How to Break Really Bad News to a Loved One: 12 Tips

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The only thing worse than getting really bad news is having to give it to someone you love. Sometimes you have no choice to but to step up and have a tough conversation. Before you say anything, you know your words can hurt and change their life in some way.

Jump ahead to these sections:

Reassuring someone who’s just heard devastating news can be difficult, especially if you’re the one who told them. But if you prepare for your conversation, you can make the task more bearable for you and create a safe space for them. Look through these tips to help you anticipate your loved one’s needs as you break bad news to them.

Post-planning tip: If you are the executor for a deceased loved one, it’s tough to handle both the emotional and technical aspects of their unfinished business without a way to organize your process. We have a post-loss checklist that will help you ensure that your loved one’s family, estate, and other affairs are taken care of.

Steps for Breaking Bad News to a Loved One

Before saying anything to your loved one, take a few moments to plan your approach. While you can’t take away your loved one’s pain or shock, you can give it a softer place to land. Even if you don’t have much time, consider the following steps to make the task easier for both of you.

» MORE: Everything you need to settle your loved one’s estate

1. Take care of yourself first 

As the saying goes, put the oxygen mask on yourself before assisting anyone else. Try to avoid breaking bad news when you’re upset, if possible. Address your emotional reaction before talking to your loved one, even if you only get a few minutes to yourself. Allow the first wave of emotions to move through you until you can think more clearly. You may also help your loved one by identifying your feelings, so pay attention to how you react. 

Acknowledge that this is a hard thing to do, both to yourself and your loved one. Nobody likes sharing bad news. It’s usually a surprise to the other person and it can also be difficult to soften the blow. Cut yourself some slack for struggling with your side of the process. Do your best and understand it will be hard for both of you.

2. Consider your setting 

Your loved one may react in unexpected ways when you deliver the news. Choose a setting that offers a calm space and few distractions. You may want to consider inviting another support person to be there with you. Here are some suggestions:

  • Choose a place that won’t be too noisy or busy. You want your loved one to hear you clearly. 
  • Pick a place that offers some privacy, quiet, and space to move around. A room with a door is ideal, even better if it’s one they could stay in for a while if they need to be alone. 
  • When dealing with a strong emotional reaction, a small room can make people feel trapped. Some people pace or feel like standing up when they get upset. 
  • Be aware of your positioning in the room. Place yourself away from the door so your loved one could easily leave the room if they want to.

3. Stay calm 

Your calm and reassuring presence won’t change how bad the news is for your loved one. But it can help them get through the initial rush of emotion. Set the expectation that you are steady and calm, that they can count on you to help them through the moment. By avoiding raising your voice, you can help change the tone of the conversation and keep it calm. Move to a quieter location if background noise is an issue.

Also, be aware of your body language. Make sure your posture and body language are as relaxed as possible. Sit down or try to stay in the same position as much as you can. Avoid pacing or moving around, especially if the space is small. Your extra movement may be agitating to your loved one.

4. Don’t wait long and do it in person if you can 

Don’t wait to deliver your news. Waiting will only prolong your stress and won’t make the news any better. Take some time to prepare for the conversation and choose the quickest and best way to deliver the message.

Bad news is delivered best in person. If meeting up with your loved one won’t delay you much, your physical presence can mean the world to them. You can offer a comforting touch and show your sincerity in non-verbal ways. 

When speaking in person isn’t possible, these options can help you deliver the news promptly. Each choice has pros and cons to consider, so choose the method that makes the most sense for them.

  • Video chat 
    • Pro – Allows you to give the news promptly if you can’t be there in person. 
    • Con – Not everyone has access or is comfortable using video technology.
  • Phone 
    • Pro – Everyone has access to phones. Some may prefer this to keep their reaction more private.
    • Con – Leaves out some non-verbal communication.
  • Typed text (instant messaging, texting, email) 
    • Pro – Can be quicker for some people, easier if in a noisy situation. Better than waiting a long time.
    • Con – The message might not get to the person right away. Limited ability to have a conversation. Impersonal, little emotional context, and no physical presence.

5. Be truthful and direct 

Tell your news in as few words as possible to get to the point. You may need to share some other information, but don’t string it along. Get to the critical news right away and share the background story if they are asking for it or if they are ready for it.

Another tip is to avoid sugar-coating your message or giving false hope. Doing so could create another disappointment down the road. If it’s possible to change the situation, keep your comments brief and factual.

6. Prepare your message 

Being prepared helps you deliver your news with less chance of becoming emotional yourself. But be aware of sounding like a robot. Keep sincerity in mind and make an effort to talk naturally, like yourself. Your presence is what will reassure them, so be your normal self as much as you can.

Practice what you’ll say a few times. If your emotion wells up when you speak, rehearsing your message can keep you moving through the words. Your body memory will kick in and get you through the toughest parts. 

7. Speak at the appropriate level for the person 

As you prepare your message, consider the person you’re telling. Your goal is to deliver news in a way your loved one can easily understand. Make your message simple and clear no matter who you’re speaking to. Mature adults will appreciate an honest and respectful approach. 

If you’re talking to a child or person with limited mental capacity, take extra care with your word choice. Here are some options to consider:

  • Use concrete words you know they will understand. 
  • Avoid using vague terms, especially when talking about death. 
  • If the bad news is about something that can’t be changed, be clear about this. Avoid giving false hope or mixed messages.
  • Be respectful, even with a simplified message. 
  • Explain your emotions to help them feel safe sharing theirs.

9. Understand your loved one’s state of mind first 

Knowing your loved one’s state of mind can help you with your approach. If they’ve had a rough day, acknowledge that first and be understanding. Pay attention to that first so they know you care. 

Don’t sugarcoat or skirt the truth about the bad news, even if your loved one is struggling. Instead, consider how well they are coping at the moment and give the news in smaller bites, if needed. 

10. Share the news sitting down 

Start the conversation by sitting down, and suggest that your loved one do the same. Be sure seating is available even if they don’t sit down right away. Your loved one may feel unsteady or faint if they’re shocked by what you say.

Sitting down also puts you and your loved one on the same level. This can be more comfortable for both of you, allowing for better eye contact and physical contact. 

11. Let your loved one react 

No matter how calmly you deliver the news, your loved one may get emotional in some way. You aren’t trying to keep them from getting upset. You are giving your loved one the safest and most comfortable setting to hear the news. 

Your loved one could become numb and seem dazed, or they may cry and become angry. Mixed emotions are normal and can be difficult to express. Be a good listener and try not to interrupt them or cut them off. 

You may also catch some heat as the bearer of bad news. Understand that your loved one may react poorly and direct their emotion toward you, even if you are just the messenger. Don’t take their first reaction to heart if they lash out at you. Bad news takes adjustment and emotions can take a long time to unfold. Get through the initial reaction and handle the details later. 

12. Offer support 

Once you’ve delivered the news, offer your loved one support as they cope. Depending on the situation, you may start helping them cope right away. And if they want space, respect that and reach out again later. Here are a few ways you can support your loved one as they deal with the news.

  • If it works, spend time together right after sharing the news.
  • Offer condolences or sincere words of empathy for their pain.
  • Offer practical help like running errands, cooking meals, or household tasks.
  • If the bad news means they need to make major changes in their life like moving or looking for a job, offer to help them with these tasks. 
  • If the news affects you as well, share how you are coping or adjusting.
  • Reach out regularly and offer a listening ear.

Breaking Bad News Examples

When you have bad news to share, finding the right words can be tough. You may be emotional yourself, or you may anticipate the other person’s reaction. Here are a few examples and word choices for breaking bad news.

  • “I’m afraid I need to share some bad news with you.” 
  • “I have something to tell you, and I wish it were better news.”

Give the other person a heads-up that you have to share something uncomfortable. This allows them to center in and prepare to listen to you. It may feel awkward, but it sets the tone for what’s to come.

  • “I have cancer.”
  • “I’ve lost my job.”
  • “Your uncle John was in an accident this morning, and it doesn’t look good.”

Say the meat of your news in the fewest words possible and in plain language. You can add details and context after they’ve absorbed the essential parts. Whatever you need to say, be sure it doesn’t have jargon or a big lead-up story. Once a person knows there’s a bad ending, anxiety and tension can build up until they learn the worst part. 

  • “I can see this is hard for you.”
  • “You’ve been quiet. Anything you want to share or ask?”
  • “Do you want to hear full details now, or just the key points?”

Give the other person some time to absorb the shock. It’s OK to comment on their emotions without sounding like you know exactly what they’re going through. Check in with them before moving on with the story. They may not be in a mental space to hear more details for a few moments.

  • “So in a nutshell, I had a heart attack and I’ll need surgery to repair the damage. The doctors think I can recover, but it will take some time.”

Recap your news briefly after you’ve explained everything. Emotion can interfere with a person’s ability to comprehend and think clearly. So make sure the other person can walk away understanding the main points of your news. 

You could also consider asking them to repeat what you said back to you. This may be more critical when the bad news is about them and requires action on their part. They’ll need to be able to recall the foundation of the bad news and what it means for them.

 

Frequently Asked Questions: Breaking Bad News

When you have important but upsetting information to share, you may worry about stumbling out of the gate when you start talking. It’s understandable, but there are ways to make it easier on yourself. Take these tips to heart when deciding how to deliver the news.

When’s the best time to break bad news?

There’s no perfect time to break bad news, but some circumstances make it easier to process. Here are a few tips and suggestions to start with.

  • If the time and situation allow, pull your loved one aside when they aren’t in the middle of something. 
  • Try to avoid sharing the news when they are likely to be tired, like first thing in the morning or just before bed.
  • Leave enough time for you to be there while they absorb the shock. 

One research study suggests that the ideal time to deliver bad news is when a person is already feeling stressed. Why? Because they are already somewhat primed to expect negativity. With that mindset, they can better accept and adapt to more bad circumstances. It sounds counterintuitive, but it may mean that the ideal situation may not have a huge impact.

What should you avoid saying when delivering bad news?

  • “I know exactly how you feel.”
    • Saying this may sound kind and empathetic. You may even have some idea or experience with this situation. But in reality, everyone’s emotional reaction in a given moment is unique. 
  • “It’s going to be OK.”
    • Unless you actually know it’s OK, don’t say this. Otherwise, saying it will be OK can sound like you’re glossing over their shock or emotional struggle.
  • “It could be worse.”
  • “At least it’s not XYZ.”
    • Minimizing the impact of your bad news may sound like the kind thing to do, but it actually stamps down the validity of the other person’s reaction. Allow their reaction to be genuine and authentic, whatever it is. 

What should you avoid doing when delivering bad news?

Delivering bad news can be stressful. Do your best to cope with your own discomfort so it doesn’t interfere with your ability to be supportive.

Pacing and not speaking clearly or slowly enough 

Find some ways to burn off any nervous energy. Otherwise, the anxiety may unintentionally create a few problems: 

  • Adding more stress to an already difficult situation 
  • Making your voice difficult to hear and understand
  • Causing you to speak faster and with less clarity

Leaving as soon as you share your news

You may be dreading the moment you drop your news on the other person. Disappearing right away may feel like the easiest way to avoid feeling bad, but it can leave the other person hanging. Come prepared for some discomfort so you can be there for the other person when they first react. 

Acting cold or impersonal 

Your way of coping may be to remain more stoic with your feelings, and that’s OK. But recognize that the other person may be experiencing shock or an unexpected surge of emotion. Acknowledge their experience and show compassion as they react.

Breaking Bad News to a Loved One

Bad news is never easy to hear. With some preparation and care, the task of breaking bad news can be less overwhelming for you. You’ll be there for your loved one, no matter how much it hurts. Help them know they aren’t alone in their pain.  


Sources

  1. Holeywell, Ryan. “Let’s Talk.” Texas Medical Center, November 1, 2017, tmc.edu.
  2. Mooneyham, GenaLynne C., MD “Helping your children deal with bad news.” Duke University School of Medicine, August 7, 2018

13 Telltale Signs Someone Doesn’t Respect You

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Feeling disrespected can bring you down and make it tough to remember all the amazing qualities you have to offer. While it’s important to keep a positive attitude and give people the benefit of the doubt, understanding the red flags of disrespect will enable you to stand up for yourself and boost your self-esteem. From the subtle cues to the classic warning signs of disrespectful behavior, we’ll show you what to look out for and how you can get the respectful treatment you deserve.

They don’t recognize your effort.

Ask yourself, “Do I feel appreciated?” Disrespectful people ignore the work you’ve put into something. They might even take credit for your effort and success. You have value as a person and deserve to be recognized for your contributions. Create a list of your own successes and positive traits to validate yourself, no matter what anyone else says. Then, talk to the disrespectful person or people about how you’re feeling.

  • In the workplace, talk to your boss about what you’ve achieved. Ask for their thoughts on your strengths so they get a chance to think about the value you add: “I’d like to get your input on what you think my strengths are and how I can put them to use for the company. I know in the last three months, my team accomplished…”
  • With a partner or friend, use “I” statements to let them know how you’re feeling undervalued: “I feel hurt and a little disappointed when you don’t thank me for making dinner every night.”

They don’t follow through.

Watch out for broken promises, which signal a lack of respect. Sometimes friends, bosses, and partners get swamped with work or other engagements. However, if someone repeatedly flakes on you, it can hurt, and it might be a sign they don’t value your time or relationship enough. Talk to them about the impact their actions have on you, and ask if anything is getting in the way of commitments on their end.

  • For a friend/partner: “I’m upset that we had to cancel dinner again the other night. Could you tell me a bit more about why that happened?”
  • For a coworker/boss: “Have you gotten a chance to look at that proposal yet? I’d like to move forward with it, but I won’t be able to until it’s approved.”
  • As a bonus, act powerful and confident to signal you deserve respect: If you’re soft spoken, speak louder and enunciate. Stand with good posture. If you like to sit in the back of the room or the corner, sit towards the front or the center.

They only reach out when they need something.

Is this person there for you, even when they have nothing to gain? You might show genuine interest in their life, but it’s not a fair relationship if you only receive care and attention back when the other person can benefit. Imbalanced relationships can make you feel frustrated and disappointed. Set boundaries for your time and energy by limiting contact with that person and saying “no” when they ask too much of you.

They give you the silent treatment.

Shunning or “ghosting” signals the person may not value the relationship. You might feel stressed or upset when someone ices you out—and that’s normal, since we’re programmed to be social creatures. Ask them to talk to you about what’s going on. There might be other things going on in their life that make it difficult to talk, or they might be intentionally cutting you out. In that case, confront them directly, since giving the silent treatment back can psychologically add to your stress.

  • Avoid escalating the situation by calmly explaining the situation, the behavior, and the impact it has had on you: “I sent you a text the other day to check in. I noticed you haven’t gotten a chance to respond yet. I’m feeling pretty bummed out about that and worried about you.”

They don’t give you their full attention.

Look for multitasking, constantly being on a device, and not making eye contact. Listening makes up a key part of respect! Set expectations for how you’d like to communicate, and let the person or people know you can wait until they’re finished with what they’re doing before talking.

  • For a coworker or boss: “I don’t want to interrupt what you’re doing. Should we reschedule?”
  • For a friend or partner: “I love you and want to spend quality time with you. How about we do a phone-free dinner?”

They interrupt you.

Verbally cutting you off signals blatant disrespect. Your ideas and what you have to say matter. In a workplace scenario, prevent interruptions by giving the person a preview of what you’re going to say and then letting them know when you’ll take questions or ask for their input. For friends or partners, start a one-on-one conversation somewhere private about what you’ve noticed and how you feel about it.

  • For the workplace: “I’d love to walk you through some of the ideas I had for the Park Blvd. project, and then after I go through what I’ve outlined, I’d appreciate your input.”
  • For a friend or partner: “I’ve noticed you interrupt me sometimes when I’m talking. I love your enthusiasm, but it makes me feel frustrated when I can’t finish what I’m saying.”
  • For a less confrontational approach, you can address a group to create new expectations: “Let’s work to be more mindful when we’re speaking and make sure we give everyone a chance to get their ideas out.”

They dismiss you and your ideas.

Watch out for both verbal and nonverbal dismissive behavior. Someone who doesn’t respect you might frequently reject your ideas or proposals, especially in front of others. They might even roll their eyes or audibly scoff at what you’re saying. That behavior doesn’t mean your ideas aren’t good, and it’s their loss. Speak up for yourself by pushing back when someone dismisses you.

  • Stand your ground and repeat your idea with reasoning for why it’s good: “Hear me out. I really think this could work because…”
  • Remind the person of your value and qualifications: “The last project I worked on did much better than it was expected to, and so I think we should give this a shot.”

They don’t respect your boundaries.

Respectful people listen when you say “no.” Disrespectful people might push your boundaries in small ways like planning a date—even when you’ve said you don’t want to go out that night—or they might disrespect your boundaries by calling you a derogatory term.  Express what you need in the relationship, be clear about what you don’t want, and understand that you have the power to say “no.”

  • In the workplace, be clear about your workload or issue and suggest an alternative: “Thanks so much for this opportunity. Unfortunately, I can’t take on another project right now since I’m looking to launch our new line. Could we circle back after the launch next week?”
  • In your personal life, be honest but firm about your needs. Look to compromise if it’s possible: “I’d love to spend more time with you, but honestly, I’m so tired by the weekend. Could we set aside time every other week to hang out?”

They put you down.

Look out for insults, name-calling, and demeaning language. Clearly let the person know you don’t like to be spoken about like that. If you’re facing this kind of disrespect at work, school, or in your organization, report any derogatory comments to HR or your supervisor.

  • “I don’t feel respected when you use that name for me or speak about me like that. Please stop.”

They get angry with you.

Disrespectful people may not care about your feelings. They may excessively lash out at you or blame you for their problems. While people get angry from time to time, healthy relationships never include physical violence, coercion, or intimidation. Regardless of the nature of the relationship (whether it’s with a supervisor, a significant other, or a friend), you deserve to feel safe and respected, no matter what.

  • Remain calm and don’t escalate the situation by yelling.
  • Reassure them by telling them you hear what they’re saying: “It sounds like you’d like me to…”
  • If you can push back safely, tell them you won’t accept certain behavior: “I can’t talk to you when you yell at me.”
  • Leave the job or relationship if the pattern of disrespect continues. You will find other people who value you and truly respect you.

They stop talking when you enter the room.

Excluding others from the conversation is a clear sign of disrespect. It creates a separation between you and the group, intending to make you feel like you don’t belong. But here’s the thing, you do belong! Help the rude people get to know you as a person worthy of respect by making an effort to connect with the people around you. Let your organization or higher-ups know if the disrespectful behavior gets worse or continues, since it might signal a more serious discrimination or bullying issue.

  • If you can’t report the negative treatment, find at least one “ally,” someone who treats you with respect and can help you advocate for yourself.

You’re always the first person to apologize.

Pay attention to how often they accept responsibility when you two share the blame. Taking partial ownership of miscommunication or conflict signals respect for the other person because it shows you value preserving the relationship. When you’ve genuinely made a mistake, it’s okay to apologize, but when you notice the other person rarely apologizes, break the habit of taking all blame.

Ask yourself: “What message is my apology sending? Am I sending a message of genuine intention and goodwill? Or am I diminishing my presence and my value by taking on extra responsibility?

13 You feel drained after spending time with them.

Check in with yourself when you get home after seeing the person. How do you feel? Dealing with disrespect can be emotionally exhausting, even if you can’t pinpoint exactly how that person makes you feel so bad. Consider taking a break from the friendship or relationship if it’s gotten toxic. If you can’t leave the situation (especially if it’s at work), spend time with people who bring you up in life and make you feel recharged.

Ask yourself: “Does this person make me feel mostly good about myself or bad about myself?”

Resolving Conflict: Six Simple Steps to Keeping the Peace

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One of the most challenging roles of an effective manager is that of “peacekeeper”. Resolving conflicts in the workplace takes negotiation skills, patience, and a healthy dose of emotional intelligence.

Recently, I interviewed Susan Steinbrecher, an author, executive coach and speaker who is CEO of Steinbrecher and Associates, a management-consulting firm, to gain further insight into the tumultuous world of conflict resolution.

A licensed mediator, Steinbrecher recommends a conflict resolution model that involves six basic steps and three golden rules.

“In any dialogue, there are two fundamental needs that must be met – the ego need and the practical need”, shares Steinbrecher. The ego needs are: to be listened to, valued, appreciated, empathized with, involved, and empowered. The practical need refers to the obvious: the reason for having the discussion that focuses on the conflict that needs to be solved.

Three Golden Rules of Engagement

To address both needs, employ the three golden rules of engagement:

  1. listen and respond with empathy;
  2. be involved; ask for the other person’s opinions, ideas and thoughts; and
  3. maintain and affirm self-esteem.

Remember, 55 percent of a message from sender to receiver is done so via body language. Thirty-eight percent is conveyed by tone of voice and only seven percent by word choice. The body, soul and heart cannot lie – unless you are a diagnosed sociopath! So keep these things in mind when responding.

Here, Steinbrecher uses the example of the employer or manager, and employee. The most important thing to keep in mind is that if the employees don’t feel that they were heard or that they have achieved a “win” out of the discussion then they will not be motivated or resolve to change.

“It comes down to compliance versus commitment,” adds Steinbrecher. “Without question, the person involved in the discussion or conflict resolution will be far more committed to the outcome if they feel empowered by it”. As you go through the six-step process, look for ways to weave in the golden rules: listening and responding with empathy, maintaining or affirming self-esteem and involving the person.

Six Steps To Conflict Resolution

  1. Discuss the situation in a respectful manner. Example: “John, I noticed you’ve been late a few times this week, which seems out of character for you – you’re always so reliable!” Don’t say, “You are always late.” This just gets the person’s back up.
  2. Be specific. If you say, “I noticed that on Tuesday, Thursday and Friday you were 30 minutes late,” the person realizes you are aware of the situation and that they have to address the issue. Their explanation is a perfect opportunity for you to listen and respond with empathy. Remember: you do not necessarily have to agree with someone to empathize with them. You are simply attempting to put yourself in that person’s shoes – if only for a moment – not condemning or condoning the behaviour.
  3. Discuss how a conflict (or problem) impacts you, the work group, or the project. “John, I am not sure you are aware of the full impact of the conflict between you and Steve. The other employees are witnessing this, and it is making them uncomfortable…What do you feel is going on?” Remember, you are asking, not telling.
  4.  Ask for the specific cause of the conflict. “John, from your perspective, what is happening here? You get along well with most everyone here so what is causing the conflict?” Remember to empathize again after their response, rather than say, “Yes, but you’ve got to get along.” The word “but” negates everything positive you just said. If you have to fall on a conjunction, pick “and”. “Yes, I can imagine the challenge this presents – and we need to come up with a solution. What ideas might you have?”
  5.  Ask for the solution. For instance, “What do you think you need to do to help solve this situation? What is your next step?” This brings in accountability.
  6.  Agree on the action to be taken. This step is often missed and it’s the most important one. Think of it as a recap. “So John, what I am hearing you say is that you are going to talk to Steve (discuss details). By when were you thinking of doing that?” The last step is to close on a positive note and ask them to get back to you on the outcome.

Online Health Information: Is It Reliable?

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Many older adults share a common concern: “How can I trust the health information I find on the Internet?”

There are thousands of medical websites. Some provide reliable health information. Some do not. Some of the medical news is current. Some of it is not. Choosing which websites to trust is an important step in gathering reliable health information.

Where Can I Find Reliable Health Information Online?

The National Institutes of Health website is a good place to start for reliable health information.

As a rule, health websites sponsored by Federal Government agencies are good sources of information. You can reach all Federal websites by visiting www.usa.gov. Large professional organizations and well-known medical schools may also be good sources of health information.

Questions to Ask Before Trusting a Website

As you search online, you are likely to find websites for many health agencies and organizations that are not well-known. By answering the following questions, you should be able to find more information about these websites. A lot of these details might be found in the website’s “About Us” section.

1. Who sponsors/hosts the website? Is that information easy to find?

Websites cost money to create and update. Is the source of funding (sponsor) clear? Knowing who is funding the website may give you insight into the mission or goal of the site. Sometimes, the website address (called a URL) is helpful. For example:

  • .gov identifies a U.S. government agency
  • .edu identifies an educational institution, like a school, college, or university
  • .org usually identifies nonprofit organizations (such as professional groups; scientific, medical, or research societies; advocacy groups)
  • .com identifies commercial websites (such as businesses, pharmaceutical companies, and sometimes hospitals)

2. Who wrote the information? Who reviewed it?

Authors and contributors are often, but not always, identified. If the author is listed, ask yourself—is this person an expert in the field? Does this person work for an organization and, if so, what are the goals of the organization? A contributor’s connection to the website, and any financial stake he or she has in the information on the website, should be clear.

Is the health information written or reviewed by a healthcare professional? Dependable websites will tell you where their health information came from and how and when it was reviewed.

Trustworthy websites will have contact information that you can use to reach the site’s sponsor or authors. An email address, phone number, and/or mailing address might be listed at the bottom of every page or on a separate “About Us” or “Contact Us” page.

Be careful about testimonials. Personal stories may be helpful and comforting, but not everyone experiences health problems the same way. Also, there is a big difference between a website, blog, or social media page developed by a single person interested in a topic and a website developed using strong scientific evidence (that is, information gathered from research).

No information should replace seeing a doctor or other health professional who can give you advice that caters to your specific situation.

3. When was the information written?

Look for websites that stay current with their health information. You don’t want to make decisions about your care based on out-of-date information. Often, the bottom of the page will have a date. Pages on the same site may be updated at different times—some may be updated more often than others. Older information isn’t useless, but using the most current, evidence-based information is best.

4. What is the purpose of the site?

Why was the site created? Know the motive or goal of the website so you can better judge its content. Is the purpose of the site to inform or explain? Or is it trying to sell a product? Choose information based on scientific evidence rather than one person’s opinion.

5. Is your privacy protected? Does the website clearly state a privacy policy?

Read the website’s privacy policy. It is usually at the bottom of the page or on a separate page titled “Privacy Policy” or “Our Policies.” If a website says it uses “cookies,” your information may not be private. While cookies may enhance your web experience, they can also compromise your online privacy—so it is important to read how the website will use your information. You can choose to disable the use of cookies through your Internet browser settings.

6. How can I protect my health information?

If you are asked to share personal information, be sure to find out how the information will be used. Secure websites that collect personal information responsibly have an “s” after “http” in the start of their website address (https://) and often require that you create a username and password.

BE CAREFUL about sharing your Social Security number. Find out why your number is needed, how it will be used, and what will happen if you do not share this information. Only enter your Social Security number on secure websites. You might consider calling your doctor’s office or health insurance company to give this information over the phone, rather than giving it online.

These precautions can help better protect your information:

  • Use common sense when browsing the Internet. Do not open unexpected links. Hover your mouse over a link to confirm that clicking it will take you to a reputable website.
  • Use a strong password. Include a variation of numbers, letters, and symbols. Change it frequently.
  • Use two-factor authentication when you can. This requires the use of two different types of personal information to log into your mobile devices or accounts.
  • Do not enter sensitive information over public Wi-Fi that is not secure. This includes Wi-Fi that is not password protected.

Be careful what information you share over social media sites. This can include addresses, phone numbers, and email addresses. Learn how you can keep your information private.

7. Does the website offer quick and easy solutions to your health problems? Are miracle cures promised?

Be careful of websites or companies that claim any one remedy will cure a lot of different illnesses. Question dramatic writing or cures that seem too good to be true. Make sure you can find other websites with the same information. Even if the website links to a trustworthy source, it doesn’t mean that the site has the other organization’s endorsement or support.

Health and Medical Apps

Mobile medical applications (“apps”) are apps you can put on your smartphone. Health apps can help you track your eating habits, physical activity, test results, or other information. But, anyone can develop a health app—for any reason— and apps may include inaccurate or misleading information. Make sure you know who made any app you use.

When you download an app, it may ask for your location, your email, or other information. Consider what the app is asking from you—make sure the questions are relevant to the app and that you feel comfortable sharing this information. Remember, there is a difference between sharing your personal information through your doctor’s online health portal and posting on third-party social media or health sites.

Social Media and Health Information

Social media sites, such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, are online communities where people connect with friends, family, and strangers. Sometimes, you might find health information or health news on social media. Some of this information may be true, and some of it may not be. Recognize that just because a post is from a friend or colleague it does not necessarily mean it’s true or scientifically accurate.

Check the source of the information, and make sure the author is credible. Fact-checking websites can also help you figure out if a story is reliable.

A Quick Checklist

You can use the following checklist to help make sure that the health information you are reading online can be trusted. You might want to keep this checklist by your computer.

  1. Is the sponsor/owner of the website a Federal agency, medical school, or large professional or nonprofit organization, or is it related to one of these?
  2. If not sponsored by a Federal agency, medical school, or large professional or nonprofit organization, is the website written by a healthcare professional or does it reference one of these trustworthy sources for its health information?
  3. Why was the site created? Is the mission or goal of the website sponsor clear?
  4. Can you see who works for the agency or organization and who authored the information? Is there a way to contact the sponsor of the website?
  5. When was the information written or web page last updated?
  6. Is your privacy protected?
  7. Does the website offer unbelievable solutions to your health problem(s)? Are quick, miracle cures promised?

Trust Yourself and Talk to Your Doctor

Use common sense and good judgment when looking at health information online. There are websites on nearly every health topic, and many have no rules overseeing the quality of the information provided. Use the information you find online as one tool to become more informed. Don’t count on any one website and check your sources. Discuss what you find with your doctor before making any changes to your health care.

This content is provided by the NIH National Institute on Aging (NIA). NIA scientists and other experts review this content to ensure it is accurate and up to date.

How to Let Go of the Past

Train your mind to let sad experiences slip.

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How often do you feel that you can’t move on? No matter how hard you try, you are living in the past. Like you are carrying a heavy burden that gets you stuck.

“Let go,” your friends tell you. It sounds so simple, yet feels so hard. You can’t stop holding to a grudge or a betrayal. Every time you want to move on, the past captures your undivided attention.

Rumination is a curious habit. It’s like binge-watching bad movies on Netflix. That’s what happens when we can let go of the past. We make sad stories play nonstop. The more we watch our life’s movie, the more it hurts.

What if I tell you that it’s possible to stop the rumination process? But, first, let’s understand why we get stuck.

Stop Losing Yourself into the Past

If we can’t change the past, why do we continue to live it?

According to neuroscience, the brain handles negative and positive information differently. Negative experiences require more thinking and, thus, are processed more thoroughly. This causes our brains to become better at remembering adverse events.

Reliving sad memories makes us feel like a hamster in the wheel — no matter how hard we try, we can’t move forward.

You can’t change how your brain works. But you can train yourself to get off of the hamster wheel. That requires cutting the emotional attachment we have with the past, especially negative experiences.

We usually have a hard time accepting that someone hurt us. Recognizing an unhappy ending makes us feel weak and embarrassed.

Eckhart Tolle -the most popular spiritual author in the United States, according to the New York Times- once said, “There is a fine balance between honoring the past and losing yourself in it. You can acknowledge and learn from the mistakes you made and then move on. It’s called forgiving yourself.”

You get the point. To move on, you have to reframe your relationship with the past.

How to Stop Ruminating

1. Stop trying to be the hero of your story

We’ve all been hurt. It’s sad and embarrassing — no-one wants to look weak. That’s why we construct our idealized version of the past. And blame others instead of taking ownership for what happened.

Everything in life has a beginning and an ending. You don’t need to continue rehashing your past to keep it alive. Make peace with the end, especially if it was ugly, and move on.

2. Don’t let others define who you are

Blaming others when things go wrong makes us lose control. We are letting them define the terms of how we live.

You can’t control what other people do, but you can control how you react. Focusing on what people did (to you) is a distraction. Regain control of what you can manage and choose to live life on your own terms, not someone else’s.

3. Learn to forgive yourself

When something goes wrong, we tend to blame ourselves, too. We have a hard time accepting that we make mistakes and let our perfectionist mindset take over.

Did you make a mistake? Fine, we all do. Learn to forgive yourself. Errors can be corrected. Mistakes are not a final destination but a stop that prepares us for the journey. We must learn from them and continue moving forward.

4. Don’t let your problems define you

When we get so stuck in a problem, it becomes hard to separate the event from who we are. According to Eckhart Tolle, we also create and maintain problems because they give us a sense of identity.

Your stories shape you but don’t define your identity. Don’t let a bitter experience become who you are. Letting go of a past story makes space for new ones. Focus on the here and now and become at peace with yourself.

5. Build a Teflon mind

All our struggles stem from attachment. We are so in love with someone that we can’t separate the ‘me’ from the ‘we.’ We are so passionate about our careers that we let our job titles define our identity.

There’s nothing wrong with loving someone or our jobs. The problem is when we are so attached to them that the fear of losing them doesn’t allow us to enjoy them today.

Ajahn Brahm explains the idea of “Teflon Mind” in this humorous and inspirational talk. The British-Australian Buddhist monk advises that the best way to let go of something that hurts is not to let it stick first.

Letting go of the past is not forgetting what happened, but to let go of our expectations. We don’t suffer because a relationship ended. We suffer because we wanted it to last forever.

Instead of letting broken expectations get stuck in your mind, honor the positive experiences– both past and present.

Let go of attachment

Most people can’t let go of the past because they don’t appreciate their present. Reframing our relationship with our past requires us to stop thinking of how things should be and accept them for what they are.

As Dalai Lama said, “Attachment is the origin, the root of suffering; hence it is the cause of suffering.”

Letting go of the past doesn’t mean that things weren’t good while they lasted. It’s about remembering the good moments instead of allowing an unhappy ending cloud the whole experience.

Want to let go of the past? Start by appreciating what you have here and now: your present.

By: Gustavo Razzetti 

is a change leadership consultant and speaker who helps build a culture of change. He writes at the intersection of self-awareness, creativity, and resilience.

Letting Go Of “Stuff” After a Loss

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One persistent and ongoing issue that grievers deal with is letting go of a lifetime of accumulated possessions following the death of a family member. The thought of this can be another overwhelming element to grieving a loss.

I remember a story that one woman shared with me, many years ago. When she returned home from her husband’s funeral, she was shocked and horrified that two of her friends had systematically gone through her house and disposed of all of her husband’s clothing and personal possessions, in an effort to “make it easier for her.” She was devastated! While these friends had good intentions, they failed to take into account that she was not even close to wanting to say goodbye to these things. They thought that by eliminating these things from her sight, she would have an easier time moving forward. Instead, it only intensified her grief. She told me that when she walked into the house, it was as though he had never been there. The cleaning had been so thorough that she could no longer even smell him.

While friends might call this “stuff,” to the griever these may be items filled with memories. Many are far too special to ever consider selling or giving away. We fully understand that feeling and would never suggest any such thing! The reality, however, is that mixed in with those special items are other things that may have less importance. The big question is, how do you decide which is which?

For many people, just the thought of going through all of these things is more than they can handle. That is why we would like to offer you an approach to make this task less overwhelming.

The reason that I feel so confident in offering this suggestion is that I have not only seen many people use it successfully, following a death, but I also followed it myself, when I was breaking up my parent’s home. A year and a half after my father died, my mother’s doctor told us that my mother needed more care to deal with her Alzheimer’s than we could provide her at home. Even though we lived next door and maintained a full time assistant for her in her home, we were told she needed more skilled assistance and mental stimulation. Her doctor invited us to visit an Alzheimer’s unit that was ahead of its time in design and support and we reluctantly agreed to explore that option on a 30 day trial. Mom loved it there and eventually was convinced that she owned the place and had invited all of her friends to live there with her! Her “apartment” was decorated with her own furniture, paintings and knick-knacks and felt like home.

The task after that was to deal with the lifetime of things that my parents had accumulated. This was a very emotional challenge! In truth, I was grieving. It was a home filled with not only their lifetime of memories, but mine as well. Rather than taking an “all or nothing approach,” I employed a technique I had learned from Chapter 13 in “The Grief Recovery Handbook,” called the “The Pile Plan.”

This is not something that you should do alone! It always works best when you have a family member or friend assist you. Many of those things will have personal stories attached to them that you will want to share. In truth, these are stories that you “need” to share as part of the grieving process. It is about letting out those feelings that you have stuffed deep down inside. It is about sharing the special memories you have with someone else, rather than isolating and doing this alone.

The concept of the Pile Plan is fairly simple. You pick a place to start. You can begin with a single drawer in a dresser. Open that drawer and start sorting its contents into three piles: the one with items you know you want to keep; the second with those items you know in your heart you are ready to let go; and, what is often the bigger pile, those items about which you are unsure. Now you can take those things you know you want to save and put them back in the drawer or some place you can enjoy seeing them to remind you of the fond memories they bring to mind. You can let go of those things to which you are not attached. And, you can set aside those things about which you have made no decision, and when you are ready, take them out and sort them into three piles. You will keep doing this until everything in that drawer has been divided into those things you want to keep and those things you can discard. Then, once again with the help of a friend or family member, tackle the next drawer or closet.

This is obviously not a quick solution, but it is one that will ensure that you do not let go of things with later regrets. Do not be surprised if you find yourself getting emotional as you do this. That is a very normal reaction to going through these personal possessions. Rather than keeping that emotion bottled up insider, express it! That is why it is never suggested that you try this process alone. At least at the beginning. You may find that you will feel like doing more sorting with each further attempt at following this process.

Do not be surprised if you choose to keep one or two items of clothing that still “smell” like the person you lost. Some people find this comforting. You may, or may not, choose to let go of these items later. My personal experience in using this method for dealing with my parent’s house was that it took about a month to do this, working at it a little each day, as I was emotionally ready to do the work. By the time we had, what I refer to as the “dreaded garage sale,” there was nothing that we were offering to which I had any emotional attachment. What was left after the sorting process was just “stuff,” and held no meaning for me related to my parents or my lifetime with them.

In a sense, I found this to be an added gift to all of the other things that I learned from using “The Grief Recovery Handbook” to deal with the emotional pain of loss in my life. It not only helped me to do the necessary work to be in a better place after dealing with deaths and even the smallest of issues in ongoing relationships, but it also helped me to better deal with the emotional pain of letting go of the material things related to those relationships as well. Those many things that I have saved to remind me of those relationships are now out where I can enjoy them, and those things that had no meaning have now been discarded, just as I have let go of the sadness and sometimes painful memories I once carried!

stephen moeller, grief recovery specialist

What Are Clinical Trials and Studies?

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Clinical research is medical research involving people. There are two types, observational studies and clinical trials.

Observational studies observe people in normal settings. Researchers gather information, group volunteers according to broad characteristics, and compare changes over time. For example, researchers may collect data through medical exams, tests, or questionnaires about a group of older adults over time to learn more about the effects of different lifestyles on cognitive health. These studies may help identify new possibilities for clinical trials.

Clinical trials are research studies performed in people that are aimed at evaluating a medical, surgical, or behavioral intervention. They are the primary way that researchers find out if a new treatment, like a new drug or diet or medical device (for example, a pacemaker) is safe and effective in people. Often a clinical trial is used to learn if a new treatment is more effective and/or has less harmful side effects than the standard treatment.

Other clinical trials test ways to find a disease early, sometimes before there are symptoms. Still others test ways to prevent a health problem. A clinical trial may also look at how to make life better for people living with a life-threatening disease or a chronic health problem. Clinical trials sometimes study the role of caregivers or support groups.

Before the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approves a clinical trial to begin, scientists perform laboratory tests and studies in animals to test a potential therapy’s safety and efficacy. If these studies show favorable results, the FDA gives approval for the intervention to be tested in humans.

What are the four phases of clinical trials?

Clinical trials advance through four phases to test a treatment, find the appropriate dosage, and look for side effects. If, after the first three phases, researchers find a drug or other intervention to be safe and effective, the FDA approves it for clinical use and continues to monitor its effects.

Clinical trials of drugs are usually described based on their phase. The FDA typically requires Phase I, II, and III trials to be conducted to determine if the drug can be approved for use.

  • Phase I trial tests an experimental treatment on a small group of often healthy people (20 to 80) to judge its safety and side effects and to find the correct drug dosage.
  • Phase II trial uses more people (100 to 300). While the emphasis in Phase I is on safety, the emphasis in Phase II is on effectiveness. This phase aims to obtain preliminary data on whether the drug works in people who have a certain disease or condition. These trials also continue to study safety, including short-term side effects. This phase can last several years.
  • Phase III trial gathers more information about safety and effectiveness, studying different populations and different dosages, using the drug in combination with other drugs. The number of subjects usually ranges from several hundred to about 3,000 people. If the FDA agrees that the trial results are positive, it will approve the experimental drug or device.
  • Phase IV trial for drugs or devices takes place after the FDA approves their use. A device or drug’s effectiveness and safety are monitored in large, diverse populations. Sometimes, the side effects of a drug may not become clear until more people have taken it over a longer period of time.

Mr. Jackson’s story

Mr. Jackson is 73 years old and just found out that he has Alzheimer’s disease. He is worried about how it will affect his daily life. Will he forget to take his medicine? Will he forget his favorite memories, like the births of his children or taking part in the March on Washington with Martin Luther King, Jr.? When Mr. Jackson talked to his doctor about his concerns, the doctor told him about a clinical trial that is testing a possible new Alzheimer’s treatment. But Mr. Jackson is not sure about this clinical trial business. He does not want to feel like a lab rat or take the chance of getting a treatment that may not work or could make him feel worse. Dr. Moore explained that there are both risks and benefits to being part of clinical trials, and she talked with Mr. Jackson about these studies—what they are, how they work, and why they need volunteers. This information helped Mr. Jackson feel better about clinical trials. He plans to learn more about how to join a study.

Like Mr. Jackson, you might have heard of clinical trials but may not be sure what they are or if you want to join one. Here is some information that can help you decide if participating in a clinical trial is right for you.

Why participate in a clinical trial?

There are many reasons why people choose to join a clinical trial. Some join a trial because the treatments they have tried for their health problem did not work. Others participate because there is no treatment for their health problem. By being part of a clinical trial, participants may find out about new treatments before they are widely available. Some studies are designed for, or include, people who are healthy but want to help find ways to prevent a disease, such as one that may be common in their family.

Many people say participating in a clinical trial is a way to play a more active role in their own health care. Other people say they want to help researchers learn more about certain health problems. Whatever the motivation, when you choose to participate in a clinical trial, you become a partner in scientific discovery. And, your contribution can help future generations lead healthier lives. Major medical breakthroughs could not happen without the generosity of clinical trial participants—young and old.

Here’s what happens in a trial:

  1. Study staff explain the trial in detail and gather more information about you.
  2. Once you have had all your questions answered and agree to participate, you sign an informed consent form.
  3. You are screened to make sure you qualify for the trial.
  4. If accepted into the trial, you schedule a first visit (called the “baseline” visit). The researchers conduct cognitive and/or physical tests during this visit.
  5. You are randomly assigned to a treatment or control group.
  6. You and your family members follow the trial procedures and report any issues or concerns to researchers.
  7. You may visit the research site at regularly scheduled times for new cognitive, physical, or other evaluations and discussions with staff. At these visits, the research team collects information about effects of the intervention and your safety and well-being.
  8. You continue to see your regular physician for usual health care throughout the study.

Where can I find a clinical trial?

There are many ways you can get help to find a clinical trial. You can talk to your doctor or other health care provider. Or, you can search ClinicalTrials.gov. You can sign up for a registry or matching service to connect you with trials in your area. Support groups and websites that focus on a particular condition sometimes have lists of clinical studies. Also, you may see ads for trials in your area in the newspaper or on TV.

Learn more about participating in Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias clinical trials and research.

What is the next step after I find a clinical trial?

Once you find a study that you might want to join, contact the clinical trial or study coordinator. You can usually find this contact information in the description of the study. The first step is a screening appointment to see if you qualify to participate. This appointment also gives you a chance to ask your questions about the study.

Let your doctor know that you are thinking about joining a clinical trial. He or she may want to talk to the research team about your health to make sure the study is safe for you and to coordinate your care while you are in the study.

How do researchers decide who will participate?

After you consent, you will be screened by clinical staff to see if you meet the criteria to participate in the trial or if anything would exclude you. The screening may involve cognitive and physical tests.

Inclusion criteria for a trial might include age, stage of disease, sex, genetic profile, family history, and whether or not you have a study partner who can accompany you to future visits. Exclusion criteria might include factors such as specific health conditions or medications that could interfere with the treatment being tested.

Many volunteers must be screened to find enough people for a study. Generally, you can participate in only one trial or study at a time. Different trials have different criteria, so being excluded from one trial does not necessarily mean exclusion from another.

Why are older and diverse participants important in clinical trials?

It is important for clinical trials to have participants of different ages, sexes, races, and ethnicities. When research involves a group of people who are similar, the findings may not apply to or benefit everyone. When clinical trials include diverse participants, the study results may have a much wider applicability

Researchers need the participation of older people in their clinical trials so that scientists can learn more about how the new drugs, therapies, medical devices, surgical procedures, or tests will work for older people. Many older people have special health needs that are different from those of younger people. For example, as people age, their bodies may react differently to drugs. Older adults may need different dosages (or amounts) of a drug to have the right result. Also, some drugs may have different side effects in older people than younger people. Having seniors enrolled in drug trials helps researchers get the information they need to develop the right treatment for older people.

Clinical research infographic icon
Share this infographic and help spread the word about the benefits of participating in clinical trials and studies.

Researchers know that it may be hard for some older people to join a clinical trial. For example, if you have many health problems, can you participate in a trial that is looking at only one condition? If you are frail or have a disability, will you be strong enough to participate? If you no longer drive, how can you get to the study site? Talk to the clinical trial coordinator about your concerns. The research team may have already thought about some of the obstacles for older people and have a plan to make it easier for you to take part in the trial.

What happens when a clinical trial or study ends?

Once a clinical trial or study has ended, the researchers will collect and analyze the data to see what next steps are needed as a result of the findings. As a participant, you should be provided information before the study starts about how long it will last, whether you will continue receiving the study treatment after the trial ends, if applicable, and how you will be kept informed about the results of the study. Be sure to ask if you have specific questions. Learn more about what happens when a clinical trial or study ends.

Questions to ask before participating in a clinical trial

The following are some questions to ask the research team when thinking about a clinical trial. Write down any questions you might have and bring your list with you when you first meet with the research team.

About the trial

  • What is this study trying to find out?
  • What treatment or tests will I have? Will they hurt? Will you give me the test or lab results?
  • What are the chances I will get the experimental treatment or the placebo?
  • What are the possible risksside effects, and benefits of the study treatment compared with my current treatment?
  • How will I know if the treatment is working?
  • How long will the clinical trial last?
  • Where will the study take place? Will I have to stay in the hospital?
  • Will you provide a way for me to get to the study site if I need it, such as a rideshare service?
  • Can I do any part of the trial with my regular doctor? Is there a closer clinical trial to me?
  • How will the study affect my everyday life?
  • What steps ensure my privacy?

Medical care

  • How will you protect my health while I am in the study?
  • What happens if my health problem gets worse during the study?
  • Can I take my regular medicines while in the trial?
  • Who will be in charge of my care while I am in the study? Will I be able to see my own doctor?
  • How will you keep my doctor informed about my participation in the trial?
  • If I withdraw, will this affect my normal care?

Costs and reimbursement

  • Will being in the study cost me anything? If so, will I be reimbursed for expenses such as travel, parking, or lodging?
  • Will my insurance pay for costs not covered by the research trial, or will I need to pay out of pocket? If I don’t have insurance, am I still eligible to participate?
  • Will I need a study partner? If so, how long will he or she need to participate? Will my study partner be compensated for his or her time?

After the trial ends

  • Will you follow up on my health after the end of the study?
  • Will you tell me the results of the study?
  • Whom do I call if I have more questions?

For more information about clinical trials

ClinicalTrials.gov
www.clinicaltrials.gov 

iii Yansaje T. Muse

What’s the name of your Radio Station?
I have an online radio station that runs 24 hours a day, 7 days a
week. It is called 222.9 The Mothership Internet Radio! It is a fusion of old school music,
mystic teachings, literature, poetry, and interviews. It is where 17 years of public radio
experience meets 8 years of professional oratory counseling, 4.5 of it Orisa Priestesshood. It
creates its own galaxy of sound healing and planetary alignment for the modern esoteric
soul.

How do you find ways to channel your creativity?
To me, creative expression is one of, if not THE highest form of spirituality. I don’t really
look for ways to channel my creativity…as much as I surrender to my natural flow, and
allow myself to be divinely guided. I’ve done my best work by simply allowing myself to be a
vessel…

How would you describe your art?
My oratory art creations are as fragments of truth, color, darkness and light, washed in
windsongs of ethereality. When combined, they create the mosaic of my cosmic soul, and
reflections of the worlds I’ve known … in vivid detail.They are an extension of my work as a
diviner, speaking the volumes that my inkwell of poetry cannot. Their hues carry prayers of
healing, images of my spiritual visions and dreams, and whisper secrets from my archives of
life experience.

What topics do you like to discuss on the station?
The Mothership Internet Radio aims to normalize esoteric wisdom by keeping mystic
teachings in regular rotation. They, like the musical rotations are astrologically aligned, as
well as with my blog series. The teachings include wisdom in numerology, astrology, tarot,
dream symbols, moon cycles, love advice, tough love wisdom, Holy Bible commentaries, and
the iChing. Sleep meditation music plays at midnight to heal the chakras, and orisa drum
music plays in the sun rising.

How would you describe your poetry?
(Laughs) Um, I would say my poetry is like a good pot of gumbo. There are lots of
ingredients in it…slow cooked in layers. To hear it is to taste many things at once.

What would you say to young women who have yet learned how to channel their creativity?
First, I would say do not become too codependent on external stimuli. Doing so runs the risk of becoming an imitation of someone else. Second, be clear on what message you want to convey. Then, allow your spirit to lead you to your greatest expression. Don’t hold back!

What would listeners NOT hear on your station?
222.9 The Mothership does not endorse hate speech of any kind. It does not stand for
misogyny or misandry, racist or political talk. You will not hear anything on The Mothership
that is an antithesis of high vibrations.

How do you feel when people think that women have to basically be an overachiever to
match a man in any field
?

I don’t really feel anything, honestly. I pair achievement with faith and divine alignment.
Words like “match” invoke a competitive spirit, which I find counterproductive. I’ve never
considered myself in competition with men at anything. I just put my best foot forward and
allow The Universe to manifest all I am meant to have once I do that. I’ve learned to release the need to overachieve for any reason. For me, it takes the fun out of the journey of creation. Besides, too many men have genuinely supported and helped me achieve my goals to see them as competition. The only thing I strive to match and even do better than in any field…is myself.

How long has your station been on the air?
222.9 The Mothership was founded on Monday, February 22nd , 2021. August 22nd makes 18 months.

What inspires you?
The collective creative genius of our ancestors greatly inspires me. I strive to preserve their
legacy, while adding my brick to the anthology of time. Life experience inspires me too. I am also greatly inspired by esoteric wisdom.

What are 4 words to best describe you?
Hmm…let’s see….Supernatural, Mysterious, Beautiful, Thorough.

What are your thoughts on why vaccinations in the Black communities are lower than with other communities?

Black people, I believe, are inherently indigenous. Indigenous people have always trusted the medicines of the earth more than the medicines made by man. Living in a country where sickness is a business is enough to give earth bound people pause, not to mention we are blatantly being shown that we live in a country that reminds us all the time that our best interests aren’t a part of the overall agenda. The trust is beyond broken into pieces. It is ground into sand.

What would you want to happen to you in the next 5 years?

In 5 years, 222.9 The Mothership will have a massive global listener base, and I will be a
household name that represents triumph, success, spiritual alignment! Many peoples lives
will be enhanced by my poetry and other works. I will be in excellent health and happy,
teaching others to do the same…while jamming out, of course!

Do you go to open mics to showcase your poetry and if so where do you like to go?
I love open mics and miss them very much. I haven’t been to an open mic in many years, as I had to sacrifice my social/performance life to train as an Orisa priestess and build 222.9 The Mothership. Moving forward, I do plan to return to the stage for open mic poetry. However, I am going to try my hand at online poetry sessions and poetry lessons.

Why do you choose to do your art on glass instead of canvas?

The concept began on a whim of random intuition and inspiration from ancient folk beliefs
that Haitian Bottle trees trapped negative spirits in the night to be eliminated by the morning sun, and that blessed bottles from medicine men and women protected the home, healing all within. Bottles are outward models of the combined phallus and the womb, the root of all creation. Their vessels hold contents of possibilities as endless as my concepts. I recycle them as canvases out of love for Mother Earth to recycle, and to give each painting, no matter what it may be, a touch of the Divine Masculine and Feminine balance.

What music do you like to listen to?
I’m an old soul, so old school R & B soul is my go-to. However, I love many other genres of
music. I am into any music with good instrumental composition and a good lyrical message
or story. Many of my favorites are in 222.9 The Mothership’s music rotations.

Who would be your dream guest on the radio station and own your artwork?

For the Interviews, my dream guest is a toss up between Denzel Washington, Carlos
Santana, and Nikki Giovanni. For artwork, I would love to see a collection of mine make its
way to Angela Bassett and/or Erykah Badu’s home decor!

Do you have a favorite Author and if so how do you think what you liked about them
transfer into today’s society?

Oh….boy! (laughs) I’ve read too many books to have a favorite author… so I have to list a
few. Terry McMillian, Richard Wright, ZANE, Eric Jerome Dickey, Micheal Baidsen, and
Zora Neale Hurston. (I know I’m leaving out many I can’t recall off the top of my head!)
What I liked about all of them was that they captured various realities of the human
condition without judgment, which made their characters relatable. Society today could
really learn to be less judgmental.

How can people find your radio station and artwork?
222.9 The Mothership on Android
To beam up, download the 222.9 The Mothership App from the Google Play Store
222.9 The Mothership on iPhone
To beam up, download the Simple Radio App from the Apple Store, punch 222.9The
Mothership in the search engine.
222.9 The Mothership on Desktop/Main Web page
http://www.poeticallymused.org/mothership
The Mothership Mystic Boutique (The Artwork)
http://www.poeticallymused.org/mothership mysticboutique

What advice would you give to someone who wants to do a podcast but doesn’t know
where to start?

Don’t overthink it like I did…just do it and enjoy the journey! Let it come together
organically. Whatever you do, keep going!

OPEN MIC!!!!
I will take this space to share a poem I wrote about inner transformation…listen.
I bet you wonder where I’ve been….
Within.
Absent but perhaps evolving like tsunamis over ocean waves
praises up, abundance rains
she makes the truth plain, and growing pains
more than bearable
unknowingly wearable,
minyon scare-able.
I bet you wonder where I’ve been…
Within.
Transitioning wind velocities into funnel clouds,
proudly destructing structures built on misunderstandings
landing artistic expressions of gratitude in the sky
tapping into 9 past life times I’ve
been making love to stout truth until the sweat purges the lies
Verses from akashic records pours out through my pores
shape-shifting in its rawest form
with all doors for meaninglessness closed, locked.
An empty cellar restocked
a ticking time bomb, just watch.
In Olodumare’s vintage vineyard of nourishing black grapes
that await to taste
sweeter with time….and authentic wisdom…such a savage peace
unimprisoned at least in an exiled paradise like Assata
fortunate to escape Sarah Bartman’s fate
learning to love the awkward sound of my voice like Nina
to dream of….
Stretching bare on Ogun’s blacksmith table and letting God remold
reforge, but of course
Angels call our voices for their reasons
shielded under Orisa wings we comb the globe in new believing
consecrated tongues, new speaking
grieving the old self with no bereaving
receiving the conceiving seeds and leaving
auras of divinity in our wake
like black eyed peas marinating in 4 seasons
just waiting on the cornbread to bake….

I bet you wonder where I’ve been….
Within.
Rolling.
Twisting lavender inscenting thoughts evoked
the expanding spiral spoke
provoked in Mary Jane smoke
when I make my blunts float
spirits speak then vaporize
words and actions synchronize
strategize, execute the rise above low spiritual conditions
switching positions with systematic screw-overs
and climbing back on top of my world
fingers interlocked
Minions love not knowing Jack drunk
so I let them take their shots
I pray they find truth in my thoughts
I bet you wonder where I’ve been…
Within.
not hiding under a rock, but something like that
a hermit from conformity, snacking on facts….
Watching, waiting, anxiously anticipating
in a home I built inside my painting
and a chamber in my soul where someone once blocked my light
now Heaven and Earth consummation in plain sight.
I tossed my Dutch clogs
and took a barefoot jog
down hallways of abandoned rooms in my DNA strands
reignited eternal flames…and its hot, get a fan
ancestors occupy, sing their songs, I’m a band
dancing to the rhythm of divine master plan
for that authentic swag in my back when I stand….
To set the records all the way straight.
I bet you wonder where I’ve been.
Within.
Moon waning in Pisces
Copyright 2021. All Rights and Spiritual Properties Reserved.

Living Roots


SEBASTIAN ITURRALDE

Fiction blogger—citizen of this beautiful planet, eternal lover of artistic creation and literature. Certain that the creative energy comes from nature

Corcon was pouring a green substance into a red jar. The lab had a perfectly flat floor, although it was made of different-sized wooden branches. The walls were logs against each other. Everything was alive. The union of trees created a perfect room.

The humanoid plant scientist had been working for centuries to replicate its creator’s brain. Finally, after all the failed adapts, he was able to see the world with the ambition of a man who discovered immortality. Even Corcon’s voice changed to resemble the dark sound of a vampire.

Corcon had been trying for years to create another like him. Unlike the creatures living on the island; unlike the other blight. They were all specimens of the same plant. All fruit of the infection that Corcon has left on the island. He discovered that everything within his reach dies and is replaced by pollution emanating from the blight.

Living while waiting for something to happen became unbearable. For centuries the island had come into balance. Everything was contaminated. The brain of an immortal vampire got bored in the routine. Science was the only way out for Corcon.

The development of his mind and need to recreate the life of his creator had led him to awaken a need that seemed impossible to reach. Corcon wanted to have a child. No longer a copy of himself. But a new being. A blank mind to start over.

Inside his laboratory, he had been looking for a way to reach his goal… when he heard the door. Two blight entered. One of them was the first to appear after Corcon’s arrival on the island. Curtun was tall and stiff. His skin was covered in spikes that he could fire if he saw fit. The other, Circun, was even smaller than Corcon. A blight that could bury its roots in the ground and remain motionless for decades.

Corcon had been expecting a new test subject: a human female.

“What do you think you’re doing?” she said, entering the lab. “Let me go!”

“Welcome, welcome,” Corcon said, setting the steaming red vial on the table.

The woman managed to free herself from one of her kidnappers. “I demand to know what’s going on.” She looked at the scientist’s back. “Aren’t you going to face me?”

Corcon turned to reveal his wooden face.

“You’re one of them…”

“Easy,” Corcon said. “I have an offer for you.”

“Never,” she said. “Nothing you can say interests me.”

“You see,” Corcon said, taking a syringe from the table, “humans only serve as food. You should be honored to be my guest. My name is Corcon, it’s nice to meet you.”

“I don’t care what you are,” she said. “Please… let me go.”

“All in due time,” Corcon said. “I’m going to need your cooperation first.”

“No… wait” Circun and Curtun grabbed the young woman to immobilize her while Corcon injected her.

Corcon stepped back to see the reaction. The girl fell to her knees. She was released by Circun and Curtun. She raised her head and screamed. The skin under her ruined dress began to turn green. It was incredible. The substance was giving the effect Corcon expected to see.

Little by little the young woman lost the characteristics of a warm-blooded being to become a plant. A plant, like Corcon, but different. The being that will help him have a child that is no longer a copy of himself.

The young woman collapsed to the ground once the transformation was complete.

“How does it feel?” Corcon asked, kneeling next to her.

She looked up. The world looked different. The lab was a beautiful and lively place, although it needed a bit of color. Her captors were no longer frightening beings. At least not for her.

“Can you hear?” Corcon said.

“I’m fine,” she said, sitting on the wooden floor. “My name is Mathilda, by the way.”

Mathilda looked at the palms of her hands. Her skin color was completely different, the pale green also covered her arms. She felt strong. The wasted years of her training to become a warrior came back. The muscles that couldn’t develop in her female body quickly changed.

She imagined herself in the middle of a battlefield. This time everything was different, somehow. Mathilda felt able to stop the swing of the other warriors’ swords. She felt powerful. However, the idea seemed like a product of her imagination. It was impossible that her physical limits had disappeared.

The humanoid plants around her were just like the rest, obsessive beings taking advantage of their physical strength to dominate others. Mathilda was tired of her struggles. She lunged at one of her captors.

Corcon was surprised to see the green-skinned woman grab Curtun by the legs and threw him against the wall. Impossible, he thought.

Mathilda remembered the years of training. The knowledge etched into her body. She was ready for anything. Circun launched at the woman. Mathilda caught him easily and using the creature’s speed threw him against another of the walls.

“Wait,” Corcon said. “You and I can create something never seen before.”

Mathilda stopped. She looked at the creature responsible for her transformation. “You don’t know what you’ve done. Someday, I’ll return the favor.”

Corcon watched Mathilda turn around and, unable to stop her, saw her walk out of the lab. He considered raising the alarm for every blight on the island to stop her, but he realized that letting her go was for the best.

Mathilda found her way to the place she arrived. Her torn dress barely covered her body. She pushed the canoe into the sea and found a way back home. Mathilda was anxious to show others that she can finally become a warrior.

Does PTSD ever go away?

Photo by Mateus Souza on Pexels.com

In the United States alone, an estimated 70% of adults will experience at least one traumatic event in their lifetime. Of those, 20% will develop Post Traumatic Stress Disorder or PTSD. In fact, the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs reports that about 8 million people suffer from PTSD in any given year. With such a large number of people affected, it’s important to know what Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is, how it’s treated, and if it ever goes away.

Here at Psychological Care & Healing Center we have a dedicated treatment program for those dealing with PTSD. In addition to providing psychological care and support, some of our most important work is helping people understand what Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is and what it is not.

What PTSD Is Not: Debunking the Myths

Due to the popularity of the term “PTSD” in our popular culture, it’s easy to develop misconceptions about issues around post-traumatic stress. Some of the most common myths are:

  • PTSD is not real; it is “all in your head”
  • PTSD is a sign of mental weakness or fragility
  • Everyone with PTSD is violent or will become violent
  • PTSD will go away on its own eventually so medical help is not needed
  • PTSD happens immediately after experiencing trauma
  • People with PTSD are dangerous
  • People with PTSD should be able to move on and “get over it”
  • PTSD is not treatable
  • PTSD is only caused by some form of physical injury
  • PTSD only affects veterans
  • Any life event can be considered “traumatic”

What PTSD Is

In reality, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is a mental and psychological reaction that occurs after a person experiences a significant and traumatic event. Here is what you need to know about post-traumatic stress:

  • PTSD is a real condition with real symptoms. It is not made up.
  • PTSD is a human response to uncommon experiences, not a sign of weakness.
  • PTSD does not make people “crazy.” It is not characterized by psychosis or violence.
  • PTSD symptoms (i.e. nightmares, anger, flashbacks, insomnia, or mood changes) are reflections of the brain trying to cope with trauma.
  • Symptoms of PTSD do not go away on their own but are responsive to treatment.
  • Symptoms do not always show immediately; sometimes they appear years later.
  • Only about 10% of women and 4% of men develop PTSD.
  • PTSD is not caused solely by physical trauma or injury.
  • PTSD can affect anyone that has experienced trauma, not just veterans.

Treatment for PTSD 

Psychodynamic psychotherapy, cognitive behavioral therapy, sensorimotor therapy and Eye Movement Desensitization & Reprocessing are among the most effective treatments for PTSD.

Psychodynamic Psychotherapy

This in-depth form of talk therapy allows mental health professionals to understand someone’s mental and emotional processes and gauge the health of their relationship with the external world.

This process generally begins by focusing on emotions, thoughts, early life experiences, and beliefs. By recognizing and acknowledging recurring patterns in their lives, patients are able to develop new strategies for managing distress and changing behavior. Ultimately, the goal of psychodynamic therapy is to encourage patients to create healthier coping mechanisms to lessen their hyperarousal symptoms and increase both their self-esteem and their positive perception of the outside world.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

Where psychodynamic therapy focuses on a patient’s psychological processes, cognitive behavioral therapy focuses on how trauma affects the patient’s thought patterns and behavior. During CBT, mental health professionals teach individuals with PTSD how to assess and change the negative thoughts they’ve experienced since the traumatic event.  For example, instead of being “stuck” believing negatively charged “automatic thoughts” that have developed as a result of the trauma, patients learn to acknowledge, modify and challenge these beliefs, thoughts and feelings by focusing on the present reality instead.

This process begins by exploring the patient’s current understanding of a traumatic event, including why it happened and how it affects them today. From there, patients and psychologists evaluate the usefulness of these thoughts, finding alternative ways to think about their trauma. Through CBT, patients learn that, although they can’t control every aspect of their lives, they can control how they interpret and deal with their circumstances.

Sensorimotor Therapy

A more holistic approach to healing trauma, sensorimotor therapy works to address how trauma affects individuals somatically, or in their bodies. Often used with patients who have experienced developmental trauma like sexual abuse or violence, this form of therapy focuses on the theory that unresolved trauma can get trapped in the body. Psychologists create a safe environment for patients to “remember” specific physical sensations as they relive traumatic events. In doing so, patients are better able to discuss trauma while remaining mindful of how their body responds to specific triggers.

Eye Movement Desensitization & Reprocessing

In some cases, people with PTSD are unable to fully recall what happened to them. Using back-and-forth movement and sound, EMDR helps individuals remember what took place. Once a “target memory” is identified, the patient explores that memory while also paying attention to movement and sound, helping lessen their anxiety. Afterward, therapists will typically ask the patient to discuss their experience, helping understand if they still associate that memory with a stress response. This process helps patients face suppressed memories with clinical support.

Does PTSD Ever Go Away?

Like most mental health conditions, the intensity and duration of PTSD depend on several different factors, including the type and severity of trauma that a patient experiences, how long that trauma lasted, how the patient’s brain was affected by the trauma, and how receptive the patient is to treatment.

Although the Department of Veteran Affairs reports that 53% of people with PTSD who receive trauma-focused therapy and 42% who receive SSRI and SNRI medications will no longer have PTSD symptoms after 3 months of treatment, lingering effects can and do remain even after treatment.

“The symptoms of PTSD really never go away,” Dr. Sanjay Gupta told CNN. “Here is why: There is a profound psychological and physiological reaction to something traumatic. That traumatic event can’t be completely undone, though it can be diminished in the mind.”

So, does PTSD ever go away? No, but with effective evidence-based treatment, symptoms can be managed well and can remain dormant for years, even decades. But because the trauma that evokes the symptoms will never go away, there is a possibility for those symptoms to be “triggered” again in the future. With that said, living and thriving with PTSD is more than possible.

“After lots of falling down and getting back up again in the process of recovery, I now know that PTSD is not a life sentence,” Jenni Schaefer wrote for the Anxiety and Depression Association of America. “Today, my nightmares are gone, I rarely startle, and incredibly, I have fallen in love with life. The world isn’t out to get me after all, and I feel safe. Finally, I am living in real time and not trapped in the past. While the fact that I experienced trauma will never go away, PTSD itself is fading.”

The PCH

Experiencing trauma does not have to take over your life.

 PTSD treatment program will help. We want to know what happened to you, not what’s wrong with you. Reach out to a member of our staff at 1-888-525-2140 to begin that conversation.

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