Saturday, December 4, 2010

Wake up!

Waking up means being able to observe our life as if it were happening to someone else. It means thinking and speaking consciously, knowing that what we think and say on Tuesday becomes the life we live on Thursday.  Waking up means we don't see the other as better or less than ourselves. We see the other as our self.
~Jan Phillips 

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Dec. 1: Pay It Forward Day!

Today, December first, is quickly becoming the new Pay It Forward Day....
 For my local friends and clients...
Shop at Good Vibrations in Chester and receive a 
Half-Off Coupon for any of my services!!!  
 ...then... Pay It Forward!  :)

Practice random acts of kindness

Buy an overseas soldier a cup of coffee through the Cup of Joe program 

Pay for the gas, coffee, groceries, toll-fee of the person behind you in line...

Pay an unexpected compliment

Watch the neighbor's children for an hour

Wash a window

Make a cake

Be Unexpected!

Be Unafraid!

Be Stealthy!

Enjoy the good feeling vibes of helping another struggling person on the planet...

... & have fun...!

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Which Thought Feels Better?

I enjoy many sources of spiritual nourishment, some unusual, some "ordinary".  This comes from the teachings of "Abraham" as they speak through Esther Hicks, from the book Ask and it is Given.

1. Every Topic or Subject has two aspects to it:  what is desired and the lack of it (ie, think money and health).  
-we can spend lots of time paying attention to our money or our health, [setting good intentions, looking for positive results], without realizing most of our subconscious thoughts on the topic are in fact negatively oriented.  This is where our hidden limitations and resistance to growth live.

2. Take time to connect with and identify your feelings right now, leaving aside everyone else's desires, ideas, opinions and beliefs (easier said than done, esp. for people pleasers and co-dependents).
   a. state how you feel.
   b. amplify it with more thoughts on "a."
   c. now reach for some thoughts that feel a little better...   evaluating as you go, Better, Same or Worse?

3. Move in the direction of the Better Feeling Thoughts.  Make it a practice to identify your (negative) feelings, identify some better feeling thoughts about the first feeling (even only slightly better is good!).  Dwell in that space a while...

"Your thoughts change the behavior of everyone and everything around you.  The better you feel, the more things and people around you improve.  Conditions and circumstances change to match your feeling [state]."

Be careful about adding detailed timelines to your wishes and desires [better feeling thoughts] in this process, Abraham says: "When you put yourself on a schedule where there is a deadline, then very often the shortage of time or money looms up and contradicts the [better feeling] energy, making you miserable [worse feeling]."  

Have fun with this.  There are many roads to Rome as they say...

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Got enough Vitamin P & Vitamin R?

"Our brain and digestive system are constantly scanning every eating experience to see if we have reached the requisite level of pleasure. Once we hit this sweet spot, so to speak, the brain sends out a simple signal: 'Full, satisfied, pleasured and thus it's time to stop eating. Mission accomplished.'" -Marc David, Institute for the Psychology of Eating

Marc clarifies that stress (cortisol) blocks our ability to experience pleasure (Vitamin P), so relaxation (Vitamin R) while eating and digesting promotes satiety, the feeling of being full and satisfied.  In other words, the more you argue at the dinner table, or balance your checkbook during lunch, or review the kids homework, or berate yourself for being overweight during meals... the more you have to eat to satisfy the brain's idea of "Enough!"

Monday, October 25, 2010

Thursday, October 14, 2010


Stop, notice your body is breathing and your 

heart is beating without your conscious effort. 

Now open yourself to the possibility that every area of 

your life can operate with the same grace. 

This is the byproduct of your spiritual endeavor to evolve. 


Thursday, October 7, 2010

Einstein-type DVDs like "crack for babies"

Face it, no matter how much we digitize our communication world, one thing is for certain, our mostly ancient human brains were made for human-to-human contact as the go-to form of learning.  Our brain's learning systems are LIT UP by other humans - and there is likely more than meets the eye when this happens.  Sub-conscious attention to 3-dimensional body language, pheromones, and subtle facial expression go a long way to contribute to the waking up of neurons in developing brains. Learning is not just "words & pictures."  -jd

DVDs poor at teaching toddlers
Science News, 09-25-2010

A study performed by psychologist Judy DeLoache of the University of Virgina demonstrated that parents verbal interaction with their young children far out-performed "baby education DVDs."  Her study "indicated the importance of having a social partner in learning," Michael Robb of St. Vincent College in PA.  Kids under age three don't grasp the relation between what they see on a screen and the physical world (SN: 4/10/10, p.9).

Babies can watch these videos with such intensity, DeLoache describes them "like crack for babies," and notes, "parents may think that attention equals learning, when it clearly does not."

Click here for full article

Monday, October 4, 2010


Just reading this brings a sense of relief... I am struggling with a recent terrible diagnosis on one of our beloved dogs, who seems to have a disease akin to ALS and MS in humans.  The desired care can be daunting.  But I do believe in so many possibilities in this world, the practical, as well as the spiritual and magical...  -jd

Right now:
There are Tibetan Buddhist monks in a temple in the Himalayas endlessly reciting mantras for the cessation of your suffering and for the flourishing of your happiness.
Someone you haven't met yet is already dreaming of adoring you.
Someone is writing a book that you will read in the next two years that will change how you look at life. 
Nuns in the Alps are in endless vigil, praying for the Holy Spirit to alight the hearts of all of God's children.
A farmer is looking at his organic crops and whispering, "nourish them." 
Someone wants to kiss you, to hold you, to make tea for you. Someone is willing to lend you money, wants to know what your favourite food is, and treat you to a movie. Someone in your orbit has something immensely valuable to give you -- for free.
Something is being invented this year that will change how your generation lives, communicates, heals and passes on.
The next great song is being rehearsed.
Thousands of people are in yoga classes right now intentionally sending light out from their heart chakras and wrapping it around the earth. 
Millions of children are assuming that everything is amazing and will always be that way.
Someone is in profound pain, and a few months from now, they'll be thriving like never before. They just can't see it from where they're at.
Someone who is craving to be partnered, to be acknowledged, to ARRIVE, will get precisely what they want -- and even more. And because that gift will be so fantastical in it's reach and sweetness, it will quite magically alter their memory of angsty longing and render it all "So worth the wait."
Someone has recently cracked open their joyous, genuine nature because they did the hard work of hauling years of oppression off of their psyche -- this luminous juju is floating in the ether, and is accessible to you. 
Someone just this second wished for world peace, in earnest.
Someone is fighting the fight so that you don't have to.
Some civil servant is making sure that you get your mail, and your garbage is picked up, that the trains are running on time, and that you are generally safe. Someone is dedicating their days to protecting your civil liberties and clean drinking water.
Someone is regaining their sanity. Someone is coming back from the dead. Someone is genuinely forgiving the seemingly unforgivable. Someone is curing the incurable.
You. Me. Some. One. Now.  
{copied from an email sent out by Lea Walters of the AIM program}

Great Service

I found this article uplifting, it shares the story of a cab driver who took some of Wayne Dyer's teachings to heart and changed his business and his life profoundly. It is my goal to provide great service to my clients and students.  Am I hitting the mark?  Or missing it in some ways?  I would love the feedback.  -jd

From the Facebook page called Daily Inspiration:

Marcia Kearl Johnson September 30 at 8:10am Reply • Report
No one can make you serve customers well.....that's because
great service is a choice.

Harvey Mackay, tells a wonderful story about a cab driver who
proved this point.

He was waiting in line for a ride at the airport. When a cab
pulled up, the first thing Harvey noticed was that the taxi was polished
to a bright shine. Smartly dressed in a white shirt, black tie, and
freshly pressed black slacks, the cab driver jumped out and rounded the
car to open the back passenger door for Harvey ..

He handed my friend a laminated card and said: 'I'm Wally, your
driver. While I'm loading your bags in the trunk I'd like you to read my
mission statement.'

Taken aback, Harvey read the card.. It said: Wally's Mission
Statement: To get my customers to their destination in the quickest,
safest and cheapest way possible in a friendly environment...

This blew Harvey away. Especially when he noticed that the
inside of the cab matched the outside. Spotlessly clean!

As he slid behind the wheel, Wally said, 'Would you like a cup
of coffee? I have a thermos of regular and one of decaf.' My friend said
jokingly, 'No, I'd prefer a soft drink.' Wally smiled and said, 'No
problem I have a cooler up front with regular and Diet Coke, water and
orange juice..' Almost stuttering, Harvey said, 'I'll take a Diet Coke.'

Handing him his drink, Wally said, 'If you'd like something to
read, I have The Wall Street Journal, Time, Sports Illustrated and USA

As they were pulling away, Wally handed my friend another
laminated card, 'These are the stations I get and the music they play,
if you'd like to listen to the radio.'

And as if that weren't enough, Wally told Harvey that he had the
air conditioning on and asked if the temperature was comfortable for
him. Then he advised Harvey of the best route to his destination for
that time of day. He also let him know that he'd be happy to chat and
tell him about some of the sights or, if Harvey preferred, to leave him
with his own thoughts.

'Tell me, Wally,' my amazed friend asked the driver, 'have you
always served customers like this?'

Wally smiled into the rear view mirror. 'No, not always.. In
fact, it's only been in the last two years. My first five years driving,
I spent most of my time complaining like all the rest of the cabbies do.
Then I heard the personal growth guru, Wayne Dyer, on the radio one day.

He had just written a book called You'll See It When You Believe
It. Dyer said that if you get up in the morning expecting to have a bad
day, you'll rarely disappoint yourself. He said, 'Stop complaining!
Differentiate yourself from your competition. Don't be a duck. Be an
eagle. Ducks quack and complain. Eagles soar above the crowd..'

'That hit me right between the eyes,' said Wally. 'Dyer was
really talking about me. I was always quacking and complaining, so I
decided to change my attitude and become an eagle. I looked around at
the other cabs and their drivers. The cabs were dirty, the drivers were
unfriendly, and the customers were unhappy. So I decided to make some
changes. I put in a few at a time. When my customers responded well, I
did more.'

'I take it that has paid off for you,' Harvey said.

'It sure has,' Wally replied. 'My first year as an eagle, I
doubled my income from the previous year. This year I'll probably
quadruple it. You were lucky to get me today. I don't sit at cabstands
anymore. My customers call me for appointments on my cell phone or leave
a message on my answering machine. If I can't pick them up myself, I get
a reliable cabbie friend to do it and I take a piece of the action.'

Wally was phenomenal. He was running a limo service out of a
Yellow Cab. I've probably told that story to more than fifty cab drivers
over the years, and only two took the idea and ran with it. Whenever I
go to their cities, I give them a call. The rest of the drivers quacked
like ducks and told me all the reasons they couldn't do any of what I
was suggesting..

Wally the Cab Driver made a different choice. He decided to stop
quacking like ducks and start soaring like eagles.

How about us? Smile, and the whole world smiles with you... The
ball is in our hands!
We reap what we sow. Let us not become weary in doing good, for
at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up... let us
do good to all people.

Ducks Quack, Eagles Soar.

Have a nice day, unless you already have other plans.
SORROW looks back, WORRY looks around, and FAITH looks UP...

"Life isn't about waiting for the storm to pass. It's about
learning to dance in the rain."

Author Unknown

Friday, October 1, 2010

Creativity and Confidence

When you understand that ideas 
often seem crazy at first,
that failure is just a learning experience, 
and that nothing is impossible, 
you are on your way to becoming 
more confident and more creative.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Obesity additives... the bane of processed foods

Many of the chemicals all too commonly found in today's foods can be just as addictive as alcohol, cigarettes, and even various street drugs.

The stuff they are putting in our food to keep it artificially "fresh" for years and even decades, can actually make changes in our brain chemistry...causing us to become addicted to gaining body fat. 

Furthermore, in order to make you crave what they have, the industry spikes your food with: Trans fats, caffeine, MSG, high fructose corn syrup, artificial colors, flavoring, extra salt, and sugar. What you get is a food time bomb disguised as a healthy treat. 

No wonder we all struggle so much... 

With all of this in mind, here are three ways obesity additives work to make our bellies bulge: 

1. Two of these obesity additives interfere with a hormone called leptin that tells the brain we are full while eating. 

2. Other obesity additives add fat by changing how our bodies use the calories we eat. They do this by increasing a fat-storing hormone called insulin. When this happens, calories are converted to fat instead of being stored as "muscle energy." This leads to fat deposits in all of our trouble areas—like under the chin, the backs of the arms, the belly, and the lower body. 

3. Still other obesity additives actually make us addicted to them and cause us to eat uncontrollably. They do this by altering brain chemicals called neurotransmitters—just like a highly addictive drug does. 

A Short List of Obesity Additives to Stay Away From... 

Stripped Carbohydrates (listed as sugar, flour, enriched white flour, white flour, enriched bleached flour, enriched wheat flour, wheat flour, semolina flour, white rice, maltodextrin, glucose, high fructose corn syrup (HFCS), fructose, sucrose, dextrose, and levulose)

Artificial Sweeteners (listed as Splenda (sucralose), NutraSweet (aspartame), Sunette (acesulfame K), and Sweet ‘N Low (saccharin). The scientists believe that artificial sweeteners may “short-circuit” the body’s natural ability to sense how much it has eaten.)

Added Caffeine in soft drinks and energy drinks (a few cups of green tea or coffee each day are fine)

High Saturated Fats (also listed as partially hydrogenated oils and trans fats)

MSG (also labeled as monosodium glutamate)

Excess Alcohol (if you must, one to two drinks per week)

Excess Salt/Sodium (in chips, crackers, canned food items, pickles, various cheeses, pretzels, condiments, and salted nuts.)

This note came from Michael Lovitch, Co-founder of The Hypnosis Network, describing information povided by Josh Bezoni in a new class he is offering. 09-30-10

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Opportunity or Suffering

I deeply enjoyed this wisdom teaching offered by Richard Rudis, an expert Tibetan Singing Bowl healer, in his recent newsletter, Dharma Tapestry.  -jd

An old beggar has been sitting by the side of the same road for thirty years asking for hand outs - for he had nothing.
A stranger walked by: "Spare some change?" the beggar asked.
"Sorry, I have nothing to give you," said the stranger, “ but what's that you're sitting on?"
"Just an old box,” replied the beggar, “I've been sitting on it for as long as I can remember.”
“It appears to me to be a curious thing - have you ever look inside?," asked the stranger.
"No," said the beggar, "What's the point, there's nothing in there."
"How can you be so certain," insisted the stranger.
So the beggar, reluctantly, managed to pry open the lid and find, to his astonishment, it filled with gold.

(based on a parable told by Eckhart Tolle)

In my life, from time to time, I have been both the stranger and the beggar - I imagine we all have been.
I sometimes find myself rooted in place, certain of my surroundings, my lot-in-life, my past - present & future, disregarding (or even worst un-recognizing) the many opportunities that are naturally presented to me daily.
Recently I was confronted with a change that was unexpected, unwanted and undesirable. Fixed in my position I mentally ranted at the situation while physically accepting and halfheartedly moving forward.
Life is a funny old place - isn’t it? I know better yet lost in the unwanted I attached myself to the apparent suffering of change and failed to ask myself; what treasure am I ignoring? How can I pry open this lid?
I am still looking for the gift but hopefully now I’ll see it as it presents itself.

Namaste, Richard Rudis (Karma Sonam Dorje)

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Problem-solving, Norman Vincent Peale

"Believe that problems do have answers. 

Believe that they can be overcome. 

Believe that they can be handled. 

And finally, believe that you can solve them."

- Norman Vincent Peale

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Letting Go, 10 affirmations by Melody Beattie

"EACH DAY, we can ask for and accept the healing energy of God and the Universe. Open your hearts and let that energy flow to you, through you, and on to others. When you live in the here-and-now, you can allow life to happen instead of trying to force outcomes. When you relinquish regrets over the past and fears about the future, you can truly make the most of each present day."

Here are 10 affirmations to help you let go and let life happen!

.... these affirmations take on such topics as change, fear, self-esteem, risks, forgiveness, peacefulness, & allowance. Here is one sample:

Today I will be open to the process of change. I will trust my Higher Power and believe that the place where I’ll be dropped off is better than the place where I was picked up. I know that change is necessary to take me wherever I need to go.

Melody Beattie - the best-selling author of The Language of Letting Go, has written 12 books.

© 2010 HAY HOUSE

Friday, September 10, 2010

Music is a powerful healing therapy

Take two concertos and call me in the morning-
Why music is winning a wider audience in medicine.

"For decades, psychotherapists have used music to treat people with psychological and behavioral problems. More recently, though, music-based therapy of the kind experienced by Richter has become a popular complement to surgery and drugs. In the U.S., doctors use music to help stroke victims relearn to talk. In Canada, it’s employed to make surgical procedures involving spinal anesthesia more bearable. German physicians use it to ease migraines. In Israel, it has been shown to improve cognitive function in schizophrenics. And in Switzerland, music is used as a treatment for geriatric patients with -cognitive problems.

Music and medicine share a long history. The oldest evidence of musical therapy goes as far back as the third millennium BCE, when Sumerians composed temple hymns to cure the sick. Healing incantations and musical instruments were also prescribed in ancient China and Egypt. In The Odyssey, Homer describes how a healer’s chant stopped a wound from bleeding. Music remained part of the curriculum for aspiring physicians until the 17th century, when it was employed to treat disorders. It was only in the 19th century that music lost its link to medicine.

But music’s physiological effects are as pronounced as its psychological effects..."

© Ode Magazine USA, Inc.

Read on, by clicking the title link, about the Institute of Music Physiology and Musicians’ Medicine (IMMM) and more innovative uses of music (both listening and active playing) as a path for healing.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Quiet, Please...

A thoughtful article on the value of taking time in our lives to be quiet. Several people have approached me to provide meditation instruction and opportunity, only to drop it after a couple of classes. It is often not so easy to discipline ourselves to remember why we wanted meditation in the first place... until things get a little crazy, overwhelming, scattered. Then I think, if I had taken the time to be quiet, to listen to my insides, to my heart, to let the dust settle, this day could have been easier... ~jd

When was the last time you were quiet enough
to really feel your pulse, to notice the rhythm of your body,
and hear your heart's messages?
For most of us, it's been a long time, much longer in fact than is good for us. And as a result of not being quiet enough to pay attention to our inner world, we lose touch with the inner messages, both simple and profound, about what decisions are really good for our lives.
Unfortunately, the excuses for not taking the time to be quiet are many. Personally, my primary excuse is that I have too much to do... I'm too busy, there's too much on my plate. But I have recently made a new commitment (I had to re-commit to this one!) to take the time every day to stop, be quiet, and listen to my inner voice.
Which excuses do you use? Below are some typical "yes, buts that I and my workshop participants use to avoid or "forget" to be quiet during the day:
(1) I'm too busy to take time to be quiet, I can't afford the extra time.
Actually, you can't afford *not* to take the extra time. It will save you so much time later if you are still and quiet for a few minutes a day and if you listen to what is right for you.
(2) I don't know how to really be quiet and make it useful.
This is a common complaint - we weren't taught how to make "being quiet" useful for us, so we don't know "how" to be quiet and improve our lives. Sometimes we just need to practice being quiet, and notice the benefits later. In other words, be quiet every day, and don't focus on "usefulness" yet.
(3) It doesn't feel safe to be quiet, I don't like what I hear.
This is a wonderful "tappable" issue of course, because it means that at least one time in your life, when you were quiet, you were very uncomfortable with the "messages" you received. Tapping on this fear of not being safe will move you forward dramatically.
(4) I get bored being quiet. I need to be doing something more "productive."
Yes, this represents our societal value system to be "productive." If we could only realize how "productive" we could be by being quiet and still in our lives. Getting bored? No worries, that's a "tappable" issue as well.
(5) What's the point of being quiet -- I don't see the value.
There are so many "points" of being quiet, the main one being that it's good for your body and soul. Isn't that valuable enough?
(6) It seems like a waste of time, I don't expect it to help me be more successful in my business.
Again, this reflects the hurrying mode we are all in... so we feel compelled not to "waste" any time, and need every minute to be "productive" for our businesses. Nothing could be further from the truth - slowing down and being still and quiet couldn't be a better use of your time, regardless of the business you own.
What if we could actually feel inspired to take time to be quiet and listen to our heart every day?
What if we could start to look forward to these "quiet times" in our day, to cherish and protect these times of stillness and self-reflection.
What if we committed to ourselves that we would take a few minutes every day to listen to our heart... I wonder how much would improve in our lives...
Why aren't you already taking time
to be still and quiet every day to listen
and respect what your heart is telling you?
In spite of my sporadic commitment to "being quiet" -- I have found so many benefits of being quiet and listening to my heart's wisdom. Here is my "top ten" list of benefits of being quiet and listening to what's going on inside...
(1) Being quiet allows you to access your heart's wisdom.
We all have incredible wisdom available to us, but we can't access what we don't take time to hear.
(2) Being quiet slows down your racing energy from the tasks of the day.
We all need a rest, a break from the high intensity pace we move at during the day.
(3) Being quiet actually helps you solve the problems that are taking up so much of your energy.
If we don't listen to our inner wisdom, we can't solve the problems of our lives.
(4) Allowing yourself time to be quiet slows down your reactivity... helps you be more measured when there are crisis situations.
Wouldn't it be nice to be less reactive in your life? Wouldn't it be a relief to be more useful in a crisis situation?
(5) Taking time to be still and quiet gets your body's rhythms back in sync... you'll feel more calm, centered and strong.
Stress from all parts of our lives creates tension and we tend to override the messages we should be paying attention to. Taking the time to be still and quiet slows this process down so you can feel more centered physically and emotionally.
(6) Taking time to be quiet and listen to your internal wisdom raises your vibration immediately.
Remember, that's the name of the game -- we want to find new ways to raise our vibration so the Universe "notices" that we are joyful and can interpret what we want.
(7) Being quiet allows you to be able to access your creative voice which is good for your business and personal life.
I love being creative (see my newsletter from a few weeks ago, "More Creativity, Please...") because it helps me personally and professionally. I seem to "hear" better ideas, execute them more elegantly, and overall, feel more peaceful about my life.
(8) Being quiet helps you focus on what you do want, not what you don't want.
Sometimes in the busy day, we are more focused on what we are trying to fix rather than on what we want to manifest. Being quiet helps us remember what we do want.
(9) Allowing yourself time to be quiet gives you emotional relief from the daily static and stress of your life.
Any time we are adding "relief" to our day, we are raising our vibration and allowing ourselves to manifest more abundance.
(10) Being quiet... is, well, quiet and restful, and being quiet and restful is good for all the systems in your body and your mind.
When you take care of your immune system, your body/mind connection and the balance in your life, you will be more successful in every part of your life.
The important question is:
Are you worth it?
This "habit" of taking time to be quiet should be right up there with sleeping, brushing your teeth and tapping... so why isn't it on your daily schedule?
It's your choice...
Choose to put aside time to be still and quiet,
to listen to and respect your inner wisdom
and watch your vibration improve!

by Carol Look

Thursday, May 27, 2010

The way we're working isn't working

"The first mistake most of us make is that we try to operate as if we’re computers -- at high speeds, for long periods of time, running multiple programs at the same time. In fact, human beings are meant to pulse – to move between spending and renewing energy. Our most basic survival need is to spend and renew our energy – to inhale and to exhale. We’re hardwired to make waves – to be alert during the day and to sleep at night, and to work at the highest intensity only for limited periods of time."

Tony Schwartz, author of
The Way We're Working Isn't Working

Friday, May 14, 2010

Childhood Abuse and Fibromyalgia in Women

Here is a study showing evidence of permanent brain changes in women who received abuse in childhood, brain changes that directly impact the stress response in the body (H-P-A activity noted below). Every client I have seen with fibromyalgia has experienced childhood abuse or has been in a major physical trauma such as an automobile accident.

It's like the switches in the brain that respond to stress get stuck on, then turn the volume up from a normal stress response to telling the body every little stressor is a five alarm fire. Too many five alarm fires and the nervous & immune systems begin to wear out, leaving the body itself on fire, unable to repair the daily wear and tear damages in soft tissues, and joints.

"In women with chronic pain, self-reported childhood maltreatment was associated with higher diurnal cortisol levels. These results add to the evidence that abuse in childhood can induce long-term changes in hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenocortical activity. They further underscore the importance of evaluating childhood maltreatment in fibromyalgia and other chronic pain conditions." Psychosomatic Medicine Journal article, May 13, 2010

The good news is there are many cutting edge therapies that can soften or reduce the highly reactive stress response. Meditation has been proven in studies to change brain responses to stress; any body treatment that releases endorphins such as massage or Reiki will also change brain patterns with repeated use.

In order to change we must give the brain a replacement behavior pattern and practice it to create new neuron pathways that over-ride exacerbated stress responses. Some therapies such as Meridian Tapping Techniques (EFT, TFT, Energy Psychology) can unravel the switches at the source. Anti-depressants are used with fibromyalgia patients with fairly good results, but this is a chemical correction in the brain. These drugs may be helpful to get other healing activated, and provide quick relief, but there are many downsides and side-effects from AD's which often lose their effectiveness over a period of time and must be monitored and adjusted carefully.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Short Bursts of Activity Ease Fibromyalgia

By Denise Mann
WebMD Health News
Reviewed by Laura J. Martin, MD

March 29, 2010 -- Exercise may be the last thing you feel like doing if you are among the 10 million Americans living with the chronic pain disorder fibromyalgia. Yet a new study shows that incorporating short bursts of physical activity into the day makes fibromyalgia patients feel and function better. The findings appear in Arthritis Research & Therapy.

"Just trying to accumulate a little more physical activity throughout the normal course of the day, as opposed to engaging in traditional exercise, can improve self-reported measures of functioning and pain among people with fibromyalgia," lead researcher Kevin Fontaine, PhD, an assistant professor of rheumatology at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, tells WebMD in an email. "You don't necessarily have to do traditional exercise to reap some benefits, [and] this may motivate people with fibromyalgia who find it difficult to stick with traditional exercise to simply try to get a little more active during the day."

In the 12-week study of 84 people with fibromyalgia, people who incorporated 30 minutes' worth of lifestyle physical activity into their days five to seven days a week took 54% more steps per day than their counterparts who participated in a fibromyalgia education program, which discussed the importance of physical activity in the treatment of this disease, but did not provide any specific recommendations. The lifestyle physical activity group also reported fewer perceived deficits in their physical function and less pain than people in the disease education group, the study showed.

What Is Lifestyle Physical Activity?

Lifestyle physical activity refers to finding ways to accumulate short bursts of physical activity into the day. This can be walking more, gardening, taking the stairs, or really anything that gets you moving more. The current school of thought suggests that such small bursts of exercise throughout the day can be as effective as exercising for 30 consecutive minutes.

"There is probably no single good or best exercise or lifestyle physical activity prescription for people with fibromyalgia because there is such variability in symptoms between people," he says. "For many, walking is helpful, but some may prefer water exercise or cycling."

The bottom line? "The best exercise or lifestyle physical activity is the one that a person can stick with and one that doesn't significantly worsen their symptoms," Fontaine says. "The main thing is for people with fibromyalgia to try to do something physical just about every day."

© 2010 WebMD, LLC. All rights reserved.

Kindness Rules Survival?

[Excerpted from the original article, link for complete article at bottom of page.]

Do Kinder People Have an Evolutionary Advantage?

By Yasmin Anwar, UC Berkeley
Posted on March 4, 2010, Printed on March 29, 2010

Researchers at the University of California, Berkeley, are challenging long-held beliefs that human beings are wired to be selfish. In a wide range of studies, social scientists are amassing a growing body of evidence to show we are evolving to become more compassionate and collaborative in our quest to survive and thrive.

In contrast to "every man for himself" interpretations of Charles Darwin's theory of evolution by natural selection, Dacher Keltner, a UC Berkeley psychologist and author of "Born to be Good: The Science of a Meaningful Life," and his fellow social scientists are building the case that humans are successful as a species precisely because of our nurturing, altruistic and compassionate traits.

They call it "survival of the kindest."

Empathy in our genes

Keltner's team is looking into how the human capacity to care and cooperate is wired into particular regions of the brain and nervous system. One recent study found compelling evidence that many of us are genetically predisposed to be empathetic.

Informally known as the "cuddle hormone," oxytocin is secreted into the bloodstream and the brain, where it promotes social interaction, nurturing and romantic love, among other functions.

"The tendency to be more empathetic may be influenced by a single gene," Rodrigues said.

The more you give, the more respect you get

...according to UC Berkeley social psychologist and sociologist Robb Willer is that the more generous we are, the more respect and influence we wield.

"The findings suggest that anyone who acts only in his or her narrow self-interest will be shunned, disrespected, even hated," Willer said. "But those who behave generously with others are held in high esteem by their peers and thus rise in status."

"Given how much is to be gained through generosity, social scientists increasingly wonder less why people are ever generous and more why they are ever selfish," he added.

Cultivating the greater good

Such results validate the findings of such "positive psychology" pioneers as Martin Seligman, a professor at the University of Pennsylvania whose research in the early 1990s shifted away from mental illness and dysfunction, delving instead into the mysteries of human resilience and optimism.

"I've found that parents who start consciously cultivating gratitude and generosity in their children quickly see how much happier and more resilient their children become," said Carter, author of "Raising Happiness: 10 Simple Steps for More Joyful Kids and Happier Parents" which will be in bookstores in February 2010. "What is often surprising to parents is how much happier they themselves also become."

The sympathetic touch

Both the vagus nerve and oxytocin play a role in communicating and calming. In one UC Berkeley study, for example, two people separated by a barrier took turns trying to communicate emotions to one another by touching one other through a hole in the barrier. For the most part, participants were able to successfully communicate sympathy, love and gratitude and even assuage major anxiety.

"Sympathy is indeed wired into our brains and bodies; and it spreads from one person to another through touch," Keltner said.

"This new science of altruism and the physiological underpinnings of compassion is finally catching up with Darwin's observations nearly 130 years ago, that sympathy is our strongest instinct," Keltner said.

View this story online at:

c. 2010 UC Berkeley All rights reserved.

Drop the chitchat and get serious

Drop the chitchat and get serious

Small talk may be common, but it doesn't do much to nourish our sense of well-being. Compared with people who rated themselves as more unhappy, people who were happiest spent 70% more time talking, had one-third as much small talk and twice as many substantive conversations.

Researchers came to their conclusions by having a group of 79 college students wear a tape recorder for four days and eavesdropping on their conversations. The students also were given tests to measure happiness and personality.

The findings "demonstrate that the happy life is social rather than solitary, and conversationally deep rather than superficial," the authors, from the University of Arizona and Washington University in St. Louis, wrote.

It's not clear, however, whether happy people attract others for deep conversation or whether deep conversation makes people happier. Further research should be done, they said, to see if having more substantive conversations helps unhappy people become happier.

The study is published online in the journal Psychological Science.

-- Shari Roan

Thanks Marie for sharing this!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

PBS: The Buddha, new film and great blog

PBS has a beautiful website developed for the new film, The Buddha, A Film by David Grubin, which is scheduled to air April 7. The Discussion link takes you to a blog filled with entries from many gifted and knowledgeable Buddhist teachers with articles on all kinds of related topics including attachment, meditation, loving-kindness, empathy & compassion, family life, relationships, and grief. You can also play Mahjong on the website, as well as access Educational Resources .

Monday, March 22, 2010

Botox and Emotions

It's been a while since I read something truly innovative and interesting, worth posting here. What this article is referring to is the brain-body-emotion feedback loop between the facial muscles and the emotion centers of the brain. -jd

It turns out that Botox can actually short circuit a person’s ability to feel unhappy. Because of the apparent validation of something called the, “Facial Feedback Hypothesis”, the fact that Botox prevents frowning… also short circuits one’s ability to fully feel the emotions associated with it.

David Havas of the University of Wisconsin-Madison decided to study people who had received Botox treatments that paralyzed one pair of their corrugator muscles, which cause the forehead to constrict into a frown.

The idea was to see whether Botox affected the ability to feel certain emotions.

He had 40 volunteers who were planning to be Botoxed in two weeks read statements with particular emotional charge segmented into three categories:

Angry (”the pushy telemarketer won’t let you return to your dinner”)
Sad (”you open your e-mail inbox on your birthday to find no new e-mails”),
Happy (”the water park is refreshing on the hot summer day.”).

After reading each sentence, the volunteers pushed a button to indicate they had understood it.

Then, two weeks after their Botox injections, they repeated the exercise, reading and understanding another list of emotion-producing sentences. The volunteers pressed the “I’ve read and understood this” button just as quickly when the sentence conveyed something happy.

But when it conveyed something infuriating or unhappy… people took longer to read and understand it.

The emotions simply did not compute as easily as before their sadness and anger muscles were paralyzed.

“Normally, the brain would be sending signals to the periphery to frown, and the extent of the frown would be sent back to the brain,” UW-Madison professor emeritus of psychology Arthur Glenberg (and Havas’s adviser) said in a statement.

“But here, that loop is disrupted, and the intensity of the emotion and of our ability to understand it when embodied in language is disrupted.”

The research is part of a exciting field called “embodied cognition,” which posits that all our cognitive processes are rooted in, and reflected in, the body. I think this is very interesting.

Some very interesting questions come to mind if this is replicated. Can we simply paralyze certain expressions out of existence? Can we simulate “happy” expressions somehow in order to help people experience deeper levels of happiness?

This also seems to demonstrate just how complicated our emotional lives are. It kind of flies in the face of the notion that all you have to do is think yourself into certain states of being - it appears you need a body that can cooperate!

Anyway, I would love to know what you think about this! Please do comment.

*source: University of Wisconsin
Copyright 2010 Exploring The Mind! - All Rights reserved.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Food Fun: Brussels Sprouts

I have been eating more Brussels sprouts lately, and found this handy Wiki-How article on a few different ways to prepare them with more taste enjoyment. One of the keys to cooking this tasty vegetable that is not really a baby cabbage but looks like one, is to cut into the stem end, or cut up the sprout. My mother used to cook them whole/uncut and there is a fine line between done and over-done with a whole uncut sprout!

How to Lessen the Strong Taste of Brussels Sprouts