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If you’ve ever wondered how to make affirmations work (or work faster) or how to make affirmations more powerful and more effective, this is the perfect blog for you. To understand what affirmations are and how you can use them to build self-worth, rid yourself of limiting beliefs and reprogram your mind for success and confidence, I encourage you to read my recent blog The Power of “I Am.” It also includes several great examples of affirmations. Here, I’m going to give you four simple yet essential keys to actually use affirmations effectively. Why Use Affirmations?  But first, why might you use affirmations? What can affirmations do? Okay, I’m going to date myself a bit here, but if you grew up watching SNL like I did, you might remember a sketched called “Daily Affirmations with Stuart Smalley.” Al Franken played an unlicensed therapist named Stuart Smalley who would have celebrity guests like Michael Jordan on his show, and have them talk to themselves in the mirror, saying things like, “I am good at putting the ball into the basket.” It’s hilarious, and worth a watch online. And of course, it parodied the stereotype of affirmations as something cheesy and hokey. But truthfully, real affirmations, when used correctly, can be one of the most powerful tools you will ever use for self-transformation and achievement. When used effectively, affirmations can help you: Build confidence Overcome stress and anxiety Empower yourself to take action Shift your mood from “meh” to “awesome” Improve your perspective Manifest goals for health, wealth, love and happiness  …and much more. But there are useful ways to practice affirmations, and ways that are ineffective and can actually block you from experiencing benefits. Common Mistakes  Here are some of the most common mistakes people make when practicing affirmations: Getting too focused on the words and not the feelings: the words are just pointers toward the feeling and feeling the affirmation is the most important part. If you get too hung up on the words, or if you’re saying the words without any feeling, you’re missing the point and it won’t work. Putting it in the future: when you state your affirmation in the future such as “When I…” you make it a maybe, a hypothetical, a wish, and the goal of affirmations is to make it your reality NOW. Using uncertain words: When you vague words like “if” “hope” “wish”  “would” “want” etc. you’re really affirming that you don’t fully believe what you’re saying. This can actually undermine your confidence. Wayne Dyer said “you don’t get what you want, you get what you ARE.” Therefore you must become (i.e. feel) like you already are what you’re looking to be and you will become it and attract more of it. Framed in the negative (i.e. the absence of something): Statements such as “I am no longer ___” are ineffective because your mind actually focuses on whatever it is you are trying to eliminate. Something that doesn’t make you feel good, that you don’t care about, or doesn’t resonate with you: If you’re not invested in your affirmation emotionally and just going the through the motions (or worse yet, affirming something that you have internal resistance to), it is an empty exercise and will not work. Feeling is the language of the subconscious mind and what helps to truly install a belief, so you have to genuinely feel it. 4 Essential Keys to Using Affirmations Effectively Now, here are the most important keys to remember: Keep it simple – Overly wordy affirmations might just confuse you, so choose an affirmation you can memorize and state easily. Keep it present tense – Your affirmation should always be stated in the NOW (i.e. “I AM…”) When you proclaim it and feel it as if it already is your reality now, it makes a much stronger impression on your mind and beliefs and will accelerate your positive changes and progress. (See point #2 above) Keep it Positive – the presence of something, not the absence. In other words, “I am healthy and energized” is a much more powerful and effective affirmation than “I am no longer suffering and in pain.” (See point #4 above) Feel the emotion – words alone, void of emotion, have very little power. Neville Goddard taught that to change your reality and realize a wish, you must “assume the feeling of the wish fulfilled.” Realize how it would feel if your affirmation were true right now , and then feel that emotion within you! (See point #5 above) Bonus Points Finally, here are extra tips for fine-tuning your affirmations to be even more powerful and effective for you: Repetition, repetition, repetition –Say and feel your affirmations over and over, every morning, every night, while you’re driving or doing other mundane tasks, and whenever you happen to think of it. It’s a good idea to speak them out loud if you can, but if not, repeating silently to yourself is fine too. The more you practice, the better you’ll get and the quicker it will become your reality. Make it easy on yourself – put reminders of your affirmation where you will easily see it, such as a nightstand, on your fridge, in the car, desk, etc. This will cue you to practice it throughout your day. Make a habit of it – the more consistently you practice your affirmations, the easier it is to stick with it, and the better results you’ll get. It’s helpful to practice your affirmations first thing in the morning, and before falling asleep at night, as these are times when your mind is most open to suggestion. But it’s good to practice your affirmations throughout the day too. Either way, get into the habit of using your affirmations every day. For several examples of effective affirmations, check out my previous blog, The Power of “I Am.   What’s your affirmation(s)? Share in the comments! Be well – Tad Do you want to conquer stress & anxiety  and  feel peace, calm and confidence  every day – without therapy or medications? If so,  my new ebook  is the perfect resource for  you . Click the image below to get your copy today! 
“Exercise is really important to me – it’s therapeutic. So if I’m ever feeling tense or stressed or like i’m about to have a meltdown, I’ll put on my [music] or go out on a bike ride.” – Michelle Obama With summer here, it’s a perfect time to get outside and be active. In today’s blog, I’m excited to share powerful tips and info on exercise and mental health and how you can take action to feel better. You’ll learn how to boost mood and relieve stress, anxiety, anger, and more through physical movement. Ready to get moving? How are Physical and Mental Health Related ? Emotions, including all of the feelings associated with stress, live in the body and can manifest physically in numerous ways. When you experience stress or anxiety, the stress hormones cortisol, epinephrine, adrenaline, and noradrenaline trigger elevated heart rate, tensed muscles, quickened breathing, and so on. In the moment, stress can literally be a visceral experience, in addition to a mental & emotional one. For short periods, this can be an uncomfortable, (although not especially harmful) experience. However, when stress is chronic, or ongoing, it can also lead to long term health problems, including tension headaches, migraines, chronic pain, digestive issues, reproductive problems, increased risk of hypertension, heart attack, and stroke, among other issues. Yikes. What Are the Mental Health Benefits of Exercise? But likewise, your body can be your friend and ally in combating stress. Healthy movement and exercise has tons of benefits. Physically, it obviously can be fun and relaxing and keeps your body in good working order. But exercise is also a huge facet of mental health. It helps build healthy psychological patterns such as positive body image and increased sense of mastery, accomplishment, & purpose. Exercise also triggers the release of “endorphins” (hormones with positive psychological effects) that help you feel relaxed, uplifted, excited, and happy. Dopamine gives you that feeling of reward and pleasure. And you know those times when you’ve just had a deep feeling of wellbeing and happiness, like all’s right with the world? That’s serotonin. So you’re probably starting to see how physical movement, especially vigorous exercise, can really have a powerful and positive effect on how you feel. Even gentle movement can help stimulate blood flow, release tension, and give you a feel-good lift. What Can You Do to Relieve Stress and Anxiety? Physical activity requiring your focus can also be a very healthy distraction from your stressful thoughts & worries by getting you out of your head. Certain activities just require a high degree of focus (think rock climbing, yoga) where there’s no room for any worries. Likewise, if you’ve ever tried something new that felt really awkward and required a lot of concentration to get the hang of it, you probably know that in that moment, all you were focused on was the activity at hand. Even learning to ride a bike required total focus at one time. And there is a meditative quality to that kind of complete attention on a fun activity that’s an amazing antidote to stress. I’ve tried slack-lining a handful of times–sort of like tightrope walking, except on a piece of flat webbing suspended between two trees–and I can completely attest to the level of concentration it demands. All I could think about was simply balancing and trying to stay suspended on that line. And it was a wonderful mental break. It also got me smiling and laughing at myself too, so that’s another good stress buster. Even if you’re extremely busy, there are always at least 5 minutes available somewhere in your day for a walk, some pushups, or even something more intense (see below). You can make time. If feeling better is a priority for you, than exercise is as good a way as any to start feeling better right away. And let’s face it; if you’re a hardworking high-achiever, you could probably use some extra fun in your life. *(I want to insert the disclaimer that safety is most important. I am not a doctor, a fitness coach, or any kind of expert on issues related to the body. So if you have health conditions, such as heart problems, diabetes, injuries etc . please consult your physician before starting any exercise regimen). Get Moving: 12 Tips to Boost Your Mental Health with Exercise If you’re looking for a really effective workout in a minimum amount of time, try high-intensity interval training (“H.I.I.T”). For example, 30 seconds of all-out (such as push-ups, jumping jacks, squats, lunges, etc.) followed by 10 seconds of rest. Repeat for 12 rotations, or about seven minutes. I like the free app “7 Minute Workout Challenge” for this. Try a new exercise app to help you get motivated, get some fresh ideas, and establish a new routine. Make it a point to get away from your workspace and go for a walk once a day. While you’re out, try not to think about what you have to do when you get back. This is not supposed to be worry time. Just enjoy walking, breathing, and observing what’s around you. Try something new you’ve never done before, such as a spin class, dance, climbing wall, etc. It will require enough of your focused concentration to get your mind off your problems. Plus you’ll get the mood boost, you might feel proud/accomplished, and you might just have fun with a new hobby. Try Yoga. It integrates body (balance, strength, endurance, flexibility) and mind (focused attention, breath control, meditation). Wonderful for your physical and mental health. Go to an indoor trampoline park: intensely physically taxing, intensely fun. If you have kids or nephews/nieces, play a high-activity game with them like hide-and-seek or tag. Kids will wear you out (in a good way) guaranteed, plus you’ll probably be laughing through a lot of it too–another great de-stressor. Get upside-down: Standing with your legs comfortably wide, bend forward and let your head hang, gently swaying if you want. In addition to a great stretch, and increased blood flow to your brain, getting your head below your hips helps activate your parasympathetic nervous system , which calms you down. Get a massage, or if you don’t like people touching you, try out massage chairs at the mall. Go to the sauna or steam room at your local gym or rec center. The point is to release tension from your body, and feel great afterward. Stretch: gently roll your shoulders (where stress & tension is often stored), roll your head, arch your back and enjoy all the pleasant and relaxing sensations stretching offers. Progressive muscle relaxation (PMR): You can find detailed descriptions and instructions for this online, but here’s the basic practice: While laying down or sitting comfortably, focus all your attention on one muscle group at a time, tensing the muscles as tight as you can, and then releasing them completely. Gradually work your way from the bottoms of your feet to the top of your head, one muscle group at a time. Then you finally tense every muscle in your body together, and release completely. Again, be gentle if you have any injuries, and don’t cause yourself any pain. But PMR can be an incredibly powerful tool for relaxation and releasing stress and tension from the body. It can also help you fall asleep easier, so you might try it as you lay down for the night. If you integrate it with deep breathing, it can have especially calming effects on your body and mind. What Do You Think? What activities did you used to do for fun that you haven’t done recently because of being too busy or not making time? What would be a good time of day (or evening) for at least 10 minutes of uninterrupted exercise? (Remember, “There isn’t any” or “I don’t have 10 minutes” are just excuses! Make time, even if it’s a few minutes). What’s one thing you can do today to get moving? Comment below! Be Well – Tad Do you want to  conquer stress & anxiety  and  feel peace, calm and confidence  every day – without therapy or medications ? If so,  my new eBook  is the perfect resource for you. 
Once upon a time, both internationally and in the USA, elders were cared for and treated with respect. A proverb of King Solomon exhorts: “Stand in the presence of the gray-haired ones.” Elders were respected for their wisdom and for their contribution to the life of the family. Some cultural traditions include elder worship. The Amish expanded their homes to keep the extended family together as a benefit to all. Today, unfortunately, the word “elder” becomes with synonymous with dementia, Alzheimer’s, and disability. Instead of being ensured comfort and care, the elderly are marginalized, isolated, neglected, and abused. They experience hunger, are poorly clothed and unable to maintain the standards of hygiene that typified their lives. The very dignity which ought to accompany this station of life has been all but lost. What represents elder abuse? There are many variations: Physical Abuse: any use of physical force that results in injury, pain or impairment. Common forms of this abuse are striking, hitting, beating, pushing, kicking, slapping or burning. Other examples are starvation, overfeeding, inappropriate restraining, using drugs to control or to hold an individual against their will. Emotional and Psychological Abuse: acts that are defined as causing emotional pain, distress or anguish. Common types of this abuse are verbal assault, intimidation, humiliation, threats, insults, harassment and treating senior citizens like children. Many seniors feel defenseless in the face of this treatment, especially from caregivers. Sexual Abuse: any non-consensual sexual contact with an elderly patient is considered sexual abuse. This has become very common in nursing homes and hospitals that are poorly staffed on night shifts. The offenders can be family members, nursing aides, or caretakers. Common sexual abuse can be unsolicited touching, sexually explicit photographing, forced nudity and any other type of sexual abuse, which of course includes molestation or rape. Neglect is a form of abuse. This occurs when family members or nursing homes and other institutions fail to give a reasonable standard of care to an elder. The worst form of neglect is total abandonment, as when a designated caregiver or guardian suffers from burnout and leaves the elder person to fend for themselves. Why discuss this topic and what does it mean to you as a caregiver, a PA, NP or physician? We have a medical-legal as well as ethical responsibility in caring for the elderly. State laws state that any professional who is in frequent contact with seniors, such as medical personnel including nurses and nursing aides, police, employees in care facilities, social workers, elder care consultants, and advisors and even clergy are required by law to report suspicion of elder abuse. Under federal law, the Elder Justice Act requires reporting by any employee or professional dealing with elder care. What is the responsibility of medical care professionals in this issue? These elder abuse cases often end up in a family practice, urgent care center or hospital emergency room. Each community in a hospital catch basin has a data base on their EMR that can alert the professional to previous visits to the ED for fractures, lacerations or falls. The professional must use this data or they have not met the standard of care which constitutes failure to adhere to state and federal law and opens the door to litigation. Institutions become equally responsible and are fined for these infractions. In many cases, a professional in private practice can become sloppy or apathetic and will need legal defense which is costly. The appropriate action is to contact Adult Protective Services. Indeed, keep them on speed dial as these cases can become invisible and abuse can become an epidemic in society. We have taken an oath to do no harm and are responsible for all who are recipients of our medical care. One of the many incentives to purchase a personal liability insurance policy is to cover gaps in your practice that may result because of the limitations on time spent with a patient or the burden of additional paperwork. There are malpractice situations that evolve from acts of commission and acts of omission. It becomes a sad situation to discover a subpoena nailed to your door or brought to your office as a legal service because you accidentally neglected to perform the proper examination and give due process to the patient history. Every consideration should be extended to protect the elderly and to protect yourself as a caregiver and a new clinician.
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