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Meat Is the New Tobacco

Meat Is the New Tobacco | Mindful Spiritual Healing | Scoop.it

When I think about the effect of animal products on human health, I'm reminded of how quickly we've done a national about face on tobacco, and I look forward to the day when we have a similar apology from someone who promoted animal products.

 

The West's three biggest killers -- heart disease, cancer, and stroke -- are linked to excessive animal product consumption, and vegetarians have much lower risks of all three. Vegetarians also have a fraction of the obesity and diabetes rates of the general population -- of course, both diseases are at epidemic levels and are only getting worse.

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How Does the Brain Process Forgiveness?

How Does the Brain Process Forgiveness? | Mindful Spiritual Healing | Scoop.it

If you forgive a violent offender, are you a fool? If you forgive your abusive spouse, are you highly evolved? If you forgive the doctor who made a terrible medical mistake, are you a chump or a champion? What does brain science tell us—is forgiveness healthy or unhealthy?

 

The part of the brain associated with resolving anger is the same part that involves empathy and regulating emotions. Research shows that there is a neuronal foundation for the idea that resolving conflict and granting mercy are good for the brain and result in positive emotional states.

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Healing Your Mother (or Father) Wound

Healing Your Mother (or Father) Wound | Mindful Spiritual Healing | Scoop.it

If you choose to follow the path of meditation, you are likely to encounter what are sometimes referred to as your "karmic knots" — those physical and emotional traumas you have accumulated throughout your lifetime.

There is one category of karmic knot that may be especially hard for you to deal with, as it is for many people. This is the emotional — some would say psychological trauma that may have occurred within your family of origin. It may involve your mother, father, or both.

 

This trauma may have been caused by a parent who was absent or overbearing, who committed inappropriate actions or failed to take positive action, or who took too little or too much interest in you. Or it may have been the interactions between your parents that was traumatizing to you. In meditation it is all grist for the mill of mindfulness.

 

A trauma involving the mother or father is sometimes referred to as a "wound" because it damages the body-mind, needs proper healing, and often leaves a scar or weakness in your body or emotional makeup.

Pamir Kiciman's insight:

 

"But sooner or later, the wound can carry us toward its own remedy, if we only let it."

 

— Henry Shukman

 

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Sit More, And You're More Likely To Be Disabled After Age 60

Sit More, And You're More Likely To Be Disabled After Age 60 | Mindful Spiritual Healing | Scoop.it
People tend to relax as they get older, and most people sit more. Each extra hour of sitting increases the odds that they won't be able to get out of bed or do other daily activities.

 

The more you sit, the less physically active you are, which can lead to all sorts of health problems, including an early death.

 

But too much sitting increasingly looks like a health risk all its own. Researchers at Northwestern University say that for people 60 and older, each additional hour a day spent sitting increases the risk of becoming physically disabled by about 50 percent — no matter how much exercise they get.

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Pete Carroll Makes All Seahawks Players Take Yoga And Meditate

Pete Carroll Makes All Seahawks Players Take Yoga And Meditate | Mindful Spiritual Healing | Scoop.it

The Seahawks believe their kinder, gentler philosophy is the future of football.

 

The big idea is that happy players make for better players. Everyone in the facility, from coaches and players to personal assistants and valets, is expected to follow Carroll's mantras regarding positivity of thought, words and actions. "Do your job better than it has ever been done before," he tells them. Yelling and swearing are frowned upon, and every media interview with a player or coach ends with a thank-you to the reporter. And in a trial program entering its second year, a group of 15 to 20 players is undergoing Neurotopia brain-performance testing and has worked with Gervais to create status profiles -- updated every week on an iPad app -- of what's going on in their lives, how much sleep they're getting, their goals and how they're dealing with stressors.

 

Offensive tackle Russell Okung raves about the program Pete has in place, saying that meditating is now one of the most vital parts of his training.

 

“Meditation is as important as lifting weights and being out here on the field for practice,” Okung said. “It’s about quieting your mind and getting into certain states where everything outside of you doesn’t matter in that moment. There are so many things telling you that you can’t do something, but you take those thoughts captive, take power over them and change them.”

Pamir Kiciman's insight:

For all who have rescooped this or anyone trying to read the full article, I had linked to a text-only version but that service is not available. Here's the original on ESPN:

 

http://espn.go.com/nfl/story/_/id/9581925/seattle-seahawks-use-unusual-techniques-practice-espn-magazine

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Research Finds Gratitude Works Like a Muscle, with Tangible Benefits for Kids Who are Thankful

Research Finds Gratitude Works Like a Muscle, with Tangible Benefits for Kids Who are Thankful | Mindful Spiritual Healing | Scoop.it

Giving thanks is no longer just holiday fare. A field of research on gratitude in kids is emerging, and early findings indicate parents' instincts to elevate the topic are spot-on. Concrete benefits come to kids who literally count their blessings.

 

Gratitude works like a muscle. Take time to recognize good fortune, and feelings of appreciation can increase. Even more, those who are less grateful gain the most from a concerted effort. "Gratitude treatments are most effective in those least grateful," says Eastern Washington University psychology professor Philip Watkins.

 

Among a group of 122 elementary school kids taught a weeklong curriculum on concepts around giving, gratitude grew, according to a study due to be published in 2014 in School Psychology Review. The heightened thankfulness translated into action: 44% of the kids in the curriculum opted to write thank-you notes when given the choice following a PTA presentation. In the control group, 25% wrote notes.

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To Make Healthier Choices, Color-Code Your Food (Green Means Go!)

To Make Healthier Choices, Color-Code Your Food (Green Means Go!) | Mindful Spiritual Healing | Scoop.it
Color-coding food by healthfulness really does steer people toward better choices, researchers say.

 

Sounds like a gimmick that could get me to pick the Brussels sprouts over the sweet potato fries for about week and then start to wear off, right? Not quite, says primary care physician .

 

The colorful cues not only helped hospital employees skip the sugary sodas, fattening pizzas and calorie-rich desserts at first, but the healthier eating lasted for the entire two years of the study, her team reports Tuesday in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.

 

In addition to using the traffic-light labels, Thorndike and her team also rearranged the snacks and beverages in the cafeteria so that the most healthful options were in the front and at eye level.

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The Psychology of Santa Claus

The Psychology of Santa Claus | Mindful Spiritual Healing | Scoop.it
Parents lie to their kids about a mysterious, bearded gift-giver, only to set them up for inevitable heartbreak. Except, it's not so simple.

 

In second grade I asked my mom how Santa could make so many public appearances on such a tight schedule. Not every Santa was the actual Santa, she said, they were just guys that the real Santa asked to help him out. How logical, I thought, Santa is a busy man.

 

That’s the sort of loving lie parents tell their kids about Santa. It’s a pretty easy lie to tell. An ingrained part of our culture, talking to kids about Santa feels, if you think about it, weirdly normal. Letting children use their imaginations to conjure this image is healthy, psychologists argue, saying that the practice is what will later help them dream up inventions and other big ideas. Similarly, fairy tales have been shown to be an effective and more meaningful way to teach children morals; the naughty-or-nice list becomes a guide to growing up to be a decent person. Even if your goodness is derived from a fear of not receiving a Furby.

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"Be" Home: How to reduce stress over the Holidays

"Be" Home: How to reduce stress over the Holidays | Mindful Spiritual Healing | Scoop.it

Are you already feeling some stress at the very thought of the upcoming holiday season? If so, you are not alone. And, it doesn’t have to be that way!

 

Holiday activities can add stress in many ways. For example, there are likely to be more things to do, more disruptions of your usual routines of life, more disturbances of rest and sleep, and changes in what you eat and drink. While many of these are enjoyable, they can take a toll on body, mind, and spirit. And don't forget "time stress". This is the feeling of never having time enough to do what is needed, is often experienced as a restlessness and uneasiness, and may appear as legs or feet shaking vigorously as if to say "Hurry up, let's go" to the rest of the body.

 

Instead of being overwhelmed or exhausted by the many demands of the holidays, you can take a different approach—one involving more “being” and less “doing”. The results could mean you connect more fully with your holiday experiences, and your life in general, and you begin to feel more alive and present.

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Reiki and Thankfulness

Reiki and Thankfulness | Mindful Spiritual Healing | Scoop.it

Gratitude is the optimal way to live to continuously attract good. On certain days it can be challenging to be grateful! That’s why it’s a practice and a precept. A precept is a guideline and principle.

Often practitioners fall into the trap that Reiki practice is only the time spent in Reiki meditation, or time spent with Reiki hands on oneself or another person, or the time spent with one of the many other Reiki methods. When that time is done, Reiki is done. It isn’t. It mustn’t be.

Guidelines are there to be informed by, to help transform our less desirable qualities. Precepts are to be lived.

Pamir Kiciman's insight:

This is from my own Reiki Help Blog, taking an in-depth look at the practice of gratitude, and its place in the teachings of Reiki.

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Paul Marwood's curator insight, December 4, 2013 8:49 PM

Grattitude is so important. Yes it is a precept. This applies to all of life not just Reiki and Reiki practice.

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How To Use Writing As A Meditation Practice

How To Use Writing As A Meditation Practice | Mindful Spiritual Healing | Scoop.it

Writing can be a powerful meditation practice, helping us to integrate our active mind with the mind of meditation. By using it as a process of inquiry, it can help us track our progress in loosening attachments and habitual states of mind even as it sharpens our ability to attend to the present moment. As little as 10 minutes of writing practice a day can reap great benefits.

 

Those who have a regular meditation practice can simply add the writing immediately following it, and those who find it difficult to do traditional meditation will find this practice fruitful as the writing gives your busy mind something to do, curbing your restlessness as you cultivate awareness of your overall experience.

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Plastic Surgery: Spiritual Exploration in the Age of Cosmetic Surgery

Plastic Surgery: Spiritual Exploration in the Age of Cosmetic Surgery | Mindful Spiritual Healing | Scoop.it

Welcome to the Great Plastic Surgery Debate—between women who do and women who don’t, and between the pressure to look 25 no matter the cost and our desire to be true to ourselves and lead authentic lives. It is a quiet, undeclared war, in which we sit at the table facing each other, judging, woefully self-critical, and contorting ourselves to fit into a culture where youth rules and age makes you invisible.

 

Only a few decades ago, plastic surgery was limited to socialites and other women with money and a big stake in looking perpetually 25. Now it’s positively mainstream. Even in enlightened circles—at yoga and meditation classes, and at ashrams and Buddhist temples—you can see the strangely tight faces, the too-pouty lips, the breasts that defy gravity. If plastic surgery has confounded me in general, the indulgence in it by those following a spiritual path—a path that emphasizes transcendence of the ego—leaves me flummoxed.

 

No fewer than 14.6 million cosmetic plastic surgery procedures—both minimally invasive and surgical—were performed in this country in 2012. In order of popularity: breast augmentations, nose jobs, liposuctions, eyelid surgeries, facelifts, and tummy tucks.

 

Yet some indicators hint that a backlash has begun. In Hollywood, Isabella Rossellini has referred to cosmetic surgery as “the new foot binding”; Salma Hayek blasted it as “the uniform of a generation”; Halle Berry calls its proliferation “really insane, and I feel sad that that’s what society is doing to women.” And Emma Thompson, Rachel Weisz, and Kate Winslet have formed what they have dubbed the “British Anti-Plastic Surgery League.”

 

Other signposts are popping up. Sixtyish model Cindy Joseph has created a cosmetics line, Boom, aimed at women of a certain age, and business is (ahem) booming.

 

“I feel like we’ve reached a tipping point, and women are waking up,” she says. “It’s exciting to see how many women are beginning to see the beauty of aging and wearing it with style. We love our wrinkles and wear them proudly.”

 

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How Many Friends Can Your Brain Handle?

How Many Friends Can Your Brain Handle? | Mindful Spiritual Healing | Scoop.it
A new study shows that having lots of friends is linked with greater connectivity between certain brain areas.

 

Being a social butterfly just might change your brain: In people with a large network of friends and excellent social skills, certain brain regions are bigger and better connected than in people with fewer friends, a new study finds.

 

Scientists still don't understand how the brain manages human behavior in increasingly complex social situations, or what parts of the brain are linked to deviant social behavior associated with conditions like autism and schizophrenia.

 

In the study, some brain areas were enlarged and better connected in people with larger social networks. In humans, these areas were the temporal parietal junction, the anterior cingulate cortex and the rostral prefrontal cortex, which are part of a network involved in "mentalization" — the ability to attribute mental states, thoughts and beliefs to another.

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Melanie Greenberg's curator insight, November 19, 2013 9:10 PM

Secure attachment experoences lead to connected brains and perhaps larger social networks.

Annie 's curator insight, November 20, 2013 11:58 AM

Friends and collegues alike, it helps to get you and your brand out and about. Networking can only strengthen your company exposure and also allow to build friendships along the way. So go out and mix and mingle this holiday season. Cheers!

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Brains Sweep Themselves Clean Of Toxins During Sleep

Brains Sweep Themselves Clean Of Toxins During Sleep | Mindful Spiritual Healing | Scoop.it
Mouse brains get washed with cerebrospinal fluid while they sleep. Humans may use the same process.

 

While the brain sleeps, it clears out harmful toxins, a process that may reduce the risk of Alzheimer's, researchers say.

 

During sleep, the flow of cerebrospinal fluid in the brain increases dramatically, washing away harmful waste proteins that build up between brain cells during waking hours, a of mice found.

 

The results appear to offer the best explanation yet of why animals and people need sleep. If this proves to be true in humans as well, it could help explain a mysterious association between sleep disorders and brain diseases, including Alzheimer's.

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What Makes a Compassionate Man?

What Makes a Compassionate Man? | Mindful Spiritual Healing | Scoop.it

What does it take to foster compassion in men? To find out, Kozo Hattori interviewed scientific and spiritual experts.

 

1) Understand compassion as a strength

2) Get to know yourself

3) Transcend gender roles

4) Look for positive role models—and become one yourself

5) Spend time in silence

Pamir Kiciman's insight:

 

"Although many men in society see compassion and sympathy as feminine—which translates to a weakness in our patriarchal society—all of the compassionate men I interviewed view compassion as a strength."

 

— Kozo Hattori

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Change Happens In 5 Stages

Change Happens In 5 Stages | Mindful Spiritual Healing | Scoop.it

When two psychologists, Carlo DiClemente and James O. Prochaska, studied people who were trying to quit smoking, they discovered five stages that can be used to assess a person’s readiness to make change. Their ideas about the stages of change have been applied to people who are creating a variety of changes in their lives, whether they are looking to establish new behavior or extinguish old habits.

 

Their research has become paramount to the Transtheoretical Model of Change. It shows that trying to force someone to change before he’s ready isn’t likely to be productive. For example, most New Year’s resolutions don’t last because people don’t go through the stages of change. Instead, they try to create change based on a date on the calendar, which may not coincide with a true readiness to transform.

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How Inactivity Changes the Brain

How Inactivity Changes the Brain | Mindful Spiritual Healing | Scoop.it
Being sedentary appears to alter the brain in ways that may affect heart health, a new study found.

 

A number of studies have shown that exercise can remodel the brain by prompting the creation of new brain cells and inducing other changes. Now it appears that inactivity, too, can remodel the brain, according to a notable new report.

 

The study, which was conducted in rats but likely has implications for people too, the researchers say, found that being sedentary changes the shape of certain neurons in ways that significantly affect not just the brain but the heart as well. The findings may help to explain, in part, why a sedentary lifestyle is so bad for us.

 

Until about 20 years ago, most scientists believed that the brain’s structure was fixed by adulthood, that you couldn’t create new brain cells, alter the shape of those that existed or in any other way change your mind physically after adolescence.

 

But in the years since, neurological studies have established that the brain retains plasticity, or the capacity to be reshaped, throughout our lifetimes. Exercise appears to be particularly adept at remodeling the brain, studies showed.

 

But little has been known about whether inactivity likewise alters the structure of the brain and, if so, what the consequences might be.

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Should Schools Teach Kids to Meditate?

Should Schools Teach Kids to Meditate? | Mindful Spiritual Healing | Scoop.it
Meditation can help students be less stressed and more compassionate. But how many districts are ready to sign on?

 

When a school in New Haven, Connecticut, required yoga and meditation classes three times a week for its incoming freshman, studies found that after each class, students had significantly reduced levels of cortisol, a stress hormone, in their bodies. In San Francisco, schools that participated in Quiet Time, a Transcendental Meditation program, had twice as many students score proficient in English on the California Achievement Test than in similar schools where the program didn’t exist. Visitacion Valley Middle School specifically reduced suspensions by 45 percent during the program’s first year. Attendance rates climbed to 98 percent, grade point averages improved, and the school recorded the highest happiness levels in San Francisco on the annual California Healthy Kids Survey. Other studies have shown that mindfulness education programs improved students’ self-control, attentiveness and respect for other classmates, enhanced the school climate, and improved teachers’ moods.

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How Sugar Affects the Brain - Nicole Avena - TED-Ed Video

When you eat something loaded with sugar, your taste buds, your gut and your brain all take notice. This activation of your reward system is not unlike how bodies process addictive substances such as alcohol or nicotine -- an overload of sugar spikes dopamine levels and leaves you craving more. in this TED-Ed video Nicole Avena explains why sweets and treats should be enjoyed in moderation.

 

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Melanie Greenberg's curator insight, January 16, 6:00 PM

Sugar spikes dopamine, making us want more...

Kimberley L. Berlin, LSW, CSAC's curator insight, January 21, 3:53 AM

I gave up processed sugars and all candy, chocolate, ice cream, muffins, cookies, gummy bears, licorice, and anything else sweet and addicting over 21 days ago..  It's been an amazing process and I am so happy I did this!

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How to Survive the Post-Holiday Blues

How to Survive the Post-Holiday Blues | Mindful Spiritual Healing | Scoop.it
Don't let feelings of sadness get you down after the holidays. Here's how to get back on track for a healthy and happy new year.

 

The holiday season is an emotional roller coaster and stepping off at the and can leave you with a case of psychological whiplash.  Whether it's caused by feelings of guilt from overindulgence, unmet expectations, or a return to loneliness, depression after the holidays is a common condition. So common, in fact, that there is even a name for it - the 'post-holiday blues.'

 

Feelings of sadness, guilt, and anger can kick off genuine symptoms of depression ranging from mild unhappiness to more troublesome symptoms such as insomnia, irritability, inability to eat or overeating, difficulty concentrating, fatigue, and anxiety.  But you don't have to let the holiday blues get you down.

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God Is.'s curator insight, December 26, 2013 8:28 AM

There is no such thing as the picture perfect family, or holiday, My advice? be good to yourself. Forgive. Forgive the past, Forgive those in the past. Forgive yourself. Accept what is. As I heard many times before, "It is what it is, and it ain't what it ain't"...

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Study Reveals Gene Expression Changes with Meditation

Study Reveals Gene Expression Changes with Meditation | Mindful Spiritual Healing | Scoop.it
With evidence growing that meditation can have beneficial health effects, scientists have sought to understand how these practices physically affect the body.

 

A new study by researchers in Wisconsin, Spain, and France reports the first evidence of specific molecular changes in the body following a period of meditation.

 

After eight hours of practice, meditators showed a range of genetic and molecular differences, including altered levels of gene-regulating machinery and reduced levels of pro-inflammatory genes, which in turn correlated with faster physical recovery from a stressful situation.

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Melanie Greenberg's curator insight, December 22, 2013 8:17 PM

"After eight hours of practice, meditators showed altered levels of gene-regulating machinery and reduced levels of pro-inflammatory genes, which in turn correlated with faster physical recovery from a stressful situation."

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Health, Happiness, and the New Walking Movement

Health, Happiness, and the New Walking Movement | Mindful Spiritual Healing | Scoop.it
How walking could revitalize our bodies and communities.

 

Researchers have discovered a “wonder drug” for many of today’s most common medical problems, says Dr. Bob Sallis, a family practitioner at a Kaiser Permanente clinic in Fontana, California. It’s been proven to help treat or prevent diabetes, depression, breast and colon cancer, high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, obesity, anxiety and osteoporosis, Sallis told leaders at the 2013 Walking Summit in Washington, D.C.

 

“The drug is called walking,” Sallis announced. “Its generic name is physical activity.”

 

Recommended dosage is 30 minutes a day, five days a week, but children should double that to 60 minutes a day, seven days a week. Side effects may include weight loss, improved mood, improved sleep and bowel habits, stronger muscles and bones as well as looking and feeling better.

 

Biking, swimming, dancing, gardening, sports, jogging and aerobics work equally well, Sallis said, but he cites three factors that make walking the most effective treatment: 1) Low or no cost; 2) Simple to do for people of all ages, incomes and fitness levels, and 3) Walking is Americans’ favorite physical activity, so you are more likely to stick with a walking program than with other fitness prescriptions.

 
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The BioSync Team's curator insight, December 6, 2013 9:44 AM

From the Article:  Three factors that make walking the most effective treatment:

1) Low or no cost; 2) Simple to do for people of all ages, incomes and fitness levels; 3) Walking is Americans’ favorite physical activity, so you are more likely to stick with a walking program than with other fitness prescriptions.


Read more ...

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Tips for Keeping a Gratitude Journal

Tips for Keeping a Gratitude Journal | Mindful Spiritual Healing | Scoop.it

Psychology researchers aren’t necessarily Thanksgiving experts—they may not know how to make fluffy stuffing, say, or beat the traffic to your in-laws’ house—but they have become a fount of wisdom on thanksgiving (with a small “t”).

 

Over the past decade, they’ve not only identified the great social, psychological, and physical health benefits that come from giving thanks; they’ve zeroed in on some concrete practices that help us reap those benefits.

 

And perhaps the most popular practice is to keep a “gratitude journal.” As we’ve reported many times over the years, studies have traced a range of impressive benefits to the simple act of writing down the things for which we’re grateful—benefits including better sleep, fewer symptoms of illness, and more happiness among adults and kids alike.

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6 Habits of Highly Grateful People

6 Habits of Highly Grateful People | Mindful Spiritual Healing | Scoop.it

Gratitude (and its sibling, appreciation) is the mental tool we use to remind ourselves of the good stuff. It’s a lens that helps us to see the things that don’t make it onto our lists of problems to be solved. It’s a spotlight that we shine on the people who give us the good things in life. It’s a bright red paintbrush we apply to otherwise-invisible blessings, like clean streets or health or enough food to eat.

 

Gratitude doesn’t make problems and threats disappear. We can lose jobs, we can be attacked on the street, we can get sick. I’ve experienced all of those things. I remember those harrowing times at unexpected moments: My heart beats faster, my throat constricts. My body wants to hit something or run away, one or the other. But there’s nothing to hit, nowhere to run. The threats are indeed real, but at that moment, they exist only in memory or imagination. I am the threat; it is me who is wearing myself out with worry.

 

That’s when I need to turn on the gratitude. If I do that enough, suggests the psychological research, gratitude might just become a habit. What will that mean for me? It means, says the research, that I increase my chances of psychologically surviving hard times, that I stand a chance to be happier in the good times. I’m not ignoring the threats; I’m appreciating the resources and people that might help me face those threats.

 

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Larry Glover's curator insight, November 25, 2013 10:12 AM

A particularly good and useful Thanksgiving season article. 

Cathryn Wellner's curator insight, November 27, 2013 10:00 AM

Just in time for THANKSgiving. Thanks to Pamir Kiciman for scooping this.

Cath Daley's curator insight, November 28, 2013 6:49 AM

How having  the habit of gratitude can change your life...

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Defying medical board, FDA approves painkiller that could be the next Oxycontin

Defying medical board, FDA approves painkiller that could be the next Oxycontin | Mindful Spiritual Healing | Scoop.it
The government agency charged with regulating medicine says it's cracking down on painkiller abuse. Maybe not.

 

Late last month, the US Food and Drug Administration made it significantly harder for doctors to prescribe Vicodin, Lortab, and other highly addictive painkillers that have killed tens of thousands of Americans over the past decade. Lawmakers praised the agency's move, but the next day, over the objections of its medical advisory board, the FDA approved Zohydro, a new drug that has 5 to 10 times more of the heroin-like opioid hydrocodone than Vicodin.

 

The FDA's advisory board, an appointed group of medical experts who evaluate drugs used in anesthesiology and surgery, voted against Zohydro 11-2 last December. As several board members noted, most opioid painkillers on the market also include acetaminophen, the main ingredient found in Tylenol, a combination that is less likely to lead to addiction. But like OxyContin, the "Hillbilly Heroin" the Drug Enforcement Agency has blamed for hundreds of deaths in a single year, Zohydro includes a high dose of its main opioid ingredient undiluted by acetaminophen. That could lead to higher rates of abuse, the FDA's medical advisers warned.

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Who Is Responsible for the Pain-Pill Epidemic?

Who Is Responsible for the Pain-Pill Epidemic? | Mindful Spiritual Healing | Scoop.it
How did doctors, who pledge to do no harm, let the use of prescription narcotics get so out of hand?

 

By 2010, the United States, with about five per cent of the world’s population, was consuming ninety-nine per cent of the world’s hydrocodone (the narcotic in Vicodin), along with eighty per cent of the oxycodone (in Percocet and OxyContin), and sixty-five per cent of the hydromorphone (in Dilaudid).

 

As narcotics prescriptions surged, so did deaths from opioid-analgesic overdoses—from about four thousand to almost seventeen thousand. Studies have shown that patients who receive narcotics for chronic pain are less likely to recover function, and are less likely to go back to work. The potential side effects of prescription narcotics include constipation, sexual dysfunction, cognitive impairment, addiction, and overdosing. When patients receive narcotics for long periods, they can even become more sensitive to pain, a condition called hyperalgesia. (J. David Haddox, the vice-president of health policy at Purdue Pharma—the manufacturer of OxyContin—acknowledged “opioid analgesics have sometimes been associated with diminished pain relief in the face of increasing doses.”)

 

And then there are the real-life Walter Whites. I once helped care for a patient with lung cancer who wasn’t taking his narcotics, unbeknownst to his doctors. This patient’s cancer had spread to his bones and other organs, which can be incredibly painful. But he was selling his prescription narcotics to help support his wife and himself. So when given these high-dose narcotics in the hospital, he overdosed—though not fatally, fortunately.

 

What’s more, no medication reliably eliminates pain in all patients, and narcotics are no exception. And there isn’t good evidence that the prescription of narcotics to treat chronic, non-cancer pain is effective over long periods: most studies of prescription narcotics last only twelve to sixteen weeks.

Pamir Kiciman's insight:

Fascinating, essential reading! Have been an advocate of drugless pain solutions for a long time, and help many who are in the throes of sturggling with this pervasive problem.

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