Tag Archives: prevention

Mindfulness: It’s good for your heart

Over the years, I’ve seen mindfulness meditation make a big difference for clients dealing with depression and anxiety. But today I learned that mindfulness is good for the heart not just metaphorically, but physically as well. 

A new study shows that people who are more mindful — in other words, they are better at focusing on “the now” instead of rehashing the past or worrying about the future — have healthier glucose levels. Two things that might help explain this connection, researchers found, are: 1. Mindful people are less likely to be obese, and 2. Mindful people have a stronger sense of control over their lives — they believe they can make important changes.

This is good news for everyone, not just the mindful among us, because mindfulness is a trait that can be learned and developed. Working with a therapist is helpful, but practicing mindful meditation on your own can be, too. You can even find apps for your smartphone that will walk you through various meditations, helping bring your mind back to what is going on inside and around you.

Eventually, we hope, doing these mindfulness exercises will help you cultivate the everyday mindfulness that will change how you behave and how you respond to stressful situations.

So let’s work to be more aware of the world around us! It’s good for our hearts!


Wondering where you fall on the mindfulness spectrum? Here are some questions to consider:

  • Do you find yourself running on autopilot frequently?
  • Do you forget names soon after you hear them?
  • Do you snack without being aware of what you’re eating?
  • Do you break or spill things out of carelessness?

Go here for the full questionnaire researchers use to measure mindfulness. 


Satu Woodland is owner and clinician of Mental Health Solutions, an integrative mental health practice located at Bown Crossing in Boise, Idaho. She sees children, adolescents, and adults.

An aspirin a day keeps Schizophrenia away?

According to a recent article in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, aspirin therapy reduces symptoms of psychosis in Schizophrenia Spectrum Disorders. It is speculated that inflammation is causing havoc in the brain as well as the body now. This reminds me of a study published I believe in the early 2000’s that suggested Ibuprofen may prevent Alzheimer’s Disease, another prevalent brain disease. 

Does that mean that we should all start taking aspirin daily? I wouldn’t do this without consulting with your psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner or psychiatrist. For some people aspirin and other anti-inflammatories can actually irritate the digestive tract and may even cause inflammation, so if you are in the category you may not be a good candidate for aspirin. Like anything, it is important to weigh the benefits with possible consequences. No two people are alike… However, it is the middle of the day and I am feeling a little cognitively fuzzy (and I have Schizophrenia and Alzheimers in the family)…not much of a caffeine drinker—just an occasional diet coke—perhaps I should try an aspirin? Hmm….

Supplement may prevent psychosis!

Attention families with psychosis among relatives! Omega-3 fatty acids may prevent onset of psychotic disorders in high-risk populations. This is according to a study published by Amminger and associates in the Arch Gen Psychiatry, 2010 Feb;67(2):146-54. The study suggests that a common supplement that we use for heart disease and stroke prevention may also prevent the progression of psychotic illness in those who have what is called prodromal symptoms (or what I call “pre-psychotic symptoms”). What are pre-psychotic symptoms? Early symptoms may include hearing voices or having some unusual sensory experiences; mood disorders; disorganization in surroundings, speech or actions; and unusual motor activities or posturing. My opinion with this study is that it is certainly worth trying as we all have heard how good Omega-3s are for the body and brain. I think too often we are inclined to jump to powerful drugs earlier than is necessary. How about trying upping our fatty fish consumption or using a supplement? For many the Omega-3s may be enough!