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Depression

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Amy Sky talks music and hope: ‘We like to be each other’s cheerleaders’

By Cece M. Scott Amy Sky has a knack for being where the action is. Her talent for singing and songwriting was recognized early and she has collaborated with some of music’s biggest names, including international artists such as Olivia Newton-John and Ann Wilson of Heart, and fellow Canadians Anne Murray and Ronnie Hawkins. She is also a dramatic actress with a flair for difficult roles. Amy Sky is also a humanitarian whose success has been matched by her fair share of tough times. She has experienced grief and depression and is a passionate advocate for mental health and continues to champion that cause in everyday lives. It’s a combination we can all learn from. “Music is the portal to spirituality for me,” she says. The next episode of Creative Aging Books & Ideas hosts Amy Sky on February 23, at 2 p.m. EST. During the show, Amy will discuss

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Mind

Mental Health and Artificial Intelligence

It seems Artificial Intelligence (AI) is finding uses across every aspect of life these days. And it is. Now, AI is being applied to mental health across all ages. In Canada, by age 40, according to the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA), 50% of people will have had a mental illness. Depression affects 5% of the population and around 4.6% of Canadians suffer from an anxiety disorder. The pandemic hasn’t helped. One of the challenges of the pandemic was being able to connect with a psychiatrist or psychologist as well. Many people rely on their employer-based benefits or bear the personal cost of private services. Canadians spend an estimated $950 million a year on psychologists in private practice. About 30% of this is paid out-of-pocket while the remainder is paid through employment-based private health insurance plans. Now, some technology companies are seeing some degree of success using AI to help

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Health

Celiac Disease and Mental Health

Celiac disease is major public health problem worldwide. It’s an autoimmune condition that affects 1 in 100 people. However, most people with celiac disease don’t fully understand it, or even realise they have it! New research on the condition is emerging left, right, and centre. Scientists are working hard to learn what causes celiac disease, how best to diagnose it, and which mental and physical health consequences can arise if it isn’t managed appropriately. Before we get onto discussing some of the mental health challenges that celiac disease can provoke, first, let’s consider whosuch challenges apply to. In other words, who is classified as “celiac”? Many people claim to be gluten intolerant. However, this is very different to having an autoimmune reaction to gluten. One of the major differences is that the long-term health consequences of consuming gluten can be much more severe if you are celiac. Considerably more women

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Resonance

Out of the shadows: PTSD and me

After World War II, when the troops – the lucky ones — returned home, they settled in as quickly as they could to their new and relatively stable lives. Not all had seen combat, but those who had would bear the scars for the rest of their lives. I knew a man who as a teenager had served in Italy, fighting house to house, eyeball to eyeball, for months on end. For the rest of his life he took walks alone in the woods, feeling one with nature and screaming to relieve the pain he carried from those early years. Some of those who missed direct combat had seen some terrible things. A friend was telling me about his father who was a translator, never closer than five miles from the front. Part of the job was stacking bodies at the end of the day. Women served as well men.

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Mind

How to reduce worrying

If you are stressed out, you are not alone. Studies show that more than 75% of people feel anxious, depressed, stressed or overwhelmed on a daily basis. Stressful situations happen all the time. For most, these situations are unavoidable, like losing a loved one, getting in a car accident or preparing for a job interview. Stress is a part of life. From the moment we wake up until we go to bed, our minds are racing with stressful thoughts, worries and concerns. “What if this happens? What if that happens? What will I do?” But it is not the situations that happen in our lives that cause us stress, it is how we mentally and emotionally respond. While some stress in our lives can be valuable—the fight or flight response is ideal if we need to outrun a bear or swerve last minute to avoid an accident—excessive, chronic and pro- longed

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Mind

How to curb your anxiety

The feeling of excessive worry, negative thoughts, and fear are all common in people. But too much of these kinds of thoughts could be affecting your well-being. Give your mind a break with these stress-busting tips. Stress is a common, natural response to daily life circumstances. However, when symptoms start reoccurring and get difficult to control, anxiety might be creeping in. Anxiety is a feeling of nervousness, worry or fear about a situation and/or event that can cause many emotional and physical symptoms to occur. However, if it becomes debilitating and interfering with daily life, therein lies the problem. The feeling of panic, excessive worrying, negative thoughts, inability to concentrate, catastrophizing, accelerated heart rate, and lightheadedness are just some of the symptoms that could be hijacking your well-being. It’s an evolutionary response to fear, one that can consume your mind and tackle your body, bringing you on a downward spiral. According to the National

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Mind

10 Ways to fight the winter blues

Over the Christmas holidays and into New Years, the fresh snow and cooler air can be exhilarating…and then January kicks in, followed by February and March. In some parts of Northern Canada, winter lingers into late May and early June. Cold days and long nights. It can all be a bit overwhelming. So! We put together a list of 10 things you can do to fight the winter blues! 10 Ways to fight the winter blues Eat foods with warm spices: Cinnamon, nutmeg, turmeric, cumin. All great spices that can be used in a variety of recipes, like roasted butternut squash with a bit of cinnamon and nutmeg….mmmm! Try something new: Always wanted to try indoor climbing? Do it! What have you always wanted to try but haven’t? Now’s the time! Get frisky! Grab your spouse or partner and get cozy under the sheets! It’s called the afterglow from sex

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Longevity

4 herbal teas for healing

These four delicious teas are loaded with antioxidants and can help fight insomnia, digestive issues, stomach pain and more. Gone are the days of quick-fix health gimmicks, like believing one magic pill will make you drop 10 pounds or that doing a juice cleanse will solve all your problems. It turns out that women are ditching quick fixes and are becoming more aware of the health choices they make. The Attitudes Toward Healthy Eating 2017/ITC study found that 45% of Canadians are interested in trying the latest foods that claim to boost health, like chia seeds and kale. It seems that the most recent trend is figuring out how to improve one’s health—naturally. One way to create a lasting, healthy habit is to consume herbal teas. Loaded with antioxidants, herbal teas are made from dried fruits, flowers, spices or herbs. They come in a wide range of flavours and can

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Health

When anti-depressants aren’t enough

Seventeen years ago, Dr. Stuart Eisendrath piloted research into the therapeutic effects of mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT) on people experiencing clinical depression. Ever since, he has been helping those who struggle with depression dramatically improve their symptoms and quality of life by changing how they relate to their thoughts and feelings. In When Antidepressants Aren’t Enough: Harnessing the Power of Mindfulness to Alleviate Depression (New World Library, October 1, 2019), Dr. Eisendrath outlines an easy-to-implement MBCT program that has been scientifically proven in a U.S. National Institute of Health study to bring relief to chronic sufferers of depression by helping them realize that their thoughts are not their reality.  We hope you’ll enjoy this Q and A with him about the book. Q: What is Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT)?  A: MBCT is a blend of some aspects of cognitive behavior therapy with mindfulness meditation.   Mindfulness meditation is an ancient Buddhist technique that has been secularized

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