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Counselor Morgan Randall's blog, bookstore and more. A place to explore the paradigm shift to systems thinking that views body and mind as one

Made for walking

Human critters are walking critters. After all, we walked out of Africa and perhaps a few other places to populate the entire planet. We feel good from the feel-good brain chemicals that are triggered when we walk 20 minutes. I imagine birds feel good when they fly, monkeys feel good when they swing and fish feel great when they swim. Go for a walk—the cheapest feel-good medicine out there!—MR

By Gretchen Reynolds, New York Times, Oct. 24, 2018

Ten minutes of mild, almost languorous exercise can immediately alter how certain parts of the brain communicate and coordinate with one another and improve memory function, according to an encouraging new neurological study. The findings suggest that exercise does not need to be prolonged or intense to benefit the brain and that the effects can begin far more quickly than many of us might expect.

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November 13th, 2018 | Permalink

Your addicted brain lies

There are other ways to reduce or eliminate back pain other than life-destroying opioids pushed by an immoral pharmaceutical industry. Please don’t listen to your addicted brain telling you different. Almost 75,000 Americans died last year from these drugs. If your doctor doesn’t know better, get a better doctor. —MR

A different way to relieve years of back pain

By Lisa Rein, Washington Post, September 27, 2018

In my first Feldenkrais class, we lay on our backs with eyes closed and drifted our eyeballs left to right and back again. We shifted our heads from side to side as our eyes followed in their sockets. Then we changed it up, moving our eyes in the opposite direction from our heads.

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October 31st, 2018 | Permalink

Don’t pretend

Alcohol is almost everywhere we go. Human society likes to drink and encourages you to do it. But if you do, be aware of the scientific fact that, in any amount, you are doing something that will harm your health. Particularly the health of your brain and your relationships.—MR

Safest level of alcohol consumption is none

By Joel Achenbach, The Washington Post, August 23, 2018

To minimize health risks, the optimal amount of alcohol someone should consume is none. That’s the simple, surprising conclusion of a massive study, co-written by 512 researchers from 243 institutions, published Thursday in the prestigious journal the Lancet.

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October 29th, 2018 | Permalink

Be happy

Happiness is not a permanent state. It is in a moment. The more happy moments in your life, the happier life you have. The brain is wired to make you feel happy if you do certain things. Studies show one thing you can do to have a happy moment is to plant a tree! Even better, just looking at one can help.—MR

When cities grow, green space dies. Replanting it has been shown to lift the human spirit.

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October 8th, 2018 | Permalink

Truth will out

Finally! Been saying this for decades. However, the author doesn’t understand the addiction. It is “secondary.” Cannabis triggers an opioid in ones brain at abnormally high levels, i.e. the reward chemical, to which one becomes addicted. It is hard to recognize cause the high feels like the personal emotion of reward not an outer opioid like heroin plus the THC high. After awhile your own reward chemical isn’t stimulated without using cannabis. Voila! An unmotivated bored depressed narcissist sucking down reefer at the expense of those around him as his own life goes off the rails.—MR

By Neal Pollack, New York Times, Oct. 6, 2018

Cannabis should be legal, just as alcohol should be legal. But marijuana addiction exists, and it almost wrecked my life.

My name is Neal, and I’m a marijuana addict. A year ago I wouldn’t have said that, because it would have meant giving up marijuana. I would rather have given up breathing.

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October 7th, 2018 | Permalink

Don’t sweat it

One of the most effective things you can do to improve your mental health is to exercise, but some of us aren’t going to do calisthenics or go jogging for various reasons. Another effective mental health treatment is meditation. Tai chi or chi gung are fun alternatives to both and can even be learned by watching U-Tube videos.—MR

Using Tai Chi to Build Strength

By Jane E. Brody, New York Times, September 10, 2018

Tai chi moves can be easily learned and executed by people of all ages and states of health, even elderly people in wheelchairs.

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September 13th, 2018 | Permalink

Modern myth

From personal experience over the last 50 years and clinical observation as a mental health counselor, I have witnessed cannabis as the primary cause in many cases of anxiety, depression, job loss, divorce, psychosis and suicidal ideation by users. When cannabis is removed, symptoms have disappeared without other interventions. If you suffer from any of the above, go without it for a year and see if your mental and social disorder improve. If you can’t or won’t, you have to face the fact you are addicted and the anxiety or other symptom you feel is likely a withdrawal symptom that is relieved when you take more of your drug fooling you into thinking it’s helping.-–MR

The Big Number: Most adults think marijuana can be good for health

By Linda Searing, The Washington Post, August 18, 2018

Can marijuana be beneficial to your health? Most American adults — 81 percent — think so, according to new national survey results published online by Annals of Internal Medicine. The survey included responses from 9,003 adults considered a nationally representative sample. The believed benefits cited by the most people were managing pain (noted by 66 percent of participants), treating diseases such as multiple sclerosis and epilepsy (48 percent), and easing stress, anxiety and depression (47 percent). That said, 91 percent of respondents said they also believe that marijuana comes with risk, the most common being legal problems (cited by 52 percent), addiction (50 percent) and impaired memory (42 percent).

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August 22nd, 2018 | Permalink

Drugs versus behavioral change

Changes to your behavior, such as going for a 20-minute walk a day, improves sleep without the cost of pills or risk of addiction. Though I will admit, if I don’t go for my walk, I might not sleep. Is that an addiction?—MR

The Evidence Points to a Better Way to Fight Insomnia

By Austin Frakt, New York Times, June 26, 2018

One weekend afternoon a couple of years ago, while turning a page of the book I was reading to my daughters, I fell asleep. That’s when I knew it was time to do something about my insomnia.

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June 27th, 2018 | Permalink

Alcohol damages your bodymind

The research is conclusive. The World Health Organization says one drink a day increases your chances of cancer by seven percent. Two drinks a day, fourteen percent. Personally, I don’t like them odds. Not to mention causing depression, anxiety and relationship problems. Puh-leez don’t believe the marketing by the wealthy alcohol industry that there is some health benefit to drinking. Those rich, um, guys don’t care about you.—MR

Did Drinking Give Me Breast Cancer?

The science on the link is clear, but the alcohol industry has worked hard to downplay it.

by Stephanie Mencimer, Mother Jones, May/June 2018

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April 16th, 2018 | Permalink

Drugs are addictive

Whether it’s an antidepressant, anxiolytic, pain killer, or cannabis, drugs are addictive. If you take one long enough—in the case of Xanax, a popular anti anxiety med, only a week—your body gets used to it and has to have more. Your natural brain chemicals, the ones that are supposed to help you overcome depression, pain or anxiety, diminish because they aren’t being used. If you don’t want to be a drug addict, even in the case of chronic pain, try mental health counseling first. Then, if that doesn’t help, have the counselor refer you for a prescription and continue to help you with behavioral changes, so you don’t have to be on it for very long.—MR

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April 9th, 2018 | Permalink

The good, the bad and the ugly

First off, please understand there are no such thing as “germs.” What traditional medicine calls “germs” are just normal human bacteria whose population has grown out of control. When they do—in response to poor food choices among other insults—your health suffers. When you take antibiotics to reduce the overgrowth, it indiscriminately kills the good bugs whose job it is to control the bad bug’s population. Around and around you go with your physical and mental health flushing down the toilet.—MR

The Germs That Love Diet Soda

By Moises Velasquez-Manoff, New York Times opinion, April 6, 2018

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April 8th, 2018 | Permalink

Non drug treatments can work

The below article talks about how acupuncture works on pain. Acupuncture also works really well on anxiety, and often depression, because a lot of depression is the brain chemically “depressing” itself so it won’t feel too anxious. Reduce anxiety and you reduce depression.—MR

Acupuncture Can Ease Wrist Pain of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Acupuncture can relieve wrist pain, and researchers have tracked the brain and nervous system changes that may help explain why.

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November 2nd, 2017 | Permalink

Wolf in sheep’s clothing

We all know the painkiller Oxycontin is an opioid like heroin and methadone. It’s easy to get addicted to and produces really poor behavior patterns because it reduces or eliminates empathy. Our brains also produce an opioid—the reward chemical, to reward us for species-enhancing behaviors like sex or eating, so we do more of them. Cannabis triggers the reward chemical in our brains at a higher amount than normal, so while we can’t get addicted to its THC, we can and do get addicted to our own inner opioid. But most some people don’t realize how addictive and destructive cannabis is to the individual and his or her family for this reason. Medical marijuana is another Oxy, i.e. an oxymoron.—MR

In just one year, nearly 1.3 million Americans needed hospital care for opioid-related issues

June 20, 2017

The coast-to-coast opioid epidemic is swamping hospitals, with government data published Tuesday showing 1.27 million emergency room visits or inpatient stays for opioid-related issues in a single year.

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September 28th, 2017 | Permalink

Who are you?

You are not your thoughts. You’re who decides which thoughts are helpful and to be taken seriously. Your brain just does what it does–think. What you decide to do about your thoughts is the only thing under your control. So please remember worries aren’t you. Decisions you make regarding them are. You are the Decider.—MR

Take a cue from Buddhists and Stoics and ask yourself these 5 questions to get through stressful times

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September 23rd, 2017 | Permalink

New diet

September 12th, 2017 | Permalink

They lie

The below congressional report shows how pharmaceutical company salespeople lied to docs about the safety and effectiveness of opioids to make drug sales. In my personal experience as a mental health counselor, I’ve heard various claims from patients about what their docs told them about the psychopharms they were prescribed. Obvious untruths. Antidepressants do not balance bad brain chemistry. They inhibit feeling emotion. Period. If you can’t feel emotion, you don’t feel so sad. That’s great. But you can’t feel glad either. They also inhibit the psychotherapeutic process so it’s hard to get truly well. When you decide to stop taking the antidepressant, your old crappy emotions come roaring back worse than ever. Now’s the time for counseling, so you really can make progress toward a healthier, happier life.—MR

McCaskill Opioid Investigation Releases First Report Detailing Systemic Manipulation of Prior Authorization Process by Insys Therapeutics

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill, the top-ranking Democrat on the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, today released the first product of her wide-ranging investigation into opioid manufacturers and distributors. “Fueling an Epidemic: Insys Therapeutics and the Systemic Manipulation of Prior Authorization” describes the emphasis Insys Therapeutics put on boosting approvals for its highly addictive fentanyl drug Subsys, even for inappropriate, off-label uses, and details an audio recording in which an Insys sales representative misidentifies herself and uses language designed to circumvent the prior authorization process.

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September 7th, 2017 | Permalink

Solitude is healthy

Many people know that socializing is good for the health, and we frantically try to find ways to not feel alone even when we are, such as cruising FaceBook. We feel like failures if we don’t have an active social life. But studies prove that solitude is required for good mental and physical health also. Like most things in life, balance and moderation are required. So find time to have enjoyable alone time unconnected from your phone. Gosh, a rocking hammock under the swaying sycamore trees sounds like a good idea right now!—MR

Technology is impairing our ability to be alone, research shows. Here’s how to reap the benefits of solitude

By Emily Esfahani Smith, Washington Post, July 12, 2017

As our lives become ever more connected, there are so few places we can go to truly be alone anymore.

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August 29th, 2017 | Permalink

Murder plain and simple

Pharmaceutical companies that oversell opioid pain killers and docs that prescribe them prolifically should be held criminally accountable. “With approximately 142 Americans dying every day,” the below-mentioned report notes, “America is enduring a death toll equal to September 11th every three weeks.” There are less dangerous options to pain management.—MR

White House opioid commission to Trump: ‘Declare a national emergency’ on drug overdoses

July 31, 2017

The President’s Commission on Combating Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis issued a preliminary report on Monday stating that its “first and most urgent recommendation” is for the president to “declare a national emergency under either the Public Health Service Act or the Stafford Act.”

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August 1st, 2017 | Permalink

Why they call it “dope”

Smoking cannabis not only causes a loss of motivation to get good grades (or whatever) due to the fact it highjacks the motivation system in the brain, but studies also show that longterm use lowers IQ. Not something I’d choose to do…—MR

These college students lost access to legal pot — and started getting better grades

 Washington Post, July 25, 2017

The most rigorous study yet of the effects of marijuana legalization has identified a disturbing result: College students with access to recreational cannabis on average earn worse grades and fail classes at a higher rate.

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July 27th, 2017 | Permalink

Medicare needs fixing too

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July 13th, 2017 | Permalink

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