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Govt Warns Nigerians Of Third Wave Of COVID-19

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Delta Variant Of COVID-19 Doubly Transmissible - WHO

The Federal Government has warned Nigerians of the third wave of the COVID-19 virus as being experienced in some countries.

The Secretary to the Government of the Federation and the Chairman Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 Boss Mustapha at the briefing of the taskforce in Abuja on Monday, said despite the availability of coronavirus vaccines, Nigeria was not yet out of trouble.

He said: “For the avoidance of doubt, the virus is very potent and people still get infected. It’s also a fact that the vaccination process has only just begun. It has been reported that some countries are recording a third wave of cases.”

READ ALSO: Govt Presents Request List To WTO DG Okonjo-Iweala

He said as of March 14, 2021, Nigeria’s bed occupancy had reduced to 1.22 percent and active cases stood at 13, 245.
He noted that Nigeria had unfortunately crossed 2,000 fatalities on March 12, 2021 and now had 2,013 recorded deaths.

“The PTF will like to caution Nigerians on home-based care as there may not be enough facilities and personnel to manage patients in times of emergencies.”

Executive Director, National Primary Health Care Development Agency, Faisal Shuaib, said only Kogi State was not supplied the Oxford-AztraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine because its cold store “is still under repairs following vandalisation during the #EndSARS protest.”

He said about 8,000 Nigerians had received their first dose of the vaccine.

He said no official report of serious adverse effects had been received from any of those vaccinated “but mild side effects such as swelling at the side of the vaccination is expected as this is normal.”

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Mental Health

Managing Workplace Anxiety: Triggers Part 5

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Managing Workplace Anxiety: Triggers Part 5

By

Akindotun Merino

An anxiety trigger is something that sets off our feelings of anxiety. Sometimes recognizing the trigger is not so easy, since a trigger can come on suddenly while others are well known and expected. If we can identify our own anxiety triggers, we can avoid them or even stop them from happening. But other times, if the trigger is unknown or not as obvious, we may have to find ways to just adapt around it.

Fear is a big cause of many anxiety triggers and symptoms. One of the biggest fears associated with anxiety is uncertainty or the fear of the unknown. Not knowing how a situation will result can make some people simply shut down. The fear of not knowing how a project went over or not knowing how well or poor a speech will be delivered can make some people simply avoid the situation, causing a lot of missed opportunities. Others may try to find out as much information as they can so that they can feel more informed, but if it doesn’t satisfy the ‘need’ to know, then they may just quit altogether.

Questions that make us anxious:

  • “What will happen if I do __________?”
  • “What will happen if I don’t do ____________?”
  • “Will this change anything?”
  • “Will something bad happen?”

When we hold in our feelings, we are not allowing our body to express how it naturally feels. This forces our brain to hold in our negative thoughts or emotions and creates a large storage bin for them to brew. Often times we suppress our feelings because we become anxious about how others may perceive them or react to them. But if we keep them inside, they cause more anxiety since we have to keep more control over them – which then leads us to continue to think about them and dwell on them. While we cannot always say whatever we want, when we want, there are ways of coping with our feelings and keeping them from attacking us on the inside.

Sample ways to express feelings:

  • Keep a journal.
  • Talk with a friend or counselor.
  • Start a blog.

READ ALSO: Dealing With Mental Illness In The Family

When it comes to speaking in front of others, we are allowing them to hear what we have to say and possibly pass judgment on it, which can cause us to take these feelings of judgment or rejection personally and cause anxiety. When speaking in public or in front of a group, we become anxious because we feel as though we are in the hot seat and cannot escape if we start to feel uncomfortable. We begin to fear making a mistake or having someone not like us. When we fear speaking up, such as to a manager or a coworker, we are second guessing ourselves and fear repercussions if we do not agree with them or like what they have to say. Although most of these fears are generally unfounded, they can be a strong cause in many cases of anxiety.

Some people strive to be perfect; and some come pretty close. Others want to be perfect in many areas, such as our work and personal lives, but feel anxious in the process or when we fail to do so. When we make a mistake, we don’t feel as though we did a perfect job, and can make us feel as though everyone is watching us (which leads to more anxiety!). Not being perfect, or not even being the best at something, makes us feel as though we are not good enough and that others may be passing judgment on us. This can cause further anxiety since we are obsessing about what other people think of us.

Remember:

  • The age-old saying -“No one is perfect.”
  • Perfection won’t make others happy.
  • Perfection will not make you happy.
  • Imperfection is how we learn and adapt.

Sometimes our anxiety can be too overwhelming to settle by ourselves. We have to learn what our limit is and how must we handle our on our own. Self-help methods and techniques are a great way to try and manage your anxiety and anxiety symptoms, but sometimes we have to realize when we need help from others and when to seek extra guidance in order to help ourselves.

Anxiety symptoms can be exhausting and can take a toll on us mentally and physically. While managing our anxiety is no easy task, it should not feel so overwhelming that we cannot function in our everyday lives. Anxiety can grow and grow if not handled properly, which can only make us begin to feel worse about our problems rather than seeking help for them. Sometimes the help from family and friends may not be enough to ease our symptoms and will need to be handled by a professional.

When to seek help:

  • If symptoms are too big to solve yourself.
  • If there are too many issues to deal with at once.
  • If anxiety is keeping you from functioning as normal.

READ ALSO: Trust Building At Work: Develop Positive Relationship

Words from the Wise

  • John Kenneth Galbraith: All the great leaders have had one characteristic in common; it was their willingness to confront unequivocally the major anxiety of their people in their time. This, and not much else, is the essence of leadership.
  • Robert Albert Bloch: Anxiety is a thin stream of fear trickling through the mind. If encouraged, it cuts a channel into which all other thoughts are drained.
  • Susan Jeffers: We cannot escape fear. We can only transform it into a companion that accompanies us on all our exciting adventures.
  • S. Lewis: Some people feel guilty about their anxieties and regard them as a defect of faith. I don’t agree at all. They are afflictions, not sins.

Dr. Akindotun Merino is a Professor of Psychology and a Mental Health Commissioner in California. She is the President of Jars Institute.  Feel free to share your successes and challenges:

Prof.  Akindotun Merino

Jars Education Group

info@akinmerino.com

YouTube.com/akinmerino

Instagram: @drakinmerino:    Twitter: @drakindotun

 

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Health

Highly Processed Foods Harm Memory In the Aging Brain – But Omega-3 Supplements May Help

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Ohio State University

Study in animals suggests omega-3 supplement may reduce effects.

Four weeks on a diet of highly processed food led to a strong inflammatory response in the brains of aging rats that was accompanied by behavioral signs of memory loss, a new study has found.

Researchers also found that supplementing the processed diet with the omega-3 fatty acid DHA prevented memory problems and reduced the inflammatory effects almost entirely in older rats.

Neuroinflammation and cognitive problems were not detected in young adult rats that ate the processed diet.

The study diet mimicked ready-to-eat human foods that are often packaged for long shelf lives, such as potato chips and other snacks, frozen entrees like pasta dishes and pizzas, and deli meats containing preservatives.

Highly processed diets are also associated with obesity and type 2 diabetes, suggesting older consumers might want to scale back on convenience foods and add foods rich in DHA, such as salmon, to their diets, researchers say – especially considering harm to the aged brain in this study was evident in only four weeks.

“The fact we’re seeing these effects so quickly is a little bit alarming,” said senior study author Ruth Barrientos, an investigator in The Ohio State University Institute for Behavioral Medicine Research and associate professor of psychiatry and behavioral health.

“These findings indicate that consumption of a processed diet can produce significant and abrupt memory deficits – and in the aging population, rapid memory decline has a greater likelihood of progressing into neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease. By being aware of this, maybe we can limit processed foods in our diets and increase consumption of foods that are rich in the omega-3 fatty acid DHA to either prevent or slow that progression.”

READ ALSO: Overcoming Adversities

The research is published in the journal Brain, Behavior, and Immunity.

Barrientos’ lab studies how everyday life events – such as surgery, an infection or, in this case, an unhealthy diet – might trigger inflammation in the aging brain, with a specific focus on the hippocampus and amygdala regions. This work builds on her previous research suggesting a short-term, high-fat diet can lead to memory loss and brain inflammation in older animals, and that DHA levels are lower in the hippocampus and amygdala of the aged rat brain.

DHA, or docosahexaenoic acid, is an omega-3 fatty acid that is present along with eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) in fish and other seafood.

Among DHA’s multiple functions in the brain is a role in fending off an inflammatory response – this is the first study of its ability to act against brain inflammation brought on by a processed diet.

The research team randomly assigned 3-month-old and 24-month-old male rats to their normal chow (32% calories from protein, 54% from wheat-based complex carbs and 14% from fat), a highly processed diet (19.6% of calories from protein, 63.3% from refined carbs – cornstarch, maltodextrin and sucrose – and 17.1% from fat), or the same processed diet supplemented with DHA.

Activation of genes linked to a powerful pro-inflammatory protein and other markers of inflammation was significantly elevated in the hippocampus and amygdala of the older rats that ate the processed diet alone compared to young rats on any diet and aged rats that ate the DHA-supplemented processed food.

The older rats on the processed diet also showed signs of memory loss in behavioral experiments that weren’t evident in the young rats.

They forgot having spent time in an unfamiliar space within a few days, a sign of problems with contextual memory in the hippocampus, and did not display anticipatory fear behavior to a danger cue, which suggested there were abnormalities in the amygdala.

“The amygdala in humans has been implicated in memories associated with emotional – fear and anxiety-producing – events. If this region of the brain is dysfunctional, cues that predict danger may be missed and could lead to bad decisions,” Barrientos said.

The results also showed that DHA supplementation of the processed-food diets consumed by the older rats effectively prevented the elevated inflammatory response in the brain as well as behavioral signs of memory loss.

READ ALSO: Trust Building At Work: Develop Positive Relationship

Researchers don’t know the exact dosage of DHA – or precise calories and nutrients – taken in by the animals, which all had unlimited access to food. Both age groups gained a significant amount of weight on the processed diet, with old animals gaining significantly more than the young animals. DHA supplementation had no preventive effect on weight gain associated with eating highly processed foods.
That was a key finding: Barrientos cautioned against interpreting the results as a license for consumers to feast on processed foods as long as they take a DHA supplement. A better bet to prevent multiple negative effects of highly refined foods would be focusing on overall diet improvement, she said.

“These are the types of diets that are advertised as being low in fat, but they’re highly processed. They have no fiber and have refined carbohydrates that are also known as low-quality carbohydrates,” she said. “Folks who are used to looking at nutritional information need to pay attention to the fiber and quality of carbohydrates. This study really shows those things are important.”

Reference: “Dietary DHA prevents cognitive impairment and inflammatory gene expression in aged male rats fed a diet enriched with refined carbohydrates” by Michael J. Butler, Nicholas P. Deems, Stephanie Muscat, Christopher M. Butt, Martha A. Belury and Ruth M. Barrientos, 20 August 2021,Brain, Behavior, and Immunity.
DOI: 10.1016/j.bbi.2021.08.214.

This research was supported by the National Institute on Aging, the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, and the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center. Co-authors include Michael Butler, Nicholas Deems, Stephanie Muscat and Martha Belury from Ohio State and Christopher Butt of Inotiv Inc. in Boulder, Colorado.

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Mental Health

Overcoming Adversities

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Managing Workplace Anxiety: Triggers Part 5

By

Akindotun Merino

Resilience development can improve our ability to overcome adversity at work.  It improves our relationships, assists in conflict management, and decreases the anxiety and stress related to our careers.  Failure is one of the common adversities that we must overcome.  How we handle our emotions after a failure is key to learning to turn a negative into a positive.

  Recognize mistakes. Failure: the state of lacking success.  Failure is unavoidable.  We have been trained to view failure in a negative light, but we must begin to realize that failure can offer us an opportunity for growth. Recognizing our failures, rather than ignoring, hiding, or blaming others for them, will relieve stress and anxiety and improve our relationships.  It will exhibit a level of honesty, and diminish the appearance of the need for perfection; depicting us as more approachable.

Fix mistakes. Failures open the door to improvements, both in ourselves and at work.   What we learn from our fails is more important than the act itself.  How can we learn from our mistakes?  We can first and most importantly turn the negative failure into a more positive plan for the future.  Here are some examples:

  1. If you make a careless mistake, you need to seek out more support or training.
  2. If you did not receive the promotion; you may need to seek out a different career path
  3. If you raised your voice to a co-worker; you may need to reduce your work load or slow down.

Taking the time to evaluate your changes and improvements will help you determine if they were effective.

READ ALSO: Trust Building At Work: Develop Positive Relationship

As an example: for the past three quarters you have worked on several projects. During each quarter, there was one project you missed the deadline on so you requested an extension. You’ve decided that missing deadlines is not acceptable, and have created a plan so that this is no longer your norm.

Here are some questions to ask yourself in order to determine whether or not your plan is effective.

  1. Have I managed my time well so that I didn’t have to ask for anymore extensions?
  2. Is the quality of my project as good as it was when I had to ask for extensions?

Avoid making the same mistakes in the future. Learning from mistakes should not be just a one-time thing. If you have in fact learned something, it becomes a part of you; meaning that you will carry it forward with you.

What are some steps to help you avoid the same pit-holes in the future?

  • Give your complete attention to what you are working on
  • Take breaks to give your brain a chance to re-group
  • Don’t get easily distracted
  • Keep track of your progress
  • Think ahead
  • Consult with your network

Stress management helps you overcome adversity. How can you be mentally resilient if you are physically worn out? You can’t. Good habits outside of the workplace will affect your ability to manage stress in the workplace, which will in turn help increase your resilience.

 Exercising: You either love it or hate it. For those of you who hate it, exercise is that dreaded thing to be avoided at all costs. For the people who love it, it’s a euphoric experience that makes you feel good and look good. Loving exercise can be learned. Once you start, it has an addictive property. It makes you feel physically and mentally better. It may take a while to get to this point, but if you commit to exercising, you will soon feel the benefits.

Ways to stay motivated to exercise on a regular basis include changing your perspective on exercise, setting goal, creating a regular workout time and endeavor to make it fun and varied. Benefits of exercising include fitness, feeling of well being, sleeping better, feeling alert, being relaxed, weight management and appearance.

You can exercise as much as you want, but you truly will not be a healthy person without eating well. Eating well is what gives us energy throughout the day and keeps our minds and bodies functioning properly. How many calories you should consume each day is dependent on your sex, age, and activity level. This can be determined by a doctor, if needed. Whenever you can, try to eat healthy. Make healthy food decisions and remember that the better you eat, the better you will feel. It is important to set yourself up for success. Make it easy on yourself to follow a healthy diet. Ways to do this include:

  • Prepare your own meals
  • Make the right changes
  • Simplify your meals
  • Read product labels
  • Drink lots of water
  • Focus on how you feel after eating certain foods

Sleep is the thing we all wish we had more of. Sleep is so incredibly important to our health. Getting proper sleep keeps us mentally aware and physically healthy. As an adult, 7 to 9 hours is considered the ideal amount of sleep. This may seem impossible to some, but if you put in the effort, you can accomplish this. Sleep provides the body with so many benefits. It is not something that should be skimped on.

READ ALSO: Trust Building At Work: Transparent Communication

Consequences of not enough sleep include memory problems, depression, weakened immune system, increase in perception of pain and increased risk of chronic diseases. Here are some habits to improve your sleep health:

  • Be consistent going to bed the same time each night
  • Be consistent eating at the same time each morning
  • Keep the bedroom quiet and dark
  • Avoid large meals and caffeine before going to bed
  • Exercise

An important aspect of taking your health into your own hands is working at your own pace. You never want to jump right in and over work yourself. It will only cause you to become exhausted and discouraged. Working too slow, on the other hand, can leave you with minimal results. It is important to find a pace that fits your body and your needs. Through trial-and-error, you will discover the correct pace for you. Once you find that pace, increase it gradually. There is no need to go from 0 to 100, but once your body becomes content with a routine it is time to move forward.

Dr. Akindotun Merino is a Professor of Psychology and a Mental Health Commissioner in California. She is the President of Jars Institute.  Feel free to share your successes and challenges:

Prof.  Akindotun Merino

Jars Education Group

info@akinmerino.com

YouTube.com/akinmerino

Instagram: @drakinmerino:    Twitter: @drakindotun

 

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