Category Archives: Mental Health

no impact man impacts me

noimpact.pngI want to give a shout-out to a blog I’ve been reading: No Impact Man. It’s actually a year-long, well-funded project where a writer, his wife and two-year-old daughter live for a full year in the middle of Manhattan without making any environmental impact what-so-ever. No subway even. No appliances. No packaging AT ALL.

While obvious there are issues to be worked out with how the rest of us could live more like this, I find it really inspiring. Both my roommate and I drastically reduced our use of plastic bags (so much so that we’re out when we want them!).

What I like about his point of view is that he points out the many health benefits (both physical and emotional) that his family has experienced from the project. Here’s a post on that topic and also a link to my favorite post (on how he entertains his daughter without TV).

My one complaint is that I wish he would be more explicit about how much time and money his activities cost. I have no doubt they are saving tons of cash, but it’s unclear to me what changes I would have the time to spend to complete them (i.e. doing all laundry in the sink, baking bread, etc.). Either way, the health benefits are clear and inspirational.

compose yourself with bach

rescue_remedy.jpgBelieve it or not, school starts on Tuesday for me (year two of my MFA).  I love fall (what?  summer’s over???) because everyone suddenly gets filled with The Desire To Do, complimented by the crisp weather.  I used to have a lot of anxiety about going back to school as an undergrad, but it’s been awhile since I’ve been seized in that physical way that is oh-so-paralyzing.  Still, so many of us have anxiety about various areas of our lives and I wanted to post on a natural alternative for those who don’t want to go the pharmaceutical route.

I found the best relief for anxiety to be Bach’s Rescue Remedy.  It’s a natural formula made from the extracts of flowers, and has been around since the 1930’s.  I’ve found it to be readily available in most health stores and even my local drugstore carries it.  It’s non-addictive and, as the website says, safe for everyone including plants (that’s good because my cactus is stressed out).

Rescue Remedy is available as a liquid that you squirt under your tongue and it calms you.  Sound magical?  I can only say it worked for me.  I used to use it at the airport before they banned liquids, because I would get highly anxious about getting to the gate on time (Thanks, Dad).  I also used it successfully before a job interview (it didn’t make me too relaxed to perform well) and for general ‘I’m-freaking-out-here’ anxiety.  My mom found it helpful for stress when going to the doctor.

I know several other folks who have tried and liked Rescue Remedy, but I don’t know much about the other Bach formulations.  They do have several, including one for panic attacks and another for insomnia.  I would be very interested to hear if anyone has tried the one that’s supposed to stop you from “interfering with other people,” which includes Beech extract to help you “be less critical towards  other people and accept them as they are.”  Who wouldn’t benefit from that?

B 12, Be Well

Hey! So I apologize for my irregular posting but I am in California shooting a documentary.

I did want to share my latest nutritional curiosity: Vitamin B 12. APN brought this up as a response to my post on dairy, citing milk as a good way for vegetarians to get this essential vitamin (meat, particularly liver, is another source). After a bit of poking around, I discovered that eggs and shellfish are also good sources. For vegans, there are fortified cereals or supplements, which folks used to think were not effective, but now most studies suggest they are (sorry for my imprecision, but a round of googling will likely lead you to the same conclusions). When taking B as supplements, it is more effective – if not essential – to take all the B vitamins together, according to two doctors I spoke with (one MD, one acupuncturist). Because our bodies do not store them, we rely entirely on our diet to get them on a regular basis.

vitamin_b2_spacefilled.jpgDeficiencies in vitamin B (any of them) seem to all result in really gross things, so let’s just not go there. What fascinated me was to learn that there may be a link between depression/mood instability and vitamin B deficiency. Having tried most methods under the sun when I was depressed, I was surprised that I have never even heard of this connection. While I wouldn’t endorse only relying on B to treat depression, folks seeking holistic approaches might be interested in some of the studies out there. One also suggested that B vitamins enhanced people’s responses to antidepressants.

According to this article, alcohol, nicotine, caffeine and refined sugar all destroy the body’s ability to activate B vitamins. It’s most unfortunate that alcohol and B don’t mix well, because if not for that, unfiltered beer might be a good source of B, according to this wikipedia entry.