Sunday, April 23, 2017

Dwindling Sleep Part 2

As of 2012, this sleep disorder business was a $32 billion industry. This brought numerous entrepreneurs into the playing field. The quest was to find the Holy Grail. A few illustrations of more recent techniques and sleep aids are as follows: 1. Weighted blankets to induce a swaddling sensation 2. Direct current stimulation. 3. Polycarbonate globe that measures are quality 4. Soundwaves 5. A gadget that uses sound to startle the sleeper every three minutes for an hour, just before going to sleep. 6. An online sleep coach 7. A soft spoken word album 8. A podcast 9. The ghost pillow 10. A good night light LED sleep bulb 11. A meditation class in Manhattan. 12 Arianne Huffington’s book “The Sleep Revolution: Transforming Your Life One Night at a Time.” For a much more detailed account of ideas pertaining to sleep and dreams in ancient times, consult, James Hillman’s “the Force of Character and the Lasting Life”; and the latest apps, gadgets classes, can be found in the Penelope Green’s article in the April 9, 2017 edition of the New York Times. PS Nyx for me, along with my dreams protects my sleep. After a morning trail run with Chris, Tony and Sherry or Tony and Sherry or just Sherry, I have lunch. Then I have a brief weight work out and then take a wonderful and refreshing nap. I look forward to acknowledging the creative dream distortions of my demons. Remember, repressed demons are found in our dreams. In the evening, I can’t wait to discover more of the demons as I look forward to revealing the next figures of the night.

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Dwindling Sleep

For many centuries, there have been inquiry and interest about dreams and sleep. Some believed, like pious Christian monks, that pagan powers invaded their dreams. If they banished sleep, that process would somehow protect their souls from temptation. In Revelation, it was stated “there shall be no night there.” Found in the Bible was Lilith the night monster “roaming with her retinue in the darkest hours of night.” The Greeks had their NYX, which was the night Goddess. They believed that the night allows the invisible world to appear in man. This is a world in which we find spirits, fatalistic foreboding, faultfinding, punishers and avengers, angry persecutors, miserable, distressed and lustful longings. Today, our thinking acknowledges that small children sleeping through the night can wet their beds. Parents are not too happy about bed wetter’s, but maybe, just maybe the child sleeps to protect his sleep from waking in the night, with its fearful intruders. However, for older folks, have prostate issues, with the frequent urge to urinate. They also have a disruption of circadian rhythms that interfere with sleep. The aging to not have sleep protection because of their interrupted sleep patterns. As a consequence of lost sleep, they purchase earplugs, temperature control devices, melatonin supplements and warm their milk. These are a few of the old school sleep protectors or remedies. Because of this significant sleep disorder issue, we have research centers on both coasts. We have MIT on the East Coast and the University of California, Berkeley on the West Coast, offering their latest insights into this complex problem. This problem-disorder is associated with the Army and its concern for impaired fighting man performance; Jeff Bezos too is worried about worker performance and the fear that it will lower Amazon stock; weakened immune systems; impaired learning and depression; diabetes; cancer, and early death are concerns. In a more recent research study with Danish and Japanese males, these researchers found that older males are retaining too much salt and water during the night. In fact, they were excreting more sodium at night and as a result voided more frequently. To be continued

Friday, April 21, 2017

17,000 Steps

“Heart of the Amazon” was the title of an article found in the April 9, 2017 edition of the New York Times. According to the article, anthropologists have studied over 15 years, a group of subsistence farmers and hunters called the Tsimane. These people reside in Bolivia along a tributary of the Amazon River. These men spend about seven hours a day hunting, fishing, and transporting by canoe to various towns to sell and purchase food. Women on the other hand, gather nuts and farm rice, corn, and plantains. Their work translates by walking, or covering about 8 miles per day or 17,000 steps. Their diet is about 72% carbohydrates-processed starches, 14% from saturated and unsaturated fats and 14% protein. They do have frequent infections and have chronically elevated levels of inflammation. These anthropologist teamed up with cardiologists. Then, these doctors drew blood from 705 men and women between the ages of 40 and 94. Their scans enabled the researchers to score the presence of atherosclerosis which is disease characterized by the buildup of plaque inside one’s cardiac arteries. Employing a zero score meant essentially no detectable disease; 1 to 99, low levels and 400 or greater were classified as being a lot. The findings: 85% scored zero; 3% exceeded 99; and a single person scored higher than 399. By comparison, this group of 705 scored less than 1/5 of the people in the United States and Europe. What can we generalize from this data? Can we conclude that diet had something to do with their healthy arteries? Can we conclude that daily activity had something to do with their healthy arteries? It would seem to me, that genetics, how the subject sample was obtained, the character or personality , BMI index, mortality rate of the subjects were just a few variables not addressed. Being in the wrong place at the wrong time might be another variable to consider. For instance, a young man in his mid-60s, exercises, physically active and eats healthy. However, he served our country in Vietnam. Because of that mistake, in which our military used Agent Orange, our government will pay him in dollars, because he had a diagnosis of cancer. In other words, employing a healthy lifestyle was no contest against being exposed to a lethal dose of a vegetation killer. In essence, because we are mortal beings, I believe it matters more how one lives compared to the length one lives. Quality and well-being is more important than quantity. And, more importantly, do not allow you your thinking to get in your way. Per James Hillman, “the main pathology of later years is our idea of later years.” That idea can be applied over and over again in different ways. PS I don’t know about you, Dr. Hillman, but my Border Collie, Sherry and I are going on an 8 mile trail run today.

Saturday, April 8, 2017

Aging Outcomes Part 2

Perhaps, many aging individuals in industrial states like Michigan, Ohio and Pennsylvania, are neither as fortunate, nor as blessed as I am. We heard much about job loss, frustration, poor health, opiate use and anger among the blue-collar working individuals. Certainly, losing lifelong employment has devastating social-economic consequences. Let’s face it, job insecurity; work becoming more technological; global workforce competition; political unrest and advanced health compound that reality. Not having a positive future outlook has devastating psychological implications. Significant frustration and constant stress leads to aggression, depression, and poor physical and mental health. To make matters worse, today’s workers do not have the skills to compete in current tech jobs. An article titled “Plenty of Tech Jobs, but…. Few Workers Who Have the Chops” in the March 31, 2017, USA Today gave a number of startling statistics. For example, The US Bureau of Labor Statistics predicted there’ll be a 1.4 million more software development jobs than applicants who can fill them by 2020. Further, according to research by The Career Advisory Board, only 11% of employers believed that today’s higher education was very effective in preparing graduates to have the necessary skills needed for their organizations. In a survey of 501 US hiring managers. 62% of them said the students were simply unprepared. Jobs are there, but there are not enough qualified individuals to fill them. If college graduates are not totally competent, then it is, safe to say that a blue-collar workers losing a past or current job, are also not likely to have the necessary skill requirements in the tech world of today. It’s no wonder that we have a culture of grumpy old men. Moreover, these people do not present good character models for the young as they are displaying psychological characteristics of doom, gloom and despair. Yes, the potential for positive and terrific, later years is possible. However, one has to be smart and make proper decisions and take advantage of opportunities presented. One has to be able to seek them, and as the saying goes, “strike while the iron is hot.” For instance, in “It Has Nothing To Do with Age” each individual was 65 years of age and older. Each overcame or worked through some obstacle or personal tragedy and then made good life decisions, persevered and bettered their state of being. They are terrific role models.

Friday, April 7, 2017

Aging Outcomes

Employing a Jungian viewpoint, James Hillman’s book “The Force of Character” addressed aging within a positive perspective. Per Hillman, “the older we become, the more our true nature emerges.” In other words, wisdom is embraced during the aging process. in fact, when we reach 60 or so we know so much more and have so much more to offer others, as opposed when we were in our” know it all “ invincible teens. This means that life actually can get better, even though there is a transformation that affects our body, strength, short and long-term memory, sleep patterns, etc. I agree with Hillman. My story significantly changed for the better when I was reaching 60 years of age. I terminated an unsatisfactory union; I was professionally retiring; and I discovered a true passion in a horseback and running event called Ride and Tie. As a result of this competitive team event, I enhanced, trained, met models and that set the stage for three goals, which allowed me to compete in three different 100 mile one day events. These events were “The Tevis Cup”, an equine race in the mountains; “Western States” an ultra-run in the mountains; and the “Swanton Pacific” a Ride and Tie in the mountains. Since I was competing in running ultras, endurance riding and in ride and tie, I was exercising, evolving and was becoming more mentally and physically healthy. I then wrote two books, one “It Has Nothing To Do with Age” dealt with stories of driven athletes who competed in extraordinary sports. The second book, “Bo’s Warriors” addressed and told the story of Bo Schembechler and the Transformation of Michigan Football. In researching these books. I met a number of accomplished individuals and as a result, this search enhanced my life. Furthermore, my associates are currently interviewing with ESPN regarding making a documentary based on Bo and his warriors. To Be Continued

Monday, March 27, 2017

Aggression Part 2

Believing that aggression was learned, gives rise to the notion that aggression is commonplace and normal within our culture. Blockbuster or popular TV and films such as Mission Impossible, Wolverine, and Game of Thrones demonstrate the public’s interest. We loudly cheer when the good guy wins or slaughters his antagonist. Video games also depict destructiveness as well. Aggressive sporting events such as football, boxing, and car racing are also big revenue industries with plenty of fans witnessing brutality and death. The media over and over shows the gory details of death and destruction. Aggression is a major component in our society with plenty of rewards. There is no shortage of killing or incarceration. We lead the world in both. What is the ratio of aggression versus love as seen on our screens? Don’t forget the amount of verbal nastiness on today’s social media. Another explanation regarding aggression was that it was a response to anxiety; and that it often happened when an individual’s goal seeking behavior was blocked by some barrier. When man is threatened or afraid he becomes anxious as well. He can either fight or flee. Man is striving, seeking, desiring, willing, and has numerous goal driven behaviors. On man’s locomotion to complete the goals, he encounters various obstacles that can interfere and get in the way and block goal attainment. One emotional response to non-goal attainment is frustration. And when frustrated, man often acts out aggressively either verbally, physically or both. I remembered watching Indiana basketball coach Bobby Knight, yelling and throwing chairs on the court during a basketball game. His inappropriate behavior was pretty consistent when things didn’t go his way. Superego, conscience, ethics, moral code and guilt are few of the internal mechanisms that can influence control over our impulses. Religion, laws, police, despots and the military are a few of the external devices devised by society in an effort to control behavior. Even though we have more “jails” and spend outrageous amounts of money on our criminal justice system, and have many weapons of mass destruction, we are like Sisyphus in that the problems of human aggression and atrocities just continue as we repeat the same old, not so effective, solutions. In essence, we are threatened by a world in which we created. If there is a God, now’s a good time to intervene. Depending on one’s theoretical framework and belief regarding the origin of aggression and anger, influences man’s attempt to deal with this component in our society. Better and more psychotherapy; a buildup of more police and laws actually following the various religious teachings are some strategies. “Thou shall not kill” etc. etc. would be a prudent start. In any event, we need to make better choices for change. The mood toward violence, malignant aggression, inhumanity towards man is toxic and contrary to the love of life. Man must make better decisions and choices if things are to change.

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Aggression

The expression of aggression, at times, seems very commonplace especially within our news cycle. For example, there has been a recent incident-car and bridge killing in London; bomb threats against Jewish community centers; stabbing in New York; kidnapping, political rhetoric regarding building walls, expelling nonresidents, limiting immigrants, a significant addition to the military budget, North Korea’s missile threat, NBA’s Matt Barnes “I want to kill the King’s”, along with comments last year like “lock her up etc. etc. Thus we have verbal and physical aggression. The following are a few viewpoints regarding aggression, anger, hostility and destruction. Darwin’s theory of evolution pointed to “survival of the fittest.” Thus, he suggested that man was hardwired. Prehistoric man had to be competitive, in order to live and survive. Freud’s psychoanalytic theory built on that idea and it evolved when he later postulated the notion of a destructive instinct-drive in order to better and more fully explain man’s cruelty toward himself and toward others. Henry Murray postulated the idea that a need was hypothetical process .He believed that man’s aggression was a need and physiological. He then labeled aggression as a human need. He briefly described aggression as: “to overcome opposition forcefully; to fight; to revenge; to injure; to attack, injure or kill another; to oppose forcefully or to punish another. The above ideas viewed aggression as built-in within man’s nature. Employing his hypothesis, we find that it is a human characteristic with motivational and emotional qualities which described interpersonal interactions. Another view of aggression was presented by American psychologists with a behavioristic orientation. They discounted the biological aspect in understanding aggression. They believed that aggression was learned and the behavior was the result of the ratio of positive and negative consequences of rewards and punishments. Newborn infants cry as they do not have another way of communicating with the caregiver. The caregiver can respond to crying behavior by ignoring, constantly attempting to comfort, yelling, or even spanking. Often, sleepless caregivers have difficulty using sound judgment. And there is no sure manual for the correct caregiver response. Thus, rewards and punishments begin early. Later on, the young child misbehaves, according to some caretaker notion. Does that caretaker ignore the behavior; yell or say unkind words to the child; or, does the caretaker use physical techniques such as spanking or pinching some body part of the child? Once again, positive and negative consequences are employed by the adult along with modeling and/or imitating aggressive or nonaggressive behavior. In an attempt to stop aggressive behavior, some caretakers employed aggressive behavior. As a consequence, aggressive behavior can be learned by the child. To Be Continued