The Wellness Chronicle
Creighton University School of Medicine
Office of Student Affairs
Volume 2, Number 1       October 15, 1998


Welcome to the first issue of the Wellness Chronicle for the 1998-99 academic year. This is the second year for the Wellness Chronicle, and as such, there should be some very interesting and helpful articles both in this and future issues that highlight wellness issues for our students. The first Wellness Council meeting took place on September 15th, 1998. Previous Council members in attendance included Amy Kelly, Kim King, Emile Wakim, Reagan Wittek, Rich Lichti, and Emily Richardson. Joining the Council as M1s are Rudy Puana and Catherine Rush. We welcome everybody and look forward to a health-filled year! Currently, the M1s are getting settled with the medical school experience, the M2s are plowing through the system courses on their way to taking Step 1 in the Spring/Summer, the M3s are adjusting to life in the "clinical zone," and the M4s are applying for residencies and hoping that their misbehavior from previous years does not somehow make it into their Deanís letters. There is a lot of good advice in this issue of the Wellness Chronicle; so, please take some time and read through it and share it with a friend.


Inside This Issue:
Jumping for Java
Reflections
Tuning Into the Sacred
Successful Arguing
Never Say Diet
De-Stressing Stress
Wellness Council

The Wellness Chronicle is published monthly by the Creighton University School of Medicine Wellness Council and Office of Student Affairs. It is intended to improve the health and wellness of CUSOM students. Questions and comments may be sent to Michael G. Kavan, Ph.D., Associate Dean for Student Affairs, CUSOM, mkavan@creighton.edu

Jumping for Java
Are you getting more caffeine than you realize?

Caffeine may be one of the worldís most widely researched drugs, but itís still unclear how much of it is too much. What is clear is that those grams of caffeine can add up Ė and increasingly, theyíre harder to avoid. There are the obvious sources: coffees, colas, teas, Mountain Dew, Jolt, Hype, Boost!, Kick, Go-Go, and the quintessentially 90ís drink, caffeinated spring water.

With new caffeinated products buzzing onto the market, even the most conscientious dieter is at risk for infiltration by stealth stimulants. That is why several consumer groups and the American Medical Association have been urging that government food labels include caffeine content, as well as encouraging restaurants and coffee shops to list those amounts voluntarily.

The problem is that tracking caffeine intake requires more than just coffee-bean counting. Which has more, a cup of hot chocolate or decaf? (Both contain five milligrams.) How many 12-ounce cans of Coke does it take to get the same caffeine kick as one cup of coffee? (three, at 45 milligrams each.) A cup of Dannon Coffee Yogurt contains as much caffeine as a can of Coke, but Dannon Light Cappuccino Yogurt contains next to zero. And although Minute Maid Orange Soda is caffeine-free, a can of Sunkist Orange Soda (40mg) provides a buzz thatís bigger than Pepsiís (37mg).

Caffeine got a bad rap in the early 1970ís, when several scientific studies appeared to implicate the drug in problems as diverse as pancreatic cancer and coronary artery disease. Subsequent research seems to have refuted those findings. In fact low to moderate doses of caffeine (20 to 200 milligrams) can even produce some positive effects, including increased energy, sharper concentration, greater motivation to work, a heightened sense of well-being, and more willingness to talk to people. Caffeine also improves athletic endurance, cranks up the beneficial action of certain other drugs, and has been used to improve the efficiency of chemotherapy drugs.

However, in addition to possible links to pregnancy-related problems such as low birthweight, miscarriage, and infertility and bone loss in women who donít consume enough calcium, some still-inconclusive research suggests a connection between caffeine intake and fibrocystic breast lumps. It may also raise blood pressure temporarily, increase anxiety, and cause heartburn in some people, not to mention its diuretic effect!

No one is arguing that people shouldnít be able to consume caffeine, says Patricia Lieberman of the Center for Science in the Public Interest   "but they have a right to know how much theyíre consuming." Still, the food industry contends that there is no hard evidence that caffeine use poses a significant public health threat, so caffeine labels would confuse and alarm people unnecessarily. If consumers really want to trim caffeine intake, itís more sensible to cut out that afternoon cappuccino than to try to shave off a few milligrams here and there.

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Reflections

"We are partakers of a common nature, and the same causes that contribute to the benefit of one contribute to the benefit of another.í - Goodwin

"Whether you think you can or think you canít, youíre right." - Henry Ford

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Tuning Into the Sacred
Finding God in the Everyday

In his book, "The Experience of God," Jonathan Robinson collects reflections on all aspects of spirituality from some very popular people including movie stars, politicians, doctors, and even spiritual gurus. Below you will find some of their responses to the questionÖ"How do you remember and/or tune into the sacred during your everyday life?"

Pat Boone (yes, even Pat can provide useful insight on occasion):

"I often just thank God spontaneously when I notice Him doing something for me or someone else. When Iím eating in a crowded restaurant, for example, Iíll remember that God regularly gives me and my family enough to eat, so rather than offering a long-winded prayer that might attract undue attention, Iíll just raise my eyes to heaven and say. ĎThanks, Lordí"

Bernie Siegel:

"To find God in my daily life, I let the inner spirit guide me through my activities. Itís helpful to not have a schedule and to let go of judgment and self-importance. Sometimes I have to stop and breathe. So if Iím caught in a traffic jam or waiting for someone to answer the phone, I just take a deep breath and let go. Then I feel connected again."

Marianne Williamson:

"All life is everyday life. Weíre always thinking about things and people, whether weíre in line for gasoline or in line to meet the president. The challenge is always to surrender our own will, to ask God to use us in service of healing the world, and to think with love towards all life. The universe is always listening."

Mantak Chia:

"You can tune into the Tao by always being aware of your own energy. While doing any activity, you can feel the energy or chi flowing through various parts of your body. This chi is the same energy as the Wu Chi, the ultimate energy known as God. Also, by being happy in what youíre doing, youíre connecting with the Life Force. When people feel sadness or doubt, they lose energy and are unable to feel the Tao."

King David (Old Testament):

Remember, anyone can find "God" in anything if you just look hard enough.

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Successful Arguing:
Tips for Maintaining a Strong Relationship

You may think that couples should get along all the time. But couples who learn how to argue successfully actually have better relationships. Arguments neednít be bitter or aggressive; in fact, the following tips can show you how to "fight right" and strengthen your relationship.

The three stages of successful arguing include:

  1. Say whatís bothering you using "I feelÖ" statements about specific behaviors. For example, "I feel upset when you slam the door," not "Youíre so noisy!" Be positive, not negative. Say: "I appreciate it when you call me if youíre going to be late;" not "If you donít tell me what time youíre coming home, dinner will be burnt!" Each person should listen to the otherís feelings without commenting, defending, or disagreeing.
  2. The partners discuss the details of their disagreement. Itís important that feelings about the specific issue come up, but not about old issues.
  3. The couple negotiates until they can agree. Sometimes all they can agree on is that they disagree. Negotiation includes give and take. Itís not helpful for one person to say, "Youíre the one who wants the house clean, you clean it." Then there is no give and take.
Finally, admitting that you may be wrong can go a long way toward resolution of the argument. Also, work together, empathize with your partner, and take a time-out as necessary - making sure that you donít avoid the problem, but return to work it out. An important key to working through arguments is to develop a strong foundation that can take the hit of disagreements; that is, spend time together engaging in lots of positive activities. You will be less likely to argue, and when you do it will be friendlier and you will survive them.

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Never Say Diet
Your Body Image and You

Daily Hints for Healthier Eating

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De-Stressing Stress
Positive Choices

Think about your stressors. Do you react in positive ways that manage your stress or in negative ways that increase you tension level? Monitor your negative reactions and modify these for a more stress free and productive life.
 
Negative Reactions Positive Reactions
Rushing, worrying, becoming angry Organizing, prioritizing
Making insulting remarks Talking things over
Overspending Budgeting
Feeling fearful Asking for help
Controlling Letting others participate
Yelling, hitting Counseling
Tight neck and shoulders Stretching exercises
Headaches Deep breathing
Irritability Relaxation exercises
Negative thoughts Positive self-talk
Overeating Physical self-talk
Blaming others Accepting responsibility
 

Wellness Council
Rudy Puana, Catherine Rush, Rich Lichti, Emily Richardson, Reagan Wittek, Emile Wakim, Kim King, Amy Kelly

Wellness Committees
Spirituality, Exercise/Fitness, Nutrition, Mental Health, Relationships

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