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

Moderation, part two

This got moderately long for a blog post, and I made it into a series.

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.

Summary –

Community centers might help reduce addictions and improve health by giving people more to do and more to do in company with others. They could provide a place for children to have more positive role models in their lives. Child trauma can make addictions or other problems more of a risk as adults, having a positive connection in their life can help increase their likelihood of developing resilience and better coping skills.

Social connection can help the environment too if education and gardening or other projects are done with a group. It would also give people something to do away from electronic devices which may increase risk of addictive behavior and has EMF exposure which may increase health risks. Education about life skills or environment or health or whatever else interested the community could be included in a center’s activities. Fertility of the environment and for individual health prior to conception is the focus of a plan I wrote previously: Pre-conception Education Centers project proposal.

EMFs and WHO recommendations for Screen time for children

Questioning how we do things is how we reach better ways to do things, whether less work, or more health, change is often about adapting to new ways of life. More women working outside of homes meant easier ways to prepare meals or clean house were needed to help keep the home life going with fewer hours available for chores or childcare. Using the television as a babysitter was a concern as TVs became a common fixture in every living room, and gradually in every room of the house, and now with smartphones and tablets we can have TV with us at all times practically.

How much screen time is too much? Digital addiction has been added to the DSM-V psychiatric diagnosis manual. When it starts interfering with regular life is a typical division between fun hobby and addictive behavior. The type of video, the speed of the images and flashing lights, may be more important than a question of how much screen time is too much. For children younger than ten more screen time with fast moving images has been associated with risk of ADHD. Changes in the brain are similar to those seen in cocaine addiction and involve increased dopamine levels. (2)

Now parents and children need to also be aware of negative influences from television or computer personalities as well as the physical risks of electromagnetic fields (EMF) in addition to the addictive risks of the fast moving images or action.

My father was aware of the risk of EMF and a TV viewing rule was to stay at least four to six feet away from the television and another was about limiting the number of hours we watched. We each could pick one show a day, and watch the shows the other siblings chose making a total of about two hours of TV time per day. Modern health recommendations are in agreement – no screen time for under two year old children, one hour for two-four year old children, and limit screen time for older children to only a few hours per day. (WHO’s Guidelines for Screen Time for Children, 1)

Moderation series to continue with early childhood experiences and their potential effects on addiction risk.

Additional Resources regarding finance & the environment:

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 are debunked: Six Climate Investing Myths Debunked. We need investment in sustainable businesses and planned adaptations for expected environmental changes.

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.

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. Erik Vance, What Screen Addictions and Drug Addictions Have in Common. Oct. 23, 2018 (pbs.org) https://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/article/screen-time-addiction/
  3. Ben Hunt, Yeah, It’s Still Water, Oct 25, 2019 EpsilonTheory.com, https://www.epsilontheory.com/yeah-its-still-water/#.XcQp5nkjldY.twitter
  4. Six Climate Investing Myths Debunked. Sept. 18, 2019, MorganStanley.com https://www.morganstanley.com/ideas/six-climate-investing-myths-debunked
  5. Banking Nature, Nov. 4, 2019, Off-Guardian.org. https://off-guardian.org/2019/11/04/watch-banking-nature/