Growing Up Is Hard To Do

MadelynOur little granddaughter is a month old. Is there anything more precious? We’re told Madelyn will be the last one, so we as her grandparents treasure each moment just a little bit more. We know this will be the last opportunity to stroke such silky hair, to grasp such tiny fingers, and to hold such a tiny life in our arms – at least in the Tanksley family.

A newborn baby is a full-time job. Mommy and Daddy do it gladly – at least most of the time! But their biggest job is working themselves out of a job, helping her grow to become thoughtful, loving, wise – and independent.

Growing up emotionally, relationally, and spiritually is often harder than growing up physically. We pick up fears from the people around us. Something painful happens and we pull back inside and hide. The people who should be there for us somehow let us down, and we stop growing.

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7 Things to Check when Not Feeling Good

7 Things to Check when Not Feeling Good

Girl Feeling SickI’m feeling good today. Things are wonderful. Body, mind, and soul are doing well.

But there are certainly days when I don’t feel good. Something’s definitely off. Occasionally it’s immediately obvious what’s wrong, but other times it’s frustrating to just feel bad and not be sure why.

Part of maturity is coming to know oneself well enough to recognize warning signs, and to do something about them before things deteriorate further.

We can’t expect to feel good every day. That’s just life. There are certainly things outside our control that we do well to just “let go.” Some of those things directly affect us.

But I’ve also learned that some things predictably lead to a “bad day.” And if I do something about it, things will look different very soon.

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Hot Flashes, Power Surges, Grey Hair – and Wisdom

Hot Flashes, Power Surges, Grey Hair – and Wisdom

Grey Haired WomanI’m getting old!

That’s a very subjective statement. I don’t feel old. And I do subscribe to the adage “You’re only as old as you feel.” So I guess I’m not really old. But passing middle age still feels uncomfortable.

But more than half a century has passed since I first came on the scene. It’s almost certain there are fewer pages left to write than have already been written, at least as far as simple years is concerned. Rather than scheduling vaccinations or PTA meetings, I’m now getting to enjoy grandchildren – and then send them home. Seniority has its benefits!

As a gynecologist I speak with many middle-aged women about very personal things. Passing through the menopause transition is sometimes very emotionally challenging. Although freedom from the risks of pregnancy is usually a welcome change, issues of body image, desirability, mental and physical health, and multiple life pressures are difficult for many of them to manage.

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A Big Enough Reason

Recovery ButtonMaking a change is hard. Habit, routine, addiction, convenience, or a thousand other reasons keep us doing the same thing over and over again, even if it’s terribly unhealthy. Or dangerous. Or even deadly.

It takes a big enough reason to endure the anxiety, setbacks, difficulty, or even pain that may be involved in making a lifestyle change. Sometimes that reason is positive, where the outcome you desire is enticing enough to work hard for. Sometimes that reason is negative, where the pain of remaining where you are is big enough to force a change.

We usually respond better to positive reasons for change. But when severe enough, sometimes a negative reason will do.

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Doctor, Doctor: The Hope Factor

Happy GirlWe all hope for something.

At least I HOPE you hope for something. The loss of hope is dangerous – of course mentally, but also physically. Hope is an especially powerful force for good in our health.

Science has been able to demonstrate the very real biologic effects of hope. Believing and expecting that something good can happen, for example, can block physical pain. With even a little bit of hope the brain releases endorphins and enkephalins – substances that act like morphine in eliminating pain and providing a sense of well-being. The pain lessens a little, which increases hope that the pain may lessen even more. It creates a positive cycle leading to healing.

Hope can also change the function of the autonomic nervous system, which controls many physical functions that we don’t usually think about, such as heart rate, gastrointestinal function, and our level of tension or relaxation. It can alter the chemical function of portions of the brain.

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