Friday, February 16, 2018

The Epidemic of Violence

We have had another example of violence in our country. Unfortunately, this also took place in a school setting; and again in Florida. It seems these murderous acts occur over and over. It should be clear by now, that we need to do more than pray. Socioeconomically, in the world, we do not have a monopoly on poverty, lowercase status, employment deficits, political inefficiency, or a deplorable educational system. We do not have a monopoly on mental health issues such as parental loss, family breakups, depression, anxiety and thought disorders. On the other hand, we lead the world in the acquisition of assault weapons, along with serious drug addictions. Some questions regarding this terrible act by this sadistic, narcissistic, young 19-year-old. At the moment, we don’t know whether or not this act was reactive and rooted in fear? Was individual getting back at this population over some wrong done to him? Killing 17 and wounding over14 because of being expelled from school seems to be a superficial explanation. Was he fearful and in danger from someone at the school, so he reacted violently? In other words, was revenge a motive or attempt to restore his self-esteem? Was the shooters faith a determining factor in that he was let down by parents, sweetheart, teachers, or other members of society? Was he suffering from some physical or neurological condition? I’m sure with all the attention that this young boy will receive, that a profile and motive or motives will be produced. That profile will not protect us from future acts of violence. We require more sensible ideas regarding minimizing destruction. It’s not a Second Amendment right to have a military killing weapon. Nowhere in the Second Amendment does it say we should not have background checks. Nor does it say in the Second Amendment that citizens should kill other children or students. We’re not going to end violence, but we might be able to limit its damages and live in a safer country. These do nothing, lawmakers should be replaced. Current legislation favor the gun lobbies, but not US citizens.

Saturday, February 10, 2018

Finding Fairness

The word fair or fairness was recently expressed in conversations with friends. “How fair is that?” or “that doesn’t seem fair to me” are two examples. Fair is defined “in accordance with the rules or standards, legitimate and with synonyms: just, equitable, honest, upright, honorable, and trustworthy.” Certainly there’s a difference between how a king views fair compared to common folk. King Solomon, when confronted by two women regarding the ownership of a baby, told the women he would cut the baby in half and give each a half child . The birth mother replied, “No, give the entire baby to that woman” Wise King Solomon then knew whom the real mother was. Fair falls between the eyes of the beholder. For instance, two adults have intercourse and an embryo is conceived. Was that being fair to the embryo? What if one set of individuals come from high status, upper 1% economically, a certain religion, a particular country, a white race or other combination of socioeconomic factors compared to individuals from a low level of socioeconomic conditions, etc.? What about the DNA, or genetic level differences between the individuals? At conception, there can be profound differences associated with these significant facts. During time in the womb, a mother may smoke, drink, take drugs and have experiences with other environmental stresses that affect embryonic development. Obviously, the embryo has no control over the many factors that affect its development. One can easily argue about the idea of fairness. With birth, the infant is then subjected to parenting whims without any control. How often and how soon does the baby receive nourishment or get held when crying? Is it fair to the mother that she bears most of the feeding, diapering, and nurturing responsibility? What about the number and degree of positive reinforcements given compared to the number and degree of punishments given within parenting parameters? How was fairness determined in this arena? Being fair is usually defined, determined and implemented by the one that has the power and control. Education begins and there is more variability as far as the competence of teachers, reputation and excellency of the school and school district. Once again, fairness is determined by some other. Then we have coaches, and many other adults defining and determining the meaning of fairness per their own interpretation. The same process continues within the world of work with all the employment and salary situations that arise. Don’t forget about the perception of fairness within the marriage union. Society and culture has so many laws, rules and regulations that are administered and interpreted and enforced by some or a few. As a result, fairness or its absence can only be determined by perception. Perception is the result of cognitive and emotional dynamics. One’s cognitive and emotional makeup is determined by the entire mosaic of influences beginning from conception to the end of life. Unless you are the king -emperor, or can define, create and administer fairness, maybe fairness is simply a fantasy, and not applicable. PS Jimmy Gaoppolo, Tom Brady’s backup for most of the 2017 season and then traded , agreed to a $137.5 million contract or 27.5 million per year over five years with the San Francisco 49ers. This makes him the highest paid NFL player per year.

Sunday, February 4, 2018

Trouble Removing Excess Weight?

Tips for dealing with excessive weight were found in the February 5, 2018 edition of Time magazine. The following strategies have worked, and can assist you. 1. Eat a big breakfast. A study in the Journal of American College of Cardiology reported that people who skipped breakfast were more likely to be overweight and coupled with dangerous plaque buildup in their arteries. We don’t want that. Hormonal imbalance contributes to people consuming unhealthy foods during the day. I prefer vegetables, fruits, and a yogurt smoothie for breakfast. 2. Drink one less soda per week. Cutting back on soda was associated with gaining less weight. I admit that I look forward for a Coke or Dr. Pepper after running a 50 K trail run. I’m looking for quick recovery. 3. Eat like an Italian. The Mediterranean diet has many health benefits from treating acid reflex to improving cholesterol levels, and even extending lifespan. In fact, long-term studies of people on Mediterranean diets were found to less likely develop cardiovascular disease, type II diabetes, kidney disease and breast cancer. Counting calories was not necessary either. It’s suggested that its’s beneficial to sit down with friends or family while eating. Choose your friends wisely. Fruits, vegetables, nuts, whole grains, olive oil and lean sources of animal protein are good choices. 4. Exercise to keep weight off. Burn calories to keep the weight off as long as you do enough of it. I agree totally. 5. Get a good night’s sleep .Seven hours a night was recommended .Consuming less sugar was a reason stated. Avoiding caffeine, electric devices, establishing a relaxing bedtime routine and not going to bed, full or hungry are other considerations. The next three strategies are easier to incorporate. Notice, any behavioral or routine change is difficult to accomplish. Repetition compulsion is one explanation. 6. Eat more slowly. Chewing your food well, increases the number of calories your body burns during digestion, compared with eating fast, which barely burns any calories and has been linked to an increased risk for metabolic syndrome. Moreover, a cluster of health problems are attributed to excess abdominal fat. 7. Dump the fake sugar. Drinking one or more artificially sweetened beverages a day, resulted in a higher risk for weight gain, obesity, diabetes and other health issues. Further, they also make people crave sweeter foods; and that interferes with the way the body metabolizes real sugar. I add natural Stevia for my morning coffee. 8. Don’t worry about workout weight gain. Often, when starting a new workout routine, you may put on a few pounds. Water is generally behind most short-term weight changes. And it’s important to prevent dehydration. Keep hydrated. If you are experiencing more energy and your clothes are fitting better, go for it. Remember, keep moving. PS For my reward after completing Saturday’s difficult Jed Smith 50 K, Tony and I visited Baskin-Robbins. Yes, prior, I downed a Coke.

Sunday, January 28, 2018

For Improved Health

To improve your well-being, consider the following the 8 steps or conditions found in the October 2, 2017 edition of Time. For example: 1. Explore life without social media. It suggested that more frequent Facebook use has been linked to more or poor physical and mental health; including diminished life satisfaction. Another study suggested that the more time people spent on social media per day, the more likely they were to have symptoms of anxiety. It was recommended that taking a break from Facebook resulted in higher life satisfaction, and positive emotions. Can’t argue with that one. 2. Order delivery and send your laundry out. It is been found that people who spend money on saving time, such as hiring a gardener, or paying extra for grocery delivery reported greater life satisfaction. People from across the income spectrum benefited from buying time. This would especially work, if you’re buying time from doing something that you don’t want to do. It helps to have the money to do it. 3. Embrace your offbeat emotions. In one study, people who felt the widest range of positive emotions, had the lowest levels of inflammatory markers in their blood. Lower levels of inflammation may translate to reduce the risk of illnesses like diabetes and heart disease. Next time you experience positive emotions like enthusiasm, interest or inspiration, that’s good for you. 4. Let go of grudges. Data from 148 people, found that people who had been more stressed in their lives had worse mental and physical health. They discovered that if people were quick to forgive themselves and others, that characteristic alone virtually eliminated the connection between stress and mental illness. 5. Take a perfectly imperfect vacation time away from work is good and can assist with minimizing stress. This means minimizing travel stress, or being in a situation where you felt unsafe. Planning seems to be a key here. Having alone time, or taking a break are important as individuals have different stress levels. Who likes to go to the airport and fly on a plane? I don’t. 6. Visit your local tiny green space. Getting outside, being in nature with a more active lifestyle is helpful for your mental health. More research suggests that any kind of green space, such as back yards, neighborhood parks, or dog walks can improve your well-being. Additionally, it’s important that these spaces are functional, easy to get to, clean and well lit. It’s also provides an opportunity to meet and chat with people as well. For me, being in nature is my compulsion for repetition. 7. Keep your friends as close as family. It has been found that friends become more important to health, during the aging process-per research conducted in nearly 100 countries. In fact, having supportive friendships, while aging, was found to be a better predictor of well-being than having a strong family connection. As we all know, we can choose our friends. 8. Deploy random acts of kindness or doing a favor boosts emotional well-being, even if you’re good deed isn’t recognized. One researcher stated “humans are wired to give. We are a cooperative species and there are mechanisms in us that promotes social behavior.” But remember, the goal is to benefit that person as opposed to trying to impress them with generosity or even expect something in return. These eight strategies are not at all an exhaustive list. Further, there is also no guarantee for well-being. Natural dangers, hereditary and our society and culture provide many barriers and challenges beyond control. This doesn’t mean that we have to be victims. However, just today I was reminded that we have been at war in Afghanistan for 16 years. Now that’s crazy.

Thursday, January 25, 2018

Just Do It

I smiled when I read an article titled “Where to Get Healthier This Year.” In the January 14, 2018 edition of The New York Times. According to the Global Wellness Industry, which is a nonprofit organization for the industry, the wellness travel market grew to $563 billion in 2015 compared to $489 billion in 2013. A few examples are as follows: 1. Four Seasons Hotel Los Angeles and Beverly Hills has seven wellness rooms in partnership with the real estate company Delos. Amenities include toiletries from the beauty brand Lather, air purification systems that reduce allergens and promote restful sleep, showers with chlorinator’s and healthy in room dining menus created in collaboration with the Cleveland Clinic. 2. In the adventure cruise line, Linblad Expeditions in partnership with the exercise and spa brand Exhale began a series of three and four day well-being trips in the Baja Peninsula in Mexico. Activities range from kayaking around the Baja shore line, snorkeling with sea lions, and classes led by Exhale for power yoga and high intensity interval training. 3 Intrepid Travel in partnership with Golden Triangle: Yoga, and Bollywood includes three days in the city of Rishikesh to practice yoga on the banks of the Ganges. 4. Singapore Airlines introduced Deliciously Wholesome in-flight meals which are rich in complex carbohydrates, lean protein, and fiber. 5. Delta Airlines offers guided meditation at its Asanda Spa Lounges in the Sky Clubs at John F. Kennedy International and the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport. The service is called the Deepak Chopra Dreamweaver. In Denver’s International airport, one can practice meditation and yoga in the airports Concourse A. This is called Yoga on-the-Fly. This is a studio with five 60 ft.² rooms that offer iPads loaded with yoga and meditation sessions. My travel incorporates a lifestyle that is more economical. For example, I always take my running shoes, socks, running shirt, tights, water bottle, power bars and running hat on every trip regardless of driving or flying. Second, when at the airport, I always stand or walk. Third, when, on the plane, I walk the aisles and stand in the back of the plane during the flight. Fourth, while in my seat on the plane, I perform progressive relaxation and focus on my breathing. Fifth, I keep hydrated by drinking plenty of water. Dining can be a little more complicated as far as proper nutrition. Breakfast is generally oatmeal, fresh fruit and coffee. Sometimes, I even bring my blender, for a smoothie, if the location doesn’t have one. While eating lunch and dinner, I tend to eat as much veggies as I can. At my destination, I incorporate both the weight room, equipment and go out for a run. Going out for a morning run allows me to familiarize myself while learning about my new environment .I also find a Pickle Ball court for games. Just last Sunday, going out for a trail run with Paul, Tony and our two Border collie’s; we encountered a runner; we made a comment; and he replied something to the effect “just being out here is the key.” One important thing about health: Just keep moving. PS Yesterday, I began tapering for my Jed Smith 50 K ultra-run on February 3.

Monday, January 15, 2018

Morality Part 4

We are unable to see the truth as we employ defense mechanisms to justify our thinking. There seems to be no amount of rational convincing to convince us of the flaws of our identifications. We are ruled by the underlying unconscious emotional dynamics within our system of right and wrong. It’s our nature, and it gets in the way of rational truth. This means that symbolically, the one we identify with becomes our conscience. As a result, these entanglements become our guides to right, wrong, good and evil that clouds our thinking with irrational beliefs and poor judgment and behavior. Just try to attempt to convince someone who has a different religious, political or economic set of ideas to your way of thinking. Just think of all the despot leaders that have led their followers astray down paths or trails of death, destruction and despair. Our society has an incongruent and contradictory moral and ethical code that doesn’t apply equality to all. This fact makes it very unlikely that a consistent and regular balance of rights, wrongs actually exist because of the quirks and variabilities among us. The result is the difficulty in developing a sense of trust .It may be simply easier to develop a sense of distrust. If so, this can lead to a hopelessly deprived and frustrated narcissist. If this occurs, then our degree of narcissism or self-centeredness interferes with how we treat or interact with others. This early development affects, unconsciously, the character types we seek out with our identifications. There are numerous barriers and contradictions with confounding rules and regulations developed within our political, economic, criminal justice and religious systems. It’s no wonder that our parental figures along with other identification models are compromised as well. Within a dysfunctional culture and society, man has difficulty determining right, wrong, and acting with integrity in acting on a moral code that’s based on altruism. Instead, we have too many individuals that have developed a greater sense of narcissism. With extensive narcissism, we become more self-centered and less concerned about the welfare of the other. As a result, we have established some of the necessary ingredients for an erosion of conscience, the morality of behavior and the inappropriate conduct of man.

Sunday, January 14, 2018

Morality Part 3

In addition to parents, there are other people available for the child in which to identify as he watches TV, plays video games, witnesses movies and attends preschool and elementary school. Identification is defined as “generally, a phase of recognition, in remembering; a process by which an individual unconsciously or partially so believes, imagines himself behaving, as if he were the person with whom the tie exists.” The identification can also be with an idea, an economic system, a political figure or political point of view, a religion, a celebrity, socioeconomic status, country, football team, or book. There are a plethora of identifications that are made in forming one’s view of right, wrong, might, and weakness in the development of conscience based on what is said and done. Religion, with the 10 Commandments, has provided us with a terrific set of rules, morals, ideals and values in getting along with fellow man. However, because of the nature of man, not taking the Lord’s name in vain; honoring the father and the mother; thou shall not kill; and thou shall not commit adultery seems nearly to be impossible to follow. The statistics of killing, adultery, swearing and beating up elders highlight man’s nature. Our society’s moral and ethical behaviors are what in practice? For the male, there are plenty of sports figures in which to identify. As a kid, Gordy Howe was my favorite hockey player; Johnny Groth my favorite baseball player; Doak Walker favorite football player; FDR favorite political figure; Lone Ranger favorite radio figure; Maureen O’Hara favorite actress, and John R Tunis favorite author. Today, present day models include Marvel comic action figures; affects our James Bond [he even has a license to kill and had the power and charisma to sleep with beautiful women], Wolverine, Jason Borne, Jack Reacher, and a whole host of violent videogame characters. Because of the unconscious dynamic of the identification process, these individuals and ideas can do no wrong, speak no evil, and do no evil, irrespective of their behavior toward fellow man. It’s as if we have a filter that screens out in plain sight negatives, inconsistencies, flaws and their disrespect of authority and societies rules. It bad that because of our underlying emotional psychology dynamics [helplessness, insecurities, frustrations, fear of loss of love, rivalries], we tend to seek out these powerful larger-than-life figures. It’s like they are the Pied Piper and we follow in their footsteps blindly with our inability to use rational or critical thinking. OJ might be another example. He was loved, admired, respected with his power, charisma, celebrity success and was married to an attractive white woman. Yes, he fell from grace from not all, but many. So it happens that our identification heroes can fall really hard from grace. To Be Continued