Friday, April 16, 2021

NPD Criteria, Cont’d

  • Expecting to receive special favors and unquestioning compliance with those expectations
  • Taking advantage of others to get what you want
  • Showing an inability or unwillingness to recognize the needs and feelings of others
  • Being envious of others and believing others envy you
  • Behaving in an arrogant or haughty manner
  • Coming across as exceedingly confident or over-confident

Note, this persona of confidence or projection of over-confidence likely does not reflect genuine competency confidence. Rather it appears to reflect thinking so highly of oneself that the person puts him or herself on such a high level that the person values the self much more than he or she values others. More tomorrow.

Thursday, April 15, 2021

NPD Criteria

What are some of the characteristics of someone with a NPD?

 The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) is published by the American Psychiatric Association. Its criteria are used to diagnose mental conditions as well as used by insurance companies to reimburse for treatment. Criteria for Narcissistic Personality Disorder include (somewhat abridged and paraphrased):

An exaggerated sense of self-importance

An expectation to be recognized as superior even with
out achievements that warrant that

A tendency to exaggerate achievements and talents

A preoccupation with fantasies about success, power, brilliance, beauty or the perfect mate

Believing that you are superior and can only be understood by or associate with equally special people

Needing constant admiration

The list continues tomorrow.

Wednesday, April 14, 2021

Teenage Brain and NPD

Someone said recently that “a teenage brain is a narcissistic brain.” Can that really be true?

 As mentioned in an earlier post, the still-in-process teenage brain is rather narcissistic in its approach to life and living. The process of maturing the teenage brain is designed to move it away from narcissistic behavior to more balanced behaviors. This involves a learning process and the teenage brain either learns it or not. If the teenagers fail to mature and move to more balanced behaviors, they tend to become narcissistic adults. While narcissists are able to feel most emotions as strongly as do others, they seem to lack the essential ability to perceive or understand the feelings of others. As Martha Stout PhD has put it, narcissism is a failure not of conscience but of empathy. Emotionally speaking, narcissists don’t seem to see past their own nose, sometimes flying into narcissistic rages and then lacking the skills to get back on the good side of people they love. That’s exactly what had happened in the interactions between parents and their ‘adult’ son. He had flown into a narcissistic rage when things has not turned out exactly as he expected or wanted on his visit, which had fractured their relationship, yet again. More tomorrow. 

Tuesday, April 13, 2021

Origins of Narcissism


Are there any studies on the origins of narcissism?

 The report of a study entitled “Origins of Narcissism in Children,” was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (2015). It was conducted though the Research Institute of Child Development and Education, Department of Educational Sciences, University of Amsterdam, Amsterdam 1001 NG, The Netherlands. According to researchers led by Eddie Brummelman, narcissism levels have been increasing among Western youth. This personality disorder contributes to societal problems such as aggression and violence. The origins of narcissism have not been well understood. To their knowledge, this was the first prospective longitudinal study to provide evidence on the origins of narcissism in children. Researchers compared two perspectives:

      Social learning theory (positing that narcissism is cultivated by parental overvaluation)

     Psychoanalytic theory (positing that narcissism is cultivated by lack of parental warmth).

 Their goal was to discover whether parenting styles could be linked with the development of narcissism in biologically vulnerable children. More tomorrow.

Age-Related NPD


Does age have anything to do with narcissism?

 Brains mature more slowly than the bodies that house the brain. Consequently, immature brains are definitely not ‘done’ yet and are innately rather narcissistic, “It’s all about me.” The process of maturing is designed to move these brain to more balanced behaviors. It is believed less of a genetic process and more of a learning process that is either learned or not. If the brain does not learn and mature and move to more balanced behaviors, the brain may become narcissistic. The bad news in terms of relationships is that an antisocial narcissistic adult (whose brain did not learn and move toward more balanced behaviors) may eventually exhibit sociopathic behaviors. What else might you observe? These individuals may have serial sexual affairs saying, “If you’d paid me more attention I wouldn’t have had to go looking for it.” (Blaming) They want to avoid accountability saying, “I’ve made mistakes but I don’t want to talk about any of them, I just want to start from here.” A big question is whether narcissism is treatable. I have heard psychiatrist say, “Yes, some narcissism is treatable,” especially if the individual recognizes their behaviors and wants to become more balanced. If they are in the habit of exhibiting angry narcissistic rages, however, and are unwilling to seek help to view themselves and their behaviors more objectively, there may be no recovery. More tomorrow.

Monday, April 12, 2021

NPD prevalence

What about the prevalence of
Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD)?

Prevalence is the estimated population of people who are managing Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) at any given time in a given general population group. Jean M. Twenge PhD and W. Keith Campbell PhD, authors of the 2009 book The Narcissism Epidemic, estimated the prevalence of NPD in the United States at 6.2% in the general population: 7.7% for males and 4.8% for females. Reportedly, NPD is more prevalent among separated, divorced, widowed, and never married adults. Hispanic females and African Americans may be at higher risk. It comes as no surprise NPD can cause problems in many areas of life including home, school, work, and in all types of relationships and collaborative efforts. This personality disorder is also characterized by a belief that they deserve admiration and special favors in all environments. When they do not receive this at the level expected, they can become disappointed and unhappy. Naturally, they tend to find relationships rather unfulfilling and cannot seem to understand why others to not seek them out and want to be around them. More tomorrow.

Friday, April 9, 2021

Parenting and Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD)

Does a parenting style have anything to do with someone developing a NPD?

A Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) is one of several types of personality disorders, which are mental conditions characterized by traits that cause them to feel and behave in socially distressing ways (a Mayo Clinic puts it). No surprise, this limits their ability to function effectively and successfully in relationships both personally and professionally. These individuals tend to have an inflated sense of their own importance, which includes a deep need for admiration and a lack of empathy for others. Their exhibited persona is that of ultra-confident behavior, but at its core it contains an extremely fragile sense of self-worth or self-esteem, which makes them vulnerable to the slightest perceived criticismreal or imagined—no matter how mild or deserving. More tomorrow.

Thursday, April 8, 2021

Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD)

What can you tell me about the type of behavior I recently experienced from my adult son?

A parent contacted me and described his emotional pain related to a visit from his adult son. On the surface at least, what the father described fell into the category of a Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) and the reported behaviors were pretty ugly. The son stated, among other things, "I do not have a happy life and it is all your fault. After all, you had me and I did not ask to be born, period. Certainly not born into this family!" NPD can be difficult to deal with period. All the more if the narcissist you know is a member of your own family or, for that matter, yourself. In the latter case, you do have the choice to course correct. The goal, of course, is to recognize undesirable behaviors quickly. If it involves your own behaviors, you can choose to course correct. If it involve the behaviors of others, you can self-select strategies to protect yourself from at least some of the negative consequences. More tomorrow.

Wednesday, April 7, 2021

Narcissism and Bigotry

I’ve heard more about narcissism lately and wonder if it is related in any way to bigotry?

 More and more questions are being raised about narcissism: the types, recovery issues, correlation with other personality disorders. Perhaps the questions are due to recent incidents of public record, especially in relationship to bigotry. George Simon Jr., PhD is said to be one of the foremost authorities on manipulative personalities and other problem characters. Reportedly he has specialized in disturbances of personality and character for over 30 years. Dr. Simon has spoken about the relationship with a person’s character, “specifically, the inherently malignantly narcissistic character of the bigot.” It is one thing to be very self-centered and dismissive of others. It’s another to view others with disdain or even contempt because they are different from you and then treat them differently. He is reported as saying that a pathological degree of grandiosity (i.e., malignant narcissism) is always at the root of bigotry.  More tomorrow. 

Tuesday, April 6, 2021

Older Adults and Cognitive or “Thinking” Functions, 5

There is good news. Lead study author, Eileen Graham, said, “These findings provide evidence that it is possible for older adults to live with the neuropathology associated with Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias while maintaining relatively healthy levels of cognitive function.” Study authors also pointed out that since it is possible for personality to change, both volitionally and through interventions, it’s possible that personality could be used to identify those who are at risk and implement early interventions to help optimize function throughout old age. Personality and other factors that promote cognitive resilience may be particularly important in the context of stress (like the COVID-19 pandemic) and this is an important area of future research,” according to Graham. It behooves individuals to evaluate their level of anxiety, worry, and moodiness, and take steps—obtaining help as needed—to reduce these “energy eaters.” Of course, “sooner” is better than “later” as “prevention always beats cure.” Start now to develop the type of personality that is linked with a higher risk of maintaining good cognitive function. Dump anxiety/worry and moodiness!

Monday, April 5, 2021

Older Adults and Cognitive or “Thinking” Functions, 4Study results showed that older people who have higher levels of neuroticism—a greater tendency towards anxiety, worry, moodiness, and impulsivity are more likely to have worse cognitive function than those with other personality traits. Older adults who show more cognitive resilience—defined as an ability to live more effectively with the neuropathology in the brain that causes dementia—tend to be those who experience less anxiety and worry and who are less moody. Some positive personality traits were associated with cognitive resilience. What were those personality traits? Individuals with a greater tendency toward self-discipline, organization, diligence, high achievement, and motivation—a trait that is referred to as higher conscientiousness—were found to be associated with a with greater resilience as the brain aged. (Some of you may recall the “Nun Study” and the book “Aging with Grace” by David Snowdon, Ps.D., that reported related data.) Study results showed that older people who have higher levels of neuroticism—a greater tendency towards anxiety, worry, moodiness, and impulsivity are more likely to have worse cognitive function than those with other personality traits. Older adults who show more cognitive resilience—defined as an ability to live more effectively with the neuropathology in the brain that causes dementia—tend to be those who experience less anxiety and worry and who are less moody. Some positive personality traits were associated with cognitive resilience. What were those personality traits? Individuals with a greater tendency toward self-discipline, organization, diligence, high achievement, and motivation—a trait that is referred to as higher conscientiousness—were found to be associated with a with greater resilience as the brain aged. (Some of you may recall the “Nun Study” and the book “Aging with Grace” by David Snowdon, Ps.D., that reported related data.)

Study results showed that older people who have higher levels of neuroticism—defined as a greater tendency towards anxiety, worry, moodiness, and impulsivityare more likely to have worse cognitive function than those with different personality traits. Older adults who show more cognitive resilience—defined as an ability to live more effectively with the neuropathology in the brain that causes dementia—tend to be those who experience less anxiety  and worry and who are less moody. Some positive personality traits were associated with cognitive resilience. What were those personality traits? Individuals with a greater tendency toward self-discipline, organization, diligence, high achievement, and motivation—a trait that is referred to as higher conscientiousness—were found to be associated with a with greater resilience as the brain aged. (Some of you may recall the “Nun Study” and the book “Aging with Grace” by David Snowdon, Ps.D., that reported related data.)

Friday, April 2, 2021

Older Adults and Cognitive or “Thinking” Functions, 3

Researchers at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, have released results of a study they believe shows that personality traits are related to how well people are able to maintain their cognitive function in spite of developing neuropathology related to the aging process. It is thought to be one of the first studies showing a linkage between an individual’s personality traits and how well they are able to sustain their cognitive function as they age. Lead study author Eileen Graham reported that the “study shows personality traits are related to how well people are able to maintain their cognitive function in spite of developing neuropathology.” As the brain ages, it does collect tangles and sticky plaques that can interfere with cognition and memory. Some older adults, however, show more cognitive resilience than others. More tomorrow.

Thursday, April 1, 2021

Older Adults and Cognitive or “Thinking” Functions, 2

Third, anxiety disorders—worry is a synonym for anxiety—are said to be the most common mental disorders on Planet Earth, affecting 1 in every 13 persons worldwide. Just think, if there are 7 billion people living on planet earth, 538,461,538 will experience an anxiety disorder each year. That number represents the combined total of individuals who live in the United States of America, United Mexican States, Canada, and Iraq combined. Anxiety and worry are typically linked with the emotion of fear. Feeling scared or frightened is in some way part of each anxiety disorder. Anxiety and worry keep people awake at night, allowing them to lose sleep. Loss of sleep is a risk factor not only for a shorted lifespan but for decreased memory and thinking functions. Moodiness is also linked with eventual thinking and memory problems.
More tomorrow.

Wednesday, March 31, 2021

Older Adults and Cognitive or “Thinking” Functions

My family has its share of “older adults” ranging from late 50’s to early 90’s. There were 13 siblings in my father’s family and 12 in my mother’s. There are 25 different levels of cognitive function. Any ideas on what makes the difference, especially by members in the same family?

First, research has shown that siblings are no more alike in personality than two unrelated individuals in the general population. Studies attribute this to the fact that each sibling really grows up in a “different environment.” You may want to refresh your memory on this topic starting with the March 8, 2021 blog. Second, studies have shown that epigenetics (everything that is not genetics) is responsible for about 70 percent of how well and how long a person lives; genetics contributing only about 30 percent. More tomorrow.

Tuesday, March 30, 2021

Unpredictable Stress & Depression

Stress does appear to be a risk factor for depression. However, studies at the Medical College of Georgia at Augusta University have discovered evidence that short-term stress such as a series of tough college exams or preparing one’s tax return is not the type of stress that seems to be linked with depression. Instead. is “chronic, unpredictable stress like that which erupts in our personal and professional lives.” For example, working in an environment where the “boss” or “supervisor’ periodically flies into a rage. Or living in an environment where a partner flies into a rage periodically. The kicker is that the brain does not know when this unpredictable stress may occur, which induces changes in the function of these AgRP neurons. “Walking on eggs,” wondering when the next shoe will drop, et cetera, creates a type of unpredictable chronic stress that is now being linked with an increased risk for depression.

Monday, March 29, 2021

Stress & Depression


So, what’s this I hear about stress linked with depression? I find that contradictory. Just living creates stress, so how come everyone isn’t depressed if stress is linked with depression?

Good question. Yes, “stress is living.” Every time you ask your brain and body to "change," to do something different or in a new way, there is some stress involved. However, there is “stress” and there is “stress.” Eustress is positive stress; distress is negative stress; and misstress involves situations and events that can be stressful but are often overlooked. There also is predictable and unpredictable stress. Scientists at the Medical College of Georgia at Augusta University have been studying this. They have reported that a tiny group of neurons found exclusively in the bottom portion of the hypothalamus called the arcuate nucleus, or ARC, and are known to be important to energy homeostasis in the body as well prompting us to pick up a fork when we are hungry and see food. Known as AgRP neurons, they are susceptible to stress, which can contribute to depression. It is, however, more complicated than that. More tomorrow.

Friday, March 26, 2021

Reading and Verbal Ability, 2

Sandra Martin-Chang, professor of education in the Faculty of Arts and Science, and PhD student Stephanie Kozak (Concordia University)found that people who enjoyed reading fiction for leisure and who identified as a reader scored higher on language tests, whereas those who read to access specific information scored more poorly on the same tests. Studies have shown the benefits of reading. Besides having better verbal abilities, lifelong readers are known to be more understanding of others, more empathetic, less prejudiced, to attain higher socioeconomic status and even to live longer, healthier lives than non-readers. Set aside 30 minutes every evening with an interesting, fun book (fiction or nonfiction—because fiction is just a story about life) and take turns reading. As time goes by, you may be very glad you became a “reading family.”

What’s your pleasure? exploring the predictors of leisure reading for fiction and nonfiction” by Sandra Martin-Chang, Stephanie Kozak, Kyle C. Levesque, Navona Calarco & Raymond A. Mar. Reading and Writing

Thursday, March 25, 2021

Reading and Verbal Ability

I saw a news headline that said reading for fun impacts verbal ability. What does that mean? I let my kids watch educational TV, but we are not a reading family. Do you have any comments or recommendations?

 I regret to hear that you are not a “reading family.” One of the excellent things my mother did for me was to read aloud for 30 minutes every day after she found she was pregnant with me. I believe I was born loving stories and anxious to read. Indeed, I started “reading” simple books by the time I turned age three. In addition, I love writing—in the process of co-authoring a 12-part Legends of the Wild series—nonfiction as well as animal allegories that likely fall into the category of fiction. They are a great way to help people learn new information about the brain, relationships, and EQ. Study results published in the journal Reading and Writing showed that the more people read any kind of fiction—even mass market stuff derided as pulp—the better their language skills are likely to be. More tomorrow

Wednesday, March 24, 2021

Neurobiology Research

I heard there is a study that said Neurobiology Research is shedding light on the differences between heterosexual brain and non-heterosexual brains. Do you know about it and what does it mean?

 The reference is below as reported via Karolinska Institute. The study was done in collaboration with the University of Gothenburg in Sweden and King’s College London, UK. What does it mean? According to the researchers, “patterns important for classifying between males and females were less pronounced in nonheterosexuals . . . These findings support a neurobiological basis to the differences in human sexuality.”

Crosssex shifts in two brain imaging phenotypes and their relation to polygenic scores for samesex sexual behavior: A study of 18,645 individuals from the UK Biobank” by Christoph Abé, Alexander Lebedev, Ruyue Zhang, Lina Jonsson, Sarah E. Bergen, Martin Ingvar, Mikael Landén, Qazi Rahman. Human Brain Mapping 

Tuesday, March 23, 2021

Stress Linked with Depression, 2

There are two nuclei accumbens, one located near each hippocampus in each hemisphere of the brain. Part of the Brain Reward System, these two little structures release serotonin, the “feel better” chemical. Ten percent of the serotonin is believed to be in the brain, with the remaining ninety percent distributed throughout the Gastrointestinal system. Some say that the strongest known risk-factor for depression is said to be a lifelong history of stress. According to researchers, early-life stress—depending on its intensity, timing, and other specific features—triggers a threefold increased risk of adult depression. Stress early in life has also been shown to increase a person’s “behavioral susceptibility” to stress later in life—increasing stress vulnerability. Therefore, it would stand to reason that if you had a stressful childhood—especially early childhood—it could be helpful to get serious about developing stress-management strategies and implementing them consistently. Researchers believe this information may lead to more effective therapies for depression.

Monday, March 22, 2021

Stress Linked with Depression

My mother and her siblings experienced high levels of abusive-type stress growing up. They all suffer from depression. She has little observable stress now, but she is still depressed. What’s the deal?The “deal” may be that studies at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai have shown that stress early in life increases one’s susceptibility to additional stress in adulthood. Stress, is of course, an epigenetic factor involving lifestyle—as opposed to genetics involving genes and chromosomes. The epigenetic modification, triggered by early-life stress, apparently impacts an important part of the Brain Reward System known as the nucleus accumbens, an essential component of the brain's reward system. It appears a specific enzyme associated with medium spiny neurons of the nucleus accumbens bidirectionally controls stress susceptibility. More enzyme equates with increased stress susceptibility. Less enzyme is linked with decreased stress susceptibility. More tomorrow.

Friday, March 19, 2021

Siblngs: How different are they, 10


Here are a few caveats.

Remember, you forgive others for your health. Failure to forgive yourself and others is harmful to your health.

2.    One or both parents might not realize how their comments made parts of your childhood difficult. They may have done the best they knew to do—which does not alter the fact of how they behaviors impacted you.

3.    Once you speak aloud to their picture, then let the anger, resentment, bitterness, sadness—whatever—go. Imagine they are rose pedals in the palm of your hand and gently blow them away.

4.    Forgive yourself for believing the things they said to and about you—for such a long time. It was only their brain’s opinion, and you are the only person who really knows who you are innately.

5.    Enjoy becoming the best “authentic you” possible. You can do it!

Thursday, March 18, 2021

Siblings: How different are they, 9

Both my parents had favorites—the kids who were more like them. I resembled my mother’s older sister. They did not get along so you can imagine how I fared! I would like to dump the stress of unforgiveness. What to do? They are both deceased.  End Quote:

 You may want to do what many have done. Look at a picture of your parent and say aloud what you would say at this stage in your life were they still alive. For example:

 “Mother, growing up I felt different from the rest of the family. Felt like I did not fit in. I forgive you for the way you treated me—likely out of ignorance and linked with your own issues. I have learned that most people do the best they can at the time with what they know. Thank you for the good things you did do for me. I am mindful and appreciative of them.”

More tomorrow.

Wednesday, March 17, 2021

Siblings: How different are they, 8

Dr. Bita Yadidi has described forgiveness as being willing to let go of the conclusions and assumptions the person has made and simply look at what happened as an experience in my life. Some experiences are good, some not so good. It is what we do with those experiences and the weight or importance we give them that makes the difference over time. When I looked at sibling differences in my family-of-origin as simply an experience in my life—one of many—it was quite simple to forgave family members for their comments. It was just their brain’s opinion—largely based on ignorance and their own issues. I also forgave myself for believing what they said hook line and sinker—for such a long time. “What were you thinking?” I asked myself and had to laugh. If I could learn to do that, I bet you could, too.

Tuesday, March 16, 2021

Siblings: How different are they, 7

Forgiveness is choice to resist an unforgiving stance and to let go of bitterness, grudges, resentment, and revenge. It is not always easy, but it is relatively simple. The emotion of anger generates energy to take action. Forgiving is an action. Dr. Bita Yadidi has pointed out that the act of forgiving allows that trapped anger energy (e.g., muscle tension) to be discharged and released from cells in the brain and body. She has also pointed out that people make decisions about what happened to them, why it happened, and who is to blame. It’s human nature. People also come to conclusions, that may be accurate or inaccurate—and often act on them—sometimes with very unfortunately consequences.

More tomorrow. 

Friday, March 12, 2021

Siblings: How different are they, 5


I have read that forgiveness is important for health and longevity but I do not feel like forgiving my family for punishing me because I was not like my siblings. Did you forgive your family?

 Absolutely. True, it took me a while to figure out who I am innately and stop trying to be who I am not. However, I cannot afford to be unforgiving because I am aiming to live to be a supercentenarian with good mental, physical, emotional, and spiritual (the spirit with which I live life) health. Research by internationally renowned cardiologist, Herbert Benson, MD, coined the phrase:  Physiology of ForgivenessÒ. His research has shown that an inability to forgive other people’s faults (or your own) is harmful to your health. We each only know what we know, and that includes other family members. In my case, painful though it was, I doubt it had anything to do with “malice aforethought.” Rather it stemmed from a lack of knowledge and puzzlement. Knowledge has power—one reason for continuing to gain knowledge. As we know better, we can do better. For me, that includes forgiving ignorance—for my health and longevity.

Thursday, March 11, 2021

Siblings: How different are they, 4

I have always felt “less than” because of family comments such as: “Don’t know where that one came from . . .nothing like the rest of the family. Just saying!” Thank you so much!

 You are so welcome. My own experience was somewhat similar. In my case it was: “If she didn’t look so much like her father, I would think they had sent the wrong baby home with me from the hospital.” I went away to college at age 17 and never returned home to live—partly because I felt so “different.” Initially—and unfortunately—I put that down to likely having a lower IQ than the rest of the family members (again from comments about my ideas being “dumb.”) this vantage point I can recognize how who I am must have been a big puzzle for my family—I can laugh about it now. We each only know what we know. Knowledge has power—one reason for continuing to gain knowledge. As we know better, we can live better. Congratulations on owning your own uniqueness.

The findings were published online by Cambridge University Press, Behavioral and Brain Sciences. According to the abstract, the authors hope the information “draws attention to the far-reaching implications of finding that psychologically relevant environmental influences make children in a family different from, not similar to, one another.” 

Wednesday, March 10, 2021

Siblings: How different Are They, 3

Your blogs on Sibling Differences have helped to explain my experience growing up. Is there anything else you can share about this research?

Studies have identified the importance of environmental influences on personality, cognition, and psychopathology among siblings. Research also converges on the remarkable conclusion that these environmental influences—rather than genetic inheritance—make two children in the same family as different from one another as are pairs of children selected randomly from the population. This helps to explain how one child may end up an axe murderer, while all the other siblings have no tendency toward any type of similar behavior and are horrified (and sometimes vilified) when such information is released. The findings were published online by Cambridge University Press. According to the abstract, they hope the information draws “attention to the far-reaching implications of finding that psychologically relevant environmental influences make children in a family different from, not similar to, one another.” More tomorrow 

Tuesday, March 9, 2021

Siblings: How different Are They, 2

 Each child in a family experiences a different environment growing up. For example, each has a different relationship with:

Their parents and extended family members (e.g., some elderly relatives may have died before the youngest child was born)

Parenting style (e.g., often most strict with the eldest child and much more relaxed with subsequent children)

Other siblings (e.g., eldest, middle child(ren), youngest child)

Pets (e.g., a puppy versus a senior dog, or no pets at all

Different classmates and teachers - sometimes a different school

Perhaps a difference in financial security

Different health issues, especially with older family members

There may be many more examples

More tomorrow

Monday, March 8, 2021

Siblings: How different Are They, 1

There are five kids in our family. Each one of us is so different from the others that we might as well be from a different planet. Some of us look a bit similar, but we are nothing alike! How can that be? As far as I know we have the same two biological parents.

Studies (Plomin and Daniels) have concluded that siblings have no more in common in their personalities than two completely unrelated strangers.
Your observations appear to be correct—even if 50 percent of your genetic code is the same—for your family. The five siblings will be different. Researchers have found that the differences do not lie in the genetic code, but in the environment in which siblings grow up. “But we all live together in the same house,” you say. That may be true in the sense that you reside in the same living quarters. The answer to this conundrum appears to be that each child actually grows up in a different environment. More tomorrow.

Friday, March 5, 2021

Helicopter/Intense Mothering, 2

There seems to be a link with intense mothering, personal mindset and specific beliefs, and lowered life satisfaction. For example, researchers studied 181 mothers who had children under the age of 5. Study conclusions were that the mothers who believed strongly that females were better parents than males, were more likely to be depressed and experience lower satisfaction with life. The mothers who felt strongly that children were “sacred”, had similar outcomes. Bottom line: Helicopter or Intense Mothering tends to leave little to no time for the mother to fill her own cup and live a healthy life. Caring begins at home! The mother needs to not only take care of herself but also role-model balance. To achieve—even when a mother can stay at home to do full-time parenting—requires choice and personal discipline. By all means, mothers need to be a caring parent. However, mothers also need to take care of their own physical and mental health.

Thursday, March 4, 2021

Helicopter/Intense Mothering

Recently I read two different articles that said two different things: one said that children fill one’s life with joy and meaning and that parents tend to be happier than non-parents. The other said that a mother’s parenting style could contribute to the woman being more depressed and finding less satisfaction in life. How can that be?

It likely comes down to mothering styles. Some hover over their children almost constantly, micromanaging them, keeping them busy every waking moment, and at times almost acting as 24/7 “servant,” or even living vicariously through their offspring. Some well-meaning mothers want to give their child(ren) the best of everything, including everything the mother felt she missed growing up. They fill their child’s time with so many lessons and events and activities that the kids themselves can feel overwhelmed, become exhausted, lose their zest for living, and become depressed. More tomorrow. 

Wednesday, March 3, 2021

Exercise & Brain-body Function

I read an article that said too much sitting has negative effects on the Brain & Body. Does that apply to kids too?

The human body and brain both need adequate amounts of exercise on a regular basis in order to function well. Going on a 3-hour-bike ride over a weekend does not compensate for 12 hours per day of sitting. The consequences can be increased weight gain for children as well as adults, lowered brain function (as vigorous exercise helps sweep the brain of waste products and replenish nutrients), and so on. Richard Restak, MD, has been quoted as saying: “Physical exercise is the single most powerful tool you have to optimize your brain function.” A study of 11-year-old children shed some light on this. . Moderate to vigorous exercise was linked with improved academic performance in Science, Math, and English. The improvement was also seen in exams scores of tests taken when the study participants were 16 years old. Of particular interest, science improvement among girls benefited the most from extra exercise. 

Tuesday, March 2, 2021

Health-Relevant Behaviors

I do not understand what you mean by “every thought you think, every decision you make, and every action you take is health-relevant behavior.”

A positive, empowering, affirming mindset contributes to positive results—in the brain as well as the body. Conversely, a negative, disempowering mindset contributes to negative results. Every thought you think, every decision you make, and every action you take is a health-relevant behavior because it affects every cell in your brain and body and moves you toward illness or toward wellness. C. Everett Koop, former Surgeon General of the United States of America, was reported as saying, “No prescription is more valuable than knowledge.” I would agree and add this: when practically applied daily, it can help you stay healthier and younger for longer.

Monday, March 1, 2021

Brain-Body Connection

What I think about cannot possibly impact my body. Right?

Brain and body can communicate with each other via chemical messengers—and tend to do so constantly. What happens in the brain affects the body—and vice versa. You can choose to think a specific thought or replace it with a different thought. You can choose to act based on the thought or refrain from acting. Peter McWilliams, author of You Can’t Afford the Luxury of a Single Negative Thought, wrote that a negative mindset is the precursor of all life-threatening illnesses. Negative thinking (e.g., unresolved anger, fear, sadness) appears to be a key contributor to lowered levels of health and wellness. You have the power to choose the thoughts you hang on to and ponder.

Friday, February 26, 2021

Fun Sayings

Fun Sayings

It is time to pause and choose to laugh. A good friend of mine sent me these fun sayings and I am enjoying doing just that.

 Somehow, I was under the impression that growing old would take a lot longer.

 My bucket list has only one item in it: keep breathing.

 My doctor asked if anyone in my family suffered from mental illness. I replied, “No, we all seem to enjoy it.”

 Being an adult is the dumbest thing I have ever done.

 Just once, I would like a username and password prompt to say: “Close enough.”

 I heard that the human brain is not designed to multitask. Well, I can listen, ignore, and forget, all at the same time. If that is not multitasking, I do not know what is!

 At my funeral, I want you to take the bouquet off my coffin and throw it into the air. Whoever catches it is next. 

Thursday, February 25, 2021

Non-Communicable Diseases & Ultra-processed Food

A study at the Paris-Sorbonne University looked at almost 45,000 middle aged people. Researchers found that eating ultra-processed foods is linked to deaths from heart disease, cancer, and other illnesses. An increased consumption is linked with an increased risk of dying from one of these non-communicable diseases, called non-communicable because they are not contagious. Study author Dr. Laue Schnabel, a nutritional epidemiologist at Paris-Sorbonne University, pointed out that ultra-processed foods contain multiple ingredients. No doubt this is one reason that some say the shorter the list of ingredients the better. The Longevity Lifestyle Matters program advocates eating foods in as close to their natural state as possible. Data is now being made available to support that.

Wednesday, February 24, 2021

Risk of Early Death – Ultra-processed Foods

A study published in Jama Internal Medicine Journal, reported that there is a 14 percent risk of early death linked with  every 10 percent increase in proportions of ultra-processed foods consumed. A 2016 study estimated that nearly 60 percent of calories consumed by Americans come from eating ultra-processed foods. A 2019 study pointed out that ultra-processed foods have become more common worldwide. Estimates are that they now constitute the majority of calories consumed in America. They are being associated with a variety of health problems. According to Bernard Srour, PhD candidate in epidemiology: “In this large observational prospective study, higher consumption of ultra-processed foods was associated with higher risks of cardiovascular, coronary heart, and cerebrovascular diseases.” 

Tuesday, February 23, 2021

Ultra-Processed Foods

I keep hearing that refined and processed foods are linked with cardiovascular diseases. Now I hear about ultra-processed foods. What in the world are those?

What a great question. You obviously are keeping up with emerging research. Generally, refined, and processed foods are those made from white flour, sugar, fats, and often preservatives to increase shelf life. Yes, there are ultra-processed foods, as well. These involve the use of an industrial process, such as heat processing, dehydrating, or adding chemicals. Ultra-processed foods are generally energy dense, rich in refined carbohydrates, saturated fats, and salt, and contain low dietary fiber. Examples include mass-produced and packaged snacks, sugary drinks, breads, confectioneries, ready-made meals, processed meats, salty snacks, candies, pastries, foods high in starch, pizza, burgers, etc.  More tomorrow.

Monday, February 22, 2021

Dieting & Obesity

Okay, let’s face it: I am obese. I love to eat. It is my favorite thing to do and I always feel momentarily better after I eat my favorite foods—until I step on the scales (which, by the way no longer register high enough to calculate my weight). My whole family is obese. I figure it is hopeless.

 If you mindset is that developing and maintaining a weight within a recommended range for your age, height, and body structure is hopeless—it is, until you change your mindset and self-talk. Dieting has been found largely ineffective long term. Sure, short term, by doing something radical from your usual daily routine, you can drop a few pounds. Within a space of three years most people gain back everything they lost, often with a higher fat-to-muscle ratio. Developing a Longevity Lifestyle and maintaining it for the rest of your life, is much more likely to give you the results you want.

Friday, February 19, 2021

Obesity and COVID-19

I read that obesity is one of the key factors that increases one’s risk for COVID-19 severity. How could that be for heaven’s sake? “Big is beautiful!”

Big may be beautiful. If it is associated with being ‘big’ due to ‘obesity’, however, it is also dangerous. Obesity is said to be one of the key factors in the development of Type 2 diabetes. Much of obesity—although not all—is related to lifestyle choices. Obesity has been linked with at least 50 health-related conditions. A study in Sweden found that adult obesity in women can lead to brain tissue loss or brain atrophy that can cause brain dysfunction and dementia. There are many references outlining how obesity contributes to decreased health. World Health Organization, for example. Obesity may soon be referred to as a world-wide pandemic.

 Obesity and overweight ( 

Thursday, February 18, 2021

COVID-19 & Risk Factors

I keep hearing about three conditions that supposedly increase one's risk for COVID-19 severity if you catch the virus. Have you heard about these so-called risks and do you know what are they?

 The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has produced several compilations detailing underlying conditions that can increase one’s risk. Some agencies have selected three of the most serious risks to publicize: Type 2 diabetes, heart/cardiovascular conditions, and obesity. You can access these lists from the following URLs:

 Certain Medical Conditions and Risk for Severe COVID-19 Illness | CDC

Scientific Evidence for Conditions that Increase Risk of Severe Illness | COVID-19 | CDC

Lists based on severity