New Drug Could ‘Cure’ Hair Loss In ‘Six Weeks’

bruce willisBruce WillisGetty

Bald people have been given fresh hope after an eczema drug restored hair growth in a teenage girl with long-standing alopecia.

Doctors told how their 13-year-old patient, who has alopecia totalis – a total lack of scalp hair – as well as eczema, experienced ‘significant’ hair regrowth while being treated with dupilumab, a drug marketed under the brand name Dupixent.

The unexpected side-effect came from treatment with dupilumab, which is approved for the treatment of moderate to severe eczema, also called atopic dermatitis.

Study senior author Dr Maryanne Makredes Senna, of Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) in the US, said:

We were quite surprised since this patient hadn’t grown scalp hair since the age of two, and other treatments that can help with hair loss did not in her case.

As far as we know, this is the first report of hair regrowth with dupilumab in a patient with any degree of alopecia areata.

In addition to longstanding alopecia, this girl had also experienced extensive, treatment-resistant eczema since the age of seven months.

Treatment with prednisone and methotrexate, medications that can suppress the overactive immune system, led to limited improvement in her eczema but no hair regrowth and was therefore discontinued.

In July 2017 she began to be treated with weekly injections of dupilumab, which had recently received official approval.

Here are two pictures of a patient, six weeks and 11 months after treatment:

Hair growthSWNS Hair growthSWNS

After six weeks of treatment, which led to significant improvement in eczema symptoms, she also noticed that fine light hairs called vellus hairs were appearing on her scalp.

After seven months of dupilumab treatment, the girl had grown a ‘significant’ amount of the pigmented hair that typically grows on the scalp.

Because of a change in her insurance coverage, she had to discontinue dupilumab for a two-month period, during which she noticed shedding of the recently regrown hair.

But after she could resume treatment in April this year, the hair growth resumed and has continued.

Dr Senna explained that dupilumab’s mechanism of targeting a key immune system pathway known to be overactive in eczema could explain its action against alopecia, since recent studies have suggested other elements of the same pathway may induce autoimmune hair loss.

She added:

Right now, it’s hard to know whether dupilumab could induce hair growth in other alopecia patients, but I suspect it may be helpful in patients with extensive active eczema and active alopecia areata.

We’ve submitted a proposal for a clinical trial using dupilumab in this patient population and hope to be able to investigate it further in the near future.

Wow. It’s a start isn’t it? Let’s hope the research continues to grow.

If you have a story you want to tell send it to UNILAD via stories@unilad.co.uk.

Read more: unilad.co.uk

Marriage Challenge, “Revive Your Prayer Life” – 7 Prayers for Your Marriage

I was a pencil-thin teen. The fact is that I didn’t care much for food back then. I didn’t hate it, it just wasn’t a priority to me–my social life was. Mom had dinner on the table every evening at 5 pm, but with volleyball, basketball, track and field, shopping… I’d often miss that 5 o’clock deadline and grab something to eat on-the-go. That is if I remembered to eat.

One afternoon, on my way home from school, I fell down the steps. Funny thing is, that wasn’t the first time it happened that day. I also fell down the stairs inside the school mid-afternoon, and just hours before that I tripped down the stairs in our house.

When I got home from school, I mentioned it to my mom, “I fell down the stairs three times today,” I said. “Isn’t that odd?”

“When was the last time you ate?” she asked.

I had to think about that for a minute because it wasn’t just hours–it had been a few days. I was running on empty, in desperate need of some fuel. My body knew it, but my attention had been somewhere else.

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There’s a reason we can’t go day after day without eating. There’s a reason, we can’t go without sleep. God has designed our physical bodies to reflect the spiritual bodies within. We need to be fed, we need drink water, and we need to have rest. In essence, our bodies were designed to point us to Christ.

For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse. – Romans 1:20 

In the same way that our bodies need to be fueled every day, our spirits need to be fueled. And if they aren’t well fed? We’re certain to fall.

Do you wait until a building falls before you shore up the foundation? Or do you build a strong foundation first to ensure that it won’t?

“Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock.” – Matthew 7:24-25, NIV

In the same way, don’t wait for your marriage to crumble. Don’t wait until you have your next fight. Don’t wait until you’re in the midst of a trial to pray your way out. The best strategy for your marriage is to start praying today. Strengthen the foundation before the house falls.

I’m excited about the challenge this week (see below) because I know that prayer is life changing! I’m confident that everyone who takes this challenge will be strengthened by it. Our spirits will be refreshed, our minds will be set on the Lord, and our marriages will be stronger for it!

I offer daily marriage prayers on my other blog. If you’d like to get them sent to your inbox, hop over there and subscribe.

In addition to that link, I’ll give you seven prayers today to get you started this week:

1. For Endurance

Dear Heavenly Father,

Give us the strength to endure to end—to have and to hold as long as we both shall live.

We live in a culture where people upgrade their smart phones, their computers, their homes, and in many cases—their spouse. Gone are the days when people held to the promise they made to endure till the end.

There’s stress and there’s strain, and some days there’s more heartache than we imagined there would be, but we’re in this together, and we’re not letting go.

Love is beautiful, but it’s messy at times, and so we’re asking for Your wisdom and strength to see us through to the end.

In the name of Jesus we pray. Amen.

Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another; not slothful in business; fervent in spirit; serving the Lord; rejoicing in hope; patient in tribulation; continuing instant in prayer. – Romans 12:10-12, KJV

2. For Patience in Tribulation

Dear Heavenly Father,

Your Word teaches us to be patient. James chapter five tells us to take an example from the prophets who patiently waited on You.

We see Job who endured years of tribulation and trials. And even when He couldn’t see You at work in his life, he said, “But he knoweth the way that I take: when he hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold.” (Job 23:10)

Give us the patience to wait on You regardless of how long we must wait.

We see Elijah who fervently prayed for rain, but didn’t see any rain for three years. Still, he patiently waited on You.

If we’re afflicted and if we’re sick, may we bring it to prayer, with the patience of Job who trusted in Your sovereign power.

And help us to remember the ones who have gone astray, Lord. Instead of giving up on them, may we fervently pray that they would return to the faith they once had.

In the name of Jesus we pray. Amen.

Take, my brethren, the prophets, who have spoken in the name of the Lord, for an example of suffering affliction, and of patience. Behold, we count them happy which endure. Ye have heard of the patience of Job, and have seen the end of the Lord; that the Lord is very pitiful, and of tender mercy. – James 5:10-11, KJV

3. The Temptation of Social Media

Dear Heavenly Father,

Give us the wisdom to choose well, and the strength to say “no” when we should.

The internet is one of the greatest temptations we face when it comes to guarding our minds. Sin is merely one click away. One peek, one look, one glance… and soon we’re drawn away by our lust.

Satan knows what appeals to us most. Like a lion after his prey, he watches and waits until our guard is down before he attacks.

Give us the strength to resist him, and the power to cast down the arguments that come with temptation. Help us to walk away from sin, making wise choices that are pleasing to You.

Teach us to live as though Jesus was coming today. May the blessed hope of His return dictate our lives in such a way that we might stand before You, having done all to stand.

We don’t know the day or the hour, but we do know that He comes like a thief in the night. And so we want to be ready. May we stand guard of our hearts and our home, as we prepare for the return of our Saviour and Lord.

In the name of Jesus we pray. Amen.

Blessed are those servants, whom the lord when he cometh shall find watching: verily I say unto you, that he shall gird himself, and make them to sit down to meat, and will come forth and serve them. And if he shall come in the second watch, or come in the third watch, and find them so, blessed are those servants. And this know, that if the goodman of the house had known what hour the thief would come, he would have watched, and not have suffered his house to be broken through. Be ye therefore ready also: for the Son of man cometh at an hour when ye think not. – Luke 12:37-40, KJV

4. For God’s Power and Strength

Dear Heavenly Father,

As long as we’re on this earth, we’ll have trials. As long as we’re here, we’ll have pain, which is why we need to stand strong together–for better or worse until death do us part.

Our home could be gone tomorrow, our house could be gone today, our health could fail us at any moment, and our jobs could be taken away.

If we didn’t trust in Your wisdom, we’d have nothing to stand on when the bottom falls out. If we didn’t believe that there was more in store for us than this passing world, we wouldn’t have the peace that we do.

It’s by Your strength that we’re more than conquerors. Your compassionate grace gives us hope. Your providence offers rest to the weary soul. Your power and might sustain us when we can’t stand on our own.

Thank You for Your goodness and strength, Lord. Teach us to trust in Your wisdom. Teach us to rest.

In the name of Jesus we pray. Amen.

Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. – Romans 8:31-39

5. Giving Thanks for Your Spouse

Dear Heavenly Father,

Day after day we come to you asking for help, and without hesitation You listen. You help, You strengthen, You transform our marriage, and draw us closer to You.

You’ve given us so many reasons to give thanks for this marriage. The gift is immense–the blessings are countless, and so today we want to give thanks.

Thank You for this friend who walks with me through better or worse. Thank You for this intimate lover who quiets my soul. Thank You for this confidant I can trust above anyone else. Thank You for this companion I can laugh with, and one who wipes away tears. Thank You for this partner who keeps me accountable and sharpens my soul. Thank You for this ally who prays for me and hopes for the best in me. Thank You for this advocate who defends my honour and keeps my heart safe. Thank You for my better half who makes me better because I am loved. Thank You for the one who is one with my soul.

In the name of Jesus we pray. Amen.

The watchmen that go about the city found me: to whom I said, Saw ye him whom my soul loveth? It was but a little that I passed from them, but I found him whom my soul loveth: I held him, and would not let him go, until I had brought him into my mother’s house, and into the chamber of her that conceived me. – Song of Solomon 3:3-4, KJV

6. For Your Marriage Bed

Dear Heavenly Father,

You’ve never left us in the dark when it comes to the topic of intimacy. You’ve instructed us in scripture, You’ve written Your law upon our hearts, and You’ve given us a conscience to follow You by.

Thank You for Your wisdom and guidance. Help us to honour both You and our marriage in this area of our lives.

1 Corinthians 7:5 warns us not to deprive each other, unless it’s by agreement and for a time. We understand the importance of mutual fulfillment, and we want to be intimate with each other in the best way we can.

If we’re tired, stressed out, irritable, or distant, give us the strength to work through our problems so that we can be the intimate partner we need to be. Give us a heart of understanding, and patience for each other as well.

May our hearts be pure, and our bed undefiled. Help us to keep our eyes on our marriage and away from the world. Eliminate any thoughts that would draw us away from Your will and the one that we love.

In the name of Jesus we pray. Amen.

Marriage is honourable in all, and the bed undefiled: but whoremongers and adulterers God will judge. – Hebrews 13:4, KJV

7. The Battle Against the Flesh

Dear Heavenly Father.

Help us to live our best life. Give us the power and strength to let go of the baggage that’s weighing us down. To say “no” to ungodliness, and say “yes” to a self-controlled, godly life.

We both struggle in different ways. We have different temptations and battles that we’re fighting against. But we serve the same powerful God.

With one Word, you’re able to strengthen, sustain, and establish our way. With one hand You hold the power of life.

In Romans chapter 7, Paul writes, “For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do.”

We know that struggle too well, Lord. Life is a constant battle against the flesh, and some days it feels like we’re losing. It’s hard to get up when we keep sliding back. The sense of defeat weighs heavy on us, and so we ask that You lift it, as You carry us through.

Our flesh is at war with the Spirit, and we desperately want our spirit to win.

Not that we can say of ourselves, “We have won!” But that we might say, “Greater is He that is in me than He that is in this world!”

In the name of Jesus we pray. Amen.

For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world; looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ; who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works. – Titus 2:11-14, KJV

You are loved by an almighty God,

Darlene Schacht The Time-Warp Wife

P.S. Come back here on Friday for week 2/part 2 in our “Revive Your Marriage” series. 

Considering a gift to Time-Warp Wife Ministries? Click here to donate.

THIS WEEK’S CHALLENGE

Make a conscious habit to pray for your marriage throughout the day. Take time here and there to commune with the Lord and bring your husband before Him.

BIBLE READING FOR THE WEEK

R – Read Daniel chapters 5-6. Also read Psalm 5.

E – Expand on questions you might have as you’re reading (dig deep and take notes).

A – Ask yourself how you can apply this scripture to your marriage.

D – Decide if there are any changes you need to make or actions you need to take.

The story of Daniel is a great fit for this week as we see him praying to God three times a day. He’s a prime example of someone who believed in the power of prayer. We see that he valued prayer more than he did his own life, which is what makes his story so incredible.  I’ve also included a Psalm because it’s a beautiful focus for this week as we’re offered a glimpse into the prayer life of David.

BIBLE VERSE

Rejoice evermore. Pray without ceasing. In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you. – 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

 

RELATED RESOURCES

Messy Beautiful Love: Hope and Redemption for Real-Life Marriages by Darlene Schacht | Available at Amazon.com  (affil link)

Love gets messy.

Financial problems, sickness, aging parents, a chronically unhappy spouse . . . trials will inevitably come that threaten your marriage. No matter how long you’ve been married or how strong your relationship is, sooner or later you are going to have a mess to clean up.

MessyBeautiful Love is about cleaning up messes God’s way, exchanging your ideas for His, and being prepared for both the best and the worst that marriage has to offer.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Darlene Schacht and her husband Michael live in Manitoba Canada where the summers are warm and the winters are cold. Together they’ve come to learn that relationships aren’t always easy, but that marriage, the way God intended it to be, is a treasure worth fighting for.

She began her publishing journey about twelve years ago when she pioneered one of the first online magazines for Christian women, known at the time as “Christian Women Online Magazine.” After three years, Darlene left CWO to blog as a solo author at Time-Warp Wife Ministries.

It was also during this transition that she worked alongside actress Candace Cameron Bure to write the NYT Best-Selling book, Reshaping it All: Motivation for Spiritual and Physical Fitness. Reshaping it All was the winner of both the 2011 USA Best Book Awards and the 2012 Christian Reading Retailers Choice Awards.

Author of more than 15 books, Darlene continues to write and to minister to her readers through her blog at TimeWarpWife.com.

Connect with Darlene:

Facebook: @timewarpwife Instagram: @timewarpwife Pinterest: @timewarpwife Twitter: @timewarpwife

 

 

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The post Marriage Challenge, “Revive Your Prayer Life” – 7 Prayers for Your Marriage appeared first on Time-Warp Wife.

Read more: timewarpwife.com

Addiction and the Opioid Epidemic

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), “Every day, more than 115 people in the United States die after overdosing on opioids.”

Let that statistic sink in for a moment.

Opioids, which historically were used to treat pain conditions, are easily addictive. The misuse of prescribed medications, or ingestion of street drugs such as heroin or fentanyl, leads to the potential for abuse, addiction, and overdose.

Taking time to learn about the history of opioids and how they affect an individual will help you understand how they can lead to addiction, and what is necessary to get help if you’re experiencing struggling with substance problems yourself.

The History of Opioid Usage and Misuse

NIDA reports that “In the late 1990s, pharmaceutical companies reassured the medical community that patients would not become addicted to prescription opioid pain relievers, and healthcare providers began to prescribe them at greater rates.”

With an aging population and a severe lack of pain management options, this reassurance caused medical doctors everywhere to prescribe opioid medication at a high frequency to their patients. Unfortunately, they simply didn’t have the information or knowledge to understand how addicting this drug could be, and the epidemic of misuse began.

Patients started seeking prescriptions at higher doses or an increased pill count, and when they couldn’t get them from their doctors, some turned to illegal measures, such as buying opioid medications on the street or even turning to other drugs in the opioid family, such as heroin or fentanyl.

Increasing the dosage outside of the care of a doctor or being under the influence of street drugs began to cause overdoses in alarmingly high numbers. In fact, recent NIDA stats report that “Opioid overdoses increased 30 percent from July 2016 through September 2017 in 52 areas in 45 states.”

The opioid epidemic isn’t new to this country, but unfortunately, it also isn’t over.

Opioids can lead to addiction

Hows Opioids Can Lead to Addiction

Before understanding how easy it is to become addicted to opioids, it’s first important to understand how they work. Opioids allow endorphins to be released in your brain. These neurotransmitters are what makes people feel good, by increasing the feeling of pleasure receptors and decreasing the body’s perception of pain.

So, for a person who previously suffered from pain-related issues, an opioid prescription may help them finally get relief from some of their suffering. However, it isn’t only long-standing pain sufferers that may be prescribed an opiate by their doctor. Prescriptions can follow everything from a routine procedure or surgery to an emergent situation such as a car accident or a broken bone.

It’s also important to note that because opioids are helping to deliver endorphins, they’re also masking the feelings of depression and anxiety from which some individuals may suffer. Even though they’re not being prescribed to treat these conditions, the opioids help individuals deal with depression and anxiety — at least in the very short term.

Yet, what happens is the pain relief from the opioids wears off and the individual needs to take more of them in order to maintain the feeling of pleasure and decrease the feeling of pain. This can be completely ordinary for some people, but for others, the need for higher doses can become problematic. In addition, this is where depression, anxiety, and other mental health issues can reappear, compelling the individual to block them out with increased use.

This is also where physical tolerance becomes an issue.

According to the Mayo Clinic, “When you take opioids repeatedly over time, your body slows its production of endorphins.” And if these neurotransmitters aren’t being delivered as quickly or as strongly as before, individuals will need higher doses to feel the relief they once felt. Their bodies literally get used to the amount of the opioids in their systems, and because of this, the original dosage doesn’t deliver the relief it once did.

This leads to individuals seeking stronger prescriptions or larger doses. And, unfortunately, if their doctor is unwilling to prescribe in that manner, some individuals will turn to street drugs in order to meet their addictions, causing an even bigger potential problem in the long term.

doctor prescribing opioid

Dealing With an Opioid Addiction

The truth is, anyone can develop an addiction to opioids– though it’s impossible to know exactly who might become addicted. Opioid medications aren’t inherently “bad,” they just need to be prescribed carefully and for short-term treatment.

Work with your doctor to take the lowest dose possible, for the shortest time needed, exactly as prescribed.

The Mayo Clinic’s advice to anyone worried about developing an addiction to opioids is to “work with your doctor to take the lowest dose possible, for the shortest time needed, exactly as prescribed.”

Though, if you’re already struggling with an opioid addiction — whether brand new or long term — know that you have options for treatment. When a person heals the root causes of depression, anxiety, or other issues, and learns how to practice self-care, they remove the need to medicate in the long term.

Remember, it is possible to move from a life consumed by opioids to one of peace and tranquility.

If you’re struggling with an addiction, don’t go “cold turkey” and stop taking any prescribed opioid medication or street drugs on your own. Doing so may have severe side effects. A medical professional will be able to help you taper off anything you’re currently taking. Additionally, a medical detoxification facility may be the best first step in seeking treatment for the addiction.

Working with your doctor and attending an inpatient detox are simply the first steps in healing. To recover from an opioid addiction, you must work through the emotional baggage that helped to create the problem in the first place. Here is the time to embrace counseling and self care.

Read more: blogs.psychcentral.com

Aging Parents – The Truth You Need To Know

I learned from my mother

None of us likes the idea of getting older.  But getting older, and eventually facing death, is part of the human experience.  And it’s happening to each and every one of us, including our parents.  If you’re approaching age 40, or older, that means you have aging parents who will soon be facing a variety of physical and financial needs they may not have considered.

Every day, I see at least a couple of well-intended articles that address the topic of retirement.  While it’s a good idea to be conscious of and planning for your retirement, the focus is too often on just the accumulation of money.  But there’s much more to it than that.  Here’s a summary of what you should be chatting with your parents about.  And maybe thinking about for yourself, too!

Income Needs

Nobody, even the rich and famous, can end up with zero bills to pay after retirement.  Even if their home is paid for and they have no debt, there’s still food,  various taxes, health expenses, gas . . . and much more.  While each situation is different, taking a detailed look at what retirement might actually look like will give a much more realistic set of expectations.  And, make it easier to plan.

Some pointers that I see often overlooked:

Spending, generally, is LESS after retirement.  23% less, according to Forbes. “Retirement” is not a forever unchanging state of being.  Needs at age 65 are usually quite different than needs at age 85. Contrary to what Hollywood would have you believe, most people do not die quietly and peacefully in their sleep. (See “Long Term Care” below) Choosing to take social security early, at normal retirement age, or later depends on the personal situation.  Even choosing when to decide can depend on how predictable you believe your future is. Life Insurance

Life insurance, like most insurance, is one of those things we love to hate.  That’s almost always because it’s not understood.  Insurance in general is designed to protect against large losses that would be detrimental or even catastrophic.  It provides money to compensate for those losses if or when they happen.  With auto insurance, it’s an if.  With life insurance, it’s a when, because you’re mortal and you are going to eventually die.

Purchased when you’re young, insurance is relatively inexpensive, and has multiple ways of returning value to you.  But the older you get, the more expensive life insurance becomes because your life expectancy is shorter.  So what if your aging parents have neglected to get any life insurance?  Is there a plan for funeral and end of life expenses?  Yes, even at that point there are options for final expense insurance.

Long Term Care

You’ve seen the emotional movie scenes.  The loved one is laying in bed, probably at home, facing their last days.  Everyone is expressing their love, and the scene is generally peaceful.  The ailing person says good bye, and gently closes their eyes.  Or, they drift off into the hereafter in their sleep.

For most of us, that’s not how it happens in real life.

Only about 12.5% of us die in our sleep.  Compare that to the 33% of seniors that, at some point, will be living in a nursing home.  So the odds are three times as great that you or your aging parents will at some point need long term care.

Be forewarned:  Long term care is painfully expensive, and is not covered by most insurance and is not covered by social security.  You must have a means to pay for long term care, or have a separate long term insurance policy in place prior to the need.  Just as if your house burned down, you cannot buy the insurance after the need presents itself.

Planning is Key!

I’ll be first to say that even the best laid plans can prove ineffective.  But planning, with all the facts before you, can eliminate, or at least minimize, a great deal of the stress that comes with having to deal with the challenges of getting older.  So whether it’s your aging parents, or yourself, start making appropriate plans now.

The post Aging Parents – The Truth You Need To Know appeared first on Ms. Career Girl.

Read more: mscareergirl.com

How Our Judgments Hurt Kids (And What We Can Do Instead)

One of the most unproductive tendencies we have as parents is our rush to judgment. For example, we might assess and designate certain toddlers as bullies and others as fearful or shy. Their behavior with peers or siblings is stealing, hoarding, or too bossy. They’re not playing nicely. Their crying and tantrums are manipulative.  They are “threenagers,” brats, and so on.

The tendency to quickly judge and label seems to be on the rise recently (from this reporter’s POV), which makes sense considering the tsunami of information that inundates us daily. We have busier, more cluttered, rushed lives, less time for daydreaming and pondering, and shorter attention spans. We’re inclined to want to cut to the chase and move on.

Opening our minds and hearts to young children and being curious explorers can seem to take too much effort, because it also requires us to become more self-aware. Maybe I’m judging my daughter’s assertiveness as negative because my parents shamed me for this very thing? Maybe my parents were wrong to do that? Maybe I’m really okay, and my daughter is, too?

The biggest problem with our hasty judgments (or what psychologist Carol Dweck termed “fixed mindsets”) is that they slam the door on opportunities to be of real help to our children or ourselves. The labels we apply to certain behaviors blind us to the causes of that behavior and what it is communicating. This creates distance and even dislike of our children (which can be hard to overcome), instead of understanding, empathy, and positive growth, all of which deepen our parent-child bonds.

There is always a reason children feel and behave the way they do. When our child’s behavior upsets, annoys or baffles us… what if, instead of judging, then closing the book and reacting out of that fixed mindset, we took the time to observe and listen? What if we dared to release ourselves to an open, uncomfortable, unfinished space of not knowing?

Amber did all of that, and this happened:

Hi Janet,

Firstly I would like to say thank you for your wealth of knowledge in relation to child development. I have a one-year-old and a three-year-old and was struggling with certain behaviours. I visited a psychologist to help me learn how to cope with all the big emotions in my house. She referred me to your podcast, and I have not looked back. I look forward to driving home from work so I can listen to your advice, and especially the pep talk at the end which sets me up for a good day the next morning.

I am writing to thank you for the post on “fake crying” and wanted to let you know that you are exactly right. I have had a personal experience of this with my first child.

I was expecting our second child (35 weeks pregnant), moved house, transitioned to a bed, AND changed child care centres — a very hectic time in a two-year-old’s life. My daughter went from loving her previous child care centre to crying as soon as she realized she was going to the new Kindy that day. She would scream and the teachers would have to pry her off me.

The teachers would say, “Cut that out. Let Mum go and let’s go outside and play. Stop being silly… Oh, she is doing it again. I thought she would be too old for this.”

I was at a loss of what to do, and everyone kept saying it’s normal when you change child care centres. We would pick her up in the afternoon, and she would be soooo tired and sad. I recognized that in all the photos from the school, she seemed to be by herself and clinging onto a security blanket (she never even attached to a security blanket in the past, we just sent one as that is what we were told to do). At dinner, she wouldn’t even talk.

I requested a meeting with the centre director who informed me that my child had the worst separation anxiety she had ever seen but offered no guidance. My daughter had never had a problem with separation before and, if anything, we described her as a vivacious, outgoing toddler. She had also started to point at us and say quite aggressively, “You stop that right now, you hear;” and “This is all your fault that the babies are awake.”

Once the baby had arrived and was a month old, we ended up pulling her out of the centre and changed her to another, where she settled in immediately and went back to our bubbly happy girl.

A month or so later, I drove past the old centre and she pointed and said, “I don’t want to go there, Mummy.” When I asked why, she said, “Because when your eyes rain you have to sit outside with no one.” All I can assume is that my child was scared, and her way of showing that was by crying. She must have been isolated from the group as punishment.

I learned a valuable lesson from that experience — to listen to my children’s emotions – and I wanted to share that with you as I read your blog and know some people wouldn’t agree with what you said (in your post “Fake Crying” or whatever). I agree first-hand with everything you have stated and thank you again for supporting all of us Mums.

With Kind Regards, Amber

Thank you so much, Amber, for allowing me to share your story!

I share more about understanding and addressing our children’s behaviors in my book, No Bad Kids: Toddler Discipline Without Shame.

The post How Our Judgments Hurt Kids (And What We Can Do Instead) appeared first on Janet Lansbury.

Read more: janetlansbury.com

Marriage Challenge – Revive Your Prayer Life Pt. 2

I came across an article this week that I wrote a few years back. It’s such a good fit for this week, that I had to share it with you…

This afternoon my daughter called me from school to ask me a question about her schedule. Just before hanging up she said, “Pray for my exam, Mom. This is my career–it’s important to me!”

Totally cute since she’s only in grade nine, but I did make sure to take a few minutes out of my day to pray for her exam.

Again tonight before going to bed she said, “Okay mom, make sure you pray for my marks okay? I’m hoping I did alright on the exam. And can you also pray for my next semester?”

This sudden interest in prayer is new and alive in her. I love to watch how it’s constantly on her mind, and that she’s taking both the little things and the big things to prayer. Most of all I love that it’s more than a ritual or a last resort–it’s a passion.

“We say ‘all we can do now is pray’ like prayer is the last kid picked in dodge ball.That’s so dumb because prayer is not a last resort. Prayer is a nuclear weapon. Joshua prayed 13 words and called the sun to stand still in the sky.” ~ Steven Furtick

I love that, “Prayer is a nuclear weapon.” If more couples prayed together, less couples would struggle. If more couples were united in faith, less would step out of their marriage.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m well aware that the divorce rate is just as high among Christians as it is among non-Christians. But I have to wonder how many of those couples were united in prayer–together–seeking the will of the Lord for their marriage.

Being a Christian doesn’t mean that your marriage will be stronger than anyone else’s, but when Christ is put at the center of that marriage it does.

There’s a popular graphic that many of you have probably seen before. It’s called the marriage triangle. The triangle illustrates how a husband and wife who are focused on the Lord will naturally grow closer together.

Mathematically speaking it would make more sense for the man and wife to take the easy road, wouldn’t it? To come together on the bottom line? Each person travels half the distance and there’s no uphill climb. Easy peasy. It’s a fact however that a triangle is much stronger than a single line ever could be in fact it’s even stronger than a rectangle.

So it is with life. So many couples would rather travel half the distance and put in a fraction of the effort it takes to make a good marriage work. And fewer yet put God at the center of marriage.

My vow today is to pray for my marriage, and I know that Michael is praying the same.

For those of you who are alone in this–whose husbands aren’t seeking the will of God for your marriage I remind you of this: don’t underestimate the power of prayer or consider it your last resort. The power of prayer is a dynamic force.

Maybe you’ve come to a place where you feel like there’s nothing else that you can do. Pray. You can’t change the heart of a man, but the same God who hung the sun and the moon in the sky certainly can!

The king’s heart is in the hand of the Lord, as the rivers of water: he turneth it whithersoever he will. ~ Proverbs 21:1

You are loved by an almighty God,

Darlene Schacht The Time-Warp Wife

P.S. Come back here on Monday for week 3 in our “Revive Your Marriage” series. We’ll be talking about intimacy, and you won’t want to miss it!

Considering a gift to Time-Warp Wife Ministries? Click here to donate.

THIS WEEK’S CHALLENGE

Just a reminder. Our challenge this week is this: make a conscious habit to pray for your marriage throughout the day. Take time here and there to commune with the Lord and bring your husband before Him.

BIBLE READING FOR THE WEEK

Don’t forget to get your Bible reading in this week. Here’s what I suggest:

R – Read Daniel chapters 5-6. Also, read Psalm 5.

E – Expand on questions you might have as you’re reading (dig deep and take notes).

A – Ask yourself how you can apply this scripture to your marriage.

D – Decide if there are any changes you need to make or actions you need to take.

The story of Daniel is a great fit for this week as we see him praying to God three times a day. He’s a prime example of someone who believed in the power of prayer. We see that he valued prayer more than he did his own life, which is what makes his story so incredible.  I’ve also included a Psalm because it’s a beautiful focus for this week as we’re offered a glimpse into the prayer life of David.

BIBLE VERSE

Rejoice evermore. Pray without ceasing. In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you. – 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

RELATED RESOURCES

Messy Beautiful Love: Hope and Redemption for Real-Life Marriages by Darlene Schacht | Available at Amazon.com  (affil link)

Love gets messy.

Financial problems, sickness, aging parents, a chronically unhappy spouse . . . trials will inevitably come that threaten your marriage. No matter how long you’ve been married or how strong your relationship is, sooner or later you are going to have a mess to clean up.

MessyBeautiful Love is about cleaning up messes God’s way, exchanging your ideas for His, and being prepared for both the best and the worst that marriage has to offer.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Darlene Schacht and her husband Michael live in Manitoba Canada where the summers are warm and the winters are cold. Together they’ve come to learn that relationships aren’t always easy, but that marriage, the way God intended it to be, is a treasure worth fighting for.

She began her publishing journey about twelve years ago when she pioneered one of the first online magazines for Christian women, known at the time as “Christian Women Online Magazine.” After three years, Darlene left CWO to blog as a solo author at Time-Warp Wife Ministries.

It was also during this transition that she worked alongside actress Candace Cameron Bure to write the NYT Best-Selling book, Reshaping it All: Motivation for Spiritual and Physical Fitness. Reshaping it All was the winner of both the 2011 USA Best Book Awards and the 2012 Christian Reading Retailers Choice Awards.

Author of more than 15 books, Darlene continues to write and to minister to her readers through her blog at TimeWarpWife.com.

Connect with Darlene:

Facebook: @timewarpwife Instagram: @timewarpwife Pinterest: @timewarpwife Twitter: @timewarpwife

 

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The post Marriage Challenge – Revive Your Prayer Life Pt. 2 appeared first on Time-Warp Wife.

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Omega-3 Fat EPA Significantly Lowers Heart Disease Risk

By Dr. Mercola

Omega-3 fats are essential polyunsaturated fats (PUFAs) your body needs for proper cell division and function of cell receptors, digestion, muscle activity, blood clotting, visual acuity, cognition, heart health and much more.

Most omega-3s are considered “essential fats” as your body cannot make them. You have to get them from your diet. Omega-3 fats are found in both marine animals and plants, but each of these sources provides different types of omega-3, and they are not interchangeable.

It’s really important to be aware of these differences, especially if you’re taking omega-3 to protect or improve your heart or neurological health. For these benefits, you need marine-based omega-3. So, before I get into the evidence behind omega-3 fats for heart health, which is the primary focus of this article, let’s quickly review the basics.

Omega-3 Basics

Both plant- and animal-based omega-3 have their first double-bond in the third position — hence the name “omega-3.” However, the length of the carbon chain of each omega-3 fat makes a significant difference when it comes to bioavailability and biological effect.1,2,3

• Marine animal-based omega-3 — Found in fatty fish, fish oil and krill oil, marine animal-based omega-3s primarily contain docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), a long-chained PUFA consisting of 22 carbons, and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), which has 20 carbons.

• Plant-based omega-3 — Found in flaxseed, flaxseed oil, chia seeds, walnuts and leafy greens, for example, plant-based omega-3s contain alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), a shorter-chained PUFA consisting of 18 carbons. Plant-based omega-3s are completely devoid of DHA and EPA, which is why they cannot be used to obtain EPA and DHA-related health benefits.

While ALA is a precursor to EPA and DHA, the enzyme required for this conversion does not work very well in most people, hence the conversion rate is exceptionally small. Typically, less than 0.5 to 1 percent of the ALA is converted to EPA4

DHA is especially important for optimal health, as it is a component of every cell in your body. This is particularly true for your brain, about 90 percent of which is made up of DHA. All other omega-3 fats are found only in trace amounts in your brain, including ALA, regardless of how much ALA you consume.5

There are actually specific transporters for long-chained omega-3s in your blood-brain barrier, the placenta (in pregnant women), and likely also in your liver, which transport these molecules in a very precise way into the cell membranes where they belong. No such transporters exist for the short-chained omega-3s.

EPA Lowers Heart Disease Risk

Aside from protecting and benefiting your brain, marine-based omega-3 is also really important for heart health. Most recently, a study6,7,8 involving a proprietary prescription formulation of fish oil called Vascepa — a highly-processed form of EPA — found the drug lowered cardiovascular health risks by 25 percent compared to placebo containing mineral oil.

This included heart attacks, strokes, bypass surgery and chest pain requiring hospitalization. The drug trial was called REDUCE-IT and was done for five years. Perhaps the most unusual aspect of this trial is that they used a far higher dosage than is typically used in these types of studies.

Here, participants received 4 grams of EPA per day, which is two to four times more EPA than typically given. Also notable: A 25 percent reduction in cardiovascular risk is typically what you see with the use of statins, and this significant reduction is believed to be a byproduct of EPA’s ability to lower triglycerides.

While the full study will not be available for review until it is presented at the American Heart Association’s annual meeting November 10, 2018, the preliminary information looks promising, and supports what James DiNicolantonio and I predicted in our book “Superfuel,” which is being published November 13.

While this study is very strong support for the use of marine-based omega-3 fats, please understand that Vascepa is a highly processed and very expensive form of omega-3 that costs around $2,500 a year. You can purchase loads of krill, which I believe is superior because of its absorption and astaxanthin, for that price. As reported by Forbes:9

“Vascepa is already approved by the Food and Drug Administration to cut triglycerides in patients in whom levels have risen above 500 milligrams per deciliter [mg/dL], triple normal.

But there had been skepticism regarding whether it would provide a benefit in heart disease, because other fish oil pills had used much lower doses and because it has proved difficult for any drug significantly to reduce the risk of heart attacks and strokes when given on top of cholesterol-lowering medicines, which are already very effective.

But the results from the 8,179-patient study … seem to leave little doubt that the effect of the drug was substantial in people who had high triglycerides (median triglyceride levels in the study were 219 mg/dL, 50 percent more than normal) and had either had previous cardiovascular problems, such as a heart attack or stroke, or had diabetes and another risk factor for heart disease.”

Higher Doses of Omega-3 Required for Optimal Health

For all its potential benefits, it’s worth noting that Vascepa costs over $200 per month. Natural EPA sources such as krill oil and clean fish such as anchovies and sardines are far less expensive. The key to achieving these results, though, is to approach the 4 grams per day dose.

As discussed in “Superfuel,” 3 to 4 grams of EPA and DHA appears to be ideal. (Meanwhile, you only need 1 to 2 grams of whole food-based omega-6 linoleic acid per day, ideally from plant seeds and tree nuts, not vegetable oils.)

Taking 3 to 4 grams of omega-3 (EPA and DHA in the form of fatty fish, triglyceride fish oil or krill oil) per day will saturate your cells and cell membranes with DHA, making them very fluid. As a result of improved cell function, your basal metabolic rate increases by as much as 15 percent, and your fat burning capacity during rest and exercise increases by 20 and 30 percent respectively.

As an example, research shows replacing 6 grams of visible fat in your diet (such as steak) with 6 grams of high-quality fish oil can help you lose 2 pounds of fat and gain half a pound of muscle in just three weeks.

Again, the reason for this is because omega-3 fat, particularly DHA, makes the cell membrane really fluid, allowing amino acids, glucose, sodium and potassium to easily flow in and out of the cell. Omega-3s also help synthesize protein, so muscle protein synthesis dramatically increases when you consume 3 to 4 grams of animal-based omega-3 per day.

Fish Oil is Better Than Drugs for Preventing Heart Failure

The Varicepa trial is not the first to find omega-3 benefits your heart. For example, a pair of parallel studies10,11 published in 2008 — both lasting four years — found fish oil supplements worked better than placebo and the cholesterol-lowering drug Crestor in patients with chronic heart failure.

Chronic heart failure is a condition that occurs when the heart becomes enlarged and cannot pump blood efficiently around the body. Omega-3 fats have long been proven to protect and boost heart health in a number of ways. Here is just a sampling of omega-3’s heart benefits:12,13

Antiarrhythmic — Counteracts and prevents cardiac arrhythmia

Antithrombotic — Prevent thrombosis (a blood clot within a blood vessel)

Antiatherosclerotic — Prevents fatty deposits and fibrosis of the inner layer of your arteries from forming

Anti-inflammatory — Counteracts inflammation

Improves endothelial function: a major factor in promoting the growth of new blood vessels

Has beneficial effects on the heart’s electrical system, preventing potentially life-threatening heart rhythm disorders

Lowers blood pressure

Lowers triglyceride concentrations

DHA and EPA Lower Risk of Heart-Related Death

Other research published in 2016 found eating fatty fish and other omega-3 rich foods (including certain plant-based sources) may lower your risk of a fatal heart attack by about 10 percent.14,15,16

This effect held true even after accounting for confounding factors like age, sex, ethnicity, diabetes and use of aspirin or cholesterol-lowering drugs. While there are benefits from the fish fats you just need to be ultracareful to have clean fish that aren’t loaded with fat soluble toxins that will outweigh the fats’ benefits.

Other studies have found even more significant effects. In one, heart attack survivors who took 1 gram of marine-based omega-3 per day for three years had a 50 percent reduced chance of sudden cardiac death.17 That’s quite significant considering this is about one-quarter of the ideal dose.

Another placebo controlled study18 published in 2016 found that when taken after a heart attack, high doses of omega-3 can also significantly improve your odds of survival.19,20,21,22 Here, 360 heart attack patients were divided into two groups. The treatment group took 4 grams of the prescription omega-3 fish oil called Lovaza. The placebo group received corn oil.

After six months, the treatment group showed a 5.6 percent reduction in scarring of undamaged heart muscle. Their hearts were also better able to pump blood compared to the controls. Despite a positive result, it’s worth noting that corn oil is a terrible placebo. Placebos are supposed to be completely inert, like water.

Corn oil is actually a harmful industrially processed GMO-contaminated omega-6 fat that clearly adversely affects your heart. So, using a corn oil placebo could make the drug appear more potent than it really is.

Other Health Benefits of Marine-Based Omega-3

Aside from the benefits already discussed, omega-3s are also important for:

Healthy, strong bones

Mood regulation

Reducing your risk of Parkinson’s disease

Reducing your risk of death from ALL causes

Protecting your tissues and organs from inflammation

Brain and eye development in babies, and preventing premature delivery

Reducing your risk of Alzheimer’s disease

Delaying progression to psychosis among patients at high risk for schizophrenia

Protecting against osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis (RA)23,24,25

Protecting against metabolic syndrome,26 including obesity, fatty liver,27 and type 2 diabetes (by reducing inflammation and blood sugar)

Improving in premenstrual syndrome (PMS) and dysmenorrhea28

Lowering your risk for neurological/cognitive dysfunction, including: memory loss, brain aging, learning disorders and ADHD,29 autism and dyslexia30

Reducing your risk of Crohn’s disease

Reducing your risk of colon cancer.31

Colon cancer patients who consumed a minimum of 0.3 grams of omega-3 from fish each day also reduced their risk of dying over the next decade by 41 percent32

Reducing your risk of kidney disease33

Reducing your risk of autoimmune disorders, such as lupus and nephropathy

Your Blood Level, Not the Dosage, Is Key for Optimization

Despite many studies showing the importance of marine-based omega-3 for heart health, some have come to conflicting conclusions. For example, a recent Cochrane Collaboration review34 concluded omega-3 supplementation has little to no discernible benefit for heart health or longevity.

There are a number of reasons for these perplexing results. Perhaps most importantly, many nutritional studies fail to assess the correct parameters. The importance of looking at achieved blood levels of a nutrient rather than dosage has been made abundantly clear by GrassrootsHealth vitamin D researchers.

When studies look at dosage, no apparent benefits of vitamin D supplementation are found. However, when you look at people’s blood level — the concentration of the nutrient in the body — truly dramatic effects are detected.

The problem is that people metabolize the nutrient at different rates, and while one may need a very small dose to achieve a certain blood level, another may need several times that dose. As a result, assessing health effects based on supplement dosage can be unreliable.

For this reason, I recommend getting your omega-3 level tested on an annual basis. As with vitamin D, blood testing is the best way to customize your dosage to ensure sufficiency, because requirements for omega-3 will vary depending on your lifestyle; your intake of fatty fish, for example, and your level of physical activity.

So, while a general recommendation is to take 3 to 4 grams of omega-3 per day, the only way to really know whether this is too much or too little is via a blood test. For optimal health, you’ll want an omega-3 index of 8 percent or higher.

Buyer Beware: Most Commercial Fish Oils Are Synthetic

Another reason some fish oil studies reach negative results may be related to the use of inferior products. As noted by Naomi Whittel, former CEO of Twinlab, the processing of fish oil is deeply problematic, rendering the final product into something far from the natural oils you get from the whole fish.

Whittel estimates about 98 percent of the omega-3 products on the market are inferior (and perhaps even toxic) due to the way the fish are caught and processed — a summary of which is provided in the graphic below.

fish oil molecular distillation process

>>>>> Click Here <<<<<

Several factors come into play that affect the efficacy of fish oil. One is the form of the long-chained omega-3 fats. In fish, about 98 percent of the DHA and EPA are in the form of triglycerides, which are the most bioavailable. In most commercial fish oil supplements, however, the DHA and EPA are delivered in the form of ethyl esters.35

Triglycerides Versus Ethyl Esters

A triglyceride consists of a three-carbon molecule that forms a “backbone” for the fatty acids to latch onto. Each carbon molecule is linked to a fatty acid so, in total, a triglyceride is composed of three carbons bonded to three fatty acids.

Ethyl ester fish oil is most prevalent simply because it’s far less expensive to produce than the triglyceride form. Ethyl esters are also easier to work with during processing, as they have a higher boiling point. This becomes important during the molecular distillation phase (see above), during which the oils are heated and purified of harmful environmental pollutants.

The molecular distillation phase also concentrates the EPA and DHA. You can tell the concentration of these two fats in any given supplement by looking at the label. In fish, the oil consists of about 20 to 30 percent EPA and DHA, whereas purified fish oil concentrate typically contains between 60 and 85 percent EPA and DHA.

Ethyl esters are essentially a synthetic substrate, created through the micro distillation process of crude fish oil, in which ethanol and/or industrial alcohol is added. This mix is heat distilled in a vacuum chamber, resulting in a concentrated omega-3 ethyl ester condensate.

It is also important to note that this purifying molecular distillation process removes vital resolvins and protectins present in the raw material that are important in reducing inflammation, and inflammation is a hallmark of both neurological and cardiovascular diseases and dysfunction.

synthetic and natural fish oil Ethyl Esters Are Poorly Absorbed and May Do More Harm Than Good

Ethyl esters — found in most fish oils — are the least bioavailable form of omega-3. Studies36 suggest a mere 20 percent of the EPA and DHA in ethyl ester form are absorbed by your body. When taken with other dietary fat, absorption increased threefold to 60 percent.

Meanwhile, EPA and DHA in their natural triglyceride form were found to have a 69 percent absorption rate from the start, and when taken with additional dietary fat, absorption increased to 90 percent. As a result, taking a triglyceride fish oil results in a 50 percent greater rise in omega-3 blood plasma levels than ethyl ester fish oil.

Another major drawback of ethyl ester fish oils is their rapid oxidation rate. Ethyl ester DHA is far more reactive than triglyceride DHA, oxidizing 33 percent more rapidly, and consuming rancid omega-3 is not going to do your health any good.

While manufacturers could convert them back into triglyceride form (by detaching the ethyl alcohol molecule and reattaching a glycerol molecule in a process known as re-esterification), this process is a costly one. So, in summary, it’s important to realize that the vast majority of clinical evidence showing health benefits of omega-3 relates to actual fish consumption, and virtually all of the omega-3s in fish are in triglyceride form.

Hence, to achieve reliable results, you really need to either eat omega-3-rich fish, or make sure the supplement you’re taking contains DHA and EPA in their triglyceride form. For a more in-depth understanding of these differences, see the paper, “A Comparison of Synthetic Ethyl Ester Form Fish Oil vs. Natural Triglyceride Form,”37 by Dr. Douglas MacKay.

Read more: articles.mercola.com

Why Do We Forgive?

“Forgiveness is the most powerful thing you can do for your physiology and your spirituality.” – Wayne Dyer

There are many reasons why humans choose to forgive, some that they tell themselves and others that they’ve come to believe because of what they’ve been taught by religion, family upbringing, and societal acceptance. Yet, forgiveness is a deeply personal act, one that demands careful thought and deliberation. Why do we forgive? Here are some science-backed (and other) reasons that may resonate.

Humans are Predisposed to Forgive

Research published in the journal Nature Human Behaviour that was conducted by psychologists at Yale, the University of Oxford, University College London, and the International School for Advanced Studies shines some light on the brain’s ability to form social impressions. The researchers found that when assessing the moral character of people, humans cling to good impressions, yet readily adjust their opinions of those who have behaved badly. This flexibility, say the authors, could explain why people forgive, as well as why they may remain in unhealthy relationships. The study’s findings conclude that people have a basic predisposition towards giving others – strangers included – the benefit of the doubt.

Women May be Better at Forgiving Than Men

A 2011 study by the University of the Basque Country found emotional differences between the sexes and generations relative to forgiveness. Among their findings: parents forgive more easily than their children, and women forgive more easily than men. Empathy is a key factor in the capacity to forgive, and women have greater empathetic capacity than men, according to the study’s co-author.

Empathy Can Be Developed

A 2014 study published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology found that when people learned that empathy is a skill that can be improved, and not a fixed trait of personality, they put forth more effort to experience empathy for other racial groups (than their own). Specifically, across seven studies, researchers found that this “malleable theory of empathy” resulted in more (self-reported) effort to feel empathy when the situation is challenging; more empathically ethical responses to another with different views on a personally important sociopolitical issue; more time listening to a racial group outlier’s personal emotional story; increased willingness to help cancer patients in a face-to-face manner; and a stronger interest in improving personal empathy. Researchers suggested these data point to potential leverage in increasing empathy on a broad scale.

Indeed, as an opinion piece in The New York Times outlined, empathy is a choice we make “whether to extend ourselves to others,” and that our empathy limits are “merely apparent, and can change, sometimes drastically, depending on what we want to feel.”

We Forgive for Ourselves

Holding a grudge, refusing to let go of bad feelings, constantly thinking about and seeking revenge for real or perceived harms exacts a tremendous toll, physically, emotionally, and spiritually. On the other hand, when we release the baggage of negativity and forgive others, we’re set free from that toxicity. Feelings of hurt, helplessness and anger naturally dissipate – whether or not the person forgiven forgives in turn or even knows they’ve been forgiven. Research published in the journal Aging & Mental Health found that forgiveness has a protective factor in health and well-being. In particular, said the authors, self-forgiveness among older women was protective for depression, when the reported feeling unforgiven by others.

Forgiveness is an Emotional Coping Strategy

A study published in the journal Psychology & Health cited direct empirical research suggestive that forgiveness is both related to better health outcomes and to mediating psychological processes so as to be an effective emotional coping strategy. Using forgiveness as a coping strategy may help reduce stress stemming from a transgression. Authors also suggested that forgiveness can affect health through relationship quality, religion and social support.

Later research published in the Journal of Health Psychology looked at the effects of lifetime stress exposure on the mental health of young adults and found that greater levels of lifetime stress and lower levels of forgiveness each predicted worse outcomes in physical and mental health. This study, the first to elucidate the cumulative effects of severe stress and forgiveness on mental health, led authors to suggest development of a more forgiving coping strategy may be beneficial in reducing stress-caused disorders and conditions.

We Choose to Forgive

Considered a forgiveness trailblazer by Time Magazine and other media, Robert D. Enright, professor of psychology at the University of Wisconsin, Madison and president of the International Forgiveness Institute at UWMadison, is the author of Forgiveness Is a Choice: A Step-by-Step Process for Resolving Anger and Restoring Hope. In this self-help book, Enright (who is also the co-author of Forgiveness Therapy and author of The Forgiving Life, both published by the American Psychological Association) shows how people who have been deeply hurt by another can use forgiveness to reduce depression and anxiety at the same time they increase personal self-esteem and hope for the future. Enright points out that forgiveness does not mean condoning or accepting continued abuse, or reconciling with the abuser. Instead, he encourages us to give the gift of forgiveness, to confront and let go of our pain to regain our lives.

Noteworthy in the growing body of empirical research on the subject of forgiveness is the powerful therapeutic effect forgiveness exerts on the forgiver. Forgiveness is a conscious decision to let go of feelings of betrayal and negative feelings towards others and releasing these hostile, angry feelings that are so self-destructive. Yet, it’s not just those who’ve been harmed who benefit from forgiveness. Researchers found that even those with positive emotional health and well-being see improvements when they choose to forgive others. This demonstrates the power of forgiveness.

Why do we forgive? Perhaps it is something deeply embedded in the human psyche, a survival mechanism designed to perpetuate the species. It is also uniquely human to forgive, a choice we freely make.

Read more: psychcentral.com

Get Fit Training Challenge

Fitbit’s 30-Day Spring Training Challenge is Here. Who’s In?!

30-Day Challenge participant

Here is your mission, should you choose to accept it: Commit to doing at least one activity a day, every day, for 30 days. Why? Completing this challenge won’t just boost your confidence, it might change your body, too.

In 2016, researchers reviewed the results of Stepathon, an interactive, mobile-based exercise and wellness competition. They found that over the course of the program, participants took an average of 3,500 more steps per day, added nearly one additional day of exercise to their week, sat about 45 fewer minutes daily, and lost a little more than three pounds.

Are you ready to kickstart a stronger, healthier body? To complete Fitbit’s 30-day Challenge below, you only need to know how to do five, simple activities. Read through the exercise instructions below, and then dive into Day 1.

Walking You probably know how to do this, but check out Walk This Way for some form tips to keep in mind. Burpees

Woman doing burpees for Fitbit's 30-day spring training challenge

Stand with your feet about hip-width apart and squat down, placing your hands on the floor in front of you. Jump your feet back so that you’re in a plank position. Next, jump your feet forward toward your hands and stand up. That’s one.

Push-ups Woman doing push-ups for Fitbit's 30-day Spring Training Challenge

Get into plank position with your feet hip-distance apart, abs pulled in toward your spine, and hands directly beneath your shoulders. Your spine should be in a flat, neutral position. Slowly lower your body toward the floor, and then press back up to start. Keep your core tight throughout the movement to prevent your hips from dipping down or rising up. To modify the move, rest your knees on the floor.

Squats Woman doing squats for Fitbit's 30-Day Spring Training Challenge

Stand with feet just wider than hip distance. You can turn your toes slightly out—as long as it feels like a natural, comfortable position. For bodyweight squats, interlace your fingers behind your head, or extend arms out in front of your chest. Keeping your chest up and eyes ahead, and the bulk of your weight over the centers of your feet and in your heels, lower your body toward the floor, bending your knees until they reach 90 degrees. Press back up through your heels, to start. That’s one rep.

Planks Fitbit 30 day challenge plank

Get on your hands and knees, placing your hands directly beneath your shoulders. Walk your feet back until your legs are straight behind you, about hip-distance apart. Pull your abs in toward your spine and squeeze your glutes for added stability.

Commit to Get Fit!

Now that you’ve got the basics down, it’s time to start. The Fitbit 30-Day Spring Challenge is exclusive to blog readers, so either print out the image below or manually log exercises on your Fitbit app to track your progress. Get excited. You’ve got this.

Fitbit 30 day spring challenge

The post Fitbit’s 30-Day Spring Training Challenge is Here. Who’s In?! appeared first on Fitbit Blog.

Broccoli Cheese Soup

This broccoli cheese soup recipe is easy to make and loaded with broccoli and cheddar cheese. You can make it as chunky or as smooth as you’d like, and of course add more cheese on top! A wonderful copycat of Panera’s famous soup.

A bowl of broccoli cheese soup with bread on the side.

I’ve talked at length before about my aversion to vegetables growing up, and broccoli seemed to conjure up a special amount of disdain. Finally, my mom found a way to get me to eat it… she smothered my broccoli in melted cheese.

Artificial, processed cheese. I think that it was Cheez Whiz. Maybe Velveeta? I’m leaning towards Cheez Whiz. Turns out, I could stand those little green stalks when they were smothered with bright yellow liquid cheese.

No surprise, then, that eventually, as a certified grownup, became a big fan of the broccoli-cheese soup from Panera. Pieces of broccoli so small that I hardly notice them, in a creamy, cheesy soup? Pass me a bowl and the crusty bread, please.

This copycat recipe is a wonderful soup loaded to the brim with broccoli and cheese in a super creamy broth.

 

Broccoli florets on a wooden cutting board.

A prep bowl with shredded cheddar cheese.

How To Make Broccoli Cheese Soup

I gave up on the condensed broccoli cheese soup canned version long ago in favor of take-out varieties from Panera, as well as the salad and soup bar at the local grocery chain (which makes really good soup, it turns out). Still, I wanted to have a recipe that I could make at home.

This easy broccoli-cheese soup starts with sautéing chopped onion in butter, stirring in flour for a thickener, and adding the half and half and milk. Next, fresh broccoli florets are added along with salt, pepper and nutmeg, the pot is covered, and left to simmer until the broccoli is nice and tender.

At this point, you can choose how chunky or smooth you’d like your soup – use a potato masher to break up the broccoli, use an immersion blender, or transfer some or all of it to a blender or food processor to puree. Once you have the consistency you’d like, whisk in some vegetable broth, warm it all up, and serve!

Broccoli cheese soup pureed in a blender.

Recipe Tips and Notes I like using mild cheddar cheese so that it doesn’t overpower the rest of the soup, but you can certainly use sharp if you prefer. If you are into Velveeta broccoli cheese soup (old school solidarity!), then you can substitute that for the cheddar cheese. If you cannot find half and half where you live, simply substitute heavy cream and whole milk in equal parts. You can substitute chicken broth or stock for the vegetable broth. Make a crockpot broccoli cheese soup by transferring the milk mixture, broccoli, seasonings, and cheese to the slow cooker after step #1. Cook on low for 4 to 6 hours, then proceed with mashing/pureeing the soup as you’d like and whisk in the vegetable broth as directed. If you like potatoes in your broccoli cheese soup, add some cubed potatoes along with the broccoli in step #2.

A single bowl of broccoli cheese soup with additional broccoli and shredded cheese on top.

I love the subtle blend of seasonings that really lets the flavors of the broccoli and cheese come through in this soup, and I always add a big pile of fresh cracked black pepper to the top of my bowl before serving.

All I need is a big hunk of crusty bread to make this is the best cold-weather lunch, period.

If You Like This Broccoli Cheese Soup, Try These Recipes: Butternut Squash Soup Creamy Potato & Leek Soup Cheddar and Ale Soup with Potato & Bacon Creamy Tomato-Basil Soup

Two bowls of broccoli cheese soup with sliced bread and shredded cheese on the side.

P.S. Writing that first paragraph about Cheez Whiz and Velveeta brought back all sorts of memories of grade school sleepovers. Watching movies like Clue, telling ghost stories, playing telephone, listening to cassette tapes on our Walkmans, and… loading Ritz crackers with sky-high mounds of Easy Cheese. Oh, the 80’s!

Four years ago: Chocolate-Dipped Banana Bread Biscotti Five years ago: Snickerdoodle Biscotti Six years ago: The New York Times Chocolate Chip Cookies Nine years ago: BBQ Chicken Pizza Ten years ago: Challah Bread

Watch How to Make Broccoli Cheese Soup Print Recipe 5 5 / 5 (14 Reviews) Did you make this recipe?Leave a review » jQuery(‘.skip’).click(function(event) { jQuery(‘html, body’).animate({ scrollTop: jQuery(“#recipe”).offset().top-20 }, 1000); }); jQuery(‘.respond’).click(function(event) { jQuery(‘html, body’).animate({ scrollTop: jQuery(“#respond”).offset().top-20 }, 1000); }); jQuery(‘.reviews’).click(function(event) { jQuery(‘html, body’).animate({ scrollTop: jQuery(“#commentslist”).offset().top-20 }, 1000); }) Broccoli Cheese Soup

Yield: 10 servings

Prep: 15 minutes

Cook: 45 minutes

Total: 1 hour

This broccoli cheese soup recipe is easy to make and loaded with broccoli and cheddar cheese. A wonderful copycat of Panera’s famous soup.

Ingredients: ½ cup (113 grams) unsalted butter 1 yellow onion, finely chopped ⅓ cup (47 grams) all-purpose flour 4 cups (960 ml) whole milk 2 cups (480ml) half-and-half 4 heads broccoli, stems removed and discarded, and florets cut into bite-size pieces Pinch of nutmeg 12 ounces mild cheddar cheese, shredded Salt and pepper 2 cups (480 ml) vegetable broth Directions: In a large pot or Dutch oven, melt butter over medium heat. Add the onions and cook for 3 to 4 minutes, until they begin to soften. Sprinkle the flour over the onions and stir to combine, cooking for about 1 minute. Slowly whisk in the milk and half-and-half. Add the nutmeg, broccoli, a dash of salt, and lots of freshly ground black pepper. Cover and reduce the heat to low. Simmer for 20 to 30 minutes, or until the broccoli is tender. Add the cheese a handful at a time, stirring to melt the cheese after each addition. At this point I did a quick pass with my immersion blender on low to blend up the broccoli a bit, but still leave a good amount of texture. You could also choose to mash it with a potato masher to break up the broccoli a bit, or transfer to a blender or food processor in two batches and puree completely. Finally, whisk in the vegetable broth, and re-warm over low heat, then serve. Recipe Notes: I like using mild cheddar cheese so that it doesn’t overpower the rest of the soup, but you can certainly use sharp if you prefer. If you are into Velveeta broccoli cheese soup (old school solidarity!), then you can substitute that for the cheddar cheese. If you cannot find half and half where you live, simply substitute heavy cream and whole milk in equal parts. You can substitute chicken broth or stock for the vegetable broth. Make a crockpot broccoli cheese soup by transferring the milk mixture, broccoli, seasonings, and cheese to the slow cooker after step #1. Cook on low for 4 to 6 hours, then proceed with mashing/pureeing the soup as you’d like and whisk in the vegetable broth as directed. If you like potatoes in your broccoli cheese soup, add some cubed potatoes along with the broccoli in step #2. Did you make this recipe?

Leave a review below, then snap a picture and tag @thebrowneyedbaker on Instagram so I can see it!

(Recipe adapted from The Pioneer Woman)

All images and text ©Brown Eyed Baker, LLC.

Update Notes: This recipe was originally published in March 2012. Updated in October 2018 with new photos, a video, and extensive recipe tips.

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