Category: Health(y)

Weathering the Storm, Al B. Sure is Grateful for His Second Chance at Life

Tan Walker | UAB Community Health & Human Services

You may know the artist, Al B. Sure from his hits “Nite & Day”, “Off On Your Own Girl”, or as one of the collaborators in the song “U Will Know” by Black Men United. Today, Al B. is a 54-year-old award winning R&B singer who recently awoke from a 2-month coma. He explained to his fans that he lost feeling in the left side of his body while sitting in front of a computer screen and then fell over. However, he was able to call for help since his phone was in reach at the time of the incident. He then expressed that he encountered multiple surgeries, blood transfusions, and an organ transplant during his hospital stay. He also had pneumonia, became septic, and had his lymph nodes removed (Daniels, 2022). Despite all of the health challenges that he went through, he is extremely thankful to be “alive, alert, and gradually healing.” He also says that is “maintaining a positive mindset throughout this healing process” (Daniels, 2022).

Al B. has overcome many obstacles in his life in such a short time, yet he still remains positive through the storm. It can sometimes be hard for people to become bigger than their circumstances and exercise the strength, courage, and faith to make it through the challenging times. This is what is meant by being resilient.

Photo by Ann H on Pexels.com

Resilience is the process and outcome of successfully adapting to difficult or challenging life experiences, especially through mental, emotional, and behavioral flexibility and adjustment to external and internal demands (APA, 2022). Part of being resilient is remaining positive and optimistic when experiencing challenges.

Here are a few tips to stay positive during hard times:

  • Acknowledge all of the good things in your life
  • Look at your situation from a different perspective
  • Focus on the things you can control
  • Spend time with positive people
  • Ask for help when you need it

No matter how hard a situation may be, it is important to stay positive and not let your circumstances define you!

References

American Psychological Association. (2022). APA Dictionary of Psychology (2nd ed.). Retrieved November 18, 2022, https://dictionary.apa.org/?_ga=2.261668622.261180337.1668820604-1749021350.1667872057.

Daniels, K. F. (2022, November 5). R&B singer Al B. sure! shares health update after 2-month coma and organ transplant. Al B. Sure! shares health update about 2-month coma ordeal. Retrieved November 18, 2022, from https://www.nydailynews.com/snyde/ny-al-b-sure-health-update-two-month-coma-20221105-t3tayky6bnhrbb557go5cdmisq-story.html 

Kirsten Parker, M. F. A. (2021, November 16). 10 ways to keep positive during Hard Times. wikiHow. Retrieved November 18, 2022, from https://www.wikihow.com/Keep-Positive-During-Hard-Times#:~:text=How%20to%20Keep%20Positive%20During%20Hard%20Times%201,…%208%20Practice%20breathing%20meditation.%20…%20More%20items 

Gardening Is My Mental Health Therapy

By Reginia Dodson | UAB Community Health and Human Services Intern

Photo by Alexander Grey on Pexels.com

I planted a vegetable garden. At the time, I had no idea that it would prove to be therapeutic for me. It is only a small, raised bed garden that I somehow have planted to an overflowing capacity. This makes for a battle to keep my squash, zucchini, and eggplant from taking over the entire little box. Along with these aggressive space invaders, I planted tomatoes, okra, and cabbage as well. I even think that it is quite possible that I created an entirely new vegetable due to the overcrowding and plants mixing together. OK, I am joking, but still…there is joy in planting this garden.

When I began gardening, I did not realize that it would become my place and time to disengage from all the stressors in my life. Each day as I tackle the invaders growing and the natural intruders, I find myself relaxing and calming my anxieties. It is something to feel the cool soil as I dig around with my bare hands. I feel a connection with nature each day that I am in my garden.

I am not the only one who feels this way. Rooftop gardening, yes…on the roof, has been associated with better personal development and suggested enhanced physical and emotional well-being, sense of purpose, social inclusion, interpersonal relations, and quality of life (Triguero-Mas et al, 2020). What happens on the roof, happens on ground as well. I am always in my garden early in the morning before the world around me awakens. It is so serene and peaceful. I find even my breathing is more relaxed and the time helps to prepare me for the stressors I will encounter during the day. Furthermore, there are times that my family and friends get to enjoy the garden as we come together, supporting my happy pursuits with some good work and fun. Not to mention, good food afterwards.

It is also delightful to find what has grown seemingly overnight. I see it as a life metaphor, patiently waiting to see the work of my hands and nature come together to bring life into the world. I laugh at times because I never saw myself gardening. Especially, using my bare hands while doing so…oh the dirt and grime. So what about you? Do you have a garden? Are you good with plants? Do you find peace and delight working with nature? Leave your comments below.

References

Suggested citation for this article: Triguero-Mas M, Anguelovski I, Cirac-Claveras J, Connolly J, Vazquez A, Urgell-Plaza F, et al. Quality of Life Benefits of Urban Rooftop Gardening for People With Intellectual Disabilities or Mental Health Disorders. Prev Chronic Dis 2020;17:200087. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5888/pcd17.200087external icon

The Power of Healthy Friendships

By Tan Walker | UAB Community Health & Human Services Intern

Photo by nappy on Pexels.com

Sometimes being with friends is all the therapy we need! Making connections is a primary human impulse. Researchers have found that people that have healthy friendships are deemed healthier and happier than those who are friendless (CDC, 2022).

Friends are essential to our well-being and are some of the most powerful bonds people have. They can also keep us grounded and help us manage the craziness that life throws at us, and provide an abundance of social support which is vital for our mental health. Having healthy friendships is powerful and has many benefits. It can help reduce stress, loneliness, and anxiety (Serene Health, 2022).

True friends will listen to our problems and support us through hard times, but it is important that we do the same for them. Here are four tips that will help us maintain healthy friendships:

1. Make time for friends – making an effort to see friends regularly is extremely important for maintaining a friendship

2. Communicate openly and honestly – try to share any thoughts and feelings with friends, and be open to hearing theirs.

3. Respect each other’s differences – It is important to value each other’s opinions and perspectives, even if we don’t always agree with each other.

4. Be supportive – Good friends are there through the good, the bad, and the ugly. If our friends are going through something, be there to listen and to provide the support that they need.

Whenever we are down, or battling with our mental health,  it is comforting to know we have people in our lives that will be there to support us always. 

References

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2022). Talking to Your Love Ones. Cancer Survivors. https://www.cdc.gov/cancer/survivors/healthy-living-guides/emotional-health/talking-to-loved-ones.htm

Serene Health. (2022, August 16). Friendships are essential for mental health and Wellbeing. https://serenehealth.com/mental-health-and-friendships/

Journaling Can Benefit Your Mental Health

By Tan Walker | UAB Community Health & Human Services Intern

Photo by Negative Space on Pexels.com

When you think of “journaling”, it is easy to picture a young girl locked away in her room writing about her high-school crush in a diary with a lock on it. Although this is an easy perception to have, it likely matches with the overall consensus for adults: journaling is for young people still trying to figure out their purpose in life and gossiping about the latest high school drama.

Believe it or not, many adults own a journal of some sort. Whether it’s a diary, a 3 subject notebook, notes taken on a smartphone, or just a plain sheet of paper and a pen: journaling has no required format. Journaling only requires that you share your thoughts openly. Effective journaling can help you meet your goals or improve your quality of life (Ackerman, 2022; Purcell, 2006). Although personal goals vary from person to person, they are almost always positive and journaling can be a process that support goal accomplishment.

Effective journaling can help you clear your head, reduce anxiety, and it can also help you connect your thoughts, feelings, emotions, and behaviors. But how exactly does dumping words on a page have an impact on your mental health?

Well, journaling has been proven to help people struggling with a mental illness or people who want to improve their mental health (Ackerman, 2022; Purcell, 2006). More specifically, effective journaling has been found to:

Boost your mood
Enhance your sense of well-being
Reduce symptoms of depression
Reduce symptoms of trauma and PTSD
Improve your work memory

Here are some following tips to ensure your journaling is effective:

Write in a space free of distractions
Journal at least once a day
Keep your journal private -“my eyes only”
Be in control of the topic and structure of your writing

Try journaling today! The process may take some time, but the benefits can support your health and quality of life. It can be fun! Whether you choose to write about how your day went or your current thoughts and emotions, the fun part is that you get to choose what your narrative will be!

Courtney E. Ackerman, M. A. (2022, September 8). 83 benefits of journaling for depression, anxiety, and stress. PositivePsychology.com. Retrieved September 8, 2022, from https://positivepsychology.com/benefits-of-journaling/

Purcell, M. (2006). The Health Benefits of Journaling. Psych Central. Retrieved on October 10, 2022, from http://psychcentral.com/lib/the-health-benefits-of-journaling/000721

Love is a Noun & a Verb

What is “Love” to you?  How do you describe Love?  How do you define Love?  We have read, “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.  Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.  It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.” (1 Cor. 13:4-7 New International Version).  Or we have observed definitions like, Love is a “strong affection for another arising out of kinship or personal ties”, and/or “attraction based on sexual desire, affection and tenderness felt by lovers”, and/or “to hold dear”, and/or “to like or desire actively” (“Love,” 2019).  Tina Turner in her ballad, “What’s Love Got to Do With It?” referred to love as a “second-hand emotion”.  What’s that?  By the way, I love the hit song from the 80’s and Angela Bassett in the movie (1993) was phenomenal.  But back to the point… a second-hand emotion?  So, love is something that is received after being used by another?  Maybe this is a post for another time.

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Choose to Be Healthy!

The World Health Organization (WHO) defines health as the “state of complete physical, mental and social well-being” and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.  Although other descriptions of the word “health” exist, overall most people understand what it means to be in good health or “healthy.”  Look at the following questions:

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Positive or Negative: Choose Positive

Positive or Negative: Choose Positive

Circumstances in life can weigh US down.  As individuals, we not only experience challenges inwardly, but also face difficult situations externally.  Although it may be difficult at times, we must be positive [over negative].  “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things” (Phil. 4:8 New International Version).

One aspect of being positive is addressing the negativity within and/or around us.  To do this, a person might:

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Graphic pictures on cigarette packs would significantly reduce smoking death rate

Using prominent, graphic pictures on cigarette packs warning against smoking could avert more than 652,000 deaths, up to 92,000 low birth weight infants, up to 145,000 preterm births, and about 1,000 cases of sudden infant deaths in the U.S. over the next 50 years, say researchers.

Source: Graphic pictures on cigarette packs would significantly reduce smoking death rate

Employing Your Talents

In conversation, my friend mentioned to me that she was stuck in a job that brought her no passion, no joy, and had become a ‘drag’ on her daily routine.  This led me to ask the inevitable question, why don’t you look for a new job?  Her reply, “I am content where I am.”  Well, I wasn’t convinced and come to think of it; I am not sure she was either. 

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