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Culture has a huge influence on how mental illness is expressed and treated. In some cultures, people who experience unusual psychological phenomena are seen as wise, whereas in Western culture they are often labeled as mentally ill and stigmatized. There is a movement to remove the stigma from mental illness and instead look at each person's unique presentation without attaching negative labels. Transcript: "How does cultural context influence the expression and treatment of mental illness? Well, even in this question itself, it's being termed mental illness, which attaches a negative connotation to the experience. And just to provide an example, in some cultures if you have visions and if you hear things that other people aren't able to hear, you are revered. You are sought out for your wisdom. In our culture, a lot of times people are diagnosed with schizophrenia if they have hallucinations and experience things that other people can't experience, and they're a lot of times placed in hospitals. So the culture itself plays a major role in either uplifting and supporting unique psychological experiences, or unfortunately at times it can stigmatize and ostracize and outcast individuals who don't have quote-unquote neurotypical experiences. So my hope is that in Western culture, and I think this movement is already happening, we try to remove the stigma away from quote-unquote mental illness and look at every individual's unique psychological presentation without attaching a stigmatizing or negative label to it."
As providers it's our job to elicit as much information from the patient as we can about what's important to them. We do this by the way we interview and invite information from the patient, always asking questions such as "Are there any spiritual, religious, or cultural considerations that I should take into account?" and humbly leaving space for the patient to tell us what is important to them. Transcript: "Great question. I think it's the provider's job to elicit as much as we can from the patient about what's important to them, but also it's our job to leave space for them to tell you what's important. Some of the ways we elicit what's important are by the way we interview and the way we invite information from the patient. I start every interview asking someone what they want to be called, how they want to be addressed. I always introduce myself as Dr. Cruz or Andy, and I say my pronouns to invite them to say theirs if they want to. I always ask are there any spiritual, religious, cultural considerations that I should take into account. And then at the end of the encounter, humbling myself, knowing that I couldn't have possibly asked every permutation of every question about what could be important to someone, I always say is there anything important to you that we didn't talk about? And if they offer something that should have been obvious to me or something very special that I didn't ask about, I always apologize. I say oh my gosh, that sounds like that's really important to you. I'm so sorry I didn't ask you about that. I think that humans are infinitely complex, so we both obtain what is a priority for a patient by what we say, but also what they give us, and it has to be two-sided or else we'll miss something, because every patient is infinitely unique."
Taking a high school psychology course piqued my interest and expanded my understanding of psychology, showing me how to apply the theories in real life. Transcript: "Really the high school course, just piqued my interest and took my limited at the time understanding of psychology and took it much further, right? So it started to get into experiments in psychology like the Ashe Line test, for example, and how that has been applicable to our understanding of why people do things in particular when there is a power structure or an authority figure present. So in that sense, it took some of the questions that I had from psychology and it made them real for me. OK. It took the experiments and it showed how and in what ways we can start applying some of these theories in real life. And it's been a wrap ever since y'all."
To build an effective pathway to use deep breathing as a tool or habit, practice it when you feel calm and regulated three times a week so that your body can remember how to do it in moments of stress. Transcript: "Deep breathing. Oh, I just get really excited about talking about deep breathing. That's just me. Right. So psychology nerd over here, but when we're talking about deep breathing, consider this a tool or a habit that you can build upon, right? And usually if we're talking about building more effective pathways to using tools or building habits, you want to consider that being able to practice the tool or the, or the habit in the moment that you need it. Meaning in the moment, maybe where I'm feeling dis regulated, maybe I've got a big presentation and I really don't like public speaking and I'm trying to deep breathe before, but I haven't really done this before. So I'm like going over my notes of what my therapist said about deep breathing and stuff like that. When I talk with people about how to build more effective pathways to using their habits, build upon those and practice those in the calmer moments. So that might look like building upon it or practicing it maybe three times a week or something when you are feeling regulated, when you're feeling just fine, pretty calm and in that sense, you're going to start to teach your body, especially during those calmer moments, you're gonna be able to start teaching your body to utilize the skills so that when you need it right before that big presentation or whatever your body is like. Oh yeah, I remember this. No sweat."
There are many things we can do to improve our sleep. Avoid eating close to bedtime, drinking alcohol or caffeine after midday, exercising right before bed, and limit blue light exposure from phones and TVs. Transcript: "Yes, there are. Generally speaking, there are a lot of things that we are doing right before bed that we are unwittingly negatively impacting our sleep. Um I'm trained in cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia and a lot of the work that we learn and that we do with our clients has to do with making the sleep time and the sleep space sacred. So here are a few things that you should avoid, don't eat anything close to when you're going to bed. Because if your body is engaged in the activity of digestion, it might impact your ability to fall asleep and get good quality restful sleep. Don't drink alcohol before bed. This is a big one because a lot of times people tell me, oh, but if I just have a glass of wine, if I have, you know, a shot of vodka, if I have a drink, it helps me to fall asleep. And that is true in the short term. But in the long run, consuming alcohol for the purpose of going to sleep will actually make your sleep worse. So sure you will fall asleep. But when you wake up, you won't feel rested because it does disturb your ability to get quality restful sleep. Don't exercise. Uh, right before bed, I would say don't drink coffee after midday because that can impact your system. It's really important to drink a lot of water. Um, but not just like right at bedtime, um, because you don't want to fill up your bladder and end up waking up in an hour and a half anyway. Um, but there are a lot of things that we are doing that prevent us from getting sleep. One of the major ones are the screens, the blue light from our phones and TVs are problematic."
A plant-based protein drink mixed with unsweetened coconut milk will break a fast, as any food or beverage containing calories and nutrients breaks a fast. The only thing that doesn't break a fast is water. Transcript: "Hi there, well interesting question. So will a plant-based protein drink mixed with unsweetened coconut milk break a fast? Well anything that you intake that has calories and nutrients will break a fast. So a fast is any time that you are breaking from any sort of caloric intake and so when you take in anything that has calories and nutrients then that will break your fast. The only thing that won't break your fast necessarily is water. Sometimes they'll say that tea or coffee won't break a fast because it's just basically a liquid but anything with a carbohydrate, with a protein, with a fat as part of its makeup is going to break your fast. So I hope that answers your question."