The Elephant says:
Let’s indulge a bit
Must eat ’em all up
Before they rot
There is unprecedented anxiety in the entire world due to the pandemic. Fear and anxiety is a normal response to unknown threats to our survival and well-being. The problem for all of us is prolonged and chronic anxiety which elevates the stress response and lowers our immune response.
And from Curious to the Max:
gasping for air while drowning
In a flood of thoughts
People who are highly anxious have brains that want them to survive.
The brain just doesn’t know they aren’t in danger.
Anxiety creates a hypervigilance – always scanning your environment, your world, for what could go wrong, what needs attention, what is a threat. It’s exhausting. It sets you up for physical, mental and emotional tension. People who are anxious are also exhausting to be around. Relationships can be strained, tense, on edge.
Anxious energy that is pervasive is hard to understand if you aren’t the anxious type. You may have wondered: Why are they making such a “big deal” out of nothing? Why are they always telling me what to do or how to do it? Why are they shying away from social interaction, crowded venues? What’s with the negativity? Why don’t they just CHILL OUT?
HOWEVER there are extremely high functioning people with anxiety disorders:
There’s always a spectrum, a continuum of any condition. Anxiety can range from mild to overwhelming, from high functioning to disabling disorders. The idea here is not to paint everything or everyone with a broad stroke. The hypervigilance which can drive you crazy can also sustain you in many facets of life.
In addition to doing the breath work and saying “I’m safe” as I talked about in the post http://wp.me/pLGhj-2LC
exercise is also at the top of the list. You don’t have to be a world-class athlete to benefit. Just do brisk walking every day for a total of 29 minutes.
Here’s a short article from the Mayo Clinic:
Exercise probably helps ease depression in a number of ways, which may include:
Exercise has many psychological and emotional benefits too. It can help you:
The word “exercise” may make you think of running laps around the gym. But a wide range of activities that boost your activity level help you feel better. Certainly running, lifting weights, playing basketball and other fitness activities that get your heart pumping can help. But so can gardening, washing your car, or strolling around the block and other less intense activities. Anything that gets you off the couch and moving is exercise that can help improve your mood.”
Luckily animals don’t have the ego that gets us humans in trouble. Animals with “disabilities” prove time and time again that living life, rather than bemoaning what they lack, is yet another important lesson.
I’ve written so many times about my Fibromyalgia (ME)/Chronic Fatigue symptoms that they bore even me. However . . . COVID-19 symptoms and Fibro/Chronic Fatigue symptoms have an eerily similar overlap. Some people who have had COVID-19 are experiencing a slow, protracted recovery with chronic, unremitting exhaustion, body aches, mental fog, strange dermatological sensations or rashes, gastrointestinal issues, irregular heartbeats, depression . .
“COVID-19 may produce a lot of ME/CFS-like cases. Will we be able to use them to understand ME/CFS?
A lot of infections can trigger chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS) but in some ways SARS-CoV-2 is different in ways that reminds one of ME/CFS. For one, it’s causing weird symptoms (loss of smell and taste, buzzing, electric, vibrating sensations, red/purple faces, purple toes, pink eye, digestive issues, nausea, dizziness, cognitive issues) that aren’t usually associated with a virus.”
“The director of infection prevention and control at Mount Sinai Hospital attributed the weird fizzing-type sensations to the immune system acting up:
“It leaves something inside you – and you never go back the way you were before.” Everyone reading this should be worried not just of catching/surviving this viral pandemic but what might happen to their life even if they catch it and survive. Because one of the known triggers for ME/CFS is a viral illness. A huge population of ME/CFS patients got the virus Mono and never fully recovered, instead they wound up with ME/CFS.”
“Paul Garner, an infectious disease professor, and Director of the Centre for Evidence Synthesis in Global Health, and Co-ordinating Editor of the Cochrane Infectious Diseases Group, knows infections on both a personal and professional level . During his tropical infectious disease research, he came down with malaria and dengue fever, but nothing he’s encountered has compared to his bout with COVID-19.
In the British Medical Journal Garner, called post COVID-19 a: “a roller coaster of ill health, extreme emotions and utter exhaustion.”
Garner doesn’t appear to be describing post-COVID-19 illness so much as he’s describing a descent into ME/CFS. All the hallmarks are there – the post-exertional “malaise”, the delayed and mind-boggling symptom flares after little exertion, the inability to understand his limits, Garner talked about the “apparition”, a semblance of improved health that kept getting smashed as he innocently overreached.
“People who have a more protracted illness need help to understand and cope with the constantly shifting, bizarre symptoms and their unpredictable course.”
“Some of the longest-suffering Italians are finding themselves in physical and financial uncertainty, unable to shake sickness and fatigue and get back to work.”
“We have seen many cases in which people take a long, long time to recover. It’s not the sickness that lasts for 60 days, it is the convalescence. It’s a very long convalescence.” Alessandro Venturi, director of the San Matteo hospital, Pavia, Italy.”
“Another doctor noted that after all the different, initial symptoms were gone, it was the fatigue that remained. That rang bells. Early studies of the ME/CFS outbreaks came to the same conclusion: the early symptoms were often different but the fatiguing state that ultimately remained was quite consistent.”
The Open Medicine Foundation (OMF) will produce an international effort to understand how COVID-19 turns into ME/CFS. The OMF’s four-site COVID-19 study (Stanford, Harvard, Canada, Sweden) will collect body fluids, do continuous health monitoring using wearables, and collect symptom data over two years. Its genomic, metabolic, and proteomic analysis will attempt at the molecular roots of ME/CFS as it occurs.
“With the NIH otherwise occupied, Open Medicine Foundation’s COVID-19 research effort is our best chance at helping both people with ME/CFS and COVID-19 patients who are having trouble recovering. In fact, it’s the only effort going right now that seeks to directly understand and help the possibly many people, who, after surviving COVID-19, find their lives unalterably changed.”
It is a sad truth that any health crisis will spawn its own pandemic of misinformation.
In the 80s, 90s, and 2000s we saw the spread of dangerous lies about Aids – fromthe belief that the HIV virus was created by a government laboratory to the idea that the HIV tests were unreliable, and even the spectacularly unfounded theory that it could be treated with goat’s milk. These claims increased risky behaviour and exacerbated the crisis.
Now, we are seeing a fresh inundation of fake news – this time around the coronavirus pandemic. From Facebook to WhatsApp, frequently shared misinformation include everything from what caused the outbreak to how you can prevent becoming ill.
In past decades, dangerous lies spread about Aids which exacerbated the crisis (Credit: Getty Images)
We’ve debunked several claims here on BBC Future, including misinformation around how sunshine, warm weather and drinking water can affect the coronavirus. The BBC’s Reality Check team is also checking popular coronavirus claims, and the World Health Organization is keeping a myth-busting pageregularly updated too.
At worst, the ideas themselves are harmful – a recent report from one province in Iran found that more people had died from drinking industrial-strength alcohol, based on a false claim that it could protect you from Covid-19, than from the virus itself. But even seemingly innocuous ideas could lure you and others into a false sense of security, discouraging you from adhering to government guidelines, and eroding trust in health officials and organisations.
There’s evidence these ideas are sticking. One poll by YouGov and the Economist in March 2020 found 13% of Americans believed the Covid-19 crisis was a hoax,for example, while a whopping 49% believed the epidemic might be man-made. And while you might hope that greater brainpower or education would help us to tell fact from fiction, it is easy to find examples of many educated people falling for this false information.
Just consider the writer Kelly Brogan, a prominent Covid-19 conspiracy theorist; she has a degree from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and studied psychiatry at Cornell University. Yet she has shunned clear evidence of the virus’s danger in countries like China and Italy. She even went as far as to question the basic tenets of germ theory itself while endorsing pseudoscientific ideas.
Kelly Brogan received a medical degree from Cornell University, yet has questioned germ theory and the existence of Covid-19 (Credit: Getty Images)
Even some world leaders – who you would hope to have greater discernment when it comes to unfounded rumours – have been guilty of spreading inaccurate information about the risk of the outbreak and promoting unproven remedies that may do more harm than good, leading Twitter and Facebook to take the unprecedented step of removing their posts.
Fortunately, psychologists are already studying this phenomenon. And what they find might suggest new ways to protect ourselves from lies and help stem the spread of this misinformation and foolish behaviour.
Part of the problem arises from the nature of the messages themselves.
We are bombarded with information all day, every day, and we therefore often rely on our intuition to decide whether something is accurate. As BBC Future has described in the past, purveyors of fake news can make their message feel “truthy” through a few simple tricks, which discourages us from applying our critical thinking skills – such as checking the veracity of its source. As the authors of one paper put it: “When thoughts flow smoothly, people nod along.”
Eryn Newman at Australian National University, for instance, has shown that the simple presence of an image alongside a statement increases our trust in its accuracy – even if it is only tangentially related to the claim. A generic image of a virus accompanying some claim about a new treatment, say, may offer no proof of the statement itself, but it helps us visualise the general scenario. We take that “processing fluency” as a sign that the claim is true.
The mere presence of an image alongside a statement increases our trust in its accuracy (Credit: Getty Images)
For similar reasons, misinformation will include descriptive language or vivid personal stories. It will also feature just enough familiar facts or figures – such as mentioning the name of a recognised medical body – to make the lie within feel convincing, allowing it to tether itself to our previous knowledge.
The more often we see something in our news feed, the more likely we are to think that it’s true – even if we were originally sceptical
Even the simple repetition of a statement – whether the same text, or over multiple messages – can increase the “truthiness” by increasing feelings of familiarity, which we mistake for factual accuracy. So, the more often we see something in our news feed, the more likely we are to think that it’s true – even if we were originally sceptical.
Sharing before thinking
These tricks have long been known by propagandists and peddlers of misinformation, but today’s social media may exaggerate our gullible tendencies. Recent evidence shows that many people reflexively share content without even thinking about its accuracy.
In one study, only about 25% of participants said the fake news was true– but 35% said they would share the headline
Gordon Pennycook, a leading researcher into the psychology of misinformation at the University of Regina, Canada, asked participants to consider a mixture of true and false headlines about the coronavirus outbreak. When they were specifically asked to judge the accuracy of the statements, the participants said the fake news was true about 25% of time. When they were simply asked whether they wouldshare the headline, however, around 35% said they would pass on the fake news – 10% more.
“It suggests people were sharing material that they could have known was false, if they had thought about it more directly,” Pennycook says. (Like much of the cutting-edge research on Covid-19, this research has not yet been peer-reviewed, but a pre-print has been uploaded to the Psyarxiv website.)
Perhaps their brains were engaged in wondering whether a statement would get likes and retweets rather than considering its accuracy. “Social media doesn’t incentivise truth,” Pennycook says. “What it incentivises is engagement.”
Research suggests that some people share material they would know was false if they thought about it more directly (Credit: Getty Images)
Or perhaps they thought they could shift responsibility on to others to judge: many people have been sharing false information with a sort of disclaimer at the top, saying something like “I don’t know if this is true, but…”. They may think that if there’s any truth to the information, it could be helpful to friends and followers, and if it isn’t true, it’s harmless – so the impetus is to share it, not realising that sharing causes harm too.
Whether it’s promises of a homemade remedy or claims about some kind of dark government cover-up, the promise of eliciting a strong response in their followers distracts people from the obvious question.
This question should be, of course: is it true?
Classic psychological research shows that some people are naturally better at overriding their reflexive responses than others. This finding may help us understand why some people are more susceptible to fake news than others.
Researchers like Pennycook use a tool called the “cognitive reflection test” or CRT to measure this tendency. To understand how it works, consider the following question:
Did you answer June? That’s the intuitive answer that many people give – but the correct answer is, of course, Emily.
To come to that solution, you need to pause and override that initial gut response. For this reason, CRT questions are not so much a test of raw intelligence, as a test of someone’s tendency to employ their intelligence by thinking things through in a deliberative, analytical fashion, rather than going with your initial intuitions. The people who don’t do this are often called “cognitive misers” by psychologists, since they may be in possession of substantial mental reserves, but they don’t “spend” them.
Cognitive miserliness renders us susceptible to many cognitive biases, and it also seems to change the way we consume information (and misinformation).
We consume headlines and posts differently depending on our amount of ‘cognitive miserliness’ (Credit: Getty Images)
When it came to the coronavirus statements, for instance, Pennycook found that people who scored badly on the CRT were less discerning in the statements that they believed and were willing to share.
Matthew Stanley, at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina, has reported a similar pattern in people’s susceptibility to the coronavirus hoax theories. Remember that around 13% of US citizens believed this theory, which could potentially discourage hygiene and social distancing. “Thirteen percent seems like plenty to make this [virus] go around very quickly,” Stanley says.
Testing participants soon after the original YouGov/Economist poll was conducted, he found that people who scored worse on the CRT were significantly more susceptible to these flawed arguments.
These cognitive misers were also less likely to report having changed their behaviour to stop the disease from spreading – such as handwashing and social distancing.
Stop the spread
Knowing that many people – even the intelligent and educated – have these “miserly” tendencies to accept misinformation at face value might help us to stop the spread of misinformation.
Given the work on truthiness – the idea that we “nod along when thoughts flow smoothly” – organisations attempting to debunk a myth should avoid being overly complex.
To fight misinformation, it’s important to present the facts as simply as possible (Credit: Getty Images)
Instead, they should present the facts as simply as possible – preferably with aids like images and graphs that make the ideas easier to visualise. As Stanley puts it: “We need more communications and strategy work to target those folks who are not as willing to be reflective and deliberative.” It’s simply not good enough to present a sound argument and hope that it sticks.
If they can, these campaigns should avoid repeating the myths themselves. The repetition makes the idea feel more familiar, which could increase perceptions of truthiness. That’s not always possible, of course. But campaigns can at least try to make the true facts more prominent and more memorable than the myths, so they are more likely to stick in people’s minds. (It is for this reason that I’ve given as little information as possible about the hoax theories in this article.)
When it comes to our own online behaviour, we might try to disengage from the emotion of the content and think a bit more about its factual basis before passing it on. Is it based on hearsay or hard scientific evidence? Can you trace it back to the original source? How does it compare to the existing data? And is the author relying on the common logical fallacies to make their case?
One thing we can do is simply think about a post’s factual basis before we pass it on (Credit: Getty Images)
These are the questions that we should be asking – rather than whether or not the post is going to start amassing likes, or whether it “could” be helpful to others. And there is some evidence that we can all get better at this kind of thinking with practice.
Pennycook suggests that social media networks could nudge their users to be more discerning with relatively straightforward interventions. In his experiments, he found that asking participants to rate the factual accuracy of a single claim primed participants to start thinking more critically about other statements, so that they were more than twice as discerning about the information they shared.
In practice, it might be as simple as a social media platform providing the occasional automated reminder to think twice before sharing, though careful testing could help the companies to find the most reliable strategy, he says.
There is no panacea. Like our attempts to contain the virus itself, we are going to need a multi-pronged approach to fight the dissemination of dangerous and potentially life-threatening misinformation.
And as the crisis deepens, it will be everyone’s responsibility to stem that spread.”
David Robson is the author of The Intelligence Trap, which examines why smart people act foolishly and the ways we can all make wiser decisions. He is @d_a_robson on Twitter.
As an award-winning science site, BBC Future is committed to bringing you evidence-based analysis and myth-busting stories around the new coronavirus. You can read more of our Covid-19 coverage here. https://www.bbc.com/future/article/20200406-why-smart-people-believe-coronavirus-myths?xtor=ES-213-[BBC%20Features%20Newsletter]-2020April17-[Future%7c+Button]
On my fourth zoom meeting I kept my video off. It was strangely calming not to have others see where I was looking or looking at me.
No matter how many times I’ve written about the level of fatigue I feel it still seems unbelievable, inconceivable that such a thing could exist. But it’s real. I have Post Exertional Malaise – Malaise being a fancy French word for what I experience as exhaustion. It’s a symptom that some people experience with fibromyalgia/chronic fatigue. Without going into the theories of what causes it – any energy expenditure – physical, mental, emotional, including intense focus – exhausts me, often for days.
Zoom meetings are now added to the list of what exhausts me. Distractions, during in-person conversations which are relegated to background, swirl around in the foreground of my brain: The small audio delay contributes to people talking over each other or weird silences, visual cues are distorted or magnified, people fiddling with controls, some sitting too close, some too far from cameras, background noise . . . exhaust me but I thought too weird to admit to anyone. judy
What’s ‘Zoom fatigue’? Here’s why video calls can be so exhausting
by Ryan W. Miller
“As social distancing remains in effect across the country during the coronavirus pandemic, people are moving from one video call to another. But there may be an unintended effect, mental health and communications experts warn: “Zoom fatigue,” or the feeling of tiredness, anxiousness or worry with yet another video call.”
Why are we all experiencing ‘Zoom fatigue’?
“From having to focus on 15 people at once in gallery view or worrying about how you appear as you speak, a number of things may cause someone to feel anxious or worried on a video call. Any of these factors require more focus and mental energy than a face-to-face meeting might”, said Vaile Wright, the American Psychological Association’s director of clinical research and quality.
“It’s this pressure to really be on and be responsive,” she said.
According to Jeremy Bailenson, the founding director of Stanford’s Virtual Human Interaction Lab, the platforms naturally put us in a position that is unnatural. A combination of having prolonged eye contact and having someone’s enlarged face extremely close to you forces certain subconscious responses in humans.
“Our brains have evolved to have a very intense reaction when you have a close face to you,” he said.
During normal, in-person conversations, “eye contact moves in a very intricate dance, and we’re very good at it,” Bailenson said. When one person looks one way, another changes where they look. A small eyebrow raise from someone at one end of the room can trigger a glance between two people on the other. But typically, we don’t stare into our colleagues’ eyes, up close on a computer screen, for an hour at a time.
So much of human communication is through these nonverbal cues that can be either lost or distorted in a video conference.
“In a way, we’re closer but we’re still communicating through this weird filter, so it gets tiring to get to the real stuff through this filter,” Degges-White said.
For video calls with old friends or virtual family reunions, the forced structure can create different challenges.
“A lot of us are thinking I want social stuff to be fun and having to be locked in front of this computer … it’s just not how I want to be spending my time,” Bailenson said.
Degges-White described it creating a structure to conversation like email. One person speaks and everyone takes their turn and waits to reply.
“That’s not normally the way we do social interactions,” she said. “It’s not that easy give and take.” Side conversations are lost. Some people who are naturally reserved may never get a word in. Others may get distracted by people in their house.
The context of this happening during the coronavirus pandemic can’t be lost either, Wright said. We’re worried about loved ones but apart from them physically.
How do you combat the ‘Zoom fatigue’?
There are thousands of books and articles on how to be organized. I’ve read them. I understand them. I don’t follow them.
I rarely keep a things-to-do list. I’m a fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants kinda person. My process is divergent, I am a piler not a filer, not logical and I used to think there was something wrong with me. (jw)
“It’s all too easy to fall into this trap. Many of us feel embarrassed about our cluttered desks, for example, assuming that they are an externalization of our internal chaos. Yet emptying your desk may, ironically, clutter your mind more than ever. All those tasks—read that book, reply to that letter, pay that bill—still exist. But lacking physical reminders that you trust, you may be forced to rely on your subconscious to remind you of all these incomplete tasks. Your subconscious will do a pretty good job of that: it will remind you every few minutes. An empty desk can mean an anxious mind.”
“Nor are empty-deskers necessarily better organized in their work lives. In 2001, Steve Whittaker and Julia Hirschberg, then researchers at AT&T Labs, studied the behavior (pdf) of “filers”, who scrupulously file away their paperwork, and “pilers” who let it accumulate on their desk and any other convenient horizontal surface.”
“. . . the researchers discovered that the “filers” accumulated bloated archives full of useless chaff. Whittaker has a term for this: “premature filing.” That’s what happens when we take a new document and promptly file it in a fit of tidy-mindedness before we really understand what it means, how it fits into our ongoing commitments, and whether we need to keep it at all. The result: duplicate folders, folders within folders, folders holding just a single document, and filing cabinets that serve as highly-structured trash cans.”
“Meanwhile, the “pilers” flourished. They were much more likely to throw paperwork away—after all, it was in plain sight on their desks—and when they did file something, they were more likely to understand it. Paradoxically, the messy workers had lean, practical and well-used archives. Their organizational system was messy, but it worked.”
“It’s possible to over-structure your life in other ways, too. As the psychologist Marc Wittman told Quartz in August, a partly or wholly unplanned holiday tends to feel longer and fuller than a holiday in which every decision has been made in advance. Critical decisions have to be made in the moment, which means you pay more attention to what’s happening and have richer memories after the fact. But to carry out Wittman’s advice, of course, means letting go and taking a risk. Switching off autopilot always carries an element of danger. That’s why it works.”
“One fascinating study conducted in the early 1980s examined the well-worn question of how structured one should make a calendar. Some people think that if you want to get something done, you should block out a time to do it on the calendar. Others think that the calendar should be reserved only for fixed appointments, and that everything else should be a movable feast”
“The study, run by the psychologists, Daniel Kirschenbaum, Laura Humphrey and Sheldon Malett explored this question, asked undergraduates to participate in a study-skills course. Some were advised to set out monthly goals and study activities; others were told to plan activities and goals in much more detail, day by day.”
*Source: Messy: The Power of Disorder to Transform Our Lives by Tim Harford, Financial Times columnist.
Originally posted on Max Your Mind. Click here to see more from Max Your Mind
Many people think I’m extroverted, simply because I am genuinely interested in people and am comfortable in social situations. However, self-isolation is a relief because I’m an introvert – I recharge my “batteries” in private.
Simplistically, extroverts recharge in the company of others.
if you’re someone, like my husband, who is an extrovert and thrives on social connection, isolation is particularly difficult. He has spent an inordinate amount of time on phone calls – needing to hear other people’s voices – and calls out greetings to neighbors from across the street.
Note: My experiences and suggestions are EXAGGERATED because of my fibromyalgia/ME, Chronic Fatigue I’m physically depleted to begin with and overly sensitive to social interactions of the “normal kind” which drain me to the point of exhaustion. Many people who are introverted and/or have life-altering medical conditions cope a bit differently than those who are extroverted and better thrive on personal and community connections.
Zoom meetings can be overwhelming: Too many people, too much to track, people talking over each other or too long silences. During the last Zoom meeting I stopped my video so no one could see me. It helped me not be concerned how I was visually responding, even if it might have bugged others. I excused myself and logged off before the meeting was over when I noticed my attention & physical energy was flagging.
Phone conversation have long been exhausting to me and I’m relieved when the phone doesn’t ring. E-mail is my chosen means of communication because there is a one-way conversation – no need to think on my feet, and can time my responses for when I have energy and focus.
Exercise is a solitary experience. I walk Freddie, our dog, late at night, when no one is out and there’s no demand to interact with neighbors. Freddie likes being able to sniff at his leisure and not have to patiently wait for human conversations to stop to resume his exploration.
Luckily, we introverts are no longer labeled as anti-social. Research by social scientists have found that while some people can’t get enough of spending time with large social groups, others find the experience more of a mixed bag: usually gratifying, but ultimately draining.
If you have a friend or relative who’s introverted:
My caveat: There are people, all over the world, who would give anything to be able to be with the people they love – people hospitalized, others unable to hold new born grandchildren, isolated from parents, fearful of infecting others. Loneliness is also an epidemic. We all want to make sure our friends and loved ones are physically or emotionally OK. Embracing community in a times of hardship is one of the best and most universal qualities of humanity. Some introverts are my best friends. I am, grateful for them and my introverted life.
TERRIFYING SIMULATION SHOWS HOW VIRUSES SPREAD WHEN YOU COUGH
A new 3D-rendered simulation by Finnish researchers shows how aerosol particles coughed out by a person in an indoor environment can spread terrifyingly far.
BY VICTOR TANGERMANN (posted in it’s entirety)
The research aims to determine how the coronavirus can spread through the air, and found that “aerosol particles carrying the virus can remain in the air longer than was originally thought, so it is important to avoid busy public indoor spaces,” according to a statement.
The 3D environment is trying to provide an analogue for the average grocery store with run-of-the-mill ventilation.
“In the 3D model, a person coughs in a corridor bounded by shelves under representative indoor ventilation air flow conditions,” reads the video. “As a result of coughing, an aerosol cloud travels in the air to the corridor. It takes up several minutes for the cloud to spread and disperse.”
“Someone infected by the coronavirus, can cough and walk away, but then leave behind extremely small aerosol particles carrying the coronavirus,” explained Aalto University assistant professor Ville Vuorinen in the statement. “These particles could then end up in the respiratory tract of others in the vicinity.”
Aerosol particles from a dry cough — a common symptom of COVID-19 — are so small (less than 15 micrometers) that they float through the air rather than sinking to the floor. Air currents can help them spread. According to the researchers, previous studies have shown that influenza A viruses can be found in even smaller particles — less than five micrometers.
The model underlines that avoiding crowded places or “nodal points” could be an effective way to curb the spread of the virus.
I admit to “doing other substances“but was too afraid of LSD having seen people take “bad trips”. But NOW I’m willing to give LSD a try, the Steve Chandler*way:
*Steve Chandler, author of – “Reinventing Yourself” and “Fearless.”
During our 30+ years as psychotherapists we never had to address the fear and uncertainty the Novel Coronavirus Pandemic has created. The disruption to individual lives and society is surreal.
Thanks to Sharon M. for the cartoon!
If you are irritable, less motivated, sad, or even angry, depressed, you are not alone. With loss there is a grief reaction. Not only are we dealing with loss of life, loss of mobility, choice, sense of safety, during this current time our emotional reactions are compounded by anxiety & fear.
It’s easy not to recognize less obvious, existential and secondary losses but important to honor our own losses even if those losses seem small compared to others. Left unrecognized grief can negatively impact our physical, mental, emotional and spiritual well-being.
We can’t deal with, or heal, what we aren’t aware of
Consider how you feel when you think of these losses:
Grief is not a problem to be solved
“A joyful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.” Proverbs 17:22
1. In a study published in the journal BMC Public Health, dog owners on average walked 22 minutes more per day compared to people who didn’t own a dog.
The study found that the dog owners walked briskly and got their heart rates up. At times, their pace was about 3 miles per hour, which the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention considers moderate intensity.
We canines keep you humans healthy. It’s a big job.
(“The national physical activity guidelines call for 150 minutes a week of moderate-intensity exercise.”)
Freddie Parker Westerfield, CHT
Certified Human Trainer
If you don’t believe me read this: Dog Owners Walk 22 minutes more per day
In uncertain times we all need help to calm our fears so that our bodies are not flooded with stress hormones & neurochemicals.
A placebo is NOT imaginary but creates biological changes in the brain that actually ease our symptoms and are very similar to the biological changes when we take drugs.
There are many DOCUMENTED placebo effects, depending on what we think a treatment is going to do for us. Examples:
Stress and anxiety— if we feel that we are in danger or under threat, the brain raises its sensitivity to symptoms like pain. Whereas, if we feel safe and cared for and things are going to get better soon, we relax and are not so alert to symptoms.
Physiological mechanisms like conditioning* – We can all be conditioned to have physiological responses to a stimulus, even immune responses. For example, take a pill that suppresses your immune system and on another occasion take a similar looking placebo pill, with no active drug, your body will mimic same immune response. Astonishingly, it doesn’t even matter if you know it’s a placebo.
Like a muscle, the more you exercise any part the stronger it gets.
Brains are shaped by our thoughts and behaviors. Research shows your brain structure, neurochemical and electrical activity responds to and reflects how you think throughout your life. For example: If you play a musical instrument, speak a second language, train for athletics for eight hours a day – the parts of your brain responsible for performing those activities gets more active and larger.
If you’re thinking stressful thoughts for the whole day parts of the brain involved in the stress response get larger and other parts of the brain actually deteriorate. Consequently, the very brain circuits we need to counter stress no longer work as well as they should.
It’s not as simple as saying, “I’m going to change how I think now. I’m not feeling stressed.” It takes a long time to change your brain.
When stressed, the brain influences your body AND the body influences your brain. The stress response speeds up your breathing to pump more oxygen when your brain perceives danger, either real or imaginary. If you deliberately speed up your breathing when not stressed you’ll start to feel more aroused and on edge. The opposite is true: Slow your breathing down, forcing your body into a more relaxed state. Your brain responds with more calming thoughts and feelings.
* Ivan Pavlov, a physiologist, conditioned dogs so that whenever he gave them food he made a noise, like ring a bell. Eventually the dogs associated the bell with their food and they would salivatejust to the sound of the bell.
Non-stop writing, stream of consciousness, free writing . . . it doesn’t matter what you call it – it can change your brain, change your day.
It can be anything in the past, the present or the future.
Don’t use a keyboard since the act of writing with your hand is important. Your small muscle movement is expressive (much like artistic expression, your handwriting is unique to you). It doesn’t matter if it’s legible or beautiful as your hand movement registers with your brain in ways that tapping out letters on a keyboard do not.
Ina small study* of 30 subjects, researchers conducted a series of brain-imaging experiments in which participants were shown frightening faces and asked to choose a word that described the emotion on display. Labeling the fear-inducing object appeared to:
How to “Affect label”
*The University of California, Los Angeles. Study led by psychology professor Matthew Lieberman,
If you’re constantly and chronically stressed out, sleep-deprived, malnourished, or dehydrated over time your immune function will weaken.
Repeat these steps several times for best results.
With continued practice, diaphragmatic breathing becomes easier, Easier, EASIER.
After you get the hang of it, you can practice diaphragmatic breathing . . . without using your hand.
I’m not a worrier by nature but during the past weeks and all the uncertainty about Covid-19 spreading throughout the world plus the fact that I have underlying medical conditions (I’m not mentioning my age!)I have had trouble falling asleep.
Tossing and turning, it took me 2 hours to realize my entire body was tense.
I relaxed my muscles. They tensed up again. I relaxed again. Muscles from head to toe tensed up again and again as if I were a trained athlete who had practiced so many times my muscle memory was so strong practice was no longer needed.
Flashing before my eyes was every therapy session I’ve ever had with anyone who had anxiety, PTSD, was a caretaker, had a sick loved one, experienced loss of any kind, anticipated loss, was in pain or had a medical condition. . . .
I know that our brains automatically perceive danger in any emotional, physical or imagined threat and sends signals to our bodies to ready us to flee or fight off our enemy. Muscle tension is needed for running like hell or slugging it out – now’s not the time to relax if you want to live.
I’ve taught one of the very best, easiest mind-body techniques that calms the brain hundreds, maybe thousands, of times. It absolutely works and only took me an hour of tossing and turning to remember to use it myself.
1. Take a deep breath through your nose.
2. Hold the breathfor just a moment
3. As you release the breath, through your nose, very gently, silently say: “Thank you brain, I’m safe.”(Be kind to your brain. It’s just trying to keep you from being eaten alive.)
Our brains are relatively simple in that brains can not tell the difference between when we are actually in danger (anxiety is our brain’s way of keeping us on alert for danger so we can survive) or when we imagine danger through thoughts or other cues.
Imagine a snake, a spider, anything that you are afraid of. Your brain will signal “danger! danger!” and flood your cells with the neurochemistry of fear. Watch a sad movie and your brain will flood you with the neurochemistry of sadness and, if you are like me, sob like a baby.
So, tell your brain you are safe and it will stop the neurochemistry of fear and anxiety.
Yoga, meditation, mindfulness prayer, listening to relaxation recordings all help. However, to break into a CHRONIC cycle you need to chronically signal your brain to stop sending the neurochemistry of the stress response to your body. Let your brain know that no one is throwing grenades at you, animals are not trying to eat you alive, you are SAFE.
You HAVE to breathe anyway so you’ve got nothing to lose — except your stress response!
Dr. Janet Tomiyama has been trying to figure out if eating because of stress works for us. Here is a summary of her findings:
We tend to be critical of people who eat because of stress BUT “Not just psychologically, but also biologically — people who do a lot of comfort eating tend to show a reduced level of stress hormones and stress.”
What’s happening, according to Tomiyama:
Many people have had the experience of being given comfort food to cheer us up as kids. Part of the comfort t then came from bing cared for but that became associated with the food, which now gives us comfort on its own.
What Tomiyama is trying to do now, is to see if healthy foods can also be comforting. Even in rat studies only unhealthy foods were used. Therein some data from surveys that say there are people who do use healthy foods for stress.
Actually, strawberries might work she reports. Anything sweet can dampen stress.
Dear Freddie Fans,
Because I’m not allowed to go anywhere without a leash I KNOW how to cope. This week I will share what you humans can do. Since I’m Editor-in-Canine-Chief for several blogs I have a trove of posts to share with you. Here’s today’s bit of my wisdom.
Get out of the house. Just remember to keep 6 feet of distance from other people, Find an area where you won’t encounter crowds.
Sports fans are going bonkers since all the games are canceled or have no spectators. Don’t go bonkers it’s not becoming, unless you are in a parking lot, eating hot dogs and drinking beer from the back of your pick-up truck. Do these things instead:
Dear Freddie Fans,
Because I’m not allowed to go anywhere without a leash I KNOW how to cope. This week I will share what you humans can do. Since I’m Editor-in-Canine-Chief for several blogs I have a trove of posts to share with you.
CULTURED: characterized by refined taste and manners and good education.
cultivated, artistic, enlightened, civilized, educated, well read, well informed, discerning, discriminating
sophisticated, urbane, intellectual, scholarly, erudite
Dear Freddie Fans,
Because I’m not allowed to go anywhere without a leash I KNOW how to cope. This week I will share what you humans can do. Since I’m Editor-in-Canine-Chief for several blogs I have a trove of posts to share with you. Each day I’ll share a bit of my wisdom.
Here’s my first recommendations for HUMANS
Ya Gotta Take Care of your Mental Health.
Keep your paws busy:
See ya tomorrow.
Peggy is on the look-out for a long-haired kitty to adopt. After she reads this I hope she adopts a dog or . . . a lion.
“Ask Daniel Mills, professor of veterinary behavioural medicine at the University of Lincoln, UK. In a recent study, Mills and his colleague Alice Potter demonstrated that cats are more autonomous and solitary than dogs. Carrying out the research for the project was as difficult as the cat’s reputation might suggest.“
“They are challenging if you want them to do certain things in a certain way,” says Mills. “They tend to do their own thing.”
“Cat owners (with the exception perhaps of Peggy) everywhere will sympathise. But why exactly are cats so reluctant to cooperate, either with each other or with a human? Or to flip the question around, why are so many other animals – wild and domestic – willing team players?”
” . . . domestic cats . . . hunt small animals. “You don’t want to be around somebody else when they’ve just caught a mouse, because they’re going to eat it whole,” Packer says. “It’s gone. There is not enough food to share.”
“All domesticated cats are descended from Middle Eastern wildcats, the “cat of the woods”. Humans did not coax those early cats out of the woods; the cats invited themselves into our grain storehouses, where an abundance of mice fed unchecked. Gate-crashing this mouse party marked the start of a truly symbiotic relationship. The cats loved the well-stocked storehouses, and the people appreciated the pest control.”
“They retain a large degree of independence and approach, or stay close to us, only when they want to,“says Dennis Turner, a cat expert and animal behaviourist at the Institute for Applied Ethology and Animal Psychology in Horgen, Switzerland.”
“Cats have evolved lots of mechanisms to keep themselves apart, which aren’t exactly conducive to herding,” says Mills. Cats spray their territory to help avoid awkward meetings with each other. If they do accidentally come face to face, the hackles rise and the claws come out.”
“In some circumstances it can appear that domestic cats have embraced group living; for instance, a colony living in a barn. But do not be fooled . . . “
“They’re very loose aggregations and they don’t have any real group identity,” he says. “They just have a common place they come to keep their kittens.”
“In keeping with their solitary, uncooperative reputation, cats turned out to be neurotic, impulsive and resistant to being ordered around.” (I didn’t say that the SCIENTISTS did).
“In fact, even in the face of extreme danger, which often brings animals together to form a defensive unit, it is unlikely cats would cooperate. “It’s just not something that they typically do when they’re threatened,” says Monique Udell, a biologist at Oregon State University. Cats just do not believe in strength in numbers.”
“A study published in 2014 in the Journal of Comparative Psychologysaw scientists probe the personality traits of domestic cats. In keeping with their solitary, uncooperative reputation, cats turned out to be neurotic, impulsive and resistant to being ordered around.” (SCIENTISTS know.)
Freddie Parker Westerfield, CCT, RET
Originally posted on Max your Mind. To see more from Max Your Mind, click here.
Photo by Betty Rawlings
“According to an academic study, published in the journal Scientific Reports, over two-thirds of the kiss initiators and the recipient of the kiss have a bias to turn their heads to the right and men were about 15 times more likely than women to initiate kissing.”
“Psychologists and neuroscientists at the universities of Bath Spa and Dhaka, Bangladesh, invited 48 married couples to kiss privately in their own homes, and after kissing they were asked to go to different rooms, open an envelope and then report on various aspects of the kiss independently of each partner.”
“The setting for the study was significant as kissing in Bangladesh is not typically observed in public and may censored from television or films. That means similar results from the western countries could be attributed to cultural factors or having learnt how to kiss through influences on TV or film.”
This post was originally posted on Max Your Mind. Click here to see more from Max Your Mind.
Wondering if your pet rat is feeling happy? You should check its ears, researchers say.
A team of scientists in Switzerland found that a rat’s ears are more pinkish and are positioned at a more relaxed angle when it is experiencing positive emotions. The researchers recently published their findings in the journal PLOS ONE.
Scientists have not yet pinpointed what a rat is feeling when it is experiencing a “positive” emotion. As Melotti explains, they are currently at the point where they can distinguish “positive” emotions from “negative” – but not finer emotional graduations between happiness, joy and optimism, for example.
It’s interesting that rats show emotions on their faces because they are not particularly visual creatures, Melotti says. They’re nocturnal and rely primarily on their sense of smell and touch.
The team says their findings could indicate that rats “may at least partly sense … the facial expressions of their partner, along with other body postures, to gather information on the likelihood the partner will initiate play, and how intense that play is likely to be.”
– Rachel Carson.
(CNN)”A womanizing tortoise whose rampant sex life may have single-handedly saved his entire species from extinction has retired from his playboy lifestyle, returning to the wild with his mission accomplished.”
“Diego’s unstoppable libido was credited as a major reason for the survival of his fellow giant tortoises on Espanola, part of the Galapagos Islands, after being shipped over from the San Diego Zoo as part of a breeding program.”
“When he started his campaign of promiscuity, there were just two males and 12 females of his species alive on the island.”
“But the desirable shell-dweller had so much sex he helped boost the population to over 2,000. The Galapagos National Parks service believe the 100-year-old tortoise is the patriarch of around 40% of that population.
“He’s contributed a large percentage to the lineage that we are returning to Espanola,” Jorge Carrion, the park’s director, told AFP. “There’s a feeling of happiness to have the possibility of returning that tortoise to his natural state.”‘
“A total of 15 tortoises took part in the breeding program to boost the island’s population, but none played a big a role as Diego.”
“About 1,800 tortoises have been returned to Espanola and now with natural reproduction we have approximately 2,000 tortoises,” Carrion told AFP.”
“This shows that they are able to grow, they are able to reproduce, they are able to develop,” he said.”
February is the month of love. And here at CURIOUStotheMAX love includes all God’s creatures as we are fascinated by this CURIOUS, WONDERFUL and WILD World we all share. Marvel with us at the incredible lengths nature goes to help mayflies survive.
Mayflies have an curiously interesting life cycle. Adult mayflies have no mouths, don’t eat, only live for a few days and their only purpose is TO REPRODUCE.
Males swarm above the water in a thick colony while females fly into the colony to mate. The males hold onto the females and mate in air. (No, it’s not the mile-high club since they stay a bit closer to the ground.) After mating, females fly down to the surface of the water to lay eggs and die – usually devoured by hungry fish either before or after death. The males also die, though on land.
Mayfly mating season-fish come to the surface looking for a tasty meal,
and fly fishers come looking for a tasty fish
The eggs fall to the bottom of the water where they land in mud and attach or stick onto stones or vegetation. The eggs remain in the mud for anywhere from a day to weeks before hatching. After hatching, the mayflies turn into their nymph stage (which you might attribute to teenage years). The mayfly nymphs are an aquatic life stage and do not have wings or contain gills.
Nyphs spend their time, anywhere from 1-2 years, searching for food in the relative safety of the lake bed bottom. When the time is right, the nymphs rise to the surface, molt and rest on the water’s surface to allow their wings to dry. After drying, they fly onto land where they wait in the vegetation before they molt once more and become a more colorful specimen..