Retirement – The Next Major Life Transition

Transition to retirement
What is your strategy to navigate the transition to retirement?

What are the feelings and thoughts that come to mind when you consider the word ‘RETIREMENT’?

I am finding one of four answers from executive men who are nearing this transition.

  • I have been planning with fitness, travel plans, family plans, hobby plans and can’t wait to retire.
  • I am consumed with reaching my final goals at work and succession planning, so I’ll deal with retirement when I get there.
  • I am not looking forward to retirement, so I plan to die at my desk.
  • I am being coerced to retire before I am ready, and I am very unhappy about it.

No doubt there are other scenarios, but these are those that have been communicated most frequently.

Major Life Transitions

In life, we all traverse many transitions.  Some are small and others are large.  Some are planned, even eagerly anticipated, while others come out of nowhere.

Some of the major transitions in our life are:

  • Leaving home
  • Choosing a career
  • Marriage
  • Children
  • Moving
  • Changing jobs or careers
  • Losing a loved one
  • Retirement
  • Chronic illness

There is a planning process that can be used to prepare for most of these major transitions. Consider the number of life skills training, wedding planning, child preparation, career building, and grief counseling resources that are available.  These transitions can be very difficult, and the help and counsel of wise experts can make the leap much more manageable.

Retirement Wellness Strategies

We exist to help you strategically plan for retirement.  This process will benefit you the most if you start about 2 years prior to retirement. This will minimize the surprises and disappointments that are common with unplanned retirement.

You will have

  • Your personal board certified specialist health advocate to walk through all medical and health encounters
  • A thorough health review to enter retirement with optimal health and stamina
  • Risk identification and minimization based on your personal and family history
  • Planning tools to avoid the unexpected
  • A retirement strategic plan for building a meaningful active next life phase

Contact Dr. Michelle Fritsch today at michelle@retirewellness.comor 410-472-5078.  Learn more at www.retirewellness.com.

BIBLICAL APPLICATION

As we enter this New Year, consider the imposed transition of the calendar.  This is a good time to think about change, new goals, and exciting possibilities.

From way back in the Hebrew text of the Old Testament, we have verses of promise for the future.

Deuteronomy 31:8 ESV

It is the Lord who goes before you. He will be with you; he will not leave you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed.”

Joshua 1:9 ESV

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”

Jeremiah 29:11-13 ESV

For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you. You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart.

What about the changing of years brings you hope?

What brings you sadness?

How adaptable are you to change?

I have been accused of creating change on purpose, so I’m definitely in the camp that appreciates and promotes change.  I have many friends who find change very difficult and often unnecessary.  Where are you on this spectrum?

I find great hope in the many verses that explain God’s promises of provision, even during change.

Philippians 4:6-7 ESV

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Proverbs 3:5 ESV

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding.

Romans 15:13 ESV

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.

In this change of the year, I pray you will live in great joy and hope in this new year.

Blessings,

Michelle

 

 

Finding true JOY this Christmas 2017

Joy
Find and experience the true joy that can be yours this Christmas and forever – no matter what 2017 has brought your way.

This has been a complex year; downright difficult for many people.

Yet this is a season of hope and joy. (Not the happy, exuberant, all is perfect kind of joy; the hope in the one-true-God type of joy).

Joy Defined

Joy isn’t like happiness which is based upon happenings or whether things are going well or not. No, joy remains even amidst the suffering. Joy is not happiness. Joy is an emotion that’s acquired by the anticipation, acquisition or even the expectation of something great or wonderful. It could be described as exhilaration, delight, sheer gladness, and can result from a great success or a very beautiful or wonderful experience like a wedding or graduation but the definition of joy that the world holds is not nearly as amazing as biblical joy but joy is also gift.”

Why is Christmas so special? Christmas is the birth of the joy and a demonstration of God’s love for each of us:

For those who lost loved-ones who were senselessly murdered

                                                                                                His love endures forever

For those whose loved ones were killed in the hurricanes

                                                                                                His love endures forever

For those whose loved ones were killed in the fires

                                                                                                His love endures forever

For those who lost loved ones from any means

                                                                                                His love endures forever

For those whose lives were turned upside down by natural disasters

                                                                                                His love endures forever

For those who experienced major disappointments

                                                                                                His love endures forever

For those who are disillusioned by the political divide in this country and elsewhere

                                                                                                His love endures forever

For those who are disgusted by the reports of harassment

                                                                                                His love endures forever

For those who feel like they are spiraling out of control

                                                                                                His love endures forever

 

Romans 8:31-32, 38-39 NLT (I encourage you to read this whole chapter)

31 What shall we say about such wonderful things as these? If God is for us, who can ever be against us? 32 Since he did not spare even his own Son but gave him up for us all, won’t he also give us everything else? 

38 And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons,[p] neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. 39 No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.

We are going to face terrible trials in this life. No one is exempt. Yet we are given countless opportunities in this life to experience God’s never-ending love. That is where we find the peace and joy.

I pray you seek and find this JOY this Christmas!

Blessings,

Michelle

Attitude – the choice is yours and the impact is huge for your health!

Attitude
Choose your attitude each day, and make it a good one for your health!

Is your attitude the RESULT of what is happening around you? Is it the RESULT of what others do to you? Is it the RESULT of your life circumstances? —-OR—-Is your attitude your CHOICE?

I propose your attitude is your CHOICE!

We live in such a blame society. People are called haters, shamers, intolerant, biased, and worse.

So often we try to claim that others made us the way we are – sullen, angry, withdrawn, hurt, rejected.

We give others and situations the power to determine how we are going to go through each day and how we are going to approach life.

If you are a balloon bouncing in the winds of circumstances, there is hope!

How to choose your attitude

What are your first thoughts in the morning? How do you approach your day? What music do you choose? What do you read, think about, and how do you plan for your day?

These aspects of your life are associated with maintaining health even in the midst of negative events:

  • friends to talk to
  • people who care about you
  • a sense of self-worth
  • forgiveness
  • security
  • conflict management skills
  • religion/spirituality

The items on this list have all been linked with improved health.

And I will add having a source of HOPE. I believe hope is powerful in the midst of difficulty.

Gratitude and attitude

Another way of thinking that improves your attitude and your health is gratitude. For what are you thankful? No matter how many bad things are around you, what is good? You’re still here if you’re reading this! What parts of your body work? What are you able to do? Who do you care about? Where are your safe places? Where is the beauty around you – pictures, nature, architecture, music, literature, videos, clouds, trees, or babbling water?

Find those good things and be thankful for them. Fill your bucket with all of the good in your life. It makes the bad much more tolerable.

Make it about someone else

Doing something for or being kind to someone else can be a real attitude adjuster. Rather than focus on yourself and your own needs, raise your head and look at the people around you. Find something small you can do to make someone else’s day. You will be amazed that you benefit from those actions at least as much as the person you blessed.

Health benefits of a good attitude

No one can choose your attitude except YOU! This is such a liberating concept. In the midst of and despite the difficulties of life, you can each day CHOOSE to have a GOOD attitude!

When you do, your physical health (blood pressure, breathing, kidney function); your mental health (calm, clearer thinking, more creativity); your emotional health (less reactive, more even emotions); and your spiritual health (happiness, hope, joy) benefit.

For more information about how you can choose your own attitude and the health benefits, please contact us at www.medsmash.com/contact, michelle@medsmash.com, or call at 410-472-5078.

BIBLICAL APPLICATION

Choosing and displaying a good attitude consistently is one of the best ways you can ‘let your light shine’. The world is craving examples of ‘good’ in the midst of the struggles of life.

Proverbs 15:30 NIV

Light in a messenger’s eyes brings joy to the heart,
    and good news gives health to the bones.

Most people are pushed and pulled and slammed against the wall when events happen. It’s hard to catch your breath, let alone be positive, if you don’t have some anchor.

Hebrews 6:19 NIV

We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. It enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain,

Psalm 112:7 NIV

They will have no fear of bad news;
    their hearts are steadfast, trusting in the Lord.

John 16:33 NIV

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

We have eternal hope and joy to hold onto in the midst of anything that happens. We have the assurances of God that we are never alone.

1 Thes 5:16-18 NIV

Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

Romans 8 :28 NIV

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who[a] have been called according to his purpose.

If you haven’t heard Francesca Battistelli’s song, Where Were You?, I highly encourage you to listen.

Yes, the difficulties of life will keep coming at you. You know they will, but those are the very events that allow us to grow deeper in our faith and find that hope that keeps our attitude good in the midst of everything.

Romans 5:3-5 NIV

Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance;  perseverance, character; and character, hope.  And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.

Choose your good attitude each day and let it shine for the world to see!

Blessings,

Michelle

Peace

Peace, Joy, and Health – What is the Link?

Peace
Peace and Joy can improve your health this holiday season

Merry Christmas! Happy Hanukkah! Happy Holidays! For many this is a season of wonder, excitement, friends, and family. It is a time of joy and celebration. The comforts of the season, and for many, the reasons for the season, are a source of peace.

Then, for others, this is a difficult season. It can be a reminder of loss, a lonely time, or a negative experience. I am regularly horrified at how people can hurt people. And hurt people tend to hurt people. It is a devastating trend.

Hurt and Health

The obvious connection between peace and health pertains to war. I am happy to see survivors finally being moved to safety away from Aleppo. War is definitely hazardous to health. Aleppo has been an example of how horrible things can get in the midst of war.

Conflict, abuse, hurtful words, neglect, oppression, and bullying are bad for your health, too. Anxiety, depression, and loss of hope are some common themes.

These cycles are hard to break. It can be challenging to find the hope.

I have seen in MANY patients that when this hurt is kept inside, it DOES come out. It can come out as depression, social anxiety, avoidance of people, and very often pain.

Peace and Health

Finding peace in life doesn’t only happen when things are perfect. Name the times in your life that absolutely everything was perfect. I’ll be surprised if you can find any at all. Rarely if ever are you in a place where there is absolutely no hurt, no mess, and all is good. So how do you ever find peace?

I have had the privilege of knowing many people, including many patients, who have found peace in spite of very turbulent events in their life.

Finding faith, meaning, and peace has been shown to improve quality of life in people with cancer. Some people bring these qualities into their cancer experience. Others find it in the midst of their cancer. I believe if this is true in cancer, it will be true with other chronic illnesses as well.

Another link is the association between giving to others and finding joy for yourself. Altruism and giving are linked with improved health. We often associate happiness with getting gifts. Now, it appears you will find even more joy if you focus on the giving of the season. Who could benefit from your giving today?

So, on this holiday weekend, seeking your source of peace and joy can actually improve your health. You physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual health will all benefit.

For more information about the health benefits of finding peace in the midst of life, contact us at 410-472-5078 or www.medsmash.com/contact.

BIBLICAL APPLICATION

I know a lot of Christians who struggle to find the peace and joy of Christmas. The busy-ness, stress, expectations, obligations, traffic, and events can be overwhelming.

None of that sounds like peace.

The birth of Jesus wasn’t surrounded by shopping, parties, pressure, or obligations. There might have been some traffic with the census.   🙂

The songs like ‘O, Holy Night’, ‘Silent Night’, and ‘It Came Upon a Midnight Clear’ paint a peaceful, serene event. The rich and famous were not present. The finest china and silver were not set in a well-decorated setting. No one compared value of gifts given and received.

Peace was mentioned to the very first people told about his birth.

Luke 2:14 ESV

“Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!”

Jesus had several messages about peace during his ministry.

John 16:33 ESV

I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”

John 14:27 ESV

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.

Jesus’ brother James understood the types of things that lead to our stress and frustration at Christmas.

James 4:2-3 ESV

You desire and do not have, so you murder. You covet and cannot obtain, so you fight and quarrel. You do not have, because you do not ask. You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions.

Paul tells us what we should do instead.

Galatians 5:22 ESV

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,

Jesus demonstrated this kind of life. Christmas is a time of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, and goodness. How delightful if we can stay focused on these principles as we celebrate with our loved ones.

I pray Paul’s blessing for you and your family this blessed Christmas.

Romans 15:13 ESV

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.

Blessings,

Michelle

Healing Our Wounds – Skin and Relationships

scar-tissue
Healing skin wounds is a complex process. The same is true for relationship wounds.

Civility, caring for other people, conflict management, self-control, integrity are constructive traits.  I am disappointed and dismayed by the negativity in society right now.  As we near our national election there is blame, ridicule, slander, questionable integrity, and division.  Candidates and regular people on the streets are tearing each other apart.  These wounds can be hard to heal.  Consider what love, patience, and goodwill could do to aid healing in our society right now.

Healing skin wounds

Do you have any scars?  The body’s primary defense mechanism and largest organ is the skin.  Any breach in the skin’s integrity can allow bacteria and infection into the body, alter the body’s ability to regulate temperature and water storage, and it usually hurts.  The skin is a very sensitive organ.

Any cut, tear, wound results in an influx of parts of the immune system to start healing the wound.

If the wound is small enough, the skin on either side of the cut can rejoin, sometimes without even a scar.

If the wound is larger, the gap is too big to allow the two sides of the skin to reattach.  In that case, granulation tissue forms to fill the gap.  New small blood vessels grow in to the area, fibrin ‘scaffolding forms’ and cells build in around the fibrin.  Then, more small blood vessels are formed, more fibrin ‘scaffolding’ forms, and more cell fill in the area.  This continues until the whole space is filled with granulation tissue.  This appears as a scar.  The space where the wound left a gap that was filled with granulation tissue is noticeable.  That skin will not be or look the same.  Granulation tissue contains fewer cells and blood vessels compared to normal skin.

Healing relationship wounds

This scar tissue is only 60-85% as strong as normal tissue.  So although the body heals itself, it is not like the wound never happened.  That is so true of our emotional scars as well.  It’s too easy to let words fly when we’re angry.  In a rage, your objective might be to win and tear the other person down.  This might feel ‘good’ in the moment.  But what happens later?  What about the guilt and shame?  What about the damage done to the relationship?  Some things can’t be completely undone.  But much healing CAN be done, and a 60-85% healed relationship is better than no relationship at all.

For more information about how the body heals itself or the health impacts of negativity, contact us at http://www.medsmash.com/contact.

Biblical Application:

It can distressing to see so much negativity all over the media.  It seems to be adding to the negativity in the workplace, the community, the church, and the home.  I encourage us to take a deep breath and focus on our one stable source of hope and joy.

Our interpersonal differences can lead to cuts and wounds in families and groups.  If those cuts can be identified and resolved quickly through skilled communication and love, they can often heal without so much as a scar.

But, when they are left unaddressed or allowed to get worse and worse, the healing process can be messy and less effective than it would have been if handled quickly.  This is not to say that healing is impossible.  Just as the human body is amazing in its resilience, with mediation, healing, communication, and forgiveness, relationships can heal and grow.  They may not look the same, changes may occur, but reconnection and resumed integrity can be achieved.
Psalm 147:3
He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.
1 Peter 2:24
He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed.

May your wounds, your relationships, your faith be strong.

Blessings,

Michelle Fritsch

yourhealthandsoul

Image showing granulation tissue filling a woundDo you have any scars?  The body’s primary defense mechanism and largest organ is the skin.  Any breach in the skin’s integrity can allow bacteria and infection into the body, alter the body’s ability to regulate temperature and water storage, and it usually hurts.  The skin is a very sensitive organ.

Any cut, tear, wound results in an influx of parts of the immune system to start healing the wound.

If the wound is small enough, the skin on either side of the cut can rejoin, sometimes without even a scar.

If the wound is larger, the gap is too big to allow the two sides of the skin to reattach.  In that case, granulation tissue forms to fill the gap.  New small blood vessels grow in to the area, fibrin ‘scaffolding forms’ and cells build in around the fibrin.  Then, more small blood vessels are formed, more fibrin…

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Quality of Life – your attitude and health

Slide1
Your quality of life is shaped by your attitude, and that also impact your health.

Your quality of life is different than just living. If you are breathing and your heart is beating, then you are alive. Within that life there can be a HUGE range in your quality of life. Quality of life is your overall well-being or satisfaction. How is yours?

Being satisfied with your life encompasses many different factors. There is no one ‘right recipe’ for gloriously high quality of life. Your quality of life will likely change throughout your life with your changing circumstances. But, some people maintain a relatively good quality of life in spite of their circumstances. It is interesting that the factors some people would rate as important don’t actually lead to high quality of life scores.

  • For instance, many people would propose more money would increase their quality of life. Yet there are many miserable people who have a lot of money.
  • Many people would propose that better health is the key to quality of life. Yet there are sick/disabled/injured people with a wonderful quality of life and super healthy people who are miserable.
  • Some would list having many friends around as the key to quality of life. But there are some people who are at parties all of the time surrounded by friends who are miserable. There are others who lead very quiet lives with few friends who are very happy and content.

So what is the key to a magnificent quality of life? 

Your attitude

I have been very interested in the large range of responses people give when asked about their life satisfaction. I am not the only one interested in this. I have read many articles from all sorts of authors on the subject of health and attitude. If you are interested, to get started, just search for the terms ‘attitude and health’. I think you will be surprised by all that you find.

Will there be dark days when things are not going right? Will you lose loved ones? Can your life slip out of your control on more than one occasion? YES!

You then make a choice as to how you respond.   Your attitude matters.

Great example

Your physical health, mental health, emotional health, and spiritual health are all wrapped up in how you live your life. There will be many things that happen ‘to you’. But you alone decide how you respond. Here is a story I’ve read in many places that captures this truth:

A 92-year-old, petite, well-poised and proud lady, who is fully dressed each morning by eight o’clock, with her hair fashionably coifed and makeup perfectly applied, even though she is legally blind, moved to a nursing home today. Her husband of 70 years recently passed away, making the move necessary.

After many hours of waiting patiently in the lobby of the nursing home, she smiled sweetly when told her room was ready. As she maneuvered her walker to the elevator, I provided a visual description of her tiny room, including the eyelet sheets that had been hung on her window. “I love it,” she stated with the enthusiasm of an eight-year-old having just been presented with a new puppy.

“Mrs. Jones, you haven’t seen the room …. just wait.”

“That doesn’t have anything to do with it,” she replied. “Happiness is something you decide on ahead of time. Whether I like my room or not doesn’t depend on how the furniture is arranged, it’s how I arrange my mind. I already decided to love it. It’s a decision I make every morning when I wake up. I have a choice; I can spend the day in bed recounting the difficulty I have with the parts of my body that no longer work, or get out of bed and be thankful for the ones that do. Each day is a gift, and as long as my eyes open I’ll focus on the new day and all the happy memories I’ve stored away, just for this time in my life.”

She went on to explain, “Old age is like a bank account, you withdraw from what you’ve put in. So, my advice to you would be to deposit a lot of happiness in the bank account of memories. Thank you for your part in filling my Memory bank. I am still depositing.”

And with a smile, she said: “Remember the five simple rules to be happy:

  1. Free your heart from hatred.
  2. Free your mind from worries.
  3. Live simply.
  4. Give more.
  5. Expect less.

(Copied from this source.)

If you would like to know more about how your attitude impacts your quality of life and your health, please contact us at www.medsmash.com/contact.

BIBLICAL APPLICATION

How is your attitude? How easily do you become bitter, frustrated, angry, and discontented? Wow, doesn’t that happen so easily!!!!

The devotions that come to my e-mail every day from Pastor Rick Warren have been focused on envy for several days. What a nasty, cruel, pervasive worm is ENVY.

Doesn’t that negatively impact your day?

Paul outlines to Timothy many facets of living a God-centered life. And he repeatedly makes reference to the fulfillment, joy, and quality of life that comes with that kind of living.

1 Timothy 6:6-7 ESV

But godliness with contentment is great gain, for we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world.

Paul tells Timothy about all of the pitfalls in this world. He even talks about how things will get worse the closer we get to the coming of Christ. So, finding contentment in the midst of so much negativity is not easy. It is a choice and an active pursuit. A pursuit that is well worth the effort.

1 Timothy 6:11-12 MSG

But you, Timothy, man of God: Run for your life from all this. Pursue a righteous life—a life of wonder, faith, love, steadiness, courtesy. Run hard and fast in the faith. Seize the eternal life, the life you were called to, the life you so fervently embraced in the presence of so many witnesses.

The following kind of advice from Paul makes me feel more at ease. I like the visual I get and the response from other people when this is put into action.

Ephesians 4:31-32 MSG

Make a clean break with all cutting, backbiting, profane talk. Be gentle with one another, sensitive. Forgive one another as quickly and thoroughly as God in Christ forgave you.

Now that you are on your road to a fabulous quality of life and true contentment no matter what is going on around you, here is some encouragement from Paul.

Ephesians 4:1-3 MSG

In light of all this, here’s what I want you to do. While I’m locked up here, a prisoner for the Master, I want you to get out there and walk—better yet, run!—on the road God called you to travel. I don’t want any of you sitting around on your hands. I don’t want anyone strolling off, down some path that goes nowhere. And mark that you do this with humility and discipline—not in fits and starts, but steadily, pouring yourselves out for each other in acts of love, alert at noticing differences and quick at mending fences.

Blessings,

Michelle

 

 

 

Four Components of True Health – Emotional Health

Slide1
Caring for and by others is key

The fourth of the four components of health is emotional health. True health requires health in all four components. Over the last three weeks we covered physical, mental, and spiritual health. Striving to attain health in all four areas enhances your overall health.

Emotional health refers to how you deal with life and its ups and downs. Everyone goes through difficult trials. The specifics are different between people. Even for you, there will be a wide variety of difficult times you experience.   Everyone has good days. These can be peaceful, contended days; days where you reach a goal; days where you are celebrated; and days when you feel loved and secure.

Your feelings play a big role in your emotional health. People express their feelings in many different ways. Some people are more visibly emotional. Other people keep their emotions carefully hidden from view. Either way, emotions can impact our behaviors. How we act, how we respond, how we treat people, and how we feel about ourselves can all be affected by our emotions.

Why does my emotional health matter?

When looking at the differences between healthy people and not so healthy people, researchers have found emotional health to be a key factor.

How do you handle your anger? How kind are you to yourself in your ‘self talk’? How do you express your joy? What is your response when someone criticizes you? How often do you put other people’s needs before your own? Do you feel like the world is out to get you? How do you respond when your car breaks down? How do you feel when you forget to send a birthday card on time? What makes you happy? What makes you sad?

Studies have shown that prolonged stress and negativity make you age faster. There are actually measurable changes in your brain (shorter telomere length and less activity). This stress can also make you more susceptible to other diseases. Your blood pressure can go up, risk of heart disease goes up, and risk of diabetes goes up.

Improved health does not come from lack of negative situations. It comes from how you handle those situations.

The research has shown that the people who are more emotionally healthy have:

  • Friend(s) to talk to
  • People who care about you
  • A sense of self-worth
  • Ability to give and receive forgiveness
  • Conflict management skills
  • A desire to be giving toward others
  • Concern for others

As you can see, these are not things you are born with. They are skills and attitudes you can develop. They are choices you can make. They are best navigated with friends and supportive people around you.

Similarly, other researchers found that keys to overall health are:

  • Thinking kindly of people
  • Feeling optimistic
  • Supportive friends & family
  • Ability to bounce back
  • Making healthy choices
  • Being grateful for all you have

I found it interesting that the findings are so similar. Other studies have supported these important areas of emotional health. When you feel good, your thinking of more creative and flexible. You see problems with more possibilities and solutions.

So, I encourage you to take a personal assessment of your current emotional health. Consider the things that delight you and the things that upset you. Where can you incorporate more of the listed items that are shared among people with more emotional health?

Medications can help on a short-term basis when circumstances have you so upset you can’t function or sleep. Long-term emotional health, however, is gained more through self-insight, positive choices, and self-development.

If you would like citations for the studies mentioned or have any questions about the role of your emotional health on your overall health, contact us at www.medsmash.com.

(Note, severe abuse, neglect, and trauma are much different than daily negative situations. This blog is not intended to cover the health effects of these experiences that usually involve severe mental illness of the perpetrator.)

BIBLICAL APPLICATION

Our emotions can guide so many of our behaviors, especially if we don’t have an anchor of hope. Resilience is the result of knowing God’s love and mercy never fail. No matter the situation, you are not alone, and you have the ultimate resource walking with you.

Throughout the Bible we are assured that bad things will happen. Since sin entered the world, this has been a basic fact. Throughout the Bible we are assured there is hope and joy that can get us through any situation.

Philippians 4:6-7 ESV

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Joshua 1:9 ESV

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”

As we go through difficult times, either big life-altering events or short bursts of anger or frustration, we are encouraged to give those over to God. We aren’t meant to figure it all out or deal with it on our own. Actually, when we do try to handle things ourselves, we often get into trouble.

Proverbs 29:11 ESV

A fool gives full vent to his spirit, but a wise man quietly holds it back.

Proverbs 15:18 ESV

A hot-tempered man stirs up strife, but he who is slow to anger quiets contention.

A focus on God can help calm our storms. Once we learn to navigate the storms, we can be a better support to those around us.

Romans 12:2 ESV

Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.

Romans 12:15 ESV

Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep.

Proverbs 15:13 ESV

A glad heart makes a cheerful face, but by sorrow of heart the spirit is crushed.

I love this visual of Romans 5:3-5. With each time around the circle, we grow in hope and joy and the certainty of God’s love. This can then spill over to others.

Slide1Blessings,

Michelle

Too hot, too cold? Do you have hypothyroidism?

Thyroid glandThere can be several reasons you are cold or hot more than the people around you. One of those reasons can be your thyroid.  If your thyroid is underactive, you could have hypothyroidism.

Normally, your body has this ingenious feedback loop that keeps your thyroid hormone levels just right. The two key hormones produced in your thyroid are triiodothyronine (T3) and thyroxine (T4). When these are at the correct levels, your thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) controls their production. When more is needed, it stimulates more. When no more is needed, it does not stimulate more.

Hypothyroidism

The most common thyroid medical condition is hypothyroidism, or an underactive thyroid. In this case, the TSH keeps going up and up but the needed amounts of extra T3 and T4 are not produced.

Some of the common symptoms of hypothyroidism are:

  • feeling cold all the time
  • feeling sluggish or tired
  • brittle nails and hair
  • weight gain

The most common and very effective treatment for hypothyroidism is levothyroxine. A common brand name is Synthroid. It is T4 that is given to replace the T4 your thyroid is no longer producing. Giving T4 in this form is enough to bring your TSH back to normal levels. It is not necessary to take both T4 and T3; several studies have now demonstrated this. Each dose has a different color. This helps you and your prescriber keep track of exactly what dose you are taking.

When you are first started on levothyroxine, your prescriber will probably have you get blood drawn to check your TSH about 2 months after you start therapy, every 3-6 months until your dose has your TSH right in the goal range, then it will be checked at least yearly. It is common for your dose to change several times, in the first year especially, until the correct dose is identified to keep your TSH at the target level.

When you take levothyroxine, you should take it either first thing in the morning about an hour before breakfast or at the last part of your day at least 3 hours after your last meal. There are several foods and other medications that can interact with levothyroxine. Keeping it separated from your other medicines and meals helps to avoid these interactions.

Note, you especially to do not want to take it near milk or other dairy products, vitamins, or some cholesterol medicines. Taking levothyroxine too close to some of these foods and medicines can make the levothyroxine less effective.

A common question is about brand versus generic when taking levothyroxine. Either is truly fine. What you don’t want to do is switch back and forth. There can be a very tiny variance (2.5%) between medicine made by different manufacturers. For most medicines that makes no difference. Levothyroxine is a ‘narrow therapeutic index’ medication. This means the range from too little to too much is very small. So, the tiny variation between products can make a difference. I recommend generic, but ask your pharmacist to always give you the generic from the same manufacturer.

If you suspect you might be hypothyroid, please talk with your doctor. The most common age to be diagnosed with hypothyroidism is in your 40’s and 50’s, but it can be identified at younger or older ages.

For more information about your thyroid and medications to treat thyroid conditions, contact us at www.medsmash.com.

BIBLICAL APPLICATION

We just read about the amazing feedback loop of the thyroid gland. It is a perfectly designed system that keeps itself in constant check. (Unless it is harmed by disease or other outside influences).

This makes me think of a feedback loop described by Paul. It is not necessarily a comfortable feedback loop, but I know I have seen the truth of it in my own life. And, when I look at those people that have been big spiritual mentors to me, I can definitely see the realities of this feedback loop in their lives. I have yet to find a spiritually mature person who hasn’t experienced this feedback loop more than once.

So, what is the loop?

Romans 5:3-5 ESV

More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.

Slide1

The part that we sometimes miss is that this is a continuous loop. It’s just each time you go through it, the better you are able to ‘REJOICE’ in the suffering knowing that the love is continuous. The loop always involves suffering – something bad is happening to you. But, the more you embrace the love that is yours no matter what, the braver and more joyful you can be with each time around the loop.

So buckle up. The next round is coming! Experience it with the joy that God’s love never fails.

Blessings,

Michelle

Image Source:  National Library of Medicine; National Institutes of Health; U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

The Naughty List – Medications to AVOID when over age 65

Slide1Did you know there is a list of medications to avoid over age 65? A group of physicians and other experts first published this type of list in 1991. Since that time, the list has been updated several times. The most recent update was released this October of 2015. The list is of medications for which there were safer, as effective options. Mark Beers is the physician who took the lead with these lists, so they are often called the ‘Beers List’.

Did you know that kidney function starts to decline – in the healthiest of people – around age 40? The liver also slows down as we age. The efficiency of the heart pumping is more than we need until about age 30, then it starts to slowly decline.

This is not all bad news. The body is designed to function for a very long time, even with the changes that occur with aging.

The more you keep yourself, and your body, healthy, the better you will feel for many years.

Getting back to the naughty list, these body changes slow how medications get out of the body. So often, a single dose will last longer in your 70’s than it did in your 30’s. This means some medications are dosed at a lower dose. Other medications are taken less often. And the Beer’s list medications should not be taken at all.

Beer’s list medications:

  • Anticholinergic medicines are very drying, increase risk of falls, increase confusion and constipation. A common example is diphenhydramine found in Benadryl, Tylenol PM, Aleve PM, and most over-the-counter sleep aids.
  • Certain blood pressure medicines that can make you very dizzy when you stand up – doxazosin, prazosin, terazosin, clonidine, methyldopa, nifedipine
  • Digoxin – if used, should be used a very low dose such as 0.125 mg daily
  • Some depression medicines like amitriptyline, imipramine, notriptyline, paroxetine have a lot of side effects. There are some effective antidepressants that are safe, have fewer anticholinergic (drying and confusion) effects, and less drop in blood pressure.
  • Benzodiazepines include alprazolam, lorazepam, oxazepam, temazepam, triazolam, clonazepam, diazepam. If you are taking one of these for anxiety, please talk with your doctor at your next visit about reducing and gradually coming off of this medication. They greatly increase your risk of falls, difficulty thinking, car crashes, and delirium.
  • Mineral oil. There are much safer remedies for constipation or any other use of mineral oil.
  • Meperidine is one of the most risky pain medications in older adults due to the slower ability of the body to get rid of it. Talk with your doctor about one of the many safer options.
  • Skeletal muscle relaxants include cyclobenzaprine, methocarbamol, orphenadrine, carisoprodol. These have anticholinergic (drying) effects, make you sleepy, and increase your risk of falls and fractures. In addition, they don’t have very good evidence that they are actually helpful.
  • Nonsteroidal pain medicines, especially indomethacin and ketorolac, can cause stomach bleeding and dizziness. Other common nonsteroidals are ibuprofen, Naprosyn, meloxicam, or etodolac.  If you take one of these, talk with your doctor about taking it with an acid blocking medication to help protect your stomach.

There are other medications on the list. Some are specifically hazardous if you have certain other medical conditions.

DO NOT STOP or change the way you take any medicine without first talking with your doctor.

This is a long list. Please discuss this with your doctor if you are taking any of these medications.

Or, please contact us at www.medsmash.com. We are experts in medications for adults over age 60. We can explain the list and any hazards in your medication list to you. Then, we can work with your doctors to make safer changes.

BIBLICAL APPLICATION

Here are two key ‘Nice Lists’. In these times of holiday activities and worldwide turbulence, I hope these bring hope and joy. The Bible says these are to help us glorify our God in Heaven.

THE FRUIT OF THE SPIRIT

Galations 4:22-23a ESV

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control

THE BEATTITUDES

Matthew 5:3-12 ESV

“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

“Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.

“Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.

“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.

“Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.

“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.

“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons[a] of God.

10 “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

11 “Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. 12 Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

Some of the greatest gifts of the season can be love, tolerance, patience, and peace.

I will be praying for each of these for each of us.

Blessings,

Michelle

Hate and Health

Slide1

Hate and negativity are bad for your health.

Holding grudges, blame, racism, oppression, and social isolation have all been linked to poorer health.

Having

  • friends to talk to
  • people who care about you
  • a sense of self-worth
  • forgiveness
  • security
  • conflict management skills
  • religion/spirituality

have all been linked with improved health.

Bad things happen to everyone. Some of these bad things are worse than others.

Every relationship has times of negativity. No person is perfect.

Prolonged negativity with no ability to cope has been linked to mental health and physical health decline.

Negativity can lead to heart disease, diabetes, depression, anxiety, fibromyalgia, and more.

The health effects of negativity are even more pronounced in people over age 65. All life phases introduce change. Post-retirement these changes can include social networks, family dynamics, physical mobility decline, vision and hearing issues, limited income, home downsizing, new diagnoses, and recognition of mortality.

When harbored resentments, self-pity, and rejection are included, the negative health impact can be dramatic.

Are you living in negativity?

What could you do to let go of hurts, find sources of happiness, and reclaim your health and contentment?

For more information about the link between negativity and health, contact us at www.medsmash.com.

BIBLICAL APPLICATION

The ‘Golden Rule’ holds the key for happy living. Imagine if everyone treated everyone else with the same kindness, understanding, and forgiveness they want for themselves.

Over 20 world religions have very similar versions of the Golden Rule. This concept of loving, honoring, and being tolerant of each other benefits everyone.

Matthew 7:12 NLT

The Golden Rule

Do to others whatever you would like them to do to you. This is the essence of all that is taught in the law and the prophets.

Not only are we called to treat each other as we like to be treated, we are called to love each other – even those who hurt us. Wow, talk about radical love!

Luke 6:35 NLT

Love your enemies! Do good to them. Lend to them without expecting to be repaid. Then your reward from heaven will be very great, and you will truly be acting as children of the Most High, for he is kind to those who are unthankful and wicked.

Ephesians 4:32 NIV

Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.

Luke 6:37 NIV

Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven.

Then, we are called to go another step forward…

Romans 12:14-21 NLT

Bless those who persecute you. Don’t curse them; pray that God will bless them. Be happy with those who are happy, and weep with those who weep. Live in harmony with each other. Don’t be too proud to enjoy the company of ordinary people. And don’t think you know it all!

Never pay back evil with more evil. Do things in such a way that everyone can see you are honorable. Do all that you can to live in peace with everyone.

Dear friends, never take revenge. Leave that to the righteous anger of God. For the Scriptures say,

“I will take revenge;

    I will pay them back,”

    says the Lord.

Instead,

“If your enemies are hungry, feed them.

    If they are thirsty, give them something to drink.

In doing this, you will heap

    burning coals of shame on their heads.”

Don’t let evil conquer you, but conquer evil by doing good.

So we are called to love, honor, respect, and care for those who hurt us. God knows about each of those hurts. He will take care of the justice. Our role is faith and following God’s plan (which is way different than normal human response).

When we release the hurts and negativity, we are free to live unencumbered in true joy and peace.

Philippians 4:8 ESV

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.

May this happiness and joy be yours!

Blessings,

Michelle