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Many times there is a breakdown in communication and a purposeful lack of understanding because we are so busy thinking about our next argument that we don’t LISTEN to what the other person is saying.

What does this have to do with the title Talk TO me – not AT me? Well – they walk hand in hand with each other. Let me explain.

There are times when you are going to have a verbal disagreement with someone. Many times the “fight” becomes unfair because instead of dealing with the real issue, you’re busy slinging hash, name calling, bringing up old history, or laying blame. It’s a method of deferment – and it’s dirty pool.

Effective listening requires shutting your mouth and not talking over the other person. It also means you need to actively LISTEN to what the other party is saying. You do NOT have to agree with that they’re saying but at least you are letting them express themselves. This also means stop thinking about a rebuttal before they’re finished speaking because if you do that then you may only be hearing half of what they’re saying.

I would challenge all of you to really think about how you speak to others (or how others speak to you) when you are in a verbal repartee. Note the difference in the following examples:

  1. “I do not like how you’re talking to me” vs. “You’re an asshole.”
  2. “I don’t understand what you mean” vs. “You’re always so vague!”
  3. “I feel like I’m always doing all the work” vs. “You don’t do sh** around here.”

Recently I showed displeasure when my husband kept leaving his beer & soda cans strewn throughout the house.
“I feel like I can’t keep up between working from home and cleaning up after you and the pets.”
His reply, “Oh, like you don’t make a mess?”

I wanted to throw something at him! So I tried again.

“I’m just trying to say that I would like a little help around here.”
With much fanfare and dripping sarcasm he walks over to the recycling bag, “Look, HONEY. I’m putting my can in the bag.”

— except he didn’t drain and rinse it first (which he sees me doing all the time).

Passive-Aggression anyone?

From there I usually shut up or call him an asshole.

The point that I’m trying to get through is this – when having a discussion with someone, do your best to omit the words “YOU” because it’s like a big, verbal, poking finger. Instead implement the words “ME, MY, and I” to express YOUR feelings. Keep your ears open to see if they are speaking TO you or AT you too.

As for my husband? Well, he’s a work in progress but he’s getting better. He just needs a little more practice.

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One night, my husband and I were talking about impossible decisions.  And this is one which we vehemently disagree.  I’m curious to see how you all respond.  Note:  This is not to undermine a very real situation but perhaps to open a dialogue with those you love who need to know exactly how you feel and how you would react.

Here is the situation:

There is a young couple very much in love. Great communication, great sex, best friends…

She is quite healthy. Hardly sick a day in her life. She is also very pregnant and about to give birth to a child who, for the entire pregnancy, is also very healthy. All seems to go well with delivery… until it doesn’t go well.

Mother is bleeding out. Only one will survive. The doctors approach the husband with the impossible choice:

a) save the mama or b) save the baby

CHOOSE OR THEY BOTH DIE

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All of us, at some point in our life, has either been the recipient or the presenter of THE SILENT TREATMENT. No one really likes it but we have to admit, it can be used as a powerful tool to close a deal or get one’s way. But it can be a symptom of a communication/relationship breakdown.

PART 1:  WHEN THE SILENT TREATMENT IS EFFECTIVE

ONE:  As a parent I admit I am a yeller. I yell, and Yell, and YELL! My kids are used to the yelling. Most of the time I’m just being vocal because I’m frustrated, and they don’t listen to the yelling. It’s just white noise to them.

But when I’m angry! Really, really angry… I get quiet… and then they’re scared because that silence is LOUD. Generally, their behavior snaps to good, they clean up, and they’re trying to make mom happy again because mom’s silence is SCARY. They’ll say anything to get you to talk “You still love me, don’t you, mommy?”

TWO:  Closing the deal. Whether you’re a salesperson or selling an idea to your spouse, the silent treatment is an absolute must-have skill because the first one to speak generally caves in.

Example 1:
salesperson: So what do you think?

customer: [silently thinking “how will I explain the motorcycle purchase to my wife?]

salesperson gets nervous: “We can take an extra 10% off for being a loyal customer

customer: [silence. 10% off, I can justify that to my wife] salesperson nervous about losing the sale gives other incentives…and his commission isn’t nearly as good.

The salesman caved because he spoke first.

Example 2:
salesperson: So what do you think?

customer: [silently thinking]

salesperson: [silently waiting tick tock, tick tock]

customer: I’ll take it.

DEAL CLOSED.

Example 1:
child: Mommy, can I have that shiny new Tonka truck, please?

mom: No. I don’t want to spend the money.

child: [Throws a tantrum, makes a lot of noise. Mother is TICKED!]

DEFINITELY NO TOY

Example 2:

child: Mommy, can I have that shiny new Tonka truck, please?

mom: No. I don’t want to spend the money

child: [forlorn but quietly accepts the decision. He’s sad but he smiles with hope in his eyes every time you look his way.]

mom: SIGH you’ve been so good. Go ahead and get your truck.

WIN FOR THE KID!

Tell me I’m wrong?

In these cases, the silent treatment gives the other party time to think about the decision. Too many people are uncomfortable with the silence. They need an immediate answer or instant gratification so they talk first to plead the case. Little do they realize they are sabotaging themselves.

Now in the case of sample B: with the little boy. Even if mom sincerely couldn’t afford the toy right then and there, you can bet she was probably thinking how much he deserved it for being so good so the next trip out she might surprise him with it. Am I wrong?

PART 2: WHEN THE SILENT TREATMENT IS BAD

As I mentioned in Part 1, we’ve all used the Silent Treatment to close a sale or get our way, but there are times when this powerful tool is used for evil.

Q: How can being silent be bad?
A: When there is a lack of communication or relationship breakdown.

When people are in a relationship one would hope they’ve learned how to meaningfully communicate with each other. Sometimes this is not the case.

A case of the empty nest: An example might be two very busy people with jobs, kids, house duties…and they haven’t REALLY spoken to each other in years except to pass off messages: Pick the kids up from school; Please pick up milk on your way home, etc. Then once the kids are gone you have nothing to talk about. Sometimes that silence is unbearable.

A case of emotional abuse: A: When in the midst of a discussion and it gets heated, especially when there is a disagreement, and one person turns away and gives the silent treatment/cold shoulder – it is a break in communication. It is a physical manifestation of denying the existence or opinions of the other person. Said that way, it’s hurtful when that happens, isn’t it?

If you feel like you’re being nagged and you ignore them because you KNOW it drives them crazy. You have stopped communicating and now you are being passive-aggressive.

But how is being quiet wrong?
1. Perhaps because you are not dealing with the reason WHY they might be nagging at you. Perhaps you don’t want to be blamed, acknowledge that you have faults, or feel guilty about not following through on something you promised.

2. Now there is the other scenario where the silent treatment is implemented because you feel like you don’t have a voice in the relationship so you shut up just to get away from “the discussion” as soon as possible.

If you don’t have a voice in a partnership then it is not a healthy one! There is no healthy dialogue and you don’t feel like your opinion counts. If that happens, then your self-esteem plummets.

3. Using the silent treatment as a form of manipulation. For example, at a party: “Well, since my boyfriend isn’t talking to me then I’m just going to ignore him the ENTIRE night. Maybe I’ll just go talk to that cute boy over there.” – or – “If she really cares about me then she’s going to ask what’s wrong.”

The one who plays the silent treatment card is assuming the other person can read their mind.

Guess what?
We can’t read your mind!

HEAL THE COMMUNICATION GAP

To heal the communication gap it’s always best to acknowledge it. “I am too angry to talk about this right now. Let’s try to discuss this when we’re both calm. I need time to think.”

“I don’t feel like you’re listening to what I have to say so I’m going to walk away right now.”

Even a “Please let me know when it’s my turn to talk” is better than shutting up in these cases.

If you are using it for manipulation then acknowledge that! Speak up. “Hey, I don’t feel comfortable standing at the party by myself. Can you introduce me to some of your friends?”

“We should talk” works and be willing to be quiet and actively listen!  It’s much healthier than closing your mouth and your ears!

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Like gravity, it is so easy to let your emotions and day-to-day problems bring you down. It takes effort to climb a hill and it also takes some effort to lift your spirits! Trust me, I know! I’ve a proclivity to depression and sometimes it seems easier to sleep the day away. Don’t waste another minute of your life in the dark place.

Here are 5 things you can do to feel instantly better:

  1. Say “Thank You” out loud. What have you got to be thankful about? It doesn’t matter. If you’re feeling blue then it’s hard to recognize the blessings around you. Just say “Thank You” out loud and you will instantly feel better. Don’t believe me? Just try it.
  2. Smile. Yeah, yeah – you might not have anything to smile about. Whatever. Just do it anyway. The physical manifestation of a smile helps lift your spirits. Just let those lips fight gravity and turn up; flash those dimples (if you have them); lift your eyebrows; scrunch your cheeks and eyes and give yourself a winning smile. Don’t show too much teeth and don’t grind them either. The physical uplifting of your face will help you feel better.
  3. Just say “Ahhhh!” No, it’s not the screaming kind. This is one of my favorite vocal exercises. Take a deep belly breath. Starting with your highest note say a big “Ahhhh!” like a big sigh or yawn with falling pitch (highest note to lowest note). The influx of air will really get your blood moving.
  4. Do something ridiculous. I am admittedly a very conservative person when it comes to public appearances. The last thing I want to do is something ridiculous but when you get over that fear and realize that you might be amusing someone else then it’s not so bad. Whatever you think might be ridiculous is something you can and should do. It could be a quick skip; a goofy “end zone” dance; singing a silly commercial jingle, or blowing bubbles in your chocolate milk.
  5. Go for a walk. There is something about your feet hitting pavement or walking a trail that uplifts the spirit. It gets you moving first of all. But it also gives you time to think, plan, debate with yourself…whatever floats through your mind. The point is, you are out of bed and getting exercise. It doesn’t have to be a long walk. Even a short five minute trip around the block is better than nothing and you’ll feel better for it.

Now get out of the dumps and get moving. It’s a beautiful day!

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Fight for your life before you hit the grave.

For whatever reason I did a google search on women and heart attacks. Considering that I’m in my 40s I have to bear in mind that my stuff is starting on the voyage to rot so…

Did you know that women do not feel heart attacks like a typical male heart attack? Most of the time it is not the “classic” left arm and debilitating chest pain. For women it tends to be more tricky — sneaky even! Most women do not even realize they might be having a heart attack!

So here are five signs to be aware of:

  1. Chest pain. A survey of women who have had this symptom will say it is “uncomfortable” but being that some of us have said that in describing childbirth then you can debate that our tolerance for pain and discomfort is rather high. GET IT CHECKED OUT.
  2. Pain in the neck…or back – or arms – or jaw – or stomach. These pains may come and go like ocean waves: they could be gradual or sudden with moderate to severe pain. If you are feeling inexplicable pain or pressure in your stomach – you might be having a heart attack. Basically it comes down to this – if you are feeling pain in these areas where you don’t normally feel pain – GET IT CHECKED OUT.
  3. Trouble breathing. If you find that you are having trouble breathing for no apparent reason; shortness of breath or feeling lightheaded with no reason. If you are just sitting there and suddenly can’t breathe – GET IT CHECKED OUT.
  4. Cold Sweats. As you get older you may experience hot flashes and breaking into a sweat, which is why this symptom is often overlooked. Breaking into a cold sweat for no apparent reason, especially if you don’t normally sweat needs to be… CHECKED OUT.
  5. Fatigue. If doing simple chores or walking short distances makes you extremely tired or deflated then you need to GET IT CHECKED OUT. Personally, I suffer from depression so I get feeling tired – but this is different. Heart attack fatigue is being tired and knowing you’re not depressed.

Any one or combination of these symptoms could be fair warning that you or your loved one is having a heart attack.

Please do not ignore the signs.

Fight off the Grim Reaper with knowledge! It might save your life!

information cited from WebMD; heart.org; mayoclinic.org

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Pardon my language but…  What the fuck, Rep. Mike Pomeo of Kansas?  And SHAME on the House of Representatives!  Dear public:  Did you know that the House voted 64% yes to remove labels on state & federal levels for GMOs?

HR1599 passes by 64% in the House

Here is a short summary of the bill:

The bill would prevent FDA from requiring the labeling of bioengineered foods only on the grounds that the foods are bioengineered, FDA could require that alterations of nutritional properties, allergens, or other characteristics of food be listed on food labeling. Regulations would also prohibit the labeling of food as not bioengineered if it had been planted with bioengineered seeds. Dairy products from animals fed bioengineered foods and foods developed using bioengineered processing aids or enzymes could still be labelled as non-bioengineered. The bill would also prevent states from issuing their own food labeling requirements for bioengineered foods.

Apparently legislation is far better for us than a “patchwork” of GMO labeling laws. Oh, and in case you are completely BLIND to the dying bees and how GMOs affect our environment and a documented increase of cancer and other maladies, Rep. Mike Pompeo of Kansas states, “GMOs are safe and have a number of important benefits for people and our planet.”

Sounds to me like you’ve whored yourself out and got both hands down Big Agri-Pharma’s pants.  Crude?  Perhaps.  But I’m spitting mad!  How dare you fly in the face of scientific evidence to say GMOs are safe AND then patronize the American public.  But you go a step beyond reasonable.  You have effectively stomped MY RIGHT to know what’s in my food.  Why bother with strict nutritional labeling if you intend to poison us anyway?

Do any of you wonder WHY there is such an increase in cancer, neurological disorders, and gastrointestinal diseases?

Monsanto is not the only ogre under the bridge

Don’t be fooled.  GMOs are BIG BUSINESS.  And Monsanto has been the face of this issue – but they aren’t the only ones.  Bayer CropScience and Syngenta are two more companies who share responsibility in slowly poisoning us.

So I did a little research and found a report published by the University of Minnesota back in 2003.  I’m going to briefly touch on a few of their major points:

Allergies:

Genetically Modified food may cause food allergies because it introduces a foreign substance in your body which may prompt an increase in immune response.  In other words, your body detects something unnatural and is trying to combat it.

Toxicity:

By altering plant & animal genes we are introducing toxins into our body.  According the the report, “the new gene could interfere with a metabolic pathway causing a stressed plant to produce more toxins in response.”

One example includes genetically modified potatoes created to be disease-resistant for higher crop yields but they have been found to create higher levels of glycoalkaloids.  What’s that?  Believe it or not, they are natural toxins found in plants and tubers and act as pesticides and fungicides to deter animals, insects and fungus which might attack them.  So if it’s natural, why is it so bad in GM products?  Glycoalkaloid poisoning causes gastrointestinal (digestive), circulatory (blood), neurological (brain & nervous system) and dermatological (skin) problems.

Decreased Nutrition

If you have someone who is hungry enough, they’re going to eat anything that isn’t going to kill them…right away.  This is the case of GM food.  There is a decrease in nutritional value because phytates bind to necessary dietary minerals and calcium which hinders the absorption of those nutrients into our system.  Now, according to Dr. Weill “Phytates in your everyday meals should not be an issue for you as long as you’re eating a balanced diet.”  But that’s the point.  If GMOs are present in the majority of our food, then we aren’t eating a balanced meal.  We are simply filling our bellies with junk so we don’t feel hungry.

Antibiotic Resistance

Is it really a mystery why bacterial strains are becoming more and more resistant to antibiotics?  This is what is happening.  As the genetically modified food sits in your system, there increases a chance where your body develops a resistance to antibodies needed to fight off poisons.

“If one oversteps the bounds of moderation, the greatest pleasures cease to please” – Epictetus

We all have those moments of weakness where we give in to a craving.  I love my ice cream and cookies as much as the next person, but I don’t indulge all the time, and certainly not for every meal.

My point here is this:  Perhaps GMOs are not terrible in moderation BUT if it’s in all our food – and yes, I mean all of it, then it is not consumption in moderation, it becomes full immersion.  And if H.R. 1599, which passed the House of Representatives by a 64% margin, then passes through the Senate, we will not be able to monitor or watch what we eat.  We will be unwittingly poisoning ourselves and our environment.

But that must be okay because you’ve just given Big Agri-Pharm a “happy ending.”

Citations:

Lawley, R. (2013) GLYCOALKALOIDS.  http://www.foodsafetywatch.org/factsheets/glycoalkaloids/

Summaries for the Safe and Accurate Food Label Act of 2015.  https://www.govtrack.us/congress/bills/114/hr1599/summary

University of Minnesota School of Public Health, Environmental Health Sciences.  Genetically Modified Organisms: Harmful Effects of the Agent.  http://enhs.umn.edu/current/5103/gm/harmful.html

Weill, A. (2013).  Are Phytates Bad or Good?  http://www.drweil.com/drw/u/QAA400758/Are-Phytates-Bad-or-Good.html

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