Archive for February, 2015

‘Ghost Boy’ Author On Being Trapped In His Body

Thursday, February 26th, 2015

Ghost Boy” author Martin Pistorius was trapped inside his own body for over a decade. He joins HuffPost Live to discuss the emotional toll of being unable to move or communicate with the world around him, and the joy of waking up.

Originally aired on February 3, 2015


10 Thinking Errors That Will Prevent You From Being Mentally Strong

Monday, February 23rd, 2015

Mental strength requires a three-pronged approach — managing our thoughts, regulating our emotions, and behaving productively despite our circumstances. While all three areas can be a struggle, it’s often our thoughts that make it most difficult to be mentally strong.

As we go about our daily routines, our internal monologue narrates our experience. Our self-talk guides our behavior and influences the way we interact with others. It also plays a major role in how you feel about yourself, other people, and the world in general.

Quite often, however, our conscious thoughts aren’t realistic. Instead, they’re irrational and inaccurate. Believing our irrational thoughts can lead to a variety of problems, including communication issues, relationship problems, and unhealthy decisions.

Whether you’re striving to reach your personal or professional goals, the key to success often starts with recognizing and replacing inaccurate thoughts. The most common thinking errors can be divided into these 10 categories, which are adapted from David Burns book, Feeling Good: The New Mood Therapy.


Measuring This Brain Region Could Predict Depression And Anxiety Years Before It Hits

Saturday, February 21st, 2015

Those with more reactive amygdalae at the start of the study were found to experience more severe symptoms of anxiety and depression in response to later stressful life events. However, an overactive amygdala alone was not enough to predict anxiety and depression. These symptoms had to first be triggered by a stressful life event.

These findings suggest that identifying “biomarkers” — measurable indications of the brain’s biological state — that may be able to predict later psychiatric conditions could be a promising line of research, opening up new possibilities for diagnosis and early intervention for patients with anxiety and depression.

“With continued research leading to the identification of additional biomarkers, including genes, our long-term goal is to inform efforts to prevent the experience of disabling levels of mental illness based on an individual’s specific form of risk,” Swartz said.


Thursday, February 19th, 2015


We made the campaign goal in the nick of time. Indiegogo allows continued funding. So please consider giving. You can donate anything from $1 and up. Every penny is appreciated!

Heard this about my Indiegogo campaign: Hi Thomas , our blog is interested in your project. We’re doing a spotlight on Indiegogo campaigns and would like to include you in the article. Great news.

Please visit and think of donating any amount. The more traffic I get the more I get featured, which will help a lot.

Compassion and understanding for all creatures big and small.



ON A FENCE: All creatures need to share

With the gutting of the middle class many people need counseling and coaching but cannot afford to pay—often, even a co-payment: the homeless, those on Medicare & Medicaid, Obamacare, etc. This is a campaign to help Thomas Ramey Watson, Ph.D. coach and counsel them for little to no cost.

About This Campaign

This is my first time using this platform, so please let me know if you have any suggestions.

Recently I started a free Grief and Loss support group for those who are trying to find meaning in their sorrow, help others, and heal. The group meets once a month in downtown Denver. We have started with several people, almost evenly divided between male and female, all but one over 50. I was impressed with how many issues everyone shares. All are educated and have been employed in various professions.

A big hurdle is that people need to get more regular care than once a month. How they can afford it is another issue. Many cannot pay the co-payments that even Medicare, Medicaid, and Obamacare require.



Here’s How Your Dog ‘Sees’ A Whole Other World With His Super-Powered Nose

Wednesday, February 18th, 2015

According to the clip [on link], dogs’ noses have about 300 million olfactory receptor cells in their noses. Humans? A measly 5 million to 6 million. And in dogs, the system dedicated to processing smells takes up more relative brain area compared to humans. These disparities lead scientists to believe that dogs’ sense of smell is 10,000 to 100,000 times more acute than our own.

That’s pretty impressive. And unlike humans, dogs smell “in stereo” — that is, they smell separately with each nostril. That helps them figure out precisely where smells are coming from.

On top of that, dogs have a special organ called the vomeronasal organ, which lets them sniff out hormones released by animals and humans — alerting them to our emotional states, and even helping them tell when we’re pregnant or sick.

That’s certainly nothing to turn up your nose at.


Psychologists Say Doing These 7 Activities Will Make You Happier

Sunday, February 15th, 2015

Happiness is good for you.

Psychology research shows that happy people make more money, perform better at work, live longer, and have better marriages than everyone else.

But the causes of happiness are elusive — philosophers have been trying to figure it out for thousands of years.

Over the past few decades psychological science has found a few consistent trends in what makes people happy. As the Gym Lion blog reports, happiness is less a matter of what you have than the things you do.

Here are a few of the top happiness-inducing behaviors. . .

4 Things You Should Know About Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder

Sunday, February 15th, 2015

In blanket terms, OCD is characterized by two things: obsessions (intrusive, recurring thoughts) and compulsions (behaviors, typically repetitive, that are performed to lessen the anxiety of the thoughts). But the disorder can be difficult to identify because it can present in so many different ways.

The National Alliance on Mental Illness defines OCD as a “disease of doubt,” in which individuals experience “pathological doubt” because they have trouble distinguishing between probable and highly unlikely events.

“The sufferer can get stuck in something of a behavioral loop, where the thoughts recur and the compulsions recur non-stop,” Hyman told The Huffington Post. “They repeat many times during the day, causing a great deal of impairment to the person’s ability to function.”

In the case of “S,” the anonymous man interviewed on Invisibilia, he was able to seek therapy and the thoughts subsided, but what about other people like him?

Here are four important truths about OCD that will change the way you see the disease.

Obsessions are more than just worries.

The obsessions that characterize OCD occur in the mind “spontaneously and intrusively,” Hyman said, adding: “There is tremendous fear and anxiety attached to the thought.”

Researchers believe OCD thoughts are the result of a chemical imbalance in the brain, which results in an inability to filter out undesired thoughts, possibly due to low serotonin levels.

However, Hyman emphasizes that the thoughts of people with OCD are not substantially different than the thoughts of people without OCD. Research on the content of thoughts has shown that anyone can have an out-of-character intrusive thought (for instance, you might think, What if I was to push this old lady into the oncoming train? when standing on the subway platform). The person with OCD, however, relates to it in a different way — they might grossly misinterpret the thought to mean that they are a dangerous person, whereas the non-OCD person will not take the thought so seriously.


“The more a person limits himself, the more resourceful he becomes.”

Thursday, February 12th, 2015

In a section of his 1843 masterwork Either/Or: A Fragment of Life (public library), which also gave us Kierkegaard on our greatest source of unhappiness, the Danish philosopher defines boredom as a sense of emptiness and examines it not as an absence of stimulation but as an absence of meaning — an idea that also explains why it’s possible, today more than ever, to be overstimulated but existentially bored.


This he counters with the correct strategy — a method akin to mindfulness training, which emerges again and again, across every major spiritual tradition and secular school of thought, as our most promising gateway to happiness. Kierkegaard writes:

The method I propose does not consist in changing the soil but, like proper crop rotation, consists in changing the method of cultivation and the kinds of crops. Here at once is the principle of limitation, the sole saving principle in the world. The more a person limits himself, the more resourceful he becomes. A solitary prisoner for life is extremely resourceful; to him a spider can be a source of great amusement… What a meticulous observer one becomes, detecting every little sound or movement. Here is the extreme boundary of that principle that seeks relief not through extensity but through intensity.


Human Connection and Addictions

Monday, February 9th, 2015

From Johann Hari
Author of ‘Chasing The Scream: The First and Last Days of the War on Drugs’

As the Canadian doctor Gabor Mate was the first to explain to me, medical users just stop, despite months of use. The same drug, used for the same length of time, turns street-users into desperate addicts and leaves medical patients unaffected.

If you still believe — as I used to — that addiction is caused by chemical hooks, this makes no sense. But if you believe Bruce Alexander’s theory, the picture falls into place. The street-addict is like the rats in the first cage, isolated, alone, with only one source of solace to turn to. The medical patient is like the rats in the second cage. She is going home to a life where she is surrounded by the people she loves. The drug is the same, but the environment is different.

This gives us an insight that goes much deeper than the need to understand addicts. Professor Peter Cohen argues that human beings have a deep need to bond and form connections. It’s how we get our satisfaction. If we can’t connect with each other, we will connect with anything we can find — the whirr of a roulette wheel or the prick of a syringe. He says we should stop talking about ‘addiction’ altogether, and instead call it ‘bonding.’ A heroin addict has bonded with heroin because she couldn’t bond as fully with anything else.

So the opposite of addiction is not sobriety. It is human connection.


I don’t know that this is the entire truth about addictions, because some brains do seem prone to addiction, but connection is certainly important–important to better mental and physical health, and happiness.

Homeless Cat Cuddles With Abandoned Baby, Saves It From Freezing To Death

Friday, February 6th, 2015

A baby who was abandoned in Obninsk, Russia has a homeless cat to thank for saving his life, after the nurturing feline curled around the boy and shielded him from below freezing temperatures last Saturday.


Thomas Ramey Watson is an affiliate faculty member of Regis University's College of Professional Studies. He has served as an Episcopal chaplain (lay), trained as a psychotherapist, done postdoctoral work at Cambridge University, and was named a Research Fellow at Yale University.

In addition to his scholarly writings, he is a published author of poetry and fiction.