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Harrison Ford auctions ‘Star Wars’ jacket to fight epilepsy in daughter’s honor…

By Chris Serico

Harrison Ford has taken the jacket off Han Solo’s back and put it up for auction in an effort to help his daughter and others living with epilepsy.

just weeks after Ford called his daughter, Georgia, his “hero” while speaking about her epilepsy, he lent his support and part of his “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” wardrobe to the quest to find a cure.

Proceeds from the auction — whose bidding opened last week at $15,000 and was at $18,000 as of Monday afternoon — will benefit the NYU Langone Medical Center and its affiliate, Find a Cure for Epilepsy and Seizures (FACES). As the wisecracking Han Solo, Ford wore the sleek jacket throughout the blockbuster sequel, which has earned more than $2 billion worldwide.

                                                   David James / Lucasfilm Ltd. / Courtesy of

To fundraise for a charity aiming to find a cure for epilepsy, Harrison Ford is auctioning off Han Solo’s jacket from “Star Wars: The Force Awakens.”
In a statement attributed to Ford, the Academy Award-nominated actor said, “This is a cause that’s near and dear to me, and, unlike the cynical Han Solo, I’ve got a good feeling about this.”

“We are thrilled and honored to be supporting such an incredible cause by featuring a piece of cinematic history,” Trevor Traina,’s CEO, said via press release Tuesday. “We’ve been lucky to support hundreds of causes, but this one is even more significant as it is so personal to Harrison.”

harrison-ford-daughter-inline-today-160328Jason Kempin / Getty Images

Georgia Ford and Harrison Ford attend a Los Angeles movie premiere Aug. 8, 2013.

At a March 7 gala Ford chaired for FACES, the actor honored Dr. Orrin Devinsky, who helped Georgia with her condition. “Nine years ago my daughter was admitted to NYU Langone to be treated for epilepsy, and she has not had a seizure since the day she left,” Ford said, according to FACES. “My family and I are grateful for Dr. Devinsky’s help and all the support that FACES provides for those who suffer from epilepsy and seizures.”

A day after that gala, the New York Daily News published quotes from Ford, who also made a point to praise Georgia. “I admire a lot of things about her,” he told the newspaper. “I admire her talent, her strength. She’s my hero. I love her.”

                               The auction for the Han Solo jacket ends at 6 p.m. April 11.



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An Earbud to Predict Seizures?

Imagine a tiny, unobtrusive brain monitor — like an earbud or a hearing aid — that could read brainwaves through the ear.


Amazing as it sounds, this tiny device could help predict seizures and track daily seizures in people with uncontrolled epilepsy, according to a small pilot study.

Engineers at Imperial College in London have developed exactly that. An EEG device that can be worn inside the ear, like a hearing aid.

They say the device will allow scientists to record EEGs for several days at a time. This would allow doctors to monitor patients who have regularly recurring seizures.

The device is limited by the fact that it’s best at recording activity from the region it’s attached to, the temporal lobe, but an ear-based EEG has other advantages.

Having a device that fits right in the ear makes it easier to keep the electrodes in the same spot for accurate readings, andreduces the signal noise created by body movement.

The wearer can still hear through it, making it an inconspicuous way to monitor the brain activity of people who have daily seizures.

By nestling the EEG inside the ear, the engineers avoid a lot of signal noise usually introduced by body movement. And it allows researchers to record EEG data over multiple days, even as patients move around.

They can also ensure that the electrodes are always placed in exactly the same spot which, they say, will make repeated readings more reliable.

“The ideal is to have a very stable recording system, and recordings which are repeatable,” explains co-creator Dr. Danilo Mandic.

“It’s not interfering with your normal life, because there are acoustic vents so people can hear. After a while, they forget they’re having an EEG.”

Also, an Israeli start-up called HeadSense, has developed a pair of earbuds which claims it can monitor pressure inside the human skull.

These earbuds are made of medical-grade EEG sensors to capture brain activity 2,000 times per second and a Bluetooth radio to shoot your thoughts to the smartphone, tablet, or PC of your choice.

HeadSense’s earbuds work by emitting low-frequency soundsand monitoring changes in the sound waves as they pass through the brain.

Increased pressure causes blood flow in the brain to decrease.

And according to HeadSense, the corresponding narrowing of the blood vessels causes the sounds to raise in pitch.

This data is fed wirelessly to the device of your choicewhich performs the calculations to convert the measurements into a pressure reading.

It all sounds pretty amazing.

And of course, for patients who don’t respond to drugs, it could be a triumph.

But larger trials are needed, before these earbuds become an approved FDA reality.

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ANGER MANAGEMENT: 7 Steps To Deal With An Angry Person… (#2 AND #6 IS VERY IMPORTANT)

In my life, I have found myself many a time having to deal with an angry individual; sometimes I was that individual. These situations often begin with one side feeling slighted in some way, and in most cases, the angry person is simply expressing frustration and is looking for a solution. I have decided to adopt clinical psychologist Dr. Albert J. Bernstein’s 7-step method to dealing with an angry person and found it to be very effective. I would now love to share it with you, and hopefully, give you a way to diffuse an unpleasant situation in the future.

Step #1: Keep Calm

It’s bad enough when one person loses their calm, but when two people do – the situation can become explosive. Angry people often cannot separate their emotions from the discussion, thus preventing it from being resolved in a manner that is satisfactory to both sides. By remaining calm and collected, you’re more ly to help the other person calm down as well. Once both of you are calm, a reasonable discussion can resume. If you have a hard time staying calm, go with the old cliché – hold your breath and count to ten.


Step #2: Treat them as You Would a Child

You wouldn’t shout at a child throwing a tantrum, you would simply ignore them, and an adult shouldn’t be any different. People expect to be able to reason with the angry individual, but it doesn’t work for children, and it won’t work with an adult. Just let them get it all out until they can calm themselves down.


Step #3: Ask them to Slow Down so That You Can Help


When a person is at the point where they’re shouting and screaming, simply telling them to stop doesn’t work. It’s even more ly to exacerbate the situation. Instead, ask the individual to speak slower so you can help them. A slower conversation is a calmer one, and letting them know you want to help will contribute to them feeling validated, allowing you to continue with the discussion.


Step #4: Ask “What Would You Me to Do?”


Once the situation has calmed down, continue the conversation in a manner that will not cause things to heat up again. Asking the other person “What would you me to do?” gives them room to express themselves and feel validated. This, in turn, provides you with the advantage of knowing what the other person wants from you, and allows you to lead the conversation from there.


Step #5: Don’t Tell Someone, Ask Them

In a conflict, trying to explain something to the other party can often be misconstrued as “fighting back”, instead of informing the other person what your reasoning was. In some cases, if the other person realizes that, through your explanation, they were wrong, it can make them even more defensive. Instead of saying “I did something because of…”, ask them “Why do you think I did something?”


Step #6: Start Sentences with “I’d …” instead of “You Are…”

Once you and the other person managed to resume a rational discussion, the worst thing you can do is make them feel you’re accusing them of something. Construct your statements to focus on yourself, rather than on them, and how you can contribute to resolving the problem. This way, the both of you are working on a resolution, rather than on who started it.


Step #7: Let Them Have the Last Word

Once you’ve reached an understanding, let the other party have the last word. The reason behind this is to avoid saying anything that may be interpreted as an accusation, rekindling the flames. Your goal is to end the conflict and to reach an agreement and to have the last word rarely gets you there. Keep your cool and ignore the little things. Let the other side feel they won while you concentrate on your achievement.

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The Gut-Thyroid Connection: 4 Steps for Breaking the Hashimoto’s Autoimmune Cycle…

thyroid gut connection

So many women are led to believe that their thyroid symptoms are in their heads! Well, guess what, ladies, it’s not in your head – but your thyroid troubles could be starting in your gut!

Let me tell you about one of my patients.

Karen had a life-long history of terrible bloating and constipation. Aside from this, she’d always been happy and energetic.

Soon after she turned 36, everything changed.

She started feeling exhausted all the time and became so depressed that some days she barely had enough energy and motivation to take care of her kids or make it though a whole workday. In fact, she had to switch her job to part-time just to cope, but this had an impact on her income and self-esteem, which only added to her depression.

Karen sent me a photograph of her belly when it was bloated. She was often asked if she was pregnant and indeed, I’d have thought she was 7 months pregnant from the photo – her distended belly stood out in start contrast to her otherwise tall, slim figure.

She came in for an appointment.

Given her fatigue, I ran tests for thyroid problems. Her results clearly showed Hashimoto’s disease, an autoimmune hypothyroid disorder responsible for 80% of all hypothyroid cases in the US.

But this is not the only thing testing revealed. An endoscopy revealed celiac disease.

Karen immediately removed all gluten from her diet, and within just a few weeks began noticing improvements in her digestion, energy, and mood. She decided to continue working on her diet and healing her gut and systemic inflammation before starting thyroid medication. About 2 months later, her TSH had almost normalized, and her thyroid antibodies were coming down. Her energy continued to improve, as did her mood.

Karen has remained strictly gluten free. Her thyroid function completely normalized – and here’s the amazing thing: she never did start thyroid medication.

What is the Gut –Thyroid Connection?

Hashimoto’s disease is an organ specific autoimmune disease – meaning it affects the thyroid. But at its core, it is rooted in inflammation that may begin outside of the thyroid in a substantial number of cases . One of the most common sources of inflammation that eventually leads to autoimmune conditions is intestinal hyperpermeability, or “leaky gut.”

The main job of the intestinal mucosa (the lining of the intestine) is to act as like customs officer at a border crossing. It allows nutrients from our food to pass into the submucosa where it can be assimilated for our benefit, while keeping potentially harmful proteins from our food and fragments of both healthy and harmful bacteria out of the submucosa where they can trigger inflammatory and immune reactions. Over time, persistent exposure of the submucosa to inflammatory and immune triggers causes the body to produce antibodies, special proteins that recognize and fight viruses and bacteria. These antibodies can also start to recognize and attack your body tissue, including your thyroid tissue, and sabotage your thyroid’s ability to produce or use thyroid hormones, resulting in Hashimoto’s disease.

Further, the health of the intestinal microbiome regulates overall inflammation in your body by inhibiting the production of pro-inflammatory cytokines including tumor-necrosis factor (TNF), interleukin 6 (IL-6), and nuclear factor-kappa B (NF-KB), while promoting anti-inflammatory cytokines like interleukin-10 (IL-10).

New research also suggests that there is direct cross-talk between proteins and hormones in the gut and the hypothalamic-pituitary-thyroid axis (HPT), adding yet another layer of the connection to what goes on in the gut and the health of the thyroid.

Antibiotic use, frequent use of NSAIDS (ibuprofen, Aleve, Motrin, etc.), a diet high in sugar and low in a wide variety of vegetables, over-exercise and chronic stress, all affect the health of the intestinal mucosa and the microbiome, and can determine whether you develop hypothyroidism.

Celiac disease, as in Karen’s case, creates an extreme set-up for leaky gut. In fact, as many as 10% of patients with celiac disease have hypothyroidism. But much milder forms of leaky gut and dysbiosis – which affect millions more people that has previously been recognized – can also create the environment for Hashimoto’s to develop.

The tricky thing is that not not everyone with gut problems has classic digestive symptoms. Sometimes the only symptom of gut problems is an autoimmune disease! So if you have Hashimoto’s disease, it is worth including gut healing as part of your plan.

The Core Solution: Healing the Gut-Thyroid Connection

While the gut is not the only source of autoimmune hypothyroidism, healing the gut is one of the core solutions for preventing and healing from Hashimoto’s in many cases, and can prevent further autoimmune disease from starting.

Complete gut healing can take time – even a year – but it’s not too complicated with this simple plan of action. Results often start to happen quickly, so you can feel improvement in your digestion, energy, mental clarity, and so many other areas of your life in as short as 10-30 days if you’re on the right track. I’ve seen this happen for my patients time and again.

As your overall inflammation starts to go down, your thyroid antibody numbers will also decrease. It takes at least several months and even a year to see a substantial change in antibody levels, but if you’re getting to the root of the problem, you should see a change.

Now not everyone who has Hashimoto’s can avoid or go off of thyroid medication – sometimes it remains necessary – but taking the approach of healing the underlying gut problem will prevent further health problems from arising, relieves many general symptoms, and may allow you to eventually reduce your thyroid medication dose. As inflammation resolves, so will weight loss, brain fog, sleep problems, and many other chronic symptoms many of us just assume are normal and live with.

4 Steps for Breaking the Gut-Thyroid Autoimmunity Cycle

Healing the gut is a 4-part process.


I generally recommend doing these 4 steps at the same time, but they can be done sequentially, in the order they appear here:

  1. Remove leaky gut triggers: The most common leaky gut triggers are gluten containing foods, gluten cross reactive foods (corn, coffee) and dairy products, as well as antibiotics, proton pump inhibitors (i.e., Prilosec and many other medications for reflux, and ibuprofen and other NSAIDS including Aleve, Motrin, etc.). To truly heal your gut enough to have an impact on Hashimoto’s, you will want to remove these food triggers for at least 6 months. If there’s even a hint that you are gluten intolerant, then remove gluten and gluten cross-reactive foods permanently. Speak with your doctor about whether you must be on the above medications, and whether alternatives might be possible. The same herbal supplements that help remove inflammation in the digestive system, for example, ginger and turmeric, are effective for pain, and DGL licorice has been used effectively for acid reflux, along with avoiding reflux dietary triggers and eating too close to going to bed.
  2. Replace: Take a digestive enzyme (usually 1-2 capsules with each meal) and betaine HCl (check with your doctor first if you have ulcers, a usual dose is 1-4 capsules with meals, depending on the product)) with each meal to help your body break down proteins more completely so they don’t continue to act as an immune trigger.
  3. Re-inoculate: Take a daily probiotic that includes Saccharomyces boulardii, as well as a variety of Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium strains. Start with a low dose, usually 1 capsule per day, and increase up to 2-4 caspules per day, depending on the package instructions for the brand you purchase. And add lacto-fermented vegetables to your daily diet. If you have a major problem with gas, bloating, or a history of constipation or diarrhea, or if you notice that your digestive symptoms worsen when you start taking the probiotic, either back down on the dose or treat dysbiosis first. You may need additional help clearing out overgrowth of problematic gut flora by taking an herbal combination that contains garlic, oregano oil, or other antimicrobial herbs, for example, those that contain the ingredient berberine, like goldenseal and goldthread. Para-Shield by Gaia Herbs, Candibactin-AR and Candibactin-BRby Metagenics are examples of products that are effective for this.
  4. Repair: A number of herbs and supplements are beneficial for relieving inflammation in your gut lining, while healing the intestinal tissue. These include a daily combination of the following for 3-12 months: curcumin (1000 mg twice daily), ginger root (500-1000 mg twice daily), zinc carnosine (30 mg 1-2 times daily), L-glutamine (up to 5 gm twice daily), and marshmallow root herb, chamomile, and others which can be found in products such asIntestinal Soother or Inflamma Response by Herb Pharm. GI Benefits from DaVinci Laboratories also includes many of the ingredients in this repair section, all in one product, though it does contain stevia which I’m not a huge fan of and fruit powders for flavor which might be a trigger for gas and bloating if you have fructose intolerance.

I hope this article gives you peace of mind and freedom from thyroid troubles!

With love,

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Make Sure Your Thyroid Is Getting Enough Iodine With This Simple 24 Hour Home Test…

This post was originally published on My Health Maven. Elisha is deeply passionate about educating people and empowering them to lead healthier lives. I encourage you to check out her blog.

The thyroid is a butterfly shaped gland normally weighing less than one ounce, it is located at the front base of the neck. The thyroid secretes hormones that act throughout the body influencing metabolism, growth and development and body temperature. Its proper function is dependent on two trace minerals iodine and manganese. Of the two, iodine is the most essential for proper thyroid function and health. This simple and inexpensive test can show if your body has sufficient iodine to normalize thyroid secretions.

With iodine tincture, simply paint a postage size stamp on the inside of your wrist. If the brown stain fades in 24 hours or less, it indicates there is not sufficient iodine to normalize thyroid secretion to the cells. Even if you are taking pharmaceutical thyroid medication, lack of iodine will prevent your body from properly utilizing it.


1. Its best to do this test in the morning after showering but it is not required. You can start anytime.

2. Use Tincture of Iodine to paint a postage square size stamp on the inside of your wrist.

Note:  Tincture of Iodine is available from any drugstore or pharmacy. Be sure it’s the original orange colored solution and not the clear solution.

3. Write down the time you painted your wrist.

4. Observe the coloration of the patch over the next 24 hours.


Overall, the faster the body draws in the iodine, the greater the iodine need is likely to be.
1. Patch begins to slightly lighten after 24 hours – NORMAL

2. Patch disappears, or almost disappears in 18-24 hours – MILD

3. Patch disappears, or almost disappears in 12-18 hours – MODERATE

4. Patch disappears, or almost disappears in 6-12 hours – SEVERE 5. Patch disappears, or almost disappears in under 6 hours – VERY SEVERE

Repeat Testing

You can repeat this test every 1-2 weeks to monitor the need for iodine. When the patch no longer disappears within 24 hours, adjust iodine dose accordingly.

I prefer whole food supplements whenever possible. You may wish to discuss Standard Process or Medi Herb options with your healthcare practitioner.  For reference I have listed the amounts of iodine in the Standard Process and Medi Herb supplements listed below:

 Prolamine Iodine—3mg

 Thyroid Complex (MH)—600mcg

 Iodomere—200mcg

 Trace Minerals B12—145mcg

 Organically Bound Minerals—250mcg

 Min Chex—300mcg

 Min Tran—50mcg

 Cataplex F (tablets)—95mcg


This article was republished with permission from

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Know the symptoms of a thyroid disorder…

The thyroid isn’t always a go-to for people when they’re worried about their health. Usually, the heart, lungs, brain or bones are the primary parts of the body we’re focused on when trying to identify health issues. But the thyroid has a surprisingly strong influence over your body, bringing about all sorts of varied problems when things go wrong.

According to the Mayo Clinic, the thyroid is a butterfly-shaped gland located in the lower throat area. Triiodothyronine and thyroxine, the two hormones it produces, are crucial for regulating many aspects of the body, including but not limited to carbohydrate usage, body temperature, and heart rate. Hypothyroidism, the failure of the gland to produce these hormones, can be caused by a number of factors, such as side effects from medication, radiation therapy, and pregnancy. Here is a list of possible symptoms of the disease:

1. Fatigue

3. Sensitivity to cold
4. Weight gain
5. Depression
6. Muscle aches
7. Thinning hair
8. Joint pain
9. Impaired memory
10. Dry skin
If you experience combinations of these symptoms over long periods of time, you may want to seek a doctor’s opinion and find out whether your thyroid is responsible. Treatment has to do with taking synthetic hormones to re-establish a hormonal balance and allow your thyroid to do its job properly again.
Were you aware of how important your thyroid really is? Share this story with your friends to let them know.

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The new tampon-sized pill is made from a mixture of cannabidiol and cocoa butter infused with THC – the active ingredient in marijuana


Cannabis Suppositories Actually Exist And They’ll Cure Your Cramps And Pains

High times: Companies believe cannabis can help stop period pains

A revolutionary capsule dubbed the world’s first weed-infused vagina pill has been released to help stop period pains.

The new tampon-sized pill is part of a bizarre modern trend of women placing items such as herb balls and Japanese vagina sticks into their private parts.

Made from a mixture of cannabidiol and cocoa butter infused with THC (the hallucinogenic chemical found in the class B drug), the ‘Foria Relief’ pill has been created to “maximise muscle relaxing and pain relieving.”

But its creators Foria say it will not get you high.

The company have previously released a cannabis infused lubrication product to “increase female sexual pleasure”.

Marijuana Capsule

Unique: The marijuana capsule has been created to ‘maximise muscle relaxing’

Founder Mathew Gerson said: “This plant medicine has a long, cross-cultural history of use as a natural aide in easing symptoms associated with menstruation.

“The pelvic region contains more cannabinoid receptors than any other part of the body except for the brain.

“So delivering these actives in a suppository format is a natural choice.”

Considering that side effects are reportedly minimal, the 84% of women who experience cramps and pains during their period may eagerly turn to this modern solution.

Unfortunately for women in the UK, the pills can only be bought if one lives in the 23 states of the US where marijuana has been legalised for medical purposes.

The tablets are priced at £30 for four capsules and require the buyer to have a medical marijuana card


Controversial: The company claims the pills are a ‘natural choice’

It is unlikely that the pain relief solution will reach British shores any time soon as the UK government continues to ignore the supposed medicinal benefits of marijuana.

A petition with over 200,000 signatures called on the government to legalise marijuana last year.

The petition was slammed in parliamentary debate and prompted the government to label the use of cannabis as “a significant public health issue.”

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Dear Dr Robert,

Crohns Disease and HIV Infection

I am married in a 100 monogamous relationship, with a 2 yr old son. We both got tested for HIV before getting married in 1997, and waited for window period.

Just recently I have been experiencing some odd things including overall bodily itching, presentation of a couple of pinprick spots on my hand, red rash on the nose diagnosed by GP as dermatitis. I looked up these things on the internet and all were potential symptoms of HIV and started getting worried because that’s my nature.

Then recently, after more than 4 months of not having had sex with my wife we had intercourse late on a Thursday night and then at breakfast Saturday morning she is nauseous and vomiting.

I instantly assumed I had given her HIV. This was something I worried about a lot when single.

I have now noticed a whitish lesion on the hard palate of my mouth, which I am absolutely white with terror about, because I know that KS presents on the palate in HIV infection. Oddly, when I looked at the roof of my mouth with a mirror earlier on in the afternoon for a different reason there was nothing there.

I have had Crohns since 1995 and have regular colonoscopies.

Could I have HIV? Could I have contracted it through a colonoscopy? I can’t think of any other explanation. I am trembling as I write this email, and would be very grateful for a response.

What effect would HIV have on a person with pre-existing Crohns?

Thank you

White with fear.

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hello White With Fear,

You do not have HIV! Lets get that out of the way first. No, you cannot get HIV via a properly performed colonoscopy. Pre-existing Crohns Disease would not affect your HIV tests. As for an interaction between Crohns Disease and HIV, thats not even under consideration. Why? Because as I mentioned above, you dont have HIV!

So what do you have besides Crohns Disease? Well, its what I like to call “HIV cyberchondria.” Thats a condition where an anxious person looks things up on the Internet and then concludes they are related to HIV. Now consider this: “bodily itching” can be related to lots of thinks. For instance, you could be lying naked on red satin sheets with your entire body being tickled by fuzzy tails of 20 Playboy Centerfold Bunnies. That too can cause “bodily itching,” but chances are thats not the real cause, right? Of course, Im right. Those Playboy Bunnies are much too busy with Hugh Heffner to be tickling your fancy! Pinprick spots? Disappearing spots on your hard palate? Same story. Its not HIV. Your wife? Listen pal, if your wife gets sick to her stomach and barfs after having sex with you, you may have a problem, but its not HIV. And why didnt you have sex with her for 4 months? Isnt that grounds for divorce?

Look, you clearly state you worried a lot about HIV when you were single. Guess what? That same worry is back. And its completely unjustified. Contact your doctor. Ask for a referral to a therapist or psychiatrist. Bring this e-mail with you to the visit. Your irrational fears appear to be long-standing and should be treated. Anxiety and stress can cause your Crohns Disease to flare, so get the help you need very soon.

Good luck.

Dr. Bob

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The Evolution of Anxiety: Why We Worry and What to Do About It…

The Evolution of Anxiety: Why We Worry and What to Do About It

The Evolution of Anxiety: Why We Worry and What to Do About It

Let’s pretend for a moment that you are a giraffe. You live on the grasslands of the African savannah. You have a neck that is 7 feet long (2.1 meters). Every now and then, you spot a group of humans driving around on a safari taking pictures of you.

This post originally appeared on James Clear’s blog.

But it’s not just your neck and their cameras that separates you from the humans. Perhaps the biggest difference between you and your giraffe friends and the humans taking your picture is that nearly every decision you make provides an immediate benefit to your life.

  • When you are hungry, you walk over and munch on a tree.
  • When a storm rolls across the plains, you take shelter under the brush.
  • When you spot a lion stalking you and your friends, you run away.

On any given day, most of your choices as a giraffe—like what to eat or where to sleep or when to avoid a predator—make an immediate impact on your life. You live in what researchers call anImmediate Return Environment because your actions deliver immediate benefits. Your life is strongly oriented toward the present moment.

The Delayed Return Environment

Now, let’s flip the script and pretend you are one of the humans vacationing on safari. Unlike the giraffe, humans live in what researchers call a Delayed Return Environment.

Most of the choices you make today will not benefit you immediately. If you do a good job at work today, you’ll get a paycheck in a few weeks. If you save money now, you’ll have enough for retirement later. Many aspects of modern society are designed to delay rewards until some point in the future.

This is true of our problems as well. While a giraffe is worried about immediate problems like avoiding lions and seeking shelter from a storm, many of the problems humans worry about are problems of the future.

For example, while bouncing around the savannah in your Jeep, you might think, “This safari has been a lot of fun. It would be cool to work as a park ranger and see giraffes every day. Speaking of work, is it time for a career change? Am I really doing the work I was meant to do? Should I change jobs?”

Unfortunately, living in a Delayed Return Environment tends to lead to chronic stress and anxiety for humans. Why? Because your brain wasn’t designed to solve the problems of a Delayed Return Environment.

The Evolution of the Human Brain

The human brain developed into its current form while humans still lived in an Immediate Return Environment.

The earliest remains of modern humans—known as Homo sapiens sapiens—are approximately 200,000 years old. These were the first humans to have a brain relatively similar to yours. In particular, the neocortex—the newest part of the brain and the part responsible for higher functions like language—was roughly the same size 200,000 years ago as it is today.

Compared to the age of the brain, modern society is incredibly new. It is only recently—during the last 500 years or so—that our society has shifted to a predominantly Delayed Return Environment. The pace of change has increased exponentially compared to prehistoric times. In the last 100 years we have seen the rise of the car, the airplane, the television, the personal computer, the internet, and Beyonce. Nearly everything that makes up your daily life has been created in a very small window of time.

A lot can happen in 100 years. From the perspective of evolution, however, 100 years is nothing. The modern human brain spent hundreds of thousands of years evolving for one type of environment (immediate returns) and in the blink of an eye the entire environment changed (delayed returns). Your brain was designed to value immediate returns.

The Evolution of Anxiety

The mismatch between our old brain and our new environment has a significant impact on the amount of chronic stress and anxiety we experience today.

Thousands of years ago, when humans lived in an Immediate Return Environment, stress and anxiety were useful emotions because they helped us take action in the face of immediate problems.

For example:

  • A lion appears across the plain > you feel stressed > you run away > your stress is relieved.
  • A storm rumbles in the distance > you worry about finding shelter > you find shelter > your anxiety is relieved.
  • You haven’t drank any water today > you feel stressed and dehydrated > you find water > your stress is relieved.

This is how your brain evolved to use worry, anxiety, and stress. Anxiety was an emotion that helped protect humans in an Immediate Return Environment. It was built for solving short-term, acute problems. There was no such thing as chronic stress because there aren’t really chronic problems in an Immediate Return Environment.

Wild animals rarely experience chronic stress. As Duke University professor Mark Leary put it, “A deer may be startled by a loud noise and take off through the forest, but as soon as the threat is gone, the deer immediately calms down and starts grazing. And it doesn’t appear to be tied in knots the way that many people are.” When you live in an Immediate Return Environment, you only have to worry about acute stressors. Once the threat is gone, the anxiety subsides.

Today we face different problems. Will I have enough money to pay the bills next month? Will I get the promotion at work or remain stuck in my current job? Will I repair my broken relationship? Problems in a Delayed Return Environment can rarely be solved right now in the present moment.

What to Do About It

One of the greatest sources of anxiety in a Delayed Return Environment is the constant uncertainty. There is no guarantee that working hard in school will get you a job. There is no promise that investments will go up in the future. There is no assurance that going on a date will land you a soulmate. Living in a Delayed Return Environment means you are surrounded by uncertainty.

So what can you do? How can you thrive in a Delayed Return Environment that creates so much stress and anxiety?

The first thing you can do is measure something. You can’t know for certain how much money you will have in retirement, but you can remove some uncertainty from the situation by measuring how much you save each month. You can’t be sure that you’ll get a job after graduation, but you can track how often you reach out to companies about internships. You can’t predict when you find love, but you can pay attention to how many times you introduce yourself to someone new.

The act of measurement takes an unknown quantity and makes it known. When you measure something, you immediately become more certain about the situation. Measurement won’t magically solve your problems, but it will clarify the situation, pull you out of the black box of worry and uncertainty, and help you get a grip on what is actually happening.

Furthermore, one of the most important distinctions between an Immediate Return Environment and a Delayed Return Environment is rapid feedback. Animals are constantly getting feedback about the things that cause them stress. As a result, they actually know whether or not they should feel stressed. Without measurement you have no feedback.

If you’re looking for good measurement strategies, I suggest using something simple like The Paper Clip Strategy for tracking repetitive, daily actions and something like The Seinfeld Strategy for tracking long-term behaviors.

Shift Your Worry

The second thing you can do is “shift your worry” from the long-term problem to a daily routine that will solve that problem.

  • Instead of worrying about living longer, worry about taking a walk each day.
  • Instead of worrying about whether your child will get a college scholarship, worry about how much time they spend studying today.
  • Instead of worrying about losing enough weight for the wedding, worry about cooking a healthy dinner tonight.

The key insight that makes this strategy work is making sure your daily routine both rewards you right away (immediate return) and resolves your future problems (delayed return).

Here are the three examples from my life:

  • Writing. When I publish an article, the quality of my life is noticeably higher. Additionally, I know that if I write consistently, then my business will grow, I will publish books, and I will make enough money to sustain my life. By focusing my attention on writing each day, I increase my well-being (immediate return) while also working toward earning future income (delayed return).
  • Lifting. I experienced a huge shift in well-being when I learned to fall in love with exercise. The act of going to the gym brings joy to my life (immediate return) and it also leads to better long-term health (delayed return).
  • Reading. Last year, I posted my public reading list and began reading20 pages per day. Now, I get a sense of accomplishment whenever I do my daily reading (immediate return) and the practice helps me develop into an interesting person (delayed return).

Our brains didn’t evolve in a Delayed Return Environment, but that’s where we find ourselves today. My hope is that by measuring the things that are important to you and shifting your worry to daily practices that pay off in the long-run, you can reduce some of the uncertainty and chronic stress that is inherent in modern society.

The Evolution of Anxiety: Why We Worry and What to Do About It | James Clear

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How Depression Affects Your Body, Not Just Your Mind…


Depression is one of the most widely researched conditions on the planet, and with good reason. If you’ve ever been depressed then you know that it’s easily one of the worst feelings one can experience. If you can even call depression a feeling.

A multinational team of researchers has worked to disprove the idea that depression is all mental and not at all physical. The team, led by the University of Granada in Spain, furthers research conducted by 29 previous studies that looked at 4,000 different individuals.

They discovered significantly reduced levels of malondialdehyde in patients receiving treatment for their depression, a biomarker that indicates lack of oxygen in cell membranes. Typically, people who suffer from depression have high levels of malondialdehyde. Additionally, they found that antioxidant substances in depressed subjects rose to normal levels when being treated for depression.

Both of these findings indicate that depression affects the body on a systemic scale, rather than just on the mental scale. Hopefully scientists will be able to use these findings to better develop and implement future forms of treatment, as well as further areas of study.
Thus far, there has been a plethora of evidence correlating depression to a wide variety of health conditions and ailments, including back pain and increased risk of heart attack, even though researchers aren’t 100 percent sure as to why. This study might shed a tiny bit of light on this notion, suggesting that depression has profound effects on the entirety of the human body.

While we’ve seen advances made in how depression is treated, stats from 2012 show that almost 8 percent of the U.S. population aged 12 and older are affected by depression on some level, and that those who live below the poverty line are 2.5 times more likely to be depressed.

Read more of the study in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry.

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