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by Soroya Bacchus, M.D
A recent study that showed even moderate alcohol consumption can take years off your life not only attracted a lot of media attention, it also caused other studies about drinking to seem even more worrisome, especially with their findings about women.
We aren’t talking about harmless social sipping with friends here, and as the nation observes Women’s Health Care Month in May it’s worth exploring the growing negative role that alcohol plays in the lives of American women.
“Sometimes the people who say this are right; they really don’t drink that much. More often, though, people say this to make themselves feel better about how much they do drink.”
Just last year, a study published by JAMA Psychiatry reported that more Americans are drinking high amounts of alcohol, and some of the greatest increases are among women.
In addition, about 5.3 million women in the United States drink alcohol in a way that threatens their health and safety, according to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism.
For those women, just trying to get sober won’t fix the fundamental problem that caused them to drink too much to begin with, Bacchus says.
“I don’t care about sober,” she says. “I care about healthy. No one drinks or uses drugs in a vacuum. Usually there is an underlying mental disorder that causes and worsens the alcohol or drug use.”
It’s important that women with serious drinking problems seek medical assistance so they can detox in a safe manner, Bacchus says. Detoxification from alcohol has more complications from withdrawal than any other drug, and the death rate for alcohol withdrawal is between 5 and 8 percent, she says.
Even after detoxing, Bacchus says, a therapist can help women develop healthy psychological coping skills to avoid a relapse.
Among the ways they can do that include:
- Biofeedback therapy. This teaches you to develop voluntary, conscious control of physiological processes that are typically involuntary and unconscious. “If you have alcohol cravings, biofeedback teaches you how to identify the physical sensations associated with them and allows you to deploy strategies to counter them,” Bacchus says.
- Hypnosis or hypnotherapy. Through hypnosis a therapist can explore the potential root causes of alcohol abuse, such as previously unknown disorder, a hidden memory or a past trauma. Bacchus offers a caveat: Only undergo hypnotherapy with a trained professional you trust completely.
- Exercise. Every time you exercise you build yourself up both psychologically and physically, Bacchus says. “Before you know it, you have a positive habit that sustains you through tough times,” she says. “Instead of taking a drink, you go for a walk. Instead of falling into a rabbit hole of negative emotion, you hit the gym.”
- Yoga. Yoga is both a great exercise for muscles and joints, but also an excellent way to deal with stress. “This makes it a perfect practice for recovery,” Bacchus says, “because you need to rebuild your body from the ravages of alcohol abuse and rebuild your mind from the negative thought patterns you developed over years of addiction.”
“The goal is to replace the negative coping mechanisms of addiction with the healthy coping mechanisms of recovery,” Bacchus says. “You need your mind and body working in harmony so your soul can be at peace.”
About the author:
Soroya Bacchus, M.D., (www.soroyabacchusmd.com) author of How to Detox Yourself from Alcohol, is a triple board-certified psychiatrist specializing in addition and psychosomatic medicine. She has treated patients with addiction issues for 22 years. She has been interviewed on such television shows asGood Morning America and has been quoted in the New York Times, the Huffington Post and other print and online publications.
By Holly Caplan
Before I became a mother in 2010, I had been in the workforce as a sales person in the medical device field for years. It was a hyper competitive market with lots of passionate people who wanted to party, make money and climb the corporate ladder. Which was exactly what I did. My career was everything to me – it was my identity. It was who I wanted to be and I was super passionate about succeeding. I eventually worked my way up and was approached about a management position, which was awesome! It was what I had wanted and was my next professional goal. So, before I interviewed for the management gig, I did my homework. Excitedly, I spoke to the other managers to really understand what I was getting into. I wanted their candid feedback so I would be prepared for my interview and get an idea of what to expect in this role. I got a lot of a good advice about how to run the business, manage my sales team and how hire and fire. Pretty basic, right? Until I hit a conversation that surprised me and still stings me to this day, especially because today I am a mother.
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The advice I was given by male manager was not to hire female sales reps. Taken aback, I asked him “Why”? I’m thinking, heck, I’m a female, why wouldn’t I hire other women. He said, “ Because they have babies and stuff and won’t do their jobs”. Not only did he advise not to hire women, this manager also confided in me this was a quiet rule between the managers. It was understood. At that moment my future challenges were clearly laid out before me as I knew I one day wanted to become a mother, and yes, continue to work.
I did it though. I got the management job, and had a baby.
In 2017, according to the US Labor Force, women make up 47% of the work force. And guess what? 70% of mothers work in 2017 vs 11% in 1960. What’s more is mothers are the primary or sole earners for 40% of households with children under 18.
How can the stigma of being a working mom still exist when we see momentum in these numbers?
I can personally tell you that becoming a mother made me better at my job and career. It didn’t make me “go soft”, or unfocused. In fact motherhood made me more assertive and decisive. It made me more strategic and thoughtful in my work. You are forced to improve these skill sets and begin functioning at a higher level previous to children. In speaking to friends that are working moms, they experienced the same.
Here are five ways that being a mother can actually improve your job performance:
1. Improved Time Management:
Time management takes on a whole new role in your world when you become a mom. Basically, you learn that you can’t control everything and you need to manage your time as such. You are forced to think way ahead of schedule, be ready to manage disasters, and expect the unexpected. Think carpool, conflicting ballet classes and soccer games thrown in with a sick child, pet at the vet, traveling husband, meeting with the boss and a work deadline. All of this makes for complete mayhem and disarray. There was a time in my life that all of these components would have absolutely sent me over the edge, or into a bottle of pinot noir. The flip side to this is that it taught me to manage my time better. This translates well into the working world because our minds become trained to think on point and ahead of time. All. Of. The Time. It teaches us in our jobs to know how to manage time, efficiently run projects, handle the unexpected and continue to make all of it work. Admittedly, I do still pour myself a pinot noir in the evenings, but at least I manage my time around it.
2. Develop Low-T:
Mothers develop Low T. And I don’t mean Low T in the Viagra sense. I mean Low T in the sense of having a low tolerance for bullcrap. After all, as moms we have to manage our time differently, which means we have less time for B.S. with the kids. We won’t tolerate bullying, stealing or shaming at home, so why tolerate it at work? Having Low T in the workplace helps us sniff out the drama from a mile away, address it quickly and move on. Mothers tend to stay away from the office politics, handle work challenges swiftly, and can close a sweet deal like no one’s business.
3. More Compassionate:
Being a mother will make you more compassionate. I mean, even when you are getting spit up on, changing a blow out diaper, or dealing with a temper tantrum you still love that baby with all of your heart and soul. It doesn’t matter how rough the scenario may be, you learn to roll with it and move on. Again, this flows over well into the workplace. Increasing compassion can improve relationships, trust and performance. When employees feel they are in a safe and trusting environment, and their colleagues do care about them personally and professionally they give back more to the organization.
4. More Focused:
Working mothers typically have less time with their children. It is part of it, and it isn’t fun. A job could require more travel, conferences, and client dinners. What this means for moms is missing school events, piano recitals and even just the everyday conversation of riding home from school in the car. Because of this mothers are more focused on their goals and tasks at work. Because we are away more, we make our time count so that when we are at home, home life counts. Moms don’t want to let work interfere with the kiddos. This means that we get projects done early, are prepared for upcoming meetings and more organized. Also, moms are full time problem solvers. We are forced to think strategically continuously. We are able to switch these strategic thinking skills into work and practice them frequently as we do at home. As a result, we are super-efficient and productive. Not only does this help the company, this helps us reach professional goals and with our own personal growth.
5. Masters of Stress:
The common theme in all of this mothering and working stuff is the high stress factor. Stress can run rampant at home and work, and at times will feel inescapable, (speaking from personal experience here). But it can also be the underlying current that drives better time management, maintained focus and dealing with others issues. The crazy thing about existing with stress is that it has made me better at handling it. My stress “freak out” level is much higher, and my capacity for patience is higher too. At home I have less of a heart attack when I see that Oreos have been smashed into my favorite white chair, and at work I breathe easier when approaching a deadline, or dealing with an angry manager. It has taught me to deal with work stress thoughtfully, patiently and exit the experience gracefully.
As for the manager who told me not to hire women, and to his colleagues who believed the same? Today I would tell them this:
Don’t ever underestimate the strength of a working mother.
Oh, and Costco is having a sale in the wine department.
Holly Caplan is an award-winning manager and author of Surviving the Dick Clique: A Girl’s Guide to Surviving the Male Dominated Corporate World. For more information, please visit: www.hollycaplan.com.
By Jalaja Bonheim, Ph.D.
Spirituality is a basic human need. Yet in our day and age, it all too often goes unmet. Traditionally, people looked to religion to address our spiritual hunger. Yet today, millions are either no longer involved in organized religion, or their religious practice is failing to provide the nourishment they crave.
As a result, many now suffer from a spiritual famine. Spiritual famine usually goes undiagnosed, but it’s no less painful than physical famine, causing symptoms that range from anxiety and depression to addiction and violence.
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But spiritual famine can be overcome. For decades, women from around the world have awakened to a group practice called Circlework that’s specifically designed to do just that. Circlework has enabled thousands of women to co-create an entirely new kind of spiritual community — one based not on beliefs or ideologies, but on a simple commitment to kindness, peace and global sisterhood.
Today, Circlework is practiced in Australia, Afghanistan, India, Kenya, Israel, Palestine, Norway, Germany and many other countries, as well as throughout the United States. Highly adaptable, it’s made its way into hospitals and Yoga centers, activists’ gatherings and colleges, boardrooms and community centers. And while I personally am passionate about healing and empowering women, Circlework is an equally effective tool for men.
Part of the appeal of this practice is that it involves more than just talking. When participants talk, they do so in a structured way that ensures deep listening and supports honest, authentic sharing. But Circlework also includes a wide range of nonverbal tools, such as music, movement, touch, meditation and immersion in nature. In conjunction, all these elements evoke states of deep centeredness and profound peace. As women come home to themselves, they also discover the power of sisterhood in a whole new way.
Another unique facet of Circlework is that it uses the circle, not only as a format for gatherings, but also as a potent spiritual medicine. Around the world, people have always held the circle sacred — just think of the great stone circle at Stonehenge or the elaborate mandalas of Tibetan Buddhism. Circlework is, you might say, a modern-day way of tapping the healing power of the circle. However, instead of painting or sculpting mandalas, we’re using our bodies and our intention to co-create the sacred circle.
Sure, a circle is a great place to experience the healing power of Circlework and learn about its principles of Circlework. But Circlework is not just a group process; it’s a path on which we seek to embody the qualities of the sacred circle — such as wholeness, unity, centeredness, balance and integrity — in all areas of our life. You may never attend a circle. Nonetheless, you too can use the principles and tools of Circlework to heal yourself and your relationships.
Here’s a simple four-step process:
- Confront thought addiction. Are you a “thought addict?” Do you think incessantly all day long?
Perhaps you’ve been told that the only way to overcome thought addiction is to meditate for hours on end. In fact, this isn’t the case. Instead, try giving yourself frequent opportunities throughout each day to let go of thought, even if it’s just for a very brief moment. A few seconds of inner stillness can shift your entire energy field and change the course of your day.
One easy tool is to shift your attention from thinking to listening. Breathing in, listen. Breathing out, listen — not just with your ears, but with your whole body. Listening will take you out of your thoughts and into the mystery of the present moment.
- Step out. When women come to a Circlework retreat, they step out of their ordinary routines into a sanctuary where both their bodies and their minds can rest.
Maybe you can’t go on retreat, but no matter how busy you are, internally, you can grant yourself moments of retreat. Here’s a simple Circlework visualization to use:
Imagine that you’re sitting in a circle of light beings. Maybe they are loved ones that you know. Maybe they are angels, or simply figures of light. Either way, feel that they are holding you in a circle of complete acceptance and unconditional love. Give yourself permission to do nothing at all, to simply rest your body and mind. And feel the sweet relief of being held in a circle of safety and sacredness.
- Find ways to touch and be touched. In our culture, many people aren’t touched anywhere near as much as nature designed them to be. Touch is a powerful healing tool, and in Circlework, it’s structured into the process in ways that create a strong sense of safety and comfort. Here’s a simple practice that you can try:
Raise your hands and touch your face. As you do this, imagine how a loving mother would stroke her baby’s face, and offer yourself the same tender touch.
- Reconnect with love. We live in a highly judgmental world where we’re routinely judged by our looks, status and a million other things that have nothing to do with who we really are. In addition, we’re often our own worst critics. To counteract all that judgment, try taking a moment to turn to yourself and say:
Dear one, I love you. It’s fine if you’re not perfect. You’re beautiful nonetheless. You’re a child of God, and your life is sacred and valuable.
If your mind starts to argue, don’t pay it too much heed. As they say, “Don’t believe everything you think.”
Instead, place your hands on your chest and try to feel your heart. Breathe into it. Invite it to relax, to soften and to open. Remind yourself that you are safe. Affirm that you’re in the presence of love. Though your mind may argue, the truth is that love is here, will always be here, and has been knocking on your door since the beginning of time.
About the author:
JALAJA BONHEIM, Ph.D., is an internationally acclaimed speaker, an award winning author, and one of the world’s foremost experts in the use of circle gatherings as a tool for healing and empowering women. She is founder of the Institute for Circlework and has trained hundreds of Circlework leaders from around the world, including the Middle East, where her circles unite Jewish and Palestinian women.
Her new book, The Magic of Circlework: The Practice Women Around the World Are Using to Heal and Empower Themselves, reveals the concepts and tools that make Circlework such a magical experience.
By Sally J Duffel
The menopause industry, doctors, most leaflets you get in doctors waiting rooms, books (both conventional and alternative) all give one version of the way we menopause. That menopause happens when the ovaries pack up and are not creating enough hormones. It is therefore logical that you have got to supplement them artificially and aren’t we lucky that HRT exists even though increases your chances of cancer, heart disease and thrombosis. Plus don’t get hooked on it, because you can only be on it for 10 years because that’s when the real risks kick in.
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But what happens in women who don’t get hot flushes, and there are millions of them all over the world, particularly in non-industrialised societies that are still living in traditional ways. Plus, there are women in the West who don’t either.
Why aren’t their ovaries packing up? Where are they getting their hormones from? There is an alternative model, but here’s the crucial point it’s not put forward by the menopause industry, but by the fertility industry who are really serious about the way women’s bodies and particularly our ovaries work. [i]
In this model, the healthy woman’s ovaries never pack up, they always give the brain what it ask for. When menopause happens the body handles hormones differently that’s all.
Obviously for some women this doesn’t happen. But this shouldn’t be the norm and if your ovaries do start to falter, we should look at what’s wrong with them and get them working again. Because just replacing the hormones with artificial ones gives rise to so many other problems, not least breast cancer, that it should never be the first port of call.
So, what causes ovaries to fail? Some women might have genetic problems but for the rest of us it’s the changes bought about since industrialisation. Our bodies (and ovaries) are bombarded with chemical and industrial oestrogens. Study after study has proven that they interfere with both our hormonal signals and our ovaries ability to function normally.[ii]
Secondly, we don’t eat as many plant hormones as we used to. There are a number of books on how you can change your entire diet in order to get more plant hormones. Many people can’t manage it so instead take expensive plant hormone supplements or pay even more to get “bio identical” HRT. Luckily though there are easier (and indeed cheaper) way to get plant hormones into our bodies.
If you start eating sprouted foods, you will be ingesting one of the richest sources of plant hormones on the planet. Every successful culture has a tradition of them, including our own. You can add them to whatever else you are eating and give yourself a plant hormone boost. Plant hormones then get to work on our hormonal balance, they can either top the body with hormones if we don’t have enough or calm it down if we have too much. If we were in any doubt that we need plant hormones, scientists have recently discovered that we have special plant hormone receptors in our cells just looking for them.[iii]
There is also scientific evidence that sprouted foods can help rid our body of polluting chemicals and turn harsher oestrogens into more gentle ones. The biggest bonus is that these foods have such a rich bounty of plant hormones and other nutrients that we only have to eat a small amount to get a big effect.
Much of the research I have done isn’t in the public domain, yet I found over 400 scientific. The reason there is so much research is that scientists are very interested in the potential of sprouted foods, they test them and dissect them, and measure their contents and isolate them so they can be put into supplements and drugs and sold to us as an alternative to HRT. They never say that we can cut out the middle man and grow them ourselves on our windowsills. It just takes a couple of minutes a day to water them. Yet this simple act challenges the menopause industry on many different levels.
I also looked into the way plant hormones react with cancer and cancer treatments. Many women who are at risk of hormone dependent cancer think that plant hormones just add more oestrogen to the body. Yet there is tons of research how, plant hormones eaten as part of a healthy diet, rather than pills, or supplements, are perfect for everyone, even those who have had cancer.
It’s time to challenge the menopause industry and the way we think about menopause that also offers practical solutions for menopausal women everywhere to return to the natural health that should be our birthright.
Grow Your Own HRT by Sally J Duffell (Findhorn Press)
[i] Neal-Perry G, Nejat E and Dicken C. The neuroendocrine physiology of female reproductive aging: An update. Maturitas. 2010
[ii] Craig ZR, Wang W and Flaws JA. Endocrine-disrupting chemicals in ovarian function: effects on steroidogenesis, metabolism and nuclear receptor signalling. Reproduction. 2011
[iii] Kojima H, Takeda Y, Muromoto R, et al. Isoflavones enhance interleukin-17 gene expression via retinoic acid receptor-related orphan receptors. Toxicology. 2015
About the author
Sally J. Duffell is the author of Grow Your Own HRT: Sprout hormone-rich greens in only two minutes a day. She has been growing, teaching and writing about bean sprouting for many years. She extensively researched the scientific proof behind their rich bounty of plant hormones, their effects on menopause symptoms and the diseases of ageing. She lives in Hastings, UK. http://www.sallyholloway.