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Death with Dignity: Why I Don’t Want to Have to Starve Myself to Death

Dr. Ron Pies writes an eloquent defense of why physician-assisted suicide should not be made a legal right in Massachusetts. He compares it to a doctor helping one of his patients jump from a bridge -- something most doctors would never do.

But in making this analogy, I believe we're removing all context and logic from the decision behind wanting to end your own life because of a terminal illness. For the patient, it’s not about the act of suicide or ending their lives -- it’s about alleviating suffering from the disease and choosing one’s own way of dying with a little dignity. It's about patient empowerment, human dignity and choice.

That’s why in the two states where it is legal for doctors to help patients with a terminal illness, it’s referred to as the Death with Dignity law.

Because the alternative takes much of the dignity out of dying in today’s modern medical system.

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Merciful Assistance or Physician-Assisted Killing?

Imagine that your father, age 85, has been diagnosed with a terminal illness and given only three months to live.

Fortunately, he is still well enough to walk, and finds himself one night near a tall bridge. Having contemplated the suffering he believes will attend his final days, he decides to end his life by jumping off the bridge. However, he is too weak to hoist himself up atop the protective railing.

Suddenly, he sees his very own physician, Dr. Jones, walking by. He begs Dr. Jones to help him climb atop the railing, adding, “Don’t worry, Doc, it will be my decision to jump.” The doctor is taken aback, but quickly determines that his patient is not psychotic or severely depressed, and is capable of making a rational decision regarding suicide. The doctor tries to persuade your dad that pain and suffering can usually be well-controlled during the final days, but the patient is insistent: he wants to end his life.

Would you agree that Dr. Jones is fulfilling his obligations as a physician by assisting your father in jumping off the bridge?

If not, would you support the doctor’s providing your father with a lethal dose of medication?

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4 Steps to Better Boundaries

My second job out of college was with a religious giftware company. I was a product-development coordinator for "inspirational" brands.

This meant I was required to do things like write directions on how to bury St. Joseph for a "St. Joseph Home Sales Kit." My boss sat me down a few weeks into the job and explained that there were four stages to becoming a competent employee. She said I was at number one. (You'll know what that means in a second).

I've thought a lot about these four steps because they also apply to building personal boundaries.

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How I Create: Q&A With Career Coach Michelle Ward

What do you want to be when you grow up? That’s the question Michelle Ward, the When I Grow Up Coach, helps her clients answer. Ward is certified by the International Coach Federation. She’s spent over 750 hours coaching hundreds of creative people to devise the career they think they can’t have -- or discover it in the first place.

She’s also a musical theater actress with her BFA from NYU/Tisch. And she’s one of the most creative and passionate people I’ve had the pleasure of meeting online. Ward infuses everything she does with creativity and her enthusiastic one-of-a-kind approach.

Below, in our monthly series, Ward shares the behind-the-scenes of her creative process, how she overcomes the comparison trap, her powerful advice for readers and much more.

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Does Obesity Change Your Sense of Taste?

How much do your taste buds have to do with your weight? Anything? Everything?

In a recent study researchers compared taste sensitivity in obese children and adolescents to that of healthy weight children and adolescents.  According to this study, taste sensitivity is linked to weight.

Children and adolescents who were obese had less sensitive taste buds.  That means for obese children sweet foods tasted less intensely sweet, bitter foods were milder and salt was not as readily perceived.

What do these differences in taste perception mean?

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Have you ever been with a group of people, and as your about to share something you've experienced, someone abruptly interrupts you saying, “That’s nothing! You should hear what happened to me!” Off they go taking the ball out of your hands, never to return it. You never get to finish what you were saying, and you're left with your hanging mouth wide open.

I call these people, “Me-Monsters.” I got this term from a stand-up comedian, and it's stuck with me as a great descriptor for a certain type of extreme narcissist.

Let me describe the “Me-Monster:"

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Best of Our Blogs: September 28, 2012

What is it that you want most in your life? Is it to be famous, financially wealthy, professionally successful, to love and be loved?

There's always that which we think will make us happy. If we are fortunate enough, the things we request are not only within our physical grasp, but within our emotional grasp as well. While checking off those list of wants seem doable for many, there are also others who suffer from desiring life's basic necessities. In addition to our basic needs, like fresh air, water, food and shelter, we also have wants: to be healthy, to live free of pain and painful emotions, and to be in a loving nontoxic relationship. Maybe we can't have it all. But we all deserve to have a life that's good enough.

Alice Domar says:
"When you're trying to motivate yourself, appreciate the fact that you're even thinking about making a change. And as you move forward, allow yourself to be good enough."
Whether you're in the midst of positive change, on the path toward happiness or just getting by, find ways to celebrate the road you've already traveled. Chances are you'll be surprised by the miles you walked. Let these posts be a reminder of the challenges you've already faced and let them fuel you for the ones yet to come. Have a great weekend!
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9 Ways That Humor Can Heal

Of all my tools to combat depression and negativity, humor is by far the most fun. And just like mastering the craft of writing, I'm finding that the longer I practice laughing at life -- and especially it's frustrations -- the better I become at it, and the more situations, conversations and complications I can place into that category named "silly."

G. K. Chesterton once wrote: "Angels can fly because they take themselves lightly." And Proverbs 17:22 says that, "a happy heart is good medicine." I'd add that human beings can heal (at least partially!) from a host of different illnesses if they learn how to laugh.

Here are just a few ways our bodies, minds, and spirits begin to mend with a dose of humor.

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6 Simple Ways to Stay Connected When You’re Super Busy

Fall is typically a time when responsibilities pick up and pile up.

Couples may find themselves spending less and less time together, and the time they do have might be stained with stress. Not surprisingly, this can make you feel like you’re miles apart.

But it doesn’t take long hours of quality time to enhance your relationship connection. What's important is developing an “attitude of carrying your spouse or partner with you” throughout your day, according to Mark E. Sharp, Ph.D, a psychologist in private practice who specializes in relationship issues.

Here are six simple ways to sustain a strong connection when the days keep getting shorter (and the to-do list, longer).

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How to Curb Your Food Cravings

Too many sweets can leave you wanting one thing:  more sweets.  Our food cravings, whether for salty, sweet or something else, when overindulged don’t result in satiety or satisfaction.  Instead they affect our bodies in the same way as alcohol or drugs, causing us to want more and more, while we experience less pleasure each time we give in.

Knowing that food cravings are much like other addictions can be disheartening and you might despair that you will not be able to make changes.

The good news is that there are several effective strategies to delay eating craved food and weaken your habitual response to food.

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Is Lack of Communication a Red Flag?

Over time I’ve learned to confront the infamous “red flags” when it comes to the dating world.

There may have been a tiny voice inside my head that said “this doesn't seem right,” but because I didn’t truly want to believe that was the case, I’d push it aside and move on. Well, one of the more pet-peevish warning signs that always left me clueless was when the other person (in my situations it was a guy, but I don’t want to target the whole male species here) could not express how he felt.

It’s also unfortunate when the silence goes beyond just articulating feelings, and he simply can’t communicate... at all. Your messages and texts go ignored, and you’re left wondering how you didn’t foresee this issue to begin with.

We all know communication in relationships is important, but in the early stages, is a tight-lipped manner a red flag signaling you to run the other way?

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