Keep the flu on the fly

Rev up your killer cells so they can take on the flu. Here’s how:

1.  Get Out and GO

The Good News: Walk for 30 minutes . . . regularly.  You increase the “killer cells” (like white blood cells) that go after bacteria that invade your body after just 30 minutes.

The Caveat:  3 hours later the effect wears off. This means you can’t go out and exercise a lot, then spend days sitting around.

Moderate aerobic exercise seems to be most effective.  Brisk walking, cycling, easy running or other moderate aerobic exercise is best (weightlifting may also work, but the results are not in yet).

 Do not overdo it. 75 minutes of intense exercise increases stress hormones, which are not good for the immune system.

 Do not wait until you are ill. Exercise gets your immune system tuned up and ready, but if you wait to exercise until you are sick, research suggests you could make yourself worse. When you get sick it is time to rest.

2.  Lay Around

No Caveat: Sleep 7 to 8 hours a night . Good sleep is critical for the immune system. Enough said . . .

The Gentle Barn

We’ve been looking for a non-profit charity to donate profits from the CURIOUStotheMAX Zazzle Shop and found one that speaks both to our love of animals and children.

2019 Valentine profits from the CURIOUStotheMAX Zazzle sales will be donated to:

logo-gb-reindeerThe Gentle Barn

Teaching People Kindness and Compassion to Animals,Each Other and our Planet.

The Gentle Barn rescues animals from severe abuse and neglect who are too old, sick, lame, or scared to be adopted into homes. They are a sanctuary to horses, donkeys, cows, pigs, sheep, goats, turkeys, chickens, llamas, peacocks, emus, cats and dogs.

Once rehabilitated, the animals help give hope and inspiration to children with the same stories:   At Risk Youth       Special Needs        Educational Programs

To browse or purchase just click on the link:


Heart filled Woofer

P & J’s Curious Critter Creation for your Valentine


Here’s how it works:

  • We create the artwork and upload our images on Zazzle
  • Zazzle makes the merchandise
  • Zazzle prints our images on the merchandise,
  • Zazzle ships the merchandise to you 

So buy a whole bunch of stuff for yourself, family & friends . . . or strangers too . . . knowing our profit goes to charity.

Love group

Tweeter, Woofer, Meowie, Squeeker & the worm

 Click Here: Store

P.S.  Zazzle FREQUENTLY has special promo codes – anywhere from 20% – 50% off.

The Gentle Barn is a 501(c)(3) corporation, tax ID is #95-4776451.

Positively Tuesday: Habits

“Whatever you would make habitual, practice it;

and if you would not make a thing habitual, do not practice it,

but accustom yourself to something else.”

Epictetus (c. 55 – c. 135 AD), born a slave, was a Greek Stoic philosopher

Piano Practice

Your Happiness Hack, Imagine Me

Daily exercise of imagining our best possible self for two weeks results in increases in optimism.

Imaging our best self can engage the parasympathetic nervous system – the function responsible for relaxation and slowing the heart rate – resulting in renewed optimism and improvements in working relationships. 


Richard Boyatzis, PhD, a professor at Case Western Reserve University, does research how people and organizations (from teams to communities) can make the changes they want and how they can sustain those changes.  He says:

 “There is strong neurological evidence supporting the theory that engaging our parasympathetic systems — through regular physical or leisure activities — stokes compassion and creativity.”



Happiness Habits – My Brain Training

While reading “The Science of Happiness” I realized I practice turning worries and fears into “happy” . . . or at least “content”.  Let me share:

Part of being happy is having the habit of being happy

Ancient Greek Philosophical Statement – Greek philosophers actually ran “happiness schools”

Periander said “Everything is practice”

How to Practice Happiness*

  • Tell yourself that negative thoughts are destructive to your mind and let them go by replacing with positive or neutral thoughts.

 I’ve learned to tell myself –  “If I’ve been thinking negative thoughts and they haven’t helped me, I might as well stop thinking them and move on”.  It works, but takes practice. At first, my brain wants to go right back to the negative thought. I have to tell it a few times to switch to positive or neutral thoughts (having something specific to switch to can help).

  •  Sensitize  yourself to positive  feelings–look for them and expand them.

Pay attention to the present – where you are, what you are doing, who you are with.  I look for ANYTHING, however, small, I can  be grateful for or at the very least appreciate.  

imagine looking at yourself from a great distance, or though the eyes of someone else–notice how IN THE LONG RUN  your worries might not be as significant as you think.

Worries, I remind myself, haven’t happened but  my mind conjuring up possibilities.

  • Imagine good things, your imagination can change the brain almost as much as actual experience.

I sometimes make up an alternate history for myself,  how I got the support and love I wished you had.  It’s like a movie, made and directed by ME.

It takes time and practice but I can testify that it is possible to increase your ability to control how you feel.  


*From “The Science of Happiness” by Stefan Klein

Sleep on “IT”

Not that long ago sleep was thought to be for the body.  Research now indicates that sleep is more for the brain – the consolidation of memory,  pruning, reorganizing, regenerating all that goes on between the ears.
How can sleep not be important since we humans spend almost half of our lives sleeping?  
Now some studies indicate that sleep is different depending on where one falls on the depression-anxiety spectrum.  By influencing how memories are processed, sleep can also change the power of a memory itself.*
This has huge implications for treatment of Post traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD):

One study suggests that sleeping within 24 hours of a traumatic experience will make those memories less distressing

“Sleep researchers are also looking at the potential of certain facets of sleep to treat post traumatic stress disorder. One study suggests that sleeping within 24 hours of a traumatic experience will make those memories less distressing in the subsequent days. For people with anxiety, sleep therapy might help with reminding people that they’ve eliminated their fear.”

Nap w:EEG

Sleep Lab by Peggy

But while people with typical cognitive patterns need sleep to recover from intense experiences, it may be different for those with depression.

“Wake therapy, where people are deliberately deprived of sleep, is spreading as a method of treating depression. It doesn’t work in all cases. But it may be that it jolts the circadian system, which is prone to sluggishness in people with depression.”

“Sleeplessness in some cases may have a protective effect.  Often following intense trauma, “the natural biological response in those conditions is that we have insomnia”. This may be an appropriate response to an unusual situation.”

So sometimes it can actually be a good thing that REM sleep deprivation harms the brain’s ability to consolidate emotional memories. “There’s good evidence that people who have longer REM sleep tend to be more depressed,” 

“Why does sleeplessness help the emotional state of some people with depression and trauma, but not others? New work by suggests that the difference may come down to genetics. A particular gene, called the brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) gene, appears key to memory consolidation during sleep.”

“People with a specific gene mutation are vulnerable to the frequent, unhelpful circling of negative memories during sleep – for them, it could be helpful to go to sleep early and get up very early.”

And the new research suggests that people who have a specific mutation of the BDNF gene are vulnerable to the frequent, unhelpful circling of negative memories during sleep. For them, it could be helpful to go to sleep early and get up very early to minimise the amount of REM sleep.

*Elaina Bollinger, specialises in emotion and sleep at the University of Tuebingen.

Rebecca Spencer a neuroscientist, University of Massachusetts Amherst

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