9 best tips to Avoid a Migraine Before It Happens

Preventing migraines

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Around 39 million Americans encounter headache cerebral pains, as per the Migraine Research Foundation. In case you’re one of these individuals, you know the occasionally crippling side effects they can cause, which include:

sickness 

wooziness 

regurgitating 

affectability to light, stable, and scents 

By recognizing and maintaining a strategic distance from particular triggers, you can limit your odds of having a headache.

Read on to figure out how to evade a headache before it starts.

1. Evade noisy commotions and brilliant lights 

Boisterous clamors, blazing lights (for instance, strobe lights), and tactile incitement are regular triggers for headache cerebral pains. These boosts might be hard to maintain a strategic distance from, yet realizing that they happen in specific circumstances and situations could help. These include:

driving during the evening

being in motion picture theaters

going to clubs or swarmed scenes

encountering glare from the sun

Take parts from the TV or PC screen to rest your eyes, and modify the shine levels on advanced screens. Give careful consideration to all visual and sound unsettling influences, and ensure you can without much of a stretch maintain a strategic distance from them if a headache emerges.

2. Focus on nourishment decisions 

Certain nourishments and beverages can start cerebral pains, for example,

chocolate

red wine

handled meats

sweeteners

cheddar

Know which nourishments and added substances achieve a cerebral pain for you and figure out how to maintain a strategic distance from them. Sustenances and beverages with caffeine or liquor — particularly red wines or champagne — are normal triggers. Utmost the sum you devour amid the day, or maintain a strategic distance from them inside and out if require be.

3. Keep a cerebral pain journal 

By keeping a journal, you can without much of a stretch distinguish your particular headache triggers. Here are cases of the things you could keep note of:

what you eat and drink

your activity routine and calendar

the climate

solid sentiments and feelings you might have

your meds and their symptoms

times and seriousness of your migraines

This can enable you to see an example in your headache events and will make maintaining a strategic distance from one less demanding.

4. Be careful with hormonal changes 

Hormones assume a noteworthy part as far as headaches. Numerous ladies tend to encounter more headache migraines amid, or just previously, their menstrual period. Ladies ought to be particularly cautious with their eating regimen and exercise propensities amid this time. This will ease indications before they start. As indicated by the Mayo Clinic, oral contraceptives and hormone substitution treatment (HRT) may build the recurrence and seriousness of headaches. A few ladies may discover help by changing to another type of anti-conception medication, while others may discover they have less headaches while taking anti-conception medication.

5. Take supplements

Despite the fact that headaches can be treated with or without medicines, it’s essential to get the correct supplements. Taking certain herbs and minerals may enable ward to off headaches. Magnesium inadequacy has been appeared to add to the beginning of headaches, so taking an every day supplement may help decrease upheavals. Be that as it may, the Mayo Clinic reports that the outcomes from these examinations have been blended. Chat with your specialist about home grown cures and other nonprescription supplements that may facilitate your side effects.

6. Focus on the climate 

Changes in the climate can affect your headache designs. High dampness and hot temperatures can empower cerebral pains, and also blustery days. In the event that the climate winds up awkward for you, you may need to advance inside and enjoy a reprieve from the outside. Obviously, you can’t generally abstain from going outside, however you can limit your opportunity spent in certain cerebral pain instigating climate.

7. Eat and think about a customary calendar 

Fasting or skipping dinners can trigger headache cerebral pains. Ensure you gobble inside a hour of awakening and after that each three to four hours. Appetite and drying out both reason headaches. Ensure you’re drinking enough water, and never avoid a supper.

Absence of rest can likewise disturb manifestations, so ensure you time in no less than seven to eight hours. Notwithstanding getting excessively rest can cause migraines, so don’t endeavor to compensate for lost rest by napping too long.

8. Maintain a strategic distance from pressure 

In spite of the fact that we can’t generally control distressing circumstances, we can control how we respond to them. Headaches are a typical aftereffect of unpleasant occasions. Unwinding systems, for example, contemplation, yoga, and biofeedback can help lessen levels of pressure.

9. Pick unwinding works out 

Standard exercise is a critical piece of a sound way of life. Be that as it may, serious exercise, for example, weight lifting, can trigger cerebral pains.

Focus on your body’s reaction to specific exercises. Select exercises that advance pressure diminishment without putting excessively strain on the body, for example, yoga, light heart stimulating exercise, or judo. Taking calming drugs before exercise may help ease side effects.

Plan ahead

Figuring out how to maintain a strategic distance from your particular triggers and preparing are an essential piece of monitoring your headaches. By getting them early, you can stay away from the most serious indications.

Abacavir Uses, Side effects, Overdose, Missed Dose, Limit, Price

Uses of Abacavir

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This drug is used with other HIV answers for help control HIV malady. It lessens the measure of HIV in your body so your safe structure can work better. This cuts down your probability of getting HIV disarrays, (for instance, new defilements, threat) and improves your own fulfillment. Abacavir has a place with a class of medicines known as nucleoside switch transcriptase inhibitors-NRTI.

Abacavir isn’t an answer for HIV illness. To decrease your risk of spreading HIV disease to others, do most of the going with: (1) continue taking all HIV medicines absolutely as suggested by your authority, (2) constantly use a feasible deterrent strategy (latex or polyurethane condoms/dental dams) in the midst of all sexual development, and (3) don’t share singular things, (for instance, needles/syringes, toothbrushes, and razors) that may have achieved blood or other body fluids. Advice your expert or medication pro for more purposes of intrigue.

Well ordered guidelines to use Abacavir

Read the Medication Guide and Warning Card given by your medication authority before you start taking abacavir and each time you get a refill. Pass on the Warning Card with you always. In case you have any request, ask your expert or medication authority.

Take this arrangement by mouth, as a general rule 1-2 times step by step with or without sustenance or as composed by your pro. If you are using the liquid sort of this prescription, definitely measure the dose using an extraordinary assessing device/spoon. Do whatever it takes not to use a family spoon since you may not get the correct measurements.

The estimation relies upon your helpful condition and response to treatment. In kids, the measurement is also in perspective of weight.

If you quit using abacavir despite for a short range and after that restart the medicine, you have an extended plausibility of working up a serious (possibly deadly) excessively touchy reaction. Refill your answer before you run out. Do whatever it takes not to stop treatment aside from if facilitated by your authority. Before restarting abacavir, direct your pro or medication master, and ensure you have straightforward access to helpful care.

It is basic to continue taking this arrangement (and other HIV remedies) definitely as prescribed by your pro. Do whatever it takes not to skirt any measurements. Make an effort not to manufacture your estimations, take this solution more regularly than embraced, or quit taking it (or other HIV pharmaceuticals) despite for a short time allotment aside from if facilitated to do in that capacity by your authority. Skipping or changing your dose without underwriting from your pro may influence the measure of contamination increase, to make the malady all the more difficult to treat (safe), or compound responses.

For the best effect, take this medicine at impartially isolated events. To empower you to recall, take this medicine at the same time(s) reliably.

Side effects 

Burden snoozing or loss of wanting may happen. If any of these effects hang on or decrease, advise your master or medication expert rapidly.

Remember that your pro has prescribed this arrangement since he or she has judged that the preferred standpoint to you is more unmistakable than the peril of side effects. Various people using this medication don’t have honest to goodness side effects.

As your protected structure gets more grounded, it can begin to avert defilements you starting at now had, possibly influencing disease signs to return. You could in like manner have indications if your sheltered structure ends up overactive. This reaction may happen at whatever point (not long after consequent to starting HIV treatment or various months sometime later). Get therapeutic help promptly if you have any certifiable signs, including: unexplained weight lessening, extraordinary tiredness, muscle throbs/deficiency that doesn’t leave, cerebral agonies that are not kidding or don’t leave, joint torment, deadness/shuddering of the hands/feet/arms/legs, vision changes, signs of defilement, (for instance, fever, chills, swollen lymph center points, bother breathing, hack, non-recovering skin wounds), signs of an overactive thyroid, (for instance, bad temper, nervousness, warm intolerance, fast/beating/eccentric heartbeat, swelling eyes, remarkable improvement in the neck/thyroid known as a goiter), signs of a particular nerve issue known as Guillain-Barre issue, (for instance, burden breathing/swallowing/moving your eyes, hanging face, loss of movement, bother talking).

Tell your pro quickly if you have any bona fide manifestations, including: mental/tendency changes (despair, uneasiness).

Changes in muscle versus fat, (for instance, extended fat in the upper back and stomach domains, lessened fat in the arms and legs) may happen while you are taking HIV pharmaceutical. The reason and whole deal effects of these movements are dark. Discuss the risks and focal points of treatment with your pro, and moreover the possible piece of movement to lessen this side effect.

This is absolutely not a whole summary of possible responses. If you see distinctive effects not recorded above, contact your authority or medication expert.

In the US –

Call your expert for helpful admonishment about manifestations. You may report responses to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088 or at www.fda.gov/medwatch.

In Canada – Call your pro for therapeutic direction about responses. You may report side effects to Health Canada at 1-866-234-2345.

Overdose 

If some person has overdosed and has honest to goodness signs, for instance, going out or bother breathing, call 911. Something different, call a dangerous substance control concentrate quickly. US tenants can call their neighborhood poison control center at 1-800-222-1222. Canada tenants can call an ordinary poisonous substance control center.

Notes 

Make an effort not to give this pharmaceutical to others.

Research focus and furthermore restorative tests, (for instance, liver tests, viral load, T-cell counts) should be performed irregularly to screen your progress or check for manifestations. Advice your pro for more unobtrusive components.

Keep all helpful and research focus courses of action.

Missed Dose 

If you miss a measurement, acknowledge it when you recall. If it is near the period of the accompanying dose, skip themissed estimation and resume your common dosing plan. Make an effort not to twofold the estimations to get up to speed.

Limit 

Store abacavir course of action or tablets at room temperature a long way from light and moistness. Abacavir course of action may moreover be secured in the ice chest. Make an effort not to harden. Make an effort not to store in the bathroom. Battle off all pharmaceuticals from adolescents and pets.

Make an effort not to flush medications down the toilet or void them into an exhaust aside from if taught to do all things considered. Fittingly discard this thing when it is ended or never again required. Advice your medication pro or neighborhood misuse exchange company.Information last changed March 2018. Copyright(c) 2018 First Databank, Inc.

Does Mental Illness Cause Violence? 12 Points to Consider

 Mental  illness does not cause violence.

 Mental  illness is neither a source nor a cause for aggression, violence, murder and mayhem. The news and entertainment media pairs this “cause-and-effect” rationale to spice up and extend news coverage duration in the case of a mass murder. The media demand immediate answers for each event’s details in the pursuit of increased revenues.

  • The American public frequently and vicariously ‘experience’ violence at the hands of the mentally ill in fictional and real-life dramas in movies and newscasts. The global viewing public receives a steady diet of real-life violence linked to  mental  illness. The public are conditioned to fear violence that is random, senseless, and unpredictable as being due to  mental  illness. However, people understand and accept crimes with a clear motive, like robbery. Without a clear motive, a suspect must be mentally ill, right?1
  • A German survey series demonstrated public social distance from the mentally ill increases with each publicized crime, never returning to its original value. Furthermore, there were perceptions of the mentally ill as dangerous and unpredictable.2
  • When a killer is shown to be mentally ill, why is it assumed that his illness causes the crime? U.S. Government officials hurry to address the problem, yet fall victim to the same falsehoods as do the people they represent. Media mischaracterizations of the mentally ill go back at least six decades. How can government pass constructive legislation during this season of national turmoil and ignorance?
  • The headline “Psychotic killer slays 8 people in their beds” is scary. Why? According to The New Oxford Dictionary, “psychosis” is “a severe  mental  disorder in which thought and emotions are so impaired that contact is lost with external reality.” Does being out of touch with reality cause someone to become violent? No. Obviously, a suspect’s underlying life issues including substance abuse, medications’ side-effects, bullying, abuse, rage and hatred should be investigated instead. These issues often co-exist with  mental  conditions. Sadly, the most fantastic and lurid of violent cases are “cherry-picked” for public consumption.
  • Substance abuse is the leading indicator for violence. The side-effects of dozens of prescription drugs are just as deadly, and those of psychiatric drugs in particular. For example, a handful of the most popular antidepressant medications carry the side effects of depression and suicide! Psychiatric drugs from the following classes can have debilitating or deadly side-effects: Antidepressants, tranquilizers, antipsychotics and anticonvulsants. Prescription medicines affect both body and brain chemistries.3 Patients who find their moods shifting after taking their medicines must immediately contact their physicians.
  • “Between 2004 and 2011 the FDA’s (Food and Drug Administration) Adverse Events Reporting System for drug side effects logged 12,755 reports of psychiatric medications relating to violence. Among them were 359 homicides, 7,250 incidences of aggression, and 2,795 episodes of mania. There were also 9,310 suicides. Actually the damage is far greater. According to the FDA, fewer than 10 percent of adverse reactions are reported.”5 Yet the fact remains:  Mental  illness does not cause violence.
  • Are the media qualified to run headlines branding murder suspects “psychotic killers?” No. Can a murder suspect have psychosis? Yes. Can psychosis cause violence or mur­der? No. Can a murder suspect have diabetes? Yes. Can diabetes cause violence or murder? No. Media conclusions are based upon false logic. The answers to these lines of questioning are equally valid. Recently, reporters made the non-threatening condition of Asperger’s Syndrome sound like the cause of a murderous rage within a shooter’s brain. That representation was false.
  • Carefully-chosen “pop” psychologists and psychiatrists – some with their own TV shows – are pitched softball questions by interviewers to buttress sloppy reporting. These “experts” are typically “snake-oil” peddlers: greedy celebrity  mental   health  practitioners who rarely work with patients in clinical settings. They are hired guns who appear in courtrooms to impress juries for the at­torneys who retain them. These doctors resort to street language instead of accurate clinical terms – using ambiguous words like “crazy” – mirror­ing those of the reporter or anchor in order to deferentially make the interviewer seem knowledgeable. The fact is, psychiatry has come a long way “… since 1970, when clinicians were dramatically found to be consis­tently wrong more often than right in predicting violent behavior.”4 Today the verdict is in:  Mental  illness does not cause violence.
  • Ninety percent of suicides result from the  mental  disorder of clinical depression and represent an individual’s anger turned inward only, as correctly defined by Dr. Sigmund Freud. The victim is destructive only to himself-not others. A mass murderer suspect who commits suicide is not always depressed. However, the two may co-exist. He usually takes his own life to avoid the certain legal fate that would accompany his terrible deed. He may happen to suffer from one or more  mental  disorders, but they themselves do not cause the heinous act. It is a happenstance finding uncovered during an investigation.
  • Socioeconomic factors most assuredly come into play when discussing violent tendencies in individuals. Bullying, discrimination, poverty, violent entertainment, favoritism, copycat behavior, repressed hate and anger and all manner of physical,  mental  and emotional abuse can seethe in an individual until the litany of pain must emerge in one form or another – often as violence. That such an individual may manifest a  mental  disorder cannot take away the underlying pain, suffering and predictable acting out of one who suffers such issues. Societal stigmatization of the mentally ill is a cruel, misdirected activity.

Why do I believe  mental  illness does not cause violence?

  • Violence seen in the mentally ill is due to external factors, real or perceived threats, situations or related physical health factors. One respected  mental   health  professional states “… patients discharged from psychiatric facilities who did not abuse alcohol and ille­gal drugs had a rate of violence no different than that of their neighbors in the community. Signifi­cantly, this contradicts one of central perceptions of  mental  illness within society today. Unless drugs or alcohol are involved, people with  mental  disorders do not pose any more threat to the community than anyone else. This finding cannot be emphasized enough.”6  Mental  illness does not provoke or cause violence.
  • The “Psychiatrist’s Bible,” DSM-IV, (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of  Mental  Disorders), indi­cates no link between  mental  illness and violence within its pages. A look through its detailed index fails to turn up the words “aggression,” “violence,” “murder,” or “homicide.” Neither are these terms found in the handbook’s “Diagnostic Index.” Nor are any of these terms listed as symptoms for any of the  mental  disorders found within the text. Violence is not a symptom of  mental  illness or a result of  mental  illness.
  • The media’s deceptive pairing of words like “psychotic” and “killer” are either misleading or untrue in the absence of  mental   health  professionals’ determinations following full examination of suspects.
  • One-in-four Americans now manifests some degree of  mental  illness during any year, as told by actress Glen Close, founder and chairperson for BringChange2Mind, an organization devoted to ending stigma targeting the mentally ill. If only 10 percent of Americans were seriously mentally ill, then wouldn’t resultant violent crime be rampant? Where are these one-in-four “violent” mentally ill Americans? Where are all of their violent crimes? What about the nearly six million known cases of manic-depression (bipolar disorder) across America, 83% of which are classified as severe? Why aren’t these tortured souls grabbing the daily headlines? Do the math. A single newspaper could not contain the stories of havoc they would wreak upon society if the accusations made against them were true.  Mental  illness does not cause violence.
  •  Mental  disorders are biological in origin, as are cancer, heart disease and diabetes. The only difference is that symptoms are external behaviors rather than the internal evidence provided by laboratory test results, surgery and imaging. Do any other biologically-caused illnesses cause violence? No. A mentally ill person’s behaviors are odd and quirky but they fall short of violent or dangerous behavior.  Mental  illness is not a character flaw, moral weakness, or a result of sinful living, weak-mindedness or self-pity.  Mental  illness does not cause violence.
  • It is shameful that in such an “enlightened” society, with all of its unprecedented amount of information available 24/7 from multitudes of verifiable sources, that this basic issue is still debated. If a mentally ill person is violent, he or she is responding to external threats and situations that create anger and violence as would anyone else. Could pure evil residing in a person’s heart cause violence and murder, whether mentally ill or not? This belief is rare in any society blinded by moral relativism and situational ethics.  Mental  illness does not cause violence.
  • Twice as many women as men suffer clinical depression. Men and women suffer other  mental  disorders in equal numbers. Therefore, there are more mentally ill women than men. Why are mass murderers and serial killers mostly young males? Where are all of the mentally ill females committing heinous violence and murders?  Mental  illness does not cause violence.
  • My first-hand experience with co-patients demonstrates that, just as there are happy and mean drunks, there are also happy and mean mood disorder patients. However, meanness does not always translate into physical violence. These behaviors stem from individual personality and character traits in both cases.  Mental  illness does not cause violence.
  • Empirically-speaking and having resided within several  mental   health  facilities, I found all of them as serene as public libraries. My co-patients were not drugged to make them more manageable. The peaceful environment was maintained to achieve the needed healing and progress in patient cognition and emotions. Despite various crises suffered by co-patients within a facility, the only violent behaviors are caused by illegal substance withdrawals or severe reactions to medications’ side-effects. No armed officers or employees work on these units. Psych techs and aides are there to intervene in the event an argument occurs, as would happen among any other group of confined strangers. The media have created a false image of both standard  mental  hospital and general hospital behavioral unit atmospheres as being disruptive, mean-spirited and violent.
  • The World  Health  Organization (WHO) reports more than 25% of Americans suffer some form of  mental  illness during any given year. Medco Health Services states 20% of Americans take psychiatric drugs – a 22% rise since 2001. The number of Americans receiving federal disability payments for  mental   health  issues doubled between 1987 and 2007.
  • In light of these facts, why has the U.S. murder rate decreased by nearly 50% between 1991 and 2009? Why are the U.S. violent crime levels of assault, robbery, rape and murder at their lowest levels since 1963? One can only conclude that, unlike the false  mental  illness-to-violence media rant, there is a clear disconnect between the opposing trends in  mental   health  and violence. May truth prevail:

 Mental  illness is not to blame for violence; it is not a predictor of violence; it simply does not cause violence.

1 Heather Stuart. “Violence and  mental  illness: an overview.” World Psychiatry (Journal). June 2003

2 Angermeyer and Matschinger. Germany.

3 Sari Harrar. “Medicines that affect your mood.” Humana Active Outlook, March 2013, p.10.

4 Monahan & Steadman. 1994.

5 Julian Whitaker, M.D. School Shootings: Evil or Drug-Induced Behavior? Health & Healing. February 2013. Vol. 23, No. 2. pp. 1-5

6 John M. Grohol, Psy. D. Psych Central, Dispelling the Myth of Violence and  Mental  Illness. 2004.

12 REAL Wellness Steps to Good Health

Introduction

I recently wrote a critique of Dr. Ken Cooper’s “12 Steps to Good Health.” One reader suggested that I offer my own 12 Steps to Good Health.

So I did. Enjoy.

1. The WELLNESS REPORT

Subscribe to the AWR and read a total of 12 editions. This should not be difficult. Subscriptions are free and all 763 previous editions are readily accessible, electronically. It won’t matter which twelve you choose – any combination will set you on the path toward a REAL wellness mindset. If you doubt this, look into the eyes of veteran readers, notice how they carry themselves, their ease and harmony, their effervescent vapors and comportment valves, their self-poise, independence, candor and free spirits. Don’t overlook their embrace of reason, love of exuberance, enthusiasm for athleticism and love of  mental  as well as physical freedoms.

2. Reassess Your Mindset

This is especially critical if said mindset is not an original.

No matter how comfortable you may be from having gone along to get along, it could be that your ideas really suck in the grander sense of things and, most vitally, do not enable the enlightenment or level of happiness you might otherwise enjoy. Of course, maybe your mindset, regardless of beliefs in impossible things and ludicrous rules, are just dandy per your way of seeing things. Either way, you still might be better off on the whole if you take a close look at what you were told about life’s persistent questions, to borrow a phrase from Guy Noir, Private Eye, the fellow who once inhabited the 12th floor of the Acme building on many a dark night in a city that knew how to keep its secrets.

(In case you’re puzzled by this reference, it’s a famous line from regular skits featured on Garrison Keillor’s much loved “Prairie Home Companion” radio show.)

3. Minimal Exercise

Beginning today or, if it’s late at night and you need your sleep, tomorrow, go out and exercise for at least 20 minutes with no fewer than five pace pickups, raising your heart rate for 30 seconds to a minute. Do this daily for the rest of your life. Doesn’t matter if you walk, run, bike, swim, row – whatever, just do it every day. Naturally, best if you mix it up, make it fun, dress appropriately for the activity and find others to join you, if socializing while exerting appeals – whatever it takes to keep a commitment to a daily exercise regimen.

4. The Best Diet

Experiment with and, if you can pull it off, become a vegan, or as much of one as you can manage. Only a relatively few (6% of Americans at present) so disposed can pull it off, myself not included. I’m a mostly-vegan who caves now and then to the lures of gruyere cheese, egg whites, shellfish and cream in coffee. Ecotopia is not the goal. A vegan diet is great for your health (e.g., weight control), there are unlimited yummy possibilities and, most important, it’s essential for a better environment. The extent of animal cruelty alone warrants giving veganism an earnest attempt; so does slowing global warning via reductions of emission-heavy animal agriculture. The appetite-whetting possibilities will excite and delight your taste buds.

5. Heroism, Your Style

Perform a heroic act. There is no official definition of a heroic act. I use the term to describe an epic and triumphant experience. In order to accomplish such an experience, that is, moments in time when, after a period of months of disciplined preparation, you complete that which was challenging, special and meaningful, in your eyes, and celebrate the fine-tuned state that you’ve managed, with a little bit (or a lot) of luck, and with support from special aiders and abettors and much hard work via energies wisely expended. The possibilities are rich and varied. A heroic act has only a few criteria and these are but suggestions – you of course can set your own standards. I recommend the heroic act be something physical, that it requires at least three months of preparation, that it’s difficult but possible and even enjoyable in some ways (besides when successfully completed) and that it not be a one and done deal. That is, once you have completed one heroic act meeting these criteria (or your own), follow up with another – once a year, every two years or whatever feels right.

Don’t be tempted by or lured into extreme quests, such as racing non-stop up the Empire State Building, finishing an Ironman triathlon, climbing Mt. Everest or playing in the NFL or NBA. For most of us, such quests would be unrealistic. Choose something possible, but arduous and demanding, yet within your range.

Just know that, to accomplish heroic acts, you’ll have to do a lot of what it takes to land a gig at Carnegie Hall. (Hint: practice, practice, practice.) Good luck.

6. Conscious Meaning Re Life

Ponder and decide on the MOL, that is, the meaning of life or, alternately, the meaning and purposes of your life, at the present time, until new information and insights come along. There is value in bringing to conscious awareness what you believe about why you’re here, if indeed you decide there is anything more to your presence than improbable good fortune, or not such good fortune, depending on how you feel about living.

In “Unweaving the Rainbow: Science, Delusion and the Appetite for Wonder,” Richard Dawkins writes that the fact that we are going to die makes us the lucky ones. Here’s an excerpt wherein he makes this case for this claim:

“Most people are never going to die because they are never going to be born. The potential people who could have been here in my place but who will in fact never see the light of day outnumber the sand grains of Arabia.”

So, buck up folks. Suppose you are too rational to accept the idea that a sky god put you here for a purpose. What then? Let reason be your guide – adopt a set of purposes for your life that will keep you going in good spirits. Maybe you’ll decide, like Ingersoll, that there is meaning and joy contributing to the happiness of others. Perhaps you will find ways to nurture and express your talents, thereby “reaping your greatest reward in being loved by those whose lives you have enriched.”

The possibilities for human flourishing via personally satisfying, challenging forms of meaning and purpose based upon your unique character, talents, personality and circumstances are nearly unlimited. It’s up to you.

7. Healthy Models

Surround yourself to the extent possible with others who seem to have embraced wellness mindsets, that is, people who take good care of themselves, are positive and kind, cheerful and realistic. Also favor those who are optimistic, embrace the common decencies and look after their families, friends and associates. Oh, and also be partial to making friends with people who carry on in ways consistent with reason, exuberance, athleticism and liberty.

In the midst of such company, having and sustaining good intentions will be much easier.

8. Daily Learning

Invest time and energy, more so than ever, in learning and exploring. Pursue education and new activities that broaden your perspectives. Doing so is invaluable at all ages, but more important than ever in the later years. This is a time that too often invites slowing down as important body parts and organs become trouble spots, to put it mildly. Thus, renewed gusto should be summoned and directed at creative ways to sustain and even escalate the vitality that a REAL wellness mindset invites. Think of the possibilities out there as if the world were (for it actually is, sort of) a massive museum. Check out the vast collections on offer, and be a traveling dilettante experiencing the kaleidoscope of arts, history and culture, science and nature – so many choices.

Live it up – you can’t take it with you, since you’re not going anywhere when you die. Be courageous and don’t shy from looking realities in the eye. Keep in mind that you will soon enough become infirm, your mind will expire before the rest of you and you’ll become a burden on everybody, though few will let on. By putting the fact of death out of mind as much as possible, it becomes too easy to take life for granted, to get caught up in jejune concerns and waste precious moments.

9. Humor

Laugh more often, unless your days are already filled with more crackups than a roller derby. Ingersoll suggested that “no one should fail to pick up every jewel of joy that can be found in his path.” Instead of looking for trouble (or love in all the wrong places), look for ways to laugh more often throughout the day, every day! It’s good for your demeanor. By enjoying more of it, especially good old fashioned belly yuks – the kind that bring tears to your eyes. Humor will boost your health status and nearly everything else (social relations, work satisfaction and bodily functions) will improve, as well.

Opportunities for humor are everywhere – you can’t escape it. Humor is more popular than porn, and much more socially acceptable. Best-seller books and TED talks celebrate the power of laughter in business and personal relationships; humor conferences (CEU credits available!) address the science of comedy, as do learned medical journals.

Humor takes many forms, including satire, absurdity, mischief, incredulity, surprise, awkwardness, puns, mockery and affectation, to note a few. You can have a ball with more humor in your life. Make a conscious effort to look for it – you can’t wait for it to seek you out or opportunities will be missed.

However, exercise a measure of caution if you decide to be the one spreading humor. For starters, know your audience. Humor is subjective in the extreme and can be hazardous. While nearly everyone loves to laugh, what is experienced as funny is highly subjective. A gut-busting joke or situation explained with surprises and wit can crack one person up but make another want to crack a bottle over your head. For example, you would not want to make fun of certain people, like Kim Jong Un. What’s amusing to some is definitely offensive to others. Forget jokes about blonds, ethnic groups or even lawyers. (Why don’t sharks bite lawyers? Professional courtesy.)

So, look on the bright side with a few more laughs daily than you otherwise might if not looking for such opportunities. There’s little danger of an overdose or adverse side effects.

10. Effective Thinking

Fine tune your decision-making skills at every opportunity. Not only is the media filled with fake news (and this is not a reference to media reports Trump doesn’t like) but con artists, bogus healers, Russian hackers, get-rich hucksters, slick prosperity gospel preachers, lonely hearts seeking long walks on the beach with generous soul mates, and other charlatans on the prowl as never before – and they all want your money! So, consider this: whatever they’re selling, it probably doesn’t work, you don’t need it anyway, the claims are likely untrue and you shouldn’t fall for any of it. Skepticism, doubt and wariness will stand you in good order until you’ve had time for due diligence.

Learn as much as possible about the three-pound wonder that constitutes the real you. Our brains are naturally attracted to simple explanations of complexity, therefore, we are easily seduced by pseudoscience, conspiracy theories, absurd dogmas and superstitions, quackery and other forms of deception. Religions are another reason for faulty thinking because they teach obedience, not critical thinking. Religions frown on skepticism, doubt and wariness, vital tools for functioning in rational ways that enable better choices.

Ingersoll, a promoter of effective decision-making regarding religions, acknowledged that “reason is a small and feeble flame, a flickering torch by stumblers carried in the starless night, blown and flared by passion’s storms -and yet it is the only light. Extinguish that, and naught remains.”

In the modern world (with our much-evolved but not entirely well-adapted two million year-old brains), reason is indeed a small and feeble flame, but still the only light. Guy Harrison, author of half a dozen books on reason, including “Good Thinking: What You Need to Know to be Smarter, Safer, Wealthier and Wiser,” recommends such skills “be elevated to a moral issue – because an epidemic of poor reasoning looms as humankind’s great unrecognized crisis.”

11. Service to Others

Expect nothing in return. Seek no credit. Do it for someone or many in need, to advance a great principle (e.g. separation of church and state), to help a community, promote animal welfare, save the bloody planet – possibilities for selfless service are inexhaustibly diverse.

While personal rewards are not the point or purpose, service to others invariably brings a bounty of healthful and satisfying returns. Doing good, over time, adds to your sense of worth, purpose and the like, even if nobody notices.

Studies sponsored by the folks who gave us International Good Deeds Day (April 15 this year) suggest that such endeavors decrease stress, increase life expectancy, promote happiness and feel good, due to the fact that such service sparks the release of endorphins, the brain’s pleasant mood chemicals.

A 2012 study published in the journal Psychological Science found that thinking about times you’ve helped others make you want to help again. Service to others is self-reinforcing. The research indicates that reflecting on your past good deeds makes you feel selfless and motivated to do more. What a deal – personal health gains for you and help for others – a good deal for all concerned.

12. Beyond the Pale Blue Dot

Keep ever-present in mind the ultimate, fastest-acting stress management technique – thoughts about the cosmos. Who cannot at least diminish for a spell the unpleasant emotions associated with grudges, worries, fears, jealousies and/or upsets after only a few minutes, even seconds, thinking about space and time? What’s the big deal about life’s spilled milk equivalents – if you remember this advice from the Monty Python classic, “The Meaning of Life:”

“Whenever life gets you down, Mrs. Brown, and things seem hard or tough, and people are stupid, obnoxious or daft, and you feel that you’ve had quite eno-o-o-o-o-ough… “

(Thanks, Eric Idle, for the “Galaxy Song” – a wonderful stress release song.)

This reliable stress reliever involves shifting your mind, just briefly, to the fact that there are hundreds of billions of stars in our Milky Way galaxy – which is but one of hundreds of billions of galaxies, each containing hundreds of billions of stars. And don’t get your hippocampus in a knot struggling to sort out how many planets are out there, each revolving around its own special star. Perhaps there are planets somewhere in the misty deep teeming with inhabitants, most of whom have also been led to believe that they are the center of the universe, and the highest purpose of some grand design.

All the best. Stay weller than well.

Hypothalamus – Role in Motivation and Behaviour

“Behaviour is ultimately the product of the brain, the most mysterious organ of them all.” Ian Tattersall (from Becoming Human.Evolution and Human Uniqueness, 1998)

The question of why we are motivated to certain behaviours is perhaps one of the most fundamental in Psychology. Since Pavlov described conditioning in dogs in his famous 1927 paper, scientists have pondered the origins of motivations that drive us to action. For most of the early twentieth century, behaviourists like Watson & Skinner sought to explain behaviour in terms of external physical stimuli, suggesting that learned responses, hedonic reward and reinforcement were motives to elicit a particular behaviour. However, this does not tell the whole story. In the last few decades, the school of cognitive psychology has focused on additional mechanisms of motivation: our desires according to social and cultural factors having an influence on behaviour. Furthermore, recent advances in neuroimaging technology have allowed scientists an insight into the vast complexities and modular nature of specific brain regions. This research has shown that behaviours necessary for survival also have an inherent biological basis.

The biological trigger for inherent behaviours such as eating, drinking and temperature control can be traced to the hypothalamus, an area of the diencephalon. This article will explore the hypothalamic role in such motivated behaviours. It is important to note that a motivated behaviour resulting from internal hypothalamic stimuli is only one aspect of what is a complex and integrated response.

The hypothalamus links the autonomic nervous system to the endocrine system and serves many vital functions. It is the homeostatic ‘control centre’ of the body, maintaining a balanced internal environment by having specific regulatory areas for body temperature, body weight, osmotic balance and blood pressure. It can be categorised as having three main outputs: the autonomic nervous system, the endocrine system and motivated behavioural response. The central role of the hypothalamus in motivated behaviour was proposed as early as 1954 by Eliot Stellar who suggested that “the amount of motivated behaviour is a direct function of the amount of activity in certain excitatory centres of the hypothalamus” (p6). This postulation has inspired a wealth of subsequent research.

Much of this research has been in the field of thermoregulation. The body’s ability to maintain a steady internal environment is of critical importance for survivalas many crucialbiochemical reactions will only function within a narrow temperature range. In 1961, Nakayama et al discovered thermosensitive neurons in the medial preoptic area of the hypothalamus. Subsequent research showed that stimulation of the hypothalamic region initiated humoral and visceromotor responses such as panting, shivering, sweating, vasodilation and vasoconstriction. However, somatic motor responses are also initiated by the lateral hypothalamus. It is much more effective to move around, rub your hands together or put on extra clothes if you are feeling cold. Similarly, if you are too warm you might remove some clothing or fan yourself to cool down. These motivated behaviours demonstrate that in contrast to a fixed stimulus response, motivated behaviour stimulated by the hypothalamus has a variable relationship between input and output. This interaction with our external environment may be a ‘choice’, however it is clear that the motivation to make these choices has a biological basis.

The mechanics of thermoregulation can be explained by what is sometimes referred to as ‘drive states’. This is essentially a feedback loop that is initiated by an internal stimulus which requires an external response. Kendal (2000) defines drive states as “characterised by tension and discomfort due to a physiological need followed by relief when the need is satisfied”. The process begins with the input. Temperature changes are picked up from peripheral surroundings by thermoreceptive neurons throughout body which sense both warmth and cold separately. An electrical signal (the input) is then sent to the brain. Any divergence from what is known as the ‘set point’ – in this case a temperature of approx 37° – will then be identified as an ‘error signal’ by interoceptive neurons in the periventricular region of the hypothalamus. Armed with these measurements and temperature signals being relayed from the blood, the hypothalamus then launches an appropriate error response. This includes motivating behaviour to make a physical adjustment, e.g. to move around or remove surplus clothing in an attempt to control your temperature.

This type of feedback system in the body is common. Other systems necessary for survival such as regulation of blood salt and water levels are regulated in a similar way. However, the processes that motivate us to eat is much more complex.

Humans have evolved an intricate physiological system to regulate food intake which encompasses a myriad of organs, hormones and bodily systems. Furthermore, a wealth of experimental research supports the idea that the hypothalamus plays a key role in this energy homeostasis by triggering feeding behaviours. Controlling energy balance is of crucial importance and eating is primarily to maintain fat stores in the event of food shortage. If fat cell reserves in the body are low, they release a hormone called leptin which is detected as an error signal by the periventricular region of the hypothalamus. This then stimulates the lateral hypothalamus to initiate the error response. In this case, we start to feel hungry which in turns initates the somatic motor response by motivating us to eat.

Since the hypothalamus also controls metabolic rate by monitoring blood sugar levels, in theory we seem to have a similar feedback loop to temperature control. However in practice this is not a reality. The main difficulty in maintaining energy homeostasis is that motivation does not rise solely from internal biological influences. Cultural and social factors also play an important part in motivation about when, what and how often to eat. In western culture, social pressures to be thin can override the need to eat and in extreme cases like anorexia the drive state becomes reversed. The motivation is no longer to eat because they are hungry but is instead not to eat so they do feel hungry. This corruption of the reward system is well documented and is associated with delusions of body image, a concept which is also linked to the hypothalamus and the parietal lobe. Problems can also occur if an individual receives over stimulation to eat. The prevalence of obesity in today’s society is testament to this fact.