November 2022 Upcoming Issue of Natural Awakenings Charlotte
November Mental Health Issue
Feature: Staying Serene in Turbulent Times: How to Turn Anxiety into Positive Action
Byline: Ronica O’Hara
As our nation faces climate catastrophes, acrid politics, stubborn inflation and unpredictable virus variants, there’s good reason that our collective anxiety levels are at a high pitch, with 70 percent of us anxious about global warming and 84 percent worried about where our country is heading. The challenges and issues are complicated, but that doesn’t mean we can’t do anything about them. To move from anxiety into effective action, mental health experts advise taking a wider perspective—building resilience through self-care steps such as therapy, media cutbacks and finding positive news; and taking steps in our own lives to make a collective difference, especially by focusing on the well-being of our neighbors and neighborhoods.
Healing Ways: 12 Quick Fixes for Anxiety: Simple Strategies for Mental Well-BeingByline: Ronica O’Hara
In times of galloping societal and personal change, it’s all too human to feel anxiety rising, but effective strategies can prevent it from interfering with our daily to-do list and our lives. Therapists recommend deep breathing, tapping using the Emotional Freedom Technique, journaling, mindfully meditating, exercising in nature, praying in one’s tradition, chilling out with cold water, getting rooted, taking supplements, leaning into the anxiety, moving to music and bonding with an animal.
Conscious Eating: The Gut-Brain Connection: How Food Affects Our Mood
Byline: Kimberly Whittle
“You are what you eat,” goes the phrase, but the connection is more than just physical—food impacts our mood, too. Ninety percent of serotonin is created in the gut, and new research suggests that imbalances in gut bacteria disrupt two-way communication along the gut-brain axis, leading to depression and other psychiatric issues. Highly processed, refined and sugary foods increase bad bacteria in the gut. Good gut bacteria is fueled by foods that are fresh, whole, simple and organic, such as pasture-raised meats, wild fish, eggs, nuts, seeds, olive oil, coconut oil and grass-fed ghee. With recipes for quinoa and beetroot salad, almond flour blueberry muffins and a gut-healing smoothie.
Fit Body: Skiing for Fitness and Pure Fun: Tips for Enjoying Alpine and Nordic Styles
Byline: Randy Kambic
Whether it’s the thrill of alpine skiing down the side of a high mountain with breathtaking views or the serene pleasure of Nordic cross-country skiing in a nearby park, strapping on skis and swooping off burns lots of calories, makes winter more enjoyable in diverse settings and accommodates all ages and skill levels. With pointers from instructors of both alpine and cross-country skiing, as well as warnings about potential sun damage and dehydration.
Eco Tip: Eco-Skiing: Planet-Friendly Ways to Hit the Slope
From low-energy snowguns to forest ecosystem restoral to carbon-free lift operations, ski resorts across the country are taking steps to become more environmentally friendly. Skiers are doing their part by wearing ski jackets made from recycled materials, buying from sustainable brands and carpooling to ski resorts.
Healthy Kids: The Colors of Healing: Art Therapy for Kids
Byline: Marlaina Donato
Dipping a brush into bright colors or creating a collage under the guidance of a qualified art therapist can help a child express what is beyond spoken language: unprocessed trauma, emotional and physical pain or the multilevel challenges of Autism Spectrum Disorder. Sessions can be private, in a group setting or include family members. The approach can enhance children’s fine motor skills, increase attention spans and instill a sense of accomplishment. For those that are not neurotypical, engaging in guided artistic expression can foster sensory integration and promote positive social interaction.
Wise Words: Rachel Jones on Grief in the Healthcare Front Lines
Byline: Sandra Yeyati
The extreme emotional challenges that healthcare workers face in hospital emergency rooms, hospices and other front line settings are amplified by a common reluctance to seek out mental health care, staff shortages that will only grow worse and an expectation to keep an emotional distance that can numb out feelings with loved ones. It’s essential that healthcare administrators provide space and time off for staff to heal and grieve, encourage staff to speak with chaplains or therapists and ensure that therapy is covered by insurance and widely available in safe and confidential settings.
Green Living: Making Forever Chemicals Go Away: PFAS Pose Lasting Threat to Health
Byline: Sheryl DeVore
Decades ago, environmental groups urged the banning of PFAS, known as forever chemicals, that are linked to cancer, compromised immune systems and hormonal imbalances. Today, in spite of some state bans on PFAS in food packaging and public pressure against its use in clothing, the danger remains. About 200 million Americans are likely drinking water contaminated with PFAS, and new chemicals devised to replace PFAS are turning out to be just as toxic. To avoid the risks, consumers should choose textiles and carpeting without water- and stain-repellency, avoid food with grease-proof packaging such as microwave popcorn and avoid personal care products with perfluor, polyfluor or PTFE on the label.
Natural Pet: Caregiving Companions: The Many Benefits of Service, Therapy and Emotional Support Animals
Byline: Karen Shaw Becker
Animals are increasingly seen in public spaces as they take active service roles in our lives, which is why it is useful to understand their specific roles and functions. Service animals, usually dogs, are highly trained to perform such tasks as helping with navigation, pulling a wheelchair, assisting during a seizure and providing rescue work. Emotional support animals fulfill a disability-related need, but are not trained; airlines seldom allow them to fly free any more. Therapy animals, which may be dogs, cats, horses, llamas or others, provide important assistance at hospitals, schools and rehab centers.
Inspiration: Gratitude is Good Medicine
Byline: Madiha Saeed
Gratitude is not just a feel-good word, but has actual physiological consequences. It helps lower inflammatory markers, influences epigenetics, improves the immune system and even helps the heart, adding years to life. “Heart-felt” emotions—like gratitude, love and caring—produce coherent brain waves radiating to every cell of the body. Because the neural pathway associated with negativity takes time to come down fully, it is critical to practice gratitude regularly by counting 10 reasons to be grateful upon waking up, keeping a gratitude journal and putting sticky notes as reminders all around the house.