Subscribe to It Has Nothing to Do with Age by Email Follow Tusk95664 on Twitter It Has Nothing to Do with Age
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.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Are These Good Values? Part 2

 Our country continues to fund the largest military in the world. We spend more for defense on our budget than many countries combined. We have been at war for over 10 years in the Middle East. If you pay attention to the media, you know that we are about to be attacked, blown up or be killed by the dangerous world of terrorists. We build and have more of the biggest weapons of mass destruction than any other country. On the home front, individuals in this country under the guise of the Second Amendment, have more guns and ammunition than any other part of the world. And the great amount of guns purchased are not used for hunting, but for self-protection, hurting or killing somebody else. Yes, we have home grown terrorists too.

Moreover, a young man can join the Marines to be one of the “few and proud” to wear that prestigious uniform. One can also expect to come back from any number of combat missions physically and/or emotionally injured or even in a body bag. Yes, military combat veterans have a high unemployment, and suicide rate too. One could also enter law enforcement and be subjected to social criticism, dangerous confrontations and even death on the job. Yes, law enforcement veterans have a high suicide rate too. One could enter high school sports and expect the coach to yell, belittle, criticize, or even demote, because of play at practice or during game time. Of course, at the college or professional level one becomes injured more often than not, as well as receiving significant head injuries or concussions. And we all know that the NFL means “not for long.” Just think of the number of sporting venues available like Cross Fit, judo, or other martial arts forums, soccer, rugby, etc. where an individual can easily experience one way or the other physical and/or emotional injury.

Just watch any TV reality show and view, in front of all, “being fired,” eliminated from the show by “a judge,” or by not receiving enough of the secret votes made by the public. These popular shows, for the most part, do not express vicious verbal attacks to their victims. But make no mistake about it, there’s criticism and belittling. The messages is that you’re not good enough. It seems that we have more and more reality shows where individuals surrender, resigned to take the punishment, and accepting the shows negative in full view consequences. Underneath the demure of many, one can find psychological pain and feelings of hurt. And the sadistic viewing public cannot seem to get enough viewing or watching individuals being rejected in some cases humiliated or being kicked off or eliminated from these programs. Plus, there are no shortage of individuals wanting to take part in this public display of self-abasement.

There many other examples or illustrations of individuals experiencing pain in unhealthy situations. There are numerous companies that employ sadistic supervisors along with stressful working conditions. A recent article illustrated problems of Amazon employees with their difficulty in adapting to this competitive cutthroat work environment. These employees experienced physical as well as emotional illnesses that they attributed to the work situation. Amazon is only one such example of this phenomena as there are many more.

Many family situations are illustrative of emotional and physical pain. It might be physical or sexual abuse and/or juvenile delinquency behaviors being expressed by those unfortunate. It might be drugs or alcohol as part of the family and/or environmental culture. Certainly, the divorce rate is high in our country as many such individuals, partner up for the wrong reasons. Mental cruelty has been used in many a divorce case. Just ask a divorce attorney about reasons for divorce and you find mental cruelty being used indiscriminately.

We can expect to be abused, criticized, blamed, punished, put down and subject to misfortune at home, at work, and even at play by someone. Even President Obama got criticized and, in fact, was called a liar by one uncouth and disrespectful so-called lawmaker during a presidential talk to Congress during his first term. He also gets death threats and other unpleasant, derogatory messages. The unregulated social media is abound with hostile, angry, insecure individuals spreading their hate and vile messages. There have been some victims that have even committed suicide as related to vicious social media bullying. It is perfectly clear that the Golden Rule was intended to mean treat others in a positive way as you would expect them to treat you and not treat others negatively because they’re treating you negatively. Treating people civilly is a great idea, but certainly lacking. We have an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth mentality.

 This is my view of our contemporary society.  And the word value is very appropriate for our discussion. In fact, The American College Dictionary defines value as: the things of social life toward which the people of the group have an affective regard; and values may be positive or negative.

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Are These Good Values?-Part 1

Let’s take a look at the recent Supreme Court Citizens United ruling-corporations are people allowing great sums of money into the political campaign process. We have super PACs and billionaire donors, contributing to those that seek political office. However, TV reality show celebrity Donald Trump touts about his billions and brags that he does not need to be beholden to any other billionaires out there. Once again, money is king, especially in politics.  Unfortunately, money has a tremendous influence on those that get elected and stay elected.

Even political comedian Bill Maher talked about donating $1 million in a recent political camp.  Good luck, as far as taking money or special interests out of politics. We know that many of our politicians, after being kicked out of office, become special lobbyists for our food, drug, healthcare, manufacturing, etc. industries. Lobbyists get the ear of our politicians by the money they can contribute to their campaigns. So, money is a reality in our capitalistic economic culture. As the saying goes, “follow the money.”

The level or height of the Dow; the size of one’s portfolio; the ZIP code of your house or homes; your private jet; are just some of the things that our social media espouses. In fact, the Internet had an article about a $341,000 shack that one could purchase in San Francisco. The Silicon Valley tech industry hotshots have flocked to San Francisco, making home purchases unavailable to many. Other cities like New York and Los Angeles have inflated home values. One can look in the New York Times and find a townhouse and other real estate dwellings advertised with multimillion dollar purchase figures. It seems the pursuit of money or wealth is paramount for many, even though it does not buy happiness. Instead, it buys power and influence. Many rationalize by saying something to the effect that more money is better and It is better to be rich than poor. Wealth is valued while being poor is not.

As far as the search for female beauty, just take a look at many of the popular TV series with hot looking women actresses. In fact, one called Royal Pain, featured numerous terrific looking pretty women with outstanding figures. It’s not necessarily about the storyline or the acting, but about the many beautiful women on the show. Not to be left out, there are more good-looking women on news and sports broadcasts compared to 25 years ago. Female Hollywood stars are also beautiful with slim figures. Just watch a diet commercial, such as Nutrisystem and see the women in their before and after bikinis. Not to be outdone, the Sports Illustrated swimsuit magazine is already featuring a list of women likely be found in their 2016 edition. The swim suit edition is their most popular selling magazine each and every year. Further, Playboy magazine has been marketing pictures of beautiful women since inception of the magazine In the 1960s. Hugh Hefner has capitalized on this value for a long time. And, there is a plethora of facial, exercise, clothing, and etc. products to make women more beautiful. And feminine women for the most part, take effort and put in the time at improving their beauty or good looks.

More to follow

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

In Ann Arbor with Jim Harbaugh

I had a few moments to talk to Jim after the show. I confessed to him that I didn’t clap for him while he was coaching the San Francisco 49ers, because my favorite team was the Oakland Raiders. I added that I was happy that he was the quarterback position coach with the Raiders in 2002 -2003. He then said to me “what’s your second favorite team?” I responded that the Detroit Lions were my second favorite team. Afterwards, I thought more about the question. My favorite baseball team is the Oakland A’s followed by the Detroit Tigers. When it comes to college football, my favorite team is the University of Michigan, followed by Michigan State University. I remember during spring training 2015 that coach Harbaugh visited the Athletics manager Bob Melvin in Arizona, and was part of that celebrity coaching staff.

One main theme expressed by coach Harbaugh was about expecting his players and team to improve.  It is believed that improvement in practice results in better team game performance. The cliché is” one plays how one practices. “So it’s always about the individual player improving. This fits nicely with the idea of the ego ideal, which is the unconscious drive to continually improve -psychologically, physically, emotionally, etc. When coach Harbaugh talks about improving, that corresponds nicely within each player’s psyche. Unconsciously, we all want to improve and remove our deficits.  When the head coach expressed the idea of everyday improvement, that is in consonance and congruent as everyone wants to improve and get better.

Self-improvement for a football player means greater on the field achievement. Murray’s “n “or need for Achievement fits well with athletes. Murray defined n Achievement as accomplishing something difficult; to master; to overcome obstacles and attain a high standard; to excel; to rival and surpass others and to increase self-regard, or esteem. Throwing a football with accuracy with a plus or minus 250 pound opposing player running at you, and wanting to throw you forcibly to the ground, I would say is a difficult on the field situation. Some quarterbacks have mastered the ability to stay in the pocket even when surrounded knowingly they’re likely going to receive a tremendous physical blow to their head, body, or both. Certain quarterbacks have the reputation of “happy feet”, meaning they leave the pocket too quickly, and likely throw an incomplete pass or interception. So despite potential achievement for success, the football player has to physically and mentally defeat his opponent in order to be successful on every play. In so doing, Murray’s n Abasement is also in play. This need is about accepting injury, blame, and punishment; to admit wrongdoing or error; to blame one self and to seek and enjoy pain or punishment in the process.

In other words, every football player has both n Achievement and n Abasement in his psychological makeup and these needs are expressed over and over in practice, and during game day. In a recent discussion with running back Fritz Seyferth, he told me about that the hardest football hits [tackled] he received were from teammate Mike Taylor. Fritz scored four touchdowns in one game against the University of Minnesota; was drafted by the New York Giants, and played for the Calgary Stampeders until an injury forced his retirement from professional football. Middle linebacker Mike Taylor was a consensus first-team All-American; and selected as one of the 100 greatest Michigan football players of all-time. Taylor was a first round selection by the New York Jets and started five games for this team as a linebacker. He later signed a multiyear contract with the Detroit Wheels of the World Football League. Head Coach Dan Boisture said, after the signing, that Taylor would be the focal point of our defense. Fritz said he can still feel the hits by Taylor.

Mike Keller, a defensive end-linebacker, an All-American; third pick by the world Champion Dallas Cowboys; and player, scout said that going up against offensive guard Reggie McKenzie in practice was no picnic. Reggie was an All-American; first pick by the Buffalo Bills; was the head of the electric company [it turned on the  Juice] and primarily and instrumental in OJ Simpson’s setting, the NFL rushing record of over 2000 yards in  a single season. Both Fritz and Mike demonstrated the Need for Achievement, and Abasement during their University of Michigan and pro football careers.

Is true that coach Harbaugh’s father Jack coached at the University Michigan. It’s also true that Jim Harbaugh was an All-American quarterback at the University of Michigan playing for Coach Bo Schembechler. According to Fritz and Mike, coach Schembechler at times single-minded mission was to run the same play over and over again. Success was when play was run without error. In fact, Reggie McKenzie repeated to me, one of Bo’s infamous sayings “do it right, the first time, every time, and all the time.” Every member of Bo’s teams got it. And, Jim Harbaugh is instilling that dynamic with his University of Michigan Wolverine football team. It is no surprise that coach Harbaugh focuses on improvement. As with coach Schembechler, coach Harbaugh believes in constant improvement and is never satisfied with the status quo.

More about these individuals, can be found in Bo’s Warriors-Bo Schembechler and the Transformation of Michigan Football.

Go Blue!

Thursday, September 10, 2015

The Warriors of Bo Schembechler Part 4

And then Schembechler became his coach. Jim said that Schembechler prepared his players to be mentally tough and for Jim, mental toughness was “never giving in.” He stated that mental toughness is an attitude, it’s not quitting. He also learned to form good habits and to develop a winning attitude, regardless of the physical and mental obstacles or punishment. He realized that failure was possible because there was always somebody on the field, who was better than him. He worked on fundamentals over and over again, because he didn’t want to let down his teammates. He remembered that he did drills and more drills and had plenty of physical contact with pads during practices. He thought the practice intensity was high, almost like game intensity as the drills were very physical. Because he weighed more than 250 pounds, he had to run what was called a penalty mile and remembered, that distance running, being very tough on him. Another brutal strengthening drill was pushing a blocking sled with both arms extended, which he practiced over and over again. He didn’t want to miss any blocking assignments, because then he knew he would let his teammates down.

Coach Schembechler and staff treated Jim harshly. For instance, his coach said things like “we wasted a scholarship on you;” and” you’re the worst tackle in the history of intercollegiate football.” Jim told himself that the coaches were doing this so that he would get better. They were verbally and physically pushing him and pushing him and then he said “Bo knew I could take it and I could.” In the end psychologically, it was Jim’s ability, his unconscious rebelliousness, defiance, and likely obstinacy and arrogance “to take it” from Bo. This allowed Jim to be the master of his own fate and destiny, thereby succeeding in front of his peers, and actually gaining the much needed respect.
Schembechler’s Wolverines had a punt blocked in one of their season games. So during the next week of practice, the coach told the players he would give money to any defensive player that blocked the punt. Lo and behold, during one punting drill, the ball was snapped, Jim made his block and ran downfield for the tackle. However, the ball was blocked. Schembechler was furious and ran down the field after Brandstatter thinking he missed his block, which resulted in the blocked kick. Upon reaching his player, coach Schembechler spitting, yelling, ranting, raving was angrily giving it to Jim berating him unmercifully. Jerry Hanlon, line coach to the rescue, ran after Bo and said to him “Jim made his block.” Stopping the beating, the frustrated Bo said something to the effect that” he needed it anyway.” More than once, and numerous times the young athletically talented Brandstatter submitted passively to the mighty and external force of his coach. He accepted criticism, he surrendered, he had to go along with this blame, and punishment. One can argue that he didn’t enjoy the pain, or was it a noble sign of macho, courage, mental and physical toughness? No one physically forced him to go out on that brutal playing field over and over again. Did he seek and enjoy it, certainly? Psychologically, it was expected just his father, brother and teammates endured. He was driven. His father was a Brigadier General; his older brother played on the big stage; he was the youngest; and he attended a parochial school. Yes, Jim knew very well about yielding and self-humiliation. His strong will allowed him, even at the risk of humiliation, to continue and thereby succeeding.

Murray and the Freudians had it right. Human behavior is highly influenced by need structure, or a hypothetical state of tension within the organism. These needs are based on goal directed behavior, with the many psychological and physical barriers in their path. No one ever said that the n Achievement was easy to accomplish. However, we do go after difficulties and, with achievement goal attainment we increased positive feelings about self. Achievement of significant goals feels good for a number of reasons. Further, n Abasement or sadomasochism gets expressed over and over again. Playing football is just one example of this expression of need. One has to remember, that seeking and enjoying pain or punishment is not always at the conscious level. Not only that, there are other reasons or motives that explain the drive to succeed. Perhaps, at times the n Achievement factors in goal driven behavior can be one such factor. The important goal is relentlessly pursued regardless of the impairments or barriers in its way.

For example, my last recent competitive 20 mile trail run was in the Sierra Nevada’s. That meant plenty of elevation gain during my run. Temperature reaching triple digits, added to my physical pain as I was punishing my 75-year-old body. I continued and finished the run and was very happy when it was over. Sure, I came in first place at my age group. Did I punish my body during the run, sure thing? Will I do it again, sure? How can I argue that I didn’t seek the pain? I rationalize that as long as I can, I’ll do it. For me, the “I can” is a very important component of my personality.

Don’t forget to join us at Sesi Motors in Ann Arbor, Michigan, on September 17 from 6 to 8 PM for a book signing of Bo’s Warriors -Bo Schembechler and the Transformation of Michigan Football and to interact with Thom Darden, Jim Brandstatter, Mike Keller, Fritz  Seyferth, Jim Betts, and others in my book. Congratulations to our host and newly elected President of Michigan Football Athletic Network [MFAN] Jim Betts. Wine and hors d’oeuvres are on the menu.

Looking forward to it: Go Blue!

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

The Warriors of Bo Schembechler- Part 3

Jim experienced a lot of pressure to succeed, and was expected to be like all the other Brandstatters. As a young boy, he remembered fondly being around older brother Art when he brought his fellow Spartan teammates to the family home. As a sophomore, Jim, on the Junior varsity, was quickly promoted to his high school varsity team, and lettered. This high achieving athlete received honors and lettered in baseball as an all-city first baseman one year and an all-city catcher the following year. He even lettered in basketball and was a co-captain in the last game of his high school’s postseason basketball tourney.

Although Jim was expected to attend and play football for Michigan State like his father and older brother, he was still recruited by Coach Bump Elliott from the University Michigan and MSU’s arch rival, no less. He caused quite the stir in the community and family when he elected to play football in Ann Arbor. Playing for the University of Michigan, he received all Big Ten honors in his senior year.

While in school, Jim gave up the dream of becoming an architect and instead fell in love with all the radio and TV classes. In fact his first position after graduating from Michigan was for WEYI -TV in the Saginaw, Bay City and Flint area. Initially, he was a one-man show, and worked himself up the ranks. In doing so, Jim mastered the art of TV and radio, and quickly made it to the big time with Channel 4 in Detroit as their sports producer.

One accomplishment led to another as this industrious TV and radio star, created a half-hour talk show called Michigan Replay with Coach Schembechler. Since that initial show, Jim has interviewed all the Michigan head coaches, such as Gary Moeller, Lloyd Carr, Rich Rodriguez and Brady Hoke that followed, the legend Schembechler. Last year, Mike Keller and I were on the Brady Hoke-Jim Brandstatter radio show. This year, Mike and I will be featured on the Jim Harbaugh-Jim Brandstatter radio show.  Incidentally, Jim also does play-by-play, on the radio with former Michigan teammate Dan Dierdorf. Oh by the way, Jim is also the voice of the Detroit Lions. Masterful Jim has been elected President of the Detroit Sports Broadcasters Association twice; Sportscaster of the year in Michigan; has written two best-selling books; and was recently inducted into the Michigan Sports Hall of Fame. This man still achieves at the highest levels.

More to follow regarding Jim Brandstatter

Sunday, September 6, 2015

The Warriors of Bo Schembechler Part 2

It is very clear at this point that n Achievement in sports, complements n Abasement, especially in the brutal game of football. There is no one that discounts the brutality in this so-called sport. Thursday on ESPN, Hall of Fame, quarterback Steve Young said something to the effect that football is not natural as you have people running full speed at each other colliding with each other. We’re also going to see huge compensatory concussion settlements in the NFL.

Returning to Mike Keller’s story illustrates, insecurity, along with the sadomasochism [Another term related to n Abasement] experienced during his playing days at the University of Michigan and for the Dallas Cowboys of the NFL. Keller played high school football in Grand Rapids. He rated that competition at the fourth tier regarding football in the state of Michigan behind the Detroit, Bay City-Midland, and Lansing area high schools. He knew he was a big fish in a little pond and that he was going to become a little fish in a big pond, in Ann Arbor. He wondered why he was offered a football scholarship, and hoped to make the traveling squad before he graduated. He rationalized that at least he would receive a terrific education even in the event that he didn’t play.

 Physically, he was injured while playing at Michigan. He didn’t dare miss practices or not being able to play in a game, out of fear of the demotion to second string or below. He even warned opposing players. In practice, to take it easy or otherwise, there would be a battle of consequences. He thought that playing on Saturdays was a relief from the physical brutality and punishment during the hard-fought Wolverine practices. In 1969, after the Ohio State game, Mike said he was aware of his game day exhaustion, especially on the last play of that momentous game. On the field for the last play, his legs buckled. He was fearful that he was going to be trampled on by the joyous students as they rushed on the field in celebration. Mike remembered that instead of being trampled, they lifted him and carried him halfway up the tunnel out of harm’s way to welcomed safety.

Playing for the Cowboys, Mike’s insecurity and brittleness surfaced again when he admitted to himself “these guys are good; how can I make first string; is this really what I want to do; how long am I going to be here; I do not like being a backup; it’s not much fun.” In his second season, Mike suffered a shoulder injury that required surgery [The same shoulder he had injured at Michigan]. He was eventually placed on injured reserve and he knew that psychologically that was a kiss of death. He frequently got twinges and pains like a needle or knife entering his body. He said the pain was constant, and frequently returned especially, when playing. He knew that after any major surgery, that no one really comes back from these career ending injuries. Basically, he had a gradual tearing of the tendon in his shoulder. In his most recent x-ray, it was revealed that his tendon was gone. He had a supraspinatus muscle tendon issue. Today, this mountain of a man, is unable to hold a 20 pound dumbbell outstretched with his right arm.

Mike talked about mental toughness as a player. A football bruiser had to differentiate, between pain and injury. It was important for the player to know his body. It’s also important to rely on information given by the team trainers. He said it’s possible to play with pain, especially when your body was taped along with cortisone and other painkiller injections prior to the game. Professional football players undergo many extraordinary treatments, partly because of the belief that they are needed to be on the field at all times. It’s considered important to be on the field regardless of how you’re feeling. And of course is difficult to think clearly when adrenaline is cursing through your veins. Mike’s playing days ended with the Cowboys as a result of his football injury. We talked about mental toughness and the fact that players are expected to play with pain. Most of the players have a high pain tolerance because daily pain is a major component or part of the game. He said it’s hard to think of professional football as just a game-it is a job. One can have pain and still have torn ligaments. However, a player can still play and should play. He added that despite the pain killers, this game is always about current performance, not what the player did yesterday.

A football brawler accepts injury, blame, criticism, and punishment. It’s not a secret that injuries are part of the game. Nor, is it a secret that NFL means not for long as three and half years is the average playing time. Players are criticized by the media and the press. The punishment is being fired, or cut from the team and that happens frequently. Of course there are exceptions.

The n Achievement and n Abasement of Jim Brandstatter to follow.

Friday, September 4, 2015

The Warriors of Bo Schembechler

The first of Murrays “need” which we will refer to is “n Achievement.” Murray’s brief definition follows: To accomplish something difficult. To master, manipulate, organize physical objects, human beings, or ideas. To do this as rapidly and as independently as possible. To overcome obstacles and attain a high standard. To excel oneself. To rival and surpass others. To increase self-regard by the successful exercise of talent.

 Mike Keller provides us with an illustration. Mike was originally recruited by Bump Elliott and was one of Schembechler’s talented sophomores in 1969. Keller, highly competitive begin achieving prior to school age. At the age of four, he was racing his highly competitive achieving mother in foot races. He excelled in football at an early age, and played during halftime with his Peewee football team at Tiger Stadium in front of a Detroit Lions crowd. By the time he reached junior high, Mike was about 6 feet tall and weighed about 160 pounds as an eighth grader. His football coach at the time allowed him only to practice [He was disallowed from playing competitive football because of the size] during football season. He claimed he made most of the tackles, but made sure he did not attempt to hurt anybody.

Mike played and excelled in a number of team sports at Catholic Central High School in Grand Rapids. By graduation time, he had may be 30 or so universities recruiting him to play big-time college football. He chose the University of Michigan. This exceptionally talented athlete was fast and competitive. As a freshman, he made sure to give his best effort all the time. And as a sophomore, he attained first string status. His achievement did not diminish during those three years under coach Schembechler. Bo, as the coach installed a rating system [Might’ve been intercepting a pass] for each game. Mike received Victors Club Honors for his high grades in 38 out of 40 games played. On top of that, Mike was permitted to wear a special Jersey during that week of practice, illustrating his game played achievement. At the end of the season, the player who had the most Victor Club jerseys received a trophy at the end of the season. Mike Keller earned 3, one for each year played.

Because of his terrific achievements, accomplishments, high standards, excelling, high self-regard and exercising talent, Mike Keller, All-American, was selected to play in the college All-Star game against the world champion Dallas Cowboys. He was selected by the Dallas Cowboys as the 64th player taken in the NFL draft. Mike Keller illustrated Henry A. Murray’s existence of a need for achievement. It was the result of his particular mode of behavior, his satisfaction, his emotions while playing sports, and especially excelling in the so-called game of football.

The n Abasement, another of Dr.  Murray’s needs to follow regarding Mike Keller.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

The Problem of Cortisol

 Let’s face it, an infant is born helpless, dependent, unable to locomote, feed itself, anxious, and unable to survive very long when left to its own devices. These qualities set the stage for man’s developmental vulnerabilities in coping with the seemingly, at times, hostile world. In other words, our perceptions, memories and emotions are supposed to help us, protect us to be able to survive [From all the physical and social stressors-dangers] that exist in our world.

The infant develops, acquiring various needs that accompany and affect his unfolding in his psychological environment. The infant, child, adolescent  has to deal with his family dynamics , social and academic hazards of schooling,   economic, political, and religious socialization while developing a sense of self and independence. Don’t forget that such hormones as testosterone, estrogen and progesterone accompany him or her in developing gender or sexual identity. To say, there is enormous pressure, and other stressors experienced during these turbulent years is an understatement.

Then, during the adult years, man for instance, gets bombarded 24-7 by government’s political entertainment actors on radio, TV, newspapers, magazines, etc. Our 2016 presidential race unfortunately has already begun. We’re told typically about the dangers [49% indicated that they worry about another terror attack while 22% said they’re not sure in a recent poll in the 8-2- 15  New York Times] that are present in our world over and over. We are sometimes told that military bombing and military boots on the ground are necessary to solve the terrorist problem in existence. I would guess that hearing over and over about bombings, beheadings, drone strike killings, and that negotiating a bad deal or not negotiating are stress producers and not stress reducers. Don’t forget about the bad economy, climate change and water shortage as well. And with stress, we realize the hormone cortisol is produced to help us deal with this induced danger. To demonstrate, how fragile we are in the release of cortisol and its negative effect on decision-making behavior, I point to research conducted by the Laboratory for Social and Neural Systems Research at the University of Zürich found in the 8-23-15 edition of The New York Times.

These researchers picked 51 young men [That claimed they were trying to maintain a healthy diet and lifestyle] to study the relationship between stress and eating behavior. The experimental group of men were subjected to soaking their hands in a bowl of icy water for as long as they could. This was a test, known to induce mild psychological and physiological stress- the release of the hormone cortisol. Then all the men [The experimental and control group] rated different kinds of food on a computer screen based on taste and healthfulness. After that variable was completed, the next variable was a brain scanning machine that measured their responses comparing one of two   healthful foods pairings.

The research findings were as follows: 1. The mild stress group with their higher levels of cortisol chose unhealthier, but tasty foods compared to the control group. 2. The higher the cortisone level, the greater attraction to rich, tasty unhealthy foods. 3. These cortisol driven men displayed more activity in the part of the brain associated with the enjoyment of tasty foods. They had fewer neural messages in the part of the brain that affects long-range planning. Long-range planning [Separates us from animals] and is an executive function located in the cerebral cortex. In essence, a mildly induced stressor amplified the perceived flavor of unhealthy foods. It also negatively affected man’s rational ability to consider healthy foods. One could surmise that self-control is negatively affected as well.

 If a mild stressor, for a very limited time, affects brain chemistry that significantly, you probably can or can’t imagine the degree of brain chemistry variability and its accompanying damage to our fragile brain. Just think about typical every day interpersonal relationships, work or non- work environments, navigating with clenched knuckles-road rage in congested traffic as a few of our constant stressors. Not only does this occur, but it is without the side effects of prescribed medications, GMO additives, alcohol and smoking addictions. Is there any surprise as to why we have serious health issues in our country? I think not. It’s obvious that it’s inevitable.

Some strategies to cope with the many stressors in our world. As a psychologist, I would consider psychotherapy. 1. Some clinicians operate under a theoretical orientation and believe that our thinking gets us into trouble.  One significant way to more effectively deal with the relationship of emotions, thinking and behavior is to challenge our cognitive ideas. They believe that emotions affects our thinking and our thinking affects our emotions. 2. Other clinicians operate under an eclectic theoretical orientation that encompasses Freudian, Humanistic, Cognitive-Behavioral and Behavioristic principles. These principles help with understanding underlying dynamics, so that the individual can better understand motivation. 3. Self-help ideas of Mindfulness, Yoga, and Hypnotherapy can be learned from others, and then applied personally. 4. Other strategies to be considered, include: Exercise, Nutritious, Eating, Spirituality, and Finding Meaning during your health and life span. No one said it’s easy.  Too many people exhibit erroneous, self-defeating beliefs and behaviors. Just look at the statistics regarding health, illness, death and disease during lifespan.

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Can Happiness Be Found? Part 3

Further, it seems that there’s no one specific or clear-cut notion of happiness. Happiness has many facets, strings, connections, definitions or ways as far as our thinking   leads us. It is an interesting cerebral exercise. However, if we’re talking about the fleeting emotion of happiness, we’re talking about an individual subjective internal bodily experience that can be very different from what goes on in our head.  In other words, the cognitive idea of happiness can lead us in making poor self-defeating decisions; chasing false idols; distorting reality; and chasing illusions. Yes, one can chase the idea of happiness but the truth lies in feeling the emotion of happiness. Feelings don’t lie. If you can properly label your feelings, you know yourself even if you don’t wish to. Yes there a lot of negative emotions.

Forget about chasing the idea of “happiness.”  Learn to identify your emotions regardless of the real particular feeling. Clarify your need structures [i.e. achievement, affiliation, power, aggression, dependency] and make rational clear-cut choices based upon your psychological and physical health. Hopefully, mature love relationships; inspiration, life’s meaning and work are part of the equation. And if that happens, you’ll likely experience a lot of positive emotions during your life journey. Will that prescription make you happy?  Maybe some of the time it will. It all depends on how many or how often do you engage in painful or self-destructive abasement behaviors while telling yourself that you’re really searching for happiness. Life is a journey that has many bumps, turns and detours along the way. Hopefully, at the end, you’ll not have tripped too much, be doing what you want with an authentic smile on your face. If you are successful at the end, you may have beaten the odds as men are not as rational, seeking in their behaviors. Dale Carnegie had it partly right-we are creatures of emotion. And further, we engage in too many self-destructive repeated behavior patterns. Chasing happiness is a myth or illusion under which we live.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Can Happiness Be Found? Part 2

Just received a brochure called “The Science of Happiness.” The brochure states that one can discover research tested keys to happiness and learn how to apply them to personal and professional life by taking these groundbreaking courses. They stated that up to 40% of happiness depended on habits and activities.  However, one could also turn to religion to find happiness. Surveys conducted by Gallup and others concluded that high religiousness predicted lower risks of depression, drug use,  fewer suicide attempts,  reported satisfaction with sex life ,and a sense of well-being. Do you agree that Science and religion have the answer to happiness?

Within the historical evolution and development of capitalism, we have been “sold” a bill of goods- fame and fortune. We have been mesmerized and hypnotized by those who tell us such things as the following: 1. Go to college. 2. Get married. 3. Have children. 4. Buy that dream house with the right zip code 5. The man with the bigger toys wins 6. Go on a cruise or go to some exotic vacation land, 7. Get that latest automobile 8. Drink beer, go to parties 9. Attend that special professional sports game 10. Visit that four-star restaurant 11. Dress in the latest fashion. 12. Purchase that special vitamin or organic food. 13. Make a ton of money-more is better.  The list [advertising with smiling faces] goes on and on, with the underlying message that money buys happiness. Other messages are running after power, celebrity status or fame as far as achieving or searching for happiness. Being elected or becoming a star or idol is supposed to bring a smile on your face; or finding that particular fountain of youth product.  For many, it must be clear by now that these things, or  goods don’t necessarily result in long-term happiness because why would we engage in so many seemingly paradoxical unproductive and self-defeating irrational behaviors-to  name a few, such as drinking, smoking and eating too much, taking prescription and nonprescription drugs with  deterious abasement affects. Other escapes include but not limited to entertainment, reading, movies and sports. A case in point, using Ekman’s facial analysis of emotions, view  the   faces of college basketball and football coaches; NFL football coaches; NBA basketball coaches and MLB baseball managers during their practice or “real” games. Seldom do we see a smile, and they say after a victory something to the effect that, enjoy it while you can, because there’s the next game to think about. Or for that matter, look at the faces of the presidential candidates during the debates. Are these individuals really having fun and have they really found happiness? They have certainly reached elite categories in their respective fields.

As a psychotherapist, it became very apparent in my practice that individuals had tremendous difficulty identifying or labeling their feelings. I found that fact over and over in the many years of dealing with people therapeutically and even socially. In essence, individuals generally call their thoughts their feelings. I also know that we distort reality, as result of our defense mechanisms and illusions. Typically, individuals believe many things which are often contradictory. So when, a self-rating, life satisfaction; subjective happiness; or positive and negative affect scales were used to measure happiness, I roll my eyes and question the results or findings of such. Remember, that feelings are generally short-lived and don’t stay or even linger around for a while. Further, many things or experiences happen to us during our lifetime. And if we agree with Dr. Ekman, 5 of the 6 feelings or emotions are negative. This would suggest that there is a preponderance of negative feelings experienced in life compared to the one positive feeling of happiness.  Yes, it’s difficult to avoid negative feelings. A better way of being might be learning, if we can, to deal more effectively or differently with our irritations and self-defeating seeking behaviors.

To be continued 

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Can Happiness Be Found?

 Charles Darwin believed that emotions were biologically determined and universal in human culture. We know that emotions helped us survive by ensuring our physical, social, safety and well-being. These internal states were meant to motivate us and assist us achieve our best chances of survival by either withdrawing from threats or approaching rewarding things around us. Our emotions are important subjective feelings within us. In other words, in general, emotions are internal states that exist for three reasons: 1.Focused our intention on important things that affect our personal or social, safety or well-being. 2. Motivated us to do whatever we need to do about these things in order to get what we need or want. 3. Caused physiological changes in the body, like breathing and heart rate that allow us to do whatever we need to do. Further emotions are short, dominating and focused, which means they are short-lived in duration. They typically come and go in seconds, minutes, hours, and are simply not present for long periods of time.  Emotional states are connected to specific thoughts or environmental situations.

Within that short or brief background, let’s add a few other ideas regarding happiness: 1. Thomas Jefferson said there was a universal right regarding “the pursuit of happiness”2.  Greek philosophers believed - by living ethically, guided by reason, motivated by exhibiting their virtues, associating happiness with obtaining pleasure for the greater good, imposing a strict regulation on desire, and an absence of pain, coupled with emphasis on pleasure in the mind as contrasted to physical pleasure. 3. Sonja Lyubomirsky’s concluded-happiness level is 50% genetically determined. 10% affected by life circumstances and situation and the remaining 40% subject to self-control. More recently, psychologist Martin Seligman asserted that happiness was not a drive for external or monetary pleasures and humans seemed happiest when they have: 1. Pleasure [tasty food, warm baths, etc.] 2. Engagement [or flow, the absorption of an enjoyed yet challenging activity] 3. Relationships [social ties] 4. Meaning. [Perceived quest or belonging to something bigger] 5. Accomplishments [Having realize tangible goals].

To be continued

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Are You a Real Man? Part 4

 In 1969, these testosterone driven men were put through a series of unorthodox training and conditioning challenges by the newly hired Coach Bo Schembechler. With high testosterone levels [aggressiveness, ability to build muscle, bone strength etc.], these men pounded and beat up each other in the boxing ring with conditioning drills like “slap and stomp.” In one episode, of this drill, first string defensive end Cecil Pryor got pissed off when a teammate hit him the wrong way. The physically aggressive Pryor responded and knocked him out of the boxing ring. Quickly, Coach Schembechler jumped into the same ring, and aggressively looked Cecil in the face and retorted, “If you want to fight someone, fight me.” That got Reggie McKenzie’s attention along with others and he then realized, that this man is the boss and totally in charge.

Frank Gusich told me that he thought to himself about how difficult and brutal the conditioning and practicing sessions were. He believed that it would make him stronger and that he would be able to excel in the fourth quarter of the football games as a result of his excruciating ordeals. Reggie McKenzie learned that he had to work his butt off despite all the sadistic and harsh swearing, he received from Coach Schembechler. From that U of M experience, Reggie carried that to the pros .He incorporated the idea that he had to physically and mentally destroy his opponents. These young athletes needed all that testosterone to help them release more aggression, dominance, coupled with the mental strength and ability to tolerate mental and physical pain and injury. Expressions like “full of piss and vinegar;” “sewing his oats;”  “boys will be boys;” and “he thinks with his little head not with his big head” pertain to this age generation.

Today, with less testosterone and injuries sustained from the brutal game of football, we get a different picture of these men. Reggie McKenzie, a physically giant of a man, was primarily responsible as a member of the Buffalo Bills for assisting teammate OJ Simpson in breaking or smashing the NFL rushing record. In the pros, head coach Chuck Knox referred to Reggie as the enforcer. Currently, Reggie runs the Reggie McKenzie, Industrial Materials Incorporated. However, Reggie’s physical aggressiveness is expressed when he hits a white golf ball. He cannot run but he can slowly walk. My friend and teammate Ed Budde of Michigan State and Kansas City Chief Fame during his playing days with a dominant left guard on the Super Bowl winning Chiefs. Among other things, this left guard helped protect quarterback Lenny Dawson’s blindside. Ed played 14 years and totaled the second most games in Kansas City Chief history. Ed’s testosterone level remained high not only on the field, but off the field as well with numerous brawls. He had a reputation. In fact, Hall of Fame Howie Long for the Oakland Raiders told the story that after he broke Brad Budde’s nose in the game, he was afraid that Brad’s father Ed was going to come after him, and do him harm. Today, Ed can light up and smoke a good cigar and slowly walk his dog. However, physically he is hurting.

So young men in their 20s and 30s present one picture. I recently researched men and women, age 65 and older, who were still physically, competitively competing in sports. In my book “It Has Nothing to Do with Age,” I learned a lot about Russ Kiernan, Jim Steere, Lew Hollander and Jack Sholl. Russ Kiernan, in his late 70s is called the Dipsea legend. The Dipsea is the third oldest running race in the United States behind only the Boston Marathon, and the Beta Breakers. Dr. Jim Steere, at age 80, completed the Tevis Cup. He was the oldest to complete this feat. The Tevis is the oldest 100 mile one day equestrian race in our country. Dr. Lew Hollander at age 83, became the oldest to complete, the Hawaiian Iron Man. Jack Sholl in his 80s was the ultimate rower and still racing in international Masters Crew races. Although, their testosterone levels have declined [Lew Hollander would like to be able to run the marathon distance faster], their, motivation, competitiveness and mental toughness continue to run strong. These men have also determined and made good health style choices.  On top of that, these individuals [outstanding females were also interviewed] have found meaning, passion, inspiration, and have enriched their life greatly. They can and are able to look to the future .None of these men are physically fighting with others today.

These men are not grumpy old men, like so many in their age group. We know that because when individuals engage in diminished exercise, poor nutrition, smoking and drinking in their lives, their health is nothing to brag about. In fact, with poor health, men get to look forward to meds, doctor visits and death as a result of heart disease, cancer, stroke, kidney disease, diabetes and more. The future for these souls do not look great. Chances are they didn’t find meaning or passion in their lives.

In conclusion, professor Kimmel, the study of men has many variables. The starting point or socioeconomic beginnings of parents; the physical and mental health of the two parents; religion or faith; political environment; capitalistic economics; physical and mental health; location reared in the United States; rural or urban; educational level achieved; amount of stress; damage to brain and the ratio of positive to negative lifestyle- health style decision and choices made along the way. These factors determine at different phases or different ages, “What it’s like to be a real man?” And professor, I would add that these factors and variables also determine “What it is like to be a real person?”

By the way, join us in Ann Arbor on September 17, from 6 to 8 PM for a book signing of Bo’s Warriors. Our event will be hosted by Jim Betts, the newly elected president of Michigan Football Association Network [MFAN] and Joe Sesi of Sesi Lincoln-Mercury. Wine and hors d’oeuvres are on the menu.

Go Blue!

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Are You a Real Man? Part 3

 I’ll begin this next section with a quote from Dr. George Sheehan “Happiness is different from pleasure. Happiness has something to do with struggling and enduring and accomplishing.” It is clear that Dr. Sheehan did not differentiate between the sexes. However, when it comes to hormones, testosterone is considered the male sex hormone. It is produced in the testicles and secreted by the testes. It is been estimated that women have testosterone levels 1/10 to 1/12 those of men. This hormone is most pronounced during puberty and then gradually diminishes during a man’s lifespan.

A few distinguishing characteristics of this hormone are as follows: 1. Promotes libido, aggressiveness and sexual desire [A female Viagra product designed to stimulate sexual desire, is now available]. 2. Promotes protein anabolism-use of proteins to build muscle, skin and bone. Testosterone production is affected by a number of external elements such as obesity, exercise and lifestyle [smoking and excessive alcohol intake]. In other words, a healthy college male is likely to be aggressive, has ability to build muscle with strong sexual desire.

 Recently, two females graduated and have joined the elite Army Rangers. Wonder what their testosterone levels are? When it comes to sports, world class women are great competitors. What male would get in the ring with martial artist Ronda Rousey; play tennis against Serena Williams;  kick a soccer ball at Hope Solo; play one-on-one basketball with Diana Taurasi; race Missy Franklin in the 200 m backstroke ; get in the batter’s box against Leah Crockett of the University Michigan; or race Meghan Arbogast in a 100 K trail run.

These women far exceed the majority of male competitors in their specialty. As Sheehan said “Happiness has something to do with struggling and enduring and accomplishing.” These women are physically and mentally tough. This past June, Meghan, age 54, ran the Western states 100 mile trail run. Read about her ordeal in detail, and you will conclude like me regarding her unparalleled mental and physical toughness.  

Last Sunday, the 16th, Tony and I ran a 20 mile trail run in the Sierra Nevada’s [Run on the Sly]. As I ran up and down the trail, I had an opportunity to observe the many women that overtook me. Many of these young women were extremely fit and had great looking leg and calf development. They were terrific. After the run, Tony and I went for our favorite awards, even though we both placed in our age group,  -which is ice cream. We talked about our run and also about women who also go for ice cream after a tough event. Our event was tough as the temperature reached triple digits. I’m going to ask world class runner Meagan if she also goes for ice cream after her events for one of her rewards.

Many years ago there were limited possibilities and less opportunities for women in women’s sports. Back then Babe Zaharias was a freak on the golf course. Now, I don’t know why a women’s T is closer to the hole than the men. With changing values, coaching, training, nutrition, women are achieving at unbelievable heights. I’m certain I could learn more about basketball from coach Becky Hammon of the San Antonio Spurs and more about  football  [Even though I played at the college level] from coach Jen Welter of the Arizona Cardinals.

In 1969 there was a classic football battle between Michigan and Ohio State. On the playing field were plenty of testosterone filled young men with excessive libido, aggressiveness and of course sexual desire. However, when it comes to winning and losing much can be said about conditioning, coaching, and coaching player- staff preparation. Legend, Woody Hayes’s was the head coach for the Ohio State Buckeyes. His protégé was none other than Bo Schembechler.  Schebechler previously coached for the Buckeye head coach. Bo Schembechler also had Gary Moeller as a member of his coaching staff. Gary Moeller was a team Captain for Woody Hayes when OSU were ranked number one in the early 60s.
Yes, Bo and Gary learned from Woody. Would their coaching skill be enough to win against the undefeated number one ranked team in the country, at the time? No one measured testosterone levels that cold Saturday, in Ann Arbor, nor assessed the mental toughness of either team’s players. Yet, the young Michigan players [Many of whom played in the NFL, were all pro, and even inducted into the Hall of Fame] described that victory like none other. Their motivation was out of this world and raised to unheralded heights by the clever coaching of Bo Schembechler and his talented staff. Among these players, they mentioned that the experience on that Saturday was never again duplicated in their lives. I don’t know if that band of brother’s experience was similar for the women in team sports. Perhaps, testosterone had a lot to do with it-the physicality, camaraderie, the overcoming, and the winning.

When it comes to sports, yes, the top males clearly dominate at the world-class levels. The muscular development, aggressiveness, and gross motor ability enter into this male equation. Women are now achieving at impressive levels due in part to their opportunities. Still, we continue to differentiate with male versus female leagues at this time.

However, when it comes to psychology and mental illness, we don’t have one exclusive diagnoses for females and another for males.  The same and I mean the same criteria is used for diagnosis. That doesn’t mean that the numbers of males and females are equal in all the diagnostic categories. Yes, more women are depressed, depending upon the age than men. And, more men have an antisocial behavior disorders than women. And yes, more women have a hysterical style personality; and even Neo-Freudian Karen Horney had a book published called Feminine Psychology. Yes, there are psychological differences between the sexes. But in studying psychology, the definition covers behavior, cognition and emotions regardless of orientation. The major personality theories [Behaviorism is one of them] do not differentiate between the sexes. Humanist psychologist Albert Maslow’s idea of self-actualization includes both males and females. Sigmund Freud, Carl Jung, Kurt Lewin, Gordon Allport, Carl Rogers and others do not discriminate. It’s called personality theory as opposed to Male Personality Theory. A human being is not an atom and can’t be split.

The study of man in the Stony Brook program sounds interesting. When the good professor asked the students to describe a good man, their responses were feminine based. They described characteristics of a woman. When he asked them to describe a real man, their responses were more testosterone and stereotypically based. As a psychologist, I appreciate the hormonal, genetic, brain, environmental and social variables or influences when talking about men and when talking about women. That’s more interesting for me. In conclusion, Erich Fromm stated “Man’s main task in life is to give birth to himself, to become what he potentially is” states very accurately that we are the same animal with the same task. And each of us have the responsibility figure out what that is. He didn’t discriminate between the sexes, nor will I.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Are You a Real Man? Part 2

Are You a Real Man?  Part 2

Briefly, let’s take a look at some of the ways in which men and women differ within brain function. The human brain is primarily composed of two halves-the right cerebral hemisphere and left cerebral hemisphere. Although the two hemispheres look pretty much like and can do some similar things, there are differences. Generally speaking, left hemisphere usually controls speech and language, including basic reading, writing and arithmetic [The 3Rs]. The right side of the brain may control some aspects of language such as intonation. Further, it also controls visual-special functions like recognizing forms, geometry, navigation, complex mathematics, art and music.

Would you believe that hand preference- left-handed men have a greater chance of being more highly successful in life than right-handers. A John Hopkins study found that left-handers were 15% richer than right-handed college graduates; and other studies found that higher than normal numbers of left-handers consist among lawyers, architects, artists, musicians, and actors. On a side note, left-handers have some advantage in some sports such as football. Who can forget the” Snake”-Kenny Stabler of the Oakland Raiders in the 70s and 80s? In the past, there was brain dominance theory, which proved to be more myth than science. No one is necessarily “right brained” or “left brained” in their dominant manner of mental functioning. PET and fMRI studies show that most activities are done using both cerebral hemispheres in concert.

 The left atmosphere is more language oriented, and overall, women have better language skills.  This left hemisphere is sometimes referred to as the “social” brain. This translates that females, with their greater language, also have superior person perception of social behavior, including better recognition and facial emotional expression. While the right hemisphere is more visual- spatial, men have exceptionally good visual -spatial skills. This corresponds into excellent mechanical abilities but do not leave out the role and importance of genetics, hormones and the environment regarding male-female differences in the cerebral hemispheres. For example, studies show that excessive testosterone in males slows the growth in the left cerebral hemisphere while accelerating the growth of the right hemisphere.

Men, it seems, have larger frontal lobes with a greater density of cells in the right parietal lobe. This importance is associated with improved movement control, abstract thinking, planning, organizing, implementing and monitoring behavior. This is referred to as the executive functions within the brain. Spatial analysis and mathematical reasoning are additional strengths for men. In comparison, women’s right frontal cortex are bulkier, coupled with a greater density of neurons in parts of the left temporal lobe. This translates into language processing and comprehension, which allows girls to develop language faster and more comprehensively than boys. Additionally, with more attention and greater impulse control, women have half the number of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder [ADHD] diagnoses than the boys. Other findings suggest that women use more of their brains than men in nearly every cognitive task possible. On the other hand, a man’s brain seems to be more compartmentalized.

Even though our brains do not differ significantly, individual differences differ greatly among men and among women. And speaking of advantages, men do better with: 1. Target-directed gross motor skills like throwing a ball 2. Visual-spatial skills. 3. Navigating through a route 4. Complex university level mathematics. The nod go to the women in the following: 1. Most types of language skills. 2. Fine motor tasks. 3. Accuracy and object location. 4. Empathy for others. 5. Social interactions.

Deficits or damage to the frontal lobes in the brain have significant negative consequences.  This area of the brain regulates many things such as: controlling impulses and emotions, planning; organization, movement, overall social and cognitive behavior, including judgment and decision-making. In other words, antisocial personality disorder [APD] characteristics in men include: increased violence, more impulsivity, impaired judgment, failure to conform to social norms, aggressiveness, disrespect for the safety of oneself and others, lack of sense of guilt or remorse, lack of empathy, employing rationalization and blame,  glibness, inability to feel love , deceitfulness , shallowness with displays of lying and manipulation for personal gain, having a distorted sense of potential consequences of actions, not only for oneself, but for others, and emotions which characteristically are usually short-lived and egocentric.

To illustrate, when convicted multiple murderer Gary Gilmore was asked why he killed all those people at the filling station, he replied, “well, I didn’t intend to kill them, but, hey, they got in my way.” In the movie “No Country for Old Men” displayed countless illustrations of a disregard for others with uncontrolled violence and murder without remorse. These behaviors are not all genetic as learning history and the environment also play a role in the development of antisocial behaviors.

Chronic stress is associated with the shrinkage of the cortex and hippocampus of the brain, heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke, and many other diseases. No one is immune from the posttraumatic stress [PTSD] diagnosis, which is correlated with an individual’s response that involves intense fear, helplessness, or horror. Interestingly, more women receive a PTSD diagnosis such as in certain situations-sexual trauma. For men, it’s different, since a PTSD disorder is more typical for returning Iraq war veterans [Re-experiencing of symptoms with intense feelings of distress]. A substance disorder and an antisocial personality disorder often follow for the soldiers.


A few facts about depression and suicide as related to men and women. Depression is the most prevalent psychiatric disorder in United States. Boys and girls have a similar risk of depression until puberty. Starting with adolescence, there is a greater incidence of depression among girls. Additionally, the lifetime adult risk is also greater for women compared to men; however, by 55 to 60 years of age, sex differences in depression disappear. It is believed that the sex differences are the result of emotional memories being more powerfully encoded in a woman’s brain; with stronger connections between the amygdala, hippocampus; accompanied by lower levels of serotonin, a neurotransmitter.

A lethal danger of having a depression diagnosis is suicide.  Within suicide, there are significant sex differences regarding attempts, and completions. For instance, three times as many women attempt suicide as men. However, four times as many men successfully commit suicide.

Genetically speaking, the nature of man is influenced by the complexity of the brain, especially between the brains left and right hemispheres.  On the positive side, men have good mechanical abilities [Engineering]; do well in executive positions with the ability to plan, organize and implement decision-making [CEOs]; be navigators; and become physicists like Einstein and Hawking with their exceptionally high abstract and mathematical ability. Men’s visual spatial and gross motor skills dominate in professional sports, such as in baseball, football, tennis, soccer, swimming and track and field, to name a few.

Women have stronger skills as a whole with language and within  social interactions.  They make  super ,loving mothers and good wives with their socialization ability to empathize, care for, nurture, communicate, and express feelings. Because of their attention to detail, fine motor skills, they are excellent in office situations.

Source: Institute for Natural Resources [INR]

More to follow about the role of the environment as well as hormones affecting the nature of men.

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Are You a Real Man?

Perhaps one way and only one way of talking about being a man is by describing the differences between men and women’s health during the aging process. These differences begin to delineate masculinity. We know that genetics comprise about 25%- 35% in aging. The smart man Hippocrates about 2400 years ago “if we could give every individual the right amount of nourishment and exercise, not too little and not too much, we would have found the safest way to health.” He also said “walking is a man’s best medicine.” He knew that decision making had a lot to do with successful aging.

Comparing differences between men and women on a number of health-related items highlight, illuminate and begin provide insight into masculinity or what it’s like to be a real or good man. For instance, in 2005 the following were the top 10 preventable risk factors in US deaths. In 3 of the 10, more women died than men, and they included: 1. High blood pressure. 2. Physical inactivity. 3. High salt intake. However, in a next 7 categories, more men died than women, and they were: 1. Smoking 2. Excess Weight 3. High Blood Sugar 4. High LDL Cholesterol 5. Low intake of Omega-3 Fats 6. High Dietary Trans Fats and 7. Low Intake of Fruits and Vegetables. Briefly, although women were less active, their decision-making-diets seemed much healthier than men. Men also make significantly more poor and dangerous health decisions-relating to smoking and diet. It’s not a surprise that women have longer life spans and have higher intelligence levels than men.

As far as the top 10 leading causes of death for women and men in the United States, there are some similarities within the top 10 as well as differences. For instance, heart disease, cancer and stroke are the top three leading causes for both men and women. The following are also top causes of death, but not necessarily the same order for men and women: accidents; diabetes mellitus; influenza and pneumonia, COPD/Emphysema; and kidney diseases.

The two remaining top 10 causes of death for men, but not for women are suicide and liver disease and cirrhosis. Further, statistics on suicide demonstrate that men are much more violent when it comes to killing themselves-gunshots, jumping off bridges, and crashing high-speed vehicles. Even though excessive alcohol consumption, drink for drink produces more serious heart damage in women than in men, more men die. Once again, men make poorer and deadly behavioral choices compared to female gender. Did Bruce Jenner know something, and did he make the gender choice in time?

Although, men, on average, experience their first heart attack earlier [65] than women [70], more women are more likely to die of a heart attack than men. Hypertension, one of the culprits, poses a greater problem for women, along with nontraditional stroke symptoms. Further, the Incidence of stroke has increased sharply among women aged 45 to 54. And by age 55 to 64 women had significantly higher levels of blood pressure, cholesterol and triglycerides levels than men. Perhaps, genetics, might play a more significant role per differences-women smoke, less drink less alcohol and eat more balanced nutritiously.

Of the top 10 cancers in the United States, the following seven are shared by both men and women: 1. Lung 2. Colorectal 3. Urinary- bladder or endometrial 4. Skin melanoma 5. Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma 6. Kidney and 7. Pancreatic.  Prostate, leukemia and oral round out the list for men. Further, it is estimated that nearly 1/3 of women, and nearly ½ of men will be diagnosed with cancer sometime in the lifetime. Generally speaking, maintaining a healthy lifestyle can markedly reduce the risk of developing and dying from the 10 most common cancers. Once again, men likely make more poor choices in developing cancer.

Men have better bone health than women. Cognitively speaking men are affected slightly more often than women as far as Parkinson’s, which is the most common of the neural degenerative disorders. However, Alzheimer’s occurs more often in women than men. Once again, bone health and Alzheimer’s might be more genetically based.

As far as aging and causes of death, it appears that men and women are more likely to die as a result of our genetic similarities. However, if you are to age successfully, the women are the winners and men, the losers. As Hippocrates said, a long time ago, the right amount of proper nourishment is extremely important. Men have largely taken his advice in getting the right amount of exercise and walking. But obviously, the other half of his equation does not overcome male behaviors and choices such as the deficits of nourishment. Obviously, Smoking drinking alcohol cannot be considered nourishment. And committing suicide is not nourishing one’s soul. So in spite of exercise and activity, men’s behavior limit his lifespan as well as health span. More to follow regarding the nature and nurture of man.

Friday, August 14, 2015

Understanding Friendship

Employing some of the above psychological concepts provide valuable insight into the dynamics of friendship. Friendship can be defined as “friendly feeling or disposition; association as friends.” The long standing union of Tom Curtis and Jim Mandich provide an illustration of these dynamics. Theory regarding friendships are as follows. We choose a friend based upon the dynamics of our ego ideal. This means we are talking about the role, significance and importance of the unconscious. In some ways, a friend becomes a supplement or complement, to what’s missing or lacking in your personality [remember, the ego ideal   reduces flaws or deficits in order to attain our unrealistic drive toward perfection] in a certain way. We perceive something enviable in the object and wish to measure up, to compete, and actually to better or conquer our friend. These original impulses energize us and the rivalry begins. Usually, we pick a person that is roughly equal to us in achievement either on a physical or intellectual plane or both. These initial unconscious impulses are overcome and change into positive emotions. Thus, we actually help our friend, come together and join him in our goals and activities.  When or if a third party foe enters the picture, our impulse to fight arise and we join forces and unify as one as two individuals are better than one in combat or competition. In other words, a third-party foe can easily be ganged up upon by the two friends. Now, there’s a common enemy to combat.

Tom and Jim’s friendship developed at an early age. Tom was born and reared Aurora, Ohio roughly 23 miles from Cleveland while Jim came from the nearby community of Solon, Ohio. Both boys, although not quite neighbors, played and excelled at sports. Tom loved baseball, football and basketball. Jim was no slouch in football and basketball. It wasn’t till high school that the two boys actually met. They collided on various athletic playing fields, at evening parties and other afterschool events. These 15 or so-year-olds first clashed horns at a track competition between the two schools. Although Jim was taller and heavier, Tom was faster and quicker. Mandich set records in the shot put and discus throw and easily beat Curtis in head-to-head competition. There was real competition between the two.

On the football field, Tom was the quarterback, and Jim a tight end. Both received honors playing football. Curtis was second team all-state quarterback, while the tight end  Mandich, the All-American’s  high school team was 22 – 0. Before asking Jim where he was planning to attend college, Tom assumed that the heavily recruited Jim would attend Ohio State. When he learned that Jim was attending the University of Michigan, Tom was thrilled and knew that he would have a good friend there.

While at the University of Michigan, the two football friends roomed together, partied together and played intramural basketball, during the off-season. Tom originally, a quarterback wound up playing in Coach Bump Elliott’s defensive backfield. Not bad as Curtis set the Michigan record for interceptions. That record still stands today even though Heisman winner Charles Woodson played in the defensive backfield too. Jim, played tight end and was the Wolverine team Captain.

In their senior year, they played for new Coach Bo Schembechler. At first, they strongly disliked him However, these two senior leaders eventually led the way in supporting Bo and the rest of their teammates followed their lead. The members on that 1969 football team came together and instead of ganging up and fighting, Bo Schembechler, their now united efforts joined him with unified and combined energies and the Wolverines stomped the life out of their remaining opponents. Especially against Ohio State, in that classic 1969 upset of the undefeated, NFL like Buckeyes. After the Rose Bowl game, the two friends were drafted by the NFL. Tom went to play for Baltimore Colts and Jim went to play for the Miami Dolphins.

In fact, during a preseason game, the two friends faced each other. Curtis was on the receiving team, and Mandich on the kickoff team. Jim came racing down the field yelling, screaming, and spitting as only” Mad Dog “could in the direction of his friend Tom. However, at this point, Tom was the enemy and Jim wanted to consciously destroy him by knocking him out of the Stadium. Tom knew that and did an “Olay” getting out of the way of his hard charging out of control, buddy. Those initial underlying dynamics surfaced-the competition, the fight and the desire to overcome, demolish and hurt his dear friend. All is fair on me NFL gridiron. This is where friends really fight each other football wise. It’s expected.

Off the gridiron, it’s a different story. On January 1, 1971 these two combatants watched the Michigan-USC Rose Bowl game together. Soon after, Jim invited Tom to join him on the Dolphins team bus heading to the Super Bowl in New Orleans. That invitation would not be allowed today. The next season Tom Curtis joined his body and became a Dolphin too. Of course, the two players roomed together. Their longterm, earthly friendship was terminated only as a result of Jim’s early death.

 More stories about these two, are found in Bo’s Warriors-Bo Schembechler and the Transformation of Michigan Football.

Monday, August 10, 2015

Freudians, Social Psychologists, Anxiety and Affiliative Behavior

These psychoanalytic theoreticians all view the importance, significance or role of anxiety during the human lifespan, especially in understanding neurosis. It’s a precursor and can be viewed as an underlining dynamic. Academic psychologists such as S.  Schachter researched anxiety as an underlying motive as far as social affiliation was concerned. Karen Horney, Erich Fromm and Harry Stack Sullivan also incorporated affiliation [Although they used other terms] within their theories as result of their therapeutic work. They did not conduct research with college students. There subjects were males and females, some of which were college-aged.

Let’s see what Schachter found studying the relationship between anxiety and social affiliation, with his various psychological experiments. In one experiment, Schachter studied high anxiety females [they were told they would receive severe painful but not harmful, electrical shocks] and compared them to low anxiety females [they were told they had received mild shocks, and the shocks would feel like a tickle and would be harmless]. All the subjects were told that their physiological responses would be recorded. Before proceeding, these college females were told they could either wait alone in a comfortable room which had books and magazines or together in a classroom with other female students. A questionnaire was administered and the women gave their preference for either waiting alone or being together. The scale also assessed   the degree of intensity of their expressed desire to wait alone or together. Prior, females were also given a choice of remaining for the experiment or leaving. Some chose not to take part. The difference between the intensity of the desire of the girls in the two groups to be with the others was significant compared to waiting alone, and suggested that anxiety leads to affiliative behavior in college women.

On further research with college subjects, Schachter found statistically significant evidence that firstborn tended to affiliate under stress conditions, while later born did not. Also, fewer firstborn were chronic alcoholics, entered into and stayed longer in psychotherapy, and fewer become fighter pilot aces compared to later born. Firstborn nursery school children were found to be more dependent and firstborn college males were found to be more conforming than later born siblings. Schachter believed that firstborn individuals had anxiety and pain relief by people more often and greater than later born children. Likely, because the mother was perhaps more worried and more sensitive to expressions of anxiety of her firstborn, compared to her later born children. More than likely, with the second child, the mother was more casual, relaxed and likely busier than she had been with her initial child. If this is so, the firstborn children should have received the more attention from others, especially from the mother than her anxious later born children.

I. Sarnoff and Phillip Zimbardo conducted psychological experiments relating fear to affiliation. In their studies, they found that when under a strong fear of electric shock, that their male subjects experienced more of a desire to affiliate compared to the others under low fear conditions. They also found that firstborn and only children showed more of a wish to affiliate under fear than did later born subjects [males]. In these studies that Incorporated both male and female college students, does the cliché “misery loves company” fit?

Wouldn’t you agree that there is evidence that anxiety - fear can be “easily “induced?  This means that we are extremely vulnerable and sensitive to the spoken word.  We scare easily. We also know that the world of advertising and various politicians manipulate and are masters and sophisticated at employing the tactic of fear. These politicians tell us if we do such and such or if we don’t do such and such , our lives will become disastrous , especially now, as well as for  our children’s  future. They expertly pedal fear. For example, our most recent created government agency [Homeland Security] was supposed to protect us from whatever. Do you currently feel more or less anxious as a result of the creation of Homeland Security? We have the greatest military in the history of the world, all sorts of treaties and multiple weapons of mass destruction. Also, our police forces are equipped with the latest military gear. Are we really safer and do we experience less anxiety as a result of all that spending and weaponry? Do more bullets and more guns help you in reducing your anxiety? You probably don’t even know the answer to that question. If you had a bazooka, would that do the trick?

As you know there many polls taken in this country. In responding to or filling out a survey, and when asked to rate your concerns, the word concern really refers to anxiety or fear. A dictionary definition of concern was “Solicitude or anxiety.” If your number one concern is the economy or employment, then you obviously experience anxiety, which translates into security, or lack thereof. These polls are really measuring the anxiety forces in your life.

Since we began early in life with a significant level of fear or anxiety, some level is always there, and it doesn’t take much to increase or heightened those symptoms of anxiety. Generally, focusing on belly breathing and being in the here and now, often helps in reducing these awful symptoms. Activity, exercise, yoga are also valuable tools that can be used. If these suggestions don’t work, find a good therapist since alcohol, drugs and other escapes, are other illusions and don’t solve the issue.