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3-2013 advice column

[1] The American Journal of Health Promotion, January 2013.


Q: I feel disappointed and hopeless about relationships. Is there any hope?

A; Go back and forth with writing down a characteristic of the kind of partner you’d like, and then list the doubts. Whenever you sit on the toilet, think of releasing old disappointments. Then drink water you imagine charged with hope. Imagine the interaction of positive media couples you can use to match the hopefulness of their good marriages, such as Kevin Bacon and Kyra Sedgwick or Meryl Streep and Don Gummer.


Q: I’m giving birth soon. Any advice?

A: Remember to bring a mirror so you can see the baby crown and carrot juice for Vitamin K, let your body move with its own intelligence, do Lamaze breathing, and look at a picture you paste on the wall to keep your attention off the contractions. Have a good birth coach or your partner to assist you and remind you a healthy baby will emerge.


A study of more than 6,000 adults found that those that exercised for about 10 minutes were as healthy as those who exercised for longer periods of time, as long as the short exercises added up to 150 minutes a week. [1]

Q: I’m struggling with insomnia. Any suggestions?

A: Avoid alcohol as it suppresses REM sleep and shortens sleep time. Try to go to bed around the same time every night, exercise in the late afternoon or early evening, be in the sunlight in the morning, and avoid caffeine after 2 PM. Try my boredom technique where I count from 20 down to 1 with a mantra after each number, such as om mani padmi hum. If I persist, my brain gives up and goes to sleep.



Q: My wife and I have big credit card debt that means big interest payments. What can we do?

A: For a month, keep careful record of who is spending and on what, including small cash purchases. At the end of the month, see what can be cut. Make a budget that fits your income and stick to it. Don’t carry cards or much cash with you. If one is the frivolous spender, he or she shouldn’t have access to the credit cards. You could call the credit card issuer and try to get the interest rate lowered and negotiate a more favorable payment plan. You could research other credit card issuers to transfer the credit card balance to one with a lower rate. If you own a house with any equity, you could try to get a home equity line to use that to pay off the credit card debt so that at least the interest on the home equity line is tax deductible.


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