The early bird
“gets” the worm.
On my fourth zoom meeting I kept my video off. It was strangely calming not to have others see where I was looking or looking at me.
No matter how many times I’ve written about the level of fatigue I feel it still seems unbelievable, inconceivable that such a thing could exist. But it’s real. I have Post Exertional Malaise – Malaise being a fancy French word for what I experience as exhaustion. It’s a symptom that some people experience with fibromyalgia/chronic fatigue. Without going into the theories of what causes it – any energy expenditure – physical, mental, emotional, including intense focus – exhausts me, often for days.
Zoom meetings are now added to the list of what exhausts me. Distractions, during in-person conversations which are relegated to background, swirl around in the foreground of my brain: The small audio delay contributes to people talking over each other or weird silences, visual cues are distorted or magnified, people fiddling with controls, some sitting too close, some too far from cameras, background noise . . . exhaust me but I thought too weird to admit to anyone. judy
What’s ‘Zoom fatigue’? Here’s why video calls can be so exhausting
by Ryan W. Miller
“As social distancing remains in effect across the country during the coronavirus pandemic, people are moving from one video call to another. But there may be an unintended effect, mental health and communications experts warn: “Zoom fatigue,” or the feeling of tiredness, anxiousness or worry with yet another video call.”
Why are we all experiencing ‘Zoom fatigue’?
“From having to focus on 15 people at once in gallery view or worrying about how you appear as you speak, a number of things may cause someone to feel anxious or worried on a video call. Any of these factors require more focus and mental energy than a face-to-face meeting might”, said Vaile Wright, the American Psychological Association’s director of clinical research and quality.
“It’s this pressure to really be on and be responsive,” she said.
According to Jeremy Bailenson, the founding director of Stanford’s Virtual Human Interaction Lab, the platforms naturally put us in a position that is unnatural. A combination of having prolonged eye contact and having someone’s enlarged face extremely close to you forces certain subconscious responses in humans.
“Our brains have evolved to have a very intense reaction when you have a close face to you,” he said.
During normal, in-person conversations, “eye contact moves in a very intricate dance, and we’re very good at it,” Bailenson said. When one person looks one way, another changes where they look. A small eyebrow raise from someone at one end of the room can trigger a glance between two people on the other. But typically, we don’t stare into our colleagues’ eyes, up close on a computer screen, for an hour at a time.
So much of human communication is through these nonverbal cues that can be either lost or distorted in a video conference.
“In a way, we’re closer but we’re still communicating through this weird filter, so it gets tiring to get to the real stuff through this filter,” Degges-White said.
For video calls with old friends or virtual family reunions, the forced structure can create different challenges.
“A lot of us are thinking I want social stuff to be fun and having to be locked in front of this computer … it’s just not how I want to be spending my time,” Bailenson said.
Degges-White described it creating a structure to conversation like email. One person speaks and everyone takes their turn and waits to reply.
“That’s not normally the way we do social interactions,” she said. “It’s not that easy give and take.” Side conversations are lost. Some people who are naturally reserved may never get a word in. Others may get distracted by people in their house.
The context of this happening during the coronavirus pandemic can’t be lost either, Wright said. We’re worried about loved ones but apart from them physically.
How do you combat the ‘Zoom fatigue’?
Many people think I’m extroverted, simply because I am genuinely interested in people and am comfortable in social situations. However, self-isolation is a relief because I’m an introvert – I recharge my “batteries” in private.
Simplistically, extroverts recharge in the company of others.
if you’re someone, like my husband, who is an extrovert and thrives on social connection, isolation is particularly difficult. He has spent an inordinate amount of time on phone calls – needing to hear other people’s voices – and calls out greetings to neighbors from across the street.
Note: My experiences and suggestions are EXAGGERATED because of my fibromyalgia/ME, Chronic Fatigue I’m physically depleted to begin with and overly sensitive to social interactions of the “normal kind” which drain me to the point of exhaustion. Many people who are introverted and/or have life-altering medical conditions cope a bit differently than those who are extroverted and better thrive on personal and community connections.
Zoom meetings can be overwhelming: Too many people, too much to track, people talking over each other or too long silences. During the last Zoom meeting I stopped my video so no one could see me. It helped me not be concerned how I was visually responding, even if it might have bugged others. I excused myself and logged off before the meeting was over when I noticed my attention & physical energy was flagging.
Phone conversation have long been exhausting to me and I’m relieved when the phone doesn’t ring. E-mail is my chosen means of communication because there is a one-way conversation – no need to think on my feet, and can time my responses for when I have energy and focus.
Exercise is a solitary experience. I walk Freddie, our dog, late at night, when no one is out and there’s no demand to interact with neighbors. Freddie likes being able to sniff at his leisure and not have to patiently wait for human conversations to stop to resume his exploration.
Luckily, we introverts are no longer labeled as anti-social. Research by social scientists have found that while some people can’t get enough of spending time with large social groups, others find the experience more of a mixed bag: usually gratifying, but ultimately draining.
If you have a friend or relative who’s introverted:
My caveat: There are people, all over the world, who would give anything to be able to be with the people they love – people hospitalized, others unable to hold new born grandchildren, isolated from parents, fearful of infecting others. Loneliness is also an epidemic. We all want to make sure our friends and loved ones are physically or emotionally OK. Embracing community in a times of hardship is one of the best and most universal qualities of humanity. Some introverts are my best friends. I am, grateful for them and my introverted life.
Every morning I say Baha’i prayers which include family, friends, those who have passed. I know there is war, violence, inhumane actions in all parts this world – on personal levels, small scales and large. The current escalation between the United States and Iran, however, triggered the anxiety I felt as a child during the cold war between The USA and Russia. (jw)
Several months ago I began including this prayer:
You can change it in any way that fits your own thoughts, feelings and country. The full prayer is on The HeART of Spirituality where is also a selection of Christian, Jewish, Native American, Hindu, Jainist, Native American, Muslim, Sufi, Zoroastrian etc. prayers
My 5 simple rules EVERYONE should follow for Peece on Earth
and Goodwill toward Man
Freddie Parker Westerfield, CDT RET
Wishing you a life of treats, back rubs and bowls of plenty.
Freddie Parker Westerfield, Canine Dog Therapist, RET.
I always smile when people tell me they want to figure out how to live in the present moment. My response is – it’s impossible not to live in the present moment, the present is all there is . . . this very nano-second in time.
I’m simultaneously blessed and cursed. I remember very little of my past (including yesterday) and have difficulty thinking about the future. I have to concentrate to plan ahead, only have goals if they have been imposed and my sense of time is . . . if it weren’t for the sun or the clock I’d have no sense of time . . .
My brain doesn’t “think” whole thoughts but rather gathers impressions, patterns, concepts. When whole thoughts, words, come out of my mouth (or the computer keyboard) it’s the first time I’ve heard them.
It’s not that I practice living in the present moment . . . it’s simply how my brain is hard-wired. If your brain is similarly hard-wired you know exactly what I’m talking about. If your brain is wired differently you may be goal-oriented, remember details about your childhood, even be prone to anxiety and stymied about what I’m trying to describe.
It’s our THINKING that focuses on the past or the future. The measure of our peace of MIND is determined by how much we are able to focus our thinking in the present.
That’s largely why meditation, reading, sewing, exercise, painting . . . doing anything that captures your attention as you experience it creates the “flow” where past and future are not in your thoughts.
Every time we think “should have”, “could have”, or “would have” we are THINKING about past experience. Every time we become anxious or fearful we are THINKING about a future, which may or may not happen.
Maybe your reaction is . . . that doesn’t make sense, for someone who spent decades as a psychotherapist analyzing, dissecting, bisecting life’s experiences, expectations and beliefs.
Because we are a composite of all our past choices and experiences, thinking, reflecting on the past is important IF our focus is to learn and grow. Reflection about our past or future, without learning, is not usually helpful when we stay stuck in “shoulds”, “coulds”, “woulds” or “what if’s”.
Irrespective of what happened yesterday or last year and what may or may not happen tomorrow, the present moment is all you have, however, your brain is wired.
Read the entire article, click HERE
Pointillism is a technique of painting in which small, distinct dots of color are applied in patterns to form an image.
Pointillism used the science of optics to create colors from many small dots placed so close to each other that they would blur into an image to the eye. This is the same way computer screens work today. The pixels in the computer screen are just like the dots in a Pointillist painting.
The Fate of young ladies who “demurred”
with Bill Gates, Jeff Bezos or Mark Zuckerberg
In my opinion, one of the most “damaging” things we can tell our children, or ourselves for that matter, is that if we set our mind to it and have the perseverance we can do anything, accomplish anything, be anything. WRONG.
No matter how much I may want to be a nuclear physicist my brain simply will not grasp the finer, much less coarser, points of physics or math. No matter how much I might want to be a sumo wrestler, my body, dexterity and athletic ability forbids it.
So if I were going to talk to The Cat in the Hat I would tell him to change what he preaches to:
Anyone who has ever had a pet or watched wild critters knows animals are inspirational (I’m told there are even people who find reptiles, insects and other vermin fascinating – myself . . . I prefer mammals . . . but who’s to say . . .).
I’ve had a horse, Misty, dogs and cats. My last kitty Maui, long after his passing, has been particularly inspirational:
To read Maui’s story click here
Maui was part Siamese and lived up to the breed’s reputation of being intelligent, playful, social and quite mischievous.
When Maui was 11 years old, he had a blocked ureter. The treating vet told me Maui would not live. I brought him home and helplessly watched Maui do nothing but lay on the floor with his chin on his favorite water bowl. He didn’t eat for days and his back legs were weak.
One day Maui couldn’t move his back legs at all. The vet had neglected to tell me that cats not eating for 3 days or more can lead to heart problems which can result in a clot that blocks the femoral artery. The blockage causes the back legs to not function. A permanent condition.
Hope against hope, I took Maui home and helplessly watched him drag around with his two front legs. It took him one human year or 7 cat years to rewire his brain and regain use of his back legs.
Be profligate to propagate
Go decorate and waste,
Entice, delight and entertain
With zeal, make your case.
Sing, laugh and dance
The night away, in joy of lushness share
Exuberant displays the way
To win creations ware.
And cost is good
Revealing all for everyone to see
A fitness such to leave
you well, with excess energy.
“This is what a group of researchers from the University of Kansas found after taking a close look at some extinct as well as living species . . . analyzing the physiology and evolution of as many as 299 species of aquatic mollusks — including present-day snails and slugs — over last five million years.”
“They delved into the occurrences and extinction of different species over the said period as well as their respective metabolic rates or the amount of energy each of the creature in question needed for survival.”
“Much to everyone’s surprise, the findings of the work revealed that metabolic rates make a reliable factor for predicting the likelihood of extinction of a certain animal species or community of species.”
“We found a difference for mollusk species that have gone extinct over the past 5 million years and ones that are still around today. Those that have gone extinct tend to have higher metabolic rates than those that are still living . . . those that have lower energy maintenance requirements seem more likely to survive than those organisms with higher metabolic rates.”*
*Luke Strotz, lead author of the study
**co-author Bruce Lieberman
“No new research was issued Thursday. Instead, the National Toxicology Program dialed up its concerns about a link to heart and brain cancer from a study of male rats that was made public last winter.”
THE ORIGINAL STUDY
“In a $30 million study, scientists put rats and mice into special chambers and bombarded them with radiofrequency waves, like those emitted by older 2G and 3G phones, for nine hours a day for up to two years, most of their natural lives.”
“The levels the rodents experienced were far higher than people are typically exposed to.”
“Last February, the National Toxicology Program said there was a small increase in an unusual type of heart tumor in male rats, but not in mice or female rats. The agency concluded there was “some evidence” of a link. Also, the February report cited “equivocal evidence” of brain tumors in the male rats.”
“Thursday, the agency upgraded its description of those findings. The heart tumor increase marked “clear evidence” of cancer in male rats, it announced. There is “some evidence” of brain cancer.”
“The change came after the agency asked outside experts to analyze the findings.”
“We believe that the link between radio frequency radiation and tumors in male rats is real, and the external experts agreed,” said John Bucher, the toxicology agency’s senior scientist.”
“While his agency said the risks to rats don’t directly apply to people, the study raises safety questions.”
“The FDA immediately disagreed, firing off a press release assuring Americans that “decades of research and hundreds of studies” has made the health agency confident that the current safety limits for cellphone radiation protect the public health.”
“Plus, FDA pointed out confusing findings from the rodent study — such as that the radiated rats lived longer than comparison rats that weren’t exposed to the rays. The toxicology agency said it appeared that the radio-frequency energy helped older rats’ kidneys.”
I told a psychiatrist friend about my memory “affliction”thinking he would suggest decades of psycho-analysis at best and in-patient treatment at worst. He looked passively at me and without the slightest hesitation said, “All that indicates is your childhood was boring.”
This is one of my aha moments that I DO remember and spurred me to investigate the neuro-biology of emotion. What does that have to do with hang-over? Read on!
You already know without a doubt that most of your memories are ones that were highly emotional experiences.
“Emotional experiences can induce physiological and internal brain states that persist for long periods of time after the emotional events have ended, a team of New York University scientists has found. This study, which appears in the journal Nature Neuroscience,also shows that this emotional “hangover” influences how we attend to and remember future experiences.”
“How we remember events is not just a consequence of the external world we experience, but is also strongly influenced by our internal states–and these internal states can persist and color future experiences,”explains Lila Davachi, an associate professor in NYU’s Department of Psychology and Center for Neural Science and senior author of the study.”
“‘Emotion’ is a state of mind, . . . findings make clear that our cognition is highly influenced by preceding experiences and, specifically, that emotional brain states can persist for long periods of time.”’
“We see that memory for non-emotional experiences is better if they are encountered after an emotional event,” observes Davachi.
Carl Sagan (1934-1996)
The majority of neutrinos in the vicinity of the Earth are from nuclear reactions in the Sun. The solar neutrino flux for us on Earth is about 65 billion neutrinos, passing through just one square centimeter of area on earth, every second. That’s a lot of neutrinos and we are not able to see them, sense them nor understand them.
I was a psychotherapist in private practice for 30 years. Not only did people share their fears and sorrows but unexplainable encounters with spirits, near death experiences and life altering experiences with the divine. I admit I was sometimes skeptical. Over time it became impossible, to dismiss what intelligent, discerning people shared.
. . . and I circled back to my study of faith and my belief we live a domino life where when one falls we all fall, where one succeeds we all succeed. I discovered two faiths I’d not originally studied – Unitarian Universalism and Baha’i. They not only complemented each other but each offered something a bit different.
Baha’is believe in and share all the UU principles:
. . . and most importantly the 7th UU principle –
The Baha’i World Faith brought me full circle back to childhood and to God but it wasn’t the God of fear but of love.
Through decades of trials and tribulations I realize the magical thinking in my childhood, that the world revolved around me, wasn’t quite accurate . . . however,
I’m attending a sermon writing workshop led by Kent Doss, the reverend at Tapestry Unitarian Universalist Congregation – not because I plan to deliver sermons but because I’m fascinated how ministers, rabbi’s, priests and preachers write and deliver something inspiring enough to capture the imagination and stir humans to transformative right action. week after week after week which seems a daunting undertaking.
Neil deGrasse Tyson, an astrophysicist, says it best . . .
Not only are we synchronizing our heads and hearts, one with another, (Part II) we are interconnected with the Universe. All is from the same matter.
Next time you’re out gazing at the stars, (all 5 stars we can actually see in a city) twinkling in the night sky, you are looking at the energy released by nuclear fusion reactions at their cores.
When a massive star explodes at the end of its life, the resulting high energy enables the creation of oxygen, carbon, iron, nickel, and all the other elements – the building blocks which make up the world around us and in us.
There is so much we are not able to perceive through our senses: The Earth’s electromagnetic fields that guide animals engaged in long-distance migrations, sea turtles and Monarch butterflies, birds, use Earth’s magnetic field as a navigational system; smells which compel my dog Freddie to lift his leg; dreams that portend the future.
I admit I don’t understand science.
How do liver cells know how to make more liver cells and new heart cells know how to take up the beat? We’re not fixed at all. We’re more like a pattern or a process, a transient body, cells continually dying and rebuilding all the time, and a continual flow of energy and matter being created . . . without my awareness . . .
Everything around us does this. Nature is not outside us. We are nature.
As you read on my last Mini-Sermon post – I didn’t pray again for 50 years*. During those decades I studied or was exposed to the tenants of many faiths and beliefs: Buddhist, Greek Orthodox, Seventh Day Adventist, Catholic, Jewish, Lutheran, Baptist and even atheist.
I discovered two things: First, the bedrock of all religions is love, compassion, unity and the interconnectedness of all beings. Second, no matter what belief I studied something was amiss to me. It just didn’t make sense (if belief could ever make rational sense) how each could claim to be the only truth, the true spiritual path.
So scientific research became my focus and bolstered my belief in the interconnectedness of all humans (and animals). With newer and newer technology the science continues to be even more fascinating and compelling. Here’s just a small sample**:
There is more research but just these four areas alone reinforce my belief in the interconnectedness of all beings. Next . . . our inter-glactic connection on Mini Sermon, Part III.
I attended a sermon writing workshop led by Kent Doss, the reverend at Tapestry Unitarian Universalist Congregation – not because I plan to deliver sermons but because I’m fascinated how ministers, rabbi’s, priests and preachers write and deliver something inspiring enough to capture the imagination and stir humans to transformative right action. week after week after week which seems a daunting undertaking.
Our first workshop assignment was to brainstorm topics. Probably because I spent a large part of my life as a psychotherapist, steeped in life and death matters, I thought up dozens of topics. Thinking is one thing, writing another . . . and sermonizing? . . .
My topic choice was “selected” by two of the participants (who shall remain nameless in case my topic is a bust) as the one that interested them most. Not sure about the title yet but the theme is the interconnectedness of all beings.
Here’s the first 5 minutes:
“This limitless universe is like the human body, all the members of which are connected and linked with one another with the greatest strength . . . “ –(‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Some Answered Questions, pp. 245–246)
Sounds lofty but I’ve believed that since childhood. Don’t know where my belief came from – it wasn’t from any religious leader because I didn’t have any. Even as a child I had the notion – I hesitate to call it a knowing – that we are all connected. . . that we live a domino life where when one falls we all fall, where one succeeds we all succeed.
My belief probably originated in my own magical thinking.
I was in grade school during the height of the threat of nuclear destruction, the cold war between the United States and Russia. In 1950 the U.S. began the construction of the hydrogen bomb. Nuclear destruction wasn’t an abstract idea in my 6-year-old mind because I had seen newsreels at the movie theatre – (the days of black and white newsreels, two cartoons and a double feature for 50 cents) – newsreels with pictures of hydrogen bomb tests and people digging bomb shelters.
During the school day I believed the drop-and-cover drills we regularly practiced would protect me . (How adults thought that going into a school cloak-room because there were no windows and covering our heads with our arms would protect us from nuclear attack boggles my mind today.)
At night, in bed, in the dark I lay awake trying to decide where I could go in our tiny 2-bedroom house when we were bombed and I wasn’t at school. There was no safe place, all the rooms had windows. In our backyard there was an old, deep, dark cellar dung into the ground and covered by huge, heavy wooden doors. Too heavy for me to open. The concrete steps were really steep and led into a pitch-black hole. It smelled and I knew that there were spiders and maybe even snakes inside. The cellar was even more scary than the bomb.
The more I thought about being killed by a bomb, the more terrified I became.
I knew nothing about prayer, not to mention God, but one night, having exhausted all the possibilities of safe places, I silently prayed. Silently, so no one would hear me, I prayed for world peace. The next night I prayed for world peace and my mother and father being safe. Another night I added my younger brother. I didn’t particularly care for him but I was as scared of my parents’ thinking I was a bad sister as I was of the bomb and the cellar. Night after night I silently prayed, each night adding another relative. Newly added was my fear it would be my fault if anyone was killed by the bomb because I didn’t pray for them. It was my secret ritual and the only way I could stop thinking about that cellar. One night I was over-whelmed with the responsibility of remembering to include everyone I knew . . . . and I stopped praying . . . I stopped praying for almost sixty years.
I do not like being an old lady. There’s not much I can do about it but I don’t like it. I don’t like it! I do NOT like it! If there was someone watching right now I would lay down on the floor, pummel my legs up and down and scream out obscenities which I’m too embarrassed to write down proving I’m an old lady because I was taught that ladies, no matter their age, don’t swear. Even now, when I can’t be sent to my room, I hesitate to say “hell” or “shit” much less utter worse. The problem is I don’t even know what current swear words are. (There’s even a bigger problem if I lay down on the floor. With no one here to watch I might not be able to get back up without help.)
Why would I want wrinkles? . . . to prove I’m as wise as I have ostensibly become? Phony baloney, I’v never seen a wrinkled owl. Rather than look wise it’s easier to look down my elongating nose at people who have plastic surgery, botox or collagen treatments. If I weren’t scared of pain and had the money I’d get rid of my wrinkles. Instead, I’m doomed to cultivating a self-righteous attitude about my aging, sagging, bagging body and pretend to embrace how old I am.
I’ve tried political correctness – how wonderful it is to be wise, to have accumulated all this worldly experience and be on social security . . . I’ve tried to embrace aging, smile when people ask me what I do and act like it’s wonderful to have no career, no purpose, no energy. I’ve tried wrinkle creams that promise me youth. I’ve tried laughing at the “old age” cartoons that appear in my in-box and sting in their truths.
I’ve even considered moving to another country where old age is supposedly venerated. But I’m too tired to pack so I live in these here United States where I’m wise enough to know it’s the youth who say it like it is and have the energy to make this world a better place.
A Cautionary Tale
“Not all cats are affected by catnip. According to Cat Behavior Associates, the “catnip response” is hereditary, and one-third of all cats lack the gene that enables them to feel the high. Even a cat who does have the gene won’t be affected by catnip until they’re at least six months old.”
Freddie Parker Westerfield, B.E.
The study, which was published in the science journal Cell, found that temporarily shutting down chronic pain is part of animals’ survival behaviors when searching for food.
According to a press release, approximately 300 neurons are capable of shifting the brain’s focus to hunger, thus eclipsing the effect of chronic pain.
The Penn team also discovered that the neurotransmitter NPY is primarily responsible for selectively suppressing pain responses. This research could potentially be applied in humans to ameliorate chronic pain after injuries and serve as an alternative to opioid medications.
My Dad lived by specific culinary principles:
If he had known that June 17 was National Eat Your Vegetables Day he would have celebrated with a loaf of french bread & butter downed it with a Pepsi and a cinnamon roll for desert.
Each vegetable has its own nutritional content though generally, they contain a little protein or fat and varying proportions of :
When eating a diet consisting of the recommended amounts of fruits and vegetables, it may help
It is recommended by the USDA Dietary Guidelines for Americans, to consume 3 to 5 servings of vegetables per day. This recommendation may vary, however, depending on age and gender. For most vegetables, one serving is equivalent of 1/2 to 1 cup and can be eaten either raw or cooked.
In my hope
Bahá’ís are encouraged to see in the revolutionary changes taking place in every sphere of life the interaction of two fundamental processes. One is destructive in nature, while the other is integrative; both serve to carry humanity, each in its own way, along the path leading towards its full maturity. The operation of the former is everywhere apparent–in the vicissitudes that have afflicted time-honoured institutions, in the impotence of leaders at all levels to mend the fractures appearing in the structure of society, in the dismantling of social norms that have long-held in check unseemly passions, and in the despondency and indifference exhibited not only by individuals but also by entire societies that have lost any vital sense of purpose.
Though devastating in their effects, the forces of disintegration tend to sweep away barriers that block humanity’s progress, opening space for the process of integration to draw diverse groups together and disclosing new opportunities for cooperation and collaboration. Bahá’ís, of course, strive to align themselves, individually and collectively, with forces associated with the process of integration, which, they are confident, will continue to gain in strength, no matter how bleak the immediate horizons. Human affairs will be utterly reorganized, and an era of universal peace inaugurated.
(Universal House of Justice, To the Bahá’ís of Iran, 2 March 2013)
“A team of researchers from UCLA and the University of Adelaide studied 35 non-demented adults who were from 45 to 75 years old. They gave each study participant the International Physical Activity Questionnaire to determine how many hours on average they spent sitting and how much physical activity they got each day. Each study participant also underwent a high-resolution MRI scans of his or her brain.”
A study with only 35 people has many limitations and does not prove that sitting will make part of your brain thinner. “Maybe in this study, the people who were more likely to sit more each day also were more likely to be less active socially, have less stimulating jobs, or have other circumstances that could be affecting their brains. Alternatively, could thinning medial temporal lobes somehow be affecting their behaviors so that they sat more? More studies are needed to figure out what is actually happening.”
“Nonetheless, this study does add to the concern that “sitting is the new smoking”, which by the way nothing to do with “cigarette butts.” Other studies have associated regularly sitting for lengthy periods of time with increased risks of obesity, diabetes, muscle and back problems, cancer, and other health problems.”
Now I’m learning that the brain centers largely responsible for remembering are connected to the creativity centers.
“We have a lot of knowledge about what happens when we are in a constant state of fight-or-flight. And those examples come from syndromes like PTSD, experiencing terrible situations for a long period of time. Here we come to a concept of brain plasticity, which basically means that what you’re experiencing can change your brain. It can make your brain grow so that it’s nice and fluffy and strong or it can shrink it down.”
“PTSD, high stress, can shrink the size of your temporal lobe and increase the size of the amygdala structure that is processing fear information. It also shrinks the size of a key brain area that I’ve studied for the last 25 years called the hippocampus, which is critical for long-term memory.”
“The hippocampus has been more recently implicated in creativity and imagination. Because what imagination is, is taking those things you have in your memory and putting them together in a new way. So just in the way that the hippocampus allows us to think about the past and memory, it also allows us to imagine the future. Long-term stress is literally killing the cells in your hippocampus that contribute to the deterioration of your memory. But it’s also zapping your creativity.”
In 1995 I contracted an invisible “illness”. Out of nowhere I experienced excruciating burning pain in my hands, arms and legs followed by years of gastrointestinal, cardiological, dermatological and emotional symptoms. At the onset I was also in peri-menopause and experiencing mood swings, wildly, uncontrollably ric-o-shaying swings between happy to annoyed – which I’m minimizing for public consumption.
Back then fibromyalgia was not recognized by the medical community as a “real” ailment. Doctors considered it to be a syndrome: Unexplainable, unverifiable and psychosomatic. It was a Hysterical Middle Aged Woman’s Syndrome, as doctor after doctor told me. based on test, after expensive test coming back negative. I was told nothing was wrong with me and to go home and “Get a life”.
Forever imprinted in my memory is an appointment with the chief of neurology at one of Los Angeles’ major medical schools (the doctor and medical center shall remain nameless because this is a true story) He reviewed the test findings, looked at me knowingly – as if we shared a secret – and said, “You’re a psychotherapist. You know about psychological issues”. He leaned forward, compassionately touching me on the knee and winked, “Go home, live a good life and take up a hobby like kick-boxing.” The only reason I winked back was to blink away the tears that were threatening to disrupt the façade that I wasn’t a hysterical middle-aged woman.
I searched for anyone – gynecologists, gastroenterologists, cardiologists, neurologists, rheumatologists, environmental specialists, acupuncturists, immunologists, chiropractors – to name to what I had, to give what was invisible to everyone but myself a label other than HYPOCHONDRIAC. I looked fine, acted fine, and thousands of dollars of medical tests came back negative. All I took away from the 100’s of doctor’s visits was a stack of psychiatrist’s cards doctors handed to me on the way out of their office.
Check out Carolyn Thomas’ My Heart Sisters –“You look great!” – and other things you should never say to heart patients and lots of other great posts about invisible illness.
May 12th was chosen as it is the birthday of Florence Nightingale. She was believed to have suffered from ME/CFS.
Carmine is a very stable and reliable natural food dye that can be used to create a wide range of colours – pinks, oranges, purples, as well as reds.
Click here to read the entire article: http://www.bbc.com/news/business-43786055
Need to catch up? Here’s what happened to me:
Non-stop writing, stream of consciousness, free writing . . . it doesn’t matter what you call it – it can change your brain, change your day, change your relationships, change your life.
I’m not being overly dramatic as there is a body of research which shows that simply putting pen to paper changes your brain.
It can be anything in the past, the present or the future.
In 1982 the Dance Committee of ITI founded International Dance Day to be celebrated every year on the 29th April, the birthday of Jean-Georges Noverre (1727-1810), creator of modern ballet. The intention of the International Dance Day Message is to celebrate dance, revel in the universality of this art form, cross all political, cultural and ethnic barriers, and bring people together with a common language – dance.