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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

Don’t worry. Be happy!

The below article talks about research that shows over 90% of the things we worry about happening in the future never happen. And that, while it may help identify a threat, worrying blocks our ability to find solutions to problems. Makes you wonder why we do it in the first place?–MR

Worry is an unhelpful friend and a shoddy fortune-teller

By Lucas LaFreniere, Psyche, June 9, 2021

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June 9th, 2021 | Permalink

Breathe much?

During the summer of 1981, I awoke to find my first yoga teacher standing over me with her hands on her hips saying, “breathe much?” I had blacked out and dropped to the floor during a breathing exercise in her class. My poor breath-deprived body did not know what to do with so much air and I had passed out. Prior to that experience, I simply was not breathing enough to maintain good physical and mental health. Breath is primary to life, i.e. more important than water, food, sleep or exercise. If you aren’t doing it enough in the right way, you WILL feel anxious and quite likely depressed.—MR

Power of the Breath with James Nestor

by Raghu Markus, Mindrolling, May 28, 2021

This week on the Mindrolling podcast, Raghu shares a conversation with author James Nestor about the underestimated power of our breath and how we can work with it.

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June 5th, 2021 | Permalink

Can’t zoom this

You can no more be healed by a computer or a face on a computer than you can marry a computer. It’s been well proven that it’s the “therapeutic relationship,” a complex system of unconscious energetic connections between two human beings that induces the healing of your psyche. The simplest way to put it is your mind was injured in an intimate relationship of holding, so it takes one to set it right. It’s been repeatedly demonstrated by research that it doesn’t matter what diagnosis you have, what drugs are prescribed or what theories and treatments are used, it’s the living breathing face-to-face presence of someone who cares that actually matters.-–MR

The computer will see you now: is your therapy session about to be automated?

By Ramin Skibba, The Guardian US, June 4, 2021

Experts say AI is set to grow rapidly in psychiatry and therapy, allowing doctors to spot mental illness earlier and improve care. But are the technologies effective – and ethical?

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June 4th, 2021 | Permalink

Identity crisis or beautiful flow?

Below, a man reports he felt the ground shake because his hairline was receding. While this sounds pretty crazy, it’s is a common phenomena. Not due to balding, but due to a psychological threat to ones identity, i.e. who you think you are. Everyone has a self image, some are more rigid than others. But it’s not who you are, it’s just in your imagination. In physical reality, a person is a complicated process, a biological system of human cells and microbiota, a electro chemical process changing daily. In psycho-emotional reality, you’re an ego structure—a psychological construct like a hologram that can get stuck in a moment of time. When this structure is forced to change, walls can literally seem to turn to jello, furniture may wiggle or the ground shake. When letting go of being a twenty-something or a mom, an event like a wedding, going away to college or a divorce, some folks can become REALLY miserable resorting to all sorts of dysfunctional behaviors. This is a good time to visit a counselor who can help you move with strength, comfort and grace into the next stage of life—a natural and beautiful process of exploration and becoming who you truly are today!—MR

“My hairline threatened my identity so much the ground felt shaky:” why hair transplants are booming

By Simon Usborne, The US Guardian, June 1, 2021

Celebrity endorsements, new techniques and lockdown have led to rising demand for follicular transplants. But with patchy regulation, are men being exploited when they are vulnerable?

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June 1st, 2021 | Permalink

Catch the wave of good health

Improving your mental health to create a happier life is ultimately your responsibility. One of the most effective things you can do is take up a sport for the many reasons discussed in the article below. It doesn’t have to be surfing, it seems a little cold in the PacNW for that, but hiking, biking, pickle ball, golf, archery, boxing, marathoning, rock climbing and kayaking all come to my mind. What pops up in yours? Give a sport a try. You’ll be amazed at the myriad benefits of focusing on a sport instead of what’s wrong with your world, particularly if you replace mind-destroying substance use with it.–MR

Mental health benefits of surfing

By Kim Schiffman, The Portugal News, May 28, 2021

A couple of weeks ago we talked about the physical health benefits of surfing, now it is time to explore what surfing can do for your mind.

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May 28th, 2021 | Permalink

You feel what you eat

Do a science experiment to prove to yourself that you feel like what you eat. For a month, eat non organic processed foods. You’ll feel like non organic processed food, toxic, worn out and depressed. Then for a month, eat living organic foods—fresh minimally processed meats, fruits and vegetables—you’ll feel fresh and filled with energy. It just makes sense you’d feel better. Yes, organic food costs more, but it is actually food. —MR

By Anahad O’Connor, The New York Times, May 6, 2021

The sugar-laden, high-fat foods we often crave when we are stressed or depressed, as comforting as they are, may be the least likely to benefit our mental health.

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May 18th, 2021 | Permalink

It’s not your fault

Domestic abuse is mental illness family style. But the only person who can fix it is the abused. The big problem is he or she has been convinced they deserve it by the person they think they love, their abuser. If you even have a tiny inkling you are being abused, physically or emotionally, find a way to talk with a counselor. Get some information and take it from there.—MR

Mel B on domestic abuse, trauma and recovery: ‘In my mind there was no way out’

by Simon Hattenstone, The Guardian US, April 17, 2021

Four years after escaping her marriage, the former Spice Girl talks about confidence, family – and why the pandemic has led to a rise in abusive relationships.

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May 17th, 2021 | Permalink

It’s your life

If you wish to be unhappy or anxious, I’d highly recommend drinking alcohol. It’s your life after all. This is America. You can do as you wish. But if you are suffering from depression, lack of sleep or declining health, the quickest way to feel better is to put down that drink. If you would like some help throwing off the monkey on your back, just call. I did it. You can too. The statistics from Washington State below on how many deaths occur directly due to drinking are sobering. Note: They are way up so far this year…—MR

Annual Average for Washington 2011-2015: Alcohol-Attributable Deaths Due to Excessive Alcohol Use

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May 7th, 2021 | Permalink

Poison is poisonous

Most corporate pesticides work by destroying the nervous systems of bugs, good and bad, and do a lot of collateral damage to other critters, large, small and itsy bitsy. They probably hurt your nervous system too, because the nervous systems of all animals are VERY similar. The largest part of the human nervous system is called “the brain.” For good mental health, it is common sense that eating organic food is a pretty good idea.—MR

Vital soil organisms being harmed by pesticides, study shows

by Damian Carrington, The Guardian US, May 4, 2021

Tiny creatures are the ‘unsung heroes’ that keep soils healthy and underpin all life on land. Researchers found the measured impacts of farm chemicals on organisms such as earthworms were overwhelmingly negative.

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May 4th, 2021 | Permalink

Food is medicine

How wonderful is this?—MR

Help Curate This Vast Trove of Kitchen-Table Remedies

By Reina Gattuso, Atlas Obscura, April 21, 2021

The Archive of Healing includes hundreds of thousands of folk healing traditions from six continents.

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April 28th, 2021 | Permalink

To do or not to do?

Every week, I witness patients exercise their free will to make choices about their behaviors. In counseling, they learn about the psychological forces inhibiting free will. Knee-jerk reactions fueled by emotions called “psychological patterns” learned in childhood from family or society. As a counselor, I point out the patterns I see. Then, after the first day, first month or year, people decide these patterned behaviors are undesirable, dysfunctional or unhealthy and they choose to do things differently. Kind of like learning to ride a bicycle. Try, fall off, try, fall off, try, ride off into a new kind of life. Free will is what separates us from other animals—the ability to choose change. Not saying it is easy, but with intent, practice and support, change is possible. Because of free will, some patients quit counseling—they choose not to change, yet…—MR

The clockwork universe: is free will an illusion?

by Oliver Burkeman, The Guardian US, April 27, 2021

A growing chorus of scientists and philosophers argue that free will does not exist. Could they be right?

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April 27th, 2021 | Permalink

The alcohol industry wants you

While the alcohol industry happily rakes in billions of increased profits during the pandemic, many people do not realize how dangerous drinking daily can be to their physical, emotional and family health. Particularly, drinking to cope. While alcohol calms down an agitated amygdala while the drink is in hand, this emotional center in your brain becomes more upset between drinking sessions than it would have been without the alcohol. Drinking is exacerbating your anxiety, not curtailing it. If you wish to calmly face your problems, begin slowly cutting back now, so you don’t go into emotional withdrawal, and find a counselor to teach you how to cope in a healthy way. Besides, her office is a good place to leave your messy worries, not splattered all over the living room.—MR

April 21, 2021

The past year has changed alcohol use patterns, especially among women. The impacts probably won’t be fully known for years.

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April 24th, 2021 | Permalink

Who knew?

Back in 2004 after four decades of struggling with poor health, I was introduced to a probiotic protocol and lifestyle by an independent researcher and dear friend. Cleaning up my diet, eliminating unhealthy substances such as alcohol and adding probiotic supplements to my daily nutritional intake resulted in the abatement and, in many cases, complete elimination of literally dozens of major disorders and minor irritants over the next few years. Turned out to be one of the most effective remedies to lifelong anxiety and depression I’d discovered and was the primary inspiration for my becoming a mental health counselor. The profound realization through experience that mind and body cannot be separated is foundational to my approach. It is simply impossible to feel good mentally if you are off balance physically. Once a patient is in balance physically, mental health counseling is much more effective, if necessary at all.–MR

Microbes are “unknown unknowns” despite being vital to all life…

by Patrick Greenfield, The Guardian US, April 19, 2021

A new study has highlighted how little is known about microbes—the hidden majority of life on Earth.

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April 19th, 2021 | Permalink

Born to run

All patients who walk through my mental health counseling office door want to feel better. They ask, “where do I start?” My answer is invariably the same for all. “Start by exercising.” Even if you are in a hospital bed or a wheel chair, waving your arms around, twirling your hands, looking up and looking down, pointing your toes and then your heel are way better activities than doing nothing physical. For those of us who are able, walking 20 minutes a day as briskly as possible, will do more for our state of mind than sitting in a counseling office an hour a week, but not exercising.—MR

This Is How To Have A Long Awesome Life: 5 Secrets From Research

By Eric Barker PhD, bakadesuyo.com, April 15, 2021

Daniel Lieberman decided to do an informal — and very sneaky — study. While at an academic conference, he counted how many people took the escalator vs the stairs. In ten minutes, 151 people walked past him and only 11 used the stairs. That’s just 7 percent.

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April 15th, 2021 | Permalink

Step by step

Hallelujah! It’s about time! Twenty-five years ago I realized that for many folks, myself included, the moralistic AA-style of recovery that is employed in most treatment centers and taught by substance abuse certificate programs doesn’t obtain lasting recovery. When I became a mental health counselor in 2005, I offered an alternative to its suddenly “just say no” model that medical providers call “titration.” It allows my patients to naturally quit a little bit at a time while learning healthier ways to regulate their emotions and take better care of their bodymind. If you are weary of dancing to the rhythm of your addiction and are seeking lasting change, give me a call. Today is the first day of the rest of your life.–MR

Recognizing the rhythm in addiction offers new ways to escape it

By Eana Meng and Johannes Lenhardis, Psyche, July 2019.

…‘Treatment’ and ‘recovery’ are often understood in numerical terms – through the decreasing “titration” of methadone doses over time, the number of times a person shows up to medical appointments, the number of days since they last used. This standardized calculation of recovery is a direct successor to forms of regulation, surveillance and racism that forms part of the so-called “war on drugs”.

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April 14th, 2021 | Permalink

A better way

Chronic pain is one of the primary reasons patients’ give for the addiction that has ruined their lives. In the moment, being hooked on pain relievers seems less of a problem than experiencing unremitting pain. People get hooked on the various oxys, alcohol or cannabis all in the name of chronic pain relief. The sad fact is while the pain may recede for a few hours, it comes back worse than it would have been if these addictive substances were not used at all. One way to reduce or eliminate pain is through dietary change, as the below article explains, without all the social, familial, financial and mental health problems addictive substances create.–MR

Solving chronic pain via the kitchen, not the medicine cabinet

When Peter arrived at our pain management clinic, he’d been suffering with low back and neck pain for years. He was on high doses of strong painkillers but, as with so many people with chronic pain, the pain was still intense and significantly interfered with his life, leaving him unable to work. He was also unwell in other respects: he was obese, and had high blood pressure and digestive problems. On top of that, he reported ‘brain fog’, which often appears alongside chronic pain – difficulties with memory and trouble staying focused on daily tasks. Unsurprisingly, considering his level of pain and other symptoms, he was also anxious, depressed and unable to sleep.

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April 7th, 2021 | Permalink

Sharing is caring for yourself

Stress is an event or object outside of ourselves that causes anxiety within. Anxiety is a normal response that helps us get away from the stressor to protect ourselves. It has to come with a host of negative feelings and bodily responses or it wouldn’t motivate us to escape the threat. Our hormones go haywire trying to tell us to escape. The problem in modern times, and right now in particular, is we can’t get away from the stressors, so the anxiety builds up to physically and mentally dangerous levels. Visiting a mental health counselor is one way to escape the stress for an hour to release anxiety by sharing your story with her. A caring physical presence is calming and she can teach you how to relax and even enjoy your daily stress-filled life. You might wish to do ths before you find yourself doing something unhealthy to cope.—MR

Pandemic periods: why women’s menstrual cycles have gone haywire

By Eleanor Morgan, The Guardian US, March 25, 2021

A majority of menstruating women have experienced changes to their cycle over the last year, surveys suggest. One of the main culprits? Persistent stress.

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March 25th, 2021 | Permalink

Hmmm, what’s this about?

No matter what a person is experiencing in the moment—fear, hatred, pain, or whatever—being curious about how you feel helps your mind shift to a more positive state of being.—MR

Why Curiosity Is the Key to Unwinding Your Anxiety

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March 11th, 2021 | Permalink

What’s in a name?

Names are important to ones sense of identity. When I think of myself, I think of Morgan Randall. But that was not always who I was. Randall was my dad’s last name which I kept instead of taking my husband’s when I married at age 37. I was a professional business writer and did not want to start over with name recognition. Clients hired PJ Randall. Why mess with success? When I became a mental health counselor at age 55, I changed my first name to Morgan. Would you hire a counselor called PJ or one named Morgan? But more importantly, by taking the name Morgan, I honored my mother’s Welsh family. All the men in her family bore the first name Morgan going back for hundreds of years. When I identified as Morgan, I felt more balanced, professional and connected to wonderful things I learned from Mom. No matter your gender, if you want to a new life, a name change can help as much on the inside world as the outside.–MR

What’s in a surname? The female artists lost to history because they got married

A new biography of the painter Isabel Rawsthorne highlights how talented women have often missed out on the recognition they deserved.

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February 19th, 2021 | Permalink

Turn it off to get it up

Lots of guys struggle with obtaining or maintaining an erection during sex for various reasons, but one big reason is often overlooked as it is in the below article—the use of pornography. Chemicals in the brain are responsible for triggering an erection. It’s pretty simple really. If those chemicals are overused with highly explicit porn, their ability to fire up in the face of the real deal diminishes. If you don’t believe me, prove it to yourself. Stop using porn and watch yourself rise to new heights!—MR

I have never struggled to get an erection – until now. What’s going on?

By Pamela Stephenson Connolly, The US Guardian, February 17, 2021

“My partner and I have a great relationship, but my inability to perform makes her think I am not attracted to her.”

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February 17th, 2021 | Permalink

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