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The Path to Emotional Wellness — May 2018

The Path to Emotional Wellness — May 2018


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How to Improve Your Resiliency

Your mental health and wellness affects practically every aspect of your life—how you think, feel and act at home and work, with family, friends, colleagues and the general public. People who are emotionally healthy tend to go about their day with a sense of purpose. They engage in enjoyable activities and balance them with their work and family life. They have fulfilling relationships and have a positive outlook.

Emotional wellness means being able to adapt to change during life’s difficult times. Being emotionally well doesn’t mean you won’t experience disappointment or loss. It‘s more about how you manage sadness, anxiety and pain. Being able to bounce back from stressful situations or other adversity is an indicator of emotional wellness.

Hate to Exercise?

You don’t have to love running or lifting weights to increase your activity level. You can walk or bike to work or appointments, throw a ball for your dog, garden, dance, and park far from your destination so you have to walk the rest of the way. Shoot for 30 minutes (three 10-minutes sessions work too) of activity on most days. Try to get your arms and legs moving too, as with walking, swimming, martial arts or yoga. To help you complete your 30 minutes, focus on how your feet feel as you push off the pool wall or hit the ground, or the rhythm of your breath, or the sun on your face. Keep it positive!

Need a Tune Up?

Think you could stand to boost your mood, become more resilient and/or increase your happiness? You’re not the only one! Becoming—and staying—emotionally healthy takes some attention to the things that matter most. Experts at the National Institutes of Health and Harvard HelpGuide suggest these strategies.

Prioritize spending time with people. Good old-fashioned face-to-face conversation can do wonders for your mood. Call your family and friends, make plans to share a meal or run errands together. Even a friendly smile at people in the checkout line or on the bus can breathe fresh life into your day (and theirs!).

If you don’t feel you have anyone to reach out to, consider inviting a neighbor or co-worker for coffee, or reconnecting with an old friend. If you are new to town or looking for new faces, seek groups that meet regularly and bring together people with similar interests like garden and bridge clubs, networking groups, volunteer or exercise groups.

It is possible to have relationships with people through social media, chat rooms and text/email messaging, but keep in mind that connecting with others in meaningful ways requires direct contact. The physical presence, human touch and nonverbal experience is essential.

Find meaning in your life. Having a purpose in your life to do things that benefit you and others is associated with alleviating stress and pain. You can find meaning in your life through your family and friends, career, creative projects, causes you care about, pets, religious affiliations, and caring for important people in your life. Whatever you enjoy most, be sure to find time for it. It will make doing the things you have to do more bearable.

Develop a more positive mindset. Negative emotions are natural when responding to difficult situations. But if we spend too much time thinking about the past or worrying about what we can’t change, negative emotions can wreak havoc. You can stay positive by remembering the positives. Think about what is good in your life (your best friend, niece, cat, the job you love). Forgive yourself for the mistakes you’ve made. Learn from them, but then move on without dwelling on them. Do good deeds for people each day and remember how you’ve helped others when you are feeling low.

Keep your stress levels in check. Stress is a given. It will always be a part of life, and in many ways, it motivates us to get things done. But it can also take a toll on emotional health if it goes unchecked. What’s your favorite way to relieve stress: spend time with people who are good listeners, relax with a lavender pillow on your eyes, listen to your favorite music, take a walk or go to the gym (see below), watch a movie, meditate or pray? These are but a few of the ways to relieve tension. Find what works for you so you can relax when stress begins to build.

Stay active and feed your brain. The mind and body are forever linked. Exercising and eating healthy foods lead to a better sense of well-being. With exercise, the body releases endorphins, the feel-good chemicals that improve mood and give you energy. Regular activity is associated with better mental health, reduced stress, better sleep and improved memory. Being active outdoors has the added benefit of breathing fresh air and being in nature. Every city has a park!

A healthy diet feeds your body and mind, and a poor diet depletes it. Bad mood, poor sleep, low energy, sickness are all byproducts of a poor diet. Watch out for caffeine, alcohol, sugary snacks, fried foods, and refined carbohydrates like white rice and bread. Foods like chicken and fish, nuts, leafy greens, avocadoes, beans and fresh fruits help to boost mood and energy.

Develop good sleep habits. Our bodies rely on sleep to restore. Cutting back on sleep may work occasionally but eventually it will leave you rundown with a decreased ability to handle stress and think clearly. Some people can fall asleep the minute their head hits the pillow, but others need time to unwind. That’s when having a nighttime sleep routine in place helps.

If bedtime is at 10 pm, start turning off electronic devices and completing tasks around 8 pm. Wind down by taking a warm bath, listening to soothing music, practicing relaxation techniques such as mindful breathing or gentle stretching, and/or reading by a soft light. Decide to postpone worrisome thoughts until the next day when you can be more resourceful. Journaling can help to “offload” negative feelings onto paper. Shoot for getting 7-9 hours each night by going to bed and rising at the same time every day (weekends too!). Keep your bedroom as cool, dark and quiet as possible. If you are bothered by city noise or neighbors, try a fan or white noise machine.

Ignore or Address?

One in five people this year will struggle with a diagnosable mental health condition. Most people will experience emotional health concerns some time in their life. It’s important to notice the signals that something is wrong rather than “stuff” the feelings or self-medicate with drugs or alcohol.

If you have tried the strategies described here and feel you need more help, you have options. Your employer may offer an Employee Assistance Program (EAP), your primary care provider can rule out medical conditions, and social workers and other therapists are available at community health centers and private practices. KnovaSolutions can also offer support to you and your family members.

The Goal is Resiliency

All these strategies help give you a healthy baseline so when life sends a curve ball, you are in a better position to receive it. By tending to your needs, rather than ignoring or “stuffing” them, you are building resiliency and emotional wellness.

Your KnovaSolutions clinician is available to help you improve your emotional wellness. Let us lend an empathetic ear as you work to overcome life’s challenges and setbacks. We offer information, support and all the time you need to improve your health and emotional well-being. Give us a call at 800/355-0885.

Click here to view/download the full newsletter. We encourage you to leave a comment or question below and a KnovaSolutions nurse or pharmacist will reply.

The information contained in this newsletter is for general, educational purposes. It should not be considered a replacement for consultation with your healthcare provider.  If you have concerns about your health, please contact your healthcare provider.

 


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Why It’s Important to Have a PCP — April 2018

Why It’s Important to Have a PCP — April 2018


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And What to Do When Your PCP Isn’t Available

Your primary care provider (PCP) is that professional you see every year or so for preventive screening or more often if you are managing ongoing health concerns. S/he’s also the one you call when you get sick or develop concerning new symptoms. But, what if your PCP isn’t available? Your options depend upon the circumstances.

Wait, Back Up!

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Is Personalized Medicine for You? — January 2018

Is Personalized Medicine for You? — January 2018


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Evolving Field of Medicine Offers Promise

Healthcare providers have always sought to individualize care for their patients. But now, advances in medical research allow providers to study a person’s genes, offering another tool to guide decisions about preventing, diagnosing and treating disease. Personalized medicine, also called precision or individualized medicine, is an evolving field where providers use genetic testing to understand how a person’s disease risks are unique. Used alongside information about family history, symptoms and environmental factors, genetic testing can help providers prevent illness and/or determine which treatments will work best.

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How Walking Can Extend Life — December 2017

How Walking Can Extend Life — December 2017


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Even Minimal Walking Offers Health Benefits

You don’t have to run or bike intensively to get the health advantages of regular exercise. A new study by the American Journal of Preventive Medicine (AJPM) showed that 120 minutes or less of moderate-intensity walking each week can add longevity to your life. 120 minutes? That’s less than 18 minutes a day!

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Confusing Cancer Terminology — November 2017

Confusing Cancer Terminology — November 2017


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Making Sense During Difficult Times

Almost 13 million people worldwide are diagnosed with cancer every year. People may experience unexplained pain, weight loss, fatigue and other symptoms followed by screening tests, imaging, and maybe biopsies before getting the dreaded diagnosis. Learning that you or a loved one has cancer is overwhelming and stressful.

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It’s Not Just Flu Shot Season — October 2017

It’s Not Just Flu Shot Season — October 2017


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Time to Review Your Vaccination Status

Vaccines are among the most cost-effective prevention services around. They do more than protect you from getting preventable diseases; they also reduce the spread of disease. If you’ve been vaccinated for an infectious disease (measles, chickenpox, hepatitis, influenza, etc.), you greatly reduce the risk of getting that disease and the chance of spreading it to others who are not immune.

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Suffer From Low Back Pain? — September 2017

Suffer From Low Back Pain? — September 2017


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A Look at Alternative/Complementary Therapies

The U.S. spends $90 billion a year on back pain! That’s more than the combined cost of care for high blood pressure, pregnancy AND depression. Back pain is one of the top reasons people see their doctor and the leading reason people miss work. Lost time and productivity is estimated to cost another $10-20 billion.

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Deprescribing: A Growing Trend — August 2017

Deprescribing: A Growing Trend — August 2017


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What Was Good Then May Not Be Now

It is becoming more and more common for people to take five or more medications. The more medications a person takes, the greater their risk for negative health outcomes, such as reduced quality of life, increased side effects, drug interactions, physical or mental impairment, falls, addiction, hospitalization or even, death. The use of some medications, especially as people age or become sicker, can do more harm than good. There is also greater risk of taking them incorrectly—the more medications, the more confusion.

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Preventing Surprise Medical Bills — July 2017

Preventing Surprise Medical Bills — July 2017


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What to Do If You Get One

An unexpected medical bill can be a very unpleasant surprise. It is a bill for a medical service that you did not expect to receive because you thought your insurance would cover it. Surprise bills are becoming more common as our healthcare system becomes more complex and insurance companies reduce the number of providers in their network or exclude coverage for out-of-network services.

The best way to avoid surprise medical bills is to prevent them. It’s not always possible, but there are ways to minimize the risk.

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The Opioid Epidemic — May 2017

The Opioid Epidemic — May 2017


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Taking Ownership and Being Part of the Solution

You’ve heard the news reports about the dangers of opioid medications such as codeine, morphine, methadone, fentanyl, hydrocodone and oxycodone. While opioids can be an appropriate and effective treatment for pain, the U.S. has the highest rates of opioid use in the world. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, about 80% of the world’s prescribed opioids are used in the U.S. Great risk comes with such widespread use. From 2010 to 2015, more than 500,000 people died from opioid overdoses.

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Shared Healthcare Decision-Making — April 2017

Shared Healthcare Decision-Making — April 2017


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How to Improve Outcomes and Decrease Costs

Numerous studies performed in the last 10 years suggest that patients who actively participate in making healthcare decisions with their doctors report greater satisfaction with their care, better outcomes and lower costs. For example, a study reported in Health Affairs of 33,163 patients at a large healthcare facility in Minnesota showed that better informed patients cost less to treat. In the first year of the study, knowledgeable patients had 8% lower treatment costs, and, in the first half of the following year, 21% lower costs, than less involved patients.

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How Short Are Your Doctor Visits? — March 2017

How Short Are Your Doctor Visits? — March 2017


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Getting the Most Out of Your Appointments

Depending upon which source you read, the average length of time a doctor spends with each patient ranges from 5 minutes to 23 minutes. That’s not a lot of time to discuss your health history, medications, symptoms and concerns — much less talk about complicated information or a new serious condition. So how can you get what you need — and deserve —during each doctor visit? All arrows point first to having a primary care provider (PCP) with whom you develop a trusting relationship.

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Medication Errors at Home  — February 2017

Medication Errors at Home — February 2017


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How to Reduce Risk and Prevent Mistakes

Prescription and over-the-counter medications provide major health improvements for people, but they also pose potential risks. Adverse drug events — harm as a result of exposure to a medication — are associated with hundreds of thousands of emergency room visits and hospitalizations each year.

Home medication errors happen all too often. In a study at the New York University School of Medicine-Bellevue Hospital, it was found that one out of five parents who measured liquid medication for their children gave them twice the directed dose. Also, nearly all the parents measured the dose incorrectly to some degree.

Confusing ear drops and eye drops, chewing non-chewable pills, and splitting pills not designed to be split are other types of errors that happen at home.

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Wasteful Medical Spending — January 2017

Wasteful Medical Spending — January 2017


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Is There Anything You Can Do?

It is widely documented that the U.S. spends more on healthcare per person than any other country, yet much research shows that Americans are not healthier as a result. Wasteful spending accounts for 30 percent of the $3.2 trillion spent on healthcare each year. That’s $9.6 billion of waste per year! While this may seem like a challenge too large, there are ways to do your part to reduce wasteful spending.

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All in a Night’s Sleep — December 2016


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Recognizing and Treating Insomnia

Does it take more than 30 minutes to fall asleep? Do you wake more than 3 times a night? Do you get less than 6 hours of sleep? If you answered yes to these questions, you may suffer from insomnia.

Having trouble sleeping can happen to anyone but it is more common among women, middle-aged or older adults, shift workers, and those with medical conditions.

Insomnia can be acute or chronic. Lasting up to a month, acute insomnia is usually related to a stressful situation, such as an upcoming presentation or the start of a new job. Once the presentation has been given and the new job becomes more familiar, the insomnia often resolves. Chronic insomnia, occurring more than 3 nights a week for at least 3 months, can be caused by:

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Prediabetes Diagnosis is a ‘Gift’ — November 2016


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Taking Measures to Reduce Risk for Diabetes

More than 29 million Americans live with diabetes — a serious condition in which blood glucose (sugar in the blood) builds to dangerously high levels. What’s more, another 86 million live with prediabetes, that is, have strong risk factors for developing type 2 diabetes. The Center for Disease Control states that 90% of people with prediabetes don’t know they have it!

“A diagnosis of prediabetes is a gift and a wake-up call,” says Marilyn Novosel, MPH, RN, CDE, the Certified Diabetes Educator for KnovaSolutions. “Learning that you have risk factors for developing diabetes is an opportunity to do something about it sooner rather than later.” She adds that making lifestyle changes can slow the progress, reduce the possibility of long-term complications, and for some, return blood sugar levels to normal.
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Flu Season Starts Now — October 2016


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Who Should Have Flu and Pneumonia Shots?

Getting the flu can leave you feeling lousy and unable to attend school or work for as long as 2 weeks, and longer if complications develop. Further, having the flu can put you at higher risk for developing pneumonia and other serious conditions. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), getting the flu shot is “the first and best way to protect yourself and your family.”

The more people who get vaccinated, the more people will be protected from the flu. In 2010, the CDC recommended that everyone over the age of 6 months get a flu shot every year unless they have a severe, life-threatening allergy to the flu vaccine or its ingredients. People who should talk with their provider before getting the flu shot include those:
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Proton Pump Inhibitors — September 2016


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Understand the Potential Risk of Long-Term Use

Stomach acids work miracles to digest the foods we eat. But when there is too much acid, and in the wrong place, it can cause heartburn and reflux (when acid moves from the stomach back up the esophagus). It can also contribute to the development of ulcers (holes in the protective lining of the stomach, small intestine or esophagus). These conditions can cause very uncomfortable burning sensations in the chest, stomach, and even, throat. Fortunately, a variety of treatment options — over-the-counter (OTC) and prescription medications and lifestyle changes — can offer relief.

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Does Alcohol Trigger AFib? — August 2016


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Atrial Fibrillation: A Growing Concern

Atrial fibrillation (AFib or AF) is sometimes called the quivering heart. It is the most common type of irregular heartbeat, or arrhythmia. Fibrillation refers to the heart contracting very fast and irregularly.

To understand AF, it helps to think of the heart as the body’s electrical system. Each time our heart beats, an electrical signal is sent from the top of the heart to the bottom, causing it to contract and pump blood to the lungs and the rest of the body.

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Activity and Fitness Trackers: Studies Show They Get People Moving — July 2016

Activity and Fitness Trackers: Studies Show They Get People Moving — July 2016


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Have you noticed people wearing stylish wrist ware or other devices, and talking about how many steps they’ve taken? Activity and fitness trackers like FitBit, Garmin, Mi Band, Jawbones and pedometers represent a burgeoning business projected to reach $19 billion by 2018. These devices are used to monitor and measure physical activity, heart rate, sleep patterns and more. A review of studies published in the Journal of the American Medical Association concluded that use of a pedometer — a device that records steps taken and distance —is associated with significant increases in physical activity and decreases in body mass index and blood pressure.

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Avoiding the Bulge After 50 — June 2016


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How to Maintain a Healthy Weight

As we age, it becomes harder to drop pounds and maintain a healthy weight. That’s because our metabolism slows down, we burn fewer calories and we lose lean muscle mass. It can be discouraging and for some, dangerous. But there are ways to maintain a healthy weight after 50, and it’s never too soon — or too late — to start.

Our metabolism slows as we age due to falling hormone levels. As testosterone levels drop, men tend to add body fat to their abdominal area. As estrogen levels fall, women often see a shifting of weight from their hips and buttocks to their mid-section. Our bodies also begin losing lean muscle mass starting around age 30, which may be a result of less active lifestyles. Being less active usually leads to burning fewer calories, and that often increases weight and fat mass, and decreases muscle mass.

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