Columns dealing with health and fitness for Life In Naples Magazine

Bascom Palmer welcomes Dr. Zelia M. Correa as co-director of Ocular Oncology

Dr. Zelia M. Correa

Zelia M. Correa, M.D., Ph.D., one of the country’s leading experts in the field of ocular oncology, has joined Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center and Bascom Palmer Eye Institute of the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine as codirector of the ocular oncology service.

Recognized throughout the world for her expertise in ocular oncology, Dr. Correa specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of eye tumors such as ocular melanoma, retinoblastoma, ocular metastasis, and choroidal hemangioma.

Ocular oncologists are highly specialized ophthalmic surgeons who diagnose and treat tumors and pseudo-tumors of the eye. Ocular tumors can be benign or malignant and affect patients ranging from young children to older adults. Treatment of these tumors involves various forms of laser and radiation therapy, intraocular injections, delicate biopsy procedures, and advanced microsurgical techniques.

Dr. Correa most recently served as the Tom Clancy Endowed Professor of Ophthalmology at the Wilmer Eye Institute of Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore. In this position, she built an excellent ocular oncology program that has drawn patients from across the U.S. and throughout the world. She previously served as professor of ophthalmology and Mary Knight Asbury Chair of Ophthalmic Pathology & Ocular Oncology at the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine.

“Dr. Correa’s career has been characterized by outstanding accomplishments, not only in the field of ocular oncology, but also in vitreoretinal surgery, ophthalmic pathology, and medical education,” said Eduardo C. Alfonso, M.D., professor and director of Bascom Palmer Eye Institute. “Her extraordinary interdisciplinary expertise will significantly benefit the care of patients who come to Bascom Palmer from around the world,” added Dr. Alfonso, who holds the Kathleen and Stanley J. Glaser Chair in Ophthalmology.

Dr. Correa’s research focuses on the use of artificial intelligence to distinguish benign from malignant ocular tumors based on imaging characteristics. She will conduct her research at Bascom Palmer’s ocular oncology laboratory. “Dr. Correa is one of the leading authorities on ocular oncology, and her recruitment to Bascom Palmer will allow us to achieve our ambitious goal of creating the foremost international destination for patients with eye tumors,” said J. William Harbour, M.D., professor of ophthalmology, vice chair for translational research, director of the Bascom Palmer ocular oncology service, holder of the Mark J. Daily Endowed Chair in Ophthalmology, and associate director for basic science at Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center.

Dr. Harbour’s world-renowned ocular oncology laboratory focuses on the use of genetic and genomic technology, bioinformatics, and genetically modified experimental models to better understand and treat major forms of eye cancer, including uveal melanoma and retinoblastoma.

“Dr. Correa is widely recognized for her clinical expertise, surgical skills, and devotion to her patients,” Dr. Harbour added. “Her talents will be critical to our ability to provide for the needs of our rapidly expanding number of ocular oncology patients who come to Bascom Palmer from throughout Florida, the Caribbean, Central and South America, and across the globe.”
A native of Brazil, Dr. Correa received a medical degree from the Faculdade de Medicina de São José do Rio Preto (Brazil) followed by a residency in ophthalmology at the Faculdade de Medicina de Marília (Brazil). She received a doctorate in philosophy at the Federal University of São Paulo (Brazil) and completed four fellowships: vitreo-retinal surgery at the Hospital do Olho Rio Preto (Brazil); ocular oncology and ophthalmic pathology at Wills Eye Hospital; and experimental ophthalmic pathology at McGill University (Canada).

Her academic career includes more than 150 peer-reviewed original scientific publications, book chapters and abstracts. She currently serves as a member of the editorial boards of JAMA Ophthalmology and Translational Vision Science Technology Journal, and is the ocular oncology section editor for EyeNet magazine.

Dr. Correa plays a leadership role in the education of ophthalmologists both in the U.S. and internationally. Her educational focus has been on two separate areas: graduate medical education, where she served as director of medical education at the University of Cincinnati, and post-graduate medical education, where she has taught ophthalmology residents and retina/ocular oncology fellows for more than two decades in classrooms, patient clinics and operating rooms.

Residents have elected her Faculty of the Year, and the University of Cincinnati presented her with the Dean’s Award for Education. Among her many accolades, the American Academy of Ophthalmology recognized her accomplishments by naming her a “Guest of Honor” and presenting her with a Senior Achievement Award, the Special Recognition Award for Leadership Development, and the International Ophthalmologist Education Award. She also founded and has directed the leadership development program for the Pan-American Association of Ophthalmology (PAAO) for over a decade. The PAAO recognized her efforts by presenting her with the Ambassador for Education Award and the Benjamin Boyd Humanitarian Award.

Collier County Medical Society Installs 63rd President and New Board of Directors

Collier County Medical Society (CCMS), the local professional association for physicians, is pleased to announce the installation of its 2020-2021 president and board of directors.

Dr. Rebekah Bernard began her one-year term as the 63rd CCMS president at the Medical Society’s 2020 Virtual Annual Meeting, July 25th. Dr. Bernard is a Family Physician in a private Direct Primary Care practice. A Florida native, Dr. Bernard grew up in Clewiston, received her undergraduate degree at the University of Florida, and obtained her MD from the University of Miami. She completed her residency at Florida Hospital in Orlando, and served for 6 years in Immokalee as a National Health Service Corps Scholar. Dr. Bernard authored How to Be A Rock Star Doctor and writes a monthly blog for the Medical Economics website. She is also a national speaker on the topic of Physician Wellness and practice management.

“I am honored and humbled to accept the position of president” said Dr. Bernard. “As the community sees the medical society stepping up in our role as scientific experts, we are being increasingly looked to for a voice of authority, reason, and solace. During these difficult times, it is more important than ever that physicians come together to provide each other the support and camaraderie that we all desperately need.”

The new 2020-2021 CCMS board of directors joining Dr. Bernard are: Dr. Alejandro Perez-Trepichio, Vice President; Dr. Rebecca Smith, Treasurer; Dr. Gary Swain, Secretary; Dr. George Brinnig, Officer/Director at Large; and Drs. Zubin Pachori and Jose Baez, Directors at Large. Dr. David Wilkinson remains on the board as Immediate Past President. Ex-officio board members include April Donahue, CCMS Executive Director; Amy Howard and Jamie Weaver, DPM, CCMS Alliance Co-Presidents; and Dr. Michael Slater, Resident Physician Representative. The board members will lead CCMS in the mission to serve the needs of its physician members, so they can better serve the needs of the community.

About Collier County Medical Society

Collier County Medical Society is an organization of physicians dedicated to serving the needs of our physician members, so they can better serve the needs of the community. CCMS was founded in 1957 and over the past 60 years has grown to over 600 physician members representing all specialties. Membership is voluntary and brings together physicians who have an interest in organized medicine and share the goals of maintaining high standards of clinical care in Collier County. CCMS is affiliated  with Florida Medical Association and the American Medical Association.

April Donahue  Executive Director

Collier County Medical Society

Foundation of Collier County Medical Society

O: (239) 435-7727  C: (239) 298-2427

april@ccmsonline.org

www.ccmsonline.org / www.ccmsfoundation.org

Bascom Palmer Eye Institute Naples Welcomes Cornea Specialist Dr. Jamie D. Martinez

Dr. Jamie D. Martinez

The Bascom Palmer Eye Institute Naples welcomed Dr. Jamie D. Martinez in May 2020. He and his wife made the move to Naples right amid COVID-19 with their four-year old twin girls, and baby boy set to arrive July 2020.

Dr. Martinez completed his ophthalmology residency at one of the best eye centers in Latin America Asociación para Evitarla Ceguera, Mexico City in March of 2017.

After his residency, he became part of the Bascom Palmer Eye Institute family and completed his one year research fellowship and continued for two years of training on Cornea, Cataract and External disease with Bascom Palmer.

In 2018 Dr. Martinez received the Gillingham Pan-American fellowship award for his research efforts. The funding propelled his research fellowship and allowed him to explore his interests of of corneal infections, ocular corneal surface disease, and high-risk corneal transplants.

Dr. Martinez has great interest in infectious keratitis and seeks to develop novel therapies for this challenging disease. Currently, he is conducting research on the use of Rose Bengal Photodynamic Antimicrobial therapy (PDAT). He reports the progress has been successful in understanding the new treatment along with its application, and there remain many aspects to continue to study and develop.

His latest work has explored the safety of this technique in a rabbit model which has successfully treated several clinical cases of severe unresponsive corneal infections resistant to standard medical therapy. The treatment of PDAT resolved the keratitis, preventing the need for emergent therapeutic penetrating keratoplasty.

Dr. Martinez looks forward to continued innovations in the field of corneal infections and exploring new methods and techniques to combat this challenging disease. He has always envisioned himself as a clinician scientist and to be a part of a team where he can provide excellent clinical care, participate in research endeavors, and be actively involved in teaching residents and medical students. Cataracts are a leading cause of blindness across the world.

Throughout the past three years, Dr. Martinez has been doing international cataract surgery missions trying to help the fight against blindness.

Lessons From Your Youth That Could Save Your Life

Michelle Avola
Ex Director of NPC

Look both ways before crossing the street. Wear light colors at night so people can see you. Walk against vehicle traffic. Ride your bike in the same direction as other vehicles.

We probably all learned these and other important safety tips from our parents or at school when we were kids, but it seems like a lot of people have forgotten some of the most basic principles of bicycle and pedestrian safety.

Please read these important reminders and pass them along to your neighbors and friends. You just may save a life!

  • Pedestrians must walk AGAINST traffic (this includes the shoulder, travel lane, and bike lane.)
  • Pedestrians should use sidewalks wherever present. If you must leave the sidewalk, move to the grass, and only enter the road if you are facing against traffic.
  • Never step out in front of someone approaching on a bike or in a car. If you must exit the sidewalk for the shoulder, travel lane, or bike lane, look both ways before entering.
  • Cross at a crosswalk or controlled intersection, never mid-block. Drivers do not expect people in the middle of the road and landscaping may prevent them from seeing you until it is too late.
  • Look both ways, keep your head up, and avoid distractions. Keep your phone in your pocket.
  • Pedestrians may use the travel or bike lane(against traffic), if there are no sidewalks.
  • Be considerate. When walking/running in the shoulder/bike lane, stay single-file or step onto the grass to allow bikes to pass and avoid forcing them into the travel lane. Cyclists are traveling with traffic and cannot see vehicles behind them; pedestrians can see overtaking cars if facing the correct way.
  • Cyclists should always wear a properly fitting helmet. It is mandatory for you thunder the age of 16, and smart for EVERYONE.
  • Cyclists must ride WITH traffic and obey all road rules. This includes making complete stops at all stop signs/signaled red lights and using hand signals when turning in traffic.
  • Cyclists should use bike lanes if they are present unless there is a safety hazard.
  • Always bike with your head up, alert to hazard son or approaching the road.
  • Cyclists must NEVER wear earbuds or headphones to listen to music. Its unsafe and illegal.
  • Cyclists may use sidewalks when there are not bike lanes present except when posted as restricted (for example, downtown on 5th Avenue South).
  • Use extreme caution if riding on a sidewalk. Driveways and parking lot entrances and exits are frequent collision points.
  • Use extreme caution when entering the shoulder, travel lane, or bike lane if obstructions or hazards make the bike lane or sidewalk unsafe, use extreme caution.
  • Motorists are legally required to give at least three feet clearance when passing a person on a bike. Slowing down until it is safe to legally to pass a cyclist will not change your travel time, but it could save a life.
  • ALWAYS LOOK for people biking and walking before turning into or out of a parking lot, driveway, or turn lane.

Naples Pathways Coalition, Naples Velo, Blue Zones Project SWFL and many local bicycle/pedestrian education and advocacy organizations have been working together to educate all road and pathway users – whether driver, cyclist, or pedestrian – how to move safely and correctly along shared corridors. We are working to teach not only the rules of the road, but also proper etiquette in communicating predictable movement to ensure safe streets for all.

With proper caution and adherence to these reminders, we can all do our part to improve the safety of vulnerable road users.

Please visit www.NaplesPathways.org/join to learn how YOU can join the movement to create a safe, bikeable, and walkable Naples!

Training Virtually or in Person? What is the right situation for you?

by Paula Allia PT, DHSc, MTC, OCS

by Paula Allia – PT, DHSc, MTC, OC

A year ago many people could not imagine virtual training or training using precautions for Covid-19. Yet today, this virus continues to affect our world as we once knew it.

Yes, getting back to work so that people can have jobs and companies can continue to exist is an important part of life. Being safe and trying to take responsibility in not spreading the virus further is key for life to go back to a more normal. But, what does the current normal look like?

How can we all exist and act as normal as possible in today’s world? Well, Fitness Together (FT), in downtown Naples has been set up to do all of the right things. WE ALL NEED TODO OUR PART.

There are two options of training currently. The options are physically coming in to an exercise setting or virtually training online.

First, the most common method of training is in person. This allows a more personable relationship with your trainer and others.

At FT, we have been a unique personal training studio that has always catered to those who do not want to train in big boxed gyms. This atmosphere is much more functional for the current day worries of this pandemic as well.

There are private training suites equipped with all the equipment necessary to provide instruction in a fantastic training session. There is only one client and one trainer in a room at any given time. This works while also limiting your exposure. Also, we added even more cleaning to our already clean environment.

We work hard at keeping you safe while at the same time trying to make you escape from the outside environment and focus on you the entire training session. If so, the sky’s the limit to your training session.

Second, the more popular than ever is the newer virtual training model. This means that you will train online with a trainer that is watching your every move. There are several ways to do this.

At FT we use Facetime or Zoom. All you need is an electronic device such as your iPhone, iPad, or laptop. Virtual training has been part of the downtown FT Naples’ structure for over 12 years. It was initially set up for clients that travel out of state either on business or for an extended stay in another area.

This allows clients to continue to train to keep their strength, endurance, and cardiovascular system stimulated.

Consistency is pertinent to one’s health. Pumping blood works more efficiently with a good functioning heart. Hearts function differently depending upon if someone is heart healthy.

Strong lungs are key to be able to take in oxygen and transfer it to the blood so that it can be transported throughout the body where it is needed.

Muscle tone helps to enhance the tone around arteries and veins. Body parts work together while coordinating and trying to function as normal as possible.

The body is an amazing machine if you give it the right stimulus to thrive. Everybody is at a different level of function and will have a starting point that is unique to them. There is an art to sculpting the new you.

Life seemed to be put on hold in many instances yet keeping the body as healthy as it can be will promote a better chance of functioning better both physically and mentally in today’s world.

Normalcy in most instances can bring back peace to your heart and soul.

Participating in regular exercise is an option that everyone needs to consider.

Take back your freedom by having this little escape to make you feel that you are taking care of yourself.

To Your Health!

If you would like to find out more about this topic, please call Paula @ Fitness Together at (239) 263-9348.

Collier Mosquito Control District…don’t grow your own

Patrick Linn, MS, MSHAPI Executive Director, Collier Mosquito Control District

Here’s a true story that occurred this summer in Naples, as told by one of our professional Field Technicians who answered a “request to visit” on behalf of a resident.

Resident: “I’m being eaten alive by mosquitoes when I get the paper each morning, but my neighbors aren’t getting a single bite!”

Field Technician: “Is it ok if I walk your property to check for mosquito habitat?”

Resident: “Sure, go right ahead, but I don’t have any bodies of water here!”

Field Technician (a short time later): “I think I found the problem, and you are correct, you don’t have a body of standing water.  Instead, you have a large pile of yard debris over in the corner of your yard which is providing a paradise for mosquitoes to hide  during the day. After they bite you in the morning, they’re hunkering down in that debris while the sun is out.”

Our Field Technicians encounter similar situations on nearly a daily basis during the summer months in Collier County, when
mosquitoes are most prolific. Residents relay reports of horrible mosquito infestations, and after a brief property inspection, our
Technicians typically identify a small, localized habitat where mosquitoes are breeding.

They then provide recommendations promoting a mosquito farm in their own yard. The most common suggestion is to remove or reduce the habitat by draining water from an item or removing piles of yard waste. The notion that one must live near a swamp or a body of water is misleading because mosquitoes can deposit their eggs in as little as a few tablespoons of standing water.

Then, thanks to the heat in our subtropical environment, those eggs hatch into buzzing blood-feeders in about seven days. Yes, even a discarded bottle cap full of rainwater can produce about 100 mosquitoes.

Property inspections are just one facet of the the Integrated Mosquito Management (IMM) program used by the Collier Mosquito  Control District. Our professionally trained employees utilize a science-based and multi-faceted approach which combines public education, source reduction, surveillance, and the biological, organic, or chemical control of larval or adult mosquitoes. All of these tools are required for an effective mosquito control program.

Need to schedule a Field Technician visit for your property? Please use the form on our website (www.cmcd.org) or call our office at (239) 436-1000.

Let Food Be Thy Healer By Svetlana Kogan, M.D.

One of the rewarding aspects of being a holistic medical doctor is that you get to learn about the medicinal benefits of various foods and how to use them in your practice.

Today I will highlight some of these important functional foods. Take a look at the cantaloupe for example. One cup of cantaloupe provides 110% of the Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) of Vitamin A in the form of beta carotene. This cleansing antioxidant combines with the melon’s high water content to help speed elimination of fat-trapping toxins from the body.

For a patient who is trying to optimize their weight and asks for a nutritious breakfast recommendation, I would suggest one small slice of cantaloupe. My advice would then be to combine that with either a small cup of plain low fat organic yogurt, or a small serving of low fat organic cottage cheese, or just about any other non-processed source of protein. As you face Florida’s heat – adding a cantaloupe to anything you eat, will  make you feel brighter, cooler and more hydrated.

Another great fruit to use abundantly in your Naples home is watermelon. Packed with skin-nourishing antioxidants, like Vitamins A, C, and lycopene – watermelon can help strengthen the skin’s sun defense network by preventing free radical damage that can cause wrinkles and sun spots. In fact, you probably  noticed how so many skin care companies are adding watermelon lately as an ingredient in creams and moisturizers.

In the kitchen, combining one small slice of cool watermelon with any healthy source of unprocessed protein like a scoop of avocado or a low fat organic mozzarella stick, will make a great nutritious snack and keep your complexion hydrated and radiant. A lesser known fruit chock-full of nutrients is kiwi. The Vitamin C and polyphenols in kiwi can reduce levels of triglycerides  by up to 15 %.

A perfect breakfast or a snack for someone trying to mend their metabolic syndrome naturally is to blend one small cup of organic nonfat kefir or plain yogurt, one kiwi fruit cleaned and diced and one teaspoon of chopped fresh mint – for a delicious smoothie. You have probably noticed that I often recommend nonfat or low fat yogurt or kefir as a medium for many fruit snacks. These two happen to be in the top ten calcium-rich foods out there, and  calcium can reduce dietary fat absorption by a whopping 250%. Calcium also suppresses the release of hormones that slow down the metabolism.

In addition, kefir and yogurt’s natural combo of calcium with Vitamin D improves our sensitivity to insulin.  Some people shun dairy for allergic reasons, whether it may be asthma connection or gut sensitivity.  However, I would like to set the record straight for kefir and yogurt, both are cultured fermented foods.

The live bacteria in both produce their own lactase, which means that even if you are lactose-intolerant, you can still enjoy them. Kefir and yogurt are also loaded with Vitamin B12, phosphorus, magnesium, Vitamin D, organic acids and over 60 different strains of live bacteria making them a very rich source of probiotics for the gut. However, if you have absolutely no tolerance for these products, you can easily substitute them with almond or cashew milk.

When it comes to healthy eating, my philosophy has always been: stay away from 90 % of what is sold in the supermarket. Instead,  go for the fresh fruits and vegetables, and a healthy and organic source of dairy and poultry. Smaller wild fish is a bonus, as are lentils and legumes. Food is much more exciting and safer than medications and should be engaged as a healing modality as much  as possible.

Dr.Kogan is a Concierge Holistic Internal Medicine doctor in Naples. Her website is CustomLongevity.com

Community Care … a message from your publisher

Dear Readers,

Reg Buxton Life in Naples Publisher

In January and February of this year the average age for cases of COVID-19 were 68-70 years old plus. The average age has as of this writing dropped to 36-38 years old. The majority of the people testing positive are much younger and are showing no symptoms.

This asymptomatic population can still readily transmit the virus and are the principal cause of infection. They refuse to wear masks and to social distance. They have become killers by way of their behavior. Their disregard for anyone but themselves is incomprehensible.

The World Health Organization, Centers for Disease Control, Department of Health, physicians, nurses and our very own Naples Fire Chiefs without exception say its safer for ALL peoples in the community if masks are worn      in public. In order for the health of our community to be restored it is imperative that the Holy Trinity of COVID-19 guidance of thorough hand washing, social distancing and MASK WEARING be followed.

The end of this pandemic is a long way off. We are not through the first wave yet. We must set our minds to a long race to the end not a short sprint. That being said anything we can do to shorten this race must be done. We have the power collectively to be a part of cutting the spread of COVID-19 by thinking every day what measures can we take to help control infection and spread.

CCMS Physicians Care: Compassion Continues during Crisis

by Collier County Medical Society

Many community residents think of the emergency room as the “front line” of the pandemic. However, during a global pandemic, there are multiple front lines. Our physicians have answered the call of duty in many ways.

With precaution measures heightened, all nurses and medical assistants are on the front lines. They are the ones pre-screening patients, distributing masks, and taking the initial impact of patient fears and anxieties as they enter the office.

Efforts to protect patients paid off though. In one letter to Radiology Regional, the patient expressed how impressed she was with the precautionary steps taken and acknowledged the professionalism displayed by their staff.

Some of our local medical professionals were called to duty in a different way. Emily Snyder, a nurse practitioner at Korunda Medical Institute, had her Army Reserve unit activated. For two months of this crisis, she was stationed at the University Hospital in Newark, New Jersey, assisting clinical staff in a coronavirus hotspot.

Moreover, CCMS board members have advocated for the health of the community in front of the Collier County Board of Commissioners by speaking in favor of science-based measures that would help slow the spread of COVID-19. CCMS Board Members and the CCMS COVID-19 Task Force have been working to provide local physicians with the tools and resources they need to protect themselves, their patients, and keep their businesses up and running.

Giving back in unique ways

 There are many ways to protect the health of a community. In addition to providing direct care for their patients, physicians such as Dr. Joseph Magnant and his staff at Vein Specialists sought to help the families residing at the Ronald McDonald House of SWFL.

Safety measures put into place because of the pandemic prevented the families at the Ronald McDonald House from cooking their own meals, leaving families living with another health crisis struggling with the increased costs of buying take-out meals. The team at Vein Specialists launched a GoFundMe page to ease the costs for families in need.

Dr. Magnant even applied his surgical skills to sew scrub hats and rebuffs from recycled t-shirts. While the items are offered to the community for free, donations are gratefully accepted in support of the Ronald McDonald House of SWFL.

Continuing the health of the community

 Through the fear and panic that COVID-19 has brought to the medical community, one of the greatest ongoing needs that has not been forgotten is the patient. In Southwest Florida, community physicians ensured that those at greatest risk during this pandemic still had access to the ongoing care they needed.

From patients with chronic heart conditions, to diabetes, skin cancer, and pain management, staying home simply was not an option. We applaud the doctors who work quietly and diligently to communicate with their patients and ensure they came to the office, despite their fears.

CCMS is with you through the storm

 The social, emotional, and economic impacts of the COVID-19 outbreak will certainly last months and potentially years. During a crisis, protecting mental health is an important issue. We encourage our neighbors to see support to address their behavioral well-being.Physicians too, are encouraged to seek support for themselves in order to continue to care for our community. Members of CCMS have access to the physician wellness program, which was extended during this pandemic to non-member physicians and the physician spouses of the CCMS Alliance.

We will continue providing COVID-19 resources and information to our members and the community. We ask everyone to take CDC-recommended precautions to decrease the spread of the virus and protect our most vulnerable patients, including physical distancing, mask-wearing while indoors, staying home while ill, and hand washing.

Thank you to all of the many businesses and individuals who are following the CDC guidelines, and to those who have donated food, supplies,and services to our healthcare workers and first responders during this pandemic. We are grateful for your support!

 

 

 

April Donahue Executive Director 

Collier County Medical Society                                                                                                      Foundation of Collier County Medical Society                                                                          88 12th Unit 200, Naples FL  34102

(239) 435-7727

 

HOW TO BUILD SKILLS THROUGH COPING STRATEGIES

By DLC Children’s Outreach Specialist Jessica Liria

Sadness, anger, anxiety—these are normal human emotions that everyone feels. So why do some of us have a harder time managing them than others? While the answer is not an easy one, considering the variety of internal and external factors that affect each one of us, it is safe to say that we are all capable of improving our skills to manage these feelings.

By now you may have heard the term “coping skill” or “coping strategy.” As mental health continues to be a hot topic, these terms have become more common. To put it simply, a coping strategy is a way we manage emotions. It is what we turn to when we are experiencing those not-so-comfortable feelings. When I have a stressful day, what I do to relax and relieve the tension is my coping strategy. As I practice this strategy over time, it becomes a skill—meaning my brain has identified and accepted it as a means to cope, and my brain will then seek out that same skill when I need to manage that emotion again.

The goal of a coping skill is to assist your brain and body in returning to a balanced, calm state of mind so you can more appropriately address the situation that caused you to feel upset. When emotions are not properly managed, they can manifest in the body as tension and physical aches and pains. We may continue to feel these emotions so intensely that it will affect other areas of our life, such as relationships and academic or work performance.

It is possible that you already have coping skills, but it is important to ensure that these are healthy. Taking a walk, practicing breathing techniques, drawing, journaling, and listening to music are all examples of healthy coping skills. Identify a few techniques that can be used depending on your setting. If you are working at the office you may not be able to head out for a jog, but you can take a few minutes to regulate your breathing and do some light stretches.

Using substances, acting violently, or engaging in self-injury are examples of unhealthy coping strategies, which will cause harm to you or others. These strategies should be avoided. As they are practiced, our brains will develop them as “skills.” This may lead to addiction, legal problems, and long-term health issues.

Children and adolescents develop skills quicker and easier than adults, so assisting them in identifying a healthy coping skill early on is beneficial for lifelong emotional wellness. Help them explore several options and encourage them to choose a healthy strategy they have been practicing when you notice they are upset.

To get started, check out these 99 ideas and create your own list of coping  trategies: https://www.yourlifeyourvoice.org/pages/tip-99-coping-skills.aspx