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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.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

The Psychology of Pain

"Ruin and recovering are both from within."– Epictetus
 The following information is taken from a class titled “Conquering Pain” From the Inst. For Natural Resources and is as follows: 1. The goal of medicine is to preserve or restore health and relieve suffering.  Pain is the most common symptom of disease and it is no wonder that the medical and pharmaceutical industries work hand-in-hand.2; Physiologic pain serves a purpose and is actually protective.  It warms the body of potentially damaging or destructive stimuli in the processes.3.  Pain is subjective and cannot be measured objectively.4.  Chronic pain may be associated with fatigue, loss of libido, loss of appetite, and depressed mood.5.  Men report less pain, but seem to cope more poorly than women.6.  Opium has been around for 4500 years.7.  Aspirin was developed in 1899 by the Bayer Company.
The Psychology of Pain.
1.       Multiple psychological variables influence the perception and experience of pain.  Pathways that modulate pain extend from the cortices to the hypothalamus, mid brain, medulla, and spinal cord.  These pain modulating circuits can be enhanced or suppressed by attention, expectation, anxiety, fear, and depression.
2.      Depressed individuals frequently feel more pain and experience multiple somatic discomforts.  Increased perception of pain is often an early sign of depression.
3.      Interpreting pain as unbearable typically intensifies the perception of pain.
4.      Positive expectations for healing from painful injuries can lead to faster recovery from those injuries.
5.      Long-standing pain has been shown to cause atrophy of the prefrontal cortex, comparable, in some cases to the equivalent of 10 to 20 years of aging.
6.      Failure to recognize the tremendous influence of negative emotions such as anger, fear, grief, resentment, depression, and pessimistic expectations on chronic pain conditions can even limit the effectiveness of pain meds.
7.      Self-defeating thoughts and behaviors can eventually dominate the patient’s awareness, pushing aside more constructive attitudes.
Helpful strategies.
1.       Cognitive behavioral therapy to change thinking.
2.      Exercise to boost endorphins and serotonin.
3.      Distraction with pleasant activities.
4.      Learning new skills or hobbies.
5.      Protecting a restoring deep sleep.
6.      Spending more time in natural surroundings.
7.      Interacting with pleasant, funny, uplifting people.
8.      Exploring a religious or spiritual approach to suffering.
9.      Volunteering to help others with similar challenges.
One thing that I do when dealing with an injury is not to use the word “pain.” I use words like discomfort, irritation when referring to injury or soreness.  I also incorporate many of the above strategies. Of course, I also use ice, heat, and non-steroidal, anti-inflammatory drugs like Advil when necessary. Good luck in dealing with your discomfort, as it happens to us all.
I learned a new term yesterday from my neighbor Liz.  I see her frequently with her dogs, during her morning exercise.  She told me she was doing the “slog.” That is exactly what I do, running up a hill, only I did not call it slog. A slog simply means a slow jog.  Thank you for the term dear neighbor.
Happy turkey day and I hope to see you Saturday the 26Th at my book signing from 12 to 2 PM at the Placer County Farm Supply, 10120 Ophir Road, New Castle, California.


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