Being safe on campus

©Glowimages Models used for illustrative purposes only

©Glowimages Models used for illustrative purposes only

         Going off to college can be an extremely exciting time in one’s life.  It opens the door to unlimited opportunities to learn and to grow.  But unfortunately, college life can sometimes expose one to violence.  According to a study led by Christopher P. Krebs, PhD for the National Institute of Justice, one in 5 women and one in 16 men are sexually assaulted while in college.

         In a college newsletter for students, the University of West Virginia offered various tips for preventing sexual assault, including staying with friends at parties, not accepting drinks from anyone, keeping your cell phone charged and with you, and making sure you have a ride home.  These tips can help reduce one’s susceptibility to attack.

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R-E-S-P-E-C-T

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Picture ©Glowimages Models used for illustrative purposes only

A recent post in the Io Triumphe!, the alumnae magazine of Albion College (my wife’s alma mater), highlighted an effort by 75 student athletes to promote respect despite differences among students.  Some of their social media posts quoted here showed thoughtfulness and empathy:

  • We don’t say she wanted it because sexual assault is never the victim’s fault.
  • I don’t say you’re crazy because it minimizes human emotion and those affected by mental illness.
  • I don’t say retarded because there is nothing dumb or stupid about Hannah (her special needs friend).
  • We don’t say that’s so gay because the words stupid and gay are not interchangeable.

In these days when civil debate is eclipsed by prejudicial outbursts and name-calling of all sorts, these profound and important statements stand out as examples of speaking with respect for others.  They attempt to bridge the gaps that divide us and remind me of one of my favorite quotes by Albert Einstein: “I speak to everyone in the same way, whether he is the garbage man or the president of the university.”  Everyone deserves respect, and this can reverse the toxic effects of prejudice and hate.

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Protecting our rest

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Picture ©Glowimages Models used for illustrative purposes only

During a particularly stressful time in our lives, a spiritual healer we admired told both my wife and me to make sure we got enough rest.  His words, “Protect your rest,” meant a lot to both of us.  He didn’t tell us how many hours of sleep we should have, but he wanted us to make sure we rested enough each night to be able to think clearly the next day.

But what if you can’t sleep?  Researchers are looking for ways, outside of medicinal sleep-aids, for individuals to fall asleep more easily and have a better night’s sleep with no side effects.  Surprisingly, some researchers, such as Nancy Dignon at Grant MacEwan University, have found that gratitude is a powerful tool in relieving insomnia.

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Are there lessons to be learned from placebos?

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© GLOW IMAGES

This piece was originally published in The Chicago Tribune, Community Section.

     Increased concern about overmedicating patients is pushing more and more physicians to investigate new approaches to relieving suffering. It’s even prompting some doctors to consider what was once the unthinkable – offering their patients placebos.

Of course, research into the placebo effect has been going on for centuries.  Nineteenth century health researcher and Christian healer, Mary Baker Eddy, described her treatment of a patient with edema.  Fearing the prolonged use of her current medication, Eddy finally gave the woman unmedicated pellets – and the woman continued to improve until she was well.

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Don’t be defined by failure

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The Olympics were all they promised to be – full of inspirational stories, wonderful feats of athletic ability, and great victories.  But for some, the Olympics may have also been a disappointment, as athletes’ hopes of winning a medal were not realized.

I remember an interview with Olympian Dan O’Brien I heard years ago on the Mully and Hanley show on the SCORE, AM 670 Sports Radio in Chicago.  Dan recounted how he’d been the favorite to win the decathlon at the 1992 Olympics in Barcelona, Spain.  He had been proclaimed “The World’s Greatest Athlete”, but after three bad pole vault attempts during the Olympic trials in New Orleans, he failed to qualify for the 1992 Olympics.  It was a huge defeat.

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Don’t let Alzheimer’s be how you define a person

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©Glowimages Models used for illustrative purposes only

“Do not let Alzheimer’s be how you define a person,” is the advice given by Mayo Clinic’s Health Education Outreach Coordinator, Angela Lunde.

Many in the field of Alzheimer’s care are echoing Angela’s sentiments.  For instance, Eric Portnoff, Regional Director of Memory Care and Programming for Sunrise Senior Living, which provides “special neighborhoods for the memory impaired” within their communities throughout the Chicago area, the U.S., Canada and the UK, recently told me, “That is part of the mission of our health care teams, to see something deeper – to show people that we can all look deeper and realize that gifts of wisdom, love and compassion cannot be taken away by a disease”.

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A healing ministry you may not have heard about

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©Glow Images Model used for illustrative purposes only

This article first appeared in the Chicago Tribune Community section:

There are many types of professionals in the world of health.  Allopathic medicine has many different kinds of generalist and specialist professionals.  Alternative and complementary medicine also has a long list of various practitioners. But when I am ill, I often consult for treatment with a very different kind of specialist you may not have heard about – a Christian Science practitioner.

Let me show you what I mean.  One day I was quite ill with a fever and headache.  I had suffered most of the afternoon – it was a Sunday and I didn’t want to bother anyone on what is typically a day off.  Finally, the pain was so intense that I called a Christian Science practitioner and asked him to pray for me.  He talked with me only a matter of seconds, assuring me of God’s love for me and that this divine Love heals.  He told me he would pray.  By the time I hung up the phone, I was well.

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How cool is that?

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©Glowimages Model used for illustrative purposes only

Who are the coolest people you know?  Someone who, in the last inning, when his baseball team is sure they’re going to lose the game, strides up to the plate and hits a home run?  Or maybe a ballet dancer who can get up in front of a packed audience and dance flawlessly? Or maybe the coolest friend you have is the one who is so unique, so interesting, that he’s really fun to be with?

Ilan Dar-Nimrod, Ph.D., lead author of “Coolness: An Empirical Investigation” found that many people define “cool” with an affirmative answer to these questions: “Do I like this person? Is this person nice t0 people, attractive, confident and successful?”

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What are you reading for your health?

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©Glowimages   Models used for illustrative purposes only

I love summer!  It is a great opportunity to work in the yard, watch the kids play and of course, do some summer reading.  English playwright, Joseph Addison, once wrote, “Reading is to the mind what exercise is to the body.”

Dr. Ken Pugh agrees.  Pugh, of Haskins Laboratories, a science institute for language research, associated with Yale University, wrote, “Just like any other muscle in the body, the brain benefits from a good workout every now and then.”

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Anger – you’re busted!

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Model used for illustrative purposes only
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When someone criticizes you, do you hold back or do you “let them have it” –in a barrage of emotion and harsh words?

Annie Hinchliff, a chartered psychologist working in anger management has stated, “Anger can have a deleterious effect on our emotional well-being.  While some people experience an initial thrill, an angry outburst is usually followed by considerable remorse.”  Sound familiar?

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