How Air Pollution Destroys Our Brain and What to Do About It

How Air Pollution Destroys Our Brain and What to Do About It

We had been traveling around to the beautiful small towns of LiJiang and Dali in China, and then headed to Cheng Du.   My sister and her husband were living there at the time, and we planned to stay there for a few days to see it’s best features and prepare for our trip to Tibet.

I remember shortly after I arrived, I became unusually fatigued. I usually have plenty of energy, and am always eager to check out what each new place has to offer. But after arriving in Cheng Du, I didn’t want to do anything except stay in their apartment and sleep. But  Cheng Du is known for is it’s panda reserves, and it was the one thing that motivated me to get out of their apartment.

I remember as we arrived closer to the reserves, my energy

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Do You Have Election Stress Disorder?

Do You Have Election Stress Disorder?

Thanks to the negativity surrounding this year’s elections, election stress disorder is said by the American Psychological Association to be affecting 52% of Americans.

This diagnosis was originally coined in developing countries with more instability, and in 2016 is becoming a major epidemic in America.

What are the symptoms of Election Stress Disorder?

More people are feeling anxious and stressed.   We are more prone to rage in driving, at work, and in relationships.   As we take sides, we grow more divided and are unwilling to listen to the views of others. We become more contemptuous and less respectful.   The stress of this election is putting real strain on relationships, both in the home and beyond.

What are the factors that are contributing to this?

We have one of the most contentious elections between the 2 major party presidential candidates in the last 50 years or more.   They are also the 2 most unpopular candidates in modern day history.   Both are using fear of the other, as a driving force to vote for them. Neither of them are trustworthy, and both are being investigated by the FBI or in Federal Court for corrupt practices.   Neither of them inspire us to be our best, and very few people believe that they represent the views of the 99%.

i-dont-want-to-hearThe stress of this election comes many factors: 1.) Many are voting out of fear of the other, and not for the change we want to see.   2.) Many of us are desperate for real change to help the 99%, and most of us don’t believe either candidate will make our lives better.   3.)   There is tremendous fear of either a Trump or Clinton presidency and the ramifications of either taking office.  4.) The media excludes the voices of the 3rd party candidates, and perpetuates the idea that we only have 2 viable choices.   5.) The negativity and disparaging comments made by the campaigns and the media about others gives us subconscious permission to treat others similarly.

Our environment plays a very important role in how we treat each other.   There are countries for example that are known to be more friendly than others, and much of it has to do with their media and how they treat each other.   If we tolerate more rudeness, disrespect and put downs from our leaders and our media, we can expect to see that behavior grow. The people that are the most susceptible to these influences are people that have less control over their emotions.   When the emotional circuits are triggered, the prefrontal cortex should kick in to help us to have control over our impulses.   The prefrontal cortex however does not finish developing until about 25, and that can vary greatly, depending on your environment growing up, your mental health and your education.  Because of the way the brain develops, and declines, children and the elderly are more susceptible to being emotionally triggered. Teachers are expressing a deep concern over the increase in bullying seen at schools, calling it “the Trump effect”.    Stress also impacts our ability to use the prefrontal cortex, and thus our emotional inner child gets unleashed, and that can lead to more strife and tension in relationships.

Now that we know that the elections are stressing us out and negatively impacting our relationships, what should we do about it?

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Why We Lack Control Over Our Thoughts

My friend Jim Kellner performs “mental magic”  to audiences around the country.   Technically, he’s a stage hypnotist and a couple of weeks ago, he did a performance where he hypnotized a few people, including a friend of mine, Brian.     Here’s just a little taste from the show.  (Warning:  you might not want to drink anything while watching.  It could get messy!)

 

I talked to Brian a few days afterwards, and asked him how it was, and he said, “it was the weirdest thing, but I don’t remember anything about it!”.   I just remember waking up and feeling really relaxed!

I confess, as a person that is less susceptible to hypnosis, I marvel that some people can get that deeply hypnotized.   Furthermore, his shows really awaken my curiousity! What is going on in their brains that make them so highly suggestible?

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