Friday, 23 January 2015 16:22

Atlanta Gastroenterology Associates

Friday, 23 January 2015 15:21

Causes of Chronic Cough

A cough can be a nuisance to your day or it can evolve into something more. Maybe you have a simple cold, bronchitis, or allergies? It usually goes away without having to worry too much about it or seek medical attention. But what if your symptoms last longer than a few weeks? We all understand that coughing serves an important purpose – a function of our body that is used to clear our airway of secretions and foreign bodies in order to prevent infections, obstruction, and inflammation. Most people have developed an occasional cough that can persist for a few days or even weeks, but it's important to recognize when it becomes classified as a chronic cough and when you should see your medical professional.

A chronic cough can significantly impact your day and make it hard to sleep at night. You may have other associated symptoms such as runny nose, watery eyes, heart burn, chest pain, coughing up blood, wheezing, or shortness of breath. It can lead to fatigue, frustration, and affect your ability to function. Physicians classify a cough as chronic when it lasts more than 8 weeks, meaning there may be an underlying condition that needs to be diagnosed and treated.

In people who smoke, the most common cause, not surprisingly, is smoking! The harmful smoking particles can irritate your airways, leading to cough and other much more harmful effects, such as recurrent infections and tumor.

CoughIn the non-smoker, there are three main diseases that can lead to a chronic cough. In fact, 90% of the time, one of these three diseases is responsible for that persistent cough. The first is asthma, which can start in childhood or adulthood. Asthma can be associated with allergy, exercise, non-allergy, or just manifest as cough with no other associated symptoms. One common scenario is the person who has had allergy for most of their life but never has been diagnosed with asthma. They can develop a pneumonia or bronchitis that leads to persistent coughing for weeks or months. They often have an underlying predisposition to asthma, known as reactive airways, that may require treatment with asthma medications to resolve the symptoms.

The second cause of chronic cough is post nasal drainage. Nasal drainage can lead to mucous running down the back of your throat, irritating the lining of the upper and lower airways vocal cords, and resulting in sore throat and cough. Chronic infections of the sinuses and sinus allergies are the major culprits here.

The final cause of chronic cough is one that we may not intuitively think of – gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), or heartburn. GERD occurs when stomach contents travel upwards into the esophagus and irritate the nerves of the esophagus that can trigger the cough reflex. This can be tricky to diagnose, as many times cough is the only symptom noticed, without the classic heartburn presentation.

Cough is one of the top five reasons that people see their doctor, and specifically, pulmonologists are lung physicians who specialize in the evaluation and treatment of chronic cough. Along with taking a thorough history and physical examination, they may order further workup such as pulmonary function testing, oxygen measurements, and a chest xray or chest ct scan. They can perform a bronchoscopy if indicated, which is a camera inspection of the upper and lower airways. You may need to be referred to other specialists such as an ENT, allergist, or a GI doctor in order to provide a multi-disciplinary approach to treating the cough. So if these symptoms apply to you, consider seeing your pulmonologist for evaluation of all the common, and the not so common, causes of a cough.

 

Sachin Lavania, MD, FCCP
North Fulton Pulmonary Specialists

www.northfultonpulmonaryspecialists.com

Dr. Lavania has dedicated his career to the clinical and scientific understanding of pulmonary diseases and respiratory-related critical illnesses so that he can help his patients "breathe easier" and maintain a high quality of life. At North Fulton Pulmonary Specialists, he diagnoses and treats a range of medical issues, including shortness of breath, cough, COPD, asthma, lung nodules, lung cancer, obstructive sleep apnea, pulmonary hypertension, sarcoidosis, interstitial lung disease, and pulmonary embolism.

After earning his undergraduate degree from Duke University and his medical degree from the University of South Carolina School of Medicine, Dr. Lavania did his residency in internal medicine at the University of South Carolina/Palmetto Health Richland, also in Columbia. He then completed his fellowship training at the University of Maryland, in Baltimore, in pulmonary/critical care.

Dr. Lavania is board-certified in internal medicine, pulmonary disease, and critical care medicine.
He has published and presented on pulmonary hypertension in patients with advanced interstitial pneumonia, as well as on asthma, pulmonary fibrosis, emphysema, and other pulmonary diseases.

Dr. Lavania currently is the Medical Director of the Intensive Care Unit and Respiratory Therapy at North Fulton Hospital. He is a member of both the American Thoracic Society and the American College of Chest Physicians.

 

Sponsored by: North Fulton Pulmonary Specialists | 2500 Hospital Boulevard, Ste 340 | Roswell, GA 30076
Phone: (770) 740-1753 | www.northfultonpulmonaryspecialists.com

 

 

Friday, 23 January 2015 15:04

Freeze Your Fat Away in 2015

 

 

The New Year traditionally rings in with personal resolutions to improve some aspect of our lives. This often results in promises to improve healthful living habits including exercise and nutritious diet. These healthful daily routines contribute greatly to wellness, personal success and appearance. Despite our best efforts, many times we confront stubborn areas of fat or uneven contours, which detract from the aesthetic effect we have worked so hard to achieve.

CoolSculpting is an FDA-approved method of non-surgical fat reduction and tissue contouring. It effectively eliminates rolls and bulges with no incisions, no anesthesia and no downtime. Fat cells are frozen and destroyed by apoptosis, a natural process for elimination of dead cells without any trauma to the surrounding tissues. Patients can comfortably complete this office treatment in a few hours and return to their regular activities the following day, expecting to enjoy their fat reduction results in just a few weeks.

CoolSculpting results are best when performed at a center where the physician and staff are fully trained in assessment and treatment techniques, preferably at Zeltiq's CoolSculpt University program. Adding a nutrition program and fitness counseling, along with body composition monitoring, can further enhance results and optimize appearance, health and success.

 

 

Mark M. Beaty, MD, Double Board Certified Facial
Plastic Surgeon, Beaty Facial Plastic Surgery

Dr. Beaty is an expert in personalized facial aesthetic enhancement, employing both surgical and non-surgical techniques. CoolSculpting is the only triple FDA-approved, non-surgical fat reduction treatment that uses controlled cooling to eliminate stubborn fat.

 

Sponsored by: Beaty Facial Plastic Surgery | 2365 Old Milton Parkway, Suite #400 | Alpharetta, GA 30009
Phone: (770) 753-0053 | www.beatymd.com

 

Thursday, 22 January 2015 22:01

Trust Your Face to an Expert

 

 

 

 

Aging of the face is inevitable. Over the years, we are subjected to sun, environmental pollutants and natural loss of elasticity. While less firm skin is also less able to renew itself, fortunately there are safe and innovative ways to help reverse signs of aging.

Atlanta’s Dr. Sinha offers different types of facelift procedures to suit each patient’s needs. A customized facelift grants the most dramatic and long-lasting improvement for most people, and other options, such as mini-facelifts, can improve specific areas. For example, the “s-lift” targets the mid-face with less expense and less invasion, and a “j-lift” addresses the lower face and neck.

During the facelift, Dr. Sinha removes excess skin and sculpts the jaw and neckline, restoring a more youthful position to the skin and underlying tissue. Facelift incisions are hidden in the fold in front of and behind the ear into the hairline. The skin and the deep tissue layer are repositioned to eliminate wrinkles and provide a long-lasting lifted look.

 

Q & A with Dr. Sinha

BnAWhat’s the recovery process like?

Patients typically stay overnight and are discharged the next morning. The patient will apply a dressing to the face for a few days, and stitches are typically removed after two weeks.

What types of reactions should I look out for?

You might experience mild bruising or discoloration for the first week or two after surgery. An esthetician from the Atlanta Institute for Facial Aesthetic Surgery can help you apply makeup to cover up any bruising or discoloration. Swelling is also common and should go down on its own within the first few weeks.

What factors do you consider before going ahead with the procedure?

A patient’s skin type, ethnicity, individual healing, bone structure and desired outcome are all taken into account in order to plan the ideal facelift.

 

Dr. Sinha is a Double Board Certified Facial Plastic Surgeon specializing in cosmetic and functional surgery of the head and neck. He has successfully treated thousands of patients and is highly regarded and well respected by his peers in the medical community.

 

Sponsored by: Atlanta Institute For Facial Aesthetic Surgery  |  980 Johnson Ferry Road, Suite 110  |  Atlanta, GA 30342
Phone: (404) 256-5428  |  www.facialaestheticsurgery.com

Thursday, 22 January 2015 21:50

Make Massage Part of Your Fitness Routine

Maggie Alfieri, Program Director at Atlanta School of Massage, tells us that a truly holistic fitness routine should include caring for the wear-and-tear that comes with strenuous physical activity. "Massage can shorten your recovery time between workouts, reduce the chance of injury by improving your range of motion and muscle flexibility, and help increase your overall power and performance. It enables you to push yourself a little harder while reducing stiffness and soreness, which adds up to getting in shape a little faster!"

3In addition to aiding general recovery, massage can also target specific muscles used in specialized fitness activities. For example, areas of the body that are more likely to be tight or sore and lose flexibility are the legs of runners, the upper body of swimmers, the arms of tennis players or the lower backs of golfers.

A well-trained massage therapist understands how to assess each client's needs and tailor sessions to promote healing and improve performance. Anyone seeking better conditioning, faster recovery, injury prevention and assistance in maintaining peak fitness can enjoy wide-ranging benefits from a massage program provided by a professional massage therapist working within their scope of practice.

And don't stop at just getting a good massage – consider giving them, too! Atlanta School of Massage is the perfect place to launch a career in massage therapy. Founded in 1980, Atlanta School of Massage has trained more professional massage therapists than any other school in Georgia. Because ASM is a nationally recognized school of excellence, many regional employers actively recruit ASM graduates over those from other massage schools. Massage students commonly go on to work in day and destination spas, chiropractic offices, wellness centers, private offices, health clubs, cruise ships and hospitals.

For more information about Atlanta School of Massage and a career in massage therapy, visit www.AtlantaSchoolOfMassage.com

 

 

2Dedric Carroll
Massage therapist on a mission

Atlanta School of Massage is committed to changing the lives of its students – whether they're walking across the stage with a career certification, starting their own businesses or creating journeys of their own.

ASM graduate Dedric Carroll is embarking on his journey by participating in a research partnership between Atlanta School of Massage and Emory University. "What separates Atlanta School of Massage from other massage schools is its commitment to research," says Mr. Carroll, "and through our partnership with Emory, we're on the leading edge of pushing the science, and the education, forward."

Contributing to research for "How Can Massage Therapy Impact the Level of Fatigue for Cancer Patients?" is giving Carroll a meaningful way to give back to the community and showcase his passion for massage therapy.

 

Sponsored by:  Atlanta School of Massage  |  2 Dunwoody Park South  |  Atlanta, GA 30338
Phone: (770) 615-7198  |  www.AtlantaSchoolofMassage.com

 

 

Q: What exactly is Pearl Laser Resurfacing?

A: Pearl is a resurfacing laser that gives you relatively quick, invisible results. It treats fine lines, uneven skin texture and light or dark spots caused by sun damage or age.

Q: How will Pearl Laser Resurfacing help my skin?

A: The Pearl Laser replaces the entire top layer of sun-damaged skin. It sends heat to the deeper layers of the skin to stimulate collagen, which fills out and decreases fine lines and wrinkles. The new collagen growth will continue for three to six months after you've had the Pearl Laser Resurfacing treatment.

Q: How many treatments will I need?

A: Most people only do one treatment, but for those that qualify for two, we do those about a month apart. A numbing cream is applied for 45 minutes prior to the procedure, and the treatment itself takes about 20 minutes to complete.

BnAQ: How is Pearl Laser Resurfacing different from CO2 Laser Treatment?

A: CO2 used to be the gold standard and was the only option we really had for resurfacing, but there's far more downtime and more risk of scarring associated with CO2 laser treatment.

Q: What can I expect after treatment?

A: There is downtime associated with this procedure, which is anywhere from three to six days. Immediately after the procedure, the skin appears red. After the third day, the top layer of skin will peel, and you will continue to hydrate your skin for the next several weeks. You will apply some ointment following the resurfacing for three to four days and then the top layer of skin begins to peel – which will take a day or two – after which you will already be able to wear makeup and resume your regular beauty regimen.

Q: How much does Pearl Laser Resurfacing cost?

A: It varies, but typically it's $1,200.

 

 

Q&A with Leslie Brothers, RN, BSN
Health & Beauty Boutique

Leslie has worked as an RN since 1987 after graduating from Boston College School of Nursing. She has worked ICU at University of Miami's Jackson Memorial Hospital, Duke University and Scottish Rite Children's Hospital. After coming to Atlanta in 1994, she preferred to focus on pursuing her passion for aesthetic medicine. Leslie started and maintained a skin care business for 20 years at St. Joseph's Hospital with a well-respected plastic surgeon. She is highly skilled with multiple certifications in laser, skin care, injectables and a variety of other aesthetic areas. Leslie is currently vice president of WINGS, a division of St. Joseph's Mercy Care Foundation, and has been a member for the last 20 years. Leslie's knowledge, dedication and commitment to patient care have allowed her to provide the best in skin care. She is passionate about helping her patients look and feel their best.

LOGO

 

Sponsored by: Health & Beauty Boutique  |  3655 Roswell Rd NE, #216  |  Atlanta, GA 30342  |  Phone: (404) 228.7542  |  www.healthandbeautyboutique.com

 

 

Thursday, 22 January 2015 21:19

Exercising for a Healthy Heart

Though many of us work out to look sculpted and tone, an even better motivator is what regular exercise and healthy eating does for your heart. Our heart is a very important muscle that is central to us living a healthy life. Heart health should be a high priority for us all, but unfortunately, heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States.

The good news is that one-third of deaths from heart disease and strokes are preventable. Here are some steps you can take to protect yourself:

001Exercise. Physical activity of moderate intensity for at least two hours and 30 minutes a week can help you maintain a healthy weight, a lower cholesterol and lower blood pressure.

Eat healthy. Choosing healthy meals and snack options can help you avoid heart disease. Be sure to eat plenty of whole, fresh fruits and vegetables. Avoid processed and fried foods, and limit sodium.

Avoid smoking. Smoking cigarettes significantly increases your risk of heart disease. If you smoke, work on weaning yourself off. Your heart will appreciate you!

By exercising and eating healthy, you will position yourself to maintain a healthy weight, which can also lower your risk of heart disease. The beautiful thing is that exercising regularly and eating healthy help you get a better body! So the next time you are at the gym, get in a great workout and think about all the wonderful things your workout is doing for your heart.

 

Lifestyle and Fitness Expert

Lisa Tanker-Potts is the owner of Boutique Body Fitness Studio located in the Grant Park District of Atlanta. Lisa is considered the guru of fitness for women seeking to enhance their lives through fitness and has helped thousands of women achieve healthy lifestyles and get the physique of their dreams.

Lisa's trademark is her positive attitude, warm energy and her expertise in training women of all ages. Lisa's upbeat spirit and ability to make every client feel exclusive has quickly propelled her to be a top sought after fitness trainer, speaker and lifestyle expert.

After earning a Master of Business and Master of Health Administration and working eight years in pharmaceutical sales industry, Lisa decided to become a fitness trainer and follow her passion for helping women get fit and healthy.

BeforeAndAfterLisa has been a regular guest on CBS Better Mornings Atlanta, on The Dana Barrett Show Biz 1190 AM, the Jennifer Keitt 104.1 FM Show and on the Atlanta Journal-Constitution's lifestyle blog. Lisa has also been a featured speaker at the BGR National Convention, Transforming Women Entrepreneurs Conference and the Jennifer Keitt Empowerment Conference.

 

Sponsored by: Boutique Body Fitness  |  650 Hamilton Ave SE, Suite D  |  Atlanta, GA 30312  |  Phone: (678) 568-9217  |  www.boutiquebodyfitness.com

 

 

Thursday, 22 January 2015 20:28

My Best Self: Natalie Dale

If you turn on the TV and hear a cheerful female voice discussing variable speed limits and traffic conditions, you already know how Natalie Dale brings subjects to life that – let's face it – aren't always the most exciting. As the spokeswoman for Georgia's Department of Transportation, Dale acts as the translator between the organization's engineers and Atlantans across the city. Though she didn't exactly grow up with a passion for transportation, her broadcasting degree, diverse political experience and bubbly personality made her the perfect woman for the job. Dale also spent six years cheering for the Atlanta Falcons and has even appeared on two national game shows – if anyone can perk up traffic talk, it's her.

What did your career look like before you joined Georgia DOT?

I moved to Atlanta right after I graduated from Auburn. I took an internship at CNN, and after that, I worked in Governor Sonny Perdue's office for three years. After that I moved to DC to work as the communications director for the National Distilled Spirits Council. That was great – I got to travel internationally to promote bourbon! When I came back to Atlanta in 2010, I took a job as deputy director for the State Senate Office, working with all the senators to organize their press and write press releases.

How did those experiences prepare you to be the spokeswoman for Georgia DOT?

In the position in the senate, I had to know every single issue inside and out. One day I wrote pro something, and the next day against it – I really had to look at every angle of every issue. So when I took the job at DOT, I joked that I would finally get one topic. I could have not been more wrong! What I thought was going to be one subject is far deeper and more complex than I ever imagined.

What does a typical day look like for you?

There is no typical day. You can't just get up and brush your hair – I will get calls from various news stations and do several interviews. I generally know our priorities for the week, but I never know what topics I may need to explain or discuss that day.

Though the infamous Snow Jam of 2014 brought a lot of negative attention, what positives came out of it?

We are now working very closely with FEMA, state patrol and Georgia National Guard to invest in better solutions. For example, we are bringing in eight more salt trucks so each doesn't have to focus on such a big area. Plus, everyone is so eager to be helpful in times like that. A lot of our HERO units and our first responders worked doubles and stayed on to help people get food and gas. I don't think enough is said about them.

What are your favorite workouts?

I cheered for the Falcons for six years. We had trainers and memberships to LA Fitness, so I went to Spin classes, CrossFit classes and others. I love Blast, and I love FlyBarre, which I still do a few times a week.

Tell us about your experiences on the game shows "Minute to Win It" and "Hollywood Game Night."

When "Minute to Win It" came to Atlanta, they called the Falcons and said they needed contestants. I went and did that show to pay for my wedding, actually. Then a few years later, I got contacted by the same group. They said, "Is there anything else you would be good at?" I like trivia, and I know a lot of pop culture stuff, so I ended up on "Hollywood Game Night." It was awesome! It was the coolest show.

What's family life like for you in Atlanta?

My husband and I are big foodies, and we're always down to try new restaurants. I really like True Food Kitchen, and Noche in Brookhaven has become our Cheers. I don't think Atlanta gets the credit it deserves for its food!

 

Thursday, 22 January 2015 20:01

The Sugar Shakedown

By Morgan A. McLaughlin McFarland

When you think of sugar in your diet, your mind probably jumps right to that slice of birthday cake you had last week or the candy that gets passed around your office. And you're right; those are definitely sources of sugar. But sugar is sneaky, especially in today's world of processed foods, and it finds its way into many more foods than you might expect. Even the bread on your sandwich at lunch, the energy bar you snack on in the afternoon and the chicken strips you defrost for a quick weeknight dinner may all be culprits.

The American Heart Association recommends that men consume no more than about 37.5 grams, or nine teaspoons, of added sugars per day, and women should stay below 25 grams, or six teaspoons. But what are "added" sugars, and how can you spot them in your diet? Is it time to swear off all sugar?

A Sweet Staple

Don't worry, sugar isn't all bad. In fact, it's a crucial part of your daily diet. The American dietary guidelines recommend that carbohydrates, which are ultimately broken down into simple sugars for energy, make up 45 to 65 percent of people's daily calories. That simple sugar we use for energy is called glucose, and it is a key source of energy for all living things – even plants make their own glucose through photosynthesis.

QUOTE-1Because sugars are created by plants themselves, many unprocessed, whole foods will contain those natural sugars. Fruits, vegetables and honey contain fructose, the sweetest and simplest form of naturally occurring sugar. Sugar beets and sugar cane produce a more complex sugar – a disaccharide – called sucrose. Even milk and other dairy products contain lactose, another naturally occurring sugar.

Not only are these naturally occurring sugars familiar to our bodies, but they are typically accompanied by a host of other nutrients like dietary fiber, calcium, proteins, essential fats, vitamins and more. Eating naturally occurring sugars along with these other valuable nutrients – such as when you eat an apple – helps to control blood sugar levels by slowing sugar absorption. In short, natural sugars are usually part of a well-rounded nutritional package.

Meagan Moyer, registered dietitian with Emory Healthcare, says, "Because natural sugars are found in foods like fruits and milk, the focus should not be on these [naturally occurring] sugars." Instead, she says, excess sugar consumption is typically the result of added sugars.

Sneaky Added Sugars

In today's world of processed food, food manufacturers use chemical means to preserve and sweeten their products. Even food that you may not think of as "processed" probably has been, such as a loaf of bread, a jar of pasta sauce or a bottle of salad dressing. In these cases and many others, food manufacturing companies try to improve taste by adding refined sugar, corn syrups, rice syrups, honey, fruit juice, agave nectar, cane juice, molasses and more to their products. The two most common added sugars are refined sugar, also called white sugar or table sugar, and high fructose corn syrup (HFCS).

SB-1

Refined sugar comes primarily from sugar cane or sugar beets. The sucrose is extracted from the plant, evaporated into crystals, and then further processed through several bleaching and purifying processes. Molasses, a byproduct of the refining process, may be added back to the refined sugar to make brown sugar. "Raw" or Turbinado sugar, which is a less processed form of cane sugar, is often presented as a healthier alternative to refined white sugar; in truth, this sugar has an identical caloric value and only minimally increased micronutrients compared to refined sugar.

SB-2

High fructose corn syrup, a somewhat controversial sugar made from corn syrup, is processed to convert some of its glucose to fructose to produce a sweeter flavor. HFCS is found not just in dessert products and sodas, but also in a wide assortment of processed or packaged foods like bread, salad dressing and sauces, yogurt, and canned and jarred
fruit products.

SPOONA Sugary State of Health

Added sugars are so pervasive that The National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) found Americans each consume an average of 20 teaspoons a day, or 100 grams, which is two to three times more than the maximum recommendation of six to nine teaspoons. Most of this sugar is consumed in the form of sodas, sports drinks and juices, and the rest sneaks in through processed foods.

Unlike naturally occurring sugars, added sugars bring little to the table but calories and a quick spike in blood sugar. "Instead of providing nutrients, added sugars just add empty calories. Eat too much sugar, and it will be stored as fat," Moyer warns.

All this added sugar is contributing to a significant rise in obesity, Type 2 diabetes and heart disease. While some researchers place the blame specifically on high fructose corn syrup, the reality is that Americans eat far more of every type of added sugar than is healthy.

Cutting back on these added sugars can be a first step in improving overall dietary health.
Subtract Those Additions

Reducing the amount of sugar in your diet can begin with a few simple steps. Learning to read food labels is key, because, as Atlanta-based dietitian Rachel Brandeis points out, "Sugar is promoted in many different ways. Be label-savvy." Moyer explains, "Sugars always end in '-ose,' such as dextrose, fructose, maltose and sucrose. If they are listed on an ingredients label, sugar has been added to the food, so it's a good idea to stay away from it."

Moyer offers several additional suggestions for reducing added sugar in your diet, including the following:

  • Eat whole fruit (not fruit juice) to satisfy a craving for sweets.
  • Top pancakes with sliced fruit like bananas or strawberries instead of maple syrup.
  • Drink water instead of sodas or other sweetened beverages.
  • Cut the amount of sugar in half when cooking or mixing your morning coffee or tea.

And as always, cooking your own meals with whole, fresh, unprocessed foods is the best way to avoid added sugars – that way, extra sugars can't get in your meal if you don't put them there.

 

Editorial Resources

Rachel Brandeis, MS, RD – www.rachelrd.com
Harvard School of Public Health – www.hsph.harvard.edu
Meagan Moyer, MPH, RD, LD, Emory Bariatric Center – www.emoryhealthcare.org
Maziar Rezvani, MD, FAAAAI, Avicenna Allergy & Asthma – www.avicennaallergy.com
Terri White, Cann Dentistry – www.canndentistry.com

By Sarah K. Ricciardelli

Grab the sappy cards and heart-shaped chocolates, folks – it's time for Valentine's Day. But if you are divorced or going through a divorce, the last thing you may want to celebrate is romance. Instead of worrying about a date, take this time to check in with yourself. A divorce is a big life event and deserves attention so you can process it appropriately. Atlanta's relationship and divorce experts, including some local divorcees themselves, share their wisdom to help you work through this in a healthy way.


First Things First

Take stock of the state of your divorce. Are you still in the process?
If so, ask yourself these questions to better understand your approach:

  • Am I attempting to punish my spouse during the divorce process?
  • Are my actions helping us heal or creating deeper wounds for both of us?
  • Are we alienating any children that may be involved?

Divorce lawyer Jarrod Oxendine of Suwanee firm Clark, Oxendine & Sauls LP says some people have a hateful, no-holds-barred approach to divorce cases, which is often understandable when both parties are hurt and emotions run high. Sometimes family and friends may even encourage you to take this angle. But in most cases, he cautions, "It is best to obtain a calm, rational, reasonable and otherwise professional approach during the divorce process." This way, you can avoid the common pitfalls that lead to an even harder separation.

QUOTE-1

I Just Called To Say...

After you've signed on the dotted line – no matter how that process went – you have to consider what type of relationship you will have moving forward. Consider these questions:

  • Are there kids that my ex and I need to co-parent?
  • If so, how often and through what means will we communicate?
  • If not, do I still want to communicate with my ex? Why?

While it may feel like communicating with your ex is healthy after a divorce is finalized, Oxendine suggests otherwise. "I only advocate communications with an ex if children are involved," he says. In that case, communication about your children's school schedules, extracurricular involvement, social boundaries and emotional health will all be important. And don't forget to discuss how you will approach family traditions, such as holidays or birthdays, now that you're separated.

But if there are no kids in the picture and you still want to keep up communication, consider why. If the divorce was a difficult one but you still keep in contact, Oxendine warns, "One of you is likely operating with an ulterior motive." If you split on amicable terms, your desire for continued communication may just be an old habit. Either way, consider giving yourself the space to process this event on your own, without the input of your ex.

A New Normal

Whether your separation came out of the blue or felt like it was years in the making, it requires adjusting to a new normal. But that's easier said than done, according to Single Atlanta matchmaker Lisa Lyngos. "When you get married, have kids, get into a career, you are painting a mural of your life. When it messes up, you may feel like you are reeling." Try to ground yourself with some concrete questions like these:

  • How has my daily or weekly routine changed?
  • What elements of my old routine would I like to preserve, and what do I want to get rid of?
  • What are my goals? How have these changed from my goals before the divorce?
  • What am I thankful for?

Focusing on your routine can help you prioritize parts of your life that you truly enjoy. Maria Sullivan of iDate says there's an important distinction to make here; is it the person you are missing or the lifestyle you had during the relationship? "Once you can figure out what you are missing, it helps you to move on," she says. For example, if a lack of family dinners has you feeling lonely, make a standing dinner date with close friends one night of the week. That will likely fill the space better than trying to meet your ex for a meal. As Lyngos points out, "With divorce, it's a clean slate. You get a chance to start over."

QUOTE-2

As you evaluate your routine, don't be afraid to push a little further and consider how your big-picture goals may have changed now that you are separated. It may be tough now that "growing old together" isn't top of mind, but it's worth it. Life coach Keisa Davis of Be You Be Now says, "It's never easy dealing with these emotions, but healing starts when you begin to open yourself to being vulnerable to your feelings."

And at the end of this brainstorming session, take time to acknowledge what you are thankful for. Even though you likely never pictured yourself in this situation, there is some good to be found. Focusing on that, Davis says, "will begin to brighten your path to a better life and future."

The Silver Lining

Even though some are more painful than others, all of our experiences can teach us something. Whether by yourself, with friends or with a therapist, review your divorce and past relationship through these lenses:

  • Do I fully understand what caused the end of the relationship?
  • What did I learn about myself?
  • What do I expect from a future partner?
  • What could I do differently for a future partner?

These answers, in addition to helping you see some positive growth from the experience, can also help you gauge whether or not you're ready to consider another relationship. Master hypnotherapist Valerie Cobbin with Brighter Tomorrow Hypnotherapy says friends and family may urge you to get out and date as soon as possible. But anyone processing a relationship that has broken up should "accept whatever mistakes they made in the relationship before moving on to a new one."

QUOTE-3

Natalie Elliott, a counselor with Atlanta Counseling Institute, says self-care is the next step to seeing the silver lining. "Simple things like adopting a spiritual practice, an exercise regimen and getting enough sleep are often all you need to do," she says. "These things will help keep you and your health on your mind," which you may not have had the time, energy or dedication to do before now.

And once you have some distance from the divorce, the silver linings may become even more evident. Davis, for example, is a divorcee of nine years and can easily list some positives. She says, "I'm amazed at my strength. Today I am a better woman because of this experience." So wherever you are in the process, you'll take steps forward and steps back. The important thing is to keep asking the tough questions and empowering yourself to grow.

 

Editorial Resources

Valerie Cobbin, Brighter Tomorrow Hypnotherapy – www.brightertomorrowhypnotherapy.com
Keisa Leprell Davis, Be You Be Now – www.beyoubenow.com
Natalie Elliott, Atlanta Counseling Institute – www.atlantacounselinginstitute.com
Lisa Lyngos, Single Atlanta – www.singleatl.com
Jarrod Oxendine, Clark, Oxendine & Sauls LP – www.cosfirm.com
Maria Sullivan, iDate – www.idatetips.com