How to reduce fear & anxiety in 30 seconds

Affect labeling—the act of naming one’s emotional state—helps blunt the immediate impact of negative feelings and begin the process of reducing stress.

Ina small study* of 30 subjects, researchers conducted a series of brain-imaging experiments in which participants were shown frightening faces and asked to choose a word that described the emotion on display. Labeling the fear-inducing object appeared to:

  • Reduce activity in the amygdala, the part of the brain in which the fight or flight reflex originates.
  • Increased activity in the right ventrolateral prefrontal cortex, which is associated with vigilance and symbolic processing.
  • The brain’s perception of the images shifted from objects of fear to subjects of scrutiny.
  • Experientially, the fact that there is a name for what you’re going through means that other people have experienced it as well, which makes an overwhelming emotion feel less isolating.

How to “Affect label” 

30 seconds . . . as long as you don’t count the 15 minutes of moving.

*The University of California, Los Angeles. Study led by psychology professor Matthew Lieberman,

https://qz.com/989060/reduce-stress-and-anxiety-with-a-pen-and-this-simple-neuroscience-backed-trick/

Decrease your Anxiety & Stress Increasing Immunity

Diaphragmatic breathing is the best known and one of the most powerful breath exercises to reduce the stress response, get oxygen flowing to your brain and in your body.

If you’re constantly and chronically stressed out, sleep-deprived, malnourished, or dehydrated over time your immune function will weaken.

Longer, deeper breaths into your abdomen, slows your heart rate and activates the calming, parasympathetic nervous system. 

Inhale . . . . . . . . . . . Exhale. . . . . . .  by Judy

The most basic type of diaphragmatic breathing is done by inhaling through your nose and breathing out through your mouth.  However, exhaling through your nose allows you to do this in public places.

Here’s how:

  • Sit in a comfortable position or lie flat on the floor, your bed, or another comfortable, flat surface.

  • Relax your shoulders.

  • To feel your diaphragm move as you breathe place one hand on your upper chest and the other just below your ribs on your stomach.

  • Take a slow, full breath in through your nose for about two seconds. Experience the air moving through your nostrils into your abdomen, making your stomach expand. During this type of breathing, make sure your stomach is moving outward while your chest remains relatively still.

(your hand below your ribs moves in and out with each breath).

  • Press gently on your stomach, and exhale slowly for about two seconds through your nose (or mouth) and tighten your diaphragm

(just like squeezing a lemon to get all the juice out)

  • The hand on your upper chest should remain as still as possible throughout.

Repeat these steps several times for best results.

It may take you a bit of effort at first to do this cuz it ain’t the usual way you breathe.

With continued practice, diaphragmatic breathing becomes easier, Easier, EASIER.

After you get the hang of it, you can practice diaphragmatic breathing  . . . without using your hand.  

 

 

 

ME, a Stress Case? . . . This Anxiety Reduction Technique is for YOU too

Judy’s Self Reflection

I’m not a worrier by nature but during the past weeks and all the uncertainty about Covid-19 spreading throughout the world plus the fact that I have underlying medical conditions (I’m not mentioning my age!)I have had trouble falling asleep.

Tossing and turning, it took me 2 hours to realize my entire body was tense.

I relaxed my muscles. They tensed up againI relaxed again.  Muscles from head to toe tensed up again and again as if I were a trained athlete who had practiced so many times my muscle memory was so strong practice was no longer needed.

Flashing before my eyes was every therapy session I’ve ever had with anyone who had anxiety, PTSD, was a caretaker, had a sick loved one, experienced loss of any kind, anticipated loss, was in pain or had a medical condition. . . .

I had explained the relaxation response so many times that I automatically recognized the stress response in others (others being the operant word).

I know that our brains automatically perceive danger in any emotional, physical or imagined threat and sends signals to our bodies to ready us to flee or fight off our enemy.  Muscle tension is needed for running like hell or slugging it out – now’s not the time to relax if you want to live.

The opposite of DANGER is SAFETY

I’ve taught one of the very best, easiest mind-body techniques that calms the brain hundreds, maybe thousands, of times.  It absolutely works and only took me an hour of tossing and turning to remember to use it myself.

Best of all it requires no Rx, no money, no time and you take it with you where ever you go.

Safe Signal Breath:

1. Take a deep breath through your nose.
2. Hold the breathfor just a moment
3. As you release the breath, through your nose, very gently, silently say: “Thank you brain, I’m safe.”(Be kind to your brain.  It’s just trying to keep you from being eaten alive.)

Sound too simple!?

Our brains are relatively simple in that brains can not tell the difference between when we are actually in danger (anxiety is our brain’s way of keeping us on alert for danger so we can survive) or when we imagine danger through thoughts or other cues.

Imagine a snake, a spider, anything that you are afraid of. Your brain will signal “danger! danger!” and flood your cells with the neurochemistry of fear.  Watch a sad movie and your brain will flood you with the neurochemistry of sadness and, if you are like me, sob like a baby.
So, tell your brain you are safe and it will stop the neurochemistry of fear and anxiety. 

It’s not instant cup’o’soup because once you are flooded with the anxious feeling it will take about 20 minutesor so for the neurochemistry to metabolize out of your body’s cells.  No matter how you FEEL keep giving your brain the “I’m Safe” cue.

Here’s the Key for Continual or Chronic Threats

Yoga, meditation, mindfulness prayer, listening to relaxation recordings all help. However, to break into a CHRONIC cycle you need to chronically signal your brain to stop sending the neurochemistry of the stress response to your body. Let your brain know that no one is throwing grenades at you, animals are not trying to eat you alive, you are SAFE.

Continually “Sprinkle” the Breath/I’m safe cue throughout the day and evening. It’s a good idea to get a cue(s) to remind yourself to do this. A post-it-note on the bathroom mirror, every time your phone rings, a note in your appointment book etc.

You HAVE to breathe anyway so you’ve got nothing to lose — except your stress response!

My Self Realization

I figured out that I had a legitimate reason to be anxious while virus swirl around the world looking for bodies to inhabit.

Control your stress & anxiety – Comfort Eating Actually Comforts

When I am a little stressed I want to eat – usually carbs – but if I am very stressed I lose my appetite. Peggy

I never lose my appetite because I’m an emotional eater – eat when I’m stressed, happy, bored . . .  From now on I’m calling it  “Comfort Eating” – it sounds less . . . emotional . . .  and  is a new area of research. Judy

For the second year in a row, just over a third of American adults reported eating “too much” or “unhealthy” food because of stress, according to an APA survey. Approximately 40 percent of people increase their eating when they’re stressed, 40 percent decrease their eating, and 20 percent stay the same. 

Dr. Janet Tomiyama has been trying to figure out if eating because of stress works for us.  Here is a summary of her findings:

  • Rats were given access to comfort food — usually Crisco mixed with sugar! 
  • Researchers then stressed them out
  • Over time, the comfort food actually dampened their stress hormones
  • Dampened down their brain’s responsivity to stress
  • Dampened down the signaling between the brain and the rest of the body, so they didn’t secrete as many stress hormones.

    CRISCO & sugar! At least they could have the decency to give us the cake under the frosting  . . .

We tend to be critical of people who eat because of stress BUT  “Not just psychologically, but also biologically — people who do a lot of comfort eating tend to show a reduced level of stress hormones and stress.”

What’s happening, according to Tomiyama:

  • “When you do anything that’s rewarding to you the reward parts of your brain light up — those parts of the brain can dampen down areas of your brain that are freaking out with negative emotion. And that’s why comfort foods tend to be foods that are high in sugar and fat. They’re really rewarding; they really do light up the reward centers of our brains.”
  • There’s also some work showing that when you do comfort eating, it builds up fat in your belly region and that fat pad sends a signal to your brain to decrease the amount of stress hormones that you’re producing. 
  • Then there’s conditioning. If throughout your whole life, you’ve paired stress relief with comfort foods over and over again, then soon enough, your body is going to automatically respond to eating these comfort foods with relaxation.

Many people have had the experience of being given comfort food to cheer us up as kids. Part of the comfort t then came from bing cared for but that became associated with the food, which now gives us comfort on its own.

“in addition to rodents, we also see comfort eating working in some non-human primate species as well. So my main take home from this is self-compassion: You’re not doing the comfort eating because you’re some sort of weak-willed human being; you’re biologically driven to do this. ” says Tomiyama.

What Tomiyama is trying to do now, is to see if healthy foods can also be comforting. Even in rat studies only unhealthy foods were used. Therein some data from surveys that say there are people who do use healthy foods for stress.

 “Nobody stress-eats strawberries, do they?”

Actually, strawberries might work she reports. Anything  sweet can dampen stress.

We’ll eat to that!

A. Janet Tomiyama, an associate professor of psychology and director of the Dieting, Stress, and Health Lab at UCLA

https://www.vox.com/the-goods/2018/11/9/18072318/does-stress-eating-work-psychology

Control your Stress & Anxiety: 6 Ways to Meditate for People Who Can’t “Meditate”

Yay. Sure. 100%.  When I meditate it’s 50%-50% at best.  My monkey mind swings from trees with great abandon, my thoughts rambling, rumbling and wildly roaming.

So!  Why meditate?

Meditation has been rigorously scientifically studied and it’s shown to literally change the brain.  A regular meditation practice helps significantly with depression and anxiety, meditation has been shown to help with anti-aging, fighting infections, contributing to a sense of control and combating feelings of loneliness.

Nearly anything can be turned into a meditative practice as long as you focus on leaving your “head” and experience the world through your senses.(Sorry – Television, video games and reading don’t count as meditation because they simply replace our own thoughts with more stimulating ones.)

When the stress, thinking of “doing nothing” for 20 minutes, negates  benefits here’s 6 alternative forms of meditation:

(I’ve tried five of them- and they work.  You can guess which one I’ve ignored)

1.  Take a Musical Bath

Like a warm bath, sink into the melodies, soak in the harmonies, bath your body in the rhythms and Immerse yourself in sound.  It is a powerful and enjoyable form of meditation.
Get an album you’ve wanted to listen to for some time and listen to it… reallylisten, with no interruptions.

2. Dance When NO ONE Watches

Dancing is the natural progression from listening to music.  Many of us have had the horrible feeling of dancing while being stuck in self-conscious over thinking and paranoid about how we look.

Meditative dance is ignoring everything that is going on outside our own body and becoming one with the music.  Flay your arms, sway your hips, roll your eyes –  Let go of protecting your self image, have fun and even be silly. 

3. Draw with your eyes

Drawing is less about talent and more about learning to see.  Thinking actually can get in the way so that’s why this exercise is meditative.

(Don’t worry about what it’s going to look like, it’s the meditative process that counts not the Museum of Modern Art.)

By drawing without looking you use your sight perception to get out of your head- what you THINK it should look like – and be in the moment.

  1. Choose what to draw — a cup, your foot, a chair, it doesn’t matter.
  2. Set a timer for 10 or 20 minutes.
  3. Arrange yourself so you can see the object you will be drawing without seeing the paper.  Put your pencil through a paper plate so you can’t see your paper.
  4. Focus your eyes on some part of the object and coordinate your eye moving around the outline (contours) of the object with moving your pencil to record what your eyes observe.
  5. Without looking at your hand, your paper or your pencil focus only on the shape of an object.

    Do not look down at the paper as you SLOWLY move the pencil,  concentrating on the lines, and contours of the object as you let your pencil “flow” in time with your eyes.

  6. Continue observing and recording until the timer rings

Just like any meditation practice, this exercise can be difficult at first but will become easier as you learn to shift your thinking from an analytical, labeling mode to one that is more intuitive, MEDITATIVE.

4. Yoga

Not only is yoga incredible for flexibility, balance and strength, it’s also one of the oldest forms of meditation. You combining various movements with coordinated breathing to help focus on your inner body.

Watch yoga videos on YouYube, there’s hundreds to choose from – and practice them a few times a week.

Don’t get caught up with all the bells and whistles, yoga is about feeling connected to the earth and your inner body.  (The last time I checked your feet were already touching ground.)

5. Meditative Munching

Take advantage of one of the necessities of life – food – and the fact you do it every day . . . several times a day.  

Remember, the power of meditation comes with practicing full focus.  When your mind strays return to taste, texture, temperature.   Eating in front of the TV, in the car or standing over the sink only encourages the monkeys to leap around.

Eat slowly, savor each bite – focus on the textures, flavors, aromas and the temperature. (And while you’re chewing, feel grateful for each bite of nourishment.)

6. Restore with Chores

(We’ve gone from what I consider the most enjoyable – eating – to the least)

Chores can be meditative WHEN you focus solely on what your are doing.  Your monkey mind will try and take over to keep you entertained and stimulated.

Just as in all meditative practices keep refocusing your monkey mind on the task at hand: Washing dishes – focus on the temperature of water, seeing the pot become cleaner and cleaner;  Mowing the lawn – examine the cutting patterns, inhale the aroma of cut grass; Making the bed – notice the feel, color, wrinkles of sheets, the tension of folds, your hand motion . . .

(Personally, I’d rather monkey around.)

jw

https://www.lifehack.org/articles/lifestyle/6-alternative-forms-meditation-for-people-who-hate-doing-nothing.html

Ways to Cope in Uncertain Times

There is unprecedented anxiety in the entire world due to the pandemic.  Fear and anxiety is a normal response to unknown threats to our survival and well-being.  The problem for all of us is prolonged and chronic anxiety which elevates the stress response and lowers our immune response.

We have searched all our posts which address stress and anxiety to give you some tools to incorporate into your daily life and better cope with uncertainty.

Stressed out….

Click here for  FREE PDF of

The Incredibly Creative Stress Kit

to CALM, COOL & COLLECTED!

Have a look at these past posts: 

How to Reduce Fear and Anxiety in 30 Seconds

Meditation Changes Your Brain for the Better

Coping with family tension 

Six ways to meditate for those who can’t meditate

Comfort Eating Actually Comforts

Stressed? How to Activate Your Own Placebo

And from Curious to the Max:

ME a Stress Case? . . . I Don’t Think So. . . This Anxiety Reduction Technique is for YOU

Write On! How to Empty your brain to reduce stress

Click here for “Frankly Freddie: How to Social Distance and be Social” on Curious to the Max

Control Your Anxiety & Stress – Easy, Fast, Effective & Square

 To better control your anxiety and stress every single one of you has all the equipment you need:

A pair of lungs and a nose.

Slow, deep breathing hacks your brain’s chemistry, resets the autonomic nervous system and activates the parasympathetic nervous system that calms and relaxes the body reduces anxiety and stress.

Square Breathing

Inhale and exhale through your nose*

  • Inhale deeply for a count of four

  • Exhale for a count of four

  • Repeat 4 times

(Can’t get easier than this IF you know how to breathe and count to 4) 

It’s best, during really stressful times, to so this breathing exercise throughout the day and evening.  You can do it anytime and anywhere . . . even lying down or upside down.

*Nasal breathing is better than mouth breathing: Your lungs extract oxygen from the air and the absorption of oxygen happens mostly on exhalation. Exhaling through the nose (because it’s smaller than your mouth) creates greater air pressure and therefore a slower exhalation.  Your lungs get extra time to extract a greater amount of oxygen.

Curious Coloring for Calming Down

Coloring books aren’t just for kids anymore.  Adults have discovered coloring provides a brief focus, away from the world within and the world around us. It’s a form of meditation:  Concentrated visual focus on color, patterns and repetitive motion are hallmarks of the meditative process.

We’ve picked out some Curious Critters that lend themselves for for quick & easy coloring. Embellish them, add patterns, squiggles and make them your own.

Click on the download at the bottom

Get out your crayons or colored pencils 

CREATE your own meditation.

(Don’t want to meditate?   Color with a child!)

 

Click here for your free coloring PDF

 

Scroll down for more posts in this series.

 

Frankly Freddie – Social Distancing Naturally in Nature

Dear Freddie Fans,

Because I’m not allowed to go anywhere without a leash I KNOW how to cope.  This week I will share what you humans can do.  Since I’m Editor-in-Canine-Chief for several blogs I have a trove of posts to share with you.  Here’s today’s bit of my wisdom. 

Get out of the house. Just remember to keep 6 feet of distance from other people,  Find an area where you won’t encounter crowds.

  • Garden!
  • Pot a plant
  • Repot house plants.
  • Weed, mulch, rake & mow
  • Start birdwatching. Coronavirus hasn’t bothered birds. Download a birdwatching map. Sit in your backyard or near a window.
  • Take a brisk walk  You can still exercise – It helps your immune system be strong.*
  • Go on a stroll.  Sniff around and clear your mind.
  • Sit outside & breathe fresh air. Notice things about the world around you that you didn’t see before.
  • Bike ride.
  • Meditate, journal, draw in your yard or patio.

Resting after munching the lawn, bird watching, walking and sniffing.

*Exercise which increases immunity and reduces the stress response . . . even if it’s marching in place for 5 minutes without a leash.

Take a 10 minute walk outside – 5 minutes out and 5 minutes back.  The colors of nature are also calming to the brain.

 

Frankly Freddie – How to be a Good Sport While Social Distancing

Sports fans are going bonkers since all the games are canceled or have no spectators.  Don’t go bonkers it’s not becoming, unless you are in a parking lot, eating hot dogs and drinking beer from the back of your pick-up truck.  Do these things instead:

  • Become an expert. Read up on your sport so that when your team starts playing again, you’ll have even greater insight into the game.
  • Show your team some love. Tweet them a positive message or send them a photo of you wearing team gear in solidarity.
  • Even better, support a charity that your favorite player loves. 
  • PLAY FETCH

  • Practice painting your face in the colors of your favorite team.  Keep your “art work” above the neck. Bare chests make you look like an “animal”.
  • Revisit an old game. You know the one – The game that made you fall in love with the sport.  If you have a subscription to a sport-specific streaming service, check if they have your favorite game. YouTube has clips of  large collection of games.
  • Play Keep-Away or Dodge Ball.  No yard?  Use balloons
  • Watch sports documentaries about games of the past and present.
  • Donate all your clothes that aren’t in the colors of your favorite team.
  • Pretend you’re an athlete and do calisthentics. (If you don’t know what calisthenitics are do jumping jacks).
  • PLAY FETCH
  • Go Bonkers!

 

Frankly Freddie – Social Distancing for the Cultured

Dear Freddie Fans,

Because I’m not allowed to go anywhere without a leash I KNOW how to cope.  This week I will share what you humans can do.  Since I’m Editor-in-Canine-Chief for several blogs I have a trove of posts to share with you.  

CULTURED: characterized by refined taste and manners and good education.
cultivatedartisticenlightenedcivilized, educated, well readwell informed, discerning, discriminating

sophisticatedurbaneintellectual, scholarly, erudite

If you are lacking in any of these here’s what you can do:

  • Download e-books and audiobooks and READ.
  • Create a virtual book club and video call each other to discuss.
  • Take a virtual museum tour. Many museums offer audio tours on your smart phone. The Smithsonian Museum of Natural History and the Guggenheim Museum are two that host online tours.
  • Explore overseas? Google Arts & Culture has a collection of virtual walk-throughs for dozens of international museums, from Paris to New Delhi.
  • Become a film critic.  Write a  review of the latest. Catch up recent Oscar winners and snubbed gems and share your thoughts on Facebook or Twitter. To exchange recommendations with your fellow cinephiles, join a site like Letterboxd, a social networking service for film geeks.
  • Learn a language — or just the basics. Learning a few phrases in another tongue will make you feel smart. 
  • Bolster your vocabulary. Remember when reading the dictionary was a form of punishment? No longer. Flip through a thesaurus or take online quizzes to test your vocabulary.

What “cultured” will look like after you do what I’ve told you.

https://www.cnn.com/2020/03/14/us/what-to-do-this-weekend-coronavirus-trnd/index.html

Frankly Freddie, How to Social Distance and Be Social

Dear Freddie Fans,

Because I’m not allowed to go anywhere without a leash I KNOW how to cope.  This week I will share what you humans can do.  Since I’m Editor-in-Canine-Chief for several blogs I have a trove of posts to share with you.  Each day I’ll share a bit of my wisdom. 

Here’s my first recommendations for HUMANS

Ya Gotta Take Care of your Mental Health.  

  • Connect with family, friends.  If you can’t get a scratch behind their ears you will have to settle for the phone, internet or writing a note or letter.
  • Meditate, pray.
  • Take a nap.  One of my favorites.
  • Video chat.
  • Share funny messages on social media. Do NOT share conspiracy theories – leave theories to bonifide scientists.
  • Take a warm bath.
  • Take another bath.
  • Go outside, get some fresh air and sunshine .

Keep your paws busy:

  • Tackle a puzzle.
  • Make art. Download my human’s free coloring pages.Click here for the PDF
  • Humans like to knit, sew, paint
  • Do all the stuff I’ve watched humans put off – taxes, clean closets.
  • Play board games. Chess and checkers seem to be fun for humans . . . go figure
  • Fix something around the house.  
  • Rearrange the furniture.
  • Give yourself a manicure.
  • Pet your pet.
  • Brush your pet.
  • Feed your pet.
  • Give your pet treats

Tell me what you do to keep your paws busy!

See ya tomorrow.

click here for: “How to Cope in Uncertain Times” on Max your Mind 

Frankly Freddie – The Untold Story of Little Red Riding Hood

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

  • Wolves do not eat people whole like boa constrictors. (They have better manners and teeth.)
  • Wolves never eat little girls because they prefer meat well-done and chewy.  (Grandma’s might qualify.)
  • If they did eat little girls they would never eat one wearing a red cape.  (They are environmentalists and prefer green.)
  • And lastly . . . Wolves NEVER dine alone. (They live in packs and have communal dining halls.)

Warning!  Do NOT read the original.  It’s filled with violence and death.

The REAL Story of Little Red Riding Hood

by Freddie Parker Westerfield, published author

Once upon a time in a land far away lived a little orphan wolf. How he became an orphan is not known, the records being lost long ago in the archives of the forest.  All the tales simply begin: Once upon a time, in a land far away lived a little orphan wolf.

Never having been around others of his own kind he didn’t know what big teeth he had. He didn’t know what big eyes he had. He didn’t know what a long tail he had. He didn’t know how hairy he was. He didn’t know how scary he was. All he knew was that he was alone in a big, big forest filled with creatures that ran away as soon as he approached.

Day by day, so the birds wouldn’t fly away, he sat far, far below the tree tops listening to them sing to each other from high above.

He watched from far, far away the forest creatures playing so they wouldn’t leap out of his sight.

He snuck peaks at all the critters sharing their meals from behind a bush so they wouldn’t know he was there.

Every morn he dined out for breakfast, alone. Every eve he dined out for super, alone. Every night he settled down to sleep, alone.

One day the little orphan wolf decided to set out from his forest home to find someone, somewhere, to be his friend.

Along the way he came upon a little girl. She had a little curl and wore a red cape and hood. Why she wore a red cape and hood is not known, the records being lost long ago in the archives of the forest.

Because she was so young she didn’t know how scary the orphan wolf was and asked.

“Where are you going Mr. Wolf”?

“I’m off to find a friend so that I am not alone. I’m off to find a friend to dine with. I am looking for a friend to play with and most of all I want a friend to talk with. I am very lonely.”

The little girl, feeling sorry for the little orphan wolf, said, “Do come with me to Grandma’s house. She makes delicious muffins from berries I pick in the forest. She sits at the table and listens to me talk. Grandma loves all of God’s creatures. Although she can’t be your grandma, perhaps she can be your friend”

“I don’t know what a Grandma is,” replied the little orphan wolf, “but she sounds exactly like the friend I’m looking for.”

And so the little orphan wolf set off with the little girl with a curl, wearing a red cape and hood to Grandma’s house.

They passed by a giant berry bush.“Stop here to pick berries for the delicious muffins Grandma makes.” They picked bushels of berries and carried them in the little girls red cape and hood.

They passed by a field of flowers.“Stop here to pick flowers for Grandma to put on the table where we sit and she listens to me talk.”They picked bouquets of flowers and carried them in the little girls red cape and hood.

They passed a bubbling brook where cool waters ran.Stop here for a drink to refresh ourselves after all our work picking berries and flowers.” They drank from the bubbling brook and rested on the little girl’s red cape and hood so as not to get dirty.

As they passed over the crest of a hill the little girl cried, “There’s Grandma’s house. Let’s see if she will be your friend.”

Grandma greeted the little girl, the little orphan wolf peeking out from behind not sure what a grandma was, with a big smile, the biggest smile the little orphan wolf had ever seen.

The little girl announced, “Grandma, I’ve brought you berries so you can make delicious muffins. I’ve brought you flowers to put on the table where we sit and you listen to me talk. I’ve brought you a little orphan wolf who is lonely and looking for a friend”

Now, the little orphan wolf’s eyes grew big, having never seen a Grandma before. Not knowing what to do he opened his big mouth, showed his big teeth and wagged his bushy tail.

“My! What big teeth you have”, gasped grandma. The better to protect you with”replied the wolf.

“My! What big eyes you have”marveled Grandma. “The better to lovingly look up at you with”, replied the wolf.

My! What a bushy tail you have”, exclaimed Grandma. “The better to wag with happiness,” replied the wolf.

“My! How hairy you are”, said Grandma. “The Better to cuddle and keep you warm,said the wolf.

“My oh my”, Grandma sighed. “You may stay with me. I’ll feed you delicious muffin treats, and you can sit and listen to me while I talk”.

“And because you are one of God’s creatures I will call you D-o-g.”

Where upon he looked up at Grandma with big eyes, opened his big wolf mouth, showed his big wolf teeth, wagged his bushy wolf tail, stuck out his wet wolf tongue and gave Grandma an appreciative lick.

He had found his friend.

The End

Freddie Parker Westerfield, Published Author

PLEASE share this with everyone you know

to help clear the wolf’s reputation.

Soon to be a children’s book! Watch this blog for the premier international publication date! You may be able to get an advanced FREE PDF if you’d give a review. And/or treats. Treats preferred.

LLLL,  Freddie

Drawing friends and pets for my granddaughter

The last post I shared (click here) was my some of my earliest memories I drew for my grand daughter Lucy.  They didn’t hold her interest as she was 5 years old.   Perhaps when she’s 50 she’ll value them enough to share with her children.

The more I drew the more my own memory was jogged and these were of my childhood best friend and pets.

.

I made friends with Kay in grade school. For a while, she needed to wear a patch over one eye. I think it was to make her other eye stronger- and it worked. After awhile she no longer had to wear the patch.

My dogs Tipper and Topper loved ice cream and would look at me with puppy dog eyes when I had some. They always got a taste.

My first horse was Misty. She had a foal and I guessed which night she would give birth. Kay and I spent the night at the pasture. It was good we were there, because the foal got caught in a loop of batted wire and I had to untangle him. That night I will always remember.

I named the foal Copper Tint for the color of his spots. I’d bring him along when I went riding.

PA

See Drawing Stories for my Granddaughter

Drawing stories for my granddaughter

When my granddaughter, Lucy was born, Judy gave me a “Grandmother-book” to write about events in my life as a keep-sake for my granddaughter.  I thought it was a good idea, but writing has never been my first choice of expression.  So I decided to draw stories & vignettes of my life for Lucy.

Some of my earliest memories:

I lived in Chicago until I was almost 5, so I got to play in the snow.

I had my tonsils out, and “had” to go on an ice cream diet.  Back then the flavors were limited.  choc chip now ( or Vanilla Swiss Almond from Haagen-Dax’s

We moved from Chicago, Illinois to Phoenix, Arizona when I was 5, so now I played in the sprinklers instead of snow.

I loved horses and drew them all the time. I got a real horse, Misty,  when I was 10.

see Drawing Friends and Pets for my Granddaughter

PA

New Year’s Happiness Hacks

We’ve been posting Happiness Hacks from our coming book Hacking Your Way to Happiness and put 12 of the 22 hacks into a 2020 calendar.  Rick (Judy’s out-of-the-box-thinking brother) sent her what he thought was possible hack cure for fibromyalgia.  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. 

The 2020 Calendar is in our Zazzle shop. Click here

Note this calendar is small, 5.5″ x 7″

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.

*     *     *

“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.”

“From our modern point of view, 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.”

Cheers To Responsible Drinking This Holiday Season From all the Curious Critters

DRINK ON A FULL STOMACH (that doesn’t mean balancing a beer on your belly)

Make sure to have solid food in your system before having any alcohol. Experts recommend that you eat high-protein foods such as cheese and peanuts, which help to slow the absorption of alcohol into the circulatory system and burn it off.

KEEP HYDRATED (with water, not wine)

Dehydration can cause your blood volume to drop, allowing less blood and oxygen to flow to the brain and allowing the stress hormone cortisol to have a greater impact on your system, so make sure that you are getting adequate fluid. If you drink alcohol while dehydrated, it will have a seriously negative impact on your system. 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. As you slowly enjoy your beverage, the ice will melt and create more liquid as it reduces the strength of the alcohol. You can also use soda water or another non-alcoholic beverage as a chaser. Don’t be influenced or embarrassed into not chasing your drink. Your own health and safety are what’s important.

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 – it is a really bad idea to mix alcohol with drugs.

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 Zazzle discount coupon.  Make sure to check out the Zazzle specials.  Half of the profit we make will be donated to the charity, The Gentle Barn.

Click her for Recipie for Peanut Butter Cup Martini

The True Story – Why Santa Never Gets Caught

Doodlewash is a blog I follow – both for Charlie O’s great water-colors but even more for his stories inspired by his watercolored drawings.  Several years ago I was inspired by his childhood explanation of how Santa and his reindeer get around.  (Charlie claims he was a child but I suspect that is just a cover-up for what he knows is the truth . . . )

Pome by judy

No one catches Santa on the roof

or in the snow sees prints

of tiny reindeer hoof

for Santa’s no bigger than a fly

and reindeer all the size of ants

ferry him through the Christmas sky

I don’t think it silly at all

to imagine reindeer quite so small

and know 

how Santa slides down chimney flues

with nary much soot on his beard or shoes

So make your cookies the size of peas

and leave the milk in a thimble please

Limit the weight of gifts and such

to crush an ant

 it doesn’t take much

   *     *    *

To read Charlie O’s story click here:

How Do Reindeer Fly?

SPECIAL Tree of Life for the Holidays

It’s unusual to receive a card in snail mail nowadays.  Increasingly, social media, text and e-mail messages are the choice for everything from birthday greetings to wedding invitations. It was a nice surprise to receive a card from Sharon Bonin-Pratt (A “CURIOUS” Well Done Woman) and was struck by how lovely and whimsical the trees were.

I was even more surprised and delighted when I saw Sharon had hand drawn and painted it.  

Peggy, too, loved it and made it into a poster. With Sharon’s urging we are donating one third of all profits to The Gentle Barn, Animal Rescue charity.  (Judy)

Available on Zazzle, click here

“It is a tree of life to all who grasp it,

and whoever holds on to it is happy;

its ways are ways of pleasantness,

and all it paths are peace.

(Proverbs 3:17-18)

To get your own Sharon Bonin-Pratt Tree of Life poster click here to purchase it 

Web-site: Sharon Bonin-Pratt’s INK FLARE

Fur Fun: All God’s Creatures

If cats and pups can cozy up 

Why oh why can’t we

lie down with our “enemy”?

unnamed-7

“Do not exalt yourselves above others, but consider all as your equals, recognizing them as the servants of one God.” Bahai World Faith, Abdu’l-Baha

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“If we go to the fundamental level, we are the same human being. … Seven billion human beings are the same human being.”  Dalai Lama

 

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1 Corinthians 1:10 

“I appeal to you, brothers, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be united in the same mind and the same judgment.”

Thanks Dr. Carolyn M.!

CATegorical Purrrrrspective

Everything I know about men, I learned from my CAT.

by Peggy

Stroke them every day to show that you appreciate them.

Can’t think of anything “significant” to appreciate? . . . A cat doesn’t need to do anything to get your loving attention . . . that’s the “tooth”.

Calendar (small) from this series available on zazzle. Click here. 

Naturally Nude Smart Broads Society

No purple & red hats. Your commitment is to forgo 2 items promoted by the cosmetic industry. (ex. Wrinkle cream, contouring make-up, grey touch-up coloring, lip fillers, eyebrow tattoos . . .)

We will meet in the fall in Paris and in the spring in Italy to buy our couture wardrobe; in the summer on the East Coast and in the winter on the West Coast to practice being classy broads. 

Our inspiration for being a “Naturally Nude Smart Broad” is Christine Lagarde.

She’s a model of how to grow “older” gracefully and not pander to “beauty products”

(even when you can afford them).

Elegant,
Natural hair, nails, eye lashes, minimal makeup….French couture wardrobe

Here’s a bit about Christine Lagarde:

 A French lawyer and on 28 June 2011, she was named as the next managing director of the International Monetary Fund for a five-year term, (replacing Dominique Strauss-Kahn in the aftermath of his sexual assault legal case) managing emergencies as head of the trillion-dollar International Monetary Fund

On November 2019, she will take on a new crisis as president of the European Central Bank, trying to keep the world’s second largest economy stable as it is battered by trade wars, Brexit and historic uncertainty.

 Previously, she held various ministerial posts in the French government: she was Minister of Economic Affairs, Finances and Industry and before that Minister of Agriculture and Fishing and Minister of Trade in the government of Dominique de Villepin. Lagarde was the first woman ever to become minister of Economic Affairs of a G7 economy, and is the first woman to ever head the IMF.

A noted antitrust and labour lawyer, Lagarde made history as the first female chair of the international law firm Baker & McKenzie. On 16 November 2009, The Financial Times ranked her the best minister of finance of the Eurozone.  In 2009, Lagarde was ranked the 17th most powerful woman in the world by Forbes magazine.

Wikipedia  

Naturally Nude Smart Broads Society:  Pearls & champagne required, broaches are optional.

Are you with us?  (Peggy & judy)

See original post: Naturally Nude and She’s no slouch!

Ick or treat? – 7 facts about candy corn you didn’t know . . . or do you?

2.  It actually looks like corn

When candy corn first came out, roughly half of Americans worked on farms, and the treat was designed to look like chicken feed.
Stack it up, the candy looks exactly like an ear of corn.

3.  People love it or hate it

For an innocuous little treat, candy corn can spark strong opinions.  Like fruit cake some believe that
manufacturers just collect and resell the same candy kernels year after year, because nobody actually eats the stuff.
But the treat scored first or second for preferred Halloween munch in most states,
Are you a candy corn lover?

4.  It used to be made by hand in large kettles

Candy corn is not a modern invention.  It dates to the 1880s, before the automobile and the commercial telephone. The Goelitz Candy Co. began making it in 1900 before the family-run operation changed its name to the Jelly Belly Candy Co., which still produces candy corn today.
In the early days of the 20th century, workers cooked sugar, corn syrup, marshmallow and other ingredients into a slurry in large kettles and then poured the warm mixture by hand into cornstarch trays imprinted with the kernel shape.
Today it’s untouched by human hands – machines do almost all the work.

5.  There’s a proper way to eat it

Many people believe that candy corn should be nibbled in sequence.
While almost half of candy corn consumers gobble the whole piece at once, 43% start with the narrow white end, according to a survey by the National Confectioners Association.
Another 10%  begin eating the wider yellow end first.
Which end do you nibble first?

6.  It can be deep-fried

Of course it can. Amy Erickson has posted a recipe on her food blog, Oh Bite It!, that involves rolling three or four candy corn kernels in a ball of dough and then frying them in hot oil.
Does frying make EVERYTHING better?

7.  It’s a beer

If you don’t like eating candy corn, now you can just opt to drink it.
Wisconsin’s Westallion Brewing Company created Candy Corn Cream Ale, which was “brewed to smell and taste like candy corn with notes of vanilla and cream.”
Tempted?

click & Look at our no-candy-corn-collection!

Fur Fun: Eat, Pray, Love by Penelope

Penelope and I met many years ago.  I went for a carton of milk and there she was, an albino pig, in a grocery store.  She was in a dangerous situation – it was only time before she ended up on the meat aisle. (OIY VEY)  So for $9 I took her home with the milk.

I gave her a bit of color and a bow and she went to live in my therapy office.

Very few clients ever commented on her.  I always suspected new clients didn’t quite know what to say and my long-term clients knew me well enough that they didn’t need to say anything.
Penelope retired the same time as Freddie Parker but she still has a lot of good advice: 

How to Live Life to the Fullest

by Penelope the Pig, CPT*, RET

  • 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.

  • PIG OUT on LOVE

*CPT, Certified Porcine Therapist

(jw)

My Mom, the Balloonist

The Blue Max is why I took up boogie-boarding at age 50. Let me explain . . .

My mom Helen wanted a “flying belt” since she was a kid.  When she turned 50 she figured the closest she would get was hot air ballooning.  So when she and her husband Andy were offered a ride in a hot air balloon there was no hesitation.

They loved the experience and as soon as the balloon landed, Mom announced, “I want one”.   Her “flying belt” balloon was blue and white and she named it The Blue Max.
However, there’s more than just strapping on a flying belt to piloting a balloon.  Mom had to get a balloon piloting license which she couldn’t pass because her right arm was too weak to pull the rip cord. (She had had a mastectomy for cancer),  Andy became the pilot.
The family ballooning soon ballooned.  My sister Sally, her husband and their son all took up hot air ballooning, and became pilots.  Mom’s 2 great grandsons are now learning how to fly.  Sally named their first balloon (she is on her 3rd or 4th) after mom. She called it “Helen’s Fault”.

In the family tradition, to celebrate my 50th birthday I thought I should do something “equally” as adventurous . . . I took up boogie-boarding.

Mom is 98, no longer balloons, but knowing her when she hits 100 I have to wonder what she will take up then . . .  and if I will feel that I should follow suit . . . in some way.

Peggy

Halloween Pome

Orange pumpkins, black cats

skeletons, and scary bats

mummies that horrify

Witches flying through the sky

Thank goodness witches aren’t like birds

screeching and dropping turds

See our Halloween collection, with witches, black cats and Woofer at Zazzle. Click here. 

Last day to get FREE eBook about Maui, a reminder

We wanted to remind you that today is the last day to get your  FREE ebook:

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

free Kindle version,  click here.

If you’ve read any posts on MAXyourMIND you know the blog was inspired by and is dedicated to Peggy’s cat Maui who lived to show the brain CAN be rewired and healing IS possible.  

After losing the use of his back legs Maui didn’t need a physical therapist, a coach, or a professional of any kind. He had his own reasons to use his back legs again and he just kept at it. Peggy wrote and illustrated a children’s book for her grand daughter Lucy that tells Maui’s story. 

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

“It’s true, I loved this book and it’s real-life message. But my grandson adored it. The first time I read it to him, he was so very anxious about Maui, urging him on, hoping him better. Then he wanted it over and over. Easy to see why. Both the book and the message it contains are wonderful gifts for any young child.” Sheridan Bentson

Here’s a synopsis

“Maui’s Healing Tale”

Brain Plasticity – Even if you lose it, you can get it back –and a free Kindle book link

Research on the brain has shown the old adage “Use it or lose it” isn’t always accurate.

Brain plasticity is not just for cats*.

At the Taub Clinic* patients are restrained from using the parts of their body that work so they have to try to use the parts affected by stroke. The patients are given exercises and unrelentingly pushed to try doing them. The program is an intense 6 hours a day for 10 days. Eighty percent (80%!) of stroke victims improve, and not just the ones who have had a recent stroke.

Patients start out doing small things such as lifting cans or “washing” tables, writing the ABCs. Slowly, fine motor skills come back.

*I’ve witnessed first hand how with patience and perseverance the brain can be rewired, even the brain of a cat.

After losing the use of his back legs my cat Maui didn’t need a physical therapist, a coach, or a professional of any kind. He had his own reasons to use his back legs again and he just kept at it. 

Maui proved the brain is plastic. It took time but by incremental steps Maui rewired his brain and developed new new brain maps for his back legs. His story also inspired our blog about neuroscience and mind-body health on MAXyourMIND

Get your free e book copy, only good until September 23

Click here for “The Pulling,Climbing, Falling Down Tale of Maui and HIs Back Legs” ebook

        *     *      *

*University of Alabama at Burmingham

Constraint-Induced therapy (CI therapy, or CIT) is a family of rehabilitation therapies designed to help “rewire” the brain and thus regain some level of limb function in those who have had an injury or illness such as traumatic brain injury (TBI), stroke, brain tumor, or multiple sclerosis. Research pioneered at UAB over the last 25 years by Edward Taub, PhD, has shown that patients can “rewire” their brains and “learn” to improve the function of the more affected parts of their bodies rather than depending on the less-affected parts. These results have been found to be true for both movement of the affected arm or leg as well as the use of language, and the therapy typically produces excellent results. Brain imaging studies have confirmed Constraint-Induced therapy’s effect on the brain as a result of this therapy, indicating that there is “rewiring” of the brain taking place. Constraint-Induced therapy has been found to be effective no matter how long ago the injury or illness occurred so long as the treatment criteria are met.

 

 

 

Four days left to get the free Kindle book about Maui!

If you’ve read any posts on MAXyourMIND you know the blog was inspired by and is dedicated to Peggy’s cat Maui who lived to show the brain CAN be rewired and healing IS possible.  

After losing the use of his back legs Maui didn’t need a physical therapist, a coach, or a professional of any kind. He had his own reasons to use his back legs again and he just kept at it. Peggy wrote and illustrated a children’s book for her grand daughter Lucy that tells Maui’s story. 

Four days left (ends September 23) to get

The Pulling, Pushing, Climbing, Falling Down Tale of Maui and His Back Legs , free Kindle version,  click here.

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

“It’s true, I loved this book and it’s real-life message. But my grandson adored it. The first time I read it to him, he was so very anxious about Maui, urging him on, hoping him better. Then he wanted it over and over. Easy to see why. Both the book and the message it contains are wonderful gifts for any young child.” Sheridan Bentson

Here’s a synopsis

“Maui’s Healing Tale”

FREE Kindle Maui and His Back Legs book!

I’ve been delighted and gratified to have a great response from all around the world to my very first book:

“The Pulling, Climbing, Falling Down Tale of

Maui and His Back Legs”

“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, Martial Arts Instructor and Special Needs Inclusion Coordinator

“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, Sr Social Worker-Child/Student Welfare|Education|Development. State Coordinator, OISCA Telangana|AP States, Hyderabad, Telangana, India

I’ve signed up for a Kindle publishing opportunity – for me and for YOU –

for 5 days STARTING NOW you can get a FREE KINDLE copy

by clicking on the title below:

“The Pulling, Climbing, Falling Down Tale of

Maui and His Back Legs”

BUY THE PAPERBACK BOOK

“The Pulling, Climbing, Falling Down Tale of

Maui and His Back Legs”

CATegorical Purrrrrspective

Everything I know about men I learned from my cat.

Let them show you what good hunters they are.

Graciously accept their gifts, even if it is something you will dispose of later.

Calendar (small) from this series available on zazzle. Click here.

CATegorical Purrrrrspective

Everything I know about men, I learned from my cat.

Help them keep their tools sharp.

Keeping their “claws” sharp is important, so make sure there is something for them to “tackle”. Something you want “shredded”.

Calendar (small) from this series available on zazzle. Click here.

CATegorical Purrrrrspective

Everything I know about men, I learned from my CAT.

Happy cats need to have territory to mark as theirs . . . so . . . 

. . .  give a man space to claim as his own . . . he’ll be one cool cat.

Calendar (small) from this series available on zazzle, click here

 

 

Did You Know? – Luscious Lipped Bat Fish

Luscious Red lips,
lanquid eyes
this guy’s in disguise
 a femme fatale?
 a walking bat?
Can you imagine that
A fish that doesn’t swim
Ogcocephalus darwini

An identity crisis of the first degree
he needs a psychoanalyst
It’s not normal to be THAT carefree

This Red-Lipped Batfish (aka Ogcocephalus darwini) walks around the deep waters of the Galapagos Islands.  They are terrible swimmers since their fins have evolved into legs.

To attract prey, the red-lipped batfish uses a shiny lure that comes out of its head once it gets really close to its preferred meal,  like crabs, mollusks and shrimp  Some scientists think the males’ red lips are attractive to females during mating season.  To each his own . . . 

Thanks to Charlie at Doodlewash for the inspiration.

Red-Lipped Bat Fish, NOT CHARLIE

Fur Fun: hard to watch

In the interest of full disclosure we have a tv in every room of our house, with the exception of the bathroom.  Several of them are so old they are neither flat, nor high definition.  I suspect they will outlast the latest models.

We didn’t have a TV at home until I was 10 years old.  It was black & white, there were only 3 channels and programs ended at midnight with test patterns.   I grew up reading, playing outside and making up ways to entertain myself with household objects.  It may partially explain why I’m relatively creative but doesn’t explain why I have the attention span of a gnat.

Fur Fun: Think about it

Your beliefs become your thoughts. Your thoughts become your words. Your words become your actions. Your actions become your habits. Your habits become your values. Your values become your destiny.” 

Mahatma Gandhi

Paws, 2 thoughts

Thinking Thoughts by Peggy