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Why we all need friends…

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Friends are important. My friends have in no uncertain truth helped me survive the last few months. Without their love, support and presence in my life I am not sure that my mental health would have remained as intact ) but frayed) as it is. Friends have appeared from so many places, the long term ,soul touched friendships that have remained strong for many years and the people on the periphery of my life who have shown themselves to be kinder more thoughtful and of such importance that I would never have known without this most terrible experience of my life. 

Science has proven that having friendship can extend life expectancy and lower chances of heart disease,  it physically helps us to  survive. Friendship ignites the part of the brain that makes us feel good, which makes us want  and need to be close and interact with our friends. We release the ‘ feel good’ chemicals like dopamine, serotonin, and oxytocin

Which in turn relieves stress and promotes happiness. 

Lonely people are more likely to die and to have heart disease , we are not designed as humans to be alone or solitary and thankfully in this modern age of technology we are open to a huge arena of possible friendships even if we are confined to home.  We are able to reach out and make ‘virtual’ long-distance friends which can help immensely in the small hours when close at hand friends are not available or when you are feeling isolated and fragile. 

At different stages in our lives we will make friends and leave them along the way, Life will twist and turn as we grow, have families, move areas and change.Some friendships will survive , some will flounder and people who were simply acquaintances will fade away with fond memories. 

If you are incredibly lucky one of your closest friendships will be your partner.The one who understands and respects your dreams and goals who  believes in you and supports even your tiniest , silliest ideas. The one who will listen to your fears and hopes and hold your heart safe. 

 

We all have some dark secrets in life , your friends are where they are absolutely safe. You can talk about your silly mistakes, family problems, simply pour your heart out knowing with a breath of kindness they will let it go and never hold against you.

Everybody goes through some difficult times when you need a shoulder to cry on. Friends will be there to listen to your nonsense talks and still acknowledge whatever you are saying to lighten your heart and calm your soul. They give advice ,show you the kindness that you need when you are in trouble and are the ones who understand you and no matter what the situation is surrounding you with positive energy.
I am so lucky, I have friends who love me just the way I am . They have seen me at my ugliest both physically and emotionally and in the worst situations in my life they flew to my side. . They know me inside out.
They know my weaknesses, flaws, dark past, everything and still, they are by my side.

Friends are so important because unlike family who have an obligation to us they love us unconditionally, they love without expecting anything in return. The times spent with them are likely the most memorable ones in our lives. My friends and I set out to make memories now and those are above anything that can be bought.

I'm a slightly deranged middle aged widow, living in the Cotswolds with two fabulously funny little dogs. A mother, grandmother, sister and friend. Determined to survive by writing to remember, to forget and to cope with grief. the memory of my husband supporting me, guiding me and probably laughing at me if there is a ‘somewhere’

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Health

Robotic cats used in a retirement home in England

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A nursing home with dementia patients in Essex has used robotic cats to keep its residents calm and content. The result was so positive that an additional 200 robotic cats and 100 robotic dogs were purchased to provide support for people with dementia.

Battery-powered robotic cats purr, meow, and move when stroked and hugged. Dementia patients often become agitated, anxious and angry, and a pet usually helps them calm down. But I am not always able to manage a soul in flesh and blood.

Research has shown that an effective, drug-free way to soothe a patient with dementia is to give them a soft toy they can interact with. During this Covid-19 emergency, when people were unable to visit their relatives, robotic cats helped the 100 residents of the nursing home.

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Food

Health : Going Bananas about Bananas!

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I’m going bananas about bananas! The use of idioms would be perplexing to students of the English language, who could not deduce from the words used that I am very excited, or at least enthusiastic about bananas as a food. Who would not be when they realise that wrapped within a protective skin that mainly keeps out pesticides, even if not grown organically, there is both a perfect health and convenience food? 
While some people may not like their taste or texture, the banana is among the world’s most popular fruit.  It can satisfy a sweet tooth, while at the same time being low in calories. One medium sized banana has a hundred and five calories, containing fibre, minerals and antioxidants that are good for the digestion, kidney and heart function. 
 
 I remember a neighbour, whose daily regime after a coronary bypass operation, consisted of a long walk plus  – you’ve guessed it a banana!  The reason for this was that bananas are a great dietary source of potassium. One medium-sized banana (118 grams) contains 9% of the RDI.
A diet containing adequate levels of potassium can help lower blood pressure.  Bananas also contain magnesium, which is also important for heart health.
A single medium sized banana also contains Vitamin B6 33% of the RDI, Vitamin C 11% of the RDI, Copper 10% of the RDI and Manganese 14% of the RDI. Think how much these supplements are going to cost in the health shop and you will see what a good deal you are getting with a natural fruit! There are only 0.4 grams of fat in a banana, so it can also be considered a weight loss food.
 
Bananas should not cause major spikes in blood sugar levels as they contain pectin. However, people with type 2 diabetes should probably avoid eating a lot of very ripe bananas, as they monitor their sugar levels.  As in all circumstances people should take medical advice if concerned about their diet. 

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Herbal Medicine

Rosemary oil and memory; does it really help?

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Traditionally rosemary is said to be good for boosting memory, so many recommend smelling rosemary when studying.

In recent years the news has been circulating on the internet that even rosemary increases memory by 75% but can we really believe it?

Essential oils and plants have some benefits in many cases and when used judiciously but we should not blindly believe in all the potential miracle cures. For example, essential oils can be helpful and many use them to relieve the symptoms of chemotherapy, but we will never advise anyone to use essential oils or herbs to treat a malignant tumor or heart problem.

Let’s go back to memory… recently the snopes.com site, a site that has been trying to understand for years whether certain news is true or false, has tried to dispel the myth of rosemary and memory. The article is long  but in a nutshell it tells us that the news came from the newspaper The Daily Mail, not particularly famous for the accuracy of the scientific news it publishes.

The original article was about a study that proved that rosemary increases memory by 75%. The study was really done but it tried to prove if a particular chemical component of rosemary oil increased memory.

In any case, there is no evidence that it is rosemary oil, a chemical component of it or simply the fact that the aromas can remind us of things related to the smell itself. In short, we have no conclusive evidence that rosemary oil does not improve memory but certainly there is no evidence that it improves it and we can certainly discard the hypothesis that it increases it by 75%.

If you think that smelling rosemary oil helps you to study, go ahead and do it, but don’t take everything you read on the internet at face value. Often it isn’t true.

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