 60% ethanol or 70% isopropanol. Clean surfaces often. My friends, together we can crash this sucker.

I know you are tired of hearing this but we cannot lose any more people to this disease. They are someone’s parents, siblings, friends, grandparents, children, partner, spouse. I have lost people to this pandemic and have more family members either in ICU, or in home quarantine. Trust me, I know how scary it is but if we just take some simple steps we can not only defeat this virus but thrive as well.

I would love to hear your thoughts. How are you dealing with the pandemic? Do you know anyone who has become a victim of this virus. Please leave your comments. Remember together we can beat this thing. Nothing can be done alone. Remember the saying, “it’s take a village”?

I leave you with this final thoughts. Happy reading!!!

Flu Why Thy Make Me So Miserable!

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Hi there my loveliness! Unlike me, hope you are doing well and did not fall into the trap the miserable flu. According to Center’s for Disease Control (CDC), this year’s flu is worse than any since any since the 2009 swine flu epidemic and is getting worse. Most people with the flu this season are infected with the H3N2 virus, one of the most severe — and deadly — strains of the seasonal flu. If you catch, you are miserable. Some of the common flu symptoms are:

  • Muscle or joint aches
  • Pain and tiredness around your eyes
  • A warm flashed skin,  watery eyes
  • A runny nose or a sore throat
  • Weakness
  • A headache
  • A dry cough

Get immediate medical help if you have any of the following:

  • Trouble breathing or shortness of breath
  • Pain or pressure in your chest or belly
  • Sudden dizziness
  • Confusion
  • Severe vomiting

For children, if they start to get better and suddenly turn for the worse get immediate medical help since that can be a sign of bacterial infection.

This year the flu vaccine is only about 30% effective. However, to me, 30% is better than nothing. Additional, it can lessen the severity of the virus. Also, remember the flu shot does only protect you from the flu shot, it protects immuno-compromised people around you from you.

My lovely friends, I am no way a physician. Hence, take a physician’s advice. However, please follow some good hygiene to keep yourself safe: always wash your hands, eat a lot of vitamin C to boost your immune system.

Have you or your loved ones been attacked by the monster flu recently? How have you dealt with it? I would love to hear from you.

Hope you enjoy this post and as much as I love writing it. Don’t forget to check out my Facebook Page and follow me on Instagram <@allaboutme3181. Are you on <Bloglovin? Let’s add each other. Please follow me and comment below with your information so that I can follow you back.

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My Battle with Androgenic Alopecia

Hi there my loveliness! It is so good to come back after sung a long break from blogging. Today, I wanted to share my reason for the break. I was diagnosed with androgenic alopecia. It’s a pattern of hair loss that affects both men and women. In women, the hair becomes thin all over the place, and the hairline does not recede. This condition in women rarely leads to total baldness. Never did I thought that I will have androgenic alopecia.

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Growing up in a society where women’s hair is part of my beauty, sudden loss of hair was a sudden psychological shock to me. I was depressed. I did not want to talk to anyone. I was hiding my head.  I remember taking the above picture reviewing a picture. Even then, I had a head full of hair.

However, suddenly in September last year, I started to lose my hair like crazy. I have my typical hair lose each day but this was drastic. I started photographing it. Within a month I lost two-thirds of my hair. I didn’t know what to do I went to my dermatologist who did a biopsy and diagnosed me with androgenic alopecia. She told me that there is no cure for this disease when using combination treatment, I will get some but not all of my hair back. Typical treatment for this condition include.

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Rogaine or Minoxidil was approved by US Federal Drug Administration (FDA) for the treatment of androgenic alopecia. The study is currently being marketed over the counter as 2% and 5% solution, with 5% being solution being more effective. Addition, oral treatment such as Finasteride, or Spironolactone are so prescribed along. Finasteride is prescribed only in men because it can produce ambiguous genitalia in a developing male fetus. Since Spironolactone is antiandrogen, it can cause feminization of male fetuses. Hence it should not be taken during pregnancy.

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I was in emotional pain. I was put on Rogaine, antiandrogen, an antifungal shampoo, ketoconazole 2%, which has shown to effectively treat in regrowth hair.  My dear friends, at this point I was desperate to do anything. I was doing research on any treatment. My dermatologist saw how depressed I became. She told me that can lead to more hair loss. She told me I should also look into buying a laser helmet, which has shown to regrow hair by 43%. Based my doctor’s recommendations, I bought irestore. This FDA-cleared, low-level laser therapy is clinically proven way to stimulate hair follicles to grow thicker and fuller hair. It uses clinical-strength laser technology to treat balding, thinning hair and receding hairline. I use it for 25 minutes for every other day.

I am taking hair vitamin with 5000mg every day. I have been following these treatments regimens for the past four months. I have seen some improvements for sure. However, I still have a long way to go. I still have bald spots that make my heart skins but I am starting to deal with it. I never thought I will have to deal with this before the mid 30s.

My lovely readers! I have gone a rough patch I am still trying to recover from. I try to tell myself at least I am healthy, but it’s really hard to deal the loss of so much of your hair. Have any of experienced what I have through known someone. I would love to hear your story and what treatment has worked for you or your friend.

Hope you enjoy this post and as much as I love writing it. Don’t forget to check out my Facebook Page and follow me on Instagram @allaboutme3181. Are you on Bloglovin? Let’s add each other. Please follow me and comment below with your information so that I can follow you back.

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Migraine and the ED Alternative

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Hi There my lovelies! Happy Friday everyone! Hope you are having a wonderful Friday. I actually had one of the most painful ones. However, through my experience, I learned about a much less expensive alternative to Emergency Department (ED) for you for one of those painful days.

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My wonderful readers, I suffer from severe migraine. I am on several prescription  medications and get Botox injection every three months. My migraine symptoms have been under control on most part. However, due to recent onset of severe stressorso, my migraine symptoms have been out of control.

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My migraine causes severe pain sensation accompanied by nausea and extreme sensitive to light and sound. I also have warning signs or auras before or with the headache. Such signs include, blurry vision, tingling of the face and arm.

Due to my severe recent migraine symptoms, I called my Neurology clinic to see if I should go to the ED. As a public health person with over decade of experience in health care industry, I understand how much burden the ED is in. Additionally, I want to do my part to keep the health care costs down. During my call to Neurology office I was told they’ve a Rescue Room, where they offer migraine rescue treatment but with ano one-to-one approach.

I was all to happy to accept the Rescue Room treatment. I went in this morning. One thing I lovedid right away is the elimination of waiting time. Unlike the ED, I was called right away by the friendly Nurse Practitioner, who tool vitals and placedo the IV.

My beautiful readers, I stayed there the entire day with constant one-to-one check in from my provider. I received the care I would have never received at the ED. If you suffer from severe migraine, ask your Neurologist if they offer similar Rescue Room treatment. This will not only provide you the one-to-one care you need, but also keep the health care cost down.

Hope you enjoy this post and as much as I love writing it. Don’t forget to check out my Facebook Page and follow me on Instagram @allaboutme3181. Are you on Bloglovin? Let’s add each other. Please follow me and comment below with your information so that I can follow you back.

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Spreading Positive Thoughts and Kindness

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Hi there my lovelies! Hope you all are having a good Sunday. Today, I want to spread happy thoughts. As I am still in the voyage to find my positive self, while at the same time fighting my mind and soul, I am taking the step to finally persevere. However, while I am going through my journeys of ups and some horrible downs, I cannot stop myself from thinking of other wonderful people out there (some of whom you and I may know) who are going through even harder times than me. Hence, my beautiful readers, let us take a moment to send happy and positive thoughts to everyone who may be going through a hard time right now.

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Positive thoughts are not enough; when you go out and meet a stranger please have a smile on your face and show a little empathy and kindness towards that person. My beautiful readers, I always believe that smile and kindness are always contagious. When you perform an act of kindness it warms up your heart and it does the same for those who are witnessing the act. Watching someone perform an act of kindness, creates an act of kindness creates a warm fuzzy feeling in our heart. That fuzzy feeling is known as moral elevation. According to Thomas Jefferson, “When any … act of charity or of gratitude, for instance, is presented either to our sight or imagination, we are deeply impressed with its beauty and feel a strong desire in ourselves of doing charitable and grateful acts also”. Even Huffington Post did an article looking at the science behind the contagiousness of kindness.

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My beautiful readers, take your time to show kindness and let the kindness spread. Let us take the time to spread happy thoughts to everyone, and let us take time show a little compassion. It does not take the time to say “hi and thank you” with a big smile on your face. The act may be small but its impact is enormous. After all, as John Holmes said, “there is no better exercise better for the heart than reaching down and lifting people up”. I took a small step by just holding the hold for someone at the store and smiling and saying thank you for their hard work to the staff member at the mall. The sparkles in their eyes I saw in return is all worth it. I cannot wait to continue my part to spread positivity and kindness. We need it now more than ever. What act of kindness have you witnessed lately? How did it make you feel?

Hope you enjoy this post and as much as I love writing it. Don’t forget to check out my Facebook Page and follow me on Instagram @allaboutme3181.

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Fighting My Mind and Soul – Learned Helplessness

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Hi There my lovelies! I hope you are having a wonderful day. It was snowing outside this morning and is frigid outside. Hence, I thought today I briefly speak to you regarding something that has really affected me. It is extremely difficult for me I will share my experience with you and I would love to hear your thoughts and how you handle similar situation. The topic of my post is Learned Helplessness.

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Before I can explain what I mean by learned helpless, I want to give a brief history of myself. I have a background in Public Health and Research with minor and graduate courses in behavioral science and Psychology. I have also received training in Mindfulness Meditation. I really believe in living in the moment and the idea of mind over body. I have seen the world in the point of view of glass half full. However, the past year I have been in the fight of my life with my mind.

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This is one of the reason I had to take a break from blogging. My beautiful readers, when you are constantly in a fight or flight respond, you cannot enjoy day-to-day activities. I thought with my mindful based training I can handle it. However, slowly I tachycardia, rapid heart rate, became worse. I also started to have arrhythmias or abnormal heart rhythm. I saw a cardiologist and he didn’t find any underlying heart condition. My migraine symptoms got worse and I started have multiple auras (both visual – blurry vision, and sensory –  tingling in one limb or a feeling of numbness that travels up your arm over 10 to 20 minutes. The sensation can spread to one side of your face and tongue).

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My beautiful readers, the past year has been the worst year of my life and and led to what is known as learned helplessness, a  belief that failure is we can’t change the course of negative event and that failure is inevitable and insurmountable. In my case, the past year I have been living in a very toxic environment, dealing with very hard to deal with people. Being the optimistic person I am, I did not want to give up and thought I would be able to handle the situation. After months, I started to have my symptoms and was unaware of the reason. My years long insomnia that I have learned to control the past 5 to 6 years returned. My family and friends started to notice the change. Towards the end of almost a year I really began to feel burnt out and helpless. I really don’t wish this feeling on anyone.

Finally, after almost a year my family, friends, and physicians have convinced me to seek help. Yes, I have started seeking counseling. I cannot tell you how helpful this has been for me. My beautiful reader. One thing I advice from my own experience, please seek help when your surroundings become overwhelming. Through my work meeting with counselor and my support system, I know that the first step to overcome your stress is to remove your stressor. I have come to terms with my stressor and am working to remove my stressor. Just acknowledging the problem is a great start. My sister is another of my big support system who sat with through many of my meltdowns and showed me that I am not alone. She is my unsung hero. Thanks to the support I’ve received, I am now working hard to remove my stressor.

The year is new and I have a purpose. I am still stressed but I no longer feel helpless. I feel supported. I will be dealing with my extreme stressor but I know that soon it will be over. My beautiful reader, writing to you gives me courage and hope. Every time I read a wonderful blog of yours or share something I love, I feel connected. Thank you for your support and thank you for all the wonderful and thoughtful post of yours. Please keep doing what you do.

I would love to hear if you can share your story of your tools for facing your mental challenges. Today more than ever I can hear my Grandpa’s words ringing in my ears, “If there is a will, there’s a way”. May your mind help you find the strong will to find light in darkest of paths and lead you to extraordinary destinations.

Don’t forget to check out my Facebook Page and follow me on Instagram @allaboutme3181.

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Being in the Moment

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Hi there my lovely readers! Happy eve of Christmas Eve to everyone. For those who celebrates Hanukkah, happy eve of the first day of Hanukkah to you all! As you know, the holidays are wonderful time of the years to spend quality time with your family. This is the time when we all come together and enjoy each other’s company and celebrate the magic of togetherness. Life is short and we set aside our differences and embrace each other. However, I want to share some small tips that may help make each small moment more memorable for you. Happy reading!

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Here in the western hemisphere, we are too busy with our everyday life and have very little time to stop and take a deep breath. We always tend to verbally process information in an analytical and sequential way looking first at the pieces then putting them together to get the whole. However, rarely do we take the time to be non-verbal and intuitive, using pictures rather than words. It is in the later part that allows us to be more connected and allow us to experience more.

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Life is literally unfolding in front of us in the present. However, we let it slip away, and allowing time to move past us unseized, and unobserved, while we squander away precious moments of our time worrying about what could have been or what could be. When we are at work we daydream about the dream vacation; on vacation, we worry about work piling on our desk. Most of us do not take part in our thoughts in awareness. Rather, we let our thought control us. As Kabat-Zinn, the founder of mindful-based meditation put it, we need to “rest in stillness—to stop doing and focus on just being”.breath

Mindfulness is living in the moment. It’s a state of openness; an intention on the present. When are mindful you we become an active observer of your thoughts, as they are. You are awakened to your life experience. It is the nonjudgmental awareness of the present, which in turns reduces stress. Studies have shown that mindfulness that led to boosting immune function and chronic pain, lowering blood pressure, and even helping people cope with cancer. Even my colleagues at Children’s National Health have been using this technique to help adolescents with congenital heart disease.

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So why I am talking about mindfulness in the context of holidays? Well, when you are mindful, you are more likely to experience yourself as part of a greater universe, and be right here right now. This keen awareness will allow you to focus on your immediate experience without attaching it to your self-esteem. If can tune out the chaos surrounding you and just tune into your immediate experience. You want to ice skate with your family but don’t know how? Don’t worry about other people starring at your. That’s the first paradox of living in the moment: Thinking too hard about what you’re doing actually makes you do worse. Just loosen up, as no one’s watching you. People are too busy worrying about themselves. There is a term about people like you and me, absolute beginner. Focus less on what’s going on in your mind and more on what’s going on in the room, less on your mental chatter and more on yourself as part of something. Once you do that you will be able to enjoy the experience so much more.

This is living in the moment. You need to start by taking deep breaths. Spiritual teacher Eckhart Tolle says that people can condition themselves to slow down and appreciate the present. It all begins with one question. “Ask yourself, ‘Am I still breathing?’” Tolle says. “You suddenly feel the air flowing into your body and out of your body… At that moment, you’ve entered the state of presence. Even if it’s only five seconds.” Another exercise involves using all your senses when going through usual everyday motions, such as washing your hands, or even eating. Do these things consciously. As Tolle instructed, “When you wash your hands, feel the water. Smell the soap. Becoming acutely conscious of sense perception means looking, hearing, touching. It brings you into the present moment. ”These exercises may take a little effort at first, but Tolle says that they do end up becoming second nature. “The more you bring those moments of presence into your life, the more your old conditioning becomes eroded, gradually,” he says.

I do the same thing when eating. Making time to focus on what and how we eat is the most important step to mindful eating. Set aside time to enjoy your meal. It’s important to eat in a place that allows you to focus on your food. I then acknowledge my food. This acknowledgement is not simply an opportunity to give thanks. It also allows me to disengage from what I was doing and turn my focus to the food and experience before me. As I eat, savor one bite at a time. I feel the texture of the food with my tongue and before I put the food in my mouth I smell it. I try to feel all the favors, and textures through mouth. Eating is a very sensual experience, hence I enjoy the moment. Before finishing my meal,I would take a moment to appreciate the food I’ve just eaten, and recall my dining experience and notice how I feel. Such everyday experience become very satisfying through the mindful experience.

In conclusion, living in the moment will allow you capture the present and not letting precious moment squander away worrying about what could be. Follow the small techniques. So, when you go out today, follow the above breathing technique and just absorb the moment, use your intuitiveness and pictures surroundings instead of just focusing on you and words. Don’t stay too much into your head and be in the moment and let me know how your experience changed as a result. After all, as the Chinese proverb says, “yesterday is history, tomorrow is mystery, and today is a gift. That’s why it’s called a present”. May your holidays be as merry and blessed as ever.

Don’t forget to check out my Facebook Page and follow me on Instagram @allaboutme3181.

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