We critters (including Peggy, Judy & Freddie) wish everyone, everywhere a very
Happy New Year
“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.”‘
“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.”
“Other researchers say they are surprised and not necessarily convinced by the new study, even though they say it’s large and well-done.”
*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.)
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.
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).
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.
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.
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).
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
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.
Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui, dancer and choreographer
“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.”
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
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) “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”?”
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.
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”