A Woman to Woman NEW YEAR Resolutions: Wants vs Needs

A Woman to Woman NEW YEAR Resolutions- Wants vs Needs“Kat, what is your New Year’s Resolution?” a friend asks over lunch. “Mine is to give up cigarettes and sugar” she says, while shaking a packet of sweetener substitute into her coffee.

“Mine’s to not give up anything and to put myself first,” is my answer. “Then I’ll refocus on implementing the difference between wants and needs in life.”

My friend stops stirring her coffee, peers over her sunglasses, and asks, “What do you mean by that?”

The concept of “care-giver first” and the difference between want and need were clearly alien to her. For the longest time they were to me, too.

Crisis can re-prioritize your life.
These concepts introduced themselves during radiation therapy while battling breast cancer recurrence. The side effects of emotional emptiness were more severe than treatment burns in some women because they were unaware of the importance of soul self-care.

Unfortunately burn-out is an equal opportunity state of emotion that affects men, too.

Statistics show that women worldwide are the main care-givers in life who share unconditionally until there is nothing left. Their inner well runs dry. Lately, an alarming pattern of self-induced emptiness has emerged during these uncertain economic times.

Part of the problem is not distinguishing between wants and needs.
Families have many wants, and care-givers try to meet those wants as needs; a terrible burden to carry. Care-givers are burned-out from giving so much of themselves to those who want more than is available. The result is nothing left to give to people who truly need help, including themselves. Weak emotional boundaries crumble under the weight of want. Medication and psychotherapy fills the void and dulls feelings of frustration and failure.

When the spirit suffers the body cries out with symptoms of dis-ease. Listen to yourself.
Breast Cancer Authority Blog New Year 2016Now is the dawning of a New Year. Here are three resolutions that are antidotes to emptiness. They are written as choice-affirmations that complement and empower the people who choose to live them.

  • “I will choose to love and embrace myself.”
  • “I will choose to put myself first and give myself permission to be number one in my life.”
  • “I will choose to build strong defined boundaries using the power of “NO!” as a tool.

Saying “no” to others is difficult because care-givers love to please, and will go without so others may have more. Some of this is care-giver conditioning. It may be time for retraining.

Recondition yourself. Say “Yes!” to you, which can automatically so “No” to imbalance.
When going through chemotherapy, my psychotherapist armed me with a powerful mantra as an aid through the uncertainty of treatment. “You are number one. No one and nothing is more important than you.” She was right! As a cancer hotline phone counselor and mentor, that mantra is still important, today. How can an empty counselor give to others?

Fire up your heart with self-love. You want to be embraced but need to hug yourself first.
Intention powered by the flame of loveThe importance of the mantra was even more evident during the Stitch-n-Bitch (as we liked to call ourselves) radiation therapy group. Women who had been the sole care-givers of their family were suddenly discarded when circumstances shifted and they needed care. These women said that without the love and devotion of their lovers or significant others, they were nothing. They lacked the power to survive.

Breast Cancer Authority Blog New Years 2016Their chances for a full recovery were challenged by their depression and feelings of emotional emptiness. Our little group spent hours discussing wants versus needs. So deep were these discussions that the nurses, radiologists and counselors listened in and took notes.

We came to some profound conclusions.
We want others to love us, but we need to love ourselves. We want a big beautiful house, but we really only need a roof over our heads. We want to eat in fancy restaurants, but we just need nutritious food. The lists of wants versus needs were endless. Realizing the difference between them, however, was the first step in becoming emotionally, physically and financially fulfilled. Trying to meet the endless demands of keeping-up-with-the-Jones’ is expensive on so many levels. The reality of trying to keep up with Reality TV can be emotional and financial bankruptcy. Understanding this truth is the first step to teaching it to our family.

Putting reality into practice will help us, as care-givers, become aware of our limitations.
It has been easy to fall back into old habits and become lax in practicing what that little group preached during those difficult times, so many years ago. Now, it is time to put want-versus- need back into daily practice.

When something seems enticing, the question will be, “Is that truly needed, or just wanted?”
This New Year, focus on inner-balance. Embrace being kind and forgiving to you first, then practice good-will toward others. As you step out of your comfort zone it might feel odd, which may be validation that you are creating a new empowered habit. Seek out and join a community; a “sister-hood of women” (or men), as your support system. Their strength will keep you from feeling alone during times of despair and their resources will help you meet the needs of your family and friends.

Here is an example of an empowering statement to repeat that can help you settle into this new habit. “When my body is fatigued, I will rest. When my soul is tired, I will meditate. I will surround myself with things I love like positive friends, pets, plants, music and fragrant candles while immersed in healing waters from a bath or shower.”

Too many of us have lost a part of ourselves and are experiencing a void. Enjoying your favorite things will fill your soul with joy.
As with the Chinese yin and yang, which are seemingly opposing forces bound together, intertwined, and interdependent in the natural world, we are complex creatures comprised of body and soul. These two diabolically different parts must be in balance as a duality for complete health of body and mind. Like yin and yang, male and female, your body and soul are a dynamic equilibrium duo. If one disappears, the other must fade as well, leaving emptiness.

When one part of self is full it flows into the other.New Years 2016 on Breast Cancer AuthorityIt is time to face forward into a New Year of balance comprised of yin and yang, love and self-love, and forgive mistakes we cannot change. We can learn from our past to build a positive future. The good news is a sisterhood or brotherhood of women and men is only a phone call, post or tweet away to help you refill yourself with the love you deserve and NEED.

Balance yourself. Take care of your soul and it will take care of you . . . then help others.

Kathleen O'Keefe-Kanavos Breast Cancer Authority ContributorKathleen (Kat) O’Keefe-Kanavos is TV Producer/Host of Wicked Housewives On Cape Cod and Author/Lecturer of the International award winning, bestseller, Surviving Cancerland: Intuitive Aspects of Healing which promotes Dream Therapy, patient advocacy and connecting with Inner guidance for success in health, wealth and relationships. Learn more @ AccessYourInnerGuide.com
(all photos are owned by the author)

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Exercise vs. Drugs for Depression

Exercise As An Anti-Depressant During Cancer TreatmentsBy: Dr. Michael Greger, Director of Public Health and Animal Agriculture at the Humane Society of the United States.

We’ve known for decades that even a single bout of exercise can elevate our mood, but enough to be used as a treatment for major depression? Well we know physical activity has been associated with decreased symptoms of depression, for example if you look at a cross-section of 8,000 people across the country, those that exercised regularly were less likely to have a major depression diagnosis.

That’s just a snapshot in time, though. If you look at that study, the researcher openly admits this may be a case of reverse causation. Maybe exercise didn’t cut down on depression, maybe depression cut down on exercise. The reason depression may be associated with low physical activity is that they feel too lousy to get out of bed. What we need is an interventional study, where you take people who are already depressed and randomize them into an exercise intervention and see if they get better. And that’s what we got.

Men and women over 50 with major depression were randomized to either do an aerobic exercise program for four months or take an antidepressant drug called Zoloft. This is where they started out before, with Hamilton Depression scores up around 18—anything over seven is considered depressed, but within four months the drug group came down to normal, which are exactly what the drugs are supposed to do. What about the exercise only group, no drugs? Same powerful effect.

They conclude that an exercise training program may be considered an alternative to antidepressants for treatment of depression in older persons, given that they’ve shown that a group program of aerobic exercise is a feasible and effective treatment for depression, at least for older people.

Not so fast, though. A group program? They had the exercise group folks come in three times a week for a group class. Maybe the only reason the exercise group got better is because they were forced to get out of bed, interact with people—maybe it was the social stimulation and had nothing to do with the actual exercise. Before you could definitively say that exercise can work just as good as drugs, what you’d like to see is the same study but with like an additional group, the same two plus a home exercise group, where they were just told to exercise on their own at home, no extra social interaction. But nothing like that had ever been done, until it was. The largest exercise trial of patients with major depression conducted to date, and not just including older folks but other adults as well and three different treatment groups this time, a home exercise group in addition to the supervised group exercise and drug group as before. And they all worked about just as well in terms of forcing the depression into remission.

So we can say with confidence that exercise is comparable to antidepressant medication in the treatment of patients with major depressive disorder.

Putting all the best studies together, they indicate that exercise, at least, has a moderate antidepressant effect, and at best, exercise has a large effect on reductions in depression symptoms and could be categorized as a very useful and powerful intervention. Unfortunately, while studies support the use of exercise as a treatment for depression, exercise is rarely prescribed as a treatment for this common and debilitating problem.

Doctor’s Note

Exercise may compare favorably to antidepressant medications as a first-line treatment for mild to moderate depression, but how much is that really saying? How effective are antidepressant drugs in the first place? Stay tuned for my next video: Do Antidepressant Drugs Really Work?

For dietary interventions that may improve mood, see:

Exercise can also help with ADHD (Treating ADHD Without Stimulants) and improve immunity (Preserving Immune Function in Athletes With Nutritional Yeast) not to mention extend our lives (Longer Life Within Walking Distance). But what we eat matters  Paleo Diets May Negate Benefits of Exercise.

If you haven’t yet, you can subscribe to my videos for free by clicking here.

Michael Greger M.D.About Michael Greger M.D.
Michael Greger, M.D., is a physician, author, and internationally recognized professional speaker on a number of important public health issues. Dr. Greger has lectured at the Conference on World Affairs, the National Institutes of Health, and the International Bird Flu Summit, testified before Congress, appeared on The Dr. Oz Show and The Colbert Report, and was invited as an expert witness in defense of Oprah Winfrey at the infamous “meat defamation” trial. Currently Dr. Greger proudly serves as the Director of Public Health and Animal Agriculture at the Humane Society of the United States.

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