The HeART of Healing – Creative Expression How-To

Once a month I facilitated a free, non-denominational HeART of Spirituality workshop. Tapestry Unitarian Congregation hosted.  There was a different theme each month.

For those of you who want to think about your own spirituality Here’s the information and the exercises for you to do.  

For those who just want a peek at the heART the participants create take a look!

judy

        *          *          *

Healing was the focus at this HeART of Spirituality workshop. 

The medium used was journaling.

Synopsis of the Introduction:

Physically, biologically anger and fear create a neurochemical cascade from the brain to the body triggering powerful stress responses. These two emotions interfere with physical healing and are incompatible with spiritual healing.  

When everything is going well we try to maintain the status quo (for good reason!).  To change, learn and grow we all need an impetus.  The most powerful stimuli for change and growth are when we face pain or fear.    

In Buddhism there’s a distinction between pain and suffering:  Pain is inevitable, suffering is optional.  Suffering is based on our perception and emotional response.

Basic to Baha’i beliefs:

  • We learn how to develop God’s virtues through pain and earthly trials & tribulation.
  • God does not want us to suffer, He wants us to learn.
  • Suffering comes from our distorted perspective of spirituality and our ego needs.
  • Praying for “healing” is first and foremost for spiritual growth, not physical remedy.

My personal experience with fibromyalgia and my belief is that ultimately all healing – physical, emotional, situational,  is spiritual.

Indeed, scientific research shows that what we think and believe impacts our emotional and physical well-being.  The power of the placebo is a small example.

First exercise – “Stacked Writing”

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Stacked writing is a great way to keep things confidential and not have to hide your journal under the mattress.  You can spill your thoughts & feelings out on paper and no one (including you) will be able to read what you wrote.

Workshop Materials: I pasted colored tissue paper on large sheets of paper for the participants to write on.  These sheets were later turned into mini 8-page journals.

Materials:  

  • A journal or just a piece of paper will do.  
  • A black marker or pen.
  • A timer

Instructions:

  1.  Write, print, scribble your thoughts and feelings all over the paper, continue writing, turning the paper in many directions (sideways, upside down) and writing on top of what you’ve written.   If your mind goes blank, keep scribbling until another thought pops in.
  2. Write for a minimum of 20 minutes, non-stop (make sure you have an easy flowing marker or pen).  Setting a timer is best so you don’t distract yourself or interrupt your writing.
  3. Focus on releasing the emotions of anger and fear.   Fill the page with sentences, phrases, words on top of each other so that what was written becomes indecipherable.

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Second exercise – “Found Poetry”  

Materials:

  • Newspapers
  • Sheet of blank paper, (colored construction paper, a journal or copy paper will do)
  • Glue sticks
  • Scissors

Instructions:

  1. Focusing on the theme of “healing” cut out approximately 20 words & phrases from the newspaper.  Use your intuition, what catches your eye to choose what you cut out.
  2.  Arrange your words & phrases on a piece of paper, creating a free verse poem*.
  3. Paste your “poem” down when it “feels finished”.  (Rhyming is not necessary)

*“Free verse is an open form of poetry. It does not use consistent meter patterns, rhyme, or any other musical pattern. Many poems composed in free verse thus tend to follow the rhythm of natural speech.” Wikipedia

Here are the participants Healing Poems.  Take a look!

Poetry, ideally, is meant to be recited out loud.  Get your moneys-worth and orate!

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Make no Masktakes

And you thought virus could spread from person to person . . .

They call us “home”

our microbiome.

Our body spews 

a cloud no one can see

Bacteria, viruses, fungi

intermingling you and me

Releasing microbes in the air

from head to toe where ever we go

Because they’re here to stay

Don’t waste your money

on bug spray

images-1

“Each of us carries around millions of microorganisms – including bacteria, fungi and viruses on the inner and outer surfaces of our bodies. Most of them aren’t dangerous. In fact, growing evidence indicates that they help us in lots of ways. Scientists call this collection of organisms our microbiome.”

‘”A lot of the recent work on the human microbiome has revealed that we’re kind of spilling our microbial companions all over our houses and our offices and the people around us.”

“. . .  the findings raise a number of possibilities, including, maybe, one day being able to identify a criminal by analyzing the microbial cloud he or she leaves behind at the scene.”

We know that if you live with people, and even if you just work with people, your microbial communities come to resemble theirs over time, . . .  And in the past we used to think that was due to touch. It may be just that you’re releasing microbes into the air and some of those microbes are colonizing the people you’re with.”

MASK UP!

Excerpted from: wherever-you-go-your-personal-cloud-of-microbes-follows

Happy Birthday Banner Judy (with a how-to)

When my two girls were small (3 & 6) I started making banners for their birthdays.  The banners were large (as all banners should be) and didn’t just proclaim “happy birthday”.  I drew a retrospect of all the major activities the birthday girl had participated in over the previous year. (Since they were small the pictures then were limited to roller skates and bikes.). I used simple stick figures and line drawings.  As they grew so did the pictures and they would identify everything they did that year.  My girls loved them.

It’s now a family ritual – me making a banner for my grown daughters and them reviewing their year.  When my granddaughter was born I added third banner for her.

A couple of years ago I got a wonderful surprise.  Both of my girls have been saving their birthday banners for years!  They cherish them as record of their lives.

Judy’s birthday was around the corner and  I decided to make one for her.   Here it is finished, and next I’ll show you step by step how to make your own:

FIRST:  Make a list of the birthday person’s major and minor events in the past year

Things like:

  • Trips – local or far away, short or long.
  • New skills – learning to ride a bike, taking up knitting.
  • Events. – big or small/positive or negative – a new job, school milestones, catching a cold, a pandemic lockdown . . .
  • Routine activities- work, school, walking the dog, doing yoga, riding a bike, hiking, reading, swimming . . . 

(In Judy’s case a lot  is routine since she’s been in self-imposed Covid isolation!)

When I first started making the Birthday Banners I didn’t track events and just brainstormed everything I could think of.  Now, It is easier and I make a simple list, writing down events as they occur, to  keep track all year.  You can make a list or calendar notes – both work.

SECOND: Organize the events on a timeline for the ones that are not routine.

THIRD: Gather materials

  • Roll of butcher paper – This is my favorite as it makes it easy to roll up, like a scroll, and tie it with a ribbon OR
  • Poster board OR
  • Several sheets of computer paper taped together.  When finished fold like an accordion book.
  • Pencil, markers, paint, crayons, colored pencils (whatever you choose to use to color in your stick-sketches).

(At first I used colored marker pens, but now I start with pencil-in case I make a mistake.)

FOURTH:  Write happy birthday and their name.  Leave room above and below to draw the events.

  • If you make bubble letters or outlines of the letters you can decorate the inside of each letter.
  • Plan where you will put the major events – where there are large white spaces.
  • Add stick figure drawings – in the order  in which they occurred or simply scattered on the banner.
  • I often add small repetitive items, like musical notes or in this case Covid masks. Sometimes I will sprinkle small hearts or birds across the whole banner.

FIFTH: Draw stick figures, symbols,  label the events, ( I do this when I think my drawing isn’t clear).

SIXTH: fill in with color.

  • If you used pencil to draw, go over the lines with dark marker or ink.
  • Use colored markers (easiest and quickest), paint, crayons or colored pencils.

The best part is giving them their own personal BIRTHDAY BANNER-they are loved!

Let me know if you make a Birthday Banner – send a picture!

Peggy

Chocolate Bark Bark

Did you know?

Eating chocolate has been tied to a reduced risk of heart disease. Now scientists have uncovered how strong this link is.

Turns out there’s added benefits when you add nuts and berries.  

Walnuts are one of the top nuts for brain health. They have a significantly high concentration of DHA, a type of Omega-3 fatty acid. Among other things:

  • DHA has been shown to improve cognitive performance in adults
  • Prevent or ameliorate age-related cognitive decline and lower resting blood pressure.
  • One study even shows that mothers who get enough DHA have smarter kids.
  • Just a quarter cup of walnuts provides nearly 100% of the recommended daily intake of DHA.

Strong scientific evidence also exists that eating berry fruits has beneficial effects on the brain and may help prevent age-related memory loss and other changes.*

“Berry fruits contain high levels of antioxidants, compounds that protect cells from damage by harmful free radicals.  Berry fruits change the way neurons in the brain communicate. These changes in signaling can prevent inflammation in the brain that contribute to neuronal damage and improve both motor control and cognition.”

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Woof Woof Bark Bark

Woofer’s Bark Bark, a good for your brain’s Valentine treat 

Ingredients

  • 1 lb 70% dark chocolate, finely chopped or grated or 6 oz. bag of dark chocolate chips
  • 1 ½ cups roasted walnuts or almonds, unsalted
  • 1/2 cup dried raspberries (other dried berries will work)

Directions

  1. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Melt chocolate in microwave oven or stir chocolate in a double boiler until melted.
  3. Add nuts & berries and stir quickly to combine. (reserve some to sprinkle on top)
  4. Spread chocolate-berry-nut mixture on parchment paper, keeping nuts in a single layer.
  5. Sprinkle top with the remaining berry-nut mixture.
  6. Chill until chocolate is set, about 3 hours.
  7. Break bark into pieces and store between layers of parchment or waxed paper.dscn7199

Sneek a Peek – We’re on a path to a BEST SELLER

Happiness Hacks has been a pet project for YEARS.  We realized we had posted a lot of simple quick ways to increase feel-good neurochemistry.  Our goal has always been to share all the information we have on mental, emotional and physical well-being (not to mention amuse ourselves).

We had a brrrrrrriliant idea!  Compile all the information in a book and amuse ourselves by drawing pictures.

  First came the research to back up all the neuroscience . . . one year later . . . Amusement NOT.

Second came the pictures (they amused us and hope they amuse you)

Third came the formatting into a book (not so amusing) and another year later we gave up and Peggy put 12 of the hacks into a calendar – which is now available for 2021.

Fourth – 3 years later Peggy massaged the 21 hacks into a template on Kindle.  We sent out some free PDF’s to get feedback before making it public.  Take a LOOK!


Click here for Hack Your Way to Happiness, Kindle edition

Full disclosure:

  • NO one (not one person) was paid for their comments
  • NOT one of them is a relative of either Peggy or Judy
  • Each gave us permission to share!

P.P.S.  We are so stoked by the comments we are now compiling all 21 Hacks into a Workbook.  Stay tuned

Learn how falling water makes you happy!

“This piece is beyond brilliant!!!! Thank you for sharing this.”  Joshua Castillo, Parenting Coach & Early Childhood Consultant, Los Angeles Metropolitan Area 

 

 

Dopamine, Serotonin, Oxytocin & E The Happiness Quartet

Happiness Hack Stars

“This is great.  Clear, clever, and doable for most. Congratulations!”  Betty Rawlings, Director, Psychiatric Services, West Anaheim Medical Center, Ret.

“ I took a look, out of curiosity.  I wanted to see if there were any hacks I didn’t know about, and there was – being warm!  As someone who hot flashes constantly right now 🙂 I had to giggle when you said to embrace them!  Not exactly on my to-do list! Ha.  All in all, though, great book!  Love the playfulness of it, the graphics are great and of course the info is spectacular. “  Shannon Lambert , Parenting, pet, and lifestyle freelance writer

Can mowing the lawn

make you smile more?

“It’s holds some terrific thought provoking ideas and action evoking concepts. I’ve smiled at the pics and engaged with the thinking, thanks for putting this together.”

Lesley Forbes, Early Childhood Implementation Branch Manager at Department of Education and Training – Regional Victoria, Canada

“I loved it! Congratulations!!! 🤗”  Gabriela Rodriguez Campos, Parenting Coach

“You offer a lot of very easy to do hacks with all the scientific background for them with humor, encouragement and the cutest drawings! How could anyone try these hacks and not feel better? It was encouraging to hear that your brain doesn’t know the difference between what you’re thinking you might be able/want to do and actually being able to do it. What a novel concept that one doesn’t usually hear about.
My only caveat came from hack involving drinking hot sauce. Hope  no one takes in a deep breath when taking that drink!
This is a great book for almost all ages to help anyone help themselves to a better life.”

Barbara Coulter

Your PERSONAL Sneek Peek at The Making of The Frog Princess

We blog for many reasons.  Chief among them is to keep ourselves amused in our advanced years.   We’ll let you figure out the other reasons.

Judy amuses herself by writing silly stories and “pomes”, loses interest and moves on to her next project.

Peggy is more cerebral (and organized).  She amuses herself by rescuing Judy’s abandoned projects and massaging them into REAL books.

Peggy is now in the process of colorizing, and putting together Judy’s last abandoned project The Princess Frog.

We thought you too might be amused by taking a peek at our process and progress: 

1. Judy Writes a story.

2. Judy does rough sketches for the story.

3. Judy’s publishing staff (meaning Peggy) uploads the sketches on her i-Pad and makes a clean outline.

4. Judy’s staff adds color

The Prince Searches the World for His Bride.

5. Judy’s staff frames the pictures

A Cow runs fast to help the Prince take flight

6. Judy changes her mind and wants different pants on the Prince. 

7. Judy’s staff re-draws, re-colors the picture.

(Judy thought Polka Dotted Shorts are more Princely)

7.  Peggy formats the writing using templates she spends hours researching in Amazon and Kindle.

8. Peggy inserts the images into the book template where they fit (until Judy changes her mind where the pictures go)

Considering there are 21 pictures Peggy has a lot of amusement ahead . . . 

Stay tuned . . . Peggy’s on a roll

Violet, Green and Flesh colored Faces by Peggy

Peggy has already well amused herself by publishing (Click on the titles):

Bet you didn’t know!

Google Arts & Culture’s collection is the easiest and cheapest way to see some of the treasures of the world    Now you can even go “outside” with incredible virtual tours of some of America’s best national parks.

Carlsbad-caverns-tour

Kenai-fjords-tour

Hawaii-volcanoes/nahuku-lava-tube-tour

Bryce-canyon/sunset-point-tour

Dry-Tortugas/near-little-africa-tour

MORE culture? There are still performances:

New York’s Metropolitan Opera will be offering free digital shows every night at 7:30 p.m.

Getting even more famous – Oprah, here she comes

Peggy now has a SECOND interview about her picture book “The Pulling, Climbing, Falling DownTale of Maui and His Back Legs”  on the blog Intentional Conscious Parenting  by  Carol Lawrence and Stacy Toten.

I’m not, I swear I’m NOT jealous but I am AFRAID.  When Peggy becomes even more famous she will leave me . . . blogging alone into the dark night.

Here’s the best part about her interview . . . because it includes me . . .

“Judy and I went to high school together, then lost contact for decades. After reconnecting we found out that we lived near each other, were both psychotherapists, had similar therapeutic approaches and were both proponents of neuroscience.

“I was newly retired and working on Maui’s book. When I showed Judy the pictures I had drawn she was excited about Maui’s story and helped edit my writing.”
“Judy had been blogging on Curious to the Max, for fun, for many years and when she retired we decided to create Max Your Mind to share neuroscience and how we applied it to help others.”

“When we wrote  “Hack Your Way to Happiness” we had already been writing blog posts together. We each get ideas, then edit each other—although Judy has to do most of the editing-she is better at it and has a wonderful sense of humor. Judy mostly created the critters we use, then I draw them in various poses for the blog and the book.”

Click here to read the interview and see what Peggy REALLY thinks about me and our  partnership

Maybe Oprah will ask me to do a cameo when she interviews Peggy . . .

judy

https://www.intentionalconsciousparenting.com/2021/01/interview-with-author-peggy-arndt.html#more

Nobody knew that alligators could regrow their own tails


“In a new research paper published in Scientific Reports, scientists reveal that juvenile American alligators appear to have the ability to regenerate portions of their tails if they have them severed by a predator or due to some other form of injury. It’s a remarkable finding that demonstrates that even some of the most well-understood spaces on the planet may still have some secrets to reveal.”

“The regrowth of limbs is something that isn’t uncommon in the world of reptiles. Many smaller lizards have the ability to regrow their lost limbs. It’s an invaluable tool when escaping predators, and creatures like geckos can regrow multiple tails, even regrowing the spinal cord that extends into the tail, and they can do it in as little as a month.”

“However, the ability to regrow limbs has been thought to be something that was reserved for much smaller species. An American alligator is a very large creature and even as a juvenile, they are typically larger than the kinds of lizards that are known to have the ability to regrow their limbs. However, after an alligator tail was sent to a team of researchers at Arizona State University, a team of scientists was able to determine that its tip had in fact regrown.”

“As is often the case with limbs that are regrown, the tail was slightly discolored and its scales were significantly smaller than they should have been, based on the age of the animal it came from. Using x-ray scanning and an MRI machine to get an inside look at the tail structure before slicing it open themselves, the researchers were able to determine that the tail was regrown.”

“We saw a lot of similarities between regenerated alligator tails and lizard tails, including the presence of a cartilaginous structure, the scale patterning, and the coloration. We also saw the regrowth of peripheral nerves and blood vessels,” Cindy Xu, lead author of the study, said in a statement.”

This is one area that alligators have a leg up . . . er . . .

tail up on humans.

 

https://apple.news/A2P8ZQcKjTo6-XOB-2ig_fQ

*https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/American_alligator

Don’t Miss out! EVERYTHING FREE! & Anxiety Buster

Just for YOU!

(and your friends, family, neighbors, people you never met, people you’d like to meet, people who want to know you, long lost lovers or current loves . . . pen pals, co-workers . . .) 

Sign up for our KnewsLetter and be the first on your block to receive
our Fantastically Fabulous Freebies

DIY’s on mental, emotional and physical wellness

How-to-do Super Simple Self-hypnosis PDF

Creative journaling tutorials

Happiness Hacks based on neuroscience 

Coloring book pages

Creative Stress Reduction Kit

and MORE

Send your name and e-mail and we’ll send you our monthly KNEWS LETTER with FREE links and PDF’s.

we will never share your e-mail

mail to: PeggyJudyTime@gmail.com

P.S.  Don’t tell anyone else but:

  • It’s easy to unsubscribe from our Knewsletter should you decide not to be in the know. 
  • We don’t hold grudges or have black lists.
  • You’ve got nothing to lose because subscribing is free.

Here’s a small sample of some of the stuff we’ve shared:

Anxiety Buster as quick as  5-4-3-2-1 

“Ground” your brain in the here and now and redirect your attention from racing, non-productive or anxiety-provoking thoughts to the present moment by intentionally engaging your five senses: 

Name (silently or outloud) taking a deep breath between each:  

5 things that you can see around you

4 things that you can touch

3 things you can hear

2 things that you can smell

1 thing that you can taste in your mouth.  

You can repeat the same thing more than once as it matters less what you sense and matters more that you simply pay attention to what your are sensing in the present moment.

Nor does it matter how you identify each.  You can:

  • Write these things down,
  • Say them aloud,
  • Mentally make note of them

To see specific 5-4-3-2-1 examples click below

Anxious thoughts? – Try doing “5-4-3-2-1”

Canine Coping With Covid

Ignorance is bliss; pets don’t watch the news or get bogged down in negativity on social media.

Peggy’s Granddog Gobi sez “Smell the roses”

“Your pets will know if you are stressed during this pandemic. They pay close attention to you. Pets sense if you are wary, if you are not your usual self. Animals notice your non-verbal behavior, how we move, what our faces look like, and also our tone of voice. They have learned from us and know when we are sad (and often come and comfort us) when we are mad (and may avoid us) or when we are happy (they may bark) or when we are stressed (they may be stressed by this, too). They even notice changes in our small–that we may not be aware of.”

Freddie sez “Let your alter egos out”.

YAAAAAAHOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO. WE DID IT!!!!!! 

Our Happiness Hacks book has been in the works FOREVER (Maybe not forever, but several years).  We started writing and drawing the book when we realized we had several MAXyourMIND posts outlining how-to easily and quickly tweak your neurochemistry to feel better. 

Why did it take so long? 

  • Every “Happiness Hack” was researched and referenced.
  • We had to figure out what a neurotransmitter did.
  • In our naivete we didn’t know how time consuming and frustrating it would be for us non-techies to format a book that had pictures (as you already know, the drawings are how we amuse ourselves and hopefully you).

Splish Spash – read Hack Your Way to  Happiness to figure out how this works.

21 ways (count ’em TWENTY-ONE) to “tweak” your own neurochemistry to feel better, happier in only 5 – 10 minutes!

 (Yes, you read it right –  only FIVE to TEN minutes out of your day to feel happier.) 

Brisk It, Splish Splash, Sing it Out, Charmed, Wee3, Breathe into It, Choc full, Air it Out, The Write Way, Show Them the $, Dial a Smile, Imagine Me, Seek ‘n Find, Warm it Up, Happy Snacky, Be Nosey, Tender Eyes, Pet a Pet, Do-Good, Touch Much, Flip’n Good

$3.76 

 SPECIAL PRICE – Cheap – just for you

(and anyone else who wants to buy a copy) 

Click here: for Kindle book  “Hack Your Way to Happiness”

You can access Kindle books on a pad, phone or computer, no Kindle needed

HACK away Doldrums, HACK away Blahs 

Some people are born with “happy” brains. This booklet is for the rest of us who want to feel happier and are impacted with the stress of daily living, plagued with pain of past events or worries about our future.

Be the FIRST one on your block to have a copy.  Don’t delay we need a best seller.

And if you want a 12 month reminder don’t forget our 2021 Happiness Hacks Calendar. 

Click here: for 2021 Calendar

Look for the money-off coupon on the Zazzle page.

Stay tuned – there’s a workbook to follow . . . 

. . . coming any year now!

Dear 2020, You aren’t quite as horrific as we think

The eradication of wild polio from Africa in August was hailed as a “great day” by the World Health Organization and celebrated by public health officials.”
“Still, the overbearing Covid-19 pandemic kept it from front pages and ensured that a near-fatal blow to a deadly disease occurred with little fanfare.
“It doused the massive jubilation, and publicity, and recognition such a milestone deserves,” said Dr. Tunji Funsho, the person more responsible than anyone else for the eradication of wild polio from Nigeria, and with it Africa.”
“But the moment was “a huge sigh of relief,” added Funsho, Having seen and held children paralyzed by wild polio virus … that kind of sight has become history,” he told CNN, the scale of the accomplishment still wavering in his voice as he speaks. “No child ever again would be paralyzed by the wild polio virus in Nigeria.”
“But this is not the only achievement to be lost amid the dizzying expedition that was 2020.
Even before Covid-19 existed, humans had an unmistakable and scientifically pinpointed tendency to believe the world is poorer, angrier and more unsettled than it really is; an unconscious desire to hold onto negative stereotypes and ignore the scale of progress unfolding right in front of us.”
“It’s a habit picked up in childhood and reinforced by media coverage and our own psychological peculiarities, many experts believe. Put simply, we think the world is a bad place that’s getting worse — a sense that undoubtedly grew in the last 12 months.”

The only problem? We’re wrong.

“When the world comes together for one common purpose — to improve the lives of every citizen in the world, no matter where they live — we can succeed in achieving that,” he said. “I was quite optimistic, and proven right.”
“Good things continued to happen in 2020, even as loss and isolation spread on an epic scale.
And, according to scores of scientists and data experts, accomplishments like Funsho’s are rolling out constantly in a rapidly improving world. We’re just not paying attention.”

‘This is probably the best of times’

“In a world with a lot of problems, you’re kind of banned from talking about good things,” bemoaned Ola Rosling. Rosling is the co-author of a bestselling book, “Factfulness,” which sought to educate people about under-appreciated improvements in global poverty, health and wellbeing.
“Even during years without a pandemic, people are very reluctant to believe that the world is better than it used to be,” he told CNN. “We could improve the world a lot. There are lots of problems,” he admitted. “But I think the main problem is our mindset.”
“Changing that mindset has been the mission of Rosling and his late father, Hans. Their 2018 book was hailed by Bill Gates, who paid for any US college grad to buy it for free. And it revealed an alarming human tendency; when the authors asked thousands of people around the world to estimate rates of extreme poverty, girls in education, children vaccinated against measles and dozens of other metrics, respondents systemically assumed each measure was worse than it is.”
In fact, if the authors had “placed a banana beside each of the three (options) and let some chimps have a go at picking the answers, they could be expected to get one in three questions correct, beating most humans in the process,” Hans Rosling wrote in 2015.

“There is no partisan or political divide in this misconception,” Ola Rosling, who now runs the Gapminder organization, told CNN. “In a changing world, systemically, on the left and on the right, people are equally outdated about the world.”

It seems we don’t want to let go of those negative assumptions. In a 2018 study cited by psychologists, including Canadian-American author Steven Pinker, as evidence of people’s ignorance of global improvements, Harvard researchers asked participants to look for different things, such as blue dots, threatening faces, or unethical actions.

“We found that when participants were looking for a category that became less common over time, they ‘expanded’ that category to include more things,” the study’s lead author, David Levari, told CNN. “So when blue dots became rare, people called a wider range of colors blue. When threatening faces became rare, people called a wider range of facial expressions threatening.”

Why the world isn’t as bad as we think 

“. . . findings suggest that when people are on alert for something negative that is becoming less common, rather than celebrating their good fortune, they may start to find that negative thing in more places than they used to,” he said.

Outdated assumptions are passed down through generations, taught through childhood and reinforced by media coverage of negative, but exceptional, events, Rosling suggested.

And when things get really bad, like in 2020, the human tendency to assume the worst matters. “In our worldview, any huge catastrophe immediately becomes the worst catastrophe ever,” Rosling said.

“The world is in really bad shape, but this is probably the best of times,” he added. “And most people can’t imagine that, because of how our brains are wired.”

Finding positives in a difficult year

“Negativity may be a human tendency, but experts say that challenging it can help us put even a year as cumbersome as 2020 in its proper context.
The pandemic, for instance, stalled efforts to solve any number of scientific achievements. But it also covered up a string of accomplishments — and ensured that we spent far more time focusing on a new health crisis, rather than celebrating the fact that others are slowly but surely nearing an end.”
MIlestone, HIV
1. “One such milestone was clinched by a team of doctors, including virologist Ravindra Gupta, who cured HIV in a person for only the second time ever; an achievement made in 2019 that became public knowledge in March.
“It was really huge news,” Gupta told CNN. “The first time it happened was nearly 10 years ago, and people had not been able to do it again, so people wondered whether this was real or whether it was a fluke.”
“It reinforces hope that a cure for HIV is possible,” said Richard Jefferys, science project director at the US-based Treatment Action Group.”
Milestone, New Era of Vaccine Development
2. The pandemic also prompted a historically speedy vaccine that rewrote all the rules about how quickly such a shot could be produced.
“I think it is unique,” said David Matthews, a Virology professor at the University of Bristol, of the multiple vaccine candidates to near or reach approval in 2020. “It is important to remember that at the beginning of the year we had literally no idea if any kind of vaccine was possible against SARS-CoV-2.”

“We’re entering a new era of vaccine development,” added Andrew Preston of the University of Bath. There’s even hope that the mRNA technology used for the first time in some Covid-19 vaccines could work against a huge range of other infections, including cancer.

Milestone, Listening to Scientists 
3. And the crisis also gave rise to a renewed appreciation of scientific work, according to Peter Hotez, dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston. “For the first time that I can remember, people are hearing from scientists directly on a regular basis. And I think people like what they’re hearing, [about] how we think through a problem, how we make assessments, how we react to different situations,” he told CNN.
“I think that’s a really important and positive development, and one we need to build on.”
Progress begets progress: as wild polio was stifled in Africa, Funsho told CNN his team quickly repurposed their operation to tackle Covid-19 in the region, shielding it from the virus in a way that would otherwise been impossible.
Milestone, Appreciation for Front Line Workers
“And the crisis may have had even deeper implications elsewhere. “This pandemic helped us see all the actual actors of what we call society — all these people in uniform, who were always talked bad about,” said Rosling.”
“I think it’s sharpening our seriousness about what a society really is and the kind of solidarities needed to keep it running.”
Milestones,  Increases and Decreases
Meanwhile, Rosling is keen to highlight the steady but vital improvements that happened in the background.
5. “The trends that really form and shape the lives of the future generation are things that never show up in the news,” he said. He cited increasing access to electricity, the decline of mortality in childbirth and progress against diseases such as malaria and polio as sources of light that shone throughout the year.
“To realize how good the world is and how many things are improving, you first have to confront people’s worldview and show them that actually, no, you’re wrong a lot,” he summarized.

“Being aware of the progress makes you realize that the problems you hear about tonight, you hear because we’re going to try to solve them.”

“Problems are for solving,” Rosling concluded. “And we have managed to solve the biggest problems historically.”

 

*Funsho, whose work as chair of Rotary International’s polio-eradication program in Nigeria earned him a spot on Time’s 100 Most Influential People of 2020.

Hacking our Way to . . . family harmony?

We’ve been posting Happiness Hacks from our coming book “Neuroscience – Hacking Your Way to Happiness”.  The book has been in process for 2 years and we want you to be happy NOW.  So we created a 2021 calendar with 12 of the 22 Happiness Hacks. 

Rick (Judy’s out-of-the-box-thinking brother) sent her a neurochemical hack for “curing her fibromyalgia funk”.   

We didn’t get it in time for the Hack Your Way to Happiness calendar so we’re sharing what Rick sent in this special post.  

Here are our questions:  

  1. Do you see the family resemblance?

 

2. Should we include Rick’s neurochemical “hack” in our book? 

“The active ingredient common to all alcoholic beverages is made by yeasts; microscopic, single-celled organisms that eat sugar and excrete carbon dioxide and ethanol, the only portable alcohol.”

“Ethanol has one very compelling property: it makes us feel good. Ethanol helps release serotonin, dopamine, and endorphins in the brain, chemicals that make us happy and less anxious.”

Remember!:

  • DRINK ON A FULL STOMACH (that doesn’t mean balancing a beer on your belly)   High-protein foods help slow the absorption of alcohol into the circulatory system and burn it off.
  • KEEP HYDRATED (with water, not wine).  Water improves the processing of brain chemicals such as serotonin and dopamine.
  • SIP IT SLOWLY (nothing to add, we just like the alliteration)  Your body absorbs alcohol quicker than you metabolize it. The faster you drink, the more time the toxins in booze spend in your body, affecting your brain and other tissues, and the bigger the hangover will be in the morning.
  • ONE PER HOUR (drinks, not miles)   Metabolism depends on several factors (gender, weight, age, health), but in general, most people can metabolize roughly one drink an hour.
  • ADD SOME ICE (we’re not referring to the Rapper)  Diluting alcohol with ice or water will increase your time between refills and decrease its effects on your body and brain. 
  • DON’T MIX ALCOHOL WITH DRUGS  Whether it’s flu medicine, painkillers, sleeping pills, antibiotics, prescription meds, antidepressants – you name it, it doesn’t matter.
  • Alcohol Packs on the Pounds (We’ve saved one of the worst for last)   Alcohol is calorie-dense.

Alcohol intake is for adults – 18 years and older but our Happiness Hacks Calendar  is G-rated

*P.S. We bought calendars for ourselves with a Zazzle discount coupon.  Make sure to check out the Zazzle specials.  Remember! Half of the 5% profit we make is donated to The Gentle Barn Animal Rescue Charity.

We’re not sure about fibromyalgia but for those of you who are planning to imbibe this New Years hopefully the hack won’t get you wacked.

Check out our other 2021 Calendar – Everthing I know About Men I learned from my Cat

Turns out, Santa Claus DOESN’T visit the entire world.

If you’ve celebrated by burning a giant paper goat, had a visit from The Krampus, ate a traditional KFC “feast” or had your Sausage Swiped by a Bjúgnakrækir you’ve traveled the world during the holidays

This year, holidays might look different for a lot of us.  Here’s the opportunity to incorporate some of the most beloved Christmas traditions from around the world in your own home. 

11 weird and wonderful traditions from around the world

Giant Lantern Festival, Philippines

Looking for some festive sparkle? Spend Christmas in the Philippines

“The Giant Lantern Festival (Ligligan Parul Sampernandu) is held each year on the Saturday before Christmas Eve in the city of San Fernando – the “Christmas Capital of the Philippines.”  Eleven barangays (villages) take part in the festival and competition is fierce as everyone pitches in trying to build the most elaborate lantern. Originally, the lanterns were simple creations around half a metre in diameter, made from ‘papel de hapon’ (Japanese origami paper) and lit by candle. Today, the lanterns are made from a variety of materials and have grown to around six metres in size. They are illuminated by electric bulbs that sparkle in a kaleidoscope of patterns.”

Gävle Goat, Sweden

People overlooking the Gävle Goat in Sweden, just moments before it's set ablaze

People overlooking the Gävle Goat in Sweden, just moments before it’s set ablaze

“Since 1966, a 13-metre-tall Yule Goat has been built in the center of Gävle’s Castle Square for the Advent, but this Swedish Christmas tradition has unwittingly led to another “tradition” of sorts – people trying to burn it down. Since 1966 the Goat has been successfully burned down 29 times – the most recent destruction was in 2016.”

“If you want to see how the Goat fares this year when it goes up on December 1st, you can follow its progress on the Visit Gävle website through a live video stream.”

Krampus, Austria

Scaring kids into the festive spirit, Krampus is the most chilling of Christmas traditions

Scaring kids into the festive spirit, Krampus is the most chilling of Christmas traditions © Stefan Klauke

“A beast-like demon creature that roams city streets frightening kids and punishing the bad ones – nope, this isn’t Halloween, but St. Nicholas’ evil accomplice, Krampus. In Austrian tradition, St. Nicholas rewards nice little boys and girls, while Krampus is said to capture the naughtiest children and whisk them away in his sack. In the first week of December, young men dress up as the Krampus (especially on the eve of St. Nicholas Day) frightening children with clattering chains and bells.”

Kentucky Fried Christmas Dinner, Japan

A family get ready to tuck into a KFC share bucket, a pretty bizarre Japanese Christmas tradition

A family get ready to tuck into a KFC share bucket, a pretty bizarre Japanese Christmas tradition © ajbrusteinthreesixfive

“Christmas has never been a big deal in Japan. (Shinto and Buddhism are the main faiths).  Aside from a few small, secular traditions such as gift-giving and light displays, Christmas remains largely a novelty in the country. However, a new, quirky “tradition” has emerged in recent years – a Christmas Day feast of the Colonel’s very own Kentucky Fried Chicken.”

The Yule Lads, Iceland

Icelandic Yule Lads run amok this time of year in one of the more fun and mischievous Christmas traditions

Icelandic Yule Lads run amok this time of year in one of the more fun and mischievous Christmas traditions

“In the 13 days leading up to Christmas, 13 tricksy troll-like characters come out to play in Iceland. The Yule Lads (jólasveinarnir or jólasveinar in Icelandic) visit the children across the country over the 13 nights leading up to Christmas.”

“For each night of Yuletide, children place their best shoes by the window and a different Yule Lad visits leaving gifts for nice girls and boys and rotting potatoes for the naughty ones. Clad in traditional Icelandic costume, these fellas are pretty mischievous, and their names hint at the type of trouble they like to cause:”

  • Þvörusleikir (Spoon-Licker)
  • Pottaskefill (Pot-Scraper)
  • Askasleikir (Bowl-Licker)
  • Hurðaskellir (Door-Slammer)
  • Bjúgnakrækir (Sausage-Swiper)
  • Gluggagægir (Window-Peeper)
  • Gáttaþefur (Doorway-Sniffer)
  • Ketkrókur (Meat-Hook)
  • Kertasníkir (Candle-Stealer)

Saint Nicholas’ Day, Germany

Saint Nicholas with his three amigos: Santa Claus, Knecht Ruprecht and ... a donkey

Saint Nicholas with his three amigos: Santa Claus, Knecht Ruprecht and … a donkey

“Not to be confused with Weihnachtsmann (Father Christmas), Nikolaus travels by donkey in the middle of the night on December 6 (Nikolaus Tag) and leaves little treats like coins, chocolate, oranges and toys in the shoes of good children all over Germany, and particularly in the Bavarian region. St. Nicholas also visits children in schools or at home and in exchange for sweets or a small present each child must recite a poem, sing a song or draw a picture. In short, he’s a great guy.”

“But it isn’t always fun and games. St. Nick often brings along Knecht Ruprecht (Farmhand Rupert). A devil-like character dressed in dark clothes covered with bells and a dirty beard, Knecht Ruprecht carries a stick or a small whip in hand to punish any children who misbehave.

Norway, Broom Hiding

Never leave a good broom behind in Norway over Christmas: it might get stolen

Never leave a good broom behind in Norway over Christmas: it might get stolen

“Perhaps one of the most unorthodox Christmas Eve traditions can be found in Norway, where people hide their brooms. It’s a tradition that dates back centuries to when people believed that witches and evil spirits came out on Christmas Eve looking for brooms to ride on. To this day, many people still hide their brooms in the safest place in the house to stop them from being stolen.”

Lighting of National Hanukkah Menorah, Washington, D.C. – US

The lighting of the Menorah in Washington, D.C.

“The Jewish holiday of Hanukkah is celebrated with much fanfare across the United States with one of the most elaborate events taking place on a national stage. Since 1979, a giant nine-metre Menorah has been raised on the White House grounds for the eight days and nights of Hanukkah. The ceremony in Washington, D.C. is marked with speeches, music, activities for kids, and, of course, the lighting of the Menorah.”

“The lighting of the first candle at the White House takes place at 4pm, rain or shine, and an additional candle is lit each successive night.”

Roller Skate to Church, Venezuela

Enjoy a Christmas dinner consisting of 'tamales' in Venezuela

“Love Christmas, but think it could be improved by a spot of roller-blading? If the answer is yes, visit Caracas, Venezuela this year. Every Christmas Eve, the city’s residents head to church in the early morning – so far, so normal – but, for reasons known only to them, they do so on roller skates. This unique tradition is so popular that roads across the city are closed to cars so that people can skate to church in safety, before heading home for the less-than-traditional Christmas dinner of ‘tamales’.”

Day of the Little Candles, Colombia

“Little Candles’ Day (Día de las Velitas) marks the start of the Christmas season across Colombia. In honour of the Virgin Mary and the Immaculate Conception, people place candles and paper lanterns in their windows, balconies and front yards. The tradition of candles has grown, and now entire towns and cities across the country are lit up with elaborate displays. Some of the best are found in Quimbaya, where neighbourhoods compete to see who can create the most impressive arrangement.”

Cavalcade of Lights, Toronto

The sky lights up during the Cavalcade of Lights in Toronto

The sky lights up during the Cavalcade of Lights in Toronto © Ben Roffelsen Photography

“In wintry, wonderful Toronto the annual Cavalcade of Lights marks the official start to the holiday season. The first Cavalcade took place in 1967 to show off Toronto’s newly constructed City Hall and Nathan Phillips Square. The Square and Christmas tree are illuminated by more than 300,000 energy-efficient LED lights that shine from dusk until 11 pm until the New Year. On top of that, you’ll get to witness spectacular fireworks shows and engage in some outdoor ice skating.”

11 weird and wonderful Christmas traditions from around the world

Sneek a Peek – 3 Faces of Me, Self Portraits

In my self-imposed isolation from all things and people Covid-19 my only interaction with humans has been through the computer screen and on-line art classes.  The assignments have been keeping my brain from completely atrophying.  Although after seeing some of my pictures you may think otherwise. 
I’ll do my best to describe what the teachers assigned.
1. We were to pay attention to our dream messages and do a picture representing “The Other Side of Me”.  My dream was struggling to walk uphill (no interpreting please!).  The drawing uses a hyped up mixture of instant coffee as “ink”.  The ballerina is the opposite of me – I have no rhythm, would not describe myself as graceful, have never been very limber and she is resting, unlike my dream where I struggled to move.  I tore her out and pasted her on black paper.
2.  Assignment was to use the artist Giuseppe Arcimboldo as  a reference

Arcimboldo painting example

and create a self portrait using a combination of painting and collage.  The snails were my starting point because a previous assignment was to use a picture of a snail somewhere in a collage.  So here I am with caterpillars on a flower field, butterflies, lady bugs and snails.  This is one of my favorites!

3.  This assignment was to do a self-portrait pencil sketch and incorporate symbols that reflect something about ourselves.  As I was sketching one fine day, feeling like “death warmed over” the images of swords flashed so that’s what I incorporated, not thinking about the symbolism until . . . .

. . .  one of the participants asked me “why the swords?” and here’s what came to mind:

I was very fatigued and couldn’t bring myself to move to a table so sat on couch, my sketch book in my lap, holding a mirror in one hand, sketching myself with the other hand. The image of swords popped in my mind.

They are a part of my hair because I (we all) carry a sense of the precarious, the dangerous with us, each in a different way. As I drew myself I was struck by how my internal image I have of myself is not what I saw in the mirror and what I saw has become someone I don’t recognize. The knives evolved in my mind of living on the knife’s edge.

There were originally 4 knives and I eliminated one. Now I’m wondering if they are also symbolic of “time” – past & present on the left (touching/intertwined) and future on the right??

Looking at the picture now, more detached, it appears almost as if my throat has been slit (I drew the shadow/wrinkle on my neck). It’s a disturbing picture but very reflective of how I feel when I’m in a flare of symptoms.

NO MORE INTERPRETING PLEASE!

I call this “Self Portrait with Pears”.  I tore up another charcoal picture that I didn’t like and pasted it on an acrylic painting of a bowl of pears that was a practice assignment from 2 years ago.  The bowl of pear picture is upside down . . . if you’re wondering where the pears went . . . 

Judy

Need more international culture? Go to a Museum from Your Couch

Looking for some new entertainment?  You can tour these famous museums from home!
Here are 12 of the world’s incredible museums:

British Museum, London

Egyptian Mummy

The British Museum is dedicated to art, culture and human history. It’s collection of eight million works is one of the largest and most comprehensive in the world. The collection covers human culture from its beginnings to the present. It was established 267 years ago! Take the virtual tour.

Guggenheim Museum, New York

Red Lily Pads, Alexander Calder

The museum houses a collection of  Impressionist, Post-Impressionist, Modern and Contemporary works. The museum is housed in landmark building designed by Frank Lloyd Wright. It is in a unique, cylindrical building, wider at the top than at the bottom,  a “temple of the spirit”. Its unique ramp gallery extends up from ground level in a long, continuous spiral along the outer edges of the building to end just under the ceiling skylight. Google’s Street View feature lets visitors tour the Guggenheim’s famous staircase.

National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.

The Washington Family, Edward Savage

The National Gallery has two online exhibits: one of American fashion from 1740 to 1895, including many renderings of clothes from the colonial and Revolutionary eras and  one of the Dutch Baroque painter Johannes Vermeer. The National Gallery of Art has an attached Sculpture Garden. The Gallery’s collection of paintings, drawings, prints, photographs, sculpture, medals, and decorative arts follows the development of Western Art from the Middle Ages to the present. It has a painting by Leonardo da Vinci and a mobile by Alexander Calder.

Musée d’Orsay, Paris

Apples and Oranges,  Paul Cézanne

The Musee d’Orsay primarily holds art from France from 1848 to 1914. It holds the world’s largest collections of Impressionist and post-Impressionist including paintings, sculptures, furniture, and photography. It houses the largest collection of Impressionist and post-Impressionist masterpieces in the world. It has works by Van Gogh, Degas, Renoir, Cezanne, Monet, Manet, Gauguin, Seurat and Sisley. Musee d’Orsay is one of the largest art museums in Europe. You can  do a virtual walk through.

National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Seoul

On the Sea, Yoo Youngkuk

Seoul is the newest of the four branches of the National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art (MMCA). It exhibits global contemporary art.  It can show every mode of art as it ihas multiple facilities, including a library, theater, and a multipurpose hall. Google’s virtual tour takes you through exhibits of  Contemporary art from Korea and all over the globe.

Pergamon Museum, Berlin

17th Century Necklace

As one of Germany’s largest museums, Pergamon has a lot to offer – even if you can’t physically be there. This historical museum is home to plenty of ancient artifacts including the Ishtar Gate of Babylon..

The Antiquity Collection or Antikensammlung goes back to the prince-electors of Brandenburg who collected objects from antiquity and contains sculpture from the archaic to Hellenistic ages as well as artwork from Greek and Roman antiquity.  The main exhibits are the Pergamon Altar from the 2nd century BC, with a 113 meters (371 ft) long sculptural frieze depicting the struggle of the gods and the giants, and the Gate of Miletus from Roman antiquity.

Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam

Girl with a Pearl Earring, Johannes Vermeer

Explore the masterworks from the Dutch Golden Age, including works from Vermeer and Rembrandt. Google offers a Street View tour of this iconic museum, so you can feel as if you’re actually wandering its halls.

Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam

Landscape at twilight, Vincent van Gogh

Anyone who is a fan of this tragic, ingenious painter can see his works up close (or, almost up close) by virtually visiting this museum – the largest collection of artworks by Vincent van Gogh, including over 200 paintings, 500 drawings, and over 750 personal letters.

The J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles

The Wounded Foot, Joaquin Sorolla

European artworks from as far back as the 8th Century can be found in this California art museum. Take a Street View tour to discover a huge collection of paintings, drawings, sculptures, manuscripts, and photographs.

Uffizi Gallery, Florence

Judith Beheading Holofernes, Artemisia Gentileschi

This less well-known gallery houses the art collection of one of Florence, Italy’s most famous families, the de’Medicis. The building was designed by Giorgio Vasari in 1560 specifically for Cosimo I de’Medici, but anyone can wander its halls from anywhere in the world.

MASP, São Paulo

Ismael Ivo,  Madalena Schwartz

The Museu de Arte de São Paulo has possibly the most important collection of European art in the southern hemisphere. it holds over 11 thousand artworks: paintings, sculptures, objects, photographs, videos and pieces of clothing from various periods, from Europe, Africa, Asia and the Americas. Take a virtual tour.

National Museum of Anthropology, Mexico City

Aztec Stone-of-the-Sun

World’s largest collection of ancient Mexican art, including the Sun Stone or Aztec Calendar, a recreation of Pakal’s tomb in Maya exhibit room, and a Jade mask of the Zapotec Bat God in Oaxaca exhibit room.

Kindness, Compassion to Animals, Each Other and our Planet.

There are people and animals at risk during these times. We’ve been working hard to made our Curious Critters available on holiday products to support our charity.

50% of profits from CURIOUStotheMAX Zazzle sales is donated to:

The Gentle Barn*

(the other 50% goes to the cost of our URL’s)

We were planning a trip to visit and then the pandemic hit.  We can’t show you the pictures we were going to take of the horses, donkeys, cows, pigs, sheep, goats, turkeys, chickens, llamas, peacocks, emus, cats and dogs in sanctuary at The Gentle Barn

In substitute, take a look at these animals!

Peggy Pictures from the San Diego Wild Animal Park

Panda packing Peggy and a long lens

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Gentle Barn is on a six-acre paradise in Santa Clarita, CAThe Gentle Barn has a second location in Nashville, Tennessee, and a third in St Louis, Missouri. It is their goal to open Gentle Barns in every state so that everyone in America can hug cows, cuddle turkeys, give pigs tummy rubs, and look into the eyes of these animals and know for certain that we are all the same, and deserving of the same rights, respects, and freedoms.

Since its inception, The Gentle Barn has saved thousands of animals.  Once rehabilitated, the animals help us give hope and inspiration to children with the same stories:

At Risk Youth         Special Needs Children        Educational Programs

Our Zazzle store has 2021 calendars, cards and MUCH more-in-store.

 

Click on this link and see our

CURIOUStotheMAX Zazzle Store

Why a cat can beat a Lamborghini Diablo at taking off quickly

Cat gotcha beat? 

Most human-engineered flying machines require either long runways (airplanes) or flat, stable surfaces (helicopters or drones) for takeoff. Either way, they take a while to overcome gravity and gain elevation. Springs and levers allow more rapid acceleration than wheels do–and many animals like cats and birds are naturals at using their joints springs and levers.

Fast get away

There is a need for more agile robots that “can jump over obstacles or debris in cluttered environments. To design such a machine, designers have turned to nature.

“Birds are really good jumpers.” 

The trouble is, when birds start to take off, they lean so far forward that, according to the rules of physics, they should tip over and fall onto their beaks. Yet that does not happen.

Researchers used computer modeling to discover how birds avoid this fate and discovered that birds rotate their bodies slightly backward while accelerating into a jump. They also have flexible leg and toe joints, which prevent them from taking off and immediately crashing into the ground.*

Runway Optional by Peggy

Springs and levers enable more rapid acceleration than wheels and axles do. And many animals are masters of springs and levers. “A house cat will beat a Lamborghini Diablo off the line for the first 100 feet while the car has to rev up, the feline catapults itself into a run. The same principle underlies how birds initiate flight.”*

“If you can understand how that works, you can build a robot that’s good at running around and good at flying, and it will also be good at taking off suddenly in all kinds of conditions and landing on a dime.”*

A robot using these principles, as an alternative to wheeled rovers for exploring other planets, is currently being designed.

 

*Michael Habib, University of Southern California biomechanist. 

Scientific American, What Birds Can Teach Us about Flying Robots. Modeling the physics of bird jumping is helping engineers make more mobile machines bJason G. Goldman 

 

Surprise! I’m a published Author – Buy my book! Cheap!

Years ago, I took a year long on-line art class from one of my favorite teachers Carla Sonheim  called The Year of the Fairy Tale.  Every month Carla focused on a different fairy tale and different illustration techniques. 

After reading a few original Little Red Riding Hood stories (which I won’t link to here as I do not condone violence nor death by consumption) I had to exonerate the Wolf who I knew had gotten a bad rap because I know about “wild life” and wolves are no exception:

  • Wolves do not eat people whole like a boa constrictor.
  • Wolves never eat little girls because they prefer their meat well-done and chewy.  (Grandma’s might qualify)
  • If they did eat little girls they would never eat one wearing a red cape because they are environmentalists and prefer green.
  • And lastly Wolves NEVER dine alone

I uploaded The Real Tale of Little Red Riding Hood & the Wolf on this blog . . . years later Peggy found it . . .

As a surprise for my last birthday Peggy massaged the blog post I wrote into a book.  Peggy published the book and to my surprise . . .

NOW AVAILABLE ON AMAZON!!

and Kindle

 Buy the book and Surprise me too.

It makes a nice gift cuz it’s CHEAP! 

Click here to see how cheap:  

The Real Tale of Little Red Riding Hood and the Wolf

OR surprise Peggy!

Click here for “The Pulling, Climbing, Falling Down Tale of Maui and His Back Legs” on Amazon 

Can you improve eyesight by seeing red?

There could be an easy, DIY to improve eyesight deterioration due to age, and prevent it from getting worse. All it might take is a few minutes of looking at a red light.

With age we often lose some sensitivity to light and color. Our eyes age faster than any other part of our body. Once we pass 40, we are at higher risk for cataracts, also diabetic retinopathy, glaucoma and age-related macular degeneration.

It’s known that the progress of these diseases can be slowed by eating a diet rich in antioxidants and maintaining normal levels of blood sugar, body weight and blood pressure.  Now LIGHT therapy is a focus of research.

Seeing Red by Peggy

Why does red light work? Researches think that it helps keep mitochondria healthy, the parts of our cells that produce energy.

In a study published in the Journal of Gerontology, subjects looked at a specific spectrum of red light for just 3 minutes a day.  All subjects had an improvement in color perception, with people over 40 showing the most improvement.

The study was small and there was no control group. More study is needed to ensure this treatment works and is safe, and even then treatment should be under a doctor’s care. The promising news is that red lights have been shown to be safe in other studies.

The mitochondrial theory of aging, indicates that animals age when damage accumulates in mitochondria and mitochondrial DNA. The theory is anything that reduces damage in the mitochondria is a way of slowing aging.  Eye retina cells have more mitochondria than other parts of the body.

Mitochondria is involved in other disease, such as Parkinson’s disease and diabetes, so it’s even possible red light therapies may help these and other conditions.

Stay Tuned!

 

 Journal of Gerontology.

Bet you didn’t know you should sing Jingle Bells for Thanksgiving . .

Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Buzzers that ding

Aromas that delight

IF you’re a turkey and hear bells ring

Something’s not quite right

It’s the oven timer . . . too late to TAKE FLIGHT!

Birds of a Feather by Peggy


Click here for Birds of a Feather Dine Together Apron

Jingle Bells, one of the most familiar American Christmas songs was originally written for Thanksgiving.  The author and composer of Jingle Bells was James Pierpoint, a minister, who composed the song in 1857 for children celebrating Thanksgiving at his Boston Sunday school.

Click here for Happy Folly Days card

Remember!

50% of profits from the CURIOUStotheMAX Zazzle sales will be donated to:

The Gentle Barn

Teaching People Kindness and Compassion to Animals, Each Other and our Planet.

 

“The Gentle Barn rescues animals from severe abuse and neglect who are too old, sick, lame, or scared to be adopted into homes. We are sanctuary to horses, donkeys, cows, pigs, sheep, goats, turkeys, chickens, llamas, peacocks, emus, cats and dogs.”

Once rehabilitated, the animals help us give hope and inspiration to children with the same stories:

 

Did you know I’ve got something to lose? (parenthetically speaking)

It’s well-known that I agreed to do this blog-site if I was amused . . . so far, so good.  I’ve added another criteria – find information about how I can lose weight (preferably without dieting, counting calories or exercising).  So far NO good.

Admittedly, part of my reason for wanting to lose weight is vanity.  More importantly, the other part is for my health.

My body does not bounce back as easily as it once did (even though there’s more to bounce). 

I’d like to blame it on genetics but since neither of my parents was overweight I know it’s my lifestyle choices.  Here’s my take and confession (in red) on this article about  “Six of the top lifestyle habits to focus on”.

1. Fight the dreaded spread

“Fat in the mid-section is metabolically active and we gain more of it as we age. That’s not a good thing. As opposed to the fat we gain in our thighs and rear, abdominal fat can lead to several chronic conditions.” (Totally agree!)

“A 2014 study found that the type of fat we consume might make all the difference. Participants in the study were asked to eat 750 extra calories every day for seven weeks. Those having excess calories from saturated fats had activated cells that promoted fat storage in the belly and increased insulin resistance. However, individuals who had had a high consumption of polyunsaturated fats found in fatty fish, nuts and seeds, gained less abdominal fat and were more likely to increase muscle mass instead.”

“Multiple studies have demonstrated this connection between saturated fat intake and belly fat, especially when it is coupled with reduced levels of estrogen.”

(My problem is not cutting out saturated fats – it’s eating too many nuts and seeds.  I love the crunch and crunching food expends calories)

2. Get your biceps back

Bulge those Biceps by Peggy

“Jump off the treadmill, if want to lose weight. If you change nothing about your exercise routine now, it’s almost a guarantee you will find the pounds creeping up. This all boils down to a loss of muscle mass — a condition called sarcopenia that begins at 40.”

“In fact, up to 40 percent of muscle mass is lost between the ages of 40 and 80. (Ay yi iiii I only have a short time before ALL my muscles are gone) This alone is the kiss of death to metabolism. Muscle weighs more than fat making it a metabolically superior calorie burner.”

“. . .  attempts to lose weight on low-calorie diets can lead to even more lost muscle. Studies have found that regular resistance or strength training may be a better alternative than your daily runs to preserve and gain muscle — even when coupled with a low-calorie diet. Aerobic exercise is still important, just don’t make it your only form of activity.”

(My core muscles are holding up all the belly fat)

3. Fall in love with plants

“A study from the Canadian Medical Association Journal found that healthy behaviors, like eating fruits and vegetables daily, significantly improved the odds of successful aging. Plants provide a protective measure against oxidative stress and free radical formation — two things that go hand-in-hand and increase with age.”

“Oxidative stress occurs when the balance between free radicals in the body and our ability to fight against is uneven, with free radicals prevailing. Free radicals can cause disease and there is an association with an increased risk of formation of free radicals as we age. That’s why after a certain age, building up our defenses (through having lots of antioxidants in plants) can help reduce this imbalance and stack the cards in our defense system instead.”

(Many studies focus on the inflammatory process being involved in many chronic conditions, including the fibromyalgia/chronic fatigue and Hashimoto’s diseases I have.  I struggle with eating more vegetables and THAT I blame on my father who rarely ate vegetables . . .  but lived to 93 . . . )

4. Find your own ‘om’

OM by Judy

“The more years we live, the higher our risk of developing a disease, especially heart disease, cancer, stroke and diabetes. All of these conditions are tied, in some way, to inflammation. A 2017 study from Georgetown showed that mindfulness meditation had a significant impact on reducing stress hormones and inflammatory proteins and a 2014 study found that just 25 minutes of meditation a day could alleviate stress levels.”

If you don’t have 25 minutes to spare each day, a 5-minute meditation helps. Or 1-minute meditations can calm your mind. It’s that easy.

5. Think about your magnesium

Legume by Peggy

“Even individuals with relatively healthy diets can be deficient in magnesium. Adequate magnesium is important to protect our bones. In addition to promoting bone health, magnesium plays a role in protecting our brain, heart and nervous system. It’s also associated with keeping energy levels up and bathroom habits regular.”

Women between ages 31-50 need 320 milligrams daily, according to the National Institutes of Health.  Magnesium-rich foods include:

  • Seeds, especially pumpkin seeds
  • Green leafy vegetables like spinach, swiss chard and collard greens
  • Beans and legumes

(I take my magnesium in pill form – another way to avoid vegetables . . .)

6. Be less happy about happy hour

The American Heart Association found that heavy drinking in middle age — defined as more than two drinks daily — increased the risk of heart attack and stroke (and breast cancer) more than traditional risk factors such as diabetes and heart disease.

(I’m good here . . . wine gives me headaches.  Too bad over-eating doesn’t.)

judyw

Here’s the article:  How to Lose Weight After 40

This post originally appeared on Max Your Mind. Click here to see more posts like it.

If you think politics are interesting . . . Watch a bit of Washington Wild Life!

Giant panda at National Zoo gives birth to cub: ‘A much-needed moment of pure joy’
by Ryan W. Miller & Joel Shannon, USA TODAY

“It’s panda-monium amid pandemic.”

“In a refreshing bit of good news out of Washington, Mei Xiang, the giant panda matriarch of the Smithsonian’s National Zoo, gave birth to a cub Friday and immediately began cradling and caring for it, zoo officials said.”

“A precious giant panda cub has arrived! We’re overjoyed to share that Mei Xiang gave birth at 6:35 p.m. and is caring for her newborn attentively,” the Zoo tweeted Friday. “



“The zoo encouraged people to tune in to its “Giant Panda Cam” page to see Mei Xiang and the cub.”



“Zoo officials say they are monitoring the mother and the new cub using the cams. It may be several days before zookeepers retrieve the cub to perform a neonatal exam, and the cub’s sex will be determined in the future, the zoo said in a release.”

“At 22, Mei Xiang is the oldest giant panda to successfully give birth in the United States. The oldest in the world was 23.”

“Her age made the chances of having a cub “slim” — but zookeepers “wanted to give her one more opportunity to contribute to her species’ survival,” zoo administrators are quoted in a release.”



“Giant pandas are an international symbol of endangered wildlife and hope, and with the birth of this precious cub we are thrilled to offer the world a much-needed moment of pure joy.”

Don’t Miss Out – Christmas & Channukah in October

In appreciation for all your support, comments and contributing to our current charity The Gentle Barn by purchasing from our Zazzle Store I’m extending the lowered price on my FIRST PUBLISHED BOOK until October 15.

The Pulling, Pushing, Climbing, Falling Down Tale of Maui and His Back Legs 

A picture book for children for the reduced price of only $6.99!

Shop early for Christmas & Channukah 

Santa & Freddie recommended for children

to learn about perseverance & healing

  • Maui inspired me to write his story as a book to help children know that they too can flourish with patience and persistence.
  • Maui’s story is proof the brain, YOURS and mine, is capable of “rewiring” and “repatterning”. 

Click HERE:

The Pulling, Pushing, Climbing, Falling Down Tale of Maui and His Back Legs

Click here for your copy on

Kindle

If you want to read about the book and how my cat Maui recovered the use of his paralyzed back legs here are some links:

To read Maui’s story click here

My First Interview as an Author

The Gentle Barn

THANK YOU IN ADVANCE for helping me help children learn and animals be rescued.

Peggy

How to Live Life To the Fullest – A Penelope Pig Primer

Eat greedily all the delectable things life gives you.

Wallow in what’s soothing & cool.

Snort at those who are not loving.

Celebrate how delicious you are.

Pray you will not be eaten before your time.

Many, many, many years ago, at a business lunch, I defended the pig as being a very intelligent animal. I pointed out that pigs were one of the few animals that would drink alcohol willingly.  You have to remember I was young and so was my view of intelligence.

My colleagues found it humorous. In the ensuing year they inundated me by pigs of all sizes, shapes and incarnations:  Stuffed pigs, pig pens, pig posters, marizapan pigs, ceramic pigs, wooden pigs, pig calendars, pig stationery.  Drowning in all things pig, I vowed never again to defend a sow in public and hence forth I would make it a point to talk about expensive crystal or gemstones.

Decades later.

When my 70th birthday approached I was surprised how sad I felt about all that I had not accomplished in my time here on earth.  I was surprised at the sense of regret about missed opportunities.  I was surprised I was surprised.  After all, I was a psychotherapist and trained to be very aware of feelings – my own feelings were obviously an exception!

Then I received a birthday party invitation from a former colleague who’s the same age.  She was one of my pig-present friends.  I flashed back to that conversation decades ago and smiled at the innocence (bordering on occasion on stupidity) of my youth and the wisdom of the pig:

Let’s all pig-out on life!

My First Interview as an “Author”

“G’day folks, Today, I interview a multi-talented author from California. Welcome, Peggy …”  Hearing Clancy Turner describe me as multi-talented was both flattering and confusing.

 I wrote one book, “The Pulling, Climbing, Falling Down Tale of Maui and His Back Legs”.  And actually Maui had a great story, so I just wrote it down for him. Maui was my cat and he created his own amazing tale by learning how to regain the use of his paralyzed back legs.  So when a friend started writing a children’s book,  I decided to do the same and tell Maui’s story.  I struggled with writing, but loved drawing pictures for the book. When Clancy asked to interview me,  I could not pass up the opportunity, since Maui can’t speak for himself.

 I’ve always been fascinated by the brain and applied a lot of what I read about neuroscience when I treated psychiatric patients.  I recognized that Maui was using brain plasticity to help him recover. But I was writing his story with my then 5 year old granddaughter  in mind.  So I didn’t put in the neuroscience. But  Maui’s story seemed a perfect introduction to  perseverance, hope and healing.  

Here’s the link to the interview. Please take a look. I would love to hear what you think. How did I do as Maui’s surrogate?

Clancy Tucker’s Blog, Peggy Arndt – Guest Author

P.S.  I’m delighted by many comments from people all over the world about “The Pulling, Climbing, Falling Down Tale of Maui and His Back Legs” and happy that Maui’s tale (pun intended) is reaching beyond Lucy.

“As a behavioral pediatrician, I see many children with a variety of difficulties. It can be hard to persist when you are having a bad day. However, I think the story of Maui and the will to continue to try, not give up on what he truly enjoys can be a wonderful conversation starter for children facing adversity. I will recommend this book to my families in clinic.” Nerissa Bauer, M.D., Behavioral pediatrician, Consultant, Blogger, Carmel, Indiana

“I read the story of Maui. It is touchy and inspiring. Though being a cat, Maui was determined, to resolve her back leg problem with continuous & renewed hope. And the Pictorials were so lively, pleasant and explanatory. These type of stories are good for Children, parents must make a habit of them read inspiring stories, which has fun and moral, which is Determination.” Anil Kumar Morathoti, Senior Social Worker-Child/Student Welfare, Education Development. State Coordinator, India
“You had one strong, courageous cat there! The story is great to read, and inspiring to say the least. It does go to show us the power of the mind, and how we all possess the power of healing, ourselves and others. It comes with courage, belief, perseverance, hope, and most of all love and passion for life. I applaud you for your determination but most of all for your vision of Maui walking again.” Paul Del Sordo, Special Needs Inclusion Coordinator

In appreciation I’ve lowered the price for all our readers.

10 days only at $6.99!

Check out Clancy’s Website

Clancy Tucker in Laos

Clancy Tucker writes young adult fiction for reluctant readers but has also achieved success as a poet and photographer. Clancy has lived in four countries, speaks three languages, has photography accepted and published in books in the USA (Innocent Dreams, Endless Journeys & A Trip Down Memory Lane), used as covers for magazines (‘The Australian Writer’ – 2008 & ‘Victorian Writer – 2008), has work registered with the International Library of Photography, published in literary magazines and he’s written more than 90 short stories.

Storyteller, Author, Publisher, Photographer, Human Rights Activist, Social Justice Campaigner and sometime poet

The NEUROSCIENCE OF ZOMBIES & another “Z”

Send a Friend Zombie Cat

Remember! 50% of profits from the CURIOUStotheMAX Zazzle sales is donated to:

The Gentle Barn*

Click here for zombie cat card

 Send Witchy Friends to your friend!

Click here for Witchy Friendship card

Click here for Which Witch is Which kitchen towel

Click for ALL our Halloween items

Featuring, CURIOUS CRITTERS, Witchy Witches to create

a SMILE-A-WEEN for someone you know.

*“The Gentle Barn rescues animals from severe abuse and neglect who are too old, sick, lame, or scared to be adopted into homes. We are sanctuary to horses, donkeys, cows, pigs, sheep, goats, turkeys, chickens, llamas, peacocks, emus, cats and dogs.”

Once rehabilitated, the animals help us give hope and inspiration to children with the same stories:

At Risk Youth 

Special Needs Children

Educational Programs

Click here to visit our CURIOUStotheMAX Zazzle Store

There’s MORE in STORE!

 

Creative Covid Couture

 

Three wardrobes for three mindsets in extraordinary times of change.

“Viktor & Rolf subvert the traditional catwalk by showcasing this collection in a special haute couture presentation. The film is directed by Marijke Aerden, narrated by MIKA and shot on location in the Waldorf Astoria in Amsterdam. The ‘Change’ animation is realised by Studio Maan Bijster. Concept and text by Viktor & Rolf.”

Anger and Sadness – My Creative Covid Couture is beige cargo pants and black t-shirt.

black

Confusion – My Creative Covid Couture is beige cargo pants and a yellow, or maybe red, or perhaps blue t-shirt . . . or white or green. . .

 

Serenity and Love – My Creative Covid Couture is cargo pants and a pink t-shirt

pink.png

judy

Don’t despair If you missed the live “Hamilton” stage show

My granddaughter never is at a loss for creative projects.  Hamilton has captured her imagination.  She created hair do’s out of magic clay that fit her Lego Hamilton characters, and made them a stage. She is currently making a hotel for the Lego cast to stay in when they go to New York to perform.

Lucy* and Lego present:

HAMILTON in all it’s glory

“Alexander Hamilton.
My name is Alexander Hamilton.
And there’s a million things I haven’t done.
But just you wait, just you, wait.”

Hamilton was primary author of the Federalist Papers, one of the founding fathers of the United States, the founder of the nation’s financial system and first US Treasury Secretary.  He worked closely with George Washington.

“I’m a general, whee”

Charles Lee

Charles Lee  served as a general in the Continental army during the American Revolutionary War

Philip and Eliza with piano

Eliza was Hamilton’s wife.  Philip, his son, was killed in a duel (before Hamilton was).

“Don’t let them know what you’re against or what you’re for
You can’t be serious
You wanna get ahead?
Yes
Fools who run their mouths off wind up dead”

Aaron Burr

Aaron Burr, another founding father of the United States.  His role in developing the nation was a bit overshadowed when he killed Hamilton in a duel.

Spinning piece on stage

Stage with lift in back to raise actors

“Hey yo, I’m just like my country

I’m young, scrappy and hungry

And I’m not throwing away my shot”

“We are outgunned
Outmanned
Outnumbered, outplanned
We’re gonna need an allot stand
Ayo, I’m gonna need a right-hand man”
George Washington
“‘Cause when push comes to shove
I will kill your friends and family to remind you of my love
Da da da dat da dat da da da da ya da”
King George 

Sneek a Peek into my journal & my HeART of Chronic Conditions (including life)

The best I can describe my “condition” is feeling like a sandy beach being worn away by unrelenting waves and occasional pounding storms.

Fibromyalgia/Chronic fatigue is said to not be life threatening only life altering,  Flares come and go, exhaustion is ever present.  Describing the pain is difficult but sharp pressure anywhere on my body hurts. I’m just reporting, not complaining, (although I’ve been known to moan & groan) .

A WHOLE HOLE, judy’s visual journal

I was blessed in my first forty plus years with relatively good health.  In 1995 that changed for me with the diagnosis of fibromyalgia/chronic fatigue.  I admit it’s been a struggle trying to ignore, over-ride or giving in to the daily fatigue, pain and various other “irritants”.  The older I get the harder it’s been.  

In public I look fine and only those who intimately know me would know if I were feeling exhausted, in pain or depressed.  When I’m feeling particularly bad no one knows as I shelter in place – stay home and lick my wounds.  Any contact, even a phone call, can feel overwhelming.  Weirdly, having to isolate at home during the pandemic has been a relief.

Black-eyed Anger, collage by judy

CURIOUStotheMAX blog has been my in-home companion:  A way to connect to the world and my incredibly understanding friends while expending minimal energy;  posts that remind me to eat better, be grateful, and most of all Peggy and her delightful drawings that make me smile.  

My Baha’i faith, above all, is what sustain me.   Even on my worst days my question is never “Why me?”.  I ask God for guidance, the wisdom to understand that guidance and the where-with-all to carry it out . . . one day at a time . . . sometimes one hour at a time.

The Eye of Grace, judy’s visual journal

I learned early on that each of us, in ways large and small, carry physical or emotional pain.  Each of us searches, longs for answers, respite and meaning.

Be generous in prosperity, and thankful in adversity.

Be worthy of the trust of thy neighbor, and look upon him with a bright and friendly face.

Be a treasure to the poor, an admonisher to the rich, an answerer of the cry of the needy, a preserver of the sanctity of thy pledge.”

The Baha’i World Faith)

Check out this way of giving – POUR for POVERTY

This post first appeared on MaxYourMind. Click here to see more 

Chocolate Rides Again

Yaaaaaa hoooooooooo.  Yet another reason to indulge.  A new study to support your . . .  er . . .  my . . . chocolate cravings. 

Adding a little dark chocolate to a training diet may effortlessly improve endurance performance.  The findings provide ammunition both for athletes looking for an edge (and those of us wanting to improve our eating performance).

Woofer on recumbent bike

Eight male recreational cyclists who agreed, in the interests of science (yeh sure . . . science . . .), to swallow a little dark chocolate every day. Without going into the details of the study, here are the findings:

“Each of the cyclists performed better in most of the physical tests after two weeks of supplementing with dark chocolate, compared to baseline results and after they had eaten white chocolate. The riders utilized less oxygen to ride at a moderate pace, a change that would generally allow them to ride longer or harder before tiring; and they covered more distance during a two-minute, all-out time trial, meaning that their anaerobic, sprinting ability had been enhanced.”

“Most of this research has focused on the role of a substance called epicatechin, a plant nutrient found in cocoa. Dark chocolate is generally rich in epicatechin, though levels vary, depending on how the sweet was produced.”

Levels of epicatechin tend to be much lower in milk chocolate, which contains little cocoa, and white chocolate contains little or none of the nutrient. (Fine by me, since I do NOT consider any white food to be chocolate.)

“Epicatechin is known to prompt cells that line blood vessels to release extra nitric oxide, a substance that has multiple effects in the body. Nitric oxide slightly increases vasodilation, or a widening of the veins and arteries, improving blood flow and cardiac function. It also gooses muscle cells to take in more blood sugar, providing them with more energy, and it enhances the passage of oxygen into cells.”

“. . . scientists do not yet know the ideal dosage of dark chocolate for athletes, and that more than 40 grams is unlikely to be helpful” (those of us who are NOT athletes can eat more).

Read the entire article and click here:Chocolate Really can boost your workout. 

This post first appeared on MaxYourMind. Click here to see more posts like it.

Maui’s Mood Tips

There’s more than one way to . . . feel better

Get a new perspective. Climb a tree.

Get your feet wet. Literally.

Click here to learn how water lifts your mood

Click here to learn how sunshine lifts your mood

Play 

Click here to learn to lift your mood in 10 minutes

Play with whatever is at paw . . .  or hand.

Sneak Peek – charcoal, pastels, snacks & wine

Judy Formato collects people – from bus rides, parties, meetings and invites them to her “POP” gatherings – Painting on the Patio. A few years ago I met her collection of very talented and welcoming women who have been meeting for many years to paint, chat and share resources.

I experimented with my newly purchased pastels to color two of my quickie life drawing sketches. 

The afternoons were topped off with wine and snacks.  Judy served a verrrrry tasty egg plant dip that had zing from some delicious pepper sauce imported by the family fine Italian food company Formato Brothers.

Here are my “befores” and “afters”:

DSCN6651

“After” – pastel

Click here for card with this artwork

DSCN6610

“Before”, Charcoal – 1 minute sketch

DSCN6596

“Before”, Charcoal,  1 minute sketch

DSCN6650

“After”, pastel

Hmmmm . . . looks like they are all "afters" . . . after drinking

Hmmmm . . . looks like all the drawings are “afters” . . . afters drinking wine . . .

Having trouble concentrating during the COVID-19 pandemic? Neuroscience explains why

I’m not a good barometer of what is considered “good” concentration since I have always “multi-tasked” my whole life.  (I call it multi-tasking, others might refer to it as attention deficit disorder.  I suppose I could split the difference and call it multi-tasking disorder.)

I read about people, young to old, having trouble concentrating during this pandemic. Some lack motivation, and those who need to concentrate and complete tasks that require sustained intellectual engagement because of studies or jobs are having trouble.

Can science explain this? 

FIRST: Emotions CAN take over our minds – A question of the amygdala

Emotions can warn us and activate our bodies system for defense. The amygdala responds rapidly to anything that may be threatening. It responds to possible threats, so we are ready to act-to run or to fight, if the threat is real. It is faster than our prefrontal cortex, which can analyze if the threat is real or just looks like a threat.

Think of seeing a coiled shape on the ground. The amygdala immediately responds and starts to set in motion your systems to run or fight. A bit slower, the prefrontal cortex looks closely-is it a snake? Or just a coiled rope? The prefrontal cortex can shut down the emergency response that the amygdala has started if it is safe. But if it isn’t safe, if it was a snake, your body is already preparing, This helps you cope with danger and survive.

In people, the amygdala responds to social cues. People are very sensitive to the emotional charge of situations and people they encounter. Neuroscience shows we are unable to ignore the emotional charge we sense.

SECOND: Attention/focus/concentration are limited resources. 

The cognitive psychologist Daniel Kahneman, a Nobel Prize winner in 2002, was among the first to propose that attention is a limited cognitive resource and that some cognitive processes require more attention than others. This is particularly the case for activities that require conscious control, like reading or writing. 
These activities use working memory, which is limited. The brain circuits for working memory are in the prefrontal cortex.

Researchers have thought that the emotions being processed in the amygdala do not affect the attention resources of working memory. But new evidence indicates the circuits that connect the amygdala and the prefrontal cortex are important in determining what is relevant and what is not for whatever activity is currently being undertaken. 

THIRD: Emotional stimuli interfere with tasks that require working memory.

For tasks that need a lot of cognitive resources, there is more interference. The more someone needs to concentrate, the more easily they are distracted. Research by Michael Eysenck supports this idea. He and his colleagues showed that people who are anxious prefer to focus on the perceived threat, rather than the task they are performing. This can include internal thoughts or external images. This is also true of worry. Both anxiety and worry use up attention and cognitive resources that are needed for working memory. This decreases performance, especially if a task is complicated.

 

FOURTH: Mental fatigue tells us that our mental resources are depleted.

It is also mentally draining to do a task while trying not to attend to other demands. Mental fatigue tells us that our mental resources are depleted. So even if we try to avoid attending to something other than the task at hand, this in itself depletes our attention. This explains why it is so difficult and tiring to work and focus when there is an emotional situation such as Covid 19 that concerns us.


In the context of messages of danger about the virus, people find it difficult to focus fully.

FINALLY!  An excuse I can use.  I just wish my excuse wasn’t connected to a viral killer. judy



https://theconversation.com/having-trouble-concentrating-during-the-coronavirus-pandemic-neuroscience-explains-why-139185


Thoughts on Solitude


There is no insurmountable solitude. All paths lead to the same goal: to convey to others what we are.  And we must pass through solitude and difficulty, isolation and silence in order to reach forth to the enchanted place where we can dance our clumsy dance and sing our sorrowful song — but in this dance or in this song there are fulfilled the most ancient rites of our conscience in the awareness of being human and of believing in a common destiny.”

Pablo Neruda, Chilean poet and diplomat  (1904–1973)

5 Memorable Quotes from John R. Lewis

 

He was an orator unlike many others, his words galvanizing action for multiple generations. To honor his legacy, here are some of his most powerful quotes.


“Freedom is not a state; it is an act. It is not some enchanted garden perched high on a distant plateau where we can finally sit down and rest. Freedom is the continuous action we all must take, and each generation must do its part to create an even more fair, more just society.”
— From his 2017 memoir, “Across That Bridge: A Vision for Change and the Future of America”

“You are a light. You are the light. Never let anyone — any person or any force — dampen, dim or diminish your light. Study the path of others to make your way easier and more abundant.”
— From his 2017 memoir, “Across That Bridge: A Vision for Change and the Future of America”

“Do not get lost in a sea of despair. Be hopeful, be optimistic. Our struggle is not the struggle of a day, a week, a month, or a year, it is the struggle of a lifetime. Never, ever be afraid to make some noise and get in good trouble, necessary trouble.”
— A tweet from June 2018

“My dear friends: Your vote is precious, almost sacred. It is the most powerful nonviolent tool we have to create a more perfect union.”
— A 2012 speech in Charlotte, North Carolina

“When you see something that is not right, not just, not fair, you have a moral obligation to say something. To do something. Our children and their children will ask us, ‘What did you do? What did you say?’ For some, this vote may be hard. But we have a mission and a mandate to be on the right side of history.”

 

 

Do you want an easy and MEANINGFUL way to make a difference?

  • Macy is looking for a pen pal with interest in church, singing and playing checkers, because he is the current checkers champion.
  • Ms. Julie says she loves cats and crossword puzzles.
  • Ms. Edna is looking for someone to chat about her favorite show, “Family Feud”.
  • Roger is looking for a pen pal who likes Las Vegas and casino games.
  • Lenora, isn’t picky about what she is sent — she just wants to receive some mail.

Nearly four months into a strict no-visitor rule due to the coronavirus, an assisted living community in North Carolina tapped into the power of social media to get its residents connected with people from all over the world.

After reading this CNN report we thought it would interest some of our readers to take out a pen and address a card to brighten up someone’s life.  Isolation isn’t impacting only those at senior homes but many people around the world as the pandemic continues to change the way we are able to connect with each other.

Check out assisted living in your own area.  Our guess is they would be delighted to have cards sent, even one time, if you don’t want to be a pen pal.

“It has been mentally straining on them not to see family members and loved ones,” Meredith Seals, the chief operating officer of Victorian Senior Care, told CNN on Wednesday. “When you are used to having family there every day and then you can’t, it’s very lonely for them.”

“It only took one question for the post on Facebook to go viral: Will you be my pen pal?
Residents in the various Victorian Senior Care communities smiled for pictures while holding signs with their names and interests. Staff then shared the images on Facebook with the address of where to send the letters.”

“They are overcome with joy when they see the mail,” Seals said. “It’s good to bring people together as much as we can.”

Since this program started last week, mail and packages for residents have been received from all over the world including Germany, countries in Africa and New Zealand.
“We posted a world map in each facility and they are tracking where they are getting letters from,” she said.
She added that the residents are enjoying getting photos of pets and people. They are working to get a pen pal board added to each facility so residents can hang up pictures they get.”

Again . . .

. . . check out assisted living, in your own area.  Our guess is they would be delighted to have cards sent, even one time if you didn’t want to be a pen pal.

We’ve got a stash of cards in our Zazzle store.  Remember!  We donate half our proceeds to The Gentle Barn.

Here’s some samples:

Click here for quilt card 

 

Click here fo Cute Creatures Card

Click here for Mask Making card

 

Click here for Tree of Life card

Anyone can send mail to the residents. People can click through the images on the Victorian Senior Care Facebook page to select a pen pal, their addresses are in the captions.
For anyone having a hard time picking, the main office is collecting themed packages it will distribute to the appropriate residents. Seals asks that the sender write on the envelope what the theme is — for example, sports, veteran, dog, or crafts.

Those can be mailed to:
4270 Heath Dairy Road
Randleman NC 27317
Attn: VSCPenPals

https://www.cnn.com/2020/07/01/us/assisted-living-pen-pals-north-carolina-trnd/index.html

Please SHARE THIS Post by sending this link http://judithwesterfield.com

to a friend, neighbor or relative who might be interested.

Frankly Freddie – Poem Pun Intended

Dear Freddie Fans,

Have you missed me? I’m taking a bit of a sabbatical.

Here’s the not-so-good news:

A few weeks ago I had a HUGE seizure.   I’ve had several mini-seizures since.  Scared my humans a LOT so they’re being extra nice to me. My new veterinarian is giving me phenobarbital to hopefully control the seizures.  All your prayers are licking good.

Here’s the GOOD news:

My humans are not allowing me to eat carbohydrates – the vet said that was a good idea – and my treats are deeeeeelectible:  chicken, egg, cheese, pure beef patty bites.  Much tastier than the packaged treats, if I do say so myself.  

Resting


Pome

by Freddie Parker Westerfield

Life will always be full of surprise

So each morning you arise

inhale, exhale

 wag your tail

Even when things don’t go your way

Seize the Day!

Everyday Habits (like lounging in the nude) that Reveal your Personality

The results are surprising. Example: Are you a prolific curser?  Defend your habit as a sign of your open-mindedness . . .

1. Greater conscientiousness was distinguished by:

  • Avoidance of various activities, including such innocuous pastimes as reading  (speculated that it may be seen by the highly conscientious as a leisure-time luxury), Swearing and Chewing on a pencil.
  • Wear a watch
  • Comb their hair
  • Polish their shoes

Agreeably Ironing Things Out by Peggy

2. People scoring high on agreeability said they spent more time:

  • Ironing,
  • Playing with children 
  • Washing the dishes presumably because their strong motivation to keep other people happy means they’d rather do the chores than have domestic acrimony.
  • More likely to sing in the shower or the car.

3. Neurotic people engaged more often in:

  • Activities and substances associated with helping reduce mental distress, such as taking more tranquilisers and anti-depressants.
  • Anti-social behaviours, such as losing their temper more often,
  • Making fun of others – perhaps because they struggle to keep their own emotions in check.

    4. Extraverts are more likely to ink themselves with tattoos

    • Wallow more in hot tubs
    • Spent more time planning parties
    • Drinking in bars
    • Discussing ways to make money
    • Talking on the phone while driving

    5. Open-mindedness went together with some obvious behaviors like:

    Open-minded by Peggy

  • Going to the opera
  • Smoking marijuana
  • Producing art
  • Swearing around others,
  • Lounging around the house with no clothes on. (To be precise, the highest scorers said they were about twice as likely to have sat around in the nude for more than 15 times in the past year, compared to the lowest scorers.)
  • Less likely to follow a sports team.

The serious side to this field of research is learning more about the harmful and unhealthy everyday behaviors linked to the different personality traits which then could contribute to better, more targeted health campaigns and interventions. 

*”The researchers, Benjamin Chapman at the University of Rochester and Lewis Goldberg at the Oregon Research Institute, profiled nearly 800 people in Oregon, USA, most of whom were white, and their average age was 51. The personality test asked participants to rate how accurately 100 different trait adjectives described their personalities, including words such as bashful, kind, neat, relaxed, moody, bright and artistic. The researchers then compared these personality test scores with the same participants’ answers, recorded four years later, to how often they had performed 400 different activities over the last year, from reading a book to singing in the shower.”

Here’s the entire article: Everyday Habits that Reveal our Personalities 

This post was originally published on MaxYourMind (peggy arndt.com). Click here to see other posts like it. 

How to Sleep Better: 6 cool cat tips & 4 human techniques

Did you know sleep isn’t for your body?  Sleep is for your brain.  When completely deprived of sleep, for only a few days, research shows that at best our immune system is depressed, we have trouble concentrating or processing information and at worst become paranoid and schizophrenic.

sleep-small

Maui, my cat, was a superb sleeper. No matter where I went in the house I found him stretched out. Whatever magically found its way to the floor (I certainly never put it there) I’d find him asleep on it – pillows, magazines, empty boxes, dirty clothes . . . new clothes. A particular comfy spot was in the middle of a pathway at the top or bottom of the stairs.

As far as I could tell Maui was never sleep deprived, paranoid or schizophrenic.

sleepfoot

Superbly Sleeping

Maui’s Tips for a Good Nights Sleep . . . for humans only

  1. Exercise every day but never just before bedtime. (Chasing things like children and dreams doesn’t count)
  2. Stay away from alcohol, cigarettes and caffeine (catnip is fine).
  3. Have a relaxing bedtime routine (stretch, turn in circles and always clean your paws and teeth).
  4. Keep the room temperature cool.  It helps us hibernate.
  5. Limit catnapping during the day to 10 minutes, 20 minutes max.  Any longer and your brain goes into deep sleep (and you’ll be a ornery cat when you wake up)
  6. Keep your bedtime consistent. 
  7. Don’t sleep all day and be up all night – it messes with your circadian rhythm.

Peggy’s Tips on Sleeping Well

  • Mind won’t shut off? Do a brain dump 30 minutes before bed. Write down your worries, things to do, random thoughts until your brain is empty. (takes about 3 days for this to work, but it works!)

  • Talk to your brain.  Assure your brain it can solve any problem or cope with difficulties much better when you are rested.  Your unconscious mind is always working and give you solutions while you sleep.

  • Get bright sunlight in the morning when you first wake up.  Go outside if you can.  Even if it is cloudy you get 3000 lumens vs 200 inside. (That’s a lot of lumens!)

  • Turn off cell phones, computers – anything that emits blue light.  It keeps the brain awake. 

Here’s a bonus tip to help you sleep well!!

Buy Guatemalan Worry Cats from the Greater Good Site  Charity Site

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Handmade Guatemalan Worry Cats

 http://GreaterGood.com

Tell them your troubles and they’ll worry for you while you sleep!

Sleep even better knowing you’ve contributed to worthy causes.

This post first appeared on Max Your Mind. Click here to see more like it. 

Sneak Peak into my painted pears & favorite foods

After painting ice cream sundaes, cupcakes, doughnuts and pecan pie I did a “chaser” of fruit.  It wasn’t as fun as the desert but a lot easier than dripping ice cream or frosting. (jw)

Acrylic

Fruit Chaser

Appetizer

Main Course

How Many Symptoms of Happiness Do You Have?

I was embarrassed!

Patients who had just been released from the hospital’s psychiatric unit caught me red-handed.   I was leading a group therapy session about how important it is to focus on the positive – what they wanted instead of what they did not want. I went on and on explaining that when we think negatively the neo-cortex part of our brains triggers neuro-chemical emotions which correspond to those thoughts.

Not happy

I smoothly segwayed into explaining the many symptoms of depression. The patients had been listening, and stopped me by not so diplomatically pointing out I was focusing on the negative. Lesson learned!  MY lesson learned.

The group decided that instead of learning symptoms of depression, they would create a list of  symptoms of happiness.  Here’s their list:

Symptoms of Happiness

  1. Feeling good (or at least “decent”) most of the day, for two weeks or more.
  2. Eating an appropriate amount of food with good appetite.
  3. Sleeping well and awakening refreshed.
  4. Taking pleasure in most everyday activities and enjoying fun activities.
  5. Having a good energy level most of the day, every day, for two weeks or more.
  6. Having thoughts of fun or good times to come.
  7. Being able to concentrate on the activity on hand.
  8. Thinking that one’s life matters.
  9. Able to exercise three times a week for half an hour, or more.
  10. Socialize in person or on the phone with 5 to 7 people each week. (FaceTime and zoom count too)
  11. Laugh or at least smile every day.

    tailupsmall

    Happy is as Happy Thinks

Tell us what your happiness “symptoms” are.

PA

Are you one of the 30% who is sensitive to negative ions?

Am I lucky, or what!  Not only do I live in a house with running water, I live close to the  ocean (Pacific to be exact).  There’s evidence that some people are especially sensitive to the effects of water and even feel their mood lifted by fresh, humid air.

Roughly one-third of the population seems to be particularly sensitive to negative-ion depletion . . .  can lead to feeling “down” at best and depressed at worst.

I am one of the 30%.  Even a humid breeze lifts my spirits.  I remember getting off a plane in Hawaii, breathing in the fresh, humid breeze and instantly feeling my mood elevate.  Perhaps it’s not only the incredible beauty of islands that attracts but the humidity that lifts the spirits?

“Columbia University studies of people with winter and chronic depression show that negative ion generators relieve depression as much as antidepressants.”

scan-11

The atmosphere we breathe, normally is full of positive and negative ions. However, air conditioning, lack of ventilation, and long dry spells remove negative ions from the air.  The proportion of negative ions is highest around moving water – storms, oceans, rivers, waterfalls.  No wonder I feel so energized at the beach.

The best ratios of negative to positive ions are associated with waterfalls and the time before, during, and after storms. The worst are found in windowless rooms and closed, moving vehicles. Air purifiers typically work by emitting negative ions, which purify room air by attaching to impurities and sinking them.

Marian Diamond, professor of neuroanatomy, University of California, Berkeley, found that levels of negative ions are inversely related to levels of serotonin in the brain. Negative ions suppress serotonin levels in much the same way that natural sunlight suppresses melatonin.

Deplete the air of negative ions and you experience an increase in serotonin and its attendant drowsiness and relaxation—not what you want when mental agility is demanded.

Feeling a bit down right now?  Go take a shower . . . or move to Hawaii . . .

(PeggyA)

Source: Robert E. Thayer,  Biopsychology of Mood and Arousal

Read Falling Water Raising  Spirits for more ion information.

This post was originally on Max Your Mind.  For more from Max Your Mind, click here.

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