Monthly Archives

March 2017

6 subtle signs of depression you should never ignore

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Depression is now the leading cause of ill health and disability worldwide, the World Health Organization said on Thursday, with more than 300 million people suffering from the condition.

Rates of depression have risen by more than 18 percent since 2005, but a lack of support for the mental health combined with a common fear of stigma means many do not get the treatment they need to live healthy, productive lives.

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New Mobile Health Platform eMindLog™ Helps Consumers Track Stress, Anxiety, Depression for Mental Wellbeing

By | From the CEO, Press | No Comments

GREENVILLE, N.C., March 16, 2017 /PRNewswire/ — Just as people routinely monitor the vital signs of their bodies – blood pressure, temperature, cholesterol, sleep and exercise, etc. – for physical health, now they can track the vital signs of their minds for mental wellbeing.

A new mobile health platform, eMindLog™, allows people to take control of their mental wellbeing by self-measuring their stress, anxiety and depression using their smartphone, tablet or laptop computer. Consumers can also use it to determine how much their medication, therapy, meditation or yoga is helping.

With eMindLog, consumers can self-measure their stress, anxiety and depression for better mental wellbeing. They can opt to securely share their data with a doctor or therapist using the eMindLog Pro application, supporting better-informed diagnosis, treatment and followup care.

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Why Aren’t Primary Care Doctors Screening for Depression?

By | All About Science | No Comments

Despite federal recommendations for depression screening, a new Rutgers study found that less than 5 percent of adults were screened for depression in primary care settings. The low screening rate suggests missed opportunities to identify individuals with depression and link them to care, according to study authors. The research was published in February in Psychiatric Services in Advance.

An estimated 13 to 16 percent of adults will experience symptoms of depression in their lifetime, and an estimated 4 to 8 percent experience major depression in a given year. Yet in primary care settings, depression goes unrecognized about half the time. Depression screening has been recommended since 2002 and it is generally covered by private insurance and Medicare.

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How to Keep Emotions from Running Your Life

By | All About Science | No Comments

A recent article on Raptitude, talked about how the majority of of difficult experiences in David’s life resulted from his desperate need to avoid difficult experiences. This need to avoid difficult situations, caused him to live a period of his life led by the need to avoid rather than confront or embrace.

Emotions can drive our behavior, at times without our conscious awareness. In this post, the focus is on the behavior of avoidance, and its driver – emotional experiences that were distressing. Thinking, which is called ‘rumination’ in this piece, is captive to the emotion – a post hoc rationalization, that is unproductive. Becoming aware of these patterns can lead to freedom – freedom to change. This can be in the form of therapy (behavior therapy specifically targets avoidance) or other approaches preferential to the individual. The important start is recognizing what is happening, leading to the option to change.

eMindLog™ is a tool to know where you are, so you can choose what to do. You can  use eMindLog™ to track your daily experiences allowing you to see trends and triggers over time which can help you make better informed decisions about your life. To start using eMindLog™, sign up here.

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5 Strategies to Relieve Anxiety

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Anxiety is a frame of mind that everyone experiences at one time or another. For some it is an uncomfortable feeling that will be dealt with as best a possible. This form of anxiety is likely to plague everyone at some point in their life whether it’s a major life event, transition, or big decision. For some people, anxiety is a more constant companion, coloring much of everyday life and for others anxiety feels like torture, controlling every waking moment and wreaking havoc all the time.

When it doesn’t feel torturous or  isn’t consistently coloring the fabric of everyday life, anxiety can be seen as a red-alert of sorts. It’s a reaction that tells us that something is wrong and requires attention but won’t kill us (no fight or flight response in this case).

Whether anxiety is something that you experience rarely, something that colors your everyday life, or is a controlling factor in your life, below are five strategies that can help you deal with anxiety.

  1. Challenge anxious thoughts.
    A lot of thinking is negative and irrational. You may be so used to thinking about the worst-case scenario presenting itself that thinking any other way has become alien to you. You need to stop and challenge what you believe to be true about what you fear and what negatively occupies your thoughts.

    In other words, you need to retrain your thinking to learn to process what happens to you in a different way, instead of jumping into the usual patterns that feed your anxiety. Ask yourself: How do you know your anxious thoughts are based in reality? How likely is it that what you fear will actually happen? Is there perhaps a more realistic way to think about what could/will happen? Can you visualize a more positive outcome?

  2. Recognize some negative thinking patterns that foster worry, fear, and anxiety. 
    Be careful about seeing things as either/or, should/shouldn’t, right/wrong, or black/white with no shades of gray. Be aware of the tendency to exaggerate the negative and diminish the positive. Understand your tendency to jump to catastrophe as the outcome. Be aware of diminishing your own capability to successfully get through a situation. And challenge the imagined scenario of being humiliated, criticized, and judged because you feel you are incapable of rising to the occasion and conquering your fears and anxieties.
  3. Cultivate optimistic thinking.
    Psychologist Martin Seligman believes that people can learn how to think optimistically. It begins with teaching yourself to keep thinking about the specific, rather than the general — how your worry or fear fits into the bigger picture of your life, rather than becoming the bigger picture of your life — because your life is much, much bigger than any worry, fear, or anxiety will ever be.

    The suggestion is that by creating a thinking strategy that explains a problem or issue, you are better able to make a plan to do something about it. In other words, de-personalize the problem; take yourself out of it so you can do something about changing the situation, rather than being part of the problem, where you may feel helpless and powerless to control the situation. Think about situations or problems as temporary and changeable, rather than long-term or permanent. That way, they can change. Taking even baby steps can lead the way to constructive solutions rather than feeling overwhelmed, defeated, or stuck.

  4. Take a timeout. 
    Give your brain a break. Take a mental vacation with mindful meditation or a walk in nature. Relaxation and leisure are essential to a full, balanced life. If this is alien to you, it’s time to start scheduling some R&R into your weekly calendar. Yoga, listening to music, self-nurturing (e.g., massage), anything that takes you out of your head and incessant worrying is beneficial to your all-around well-being. And, of course, focus on living a healthy lifestyle — eating well, exercising daily, getting enough sleep, and anything else that helps you express your healthy, whole presence in the world.
  5. Create an anxiety toolbox. 
    An anxiety toolbox is a set of practices you can take with you wherever you go and use them whenever the need arises. Some items in you toolbox should be:

    Asking questions – When anxiety hits ask yourself these questions: Am I blowing the situation, and my anxiety, out of proportion? On a scale of 1 to 10, where does the situation and the accompanying anxiety realistically sit? Have the catastrophic consequences and the worst-case scenario I always worry about ever come to pass? Even if something is really wrong, am I capable of finding a healthier/more satisfactory solution? Use these questions to create a better reality and outcome based on your successful responses to past experiences.Taking action – this may include going for a walk, meditating, listening to music, exercising, calling a supportive friend, attending a worship service, journaling, or using helpful affirmations or mantras. Use what you’ve learned from past experiences to help calm yourself and bring back your sense of control.

    Controlling physical responses – how do you handle physical symptoms of anxiety, such as rapid heartbeat, hyperventilating, numbness and tingling of hands and feet, or even fear of passing out? If these are components of your anxiety, you can employ various techniques — breath work, relaxation techniques, guided meditations — on your own or with a practitioner, so that when symptoms arise, you are prepared to utilize what you’ve learned.

eMindlog™ can also become a resource in your anxiety toolbox. You can utilize it to measure your daily levels of anxiety and worry, allowing to you become more aware of your thoughts, emotions, and reactions to certain situations. By using eMindLog™ over time, you’ll be able to see trends in your behavior or thinking and you may also be able to pinpoint events or situations that trigger your anxiety.

Make eMindLog™ a part of our toolbox by signing up here.

 

These strategies were originally posted by Abigail Brenner M.D. on In Flux.

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WHO: Depression Top Cause of Disability

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According to the World Health Organization (WHO), more than 4 percent of the world’s population live with depression, and women, youth, and the elderly are the most prone to its affects.

As of 2015, an estimated 322 million people suffered from depressive disorders, a rise of 18.4 percent in a decade, as people live longer, the United Nations said in a report.

The global economic loss exceeded $1 trillion a year, referring to lost productivity due to apathy or lack of energy that lead to an inability to function at work or cope with daily life.

“Depression is the single largest contributor to years lived with disability. So it’s the top cause of disability in the world today,” Dr. Dan Chisholm of WHO’s Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse told a news briefing.

He further went on to note that depression is 1.5 times more common among women than men.

A further 250 million people suffer anxiety disorders, including phobias, panic attacks, obsessive-compulsive behavior and post-traumatic stress disorder, the report said.

80 percent of those stricken with mental illness live in low- and middle-income countries. As Chisholm said, “That puts paid to the notion of these disorders being diseases of the rich or the affluent, that is not the case. In fact in many countries people who are affected by poverty, unemployment, civil strife and conflict are actually at higher risk of certainly anxiety disorders and also depression.”

There are three age groups that are particularly vulnerable to depression:

  • Youth
  • Pregnant or post-partum women
  • The elderly

“The pressures on today’s youth are like no other generation perhaps,” Chisholm said.

“Another target group is women who are pregnant or have just given birth. Depression around that period is actually extremely common, around 15 percent of women will suffer not just ‘the blues’, but a diagnosable case of depression.”

Retirees are also susceptible. “When we stop working or we lose our partner we become more frail, more subject to physical diseases and disorders like depression do become more common.”

An estimated 800,000 people die from committing suicide each year, a “pretty horrifying figure”, Chisholm said. “It is more common in males in higher income countries but more common in females in lower- and middle-income countries.”

The WHO is running a campaign to tackle stigma and misconceptions called “Depression: Let’s Talk”.

“We feel that is a key first step, that if we want to bring mental health, depression and other mental disorders out of the shadows, we need to be able to talk about it,” Chisholm said.

eMindLog™ measures stress, anxiety, and depression using self-reporting and allows patients to connect with their providers to engage in better informed care and to create a dialog between patient and provider enriching the diagnosis and treatment process. Users / patients can sign up here.

World Health Day is April 7, 2017. To learn more about World Health Day and Depression: Let’s Talk, visit WHO.

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eMindLog™ Provides Quantitative Self-Measurement of the Mind for Value Care Outcomes in Stress, Anxiety, Depression

By | Get to Know Us, Press | No Comments

GREENVILLE, N.C.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–eMind Science Corp.’s new mobile health platform, eMindLog™, is helping people take control of their mental wellbeing by empowering quantitative self-measurement of the vital signs of their minds.

“Stress, anxiety and depression are pervasive in today’s world, and they take a heavy toll on our health, productivity and personal relationships,” says Michael Heffernan, president, CEO and cofounder of eMind Science Corp. “We developed eMindLog™ as an easy-to-use, secure digital tool for tracking behavioral health, with the option to share results with a healthcare provider for early diagnosis and treatment.”

Using eMindLog™ on a smartphone, tablet or laptop computer, patients and other users can accurately and precisely self-measure their stress, anxiety and depression daily and weekly by answering questions about their emotions, thoughts and behaviors. The questions take about three minutes to answer. Algorithms produce scores and graphical indexes for anxiety, anger, sadness and lack of pleasure.

If they choose, users can securely and confidentially share the resulting data with their doctor or therapist through the platform’s graphically rich reporting dashboard. The data can support better-informed diagnosis, treatment and follow-up care beyond the office visit.

“Diagnosing and treating depression and anxiety in the primary care setting has always been difficult, mainly because of time limitations in the office and lack of data over time,” says Fredrick Teixeira, M.D., an internal medicine physician at Vidant Health in Washington, N.C. “This health platform gives us actionable data over whatever time we choose, in a way that makes for more accurate and quicker diagnosis. It also allows for better ways to see if our treatments are successful with a glance of the graphic data.”

eMindLog™ merges mobile health technology with the latest insights from neuroscience and psychology about how the brain processes daily subjective experiences into the emotions, thoughts and behaviors that largely determine mental wellbeing.

The platform empowers patients and users with knowledge of their own minds and a vocabulary with visual reports that help them express quantitatively how they are feeling. More informed patients lead to better relationships with healthcare providers.

“User data can indicate important mental health trends including potential thresholds for clinical anxiety and depression,” says Philip T. Ninan, M.D., the company’s co-founder, chairman and chief scientific officer. “When the data is shared, it can give healthcare providers a wealth of quantitative information for optimal diagnosis, treatment and monitoring for better health outcomes.”

eMindLog™ is free to patients and other individual users, who can establish accounts at www.emindlog.com. The platform includes two other fee-based applications: eMindLog Pro, a portal connecting healthcare providers with patients, and eMindLog Enterprise™, a version for self-insured employers to offer as part of their benefits and wellness programs.

eMindLog Pro™ is intended not only for primary care physicians and therapists but for specialists treating major accidental injuries or chronic illnesses such as cancer, diabetes and heart disease. Patients in these situations often experience fear, stress and anxiety, leading to depression that can in turn hinder their physical recovery.

Heffernan says the eMindLog™ platform can add value to the healthcare system by providing behavioral health data that supports early intervention, reducing emergency care, hospitalization and other treatment costs downstream.

“Our goal for eMindLog™ is to engage patients, healthcare providers, employers, healthcare systems and insurers in a robust ecosystem that encourages data-driven behavioral healthcare for better mental wellbeing,” Heffernan says.

eMindLog™ is a private, secure, cloud-based system, and only users can see their personalized data, unless they opt to share it. The system is compliant with HIPAA standards and meets current healthcare reporting requirements.

At least 75 million adults in the United States are estimated to have high or extreme stress and/or anxiety or depressive disorders. Untreated mental illness costs the U.S. at least $105 billion in lost productivity each year, according to a Harvard University study.

Mobile-health technology solutions like eMindLog™ are a potent antidote because an estimated 3.4 billion people worldwide have smartphones or tablets, and half of them have downloaded health applications, representing an addressable health-app market of $1.5 billion.

Contacts

eMind Science Corp.
Michael Heffernan, 404-435-4060
President and CEO

See the full release at Businesswire.

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Why is monotasking so important?

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Do you ever get interrupted and forget what you were working on or lose your train of thought? Well, you’re not the only one. In an age where we spend the majority of our time in front of a computer or device (and in lots of cases, many devices), it’s easy to get distracted and lose all focus. We live in a world where being able to multitask is a sought after skill. While being able to multitask is great, it’s often the case that the tasks at hand don’t receive the full focus necessary to complete them well.

Multitasking is like being a jack of all trade but a master of none. It definitely has it’s place in our lives but true focus on a single item at a time is fading from our everyday lives as we are increasingly distracted by the fast pace at which new information is presented. Monotasking is important because it allows to to fully focus on what we are working on and making sure it is completed.

You’re probably wondering, “What is monotasking?”

Monotasking also known as single-tasking, is the practice of dedicating oneself to a given task and minimizing potential interruptions until the task is completed or a significant period of time has elapsed.

For monotasking to work, the rule of thumb is to complete tasks sequentially, working through the items at hand one-by-one not moving to the next one until sufficient time has passed or the task is completed. Your brain was wired for deep and innovative thinking, but that’s impossible to achieve if you’re trying to make it go in two or more directions at once.

Three tips for monotasking are:

  1. Give your brain some down time.
    Get some fresh air, for example, or just look out the window. Taking a break will help make room for your next inspired idea because a halt in constant thinking slows the mind’s rhythms to allow more innovative “aha” moments.
  2. Focus deeply, without distraction.
    Silence your phone, turn off your email and try to perform just one task at a time.
  3. Make a to-do list.
    Then identify your top two priorities for the day and make sure they are accomplished above all else.

It’s also important to remember that monotasking should be utilized outside of work, as it will help you in all aspects of your life.

Switching from multitasking to monotasking seems like a big undertaking. Jo Chunyan, Intuition Coach & Graphic Designer, has created a useful like of 13 reminders for single-tasking. Try using some of these reminders to streamline your day. Then see how monotasking affects your mood, creativity, and ability to focus.

13 Reminders for Single Tasking

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