Category Archives: Mind-Body

Have a Heart, Give a Gift

Heart disease, not cancer, is the #1 killer of women.  I learned that and other invaluable information on Carolyn Thomas’ My Heart Sisters blog.

Over the years I’ve “stolen” and reposted many a wonderful post from Carolyn Thomas.  Her blog, Heart Sisters, has been one of the few I’ve followed for years.  I have forgotten what led me to her blog but once I read both her compelling stories and the up-to-date information on  women’s health, in particular heart disease, I was a Carolyn-groupie.  

Apparently Johns Hopkins was a groupie too when they asked her to write a book on Living with Heart Disease.  My guess is that her down-to-earth writing coupled with up-to-date research and information appealed to Johns Hopkins as much as it did to me.

Here’s just a sample of info found on Carolyn’s blog:

“Did you know: Women generally fare far worse than men after experiencing a cardiac event? One possible reason is that it can be confusing to make sense of warning symptoms when they do hit. Women are also less likely than our male counterparts to seek immediate help at the first sign of cardiac symptoms. Instead, we end up:”

  • toughing them out
  • waiting to see if they go away
  • blaming them on stress, muscle soreness, indigestion or other less serious non-cardiac causes

Read 12 cardiac symptoms women must never ignore

I can’t say enough good things about Carolyn – you’ll have to read her book and her blog to see for yourself what fabulous advocacy and education Carolyn has provided since her own “widow-maker” heart attack. (Full disclosure:  we are not related, I’ve never met her in person, and I don’t get a kick-back!)

Buy a copy and give the gift of life to a woman you love . . . maybe it’s even yourself

Save 20% when you use the code HTWN when you pre-order the book from Johns Hopkins

Order your copy click here:  Johns Hopkins University Press 

Johns Hopkins University Press is the publisher and here’s a fraction of what has been said about Carolyn’s Book:

[A Woman’s Guide to Living with Heart Disease] gives women the knowledge they need to become their own advocates in a health care system that continues to be weighted against them.”

“This book brings a needed focus to a leading killer of women today and is a must-read for women and their loved ones.”

“If you are a woman, or love a woman, this is a book for you! Cardiovascular disease is the leading killer of women. Here is a book focused on women’s cardiovascular health. It is all here—prevention, diagnosis, and treatment. Read it for the people you love.”

“This work is an important contribution to the discussion about heart attack and misdiagnosis in women. Thomas’s personal story—alongside the stories of millions of other women—provides a needed reminder of recognizing one’s symptoms, avoiding denial, and seeking medical attention. This elegant book is a unique addition to women’s health books and a necessary read for women and the people who care about them.”

Thank you Carolyn for pushing through your own symptoms to write a book of this magnitude.  

 

National Pink Day, June 23

Brain research is clear – our thoughts trigger the neurochemical flood of emotion.  Think negatively and you will feel anxious or fearful.  Think positively and you’ll be flooded with the neurochemistry for happiness, contentment or love.

Life need not be fraught

with negative thought

“This too shall pass

half full is my glass”

“It’s bright and sunny

all milk and honey”

“It will be ok . . . 

on another day”

That’s  how to think

to be in the pink

Thinking Pink by judy

Read these for information on the research:

Worry your life away – literally

Research shows you will be happier for 3 months – Music to my ears

5 THINGS YOU CAN DO TO CHEER UP QUICKLY, ACCORDING TO NEUROSCIENCE

Why I’ve not posted on “Curious” for awhile.

Several months ago my good friend Peggy Arndt, who is also a retired psychotherapist, suggested we collaborate on blogging the tips, tools and techniques for health, happiness and well-being we have accumulated over our combined 60+ years of experience.

As that was my original intent when I started this CURIOUS blog I agreed . . . on the condition that CATNIPblog also amused me.

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Self-help tips, tools, techniques & neuroscience research for MIND, BODY & SOUL – shared with a wink and a smile

By now, you know that I post when the mood moves me.  Collaborating with Peggy, who is much more organized than I am, has made me accountable to a regular blogging schedule on Catnipblog.  So I’ve been typing my little fingers to the bone and posting on CATNIP so Peggy will think I’m not as flaky as I actually am.

I’m not abandoning this blog as I started Curious to the Max over 7 years ago and have over 1,500 post (yes, you read that right . . . OVER one-thousand, five-hundred posts!).  I’m just still in the process of figuring out how to do both blogs.

On CATNIPblog most of the posts emphasize current research and the neuroscience of health and happiness (with a bit of our personal experience thrown in).  Once a week we post something inspirational, weird and/or whimsical on Pawsitively Tuesdays.

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 I’d LOVE it if you would check out CATNIPblog, see the proof that I can be disciplined . . . and subscribe.

Click here:

CATNIPblog take a look !

Am I Addicted to Dairy Crack? (parenthetically speaking. . . )

I’m baaaaaaack . . . sorta . . . missed all my art classes, missed church . . . cancelled The HeART of Spirituality workshop cuz I’ve been feeling puny.  (And when I am feeling puny I eat,  watch the cooking channel, download recipes and read all I can about what not to eat in the hopes that I will follow that advice.)

The only constructive thing I’ve done is work on the NEW BLOG Catnip with my good friend and colleague Peggy Arndt.  

(Peggy is a retired psychotherapist too AND an artist and author.  I’ve never caught Peggy feeling puny and eating since she’s within a pound or two of the same weight she was when we were in high school together.  If I didn’t like her so much I’d hate her.)  

Between the two of us we have amassed decades of information on neuroscience and behavior and relationships . . .  and eating . . . and addictions.  We’re going to share all that on a new blog called CATNIP (but I digress . . .)

While I was researching for CATNIP this article caught my eye . . .   here are some excerpts:

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cow by judy

The Case Against Dairy Crack

By Barbara J. King*

“The average American eats more than 33 pounds of cheese a year.”  (Thirty-three pounds is about the amount of weight I’d like to lose.  I need to stop eating my American share of cheese.)

“This is according to Neal Barnard, physician and president of the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine. And that’s a problem, he says, because it’s helping to make us overweight and sick.”

“Loaded with calories, high in sodium, packing more cholesterol than steak, and sprinkled with hormones — if cheese were any worse, it would be Vaseline …”

Some foods are fattening. Others are addictive. Cheese is both — fattening and addictive.”

“Barnard explains that dairy protein — specifically a protein called casein — has opiate molecules built in. When babies nurse, he notes, they’re getting dosed with a mild drug: “Milk contains opiates that reward the baby for nursing.”‘ 

“It’s no different with the cow’s milk — or other mammalian milk — from which cheese is made. In fact, Barnard says, the process of cheese-making concentrates the casein”

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Non-dominant hand, one-eyed, fat-tipped marker, puny drawing

“Call it dairy crack.”

 “Dairy proteins appear to trigger inflammation, apparently by triggering the release of antibodies, which leads to the constriction of the tiny muscles in the airways. By avoiding dairy proteins, the trigger for the [asthma] attacks is gone.”

“. . .  Barnard notes that vitamin D may play an important role in protecting us against some types of cancers. Citing prostate-cancer data, he suggests that because dairy products are high in calcium and calcium intake can slow down activation of vitamin D, cancer risks may increase with cheese-eating.”

“The National Dairy Council (or cows who would rather be milked than molded into meat patties) does not endorse Barnard’s descriptions of cheese . . .  and points to research from Harvard School of Public Health that shows no association between cheese and long-term weight gain.”

“However, if one’s goal is to lose weight, there is something to be said for not teasing yourself with occasional doses of the very food that caused the problem in the first place. (I might add sugar and refined carbs to the list . . . might?) Better to end that bad love affair. If a person is concerned about asthma, migraine, rheumatoid arthritis, or other sensitivities, one soon loses all desire for the food product that caused the problem.” (So far THAT argument hasn’t worked with me.)

(Maybe every time I feel puny  I should picture myself eating 33 pounds of VASELINE . . . )

Read the entire article and click HERE.


*Barbara J. King is an anthropology professor emerita at the College of William and Mary.  Barbara’s most recent book on animals is titled How Animals Grieve, and her forthcoming book, Personalities on the Plate: The Lives and Minds of Animals We Eat,

The Cheese Trap, How Breaking a Surprising Addiction Will Help You Lose Weight, Gain Energy, and Get Healthy by Neal D., M.d. Barnard, Dreena Burton and Marilu Henner

Blame game: roosters, virus and my dorsolateral prefrontal cortex

It’s the Year of the Rooster – I was born under the Chinese sign of the Rooster.  Always thought it to be a curse I was born under a sign that wasn’t fertile enough to lay an egg or two.

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According to my friend Sharon Bonin-Pratt (whose last post inspired this post) People born under the sign of the Rooster are hardworking, funny, trustworthy and talented.

I’m not hardworking, at times am funny, almost always trustworthy, and have latent talents that get laid but never hatched.

This Rooster year started off with a cold virus that delights roaming the cozy recesses of my sinus passages.   It’s day 11 (but who’s counting).  I’ve been a total slug – no energy, no resolve which gives me a perfect excuse for not making New Years’ resolutions.

(The truth be told, I never make resolutions for the New Year – learned long ago that when I inevitably fail to keep a resolution it leads to feeling badly.)  

What energy I have has been directed toward resolving to be more creative this year. 

In preparation I’ve been obsessively reading everything I can find on how to break my creative block and stop procrastinating.

Most everything I read about procrastination indicates that we procrastinate when we don’t want to do something that is not enjoyable.   Being a master procrastinator I also procrastinate with things that bring me enjoyment.

For inspiration, I read blogs of people who write, read or draw daily – all things which bring me enjoyment.  I feel badly I’m not like them  which leads me to read articles on procrastination and meeting goals (I know how to set them, just not meet them).

Finally the article below has liberated me! I know what to blame:

My dorsolateral prefrontal cortex is lazy . . . not me.

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Creative block here’s neuroscience how to fix it.

by Elizabeth Shockman

“What is it exactly that helps us be creative? What fuels us when we get into an especially productive work flow? What makes the hours disappear when our brains focus on a task?”

“What, in other words, is happening in our brains when we’re being creative?”

“Cognitive neuroscientist Heather Berlin at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai says we know a little bit about what’s going on. Berlin studies the neuroscience of imagination, creativity and improvisation. And for those people who might be facing writer’s block? “There’s really no prescribed medication,” Berlin says. “There is no real magic pill.”’

Instead, she says, creativity depends on which part of the brain you might be using.

“When [people] are improvising, there tends to be a pattern of activation where they have decreased activation in a part of the brain called the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex,” Berlin says. “And that part of the brain has to do with your sense of self, your sort of inner critic, making sure that your behavior conforms to social norms.”

“Translation? When you’re at your most creative, “basically you lose your sense of self,” Berlin says. “You kind of release your inhibition. The second you become too self-aware that comes back online and you lose that flow state.”’

“In addition to losing inhibitions, people who are in a creative state have increased activation in a part of the brain called the medial prefrontal cortex, which has to do with the internal generation of ideas. In other words, the ideas are coming from within.”

“Some people, when they’re in the flow state … a lot of people say ‘It feels like it’s flowing through me. It’s coming from someplace else,’ you know, ‘It’s coming so naturally I don’t even have to think about it,’” Berlin says. “It’s called liberation without attention. You can only keep a certain number of variables in mind when you’re thinking about something consciously. But if you let it go, you actually can come to a greater understanding because the unconscious can do much more complex processing.”

“For those suffering from creative block, Berlin has some practical advice:”

“You have to take in all the information and then go for a walk,” Berlin says. “Go out, do something else. Because those people who sit there and just obsess over thinking about it too much, using your prefrontal cortex you’re actually limiting yourself. So letting it go can actually help you get over, let’s say a writer’s block or a creative block.”

I’d go for a walk but I have a cold.  Maybe some other time . . .

 

 

Here’s looking achoooooooo!

I admit it.  I’m a bit paranoid about catching a cold or the flu.

When I get sick insult is added to injury as my fibromyalgia symptoms flare for weeks after I’ve recovered from the cold. 

I avoid anyone who sneezes, eyes are watery or is coughing.  I’ve moved my groceries from one counter to another to avoid check-out clerks who looked like they are sick and on occasion come home and taken a shower if I THINK I might have been exposed.  

Now I learn it’s possible I’m avoiding  people who aren’t sick,  just afraid, sad or incredibly empathetic!

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Sneezing is “catching,” like a yawn.

“It is true that emotions can affect your nasal membranes. Fear makes them shrink (which can make you sneeze), and sadness makes them swell (which can also make you sneeze.) Though there is conflicting evidence, yawning has been linkedto empathy, and one study showed that psychopaths — people who lack empathy — may even be immune to contagious yawning.”

“If sneezing fits are like yawning fits, does that mean that if we are tuned into others’ emotions, we might sneeze out of sympathy? Though hard evidence is murky, there is some reason to believe that both yawning and sneezing fits may be powered by the mind.”

The article Here’s Looking achoo – debunking the sneeze covers even more:

  • Sneezing is good for the soul
  • Sneezing is bad for the soul
  • If you say “God Bless You,” God might spare you. Or not.
  • Tweezing your eyebrows can make you sneeze.
  • Sneezing always comes in threes.
  • Bright light can make you sneeze.

Read the entire article click HERE.

 

 

Puppy Power!

SoulPancake and Puppy Chow teamed up to share the #PowerofPuppies at a preschool, retirement home, and gym to transform an otherwise ordinary day. Share http://bit.ly/pwrofppys with someone who needs the power of puppies in their lives! For every video view, Puppy Chow will donate one pound of Puppy Chow Natural to Rescue Bank® (up to 500,000 pounds or until April 23, 2016).

 

 

Age-Activated Attention Deficit Disorder

Now back to washing the dishes and the soapy water that reminded me to water the flowers in the garden which reminded me about this video . . .

Thanks Sharon M.!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Is it a good thing . . . or a sign . . . I can no longer remember when my attention deficit was activated . . .?

How ANXIETY can make you SMARTER

I tend toward the depressive end of the “depression vs anxiety” scale.  There are very few things, besides snakes, heights and being suspended in the air in gondolas, that make me anxious.  I rarely worry about them . . . unless I’m on a hike in the mountains, it’s rattlesnake season and the only way I can get down is a gondola ride.

After watching this video . . . I’m worried that I don’t worry enough . . . 

An easy way for you to feel grateful EVERY DAY.

My brother Rick told me about The Greater Good.  Everyday I click on 6 of the sites.  With every click I remind myself to feel grateful to be living in a free country where I have access to things much of the world does not have.

It’s free and every click counts toward making this a better world.

(plus there are some cool free-trade things to buy that help people around the world)

Click on Greater Good and subscribe to get a daily e-mail reminder to be grateful.  Here are a list of the giving sites.

Research shows that feeling grateful doesn’t just make you feel good. It also helps – literally helps – the heart.

judy's journal
judy’s journal

“A positive mental attitude is good for your heart. It fends off depression, stress and anxiety, which can increase the risk of heart disease, says Paul Mills, a professor of family medicine and public health at the University of California San Diego School of Medicine. Mills specializes in disease processes and has been researching behavior and heart health for decades. He wondered if the very specific feeling of gratitude made a difference, too.”

“He recruited 186 men and women, average age 66, who already had some damage to their heart, either through years of sustained high blood pressure or as a result of heart attack or even an infection of the heart itself. They each filled out a standard questionnaire to rate how grateful they felt for the people, places or things in their lives.”

“It turned out the more grateful people were, the healthier they were. “They had less depressed mood, slept better and had more energy,” says Mills.”

“And when Mills did blood tests to measure inflammation, the body’s natural response to injury or plaque buildup in the arteries, he found lower levels among those who were grateful — an indication of better heart health.”

“So Mills did a small followup study to look even more closely at gratitude. He tested 40 patients for heart disease and noted biological indications of heart disease such as inflammation and heart rhythm. Then he asked half of the patients to keep a journal most days of the week, and write about two or three things they were grateful for. People wrote about everything, from appreciating children to being grateful for spouses, friends, pets, travel, jobs and even good food.”

“After two months, Mills retested all 40 patients and found health benefits for the patients who wrote in their journals. Inflammation levels were reduced and heart rhythm improved. And when he compared their heart disease risk before and after journal writing, there was a decrease in risk after two months of writing in their journals.”

“Mills isn’t sure exactly how gratitude helps the heart, but he thinks it’s because it reduces stress, a huge factor in heart disease.”

“Taking the time to focus on what you are thankful for,” he says, “letting that sense of gratitude wash over you — this helps us manage and cope.”

“And helps keep our hearts healthy.”

Much is required from those to whom much is given.
–Luke 12:48

He that give should never remember, he that receives should never forget. –The Talmud

Ai yi yiiii, I’d be afraid to go to the bathroom

Did you know you can train your brain not to wake you up at night to go to the bathroom?  When you get the “full bladder” signal in the middle of the night ignore it.  Trust me you won’t wet the bed.  In about 2 nights your brain will stop signaling you that your bladder is full.  

If you don’t trust what I’m saying, try painting your floor!

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Thanks Linda B.!!!!!!!!

Frankly Freddie – I found a cure for my human!!!

My Dear Human Beings and other critters,

My human has been too tired to go on walks.  All she wants to do is sit around and I’m getting bored keeping her distracted by petting me.  She blames Fibromyalgia/chronic fatigue but I’ve long suspected that she just needs a new career that is exciting.  I found the perfect cure – FOR EVERYTHING THAT AILS HER .

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The CURE

There’s a woman in England who  (instead of moping around like my human being)  got a pair of feathered fans to do a routine in a bar that was holding a cabaret night.

She said: “It was nerve-wracking but exciting . . .  I felt alive. . . . Even though she’s not completely cured, her chronic fatigue only flares up every two or three months – lasting at most for a couple of days. “

She’s got big plans for the future . . . She said: “I have signed up with the alternative model agency Ugly, in London and hope to start appearing in magazines and adverts.”  (I didn’t tell my human being about “Ugly” because I’m not sure what kind of magazines and adverts want “ugly” . . . )

Freddie Parker Westerfield, CDT RET
Freddie Parker Westerfield, CDT RET

My human thinks all this is just a ploy to get her to take me on walks.  I told her if she didn’t believe me to read this:  

Woman Bedridden With Depression And Fatigue Turns Her Life Around With Burlesque Dancing

 

 

Wired and Weird – Two for the price of one

Have you missed me?  Have you EVEN noticed I’ve not been blogging?  Well, I’ve been mishuga, fermisht and verklempt.

In my never-ending quest to feel better . . .  

The short version: Went to an endocrinologist because I thought some of my exhaustion might be due to an adrenal problem.  They took a quart of my hard-earned blood and I peed in an “orange juice container” for 24 hours to be told my adrenals are fine but I have Hashimoto’s disease.

Whaaaaaaaat???  I’ve never been to Japan and don’t even speak Japanese. Seems my immune system is eating my thyroid all up.  Put me on thyroid medication and said I should have about 20% more energy.  With my continual state of exhaustion 20% sounded good.

Three months later . . .  maybe 10% more energy.  So endo doc suggested I take Topomax, a tried and true medication, that will put my brain into deep sleep (my brain stays in REM sleep and I don’t get restorative sleep – that’s the main reason I’m so exhausted all the time).  I researched it and checked it out with my fibro doctor who said it was worth a try.

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NOT ONLY DIDN’T THE MEDICATION PUT ME INTO deep sleep it didn’t even put me into REM sleep!!!!!  I was up for 3 nights and 3 days.  Couldn’t even nap.  My brain thought it was a stimulant.  I couldn’t think straight, walk straight or talk straight.  I’m just barely beginning to feel normally exhausted.  

I told my fibro doc what happened on the medication.  She gave me a new diagnosis: WEIRD.

Bob Blobfish sez: ". . . I p"
Bob Blobfish sez: “. . . She didn’t have to get THAT diagnosis from a doctor, just ask ANYONE who knows her . . .”

Now that I’ve got your attention . . .

Heart disease

is the NUMBER ONE killer of women.

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Excerpt from HEART SISTERS Most Common Heart Attack Signs:

“These cardiac symptoms often come and go – sometimes over a surprisingly long period of time.  They’re not always severe. We may believe that heart attack chest pain must be described as “crushing”, but it’s often frequently described by women with words like pressure, heavy, burning, full or tight – not “crushing”.”

“Almost 40% of women experience NO CHEST PAIN at all during a heart attack.”

Read the full post here: http://myheartsisters.org/2015/09/20/most-common-heart-attack-signs/

I may have helped save a life today

Thanks to Carolyn Thomas and her excellent blog Heart Sisters I recognized a heart attack in progress.

In my writing class this morning the woman next to me got up unexpectedly and left.  On return she said threw up in the bathroom.  A few minutes later she said she didn’t feel good, hot and sweaty, and thought she should go home.  Something told me to ask her if she had chest pain.  

I interrupted the teacher and privately told him she had heart attack symptoms. He immediately had the facility call 911.  

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The woman kept repeating she was ok, in great health, played tennis 4 times a week, no history of heart disease in the family, ate well and would be fine.  Even after the paramedics came she kept questioning whether she needed to go to the hospital.

Because I’ve followed Carolyn’s blog I know common symptoms for women having a heart attack:

Women often have different symptoms of a heart attack than men and may report serious symptoms even before having a heart attack, although the signs are not ‘typical’ heart attack symptoms. These include:”

  • neck, throat, shoulder, upper back, or abdominal discomfort
  • shortness of breath
  • nausea or vomiting
  • sweating
  • anxiety or “a sense of impending doom”
  • light-headedness or dizziness
  • unusual fatigue for several days

This woman had three symptoms PLUS, by the time the paramedics arrived, pain radiated to her jaw.

I insisted she go to the hospital and she could blame me if everything was ok.

Everything was not ok.

Click & Read this: Words matter when we describe our heart attack symptoms

 

 

Parrot this! (mimic mindlessly)

“Fear is just excitement in need of an attitude adjustment”

~ in a very wise fortune cookie

Polly the Parrot sez:
Polly the Parrot sez: “Polly wanna fortune cookie!”

Write on – Unfair Treatment

Since I spend a lot of time (off and on) writing this blog and attending a writing critique group I figured it’s time to learn the tools of the trade.  I signed up for a free Emeritus writing class from the local junior college.  (“emeritus” is a sophisticated word for anyone who qualifies for Social Security.) 

The first assignment was to write a two page SHORT story about being unfairly treated or treating someone else unfairly. 

(Names have been omitted to protect my image)

Unfair Treatment – Body, Mind & Me

By Judy Westerfield

     “More! More!” my mind screams at me. Her desire reverberates throughout my body. Once again, I’m caught in the middle ­ between body and mind, between hedonism and health.

     The three of us — body, mind and me — have been together a very long time. Over the years the mind has grown bolder, louder. To keep the peace I usually do what she says, even though it’s often based on want rather than need. Today is no exception.

     For the second time in less than an hour I retrieve the half-gallon carton from the freezer.

     “More! More!” She is unrelenting.

     “Calm down. “I’m scooping as fast as I can.”

      I ladle from the carton to the soup bowl –­ 1/3 less fat, 120 calories, $2.99 on sale ­ — spoonfuls of vanilla, chock full of chocolate chunks and ripples of golden caramel. Hard, too hard. I like it soft, just this side of starting-to-melt. Ten seconds in the microwave will do it. I’ve perfected the timing.

      “More! More!”

      “You will just have to wait 10 seconds.” I can be firm.

        It’s creamy, cold, sweet and glides deliciously from the lips all the way down to the stomach.

     “Ahhhh. Mmmm,” she purrs and declares it to be an invention ranking right up there with the discovery of fire, the wheel and Tampax.

      The bowl is empty. She points out that there’s more in the carton, purposely left out on the counter, which is now just the right soft consistency.

     “120 calories per serving . . . 12 servings per carton . . .1,440 calories,“ she calculates. “We’ll just skip dinner.”

*         *         *

     “Why? Why?” My distended stomach cries out, pushing painfully against the waistband of my pants. Hips expand, thighs grate together, intestines grumble while impolitely relieving themselves of gas as I walk to the trash to throw away the empty carton.

     The body unfairly treated, yet again, by me. And the mind . . . she’s still screaming . . .    

   “More! More!”

Bob Blobfish sez:
Bob Blobfish sez: “. . . I prefer ice cream cones –  they’re easier to hold in the water”

“I don’t want to talk about it”

I should go out in the garden and eat worms.  I’m exhausted.  I hurt all over.   It’s hard not to have self-pity.   I TRY to limit my public and private kvetching because I know it doesn’t help . . . me or you.  There’s scientific basis for the harm we do to ourselves when we talk about trauma – any kind of trauma. 

Acrylic on Canvas, by moi
Acrylic on Canvas, by moi

 If you or anyone you know has a “story of pain” (physical, psychological, social, economic etc) read Carolyn Thomas’ My Heart Sisters excellent post.  Here’s a teeny taste:

Rehashing a traumatic story/event does some of the following:

  • puts our system on high alert
  • triggers inflammation
  • triggers the fight/flight response
  • triggers shutdown mode

On the flip side Carolyn talks about the benefits of sharing with close friends:

“Dr. Laura Cousin Klein and her team found that the credit for women’s unique stress reactions may belong to the hormone oxytocin (also known as the “lovehormone”).  It’s the body’s own wonder drug – released when we nurse our babies, for example, as well as during a woman’s stress response. It’s instinctual, it buffers the fight-or-flight response and it encourages us to tend children and gather with other women instead – what’s called our tend-and-befriend response to stress.  This calming response does not occur in men, says Dr. Klein, because testosterone—which men produce in high levels when they’re under stress—seems to reduce the effects of oxytocin. Estrogen, she adds, seems to enhance it.”

Read the entire post “I don’t want to talk about it“- a Judy’s-Must-Read-Blog-Post.

If you want to remember – Forgeta bout it!

I’m so smart.  I’ve been employing this strategy for years!  The only problem is when I remember what I forgot, I forget why I needed to remember what I forgot to remember.

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Leigh Wells/Ikon Images/Getty Images

Trying To Remember Multiple Things May Be The Best Way To Forget Them

by CHRIS BENDEREV

“A new scientific model of forgetting is taking shape, which suggests keeping multiple memories or tasks in mind simultaneously can actually erode them.”

“Neuroscientists already knew that memories can interfere with and weaken each other while they are locked away in the recesses of long-term memory. But this new model speaks to what happens when multiple memories are coexisting front and center in our minds, in a place called “working memory.”‘
“It argues that when we let multiple memories come to mind simultaneously, those memories immediately lock into a fierce competition with each other.” When these memories are tightly competing for our attention the brain steps in and actually modifies those memories,” says Jarrod Lewis-Peacock, a neuroscientist at UT Austin.”

“The brain crowns winners and losers. If you ended up remembering the milk and forgetting the phone call, your brain strengthens your memory for getting milk and weakens the one for phoning your friend back, so it will be easier to choose next time you’re faced with that dilemma.”

It’s a strain on my brain

to remember

whether it’s June, July or December

Multiple memories,

lots of tasks

my brain crowns the winner

which I reward with dinner

Eats I never forget

Food being a permanent mind set

P.S. I forgot to tell you that you can read the entire article by clicking on the title above.

 

 

 

 

Know a Narcissist? Blame their brain

I am fascinated by our newfound ability to study the brain in real-time.  For most of my life the only way the brain was studied was by  autopsy.  

For decades, I’ve explained to clients that “feelings” are not psychological constructs but a neurochemical phenomena. I had no proof – just  trickles of brain research I read. Now that I’m retired the evidence is mounting.  I’d love to be able to say “I told you so!”

hypnotized-people-hallucinate-colors-at-will_44927_600x450-1

In psychological “terms” the proportion of outward behavior is a measure of internal feelings.  Examples:  Do you know some one who is a “control freak”?  Of course you do.

The more someone tries to exert control over everyone and everything it is usually (read “always” – I’m trying to be “politically correct, ahem . . .)  a direct measure they internally/unconsciously feel out of control.  People who “feel” in control don’t have to prove they are in control – they can collaborate, give others credit etc.

Know someone who is a narcissist – the earth revolves around them, not the sun?  Of course you do.

The more a person needs to boast about themselves, point the finger of blame at others etc. . . . the more insecure they are.  Read about some interesting brain research that substantiates this that on a neurological level.

Read more: http://nymag.com/scienceofus/2015/07/a-neurological-level-narcissists-are-needy.html

I TOLD YOU SO!

My Motto: Don’t call me. I won’t call you.

I never answer my phone.  I call people back when I have energy or e-mail because two-way phone conversations are physically tiring.  Crazy! . . . sounds crazy, even to me.  So I assume it sounds crazy to you.  

Not wanting to be labeled as “nuts” I usually explain  that after 30 years as a psychotherapist, answering my phone knowing that someone is probably calling in crisis, I’ve become phone-phobic.  

You understand phobia’s and their hallmark of being irrational.  You don’t understand neuroimmune-central nervous system-out-of-wack.  Can’t fault you.  I don’t understand it.  Medical science doesn’t understand it.   

Normal stimuli overload my brain circuits and the brains of others who live with Fibromyalgia, Chronic Fatigue, Lyme disease, Multiple Chemical Sensitivity, brain trauma etc.  There are a lot of theories but no one really knows why or what to do about it. 

Acrylic on Canvas, by moi
Acrylic on Canvas, by moi

Even though I’m a social person by nature all socializing tires me. One or two “events” a week is my limit.  Social Events?  You are undoubtedly picturing me out-on-the-town, wearing a Dior gown and sipping wine at the opera ( . . .  those who know me are picturing me wearing a t-shirt, Levi’s, Crocs and sipping coffee at Starbucks).

Activities that once were pleasurable now create fatigue:

  • Going to the movies or lunch with a friend (afterwards I nap for 3 hours)
  • Participating in any group activity (afterwards I go to bed early)
  • Walking Freddie in the park.  (I go the opposite direction when I see others walking their dogs.  Walking is taxing enough without interacting with dogs’ humans.)
  • Shopping in stores crowded with merchandise.  (My brain goes on visual overload)
  • Talking on the phone to someone I love.  (Yup, two-way conversations take focus and thus energy.) 

Since retiring I’ve done phone sessions with clients.  The pleasure of hearing their voices, catching up on their lives and the honor of hopefully helping them get back on track far outweigh any fatigue that comes later.  I’ve long ago figured out that some things are well worth the consequences of a nap or a few days of inactivity. 

Please continue to reach out. I will be honest with you about my options and energy.  I don’t want to live as a social recluse.  So E-mail me when you want to catch up, share, or get together because I won’t answer the phone . . .  

Hammy Hamster sez: "Nuts?, Did I hear NUTS!)
Hammy Hamster sez:
“Nuts?, Did I hear NUTS!)

This article prompted me to write this post: Cort Johnson, Social Exhaustion The comments are perhaps even more telling than the article itself.

Sneek Peek into my journal – Loosely Sparking

Sometimes wanting to be “perfect” stops me from finishing projects.  I’m now too tired to strive for perfection.   I figure it’s time to experiment and remove expectation to get my “spark” back.

I’m comfortable abstractly sloshing paint color around but “drawing” is another matter.  Put a pencil or pen in my hand and I tighten both my grip and expectation.

With that in mind, I purposely held the pencil very loosely and literally scribbled “areas” rather than try to draw perfect lines.  I didn’t bother trying to copy anything, look at any references, decide where the light was coming from or have a plan.  I just scribbled.   I like the looseness of the drawing and taking away expectation of being precise was enjoyable.

Maybe this is a good lesson to apply to other areas of my life . . .

DSCN6281

judy’s journal – Scribbled and scratched in the face with pencil and pastel chalk

Year of the Spark, Carla Sonheim & Lynn Whipple
Year of the Spark, Carla Sonheim & Lynn Whipple

Going Viral

Scratch one more cure . . .  for now.
I started an anti-viral medication that has been successful in treating some people with Chronic Fatigue.  There is a long-held theory that virus are responsible for fibromyalgia/CFS and since I have tested positive for a viral-reactivation it seemed worth a prescription.
After taking the meds for over a month and coping with a bit of  24-hour nausea and headaches, last night I was wakened by really severe stomach pain which radiated to my back .  The cure was worse than the malady. 
Before the pain became full-blown I was playing around with some oil paint and roughed-in this face.  Now looking at my preliminary sketch it’s a window into how I’ve been feeling.  I think I’ll not “finish” the painting and leave it be  . . .  for now.
Oil
Oil

I stopped the medication this morning.  Like my painting, I’m not going to try to “finish off” the virus either  . . .   for now.

Year of the Spark, Carla Sonheim & Lynn Whipple
Year of the Spark, Carla Sonheim & Lynn Whipple

Being tired is exhausting

I look normal, I act normal (relatively normal)However, I feel exhausted much of the time, my body aches from head to toe and my brain sometimes has trouble remembering or concentrating.  Please don’t tell me to exercise more, eat better, try acupuncture or go to a new doctor.  After 20 years I’ve tried just about everything there is to try that I can afford, swallow or legally do.

I don’t even care anymore what you call it: Fibromyalgia, Chronic Fatigue, malingering . . . it’s just tiring being tired much of the time.  I push through it otherwise I’d have no life.  But the price for pushing can be days of crashing so I pick and choose my commitments.

Judy's Journal, Mixed Media, Collage
judy’s Journal, Collage

No one knows what causes it or how to make it better.  Looking back, I think I’ve had it my whole life.  But I’m lucky because it didn’t become full-blown until I was an adult.  For teens and young adults it’s really hard. Read this article by teens and 10 things they want the public to know.   Teens who live with chronic illness and the 10 things they want you to know.

I’ve blogged about it before:

The Mask of Invisibility and me

Fibromyalgia, Dx: Hysterical Middle-Aged Woman’s Syndrome

I prefer not to talk about it, write about it, dwell on it.  It is what it is and I’m blessed that it’s not life threatening.  But today is World Awareness Day for neuro-immune illnesses of ME/Chronic Fatigue (CFS), Fibromyalgia (FM), Lyme disease, and Multiple Chemical Sensitivity (MCS). It’s an opportunity to raise public awareness of these conditions that impact millions all over the world.

It’s a good bet that you or someone you know has one of these invisible conditions . . . if you didn’t before, you do now.

Are You a Highly Sensitive Person? You might have ADRA2b like me.

Goggle “emotional sensitivity” and you’ll find tons (well maybe not tons, but a lot) of articles, books, survival guides on how to overcome “being so sensitive”.   

About 1 in 5  fit the HSP (Highly Sensitive Person) profile.  I currently rate a 12 1/2 out of 16 traits below.  When I was younger it was 16 out of 16.  (Interestingly, artists and therapists seem to fit this profile in larger numbers than the general population . . . hmmm)

Fragile Fleur by judy
Fragile Fleur by judy

It’s baaaaaaaad:  I cry at dog food commercials and can’t tolerate anything that has a hint of violence.

My husband prefers “blow’em up – shoot ’em dead – stab ’em hard” for his watching pleasure.  He reminds me that it’s “not real” as I lock him in his room so I can’t see or hear what he’s watching.  I watch HGTV House Hunters International, preferring my suspense and intrigue to trying to guess which house the couple will buy.

However, rather than label myself as a “Highly Sensitive Person”, I prefer to think of myself as a fragile flower . . . so much more feminine.    

_____________________

Here are 16 HSP traits.  If you want to read more about each click here

  1. They feel more deeply.
  2. They’re more emotionally reactive.
  3. They’re probably used to hearing, “Don’t take things so personally” and “Why are you so sensitive?”
  4. They prefer to exercise solo.
  5. It takes longer for them to make decisions.
  6. They are more upset if they make a “bad” or “wrong” decision.
  7. They notice details.
  8. Not all highly sensitive people are introverts.
  9. They work well in team environments.
  10. They’re more prone to anxiety or depression (but only if they’ve had a lot of past negative experiences).
  11. That annoying sound is probably significantly more annoying to a highly sensitive person.
  12. Violent movies are the worst.
  13. They cry more easily.
  14. They have above-average manners.
  15. The effects of criticism are especially amplified in highly sensitive people.
  16. They prefer solo work environments.

________________________

The good news! I no longer have to read up on how to overcome, minimize, explain or justify my emotional sensitivity because I must have a ADRA2b gene.

(Now I can blame my mother for my sensitivity – aren’t mothers always the ones who get the credit for how we turn out . . .  or the blame?)

Genes might explain differences in how we experience emotions

“Your genes may influence how sensitive you are to emotional information, according to new research by a UBC neuroscientist. The study, recently published in The Journal of Neuroscience, found that carriers of a certain genetic variation perceived positive and negative images more vividly, and had heightened activity in certain brain regions.”

“People really do see the world differently,” says lead author Rebecca Todd, a professor in UBC’s Department of Psychology. “For people with this gene variation, the emotionally relevant things in the world stand out much more.”

“The gene in question is ADRA2b, which influences the neurotransmitter norepinephrine. Previous research by Todd found that carriers of a deletion variant of this gene showed greater attention to negative words. Her latest research is the first to use brain imaging to find out how the gene affects how vividly people perceive the world around them, and the results were startling.”

"Fragile flower . . . I think WUSS may be closer to the truth . . "
“Fragile flower?  HSP? . . . I think she’s just plain melodramatic. . “

Genetic Literacy Project

 

How to Control Other People with Your Brain

“Big Brother is watching you” George Orwell wrote in his novel 1984.  In 2014 BIG BRAIN is controlling you.  WATCH THIS!!!!!!

“Greg Gage is on a mission to make brain science accessible to all. In this fun, kind of creepy demo, the neuroscientist and TED Senior Fellow uses a simple, inexpensive DIY kit to take away the free will of an audience member. It’s not a parlor trick; it actually works. You have to see it to believe it.

 

“S” is for Stroke of Insight

“One morning, a blood vessel in Jill Bolte Taylor’s brain exploded. As a brain scientist, she realized she had a ringside seat to her own stroke. She watched as her brain functions shut down one by one: motion, speech, memory, self-awareness  . . . ”

One of the best TEDTalks EVER!  VIVID, moving.

Brain researcher Jill Bolte Taylor studied her own stroke as it happened.

“How many brain scientists have been able to study the brain from the inside out? I’ve gotten as much out of this experience of losing my left mind as I have in my entire academic career.” — Jill Bolte Taylor

“Amazed to find herself alive, Taylor spent eight years recovering her ability to think, walk and talk. She has become a spokesperson for stroke recovery and for the possibility of coming back from brain injury stronger than before. In her case, although the stroke damaged the left side of her brain, her recovery unleashed a torrent of creative energy from her right. From her home base in Indiana, she now travels the country on behalf of the Harvard Brain Bank as the “Singin’ Scientist.”

 

“i” is for illusion

I live a life of  illusion (and so do you).  My illusions include being a solid mass, living on a stationary planet.

My limbs don’t shake from the millions of vibrating and rotating atoms of my body, much less the vibrating chair I’m sitting which is being held together through an  electromagnetic force.  swirl-optical-illusion-300x203

I feel no pings of pain from the stream of neutrinos from space cruising through me at 186,282 miles per second.  I’m not dizzy as I hurtle through space on a planet traveling around the sun at approximately 66,000 miles per hour.

Take a look at this video – how’s your eyesight?

“The optical illusion can highlight vision problems – people who might need glasses are often unable to pick out the fine details of Mr. Einstein’s face, and are left seeing an image of Ms. Monroe – but also points out a quirk in how the human brain processes visual information.”

“The MIT team that created “Marilyn Einstein” performed a series of experiments in which they showed participants the hybrid image for different lengths of time. When people saw the picture in just a brief flash of 30 milliseconds, they could only see Monroe – their brains simply didn’t have time to pick out the fine details of Einstein’s face, no matter what how close to or far away from the image they were. When they saw the picture for 150 milliseconds, they saw Einstein but not Monroe.”

Read the full article explaining the “Marilyn Einstein” illusion.

http://www.a-to-zchallenge.com/
http://www.a-to-zchallenge.com/

Post-Traumatic GROWTH?

Skimming my surface

tell-tale signs of suffering

The pain buried deep

My haiku was inspired by Carolyn Thomas’ Post-Traumatic Growth: how a crisis makes life better – or not.  Carolyn had a myocardial infarction – the “widowmaker” heart attack.  Since that life altering experience she has been overwhelmingly affected by the ongoing pain of coronary microvascular disease.

Mask by moi
Mask by moi

Until I read Carolyn’s excellent post I had never heard of Post Traumatic GROWTH:

“Post-Traumatic Growth is the experience of positive change that occurs as a result of the struggle with highly challenging life crises.

“Although the term is new, the idea that great good can come from great suffering is ancient.”

“Reports of Post-Traumatic Growth have been found in people who have experienced bereavement, rheumatoid arthritis, HIV infection, cancer, bone marrow transplantation, heart attacks, coping with the medical problems of children, transportation accidents, house fires, sexual assault and sexual abuse, combat, refugee experiences, and being taken hostage.” 

Read this informative and thought-provoking post and Carolyn’s concern for patients & people regarding this concept.  Click HERE

Haiku Horizons - prompt SKIM
Haiku Horizons – prompt SKIM

Mooooooooo . . . dy no more

It always “cracks me up” (figuratively speaking) when I see those signs for Chick Fil A.  NOW here’s even better news . . .  whether you are a cow OR a chicken .  Listen to this Nutrition Facts short video on improving depression and anxiety through what you eat:

eat-more-chicken

http://nutritionfacts.org/video/improving-mood-through-diet/

And for those of my blog readers who are too busy (or too depressed) to listen to the video here’s the conclusion:

 “The complete restriction of flesh foods significantly reduced mood variability in omnivores…. Our results suggest that a vegetarian diet can reduce mood variability in omnivores. Perhaps eating less meat can help protect mood in omnivores, particularly important in those susceptible to mood disorders.

 

Stop Bleeding

Long after the original dagger has been wiped clean of blood, wounds of failure, loneliness and rejection often never heal.  We learn to cover them up with smiles and long sleeves to keep them hidden from view.

Emotional wounds lie on the surface. They get bumped, scrapped and ripped opened over and over throughout our lives. We habituate to our emotional pain and don’t look for help until our body starts talking to us through physical symptoms.

Many of you who know me well know I often speak in “hyperbole”.  All of you know I’m not now exaggerating.  Watch this excellent TedTalk.

“We’ll go to the doctor when we feel flu-ish or a nagging pain. So why don’t we see a health professional when we feel emotional pain: guilt, loss, loneliness? Too many of us deal with common psychological-health issues on our own, says Guy Winch. But we don’t have to. He makes a compelling case to practice emotional hygiene — taking care of our emotions, our minds, with the same diligence we take care of our bodies.”

Highjacked

I eat all the leftovers in the refrigerator.  I make a batch of brownies from a mix and eat the batter slowly, very slowly, breathing in the chocolately aroma, feeling the slightly gritty grains of batter between my tongue and roof of my mouth.  Spoonful by spoonful the intense sweetness permeates every sense of my being.  I eat all the batter because turning on the oven is too complicated and not understanding what temperature or how long they need to bake too dangerous.

I search all the kitchen cupboards. The only thing left that is edible is a box of Saltine crackers and ketchup, necessities of life when you are a student and working your way through college.  Intently focused, I carefully break the crackers apart into their neat little squares and slowly, carefully arrange them on a plate.  It takes time to  decorate them with swirls and globs of ketchup before I carefully spread the red with the tines of a fork marveling at the artistic lines I’m creating in the ketchup.

tumblr_low7rldARv1qhr40c“Taste this – they’re delicious, like the best pizza ever.” I walk slowly, carefully balancing the plate, into the living room toward my roommate Shelly who’s sitting on our Salvation Army couch, her feet propped up on the wooden spool coffee table that once held wire cable for telephone repair and abandoned on a Berkeley street corner. 

“Taste these – just like pizza, they are delicious,” I repeat, shoving the plate into Shelley’s line of vision as she blankly stares in the direction of the orange paper-mache flower in the milk carton that decorates the wooden spool.   Mechanically, and without the enthusiasm I think warranted, she chews slowly, very slowly, silently, reflectively.  Not waiting for her response I eat the rest of the pizza crackers while carrying the plate back to the kitchen to make more.

gourmet pizza ingredients
gourmet pizza ingredients

How Marijuana Highjacks Your Brain To Give You The Munchies

by Angus Chen

“Shortly after toking up, a lot of marijuana users find that there’s one burning question on their minds: “Why am I so hungry?” Researchers have been probing different parts of the brain looking for the root cause of the marijuana munchies for years. Now, a team of neuroscientists [led by Tamas Horvath at the Yale School of Medicinereport that they have stumbled onto a major clue buried in a cluster of neurons they thought was responsible for making you feel full.”

“An effect when cannibus is introduced in the brain . . . “creates a kind of runaway hungry effect. “Even if you just had dinner and you smoke the pot, all of a sudden these neurons that told you to stop eating become the drivers of hunger,” Horvath says. It’s a bit like slamming down on the brakes and finding weed has turned it into another gas pedal.

” . . .  Last year, researchers foundthat cannabinoids lit up the brain’s olfactory center, making mice more sensitive to smells. Before that, other researchers discovered cannabinoids were increasing levels of dopamine in the brain; that’s the swoon that comes with eating tasty things.”

“For anyone who’s experienced it — you realize that’s exactly what’s happening,” he [Horvath] chuckles. “You just can’t stop, no matter how much you put in your mouth.”

. . . and I might add . . .  

You just can’t stop no matter 

WHAT you put in your mouth.

To read the entire article click here


 

 

Instant Relaxation – It’s SHOCKING!

I’m reblogging this article in its entirety because I’m too brain fogged to make a synopsis.  I can see the possibility of decorating the Thync – like with tassels, glitter, plastic flowers – you know make it stylish . . . .

Here’s hoping it’s not a “too-good-to-be-true” hype because it sounds promising.  Electrical brain stimulation has long been used clinically for conditions like Parkinson’s and depression.

__________________________

“Thync, a wearable startup that uses brain stimulation to affect a user’s mood, claims a new study proves that its device is capable of causing wearers to “instantly relax when they want'”.

“The study, published by bioRxiv, revealed a 14-minute session using Thync’s electrical waveforms caused a significant stress reduction in 97% of the participants.”

“Following several years of research and development the company found a way to target the noradrenergic systems and locus coeruleus – the parts of the brain responsible for regulating the ‘fight or flight’ response.”‘

thync-brain-wearable-electric-shock-mood

“Until now artificial regulation of this response has been achieved using drugs, chemicals or invasive procedures.”

‘”Our results show that electrical neurosignalling can significantly reduce sympathetic nervous system activity in the face of stressful conditions,” said Jamie Tyler, chief scientific officer at Thync.”

“Our brains already have the power to combat stress and achieve a calm state. We found a way to invoke these mechanisms on demand using approaches described in our recent report. For neuroscience, and for us, this is a big deal.”

“The study showed that Thync’s electrical neurosignalling saw subjects experience reduced heart-rate variability, a galvanic skin response and significantly greater levels of relaxation.”

“Participants in the study described the effects of the technology as similar to meditating or the feeling experienced after drinking modest amounts of alcohol.”

“The potential impact of our findings becomes rather evident when we study how the ability to decrease stress on demand affects people in more natural contexts – in their everyday life at home or work,” said Sumon Pal, a PhD neuroscientist and executive director at Thync.”

‘”We find that people just felt better when they can instantly relax when they want. The program only takes about 10 minutes to run, but the acute effects last from 20 minutes to an hour.”‘

“We feel this can be a game-changing approach to managing the daily stress we all experience day in and day out.”

Mood Altering Wearable Shocks the Brain and cases instant relaxation

 

DRINK UP! – A Lesson on Chronic Stress

When I was a shrinkling listening was not automatic.  Thirty years later I’m on auto-pilot listening simultaneously on multiple levels: What clients are saying, what they are not saying, how they are experiencing it, what their body is saying, how what I’m hearing is connected to feelings in the last few days, years, lifetimes;  Listening for patterns, connections, disconnections  . . .

 Logic would have me think  it was more stressful being a psychotherapist in the beginning of my career.  So why, after just sitting and listening, I’m a zombie for days afterwards?  

This explanation about chronic stress might explain some of it (I agree with everything, except for the conclusion):

2-Free-Wines-or-Wine-Glasses-300x300

‘”A young lady confidently walked around the room with a raised glass of water while leading a seminar and explaining stress management to her audience. Everyone knew she was going to ask the ultimate question, ‘Half empty or half full?’  She fooled them all. “How heavy is this glass of water?” she inquired with a smile. Answers called out ranged from 8 oz. To 20 oz.”

“She replied, “The absolute weight doesn’t matter. It depends on how long I hold it. If I hold it for a minute, that’s not a problem. If I hold it for an hour, I’ll have an ache in my right arm.”
 
“If I hold it for a day, you’ll have to call an ambulance. In each case it’s the same weight, but the longer I hold it, the heavier it becomes.”‘
 
“She continued, “and that’s the way it is with stress. If we carry our burdens all the time, sooner or later, as the burden becomes increasingly heavy, we won’t be able to carry on.”‘
 
“‘As with the glass of water, you have to put it down for a while and rest before holding it again. When we’re refreshed, we can carry on with the burden – holding stress longer and better each time practiced.  So, as early in the evening as you can, put all your burdens down. Don’t carry them through the evening and into the night. Pick them up again tomorrow if you must.”
 
P.S.  I still blame much of my zombiehood on the fibromyalgia.  After all what else is fibro good for – it never listens.
Thanks Susan!

Brain-to-brain communication has arrived.

The “stuff” of science-fiction is no longer fiction.

“You may remember neuroscientist Miguel Nicolelis — he built the brain-controlled exoskeleton that allowed a paralyzed man to kick the first ball of the 2014 World Cup. What’s he working on now? Building ways for two minds  to send messages brain to brain. Watch to the end for an experiment that, as he says, will go to “the limit of your imagination.”‘

How to Get a Leg up on Trashing Self-Doubt!

unnamed-17

As I get older

I grow less bolder

My body parts are rather dear

One leg up, one leg down

I’ll end up icing my rear, I fear

unnamed-16

Two legs down are more my style

both feet on the ground awhile

trash the skates

there’s no self doubt 

Easier to get about

Reserve the ice for drinks and such

One can never hydrate too much

unnamed-15

And when my legs both give out

I could switch to four to get about

Don’t put me out to pasture yet

Am I still in the race?  You bet!

Here’s to retirement! I’ll drink to that . . .

As retirement looms I’m finding inspiration everywhere.

unnamed-14Yes, my body knows what to do

it doesn’t want to be black and blue

My mind should upend

unnatural ways to bend

unnamed-19So keep me on my feet

a beverage can’t be beat

Who would’a thunk

I could turn into a drunk

 

 

How to shed 160 pounds a year . . . or less

Moderation is NOT my middle name. October did me in I started celebrating Halloween early and haven’t stopped.  Am I trying to hoist myself back on to my sugar shun track?  Yup.  Listen to this!  Astounding!

Thanks Ida for tuning me into Nutrition Facts

Here’s my original post that helped me eliminate refined sugar for an entire month – 8 Steps to Kick Sugar Cravings to the Curb – Ouch!

 

What Happens When Your Brain Doesn’t Sleep?

I think my brain is suffering:  Impaired Wit, Cerebral shrinkage, Eating binges, Hallucinations, Risky decisions, Anger, Lost memories, False memories, Head-in-the-clouds, slurred speech are some of the impacts from diminished or non-restorative sleep.

However, I won’t tell you which of those my brain is suffering from.  You’ll have to read my blog posts to figure it out.

I can’t read this chart.  The print is too small so click here for a larger image: What Sleep Deprivation Does to Your Brain.

How sleep impacts the brain
How sleep impacts the brain

I wonder if diminished sleep and diminished eyesight are related . . . .

EXCELLENT presentation on Brain research & Chronic Pain conditions – Stanford University

If you have a brain in your head WATCH this!   Important information for everyone, whether or not you or anyone you know has a chronic pain condition (including – MCS, irritable Bowell, TMJ, Interstitial Cystitis, Back pain etc.).  It’s well worth your time.

Although the focus is fibromyalgia Sean Mackey, M.D., Ph.D explains how the emotions, the workings of the brain impact our physical well-being.

His presentation is 51 minutes long and then takes questions and answers.

Rosemary Lee, Seeking Equilibrium posted this on her excellent blog Seeking Equilibrium.  Rosemary keeps up with the latest research and I highly recommend her blog

The Perfect “Body” by Victoria’s Secret – What is “perfection” anyway?

When it comes to women’s bodies I strongly suspect that “perfection” is really in the eye of the beholder and not the eye of the possessor! _78846586_body Three British students took issue with Victoria’s Secret The Perfect Body ad campaign, resulting in the online advert being retracted, but no apology from the lingerie giant.

“According to the campaigners, the advert failed “to celebrate the amazing diversity of women’s bodies by choosing to call only one body type ‘perfect’.” They asked for the ad’s message to be changed, and for an apology from the company. As of Friday afternoon, the petition had attracted more than 29,000 signatures. US underwear company Dear Kate responded in turn, posting their own version of The Perfect Body, showcasing a variety of body types.” Here’s the full articleVictoria’s Secret Changes Course on ‘Perfect Body’ Ads

Take a look, if you haven’t already, at the video on What body part would you change?

If you could change one thing about your body . . . ?

“. . .  it is so easy to feel insecure about our appearance. Whether it is because of the mean comment that comes our way or the photoshopped image we see in magazines, it can be so easy to feel self-conscious about our body. When was the last time you felt comfortable in your own skin?”

“We are so excited to share with you our newest 50 people 1 question short – Comfortable. We hope that this video will inspire you to be more comfortable and confident in yourself. Beauty is not about what you don’t have, but about being comfortable in your own skin.   

Jubilee Project

 

I am thankful for
Not having been given the freedom
To choose my face, God,
I would have been
Tempted to copy that too
Or picked up
Pieces from the best looks
Here and there…

by Ramesh Sood

A Little More than Ordinary 

Am I dying . . . ? His honest answer

As I near my 70th year I am more than ever aware of what a blip in eternity my time is on this earth.

The 3 areas that the people who were dying shared with Mathew O’Reilly gave me pause for thought about what is important . . . and what isn’t.

  • Forgiveness – reflecting on their regrets
  • Remembrance – wanting a lasting connection with others
  • Meaning – having wasted life on meaningless tasks.

It’s very short video and worth a few minutes of your life.

“Matthew O’Reilly is a veteran emergency medical technician on Long Island, New York. In this talk, O’Reilly describes what happens next when a gravely hurt patient asks him: “Am I going to die?” — and the personal choice he made to tell the truth.”

 

Only watch this if you sleep. On second thought – watch this if you DON’T sleep

Did you know your brain creates waste all day and gets rid of waste all night? Not enough sleep may be a key to Alzheimer’s disease research.

“The brain uses a quarter of the body’s entire energy supply, yet only accounts for about two percent of the body’s mass. So how does this unique organ receive and, perhaps more importantly, rid itself of vital nutrients? New research suggests it has to do with sleep.”

 

I Dare You to Listen like a 7 Year Old

Even if your ears are past the age of 7 take a few minutes to listen with your heart – to the message . . .  and the music.

Pianist Daria van den Bercken in this talk, she plays us through the emotional roller coaster of Handel’s music — while sailing with her piano through the air, driving it down the street, and of course playing on the stage.

_______________________________

Music is a moral law. It gives soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, and charm and gaiety to life and to everything.  Plato

We, verily, have made music as a ladder for your souls, a means whereby they may be lifted up unto the realm on high…”  The Baha’i World Faith

Music is the shorthand of emotion. Leo Tolstoy

Psalms 95:1 – O come, let us sing unto the LORD: let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation.


If you don’t watch this you are stooooopid

Yes, I’m name calling to get your attention.  Watch this TO THE END!

Social psychologist Amy Cuddy shows how “power posing” — standing in a posture of confidence, even when we don’t feel confident — can affect testosterone and cortisol levels in the brain. . . .”

ERIN, THANK YOU for telling me about this!!!

 

Spice up your memory

I drink a concoction of spices which is quite good that I first saw on Dr Oz.  Dr Sanjay Gupta drinks this every evening for calming.  Now that there is more in the news about the cognitive benefits of turmeric on Alzheimer patients and the anti-inflamatory effects of ginger and cinnamon I thought I’d share.

1 cup almond milk – either vanilla or chocolate

1/2 tsp turmeric

1 tsp cinnamon

1/4 tsp ginger

1 tsp honey to drizzle over top

Heat the almond milk in microwave. Stir in spices.  Drizzle honey on top. (You can add a packet of Stevia to the mix if you like your drinks sweet)  I like the dark chocolate almond milk and don’t add honey or stevia.

I buy bulk turmeric, cinnamon and ginger in the market and mix up a batch to have on hand.   I add  1-3/4 tsp of mixed spices to one cup of almond milk.

Thanks Ida for tuning me into  Michael Greger M.D. and NutritionFacts.org.  Great information!

Sleep deprivation, late life eroticism, memory loss, wrinkles? – Bring it on!

James Hillman explains why he believes that a person’s true character only emerges in old age. 

(only 11 1/2 minutes – LISTEN!)

*Jungian psychologist James Hillman is the author of “The Force of Character and The Lasting Life”.

Thanks Laurie F.  Hibernationnow for this grrrrrrrrrrrrrreat interview!