Saturday, July 29, 2017

The Effects of TBI and CTE Part 2

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

Friday, July 28, 2017

The Effects of TBI and CTE

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

Sunday, July 23, 2017

The Epidemic of Violence

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

Saturday, July 22, 2017

The Epidemic of Violence Part 5

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

Friday, July 21, 2017

The Epidemic of Violence Part 4

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

Thursday, July 20, 2017

The Epidemic of Violence Part 3

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

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

The Epidemic of Violence Part 2

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

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

The Epidemic of Violence Part 1

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

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Samson and Hercules Part 6

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

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Samson and Hercules Part 5

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

Monday, July 10, 2017

Samson and Hercules Part 4

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

Sunday, July 9, 2017

Samson and Hercules Part 3

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

Saturday, July 8, 2017

Samson and Hercules Part 2

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

Friday, July 7, 2017

Samson and Hercules Part 1

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