Archive for the ‘Assorted’ Category

The Body Keeps Score: the Visceral Foundation

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However, traumatized people chronically feel unsafe inside their bodies:

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The past is alive in the form of gnawing interior discomfort.
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Their bodies are constantly bombarded by visceral warning signs, and, in an attempt to control these processes, they often become expert at ignoring their gut feelings and in numbing awareness of what is played out inside.
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They learn to hide from their selves.
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The more people try to push away and ignore internal warning signs, the more likely they are to take over and leave them bewildered, confused, and ashamed.
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People who cannot comfortably notice what is going on inside become vulnerable to respond to any sensory shift either by shutting down or by going into a panic—they develop a fear of fear itself.
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We now know that panic symptoms are maintained largely because the individual develops a fear of the bodily sensations associated with panic attacks.
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The attack may be triggered by something he or she knows is irrational, but fear of the sensations keeps them escalating into a full-body emergency.
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“Scared stiff” and “frozen in fear” (collapsing and going numb) describe precisely what terror and trauma feel like.
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They are its visceral foundation.
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US veterans’ suicide rates highest in West, rural areas: Benjamin Brown

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“The Western U.S. and rural areas have the highest rates of suicides among military veterans, according to data released Friday by the Department of Veterans Affairs.
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The findings examined veterans’ suicides state-by-state, and determined New Mexico, Nevada, Utah and Montana represent the highest rate at 60 per 100,000 individuals – nearly double the national rate of 38.4.
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Many veterans in those states must drive 70 miles or more to find the nearest VA medical center.
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Regions in the United Sates outside the West, which had an overall suicide rate of 45.5, were all below the national rate.
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Kentucky, West Virginia and Oklahoma also had high veteran suicide rates, which can be attributed to greater prescription drug use, particularly opioids. Veterans who received higher doses of opioid painkillers were twice as likely to die by suicide, compared to those who received minimal doses, according to a VA study conducted last year.
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Gender also played a key role in the most recent VA report. Women veterans had a suicide rate 2.5 times greater than their civilian counterpart, with the risk 19 percent higher among male veterans compared to civilians.
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Older veterans at risk
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The majority of military suicides are among elderly veterans, with roughly 65 percent of cases among those 50 or older.
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Rajeev Ramchand, an epidemiologist who studies suicide for the Rand Corp., pointed out the significance of the report, which indicated “no state is immune.” He added that social isolation, limited health care access, gun ownership and opioids were likely contributing factors in suicide among veterans.
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“This requires closer investigation into why suicide rates by veteran status are higher, including the role that opiates play,” Ramchand told the Associated Press.
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The VA’s latest report breaks down national figures released last year, which determined 20 veterans commit suicide each day, as the agency looks for ways to increase suicide prevention efforts.
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“These findings are deeply concerning, which is why I made suicide prevention my top clinical priority,” said VA Secretary David Shulkin, reported AP. “This is a national public health issue.”
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Be Patient

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“Be patient toward all
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that is unsolved in your heart
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and try to love
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the questions themselves. . . .
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Live the questions now.
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Perhaps you will gradually,
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without noticing it,
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live along some distant day
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into the answer.”
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Rainer Maria Rilke, Letters to a Young Poet
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The Body Keeps the Score: SAFETY AND RECIPROCITY

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A few years ago I heard Jerome Kagan, a distinguished emeritus professor of child psychology at Harvard, say to the Dalai Lama that for every act of cruelty in this world there are hundreds of small acts of kindness and connection.
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His conclusion: “To be benevolent rather than malevolent is probably a true feature of our species.”
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Being able to feel safe with other people is probably the single most important aspect of mental health; safe connections are fundamental to meaningful and satisfying lives.
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Numerous studies of disaster response around the globe have shown that social support is the most powerful protection against becoming overwhelmed by stress and trauma.
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Social support is not the same as merely being in the presence of others.
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The critical issue is reciprocity: being truly heard and seen by the people around us, feeling that we are held in someone else’s mind and heart.
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For our physiology to calm down, heal, and grow we need a visceral feeling of safety.
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No doctor can write a prescription for friendship and love:
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These are complex and hard-earned capacities.
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You don’t need a history of trauma to feel self-conscious and even panicked at a party with strangers—but trauma can turn the whole world into a gathering of aliens.
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Many traumatized people find themselves chronically out of sync with the people around them.
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Updated: Desire versus Gratitude: Which is dominant in your life?

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Xkeken Cenote, Mexico
Photograph by John Stanmeyer, National Geographic

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Let us take stock, how many things are we grateful for and how many things do we desire?
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What dominates our waking moments, desires or gratitude?
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Fact: Less desire and more gratitude is optimal!
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How much time do we spend on each endeavor?
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How much emotion is involved with desire, with gratitude?
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Do we feel loss when certain desires go unfulfilled?
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Are we missing things, small mundane things that warrant gratitude, thankfulness?
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All the sages say that gratitude leads to giving, more compassion and a happier existence.
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Simple Solutions

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One of the most memorable case studies on Japanese management was the case of the empty soapbox, which happened in one of Japan’s biggest cosmetics companies.
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The company received a complaint that a consumer had bought a soapbox that was empty.
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Immediately the authorities isolated the problem to the assembly line, which transported all the packaged boxes of soap to the delivery department.
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For some reason, one soapbox went through the assembly line empty.
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Management asked its engineers to solve the problem.
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Post-haste, the engineers worked hard to devise an X-ray machine with high-resolution monitors manned by two people to watch all the soapboxes that passed through the line to make sure they were not empty.
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No doubt, they worked hard and they worked fast but they spent a Whoopee amount to do so.
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But when a rank-and-file employee in a small company was posed with the same problem, he did not get into complications of X-rays, etc., but instead came out with another solution.
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He bought a strong industrial electric fan and pointed it at the assembly line.
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He switched the fan on, and as each soapbox passed the fan, it simply blew the empty boxes out of the line.
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The Body Keeps the Score: Survival Mode

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In other words: If an organism is stuck in survival mode,
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its energies are focused on fighting off unseen enemies,
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which leaves no room for nurture, care, and love.
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For us humans,
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it means that as long as the mind is defending itself against invisible assaults,
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our closest bonds are threatened,
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along with our ability to
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imagine,
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plan,
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play,
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learn,
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and pay attention
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to other people’s needs.
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