Monday, August 27, 2012

9 Simple Ways to Keep Your Eyes Healthy

Do you eyes feel tired and sore by the end of the day? Modern life puts a lot of stress on our bodies and eyes are among the first things to suffer. But it doesn't have to be this way. Learn simple things you can do for your eye health and your eyes will feel and look much better in only a few days.
Have your eyes checked every 12 month
Uncorrected vision problems can progress, and wearing corrective contact lenses or glasses that are no longer right for you can cause vision problems and severe headaches.
If your contacts don't feel right in your eyes, it is probably time to visit an eye doctor, even if it hasn't been a year since your last visit.
Go for the best quality contact lenses
Not all contact lenses are equal. Some are safe for you, while others put you at risk of damaging your eyes.
See reviews of quality contact lenses. Knowing what the modern contact lens industry has to offer will help you make an educated choice, not just blindly follow what your doctor says.
In summer, always wear sunglasses
It is proven that UV rays can seriously damage your eyes, but good sunglasses can prevent this damage. When buying sunglasses, make sure that they block at least 98% of UV radiation. Contrary to popular belief, light sunglasses can block UV as well as very dark ones, even though dark glasses usually offer more protection against bright sunlight.
By the way, did you know that you need sunglasses on cloudy days as well? Clouds might provide shade, but they are no barrier for UV light. Clouds are basically water, and water is UV-transparent.
Finally, remember that you would need sunglasses even if your contact lenses offer UV protection. Even a very high quality lens can only protect the area it covers, but the entire surface of your eye needs protection.
Eat what is good for you and your eyes
The good news is that there are no foods that would be harmful for your eyes. Most foods don't affect your eyesight at all, although the right vitamins and minerals are helpful. Recent studies have shown that vitamins of the antioxidant group can prevent, or at least slow down, age-related conditions like macular degeneration and the development of cataracts. So a healthy diet won't restore eyesight that is already lost, but it can definitely slow down the process of the disease, or prevent one from starting.
Vitamins C, A and E, folic acid, selenium and zinc are definitely beneficial for the health of your eyes. The effects of the other vitamins and minerals aren't determined yet, but it seems likely that they affect your eyesight as well. Thousand-page books have been written on the topic of nutrition for eye health but, to summarize, it is known that whatever is good for your body is good for your eyes, too. So put a carrot and a bunch of grapes into your lunch box.
When you read or work on the computer make sure that the light is right
It is a common knowledge that working with poor light can cause eyestrain, but light that is too bright can do as much damage.
Keep your blinds down on sunny days and switch off half of the household lights, if possible. The best lighting for working on the computer is a soft desk light, coming from the side. Also, you can try decreasing the brightness of your monitor. The colors won't be so vivid, but your eyes will feel much better by the end of the day
Give your eyes a health break
The great invention of the 20th century - computers - is not so great from the point of view of health. Almost everybody feels discomfort in their eyes after peering at a computer screen all day long. This is because people blink about 25% less often then usual, while working at the computer, which causes eye dryness.
I won't advise you to blink more often - it is almost impossible to control natural reflexes. One thing you can do, though, is close your eyes and count to 5 before opening them, whenever your computer decides to take its sweet time doing something. Another thing is to look away from the screen and focus on some faraway object, as often as possible. If you train yourself into the habit, your eyes should feel much better at the end of your working day.
If you wear contact lenses, take proper care of them
Contact lenses don't require a lot or fuss, but you can't neglect their cleanliness. Every time you put your lenses in or take them out, rinse them. You should also take care to change the solution, when you are putting your lenses to rest for the night.
Wear your contact lenses to the recommended schedule
Daily disposable lenses should be replaced daily, two weeks replacement lenses should be replaced every two weeks, and so on. Some people try to save money by wearing their lenses for much longer than is intended. This isn't a good idea. Even though the quality of the lens itself might not decline, protein build-up will make your vision less clear. Another thing to consider is that the longer you wear your lenses, the higher is your risk of eye infections.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Who Has Had First Hand Experience With Mental Health Treatment

Today, Norm Goldman, Editor of welcomes as a guest,
Sheryl J. Stevens, Author of Operation Soul Recovery (From Default To Purpose).
Good day Sheryl and thank you for agreeing to participate in our interview.
Sheryl, could you tell our readers something about yourself and what motivated you to write Operation Soul Recovery (From Default To Purpose)?
Throughout my life I've been faced with mental illness at many different levels, involving my parents and other family members.
While never discussed, their quiet desperation kept inside was at times apparent, even though outwardly, they were able to lead honorable, hard-working lives.
The stable nurturing environment of the whole community seemed to overrule anything bad or unpleasant. Consequently, my childhood was one of contentment, until I left that part of my life. Afterwards, I also struggled with anxiety and depression, seeking help from many sources, though failed to find it.
There was no choice, other than learning to live with the conflicts, and expand my knowledge of the disorders.
When my youngest daughter was 14, her battle with depression began. It manifested first as bulimia, then escalating to other addictions and destructive behaviours, including numerous suicide attempts.
Over a period of 20 years, she likewise sought help from all that was available--countless in-patient and out-patient treatments, anti-depressants, counselling, 12-step programs, religious experiences, without any lasting results.
During Kelly's struggle, my desire to understand the baffling power of addiction and mental illness intensified. Pain, in many forms, became the driving force to continue, which led to realizing that my daughter was far from an isolated case in the failure to find effective treatment. In fact, millions are struggling within the hopelessness of the 'systems' with no end in sight.
At one point in the process, I witnessed an extra-ordinary Vision. It was filled with many of my own learning experiences, including a number of parallels to the gentle farm community. I immediately realized, along with wisdom far beyond my awareness that it all clearly came into focus. Amazing, yet basic, it was a phenomenon that I knew for certain could heal the hearts and minds of desperate people everywhere.
Although, the difficulty was putting the picture into words in order that others would understand, I felt compelled to find a way to describe it. I finally succeeded. Thereafter, the Vision became the central motivation to write the book.
What challenges or obstacles did you encounter while writing your book?
Gathering my thoughts is often a challenge in itself, even though writing has always been my best means of expression. In this case the subject matter was at times very emotionally draining, trying to find words that best described the various ideas I felt were important.
The biggest obstacle I faced was fear that the book would be rejected. What I've noticed throughout my journey is that most people are afraid to even think "outside the box", even though some of the best things in life are beyond all rigid confinements. And this book is definitely outside the box.
Most of it was actually written before September 11th but I allowed the fear of failure to keep me from finishing it until that jolting moment, which became my resolve to complete the book. I realized that I'd lived way too much of my life trying to please people, as though the crumbs of love were better than none at all. But it hadn't worked well. I knew it was time to face the fear and write straight from the heart.
How do you plan to market your book and is there a particular audience you wish to target?
So far I've been playing it by ear, sending press releases through distribution services, as well as using them as promotional material I send personally or email to other potential sources and individuals.
One of my next projects will be emailing a letter along with the latest news release (April 21) to 40+ members of Congress to find out what their response or level of support might be, if any.
Obtaining reviews is another quest. I've now received several with 5-star ratings, which is very encouraging. The book is also entered in 3 different categories with Nautilus Book Awards 2005 in New York on June 2.
I recently ordered John Kremer's book 1001 Ways to Market Your Books. I'm new at this and need all the good advice I can get.
To classify the audience is a bit difficult--perhaps Mental Health professionals, Religious/Spiritual leaders and followers, Non-profit Organizations.
But most of all Dreamers, Visionaries, those who think big, fearless of challenges, and are passionate about changing our troubled world. The question is, where do you find them? I might add that Operation Soul Recovery is also in the process of being established as a non-profit organization.
I once asked a relative of mine, who is a Psychiatrist, what in his estimate has been the biggest advancement in the treatment of mental illness? His reply was the invention of the tranquillizer. Would you care to comment?
Personally, I've tried many anti-anxiety and anti-depressants over the years, but found the side effects to be much worse than dealing with the negative feelings without medication.
I have also watched my daughter, under doctors' care and prescription go through horrific experiences while on certain medications.
However presently she is on 6 different kinds, which altogether appear to be somewhat helpful. Although over time, one or more of them lose their effect, then its back to square one again trying to find balance.
I acknowledge that some people do benefit from certain drug therapies; however there seem to be more who do not, or at least don't find lasting success. I am most concerned about the extreme cases, for example Andrea Yates who killed her five children, or Christopher Pittman, the 12-year old who killed his grandparents. They were both afflicted with mental disorders, though the crimes they committed were completely out of character for their personalities. Also both of them were under the influence of anti-depressants for quite some time before, and during the incidents.
Who will ever know what part the medications played in these tragedies, and countless others we never hear about? Perhaps because the power of the drug companies (and the rest of the system) will never let it be known?
Another consideration is that Americans are notorious for being an impatient, pill-popping society. We want a quick fix for everything from headaches to depression, not to mention the thousands of other advertisements that promise to make our lives better. So we believe them, and buy them, because we're also gullible. When it comes to mental and emotional disorders it seems that the 'wonder drugs' in most cases, are simply dealing with the symptoms and not the underlying causes.
Furthermore, if pills really were the magic cure, why is mental illness continually rising to shocking levels, while the use of anti-depressants has tripled in the past decade? Yet until there is a complete transformation in the treatment of mind and spirit disorders, there will be those who actually need them, and those who at least believe they have found relief in them.
Do you have any statistics as to the percentage of individuals in the USA who suffer from one kind or another of mental disease?
According to the National Mental Health Association, almost 20% of Americans admittedly suffer from some form of mental illness.
Indeed, mental illnesses are now more common than cancer, diabetes, or heart disease. Due to the hidden nature of these diseases, one can only imagine that to include those who are in denial, the percentage would be considerably higher.
Also the National Center for Workforce Disability confirms that mental illness is fast becoming the leading cause of disabilities. A recent NMHA women's survey revealed that women found depression to be a greater obstacle to professional success than other barriers such as child- and elder care responsibilities, pregnancy and sexual harassment.
Another NMHA survey stated that the U.S. loses $113 Billion annually from untreated and mistreated mental illness. These are merely a few of the grim statistics.
What do you feel are the most pronounced shortcomings of the health system in the USA in the treatment of mental illness?
I think the core of the shortcomings in the system boils down to the lack of money and resources available to obtain adequate treatment.
The vast majority of those suffering from addiction and/or mental illness cannot afford the high cost of psychotherapy, medications, and the more prominent treatment centers that have greater success rates.
If the people in need are fortunate enough to even have insurance, and many do not, the insurance companies are largely unwilling to bear the burden as they do in physical ailments, by refusal to recognize these disorders with the seriousness they deserve.
The next possibility is to meet the criteria for public assistance, which automatically excludes another huge group of people, whose options have suddenly become none. So the remainder, who are in a sense rewarded for owning nothing, are able to reap some benefit at the mercy of the state.
The problem there is that funding for these programs (treatment centers and out-patient therapies) is continually being slashed and weakened by the ignorance of political forces, until these remedial means have significantly lost their effectiveness.
Due to the enormous overload of needy people and the understaffed, underpaid workers in these facilities, the chances of getting the kind of treatment necessary for successful recovery is utterly grim.
Consequently, a great number of those who fall into the latter category remain locked in the system, unable to find the help they need, thus unable to move forward with their lives. Seemingly unaware of the plight of the entire situation, they continue going back to treatment many times over, only too often to reinforce the ever-mounting failure syndrome, believing it is their fault when it is most likely not.
I have spoken with mental health-care counsellors, since writing the book, who are in total agreement with the evaluation of the 'system' as I see it, if not more so. They are the ones who, on a daily basis, are faced with the overwhelming misery of the people, and are very aware of the little time they are able to give each individual. They feel as though their hands are tied, while the burnout period for them also becomes shorter due to the depressing situation.
The whole system, as it is, seems like a waste of everyone's time and money, along with the proof that 2nd rate health-care or none at all is far more costly than 1st rate. Certainly this is the case in the treatment of mental illness.
What has been the reward to you in writing your book?
The greatest reward in writing the book was being able to create an expression on a subject that has burned in my heart for decades, much like putting together the many pieces of a puzzle.
For so many years, what seemed like millions of thoughts and feelings kept churning around inside, to the point I was unsure they could ever be sorted out.
Even though the book reflects merely highlights of what I feel, it was enough to relieve the pressure of trying to contain the passion. Furthermore it wasn't the quantity of words on each concept that was important to me, but that many ideas were brought to light. Until at last I could comfortably say "I've done my best--the picture is finished"! However challenging, the reward was immeasurable.
Have you used the Internet in your research, and do you intend to use the Internet in promoting your book?
Yes, I do use the Internet for research, although my computer skills are somewhat limited and I find the overwhelming amount of information to be rather daunting at times.
I often watch Larry King Live on CNN and other talk shows such as Oprah that are relevant to my interests, where I've obtained many excellent sources of information from various guests. Most of them have web sites, which I usually refer to afterwards.
I also read a lot of books (or used to that is) and I am an avid people watcher and listener. Learning is everywhere we turn in this day and age. I now spend a great deal of time on the Internet promoting my book in one way or another, always looking for new methods and ideas.
Are there any other ideas or thoughts you wish to share with our audience that you have not been covered?
The book is only the beginning of the reward I hope to see. Its objective is not a self-help book of ideas to be implemented here and there; nor is it meant to be just a story about my daughter, or about me and my beliefs to draw empathy for either one of us; nor is it intended to simply bash the many current attitudes and systems as a citizen's right of freedom, to end there. Instead it is a straightforward call for attention and action to an enormous problem with a hopeful solution.
I regard the key to healing mental illness as first of all getting back to basics that consists of many factors including reconnection with the inner-child where our finest resources lie. Without this foundation there is nothing solid to build on.
I was blessed in countless ways for which I am most thankful, and chose to share a small portion of them in the book. I also meant to point out that a safe and secure childhood is no guarantee that we will live happily ever after. It didn't happen to me, but it did remain a constant source of strength
I believe that sometimes God allows us to wander in the wilderness of human suffering in order for a higher purpose to be accomplished. In this case it doesn't matter who I am, only that "Any idea constantly held before the mind MUST come into existence." Yet the Vision cannot manifest into reality by its eyewitness alone, no matter how passionate.
I am well aware of my limitations, likewise strengths. It will take many able, influential, visionaries, lots of prayers and careful organization, and more than volunteers to empower the Plan into existence. Would it be worth it? Absolutely! America needs this Place desperately, ultimately in every locality. My hope and prayer is that this small book will begin to ignite a forest fire that's unstoppable!

Monday, August 6, 2012

Advanced Are We In The Treatment Of Mental Disease

I once asked a relative of mine what he believed to be the biggest advancement in the treatment of mental illness, and his succinct reply, the invention of the tranquillizer.
Unfortunately, as we have no doubt have come to realize, the tranquillizer is not exactly the cure all. Just look at the terrible side effects of such medication as Prozac.
Sheryl J. Stevens, who has first hand experience in dealing with the mentally ill, or as she prefers to call these individuals "lost souls," has written a wake up call in her book Operation Soul Recovery (From Default To Purpose).
The author strikes just the right tone: direct and passionate, in pointing out to her audience that the treatment of these lost souls is very low down on the health care totem pole. Furthermore, as the author asserts, we are lacking in sensitivity in our understanding that there is no physical pain comparable to that of a broken spirit.
As pointed out, we would hardly expect someone with a broken leg to run a race. Instead, we would promptly treat the fracture by a qualified medical doctor. Why then is it so difficult to understand the basic requirements needed to treat the mind and spirit? There seems to be a tendency to cop out and either ignore the gravity of the situation or rely solely on medication. Do we really believe, as Stevens asserts, that these illnesses are incurable?
The book is an engrossing and soul searching read that provides a window into the mistreatment of the mentally ill and in particular with society's obsession in looking for whom to blame, rather than trying to find a solution to the cure. As mentioned, "it is the cure that should be capturing our attention."
After lambasting the system, Stevens does present several constructive ideas for improving the system in her chapter entitled A Manor Of Eden. It is here where she emphasizes the principle that no human being is a hopeless case, and it is essential that we treat the body, mind and the soul simultaneously, and not giving more importance to one over the other.
Furthermore, the program of treatment is to be divided into a series of steps that considers the whole gamut from dealing in depth with the past, recovering the wisdom and value of the inner-child, developing knowledge of healthy living and formal education, job training, and job placement.
There is a great deal here to ponder about, and as Stevens mentioned in her interview with me, the book definitely presents ideas and suggestions that are outside of the box. However, the question that remains is, who will be listening?