dr. jenny holland

From Isolation to Community

From Isolation to Community

Following the pandemic, many people are finding it difficult to reunite with their social groups. Social isolation and loneliness are associated with behaviors that negatively impact cardiovascular and brain health, such as lower levels of self-reported physical activity, low nutritional intake, and a more sedentary lifestyle. Multiple large studies found significant associations between loneliness and a higher likelihood of smoking and other addictive habits. Taking charge of your mental health to overcome isolation and loneliness will make life worth living again, and it might just save your life.

New study asks: Does watching the news make us sick?

New study asks: Does watching the news make us sick?

High risk individuals frequently became so immersed and personally invested in news stories that the stories dominated the individual’s waking thoughts, disrupted time with family and friends, made it difficult to focus on school or work, and contributed to restlessness and an inability to sleep. Perhaps not surprisingly, people with higher levels of problematic news consumption were significantly more likely to experience mental and physical ill-being than those with lower levels, even when controlling for demographics, personality traits, and overall news use.

Stress as a risk factor in older adults can be mitigated with intervention

Stress as a risk factor in older adults can be mitigated with intervention

Researchers found, on average, participants who reported more stress in their lives experienced a steeper decline in functional health over three years, and that link between stress and functional health decline was stronger for chronologically older participants.

However, subjective age seemed to provide a protective buffer. Among people who felt younger than their chronological age, the link between stress and declines in functional health was weaker. That protective effect was strongest among the oldest participants.

Emotional well-being gets a boost from optimism

Emotional well-being gets a boost from optimism

Researchers followed 233 older men who first completed an optimism questionnaire; 14 years later, they reported daily stressors along with positive and negative moods on eight consecutive evenings up to three times over an eight-year span. The researchers found more optimistic men reported not only lower negative mood but also more positive mood (beyond simply not feeling negative). They also reported having fewer stressors which was unrelated to their higher positive mood but explained their lower levels of negative mood.

Nature walking can improve self-esteem around body image

Nature walking can improve self-esteem around body image

A new study has found that being in nature helps people deal with negative body image by removing some of the triggers of body image anxiety, such as the focus on social media, and strengthening coping mechanisms to keep negative feelings in perspective.

Art therapy can be beneficial for stressed caregivers of cancer patients

Art therapy can be beneficial for stressed caregivers of cancer patients

Creative activities like art-making are mindful practices, allowing patients and caregivers to stay in the moment, which by definition can free them from the stress that cancer brings. Caregivers experience stress, which can affect their own health and the patient’s outcome. A recent study showed coloring and open-studio art therapy benefits stressed caregivers of cancer patients.