Archives for posts with tag: Psychology Today

According to the American Heart Association, in 2016 over 28 million U.S. adults were diagnosed with heart disease. Approximately every 40 seconds an American will have a heart attack. The estimated annual incidence of heart attacks in the United States is 720,000 new attacks and 335,000 recurrent attacks.

A report from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) National Center for Health Statistics shows that about 1 of 3 U.S. adults—or about 75 million people—have high blood pressure. The number of hypertension-related deaths increased 61.8%, from 2000 to 2013.

There were more than 360,000 American deaths in 2013 that included high blood pressure as a primary or contributing cause. That is almost 1,000 deaths each day.

In 2018, it was predicted that an estimated 1,735,350 new cases of cancer would be diagnosed in the United States and 609,640 people would die from the disease.

You probably have heard these or similar statistics but perhaps the following is news to you.

The U.S. Census Bureau estimates the total population at 328,456,820 people, with 77.1 percent (252,911,751) of those people being over 18. The American Psychiatric Association says that depression affects an estimated 1 in 15 adults (16,860,783) in any given year. And one in six people (54,742,803) will experience depression at some time in their life.

Is it just me or do we not hear as much about depression than other health issues? Am I just imagining that mental health concerns are often mentioned in a whisper but physical health matters are spoken of openly?

The American Psychiatric Association tells us that “depression (major depressive disorder) is a common and serious medical illness that negatively affects how you feel, the way you think and how you act.” Depression causes feelings of sadness and/or a loss of interest in activities once enjoyed. It can lead to a variety of emotional and physical problems and can decrease a person’s ability to function at work and at home. Fortunately, it is also treatable.

Depression is not “rainy days and Mondays” and hugs and positive thoughts are not enough to overcome it. One person who has had multiple bouts of depression said, “There does not have to be a hell after life, I’ve already experienced it.”

The Mayo Clinic says depression is “more than just a bout of the blues, depression isn’t a weakness and you can’t simply ‘snap out’ of it. Depression may require long-term treatment.”

The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) identifies depression as one of the most common mental disorders in the U.S. and “current research suggests that depression is caused by a combination of genetic, biological, environmental, and psychological factors” and it can happen at any age.

“The (worst) thing about depression: A human being can survive almost anything, as long as she sees the end in sight. But depression is so insidious, and it compounds daily, that it’s impossible to ever see the end. The fog is like a cage without a key. (Elizabeth Wurtzel)

Medical professionals recognize that depression “is not a passing blue mood, which almost everyone experiences from time to time, but a complex mind/body illness that interferes with everyday functioning. … It alters the structure and function of nerve cells so that it disrupts the way the brain processes information and interprets experience. Despite feelings of hopelessness and worthlessness, depression is a treatable condition” (Psychology Today). Most people with depression feel better with medication, psychotherapy or both.

While health professionals acknowledge that depression is common among Americans, the biggest obstacle to treatment is the stigma that often is associated with any form of mental illness. I encourage you to learn more about depression and other mental illnesses and discover how you can be a part of the healing process.

Jamie Jenkins

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As a child did you ever have your mouth washed out with soap because you said a “dirty” word? If so, those are not pleasant memories. Chances are pretty good that if you are reading this, you of an age when that is not going to happen again.

I have been thinking a lot about two dirty words lately. Actually there are three words but one of them is hyphenated. Are you ready? The words are “discipline” and “self-control.” They are not the kind of words that result in a soapy cleaning of the mouth but they are not among the favorite words of most folks.

Jennifer Cohen, says that “Self-discipline is the number one trait needed to accomplish goals, lead a healthy lifestyle, and ultimately be happy.”* While this may be true, discipline is something that most people find easier to impose on someone else than on themselves. It is not easy to exercise restraint over one’s own impulses, emotions, or desires.

I tend to articulate more easily in verbal rather than written form. One of the problems, though, is that I can go on and on trying to make my point if I sense that the hearer is not getting it or if I am having a hard time finding the right expression. I can rightly be accused of often talking a lot and not saying much.

In an attempt to discipline myself I have taken on writing assignments with deadlines. It started with accepting the responsibility of writing a weekly newspaper column. The editor expected me to have it ready by Monday and it was not to exceed 500 words. The timeline pushed me to get it done and the limited space required that I carefully selected my words. In later years my job included a weekly e-newsletter with some of the same limitations. Thoughts for Thursday that you are reading right now is an effort to continue that self-discipline even though it is not a requirement of employment and there is no compensation.

My daughter and son-in-law and another family came from California to visit over the Labor Day holidays. We had a wonderful time and food was at the center of much of our enjoyment. When I weighed myself after they had gone I realized that I needed to get serious about the weight I had been gaining.

I decided to begin a routine of walking several miles daily. Three or four miles in the morning. Three or four miles in the evening. At least 4-5 times a week. In the beginning I was faithful to the commitment I made to myself. Then other things took too much of my time. One day it was raining. It was hot in the evening. Then it turned cool in the morning. There are so many excuses that make it hard to discipline myself to keep up the routine.

Of course, discipline is needed not only to make you do things you would rather not do. It also serves a preventive purpose. It is imperative to exercise self-control to avoid actions or thoughts that are harmful to us or to others. One of the definitions for discipline in the Merriam-Webster Dictionary is “training that corrects, molds, or perfects the mental faculties or moral character.”

John MacArthur asks the question, “Why is discipline important?” Then he provides an answer. “Discipline teaches us to operate by principle rather than desire. Saying no to our impulses (even the ones that are not inherently sinful) puts us in control of our appetites rather than vice versa. It deposes our lust and permits truth, virtue, and integrity to rule our minds instead.”

One of the most famous studies of self-control is known as “the marshmallow test,” which found that children who were able to resist eating one marshmallow—in order to be rewarded with two in the future—later showed higher academic achievement than those who had wolfed the treat down immediately. The study’s results seemed to indicate that self-control is an innate ability with wide-reaching implications for our lives, but later studies have suggested that our self-control actually changes significantly over our lifetime, and can be improved with practice.**

Self-control is a desirable trait for every person and is essential if one is to live an honorable and decent life. I wish that discipline and self-control were the “one and done” kind of experience but I know it is not. It is a lifelong effort. The Apostle Paul includes self-control (self-discipline) as one of the nine fruits of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22) that characterizes followers of Jesus. The good news is that we are not alone in this lifelong exercise. God is present and willing to help us.

Jamie Jenkins

* https://www.forbes.com/sites/jennifercohen/2014/06/18/5-proven-methods-for-gaining-self-discipline/#4367ccb23c9f

**Psychology Today

As soon as I hung up the phone I felt bad. I had been rude and wished I could apologize but I could not.

I usually do not answer the phone when the number is not one that I recognize but sometimes I am not sure. This number was familiar. I knew I had received calls from it before so I answered. I have learned that if there is a pause after I have said hello, then it is usually a robo-call and I hang up.

Robocall cartoons, Robocall cartoon, funny, Robocall picture, Robocall pictures, Robocall image, Robocall images, Robocall illustration, Robocall illustrations

Like everyone else I get my share of calls from telemarketers and folks taking surveys. The past few weeks there has been a massive number of calls related to the current political campaign. Now they use local numbers and call you by first name to disguise the purpose of the call. Also, I guess this helps to get by the “Do Not Call” list.

Anyway, when the phone rang this morning I answered and waited for the pause and the delayed request to speak to me. My response was not polite and I hung up. Immediately I realized this was a company with which I do business and the call was legitimate. I called back right away but the person who answered my call was not the one to whom I had spoken to rudely. Since it is a large company the person from the previous call could not be identified.

The person who called me was just doing her job and trying to be helpful to me. I spoke too quickly and rudely but it was not possible to offer her my apology. I was guilty of a harsh and inappropriate response to her call.

 Erma Bombeck

Erma Bombeck was right when she said, “Guilt is the gift that keeps on giving.”

people,portrait,adult,art,woman,retro,face

Feeling guilty is not always healthy. I suspect that everyone has had someone “lay a guilt trip” on them making them feel bad unnecessarily. Ayn Rand offered words of wisdom when she said, “The worst guilt is to accept an unearned guilt.” It is important to separate a “guilt trip” from appropriate feelings of regret for your actions.

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Guilt can paralyze you or cause you to make necessary changes. It can be a warning sign to help you realize the need to change your behavior. This is “healthy” or “appropriate” guilt and it serves us well to pay attention. The rational purpose of this guilt is simply to try and convince you to change your behavior. 

John M. Grohol, Psy.D, says, “Guilt’s purpose isn’t to make us feel bad just for the sake of it. The feeling of guilt is trying to get our attention so that we can learn something from the experience. If we learn from our behavior, we’ll be less likely to do it again in the future.”

Dr. Grohol continues, “Guilt is one of those emotions that we feel is telling us something important. Be aware that not every emotion, and certainly not every guilty feeling, is a rational one that has a purpose. Focus on the guilt that causes loved ones or friends harm. And remember to be skeptical the next time you feel guilty – is it trying to teach you something rational and helpful about your behavior, or is it just an emotional, irrational response to a situation? The answer to that question will be your first step to helping you better cope with guilt in the future.”

Jamie Jenkins

 

Dating made easy. That’S what the sign said and offered a web address.

Man and Woman Sitting Together in Front of Table

It has been a long time since I was single and dating. And I am certainly no expert on the subject (just ask my wife). However, I do not remember it being “easy” and I imagine that it has probably become more complicated and nuanced since then.

stock photo of online dating - Illustration depicting a computer screen shot with a internet dating search concept - JPG

One online dating service recognizes that “you’re more substance than just a selfie” and it promises “to make meaningful connections with real people.” Another boasts that it has facilitated “more dates, more relationships, & more marriages than any other dating or personals site.” I have no first-hand experience with an online dating site so I do not argue with their claims and they may provide a much needed service. But I cannot believe that they can make dating easy.

In a recent Psychology Today article Dr. Robert J. Maurer does not suggest that dating can be made easy but he says it can be made simple. He says he has found that there is “only one essential predictor of future relationship health. (And) It is not the criteria people usually look for: shared interests, the same religion, similar incomes.” No, he suggests that you ask one “cliché question:” So, how come someone as wonderful as you is still single?”

The idea, according to Dr. Maurer, is “your date will hopefully hear this question as a compliment” but you can learn a lot about them from their answer.

Dating is not the only complicated life experience to which we often seek short cuts and easy answers. Take shopping for instance. You are in the market for an automobile and there are so many choices. Body style, color, optional equipment, gasoline engine or hybrid or electric- and a multitude of other things about which you have to decide. Wouldn’t it be easy if the auto makers offered only one make and model, one color, and no optional equipment?

Restaurant cafe menu, template design. royalty-free restaurant cafe menu template design stock vector art & more images of menu

When you eat out do you have difficulty with the menu? So many choices. Wouldn’t dining out be easy if there was only one entre on the menu? No daily specials. No choice of how you want your steak or burger prepared.

Street, Stock, City, Shopping, Travel, Times Square

Entertainment would be easy if there was only one theater in town playing only one movie. One home town sport/team to cheer. One television channel to watch.

Life in general can be very complicated. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if everything was clearly right or wrong. No alternatives. Every decision had only one option. There were no forks in the road.

Obviously easy is not always better. While it might not matter what car we drive or how we entertain ourselves, there are choices that really make a difference.

stock photo of choice - Taking decisions for the future man standing with three direction arrow choices - JPG

I wish life to be more manageable- and it can be but there is no silver bullet or magical answer. I believe there are some absolutes in life. Everything is not up for grabs. On the other hand many, maybe most of the vital choices, are not always clear.

So how do we make good choices in the things that really matter? I believe that we are not alone in our efforts to choose and live wisely. God is with us to guide and guard us in life. “Anyone who needs wisdom should ask God. Wisdom will certainly be given to those who ask.” (James 1:5, Common English Bible). When we are not sure, “God will show how to distinguish right from wrong, how to find the right decision every time.” (Proverbs 2:9, Living Bible)

Life cannot be made easy but if we “trust God from the bottom of our heart (and) don’t try to figure out everything on our own” life can be better. If we “listen for God’s voice in everything we do, everywhere we go- God will keep us on (the right) track.” (Proverbs 3:5-6)

Jamie Jenkins

 

love,romance,illustration,woman,graphic design,business,man,isolated

Dating made easy. That’s what the sign said and offered a web address.

Man and Woman Sitting Together in Front of Table

It has been a long time since I was single and dating. And I am certainly no expert on the subject (Just ask my wife). However, I do not remember it being “easy” and I imagine that it has become more complicated and nuanced since then.

Midsection of Couple Holding Hands at Beach Against Sky

One online dating service recognizes that “you’re more substance than just a selfie” and it promises “to make meaningful connections with real people.” Another boasts that it has facilitated “more dates, more relationships, & more marriages than any other dating or personals site.” I have no first-hand experience with an online dating site so I do not argue with their claims and they may provide a much needed service. But I cannot believe that they can make dating easy.

Photo of Robert J Maurer

In a recent Psychology Today article Dr. Robert J. Maurer does not suggest that dating can be made easy but he says it can be made simple. He says he has found that there is “only one essential predictor of future relationship health. (And) It is not the criteria people usually look for: shared interests, the same religion, similar incomes.” No, he suggests that you ask one “cliché question:” So, how come someone as wonderful as you is still single?”

The idea, according to Dr. Maurer, is “your date will hopefully hear this question as a compliment” but you can learn a lot about them from their answer.

used car signs

Dating is not the only complicated life experience to which we often seek short cuts and easy answers. Take shopping for instance. You are in the market for an automobile and there are so many choices. Body style, color, optional equipment, gasoline engine or hybrid or electric- and a multitude of other things about which you have to decide. Wouldn’t it be easy if the auto makers offered only one make and model, one color, and no optional equipment?

menu as inspiration. See the grid

When you eat out do you have difficulty with the menu? So many choices. Wouldn’t dining out be easy if there was only one entre on the menu? No daily specials. No choice of how you want your steak or burger prepared.

Entertainment would be easy if there was only one theater in town playing only one movie. One home town sport/team to cheer. One television channel to watch.

movie theater, Canada

Life in general can be very complicated. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if everything was clearly right or wrong. No alternatives. Every decision had only one option. There were no forks in the road.

Obviously easy is not always better. While it might not matter what car we drive or how we entertain ourselves, there are choices that really make a difference.

I wish life could be more manageable- and it can be but there is no silver bullet or magical answer. I believe there are some absolutes in life. Everything is not up for grabs. On the other hand many, maybe most of the vital choices, are not always clear.

stock photo of choice - Taking decisions for the future man standing with three direction arrow choices - JPG

So how do we make good choices in the things that really matter? I believe that we are not alone in our efforts to choose and live wisely. God is with us to guide and guard us in life. “Anyone who needs wisdom should ask God. Wisdom will certainly be given to those who ask.” (James 1:5, Common English Bible). When we are not sure, “God will show how to distinguish right from wrong, how to find the right decision every time.” (Proverbs 2:9, Living Bible)

Life cannot be made easy but if we “trust God from the bottom of our heart (and) don’t try to figure out everything on our own” life can be better. If we “listen for God’s voice in everything we do, everywhere we go- God will keep us on (the right) track.” (Proverbs 3:5-6)

Jamie Jenkins

Two days ago UPS tested truck-launched drones for package delivery in rural areas. The drone-equipped vans would only be used on rural routes where the company’s vehicles often have to travel miles to make a single delivery. The goal isn’t to replace drivers but to make them more efficient by allowing one driver to more quickly and efficiently deliver to several homes near one another.

UPS estimates that reducing the distance its trucks drive by just one mile per driver per day over one year could save the company up to $50 million. In another news story

In a separate story about the package delivery company, CNN reported last Sunday that UPS trucks almost never take left-hand turns. “By favoring right-hand turns at all times, unless a left is unavoidable, the carrier saves 10 million gallons of fuel each year, and avoids emissions equivalent to over 20,000 passenger cars.”

Who would imagine that such minor adjustments would make such major differences?

However, in reality little things mean a lot. One ounce of weight loss or gain per day equals 22.85 pounds in a year’s time.

If a person put $10 per month aside for 30 years, it would amount to $3650. If that money was invested at 7% interest compounded daily for 30 years, it would add up to $12,489.66, an increase of $8839.66. Little things mean a lot.

 

The No. 1 song of 1954 in the U.S. on the Billboard chart and in the U.K Singles Chart was a song recorded by Kitty Kallen. Since then Little Things Mean A Lot has been recorded by many artists from the big band sound of Harry James to country music legend Willie Nelson.

Blow me a kiss from across the room
Say I look nice when I’m not
Touch my hair as you pass my chair
Little things mean a lot

Give me your arm as we cross the street
Call me at six on the dot
A line a day when you’re far away
Little things mean a lot

Aaron Ben-Zeev, Ph.D., writing in Psychology Today, suggests thatLove is often described in terms of grand deeds, such as moving mountains. Love can indeed induce such deeds, but usually it is the little things that mean a lot more in love.”

He says further, “These little things, be they gestures, actions, or words, are the many small things that we do every day and that naturally express our heart. They are not the result of calculations or intentions, but are rather spontaneous expressions of what we feel moved to do.”

Jesus suggested that it is not always the “big” things that we do that make a difference. He realized that we could easily be overwhelmed by the challenges of life and the needs of the world. So He counseled us to realize that even a cool cup of water to someone who is thirsty is an important act. (Matthew 10:42)

Lord, help us to see the significance of little things in our daily lives and in our relationships with others.

Jamie Jenkins