Mindfulness is a practice that teaches you how to stay in the moment. Start by focusing on your breathing. Feel the sensations that come with each breath in and out. Maybe you notice a subtle breeze around your nostrils or the gentle rise and fall of your chest and belly. Simply keep your awareness here for about 5 minutes, bringing it back any time your mind wanders.
“Learn to recognize the ‘sound’ of worry and realize that it’s unreliable,” Chansky says. Listen for that little voice in your head that makes worries sound bigger than they are. Then give it a name like Miss Perfect, The Nag, or The Criticizer. Discounting anxiety with a silly name can help you reduce the weight you give it.
It can help to write down your worries. Next to each, describe what you believe will really happen. Then, do a comparison. When you see the two columns side by side, it might become clear how overblown the worry is. “Worry is the story we are telling ourselves about the situation,” Chansky says. Decide to tell the story in a more realistic and positive light.
Just like you would with an overbearing friend, you can set boundaries and make Miss Perfect wait. “Make worry appointments with yourself every day,” Chansky suggests. “Rather than getting off track with worry throughout your day, choose 5 minutes when you’re going to focus on your worries.” Putting worry to the test can make your mind be more honest with you.
If you’re stuck worrying, call in your own panel of experts in your mind. “Write down four trusted voices of reason: Oprah, the Dalai Lama, your mother, a best friend,” Chansky says. Imagine that you’ve asked them about the situation. “Even though it’s you thinking of the options, you’re stretching your perspective and slipping out of the vise grip of your anxiety,” she says.
TOP STORIES MAKING NEWS
CDC issues guidance on monkeypox isolation
The CDC released guidance recommending that people diagnosed with monkeypox isolate for the duration of illness, which can last as long as four weeks, to prevent the virus from spreading. Monkeypox can spread from the time when symptoms start until lesions have healed and a new skin layer has formed over all rashes, the agency said, and when people are unable to fully isolate, they are advised to avoid close contact with people and animals, use a mask, and keep affected areas of the skin covered, among other measures.
US uninsured rate drops to record low of 8%
The US uninsured rate dropped to a record low of 8% in the first three months of the year, and 5.2 million Americans have gained health insurance coverage since 2020 as enrollment in Medicaid and through Affordable Care Act exchanges surged, according to an HHS report. However, gains in Medicaid enrollment could be erased somewhat when states that accepted enhanced funding restart eligibility assessments after the COVID-19 public health emergency ends
Novo Nordisk's hemophilia treatment gets new indication
The recombinant, glycopegylated coagulation factor IX drug Rebinyn from Novo Nordisk has received an expanded indication from the FDA as a routine therapy for bleeding prevention in pediatric and adult patients with hemophilia B. Patients who received the treatment once weekly for a year during a clinical trial had no observed thrombotic events or inhibitors and had a rate of 1.04 for overall median annualized bleeding.
Drug distributors settle W.Va. opioid claims for $400M
Drug distributors Cardinal Health, McKesson and AmerisourceBergen have reached a $400 million settlement with more than 100 cities and counties in West Virginia to resolve allegations that the companies helped fuel the state's opioid-addiction crisis. Cardinal Health said in a statement that the company is committed to its role as "a part of the solution to the opioid epidemic
Heat-related illness risk may be higher with some meds
Some blood pressure drugs, antidepressants, antihistamines and beta blockers are among the medications that can interfere with body heat regulation, and patients who take them need to exercise caution when exposed to high summer temperatures. Heat-related illness often crops up unexpectedly, and symptoms can include low blood pressure, dizziness, disorientation, shortness of breath and chest tightness
US to offer updated COVID-19 boosters next month
The FDA announced Friday that the Biden administration plans to launch its fall COVID-19 booster campaign next month, earlier than expected, using updated booster formulations targeting the Omicron BA.4 and BA.5 subvariants. The agency has decided against offering a second booster dose of existing COVID-19 vaccines to Americans younger than 50 after receiving assurances from Moderna and partners Pfizer and BioNTech that they can deliver the updated boosters next month
Cigna offers MA members rides to air-conditioned sites
Cigna will provide free rides to community cooling centers and other public areas with air conditioning to around 354,000 Medicare Advantage members nationwide who have a transportation benefit that can also be used for transportation to pharmacies, COVID-19 vaccination sites and medical appointments. "Cigna is committed to helping older adults stay safe and healthy, and free rides to cooling centers is one important way to avoid preventable heat-related illnesses this summer," said Cigna Medicare's Chief Medical Officer Joseph Sobel.
Medical societies speak out against ACA lawsuit
A coalition of medical societies led by the American Medical Association issued a statement warning that a lawsuit targeting the Affordable Care Act provisions that require group health plans and insurance providers to cover some preventive services for free puts patient health at risk. "Rolling back this access would reverse important progress and make it harder for physicians to diagnose and treat diseases and medical conditions that, if caught early, are significantly more manageable," the statement said
US to offer updated COVID-19 boosters next month
The FDA announced Friday that the Biden administration plans to launch its fall COVID-19 booster campaign next month, earlier than expected, using updated booster formulations targeting the Omicron BA.4 and BA.5 subvariants. The agency has decided against offering a second booster dose of existing COVID-19 vaccines to Americans younger than 50 after receiving assurances from Moderna and partners Pfizer and BioNTech that they can deliver the updated boosters next month.
CMS expects Part D premiums to decline next year
The CMS expects average basic monthly premiums for Medicare Part D prescription drug coverage to drop 1.8%, from $32.08 this year to around $31.50 for 2023. The open enrollment period for 2023 coverage will be from Oct. 15 to Dec. 7, and the CMS expects to release the 2023 premium and cost-sharing data for Part D and Medicare Advantage plans next month
CMS to grow ACOs to address behavioral health needs
Center for Medicare Director and CMS Deputy Administrator Meena Seshamani said the CMS plans to grow the holistic accountable care organization models to address health disparities and behavioral health issues in rural and underserved populations. In an interview, Seshamani said the agency plans to provide upfront investments to rural health clinics, federally qualified health centers and other small providers to encourage them to join ACO models, while offering additional rewards for those who can deliver excellent behavioral health care among underserved patients
NCCN releases new breast cancer screening guidelines
The National Comprehensive Cancer Network released new breast cancer screening guidelines that emphasize the age most women should start getting screened. The recommendations "are the latest, evidence-based guidelines from experts in the field of breast cancer screening and diagnosis from more than two dozen leading cancer centers in the United States," according to Dr. Therese Bevers, chair of the NCCN Guidelines Panel for Breast Cancer Screening and Diagnosis
US COVID-19 infections, deaths down from prior week
The US seven-day average for newly reported COVID-19 cases fell 0.9% to 126,272 as of Wednesday, while the weekly average for COVID-19 deaths declined by 4.8% to 364 from the preceding week, according to the CDC. The seven-day average for COVID-19 hospitalizations rose 1.7% to 6,340 for the week ending Tuesday, and estimates suggest the Omicron BA.5 subvariant caused 81.9% of all COVID-19 cases in the US for the week ending July 23, while 45.8% of US communities had high levels of COVID-19 as of Thursday, a 3.9% increase from the week before.
Recovery of smell, taste may take months after COVID-19
Recovery of the ability to taste and smell may take up to six months after COVID-19, according to a study published in The BMJ, and women are more likely to experience loss of these senses and longer time to recovery, researchers found. In a related editorial, Paolo Boscolo-Rizzo and colleagues said that "given that an estimated 550 million cases of COVID-19 have been reported worldwide as of July 2022, large numbers of patients will be seeking care for these disabling morbidities. Health systems should therefore be ready to provide support to these patients who often report feeling isolated when their symptoms are overlooked by clinicians."
Long COVID studies show symptom diversity, persistence
Studies in Open Forum Infectious Diseases and Nature Medicine documented the number of symptoms associated with long COVID and the persistence of cognitive impairment among people with long COVID. Brain fog afflicted 53% of people with long COVID treated at a single hospital more than a year after infection, while 62 separate symptoms are associated with the syndrome, based on an analysis of a UK primary care database.
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