Last week, the Team attended a Grand Rounds at a metropolitan teaching hospital, where an authoritative researcher in medicine presented current data and trends to their department.
The opening comment that moved us was this:
“Never worry alone”.
It was a message from this professionals’ mentor in their field. The admonishment was that if something bothers you, it can be a good hunch that action is needed. And sharing this is more productive than having it circulate in your mind.
The team reflected on this statement because so much of the time we do worry alone.
We worry in bed.
We worry with shame and we worry with fear. Our worry paralyzes us at times.
If we share our concern with another perhaps we can best take action--and perhaps, just the action that is needed!
We think that worry is actually a voice that plays in our head that we come to count on, which always has a similar reaction in every similar situation.
This week the team was planning to write about the concept of worry due to this meeting.
Today we see that David Brooks, an Op-ed Columnist for The Times, beat us to it.
It is so funny what is in our ‘collective unconscious’ as a society.
Brooks writes an essay called The Epidemic of Worry[i]. According to the article, he quotes election-related anxiety currently raging in America within ¾ 's of mental health patients and he cites that the American Psychological Association indicates that more than half of Americans are stressed by the presidential race.
Our team thinks that worry can change the brain chemistry. Brooks refers to altering the "atmosphere of the mind".
Worry does take you out of the present and right into your head -we agree.
Your thoughts can play over and over again with scenarios that you fear.
And you can get paralyzed in those "mind woods", we think.
Brooks describes worry, pessimism and spiraling out of rationality.
According to WebMD, over 4 million Americans have generalized anxiety disorder over a years’ time annually. GAD can begin in childhood and is more common in females. The criteria for GAD are that It has to affect you for more than six months and interfere with school or work time and functioning.
We think that worry and anxiety are different actually.
Worry perhaps we have more control over in some ways.
Anxiety we think perhaps the good bacteria in your gut has more control over. And so in this case, one can do well to take probiotics--or if mental illness, then see a doctor or health care professional.
Back to David Brooks,
We liked his comment that the answer to worry is the same as the answer to fear: direct action.
What if we wanted to create a particular outcome in our own lives?
Would we know what actions to take?
Would we then veto ourselves or engage in ‘self-talk” that agrees or opposes that of our:
partner, kids, parents, friends?
Maybe our self-talk is similar to theirs?
Perhaps they think our plan is not well thought out and the odds and chances were unlikely at best for us to achieve.
But what if we pretended we were at our own finish line?
With all that we wanted to have happen, done and perfected?
Could we then easier look at the future coming not from the past?
Perhaps we can.
We all have the dialogue playing in our heads all the time about what is not possible, what is not supposed to happen, especially not to us. And if the project is really big--not to the world.
Don’t try to shut off your dialog. You really cannot! Just let it be!
But do go and build your future.
What you are passionate about.
It is all possible if we say so.
Like David Brooks said: Make concrete plans.
Like the medical teaching expert said: Do not worry alone.
Share with others what you are embarking on and create specifics!
The time is now. Take action each day. Write it down and commit to it! Tell your friends and family. Have them support you in creating. Not in tearing down what you want to accomplish. Maybe some will have ideas to help. Go with that!
If we step out into something bigger than our fears and our worries there is a chance that they will get less loud in our heads.
And that we will produce a result.
Remember, we can choose.
Choose to Win!Read More
Everyone knows a Sheila. She's your adult friend who is always doing something new.
Sheila's the one who keeps on recreating herself. She is past her twenties and thirties and maybe forties. She is taking this class or that, organizing and learning new things and jumpstarting ideas to do things she loves and those she has stayed away from for decades.
She claims that she wants to be like a child again and create each day!
Creativity in daily life is possible.
Sheila actually wrote a letter to herself to be opened the last day of December spelling out her hopes and dreams. She is taking risks, stepping out, and not putting her life on hold anymore. Today we are writing about creativity and how to put it into your life.
What if we begin by considering who you may have been when you were in your teens and twenties—what was important to you then, did you want, as the song goes.. "to change the world, rearrange the world"...
Look at what you stopped doing, creatively in your life.
Why did you stop?
Sometimes or very usually, we blame our circumstances—“I had to work” “to take care of my family” “just no time to do it” “I am never gonna make it as a singer-artist-writer, anyway—you fill in the blanks. Another good one is "she always wanted me to do it.. or not to do it".
At times our inaction is defiance--while the other person could not care at all or even more stark--might not still be alive to even wrestle with us over our own inner struggles.
So we just completely stopped expressing ourselves that way or this way.
We give up. Our passion and our heart dies then, just a little. And then we cover it over with justifications like we don't really care. No one else has time for that anyway, etc..
We wonder what might be possible if you were to soften the edges of judgment just a little and substitute saying NO, I CAN'T with spending just ten minutes a day doing one thing you used to do, you never did but always wanted to do, you gave up for a number of good reasons.
Just ten minutes!
Our team has a friend that is playing guitar, singing and starting to record. They have not done this since age 16 and they are in their fifties now. Another friend of the teams' is giving dinner parties—previously convinced that they could not cook nor entertain. One other friend has started an art group with a few artistic friends. They meet each week and just create whatever they want to. We also know people that dance for fun. Another friend is a performer for kids. In their late fifthies now, they have begun an original song writing business for special occasion events for people. They are not only doing what they are good at and love, but they are using their creativity to make more money.
Research tells us that the two most important things for health and longevity are to connect with others and to exercise. Why not use your passion and tell people what you want to create and see who is interested and like-minded? What better way to connect with others? Perhaps you will be able to have the support of others, be creative and in action and as a by-product this is so good for your health and long life!
One study[i] states that the most consistent and strong factor predicting well-being and health from both subjective and objective viewpoints in longitudinal studies is being highly self-directed, cooperative and self-transcendent. And that a synergy exists among these traits of one’s personality that enhance all aspects of the health and happiness of human beings.
Research shows that creativity can be developed and can have profound benefits such as greater physical, mental, social and spiritual well-being. “Creativity promotes autonomic balance with parasympathetic dominance leading to a calm alert state that promotes and awakening of plasticities and intelligences that stress inhibits.”
Another historical study of artists from the 1700-1900 showed that[ii] artistic creativity practice can influence the aging process and how long people live. That the practice of art is linked to lowering stress, blood pressure and anxiety.
We recommend that you look to see what you love to do and then set a short and doable time to tackle it daily.
Remember this is only for you and there is no one who really cares one way or the other.
We can choose to express our enjoyment and passion.
As the saying goes “dance like no one is watching”.
To your health!
We can choose.
[i] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26294956Read More
The Team tried to find the exact number of songs written about smiling.
People have been writing and singing about the impact of this for decades.
We could not find the total number of songs written, but songs/lyrics like these by Crosby, Stills and Nash --”if you smile at me I will understand because that is something everybody every where does in the same language" and the John Turner song “Smile though your heart is breaking” and of course Brian Wilson’s Album Smile, .all came to our minds.
Today the Team located a fine quote to share about laughing and health.
[i] “You don’t stop laughing because you grow old. You grow old because you stop laughing.”
So we ask, how does laughing serve our health? And we have provided a link here with the very latest research that it does!
What about smiling?
Seems smiling and laughing might be easier for us to do for health than lifting weights…
Yes, studies are backing up health benefits of stress release and health benefits from smiling and laughter. Some include:
The Mayo Clinic lists some of the short- term effects of laughter:
And Mayo cites long-term effects of laughter:
Our Teams' take-away:
It is recommended to be with light-hearted, funny people, intentionally smile and laugh often, watch and listen for comedy in theatrical performance, movie and TV and participate with chuckles whenever possible.
Look at the world through ‘funny colored glasses’!
Smile in front of the mirror.
Attempt to not only smile with your lips but don a genuine smile through your eye sockets.
Fake it til you make it!
You can choose to win!
In life, we are not our circumstances!Read More
Psychology Today[i] speaks of three types of people who procrastinate:
And while this seems logical and certainly, psychology-based, our Team thinks that procrastination is a word that is used to mis-label another process going on.
As small children, we each have big dreams about what we want to do or be some day.
We have only to look back at our own kindergarten paraphernalia showing dreams to be a fireman or a doctor or even an astronaut.
Back then in childhood, everything seemed very possible.
Then something may have occurred right in childhood—a defining moment perhaps—where our overarching job in life was to take another course or path—and all of our dreams for what could be possible were now shifted.
Most of us live in the existence of the ordinary, growing up and doing what we do and becoming who we are with the people in our lives.
It just does not seem to change. We accommodate to what we created and how we see ourselves in others eyes’ too and we actually live into that condition of most certainly doing that for ourselves.
The question that occurs for our Team in the face of what some call " procrastination" is:
What might be possible if I took action?
The answer could be—you would make more money, have more status in life, help others, create legacy, create opportunity for others, live life with more power and self-expression, live life with more satisfaction, have more intimacy, improve your skills, be a leader-a bigger leader in your field and in the world, step out and risk people not liking nor approving of you because your commitment to your life dream was much bigger than any such risk.
Our Team thinks that "procrastinating" is a way of treading water in your life, and playing it safe.
We don't thing that SOMEONE CAN BE LABLED A PROCRASTINATOR!
We think that this is just not taking action--and that is all it is!
Perhaps not being in action each and every minute is a way of not declaring who you really are in the world, nor what is important to you.
We can all gather reasons why it is not possible to create what we want in our lives:
Perhaps we are not courageously declaring what is important to us in our lives.
It is not that we are "procrastinating!"
One neighbor we know loves animals and though she is no longer working at the ASPCA, she works with organizations local and across the nation to support animal rights—even on a grass roots level. We know someone who had a major loss of a loved one. They are writing stories with information about health because that is what they declare that their life is about. They are forming an art project group to create art and working on a legacy project so that their loved one will be remembered.
There is no such thing as procrastination. Procrastination is rather a notion about being resigned to what we already know and a barrier to break through to what might be possible.
There is such a thing as not looking to see what you want for yourself.
And we can choose to win!Read More
“If you do nothing for stress relief, the next thing you know, you’re shattered.(i)”
“TM should be in your toolbox for health”
per Bob Roth, CEO of The David Lynch Foundation
An article from 2015 looked at African American men's stress and coping and health as noted by African American men and key women in their lives.
The study noted strategies and beliefs about stress, men’s health and mortality from both genders’ perspective.
Men said they responded to stress by eating high caloric food, exercising and doing spirituality-related activities. Men did not always view their way to cope as a 'true coping mechanism'.
Women had a different take on men’s coping behavior and when men said they were resting, women saw this as avoidance, etc.. Both genders agreed that stress could explain the poorer health in African American men and identified mental, physical and social impacts of stress.
With the increase in combat and other significant stress sources during these times and the recent article in Prevention Magazine, a mainstream publication addressing Transcendental Meditation and stress, we wanted you to have what is trending about stress and prevention. And as we wrote this article, another just appeared in The New York Times- on mindfulness.
The Transcendental Meditation technique(T-M) was developed by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi (1918-2008). Born, Mahesh Prasad Varma, he obtained the name meaning Great Seer and Yogi as an adult.[ii] He introduced this deep meditation in 1955, crediting Brahmananda Saraswati with inspiring his teachings. He began in India and then taught globally and became more known in the late 1960’s/early 1970’s teaching the Beatles, the Beach Boys and other celebrities. He trained over 40,000 teachers including Bob Roth, CEO of The David Lynch Foundation.
TM is practiced usually for 20 minutes twice a day and leads to:
In the article from Prevention Magazine, Norman Rosenthal, MD, clinical professor of psychiatry at Georgetown University Medical School and the author of Transcendence: Healing and Transformation through Transcendental Meditation speaks about T-M:
Bob Roth, CEO of The David Lynch Foundation says, “TM should be in your toolbox for health”. He indicates that more research is underway with hundreds of peer-reviewed studies already published showing the benefits for health. Roth says that “TM is promoting brain wave coherence-where areas of the brain sync up and work together”. And Dr. Rosenthal explains that “these areas are in some kind of harmonious relationship with one another”.
Studies show us, the article says:
TM is used more and more in PTSD treatment. A study funded by The David Lynch Foundation found that T-M helped 84% of 37 meditators after one month of meditating—that they had stabilized, decreased or stopped their anxiety and symptoms of PTSD.
T-M is also being used in inner city schools and this deep meditation has been found to be correlated with an increase in school performance.
We hope you will check out Transcendental Meditation to see what is good for you!
It is said-- if you don’t have time to meditate, that you definitely need to meditate!
Good luck!Read More
The Wall Street Journal published some interesting information about Dementia and the Keys to Creativity[i] and about creativity and the brain.
Being in the zone-- a phrase we use when we are creating.
Apparently, there are now studies to back this up, specifically, that the disinhibiting qualities of being able to express our creativity are linked to changes in the brain.
“The release of inhibition, not overthinking and engaging in free association—the ability to suspend conscious scrutiny—all a part of what constitutes creativity”, the article says.
The study looked at patients with prefrontal dementia (the second most common type of early onset dementia) and the study portrayed the fact that these individuals neglected their personal appearance. It also noted how they could express their artistic abilities.
The pre-frontal cortex which is involved in high-level analysis and planning gets smaller with dementia and this allowed scientists to see an underlying creative drive when inhibitions are put aside.
It showed that people who wrote poetry ' being in the zone ' had their prefrontal cortex partially deactivated… the same with pianists who improvise or create—rather than relying on a piece they knew by rote. The article looked at left brain, which is more analytical, if damaged, that the visuo-spatial faculties of the right brain become prominent.
The article also speaks of study in 2015 (Neuro-case Journal) where a man fell and hurt the left side of the brain—and he went on to not be able to speak well or make decisions or dress himself, but with colored pencils and a sketchbook he became extremely well able to express himself. And what of dyslexia in children. Dyslexic kids have artistic talents and there is a correlate of dyslexia among art students. The conclusion is that we may have the keys to unleash creativity, by suspending ‘conscious scrutiny’. ..Makes me think of the song, “Let it go”!
We may need to realize that there are so very many ways that creativity is expressed[ii]. An article sharing about PechaKucha, an organization developed from The American Institute of Architects-the voice of the architectural profession in the US and the resource for its members in service to society. It is based on empowering members/inspiration for a better built environment. PechaKucha has over 800 global events annually featuring specialists on anything creative.
They say that everyone has creative expression:
Clam diggers, fisherman, farmers, bee keepers, social activists, more mainstream artists, poets and cooks, etc..and everything we do really has a process of creativity and self-expression.
That aspects of the creative process of what we do every day at times are not really understood, etc.. That creativity is central to being engaged in life, interacting with the creative process and with others and creativity holds keys to health and longevity and relates to a decrease of dementia and depression.
One study[iii] discusses that the ability to be creative as a strategy for the aging population to promote social interaction, provide cognitive stimulation and a sense of self-worth.
Creativity in this study is shown as being a useful tool in the treatment of health problems common in later life.
This article states that there is great geographical variation as to where to find group creative outlets. And it indicates the need to study what key factors relate to health and to well-being from a creativity point of view. It has a call to improve access to participation.
We are committed to providing the most current information for you with regard to everything that says health and well-being! Read, share, take action as you see fit for yourself and your friends and your family! Robin Quivers