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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

Step back, Jack

Well, maybe your name is not Jack, but addressing yourself by name as if you were talking to another person is an effective way to gain some distance from an upsetting situation. Ask yourself, “Why are you so upset, [insert your name here]?” Asking another person (who happens to be yourself) this question allows an adult, more logical part of your brain to get in the driver’s seat, so you calm down and think yourself out of a difficult spot.—MR

Lost perspective? Try this linguistic trick to reset your view

By Professor Ariana Orvellis, Psyche newsletter, September 15, 2021

In the 2nd century CE, in the sunset of his life, the Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius began recording meditations on how he had lived. The questions he asked himself are the same ones many of us find ourselves asking today: how does a person live a meaningful life? How does one find resilience in the face of suffering? What does it mean to be happy?

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September 17th, 2021 | Permalink

Get hoping!

Stuff happens. Things outside our control happen everyday of our lives. How we respond to difficulties that arise determines how happy and successful our lives will be NOT THE THINGS THAT HAPPEN. Psychotherapy at Bodymind Counseling helps patients see what learned or chemically-induced reactive behavioral patterns they employ in the face of inevitable challenges and learn to change these patterns to create a healthier, happier life. Hope to see you soon!—MR

Hope is the antidote to helplessness. Here’s how to cultivate it

by Emily Esfahani Smith, Psyche, September 15, 2021

Several decades ago, two psychologists stumbled upon a phenomenon that revolutionized their field and changed the way we think about adversity. They called it “learned helplessness”—when faced with a difficult situation that feels uncontrollable, people tend to act helpless and depressed.

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September 15th, 2021 | Permalink

Start with yourself

Diagnosis of schizophrenia is not only wrongly used on nursing home patients, but other members of society who are “difficult” to control such as the developmentally disabled, the homeless, the autistic, unruly teens, soldiers with PTSD, substance abusers in withdrawal from an array of drugs, prisoners and those with personality disorders. Psycho-pharmaceuticals as an entire class of drugs are too often prescribed simply as a straight jacket for an unregulated mind. They can’t cure anything. Granted, due to lack of resources and the political will to help the unproductive in our society instead of shelving them there may be few other options at this time. A prescription is a cheaper way to go than months or years of effective psychotherapy. It’s a big societal problem. To help fix it, be kind. Consider counseling before drugging your own mind into submission.-–MR

By Katie Thomas, Robert Gebeloff and Jessica Silver Greenberg, New York Times, September 11, 2021

At least 21 percent of nursing home residents are on antipsychotic drugs, a Times investigation found.

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September 12th, 2021 | Permalink

Whoa there, big fella!

Docs notoriously ask a patient to titrate off drugs too quickly. Not sure why that’s so, perhaps insurance companies don’t wish to pay for titration, but I see it often in my practice. A patient will go off an antidepressant too suddenly causing a spring back effect, i.e. even more severe depression than when she began. Her doc then says, “See? You need the antidepressant,” when in fact she may have not if she had titrated more slowly. Psycho-pharmaceutical drugs such as benzodiazepines require VERY slow titration to maintain mental balance to not cause awful withdrawal symptoms such as severe anxiety and even emotional swings mimicking bipolar disorder. If your doc suggests you stop taking a drug, any drug, without cutting down in very small increments over time, you may wish to ask for a more gentle titration schedule. It’s your bodymind after all…—MR

“Forced to Lie”: Med Titration Standards Put Critical Care Nurses on Shaky Ground — Survey finds nurses feeling “moral distress” at “profoundly unrealistic” standards

By Shannon Firth, Washington Correspondent, MedPage Today,

Most critical care nurses (CCN) reported that they departed from “profoundly unrealistic” medication management titration standards — and then later asked for the orders to be revised for compliance, a cross-sectional survey found.

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September 3rd, 2021 | Permalink

It’s not real

Other practitioners have asked me why I refuse to do online sessions. My response is always (with a shrug), “It’s not real.” Psychotherapy is not two people speaking into microphones on their computers that carries less than one third of sound or image information as the real deal. Your healer cannot see your posture, color of your skin or how you are dressed which says a lot about your mental state. Reading facial expressions is difficult. They cannot smell fear, anxiety, or anger in your sweat. Cannot smell cigarette or cannabis smoke or alcohol on your breath. The list of missing information goes on and on and includes subtle information transfers science doesn’t know much about yet. We do know that counseling works because your brain picks up how to remain calm and self regulate emotionally from your counselor’s affect. How does it do that on Zoom? Time will tell. But I promise to keep the window open, sit over six feet away and physically be there for you.—MR

‘I believe it’s a mental health issue’: the rise of Zoom dysmorphia

By Priya Elan, The Guardian US, September 1, 2021

Time spent on the “funhouse mirror” of video-conferencing calls has resulted in a distortion of our self image.

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September 2nd, 2021 | Permalink

Enjoy life

One of the complaints I hear from patients who have come to counseling to learn how to live a healthy life is, “but without alcohol, I can’t have fun.” I assure you, once you detox from alcohol and your damaged brain recovers its ability to think for itself, you will no longer feel that way. All life areas–family, relationship, work, leisure–will blossom and provide enjoyment. I learned this fact from personal experience and the experiences of others.—MR

Late-summer sip: A new world of booze-free options

By Katie Workman, The Guardian US, September 1, 2021

Interest in a sober lifestyle has been growing for years, leading to the rise of mocktails and alcohol-free bars. The pandemic led even more people to question boozy drinking habits. Non-alcoholic options range from drinks that aim to replicate existing spirits to ones that promise something completely new.

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September 1st, 2021 | Permalink

So what?

Wish I had a penny for every time a patient told me a dramatic story centered around the plot of the emotional need for friends or family members to have the same opinion or point of view. Gosh, I’d be rich! There are almost 8 billion people in the world. Should every one of them agree about everything? If that seems silly, then why do we want people we know to have the same opinion as ourselves? Differences in flowers make for a beautiful garden of contrasting colors, shapes, sizes and textures. Even though it may feel like it sometimes, opinions are not a matter of life and death. Learn to say “that is your point of view, but I feel differently. Doesn’t mean we don’t love each other,” and let it go at that.—MR

Fran Lebowitz: ‘If people disagree with me, so what?’

By Hadley Freeman, The Guardian US, August, 28 2021

With a hit Netflix series and The Fran Lebowitz Reader now published in the UK, the American wit talks about failing to write, her dislike of Andy Warhol and her best friend Toni Morrison.

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August 29th, 2021 | Permalink

Danger, Will Robinson!

As a class of pharmaceuticals, all benzodiazepines are dangerous. Legal or illegal. Not only can users overdose on less than they realize, but benzos are HIGHLY addictive. Back in the ’70s, Congress was poised to make them illegal to manufacture, but—surprise!—Big Pharma now makes billions of them and from them. (Note: the spike in overdoses from illegal ones has grown because until now there was no black market for benzos, since legal ones were so easy to get.) The horror I have seen is the unwittingly addicted devolve into bipolar disorder and/or psychosis over the years. Natural human anxiety had become high anxiety, then an emotional roller coaster requiring bipolar meds. Taken up into alcohol receptors in the brain, recent research showed longtime users—as little as one pill every four months was considered using in this study—succumb to Alzheimers at a 35% greater rate than those who managed anxiety naturally. Before asking a doc to prescribe, do yourself a favor, learn to manage the stresses of life naturally.—MR

CDC: Benzo-Involved Overdoses on the Rise

by John Gever, MedPage Today,

Last year saw a worrisome spike in drug overdoses involving benzodiazepines, and an even bigger one in those where unapproved and illegally manufactured agents such as etizolam and flubromazolam played a role, officials said.

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August 27th, 2021 | Permalink

A rose by any other name is still a rose

There are a number of behaviors, such as gambling and gaming, and substances, such as cocaine and cannabis, that cause addiction to our endogenous (inner) opioids with similar symptoms and results as addiction to exogenous (outer) ones like opioids or heroin. What to do? First, realize addiction is possible or even probable. Second, get help.—MR

Constant craving: how digital media turned us all into dopamine addicts

by Jamie Waters, The Guardian US, August 22, 2021

According to addiction expert Dr Anna Lembke, our smartphones are making us dopamine junkies, with each swipe, like and tweet feeding our habit. So how do we beat our digital dependency?

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August 22nd, 2021 | Permalink

Be your own BFF

The below article defines loneliness as a negative emotional reaction to a discrepancy between the relationships we have and those we want. While a helpful article, that is obvious and probably doesn’t need to be said. Not explained in the article is why we feel that way. Each of us exists on a continuum of “differentiation.” When we are born, we don’t yet realize we are not mom. After all, we were a part of mom for nine months. After popping out, we learn to individuate, i.e. learn we are “not mom.” Some individuals are taught by mom to do that better than others. Those that don’t at all are called schizophrenics. They literally do not even have separate ego structures and never learn to function as an individual. Learning to be alone is a developmental process that continues into old age. If you didn’t learn to enjoy solitude, you may end up with mom’s problems and illnesses or dysfunctional relational behaviors and not enjoy the one very beautiful individual life you have.—MR

How to overcome the loneliness of youth

by Pamela Qualter & Lily Verity, Psyche newsletter, August 18, 2021

It’s extremely common to feel lonely when you’re young. Many strategies can help, the key is finding what works for you.

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August 18th, 2021 | Permalink

Maybe. Maybe not.

The takeaway from the below article is that cannabis is still a Schedule 1 illegal drug according to the Feds. Functionally, this means very little research has been done or is scheduled to be done. There are decades of research to be done before we will know the myriad ways it can help or hurt a user. We already know it can help patients with some forms of epilepsy and harms neurological development in teens and twenty-somethings. Ask yourself, did your mother raise you to be a guinea pig?—MR

Pot Smokers Face Distinct Risks After Coronary Procedures

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August 17th, 2021 | Permalink

Is it worth it?

Is drinking alcohol worth the risk? Considering its well-documented negative effect on financial, physical and mental health and on family and community relations, more and more smart people are saying “No.” If you would like help quitting, call a mental health counselor. Beyond primary addiction, often there is a psychological pattern holding the dysfunctional behavior in place making alcohol very difficult to put down with traditional 12-step approaches.—MR

Alcohol linked to more cancers than thought, study finds

by Rachel Hall, The Guardian US, August 4, 2021

Alcohol, when metabolized, breaks down into chemicals that can bind to DNA, potentially causing cancerous mutations.

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August 5th, 2021 | Permalink

I’m here for you

Being with someone online is not “being with” someone. There’s a lot of information and energy missing in online communication. It may be OK for a staff meeting at Amazon.com, but I can’t be sure what patients are thinking or feeling if I’m looking at digital representations of them on a computer screen. Lots of what you get from a counselor, can only be gotten with in-person engagement. Our psyches can be healed with the feeling energy of a caring person. Ethically, I cannot charge for counseling on Zoom. How can I be “here for you” if I’m not here at all?–MR

Virtual contact worse than no contact for over-60s in lockdown, says study

By Amelia Hill, The Guardian US, July 26, 2021

Staying in touch with friends and family via technology made many older people feel more lonely, research finds.

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July 26th, 2021 | Permalink

Epidemic of loneliness

Human beings are social critters. Without friends or close family members in physical proximity, not only does our mental health suffer, but our physical health too. Taking care of your health also means taking care of your social needs. One thing a lonely person can do to fix a friend deficit is go to counseling. Among many other services, a counselor can be a therapeutic friend with whom you share your hopes and dreams, your loves and schemes, your losses and fears. Your heart and mind will feel the caring of a good counselor as they help you find ways to increase your ability to attract friends, maintain relationships and, perhaps, repair ones you’ve lost.—MR

It’s time to rethink what loneliness is

by Miriam Kirmayer, The Guardian US, July 22, 2021

Research suggests that chronic loneliness may be as damaging to health as smoking 15 cigarettes a day. But do we know what loneliness actually is?

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July 22nd, 2021 | Permalink

Life CAN be good

What do you think your unconscious mind feels about your life when you are actively poisoning your bodymind? Does it believe you love yourself and others? Does it feel you love life, your one sweet life, when you are pouring a carcinogen down your throat? Does it wake up each morning with joy and energy while a chemical depressant courses through your veins for four days after one drink? If the below article doesn’t move you to at least consider reducing your alcohol consumption, nothing will.—MR

Alcohol caused 740,000 cancer cases globally last year — study

by Nicola Davis, The Guardian US, July 13, 2021

A Lancet journal paper says there is strong evidence of alcohol consumption causing cancers of the breast, liver, colon, rectum, oropharynx, larynx and oesophagus.

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July 14th, 2021 | Permalink

Bodymind Counseling

“Lots of things that people don’t think about, like depression or anxiety, are very clearly modified by your gut microbes.” say Professor Tim Spector, an epidemiologist at King’s College London. I discovered this back in 2004 when I personally undertook a probiotic protocol to heal an unhealthy small intestine. The coincidental mental health improvement was so significant, I went back to school to become a counselor so I could share the news with others. It’s why I call my practice Bodymind Counseling. While a dysbiotic gut certainly is not the only reason people suffer from depression and anxiety, it can be a major influence. Once the gut is balanced, other treatments for all forms of relational disorders and mental illnesses become more effective. At the very least, an imbalanced gut can make a person cranky.—MR

Unlocking the gut microbiome and its massive significance to our health

By Rebecca Seal, The Guardian US, June 11, 2021

Scientists are only just discovering the enormous impact of our gut health – and how it could hold the key to everything from tackling obesity to overcoming anxiety and boosting immunity.

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July 11th, 2021 | Permalink

Just one step

If there is a substance of any type you realize you are using everyday, you needn’t stop. Perhaps its a pain killer, alcohol, cannabis or even ice cream, doesn’t matter. Give yourself the gift of taking the simple step of gathering information. Talk with a bodymind expert, a nonjudgemental counselor with whom you can discuss your particular situation, answer your questions. Armed with knowledge, then you can decide what you wish to do, if anything. Ultimately, it’s your life.—MR

“Johnson & Johnson helped fuel this fire” – now it’s out of the opioids business

by Chris McGreal, The Guardian US, June 27, 2021

Whether the pharmaceutical giant jumped or was pushed, its New York deal is a significant sign of the way the wind is blowing. J&J said it had already decided in 2020 to “discontinue all of its prescription pain medications in the United States.”

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June 28th, 2021 | Permalink

Thou shalt not enable

The below article talks about victims standing in the way of cases moving forward. Please realize you are hurting, not helping, your partner, your family or yourself if you do not report domestic abuse to the police or stand in the way of allowing your abuser to go to jail for physically assaulting you. You are enabling their behavior, helping to create it, and teaching your children physical abuse is a legitimate tactic for resolving disputes. No matter what you did to erroneously make your think you deserved it, no one ever deserves to be punched, slapped, pushed or beaten.—MR

Three in four domestic abuse cases end without charge in England and Wales

By Jamie Grierson, The Guardian US, June 23, 2021

Data comes to light as part of review into police response to abuse during coronavirus pandemic though police forces were largely praised for their proactive approach towards domestic abuse cases.

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June 23rd, 2021 | Permalink

Early to bed

According to the below reported study, those who go to bed earlier and get up earlier suffer anxiety and depression at a far lower rate. Yes, some folks seem born to be early birds, some night owls, but you can change the unhealthy night owl habit by practicing to be an early bird. Go to bed and turn out the light by 10:30 and get up at 6:30 intentionally for several months and you will come to do it more naturally. You will also watch anxiety and depression recede. This is something humans have known for thousands of years, but is now proven by scientific observation, “Early to bed, early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise.—MR

Are you a morning person or a night owl? The early risers may have the advantage

By Gabriela Miranda, USA Today, June 9, 2021

Does your body naturally wake you up or do you rely on the sounds and buzzes of several alarm clocks?

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June 22nd, 2021 | Permalink

Headed in the wrong direction

The below article suggests that the solution to this horrible problem is another drug. The solution to the problem is for society to learn that a drug is rarely, if ever, a solution to a problem. That kind of thinking is what got us here in the first place! At Bodymind Counseling, you’ll learn you can deal with your problems, even many diseases and disorders, without drugs. Obviously, not always, but usually.–MR

Enough fentanyl to kill San Francisco: the new wave of the opioid crisis sweeping California

By Erin McCormick, The Guardian US, June 14, 2021

Deaths from fentanyl overdoses have jumped by more than 2,100% in five years as the powerful drug has flooded the state.

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June 14th, 2021 | Permalink

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