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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

First things first

When it comes to changing your mind—the basic task of psychotherapy—the most effective point of entry to the disturbed system is most often through the body. You just can’t separate mind from body. If you are depressed, anxious, or even psychotic, try helping your body and it will help your mind. A body without enough sleep, sunshine or water or trying to function in a toxic soup of cannabis, nicotine or alcohol, simply cannot be content, so why would your mind? The below article is an example of a body-based intervention.—MR

By Dr. Richard A. Friedman, New York Times, Feb. 10, 2019

Want to fall effortlessly into profound slumber and sleep like a baby? Everyone knows that infants can be lulled to sleep by gentle rocking. Well, now it seems that what works for babies works for adults, too.

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February 11th, 2019 | Permalink

You are growing sleepier and sleepier…

In the screen-lit world of modern life, sleep is expendable. There are television shows to binge-watch, work emails to answer, homework to finish, social media posts to scroll through. We’ll catch up on shut-eye later, so the thinking goes — right after we click down one last digital rabbit hole.

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January 30th, 2019 | Permalink

Dance for joy

Erroneously, we assume that to dance, sing, skip down the street, smile or create art, we first must feel joy. But, while these behaviors may be an expression of joy, forcing ourselves to do them while we are feeling blue fools our brains into feeling great! Our silly brains think, “I’m singing, so I must be happy,” and so we are.—MR

British doctors may soon write prescriptions for dance, art or music lessons

By Tara Bahrampour, Washington Post, January 22, 2019

What if you were ill and instead of — or along with — a prescription for a pharmaceutical drug, your doctor wrote a prescription for a music, dance or painting class?

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January 27th, 2019 | Permalink

Bipolar no more

No matter the segment of reality upon which we gaze, truth unfolds in tints and shades of grey. The world simply is not black and white. This is becoming particularly obvious in gender assignment. Why should an individual who is psychologically and/or physically in the middle of the continuum have to pick one or the other?–MR

By Dr. Anne Fausto-Sterling, Washington Post, Oct. 25, 2018

The complexity is more than cultural. It’s biological, too. Two sexes have never been enough to describe human variety. Not in biblical times and not now. Before we knew much about biology, we made social rules to administer sexual diversity. The ancient Jewish rabbinical code known as the Tosefta, for example, sometimes treated people who had male and female parts (such as testes and a vagina) as women — they could not inherit property or serve as priests; at other times, as men — forbidding them to shave or be secluded with women. More brutally, the Romans, seeing people of mixed sex as a bad omen, might kill a person whose body and mind did not conform to a binary sexual classification.

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November 24th, 2018 | Permalink

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

Who are you fooling?

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

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