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It Has Nothing To Do With Age provides self-help principles. The inspirational stories give concrete illustrations of overcoming many of life's challenges. Difficulties pertaining to depression, grief, divorce, and death are presented and worked through by the participants. Physical impairments, injuries, overcoming issues with weight, alcohol, and nicotine are also dealt with and resolved by the athletes.

This book provides a model on how to overcome some of the difficulties that confront all of us . Further, this read sheds a beacon of light on preventive measures for good physical and mental health. Research demonstrates that exercise is an important component in treating such ailments and debilitating illness such as depression, stroke, heart disease, brain or cognitive malfunction,and Alzheimer's disease.

I suggest that proper exercise can be used as a preventive measure for psychological, cognitive, and physical health as well. Follow my prescription and lead a better, more fulfilling, and healthier life.

Sunday, September 17, 2017

The Good and the Ugly Part 3

According to the study, being overweight can be rationalized as being healthy, only if you ignore increasing the probability of developing heart disease. These two articles were not at all “cognitive dissonance” for me. I talk the talk and walk the walk as far as health. My BMI index is normal; I trail run; play pickle ball; very my physical workouts by performing chin-ups, push-ups; employ heavy bands for various pulls and crunches; along with eating my favorite food- ice cream. For more detailed information regarding health and passion strategies, I refer you to my book “It Has Nothing to Do with Age.” I wanted to convey, by the title, that age and aging has to do with perception and not some arbitrary number defined by someone else. By now, all of us should know that people “age” differently. Some people, walk hunched over with a cane and talk incessantly about their ills, aches, pains and medical condition. Others, like Daniela, Donald, Russ Kiernan, Jim Steere, Lew Hollander, Jack Sholl, Doc Shay, Beverlee Bentley, and Sammie Stanbro did not let “age” define them. They in fact continue to live their lives with passion. I am currently not competing in one day 100 mile events. Instead, I run trail events from 10 miles to 50 k’s. Moreover, I no longer have “a bucket list” as in that movie with Jack Nicholson, Morgan Freeman and others. However, my character has deepened; I have acquired more wisdom; not afraid to say “I don’t know” and I have a grin on my face after completing my trail running events. I know I’m soon going to have ice cream with friends. I have provided prescriptions for the lengthening of lifespan in my book that have worked for me. They might even work for you. PS Keep Moving

Saturday, September 16, 2017

The Good and the Ugly Part 2

Turning to the ugly, the September 1, 2017 edition of The Week reported that, according to a study, about 30 million people in our country are binge drinking at least once a week. Binge drinking was defined as drinking four or more drinks for women and five or more drinks for men. As you might know, alcohol is associated with dangerous driving behaviors, violence, and increased risk of heart attack, stroke, cancer and other, neurological problems. In fact, more recently, heavy drinking rose more sharply among women, blacks and seniors. This epidemiologist, author believed that increased drinking was likely the result of people feeling pessimistic about their economic chances. Another hypothesis was that the marketing of alcohol products has become more effective, especially to women and young people. It was stated that alcohol abuse was more widespread than that of opiate addiction. Another article highlighted “the fat, but fit” rationalization. This study, had more than one half million people from 10 European countries as subjects. They were placed into various groups. The first, were divided into the metabolically healthy and unhealthy based on markers such as blood pressure and cholesterol levels. Then these two groups were divided according to body mass index [BMI] classifying them as normal, overweight or obese. The findings, metabolically unhealthy subjects had the highest risk for heart disease. Second, the overweight or obese people, who were metabolically healthy, still had about a 28% more likelihood of developing heart disease than those with a healthy body weight. To be continued

Friday, September 15, 2017

The Good and the Ugly

This post was divided into two main categories or sections. The first section was devoted to achieving, motivated seniors while the second section addressed health issues of the unfortunates. An August 13, 2017 section of the New York Times introduced a new documentary titled “Impossible Dreamers.” Daniela Barnea at 73 years young, won, three gold medals at the 2017, United States Masters Swimming Spring Nationals in Riverside, California. She was victorious in the 100 yard and 200 yard breaststroke and in the 200 yard individual medley. This young lady trained by swimming double workouts along with going to the gym 3 to 4 times a week. She swims for maybe an hour and a half, and cleverly reframed her swimming routine as meditation. She claimed that water is her friend and is very peaceful place for her. Plus, no one bothers her while she’s swimming. Dr. Donald Cheek at 87, was another featured in the documentary. Dr. Cheek, a social psychologist, has been a sprinter since his high school days in the Bronx. He competed in the 50, 100, 200 and 400 m events. In fact, last year, he ran 100 m in 17.38 seconds and set the record at the Huntsman World Senior Games. According to this young man, he trained by beginning his day with relaxed stretches. He also practices skipping, and recommended standing in place while moving your feet as fast as you can. He stated “move rhythmically and move your arms as fast as you can.” He added that for him running track is freedom, demonstrating guts, character and having what it takes. Dr. Ursula M. Staudinger, a lifespan psychologists and researcher at Columbia University, added that our bodies are made for being used. According to her, physical fitness and activity improves brain function. She added, that movement is really important for strength, balance and flexibility. Moreover, movement also reduces the risk or buffering that occurs during the decline, while aging. To be continued

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Angst and Fear Part 2

When stressed, our hypothalamus [H] signals the pituitary [P] gland to release hormones that in turn instructs our adrenal [A] gland to pump out 30 other hormones. This process facilitates our body’s respiratory, cardiac, and other systems. This is called the HPA axis. Related, the cortisol hormone is then found in high concentration and causes most of the cellular damage. Cortisol is also involved in the fear reaction taking place in the amygdala, the emotional center of the brain, which regulates fear, but also regulates anger, pleasure, and desire. In essence, anxiety alerts us to imminent danger, but also the fear of other dangers. Too much or chronic stress with the accompanying cortisol hormone is our enemy. It simply shortens lifespan. Some external stresses in our environment include the following: death of a spouse, divorce, marital separation, jail, death of a close family member, serious personal injury, marriage, fired at work, marital reconciliation, retirement, and change in health of a family member. The list goes on and on and on. Internal stresses represent more of our thoughts and emotions. For example, unhappiness and depression, losing weight, having difficulty with common everyday things, decreases in energy or libido , constipation, hyperactivity, hopeless of future, difficulty sleeping, being more irritable, excessive use of alcohol, drugs, food, and/or tobacco to help feel better with life, and thoughts of suicide. I’m sure that everyone can name more external and internal stresses in their life space. How much unpredictability, uncertainty, and uncontrollability are present in day-to-day living? We haven’t talked about the hurricanes, fires nor North Korea with its pursuit of nuclear weapons. How can living in this period of time, be considered “The Age of Happiness?” As result of the circuitry makeup of our brain, our genetic component and our experiences of living, it seems to me that we be should be pursuing how to deal best and cope with what affects all of us-anxiety. Source: Time, December 5, 2011. PS Traveling by a church, the sign read “Worry less Pray more.”

Saturday, September 9, 2017

Angst and Fear

W. H. Auden, the poet, insightfully labeled “The Age of Anxiety” in 1947, detailing the angst and frustration of people. Subsequently, 33 years later in 1980, the classifications of Social Phobia and Generalized Anxiety Disorder diagnoses were added to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders [DSM] in the United States. The DSM is a major Bible that’s used to classify mental illness in our country. How can we be pursuing happiness if we are living in the age of anxiety? Happiness is short-lived and related to pleasure, gratification of needs and well-being while anxiety can be chronic and associated with actual, perceived and imagined dangers. As far back as the fifth century BC, the Greek physician Hippocrates outlined the belief that health was the result of the balance among the four humors. That meant that anxiety was believed to be an imbalance in one of the humors, black bile. As a result, black bile was identified as a disorder of melancholy. In 1895, Sigmund Freud distinguished between “real” anxiety based on external threat with neurotic and moral anxiety. Neurotic anxiety was related to excessive fears of punishment or with a withdrawal of love; while moral anxiety was related to feelings of guilt. In the DSM, a few symptoms of anxiety include but not limited to: irrational fears; avoiding situations; distress, motor tension such as shakiness; autonomic hyperactivity such as heart pounding; apprehensive expectations such as worry, fear, and vigilance and scanning such as distractibility and difficulty with concentration. Currently, generalized anxiety; obsessive-compulsive disorders; phobias; panic disorders; social anxiety and posttraumatic stress disorders are the most common affective disorder diagnosis affecting about 40 million adults. Anxiety and fear are normal adaptive responses to anything that’s perceived as threatening. However, too much anxiety arousal can become a persistent or chronic alarm in the brain and as a result, provide life-threatening damage to the body. The following demonstrates the mind-body connection of anxiety. Cognitively, we anticipate bad outcomes and develop plans or strategies in how to avoid or protect ourselves. One upon a time, I was trail running, and encountered a lioness and her 2 cubs. The strategy was simple. I immediately stopped and proceeded, once I realized that she owned the trail, to slowly walk backwards looking over my shoulder while grabbing a staff. When she was out of sight, I began to run while continuing looking over my shoulder. My heart was beating faster along with increased blood pressure and pulse. My breathing changed as I was quickly out of breath. I was aware of the danger, and did not suppress any emotional response. However, I was unaware that there were changes in metabolism and not aware of my appetite. I was also not aware that my sweat glands were working hard to cool me down. I did not experience any heartburn, bloating, or diarrhea. Neither was I aware of my immune system and its decreased ability to fight germs. Nor was I aware of any hypersensitivity or increased perception of physical pain. I was extremely fearful, experienced much anxiety until I reached safe ground near my home. To Be Continued

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Illusions Part 2

The average cost to families with children ages 8 to 18 that play organized sports are as follows: 1 $1, 143 for basketball; $ 2, 739 for football; $4, 044 for baseball/softball. Included in the these costs are round-trip airfare; training; lodging; coaching; metal bats; spikes; tournaments, championships etc. it adds up. Playing in a championship game as a 10-year-old must be earth changing and a highlight in one’s life! You might think that I’m just expressing sour grapes. My parents didn’t spend much money regarding my sport activities. And, I would not have asked them, even if available. I am not expressing sour grapes, but rather commenting on today’s parents that are overprotective and who overindulge their kids. These parents are distorting the reality of their lives, and likely living through their kid’s sports. It certainly gives that parent a distraction, and something to think about other than the more important life issues. Without my parent’s indulgence and overprotectiveness, I earned a football scholarship. Playing college football, at the top division level, I reached my competence. Further, my book “Bo’s Warriors Bo Schembechler and the Transformation of Michigan Football” depicts real football players- athletes playing at the highest level, i.e., the NFL. I’m still passionate about football and currently am pursuing film/documentary based on my book. Current statistics indicate that over half of the working force in the country are making a little over $15 an hour. Further, the debt to savings ratio is another economic fact, suggesting much stress, worry and lack of well-being. To spend, that amount of money on extra curriculum sports; not passing school bond issues; eliminating classes like PE from the public schools is a symptom of narcissism, selfishness and shortsightedness. Sports are better when everyone, not just the privileged, participate. The priorities of many in our country do not make any sense at all. Thus, illusion a diversion from reality; questionable economic expenditures; overly permissive parents; and entitled kids are correlated with some of the mental health ills present in our society. On a positive note, Go Blue!

Monday, September 4, 2017

Illusions

The article in the September 4, 2017 edition of Time “Kids Sports Inc.” was a modern day recipe for adults wishing to escape from reality by illusion. According to the article, the child’s recreation league is now a $15 billion industry. Yes, I’m old-school. When I was a kid, playing sports was essentially for kids. For instance, if I wanted to play baseball, football, or hockey, I either went over to my neighbor’s homes looking for my friends to play or I went to the elementary school playground to find a pickup game. When I got a little older, I put together a team; visited businesses to donate money so I could buy team jerseys; and entered the recreation league. It seemed so simple in those days. All one needed back then was a few friends, mitt, ball, bat and a field to play either softball or hardball. The Time magazine article focused on one 10-year-old boy playing baseball. The boy stated he was working hard. He has a $15,000 batting cage in his backyard; his father paid $100 per hour for pitching lessons, $100 per hour for hitting and $100 per hour for fielding instruction. His father had already spent over $30,000 on his son’s baseball sport. His father rationalized and said baseball was his son’s passion. Sure! I will bet that that his son, at his age, doesn’t know anything about passion. Other troubling statistics in the magazine article were as follows: 1. the odds of playing the MLB after high school are 1 in 764. These odds are much better than playing basketball. 2. The odds of playing in the NBA are 1 in 1860? 3. By the way, the odds of playing in the NFL are 1 in 603. To Be Continued

Monday, August 21, 2017

Life Can Be a.....? Part 4

Today, we’re living in a cybernetic revolution, and have computers that calculate and compute faster than we do. We’re being replaced by machines and don’t forget to mention cheap labor. College is unaffordable; having a high school degree is a death sentence; the small businessman is closing shop; and work opportunities are available for those with specialized high tech skills. The middle class has collapsed along with the American idea of purchasing one’s dream home. Further, we have record household debt. The economic gap between the haves and have-nots has exploded. Moreover, the opportunity or opportunities for the gigantic windfall is about as probable as winning the lottery. Our divorce rate, opioid epidemic, suicide rate, anger, and prejudice towards others, such as immigrants, especially Muslims is being acted out regularly. Just visit social media with its plethora of disgusting rhetoric is in abundance. No, don’t visit social media because it’s bad for your health. The idea of religion was founded on the principle that life was difficult in the here and now, but would somehow be better in the afterlife. We have tremendous religious moral ideals such as “thou shall love thy neighbor as thyself.” Yet, we obviously pay lip service to religion. Instead, “we love thy neighbor as he loves thee.” The so-called righteous religious pick and choose, within their emotional makeup, what moral behaviors are followed. Often these leaders are exposed by their illicit sexual behavior. How comforting can religion be today? I guess it depends on which religion is good and what religion is bad. I have not exhausted all the elements making life, for humans, just too damn hard. It’s no wonder based on the biological [sexual and aggressive drives, fragileness of the body] and psychological [abasement needs, gigantic intellectual potential and the crippled anxiety emotional level] makeup of man. Perhaps, living in a primitive society, residing on a commune or becoming a hermit with a mermaid on a solitary island might allow living to be more pleasant than living in an urban or rural area with all its man-made rules, regulations, controls, fear messages and contradictions. On the other hand, why not reduce stress, get involved in a positive union, challenge beliefs with rational thought, evaluate other opinions, exercise mind and body, deal with reality productively and pursue passionate, healthy and productive goals. PS Freud was right on. Living in society leads to frustration, anger and potential neurosis. We know where that road leads.

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Life Can Be a.....? Part 3

The third major barrier that has negative effects on our happiness is our culture, society, or civilization. Depending upon one’s skin color, there are favorable or unfavorable statistics for early death, incarceration, educational level, poverty status, and other socioeconomic variables. Is the “law” color blind? Is their justice for all? Next, let’s begin with the current news on all the major and cable TV stations. First, we heard of the impending danger, and possible nuclear conflict with North Korea. Bill Maher joked, on air, at the Korean dictator telling him that his only friend Dennis Rodman lives in LA so not to bomb us. Essentially, he said don’t bomb us because you would be bombing, your only friend. Are we headed for total annihilation? The potential destruction to mankind is mind boggling. The rhetoric is simply crazy, nuts and scary to say the least. Then we had the Charlottesville, Virginia, racial, hateful, violent, scapegoating,-white inferiority rally. One 32-year-old woman was run down by car by a 20-year-old. Two State Troopers also died. There were TV segments of Americans physically fighting Americans. Aside from the physical violence, there is also verbal violence. An article in the July 16, 2017 New York Times dealt with the findings of brain science that distinguished verbal abusiveness from offensiveness. The writer reported that certain types of words are not only powerful but they can make you sick, alter your brain, kill your neurons and shorten your life. Research suggests that the body’s immune system is vulnerable to inflammation and inflammatory words cause stress. Stress causes physical harm by affecting one’s telomeres. In normal aging your telomeres become shorter but with stress they shrink even more. When telomeres become too short, life is over and one has death. The old statement. “Sticks and stones can break my bones, but words will never hurt me” is simply not true. Who wants to read, see or be around so much hate and violence? Economics or our capitalistic supply and demand model is another societal man-made creation that impinges on happiness. For example, I graduated high school in the 50s with its many opportunities. College was affordable; individuals with a high school degree had numerous employment opportunities; and the small businessman made a profitable living. Being in the socioeconomic middle class was a positive outcome as children could easily out earn their parents. That was then. To Be Continued

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Life Can Be a.......? Part 2

Let’s jump to 5 years of age in our example. More than likely, rages of nature {anxiety producing} have already surfaced for this youngster. If residing in California, the family might have had to contend with an earthquake. For those of you that do not know the horrors of an earthquake, there are numerous Hollywood movies to watch. There might had been an out-of-control fire; freezing temperatures; being caught in a snowstorm; being in a mudslide, heatwave etc. Living in another part of the country, the power of the tornado, a windstorm, a flood are other natural disasters or as the insurance refers to them,” Acts of God. “If one is residing on the East Coast or in Florida, one has had to deal with hurricanes, or even four legged crawling big snout monsters. Thus, the tremendous hazards or disasters of nature are forces that we can’t control. These natural forces are scary and fear producing. We are limited to being protected by our parents who may have had difficulty themselves protecting us because of their overriding fear or fears. Being an adolescent, we distort reality, are impulsive and behave as we are indestructible. We drink, smoke, take drugs, drive too fast, and engage in other senseless risky behaviors that negatively affect us and place us in danger. As my grandson would say “it’s because of age,” in justifying his thinking and behavior. At some point, and it varies per individual, we look in the mirror, compare our athletic process with someone younger, contract an illness , break some body part, and recognize we have this frail, decomposing and dying body. During the life process, we take elaborate measures and make an unconscious or conscious attempt to distort the genetic reality that is taking place. We make hair and hair style changes ; purchase eyeglasses; detox with food; join exercise facilities; purchase all kinds of apps that measure heart rate, number of steps, etc.; undergo cosmetic, bariatric, dental and other surgeries. We may even acquire health insurance; purchase long-term care; consider cryogenics or engage in some creative socialistic program to assist with the coming of feebleness. Yes, we are all faced with the fear of death, which is the general principle fundamental to all living beings. Increasing your telomeres, placing the body in a freezing compartment does not deny the inevitability of the physical and psychological mortality of death. To Be Continued

Friday, August 18, 2017

Life Can Be a....?

Two significant facts come to mind. The first being that life expectancy rates in the “land of the free and the home of the brave,” are declining. I’ll bet they’re not declining in the Netherlands {Amsterdam} and Denmark {Copenhagen}. The second is that suicide is the 5th leading cause of death in our country. Homicide follows at number 16. Freud was right when he enumerated about life being difficult, even though he was not residing in our country. He obviously was talking about mankind. We know man acts out his quest for pleasure {sex and aggression} and sometimes avoids pain in attempting to meet his drives and/or needs. The preceding statistics suggest something is ajar and not working right for man. If man is pursuing happiness, perhaps he has lost his way, and traveling down the wrong road. Let’s look at some possible explanations and barriers making things difficult for man to achieve happiness and wellbeing. Freud described the birth as being the prototype for the experience of future anxiety. The birth was the reality of the situation in which later signals of danger are built. Otto Rank, within Freudian ideology, reinterpreted this Freudian concept and in 1924, published “The Trauma of Birth.” Essentially, Rank was saying that the fear of life begins with the dynamics of the birth. Prior, according to Rank, the embryo functioned as a symbiotic unit within its blissful surroundings. With birth, the infant separates and attempts to reinstate a unity between himself and the mother. In doing so, the infant experiences advances toward independence or separation as being a potential threat. Thus, according to Rank, as a result of birth beginnings, our life long task is dealing with a union and the terror or fear of separation from that relationship. I suggest that our issues might be worse prior to the birth. The risk or danger begins at conception depending upon the behavior of the mother. We know that a mother drinking alcohol, smoking or taking drugs like opioids affects the embryonic or executive functions in the fragile developing brain within the womb. The birth mother might be economically poor and exhibit inadequate nutrient consumption .Her diet affects the embryo as well. The woman might have been raped and had engaged in potential abortion deliberations. She might have suffered a significant fall or crash while carrying the embryo. She might’ve been in a physically and/ or mentally abusive interpersonal relationship. Seems to me there are a host of numerous situations that the embryo’s delicate health could be affected prior to the birth. If this is the case, the embryo is not in a state of bliss during pregnancy. To Be Continued

Monday, August 14, 2017

Pleasure and Reality Part 3

If work is not a necessity, it’s no wonder that these young choose not to work. Avoiding, and gaming provides a much more positive alternative for these people. Playing with a handheld device in hand, removes a person from human interaction and places the recipient alone in a state of fun, distraction/ diversion. Furthermore, gaming is drive inducing. The more one plays, the more excitement experienced, and the more the enjoyment increases. Fighting a foe, wiping out the aliens or dealing with a shortage of resources are much more fun and pleasurable than being in a boring, stressful position outside the home and having to interact with the realities in the real world. To illustrate, one research study at Stanford University, looked at 11 male and 11 female students playing a videogame while employing brain scans. The brain scans revealed an activation of visual processing, visuospatial attention, motor function and sensorimotor integration in various parts of the brain. In another study, using positron emission tomography, or PET, it revealed increased dopamine release while playing a videogame. Yes, one of the benefits of playing a videogame, is that it releases dopamine or pleasure. It’s not a mystery, why they’re more women attending college; are positive role models in the work force; and exemplary figures in politics. Many of our young boys/men are lazy, feel a sense of entitlement, are infantilized and exhibit irresponsible behavioral choices. With the electronic revolution, it’s not hard to figure out why many males prefer not to study, complete their homework or regularly attend class. How does a person get a rush while attending class in elementary, secondary, or college? Escaping the reality of the moment, overrides short and long-term planning, studying, pursuing knowledge, and taking responsibility for one’s future. Unfortunately, the consequence of being young and not having employment skills is a curse in our capitalistic economic system. Also, it’s a prediction for future suffering and misery. Socrates and Aristippus are likely rolling over in their graves when thinking about America’s young males. Yes, the future is sad for many.

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Pleasure and Reality Part 2

Another way to distort pain, boredom, apathy, low-energy, depression, etc., of current reality, is to find a substitute satisfaction or satisfactions. This satisfaction could be going out for a trail run. For me, more often than not, I feel much better and have more energy during and after my run than before. I am always pleased that I push myself to do the run. Or, I can turn on the TV, go to the movies or even read a book to change my present reality state. Yoga, is another mechanism that transforms. In Yoga, [happiness of quietness] one withdraws from others, and proceeds into the present or here and now. In Yoga, the process diminishes or eliminates noxious or bothersome thoughts. In this state, yoga also eliminates various external temptations that are present in the environment. This change method is relaxing, blissful, but only temporary. One of my favorite current diversions is going to Baskin-Robbins and getting a variety of chocolate ice cream. After running the Jed Smith 50 K. I’m simply tired and hurting. That is one way I change my reality. Many years ago, I was in an unsatisfactory union, and my favorite diversion was purchasing new Harley’s. Since, I’ve terminated that union, I am now in a better union and no longer have my Harley Davidson motorcycles. Looking at the out of sight statistics for drug and alcohol consumption, it’s obvious that intoxication is another mechanism to distort the reality of living. While intoxicated [pleasurable sensations], one generally is not able to experience contrary or painful experiences. On the other hand, one can generally delude oneself into thinking that they are happy. However, in essence, people instead are simply avoiding or deflecting their actual pain and suffering. It remains difficult to find happiness [reality] in our society with all its pressing restrictions, contradictions and Catch-22 situations. Remember, of the 7 major feelings [happiness, surprise, sadness, fear, anger, disgust, contempt], five are negative or painful. With this brief background, the stage is set for the article titled “Young men: Video games instead of jobs?” The source is the July 28, 2017 edition of The Week. It was reported that the hours worked by men ages 21 to 30 declined by 12% between 2000 and 2015. Perhaps, a third of that work decline might be attributed to gaming activity. The researcher stated that many young men would rather game than take a minimum wage job. He also predicted that joblessness is associated with misery. Further, 70% of the young work force dropouts live with their relatives. These individuals reported that they are very happy or pretty happy. They likely are avoiding, and distorting the reality of being in a position where they have a deficient skill level, and making minimum wage. By gaming, they’re out of touch with the reality of their laziness of having to work in a stressful and/or monotonous environment. To Be Continued

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Pleasure and Reality

Early Greek philosophers like Socrates, Plato and Aristotle emphasized searching for the truth. This meant that acquiring knowledge was noble and as a result, this would lead to righteous behavior. Further, they believed in the ability to control passions. Moreover, Aristotle believed that the highest goal of human life was achieving happiness. Another Greek, Arristippus of Cyrene believed that pleasure was good, worthy and would lead to happiness. It was paramount to pursue pleasure in moderation. If that could be achieved, then the ability to enjoy within the limits of self-control was considered a virtue. Centuries later, Sigmund Freud, in his psychoanalytic study of man, developed the following ideas. Freud, hypothesized that man’s early drives were pleasure driven. Within the unconscious, he called this the Pleasure Principle. He also saw man’s need to avoid pain and unhappiness while still striving for happiness. Unfortunately, he realized that many societal barriers interfered with the gratification of man’s pursuit for happiness. Further, he knew that life was very difficult and man had many impossible tasks in front of him. To cope with life’s difficulty, Freud identified three of man’s psychical escape mechanisms. One way man could psychically deal with his issues from being in the here and now was by creating deflections, diversions, phantasy, images or wishful fulfillments. For example, one of my friends has followed Christie Brinkley for years. Seeing a current picture of her brings a smile to his face. Another friend of mine used to run like Mercury. Currently, while in bed, he imagined himself running fast and easily beating his competition. Then we meet up, talk about his phantasy, and run on the trail. Reality sets in and we laugh. This has happened more than once. As a youngster, I read books about sports heroes and imagined being a hero in my daydreams. The ability to create phantasy does not end in childhood. TO Be Continued

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Dopamine, Food and Drugs Part 3

In an animal study with monkeys and cocaine, it was reported that monkeys placed in a group setting [received more attention, more grooming and more access to food and treats] had more D2 dopamine receptors and were less interested in self-administering cocaine. The monkeys housed in individual cages, had a reduction of D 2 dopamine receptors and they increased their cocaine use. This study suggested many things. Perhaps, one’s environment is an important variable for increasing or decreasing D 2 dopamine receptors. Increasing stress in humans results in more humans with addictive behaviors. Not surprisingly, our food industry produces high-fat sugary foods. Further, these cheap calorie dense foods are highly rewarding. In essence, our caloric modern foods and easily available potent recreational drugs, activate our reward circuits. These quick fixes modify the neurotransmitter in the brain and enhance motivation in the directions of addictive, compulsive and consumption behavior. It’s no wonder that advertising and its subliminal messages targets our drug addicted and obese individuals. These folks are clearly susceptible to such messages with their impaired deficits in critical thinking and lack of impulse control. Perhaps one reason we have evolved employing 2 feet is for locomotion. Prehistoric man was able to run down his four-legged dinner. The biological dynamics, and mechanisms of 2 feet are vastly superior to 4 feet. This coupled with our prefrontal cortex of the human brain gives us the edge over our animal nature. Unfortunately, the impulsivity, irrationality, and amoral behavior in man, interferes with maximizing potential for self-good. If you doubt or object to what I’m saying, step on a scale, look in the mirror and peek into your medicine cabinet. Don’t use your brain to falsify the reality. Those quick looks will provide insight about your D 2 dopamine ratio. Do we blame our brain, our economic, political, and religious institutions for the lack of satisfaction and destructiveness? Are our institutions failing mankind? Is the nature of man, the real problem? Or, is it the interaction of man and his institutions? In the meantime, one of my NFL friends said, “Keep moving.” Of course, movement is only part of the story. Do not forget, you are what you eat and you eat what you are. Sad, but true. Pursuing happiness?

Saturday, August 5, 2017

Dopamine, Food and Drugs Part 2

To make a long story short, an individual low in dopamine has little joy for life and little energy. These individuals then pursue such activities and abuse caffeine, alcohol, sugar, drugs, shopping, sex, video games, online porn, power, and gambling for additional dopamine release. More specifically, nicotine boosts dopamine by 200%, cocaine 400% and amphetamines, 1000%. These behavioral choices assist us in getting through the day, but they are not permanent solutions. It is believed, that the dopamine neurotransmitter acts like a reward system or stimulus that induces appetitive or approach behavior. It also induces consummatory behavior as well. To simplify, wanting, desire, or seeking is associated with approach behavior while liking or pleasure is associated with consummatory behavior. 59,000 Americans died of drug overdoses in 2016. In a 2015 article, it was reported that middle-class whites have experienced alarming increases in mortality since 1990s. This group was largely driven by despair, suicide, alcohol ,and drugs abuse. Another study found that a lower social status, coupled with less perceived social support [stress] was correlated with fewer dopamine [D 2’s] in the brain’s reward circuit. Another study found that D 2 was linked with lower activity in the prefrontal cortex, which impairs one’s ability to think critically and exercise restraint. Chronic exposure to high-fat sugary foods was also linked with lower D2 levels in people. Individuals with lower D2 levels are more likely to crave such comfort foods. More exposure to such foods results in more craving. Morbidly obese individuals also had reductions in their D2 receptors and that reduction was proportional to their body mass index. Perhaps “the wanting” of reward is that these individuals find normal food consumption insufficiently rewarding. It seems, the more D2 receptors being created; the more dopamine being recirculated; and with the more existing dopamine receptors working better, the higher the natural level of stimulation/ pleasure. Having a positive D2 ratio suggests that one is less likely to go out and compulsively seek recreational drugs, comfort food or engage in other self-destructive behavioral choices. To Be Continued

Friday, August 4, 2017

Dopamine Food and Drugs

Thomas Jefferson wrote that “The Pursuit of Happiness” was significant. Unfortunately, in today’s world, that idea is being misinterpreted. Instead, people are pursuing destructiveness, self-hate, sickness and premature death behaviors. For example, we give Congress very low approval ratings; we listen to hate radio; we participate in sadistic antisocial media and we view negative hurtful TV news. We have an opioid epidemic; we have 40% of the population obese; we have 70% of the population overweight; we have drug and alcohol addictions; we have a suicide epidemic and we have out of sight statistics on homicide. In the 1990s, there was no state that had an adult obesity rate over 15%. In 2015, there were 44 states that had obesity rates of 20% or higher. It is clear that a great number of participants in our culture, society and institutions are expressing hostility directed toward self and toward others in unhealthy amounts. On a moral level, there appears to be an absence of alarm, which is very troubling. A July 2, 2017 article in the New York Times had the following: “We created the perfect environment for drug and food addiction.” In that article, the writer wrote about the influence of dopamine, one of the chemical neurotransmitters, found in the brain. This neurotransmitter is associated with concentration, socializing, food seeking, sexual desire, pleasure, reward, motivation, reality testing and attention. Incidentally, motor neuron control, another important element of dopamine, declines in the aging brain. Remember, an aging brain doesn’t make one smarter, or learning any faster. By now, we all know that stress [economic, political, interpersonal, irrational thinking] is not good for anyone. Hans Selye, defined distress “the nonspecific response of the body to any demand placed upon it.” For a quick glance into stress level, consult the External and Internal Stress Index Scale. In fact, stress makes people more likely to exhibit behavior directed toward the search for comfort food, drugs and other poor behavior choices. Further, addiction is neither a moral failure nor related to hardwiring of the brain. In fact, stress and addiction go hand-in-hand like chocolate pudding and pie. This neurotransmitter chemical called dopamine is produced in the midbrain and in the hypothalamus within our 3 pound structure. Moreover, dopamine is the chemical that mediates pleasure in the brain. In that, it is released during pleasurable situations and motivates an individual to seek out ecstasy in an activity like food, sex, and a few drugs of abuse. Food, sex, and opiates stimulate dopamine release in the brain. Specifically, it affects the pre-frontal cortex. Once again, the cortex is where cognitive or executive functions like perception, thinking, judgment and decision-making take place. To Be Continued

Saturday, July 29, 2017

The Effects of TBI and CTE Part 2

Chronic traumatic encephalopathy [CTE] is a progressive neurodegenerative dementia due to the cumulative effects of repeated TBI’s. A professional football player could have over 22 years of playing time, beginning with Pee Wee or Pop Warner, while ending in the NFL. It’s not clear why some players developed CTE and others did not. Unfortunately, there’s no treatment that stops or cures CTE. CTE progresses in 3 stages and becomes more severe with increasing age. CTE Individuals can develop ALS, dementia, Alzheimer’s and premature death. It was estimated that NFL players can receive 90 to 1500 blows to the head during a single season. Recently, Junior Seau of the San Diego Chargers made the news with his suicide. Former broadcaster Frank Gifford had a CTE pathology at autopsy. Currently, Tony Dorsett, Football Hall of Fame, suffers memory loss and other TBI symptoms. Moreover, the symptoms of PTSD and CTE overlap. As reported, some of the combat veterans diagnosed with PTSD may actually have CTE as well. Although our brain weighs about 3 pounds, this powerful computer mechanism interacts with perception, thinking, attention, emotions, and memory while influencing and directing behavior .This process becomes known as personality. A person with a brain injury, has severely impaired habits. What happens between the person and the environment after the injury is classified as a biopsychosocial model. The entire patient history should be considered when determining the overall impact/ recovery from TBI. By definition, a TBI is related to behavior. We may be walking under a tree when a pinecone drops and hits us in the head. We may be driving our car and have it collide with a deer or another vehicle. We may have been shook and hit by a parent or caretaker at a young age. Child abuse with children under four years of age are at the highest levels of TBI for that classification. We may enter and take a high risk physical job, choose not to wear a car seatbelt or protective helmet. At a young age, we may choose to play a high risk contact sport like football. As a high school graduate, we may even decide to enter the service to protect our country or give some other rationalization. Yes, experiencing a TBI is much too common. In conclusion, man is a dangerous {homicidal, sadistic, abasement, and suicidal driven} animal and has difficulty protecting himself from harm or injury. My friend, an All-American, all NFL Pro, with the Cleveland Browns and is a member of their Hall of Fame, played football for 22 years. Among many other things, he said “My memory is not as good as it used to be;” and “I would do it all over again.”

Friday, July 28, 2017

The Effects of TBI and CTE

Last week I attended a continuing education class titled “Brain Trauma, Concussion and Dementia.” This class was timely, interesting, challenging, scary, and detailed. Briefly, the following consists of information that I found relevant. 1. Traumatic brain injury [TB I] was defined as an alteration in brain function, or other evidence of brain pathology, caused by external force. 2. TBI is a major cause of death and disability in persons between ages 1 to 44. 3. Adults over 65 are in the highest risk category for TBI, but the age groups 5 to 9 and 15 to 24 are also high 4. Yearly economic cost of TBI has been estimated at $40-$60 billion a year. 5. Most common causes of civilian hospitalization for TBI’s, in the US, are falls; followed by motor vehicle accidents; followed by being struck by/against and then assaults. TBI results in a wide array of mental, emotional and physical deficits .It is not limited to the effects from injury to the frontal lobes .The frontal lobe area of the brain may present the greatest psychosocial impairments and most significant barriers to recovery .Injury to the frontal lobe results in a cluster of deficits in three major areas of functioning :Cognitive [short attention span, poor short term working memory, difficulty in planning and organization, problems in reasoning, abstract thinking, poor impulse control and social judgment, lack of empathy and impairment in understanding how other people think]. Emotional [angry outbursts, overly excitement, prolonged sadness, clinical depression, lack of fear in threatening situations and exaggerated fear in other situations]. Behavioral [compulsive behavior and lack of recognition of consequences, inability to respond to social cues with inappropriate social behavior, inappropriate aggression, out of context sense of humor, exaggerated laughing, exaggerated inappropriate sexual behavior, and the telling of pointless and boring stories]. These three areas are called the Frontal Lobe Syndrome. Two populations of TBI diagnosis come to mind- military service and sports. For the military service, blast {bomb} related TBI’s are a major concern. There were close to 28,000 medically diagnosed TBI’s battle related and non-battle related incidents in 2009 alone. The Department of Veterans Affairs reported that over 7% of veterans presenting for care had TBI with persisting symptoms. Can you imagine a Navy Seal, on a special assignment, with a TBI diagnosis? With a Frontal Lobe Syndrome, you are a danger to yourself, as well as a danger to your buddies. How many military suicides had an underlying TBI diagnosis? Being exposed to an explosion, now days, is much more dangerous and frequent than being shot. In one Marines study, in 2008, the ratio was 97, compared to 3%. Athletes in contact sports like football, rugby, ice hockey, baseball and softball are also have an increased risk of TBI. It has been estimated that 1.6 to 3.8 million individuals have sports related mild and moderate TBI’s, in the US, every year. Children under age 15 have twice as many TBI’s from sports as from auto accidents. Boxers and riders in equestrian events also have an especially high TBI risk. In sports, the greatest TBI risk, however, is for football players. The statistics suggest that 20% of high school football players and 40% of college football players have sustained TBI injuries. Unfortunately, a football helmet does not prevent a concussion To Be Continued

Sunday, July 23, 2017

The Epidemic of Violence

In conclusion, it’s difficult to fully understand or even predict violent behavior of an individual with this personality, character trait. There are no simple answers. We can never fully understand unless we have insight into one’s genetic constitutional dispositions, traumatic brain injury [TBI], chronic traumatic encephalopathy [CTE] and health history, idiosyncrasies of family life, social, economic class status, religious, philosophical and moral traditions, urban, rural background within the spirit and philosophy of the culture, etc. Without fully integrating information from a broad spectrum, we have little understanding why certain traits become so persistent and deep-seated in that individual. Yes, it’s a difficult problem to figure out, but it can be done. The divisive numbing news cycle, after the fact, provide little in the understanding of the daily visual horrors. Name, age, ethnic background, marital status, employment, input from neighbors are merely statistics that do not tell the real story. The so-called experts, paraded on television, fill up airtime with banal words, speculating, lying, while making numerous assumptions. Everyone seems proficient at raising questions while employing fear. Further, throwing money at education, travel restrictions, more police and additional Internet surveillance are superficial and impotent measures at best. Our countries political system is toxic. Mention Republican, Democrat, conservative, liberal and negative emotions surface. Our economic wealth disparity continues to grow between the haves and have-nots. This generates negative emotion like anger. To experience sadistic trash, hate, lying, and fake information, visit social media. Cable news provides loud dribble, lack of depth, and repeats the same tune over and over. It’s almost like brainwashing. We do not hear much from our religious leaders regarding humanistic change. Instead, we are exposed to the religious zealots promoting irrationality, fear, lies and hate. At the moment, I’m not optimistic about the enormous sadistic, hateful life thwarting epidemic going on in our society. It seems like it’s increasing without enough diversions. However, I am not going out and buying a gun because that is irrational and it is not a solution.

Saturday, July 22, 2017

The Epidemic of Violence Part 5

These exploitive sadistic killers can be described as having some of the following character traits. Character can be defined as a developed energy force .It’s the result of the unconscious conflict between “desire” and impulse and the forces or barriers {within the environment} interfering in getting what we want. These interacting forces include but are not limited to a life thwarting society, a hateful culture, socioeconomic poverty, authoritarian political, punitive governmental law and order, irrational , prejudicial educational teachings, discriminating economic institutions, and stressful anxiety threatening social upbringings as well. People are bombarded with economic and social inequalities, prejudice, and alienation models that depict the dehumanization of man on many fronts. There are many restrictions and controls that impinge upon us. We know, for example that the baby’s brain does not develop optimally without proper nourishment, warmth, touch, safety and freedom of movement. In other words, from the beginning, our lives can be readily compromised. A true malignant {there are degrees} sadistic character experiences some form of psychic pleasure in the killing, maiming, humiliating and torturing process. The impulse to inflict excruciating pain and destruction on another provides a sense of omnipotence, absolute control and power irrespective of whether or not it is achieved in hand-to-hand combat or on a helpless, unarmed opponent. There are no moral questions regarding morality, only the impulse and the irrationality of the act. The malignant’s internal conflicts, disappointments, emptiness, underlining impotence, are symbolically acted out in violence. One decapitates a head a as if it were a venomous snake. This individual type is actually fearful and has difficulty standing alone, weaponless on his two feet. Hate and human destructiveness over others are risked over one’s self-interest or self-preservation. The expression live by the sword, die by the sword fits here. Dying and/or self-destruction is more than likely the end result. If this path is followed, can the need, or drive for killing ever be satisfied? The passion or motivating force for destroying life is greater than the passion for living a humanistic way of life .Sad, but true. To Be Continued

Friday, July 21, 2017

The Epidemic of Violence Part 4

Aggression can be protective. It can be accidental like when the firing of a gun accidentally hurts or kills another. Sports has many examples of playful aggression or aggressiveness. Normally, the aim of playful aggression, in sports, is the exercise or mastery of the skill. It’s more often than not, not aimed at destruction nor motivated by hate. Athletes, as a rule, have a mutuality of respect for the other. Thank goodness for that because the game of football would be very different if played by slaves during Roman times. Self-assertiveness, can be expressed verbally. Using self-assertiveness as a means of communication, the individual can express his desires in a clear and non- ambiguous manner. Yes, non-hateful, positive aggressive communication has its place, especially within our competitive social economic capitalistic system. Often, however, we fail to witness appropriate self-assertive communication. Partly because of the senders inability or inexperience and the fact that an underlying emotion was present. When negative emotion is involved, communication becomes a trigger for oral aggression. Once it starts, it is difficult to stop that aggressive behavior. Let’s turn to another form of aggression. Survival of fittest may mean many things, and it may be in play here. On a side note, the primitive hunters in Prehistoric times, did not have a dental makeup associated with being carnivores or meat eaters. Anthropologists with tools of excavation and other means postulated that our ancestor’s diets were made up of 75 to 80% vegetarian [seeds, fruits, etc.]. Gathering food was easier back then and safer than hunting for it. Once we developed tools that changed. Aggression can be considered defensive as in fighting for freedom. Spartacus comes to mind. Roman slaves became gladiators as a form of entertainment, degradation and modeled their insignificance of being human. They were property. This Roman model demonstrated the overwhelming control and power of the sadistic behavior of the Roman master over the slave gladiator. Motivated in part for revenge and freedom, Spartacus and his fellow gladiators killed their captives and went on to war against the Roman legions. In essence, fighting for freedom resulted in more deaths, hate and sadistic vengeance against fellow man. To Be Continued

Thursday, July 20, 2017

The Epidemic of Violence Part 3

Albert Bandera, a behaviorist, demonstrated the significance of modeling and/or imitation in explaining aggressive responses. For example, preschool children, in experimentation, were exposed to real life, fantasy movies or television models exhibiting aggressive behavior. Two groups of non-frustrated, nonaggressive preschool children, then observed a live adult model acting aggressively toward dolls in the experimental room. 90% of the children, in the experimental group, imitated the aggressive responses of the model, while none in the control group displayed such behavior. Remember, that an aggressive model’s behavior can and does generalize to other settings, situations and interactions. Just think of all the models of violence that are displayed over and over again in our movies, TV and video games. Not only are we learning about violent behavior and death, we are also viewing the disrespect between human beings. It’s okay to kill the” bad” guy, irrespective of the reason. Bad guys are dressed in black. Are there any of us who have not witnessed either a verbal and/or physical aggressive interaction between adults or parents? Are there any of us who have not witnessed an individual being yelled at or physically hit? Are there any parents who have not yelled, spanked, shook, or pinched their infant or child? We have witnessed over and over again plenty of models that have exhibited inappropriate aggressive behavior. Why do people demonstrate so much aggression and why is there an absence of love thy neighbor? Very early in the life of an infant, about six months, it has been was shown that parts of the baby’s brain [amygdala, hypothalamus] becomes activated in the presence of a stranger. It’s as if there’s an activating as well as a deactivating or inhibiting switch mechanism. When activated, the newborn cries. Crying is the infant’s self-protection or self-preservation mode of response. Obviously, it’s one mechanism available at that early age. Is crying an aggressive response? It can be more easily argued that excessive biting behavior in the infant is aggressive. Just ask a nursing mother. This biting behavior, in this developmental phase, is called h oral sadistic. Looking at animal behavior, as with a deer, the animal could fight, flight or freeze. Just today, I encountered a deer and her two offspring’s. The mother obviously was not going to fight. The three of them froze which is generally the behavioral response I find when I’m running on the trail. To Be Continued

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

The Epidemic of Violence Part 2

Although not a neo –Freudian, Henry A Murray postulated a number of human needs within his theoretical framework. Included in Murray’s list of needs were aggression and abasement. He defined aggression: to fight; to revenge an injury; to attack or kill another; to punish another etc.. Another related need was called abasement: to accept injury; mutilate the self; seek and enjoy pain, and punishment; to incorporate aggression directed towards self. Murray believed that needs were hypothetical .Further, a need was related to an underlying physiological process in the brain; and the expression of a particular emotion or affect. Moreover, various circumstances bring about or initiate this hypothetical construct. Thus, with Murray, we know that needs are related to goals that are affected by various conditions within the environment. To account for aggression as being exclusively molded by the influence of the environment, behaviorism took the mantle. In this view, man was supposed to have been born good and rational; but only under bad institutions and bad education, that he developed evil strivings. The notion of unconscious, ego, mind, will, and character etc. were extraneous and not needed to account or explain man’s behavior. A giant within this school of thought, BF Skinner postulated R-S [with R being the response and S being the reinforcing stimulus]. With his experiments, he demonstrated that with the proper use of a positive reinforcement [Pleasure] ratio, animal and human behavior could be significantly altered. If an apparent reward didn’t influence or modify behavior, then it was not seen as a reinforcement. When a reinforcement worked, it changed behavior. This school of thought believed that reward was superior and more effective than punishment .Punishment didn’t change the response, it only inhibited the response when the punisher was present. The negative behavior would surface when the punisher was absent, or out of sight. My Border collie is a good example of the efficiency of positive reinforcement. This young dog responds by licking my face, laying at my feet and wagging her tail when verbally praised. Verbal praise works terrifically in modifying and reinforcing the behavior that I want. She has never been slapped or hit. In my opinion, she’s a sweet and loving dog. To Be Continued

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

The Epidemic of Violence Part 1

The Psychiatric Glossary defined aggression as: a forceful physical, verbal, or symbolic action. May be appropriate and self-protective, including healthful self-assertiveness or inappropriate. Also, may be directed outward toward the environment as in explosive personality, or inward toward the self as in depression. A few noteworthy and different theoretical frameworks on aggression, follow, with a very brief and simplified view. Konrad Lorenz, although an expert in the field of animal behavior, especially that of fishes and birds, wrote a bestseller titled “On Aggression”, depicting the instinctive nature of aggression in man. Succinctly, he thought that aggression was like a bomb or pump primed and ready to explode at any time. Sigmund Freud employed, within a biological framework, his view of aggression. After the First World War, he revised his theory and postulated a “death impulse” which was directed toward self and others, and referred to it as a drive. Sadism and masochism are two such constructs. He also postulated the impulsive, irrational and amoral nature of man that operated, within the unconscious. Freud made it clear that man was not always aware of his motivations. In his theory, he believed society, its institutions and man’s caretakers thwarted man’s pleasure principle needs. Within this model, man’s character was developed and was heavily influenced by early development. Many others added and expanded input into this comprehensive theory. Karen Horney, a Neo-Freudian, influenced by the social sciences described an aggressive character business type as follows: “the person tends to demand power and prestige and personal infallibility as its major mode of coping with a hostile world. There is exaggerated, independence, ruthlessness, cynical realism expressed in a dog eat dog philosophy of life. People are considered as exploitable possessions. If sexual prowess has become important to him, the man, the man’s proves his success by conquering women. Often he wants money or social prestige in his choice of wife and is indifferent consciously to love and her personal merits. Ruthless in business himself, he distrusts his business associates. The Aggressive character type typically assumes that he will be imposed upon unless he watches out for his interests. Outsmarting others is the principal he uses for his own conduct and in his own interpretation of the behavior of others. He may often appear loving, loyal and honest replete with Cardinal virtues. Yet his family and other associates are likely to suffer from the neurotic defensiveness of his life pattern.” To Be Continued

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Samson and Hercules Part 6

Minimizing the stress and cortisol [a hormone that helps regulate stress within the body] levels is the fourth component of a Samson Hercules prototype. An individual’s stress level may have to do with one’s irrational thinking pattern, or conflicts at work or at home. Anxiety, headaches, stomach aches, allergies, ulcers are a few indicators of things not right. A few examples for coping might be: Take a short nap, become more spiritual, change thinking, meditation, etc. are just a few strategies. Kareem Abdul Jabbar, a number of years ago, told my friend Gino how he eliminated his headaches with the sentence “She left.” In summary, if one has self-trust, then it’s never too late to begin a transformation and pursue a different journey. Often, it may take a personal trauma or traumatizing episode to propel or provide the much-needed impetus for change. The ego has much resilience time in and timeout. We see many examples of such. Just like in the Rocky series. Rocky Balboa time and time again after taking a beating, recovered and overcame the odds. Real life may not be as dramatic as Rocky Balboa, just the same. The strength of a man’s character is measured through his accomplishments. Just take a look at his mental toughness to complete the picture. Man has many psychological needs, ranging from physiological, and safety to a hierarchy of more powerful and paramount. They are necessary for survival in our modern times. Man’s goal accomplishments are valid behavioral indicators of his strivings and give a glimpse into his need structure. Man’s drive to complete his goals, which are very complex, interactive and further show strength of character. Man’s thinking can aid him or distract him and can fulfill or sabotage his goal seeking behavior. His biases, prejudices, failures and prehistoric thinking often get in his way and provide detours for goal accomplishment. The myth of Sisyphus comes to mind-pushing that boulder up the mountain, over and over without being able to push it over the top. Man is an irrational thinking component animal and that is coupled with his need of abasement {to surrender}. Both can stymie him [learned failure] in his ability to have a more productive, satisfying, gratifying existence within his life space. In essence, if physical and mental health are not true to a way of life, behavior and choices will be out of harmony, and resonance with Inertia and illusions predominating. There are no do overs. We are what we eat and we are what we do. PS I told Tony that Samson brought down the temple upon himself and that Hercules became insane. He replied, “Well, no one’s perfect.”

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Samson and Hercules Part 5

The second component of exercise [Weight training, sprinting, swimming, rowing, tennis, yoga, isometrics, martial arts, squash, basketball] have to do with strength and muscular development. Everyone knows that activity is good, which means there’s no problem with assimilation. The problem again is with accommodation or follow through in spite of the barrier. Once again, we’re talking about something that’s very difficult to accomplish and keeping with it. This means sweating, straining, muscles that burn, and even inflicting some form of pain or punishment upon oneself (abasement}. It’s easy to rationalize, employ denial or intellectualization defenses prior to beginning an exercise with self-talk as “I don’t feel like it;” “I’ll do it tomorrow;” “one day off won’t matter;” etc. However, once beginning an exercise, often changes the dynamics but not always. Repetition, repetition, repetition is paramount for success. I have heard often “I can’t run because of my bad knees.” With a knee replacement, one can do brisk walking, or strenuous hiking. I know someone with a hip replacement that still runs. There is no substitute, no shortcut or no pill to take, when it comes to exercise. Reframe the word and call it “conditioning for life.” Also important, is that the exercise goal has to have an emotional component tied to a major need or needs; provides meaning and becomes a way of life. If it takes on a positive addictive quality, then this kaleidoscope of motivations makes it difficult to stop because then the fear of failure becomes another motivator “if I stop, I’ll become fat,” “I’m not progressing fast enough.” An individual who enjoyed sports and physical activity, much earlier in life has a better chance of awakening what has lied dormant for many years. The activity becomes a rebirth or new beginning. In other words, the strength, valence, and importance of the motives allows it to overcome and penetrate our barriers regardless of their size, height or length. The mastery or mental toughness necessary to overcome and stay the course becomes self-reinforcing and leads to realistic expectations and to Samson and Hercules, like accomplishments. Jim Steere, DMV, Lew Hollander, PhD, Jack Sholl, Doc Shay, Sammy Stanbro, Beverlee Bentley and Russ Kiernan , my first ride and tie partner come to mind. They pushed their physical, mental and emotional limits to unfathomable levels. And as award-winning sports author Peter Golenbock stated “their stories are about the unbelievable or impossible …..” To Be Continued

Monday, July 10, 2017

Samson and Hercules Part 4

Sometimes one begins a behavioral change, but is unable to complete, or follow through. They seem to quit and may even have a history of numerous starts. People quit for a number reasons. One major example relates to food intake or dieting. There too many emotional triggers that result in “ food” being a source of perceived comfort, or even need gratification, irrespective of the fact that the “snack” may be significantly detrimental to one’s health. The food industry have experts that take advantage of the chemical workings [salt, sugar, fat] of the human brain. Beginning an external dietary program works wonders at the beginning and must be followed indefinitely. If not, the chemistry makeup within the brain, along with the history of self-defeating eating behavioral choices [abasement need- to become resigned to fate] of the past, will work against you, every time in the present year, as well as future. The third component of Samson or Hercules mode relates to exercise. There are two major components to exercise. The first has to do with endurance and cardiorespiratory function. A walk does not qualify unless it’s a brisk walk or hiking in the foothills or up a mountain. It’s important that the VO2 max, which is the maximum amount of oxygen the body can utilize during a specified period of usually intense exercise is a major part of the exercise activity. The cardiovascular activity {jogging, running, bicycling, aerobics classes, cross-country skiing, swimming, rowing, trampolining] has to be aerobic with the duration of at least 45 minutes daily. Days off now and then are permitted. Do not underestimate the importance of an aerobic training. Yes, this means being out of breath, gasping for air, having a pain in the side, and other discomforts-examples of the abasement need [to accept pain, injury]. One may even fall down and scrape a knee, arm, or other body part. A treadmill may work even though it’s boring, despite all the diversions like TV, etc. Years ago. I remembered a new recruit for ride and tie. Up to that point, she only conditioned by using the treadmill. Unfortunately, that young lady, literally died on her first practice trail run. Yes, there are diversions on the trail like rocks, roots, branches, snakes, bears and even mountain lions. These are environmental barriers. To Be Continued

Sunday, July 9, 2017

Samson and Hercules Part 3

Let’s jump to someone approaching their sixth decade of life. Is it too late to achieve, optimum mental and physical health? I don’t think so as long as we make a few assumptions. First, one cannot be burdened with having a chronic physical debilitating disease or injury as in certain types of cancer or heart disease. Second, one cannot have a major diagnosis of mental retardation, depression, anxiety, Parkinson’s, or Alzheimer’s. Third, one must be motivated in putting in the work and in establishing goals with realistic expectations for suberb physical and mental health. Fourth, one must have a positive emotional support network. Fifth, the positive ratio of positive expectations to negative expectations may set the bar correctly for successful goal achievement. And as Freud said, one must be able to love and to work for a healthy emotional state. If these assumptions are not met, the following will fall on deaf ears. “I can” is a more preferable psychological state than “I can’t” with its negative, self-defeating emotional overlay. The following is a snapshot of what it takes to become Samson or Hercules, like. First, the individual would have a Body Mass Index (BMI) index ranging from 18.5 up to 25. The formula is mass in pounds divided by height squared multiplied by 703 [mass lb. /height2 in x 703]. This formula classifies underweight, overweight and obesity in adults. Second, the individual should be able to incorporate or assimilate information and have the ability to accommodate or follow through with information provided. When it comes to proper nutrition, sugar intake, dietary fat, saturated fat, polyunsaturated fat, cholesterol intake, carbohydrate intake, protein intake, sodium intake, alcohol consumption, significant minerals, vital antioxidants, etc., there is much published information available for those interested and able to take in the necessary recommendations. The problem for most is related to an early history of biasness or a faulty rational belief system-“they used to say coffee was bad for you.” In essence, if the information is dissonant or seen as unfavorably biased against your way of thinking or belief structure, that individual will either discount the information using rationalization or a denial defense or will not even contemplate or listen to that information for consideration. The person’s thinking process is simply stuck in the mud. This example amounts to a major barrier that interferes with any change. The barrier is too tall, thick, strong, rigid, long lasting and unsurmountable. To Be Continued

Saturday, July 8, 2017

Samson and Hercules Part 2

Four key terms are in play. The first being the idea of a” need” which can be defined as a hypothetical state of tension located within the individual. Maslow and others have depicted thirst and hunger as physiological needs requiring gratification. He went on to list a hierarchy of additional esteem and psychological needs with self-actualization being the end result. A second term to consider are “goals.” A goal, incentive or purpose can be located within the individual; related to another or some man-made idea or task. A goal might be to run faster today than yesterday .Or, it might be to break someone else’s running time record. Further, goals have a mental or thought state, along with an emotional component that give it an important significance. It’s a combination of these two elements.” Barriers” or “boundaries “are a third term to consider. Barriers are related to the meanings we give to past and future events. How one thinks, about an obstacle can be either a positive motivator to work harder as in, “I’ll show you.” Or, it can become negative expectation as in “I can’t” with a doom and gloom scenario or outcome. The various barriers or boundaries lead to a fourth term called “expectations or aspirations.” With a series of past failures, it’s not unreasonable to have a low expectation of success. One can also have an unrealistic aspirational and level of expectation with past failures as if to deny reality. Once again, how we think about an event has an emotional component as well. Having successful experiences in football as Tom Brady; his expectations to win a game, as in this year’s Super Bowl were both positive and realistic. There was no doubt, there was no” I can’t” and there was no” we are too far behind to win this game.” The strategy in the first half of that game did not work so it was important that a new way of thinking or different insights were employed during the second half of the game. The outcome of the game told the story, but not the dynamics or adjustments made within. It’s also important that the goals and expectations are within the control of the individual, as in being able to throw the ball accurately under adverse conditions even though the barriers or boundaries as in the other team’s defense may be man-made or be environmental like- weather conditions. Having a sense of trust can make all the difference in navigating within this world when thinking about establishing or setting goals, expectations and the multitude of barriers to be confronted. For example, not being able to trust self, diminishes the opportunity for achieving goals since it can interfere with expectation level along with the ability to develop and follow through with proper strategies of avoiding, going around, or navigating through or jumping over barriers, so to speak. To Be Continued

Friday, July 7, 2017

Samson and Hercules Part 1

In 2011 when I was enjoying my 71 years, my book “It Has Nothing to Do With Age” was published. This book dealt with athletes, at least 65 years of age or older, who competed in extreme or extraordinary sports. These competitive types overcame many personal obstacles and stayed with their extremely difficult activities without giving in, or giving up. Incorporating ideas from those individuals, I’m expanding and delineating the specifics of my notions of the strength of the Samson or Hercules effect behind or the push for optimum mental and physical health. Let’s begin with the birth of the baby and its established DNA structure. The human animal is the most dependent and vulnerable of animals in the sense that if left alone, it would perish. According to Erikson, the newborns first psychosocial task is developing a sense of trust, compared to developing a sense of mistrust. The infant is totally dependent on the caretaker for gratifying its need for food and water. The goal is the gratification of the need and return to a state of homeostasis. This means the infant may communicate its state of disequilibrium by crying. The mother or caretaker has a difficult task or test. She becomes the man-made barrier. It is for her alone that determines the appropriateness of providing breast or bottle to the unhappy infant. Her decision is paramount as she determines what the appropriate degree of frustration is. Should she over mother and respond immediately to the unhappy child? Or should she delay her response to teach a delay of gratification? It’s an important balancing act or ground floor development that results in whether or not the infant develops that sense of being able to trust that human or trust self for the need gratification. If one can’t trust self, one cannot trust others and this fact is a primary indicator of healthy socialization. To Be Continued

Friday, June 30, 2017

What Is Well-Being? Part 5

Ride and tie, endurance riding, and running have inspired me. This physical activity allowed me to improve both my physical and mental fitness. When you are on the trail running, as much as we do, it’s very difficult to feel anxious, or depressed. Sure, one feels tired and beaten up, but not anxious or depressed-and that’s one significant important difference. In order to experience a meaningful healthful psychological life, one has to be able to have expectations, set significant and realistic goals and push oneself for their accomplishment. Thinking about the future, as in goal setting, allowed me to always have hope, optimism, joy, or disappointment in my life, which contributes to having both better psychological and physical health. Running outdoors nurtures spirituality and allowed me to think more clearly about my troubles, solutions to such, life dilemmas as well as the meaning and purpose in my life. I’ve learned firsthand, about expectations, and goal setting through my activities as well as meeting my needs of abasement, achievement, affiliation, autonomy, dominance, nurturance, play, sex, succorance etc. in accordance. This physical activity allowed me to overcome and deal more effectively with the various elements in the environment as well as my aging [Improves my neurocognitive functions by altering the trajectories of critical brain circuits] process. My commitment, my involvement, and my well-being is dependent on my ability to incorporate a healthy and endurance driven lifestyle with everyday living. This is me and who and what I am. PS Thank you Linda dear for your love and support. On a related note, Tony informed me that when I completed in 2002 the 100 mile one day Western States run, in which I placed second and an age division winner in my 60-69 age group . Ralph came in two minutes in front of me and was a friend that introduced me to the product Gu a few years earlier. My finishing time would have also placed me second this year as well. Thanks, Tony, for that information as that brings a smile to my face.

Thursday, June 29, 2017

What Is Well-Being? Part 4

In my experience, I maintained that a positive emotion is just that- a temporary feeling. We may experience more negative than positive feelings during our lifetime. If that’s true, that doesn’t necessarily mean that we are unhappy or depressed souls. I prefer not to use happiness at all because of its transitory nature and the fact that the world is unpredictable, along with us having very little control within our culture. Lots of opportunity for negative feelings. I prefer to comment on the dynamics and characteristics of developing or harmony between having a positive and healthy mental state along with terrific physical health. Both are needed for effective coping. This would likely accomplish a healthy and satisfying lifespan. The partnership between mind-body is critical and paramount. Let’s return to that half marathon and my friend Tony. I initially met Tony in 1997, at a Ride and Tie event held on Mount Hamilton, in California. I was entered in a limited distance endurance ride. Parked next to me were Ride and Tie partners Tony and Jeff. To make a long story short, Tony and I became neighbors shortly thereafter and have been trail buddies since. We have competed in running and riding events over the last 20 years. Research tells us that my friendship was important. In fact, a recent study found in the New York Times stated that important friendships allow the individual to live longer than those without friendships. Having a good friend like Tony allows me more than just the ability to likely live longer. Free of charge, I received his expertise, feedback and assistance on a variety of important and significant issues of the day and yesterday. Years ago, competition was important to me. I wanted to run faster than him even though he was younger. Over the years, I’ve adjusted to that idea. I now employ a running handicap when we take part in the same event. Emotionally, my life has been enriched by learning about him, his wife, Debbie, his father, his mother and his other family members. To Be Continued

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

What Is Well-Being? Part 3

It seemed clear that it’s easier to acknowledge feelings or body sensations when we are tired, exhausted, experiencing pain in some part of our body and/or out of breath. These feelings raised their head frequently while running a trail event. More so, especially when we are running at greater distances than at a half marathon. It was also clear that man’s existence or coping in our current world is not easy going as well. There many day-to-day examples of our friends and acquaintances having issues such as: loss, addiction, economic insecurity, job loss, divorce, suicide, etc. For another illustration, my wife Linda recently was seriously injured in a horse riding accident and now is recovering and dealing with the potential loss of separating herself from her beloved horse Patch .Life is not always a bowl of cherries. One might say that the Human Potential Movement with the positive concept of Self-Actualization written about by such notables as Erich Fromm, Carl Rogers, Rollo May, Abraham Maslow and others depicted man, in a much more favorable manner than Freud. In part, they saw the human being, when fully functioning [as long as society does not get in man’s way with its many barriers or hurdles], as constructive, trustworthy, able to reach new heights, and able to experience oceanic feelings. Currently, Martin Seligman extols a Positive Psychology, employing the scientific method. Briefly, he hypothesized man can attain “well-being.” In this psychological state of positive emotion, the feeling of happiness and life satisfaction are important. Other main aspects included, within his model: engagement, relationships, meaning and purpose, and accomplishment. The self-actualization theorists and Seligman have led us to a good start in further understanding man and his motivation. However, one element to me seemed missing-that is the development of physical health. A more complete model of self-actualization or well- being would include having a sense of good physical health ,coupled with positive psychological health .Aunt Eva told me something of the following “when you have your health , you are blessed. To Be Continued

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

What Is Well-Being? Part 2

Other avenues that distort our reality include alcohol, drugs or opioids, movies, books, newspapers TV, and The News. A study in 2008 by Bomlitz and Brezis looked at media reports and their health risks. Included in the list of health risk were such topics as SARS, AIDS, Cancer, West Nile Virus, Bioterrorism, Plane Crashes, Heart Disease, Car Crashes, Physical Inactivity, and Smoking. The researchers then correlated the number of media reports on a given health threat with the number of deaths in the US actually related to that threat. Their correlation was- 0.93. One conclusion taken was that our media in 2008 hyped a number of health evils beyond the actual death reality. It’s certainly difficult to remain happy watching or listening to so called news in our current culture with their fear driven messages. More recently, on a trail run with my friend Tony, we talked about our half marathon experience this past Father’s Day. I didn’t report, on a previous post, about the beginning or start of that run held in the Sierra- Nevada’s. From the start, we began our run with a significant grade of trail. I was quickly out of breath, thinking to myself, “this is going to be a long day and why is Tony still behind me? “ Tony told me that he too was quickly gasping for air and wondered about his ability to finish this event. I might add that there were many places that had snow covering our trail making running difficult. Did we require more challenges? I asked him if he experienced happiness at the beginning of our race; happiness during the race; or happiness at the end of the race. What most of us do is to rely on our thinking when talking about our feelings. I told him that was not going to do it. With thinking, we employ defense mechanisms such as rationalization, denial and isolation of affect, etc. We can logically convince ourselves of almost anything that we want. However, that doesn’t make it true. On other hand, feelings are fleeting emotions that we experience as physical sensations or discomforts found in various parts of our body, like in our chest, stomach, mouth, etc. that we can learn to identify. I must not have done a good job, as Tony didn’t get it. We laughed and acknowledged that we currently felt better in this moment than we did when we ran that half marathon since our bodies were not displaying significant discomfort at the moment. To Be Continued

Monday, June 26, 2017

What Is Well-Being? Part 1

The June 11, 2017 edition of the New York Times had the following articles on their front page: “Shrinking Turf, Wider , Reach: The Isis Plan;” “Liberals Fighting for Their Faith;” “Drug Trade Rises In the Dark Corners of the Internet;” “Strings Take to Venezuela Streets After Violinist Is Killed at Protest;” and Political Feud Eclipses Warning On Russia: They Will Be Back.” How was that for a glimpse or snapshot in today’s chaotic world? If you ask me, these are just a few of the dangers that exist in our world. Our world, it’s a scary place. Moreover, what does this say about the nature of man; and how can man cope with these man-made uncertainties? Sigmund Freud, developed a psychoanalytic theory of man. Freud depicted man as having an irrational nature, driven by his biological drives or instincts. He also wrote about hysteria, psychopathology, and, another psychic elements or illness developed within man while within in a troubled society. Following Freud was Henry A. Murray. Murray’s model illustrated a number of man’s needs. According to Murray, the majority of these secondary or psychogenic needs were largely determined from within, as a result of something within the person rather than something coming from the environment. He added that there are mechanisms that will either facilitate or impede the efforts of the individual’s efforts to reach a given goal. Man, therefore, may or may not have the means or the ability to satisfy his need strivings. Turning to man’s emotional state, or feelings, Paul Ekman studied the following: happiness, sadness, surprise, fear, anger, disgust. Notice that these primary feelings have a skewed ratio of negative or painful feelings to positive or good feelings. Per these learned men, man has an inner difficulty functioning within an unforgiven society. Religion was developed in part to help men cope with his troubled existence. Catholicism, for example suggested that man was unlikely to find peace and comfort here on earth, but would find relief from his internal life, in this life depending upon how he lived, acted, treated other people, etc. He might find relief from his current difficulties in the next world. Do not forget about the early games when men fought and slayed other men in the Coliseum for the entertainment of the witnessing crowd. Today we have more civilized examples of diversions to help the masses. These escapes are found in football, boxing, and caged fighting. This too is entertainment and is an escape from day to day reality To Be Continued

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Happiness or Effectance Part 4

In summary, Kevin Durant makes millions of dollars playing NBA basketball. When listening to him, he stated that he left the Thunder to play for the Warriors for the pursuit of winning the championship period. Also in Oakland, we have another team called the Oakland Raiders. Their motto is the “Commitment to Excellence.” Professional sports has it right, in that it is not about a transitory or intermittent feeling of happiness. Effectance, achievement, mastery, competition and submitting to pain or abasement are primary needs that motivate behavior. Feelings come and go like the pursuit of pleasure and avoidance of pain. Hedonism can lead to unsatisfactory and self-defeating behaviors resulting in a non-fulfilling life -- drug use, gambling addictions, sexual promiscuity etc. . Mastery leads to goalsetting, expectancies and planning for the future which is paramount for a self-fulfilling and meaningful existence. PS Tony and I completed on Father’s Day, the Burton Creek half marathon trail run near Tahoe City, at Lake Tahoe. We’re still practicing. I haven’t mastered running just yet. I’m still working at it. However, I came in first in my age division 75 through 79 and Tony came in second in his age division 65 through 69. Do I accept the fact that at some point I’m going to be injured? Yes! Do I know when or where it will happen? No, all I know is that from my running history, that either an overuse injury, or an Achilles, or sciatica discomfort, a meniscus surgery, etc. will happen as it has happened in the past. One can argue whether or not Effectance, achievement or mastery are psychological needs. They might be biologically-based, learned or combination of the two. One cannot argue, however, that they are not motives that drive behavior. As NFL great Ed Budde said, “Keep moving.”

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Happiness or Effectance Part 3

Turning to the present, another example of mastery motivation was illustrated by the Golden State Warriors with their victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers this year. Last year, Cleveland beat Golden State in seven games. I remembered seeing one interview with the series most valuable player {MVP} Kevin Durant. That interview got my attention and subsequent thinking. In that interview Kevin, with his mother, commented on the memory he experienced when he was about eight years old. He wanted to be a basketball champion. He was also asked whether he would now take time off from his basketball. No, he replied. He planned to return to his home in Virginia and play basketball with his friends. In other words, for the past 20 years or so, Kevin Durant practiced his basketball, in an attempt to attain mastery. Has he yet mastered it? No, he still practices, and talked about making himself a better player. What was once play has become his profession? It still remains play. However, it is play with a purpose. His mastery and achievement drive have become his passion and illustrate that competing in basketball at the professional level gives his life meaning. Did he accept his basketball injury this past season? Yes! Did he receive criticism when he left the Oklahoma Thunder last season to play for the Warriors this past season? Yes! To be continued

Monday, June 19, 2017

Happiness or Effectance Part 2

Then we reach school age, where we learn the 3Rs and develop the potential for interpersonal relations, master electronic devices, and other play activities like, sports. Take Fritz Seyferth as an example. When Fritz was in the primary grades, he had a learning disability, which made his school academic life miserable. The school wanted to hold him back, and he didn’t want to attend school. His mother Corrie would have none of that. After many meetings, Fritz was allowed to remain at the same grade level with the other kids. Fortunately, for Fritz, he was a large boy for his age, and he had terrific well-coordinated motor skills. He could kick and throw the ball farther than any of the other kids, and thus he became a popular leader in the class, regardless of his academic difficulties. Fritz was a walk on for the University of Michigan football team in 1968. He worked very hard and competitive Fritz mastered the fullback position for Coach Bo Schembechler. In fact, as a junior, playing against the University of Minnesota for the little Brown Jug, Fritz scored four touchdowns in that game and in fact gave the credit to All-American tackle Dan Dierdorf for his devastating blocking and opening up holes for him to run through . By the way, Fritz attained a bachelor’s degree in engineering from the University Michigan and an MBA conferred by the University of Connecticut. One will find Fritz today, in Ann Arbor, consulting with CEOs and COO’s that hope to improve their focus, goalsetting and interpersonal relationships. Yes, the key here is mastery, abasement and achievement. To learn more, about life story, and Fritz’s ability to accept injury, criticism, errors, to seek and enjoy pain, and punishment, I refer the reader to Bo’s Warriors-Bo Schembechler and the Transformation of Michigan Football. To be continued

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Happiness or Effectance Part 1

Once upon a time, a student of Socrates named Aristippus of Cyerene maintained that pleasure was the highest good. The idea that pleasure and happiness were the most important and most significant goal of human life, was called hedonism. In that belief system, the person seeked to maximize pleasure and minimize, eliminate or avoid pain. Thomas Jefferson in our Declaration of Independence wrote “that all men are created equal … among them are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” I take issue with the pursuit of happiness. Per psychology, happiness is just one of the feelings that we experience. Not only that, it’s transitory. In other words, it comes and goes. It’s only an emotional state, and not a long-lasting mood. Other significant emotions include sadness, surprise, fear, anger, disgust, and contempt. Notice the majority are negative emotions, although important for our survival. Let’s turn back to happiness. There are a number of assessments that attempt to measure the feeling of happiness. On the test, individuals are asked to characterize themselves in the moment; for the past few days; for the past week; for the past few weeks; and for the past year. In my opinion, the various tools are primitive and unreliable and inaccurate since most people have difficulty labeling their feelings accurately. Recently, individuals have claimed they were happy when they made at least $75,000 per year. After that numerical amount, however the happiness scale did not move very much as far as their happiness was considered. Other findings from Happiness Research are summarized as follows: 1. You control about half your happiness level 2. Lottery winnings create only temporary, short-term happiness. 3. Relationships are key factor in long-term happiness 4. Focus on experiences, not stuff. Moreover, to understand more about happiness attend the University of California at Berkeley, and attend a class on the Science of Happiness. Perhaps Jefferson was barrowing an idea from the Greeks when he wrote about the pursuit of happiness. Unknown to Jefferson at that time were more modern and relevant aspects of human motivation. For example, let’s take a look at the idea of Effectance Motivation described and labeled as such by R. W. White. According to White, the development of competence is an important attribute of personality. Moreover, it is linked and associated with other motives, such as curiosity, mastery and achievement. Nothing may be more important than the ability to navigate the environment as we begin our lifespan. We learn to use our hands to eat, grab and hold onto things. We learn to navigate by crawling, walking, skipping, and running. The development of our gross motor skills are very important as we’ll see later. By the time we reach preschool, we are likely scribbling, drawing, increasing language, reading, and perhaps even writing. Mastery is so very important and necessary in our ability to master our world. To be continued

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

We Are What We Eat Part 4

In conclusion, not many in our population want to believe the foods that we eat and the hazardous pesticides related to production of such are severely toxic to our health. Pesticides are used indiscriminately in the growing of our food. Take arsenic for example, used in the planting of rice, apples, etc. Although even if discontinued, the poisons of arsenic remain in some form in the soil for about 80 years. Dow Chemical’s CEO salary was $19.4 million in 2016. And then, some form of sugar, sodium, etc. are mixed with a variety or combination of chemicals resulting in what we call food. The CEO of Pepsi made 25.2 million in 2016. Some say that we have the best food production in the world. Just ask any CEO in the industry. The food and pharmaceutical industries played a part in the creation of diet innovations; diet pills; gyms, spas, personal trainers, aerobic events, apps, etc. to reduce or hold in abeyance the number of calories ingested. In the battle within the pleasure centers of our brain, our addictions to sugar, salt, etc. usually win out for a variety of psychological reasons. It’s simply not calories in and calories out. Different individuals can consume the same number of calories with different results. We have different metabolic rates that also play a role. Counting calories is not the sole answer. And then we have this insurance system that also plays its part in the man-made epidemic. They influence and place limits on the amount of revenue that doctors, hospitals earn during their treatment. These insurance giants enhance their profits by their creative and ingenious use of restricting coverage. The CEO of Aetna made $18.7 million in 2016. Some say that we have the best health care system in the world. Just ask any CEO in the industry .Source, May 28, 2017 The New York Times. Some say that freedom, democracy and capitalism are the best systems in the world. Yet, don’t forget that we have the highest rate of cardiac disease and obesity on the planet, but our life expectancy numbers are not going up, but are actually decreasing. Remember, the ingestion of food affects everything that goes on in our body. And greed within our economic system, allows these conglomerates to feed everyone in our country, regardless of the price.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

We Are What We Eat Part 3

Another factor to consider is that the major players in the food industry like Coca-Cola actually funded obesity research. It had paid for a published paper by the NWCR think tank. The food industry learned from the tobacco industry in that they funded research that downplayed the relationship between nicotine and disease. We remember that the tobacco industry claimed that” Cigarette smoking may be hazardous to your health.” No one believes that anymore. I also remember meeting my brother at one luxurious medical conference held in San Francisco that was sponsored by a pharmaceutical company. Just ask your doctor for samples of meds and you’ll know what I am suggesting. Prescription medication is heavily used by the medical doctors in their patient treatment. The Pharmaceutical companies are immensely profiting from the obesity and its related diseases. Do you believe that a pill can fix everything? This brings us to health insurance. These companies are making record profits as a result of outrageous premiums, limiting coverage to low income individuals as well as other restrictive options at their disposal. Per a May 21, 2017 article in The New York Times, it was reported that Anthem, one of the nation’s largest insurers, planned to increase their rates 24 to 38% in Connecticut market. They rationalized their decision, claiming it was based on the assumption that the Trump administration would continue paying the subsidies through 2018. They said that if that assumption was wrong, the company’s insurance rate increases would be much higher. They also added that they expected to serve a smaller, sicker group of people next year. Healthcare insurance companies are in the business of making a profit first and foremost. They are powerful and have a dramatic influence on the government and the lobbyist’s write the legislation that protects them, and only them. Over and over, we hear again and again that people are denied coverage. For example, as far as mental health coverage goes, the plan may say 20 psychotherapy visits per year, but that number is misleading. The plan does not spell out or in fact cover the vast majority of complaints or situations that would bring someone or a family to seek counseling or psychotherapy. For example, marital or relationship counseling; employment problems; learning disability; alcohol, drug or gambling addictions; parent-child difficulties are not considered serious enough and as a result are not covered in one’s policy. Is insurance for the benefit of the insured or the benefit of the company? to be continued

Monday, June 12, 2017

We Are What We Eat Part 2

I believe that diet, drugs, chemicals, are the main culprits for the poor health in our country. Our foods are genetically engineered, and we can’t trust the labeling or marketing on our food containers. For example, I selected a Nabisco product called belvita. On the box, this product had the word breakfast above the word belvita. It had the following marketing: 1. 4 hours of nutritious steady energy. 2. 230 cal, 0.5 g saturated fat, 220 mg of sodium and 10 g of sugars per pack. 3. 19 g of delicious whole-grain per 50 g of serving [4 biscuits). And now for the ingredients: whole-grain blend [ rolled oats, rye flakes enriched flour] flour [wheat flour, niacin, reduced iron ,thiamin mononitrate [vitamin B1],riboflavin B 2, folic acid, canola oil, sugar, whole-grain wheat flour, brown sugar, malt syrup from corn and barley, invert sugar, baking soda, salt, soy lecithin, disodium pyrophosphate, cinnamon, datem, natural flavor, ferric, orthophosphate , iron, niacinamide, molasses, pyridoxine hydrochloride [vitamin B6], riboflavin [vitamin B 2] thiamin mononitrate [vitamin B 1]. This product contains: wheat, soy. Made in Mexico. Do not for one minute forget that the vitamins were listed on the package before the ingredients of this product was baked, After you open up the wrapper, how many vitamins do you think you’re really getting? What are the health implications of consuming this product? A recent article in the May 21, 2017 edition of the New York Times told the story of an animal endocrine clinic in Manhattan. In this particular clinic, Dr. Peterson treated felines suffering from hyperthyroidism. Current research linked this strange disease to a common class of flame retardants found in the home. By the way, flame retardants are found in most mattresses. Further, a 100% organic mattress may help by removing the mercury and cadmium buildup in your thyroid. Once again, is there better living through chemistry? After we have epigenetic research to tell us what foods are good for us, I doubt belvita will be on that list regardless of the claims made. I don’t know what I ate despite a listing of the ingredients. What kind and type of chemicals and pesticides were used in concocting this breakfast food choice? I’m not a chemist and I know very little about the interplay and interaction of all these chemicals. The labeling of this product was not helpful. I do know that this product contains a significant level of salt, sugar and calories. I’m guessing that this product illustrates the problem we have in the selection of choosing healthy foods. I believe this product and other food products contribute to the disease of overweight. To Be Continued