Fur Fun: Throw it Around

Throw kindness around like confetti

Sprinkle it slow, sprinkle it steady

Let it fall from the air

stick in the hair

get caught on the lips

sit on by hips

Throw kindness around without care

Show there’s more than enough to spare

A Happy Snacky Peggy Post

One of my long time friends (whose initials are jw but shall remain nameless) is a bit of a sugarcarboholic and green isn’t her favorite food color.  She also is in chronic pain and lacks energy.  When I found this research I wanted to share it and I know she reads this blog.

The Chemistry of Joy

Our mood, outlook and energy levels are determined to a huge extent by the chemicals serotonin, dopamine, norepinephrine and their relationship to one another.

We feel good when they are in balance. Beta endorphins also create a feeling of well-being, connectedness to others, and emotional stability. They even help us tolerate pain.

  • If levels of norepinephrine and dopamine are low, people will slow down, sleep a lot, have trouble concentrating and find it hard to motivate themselves. They can have a “sluggish” depression.
  • On the other hand, people with high levels of norepinephrine and dopamine, and possibly low levels of serotonin often feel angry, resentful and despairing. They can be critical and demanding. This would be an “agitated ” depression.
  • A third kind of depression can occur with low levels of serotonin, which results in people feeling fearful , worried and inadequate. This is an “anxious” depression.

maui-making-tea

In the Kitchen by Peggy

  • Sluggish Depression – Eating to INCREASE norepinephrine and dopamine: 
    Eat high quality proteins throughout the day, lean beef, low-fat meats and fish.
  • Agitated Depression – Eating to DECREASE norepinephrine and dopamine:
    eat the same as to increase serotonin but eat very small amounts of protein. A vegetarian diet would be good.
  • Anxious Depression – Eating to INCREASE serotonin:
    Increase carbs, eat tryptophan, which is in nuts, dairy, and meats. Eat regularly throughout the day. Get some protein, but not a large amount.

SUGAR (also alcohol) elevates beta endorphins, which may be why people have sugar cravings. This elevation only lasts a short time, because the body metabolizes it quickly. This results in a “low” that follows the sugar “high”, and you want more sugar! My friend (who shall remain nameless) can avoid this by eating complex carbs and protein.

Cholesterol helps the brain make the chemicals we need. So if you are depressed, eat some fat: Halibut, salmon, grains and nuts that have omega 3 and animal fat with omega 6 are both needed in balance.

    *    *     *

Hopefully my friend will not only read this post but start to eat better.  To make sure, I’ll suggest it for the book we are working on . . . 

“Hacking Your Way to Happiness” (It’s a work in progress, just like my friend). 

Peggy

Frankly Freddie, Help make my Chanukah Merry & Christmas Happy*

Dear all my fans,

I’m here to help promote a petalicious book because my human and her blog-buddy Peggy Arndt are loath to toot their own horns, which is a human expression I fail to understand but because you are mostly human I think you know what I mean . . . but I digress.

If you’ve read CATNIPblog you know that it is dedicated to Peggy’s cat Maui even though I maintain it should be dedicated to me, Freddie, since I do most of the work . . . but I digress.

Peggy has FINALLY after years and years of prodding published the children’s book she wrote for her granddaughter about her cat Maui who regained use of his paralyzed back legs. He did it by re-patterning his brain, even though I doubt Maui knew that’s what he was doing. That’s why, so they tell me, CATNIPblog is dedicated to Maui, because the blog is about how neuroscience research helps humans . . . but I digress.

Here’s the skinny, which is another human saying so ridiculous even human’s don’t know what it means:

Freddie Parker Westerfield, not Maui Arndt

“The Pulling, Climbing, Falling Down Tale of

Maui and His Back Legs”

 is now published on Kindle

*You have two choices to help make me happy & merry

1.  Because you are my friend I’ve convinced Peggy you give you a free PDF copy of her book In return she will give me 5 minutes of scratching and petting for each downloaded PDF.

Here’s the link to a FREE PDF copy of Maui:

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

 . . . . . If you download the PDF please put a brief review (even  one sentence will do) e-mail me at PeggyJudyTime@gmail.com

 . . . and I’ll get another 5 minutes of body bliss.

Or better yet . . . for each book bought I get a Doggie cookie treat!

2. BUY THE BOOK on Kindle – it’s cheap, the book that is, not Peggy. The Kindle link is:

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

THANK YOU for all the scratches and treats which I love almost as much as I love you . . . well that’s probably a slight exaggeration but it’s called “marketing”.

Frankly,

Freddie Parker Westerfield, CDMDSCN6554

Canine Director of Marketing

Maui and His Back Legs. PDF 

A Happiness Hack – Splish Splash

Each month we post “Happiness Hacks” on Catnipblog. They are quick and easy ways, based on scientific research, to lift your mood.

We are compiling them into a book, but want to share them here with you.

img_0002_2

I love waterfalls!  

One of my favorite places to go is the Columbia River Gorge, an area with the highest concentration of waterfalls in North America.  There are over 90!  I love it there and I will hike uphill for miles to see the waterfalls.

All my life I’ve loved the rain, going to the beach, having a water fountain in my yard, and taking showers. They all make me happy. Now I know why – negative ions.

Negative ions are produced by falling water and create changes in our levels of serotonin, a neurotransmitter that relieves stress, increases energy and reduces depression

“Negative ions increase the flow of oxygen to the brain; resulting in higher alertness, decreased drowsiness, and more mental energy.” 

WebMD. Pierce J. Howard, PhD

The WebMD article goes on to say “The air circulating in the mountains and the beach is said to contain tens of thousands of negative ions — Much more than the average home or office building, which contain dozens or hundreds, and many register a flat zero.”

Want to get negative ions?

  • Take a walk by a river or stream.
  • Walk in the rain.
  • Go to the beach.
  • Run in the sprinklers.
  • Have a water fight in a pool.
  • Hike to a waterfall.
  • Sit by a fountain.
  • Buy a negative ion generator for your home.
  • Or . . .  just take a shower.

(I didn’t list “wash dishes by hand” or “scrub the floor on your knees” because I believe adding detergent to water MIGHT create positive ions which we all know are not mood elevators . . .)

(PA)

References:

“Negative Ions Create Positive Vibes” By Denise Mann, WebMD, June 2, 2003.
The Owners Manual for the Brain: Everyday Applications from Mind Brain, by Pierce J. Howard, PhD
Biopsychology of Mood and Arousal, by Robert E. Thayer,

 

Sneak Peek – Be Careful what I ask for . . .

My last life drawing post Nude No More I complained that the models were wearing clothes.  WELL!  This last model was nude AND geeeeeeeorgeous:  Tall, long, lean limbs, beautiful body, beautiful face, long blond hair and she was really nice . . .  I was soooooooo jealous.

2 minute warm-up, charcoal

10 minute pose, charcoal on back of cereal box

10 minute pose, charcoal on back of cereal box

Some of the models never talk to the students.  During their breaks they retreat to the dressing place or focus on their cell phones.  This model was personable, looked at the drawings and chatted.  

I was soooooooo jealous and told her not to come back until her body matched the lumps and bumps on our drawings.

Sneak Peek – Nude No More

I was soooooo frrrrrrustrated in the last two life drawing class . . . the models were clothed . . .  sensuous lines of flesh, shadows high-lighting skin tones replaced by FABRIC . . . arrrrrrgh.

Two different poses – charcoal sketches on same paper

I pretended they were naked . . . 

Conte Crayon, 2 minute sketch
Charcoal, 2 minute sketch  (my favorite)

UNTIL I COULD PRETEND NO MORE .

Pencil drawing on back of cereal box 

Sneak a Peek – Cereal Box Art

Practice makes perfect . . . so they say . . . I’m practicing using just 3 colors burnt Umber, raw Siena and white.

Deflated Apple

These are all studies in value which is training my eye to see darks, lights and midtones.  It’s easier when using just one or two colors and right now I’m all for easier.

Plumped up Apple

The biggest problem using the back of food boxes is I have to eat the food first.