Tiredness Stills

Anyone with small children or a debilitating illness such as cancer will understand when I say there is a kind of tiredness so complete that any effort seems impossible. One wakes tired; one goes to bed tired; and in between times one just is tired. In my own case, I have more or less given up pretending it can ever be otherwise. I have even stopped snarling when people tell me to rest! Because, of course, the reason one is tired is that one cannot rest or rest itself is no longer restful. I refuse, however, to allow this state of apparently perpetual tiredness to be entirely negative. I bumble along quite happily until I simply flop — a sudden loss of energy, an overwhelming desire to close my eyes for a few minutes, you know what I mean. One doesn’t have to have children or be ill to know such moments, but they are probably more frequent if one does/is. At such times one can moan and groan a little, lament what one can’t do, or one can learn — painfully slowly in my case — that they are a moment of grace, to be treasured rather than railed against.

When one is very tired, life becomes much simpler. There is no need to pretend, no need to argue, no need to worry about what others think. What one cannot do, one cannot do — and that’s an end of the matter. One cannot plan ahead and one’s memory of the past is defective, so one is forced to live in the present moment. Jean de Caussade wrote beautifully of the sacrament of the present moment, but I must admit that until I became ill myself, I had never really appreciated the richness of meaning behind the phrase. We can only meet God, only love and serve him, now, in this moment; and when we are tired, as when we are asleep, all opposition, all attempts to control God, fall away. God can winkle his way in, as it were. Tiredness stills heart and mind and makes them receptive as they rarely are when we are bursting with energy and full of ‘me, me, me’.

If today you are feeling flat and weary, be encouraged. It is not the end of the world, though at one level it may seem like it. On the contrary, it is an opportunity to become more open to God, to be fashioned according to his ideas rather than your own; in short, it is an opportunity to let God be all in all.


how long will that madness of yours mock us?

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Come along to free session about dealing with grief

CAROL Stevens and Bette Phillips are hosting another of their grief forums this Thursday night in the Euroa Library meeting room.

The forums are an opportunity for those who may be experiencing for themselves, or supporting someone else during their grief, to better understand its different aspects, and some techniques to better manage that grief.

Bette is a grief counsellor of 30 plus years and Carol Stevens is a civil celebrant, who understands that grief is often unsupported, especially in smaller, rural communities.

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Drop your ego and get tested

It’s something that happens to other people.

Surely it wouldn’t happen to anyone in your family, let alone to you?

But the one thing cancer doesn’t do is discriminate.

“When it comes knocking at your door, it is really quite a shock,” Iain Johnston, a prostate cancer survivor recalled.

In 2011, Johnston had gone for his annual check-up with his doctor, who did a PSA (prostate-specific antigen) test.

According to medical research organisation The Mayo Clinic, the test is used primarily to screen for prostate cancer.

The test measures the amount of PSA, a protein produced by both cancerous and non-cancerous tissue in the prostate, in a man’s blood.

The prostate is a small gland that sits below a man’s bladder.

Prostate cancer is receiving attention as June is Men’s Health Awareness Month.

His experience has inspired Johnston to urge men to get tested for health issues.

He said: “My PSA levels, which were always sort of up and down, started to continue rising.

“I also had a digital rectal exam, where doctors put a finger up your anus to feel for any abnormalities – an important test for any man to have done at least once a year.”

Johnston’s prostate also found to be enlarged.

According to the Prostate Cancer Foundation, it is estimated that one in six men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer.

It is the leading cancer in males, with more than 4000 men diagnosed in South Africa every year.

While it is rare in men under the age of 40, after the age of 50 the incidence rises steeply and, by the age of 80, almost 80% of men will have prostate cancer.

Johnston was referred to Pretoria Urology Hospital, where medics suggested a biopsy. Three out of his four samples tested positive for prostate cancer.

“We discussed treatments that were suitable for me because treatment plans are different for each man.

“For me, the best treatment option was having my prostate removed it’s a big procedure. And mine was done at a time prior to the introduction of robotics, which are less invasive.”

Johnston warned the “male- ego” could be a disadvantage for many men who would rather ignore issues than deal with them upfront. You stop any man on the street and when you ask them where the prostate gland is in their body and they won’t know, yet it is nourishes their semen and is an important gland.

“We men have huge egos we like talking about sex and women but, when it comes to struggles getting an erection or troubles urinating, we don’t talk as openly to our mates or GPs,” he continued.

Johnston was back to work, albeit in a limited capacity, three weeks after his surgery, despite the normal recovery time of six weeks.

“I was lucky, I caught it early enough. If you wake up to it late and get it already at stage 2 or 3, all you can do at that point is manage it. And if you have to have it removed, it’s not the end of the world.

“Yes, you may deal with erectile dysfunction but there are ways around that.”

Johnston added: “When you’re younger, you feel like you’re bulletproof and can do anything. When you’re older, you start realising that you are vulnerable.”


Surprising ways to beat anxiety and become mentally strong

Do you have anxiety? Have you tried just about everything to get over it, but it just keeps coming back? Perhaps you thought you had got over it, only for the symptoms to return with a vengeance? Whatever your circumstances, science can help you to beat anxiety for good.

Anxiety can present as fear, restlessness, an inability to focus at work or school, finding it hard to fall or stay asleep at night, or getting easily irritated. In social situations, it can make it hard to talk to others; you might feel like you’re constantly being judged, or have symptoms such as stuttering, sweating, blushing or an upset stomach.

It can appear out of the blue as a panic attack, when sudden spikes of anxiety make you feel like you’re about to have a heart attack, go mad or lose control. Or it can be present all the time, as in generalised anxiety disorder, when diffuse and pervasive worry consumes you and you look to the future with dread.

Most people experience it at some point, but if anxiety starts interfering with your life, sleep, ability to form relationships, or productivity at work or school, you might have an anxiety disorder. Research shows that if it’s left untreated, anxiety can lead to depression, early death and suicide. And while it can indeed lead to such serious health consequences, the medication that is prescribed to treat anxiety doesn’t often work in the long-term. Symptoms often return and you’re back where you started.

How science can help

The way you cope or handle things in life has a direct impact on how much anxiety you experience – tweak the way you’re coping, therefore, and you can lower your anxiety levels. Here are some of the top coping skills that have emerged from our study at the University of Cambridge, which will be presented at the 30th European Congress of Neuropsychopharmacology in Paris, and other scientific research.

Do you feel like your life is out of control? Do you find it hard to make decisions – or get things started? Well, one way to overcome indecision or get going on that new project is to “do it badly”.

This may sound strange, but the writer and poet GK Chesterton said that: “Anything worth doing is worth doing badly.” And he had a point. The reason this works so well is that it speeds up your decision-making process and catapults you straight into action. Otherwise, you could spend hours deciding how you should do something or what you should do, which can be very time-consuming and stressful.

People often want to do something “perfectly” or to wait for the “perfect time” before starting. But this can lead to procrastination, long delays or even prevent us from doing it at all. And that causes stress – and anxiety.

Instead, why not just start by “doing it badly” and without worrying about how it’s going to turn out. This will not only make it much easier to begin, but you’ll also find that you’re completing tasks much more quickly than before. More often than not, you’ll also discover that you’re not doing it that badly after all – even if you are, you can always fine tune it later.

Using “do it badly” as a motto gives you the courage to try new things, adds a little fun to everything, and stops you worrying too much about the outcome. It’s about doing it badly today and improving as you go. Ultimately, it’s about liberation.

Can Our Anger Be Explained by Global Brain Vulnerabilities?

On any particular day, if you search for trending news topics, you will likely discover site hacking, terrorism, political attacks of Republicans and Democrats, Brexit-related anger, and bizarre stories about road rage and senseless killings. On the surface, these expressions of anger appear to be situation-specific, and we could each justify why any anger has relevance. But anger appears to be on the rise in epidemic proportions. And if we do not examine this anger more constructively, we will lose the opportunity to change our brains and the world itself.

When digital distraction depletes your focused brain: In this age of digital distraction, focusing has become even more challenging. And when you focus too much, your prefrontal cortex is depleted.

In one study, people were asked to focus on a video and another group was asked to view the video as normal. Then, they were given a moral dilemma that they had to respond to. The group that focused cared much less, The group that watched the video as normal, demonstrated greater caring.

When you focus too much, you care less about the plight of others, and have to conserve your energy to care about yourself only.  In fact, glucose reversed this effect in the study, indicating that what may seem like an intrinsic predisposition not to care, is simply situation-related.

Solution: Break up your day into focused and unfocused periods. Allowing your brain to recharge will help you to connect with your ability to care.

When uncertainty distorts your thinking: There is unprecedented economic volatility and uncertainty in the world. Uncertainty poses a huge threat as it makes us feel that the sky is falling down—it literally biases the brain in this way. In one study, 75% of people in the uncertain condition mispredicted when bad things were going to happen. They were unnecessarily pessimistic.

It makes sense that reactive anger has increased in the context of heightened volatility and uncertainty, even though this uncertainty distorts what is actually happening.

Solution: Manage uncertainty by taking time out to remind yourself that it means that something is “unknown” rather than implying that something bad is going to happen. Use self-talk to remind yourself that uncertainty distorts the brain.

When your brain’s defenses prevent you from seeing your anger accurately:  When we are angry, we will often displace this anger onto the nearest person or situation. Since we cannot retaliate where we need to, we may displace this aggression onto other circumstances.

e.g. In extreme circumstances, domestic abuse (which has been increasing in the US) or road rage (which has been increasing in the UK and North America) may be the result.

Solution: Manage your displaced aggression by taking time out to understand how you can more constructively address your anger, and also, where you may more constructively address your anger as well.

When your exhausted and burned out brain is distorted: Burnout on the job is on the rise. Anger may be a sign of burnout too. It is often associated with stress and may affect one’s professionalism as well. Social stress, emotional exhaustion and anger are all associated with the brain’s unfocus circuit going awry.

Thus, your anger may simply be about your exhaustion and social stress, and by correcting this, you may restore more order to your brain.

Solution: Take time out to identify one social stressor. Start with low hanging fruit, and make a plan to reduce this stress where possible. One way to start is to build an unfocus period into your day. Self-talk in the second person (e.g. When facing a challenge, calling yourself by name and saying “You can crush this”) can help you decrease this stress.

Conclusion: The ways we choose to express our anger may not be as meaningful as we think they are. And choosing specific targets may simply be a displacement of existential threats that we face. Often unconscious and not recognizable at all, a personal fear of death or fear of disintegration of a social group to which one belongs lies at the root of our anger. In a sense, anger is often an attempt to preserve our sense of belonging and “fit” in the world.

Consider the fact that no political change has ever removed anger forever. It seems to keep on coming back. While we undoubtedly have our personal and political preferences, taking time out to unfocus—to identify brain paralysis, distortions defenses and exhaustion—may provide a way for us to change our brains, and then, to change the world we live in.

To read more about how we can use unfocus to intelligently rewire our brains, check out “Tinker, Dabble, Doodle, Try: Unlock the Potential of the Unfocused Mind” (Ballantine Books, 2017)

If i wanted to be a con man like the religious/scientific community acts today, i would be very successful since MAN can be easily manipulated with the right tools, social engineering using fraudulent science today is an excellent example of that, i mean who can argue with a scientists right?

Psychologically vulnerable, at the global level. As a legitimate military target earth itself is a sitting duck.

An expert-general strategy is typically employed prior to the collapse of any civilization, thus if all they do is screw me around, they really do end up getting what they deserve.

Rendering assistance to the human race is now a criminal act.

Srini Pillay, M.D., is the author of the book: Life Unlocked: 7 Revolutionary Lessons to Overcome Fear. He is also an Assistant Clinical Professor at Harvard Medical School.