Featured Articles

January 2021

Diet & Mental Health: Why Do We Crave Foods?

Watch part 2 of 3 in the series to learn what the standard American diet does to our bodies and why we crave certain foods: https://youtu.be/WjwrA4pvD8Y
 

To read the Havard Health article referenced during the discussion, click HERE.

Follow Lori by joining her Facebook group with almost 14,000 members: Plant-Based Weight Loss & Vibrant Health with Lori DePietro-Standen.


With almost 20 years of experience in the health and wellness field, Lori DePietro-Standen specializes in helping her clients to achieve true and lasting transformation through diet and mindset work. She personally lost 60 pounds and recovered from debilitating, chronic illness 13 years ago through adopting a whole foods, plant-based diet. Using that experience as well as her personal issues surrounding an eating disorder and long-term depression, she began studying nutrition and thought pattern changes. After much education and research, she created The PlantPower Revolution – a comprehensive, physician-approved program. She’s now helped thousands of people transform their diets and move forward on their journeys to wellness.

A 51 year-old mother of three, Lori resides in Vermilion, Ohio with her husband, Executive Chef Jon Standen, her teenage son, their rescue dog and two beloved potbelly pigs.

December 2020

Self-Compassion

Mat Hargett

Self-compassion.

When I first heard this term, I had to look it up. From Wikipedia:

Self-compassion is extending compassion to one’s self in instances of perceived inadequacy, failure, or general suffering.

This definition is the exact opposite of what I used to do: blame others, ignore my pain, or cover it up with anger by beating myself up verbally, and believe it or not, physically. Most of the time, I got mad at myself. When I was younger, if I lost a basketball game, I would either workout immediately after a loss or train the next day while wearing ankle weights…like somehow that would make me feel better.

And then there was the negative self-talk: “I am so stupid!” or “What’s wrong with me?”

Is that how I would treat my best friend after they made a mistake?  I hope not!

When I did these things, I was judging myself.  We should not judge anyone – including ourselves.  By judging myself, I was slowly chipping away at my self-worth. And as Kristen Neff explains in this newsletter’s video, this self-judgment can actually lead to depression. Likely, decades of self-criticism led to my depression five years ago.

What I have also very recently learned is that it is ok to experience those negative feelings and emotions. But balancing them with self-compassion allows us to reflect better on the situation instead of allowing the negative emotions to take-over and the berating ourselves.

This ability to reflect arose only after showing myself compassion. It has helped me understand myself better and become a better person.

Given the tumultuous year we have had, there are probably many things each of us would have done differently. But there is another insight of self-compassion according to Dr. Kristen Neff, when we practice it, we recognize that failures are a shared human experience. In other words, no one is perfect, not even ourselves.

So, the next time you make a mistake, treat yourself like you would treat a friend – with kindness and encouragement.

Kristen Neff's TEDx Talk on Self-Compassion

Yi: I know self-esteem has a great impact on emotional and mental health, but Kristin Neff pointed out how self-esteem related to self compassion, which I never thought about. Great and insightful talk!

Makia: The cycle of self-criticism makes you both “the attacker and the attacked.” I can definitely relate to this. What I found most interesting about Kristin Neff’s talk was that self-compassion is not buying into an idea of false positivity but acknowledging things as they are. I had asked my friends on FaceBook a week ago how they define and practice self-compassion. One of the folks said they do this by “allowing myself [themselves] to recognize when things suck and being ok with not being ok with it.” This respondent admitted that is something they still find difficult. Another respondent answered that they have a difficult time forgiving themselves. I can relate to both of these. One of the things that I found helpful is Kristin Neff’s practice of taking a self-compassion break (I found a link to this brief practice online: https://self-compassion.org/exercise-2-self-compassion-break/ ). 

There is a belief that you are expected to be compassionate toward others but being compassionate toward yourself is weird or selfish. Practicing self-compassion isn’t selfish and it allows you to be able to give more to others. 

Mat: I probably thought that beating myself up after a failure was a way to motivate myself. When in fact, it demotivates. Furthermore, self-criticism (self-judgment) can negatively impact our mental health. More on my personal experience in my article in this newsletter.

November 2020

Connection & Community

Mat Hargett

Our last newsletter focused on self-care. One of the six core areas of self-care is relationship or social health. With the holidays fast approaching, we could not think of a better theme for this newsletter. But isolation caused by COVID-19 has made things a little trickier to say the least. On top of it, we just finished one of the most polarizing elections in our country's history.

Therefore, we have included various ideas and resources to promote Connection & Community throughout the newsletter — even the recipe screams "Community!"

As a divorced father without my own place to live, connection and community was especially difficult for me. By using many of these ideas in this newsletter, I felt more connected to my children and, by their responses, so did they.

We hope you enjoy our third edition. If so, please share it with others and provide us with your feedback so that we can continue to improve and bring you value. We would be grateful. If you prefer to contact me directly: MathewHargett@gmail.com.

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

October 2020

What Is the Greatest Challenge We Face?

4 Steps for Enhancing Mental Health in the Second Wave

Dr. Ted Sun

Everywhere you turn, news about the pandemic and fears over physical health dominate the media. But what about the mental health of people? Over three weeks in July and August, Transcontinental University conducted a study that explored the greatest challenge people face. The study found that people faced mental health challenges more than physical concerns. The mental health challenges included anxiety, uncertainty, and even depression.  Not too far behind were concerns about the government, everything from ethics in the election to lack of leadership with the pandemic.

Pie chart showing the greatest challenges people face. Mental health is the largest section at 29%

The Greatest Challenges People Face

Source: Transcontinental University, Dublin Ohio. August 10, 2020

To tackle the challenge of mental health Dr. Ted Sun a renowned organizational psychologist, sees emotional intelligence as the primary weapon to heal the mental health of our community. He has the following recommendations for organizational leaders:

  1. Self-Awareness: Take time to reflect on your own emotions daily. Ask yourself—how am I feeling? What is the emotion? Learning to be aware of one’s emotions can help with making wise decisions. This can be done during specific times of the day. Some examples:
    • When waking up in the morning
    • When a meeting is about to start and when it’s finished
    • When something major happens
       
  2. Emotional Recognition: Have weekly meetings for teams to share their emotions in a safe environment. One practical tool is called WIFLE – What I Feel Like Expressing. Within this activity, everyone gets to share their emotion with concise words. This helps people develop their emotional expression skills as well as allow leaders to see how people are feeling before getting into business tasks and projects. In some situations, a wise choice is to help team members work through an emotion, instead of talking to people about tasks/responsibilities when they are not mentally present. The WIFLE activity also shows a great deal of care for employees when done correctly.
     
  3. Gratitude: Focus on something positive and share that appreciation for what we have. We need this more than ever, as the media is filled with negative news about the pandemic, social injustice, and election problems. This can be a practical goal for every person daily:
    • Wake up, look in the mirror, and say “I love myself.” See all the triumphs that you have achieved.
    • See something positive in at least 2 people during the day and tell them what you see to appreciate them. Often, it is the little actions that make a world of difference.
    • At the end of the day, ask yourself, how did I appreciate someone today? How can I do it better tomorrow?
       
  4. Positive Action: Plan and make a commitment to one positive action each day that impacts another in a positive way. Achievement is something that we all need to build healthy self-esteem and confidence. In our everyday language, many people use the word “try.” When we work with executives, integrity is always at the top of the list of how we want people to see us. The word “try” tells people that you will do something until it gets too hard then stop and say you have tried. This word diminishes integrity. To build your own confidence, always speak to people in terms of a timeline and specific deliverables. This way, you are communicating with more clarity and hold yourself accountable to specific results. Of course, when you make a commitment, write it down in your personal task list. When you check that item off after completing it, you will get a sense of accomplishment. This small positive energy is a spark within your brain. The more often you do this, the more confident you become, and people will see you as someone with integrity. This is something that we all want.

In the current challenging times, a few individual actions that drive positive emotions can have a huge impact on one’s mental health. As social creatures, we need social bonds that are positive. The wording of social distancing is one of the many negatives that harm one’s mental wellbeing. While practicing physical distancing, working to further your relationships within your social system is what the human brain needs to be healthy. Take daily action to make a difference in your life and those around you.


Dr.² Ted Sun is the president and founder at Transcontinental University, Located in Dublin, Ohio. With two terminal degrees (one in business and another in psychology), he is a respected author, speaker, consultant, mentor, and international professor.

Transcontinental University is a private non-profit university offering graduate programs that empower working executives to solve organizational problems while learning new knowledge and developing new skills necessary for this challenging environment. It is the most practical education in the world and the only one with a guarantee for results. Explore tcuniversity.mba

Treat Yourself Like It’s Your Job

Mat Hargett

Welcome to our second newsletter! Our theme centers around self-care. So what is self-care and why is it important?

I personally like Active Minds’ definition of Self-Care:

"Self-care is important to maintaining a healthy relationship with yourself. It means doing things to take care of our minds, bodies, and souls by engaging in activities that promote well-being and reduce stress. Doing so enhances our ability to live fully, vibrantly, and effectively. The practice of self-care also reminds both you and others that your needs are valid and a priority."

You need to put your overall health first before anything else. I know this sounds selfish, but self-care has to be your number one priority. The reason: You cannot be effective in anything you do unless you are of healthy mind, body, and spirit. As an extreme example, how effective would you be as a supportive family member, friend, or coworker while lying in a hospital bed?

Are you taking care of yourself?

Unfortunately for me, I did not. I never had a self-care plan. About five years ago, I woke-up one morning and could not and did not want to get out of bed. I had depression. I angrily willed myself out of bed and then blamed everyone else for my depression and anxiety for years - day after day after day.

Then, one day I stopped blaming others and decided to take ownership of my life and do something. The first thing I did was to decide to treat myself and my life as importantly as I treated my previous jobs.

It seems so simple, but I think many of us treat our jobs more seriously than ourselves. At work, we set goals then create schedules and detailed action plans to achieve those goals.

Why not do the same for ourselves?

I started by looking at the key areas of health in my life: Physical, Emotional, Intellectual, Spiritual, Relationships, and Financial.

Six types of health making up self-care including Physical, Emotional, Spiritual, Financial, Relationships, Intellectual, and Physical health.

Again, are you taking care of yourself and your health in all areas?

Starting with the next newsletter, we will begin addressing each area of self-care. So stick with us, and we will help you develop a self-care plan to live a life of peace, hope, and happiness.

September 2020

COVID 19 and the Chance to Change our Mental/Emotional Health

 

 

How are you feeling? 1

 

If a doctor asked you this question and you weren’t feeling well, you could rattle off a list of symptoms - fever, cough, headache. If someone was checking instead on your emotional state, how easily could you meaningfully answer? We often give glib responses like “Fine” or “Livin’ the dream.” Yet many of us in this moment don’t feel fine. More accurately, mental and emotional health has been a silent struggle in this country for years. Consider these recent, pre-pandemic stats:

 

  • Over the last two decades, there has been a 28% increase in the U.S. suicide rate. 
  • According to the 2019 World Happiness Report, negative feelings, including worry, sadness, and anger, have been rising around the world, up by 27% from 2010 to 2018.
  • More than half of college students experience overwhelming anxiety, and a third report intense depression. 

 

Perhaps you can relate to one or more of those stats?

 

When life is hard, we can sometimes be reluctant to take a deeper look inside. Maybe we tell ourselves we don’t have the time and that we’ll take a look when things are better. Our emotions become like a desk drawer where everything gets crammed and nothing is organized. The drawer is full of things that we don’t use or forget about, and if we do need something, it’s hard to find.

 

Do you ever “stuff” your emotions? In what circumstances and why?

 

There are a lot of reasons emotions are suppressed, ranging from earliest childhood to present circumstances. In this article, we will focus on one: many of us have never learned how to relate to the full spectrum of our emotions in a healthy way. We don’t know what emotions are, what they are for, why they show up or why they don’t leave. Emotions can make us feel vulnerable or judged. They can be messy and surge up at inconvenient times; they can be compulsive and even addictive. So we spend a lot of energy hiding, ignoring or numbing our emotions. Denial works for a while, but eventually our emotions catch up. During the COVID-19 lockdown, a whole lot of people have had a whole lot of emotions catch up with them all at once. Here are some statistics released since the start of the pandemic:  

 

  • Nearly 41% of adults reported struggling with mental health issues or turning to substances to cope with the stresses brought on by COVID-19, according to a recent CDC report.
  • 55% of COVID-19 survivors presented a clinical score for at least one mental disorder.
  • 74.9 percent of 18 to 24 years old reported at least one mental health issue.

 

So, to ask again: How are you really feeling? 

 

COVID has thrown light on systemic problems in both our society and personal lives that have always been there but we chose to ignore. The pandemic is a chance to choose real connection with and life-giving expression of our emotions. Emotions can be powerful messengers about what truly matters to us. They can make us feel alive, connected, and motivated to change the world. Reflect for a moment:

 

What would real change look like in your world? And what would it feel like?

 

For 30 years, the positive psychology movement and neuroscience have been pointing out that we can change our brain and our emotions for the better. Marc Brackett, PhD and director of the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence, says: “If we can learn to identify, express, and harness our feelings, even the most challenging ones, we can use those emotions to help us create positive satisfying lives1.” This is a process of course, and like organizing that desk drawer, it will take some attention and ongoing effort. But we can change and doing so is well worth it.

 

At Can’t Stop Columbus, we are committed to connecting you with both community resources and individual steps you can take to improve your mental/emotional health. We are here for you on your journey, no matter what it looks like in this moment. 

 

Here are some first, actionable steps: 

  1. Take some time to reflect on and answer the questions in this article. Better yet, start a journal of your answers you can come back to and review next newsletter on 9/16/20.
  2. Check out the other articles in this newsletter. If you like what you see, visit our ever evolving website and subscribe to our newsletter. 
  3. Connect with us to offer feedback on how we can serve you or how you can join our mission to serve others. 

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