Archive for 2014

30 jul

Who Am I? How Depression Affects Identity

Jope2When you think of an identity thief, you probably envision an anonymous person stockpiling your social security number, credit card numbers and other identifying information. Unfortunately, there’s another identity thief to contend with: Depression.

Just like a human identity thief, depression doesn’t care who you are. Both thieves simply want to take everything they can from you.

The person you are and the traits you possess can be altered dramatically when depression wreaks havoc. In my own experience, I went from being a fairly confident person to someone with no self esteem or interests. The energy I once had to do the things I enjoyed was gone. In fact, simply existing was too exhausting at times. I felt like a stranger to myself.

Depression, the identity thief, ruins your concentration. Your views are clouded and instead of seeing the world through a realistic lens, your thoughts are skewed. You question your value, appearance and purpose. Depression has taken what it came for: Your identity.

The difference between a traditional identity thief and depression is the length of time it takes for your identity to be stolen. A few keystrokes and that faceless person now possesses your bank account number. Depression can take awhile to settle in, but eventually the plans you made or the hopes you had are swept away. Over time, little by little, depression stopped me from doing the things that defined who I was so I had to ask “Who have I become?”

“I’m naturally a worrier and anxious…”

Pre-depression, I was always a worrier with an anxious streak – even on my happiest days. Those personality traits have always been part of my identity, but of course, depression didn’t steal those from me. It only made them worse.

Healing from these changes is not unlike getting your financial identity back, it takes patience. You must actively reclaim your confidence and other facets tied to your identity.

The first step is to challenge your thinking.

Here’s an example: You’re depressed because you think you’re failing at your job. You tell yourself you’ll be fired any day now. Challenge these thoughts with facts. Remind yourself that you received a stellar review from your boss. Think back on the successful projects you’ve been involved in.

Permanent or Temporary?

Whether depression and identity are eternally entwined is up for debate. Hopefully, the loss of identity is temporary, but depression as a piece of your personal story is permanent.

Based on my own experience, I’m aware there’s always a chance I could face this illness again despite being healthy for some time now. I’ll probably always have to be more vigilant about recognizing certain triggers and behaviors. The permanent (and happy) part? Having a much clearer sense of what keeps me healthy.

Jennifer Jope is the author of www.thebrainpain.wordpress.com, where she documents her own struggles with depression, including what she learned in a behavioral health program. Her health writing has appeared in Dr. Andrew Weil’s Self Healing Newsletter and Body1.com.

If you felt moved, inspired, touched, helped, annoyed, or anything after reading this, please let us know. Our wonderful bloggers really do appreciate your comments and feedback. It’s super easy and takes a minute. Click on comments below.

Posted by Jen Jope on July 30th, 2014 in Uncategorized | No comments

29 jul

Work Your Body, Work Your Mind

JennaSmithIt took me a long time to admit that I wasn’t successfully coping with my depression and anxiety on my own. It took even longer to come up with a plan to fight back against my own lying brain. It has taken even longer still to fully adopt that plan because it turns out that fighting back against your own brain is not like fighting back against other types of conditions. Anti-depressants and other meds can work wonders but they don’t fix everything.

This blog has talked before about dealing with depression. Today I want to talk to you about living with and living through depression and anxiety. Before I do, though, it is important to note that these conditions manifest differently for everybody. What works for me may not work for you so it is important that you work with trained doctors and therapists to figure out the best way to help yourself feel better.

That said—here are the two things that have helped me the most:

Establishing A Routine

For me, depression often manifests itself as an inability to make even small decisions without feeling overwhelmed. For example—I know that I need to get up but deciding what I should do first makes me immediately anxious. What if I pick the wrong thing? This combined with the fact that mornings are often the hardest time of day for people with depression means that a morning routine is essential. Britt Reints, a favorite blogger and author, talks about her morning routine in Every Day Health.

For me, I need the structure that Reints uses in the mornings all day. For example: I make sure that I eat lunch at the same time every day and try to eat dinner at the same time on most days. I do X at this time, Y for this long and Z on Tuesday and Thursday afternoons. The fact that I don’t have kids and that my friends are also creatures of habit helps with this. Scheduling as much of the mundane as possible gives me incredible peace of mind. It also helps me feel like I am more in control of what is happening each day and that gives me a (small, sure, but still important) confidence boost.

Exercise Regimen

Yeah, yeah, endorphins. Exercise increases endorphins—the happy making hormones—which is why one of the first things people are told to do when they even mention symptoms of depression is to work out. For some people this is something that they can do passively. I’m not one of these people.

Exercise is part of my daily routine and I’m not going to lie: it is not my favorite thing in the world. By nature I’m a sedentary creature, preferring reading to running every darn day of the week. Still— sticking to the routine and working to help my body feel strong is an important confidence and mood booster.

What worked for me was figuring out a way to keep my workouts short and, sure, okay, cheating the system. Typically, a workout will take an hour: twenty minutes of strength, twenty of cardio, twenty of endurance training. I decided to devote just twenty minutes a day to elliptical training. One of the (many) benefits of elliptical training is that the elliptical machines or bikes work all of the areas of your body at once. It’s like I’m killing three birds with one stone.

Remember: depression and anxiety manifest differently for everybody. You might find that deviating from a steady routine helps you feel better. Or maybe you prefer to run and swim for your exercise. Or you might have entirely different coping mechanisms. What matters is that you find what works for you and stick with it!

If you felt moved, inspired, touched, helped, annoyed, or anything after reading this, please let us know. Our wonderful bloggers really do appreciate your comments and feedback. It’s super easy and takes a minute. Click on comments below.

Posted by Jenna Smith on July 29th, 2014 in Diet and Fitness, Health, Personal Stories | No comments

27 jul

Different Approaches to Ending Drug Addiction

RobertCordrayThe problem of how to end drug addiction is as old as the human race, with many varied and complex solutions put forward over the years attempting to deal with it. However, this range of approaches generally fall into three main categories:

Prohibition

The most common and widely used means of dealing with drug addiction is to pass laws that prohibit the sale or use of addictive substances. Prohibition is accompanied by penalties that are designed to punish those who use or sell drugs, with the penalties generally more severe for sellers than users.

Advantages of Prohibition

Making addictive drugs against the law makes it more difficult to obtain them. The penalties associated with using and selling drugs also discourage people who might be tempted to experiment with addictive drugs, but who refrain because of fear of the consequences of getting caught.

Disadvantages of Prohibition

Some people argue that prohibition is actually ineffective, pointing to how the problem persists no matter how much resources are devoted to law enforcement. Critics also argue that the resources spent on prohibition would be better spent on more serious crimes.

Legalization

At the opposite end of the spectrum from the prohibitionists are those who favor the legalization of addictive drugs. Supporters of legalization argue that much of the harm done by drug addiction is created by the fact that drugs are illegal, driving them underground where they cannot be regulated or controlled. Legalization supporters argue that drug addiction can never really be eliminated from society, so the best society can do is monitor and control it by making drugs legal.

Advantages of Legalization

The chief advantage of legalization would be that the effort and money that is currently devoted to policing drug activity could be redirected to other uses. It would also make using drugs safer by bringing drug use out of the underground economy and into the open where it could be regulated for safety and dosage.

Disadvantages of Legalization

Critics of legalization suggest that the total number of users of addictive drugs would only increase if drugs were to become more easily available. They fear that a legalized environment would actually encourage drug use through advertising or other promotional techniques commonly used by suppliers of legal products.

Recovery

A third approach is provided by those who feel that the focus should not be on prohibiting or legalizing drugs, but on addiction recovery services that would allow addicts to recover and resume normal lives. Supporters of the recovery approach believe that the best way to deal with drug dealing is to eliminate their customers by ending their addictive behavior.

Advantages of Recovery

Recovery saves lives by ending the destructive cycle of addiction before it ruins or ends the life of the addict. It also deprives drug dealers of customers, thereby lessening the problems that are associated with prohibition without encouraging drug use as feared by those opposing legalization.

Disadvantages of Recovery

Unfortunately, there is no agreed upon means for how to recover from drug addiction. Successful treatment usually requires techniques that are geared to the needs of the specific individual, which can make it time consuming and expensive. It is also not always clear what to do when the addict simply doesn’t want to stop using drugs.

The Hybrid Method

In the end, no one has all the insights into how to end drug addiction. That is why most societies use a hybrid approach employing all three approaches – some prohibition and law enforcement, semi-legalization of the less harmful drugs, and recovery services for those who seek them. The hope is that over time, this combination approach will work to control and eventually end drug addiction.

If you felt moved, inspired, touched, helped, annoyed, or anything after reading this, please let us know. Our wonderful bloggers really do appreciate your comments and feedback. It’s super easy and takes a minute. Click on comments below.

Posted by Robert Cordray on July 27th, 2014 in Health | No comments Read related posts in , , , , ,

22 jul

Treating Knee Problems

JennaSmithA swollen knee is a common condition among the elderly as well as those with an active lifestyle. Many refer to it as water on the knee, although determining the cause is often challenging and pain is often associated with a recent injury.

Athletic and slip and fall injuries are common instances that result in swollen knees, but swelling can also be a sign of long-term knee problems, known as chronic injuries. The swelling can be in the soft tissues surrounding the knee or within the knee joint. Excess fluid build-up causes stiffness, which makes it more difficult to move the knee in proper motion.

Can swelling cause bleeding inside the knee?

While some injuries do result in knee bleeding, such injuries are less common than the majority of knee swelling causes. In case of a ligament sprain or a meniscus tea, the fluid inside the knee is not blood; it is created by the body naturally to help the injured area and provide cover to soft tissues.

The length of time in which the knee stays swollen is determined by the extent of the injury. Minor injuries cause knees to swell for only a few days while more severe injuries could result in swelling for several weeks.

You should consult a doctor if you’re experiencing extreme pain with swelling, while light to moderate swelling can be treated with the following remedies:

Massage therapy

If not contraindicated, gently messaging the area around the knee can reduce swelling. Use circular, light pressure movements on the skin over the knee in circles for stretching the connective tissue just below the skin, where the majority of vessels are located.

Continue to massage in circular motions until the skin is warmer, software and stretches with ease. Then use alternative hands to stroke from the knee to hip joints in the location of lymph nodes. Massaging with oil relieves pain and reduces the water inside the knee. It is also a great way to promote blood flow to the damaged soft tissues.

Light exercise

Light exercise and mobility of the lower body is essential to prevent repetitive injuries. It also helps in strengthening muscles around the knee joint to prevent further and future harm to the injured tissues. Swimming is a great way to work out your legs and knees, but you can also go for a brisk walk if you do not feel pain in the swollen area. Ice should be applied immediately to the affected area to prevent onset of inflammation.

Mens compression products and women compression clothing can assist the recovery process and also complement the exercise session. Compression knee high socks can improve blood circulation and relieve modern swelling and fatigue, in the knee, ankles and legs. The modern ones feature true gradient compression, which decreases at the top of the garment to promote blood flow.

A healthy diet

Diet can make a significant difference to how quickly your knee recovers. Eating a nutrient-dense and balanced diet reduces pressures on the joints and improves the overall flexibility of the knee. Foods high in Vitamin C such as citrus fruits and berries increase collagen production, which is an important component of knee cartilage and bone and can prevent swelling.

You can also increase Vitamin D intake as adequate amounts of Vitamin D delays the onset of degenerative disease like osteoporosis. Research also says that omega-3 fatty acids found in foods like salmon can speed up the healing process of knee swelling.

If you felt moved, inspired, touched, helped, annoyed, or anything after reading this, please let us know. Our wonderful bloggers really do appreciate your comments and feedback. It’s super easy and takes a minute. Click on comments below.

Posted by Jenna Smith on July 22nd, 2014 in Diet and Fitness, Health | No comments

20 jul

Taking the Steps to Addiction Recovery

RobertCordrayDual diagnosis treatment is a relatively new development in mental health care and addiction recovery. Until recently, clinicians treated mental illness as a separate condition from drug or alcohol addiction. When the conditions overlapped in a dual diagnosis, mental health treatment came only after addiction rehab. This was known as “sequential treatment.”

The Problem with Sequential Treatment

Sequential treatment was the norm as recent as a decade ago. Until then, most clinicians subscribed to a division between mental health treatment and addiction recovery. This meant that people with a dual diagnosis were excluded from one treatment area until they were stable in the other. For example, a depressed alcoholic could not receive therapy for depression until he went through detox and rehab.

Since addictions often stem from psychiatric disorders, people with a dual diagnosis need different types of therapy. When research showed that sequential treatment led to high rates of addiction relapse, its popularity diminished. Today, dual diagnosis treatment centers combine successful aspects of mental health care with substance abuse treatment. The clinicians have credentials and training in co-occurring disorders.

The Benefits of Dual Diagnosis

According to the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), only 12 percent of the four million Americans with a dual diagnosis in 2002 were treated for both conditions. Today, many rehab centers offer personalized treatment services for those with dual conditions. Nevertheless, finding the right program is a challenge.

Rehab centers that offer parallel services increase recovery chances. They offer supportive therapies that bolster self-esteem and build self-confidence. The most effective treatments bring spouses and other family members into therapy for individual and group counseling.

Many addicts feel immense relief when they receive a dual diagnosis, especially if they lived with an undiagnosed condition for a long time. If they suffered with long-term depression, severe mood swings, painful flashbacks, hallucinations or suicidal thoughts, giving their condition a name can give them hope. A properly trained rehab team can help them can help them recover from mental illness while they battle their addictions.

Dual Diagnosis Therapy Options

People who meet the criteria for a dual diagnosis are classified when they enter treatment. They generally suffer with a condition such as depression, schizophrenia or bipolar disorder as well as alcoholism, drug addiction or another addictive disorder. The most effective treatment considers both conditions.

No single treatment works for everyone with a dual diagnosis. There are many mental health disorders, and the relationship between mental illness and addiction is complicated. Individual recovery plans address specific disorders as well as personal histories of addictive behaviors.

Residential Treatment

People with severe mental illness or heavy drug or alcohol use may benefit from residential treatment programs. This type of therapy offers intensive, 24-hour care and monitoring. It is especially helpful for those who experience psychotic episodes or suicidal thoughts.

Outpatient Treatment

Addicts who are physically and mentally stable may benefit from outpatient treatment, where they can live at home and go to work during their rehabilitation. Because of the minimal supervision, outpatient therapy requires a high level of dedication to recovery to prevent relapse.

Pharmacological Therapy

Pharmacological therapy is usually a key component of dual diagnosis treatment. People with mental illness usually require medications to stabilize their moods, reduce anxiety and prevent flashbacks or hallucinations. While psychiatric medications are often discouraged in substance abuse treatment programs, dual diagnosis patients can benefit from pharmacotherapy during rehab.

Family Counseling

Family counseling is an important part of addiction recovery. This type of therapy educates spouses, children and siblings about addiction and mental health. As they begin to understand their loved one’s condition, they are more likely to provide support for recovery.

Group Therapy

Group therapy is also essential to the recovery process. Peer support groups and 12-step programs are available for addicts, friends and loved ones. Group sessions remind those with drug and alcohol addictions that they are not alone in their struggles.

Most people benefit from a combination of treatment therapies. Getting their lives back on track requires help and hope, and dual diagnosis treatment provides both. Relying on members of their treatment team as well as their loved ones can make rehabilitation easier and more effective.

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Posted by Robert Cordray on July 20th, 2014 in Health | No comments Read related posts in , , , , ,

17 jul

Sneaky Ways to Exercise for Stress Relief

JennaSmithIt’s no secret that exercise is a great way to relieve stress. It works off nervous energy, releases endorphins, and helps you focus on something other than whatever is stressing you out. The problem is that not everyone likes, or is able, to do traditional exercises. For some people exercise itself could be stressful, making them adverse to even trying. For others it could be a simple matter of time and access.

The good news is that there are several activities that supply you with sneaky ways to acquire the stress-relieving benefits of exercise.

Gardening/Yard Work

Yardwork gets you outside in the fresh air and sunshine, and can be one heck of a workout. You do a lot of bending, digging, lifting, and hauling that gets your heart rate up, builds your muscles and endurance, and releases endorphins. Plus, at the end of it, you have a beautiful yard where you can relax and enjoy the scenery.

If you plant food crops, like vegetables or fruit trees, you have the added benefit being able to harvest the produce for your table. If you buy apple trees and other food crops online, you can often get special varieties, such as heirloom plants, that you wouldn’t normally find at your local garden store.

House Work

Cleaning your house from top to bottom is an excellent way to burn a lot of energy. Depending on how thoroughly you clean, you could end up doing a lot of bending and lifting that strengthens your muscles and raises your heart rate. Plus, at the end of it, you have a nice clean house to relax in.

Plus, mess can actually cause stress, so having a clean home can greatly improve your state of mind. You can try cleaning in one marathon session, or stretch it out over days so you can get activity in multiple sessions. You can also include your family in the act so that you can have some quality time, and get more done.

Dancing

The great thing about dancing is that you can do it almost anywhere. You can enjoy a night out at your favorite club or, if you are self-conscious about dancing in public, bust a move in the privacy of your own home. Dancing raises your heart rate, improves your endurance, and releases endorphins. If you want to go high-tech, you can invest in one of those dance video games and play alone or with friends and family.

Playing With Your Kids

Kids are little bundles of energy – wind them up and they can go for days. Play a game of hide and seek or tag and you will get your heart rate going, the endorphins flowing, and spend quality time with your kids. As an added bonus, if you tired them out enough, they’ll probably go right to sleep at bed time.

Walking the Dog

If you don’t already have a dog, you shouldn’t get one just for exercise unless you are also willing to be a good pet parent. However, you can volunteer to walk your neighbor’s dog, especially if your neighbor works earlier or later than you do. If you have your own dog, you can extend the length of your walk, to get more activity. You can also volunteer at an animal shelter that has dog play groups. You might need to get special training, but you would be helping dogs in need get forever homes.

Window Shopping

Whether you walk through an indoor mall, a strip mall, or a street with a lot of shops, window shopping gives you something interesting to look at while also getting you moving. To get more out of your session, consider making at least one circuit of the area before you pause to look at all the shop windows, that way you have a period of continuous movement to really get your heart going and the endorphins flowing.

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Posted by Jenna Smith on July 17th, 2014 in Diet and Fitness, Health, Things We Love | No comments Read related posts in

08 jul

Young Adults and Addiction: The Benefits of Inpatient Care

For many young people, drug use and experimentation is a rite of passage of sorts. However, experimenting with drugs and alcohol is far from harmless, and can often result in lifelong problems with substance abuse and addiction. In turn, addiction can lead to difficulties in virtually every aspect of well-being, including physical health, relationships, education, careers, finances and more.

Due to the devastating effects of prolonged substance use, effective treatment is necessary in helping young people break the ties of addiction, improve physical and psychological health, and learn to live without the crutches of drugs and alcohol.

So, which type of treatment is most effective? The answer to that question often lies in inpatient, or residential care. Keep reading to learn more about inpatient addiction treatment, including its advantages, common practices and more.

What is Inpatient Treatment?

Unlike outpatient facilities, inpatient care involves residential treatment for substance abuse and addiction. Patients will spend their days and nights in the facility, and will receive intensive, ’round-the-clock care. And while facilities differ according to methods and practices, most offer services like the following:

  • Supervised detox. During this stage of treatment, drug use is discontinued and the body to rids itself of addictive substances. Since detoxification can lead to the onset of painful withdrawal symptoms, inpatient therapy can provide patients with the adequate care and support during this stage of recovery.
  • One-on-one counseling. Talk therapy plays an extremely important role in effective rehabilitation. During one-on-one sessions, patients can discuss their problems with addictive substances, as well as formulate coping strategies in the interest of sustained sobriety. Also, counseling allows mental health professionals to diagnose and treat underlying psychological illnesses that may contribute to substance abuse.
  • Group therapy. Like one-on-one counseling, group therapy provides patients with a platform on which to discuss their thoughts and feelings. Plus, group sessions provide the added benefits of support and accountability from peers, which has been shown to promote a healthy, more effective recovery.
  • Family counseling. Some facilities offer counseling for patients and their families. This can help addicts and their loved ones open the lines of communication, as well as learn about factors such as codependency, guilt and more. For young people, this can help open the doors for better familial relationships, as well as effective communication and continued support.
  • Aftercare. Followup treatment is often included in inpatient care. Aftercare methods typically include continued counseling and support, as well as assistance with housing, employment, continuing education and more.

Choosing an Inpatient Facility

While different facilities offer similar rehabilitation services, they often vary according to atmosphere, location, price, etc. For example, many treatment centers cater to only men or only women, while others incorporate religious teachings into their rehabilitation methods.

Further, some facilities are designed for young people, specifically. Treatment programs that cater to young adults aim to enrich the lives of young people by addressing their unique needs regarding health and rehabilitation. For example, young adult rehabilitation programs often include classes and seminars relating to life skills, decision making, family communication and more.

Combined, the efforts of these inpatient facilities significantly enhance the chances of recovery, as well reduce the risk of relapse with addictive substances.

Although addiction can have devastating effects on young people and their loved ones, the proper treatment can promote sobriety, prevent relapse and enhance both physical and psychological health. With the intensive care provided by inpatient therapy, young adults can beat addiction, improve wellness and enjoy a better, healthier life.

If you felt moved, inspired, touched, helped, annoyed, or anything after reading this, please let us know. Our wonderful bloggers really do appreciate your comments and feedback. It’s super easy and takes a minute. Click on comments below.

Posted by Jenna Smith on July 8th, 2014 in Family, Health, New Directions, Teens | No comments

02 jul

How to Handle Your First DUI

JennaSmithSo you made a pretty massive mistake and decided to drive while you were under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Worse yet, your behavior was poor enough that the police noticed and caught you. Now you’ve been given your first DUI citation and you are starting to wonder how you are going to pick up the pieces and recover.

The good news is that if this is your first offense, there are some things you can do that will indeed allow you to pick up almost where you left off and move on. The bad news is that it won’t be easy, its built to not be easy and to be a pain in the butt so that you don’t think driving while intoxicated is something that should ever be repeated.

As long as you follow this advice you’ll be able to put the incident behind you in relatively short order.

Take the DUI Seriously

The more naïve among us actually take getting a DUI citation as a badge of honor. The reality is this is the worst way you could possibly handle the situation. You should know that the authorities certainly take someone driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol very seriously.

Police departments actually take DUI charges so seriously, they’re willing to cite those who are trying to help others avoid getting caught. One Ohio man was recently cited because he put up a sign warning other drivers of a DUI checkpoint.

Make sure you are taking your situation seriously. Don’t treat it like a joke because it’s not.

Contact Your Local DMV ASAP

While DUI laws are different from one state to the next, in most locations a DUI will result in a suspended license. Some states have a mandatory suspension of 6 months or more. You don’t want to be without the ability to drive a car for a 6 month period. Your local DMV can tell you if your state has any kind of program like ignition interlock in place.

Ignition Interlock is a system that doesn’t allow people to drive as long as they have alcohol in their system. If people try to do it they are reported as violating the program and the punishment will become even more severe.

Other states will also make it so you need to get special auto insurance called sr22 that allows you to keep yourself insured while you’re driving until the DUI citation punishment has cleared up. This kind of policy is naturally more expensive than other kinds, so you’ll definitely have to search for cheap sr22 insurance where possible.

Seek Treatment

It’s certainly possible that your DUI was a one-time thing and you don’t actually have a drinking problem. Nevertheless, statistics show that most people who are caught on a DUI citation are abusing drugs or alcohol in a way that means they need to head to Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous.

Because there will be sometime between your citation and your court date, it’s in your best interest to start going to meetings ASAP. You will likely be ordered to go to some sort of counseling program as part of your sentence. If you start going before you are ordered to do so, you can show the judge that you are taking the right steps.

Be A Model Citizen

Going to some sort of treatment program is likely going to be part of your sentence but you could also be sentenced to jail (happens less often with first offenses) and you will also likely be sentenced to probation.

If you are serving probation, make yourself into a model citizen. If you’re supposed to stop drinking altogether, stop drinking. If you’re supposed to report in at a certain time each day or week, report in. Don’t allow yourself to start feeling like the victim. You committed the crime. Take the opportunity to correct problems in your life and then you really can get a sort of do-over once you have carried out whatever the courts demanded of you.

If you felt moved, inspired, touched, helped, annoyed, or anything after reading this, please let us know. Our wonderful bloggers really do appreciate your comments and feedback. It’s super easy and takes a minute. Click on comments below.

Posted by Jenna Smith on July 2nd, 2014 in New Directions | No comments Read related posts in , ,

27 jun

Is Your Company Depressed?

Kerrigan2Of all the business problems companies have, I think they become more magnified when the chief executive officers lose sight that their organization is made up of people.

In my experience, when things go wrong, the focus is primarily on finance or strategy, or both: but, not on people.

This is a big mistake—to ignore the people who will actually implement any new strategy, especially if they feel disconnected and overwhelmed by your last plan.

I’ve written about marketing from the inside out and the importance of inclusion over coercion. But, is the C-suite listening?

When your employees feel disconnected and that no one cares, they begin to shut down. Unhappy employees are unproductive employees, and this loss of interest affects every area of your business, particularly your customers.

It may be time to come down to ground level and ask:

Is my company depressed?

Here are some signs of which to be aware:

—Low energy and self esteem (Projects often seem to lose direction)

—Poor concentration (Costly errors are escalating)

—Difficulty making decisions (Deadlines are missed)

—Feelings of hopelessness (Recurring thoughts of layoffs)

—Social withdrawal (More conflict, less collaboration)

—Excessive negative thinking (Quality suffers. After all—why bother?)

—Loss of interest in jobs your employees used to enjoy (Productivity slows down or comes to a halt)

If your business is not accomplishing its goals, take a good look within, and invest some time focused on your greatest asset—people.

Copyright 2014 Michelle Kerrigan

Michelle Kerrigan is an expert in workplace confidence and performance who advises clients how to become stronger and more successful. From growing businesses and exceptional leaders to enhancing careers, Michelle develops the 3 keys you need to succeed. More at www.michellekerriganinc.com and www.workplaceconfidence.com

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Posted by Michelle Kerrigan on June 27th, 2014 in Career, General, Global/Social Change, Health | No comments Read related posts in , , , , , ,

27 jun

7 Apps that Can Help You Get in Shape

RobertCordrayIt’s easier than ever to get in shape with the incredible selection of fitness apps that have been developed to help you incorporate the right exercise regimen into your daily routine.

Here are seven exercise apps that will give you all the guidance you need to reach your goals:

Nu Skin TR90

The Nu Skin TR90 app, previously available exclusively online, can now be downloaded to iPhone, iPad, and Android devices. TR90, which stands for Transform in 90, is a versatile free app that tracks all the variables that help you lose weight successfully, including exercise, food consumption, and product use. A plethora of other helpful features motivate and inspire you while keeping close tabs on your progress.

Endomondo Sports Tracker

If you’re into running, cycling, or another similar sport and you enjoy being cheered on (and held accountable) by your friends, Endomondo lets you use your social media community to meet your fitness goals. The app, available online and on a variety of digital devices, lets you share your progress by posting updates to your social networks. Available in both free and pro versions, the app also incorporates a number of other dietary and fitness-enhancing features.

Pact

Offering a slightly new twist on fitness motivation, Pact lets you reap monetary rewards for meeting your health and fitness goals — or makes you pay up if you don’t. It’s a different take on accountability that has the members who don’t meet their weekly fitness goals paying those who do. You decide whether and how much you’ll pledge if you don’t manage to meet your target. This free app is available for iPhone and Android.

Fitocracy

A fitness social network that combines a video-game-like points system and leveling-up concept with morale-boosting support from the rest of the community, Fitocracy is free for iPhone and Android and is also on the Web. With a focus on weightlifting, the app also helps you track weight loss and other exercise goals. Fitocracy also offers online coach-led fitness groups that provide a dietary and fitness program that’s tailored to your goals.

Lose It!

Available on Android, iOS, Nook, Kindle, and the Web, Lose It! logs your daily food and activity to help you achieve the right balance between calories consumed and calories expended through exercise to meet your weight-loss goals. This free app and website offers a database containing thousands of foods and allows you to add your own personal favorite commercial foods by scanning their barcodes using your smartphone’s camera.

RunKeeper

This free mobile app lets you use your Android or iPhone’s GPS capability to track your progress while running, walking, or cycling. The app also offers an optional audio feature that enhances your experience by providing spoken updates on all the key stats you typically track to measure your fitness level.

MyFitnessPal

Offering the largest nutrition and calorie database in the world, containing more than 4 million foods and growing, MyFitnessPal is a free website and mobile app for iPhone and Android. Flexible enough to support your favorite weight-loss diet, this free app and free membership offers your own personalized diet profile and preferred foods database and helps you track physical activity and food intake.

Once you’ve found the exercise app that’s right for you, the sky’s the limit on what these digital programs can help you accomplish.

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Posted by Robert Cordray on June 27th, 2014 in Diet and Fitness | No comments Read related posts in , , ,