Monthly Archives :

April 2017

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Is your subconscious mind controlling your life?

How we live—how we are—often depends, in large part, on our past experiences and the implicit memories they’ve created. These memories dwell not in the conscious mind, but just beneath, in the shadows. They influence everything we do.

Growing up, we developed beliefs and attitudes about ourselves, others, the world, and the “right” ways to do things. Family, religion, school, culture, and experiences contributed to these mindsets. This information, stored in the subconscious, may shape our perceptions and guide our behavior.

Implicit memory has value: it allows us to ride a bicycle, tie our shoes, and know the words to our favorite songs without needing to re-remember each time we perform these tasks.

But subconscious memories can have negative effects, too. They may lead us to act in ways we don’t understand. They may cause anger or depression.

HOW IMPLICIT MEMORY WORKS

Implicit memories are hugely influential in making you “you.” They largely determine your personality, behaviors, and relationship, social, and emotional styles.

Imagine viewing the world through colored glasses without realizing you’re wearing them. You would believe the world is green, or blue, or gray, because it’s what you’ve always known. In the same manner, subconscious memories and beliefs can tint every experience you have. They may shape your experiences and interactions to your detriment.

All is not lost, however. You can remove the glasses.

When an implicit memory rises to the surface, we feel emotions, often in our bodies: a tightness in the throat, or a heaviness in the pit of the stomach. Cueing into these sensations can help us to change unwanted patterns and avoid poor choices and behaviors.

You can take control of your life by becoming aware of your thought patterns and core beliefs, especially recurrent ones. Notice which ones support you and which hold you back.

TAKING CONSCIOUS CONTROL

Once you are aware of limiting beliefs, you can consciously choose to challenge and change them. This articlelists five steps:

  1. Identify your core subconscious beliefs by taking an honest look at your predominant patterns.
  2. Identify the perceived purposes or positive intentions of the beliefs underlying these patterns.
  3. Feel and release emotions related to these beliefs.
  4. Identify ways to meet the positive intentions.
  5. Identify healthier beliefs and actions, and practice them, instead.

“In each of us there is another whom we do not know,” the noted psychologist Carl Jung said. Putting it another way, the rock band Pink Floyd sang, “There’s someone in my head, but it’s not me.” Is it time to truly get to know ourselves for fuller, happier, healthier lives?

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These people are the future of health care

Want to know what the “next big thing” is? Ask a member of Generation Z—and they’ll Google it.

The first generation born into a wired world, today’s tech-savvy teens are tomorrow’s connected consumers, promising a future in which nearly everything is virtual, and virtually everything is possible.

Also known as “iGen,” Generation Z’ers comprise everyone under 18 today. These “digital natives” not only shop and play via devices and social networks, they also think, socialize, behave, and create tech-centrically. Technology doesn’t just augment their world; it is their world.

According to research, Generation Z:

• Uses social media (81 percent); • Spends 6 to 10 hours a day on their mobile devices; • Multi-tasks across five screens, including smartphones (15.4 hours per week), TV (13.2) and laptops (10.6), and • Uses the internet for research (85 percent).

Studies also show that Z’s, the most populous generation in history, soon will hold enormous economic clout, making up 40 percent of consumers by 2020.

What do they spend their money on? You guessed it: technology.

Health care lags behind

As businesses scramble to position themselves for iGen’s business, the medical profession may be woefully unprepared to meet their demands.

According to the HIPAA Journal, the healthcare industry lags behind every other industry sector in adopting new technologies. Although perhaps not surprising in a field that is notoriously slow to change, this reluctance to embrace the new may mean losing customers, or even lives.

“Hyperconnectivity changes behavior,” says Thomas Koulopoulos, author of “The Gen Z Effect.” As a result, Gen Z is also, among other things, more mature and “in control” than past generations; expects instant gratification, and is more health-conscious—although, being more sedentary, is not necessarily more fit.

In this new paradigm, the old models will no longer work. Waiting rooms are being replaced by virtual, on-demand office visits; apps, wearables, and software now help their users monitor, track, and improve their health; proactive holistic care (“Wholicity”) is taking the place of reactive, body-focused treatment. Individuals, aided by technology, hold the information and the power, transformed from passive “patients” into informed customers.

Far from waiting for today’s youth to come of age, the change is already underway. Gen Z, Koulopoulos says, reflects not only a birthdate, but also a mindset. It’s a club open to all who embrace new technologies—a number that is rapidly growing in all walks of life, and among every generation. Will healthcare providers lead the way, or be left out in the cold?

Sherry Jones is a freelance writer and editor specializing in new technologies, cybersecurity, science, and health. Find her on LinkedIn here.

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5 health-care trends to watch

Health care development is not just about new drugs and cutting-edge surgical procedures. Technology is changing everything, including “health-seeker” expectations.

As medical costs rise, many are asking why the health care system does not keep them healthy. In turn, providers and other stakeholders must begin to consider not just “health care,” but also “wellness.”

Entrepreneurs, innovators, physicians, data scientists, medical insurance providers, and other experts in a variety of fields are eyeing this mindset shift. The health care system, they say, is set for a radical transformation. Here are some trends to watch in the coming decade:

1. A glut of patients

Baby boomers are now senior citizens. Medical advances, improved access to health care, and better patient awareness have lengthened the average life span. Longer lives means more health seekers.

As a result, physicians will feel more pressure on their time and energy. Hospitals will feel more pressure on their resources. Getting an appointment will be more difficult for patients, and waiting-room times may lengthen. Employers and insurance providers will see more claims.

2. Demand for preventive care 

Missed days at work. High premiums. Expensive hospital stays. Lower quality of life: being sick is costly and cumbersome. Yet our current system focuses solely on treating illness.

Soon, health seekers will question the relevance and sustainability of our “sickness-based” system. They will demand that health care providers shift their focus to preventing illness.

In response, providers must shift their attitudes. Tomorrow’s health-care consumers will expect providers to engage more. They will want doctors to teach them how to prevent diseases and manage chronic conditions, to spot early warning signs of disease, and how to modify their behaviors for optimal health.

They will also expect providers to track patient progress and adjust medications as they go along, when needed.

3. A health tech explosion 

Technology will have a profound affect on health care amid rapid progress in mobile communications, data analytics, and infrastructure. Different technologies will integrate and synthesize to enable seamless, holistic care.

Data gleaned from wearables and other devices and faster computers will provide physicians with more information about their patients. This data will help them better identify health risks and early warning signs.

4. Value-based insurance 

Our current fee-for-service model provides payment for all services providers deliver, including repeat laboratory tests, duplicate diagnostic procedures, and unnecessary surgeries that do not improve patient outcomes.

But in the future, insurers will pay providers only for evidence-based services that improve the patient’s health in a cost-effective manner. For instance, insurers may not reimburse the cost of a surgery to manage pain if the patient has not tried physical therapy.

The value-based model will force providers to improve quality of care, deliver their services at equal or lower cost, and put the needs of patients first.

5. Changes in caregiver roles 

Health providers will expand their primary care delivery teams and bring in specialist support staff to take over some of the physician’s duties.

Medical intervention by a clinical aide is said to resolve 74 percent of non-acute pediatric complications and 62 percent of walk-in pediatric cases without a physician visit. For those with heart failure, management by a clinical aide after discharge greatly reduces readmission rates.

Nutritionists, mental health therapists and behavioral counselors, quit-smoking coaches, physical and occupational therapists, and physiotherapists can be integral parts of this extended primary-care team.

These trends are already forming on the horizon. As they take shape, the health care system will transform gradually to empower health seekers, help providers better serve them, and reduce costs for insurers and employers. Now, that’s a “win-win-win.”

–Yasmin Ali

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For financial security, do this.

Financial security isn’t about making or having a certain amount of money. We’ve all seen the attention-grabbing headlines about mega-popular performers, superstar athletes, and multi-million-dollar lottery winners who end up in bankruptcy court and financial ruin.

Financial security is about habits and feelings. It’s about planning, decision making, and achieving peace of mind—no matter what your income level. It’s about having enough money to cover your living expenses plus a cushion for emergencies and the future.

What Financial Security Looks Like

Financial security includes these basics:

  1. Having low debt

Unless you’re independently wealthy, you’re going to carry debt. However, you want to strive to have a reasonable amount, relative to your income, for necessary items. Going into debt for a mortgage, transportation, or education is usually OK. However, racking up big monthly payments for an extravagant sports car, an exotic vacation or a pair of crazy-expensive designer shoes probably isn’t smart. When you have to work just to pay the bills, you don’t have much peace of mind.

  1. Being in control of your expenses

“In control” means spending less money than you earn and saving a percentage of the rest. It may require moving to a less expensive neighborhood, driving the old dented car that’s paid for, or giving up the daily Starbucks latte.

  1. Increasing your savings/assets/net worth every month

People commonly live from paycheck to paycheck, and have little to show for their hard work. A car breakdown, medical crisis, or other financial emergency could leave them destitute. When you can save a little every month and watch your account balances grow, you’re on your way to financial security.

  1. Not doing work you dislike just to pay the bills 

If you control your debt and expenses and increase your savings every month, you can gain the freedom to find work you enjoy. Money may not buy happiness, but in this case, it helps.

Three steps to financial security

According to Kiplinger, taking these steps will help achieve financial security:

Save For a Rainy Day Your “rainy day” can be a new-to-you reliable car or a vacation in Hawaii. Pay yourself first and contribute to your rainy-day fund every month. Set up automatic deductions from your paycheck to a savings account so you aren’t tempted to spend the cash elsewhere.

Be Prepared for an EmergencyEmergencies are a normal part of life, and  can get derail even the best financial plan. Inevitably, the computer you need to use every day breaks down, or the air conditioner conks out during a heat wave. Prepare for emergencies by having:

  • An emergency fund
  • Health insurance
  • Car insurance
  • Homeowner’s or rental insurance
  • Life insurance (if you have children)

Invest for retirement The earlier you begin investing for retirement, the easier it will be to turn even small amounts of money into substantial savings down the road. Invest in accounts with tax benefits such as a Roth IRA or 401k.

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This is what Wholistic care feels like

Creating a ‘user experience’ 

Imagine stepping into your chiropractor’s office and being greeted by name and a big smile. You take a seat in a comfy chair in a cheerful waiting room stocked with fruit juices and fresh coffee. Relaxing music floats through the room; in a corner, children play with toys and games. After an unhurried session, you may head into a massage or yoga class. When you leave, you feel as relaxed as if you had spent the day in a spa. That’s true Wholistic care, coming soon to a clinic or hospital near you.

Increasingly in health care, the total patient experience is nearly as important as—and even central to—diagnosis and treatment. Drab, noisy, garishly-lighted clinics and the much-hated back-slit paper gownsoon will be a distant memory, as health care reinvents itself and individuals move from being passive patients to engaged, informed—demanding—customers.

Technology changes everything

Technology has much to do with this shift. Online reviews inform health seekers of their options, steering them toward the most highly-rated providers and facilities. Competing for patients means physicians and clinics strive to provide a pleasant experience for their customers. The expectations of millenials and Generation Z—who demand instant gratification and control over their care—mean the shift from physician-focused to patient-centered is here to stay.

Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore offers rooftop gardens, views of the Chesapeake Bay, lobbies designed for beauty and comfort, and artwork. Several times a year, patients in the children’s wing see Spiderman, Batman, Superman, and other superheroes washing their windows—turning what can be a scary place for kids into a more positive experience.

In Chicago, Rush University Medical Centersound-proofed its rooms and reoriented them so that each offers a city view. These changes not only boost morale, but also benefit patient outcomes: nurses now spend 50 percent more time in patient rooms than before.

Our ‘Wholistic’ experience

Why the Health Not?™, too, recognizes the importance of Wholistic care that provides a total patient experience. Our products and services focus not just on one aspect of each health seeker, such as physical wellness, but on the whole customer, as outlined in our six pillars: physical, intellectual, financial, spiritual, social, and emotional health.

And as the digital revolution transforms healthcare, Why the Health Not?™ is leading the way. Our Health Oriented Pairing Engine app (HOPE) compiles and presents each customer’s data in easy-to-use visuals; connects providers and health seekers online, helps individuals set and track health and wellness goals; provides educational resources, and more.

We strive to make health and wellness a complete user experience for the health seeker as well as the health-services provider. Wholistic, connected care is not just the wave of the future: it’s a game-changing tsunami. Come and ride with us!

Sherry Jones

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How—and why—employee engagement works

Some employees go to work wishing they were somewhere else. They sleepwalk through their tasks, wishing they were doing something else.

Others go to work with a spring in their step. They tackle every task with gusto. They take pride in what they do. These employees “engage” with their work, and are driven to succeed.

As an employer, of course, you want enthusiasm in your workers, not detachment. But here’s a secret: employee engagement starts with you.

Inspiring engagement at work takes empathy, foresight, and strategic planning on your part. The good news is this: the payoff of having engaged employees is much greater than the investment you must make.

Why engagement matters

Engaged employees are more productive, enthusiastic, and passionate about their work than those who sign up just for the paycheck. Their habits and attitudes help employers in myriad ways:

  1. Increased engagement = increased productivity.

Engaged employees care about what they do, and take pride in their work.

An engaged employee feels connected to his company and espouses its cause. He wants to excel in his job because he believes it is valuable and is helping him grow as a person. This belief makes him passionate about and focused on his work. He is eager to learn more and improve his skills. A continuous drive to excel improves productivity.

  1. Engaged employees are more creative.

Because engaged employees focus on their work, they tend to have more creative ideas for solving problems and streamline processes.

They keep abreast of the ideas and developments shaping their industry, mingle with other creative people, and takw time to reflect on their work.

Engaged employees are the creative geniuses, innovators, and problem-solvers of an organization.

  1. Their positivity is contagious. 

The enthusiasm that engaged employees bring to their work rub off on others. Engaged employees, brimming with ideas, draw people in, spark conversations, and ignite passion.

  1. They become brand ambassadors. 

There’s nothing like a happy employee to spread the good word about you and your company. You thus attract high-caliber talent without spending more on advertising.

  1. They stay with you for longer periods.

Engaged employees feel connected to their company’s cause. They think that, by staying, they will have more opportunities to progress, prosper, and make a difference.

The Key to Employee Engagement

An engaged workforce makes your company 51 percent more productive, earns more for your shareholders, and increases your operating income by 19 percent per year.

One key eemployee engagement factor: worker wellness. The more energy and vitality your employees have, the better they will be able to perform to their fullest potential.

Employee obesity, for instance, a harbinger of sundry chronic medical conditions, costs employers $45 billion a year in health costs and productivity, according to a report by BlueCross BlueShield. Likewise, each worker who smokes costs their employer $3,400 a year.

The benefits of wellness are well-documented and well-publicized. From chronic medical conditions to behavioral disorders, most health woes in the U.S. stem from lifestyle choices. In 2016, more than two-thirds of U.S. employers offered preventive health and wellness programs.

Employees like wellness programs. About two in three say they are keen to take part in corporate wellness programs, and 20 percent don’t mind paying. Eighty-eight percent say access to health and wellness programs are a critical criterion for choosing an employer.

By offering wellness programs such as the HOPE platform, you tell employees and job seekers that you care about their well-being and helping them to fulfill their highest potential. This is a powerful message: people want to grow professionally, personally, spiritually, and emotionally. How delightful if they can nurture mind, body, and spirit at work.

Feeling cared for, employees will return the sentiment. The result: employee engagement. Feeling at one with you and your cause, they’ll be more likely to strive to make your dreams come true.

–Yasmin Ali

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To reach your full potential, develop this.

To be the best we can be, we all need to exercise–not just our physical muscles, but our mental ones, as well. “Mental strength,” however, doesn’t mean what you probably think it does.

Being mentally strong doesn’t mean excelling at brain games, or being able to write philosophical treatises or calculate complex mathematical formulas. Mental strength means thinking—and feeling—before you act. To be mentally strong is to be aware of your thoughts and emotions—the clues to your real motivations and intentions—and work with them to consciously choose your actions.

Mindfulness, paying attention to what is happening as it’s happening, is a core component. Mental strength is being aware in the moment, and responding rather than reacting. It’s taking responsibility for your attitudes and actions rather than saying, “I can’t help the way I feel,” or “This is just the way I am.”

What mental strength is not

The stereotypes regarding mentally strong people—cold, bossy, aggressive, and refusing to ask for help—are wrong. According to Amy Morin’s book, 13 Things Mentally Strong People Don’t Do:

Being mentally strong isn’t about acting tough. It’s about acting in accordance with your values and goals.

It doesn’t mean that you ignore your emotions. Instead, it requires an awareness and understanding of your emotions, and an openness to letting them influence your thoughts and behaviors.

It isn’t about ignoring pain—physical or emotional. It’s about determining the source of your pain and deciding when to honor it, and when to forge through it.

Mental strength doesn’t require complete self-reliance. Mentally strong people admit that they don’t have all the answers or skills, know when to ask for help, and are willing to learn and grow.

Being mentally strong is not about positive thinking. Being too positive can be just as bad as being too negative. Mental strength requires thinking realistically and rationally, and being open to new ideas.

Developing mental strength isn’t about chasing happiness. While strengthening your mental muscle can help you achieve more satisfaction and success, mental strength doesn’t make us happy. Being the best you can be is the goal.

Mental strength isn’t mental health. Chronic physical conditions such as diabetes do not preclude good physical health. Likewise, having depression, anxiety or other mental challenges does not mean we can’t be mentally strong.

How to get mentally strong

Just as you can strengthen your muscles. you can boost your mental strength with exercise. If you practice, pay attention, and focus, your brain will “rewire” itself so that strong and healthy become the default.

Taking a single cardio class once in a while isn’t going to do much to help you get in shape. However, working out three times a week for six months will produce major results. If you practice every day over time to build mental muscle, you will see positive outcomes.

The benefits of mental strength

It’s easy to feel tough enough when life is humming along. But when problems arise, being mentally strong will help you to deal with them. Benefits, according to Morin, include:

Increased resilience to stress – You’ll handle everyday situations better, not just crises, and reduce overall stress.
Improved life satisfaction – As mental strength increases, confidence and peace of mind go up, too.
Enhanced performance – Whether you want to be a better athlete, parent, partner, or worker, increasing your mental strength will help you reach your potential.