It’s “that” time year – Isolation, Not Loneliness, Shortens Life

We often believe that during holidays everyone, except us, is having a wonderful festive time, surrounded by loving family, caring friends, filled with fun, festivity and happiness.

At the risk of “bah humbug” what I most often heard from clients was holidays were filled with stress, trepidation, family feuds or deep pain at being alone while everyone else seemingly was partying.  

Coupled with studies which suggest that the Christmas/New Year’s holidays are a risk factor for cardiac and noncardiac mortality.* the United Kingdom study on loneliness and isolation of 6,500  had an interesting conclusion:

Loneliness hurts, but social isolation can kill you. 

“The study, by a team at University College London, comes after decades of research showing that both loneliness and infrequent contact with friends and family can, independently, shorten a person’s life. The scientists expected to find that the combination of these two risk factors would be especially dangerous.”

“We were thinking that people who were socially isolated but also felt lonely might be at particularly high risk,” says Andrew Steptoe, a professor of psychology at University College London.”

“To find out, the team studied 6,500 men and women ages 52 and older. All of them had answered a questionnaire back in 2004 or 2005 that assessed both their sense of loneliness and how much contact they had with friends and family. The researchers looked to see what happened to those people over the next seven or eight years.”

“And Steptoe says he was surprised by the result. “Both social isolation and loneliness appeared initially to be associated with a greater risk of dying,” he says. “But it was really the isolation which was more important.”‘

‘”At first, it looked like people who reported greater levels of loneliness were more likely to die, Steptoe says. But closer analysis showed that these people were also more likely to have other risk factors, like being poor and having existing health problems. Once those factors were taken into account, the extra risk associated with loneliness pretty much disappeared, Steptoe says.”‘

“But people who spent very little time with friends and family, or at social events, were more likely to die regardless of income or health status the team reports in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.”

“It’s not clear why social isolation is linked to mortality. But one possibility is that having other people around has practical benefits as you get older, Steptoe says. For example, they may push you to go see a doctor if you are having symptoms like chest pain, he says. And if you were to lose consciousness, they would call for help.”

Do Facebook friends count? How about texting?

“Other researchers say they are surprised and not necessarily convinced by the new study, even though they say it’s large and well-done.”

‘”It doesn’t negate the loneliness work that’s been done to date,” says Bert Uchino, a University of Utah psychology professor. He says this study may have reached a different conclusion than earlier ones because people’s definition of loneliness is changing in the Internet age.”‘

‘”People … may think that they’re connected to other people because they’re on Facebook,” Uchino says. So they may not report feeling lonely. But that sort of connection, he says, may not have the health benefits of direct contact with other people.”

*https://www.ahajournals.org/doi/abs/10.1161/01.cir.0000151424.02045.f7   (There are multiple explanations for this association, including the possibility that holiday-induced delays in seeking treatment play a role in producing the twin holiday spikes.)

http://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2013/03/26/175283008/maybe-isolation-not-loneliness-shortens-life

On the fly: Catch on to these Lessons and you’re Hooked for Life

Most people don’t realize I’m an outdoor person at heart.  I bike, hike, kayak and fish.  I just returned from fly fishing with my cousin Kate in the Catskill Mountains in southeast New York.  We had perfect weather and I was in my element with the tall green, green trees,  flowers in bloom, blue, blue lakes and country roads winding through low hills and picturesque towns.

Judy asked me what life lessons I learned form fly fishing.   I thought and thought but NOT while I was fly fishing. NO, never when, you are fly fishing which is the first lesson.

Life Lesson #1: Attention must be paid.  Pay attention to what you are doing.  Focus on the task at hand so you can do it well and improve your skills.  Know where you’re casting your efforts . . . You get the drift.

Fly Fishing:  To catch fish, I must pay close attention to what I’m doing:  Watch where to throw my line, watch if I’m getting a nibble.  Fly fishing requires lots of concentrated attention, similar to meditation . . . and life. 

Lesson #2. Be prepared. Have a plan for unwanted but foreseeable events.  If you fall in the water make sure it’s shallow but learn how to swim before you take the plunge.

Fly Fishing:  When wading in a moving river, it’s possible I could fall in.  My wading stick helps me avoid that, but I still keep a whistle to call for help,and have learned what to do (like positioning my feet downstream).

Lesson #3. Pack the essentials first.  You have a limited amount of resources.  First determine what is needed and then, if room, add what’s wanted.  Clutter weighs you down.

Fly Fishing: I pack the essentials first, then add the frills:  The most important is a net to catch the fish.  Since I want to carry just a FEW pounds of equipment, I’m careful about what I put in my vest pockets. In one pocket I have what I need to change flies (in case the fish don’t find the fly I’m using tasty, or replace a fly when I invariably lose them to an aggressive bush, grabby tree, deep rock or floating log). Another pocket holds nippers to undo messy tangles of line (especially those that wrap around my body).

If there’s room, I add things that are not essential but handy – extra flies, line, goo that help a fly float, gadgets to help flies sink, and indicators that help me know when a fish has taken my fly.

Lesson #4. Have a big netBe ready to capture the good things that come your way.

Fly Fishing:  Most of the time I catch small fish but I’m ready for the biggest fish.   I carry a BIG net because I can put a small fish in a big net, but can’t put a big fish in a small net.   When I “land” my catch I look to make sure it’s a fish before cradling it back into the water to join his other fishy friends.  

Lesson #5.  Water-proof yourself.   When you do fall down most of you will stay dry . . . otherwise you’ll get moldy.

Fly Fishing:  I dress for success. That means waterproof clothing and boots, so I can stand in a stream trying not to fall in.   But nice accessories are important, such as a cute vest with all the flys, and my wading stick  (form and fashion all in one).

Lesson #6.  Keep Casting.  It takes a LOT of practice to know where and how to make a catch.

Fly Fshing  I practiced casting first and a lot (because I couldn’t  practice landing a fish until I caught one). Practice means noticing where my fly lands (in the water is definitely desirable), and learning were it is likely there’s a fish waiting.  Practice means reading the currents and . . . improving my aim

Lesson #7. Tie down what’s important.  When you find yourself in the wilderness you don’t want to “lose it” downstream.

Fly Fishing:  I keep what I value close by and tied down.  Standing in a moving stream and dropping something I need  (like my fishing rod) means it’s GONE. Finding a way to attach important stuff -like my “nippers” that are on a “zinger”  (a retractible string with a pin on the end) is what makes a good fly fisher person . . .  which brings me back to Lesson #6.

   . . . Kate and I caught a 6 fish and released them to swim free.

Peggy

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April 29th, International Dance Day

“People reflect each other constantly,

but when they dance, perhaps what they reflect most is that moment of honesty.”

Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui, dancer and choreographer

Shake, rattle ‘n roll, Internationally by Peggy

“In 1982 the Dance Committee of ITI founded International Dance Day to be celebrated every year on the 29th April, the birthday of Jean-Georges Noverre (1727-1810), creator of modern ballet. The intention of the International Dance Day Message is to celebrate dance, revel in the universality of this art form, cross all political, cultural and ethnic barriers, and bring people together with a common language – dance.”

https://www.international-dance-day.org/

Click here for more flashy fun:  Fly’n High

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Happy Chocolate Easter

Dark chocolate, cocoa powder, cinnamon, olive oil, eggs are good for you.  Sneak in a bit of veggies and you’ve got health food!

Double Chocolate Zucchini Brownies

2 cups zucchini, grated (Grate very fine so your brain doesn’t recognize anything healthy
1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 cup honey or agave nectar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 3/4 cup flour (white, spelt, whole wheat – different flours = different textures)
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chi[ps

Add Walnuts, flax seed or chia seeds (optional health foods)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

  1. Grease an 8 x 8 inch baking pan.
  2. Grate zucchini. Press with a paper towel to remove excess moisture. Fluff with a fork.
  3. In a large bowl, beat together oil, eggs, agave or honey and vanilla. Add zucchini.
  4. In a separate bowl, combine flour, cocoa, salt, baking powder and cinnamon. Stir to combine.
  5. Add dry mixture to the wet/zucchini mixture. Stir to combine. Add chocolate chips.
  6. Pour batter into prepared pan.
  7. Bake 30-40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Cook it Up Kitty eating healthy

Brain Myth – 100% Psycho Fact

We use only 10 percent of our brains . . . not

This has been repeated in pop culture for a century, implying that we have huge reserves of untapped mental powers. “But the supposedly unused 90 percent of the brain is not some vestigial appendix. Brains are expensive—it takes a lot of energy to build brains during fetal and childhood development and maintain them in adults. Evolutionarily, it would make no sense to carry around surplus brain tissue.”

Bird Brain by Peggy

1) “Brain imaging research techniques such as PET scans (positron emission tomography) and fMRI (functional magnetic resonance imaging) clearly show that the vast majority of the brain does not lie fallow. Indeed, although certain minor functions may use only a small part of the brain at one time, any sufficiently complex set of activities or thought patterns will indeed use many parts of the brain. Just as people don’t use all of their muscle groups at one time, they also don’t use all of their brain at once.”

2) “The myth presupposes an extreme localization of functions in the brain. If the “used” or “necessary” parts of the brain were scattered all around the organ, that would imply that much of the brain is in fact necessary. But the myth implies that the “used” part of the brain is a discrete area, and the “unused” part is like an appendix or tonsil, taking up space but essentially unnecessary. But if all those parts of the brain are unused, removal or damage to the “unused” part of the brain should be minor or unnoticed. Yet people who have suffered head trauma, a stroke, or other brain injury are frequently severely impaired. Have you ever heard a doctor say, “. . . But luckily when that bullet entered his skull, it only damaged the 90 percent of his brain he didn’t use”?”

Psycho-fact

Regardless of the exact version heard, the myth is spread and repeated, by both the well-meaning and the deliberately deceptive. The belief that remains, then, is what Robert J. Samuelson termed a “psycho-fact, [a] belief that, though not supported by hard evidence, is taken as real because its constant repetition changes the way we experience life.”

Sources: https://www.smithsonianmag.com/science-nature/top-ten-myths-about-the-brain-178357288/

Do We Only Use Ten Percent of our Brains?

March 12-18, 2018 is Brain Awareness Week (BAW) is a nationwide effort organized by the Dana Alliance for Brain Initiatives and the Society for Neuroscience to promote the public and personal benefits of brain research. 

http://www.dana.org/BAW/

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Happy Anniversary to US! Gratitude to YOU! . . . plus a drawing

One year ago TODAY  CATNIPblog gave birth to a litter of critters and a gaggle of followers . . . YOU!

Gaggle

We’ve tried to remain true to our goal of sharing the information we’ve accumulated in our collective 60+ years as psychotherapists and our love of current neuroscience and neuropsychology research.  

Our vow to each other: Peggy keeps us on the track while Judy tries to swerve around the curves and bends.  So far our collaboration has worked – now Peggy is swerving and Judy is tracking.

We are GRATEFUL beyond words (even though we will find the words) to each of you for subscribing, commenting and giving us encouragement to blog our little fingers to the bone.

Our gift of gratitude:

We will use a random number generator to pick 3 names from our subscriber list.  The winners can choose whatever prize they want from our ZAZZLE Store.

We’ll have the prize mailed – you can send it as a gift to someone else or receive it yourself.

If you haven’t subscribed it’s not too late.  We will do the drawing on Sunday, March 17th.

P.S. More News!  We’ll be coordinating some CATNIP posts with Curious to the Max

click here: CURIOUS to the Max.  

CATNIPblog will stay focused on “Self-care tips, tools, techniques & neuroscience research for MIND, BODY & SOUL – shared with a wink and a smile”

AND . . .  since Peggy & Judy have “stuff” – stories, poems, drawings etc. that aren’t geared to CATNIP’s mission, you’ll find them on CURIOUS to the Max . . .  which is . . . how would we describe it? . . .  

. . . open-ended . . .

“Curious STUFF that makes me love, learn and laugh”

Thank you all for your support!

 

 

Frankly Freddie – National Love your Pet Day

Dear Humans and other Critters,

Are you lucky OR WHAT?! Since you missed sending me Valentine’s treats you get another chance.  February 20th is National LOVE YOUR PET DAY.

National Love Your Pet Day is an unofficial holiday because we pets are apolitical and don’t have an effective lobby. The purpose of this holiday is to encourage you to show us the love and affection we deserve

Number of Animals Owned in U.S (In Millions)

  • Freshwater Fish: 140
  • Cats: 94
  • Dogs 90
  • Birds 20.4
  • Saltwater Fish: 18.8
  • Reptiles: 9.4
  • Horses: 7.7

Those of you who are owned by birds, saltwater fish, horses, donkeys or reptiles and don’t know what canine dogs prefer here’s a list of my favorite treats:

  • ice cream
  • bananas, blueberries, apples tomatoes (all fruit)
  • peanut butter
  • doggie cookies
  • ALL human food

The benefits of owning a pet like ME

1.  Lessen the Chance of Developing Allergies

Several studies show that children in households with pets have a 33% lower chance of developing a related allergy.

2.  Strengthen the Immune Systems of Children

Children in households with pets didn’t just have less allergies to the particular animal in the home, the children also had stronger immunity systems overall. Studies have shown that children who live in homes with pets miss less school due to sickness than children who grow up in pet-less homes.

3.  Instant Ice Breakers

If you are shy we are instant icebreaker when you take us out in public. My human is always interrupting my walk and talking to other pet owners. 

4.  Improved Heart Health

According to the latest research, is that we may improve your heart health. Studies have shown that owning a pet can lower blood pressure, triglyceride and cholesterol levels in their owners. Which can lower the chance of a heart attack.  I’m better than prescriptions . . . maybe not cheaper but BETTER.

5.  Improve Fitness Levels

I help prevent my human from becoming obese. Studies show that walking you dog on a regular basis helps pet owners lose weight . . . or at the very least maintain it.  She tends to over-indulge (in eating, not walking).

6.  Improve Depression

Pets have been shown as a great cure for the blues. It’s becoming more and more common for using Pet Facilitate Therapy (PFT) in hospitals and nursing homes. Many people immediately feel better just by petting a dog or cat.

  Check out this! Remington’s Tail

Adopt a pet if you haven’t already been adopted!

And send me National Pet Day Treats.

Why Chocolate is Good for Tallulah and My Heart

Tallulah Pacehead

Eating chocolate has been tied to a reduced risk of heart disease. Now scientists have uncovered how strong this link is.

“Using data from a large Danish health study, researchers have found an association between chocolate consumption and a lowered risk for atrial fibrillation, the irregular heartbeat that can lead to stroke, heart failure and other serious problems. The study is in Heart.”

“Scientists tracked diet and health in 55,502 men and women ages 50 to 64. They used a well-validated 192-item food-frequency questionnaire to determine chocolate consumption. During an average 14 years of follow-up, there were 3,346 diagnosed cases of atrial fibrillation.”

“After controlling for total calorie intake, smoking, alcohol consumption, body mass index and other factors, they found that compared with people who ate no chocolate, those who had one to three one-ounce servings a month had a 10 percent reduced relative risk for atrial fibrillation, those who ate one serving a week had a 17 percent reduced risk, and those who ate two to six a week had a 20 percent reduced risk.”

“Dark chocolate with higher cocoa content is better, according to the lead author, Elizabeth Mostofsky, an instructor at Harvard, because it is the cocoa, not the milk and sugar, that provides the benefit.”

“You can’t have as much chocolate as you want,” she said, “and then ignore everything we know about healthy diet and physical activity.”

Ms. Mostofsky is a bit of a spoil sport.  But I’m going for a 20% reduced risk so Tallulah Pacehead can chill.

Check these out too!  Just click:

Woofer’s Chocolate Raspberry Bark Bark

Freddie’s Food Friday

A Chocolate a Day Melts the Fat Away

Chocolate Rides Again

(jw)

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A Hug a Day Brings Happy Your Way!

National Hugging Day TM

January 21st

1)    Hugs make us feel “happy”! When we hug another person, our bodies release oxytocin, a hormone associated with “happiness,” according to scientific studies.

2)    Hugs alleviate stress! Just as a good hug increases our oxytocin levels, it decreases our cortisol or “stress” levels.

3)    Babies need hugs as much as water and food! According to researchers at Harvard University, hugs help promote normal levels of cortisol necessary for child development.

4)    Hugs make us better students! Students who receive a supportive touch from a teacher are twice as likely to volunteer in class.

5)    Hugs improve our game! Scientists at University of California, Berkley discovered that the more affectionate members of a team are with each other, the more likely they are to win.

Snug Hug by Peggy

6)    A hug a day keeps the doctor away! A hug stimulates the thymus gland, which in turn regulates the production of white blood cells that keep us healthy and disease-free.

7)    A hug stops the bug! Researchers at Carnegie Mellon proved that individuals who were sick and received hugs had less severe symptoms and were able to get better quicker.

8)    A hugging heart is a healthy heart! Research from University of North Carolina showed that a good hug helps ease blood flow and lower cortisol levels, which in turn help lower our heart rates.

9)    A hugging couple is a happy couple! Couples that experience their partners’ love through physical affection share higher oxytocin levels.

10)    Hugs let someone know you care without having to say a word! According to Dacher Keltner, professor of psychology at University of California, Berkeley, we can identify love from simple human touch – imagine how much love a big hug can communicate!

From http://www.nationalhuggingday.com/ 

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2017 goes out stiffly with a whimper and a snort

In the middle of the night

Peggy got a stiff neck

Couldn’t look left

couldn’t look right.  

Judy caught a cold

bleary eyes

red nose

miserable sickly, all told

High on the Hog by Peggy

So thanks to Peggy for posting

Meowie and Woofer for hosting

and YOU for following CATNIPblog

May you live 2018 

 high on the hog

Your first chance to help us win and you to not win

“OK I signed up but please no mug.  I prefer to be a loser.” (RC)

Remember our last drawing MUG on a MUG?  After PLEADING with friends and colleagues to “follow” CATNIPblog I received the above message from my grade-school crush (who shall remain nameless but knows who he is . . . cuz I told him.)

Many of you have made it abundantly clear you don’t want things, so DO NOT MISS THIS OPPORTUNITY to not get anything!

TA DAA!!!

Announcing the no-giveaway-once-in-a-full-moon opportunity to invite your friends and family to FOLLOW CATNIPblog and receive nothing at all in return except for . . .

. . . Peggy & Judy’s unabashed gratitude cuz they do not want to spend the last remaining days of their lives typing their little fingers to the bone, creating uproariously funny drawings and taxing their little brains trying to figure out how to get more readers.

Looking for blog “Followers” by Peggy

Here’s all you have to do to insure you never have to apologize to Peggy & Judy with lame excuses like they’ve already heard:

  • I don’t know what a blog is.
  • I don’t have a computer
  • I can’t find the “follow” box even though you have told me it’s in the upper right hand corner of the blog.

join my grade-school crush (who continues to remain nameless).  Send this link http://CATNIPBLOG.com to your friends and family to FOLLOW CATNIPblog.  And if they are allergic to cats FOLLOW CURIOUS TO THE MAX where almost none of Judy’s drawings have fur, much less clothes.  (Click here for what I’m talking about.)

Join hundreds of other wonderful fellow-followers on the CATNIPblog of OFFICIAL LOSERS – you will receive nothing, at no time, nohow in perpetuity.”

Black hole of cyber-space

PLLLLLLLEEEEEEEEEEZ tell your friends and family to FOLLOW so Peggy & Judy can start the new year knowing all their hard work isn’t being sucked into the black hole of cyber-space without proper appreciation.

They don’t even have to read any of the posts . . .  we’ll never know.

(jw)

Frankly Freddie True Tails – Santa’s Plight

Dear human-beings,

Besides being soft and cuddly a mission of mine is to bring poetry to the masses, of which you are some.   And I am here to bring you the truth . . . even though it might hurt.

Santa was frantic at the North Pole

Finances in the red, he was in the hole

Mrs Claus couldn’t afford sugar

For her cookies sublime

Dear old hubby didn’t have a dime

231739-royalty-free-rf-clipart-illustration-of-santa-freaking-out-poster-art-print

North Pole employment had exploded

and Santa’s credit was eroded

He’d spent his last cent on black Friday deals

and turkey with the trimmings for thanksgiving meals

imgres

The night before Christmas he no longer had clout

When all the elves threatened a walk-out

Elf-union held all the chips

As evidenced by the grin on all the elf lips

For every elf in all the land

had won a pay deal without tipping their hand:

Double pay all December

a free thanksgiving meal in November

Finally fringe benefits for elves was real

For Santa and the Mrs, there was no appeal

Santa had bitten his nails to the quick

Both right and left eyes developed a tic

All Santa could do was self medicate

So he stuffed his mouth from the cookie plate santa-claus-being-drunk-holding-beer-33377069

And downed all the rum from a hot toddy cup

his blood pressure sky-high, went up and up

His big fat belly shook like a bowl full of lead

While visions of bankruptcy danced in his head

So all you children and adults too

Have compassion and learn to make due  

STOP asking for presents and things you don’t need

YOU must now take heed.

It’s no time for greed

If you want Santa another Christmas to live

to every red-kettle-bell-ringer

Dig in your pocket and GIVE.

Poetically yours,

Freddie Parker Westerfield

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Is your present presentable? – 13 Guidelines –

In my family when we bought someone a gift we asked ourselves 3 questions:

  • The first criteria – “What do they NEED?”.
  • If we answered ourselves in the affirmative the next question asked – “What DON’T they have?”
  • And the final test to pick a gift – “Would the gift be USEFUL to them?”.

Sometimes the resulting gift was wonderful and appreciated.  This, I will admit, was often when the gift giver didn’t follow those rules or asked the recipient what they WANTED.

Entering adulthood I learned that my family-rules-of-gift-giving are waaaaay off.  Here are my own guidelines (I’ve been told that I am pretty good at picking out gifts that hit the mark):

Gift Exchange by Peggy

 

  1. Give people what they already have! I know, this doesn’t seem to make sense. Nobody needs what they already have.  But if they have it, they LIKE it. If they have a whole lot of whatever it is, they like it a whole lot. So get them more. They will love it. They have already told you by their own choices.
  2. If they don’t have it be sure they want it. This is something I have been guilty of–I think they need this. It would be good for them to have this. But if it’s easy for them to get and they haven’t gotten it . .   they may not want it, unless it’s new or updated.
  3. Wrap it beautifully or creatively. The neuroscience bears this out: When people are impressed by the wrapping that carries over to the gift. This is a similar concept to the wine testing that found people like a wine better when they are told it costs a lot, and like it less when told it is cheap – when it’s the exact same wine.
  4. Use their colors & style. Think about the colors they wear or have in their homes.  If you are getting clothes, this is also true of style–do they dress like a tomboy or a diva? Match their style. Matching style is good for everything, even a toaster.
  5. Give an experience or time.  Help them do more of what they love:  Tickets to an event, creating free time (Your time babysitting, pet walking, running errands, cooking a meal etc ), Always ask yourself the same questions you would for a physical gift –  Would they want/enjoy this?, Will it be easy for them to do?)
  6. Resist temptation to get what YOU would want,
  7. Think about how they will use it later, not so much about how they will react when opening the gift
  8. Ask what they would like (research on  gifts shows following the gift list is more appreciated than off list items).
  9. If you’ve found a great gift that fits more than one person, go ahead,  give the same gift to different people.
  10. Don’t go too fancy or complicated as most people want easy and convenient (unless you know they like fancy).
  11. Let them know you were thinking about them–why you got it, what it reminded you of about them (especially for unusual or weird gifts).
  12. if you give a “big” gift, leave it at that.  Additional small gifts decrease the perceived value of a big gift
  13. Ask their friends or look at their Facebook page for ideas on what they like (hobbies, interests, clothes/jewelry  do they wear in their photos)

Are there gift-giving guidelines you follow?  Let me know!

(PA)

http://nymag.com/scienceofus/2014/12/7-science-backed-ways-to-give-less-bad-gifts.html?utm_source=eml&utm_medium=e1&utm_campaign=sharebutton-t

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FAITHfully Yours – Sunday Retrospective #1

“If we take people as they are, we make them worse. If we treat them as if they were what they ought to be, we help them to become what they are capable of becoming”

Goethe 

A Baha’i Bit

Essentially a mystical Faith, the Baha’i teachings focus on the soul’s relationship with the eternal, unknowable essence of God, and recommend daily prayer and meditation to everyone. 

Baha’is believe that the human spirit lives eternally, and so endeavor to illumine their souls with spiritual attributes—kindness, generosity, integrity, truthfulness, humility and selfless service to others.

http://bahaiteachings.org/bahai-faith

www.bahai.org/

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“But now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.” 

1 Corinthians 13:13

“Love is heaven’s kindly light, the Holy Spirit’s eternal breath that vivifieth the human soul.” 

‘Abdu’l-Bahá, (Baha’i World Faith)

Baha’is accept the validity of each of the founders and prophets of the major world religions, whose teachings have provided the basis for the advancement of civilization – Abraham, Krishna, Zoroaster, Moses, Buddha, Jesus, and Muhammad. Bahá’u’lláh, the latest of these Messengers, explained that the religions of the world come from the same Source and are in essence successive chapters of one religion from God.

_______________________________________________________________

“Prayer need not be in words, but rather in thought and attitude… words without love mean nothing.”

Abdu’l-Bahá

Loving Touch by Peggy

Baha’i Tidbit

The Baha’i Faith, the world’s newest independent global belief system, teaches the oneness of God, the unity of humanity and the essential harmony of all religions.

http://bahaiteachings.org/

bahai-faithwww.bahai.org/

During the month of November, Baha’i Blogging is hosting a post-a-day-or-so something related to or inspired by Faith.  Because so many of you follow both this blog and CATNIPblog Peggy & I will post our “dailies” here and Sunday “retrospectives” on CATNIPblog.com

The hashtag is #bahaiblogging.

Do You Meet My 3 Criteria for Feeling Guilty?

This is typically the time of year we begin to take stock of all that has transpired in the past months and our hopes for the coming year. It’s also that time of year when feelings of “guilt” tend to rise to the surface:  Guilt we’ve not given enough, been kind enough,  done enough, been enough, said enough, worked hard enough, lived up to our own goals or missed meeting others’ expectations  . . . .  You get the idea – humans are very creative when conjuring up guilty feelings.

Almost everyone I saw in private practice as a psychotherapist, at one time or another, expressed guilt:

Some harbored guilty feelings they were responsible for a parent’s short-comings, abusive behavior or unhappiness; Many felt guilty they had left an abusive home when they were of age and left a younger sibling behind without protection;  Clients felt guilty they couldn’t provide for their family in the way they imagined they should.  I could give millions . . . of other examples.

Guilt is my least favorite emotion because much of the time it is an intellectualization – an attempt to make sense of the irrational – while the feelings of sadness, hurt or fear lurk beneath our surfaces .  

Don’t get me wrong.  Guilt is needed and appropriate if you’ve done something immoral, illegal or unethical as it helps correct the course of future choices and actions.

  • Immoral – Guilt maintains healthy relationships
  • Illegal -Guilt helps keep society functioning at it’s optimum
  • Unethical – Guilt keeps business, commerce on the right path

If I said this once while I was in practice,  I said it a trillion times:

“DO feel guilty if you’ve betrayed or hurt another person, broken the law, or been unprofessional.  STOP thinking you’re guilty if your behavior doesn’t meet the the immoral, illegal or unethical litmus test and choose another emotion”

Why do we choose guilt when our actions aren’t immoral, illegal or unethical?  We want to think we have/had control – that we could have chosen to do something differently and therefore we will be in control and have choice in the future.  With feelings of sadness, fear or hurt we are simply vulnerable and feel out of control – out of control of ourselves and over circumstances.

If you think you are “guilty” and have not broken an immoral, illegal or unethical code pick another feeling! – any other feeling:  mad, sad, disgusted, fearful, hurt . . .  You won’t die if you are vulnerable.  Our fantasy of always being in control is mainly that . . . fantasy.

(jw)

 

 

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Here’s the Best Way to Cope with Family Tensions

The rosy pictures of family harmony is ever-present in the media during holiday season.  

As therapists we were privy to the fact that holidays are stressful and often bring out the worst in family and interpersonal relationships.  

Clients who had no family fantasized about what they were missing and clients with families fantasized about how to miss family gatherings.

Family Dynamics by Peggy

It’s gratifying to know we were on track with how we approached client holiday stress & strain.  The research bears this out:

  • It is not helpful to ruminate on what was, what could be, ruminate over and over about the hurt, anger, injustice of it all.  Rumination leads to depression and/or anxiety.  
  • It’s best to tell the “tale” once, focus on what hasn’t worked and find new ways to cope.

Here’s a synopsis of the research and article:

Family Arguments Over The Holidays? Replaying Them in Detail May Be the Best Way to Cope

“Repeated studies have found that people prone to depression can get worse if they excessively dwell or ruminate on a stressful incident such as a quarrel or a loss. But experiments by Exeter University psychologists have found that when individuals practised running emotional incidents through their head, focusing on sensory details and recalling exactly what happened, how it happened, and even where it happened, it helped them respond constructively and stopped them becoming so upset about a future or past stressful experience.”

“Psychologists at the University of Exeter have found that recalling the detail of shouting matches and disagreements, including exactly who said what to whom and how, may not be destructive and prolong the tension, but could help people keep incidents in perspective and stop the triggering of self-doubt and even depression.”

“After training to recall the details of an upsetting incident including the tone of a voice, the words used and how the event happened, people became more resilient and put the upsetting incident into context, stopping a downward spiral into low mood.”

“The same exercise of focusing on the sensory details of sad experiences and asking “How did it happen?” “How can I do something about it?” was also found to speed up recovery from doing badly on a test in undergraduates, and to improve interpersonal problem solving, such as finding a way to make up with your partner after an argument, in people who were currently or formerly depressed.”

“For people experiencing depression learning to focus on stressful incidents and to re-imagine them in full technicolour asking themselves ‘What is unique about this situation?’ ‘ How did it happen?’ – instead of ‘Why did it happen to me? had an a ‘significant’ impact on helping to alleviate mental ill health.”

Then again, one way to avoid all the holiday tension is to eat out or . . . leave town.

Read the full article:

http://neurosciencenews.com/psychology-replay-arguments-5819/

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Freddie’s Drawing 3 Winners – Mug on a Mug plus

Dear Jack, Human-being B.B.B. (Bounteous Beneficent Benefactor) and Charlie, Canine Dog,  

Jack, You are my new Fan Club PRESIDENT and Joyce (my former Fan Club President is now your Vice President in charge of membership.  For a list of your duties and obligations please click here:

Charlie’s MUG on a mug

***    ***    ***

Dear Rick, Human-being,

Thank you for the inspiration of doing a “Follow your KNOWS” mug. We’ve had requests to buy products with pet’s, friends or relative’s pictures.

After some investigation  . . . “we” (the imperial “WE”, read Peggy) would be happy to create a mug, button, t-shirt etc. etc. with photo you send us.

If Zazzle makes it, we can decorate it!

Rick’s “mug” is proof:

Rick’s MUG on a mug-on-a-mug

“Follow your KNOWS” 

  Special Orders – Here’s how:

  1. Go to Zazzle and pick the product you wish your picture to be placed on.  Zazzle has tons of products – clothing, household, posters, . . .
  2. Send the picture and your choice of product via e-mail to   PeggyJudyTime@gmail.com
  3. We will notify you with instructions and a link to Zazzle. As soon as it’s ready you can . . . 
  4. . . . Go to ZAZZLE CATNIP Store to purchase it.  Zazzle will ship it directly to you or to the person you are gifting.

Zazzle has frequent promotions so your particular item will undoubtedly be on sale at some time.

***     ***     ***     

Dear Joyce, human-being, former Freddie Fan Club President and Current Vice President in Charge of Marketing,

Cookie Klenner is a runner-up since one of the drawing winners never responded! (and she looks like me)  

Cookie’s magnet mug

Frankly,

Freddie Parker Westerfield, S.C.B.M. & FDM

Senior Canine Blog Master and Free Drawing Meister

Freddie’s Mug on a Mug

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Hallowed Halloween

Hocus Pocus

Let’s all focus

No room for mean

on Halloween

Meowie Fly’n High by Peggy

Let love fly high

and fill the sky

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Inktober Retrospective #5

Lost and Found

Oct 30 Prompt FOUNDPumpkin Head

Unmasked

Oct 31 Prompt MASKMardi Gras Meowie

INKTOBER – THE END!

Posting a drawing a day on Curious to the Max with a once-a-week Retrospective on CATNIPblog 

http://mrjakeparker.com/inktober

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Inktober Retrospective #4

  Saucy is as Juicy Does

Oct 23 Prompt JUICY – MEEE YOW EEE! Meowie

One Blind Mouse

Oct prompt BLIND- One is better than 3

 Inky Dinky Dinghy

Oct 25 Prompt SHIP – I Spy Matey Meowie

Squeaky Inky Tober

Oct 26 Prompt SQUEAK-A Squeaky Mouse Gets the Cheese

Oct 27 prompt CLIMBUp a Tree

Falling (literally & figuratively) Asleep

Oct 28 prompt FALL

United We Stand, United We Dance

Oct 29 Prompt UNITED-Conga Line Kitties

Posting a drawing a day on Curious to the Max with a once-a-week Sunday-7 Day Retrospective on CATNIPblog. 

http://mrjakeparker.com/inktober

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Inktober Retrospective #2

Our second weeks worth of our weird, wacky world

Oct 8 Prompt CROOKED

Oct 9 Prompt SCREECH

Oct 10 Prompt GIGANTIC

Oct 11 Prompt RUN

Oct 12 Prompt SHATTERED

Teeming with “Good Witches” is our kitchen towel on Zazzle

Oct 13 Prompt TEEMING

Oct 14 Prompt FIERCE

Whaahooo! This Mysterious Kitty is also in our ZAZZLE CATNIP Shop.

  • Kitchen Towels
  • Paper Cups
  • Napkins,
  • Mugs
  • Special Orders- we can decorate anything you want as long as Dazzle has it!

Oct 15 Prompt MYSTERIOUS

Posting a drawing a day on Curious to the Max with a once-a-week Sunday 7-Day Retrospective on CATNIPblog for those of you who just want to click- off the dailies!

http://mrjakeparker.com/inktober

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Frankly Freddie – No Trick, All Treat

It’s that time of year when my human-beings buy bags of candy in the pretext of passing it out on Halloween. Then they close all the curtains, turn off the lights and eat the candy themselves.

It’s also that time of year when Peggy & Judy revel in all things “gastly and ghoulish” but cover it up by only publicly displaying their drawings that are “sweet & lovable”

I’m putting their artistic endeavors up for sale on 

 Zazzle.com/catnipblog

“True Love is Seen Through the Heart” MUGS and More

All the proceeds go to buying me my own halloween treats which I shall eat on Halloween with the curtains closed and the lights out.

All the designs are on

  • Cups
  • Napkins
  • Paper plates
  • Mugs
  • AND special order (like t-shirts for real kids and adult kids)

Please buy a lot of these things because all we get is 5% of the sale and that doesn’t buy a lot of treats (human or canine).

Frankly,

Freddie Parker Westerfield, HMS

Head of Marketing & Sales

 

 

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Pawsitively Tuesday – Witch is true friendship?

True friendship is seen through the heart

not the eyes

 Zazzle.com/catnipblog

HELP!!!  Peggy & I need a vacation – preferably a world cruise. 

All our Halloween products are for sale on Zazzle and we get 5% commission.  At that rate, we figure instead of cruising around the world we’ll have to settle on cruising around the block.  But we are so excited about how our drawings look on REAL stuff we want you to take a look.  (There’s no pressure to buy since we won’t be looking over your shoulder . . . )  

Tell a friend too . . . our cars need gasoline to cruise.

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Freddie’s Mug on a Mug GRAND Winners!

Dear Human-beings who had the good sense, not to mention the intelligence, to enter my giveaway by commenting on or following CATNIPblog,

My mug can be your mug

Unless you are a blogger you might not know that every commenter and follower is catalogued in the statistics.  This makes my job easy keeping track of everyone (and how many treats I get). 

  1. I assigned every person who commented or “followed” a number.
  2. A random number generator on the Web gave me 3 numbers.
  3. I matched the randomly generated numbers to potential winners AND

TA DA!!!! GRRRRRAND Winners

Jack Hailey

Rick Yerman

Adele Green

If that’s you:

1. If you don’t have a pet, go IMMEDIATELY to Zazzle.com/catnipblog and pick out the Mug or Mood Magnet you want and e-mail* your choice with your name & mailing address

2. If you want your pet’s mug on a mug (or magnet) take a picture of your pet’s mug and e-mail* it with your name & mailing address to:

*PEGGYJUDYTIME@gmail.com

You’ll get your treat via U.S. Postal Service 

Frankly,

Freddie Parker Westerfield, CDM, CB

Certified Drawing Master & Consummate Blogger

P.S.  It’s still not too late to follow because according to my blogging contract I receive a treat for every new follower . . .  in perpetuity.

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A Freddie Giveaway – Your Pet’s Mug on a Mug

Get a picture of your pet on a mug!!

To enter:

Already following:  just comment on this post 

New to CATNIP:  Follow us and you are entered

see below for details

Dear Freddie Fans, human and otherwise,

I suspect I’m a lure to get more followers to CATNIP but I’m all for it.  The more followers the more FREDDIE FANS.  (Peggy & Judy have the good sense to understand they aren’t the prime movers and motivators on “my blogs”.)

THREE, yes 3, winners get to choose their prize:

  • A picture of your own pet on a mug or magnet

    or

  • A CatNip mug or Mood magnet, including Freddie’s Mug

Meowie's Mood Mugs

Feel’n Bouncy, Grumpy, Angelic, Bashful & Colorful Mugs

Meowie's Mood Magnets

Feel’n Bouncy, Grumpy, Sleepy, Bashful & Sunny magnets

Easy!

New to CATNIP?  All you need to do is follow us.  Here’s how:

  1. Enter your email in the box “FOLLOW CATNIP VIA EMAIL” (located on the upper right hand side-bar) and Click “follow”.
  2. You will get an email asking to verify that you want to follow . . . and you’re entered!
  3. If you have been referred by a current “follower” mention their name in the “comments” under this post and they will get an extra entries! (and I get extra treats)

Already a follower?  Enter the giveaway.

Here’s how:

  1. Make a comment below on this post and you’ll be entered into the giveaway.  (No one is going to reply to your comment so you can keep it short . . .like “I’m following”.)
  2. Click on the e-mail icon on this post (just below the “PLEASE share this! Click here!”) and e-mail this post to a friend.
  3. For every NEW follower who mentions your name in the COMMENT box YOU get 2 more entries!

For every entry I’ve been promised a treat.  

So hurry up and comment.

Frankly,

Freddie Parker Westerfield, SCDL

Supreme Canine Dog Lurer

You may join PAST Giveaway Winners who can vouch they were WINNERS!

Jacqui Murray, WordDreams, Author

Vandi Clarke with her prize CATNIP mug

Check out the whole collection
by CatnipBlog

If you want to know how much moola we are making it’s all explained here: Free or Cheep

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Healing a broken heart, Part III – PUTTING THE LOSS BEHIND YOU

When you have discovered what there is to learn, it is time to put the loss behind you. Here are some ways to re-focus.

1. CREATE A Goodbye RITUAL
Create a way to say goodbye to your old feelings. I say set aside, not discard, because everything in your life is a resource and you may want to draw upon this resource sometime in the future. My ritual was to gather all objects, letter and notes that reminded me of the relationship, put them in a large box, and store them in the attic. Other people have written things on paper and then burned the paper.

2. TURN TO NATURE

Nature Heals by Peggy

Getting out into nature helps you gain perspective. There is wonder and beauty in nature. Look up to the stars, out to the sea and watch the sun give life to the trees, plants, flowers and you!  It’s simply  there for you to notice.  Take a walk by water and feel the release of the endorphins.  Read Falling Water Boosts Your Mood.

3. REPLACE WHAT YOU HAVE LOST
Your loved one played several roles in your life, and you can replace them.  And the “replacement” need just with just one person.  Volunteer, enlarge your circle of friends, stretch yourself and do things alone, take dancing lessons, learn to play a musical instrument, travel

4. KNOW YOU CAN ALWAYS HAVE LOVE IN YOUR LIFE . . .

Love a Hug by Peggy

. . .  because you know how to GIVE love.

Read

Part I, Healthy Grieving

Part II, Learning

(PA)

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Positively Tuesday – Regrets for growing old?

My dad traveled the world: Europe, Australia, New Zealand, Japan. and Tahiti where he found his 3rd wife.   Hawaii was one place he returned to often and where he lived  the last few years of his life.  He died at 93, blessed to live a long life and see the world.

Dad loved wine, so maybe its reputation for adding years to ones life is deserved.

My Father’s 93rd birthday

I’ll raise a glass of wine (and have a bit of chocolate) to my dad for inheriting his love of travel and, hopefully, long-lived genes.

PA

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April Fools’ Day is EVERYDAY – no joke

Need proof of human gullibility?

How about  the attack of the flesh-eating bananas.

Excerpted from Why are People so Incredibly Gullible by David Robson, BBC Future’s feature writer. 

(This was such a fascinating article I had trouble editing it down.  For the entire article click on the Title.)

“In January 2000, a series of chain emails began reporting that imported bananas were infecting people with “necrotizing fasciitis” – a rare disease in which the skin erupts into livid purple boils before disintegrating and peeling away from muscle and bone.”

Cat-eating Bananas, by Peggy

“According to the email chain, the FDA was trying to cover up the epidemic to avoid panic. Faced with the threat, readers were encouraged to spread the word to their friends and family.”

“The threat was pure nonsense, of course. But by 28 January, the concern was great enough for the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to issue a statement decrying the rumor.”

” . . . Rather than quelling the rumour, they had only poured fuel on its flames. Within weeks, the CDC was hearing from so many distressed callers it had to set up a banana hotline. The facts became so distorted that people eventually started to quote the CDC as the source of the rumour. Even today, new variants of the myth have occasionally reignited those old fears.”

“One, somewhat humbling, explanation is that we are all “cognitive misers” – to save time and energy, our brains use intuition rather than analysis.”

As a simple example, quickly answer the following questions:

“How many animals of each kind did Moses take on the Ark?”

“Between 10 and 50% of study participants presented with these questions fail to notice that it was Noah, not Moses, who built the Ark, . . . even when they have been explicitly asked to note inaccuracies.”

“Known as the “Moses illusion”, this absent-mindedness illustrates just how easily we miss the details of a statement, favouring the general gist in place of the specifics. Instead, we normally just judge whether it “feels” right or wrong before accepting or rejecting its message. “Even when we ‘know’ we should be drawing on facts and evidence, we just draw on feelings,” says Eryn Newman at the University of Southern California, whose forthcoming paper summarises the latest research on misinformation.”

“Based on the research to date, Newman suggests our gut reactions swivel around just five simple questions:”

  • Does a fact come from a credible source?
  • Do others believe it?
  • Is there plenty of evidence to support it?
  • Is it compatible with what I believe?
  • Does it tell a good story?

“Crucially, our responses to each of these points can be swayed by frivolous, extraneous, details that have nothing to do with the truth.”

Then there’s the “cognitive fluency” of a statement – essentially, whether it tells a good, coherent story that is simple to imagine. “If something feels smooth and easy to process, then our default is to expect things to be true,” says Newman. This is particularly true if a myth easily fits with our expectations. “It has to be sticky – a nugget or soundbite that links to what you know, and reaffirms your beliefs,” agrees Stephan Lewandowsky at the University of Bristol in the UK, whose work has examined the psychology of climate change deniers.”

“In light of these discoveries, you can begin to understand why the fear of the flesh-eating bananas was so infectious. For one thing, the chain emails were coming from people you inherently trust – your friends – increasing the credibility of the claim, and making it appear more popular. The concept itself was vivid and easy to picture – it had high cognitive fluency. If you happened to distrust the FDA and the government, the thought of a cover-up would have fitted neatly into your worldview.”

(Credit: Getty Images)

“It’s true: we would rather hide our heads in the sand than listen to evidence questioning our beliefs, even if the facts are solid “(Credit: Getty Images)

“That cognitive miserliness can also help explain why those attempts to correct a myth have backfired so spectacularly, as the CDC found to their cost. Lab experiments confirm that offering counter-evidence only strengthens someone’s conviction. “In as little as 30 minutes, you can see a bounce-back effect where people are even more likely to believe the statement is true,” says Newman.”

“As a result of these frailties, we are instantly drawn to the juicier details of a story – the original myth – while forgetting the piddling little fact that it’s been proven false. Worse still, by repeating the original myth, the correction will have increased the familiarity of the claim – and as we’ve seen, familiarity breeds believability. Rather than uprooting the myth, the well-intentioned correction has only pushed it deeper.”

Banana-eating Monkey, by Peggy

“It’s always worth asking whether you have thought carefully about the things you are reading and hearing. Or are you just being a cognitive miser, persuaded by biased feelings rather than facts?

Some of your dearest opinions may have no more substance than the great banana hoax of the year 2000.”

Click here to read about a few other classic hoaxes – like spaghetti growing on trees . . .