Depends on how you define well-being.
In recent years, psychologists have taken a deeper look at well-being. The traditional approach to well-being focuses on hedonic pleasures and positive emotions. However, while positive emotions often accompany happiness, the mere experience of positive emotions is not necessarily an indicator of happiness, and the presence of negative emotions doesn’t necessarily decrease one’s well-being. This deeper approach to well-being, often described as “eudaimonic well-being”, focuses on living life in a full and deeply satisfying way.
What are the dimensions of eudaimonic well-being? Psychologist Carol Ryff makes the case for no less than six dimensions of eudaimonia:
- Autonomy (“I have confidence in my opinions, even if they are contrary to the general consensus“)
- Environmental mastery (“I am quite good at managing the many responsibilities of my daily life”)
- Personal growth (“I think it is important to have new experiences that challenge how you think about yourself and the world”)
- Positive relations with others (“People would describe me as a giving person, willing to share my time with others”)
- Purpose in life (“Some people wander aimlessly through life, but I am not one of them”)
- Self-acceptance (“I like most aspects of my life”)
Grounding Techniques are activities you use when you feel overwhelmed by feelings, thoughts, sensations. These techniques help a person move their focus away from what is overwhelming them to something else. That something else is preferable healthy and supportive to their wellbeing. Below is a list that clients and patients have mentioned over the years of things they do that help them ground.
- Get ice or ice water
- Breathe – slow and deep, like blowing up a balloon.
- Take your shoes off and rub your feet on the ground.
- Open your eyes and look around. See yourself in a different place than.
- Move around. Feel your body. Stretch out your arms, hands, fingers.
- Peel an orange or a lemon. Notice the smell. Take a bite. Focus on the taste.
- Pet your cat, dog or rabbit.
- Spray yourself with favorite perfume.
- Eat ice cream! Or any favorite food. Pay attention to the taste.
- Call a friend.
- Take a shower.
- Take a bath.
- Go for a walk. Feel the sunshine (or rain, or snow!)
- Count nice things.
- Dig in the dirt in your garden.
- Turn lights on.
- Play your favorite music.
- Hug a tree!
- Touch things around you.
- Frozen Orange – put your nails into it – the cold and the smell can bring you back
- Pull up the daily newspaper on your browser. Notice the date and read a current article.
- Stomp your feet to remind yourself where you are. Press your feet firmly into the ground.
- Try to notice where you are, your surroundings including people, sounds like the t.v. or radio.
- Concentrate on your breathing. Take a deep cleansing breath from your diaphragm. Count the breaths as you exhale. Make sure you breath slowly so you don’t hyperventilate.
- Cross your legs and arms. Feel the sensations of you controlling your body.
- Call a friend and ask them to talk with you about something you have recently done together.
- Take a warm relaxing bubble bath or a warm shower. Feel the water touching your body.
- Mentally remind yourself that the memory was then, and it is over. Give yourself permission to not think about it right now.
- Realize that no matter how small you feel, you are an adult.
- Go outside and sit against a tree. Feel the bark pressing against your body. Smell the outside aromas like the grass and the leaves. Run your fingers through the grass.
- If you are sitting, stand. If you are standing sit. Pay attention to the movement change. Reminding yourself — you are in control.
- Rub your palms, clap your hands. Listen to the sounds. Feel the sensation.
- Speak out loud. Say your name or significant others name.
- Hold something that you find comforting, for some it may be a stuffed animal or a blanket. Notice how it feels in your hands. Is it hard or soft?
- Eat something. How does it taste, sweet or sour? Is it warm or cold?
- If you have a pet use that moment to touch them. Feel their fur and speak the animals name out loud.
- Visualize a bright red STOP sign to help you stop the flashback and/or memory
- Step outside. If it’s warm, feel the sun shining down on your face. If it’s cold, feel the breeze. How does it make your body feel?
- Take a walk outside and notice your neighborhood. Pay attention to houses and count them.
- Listen to familiar music and sing along to it. Dance to it.
- Write in your journal. Pay attention to yourself holding the pencil. Write about what you are remembering and visualize the memory traveling out of you into the pencil and onto the paper. Tear the paper up or seal it in an envelope. Give it to your therapist for safekeeping.
- Go online and talk with an online friend. Write an email.
- Imagine yourself in a safe place. Feel the safety and know it.
- Watch a favorite t.v. program or video. Play a video game.
- If you have a garden, work in it. Feel your hands running through the dirt.
- Wash dishes or clean your house.
- Meditate if you are comfortable with it.
- Exercise. Ride a bike, stationary or otherwise. Lift weights. Do jumping jacks.
Older men may want to think twice before starting testosterone treatment, based on results of a clinical trial that found testosterone speeds up the development of plaque in the heart’s arteries.
Published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, this study looked at the association between testosterone treatment and plaque build-up in older men. It was conducted in response to recent studies that have raised concerns about the impact of testosterone therapy on heart health.
Some studies have found that testosterone treatment may increase risk for heart events like heart attack and stroke, while others have found no relationship. With a ten-fold increase in testosterone sales in the United States from 2000–2011, experts worry about the potential impact of widespread testosterone use on heart health.
For this reason, researchers conducted the Testosterone Trials, which investigated the effects of testosterone treatment in elderly men with low testosterone. The studies looked at multiple outcomes, such as sexual function, brain function, vitality and cardiovascular risk.
The heart-related trial was conducted from 2010–2014 and included 170 men aged 65 years or older with low testosterone. For one year, half of participants were randomly assigned to active testosterone treatment—a topical gel applied to the arms and shoulders daily—while half received a placebo gel with no active ingredients.
At the start and end of the study, participants underwent a test called coronary computed tomographic angiography, which uses CT imaging to measure plaque build-up in the heart. Plaque build-up is dangerous because it narrows the heart’s arteries and is associated with increased risk for heart disease—the leading killer of Americans.
After analysis, researchers found that men taking testosterone had a greater increase in non-calcified plaque volume during the study period compared to men using the placebo gel. In fact, on average men taking testosterone had a 41mm3 greater increase in plaque volume than those taking the placebo, and this difference was considered statistically significant.
While findings suggest testosterone treatment accelerates plaque build-up in older men, authors do note certain limitations. The study only followed participants for one year, which is a relatively short time period. It also did not assess the impact of plaque build-up on outcomes like heart attack and death, so it’s unknown whether testosterone treatment impacts long-term health outcomes.
However, the study still raises concerns about the safety of testosterone treatment in older men with low testosterone. As a result, experts suggest that patients considering testosterone therapy discuss the risks and benefits with their doctor before making any decisions about testosterone treatment. They also encourage further research on the issue to better understand the association between testosterone treatment and heart health in older men.
Increasing potassium in our diets as well as cutting down on salt will reduce blood pressure levels and the risk of stroke, research in the British Medical Journal suggests.
One study review found that eating an extra two to three servings of fruit or vegetables per day – which are high in potassium – was beneficial.
A lower salt intake would increase the benefits further, researchers said.
A stroke charity said a healthy diet was key to keeping stroke risk down.
While the increase of potassium in diets was found to have a positive effect on blood pressure, it was also discovered to have no adverse effects on kidney function or hormone levels, the research concluded.
As a result, the World Health Organization has issued its first guidelines on potassium intake, recommending that adults should consume more than 4g of potassium (or 90 to 100mmol) per day.
The BMJ study on the effects of potassium intake, produced by scientists from the UN World Food Program, Imperial College London and Warwick Medical School, among others, looked at 22 controlled trials and another 11 studies involving more than 128,000 healthy participants.
Where to find potassium
Potassium is an important mineral that controls the balance of fluids in the body and helps lower blood pressure.
It is found in most types of food, but particularly in fruit, such as bananas, vegetables, pulses, nuts and seeds, milk, fish, chicken and bread.
It is recommended that adults consume around 4g of potassium a day (or at least 90-100mmol).
That is equivalent to five portions of fruit and vegetables a day.
Our early ancestors would have had a diet very high in potassium – but food processing has markedly reduced the potassium content of food.
It is thought that the average potassium consumption in many countries is below 70-80mmol/day.
The results showed that increasing potassium in the diet to 3-4g a day reduced blood pressure in adults.
This increased level of potassium intake was also linked to a 24% lower risk of stroke in those adults.
Researchers said potassium could have benefits for children’s blood pressure too, but more data was needed.