“Chill out, bruh”

Chill out, bruh,” * – an anonymous online reply to a Thread about mental health tips. It might mean: “Relax brother” – you are loved, we are one. Yet it may also be helpful taken literally – “Get cooler brother,” you may be overheated and that can literally lead to an increased heart rate which may be interpreted as anxiety, fear, or even anger and lead to emotional explanations for a feeling that was actually caused by a physically too hot summer day, or too many layers of clothing or blankets in a room that got over hot.

*Before getting into more detail, a disclaimer – the phrase chill out or bruh are not things I would typically say, it just caught my attention. Like telling a woman to smile, saying chill out to someone might be more like pouring gasoline on a fire than a bucket of water – it just might make the person more angry because you are interfering. Asking if they would like you to get them a glass of water might be more helpful.

The rate of violence does tend to increase during hot summer months but can also be higher during warmer winter days compared to cooler ones. Violence rates during summer months on average are about 7% higher than in winter months and the rate of disorderly conduct is about 9% higher during summer months. (1)

With the expected increases in average temperatures due to climate change, planning ahead for the cooling needs of communities may help keep people happier, safer, and healthier.

Overheating is bad for the brain and the heart, and may increase insomnia/poor sleep.

Other risks of overheating can be more about personal health than anger and violence – being overheated regularly can result in having a more rapid heart rate regularly, which may increase long term health risks to the cardiovascular system (2) and possibly to the brain. Hot flashes can be a factor in heart palpitations that women may feel during menopause. (3) More hot flashes during menopause may be a risk factor involved in the increased rate of Alzheimer’s dementia for post-menopausal women compared to younger women and men. (4) Symptoms of cardiovascular problems in women may be more subtle than acute chest pain and women may not seek help in time to prevent a heart attack. (Mayoclinic.org/heart disease symptoms in women, 5)

Hot flashes can also occur during more severe autoimmune disease or alcohol withdrawal in more severe alcoholism, (6), but the symptom would typically be called night sweats instead of hot flashes. Night sweats can also be a side effect of some types of medications and may occur with anxiety disorders and other health conditions in addition to autoimmune disease. (Mayoclinic.org/Night sweats causes (7)) People with autoimmune disease, cardiovascular or thyroid problems may be at more risk of overheating than people of more typical health. Younger children, Senior Citizens, and pregnant people would also be at more risk of overheating.

Poor sleep quality might be part of the cardiovascular and Alzheimer’s health risk of being overheated. Our body and brain temperature normally chills, literally cooling down, before we drift off to sleep and the temperature of our brain remains cooler during sleep than during our awake hours. Insomnia tends to involve more active thoughts seemingly disrupting the ability to relax and go to sleep but it also involves, literally, the brain staying at normal body temperature instead of cooling. Gel packs designed for sprained ankles that can be kept in the freezer may be helpful during insomnia or at other times when overheated. Wrap the freezer temperature gel pack in fabric and place it on the forehead while trying to relax before sleep or at other times when feeling overheated.

  • More about this topic in previous posts: Sleep and Health.
  • While we sleep our brain size shrinks allowing more fluid to flow around it which brings nutrients and removes toxins or breaks them down for reuse by the brain. See the post: Glymphatic system – yes- sleep helps protect against Alzheimer’s dementia
  • Another brain cooling strategy that might help with relaxing when insomnia and racing thoughts are a problem: Dimethyl glycine (DMG) is an amino acid that has calming and relaxing effects in the brain. It may be low in vegetarian or vegan diets as meats are a good source. It is available as a powder from weight lifting types of companies online. One quarter to one half teaspoon of the DMG powder mixed in a lower acidity* fruit juice or water taken before bed may also help the body and brain to cool down to a pre-sleep temperature. (*An amino acid is a normal part of protein foods and the pure powder is an acid making plain water seem tart like lemonade, without the lemony flavor, so mixing it with a low acidity juice like blueberry, apple or pear juice makes a milder beverage than adding orange or lemon juice.)

Poor sleep quality can increase risk of dehydration and harm to kidney health because less of a hormone involved in hydration is made (vasopressin). We lose about a liter/quart of water during sleep anyway so a good health habit to start with each morning is a glass or two of water before reaching for a caffeinated beverage like coffee which is a diuretic. (8)

A view of three snow capped mountain peaks with pine trees in the foreground, and a blue sky above.
“Stop worrying about the potholes in the road and celebrate the journey.” – Fitzhugh Mullan

Relaxing can also involve our thoughts, and practicing mindfulness/meditation can help our brain learn more calming habits even when not meditating.

Our thoughts certainly can be part of insomnia, anger, or other emotional over reactions. The practice of mindfulness can help retrain the brain to react more calmly with acceptance of whatever the situation is – overheated? – make a paper fan, get a glass of water, remove a sweater, instead of more proverbially getting hot under the collar – angry at someone or something else. Yes, the office is too hot, or the day is too hot, or the blankets are too hot, getting more angry about it just gets the brain more active and even hotter physically. Thinking uses a large amount of energy and creates heat. We lose about 60% of our body temperature from our heads which is why wearing a hat in cold temperatures can help you stay warm.

Mindfulness or meditation may seem mysterious but it is quite simple – being present, noticing the anger at the overheated feeling and letting it go in the moment rather than focusing it more on the thermostat or fossil fuel companies. Short term reactions can be coped with calmly which frees up more brain energy for planning a constructive response to the concern such as helping to organize the building of a local recycling center. Jon Kabat-Zinn describes seven underlying attitudes to try to include in the practice of mindfulness in his book Full Catastrophe Living: Using the Wisdom of Your Body and Mind to Face Stress, Pain, and Illness, (9). Whatever you are doing can incorporate a more mindful attitude about it – simply meaning being more in the moment rather than worrying about the past or future or fairness or unfairness.

The attitudes to try to develop for living more mindfully according to Jon Kabat-Zinn, MD, include:

  1. Non-Judging acceptance of thoughts or feeling, even if judgmental.
  2. Patience to let time take the time it needs for healing, or for the clock to reach the end of the work day and be present in each moment.
  3. Beginner’s Mind, a child-like openness to experiences without expectations based on previous experiences or what you may have been told.
  4. Trust – in yourself and your own understanding of you. Trying to copy someone else’s meditation style is not mindfulness or meditation – so no mysteries – trust what feels right to you – in each moment.
  5. Non-Striving, let go of goals, especially the goal to relax, or the goal to relax specifically for 15 minutes or 30 minutes or however many minutes – like saying “Chill out, bruh,” you may just get more anxious or angry. Some people may find going for a walk or doing the dishes or sweeping the floor to be meditatively relaxing.
  6. Acceptance – of your current state of health or other issues can help work through stages of grieving if need be rather than staying angry or in denial about the issues. Appreciating your body and life in the now can help free up energy to work towards changing things rather than being stuck in anger or denial or mired down in depression. Change happens, getting old is not for sissies, to paraphrase Bette Davis.
  7. Letting Go or non-attachment – we tend to cling to positive experiences and don’t want them to end and resist negative experiences and try to avoid thinking about them or doing them – but the dishes still need to be washed. Mindfulness or meditation works towards accepting both positive and negative without clinging or resisting. “Que sera sera, whatever will be, will be,” to quote Doris Day’s famous song lyric.
  8. Bonus attitudes that are helpful for living mindfully according to Jon Kabat-Zinn: Non-harming, generosity, gratitude, forbearance, forgiveness, kindness, compassion, empathic joy, and equanimity. (pages 21-31, 9)

Full Catastrophe Living may seem like a negative title for a book about mindfulness however Jon Kabat-Zinn explains his reasoning in the introduction. Life is full of ups and downs and acceptance of the catastrophes and the joys is life. The downs help make the ups that much more joyful and today’s catastrophe is tomorrow’s funny story or important lesson.

In Cognitive regulation treatment patients are taught to modify their thinking in ways that can help modify their emotions. What we think about what we are feeling can make things better or worse for our mood and for our health. Four basic strategies or lessons for patients to learn and practice are described in a research article about an area of the brain that may be involved in helping us control our fear response. (10)

  1. Changing what we are thinking about an issue can help us modify our emotions and reactions to the issue.
  2. The experiences that a person has had in the past may help us control our feelings about new experiences.
  3. Learning new information can help us modify our thoughts and emotions about an issue or event.
  4. ‘Catastrophizing’ can be a common thought process where irrational thinking about an issue can lead us to believe that things are worse than they really are.

Whether a catastrophe is real or as bad as we think it seems, accepting the situation can help us calm down enough to cope with it better. Overheated bodies may make us feel angry or anxious and pausing to recognize those feelings, ‘Gosh I am sweaty and thirsty, and cranky and maybe I should get a glass of cold water before making this important phone call,’ can help save us some real catastrophes of our own making.

Cooling down and calming down can also help protect our heart and brain health as over stressed and/or overheated can increase flow of calcium and glutamate into our cells through TRP channel membranes that can be opened by high temperatures. (11) Ten deep breaths and one glass of cool water can be helpful for our body, brain, and mood.

Reference List

  1. https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/09/170925132948.htm
  2. Patrick J. Skerrett, Heat is hard on the heart; simple precautions can ease the strain. July 22, 2011, health.harvard.edu https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/heat-is-hard-on-the-heart-simple-precautions-can-ease-the-strain-201107223180
  3. Stephanie Watson, Menopause and Heart Palpitations: Is there a link? Nov 18, 2016, healthline.com, https://www.healthline.com/health/menopause/menopause-and-heart-palpitations
  4. Hamiliton J, Estrogen Might Have a Role in Alzheimer’s Prevention After All, July 23, 2018, npr.org, https://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2018/07/23/630688342/might-sex-hormones-help-protect-women-from-alzheimer-s-after-all-maybe
  5. Heart Disease in Women: Understand Symptoms and Risk Factors, mayoclinic.org, https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/heart-disease/in-depth/heart-disease/art-20046167
  6. Monico N, Night Sweats and Alcohol: Why Alcohol Makes You Hot, alcohol.org, last updated Nov 22, 2019, https://www.alcohol.org/effects/warm-flushed-skin/
  7. Night Sweats Causes, Mayoclinic.org, https://www.mayoclinic.org/symptoms/night-sweats/basics/causes/sym-20050768
  8. The Relationship Between Water And Sleep Is A Two Way Street – How To Avoid Dehydration. Feb 17, 2019, thesleepdoctor.com, https://thesleepdoctor.com/2019/02/17/the-relationship-between-water-and-sleep-is-a-two-way-street-how-to-avoid-dehydration/
  9. Jon Kabat-Zinn, Full Catastrophe Living: Using the Wisdom of Your Body and Mind to Face Stress, Pain, and Illness, (1990, 2013 revised edition).
  10. Kroes MCW, Dunsmoor JE, Hakimi M, et al. Patients with dorsolateral prefrontal cortex lesions are capable of discriminatory threat learning but appear impaired in cognitive regulation of subjective fear. Soc Cogn Affect Neurosci. 2019;14(6):601–612. doi:10.1093/scan/nsz039 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6688449/
  11. Yue Z, Xie J, Yu AS, Stock J, Du J, Yue L. Role of TRP channels in the cardiovascular system. Am J Physiol Heart Circ Physiol. 2015;308(3):H157–H182. doi:10.1152/ajpheart.00457.2014 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4312948/

Moderation, part four

Community Centers

Activity and skill building centers with a focus on pollution and long term fertility of individuals and the environment is an idea I described in this document: Pre-conception Education Centers project proposal. The centers might have a local environmental cleanup or mitigation goal or might have gardening or make products for fund raising and skill development.

Integrity Centers could be a preventative care community center for people before they need an addiction rehab center. Dr. David Gruder, clinical and business psychologist, defines integrity as a balance of our three core human natures – me, we, and us all: me – a drive for self authenticity; we – a drive for a sense of connection in relationships; us all – a drive for a sense of greater purpose within the larger community. (1)

Me – Community gardens can provide skill building help and – we – fresh food for a community. Us all – Urban areas could benefit from more pocket gardens and rooftop gardens by also providing more places for excess water to go during severe rainstorms or melting snow. Concrete doesn’t allow water to drain into the ground and sewer systems get over flooded. More planters and ground cover that is porous allows more water to seep directly into the ground or into containers that will slowly allow the water to evaporate or be used by the plantings.

Community centers can vary from community to community while including the basics of cooking and growing some healthy food and sharing it together with love and acceptance of diversity.

At the global level the Integrity perspective, Me, we, us all, can help tackle climate change adaptations:

  • Me – eat more bean/lentil meals in place of meat based meals. Use environmentally safe products.
  • We – Invest in environmentally sustainable companies.
  • Us all – Participate in an environmental clean up day.

Climate change is happening and the sooner humans as a group face that fact and work together to change how we do things the sooner we will slow the rate at which the changes are occurring. It is not something we can stop as many of the chemicals collecting in the environment and in the oceans will be there for centuries. Over 11,000 scientists from 153 countries joined together to make a statement about climate change: “Scientists have a moral obligation to clearly warn humanity of any catastrophic threat and to ‘tell it like it is.’” The group suggests six steps for humans to take to slow down the environmental changes that are correlated with expanding economic consumption and population. Wealthy human habits are not sustainable for the planet. (2)

Changes to make now for a better future, recommendations by over 11,000 scientists:

  • Energy – leave fossil fuels in the ground, switch to sustainable energy production.
  • Short Lived Pollutants – refrigerants, hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), and other chemicals like methane and black carbon (soot) also add to global warming changes in the atmosphere and oceans.
  • Nature – protect biodiversity and natural ecosystems. Planting trees and wetlands, sea grasses and mangroves can help reduce global warming emissions by a third.
  • Food – switch to more plant based diets, reduce use of animal products in the diet from ruminants (methane emitting cattle), and use more minimal tillage agricultural methods.
  • Economy – switch the focus of economic markers of success from profit to sustainable ecosystems and human equality. Is it a good business for employees and the community and the surrounding environment? Or is it a business with a quarterly profit report?
  • Population – slowing population growth reduces the need for water and food. Making family planning methods and education available to girls and women can help support human equality and a sustainable population.
  • World Scientists’ Warning of a Climate Emergency, Ripple WJ, et al., Nov. 5, 2019 (2)

A leader takes people where they want to go. A great leader takes people where they don’t necessarily want to go, but ought to be.

– Rosalynn Carter

Community centers and other organizations that already exist could take on these goals. Integrity Centers or Pre-conception Planning Centers could be virtually based resources for use by any organization that wanted to access the educational materials.

Community centers can be a place to share skills and learn new ones, to make new friends and spend time with old ones, and to participate in social activities for fun, for health, and/or for care of the environment. Community centers can provide more positive role models in a child’s life and provide meals and company for those who are hungry for food or friendship. Preventative health education and life skills could be taught and practiced. Emergency preparedness for individual and community needs could be planned for and taught. Projects for hands-on volunteering and learning could be planned and achieved for community and individual benefit.

Tackling destructive emotions and practicing loving-kindness is how we should live in the here and now. I am convinced we can become happier individuals, happier communities and a happier humanity by cultivating a warm heart, allowing our better selves to prevail. ”

– Dalai Lama, (Nov. 1, 2019)

Our better selves like a happy me, we, and us all, — happy individuals, communities, and a happy humanity and world.

It is only by recognizing our own darkness that we can stop projecting it on the world around us“. – Carl Jung

Carl Jung was a psychiatrist with a valid observation – until we recognize the things we are ashamed of or suppress within ourselves we will have a difficult time to not share that shame or suppressed belief with others around us.

Projection is a term used to describe how someone projects or attributes their own problems on others. We see what we expect to see, we see what we are familiar with, and tend to not be as observant of unique situations. We project what we know or expect onto the world around us – our sight isn’t blind as much as it is pre-programmed. To truly observe without any bias is a rare skill. I grew up with things that were consistent and also many things that were not consistent from grouchy moods to unexpected traveling and piling into the car for a museum outing – ups and downs. Life wasn’t perfect but it was interesting. Community centers could add more interesting experiences to the lives of young and old people – mixtures add interest and zest to life.

Factors that may affect health:

  • Social support and early childhood experiences.
  • Sleep.
  • Exercise.
  • Water. 
  • Nutrition.
  • Toxins from the environment, air, food and water. 
  • Genetics and epigenetics.
  • Access to Healthcare.

Environmental and human health are connected, economic stress and human health are also. The interconnectedness of societal problems and solutions can be visualized as a tip of the iceberg problem – suicide, addictions, mass shootings and other violence are the visible tip of societal problems that are connected by economic inequality and stress and environmental pollution and reduction in biodiversity. Economic and environmental stress can increase behavioral health problems and add to social factors and living conditions that increase physical health risks. (3)

Environmental and individual health are connected too. Learning how can also provide guidance for lifestyle changes that might help improve health.

Resources regarding economics and environmental change:

Climate change is real – according to financial advising company Morgan Stanley and myths about what is involved may be inhibiting investment in climate change solutions: Six Climate Investing Myths Debunked.

What might not be as good an investment in the environment is the financialization of ecosystem protections – pay us to protect some endangered species’ habitat and we will skim off part of the money as profit. Watch the documentary for free: Banking Nature, OffGuardian.

Economic moderation – for the industrious read this first – about Financialization of the modern world: “Yeah, It’s Still Water,”- we can’t eat stock bubbles or money, or concrete. None of those things are part of a healthy ecosystem. Economic and environmental stress can increase health risks and possibly risk of addictions or anger and violence. More equality could be healthier for everyone and the economy.

Reference List

  1. TURS – Dr. David Gruder: The Four Shades of Anger, Interview with Christa Niehls, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CjFN-UNjF4s&feature=youtu.be&a=
  2. Ripple WJ, et al., World Scientists’ Warning of a Climate Emergency, Nov. 5, 2019, Bioscience https://academic.oup.com/bioscience/advance-article/doi/10.1093/biosci/biz088/5610806
  3. iceberg graphic of social problems, mdlogix.com iceberg graphic/mdlogix.com https://twitter.com/allentien/status/1161565804657295361?s=20
  4. Ben Hunt, Yeah, It’s Still Water, Oct 25, 2019 EpsilonTheory.com, https://www.epsilontheory.com/yeah-its-still-water/#.XcQp5nkjldY.twitter
    Six Climate Investing Myths Debunked. Sept. 18, 2019, MorganStanley.com https://www.morganstanley.com/ideas/six-climate-investing-myths-debunked
    Banking Nature, Nov. 4, 2019, Off-Guardian.org. https://off-guardian.org/2019/11/04/watch-banking-nature/

Moderation, part three

Moderation is a big topic – worth taking at a moderately slow pace. In part one the topic was introduced that addictions and stress can be accumulative – additive in increasing risk and health effects on the body. The body and brain can become overly used to dopamine being elevated at high levels chronically and it can become difficult for the person to feel positive emotions to stimuli that would typically be considered positive – friends at a party.

Childhood trauma or other trauma can also increase the risk of becoming overly sensitive to stress, at a physical level not just an emotional reactive level, so the person may be easily overwhelmed by a difficult day or a sudden surprise. It may also place the person at an increased risk to develop addictions of some sort, whether prescribed or illegal drugs, or reading, watching TV, or shopping too much. Almost anything, even work, can become an addictive behavior if it is done at the expense of other roles in life or at the expense of basic self care.

Subtitle: Mothers/caregivers are people too.

Mothers are people too – my mother was a stay-at-home mother at a time when more women were working full time in the U.S. but it was still common for a household to have a father who went to work at a job and a mother who viewed her home as her job. Being a mother and homemaker is a full time job when the children are small and is still a lot of work when they are older. Taking care of a house with no children is still work but not necessarily a full-time job, add preparing home cooked meals from scratch and you are back at full-time job hours. Modern life includes modern frozen and canned foods that were less commonly used for meals in the 1960s and ’70s.

It would be great if everyone knew how to cook from scratch and how to fix a car or bicycle or computer – but as technology got more complex the ability to fix a car or bicycle or computer also got more complex. Cooking from scratch has also gotten more complex as the food supply includes more ingredients that were made with foods grown from technologically engineered seeds with agricultural chemicals derived from petroleum products – what is food? Something that tastes good or something that nourishes the body and helps maintain health?

What does that even mean – ‘from scratch’ – in cooking terms it means making a dish from ingredients rather than opening a can of beans to add to the bean soup or opening a boxed cake mix to bake a cake. Division of labor saves time for learning and practicing one set of skills more thoroughly than if all tasks needed to be learned. Traditional gender roles are discriminating against people who want to perform roles that aren’t gender typical. It would also be discriminating to prevent people from performing roles they did enjoy doing, just because they were gender typical.

Letting everyone try a variety of roles and let them decide for themselves would be most supportive of diversity and acceptance.

“Give kids something better to do.”

Iceland successfully achieved a reduction in teen alcohol and drug use by providing teens with more extracurricular activities after school. The simple plan “give kids something better to do,” worked. The rate of alcohol use dropped from over 40% to under ten percent. A research team took a survey of all teens in Iceland schools about alcohol and drug use on two occasions several years apart and the increase in use was larger than expected. Other factors associated with the increase in use were found:

Their analysis revealed clear differences between the lives of kids who took up drinking, smoking and other drugs, and those who didn’t. A few factors emerged as strongly protective: participation in organized activities—especially sport—three or four times a week, total time spent with parents during the week, feeling cared about at school, and not being outdoors in the late evenings.” (2)

Attachment theory of early childhood development

Differences in caregiver and infant interactions and the infant’s development of trust have been observed in early childhood development and were described as attachment theory.

Ideally mothers, fathers, and other early childhood caregivers teach the infant and toddler that the world is a trustworthy and safe place. Typically the infant learns the back and forth exchange of conversation with body language – the smile that may just have been a gas bubble is treated with a big smile in return and a delighted, “Oh look the baby smiled at me.” Maybe it was just a gas bubble but that doesn’t matter because the gift of language was given in the returned smile and delighted exclamation.

In less typical development the infant’s early attempts to communicate with body language or crying for food or to be changed or babbling with sounds of delight are not met with any returned response or are met with anger.

In terms of long term mental health an infant who is occasionally responded too with love and at other times with anger or no response – emotional or physical neglect – may be least able to self regulate their emotional and physical self care as an adult.

  • The infant with positive and reliable interactions will develop normal boundaries of trust – trust with caution,.
  • The infant who received negative interactions consistently may develop resilience and trust in their ability to care for themselves and may learn caution and withhold trust of others until more information is known.
  • The infant who gets a mixture of care and neglect or abuse may be left with learned helplessness – no trust in self or in others, caution and anxiety about everything.

Would any of these people as adults know that their upbringing was anything other than normal? Maybe not. To a child their life is their norm – everything that happens around them is their normal. They may learn sooner or later from their peers at school or visiting a friend’s house that their own home life isn’t the same. The television show Sesame Street gave me a different perspective on what family life can be like for other types of families, whether a different race, religion, or urban or rural. Having even one positive role model in a child’s life can help them to survive a tough upbringing with more resilience and ability to trust in themselves or others.

ACEs – Adverse Childhood Events

Amygdala reset rooms have helped students in Daviess County calm themselves. The amygdala is a part of the brain involved in emotional response and fear. It can be overactive in trauma survivors. The rooms or areas are dimly lit with calming decorations and textures and students can have a private place to interact with a teacher or time to relax before returning to class. (3)

Adverse childhood experiences, or ACEs, can be anything from experiencing serious emotional or physical abuse to watching parents get divorced.

One or two ACEs don’t have many lasting psychological effects, Desautels says. But go any higher and things start to change.

“Three, four, five, six, seven adversities can literally change perception,” Desautels says. “It reprograms our stress response systems. It changes behavior. It changes the way we see life.”

Studies have shown that as the number of ACEs increases, so does the risk for poor academic achievement or work performance later on in life.” (3)

Child trauma or other trauma can leave a person with less resistance to stress and at more risk for addictions (6), – so can an overload of toxins and deficiency in essential nutrients.

Factors that may affect health:

  • Social support and early childhood experiences.
  • Sleep.
  • Exercise.
  • Water. 
  • Nutrition.
  • Toxins from the environment, air, food and water. 
  • Genetics and epigenetics.
  • Access to Healthcare.

If we as a society want healthy and happy people who live balanced lives enjoying a purposeful job, with family and friends, and self care then we may need to provide more positive role models for balanced self care and care for others and for the community. If we want fewer addictive behaviors we may need to help with trauma recovery or prevention and help provide a toxin free and nutritious environment in which to breathe and eat.

Fertility for humans and other species is declining – when will we as a species say – Oh that is too large a dose of infertility, we should do something to prevent it.

Suicide is also an increasing risk in modern society. The reasons may vary from individual to individual but likely stress and isolation are factors in addition to early childhood experiences. (6)

The modern world contains an abundance of stimulation in background noise, entertainment, educational opportunities, and commercial breaks. All of that stimulation may be adding to overactive dopamine receptors and a resulting reduction in calming GABA activity. Toxin overload and nutrient deficiency may also be involved. Agricultural chemicals used in modern farming may be a factor. Psychiatric and other medications may also be a factor. Childhood trauma and other trauma may also increase risk for suicide.

At what dose is too much suicide a problem for society? It is becoming more common even among children under age ten – that is too much of a problem in my opinion.

Trauma – the visible tip of the iceberg

Environmental and human health are connected, economic stress and human health are also. The interconnectedness of societal problems and solutions can be visualized as a tip of the iceberg problem – suicide, addictions, mass shootings and other violence are the visible tip of societal problems that are connected by the less obvious widespread layer of economic inequality and stress and the even broader layer of environmental pollution and reduction in biodiversity in balanced ecosystems. Economic and environmental stress can increase behavioral health problems and add to the social factors and physical living conditions that increase mental and physical health risks. (4)

Environmental and individual health are connected too. Learning how can also provide guidance for lifestyle changes that might help improve health.

Sleeplessness can increase risk for accidents and irritability during the day and difficulty concentrating may be more likely. Teens may do better in school and life if they are able to get ten hours of sleep a day, similar to toddlers, both groups are at a phase of life where more white matter – connections between brain cells are forming. What we practice becomes patterns of nerve connections between brain cells and nerves of the body.

Accident proneness has gender differences, males tend to be more at risk overall with some differences between age or ethnic groups. In the more recent past white women have had an increased rate of accidents. (5) Enough sleep for parents and kids can help reduce accident risk and may improve mood and stress coping ability. Mothers and fathers, other caregivers, and kids are all people and they all benefit from a good night’s sleep and a short nap now and then may also help.

Constant access to the internet and to television can be mind expanding in an educational way or it can be an escapist addictive behavior that increases dopamine to a point where normal enjoyment might no longer register as a positive stimulation with an increase in dopamine.

It may be time to dial back modern life a bit and include more time just chatting or cooking a meal and eating it together. Community centers can be helpful to increase a sense of connection and give people a sense of purpose if they are part of the volunteers or activity leaders. Churches can also provide community and schools also often encourage family involvement.

Quote break

The mind that opens to a new idea never returns to its original size.”

– Albert Einstein

The mind, once stretched by a new idea, never returns to its original dimensions.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson or Oliver Wendell Holmes.

*who said it is often unclear online. Common sayings often can be found in several variations – wisdom from whoever said it.

When a man finds a conclusion agreeable, he accepts it without argument, but when he finds it disagreeable, he will bring against it all the forces of logic and reason.
– Thucydides (Healthy Skepticism/Science quotes)

Reference List

  1. Amanda Tarlton, World Health Organization Releases New Screen Guidelines For Babies and Toddlers. April 25 2019, fatherly.com https://www.fatherly.com/news/world-health-organization-releases-new-screen-time-guidelines-kids/
  2. Emma Young, How Iceland Got Teens to Say No to Drugs, Jan 19, 2017, theatlantic.com https://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2017/01/teens-drugs-iceland/513668/
  3. Daviess County Schools Adopt Alternative Methods to Curb Disciplinary Issues. https://indianapublicmedia.org/news/daviess-county-schools-adopt-alternative-methods-to-curb-disciplinary-issues.php
  4. iceberg graphic of social problems, mdlogix.com iceberg graphic/mdlogix.com https://twitter.com/allentien/status/1161565804657295361?s=20
  5. Sorenson SB. Gender disparities in injury mortality: consistent, persistent, and larger than you’d think. Am J Public Health. 2011;101 Suppl 1(Suppl 1):S353–S358. doi:10.2105/AJPH.2010.300029 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3222499/
  6. The Myth, Misconception, and Misdirection of Motive in Mass Shootings? https://www.acesconnection.com/blog/the-myth-misconception-and-misdirection-of-motive-in-mass-shootings?utm_campaign=meetedgar&utm_medium=social&utm_source=meetedgar.com