Friday, February 25, 2022

Depression Caveats

I was told that depression is inked with depression. Is that true?


þ   WHO lists depression as a leading cause of divorce


þ   Depression impacts all genders, races, ages, economic groups, and backgrounds


þ   More females (1 in 3) are diagnosed with depression than males (1 in 5). Males may be equally impacted but fewer seek help, and if they do, their depression may be misdiagnosed or missed altogether because their symptoms differ from those typically exhibited by females.

Thursday, February 24, 2022

Depression Definition

Depression can be defined as a loss of interest or pleasure or a mood of sadness lasting for two weeks or more—plus at least four other symptoms that reflect a change in functioning, such as problems with: 







Anhedonia, a core clinical feature of depression, is an Inability to experience pleasure in normally pleasant acts.


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Wednesday, February 23, 2022

Anxiety & Depression

How common are Anxiety Disorders?

 According to the World Health Organization (WHO), anxiety disorders are the most common mental disorders worldwide, (affects at least 121 million people; 1 in every 13 persons globally experiences anxiety). In the US, anxiety disorders are also the most common mental disorders (58 million experience anxiety–1 in every 7 persons).

No surprise, unresolved anxiety can lead to depression. WHO lists depression as the leading cause of ill health and disability worldwide. Depression is a mood disorder that affects how you think, feel, and behave, which can lead to a variety of emotional and physical problems. Depression may involve brain substances that impact mood (neuropeptides), as well as serotonin and dopamine). Depression may lead to the perception that life isn't worth living, including a sense of helplessness and hopelessness. 

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Tuesday, February 22, 2022

Cyber Bullying & Depression

I am so sad about the suicide of Cheslie Kryst. All the negative cyber messages are being revealed, coming from those who said she was too old or not pretty enough to be in a beauty pageant. Do you think that was a contributor? How could she do that? It is such a waste!

I, too, think it was an unnecessary waste of a lovely life. Reportedly, she was experiencing high-functioning depression, which simply means it wasn’t being picked up by others. Ugly and negative cyber messages can cause stress and anxiety. Continual anxiety can turn into depression, which can result in suicidal thinking in an attempt to stop the pain. Cyber-bullies are cowards. Few would have the courage to walk up to a person and say those things face-to-face. It’s easier to do that anonymously via social media. My brain’s opinion is that all the individuals who cyber-bullied Cheslie ultimately bear some responsibility for her anxiety and depression. More tomorrow.

Monday, February 21, 2022

Screen Time

I would like to know how the US stacks up in terms of screen time in comparison with other countries. Do you know?

I know of a study that was done in June of 2021. It contains some very interesting statistics. The average American spends 7 hours and 11 minutes looking at a screen every day. American teenagers spend 7 hours and 22 minutes on screen time—not counting screen time used for school activities. In comparison, the Philippines has the highest average screen time.

In terms of the percentage of screen time devoted to social media: Egyptians spend 40.79%; Saudi Arabians 40.9%; Americans 29%; and British 28% of their overall screen time. You might want to check out the article and compare it to your averages.



Friday, February 18, 2022

What Do You Want?

Write down the 10 most important qualities you would like in a best friend. Then get busy developing those qualities yourself. Consider qualities such as:

    1.     Trust worthy

2.     Honest

3.     Ease of Communication

4.     Good sense of Humor

5.     Gainfully employed and a good money manager

6.     Lives a Longevity Lifestyle with good brain-body health habits

7.     Puts in the time that a successful relationship requires

8.     Avoids “spreading him/herself too thin

9.     Emotional Intelligence Skills

10. Similar interests

11. Apologizes and course-corrects dysfunctional behaviors as needed

12. Understands what genuine love entails and embraces it carefully


Thursday, February 17, 2022

Self-Evaluation First

I was told that relationships tend to seek their own level much as water seeks its own level. Can that possibly be true?

That sounds about right. Relationships do tend to form ‘at their own level.’ People tend to be attracted to those who are at similar levels of personal development, emotional intelligence, self-actualization, and morality. It can be helpful to periodically step back and evaluate yourself as a potential friend with as much objectivity as possible. The characteristics you value and exhibit in your own life, tend to be seen in the individuals you find attractive and who, in turn, find you attractive. Evaluate your close relationships. Not to ‘throw them away,’ per se. You only have room for quality time with a few close friends, however, and it is critical to select with care who you want as your Plus Four and family-of-choice. Evaluating relationships can be key to your health, happiness, longevity, and success. Imagine that you’re looking at yourself from the perspective of a third person who wants to be friends with you. Would you match your description of a desirable relationship? More Tomorrow.

Wednesday, February 16, 2022

Reason, Season, or Lifetime

It has been said that people come into your life for a reason, a season, or a lifetime, and it can be a challenge to decide which is which, especially if you have not defined the characteristics you value in a relationship. You do not want a relationship with everyone you meet and not everyone wants one with you. That’s a given because brains are so different, and everything begins in the brain. This is not a race to collect people, it’s a measured journey to surround yourself with a few top-quality individuals that you’d like to have around for a lifetime—enjoying (where possible) the ones who pop into your life to help coach you or just for a measured period of time. A colleague advises people to write down their definition of a desirable relationship and then compare that against your relationships. Interestingly, the more dysfunctional (or addictive) a relationship, the more difficult it can be to be objective. I suggest you compare your definition with yourself. More Tomorrow.

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Tuesday, February 15, 2022

Who Are Your Plus Four?

Identify your Plus Four along with their commonly exhibited behaviors and key characteristics. Did you select them, or did they select you? Do they drain or energize you? Do you want to be like them? Your Plus Four directly impacts who you are and affect how you behave, even when you’re not aware of it. Studies have shown that within about three years, you tend to mimic the behaviors of those with whom you hang out. If you are in relationships in which you are not really helping yourself nor anybody else, you are likely not being the best you can be and, therefore, not being the best you can be to them, either. If they do not encourage and enable you to become a better person, you may need to reduce the amount of time spent with them. And if they are seriously dragging you down, abusing you or encouraging you to abuse yourself (e.g., enabling serious addictive behaviors), you may need to find a healthier and more occurring positive replacement. According to Mark Chernoff, “You will only ever be as great as the people you surround yourself with; so be brave enough to let go of those who keep bringing you down.”

Monday, February 14, 2022

Happy Valentine’s Day

Who started Valentine’s Day?

 In A.D. 270, two men named “Valentine” were imprisoned in February. One, a priest, defied Claudius II who had outlawed marriage for soldiers. The priest married soldiers anyway in secret.  When caught and sent to prison the priest came to love the jailor’s blind daughter and wrote her a loving message. He signed it, “Your Valentine.” The other man, also named ‘Valentine’, rescued many Christians from the Romans until he, too was put in prison. So maybe Valentine’s Day honors both of these Valentines. The first association with romantic love is said to have come from Geoffrey Chaucer, said to be the greatest English poet of the 14th century. He wrote a poem called ‘The Parlement of Fowls’, parlement meaning a house or room. This famous work, published around the 1380’s, introduced a romantic meaning to the celebration of Valentine’s day. Most countries on Planet Earth appear to have some type of Valentine’s Day recognition, not necessarily held on February 14th, however—and a half dozen or so countries do not celebrate it at all. 

Friday, February 11, 2022

Your Four Plus Four


According to motivational speaker Jim Rohn, you are the average of the five people with whom you spend the most time, one reason that children tend to copy behaviors of their parents/care providers. Since you spend all your time with yourself, you are one of those five. Who are the other four? Are they individuals who are also living a Longevity Lifestyle? Are they affirming to your brain’s innate ‘bent’ and are not only helping you be successful in the long term but also rejoice when you are? These individuals influence you in many different ways from your level of cheerfulness, weight, the habits you develop, the behaviors you exhibit (e.g., smoking), the goals you set, and the things you think and talk about. One person framed this in a nutshell: If you and your plus four are positive-minded and believe in taking responsibility for your life, you will tend to become a proactive individual who shapes your future. Conversely, if you and your plus four are pessimistic and believe there’s little worthwhile in life and others are out to get you, you will tend to swirl down into a negative whirlpool, even if initially you were a more positive person. It may sound harsh, but your longevity and overall success has a great deal to do with those you select for your Plus Four.

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Thursday, February 10, 2022

Questions to Ask Yourself


1.     Am I spending too much time on some types of social media and comparing yourself with what others claim they have?

2.     Am I clear that I teach my brain what is rewarding and therefore I can reteach it what is truly rewarding?

3.     After being on social media do I feel negative, sad, deprived, or inadequate, all of which are unhelpful mindsets?

4.     Am I clear that each brain differs and that I teach my brain what is rewarding and can reteach it if my out-of-balance reliance on social media is giving me negative consequences now or is likely to in the future?

5.     Am I clear that ‘comparisons are odious’ as the old saying goes and that envy and jealousy can derail me and actually destroy my life?

6.     Do I often wonder if I am ‘missing out’ or am I clear that no one can ‘do it all’ or ‘have it all’ and that I need to be selective for what works for my brain—including developing a relationship with myself?

7.     Do I spend so much time on social media sites that I ‘miss out’ on living a balanced Longevity Lifestyle and accomplishing my goals?

8.     Do I connect with others or overspend just to feel included or valuable instead of realizing that my worth is a state of ‘being’ rather than ‘doing’?

9.     Do I have my own goals and projects that work for my brain or am I trying to be affirmed or succeed by hanging on to someone else’s coattails, beliefs, or attitudes or by trying to live life vicariously through them?

 Course-correct (change the way you think and behave) as needed! 

Wednesday, February 9, 2022

Positive Thinking

How do you develop a positive thinking style? I am in the habit of thinking negatively.

I appreciate your honesty. Many people think negatively but would never admit that. Negative thinking fills your brain’s working memory with failure and discouragement. Every time you get a negative thought, ask yourself if this is a clue there is something for you to change, work on, or do differently. If not, immediately think of something for which to be thankful. It can be a small thing like: “Arlene, you are thankful you had one of your favorite meals for lunch today.” Gratitude is the antidote for negativity. You may need to ask yourself some questions to help you identify where you are now and where you want to go—and then work on taking small steps each day to get there.

Get busy creating and maintaining a Longevity Lifestyle that works for your brain, goals, and objectives for how you want to spend your time on this planet—which goes by very quickly. 

Tuesday, February 8, 2022

Social Media & Thinking

Does social media represent positive or negative thinking?

Social media can be both. I regularly put brain-health information on social medial sites. My weekday blog is a type of social media. I spend the time doing that because many people do not have access to brain function information, and I have found learning about it very helpful in my own life. For me, that is positive thinking. Spending hours on social media and comparing what people boast about what they own or where they go or where they live would represent negative thinking. First of all, those who “boast” often misrepresent what is actually true. What a pit it would be to find yourself in the depths of despair about what you do not have as compared with what others say they have—although there is no way of verifying that. Be thankful for what you have, and you will likely have more. 

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Monday, February 7, 2022

Negative Thinking Examples

Is the fear of missing out (FOMO), an example of negative thinking?

 I think you just answered your own question. Having a sense of being nurtured, affirmed, and acknowledged is a basic human need. That is not a slam dunk in life, unless you begin doing that for yourself—important as you are the only person who will be with you for your entire life. When you learn to accept, value, and affirm yourself, whatever you receive above that from other is a bonus. You raise your Emotional Intelligence skills so you have very realistic expectations of what you actually need from others and what they can give you. You carefully select a few close friendships that are healthily reciprocal in affirming themselves and others. Within about the space of three years, studies have shown that you tend to pick up the behaviors of the 4-5 people with whom you spend the most time. Therefore, select those with whom you hang—with care. Make sure their behaviors are something you want. More tomorrow.

Friday, February 4, 2022

Positive vs Negative

Why do we think more negative things instead of positive things? 

The short answer is because of the body’s automatic alarm system. When something stressful happens, and most negative things are stressful, the brain releases cortisol, a steroid hormone. It is designed to warn you about imminent danger, triggering changes in your brain and body to prepare you for a flight-or-fight response. This all happens in a nanosecond—a billionth of a second. If you immediately assume the worst is going to happen, that potentiates the stress response and keeps the cortisol pumping. It is so easy to get into the habit of triggering this alarm system by thinking negative thoughts. Thinking positively is easy when something good happens. The brain, however, is capable of choosing to replace a negative thought with a positive thankful thought, which releases dopamine, the feel better chemical. Therefore, thinking positive thankful thoughts is an antidote to negativity. This process requires conscious choice. You choose.

Thursday, February 3, 2022

Symptoms Onset

When do symptoms tend to show up in males and females?

 For women, symptoms of depression are more likely to show up during teens and 20s, and around menopause. For men, symptoms of depression tend to show up at andropause in 40s and 50s (have a three times higher suicide rate). Estimates are that it can take 10 years and three different health-care professionals to diagnose depression in males. The good news: a brain that has been trained to respond with depression can be retrained … Tanzi & Chopra pointed out that: depression makes you overly sensitive to  small triggers, leading to a sense of helpless resignation. But if you act early, before you reach this stage, you have room to manage an everyday stress and the energy to carry out your decision to do so. Head the depression response off at the pass. 

REM Sleep DIsorder

What happens when the function of sleep paralysis fails?

There is a REM (Rapid Eye Movement) Sleep Behavior Disorder where there is no paralysis. Likely that is due to a malfunctioning of brain nerve pathways that ordinarily cause atonia during the REM sleep state. If atonia (sleep paralysis) does not occur, individuals can kick, punch, flail their arms, or even jump out of bed acting out their dreams. That can be jarring to a person’s sleep partner—to say nothing of risking a black eye from a flailing fist. The mammalian or 2nd brain layer adds emotion to dreaming. Much of the 3rd brain layer is off-line during dreaming, taking an electrochemical nap—which may be the reason it is difficult to “read” material you may see in dreams. However, some critical thinking still occurs as the neocortex tries to help you make sense of your dream, especially when you remember what you dreamed when you awaken.

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Wednesday, February 2, 2022

Sleep Paralysis

How does sleep paralysis happen?

 The short answer is that it comes from the Brain Stem, that portion of the brain that connects the brain with the spinal cord. The longer answer begins with understanding that the brain generates two distinct types of brain waves that combine to form a sleep cycle. Most human sleeping is non-rapid eye movement (NREM) sleep, characterized by large, slow brain waves, relaxed muscles, and slow deep breathing. There is also rapid eye movement or REM sleep. Rapid eye movement (REM) sleep is often called dreaming sleep. The reptilian or 1st brain layer consisting of the brain stem and cerebellum, is believed to create REM sleep. It is also responsible for atonia, the paralysis of all voluntary muscle groups, except for the eyes. Normally the human body does not move during REM sleep. That is a very good thing because it prevents people from jumping out of bed and acting out scary dreams. More tomorrow.

Tuesday, February 1, 2022

Persistent Questions

Today is my birthday—and I was told that you might have a February birthday, too. How do you handle questions about your birthday? I am a sick and tired of being asked how old I am—it is none of anyone else’s business. but some questioners do not seem to know that and keep bugging me.

 Now that I am done laughing, yes, today is the anniversary of my birth day and yes, it is no one else’s business. A person’s age is just a number and it is your right to UNLIST that number (except when you must disclose it legally). I have had people follow me around a campus when I was lecturing at a weekend conference or retreat-- badgering me literally to know when I was born. "On February the 1st of a very cold year,” I always reply. When they push for a year (by that I mean they continue to ask for a specific birth year—not that they have continually asked me that question over the course of an entire year, although sometimes it feels like that!)—I may reply, “Old enough to know that I am under no obligation to answer that question.” If they are so socially inept as to continue to push for a specific answer, I may reply, “I am aiming to become a supercentenarian, and I will announce it when that happens.”