WHAT KIND of DIGITAL VACCINATION PROOF is EASILY AVAILABLE?

Los Angeles County now requires proof of vaccination for most indoor venues: restaurants, grocery stores, exercise gyms, salons, large venues for entertainment including movie theaters, and  Dodger Stadium, Universal Studios, or Magic Mountain.  Other parts of the state have their own regulations and enforcement procedures.  Disneyland, however,  located in Orange County, does not require a vaccine credential.  Some 21 states, including Texas and Florida, have banned vaccine passports completely. 

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IS THERE DATA TO SUPPORT the BENEFITS of a BOOSTER VACCINATION for COVID 19?

Ongoing efforts to encourage people to get a booster for their COVID 19 vaccination in recent months has been demonstrated to be effective by some research completed in Israel.  Israel has a nationalized health care system, which is highly developed with digital record keeping, with a relatively small population as well. This contributes to reliable data available quickly, as has been cited in this blog over the pandemic period.

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WHAT if the PANDEMIC HASN’T MADE US FEEL BAD, BUT WE ALSO DON’T FEEL QUITE RIGHT? – PART 2

As with other forms of psychological distress, naming it is the first step towards dealing with it.  By identifying depression, anxiety, addiction, and other struggles due to the pandemic (see previous blogs), we can begin to take counter steps, including seeking help. The same is true for languishing.

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WHAT if the PANDEMIC HASN’T MADE US FEEL BAD,  BUT WE ALSO DON’T FEEL QUITE RIGHT? – PART 1

Have these many months of the COVID pandemic left you feeling “somewhat joyless and aimless”?  Not quite burned out and without energy.  Not quite hopeless, helpless, and trapped – depressed?  Even as life in LA County and California is opening up towards something close to “normal”, are you not looking forward to much with excitement or even pleasure?  There is a new term for this feeling of “stagnation and emptiness

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DO PSYCHOLOGICAL FACTORS IMPACT the EFFECTIVENESS OF COVID 19 VACCINES, as well as SIDE EFFECTS?

Two recent blogs have summarized how effective the two earliest vaccines are against COVID 19, both in terms of the clinical studies to establish their efficacy, as well as using the experience in Israel as a real-world case study.  In addition to the biological factors involved in vaccine efficacy, there are also psychological factors that impact the efficacy of the vaccine,

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HOW CAN WE MAINTAIN HOPE in CHALENGING TIMES? – Part 1

Maintaining hope during the recent COVID surge in California and around the country is helpful, even essential, in many ways.  Hope reduces anxiety, despair, and of course depression.  We have more effective coping skills and recover from disappointments more quickly when we have hope.  We are more skilled at problem solving, communicate better, and are more trusting of others. 

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HOW DOES LAUGHTER HELP WITH COVID 19?

In basic biochemical terms, laughter releases nitric oxide, which reduces blood pressure, decreases clotting, and relaxes blood vessels.  A study of older men and women in Japan associated laughter with a lower risk of cardiovascular disease.  A Norwegian study found an association between humor and a longer life, especially for women.  Dr. Miller “prescribes” a “deep psychological laugh that elicits tears of joy and relaxation” each day.

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HOW CAN YOU MAINTAIN an EXERCISE ROUTINE?

As the COVID 19 pandemic stretches on and on, maintaining your motivation to exercise may be more and more difficult.  Even though recent blogs have cited the benefits of exercise for our immune system, as well as it being an antidote to depression, anxiety, and sleep difficulties, losing interest and energy for exercise is understandable, even predictable perhaps

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HOW CAN WE LIFT OUR SPIRITS DURING COVID 19?

The last few months of blogs have focused on the COVID 19 pandemic: how to cope; how to help our kids cope; dealing with grief; dealing with psychological issues such as anxiety, depression, sleep difficulties, substance abuse, child abuse, domestic violence; risks of losing insurance coverage for telehealth; strengthening our immune system; maintaining exercise. 

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CAN YOU CREATE A BALANCED LIFE DURING THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC?

It is difficult to develop a balanced life even in the best of times.  For some, it means that something is always being overlooked while other needs are being addressed.  All of these endeavors require the ability to recognize and prioritize your goals, to build the routines that speak to your needs, boundaries you develop to preserve your habits and the ability to transition from one activity to another.    

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COVID 19 is a MENTAL  HEALTH CRISIS TOO:  DEPRESSION, ANXIETY, SUICIDE RISK, SUBSTANCE ABUSE

COVID 19 is a MENTAL HEALTH CRISIS TOO. Two-plus months into sheltering at home due to the COVID 19 crisis, and beginning to re-open our economy, we are in the midst of another kind of health crisis.  This one has to do with psychological health and well-being. 

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AMERICANS ARE LIVING SHORTER LIVES

Drug overdoses, suicides, and also diseases involving internal organs have caused an increase in middle-aged deaths.  So much so that the life expectancy in the US has actually declined since 2014 after increasing for the previous 60 years.  The largest increase in deaths was in New England and the Ohio Valley. (Ken Pope:  US Life Expectancy Down in Recent Years After Increasing for Decades). 

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Is Counseling a Part of Good Health Care?

“Fifty percent of the patients seeing me for cardiac care are really dealing with psychological issues.”  So said a cardiac physician in an informal conversation recently.  “So, I quiet myself, listen quite a bit, and then watch for an opportunity to counsel the patient about his anxiety, depression, etc.”  This comment was made about patients receiving care after a procedure had been completed.

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