Unplug Yourself

We live in a society where everything is always moving, changing and challenging us to maintain our sanity. We have to be up early and get ready for a day at work; there is getting the kids ready for school, making sure they get to baseball, football, volleyball, music lessons, dance lessons and the list goes on. You must make sure the laundry gets done, figure out the plan for dinner. The kids need to have their baths, and you need to get ready for tomorrow. Then on top of that, you have to have your phone continually dinging, playing games, ringing and of course don’t forget the computer time and maybe a little of the TV.

It is a constant barrage of stimuli from the outside bombarding you onto the next thing you must get done. The human body is a unique system that can maintain homeostasis under the most severe conditions. Your body will speak to you and tell you what you need to know to maintain health and wellness “if you listen.” The problem is that we don’t hear and usually find out there is a problem when our body rebels and manifests a problem.

We are much like an internet router. You have to unplug the router to clear all the junk that has built up to keep giving you optimal performance. We also need to unplug. We need to clear all of the junk out, quiet our spirits, mind, and soul and listen to what our divine has to say to us.

A perfect way to do this is through meditation. Meditation has been around for thousands of years. It requires no membership, no monthly auto draft from your bank, you will not need your credit card, and you will not have to work it into your monthly budget. Even 5 minutes of meditation can refresh your spirit and well-being. I would start out with 5 minutes and work your way up to a minimum of 30 minutes daily.

Physical, Emotional and Mental Benefits of Meditation
Stress reduction
Greater emotional balance
Increased creative thinking
Lower blood pressure
Immunity boost
Improved productivity
Pain relief
Increased happiness
Improved concentration
Improved heart health

Spiritual Benefits of Meditation

The primary benefit of meditation is that it helps to create the balance between our inner world (the quiet, interior experience) and our busy, noisy exterior world.

As a tool of balance, meditation also helps us access our subtler levels of consciousness. Most human beings only experience the denser dimensions of their physical bodies, emotions, and minds. However, all the great mystics, and now even our modern science, tell us that we are more than just our dense dimensions of body, mind, and emotions. In fact, beyond these three dense dimensions are the subtle dimensions where we experience progressively more truthful states of being.

Physical Benefits of Meditation
What does meditation do to the brain? Can we even prove something is going on when we meditate? With modern brain-imaging technologies, we can now see the different structures of the brain respond to meditation, and this further proves what the ancients have been teaching us all along.

Meditation can improve our length and quality of attention. According to The Journal of Neuroscience, studies have found that daily meditation for a few short months improved alertness and visual attention. Meditation is to our mind what exercising at the gym is to our bodies. It prepares us for our daily encounters and helps us in all areas of life from business to personal life. Yes, we all know that relaxation is good for us and that is exactly what yogis have been telling us about meditation for thousands of years. The daily practice of meditation is as essential to your health as the food you eat.

According to a recent study at Harvard Medical School, deep relaxation through meditation and yoga changes our body at a genetic and cellular level which means more genes for fighting disease and many other cellular benefits.
Meditation can be beneficial in reducing stress. New research from the Shamatha project at the University of California suggests meditation may help lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol.

Anxiety and depression can be substantially reduced in a short period of time with the daily practice of meditation. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) studies have shown that people who meditate regularly have a thickening of the brain near the prefrontal cortex and this helps in limiting negative emotions that are generated by the limbic system. These are the results of a study at McGill University.

Find yourself a quiet room or place where you will not be disturbed. No phone, computer or other people unless also meditating allowed. Sit in a comfortable position or sit in a comfortable chair. Close your eyes to shut off the external stimuli. Focus on your breathing and notice your chest as it rises and falls with each breath. Slow your breathing down and inhale slowly and then exhale slowly. Make sure you expand your lungs when you inhale as much as possible and then exhale as much as possible. Continue to focus on the breathing. Be aware of your breathing and let your mind go. Do not attempt to control your mind. If you find it running away with you bring it back to your breathing awareness. Just let thoughts flow through your mind. Do not react to them but just be aware. Sit back and observe the thoughts. As you feel anxious or uncomfortable, go back to your breathing focus.

Meditation isn’t difficult or expensive–it just takes time. Your wellness and health are worth the 30 minutes a day. Please look forward to a meditation class at First Choice Primary Care soon and experience this for yourself.

Wade Smith MSN, APRN, FNP- C

1st Choice Primary Care, Owner

Protect Yourself From Mosquitos

It is the season for grilling outdoors and sitting outside in the evenings reflecting on the day events. It is a time to enjoy the outdoors when the sun has gone down and the heat has dissipated.   However, this brings about feeding time for a pesky insect called a mosquito who loves to bite and feed on human blood.  We all have endured the swelling and itching of a mosquito bite.  We usually do not realize we have been dinner for a mosquito until we notice the itching on our skin.  

There are 80 different types of mosquitos in the state of Florida which is more than any other state.  Of these 33 can cause problems for man and or animals.  13 are capable of carrying pathogens that cause disease in man and in animals.  Some of these diseases can potentially be fatal or cause permanent damage to humans and animals.  The following is just a “short list” of diseases that can be transmitted to humans and animals. 

Zika Virus – Symptoms are usually mild, but severe complications including serious birth defects and various neurological and autoimmune complications can result from infection with the virus. Currently, there are no vaccines or medications available to prevent infection.

Dengue -It is the most important arboviral disease of humans, affecting 50-100 million persons annually. The word dengue is a Spanish attempt at the Swahili phrase ki denga pepo which describes a cramp-like seizure. 

Chikungunya – In India, it is known as Aakyda, meaning “stiff man” and Maakyda meaning “monkey-like”. These words refer to the arthritic condition that occurs in some patients which gives rise to a stooped posture.

West Nile Virus – West Nile (WN) virus is carried by mosquitoes and if transmitted to humans, it can cause severe encephalitis. It is closely related to St. Louis Encephalitis (SLE) virus which is sometimes a problem in Florida.

St. Louis encephalitis – St. Louis encephalitis (SLE) virus is a flavivirus that is transmitted to humans and other vertebrates primarily by mosquitoes of the genus Culex.  The clinical spectrum of human SLE infection includes an apparent infection, mild illness (febrile with a headache), aseptic meningitis, and encephalitis which can progress to coma and death. In apparent infection is most common in the young, whereas encephalitis, especially that progressing to coma and death, is more common in the elderly.

Eastern Equine Encephalitis –Eastern equine encephalitis (EEE) is a viral disease transmitted to horses and humans by mosquitoes. Birds are the source of infection for mosquitoes. The virus is found along the east coast from New England to Florida, the Gulf Coast, and some Midwestern areas.  Symptoms develop from four to ten days after infection. In horses, they include unsteadiness, erratic behavior and a marked loss of coordination. There is no effective treatment and seizures resulting in death usually occur within 48-72 hours. Most people that are infected with the virus have no symptoms; others get only a mild flu-like illness with fever, headache, and sore throat. When serious infection of the central nervous system occurs, a sudden fever and severe headache can be followed quickly by seizures and coma which often result in death or permanent brain damage.

Prevention, of course, is the best cure.  Make sure you don’t have standing water of any kind that they love to breed in.  Wear long sleeves and proper clothing.  Of course many like to go with no shirt, tank tops, and shorts. You need to apply a good insect repellant to your clothing or bare skin.  Sitting in a screened or netted porch is good.  If you should become the dinner meal for mosquitos and notice fever, chills, headache, nausea, vomiting, neck pain or cramping in a few days to two weeks see your Primary Care Provider immediately.  (Florida Medical Entomology Laboratory, 2018)

Wade  Smith, RN, MSN FNP-C



Florida Medical Entomology Laboratory. (2018, May 25). Retrieved from University of Florida Extension: http://mosquito.ifas.ufl.edu/Mosquito_borne_Diseases.htm

Today is the day!

You ask today is the day for what?  Well, it is the day for you to be honest with yourself and have a serious conversation.  I would like you to ask yourself two questions.  1.  Do I have a big buttock?  2. Do I have a big belly?  If you answered yes to either or both questions it is time for serious consideration to making some lifestyle changes.  The only reason you would make these lifestyle changes is for your own personal health. 

First, determine your BMI.  You can google a calculator online and just plug in your height and weight.  A normal BMI is 18.5-24.9.  65% of the Florida population is overweight.  This is painfully obvious when you visit the shopping malls, restaurants, public gathering places.  Why do you suppose this is?  As a healthcare provider, I have heard, I have a slow metabolism, I have thyroid problems, I am big boned, I don’t eat that much, I only eat once a day.  

The issues that arrive due to being overweight are diabetes, cardiac issues, hypertension, chronic back and joint pain.  Do not mistake thinking these are only issues for adults because they are not.  Children are included in that 65% overweight category and can develop diabetes, hypertension, and the other problems just as well as adults. 

The logic is very simple.  Calories in and calories out.  If you take in more calories than you put out, it becomes stored as adipose tissue.  This usually occurs in the buttocks and the belly.  The causes are multifactorial.  Lack of physical exercise both for adults and children.  The computer, phones, television have replaced getting up and being active.  Driving through your favorite restaurant for a quick meal.  Have you checked the calories of a soda, hamburger and French fries, your favorite slice of pizza?  Have you checked out the portions of food on a plate when you sit down at your favorite restaurant?  The number of calories ranges from 1000 to 1500 just for the one meal.  This is almost the total caloric intake needed for the day. 

I am reminded of a friend who started a new job. They started complaining of hip pain and back pain which interfered with their job.  I was asked what they could do for the pain as far as medication. While medication might offer temporary relief, there was a bigger issue.  It is the 150 extra pounds that were putting pressure on the joints, hips and pulling on the back.  Change needs to take place at the core of the problem not covered up with a medication.  

I have watched my nieces and nephews in action.  Most of their meals come from fast food, they do not like most home-cooked meals prepared for them, there is a constant checking the refrigerator for something to eat or drink.  I have seen them eat 4 or 5 times in just a few hours due to boredom and lack of activity.  They do not see an issue with this lifestyle however they will be my future patients with several health issues.  

This topic is extensive and I have a lot more to say about this subject.  Please look forward to the next article continuing with this important topic.  

Wade Smith RN, FNP-C