Thursday, September 29, 2016
I never liked Frank Sinatra, most especially because of his mob connections (notably chronicled by Garry Trudeau's Doonesbury comic strip).
But I've learned that music is the most evocative of the sensory stimuli, able to bring forth memories long hidden. And warts and all, Sinatra was a master musician.
In these incredibly stressful times, a nerve-wracking presidential election and much more, music can ease stress.
This video of a Sinatra classic, "It Was a Very Good Year," fascinates me. Here is Sinatra, flawed and all, singing a lovely, beautiful ballad. His facial expressions and show his personal creative process, his playfulness and joy. The conductor, Nelson Riddle, works hard to perfect the musical track.
My evoked memory: I'm nine years old, listening to a radio in my brother Robbie's room (my respected big brother). It's a winter Sunday night in 1967 and I'm waiting for the broadcast of a New York Rangers hockey game from Detroit on radio station WHN. A lot of detail, but my brain has retained this comforting image over 50 years. Sinatra's performance summons it forward.
So it would be helpful to learn about our how our brain uses memories, good and bad, and what role they play in the stress process.
LISTEN AND WATCH SINATRA'S "IT WAS A VERY GOOD YEAR" BY CLICKING HERE.
Order my well-received book on stress and health:
Monday, September 19, 2016
BTW, I don't care if Hillary killed your mother, cut out her heart--and ate it. You must still vote for her.
‘Horror’ of Trump causes Republicans to break ranks
Recently Trump stated our generals have been “reduced to rubble,” that Putin is a stronger leader than President Obama and that in reading the body language of intelligence officers during his intelligence briefing, it is clear they are displeased with our president. If President Barack Obama were willing to take over countries through force, kill journalists, create a government-controlled media, interfere with other countries’ elections through cyberattacks, cheat to win at athletics and use our country’s military to prop up brutal leaders, maybe Trump would think him “strong.” Watching Republican leaders condone all this has moved me from being irritated to feeling sick.
The final straw for me was his comment regarding our country’s generals. This man did everything possible to avoid the draft during Vietnam. I was in college during the first draft lottery. My number was 53, though I could not be drafted. Young men sitting in my classes one day were gone the next because of low draft numbers like mine. Their lives changed forever while mine did not because I was female. Then as now, I find the unfairness of this painful, just as his comments about Sen. John McCain were deplorable. Many of these generals served in the war that Trump avoided.
My relationship with the Republican Party has been tested over the years. I am pro-choice, voted against the marriage amendment, was willing to go into debt through GARVEE bonding to improve roads and voted against moving school funding from property taxes to sales tax. Through it all, however, I hung in, thinking there was a place in the party for someone who considers themselves a moderate. But today I feel far more comfortable with President Ronald Reagan saying “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!” than with Trump’s demand that we build one.
His business practices made him rich, but have left those doing business with him truly in “rubble.” He discriminated against people based on race in housing that he owned. He was fined for a “charitable” donation to the Florida attorney general’s campaign while she was considering investigating Trump University for scamming students. He refuses to disclose his taxes.
This leads me to this bottom line. I didn’t leave the Republican Party ... it left me.
Buy my book on stress and survive this disaster:
Read more here: http://www.idahostatesman.com/opinion/readers-opinion/article102675957.html#storylink=cpy
Saturday, September 17, 2016
Friday, September 16, 2016
Now I'm using whatever voice I have to wake people up to the threat of a Trump Presidency.
As a gay man, I've had to accommodate a lot. I have had to bow down to white straight male privilege. I've learned to be silent. To temper my comments. To miss the "soft" bigotry (and not-so "soft bigotry) of people like Trump. To be deceived by his, as has been called in the media, bullshit.
Now to anyone "on the fence" about voting for Hillary: Have you lost your minds? You should be embarrassed.
And I'm completely sick of the Dr. Oz, Jimmy Fallons, and Matt Lauers, the incompetent media people who have given Trump a pass on his racism, white supremecism, misogeny, lies and fraud. Shame on the media, shame on us for tolerating them.
So please wake up. And learn about stress and trauma such as induced by Trump by reading my book.
CLICK HERE ON ON PICTURE
Tuesday, September 13, 2016
To the catalogue of anxieties her patients explore during therapy — marriage, children and careers — psychologist Alison Howard is now listening to a new source of stress: the political rise of Donald Trump.
In recent days, at least two patients have invoked the Republican front-runner, including one who talked at length about being disturbed that Trump can be so divisive and popular at the same time, said Howard, who practices in the District.
What had happened to Trump during his childhood, the patient wanted to know, to make him such a “bad person”?
Hand-wringing over Trump’s rapid climb, once confined to Washington’s political establishment, is now palpable among everyday Americans who are growing ever more anxious over the prospect of the billionaire reaching the White House.
With each Trump victory in the GOP primaries and caucuses, Democrats and Republicans alike are sharing their alarm with friends over dinner, with strangers over social media and, in some cases, with their therapists. A recent Washington Post/ABC News poll showed that 69 percent of Americans said the idea of “President Trump” made them anxious.
For some, Trump’s diatribes against undocumented immigrants, Mexicans and Muslims evoke unpleasant flashbacks of dictators. For others, his raw-toned insults conjure memories of high school bullies.
“It’s like a hurricane is coming at us, and I don’t have any way of knowing which way to go or how to combat it,” Taylor, 27, a Democrat, said in a phone interview. “He’s extremely reactionary, and that’s what scares me the most. I feel totally powerless, and it’s horrible.”
Learn more about the stress response:
Saturday, September 10, 2016
Monday, September 10, 2001 was rainy in Manhattan as I walked my way across town to catch the A train home. I had considered going upstate to meet my partner, Fred, who was training in Albany, but I decided it would be too much travel to get back the next day.
We were told to go home, as soon as we finished our catered lunch. Better yet, finish eating soon and leave. I dashed across 56th St. to the A train stop, to be frightened by the sight of ominous police tape around the stairway. I rather boldly, for me ducked under it and caught what I heard over the pa system "the last train uptown." Denial took over and I took a nap, glad to have some free time off. It might have been my last non-anxious moment in Manhattan.
The Hudson River never looked the same once I learned the next day that one of the planes had flown just a few hundred feet from the apartment window down on its hideous journey.
A few years later, Al Gore visited the city (not sure if he was running for president, again). Some residents and neighbors firmly said (in great denial) that the city had recovered; everything was fine. Gore said no. He saw the fear and anxiety in peoples' eyes. He was quite right.
Learn more about stress, trauma and anxiety here:
Wednesday, September 7, 2016
Documenting & Creating Gay Culture
About Leo Herrera
“Herrera’s motivation as a filmmaker is the hunt for
something that has long been tamped down, hidden from the public and
brought out only in dark, throbbing undergrounds. It is
anti-assimilationist and has very little to do with the forces that call
for mirror-image marriage laws for queers. Herrera’s quest is to find
the essence of that which sets gay men apart from the straight world,
and even from other queers.” – The Advocate, June 2015
“His collaborations range over a global spectrum, all culminating in his effort to educate and tell the story of a bright future that we’re working so hard to create in the present, and honor those who paved the way for us in the past.”- Posture, July 2015
- The strain of managing diabetes on a daily basis
- Feeling alone and “different” from family and friends
- Feeling out of control if you are having trouble keeping your blood sugar in your target range
- Prepare and eat healthy meals
- Get regular physical activity
- Take diabetes medicines
- Check your blood sugar
- Loss of pleasure in doing things you used to enjoy
- Difficulty sleeping, or sleeping more than usual
- Eating more or less than you used to, resulting in a fast weight gain or loss
- Trouble paying attention
- Lack of energy
- Feeling guilty and like you are a burden to others
- Feeling worse in the morning than you do later in the day
- Feeling like you want to die or take your own life
- Physical activity. Moving your body through a wide range of motion can help you relax. Three movements to try are stretching, circling, and shaking parts of your body
- Breathing exercises. Sit or lie down. Breathe in deeply. Then push out as much air as you can. Breathe in and out again, this time focusing on relaxing your muscles. Continue for 5 to 20 minutes at a time.
- Progressive relaxation. In this method, you tense and then relax the muscles of your body. Start with your toes and move up, one muscle group at a time,
- to your head.
- Replacing negative thoughts with positive ones. Each time you find yourself having a bad thought (like, “I’m never going to get my blood sugar into my target range”), replace it with a positive one (like, “My blood sugar may not always be in my target range, but my last two readings were really close!”)
Sunday, September 4, 2016
Now enter Robert Dallek, a well-known historian of the presidency, bearing another stack of evidence and more bad news. At work on a Kennedy biography, Dallek became the first scholar to examine J.F.K.'s medical records on file at the Kennedy presidential library in Boston. Somewhat to Dallek's surprise, a summation of his discoveries published in the December issue of the Atlantic Monthly has set off a firestorm. It's not news that J.F.K. was in poor health much of the time, but Dallek paints the fullest and most unnerving picture yet of a President in constant pain from degenerative bone disease and heavily medicated. It raises the obvious question of whether voters should have known more about the health of a man who Dallek says often could barely climb a flight of stairs and could not put on his own socks. Dallek describes X rays showing that some of J.F.K.'s vertebrae collapsed while he was still in his 30s. The historian also learned that J.F.K. had nine secret hospital stays during a 2 1/2-year period in the mid-1950s.
"When I read about the hospitalizations, my eyes widened," says Dallek. "We never knew about this." Another revelation was the sheer quantity of medications Kennedy took daily during his presidency. "Steroids for his Addison's disease,"
In 1947 J.F.K., then 30, learned he had Addison's disease, a dysfunction of the adrenal glands that, among other things, regulate blood sugar and the body's response to stress. The treatment? More corticosteroids. In the years that followed, as he rose from Congressman to Senator to presidential hopeful, Kennedy denied rumors of Addison's, some of them passed along to reporters by political opponents like Lyndon Johnson. He finally admitted to it in 1960, more or less, when he issued a statement acknowledging an "adrenal deficiency."
Saturday, September 3, 2016
What are gay youth facing as they return to school. A New Hampshire teacher posed the question that has been on her mind for many years.
We take a look at what awaits gay youth in the classroom:
- The emotions of the night before day one.
- Learning to hide and the ensuing damage.
- The moment of discovery...when a parent realizes a child is gay.
- Making friends and socializing and dating, very cautiously.
- Overcoming direct and subtle attacks on self-esteem.
- What is minority stress and stress on steroids?