Pawsitively Tuesday – watch your step

It’s better to walk alone

than in a crowd going in the wrong direction

even when it’s very difficult to find the path.

Thanks to Sharon Bonin-Pratt, Ink Flare for adding this last line.

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What hallucination reveals about our minds

In the last weeks of my father’s life he told me about a man who would come into his house at night and lay down in the bed next to him.  Frightened, he would call the authorities.  

It was the first of many hallucinations, some benign, many terrifying, he experienced before he passed.  I learned it was futile to try to convince him that what he saw hadn’t been real.  I wish I had heard this TedTalk to help me better understand what was happening.

Oliver Sacks has passed but his experiences, wisdom and compassion remains with us in his talks and books.  You might know about him from Robin Williams portrayal in the Movie Awakenings.  Take a look and listen to Dr. Sacks’ TedTalk:

“Neurologist and author Oliver Sacks brings our attention to Charles Bonnet syndrome — when visually impaired people experience lucid hallucinations. He describes the experiences of his patients in heartwarming detail and walks us through the biology of this under-reported phenomenon.”

 jw

Do you think you are open-minded? Take this quiz

First of all,” he said, “if you can learn a simple trick, Scout, you’ll get along a lot better with all kinds of folks. You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view … until you climb into his skin and walk around in it. 

– Atticus Finch, To Kill a Mockingbird.

As therapists we walked a fine line between trying to understand and sympathize with clients’ points of view while not taking on their pain.  It taught us to be open-minded.

When I took this short quiz I realized that open-minded is not just defined by “understanding” but can also be about taking action on behalf of others.

 

Here’s the quiz to find out where you stand. Score each answer using a 3 for “often,” a 2 for “sometimes,” or a 1 for “rarely.” Add them up and see where you rank.

  1. I like trying new things, such as foods, restaurants, music, and activities.
  2. I like traveling to places I have never been.
  3. I’m comfortable meeting new people.
  4. If my parent/child wanted to marry someone outside of our race I would be supportive
  5. I’m respectful of people of different cultures, genders, races, sexual orientation and religions.
  6. I’m comfortable if I am the only person of my race in a large gathering.
  7. If someone is being bullied, I speak up for them
  8. I  listen patiently to another’s viewpoint, even when I disagree
  9. When I hear gossip, I get the facts and make up my own mind before making a decision
  10. When I hear racist comments, or see racial injustice, I speak up
  11. I treat everyone with equal respect
  12. I learn about world events and believe we are all connected to some degree
  13. I am open to new ideas

Scoring:

39-33:  Congratulations! You are a world citizen, with an open mind.

32-26:  You try to keep an open mind, but might consider expanding your horizons.

25-13:  You might be closing yourself off too much from the rest of the world.

There are some studies that indicate open-minded people tend to be happier, more successful, and more charismatic than those who close themselves off or isolate.

 

This quiz and the six suggestions below came from a Baha’i blog that I  read to help me think . . . and rethink . . . about my place in the world, my beliefs and whether I am behaving in accord with spiritual tenants.

woofer head:meowi body

Here are the author’s six suggestions:

1. Be more approachable

Being honest, vulnerable and authentic will facilitate more genuine and lasting friendships. Your body language can be an important factor, making you look closed off or open to others.” 

 

2. Let go of your preconceptions about other people and give them a chance

“We often surround ourselves with people like us, but there is a lot to gain from enlarging our social circle. Being respectful of others is the best way to receive it in return. 

3. See things from another perspective

“Walking in another person’s shoes helps to open our minds and makes us less likely to be critical. When we judge less, we are less likely to be judged.”

Meowi head:Woofer body

 

4. Be more flexible and curious

“By being more flexible we trust that we can handle new situations. Being flexible and curious are perfect opportunities for growth.”

The measure of intelligence is the ability to change. – Albert Einstein

Be curious, not judgmental. – Walt Whitman

5. Be more trusting

“Human beings are all basically the same—in fact, we are far more alike than we are different. We share 99.9 % of our DNA. We all have insecurities, fears, talents and beauty. Focus on the positive in people and show them your best:”

 

O children of men! Know ye not why We created you all from the same dust? That no one should exalt himself over the other.  – Baha’u’llahThe Hidden Words, p. 20.

6. Don’t make snap judgements, especially when it comes to people

“According to Business Insider, people typically form a first impression within 7 seconds of meeting someone new. Therefore it takes a conscious, concerted effort to not judge hastily. Try to see each person or situation with unbiased eyes—without letting prejudice, superstition or tradition get in the way. Make your own decisions rather than listening to other’s opinions. Trust yourself once you have investigated for yourself.”

“… every individual member of humankind is exhorted and commanded to set aside superstitious beliefs, traditions and blind imitation of ancestral forms in religion and investigate reality for himself. Inasmuch as the fundamental reality is one, all religions and nations of the world will become one through investigation of reality.”  Abdu’l-BahaThe Promulgation of Universal Peace, p. 433.

 

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Prolonged feelings of power can damage the brain

How many times have you heard the quote?

Absolute power corrupts absolutely

19th century British politician Lord Acton.

During my schooling I was taught that people who have little or no ethical or moral compass, who are so ego driven they are not able to see other’s positions or have no empathy for others had a “personality problem”.   There’s new research that shows “personality” may not be the whole “problem”.

Researchers have found that Chief Executive Officers (CEOs) and other leaders may suffer damage to their brain as a result of their rise to power.

“Brain activity of CEOs changes as they climb the career ladder, causes them to lose the ability to empathize.”

Meowie, Chief Executive Cat by Peggy

“The damage results in the loss of the ability to read other people’s emotions, which could explain why people who achieve great power lose their ability to feel empathy for the less powerful.”

“Researchers at McMaster University in Ontario, Canada, made the finding using transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) – a technique that uses magnetic fields to stimulate nerve cells in specific regions of the brain.  This showed that the areas of the brain that deal with empathy were significantly less responsive in people in power.”

“The results are down to the brain’s neuroplasticity – an ability that allows the mind to rewire itself in response to experiences.”

“The researchers, led by Dr. Sukhvinder Obhi, said: “Many people who have witnessed a colleague get promoted to an executive level have probably seen some changes in their behaviour, and not always for the better.  Our current work aims to integrate previous work from social psychology with the techniques and methods of cognitive neuroscience to gain a better understanding of exactly how power affects the brain and social functioning in a variety of environments.”

The good news is people who wield power, who want to avoid this brain damage, can take positive steps, according to experts.

Steps that include keeping people around who have the power to call you out on bad behaviour, rewarding honesty while discouraging flattery, and maintaining social connections.

Earmark this post for the next time you find yourself in a position of power.  Wouldn’t want your brain to be damaged!

Read the full article here:  https://guardian.ng/features/prolonged-feelings-of-power-corrupt-mind-say-neuroscientists/

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Positively Tuesday – Regrets for growing old?

My dad traveled the world: Europe, Australia, New Zealand, Japan. and Tahiti where he found his 3rd wife.   Hawaii was one place he returned to often and where he lived  the last few years of his life.  He died at 93, blessed to live a long life and see the world.

Dad loved wine, so maybe its reputation for adding years to ones life is deserved.

My Father’s 93rd birthday

I’ll raise a glass of wine (and have a bit of chocolate) to my dad for inheriting his love of travel and, hopefully, long-lived genes.

PA

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How to lose weight after 40 (parenthetically speaking)

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

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

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

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

1. Fight the dreaded spread

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

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

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

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

2. Get your biceps back

Bulge those Biceps by Peggy

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

“In fact, up to 40 percent of muscle mass is lost between the ages of 40 and 80. (Ay yi iiii I only have 8 years before all my muscles are gone) This alone is the kiss of death to metabolism. Muscle weighs more than fat making it a metabolically superior calorie burner.”

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

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

3. Fall in love with plants

Tree Hugger by Peggy

 

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

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

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

4. Find your own ‘om’

OM by judy

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

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

5. Think about your magnesium

Legume by Peggy

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

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

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

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

6. Be less happy about happy hour

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

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

jw

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

 

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Frankly Freddie – Dog Owners are Healthier Hoofers

I take my human out for a walk as often as I can.  She’s a bit delusional . . .  she thinks she’s walking me.  So I constantly have to find proof that she needs to quit patting herself on the back and pat me.

In a study published in the journal BMC Public Health, dog owners on average walked 22 minutes more per day compared to people who didn’t own a dog.

The study found that the dog owners walked briskly and got their heart rates up. At times, their pace was about 3 miles per hour, which the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention considers moderate intensity.

Prior studies have shown that moderate-intensity walking is just as effective as running in lowering the risk of high blood pressure, high cholesterol, Type 2 diabetes and other conditions. And the more people walk, the more the health benefits increase, according to the American Heart Association.

(“The national physical activity guidelines call for 150 minutes a week of moderate-intensity exercise.”)

“If you look at studies on pet ownership, people who own pets seem to live longer than those who don’t own them,” . . .  

Get a life.  Get a dog . . . like me

Frankly,

Freddie Parker Westerfield, CHT

Certified Human Trainer

If you don’t believe me read this: Dog Owners Walk 22 minutes more per day 

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