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Can’t Sleep? Little Research Supports Use of Herbal Sleep Aids


Can’t Sleep? Little Research Supports Use of Herbal Sleep Aids

by Rick Nauert PhD

Cant Sleep? Little Research Supports Use of Herbal Sleep Aids Experts say that approximately one in three Americans suffers from chronic sleep deprivation and another 10-15 percent of the population has chronic insomnia.

But a recent review has found little evidence that herbal sleep aids are effective.

Health practitioners know that sleep disorders can profoundly affect a person’s whole life and have been linked to a range of diseases, including obesity, depression, anxiety, and inflammatory disorders.

Often over-the-counter or herbal sleep aids are used to induce sleep, but surprisingly, very little research has been done to study their efficacy.

This topic is discussed in an article found in the journal Alternative and Complementary Therapies.

People need many hours of sound, restorative sleep every night to maintain an optimal state of physiological and psychological health. However, many factors can disrupt sleep schedules and compromise the quality of sleep.

In the review article, researchers conducted a search of the Internet and electronic databases to identify literature on herbal remedies that are commonly used to manage insomnia.

They found allopathic solutions of valerian, hops, kava-kava, chamomile, and St. John’s wort have all been suggested as sleep aids.

Unfortunately, few scientific studies had been published on the therapeutic potential and safety of these herbal remedies and, when a study has been performed, the results were either inconclusive or contradictory.

The authors concluded that, considering the benefits that a natural management strategy could offer patients with insomnia, additional research is required to assess the effectiveness and safety of herbal remedies as therapeutic agents.

Source: Mary Ann Liebert

Herbal medication photo by shutterstock.

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Do You Need Permission To Succeed?


As a recent private practice consultation group that I was leading came to an end, we took a few minutes to celebrate the growth and successes of each group member. I asked what each group would take away from their consultation group.  One therapist turned to me and said, “Thank you for giving me the permission to succeed.”

I have never really thought about my private practice consulting services as giving colleagues “permission to succeed,” but it seemed to fit. I asked myself, “Where did I get the permission to succeed?”

As I thought about it, I realized that my dad had modeled for me personal and professional success. As a child, I watched his music career flourish, how much he was energized through self-expression, and how he was motivated to inspire others through his work. My Dad’s modeling taught me that I, too, could create a professional life where I could express myself, be creative when faced with challenges, and inspire to make positive change.

I grew up believing that everyone had permission to have an amazing, creative and fulfilling life. I think that’s partly what inspired this blog. I want you to create a thriving private mental health practice that fills you with joy, that works for your life, and that reflects who you are.

When I saw my Dad a few weeks ago, on Father’s Day, I made a point of thanking him for giving me permission to succeed. I let him know that I really valued that gift that he’d given to me — the belief that I could find success and personal fulfillment in my professional life.

Do you need permission to succeed in your private practice?

Permission granted.

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6 Steps to Finding New Love


6 Steps to Finding New Love

by Margarita Tartakovsky, M.S.

6 Steps to Finding New Love If your relationship has ended, you might be nervous about dipping your feet in the dating pool. Or you might worry that you’ll never find love again. Maybe you’ve even assumed that you’re just unlucky when it comes to love.

Relationship and family therapist Terri Orbuch, Ph.D, often hears people say they’ve lost hope. But she wants individuals to know that it’s absolutely possible to find a fulfilling partnership. For instance, in her 25-year study of 373 married couples, Orbuch found that 71 percent of divorced singles found love again.

Also, love has very little to do with luck. In fact, “there is a method to the love madness,” said Orbuch, who’s also author of the recently published book Finding Love Again: 6 Simple Steps to a New and Happy Relationship.

She believes in working from the inside out. Before pursuing a new relationship, Orbuch stresses the importance of working on your own beliefs, emotions, behaviors and sense of self. She helps readers do just that in Finding Love Again, along with offering tips on everything from first dates to building a strong relationship.

Below, Orbuch discussed her six steps for seeking and finding a great relationship.

 

1. Adjust your expectations.

“Forget everything you know about relationships,” Orbuch said. That’s because you might be holding onto certain relationship myths and unrealistic expectations, which can set you up for failure and frustration, she said. (Frustration also can eat away at your happiness, according to Orbuch.)

For instance, it’s unrealistic to think that your partner will automatically know what you want and need — even after many years of marriage, Orbuch said. In the beginning, people simply don’t know each other that well, while over the years, people naturally change, and so do their wants and needs. (Remember that no one is a mind reader. If you want or need something, Orbuch said, you have to ask for it.)

Another common myth is that there’s a specific amount of time you have to wait before you start dating. However, according to Orbuch, there’s no scientific evidence to substantiate a certain timeframe. “Everyone is different.” Some people are ready to date right after a relationship ends, while others need more time to heal, she said.

2. Start with a clean slate.

In her study, Orbuch found that divorced singles who didn’t feel anything for their ex were more likely to find love. “In order to find love again, you need to emotionally separate or detach from previous or past relationships,” she said.

Remaining emotionally attached to the past prevents you from being fully present — and trusting someone else — and keeps you trapped in a cycle of negativity, she said. Everyone has emotional baggage. The key is to make sure that your baggage isn’t too heavy, she said.

For instance, in the book, Orbuch includes a helpful quiz with questions such as: Do you still keep photos of your ex, compare others to them or visit their social media sites?

According to Orbuch, one way to become emotionally neutral is to release your emotions in healthy ways, such as engaging in physical activities and social events; volunteering; writing an honest letter to your ex (that you never send); and getting creative with activities such as painting, gardening and playing music. What also helps is to share your story with loved ones and seek their support, she said.

3. Shake up your routine.

Orbuch suggested making one small and simple change and committing to it for 21 days. In her study, she found that divorced singles who cut their work hours by at least one hour a day were more likely to find love. Changing your routine can open up new opportunities to meet people and even revise how you see yourself, according to Orbuch.

4. Discover the real you.

After your relationship ends, “you need to step back and re-examine you,” Orbuch said. Before you can determine if you’re compatible with someone, you need to know who you really are, she said.

Your past relationship probably shaped your personality and preferences in some way. You no doubt compromised, changed and accepted certain traits, she said.

As Orbuch writes in her book, “Singles who find a long-lasting, successful partnership have one trait in common: they put the focus on who they are and what they want, rather than worrying about what others will think.”

To find out who you are, define your key life values. What matters most to you? For instance, how important is faith, your job or your health?

Orbuch also suggested making a list of the qualities you’d like in your partner — and to be specific. For instance, as she writes in the book, by “funny,” do you mean you’d like your partner to have a dry sense of humor or tell jokes or something else entirely? Getting specific helps you reflect and consider the true qualities you’d like in a mate — and not waste your time, she writes.

5. Start dating.

Again, it’s important to be hopeful. The divorced singles in Orbuch’s study who were hopeful were much more likely to find love.

In the beginning of your relationship, you want to “disclose or share parts of yourself gradually,” Orbuch said. Don’t spill your guts right away. This might seem obvious, but many people do just that: They reveal everythingimmediately because they assume that if their date or partner doesn’t like what they hear, then it’s “Too bad,” and they’re on to the next person, she said.

But a lot of information is overwhelming for anyone, especially when it’s about topics like your ex, kids and finances, she said.

Don’t try to sell yourself, either, Orbuch said. Dating isn’t about winning someone’s approval; it’s about about finding out if you’re compatible.

6. Determine if you’re in the right relationship, and keep it strong.

When evaluating your relationship, Orbuch suggests considering the following: Do you think in terms of “we” or “I”? Do you trust each other? Do you share similar values? Do you handle conflict effectively?

To keep your relationship strong, “empty your pet peeves pail frequently,” she said. Small annoyances add up — and can damage your relationship — so talk to your partner about what bothers you.

Also, “make sure that you recognize and affirm each other frequently over time,” she said. It’s all too easy to put your relationship on the back burner when other people and tasks require your immediate attention, such as your kids, parents, jobs, health and finances, she said. But just a sweet phrase or small behavior can go a long way.

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Are You In a Healthy Relationship?


Are You In a Healthy Relationship?

by YourTango Experts

Are You In A Healthy Relationship?This guest article from YourTango was written by Susan J. Elliott.

In the years I’ve been counseling and coaching, many people say, “I know I’ve been in sick relationships, but I don’t know what a healthy relationship looks like.”

There are many long and complicated answers to this, but there is also a simple one: healthy relationships make your life larger and happier; unhealthy relationships narrow your life and make you crazy.

Healthy relationships do not include mind games, mixed messages, or control.  There is not a back and forth or continual makeup and breakup, or “I’m sorry, please forgive me” every week or so.

 

In healthy relationships, there is a partnership and a nurturing by both parties of that partnership.  At the same time, each person recognizes the need to have interests and time away from their partner to nurture themselves. They don’t need to have the same interests, but rather the same view of life. Healthy love is about taking care of yourself and taking care of your mate… and those things are in balance to the point where they seldom collide.

What is Real Love?

Healthy people lead to healthy relationships and healthy relationships lead to real love.

Real love does not seek another person to fill up what we are lacking. It takes a complete, whole person to really love and overly needy people cannot do it. Real love is balanced. Both partners love in fairly equal amounts. While the balance may shift back and forth, it is not lopsided. If you love someone who is not loving your back, or not loving you the way you love them, then it’s not real.

When you place expectations on people to fill your empty places, that is not healthy. It’s nice to have a partner, a companion, someone to help you weather life’s storms, but it is not okay to look for someone to complete you or fix your broken places. That is not real love; that is dependence, co-dependence, and unhealthy neediness.

Real love does not play games, cause us to lose sleep, friends, jobs, money, time and value in our lives. Real love is an enlarging and not a narrowing experience. And finally, real love does exist. But it is true that in order to find the right person, you need to be the right person.

To be the right person you have to do your work, examine your failed relationships and, find the patterns. Go to counseling if you have historical issues. Find out why you are attracted to a certain type that is not good for you. And, at the same time, build your life so that you are an independent, interesting, and attractive person.  You will attract other independent, interesting, and attractive people who are capable of good and loving relationships.

As I say over and over again, water seeks its own level. If you are attracting and attracted to unhealthy and dysfunctional, you are unhealthy and dysfunctional. Do your work so that real love and lasting love has a chance to walk in.

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How to Get Over a Breakup


How to Get Over a Breakup

By NATHAN FEILES

Relationship breakups are tough. They are emotionally exhausting, and can be incapacitating at times. For some who begin to dwell in regret and sadness, breakups can even spiral into depression. Even the breakups that make the most logical sense are still emotionally painful. And in fact, it is the emotional — not logical — part of ourselves that causes us to dwell in these relationships that we may logically know are not healthy for us.

While a grieving period is expected after a breakup, as breakups are a form of loss, it can be easy to get caught in an emotionally harmful pattern if we don’t actively push ourselves forward in our lives.

So how do we emotionally get through a breakup and also move forward in an emotionally healthy manner?

7 Tips for Getting Over a Breakup

1. Make plans.

How to Get Over a Breakup

Social interaction is one of the keys to moving forward after a breakup. Isolation often leads to being consumed by emotions and thoughts that exacerbate our sadness and upset. Schedule plans in advance to see friends or family at least a few times during the week and weekends, especially if you live alone, and be sure to follow through with them. If you feel you don’t want to be around anyone, which can be common after a breakup, this is the time to act opposite of the urge. Push yourself to interact with people and prevent a pattern of loneliness and depression.

2. Be aware of the rebound.

Breakups often are a time of intense emotional vulnerability. We are seeking stability. When we feel we can’t internally create it, it is quite possible to engage in unhealthy new relationships that cover up healthy relationship grieving.

While at first the replacement relationship brings a sense of euphoria, the unresolved emotions from the previous relationship often return, creating a more complicated and confusing emotional environment. If you find yourself falling into a new and exciting relationship too soon, you could be experiencing a rebound.

3. Participate in hobbies.

Hobbies are a positive way to keep from dwelling in sadness and forming negative patterns. Whether it’s doing a puzzle, going to museums, gardening, bowling, reading, or whatever it is you enjoy doing, allow yourself to create time and space for them. Be sure to include social hobbies as well as individual ones.

4. Keep up daily self-care routines.

It is also important to remember to take care of your daily needs when dealing with a breakup. Go to the gym, jog, swim, walk, cook, etc. Some may feel less motivated to grocery shop, prepare meals, eat, or shower after a breakup. These may require some extra effort at times, but push yourself to continue your daily routines as before.

5. Don’t overwork.

Some might say that throwing yourself into work is a great distraction from a breakup. However, overworking often is an emotionally avoidant behavior. Overworking may allow us to avoid sadness or loneliness because we are busy; however, it creates an imbalance in our lives as well as a negative pattern that can be tough to break. (Decreasing the work to regain more personal time later becomes difficult.) Work as you would normally work, and reserve those other hours in the day for self-care, hobbies, and social plans that you’ll hopefully be continuing or increasing into your week.

6. Set a daily time limit for grieving.

Each person grieves a loss differently. There is no actual time limit for grieving. However, there is a difference between healthy grieving and dwelling in regret and sorrow. Some could spend months consumed by guilt and sadness if we allow ourselves to.

As we move forward, it is still important to acknowledge our pain and other emotions we may feel as the result of a significant breakup. Set a time each day that you will allow yourself to reflect, feel, and process your relationship loss. Setting a timer is helpful for this. I would recommend no more than 20-30 minutes a day, and have an activity scheduled to immediately follow this time.

7. Seek professional help.

Some people feel ashamed and embarrassed that a breakup is consuming or impacting them, especially when the ex-partner is considered “not worth it.” But breakups are painful! We put time, effort, hope, emotion, and much more into our relationships.

Seeing a therapist to process the residual emotions and thoughts is a healthy way to deal with a breakup, especially if you’re feeling guilt, regret or starting to dwell in sadness.Breakups are rarely going to be easy; however, with healthy tools and motivation, we can heal.

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How to Say ‘No’ and Make it Stick


How to Say No and Make it Stick

 

“‘No’ may be the most powerful word in the language, but it’s also potentially the most destructive, which is why it’s hard to say,” saysWilliam Ury, director of the Global Negotiations Project at Harvard University, and author of”The Power of a Positive No: How to Say No and Still Get to Yes.

Ury believes that saying no is so difficult because it surfaces the “tension between exercising your power and tending to your relationship.”

In other words, you want to put your foot down and be true to your convictions. But you also don’t want to estrange yourself from friends and family members. You want everyone to like you.

My neighbor often asks me to go on errands with her. I don’t want to hurt her feelings, so I often say “Yes,” when what I really want to do is to say, “No.”

That’s why many people choose avoidance (like pulling down the blinds and telling the kids not to answer the door when the neighbor comes calling). Unfortunately, this gets you neither respect of your opinions or warm fuzzies from friends.

A winning solution, says this negotiation specialist, is to sandwich your “no” between two “yeses.” That way you can assert your stance without alienating allies (versus enemies, which you don’t really care about, right?).

Take my wimpy approach to my neighbor dilemma. I suspect Ury would council me to push my double jogger over to my neighbor’s house, invite myself in, and tell her something like this:

  • “Your friendship is valuable to me. And I care about you.” (That’s the first “yes.”)
  • “However, given all of my demands between the kids and work and all the extras I do, I just don’t have time to run errands with you.” (That was my “no…” which I can’t picture myself saying in a thousand years. I’m way too much of a people pleaser.)
  • “But maybe once and awhile I could go to prayer group with you.” (Another “yes.”)

The conflict expert also suggests (and this is especially important in political and business negotiations) that we focus on common interests with a second party, rather than specific positions; that we develop an alternative plan to a negotiated agreement; and that we devise a plan that is easy for people to agree with (use lots of logic).

In a culture so demanding of our time and productivity, Ury claims that it’s more important than ever to say no. Because, according to him, “to say yes to the right things, you have to say no to a lot of other things.”

That’s pretty much Commons Sense 101, but I can surely benefit from a refresher.

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Is Medically Assisted Death an Individual Right?



Is Medically Assisted Death an Individual Right?

By RICK NAUERT PHD

Is Medically Assisted Death an Individual Right?

An issue that will likely come up in the U.S. health care reform debate has already raised its ugly head for our neighbors to the north.

The question, which has been partially reviewed in some progressive states, pertains to end of life care and personal freedoms. Specifically, is it legal for an individual to request medical assistance to die?

The topic is under investigation as a new report from Quebec that recommends medical assistance to die is expected to reignite the debate over euthanasia in Canada, say editors of the Canadian Medical Association Journal.

The Dying with Dignity commission of the Quebec National Assembly recently issued its report after two years of public and expert consultation and research.

Advocates of this approach argue that medically assisted death is a patient’s right. It should therefore be considered as an end-of-life care option rather than a criminal act.

“Many physicians and patients will find this a shocking prospect to consider,” write Drs. Ken Flegel, Senior Associate Editor, CMAJ, and John Fletcher, CMAJ Editor-in-Chief. “Frail, dependent patients often feel a burden to their families or caregivers, and the unspoken possibility of a quick resolution to their predicament may complicate an already stressful situation,” they write.

Experts say that if Quebec decides to adopt the recommendations, legal safeguards must be built in to protect health care workers and patients from potential abuses once the changes are made.

Public consultation in Quebec as well as national discussion and involvement of federal lawmakers are needed if changes are to be made to the criminal code.

“The ethics of euthanasia are a familiar debate in Canada; one that may have been theoretical, until recently, because of the tacit assumption that doctors do not kill people. In Quebec, the debate is moving from theory toward practice. Which way will legislation go? Will the rest of Canada follow? Those who care about the answers to these questions must speak up now, and with conviction,” concluded the authors.

Source: Canadian Medical Association Journal

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