Technology, food and type II diabetes

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The rise of technology, food and type II diabetes
The human being was designed to be active. The human being was not designed to be sitting all day, not moving. Our muscles do not get stronger unless they are used, if they are not used, they will inevitably atrophy. The human mind was made to be used. The mind, made from neurons not muscle, acts like muscle. The more I learn and interact with others, the more neural connections I will make, and thus, create intelligence. The human body was made to eat water rich foods, grown by the sun, with no preservatives. The human body was not designed to eat things that are processed, pumped with chemicals that I will never be able to pronounce. The children of America are not living the way the human body was designed to be lived. Where once children played outside, they are now inside playing video games. Where once kids ate fresh fruits and vegetables, they are now eating packaged food stuffed full of preservatives. Where once kids played with each other, they are now isolated by a glowing screen, promising the illusion of comradery.

A critical age
It is no mystery the devastating consequences our children are facing with the terrible life style choices that are presented to them. Type II diabetes was once unheard of in adolescent children, now it is the fastest growing diseases in that age group. And diabetes usually comes with obesity. Obesity is associated with hundreds of different types of illnesses, including heart disease and hypertension. The fact that children, between the ages of 6 and 14 are developing such diseases, is nothing short of mind blowing, and criminal. I say these harsh words because the children are not to blame. My question is, who is feeding them this food, why is there such an abundance of bad food. An adolescent’s brain is still developing, at that age, they are not going to be processing the same way as an adult. Because of this, if you are to have a salad on one side of the table, and a slice of Chicago deep dish pizza on the other, the child is of course going to eat the pizza (and probably most adults as well). The answer is because the pizza tastes better. The child is not going to be thinking of carbohydrates, triglycerides, and obesity. If ask a middle schooler if they would rather take a walk with me, or play Super Mario Kart, they are going to choose the video game, because it is perceived as much more fun! The adolescent is not going to be thinking about how a walk is going to improve cardiovascular function, blood pressure, brain activity and a bunch of other good things. The primary care takers, both in the micro society and macro society, have got to do their part in making sure our children are presented with the proper choices. How does a unhealthy population of children, both in the mind and body, benefit society? What is going on?

What’s going on?
The answer to that question is a complex one. There are many factors that play into why children are given such terrible choices in health. One is the breakdown of the family unit, where there is not enough time to plan a healthy lifestyle for children. Another problem is the capitalistic system, where the food industry values profit over nutrition, and profit equals unhealthy choices. Another problem is the rise of technology, and the value we place on such on such things. The consequences are going to be devastating, both in production and in the rise of health care. I am going to be doing my part as a counselor and speaker to speak out against this problem, and help come up with solutions.
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Media and mirror neurons

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“Whoever controls the media, controls the mind”

― Jim Morrison

The miracle of mirror neurons
I talk about the importance of mirror neurons, because I have come across the knowledge of how much we learn by watching others. Of course, when I read this fact, I was at first fascinated, then petrified. Fascinated because of how awesome our mind is, and the ability of the brain to be able to learn just through observation. Petrified, because I then realized that if we learn by watching others, then we learn by watching what is on the media, and what is on the media is very scary stuff. We live in a culture that thrives on sexual and violent imagery for entertainment, and it makes me wonder how much of this visual stimulation is affecting the way we see the world. Our we learning things without even realizing we are learning things? In this paper, I hope to explain a little of what is going on with our mirror neurons.

What exactly are mirror neurons?
Simply put, a mirror neuron is a neuron that activates mutually when an animal performs and thus when an animal witnesses the same feat completed by another. I say animal, because humans are not the only species that do this. It is an important survival mechanism. Many animals learn by watching, and doing. Many animals are taught important skills. For example, young lions will watch their mother hunt, so they may learn to hunt as well. Not only will they watch her hunt, but then they will mimic what she was doing. The young cubs’ neurons will be firing on both the watching and the doing, so they will have the best success of survival.

The miracle of mirror neurons continued
Another reason why in our species mirror neurons are so amazing, is precisely the reason why we are so different than other animals. We are built one way, and we live life completely different than what we are built for. Let me illustrate, I have a body that is made for hunting and gathering, and I have primal instincts that have been utilized for hundreds and thousands of years. Society on the other hand, follows a completely different paradigm. So, I must live against many of my instincts, almost in a foreign world, something that goes against all of our natural biology. This feat, would be impossible, unless it was for the miracle of mirror neurons. How could I even fathom driving an automobile, working on computers, and reading books if it was not for this incredible skill.

The problem with mirror neurons, and the media
The number one video game in America in 2010, was Call of Duty: Black Ops. It sold over 26.2 million copies. So what is the big deal about that? Well, Call of Duty is a video game that displays horrific scenes of violence, and glorifies war. It creates a me vs. you, black and white thinking. The underlying message is that, violence makes you a hero, and killing others is a good way to solve problems. It would be ridiculous to think that those messages do not activate our mirror neurons, and is teaching us through both observation and action. There is a common phrase in the news media, “if it bleeds it leads.” So what do they mean by this? It is simple, violence creates ratings, and we have a system that thrives on ratings. So what this means is that we are a country that is fed fear on a daily basis, and this fear is being processed through our mirror neurons, and we are learning to be afraid of our very neighbors. Why is the media doing this? I have theories. A lot of television shows and movies are pumped with sexual stimulation and violence. Shows like Braking Bad, The Living Dead, and just about every block-buster movie hit there is, they all have extreme violence. Violence, is not doubt, entertaining, but unfortunately our mirror neurons are processing all of this, and we are learning through this ferocious medium. I believe, especially with those without a sound mind, it may get harder to distinguish imagination from reality.

So, what to do….
It is time to change the channel to things that we may benefit from learning, or just turn off the television itself. People can start focusing on things that they admire, and want to achieve themselves. For example, if I want to be a more optimistic, and happy individual, then I need to observe and do things that are more optimistic and happy. It may seem like a simplified solution, but sometimes the simplest solutions are the best.

 

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Neither ashamed or proud, or who I am

I thought today it would be good, to tell you who I really am, and where I come from and why I have chosen counseling as a career.

I have posted another video on this website, it is from a class assignment in my Master’s program. I thought the assignment very much paralleled with what this website is all about. It explains a bit of my past, something I am neither ashamed of, nor proud of.

My past, is something of a deep frustration, a cycle of hardships and anger.  A repeat of, get a job, get depressed, lose job, and then find another job. I knew I had to change, I had dreams and aspirations. As each day passed, those dreams began to fade more and more into the darkness. I had to make a drastic change, and I did. I wasn’t getting the help I needed, and I knew that, so I decided, (and probably against all professional advice) to become my own counselor. I read, and I read and I read on how I could change my life. It was a slow process, at first I read without the hopes of anything changing. I felt like it was impossible for a transformation to happen, especially so late in the game. But something did start to happen, I started thinking a little differently. I started some new skills that actually came in handy, especially when it came to curbing the anger. I learned to not let things bother me so much, and I learned a little of that old sage, “forgive and forget.” I learned that just because I think and feel something, it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s true. These little nuances of relief, these little nuggets of wisdom, started changing my life around.

Never in a million years, did I ever believe I would be on my way to becoming a counselor. Especially when I vehemently disliked life so much at one time. But little by little, change happened. Those inches eventually turned into feet, and then those feet turned into miles.

I am here to tell you, if I can change, you can change. No matter how old you are, or what you have gone through in life, positive change can happen. It is about celebrating the small victories, the little steps. The phrase that, “a journey of a thousand miles, begins with one step,” means a whole lot more to me, in retrospect. Just one thought in the right direction, can change the whole outcome of your day. It really can. There is a million ways to look at any situation, life is subjective, so why not choose to look at things in a good light.

Please click the picture below for the video:

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I still have a long way to go, but I am proud for how far I have become, and you should be proud of yourself as well. Life is hard, for all of us.

So I hope you enjoy my little video below, please respond, tell me what you think.

 

the world of social media

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“Distracted from distraction by distraction”

― T.S. Eliot

I write a lot about frustration, but one of the most frustrating things I have ever encountered is the world of social media. We can say goodbye to privacy, everything is connected to everything else. Someone can find out where I live, who my friends are, where I work, and anything else under the sun just by looking me up on the wonderful internet. I cannot even imagine how many relationships FaceBook has destroyed, the site seems to breed anger and jealousy by posting every person you have ever had a friendship with in your entire life.

Social media breeds narcism. People unplug from the real world, to enter their digital playground. Instead of enjoying the park, and their kids birthday party, they are on their phone taking tens thousands pictures of the event. They love writing and posting things, that frankly, nobody really cares about. Peoples attention seems to be wrapped up in how many twitter followers they have, and if people “liked” their pictures on Facebook or Instagram.

All I know is, I will never understand the algorithm for getting true followers. It seems that people who post themselves playing video games, get tens of thousands of hits. While I, can put my heart and soul into a piano song, will maybe get seventy views. I will not lie, the frustration is immense. I am a certified life coach, getting my masters in counseling, study anger management, and it is still hard for me to calm myself down after years of witnessing such insanity in the social media world.

Social media breeds instant gratification, and instant stress. People have their phones with them 24/7. It chimes whenever something comes in. Whether it be a text, twitter, Facebook, Instagram, email or phone. I believe there is an unwanted addiction that is growing from these devices. I feel like there is a hidden, nefarious agenda that perhaps is below our level of perception as well that is happening. All of us can be easily tracked, and I don’t like knowing that. Again, privacy is not only gone, it has been obliterated.

Am I a hypocrite then for using social media? Aren’t we all? The frustration is, a lot of us don’t have a choice. Our society has structured itself around these devices. I guess I could get rid of my computer and phone, but that would absurd. I hear of people living off the grid, what a change. I do not have the gumption or stamina to pull of such a feat. I would be off the grid for maybe four hours, then I would be crawling back to my mac computer on my hands and knees asking it for forgiveness. I say this because I am one of the addicts of the technology. If my website is to grow, of course, I have to have the internet, I must have followers. If I am to continue getting my masters, I have to have the internet, there is not a choice in this society.

I hope one day things will change, where social medial will become more a tool, and not the way. There is a big push for this stuff, because it just makes way to much money. You may think me crazy, but I really don’t think it has improved our lives much at all. At my job, we work with computers all the time, and in the hopes of not sounding sarcastic, these computers malfunction probably seventy percent of the time. Sometimes most of my day was just trying to unfreeze my computer screen. A book has never froze on me, pencil and paper has never shut down on me.

So what is the solution? The solution is simple. Let us work a little each day to put our phones down, and enjoy the moment. To treat the computer as an adjunct to make our life better, not to have it become our life. To realize we don’t have to respond to every email and text, right away, especially when we are driving.

We have to become more comfortable in our own mind, must fight that urge to look at the phone whenever we are at a stop light, or waiting in line for our coffee. Start communicating with people in the real world, talking to people face to face, without the comfort zone of the computer (phone) screen to buffer us.

We don’t have to keep buying the latest gadgets that come out, and learn to be happy with what we already have. This is an addiction that has swept the nation, that has crept in the last decade and hijacked our mind, and if I may be so bold, our soul. Am I being dramatic? Of course I am, but I am also being honest.

(Just click on Bill Maher, he is going to explain the ridiculousness of the growing technology phenomena) 

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Alright, enough writing from me this morning. I need to go check my Twitter…

 

Accept yourself before you wreck yourself

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“It is better to be hated for what you are than to be loved for what you are not.”

― André Gide, Autumn Leaves

I have always found it hard to accept myself for who I really am. I have always felt if people really knew who I was, then they would not want anything to do with me. Many times in the past, I have tried breaking up with myself, but alas, no matter how hard I try, I am still around.  So it seems I need to make peace with myself.

The only person we are in a strong relationship with, is ourselves. You know yourself better then anyone can ever know you, whether you like that notion or not. So why not treat yourself good?

One of the biggest reasons I decided to treat myself better, and accept myself totally, is because I realized that bad thoughts equal bad health, literally. Stress releases adrenaline and cortisol to run rampant in my body. Unchecked adrenaline will eventually raise my blood pressure, and eventually cause me to blow a gasket (have a stroke or heart attack.) And that is something I do not wish to have.

So what if not everyone likes you. To tell you the truth, there are a lot of people I don’t like, and I know for a fact not everyone likes me. When you finally let go of the notion that you need to be liked, a tremendous burden is lifted. It actually feels pretty good.

Human beings, are very difficult creatures to get along with, a lot of the time. That is why there are so many books about how to communicate with one another. Some people, no matter how hard you want them to like you, will never like you. It is because they don’t like themselves. The solution is simple, when you are around someone like that, don’t even waste your time. Find a simple exit, and then get away. Don’t make it more complicated then it has to be. When I used to work with very negative people, I would make it into a game, I would guess how many times they would say something stupid, or inappropriate, and if I got my guesses right, I would buy myself a beer at the end of the night.

Human beings are weird, some weirder then others. I’m sure there are a lot of people who think I am a couple cans short of a six pack. That is fine, because I find a lot of people do not even have one can in their six pack. So maybe it is not so much about liking each other, then it is about existing with each other. Acceptance is a wonderful thing. Just accepting who you are, and accepting others. Not trying to change people, and just sitting back and saying to yourself, “It is what it is.” Trust me, it is going to feel good.
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Frustration

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“There is no failure except in no longer trying.”

Elbert Hubbard

We all know that life is not fair, we should eliminate that word from our vocabulary, because for me, it causes anger. Fairness is one of those extremely vague, and general terms that we use, to try to make sense of the world.

With that being said, that is why I will not give up, and at the same time, not take this life so seriously.

Pain for me comes when I take things to seriously, when I feel I have to complete all my missions. I think real peace comes in when you let go, and just enjoy who you are in the moment.

I remember writing an article on frustration, and how to not be so frustrated. The ironic thing was, I was extremely frustrated while writing the article. I was frustrated that I didn’t have more subscribers, or more clients. I was frustrated that school was costing me so much, and that my job was paying so little. I was angry at how old I was becoming, and that there is nothing I can do to stop time.

That was when a big smile crossed my lips, and I realized how much all those things don’t matter. It is an illusion that all those things would bring me happiness. With that mind frame, if I had a thousand subscribers, I would then wish I had a million. If I had 50 clients, I would want a hundred. It was a terrible mind frame to have, that is why so many millionaires are unhappy, they still believe they are not making enough, and that life is treating them unfairly.

It all boils down to appreciating what we have in the moment, and enjoying the moment. Just feeling good where you are at.

That is achieved by turning off the conscious chatter, and looking at the sun rays that are splashed on your table or floor, looking at the shapes, and the miracle of light. It is done by hearing the drones of the cars outside, and the chirping of the birds, let their sounds free you of thought and worry.

It is knowing that everything is going to be OK, and that everything is OK.

I want to learn from you! Please join the discussion or join me on Twitter.

Have a wonderful day.

Desire

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“Some people grumble that roses have thorns; I am grateful that thorns have roses.”

― Alphonse Karr, A Tour Round My Garden

Tracy thought she could change Russel, and Russel thought he could change Tracy. She wanted love, while he wanted to be left alone, but he is the one who proposed marriage to her so many years ago.

How the world is full of contradictions and hypocrisies. Tracy didn’t even want to marry him at first, she thought he was a little homely and nerdy, but over time, his personality rubbed off on her, and she fell in love. He wouldn’t leave her alone in the beginning, he was so insistent that they go out. She agreed to go out with Russel as friends, and friends they did become. He was always so sweet, even when she dated other guys, he was always there as a shoulder to cry on when things went bad. He was so patient and loving.

Tracy did not understand what happened, but soon after they got married, he began ignoring her. He admitted that it really made him mad that she did date other guys in the past, and that he had to wait his turn. She once asked him, “If you are so mad, then why did ask me to marry you?” What he said, made her heart fill with ice, he proclaimed,

“I put so much time in, I didn’t feel like going out there and finding someone else.”

She walked out of the room after he said that, it seemed his cruelty was coming out of nowhere. Tracy did know that she was the only woman he had ever been with, sexually, and she wondered if he was having regrets because of it. He always had a hard time meeting woman, all of her friends were a little surprised that she even decided to date Russel, let alone marry him. In the end, they all reluctantly approved, just because he treated her so nicely. Tracy knew that a lot of men found her attractive, and deep down that upset Russel, because not many people ever found him desirable. He always felt like it was some sort of power that she held over him.

Tracy wanted to work things out with him, but even she had her limits, she was not going to be ignored in her own marriage. When she brought up a possible split, he spat back,

“Yeah, so you can be with tons of other guys, and I can walk around lonely, no way!”

Again, she was taken back from that comment, saying,

“That is not what I meant, I’m just saying we could use some time apart to figure out what is going on.”

He looked at her, with sad eyes, and said,

“I love that you are beautiful, and hate it as well. I hate the way men are always looking at you, and how easy it would be for you to find someone else, and how hard it would be for me. It took me over five years of watching you date other men, before you even said yes to go on a date with ugly ol Russel.”

This is the most honest he had been with her in months, she proclaimed,

“You are right, at first I did not want you like that, but over time, I fell in love with you, because of who you really are. I want that Russel back, the sweet, loving, and caring Russel. I remember you being patient, and holding me, making me feel better when I was sad. I miss the times when you held me at night, watching our favorite movies. You wanted me more for just my looks, and you didn’t want to just use me. You genuinely loved me, and I feel deep down, that you still do.”

She continued,

“What happened to you? Why have you changed?”

Russel shrugged his shoulders, and said,

“I don’t know, I’m just angry.”

Russel then walked off.

 

In the end, Tracy did end up divorcing Russel. In her soul, she wanted Russel to fight for her. She believed that if he truly loved her, he would have done anything to keep her. He practically did nothing. Barely any protest from him. She did not regret being with Russel, he was the nicest and sweetest guy she had ever been with, and she wished him the best of luck. Years later, she did remarry. And when she was walking with her husband, under the colorful canopy of fall leaves, she saw him, walking alone. Their eyes met for a brief second, when he saw her, he gave a faint smile, then diverted his eyes away. That was the last she ever saw of him.

 

This story is about desire, and how what we work so hard for, in the end may not give us happiness. Russel thought Tracy would give him happiness, and he put his heart, soul and efforts into making sure she would be with him. When he got what he wanted, he realized that instead of feeling love, he felt resentment.

Happiness comes from within, not from an external source.   Everyone is chasing a Tracy, whether it be a new career, place, fame or money. The problem is, when people do get what they want, they soon realize, it’s not what they wanted.

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The power of lies

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The Power of Lies

Written by guest writer

 “If you tell the truth, it becomes part of your past.  If you tell a lie, it becomes part of your future.”   ~John Spence
We all know what effects our lies can have on others, our loved ones, or whoever we lie to, or about.  But, have you ever really thought of the consequences of your lies on your own health?
When you lie, and are either consciously or subconsciously afraid of getting caught, there’s no way around it, your body becomes stressed about it, and it’s going to let you know!  Lies, no matter how big or little,(and yes, lies of omission are still lies), require effort to keep them hidden.
Many studies have been done, showing the serious effects that lying can have on your brain, body, and mental health.  Some of these include stress, anxiety, unhappiness, headaches, trouble sleeping, accelerated aging, and depressing your immune system, leading to more colds, sore throats, and decreased digestive health. Basically as you have to keep up with more lies, your health goes down.
In a nutshell, here’s what happens…
You tell a lie –> your body begins to feel stress –> your nervous system releases cortisol in response to the stress –> your brain is in overload and it’s ability to make smart decisions suffers –> over time you may become angry towards the person you lied to, which of course is not really anger towards them, but a manifestation of your own guilt –> you lash out to protect yourself and shift the focus to something other than your dishonesty –> the burden of your lies begins to take it’s toll on you.
On the other hand, it’s been shown that being honest has a number of positive psychological benefits.  In studies where people have purposely made an effort to remain truthful, they have reported better mental and physical health ,less physical symptoms, and improvements in their relationships.
So, here’s the moral of the story… telling the truth may may get you in trouble right now, but in the long run it’s much better to get things out in the open, and stay honest.  Not only will your loved ones and acquaintances thank you, but you will thank yourself later.
Life is just better when you’re honest because you feel better about yourself!
Please feel free to share your thoughts or personal experiences!
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