Philosophy | Politics | Religion

Category: Health

CAN PEOPLE REALLY CHANGE?

The next several paragraphs were inspired by articles from Sharon Begley’s Science Journal that appeared weekly in WSJ years ago.

We apparently are changed by the groups we are in. By the way, Republican and Democratic Parties are groups.  Change groups or leave a group and we change.

In study after study, social psychologists have shown that it is the group with which we identify, not individual personality that often determines behavior.  We begin to see what the group sees and stop seeing some of the things that we were seeing.

But, and this is a big but, pull us out of a group and we will have more nuance, flexibility, and doubt.  We are not so sure anymore as individuals outside of our group, whereas in a group we are convinced of what we are saying and doing.  The group we join is very important.  That group could be friends, it could be our employer, it could be our church, or it could be the virtual prison more and more of us seem to be finding ourselves in.  In either case, it doesn’t change with age—young or old, we are influenced by our group.

Psychology experiments show how disturbingly easy it is to manipulate people into committing atrocities.  Groups inculcate a sense of belonging and hence obligation to a group.

So, if we want to change, we can join a group, but we better fit in.  Do we like the people we work with and for?  Has our spouse ever said to us that we seem different, that we have changed, and that there is an aspect of us they don’t like that they didn’t realize was there?  Maybe, our jobs are changing us.  Which way?  Look for the formal and informal leaders and see if others are mimicking them.  Are we becoming more assertive or bossier?  Are we becoming more tolerant or judgmental?   Are we becoming more patient and calm or more restless and rude?  Are we becoming conforming or less conforming?  Do we see more of the big picture or just our own perspective?  Are we becoming more humble or is ego sprouting its wings.

Businesses have sent employees to seminars and workshops and schools in an effort to help them become better employees.  Businesses, in hopes of salvaging employees, send them to anger management or harassment counseling hoping these people can change.  Supervisors are sent to supervision school and people skills schools.  People read self help books and get counseling hoping to be better parents or deal with life situations.

Attending a conference can inspire someone to want to act differently and they might for a little while but their habits and instincts will prevail again.  Using the conscious mind to try to create permanent change is a slow process and rewards are needed to reinforce the new behavior.  Can we really expect to have those rewards as they are needed?

I think the best place to begin the process of change is through nutrition.  If we don’t have the discipline to eat smarter why would we have it to change our habits. Eating healthy or healthier not only improves mental and physical energy it demonstrates a willingness to do what we know is best for us.  It is easy to pick up a book and learn what foods are healthy and which are not, but do we and do we change what we eat as a result of what we learn?  I am not talking about fad diets; I am talking about eating good foods and stop eating bad foods.  If we can’t change the way we eat, can we expect to change the way we think and behave?

Let’s think about brain food because our brain uses 40 percent of our energy and for our brain to grow and improve, our nutrition has to improve.  The brain is largely composed of fatty tissue.  The fats we eat are the fats that will become important structures in our brain.  They are not broken down and reassembled for specific uses like proteins and carbohydrates are.  The quality of the fats in our diet will directly affect the quality of the cell membranes in the brain.

There are two essential fats our bodies require but cannot manufacture; they must be obtained through our diets.  These fats are called omega-6 and omega-3.  Most of our tissues have more omega-6 fats than omega-3.  The ratio is often about four-to-one, the brain being a distinct exception where the ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fats in brain tissue is one-to-one.

The average American diet provides twenty times more omega-6 than omega-3 fats.  Most of us do not take in an optimal amount of omega-3 fats unless we eat fish regularly.  Omega-3 fats are quite flexible and are ideally suited for brain cell membranes.

The fats to avoid are the highly processed fats, hydrogenated fats, and fats that are heated to high temperatures in processing or in frying.  These fats have a structural rigidity that is most undesirable for use in brain cell membranes.  They also promote free radical damage of cell membranes.

Alright, enough about diet.  Permanent change will come about when we release what is in our subconscious minds, feed our brains with better thoughts and more peaceful music and movies, and starve our brains from coarse or violent acts and thoughts.  Our brains can change.

Here is a brainteaser:  Turn the incorrect Roman-numeral equation XI + I = X, made out of 10 match sticks, into a correct one by moving as few sticks as possible.

Solving a problem like the one above creatively requires us to resist conventional assumptions and approaches and examine a problem from a different perspective.  The plod and plug approach would have us move one of the sticks to get X + I = XI.  But the minimum number of sticks we need to move is zero.  Turn the paper upside down and XI + I = X becomes X = I + IX.

The brain waves generated by the two approaches are different.  In volunteers who found the creative zero stick solution there was an abrupt change in brain wave frequency and location of brain activity before the solution hit them.  The fact that they changed right before the volunteers hit upon a creative solution suggests that the brain was escaping from conventional thought patterns.

Insight and creativity begin when we break out of the thinking rut we are in and restructure the problem in a new way.  The information in the problem is seen in a new light, so people rotate the sticks in the Roman numeral equation—a spatial solution to what seemed like a numerical problem.  This is the essence of creative thinking.

A critical part of insightful solutions, but not of plodding ones, is that they require us to bring together distant associations.  One brain region seems particularly important for that.  This area seems to draw together distantly related information and probably lets people see connections that had eluded them.

Find a word that can form a compound with “sauce,” “pine,” and “crab.”  You can try to solve this noncreatively, thinking of everything that goes with crab and then trying them all on the pine, for instance.  Or you might find a solution through pure insight.  Stare at the words until an answer pops into your head.

If “apple” popped into your head there probably was a spike in the activity in a particular part of your brain just before the answer “apple” came to you, suggesting your brain was bringing together far-flung concepts.

In some cases of sudden insight another part of the brain becomes active perhaps directing the brain away from dead ends and onto creative paths and at the same time perhaps is involved in suppressing thoughts that characterize the mental rut that keeps us from an insightful solution.

There are times that our brains go into calm mode all by themselves and answers just pop into our heads.  We may be in the morning shower still waking up and just going through the motions of washing ourselves, enjoying the warm water and all of a sudden new ideas come to us out of nowhere.  We can develop more of these times and we can expect to solve difficult problems during these times.  The more we expect answers to come to us the more will come.  So, we need to let our conscious minds work hard at figuring out a problem or finding an answer, the harder we work our conscious minds the better, and then let it go and expect an answer to come to us perhaps when we least expect it.

Our brain will change to help us become what we choose to be.  If we choose to be violent, our brain will respond by changing in ways that make us more violent and coarse.  If we choose a life of compassion and kindness, our brains will respond by helping us manifest those qualities.  This is easier said than done because it is hard to act as we choose if we are already excessively wired to act otherwise.

One more thought:  The Truth Shall Set You Free!

 

Leadership | Covid 19

We all are better prepared to sacrifice when we are confident that our leaders are focused on the one issue that will get us closer to normal as fast as possible.

We are close to another election.  The incumbent had anticipated that the economy would be the wave that carried him into a second term. 

  • It would take guts for anybody to order stay at home orders, spend billions on ventilators and masks before we believed it was in our best interests.
  • It would take guts to tell America there was an invisible force coming.   
  • What would not have taken guts was testing.
    • The failure to immediately go all in on testing is unforgivable. 
    • Testing would have primed the nation to accept the next measures.

But that is leadership. It’s the Who, What, When, and How of success.

Great leaders know intuitively who to listen to, what to do first, when to act, and how to tell a nation we are in trouble if we don’t act now and act boldly. 

Great leaders do not try to rewrite history or call truth fake news.  Alternative history is not real.

Leadership requires trust and trust comes from being consistently honest. 

Humility and a since of spirituality helps build trust. Great leaders need to be perceived as straight shooters and not be perceived as deceitful by over half the population.

Who would have been the leader that could have acted boldly and quickly?  We don’t know.  It’s one thing to make a decision while on the hot seat and another while on the sofa. 

The problem is that much of the spread of Covid 19 stems from the 70 days that passed from the time Trump was briefed and the day when he stopped downplaying the pandemic.  He was calling it fake news instead of rallying governors, mayors, and us into taking action and investing in ventilators and masks.  Trump did not ask for the stimulus package and when the first one passed he said it was more than he wanted.

I said it would have taken guts to tell the nation we were in trouble, that there was an invisible wave of destruction coming our way.  Lack of guts means fear is present. 

David R Hawkins, M.D., Ph.D. Power versus Force, The Hidden Determinants Of Human Behavior, Hay House 2002, created a map of consciousness that placed the predominant 17 emotions a person might have ranging from shame to enlightenment. Here are those emotions from lowest to highest: 1 shame, 2 guilt, 3 apathy/hopelessness, 4 grief, 5 fear, 6 desire, 7 anger, 8 pride, 9 courage, 10 neutrality, 11 willingness, 12 acceptance, 13 reason, 14 love, 15 joy, 16 peace, 17 enlightenment.

His studies showed that at levels below courage, the primary impetus is personal survival, although at the very bottom of the scale where hopelessness and depression reside, even this motive is lacking.He says at least fear and anger contain survival instincts. At the level of pride, Hawkins states, the survival motive may expand to comprehend the survival of others as well. As we move into the level of courage, the well-being of others becomes increasingly more important.

A case can be made that the President was fearful.  Fearful that this pandemic would be the disastrous for his chances of being reelected.

Howard Stern Says Donald Trump “Despises” MAGA Voters, Thinks President Should Step Down

During a 2014 speech, then-President Barack Obama warned about the need for the US to cast aside partisan differences to prepare for an upcoming pandemic.

 

Now the question is when to open America and declare mission complete. Here are some thoughts about that.

Wealth and Health; Happiness and Money

Happiness and Money

I have found additional peace from learning that lots of money doesn’t increase happiness after reading a 2010 Princeton study that found that happiness plateaus at a household income of $75,000 a year on average in America with some states higher like California ($90,000) and some lower according to a follow up study by the Huffington Post.

The last words of Steve Jobs –
I have come to the pinnacle of success in business.
In the eyes of others, my life has been the symbol of success.
However, apart from work, I have little joy. Finally, my wealth is simply a fact to which I am accustomed.

At this time, lying on the hospital bed and remembering all my life, I realize that all the accolades and riches of which I was once so proud, have become insignificant with my imminent death.

In the dark, when I look at green lights, of the equipment for artificial respiration and feel the buzz of their mechanical sounds, I can feel the breath of my approaching death looming over me.
Only now do I understand that once you accumulate enough money for the rest of your life, you have to pursue objectives that are not related to wealth.

It should be something more important:
For example, stories of love, art, dreams of my childhood.
No, stop pursuing wealth, it can only make a person into a twisted being, just like me.

God has made us one way, we can feel the love in the heart of each of us, and not illusions built by fame or money, like I made in my life, I cannot take them with me.
I can only take with me the memories that were strengthened by love.
This is the true wealth that will follow you; will accompany you; will give strength and light to go ahead.

Love can travel thousands of miles and so life has no limits. Move to where you want to go. Strive to reach the goals you want to achieve. Everything is in your heart and in your hands.

What is the world’s most expensive bed? The hospital bed.  You, if you have money, you can hire someone to drive your car, but you cannot hire someone to take your illness that is killing you.  Material things lost can be found. But one thing you can never find when you lose: life.
Whatever stage of life where we are right now, at the end we will have to face the day when the curtain falls.

Please treasure your family love, love for your spouse, love for your friends…
Treat everyone well and stay friendly with your neighbors.

Metaphysical Health


Self Healing

In 1995, the National Institute of Health reported that meditation and visualization and other relaxation techniques are often better treatment for a variety of illnesses than is drugs & surgery.

I have learned that each of us have three billion letters describing our genetic code or DNA and 99.9% of those letters are identical within all of us. What makes us unique as individuals is a combination of environmental effects and genetic variations mostly consisting of changes to single letters of DNA scattered throughout each of our genome.  (Source:  Creation of Health: Merging Traditional Medicine with Intuitive Diagnosis by C. Norman Shealy and Caroline M. Myss). 

This may explain how genes program some of us to one day face cancer or heart disease and why minuscule differences in our DNA could explain why some people respond positively to certain drugs while others do not.  We can stack illness contributors on top of each other and that stack can teeter and collapse at any time but the higher the stack the more unstable it is.  Start with genetic code, add smoking, then lack of exercise, poor diet, excess weight, exposure to germs and bacteria, and finally our emotions and it is usually when we add our emotions anywhere in the stack that it falls depending on how much stress is packed into those emotions.

Exercise for the Brain

Lack of exercise can shrink your brain

Lack of exercise can shrink your brain.

Posted by Hashem Al-Ghaili on Thursday, May 10, 2018
Lack of exercise can shrink your brain
Hashem Al-Ghaili

https://medicalxpress.com/news/2017-08-reverse-aging-brain.html

Alcohol

Alcohol is slippery–it helps you slide out of the past and put you into the present while stopping you from getting traction to move into the future.

Alcohol steals moisture and hydration, it takes fluid from the brain and bones, and dries the skin and liver.

EEGs of alcoholics have revealed an inability to produce the alpha waves generally associated with feelings of relaxation and comfort. However, theta and alpha waves increase following the use of alcohol.  This can be expected considering the drowsiness and relaxation are common effects of alcohol. Therefore, alcoholics may be self-medicating.

Neurofeedback (NFB), also called neurotherapy, neurobiofeedback or neurofeedback biofeedback is a therapy technique that presents the user with real time feedback on brainwave activity, as measured by electrodes on the scalp, typically in the form of a video display, sound or vibration.

The aim is to enable conscious control of brainwave activity. If brain activity changes in the direction desired by the therapist, a positive “reward” feedback is given to the individual, and if it regresses, either a negative feedback or no feedback is given (depending on the protocol). Rewards can be as simple as a change in pitch of a tone or as complex as a certain type of movement of a character in a video game.

Healthcare

How did healthcare become such a polarizing issue?  Geez!

Yes, it’s expensive.  Yes, it has bankrupt many individuals and families.

Yes, drugs are really expensive and yes, drug companies are prospering.  Related?  Yes.

Yes, large companies and government provide health insurance to their employees.

Yes, our elected officials get great health insurance.

Yes, it is hard to leave employment with a large company and the insurance they provided to start a business and yes, new small businesses are where the job growth is and has been.

Yes, insurance companies prior to about 2009 did not have to sell anybody an individual policy if they thought that individual might actually use it and yes that statement is a slight exaggeration but conceptually accurate.

Yes, insurance companies had to sell insurance policies to groups as small as two but the premiums they could charge were not affordable to small businesses that had a group size less than 100 if as few as one employee or dependent had a precondition.

Yes, individuals without insurance could wait until an illness or physical condition got to a critical stage to receive treatment in the emergency room of hospitals.  And, yes, hospitals would try to collect reimbursement including efforts to make those patients sell whatever assets they had to pay for those services.  And, yes, the medical costs that remained, would be paid by increased rates/costs to everybody else.

Yes, it does cost more to treat an emergency condition than it does to avoid the emergencies through early detection and preventative treatment which is typically the case for those with insurance.

Yes, Medicare needs the legal ability to negotiate drug prices and yes, drug companies have apparently been able to keep legislators from eliminating the law that prevents Medicare from negotiating.

Yes, there are large populations in poorer countries that obtain their food from garbage dumps and clog streets that tourists visit to beg for money and food.  Social Security keeps many older and physically and mentally challenged Americans from doing the same in the United States.

Yes, if it were not for Medicaid, only those Americans 65 and older would qualify for government managed and provided Medicare.  And, yes, all others would have to purchase private insurance at rates tied to the size or healthiness or location of the group they are in.

Yes, without government subsidies, those Americans with the lowest incomes that find themselves in an expensive group will not be able to afford insurance.

Yes, there are some that want to reduce spending on health insurance subsidies in order to reduce taxes and balance the budget.  And, yes, there are some that want to use tax revenues to provide insurance subsidies.  Yes, one would lead to fewer people having insurance and make it difficult to leave a job that has health insurance benefits to start a business if that person has any history of a preexisting condition. And, yes, one would make it more difficult to reduce taxes but create a more mobile workforce.

Is there a way to reduce the cost of insurance and drug prices?  That way might be through a creative reinvention of the group and for government to negotiate drug prices for that reinvented group.

Dance Your Way to a Younger Brain

Dancing helps you think you can dance.

Two different types of physical (dancing and endurance training) both increase the area of the brain that declines with age. In comparison, it was only dancing that lead to noticeable behavioral changes in terms of improved balance.”

https://medicalxpress.com/news/2017-08-reverse-aging-brain.html

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