Dara's Corner

Be compassion and hope


Dara’s Corner 

World Glaucoma Week

Glaucoma is a group of fairly common medical conditions affecting the optic nerve. When this nerve that runs from the eye to the brain gets damaged, this can result in vision loss or even complete blindness. In fact, glaucoma is the leading cause of preventable, irreversible blindness on the planet.

World Glaucoma Week is here to create conversations and increase awareness so that more people can know about, understand, and work toward prevention of this disease of the eyes.

Visit a Monastery https://stanthonysmonastery.org/


Dara’s Corner

Home buying assistance

Learn about government programs that make it easier to purchase a home.

Government-backed home loans and mortgage assistance

If you are looking to buy a home, a government-backed home loan or a mortgage assistance program could help.


Homeownership vouchers for first-time home buyers

If you have a low income and want to buy your first home, the Housing Choice Voucher homeownership program could help. It may also help you pay monthly housing expenses.


Real estate and federal lands for sale by the government

Government agencies sell real estate and federal lands either by auction or offer. Federal agencies acquire these properties through foreclosure, forfeiture, or failed banks. 

Arizona Section 32 Homeownership Program​​ 

Section 32 Homeownership is offered to first-time homebuyers who are at or below 80% Area Median Income (AMI) , and who will use the home as their primary residence.  The purchase price will be the current (within 6 months of purchase) appraised value of the home.  Eligible properties must pass a Housing Quality Standards (HQS) Inspection.  Homeownership, financial fitness and hands-on maintenance classes are also required.  Some program benefits may include: 

    20% discount off home appraisal value

    Guidance through the homeownership process

    Possible grant for down payment and closing costs

    Possible additi​onal subsidies

    One-year home warranty

    Lower monthly pay​ment 

For more information about the Section 32 Homeownership Program, call 602-534-4​584.​​

Dara’s Corner 

Modern populations are increasingly overfed, malnourished, sedentary, sunlight-deficient, sleep-deprived, and socially isolated.[1] 

Eating: Be nourished not overfed. 

·         eat foods rich in antioxidants.

o       Beta-carotene: apricots, broccoli, cantaloupe, carrots, collards, peaches, pumpkin, spinach, sweet potato

o       Vitamin C: blueberries, broccoli, grapefruit, kiwi, oranges, peppers, potatoes, strawberries, tomato

o       Vitamin E: margarine, nuts and seeds, vegetable oils, wheat germ

·         Choose your carbs wisely. Limit sugary foods and opt for smart or “complex” carbs (such as whole grains) rather than simple carbs (such as cakes and cookies). Fruits, vegetables, and legumes also have healthy carbs and fiber.

·         Foods like turkey, tuna, and chicken have an amino acid called tryptophan, which may help you make serotonin. Try to eat something with protein several times a day, especially when you need to clear your mind and boost your energy.

·         Try the Mediterranean diet.

Easter is a 50-day feasting AND CELEBRATION season.

50 Fun Things to do in Arizona

April is the National Month of Hope[1]

Persistent light, enduring strength, unwavering spirit, an anchor in uncertainty, a beacon through challenges, resilient optimism.

Dara’s Corner 

Modern populations are increasingly overfed, malnourished, sedentary, sunlight-deficient, sleep-deprived, and socially isolated.[2] 

Small Doses of Physical Activity Can Lower Risks of Depression[3]

Depression is a leading cause of disability burden in developing countries and a common mental health disorder worldwide. While pharmacotherapy and psychotherapy currently represent elective therapy, their impact is still limited in prevalence, and one third of people with depression remain unresponsive to treatment. Additionally, pharmacotherapy may have adverse side-effects and both pharmacotherapy and psychotherapy cannot resolve physical comorbidities associated with depression. Nevertheless, several modifiable factors can favorably act on depression, and they are far from being ascertained. One of these may be physical activity. Moderate evidence sustains a beneficial effect of exercise on depression symptoms.

Exercise for depression.[4]

Being depressed can leave you feeling low in energy, which might put you off being more active.

Regular exercise can boost your mood if you have depression, and it's especially useful for people with mild to moderate depression.

Any type of exercise is useful, as long as it suits you and you do enough of it. Exercise should be something you enjoy; otherwise, it will be hard to find the motivation to do it regularly.

How often do you need to exercise?

To stay healthy, adults should do 150 minutes of moderate-intensity activity every week. Read more about:

    physical activity guidelines for adults aged 19 to 64 years old

    physical activity guidelines for older adults

If you have not exercised for a while, start gradually and aim to build up towards achieving 150 minutes a week.

Any exercise is better than none and even a brisk 10-minute walk can clear your mind and help you relax. Find out more about walking for health.

Dara’s Corner 

Modern populations are increasingly overfed, malnourished, sedentary, sunlight-deficient, sleep-deprived, and socially isolated.[1]

Q. What is the relationship between sunlight and depression?

Sunlight has a complex relationship with depression. On the one hand, sunlight can help to improve mood and reduce symptoms of depression. On the other hand, too much sunlight exposure can also have negative consequences for mental health. One of the most well-known effects of sunlight on mood is its ability to increase levels of serotonin. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that plays a role in regulating mood, sleep, and appetite. When serotonin levels are low, people may experience symptoms of depression, such as sadness, fatigue, and loss of interest in activities.

Importance of Sunlight for Mind, Body, and Soul[2]

By Lizzie Streit, MS, RDN, LD

A sunny day can be the ultimate mood-booster, especially after a long, cold winter. Many people notice a shift in mood and energy when the color outside turns from dreary to bright but may not know just how many benefits sunshine provides.

From impacts on vitamin D levels, circadian rhythms, and even weight management, the many benefits of sunlight are explored in this post.

How Sunlight Affects Vitamin D

Basking in the sunshine can have physiological effects in your body. In fact, the best way to get adequate vitamin D is from sun exposure. When sun hits your skin, it triggers a series of events that lead to vitamin D production. There’s a reason vitamin D is nicknamed the “sunshine vitamin” after all!

Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin that’s essential for many bodily functions, including maintaining healthy bones and regulating calcium status. A deficiency of this nutrient may lead to bone diseases, such as rickets in children, or contribute to osteoporosis in adults.

Other Impacts of Sunlight

Exposure to sunlight also impacts circadian rhythm by helping your body reset its internal clock and distinguish day from night. Getting sunlight about an hour after you wake up in the morning will help you feel alert during the day and fall asleep more easily at night.

Finally, sunshine may have a significant influence on mood. Seasonal affective disorder (SAD), marked by depression, sleep problems, and low energy, is thought to be related to lack of sun exposure. Sunlight helps regulate the production of serotonin, a hormone tied to mood. Plus, sun exposure is necessary for vitamin D production, which may promote serotonin activity. Getting sunlight may therefore help boost mood and possibly improve symptoms of SAD.

Sunlight and Weight

Due to the number of benefits sun exposure provides for the mind and body, it can have positive effects on weight control. When you have sufficient levels of nutrients, sleep well, and feel happy, your weight loss efforts tend to be more successful than when you feel off in any of these areas.

In addition, research has linked light exposure in the morning to reductions in body fat and levels of hormones that increase appetite. One study in 54 adults found that those who were exposed to bright light early in the morning were slimmer than those who were not.

Safe Sun Exposure

It’s clear that getting sunlight can have numerous health benefits. However, it’s important to also protect the skin from sun damage.

Current recommendations suggest that about 15 minutes of daily sun exposure on your hands, arm, and face during the middle of the day is sufficient for vitamin D production in light-skinned people. You can certainly stay in the sun for longer to reap other benefits, but remember to take precautions.

Apply sunscreen and/or wear protective clothing after getting your 15 minutes of daily sun exposure to maintain vitamin D levels. If you have dark skin or are at a high risk of skin cancer, speak with your doctor about the best course of action, what you should wear in the sun, and whether you should take a vitamin D supplement instead.

Note from Healthy For Life Meals: You take care of getting sunshine, and we’ll take care of your meals! Our diet meal delivery provides done-for-you meals that are nutritionally balanced and taste delicious, so you can spend less time in the kitchen and more time outside. Check out our menus and order today.


Dara’s Corner 

Modern populations are increasingly overfed, malnourished, sedentary, sunlight-deficient, sleep-deprived, and socially isolated.[1]

Depression and Sleep: Understanding the Connection 

Age-Related Depression, Mood and Stress Health Risks of Poor Sleep Aging and Sleep

Depression and sleep problems are closely linked. People with insomnia, for example, may have a tenfold higher risk of developing depression than people who get a good night’s sleep. And among people with depression, 75% have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep. 

Which comes first? Either one can be the starting point, say sleep experts. Poor sleep may create difficulties regulating emotions that, in turn, may leave you more vulnerable to depression in the future — months or even years from now. And depression itself is associated with sleep difficulties such as shortening the amount of restorative slow wave sleep a person gets each night.

If you have depression, daily stresses — such as financial worries, an argument with your spouse, or a jam-packed evening commute — could also lead to more nighttime wake-ups and more trouble getting back to sleep than someone without depression would experience.

Understanding the relationship between insomnia and depression can help you spot risks early, get the right help, and recover more fully if you are experiencing both. You’ll feel healthy, well-rested, and able to enjoy life again. Here’s what you need to know about depression and sleep:

Take sleep problems seriously.

You should tell your doctor if you:

  • have trouble falling or staying asleep.
  • feel tired during the day.
  • have physical pain, discomfort or other complaints (for instance, signs of obstructive sleep apnea or pauses in breathing at night) that prevent you from getting a good night’s sleep.

Treatments such as cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia and continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) devices for apnea can restore good sleep, helping you sidestep related conditions like depression. (People with sleep apnea have a fivefold higher risk of depression.)

Stay alert for signs of depression.

These include feeling hopeless, helpless or sad; trouble concentrating and remembering things; loss of energy; daytime sleepiness; loss of interest in activities that once gave you pleasure; or thoughts of suicide or death. Tell your doctor if you have any of these. (Call 911 if you have thoughts of suicide.)

This is especially important if you’re discussing insomnia with your doctor. Insomnia may be a separate condition or a symptom of depression. Your doctor needs to know as much as possible to treat the right problem.

Get help for both depression and sleep.

If you have insomnia and depression, don’t assume that medical treatment for one will automatically cure the other. Treatments for depression, such as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors and other medications, may improve your mood and outlook, but they may not be enough to improve your sleep.

There’s some evidence that lingering sleep problems in people undergoing depression treatment increase the risk of a slide back into depression. The good news: There’s also some early evidence that CBT-I (cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia), along with depression treatment, improves sleep in people with depression and may increase the chances of a remission of depression.

Poor Quality Sleep Reduces Resilience

In a Johns Hopkins study, healthy women and men whose sleep was interrupted throughout the night had a 31% reduction in positive moods the next day. The data shows that sleep interruptions interfere with deep, restorative slow-wave sleep. Ongoing insomnia could increase a person’s risk of depression by weakening their emotional resilience — the buffer of positive emotions that helps people deal with stress and challenges of life.

Dara’s Corner 

Modern populations are increasingly overfed, malnourished, sedentary, sunlight-deficient, sleep-deprived, and socially isolated.[1]

6 Common Depression Traps to Avoid-Expert advice on how to sidestep pitfalls that often accompany depression.[2]

    Trap #1: Social Withdrawal

    Trap #2: Rumination

    Trap #3: Self-Medicating with Alcohol

    Trap #4: Skipping Exercise

When Orion Lyonesse is getting depressed, she turns into a hermit. She doesn't want to leave the house (not even to pick up the mail), and she cuts off contact with her friends and family.

"The more I'm alone, the deeper the depression gets," Lyonesse, an artist and writer in Lake Stevens, Wash., tells WebMD in an email. "I don't even want to cuddle my cats!"

Avoiding social contact is a common pattern you might notice when falling into depression. Some people skip activities they normally enjoy and isolate themselves from the world. Others turn to alcohol or junk food to mask their pain and unhappiness.

Depression traps vary from person to person, but what they have in common is that they can serve to worsen your mood, perpetuating a vicious cycle. Here are six behavioral pitfalls that often accompany depression -- and how you can steer clear of them as you and your doctor and therapist work on getting back on track.

Trap #1: Social Withdrawal

Social withdrawal is the most common telltale sign of depression.

"When we're clinically depressed, there's a very strong urge to pull away from others and to shut down," says Stephen Ilardi, PhD, author of books including The Depression Cure and associate professor of psychology at the University of Kansas. "It turns out to be the exact opposite of what we need."

"In depression, social isolation typically serves to worsen the illness and how we feel," Ilardi says. "Social withdrawal amplifies the brain's stress response. Social contact helps put the brakes on it."

The Fix: Gradually counteract social withdrawal by reaching out to your friends and family. Make a list of the people in your life you want to reconnect with and start by scheduling an activity.

Trap #2: Rumination

A major component of depression is rumination, which involves dwelling and brooding about themes like loss and failure that cause you to feel worse about yourself.

Rumination is a toxic process that leads to negative self-talk such as, "It's my own fault. Who would ever want me a friend?"


    Can a Routine Prevent Bipolar Depressive Episodes?

"There's a saying, 'When you're in your own mind, you're in enemy territory,'" says Mark Goulston, MD, psychiatrist and author of Get Out of Your Own Way. "You leave yourself open to those thoughts and the danger is believing them."

Rumination can also cause you to interpret neutral events in a negative fashion. For example, when you're buying groceries, you may notice that the checkout person smiles at the person in front of you but doesn't smile at you, so you perceive it as a slight.

"When people are clinically depressed, they will typically spend a lot of time and energy rehearsing negative thoughts, often for long stretches of time," Ilardi says.

The Fix: Redirect your attention to a more absorbing activity, like a social engagement or reading a book.

Trap #3: Self-Medicating with Alcohol 

Turning to alcohol or drugs to escape your woes is a pattern that can accompany depression, and it usually causes your depression to get worse.

Alcohol can sometimes relieve a little anxiety, especially social anxiety, but it has a depressing effect on the central nervous system, Goulston says. Plus, it can screw up your sleep.

"It's like a lot of things that we do to cope with feeling bad," he says. "They often make us feel better momentary, but in the long run, they hurt us."

The Fix: Talk to your doctor or therapist if you notice that your drinking habits are making you feel worse. Alcohol can interfere with antidepressants and anxiety medications.

Trap #4: Skipping Exercise

If you're the type of person who likes to go the gym regularly, dropping a series of workouts could signal that something's amiss in your life. The same goes for passing on activities -- such as swimming, yoga, or ballroom dancing -- that you once enjoyed.

When you're depressed, it's unlikely that you'll keep up with a regular exercise program, even though that may be just what the doctor ordered.

Exercise can be enormously therapeutic and beneficial, Ilardi says. Exercise has a powerful antidepressant effect because it boosts levels of serotonin and dopamine, two brain chemicals that often ebb when you're depressed.


    3 Ways to Manage a Major Depressive Disorder Episode 

"It's a paradoxical situation," Ilardi says. "Your body is capable of physical activity. The problem is your brain is not capable of initiating and getting you to do it."

The Fix: Ilardi recommends finding someone you can trust to help you initiate exercise -- a personal trainer, coach, or even a loved one. "It has to be someone who gets it, who is not going to nag you, but actually give you that prompting and encouragement and accountability," Ilardi says.

Trap #5: Seeking Sugar Highs

When you're feeling down, you may find yourself craving sweets or junk food high in carbs and sugar.

Sugar does have mild mood-elevating properties, says Ilardi, but it's only temporary. Within two hours, blood glucose levels crash, which has a mood-depressing effect.

The Fix: Avoid sugar highs and the inevitable post-sugar crash. It's always wise to eat healthfully, but now more than ever, your mood can't afford to take the hit.

Trap #6: Negative Thinking

When you're depressed, you're prone to negative thinking and talking yourself out of trying new things.

You might say to yourself, "Well, even if I did A, B, and C, it probably wouldn't make me feel any better and it would be a real hassle, so why bother trying at all?"

"That's a huge trap," says Goulston. "If you race ahead and anticipate a negative result, which then causes you to stop trying at all, that is something that will rapidly accelerate your depression and deepen it."

The Fix: Don't get too attached to grim expectations. "You have more control over doing and not doing, than you have over what the result of actions will be," Goulston says. "But there is a much greater chance that if you do, then those results will be positive."

Dara’s Corner-Bored kids? Make a Volcano

Spring Arizona Restaurant Week

Friday through Sunday

The 2024 Spring Arizona Restaurant Week (ARW), which offers the culinary community endless opportunities to dine on a deal, kicked off Friday, May 17 and runs through Sunday, May 26. The ARW menus are a departure from the restaurants’ regular menus, allowing diners to get a new taste of even their favorite restaurants’ culinary breadth — at a fraction of typical costs.

Dara’s Corner

Today is Pope Pius VI’s Feast Day he is the author of the church instructions On Human Life (Humanae Vitae) we must live lives of compassion and hope.

National Coq Au Vin Day


Dara’s Corner-Get a house and make it a home.

National Homeownership Month lights up every June, celebrating the joys and benefits of owning a home.

It’s a special time when people across the United States reflect on homeownership’s significant role in fostering community ties and building personal wealth.

This month reminds us of the dream of owning a home, an aspiration that connects deeply with the pursuit of happiness and stability in American life.

The observance is important because it emphasizes how owning a home is more than just having a place to live. Homeownership encourages long-term financial growth, community involvement, and a stable environment for raising families. FHA loans.

Dara’s Corner-Be aware of rising stars

Jordan Peterson, born June 12, 1962, is a Canadian psychologist known for his thought-provoking ideas. He gained wide attention through his teaching and writing, and his work touches on a variety of topics, from psychology to cultural analysis.

Peterson’s influence extends beyond academia, reaching a global audience through his lectures and books.

He stands out for his unique approach to modern life’s challenges, making him a notable figure in contemporary discussions.

12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos,” in 2018.


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