Science of the Spirit


How Psychedelics Saved My Life

Amber Lyon is an Emmy Award-winning former CNN investigative news correspondent.
I invite you to take a step back and clear your mind of decades of false propaganda. Governments worldwide lied to us about the medicinal benefits of marijuana. The public has also been misled about psychedelics.

These non-addictive substances- MDMA, ayahuasca, ibogaine, psilocybin mushrooms, peyote, and many more- are proven to rapidly and effectively help people heal from trauma, PTSD, anxiety, addiction and depression.

Psychedelics saved my life.

My Experience with Anxiety and PTSD Symptoms

I was drawn to journalism at a young age by the desire to provide a voice for the 'little guy'. For nearly a decade working as a CNN investigative correspondent and independent journalist, I became a mouthpiece for the oppressed, victimized and marginalized. My path of submersion journalism brought me closest to the plight of my sources, by living the story to get a true understanding of what was happening.

After several years of reporting, I realized an unfortunate consequence of my style- I had immersed myself too deeply in the trauma and suffering of the people I'd interviewed. I began to have trouble sleeping as their faces appeared in my darkest dreams. I spent too long absorbed in a world of despair and my inability to deflect it allowed the trauma of others to settle inside my mind and being. Combine that with several violent experiences while working in the field and I was at my worst. A life reporting on the edge had led me to the brink of my own sanity.

Because I could not find a way to process my anguish, it grew into a monster, manifesting itself into a constant state of anxiety, short-term memory loss, sleeplessness, and hyper arousal. The heart palpitations made me feel like I was knocking on death's door.

Human LSD research resumes "above board" for first time in 40 years

© Getty
The psychedelic drug LSD can be "valuable as tools to understand the mind", say scientists.
For the first time in more than 40 years, scientists are conducting human research using the psychedelic drug LSD in the United Kingdom.

According to the Independent Dr Robin Carhart-Harris of Imperial College, London presented his research to colleagues in June. He showed them MRI images of the brain of a human subject who was under the influence of LSD.

"We've only looked at six brains so far," Carhart-Harris told the newspaper. "We're at an early, but certainly promising, stage. It's really exciting," he said.

It's the first time that the compound has been used in human research since the act banning it came into force in 1971.
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The surprising impact of weight loss on the emotions

jogging beach
© mikebaird/Flickr
A new study of almost 2,000 overweight and obese adults in the UK has found that those who lost weight were unhappier than those who remained within 5% of their original weight (Jackson et al., 2014).

Although they were physically healthier four years later - with lower blood pressure and reduced risk of heart disease - those who lost weight were likely to be less happy.

Comment: Is it any wonder, when the way most people try to lose weight these days is through low fat, severe caloric restriction involving chronic cardio and eating rabbit food, whilst depriving their brains of essential nutrients required for happy neurotransmitters, such as animal proteins and cholesterol?

For information on ways to lift one's mood, see:

- Can a ketogenic diet really fight depression? Low-carb, high fat foods shown to drastically improve mental health
- Face life with Éiriú Eolas, a stress relief program

Wine n Glass

Addicts' Symphony: Addiction 'rife' among classical musicians

© Vadim Ponomarenko/Alamy
A cellist performs. A string player who was addicted to alcohol and legal drugs says such problems are widespread in the classical music world
Performance anxiety, odd hours, working weekends and post-concert socialising often leads classical musicians to use drugs and alcohol.

Addiction is blighting the lives of many classical musicians as they grapple with performance anxiety and anti-social hours, a cellist has said.

Rachael Lander features in a new British documentary which brings together classical musicians whose careers have been derailed by drug and drink problems.

The cellist, who was addicted to alcohol and prescription pills, said the problem was rife in the classical music world.

Comment: Life is difficult, perhaps especially so for those who are sensitive, talented and creative. But it doesn't have to lead us to soul crashing addictions when the simple solution is just a click away:

Face life with Éiriú Eolas, a stress relief program

Life Preserver

A need for balance: Nurses driven mainly by a desire to help others are more likely to burn out

Nurses who are motivated primarily by the desire to help others, rather than by enjoyment of the work itself or the lifestyle it makes possible, are more likely to burn out on the job, University of Akron researchers say.

Nursing is still a female-dominated occupation, and being female is associated with being caring, nurturing, and altrustic. Therefore, the desire to help others is often assumed to be the "right" motivation for entering the field, the researchers say.

However, they found that nurses who pursue their career for reasons other than or in addition to the desire to help others find the job to be less stressful. That results in less burnout, better personal health, and high job commitment.

Study authors, Janette Dill, an assistant professor of sociology, Rebecca Erickson, a professor of sociology, and James Diefendorff, an associate professor of psychology, all at the University of Akron, based their findings on survey data from more than 700 registered nurses in Northeast Ohio. About 90 percent were white females.

Dill will present the paper at the 109th Annual Meeting of the American Sociological Association.

Surveys can make people go extreme

There are all kinds of reasons why people don't tell the truth when asked questions. Sometimes they suddenly turn into fanatics. They hate, or love, anything. Here's how you catch people when they go extreme, or when they try to just get along.

We already know that people deliberately lie when given surveys on sex and drugs, but they also lie when given surveys about the importance of flossing and whether people should smoke in shopping malls.

The difference is, many people don't even know that they're lying. People are driven to exaggerate (or even invent) their likes and dislikes, and so when they're asked to score, from one to five, their support for an issue or agreement with a statement, they avoid the middle and go right for one and for five.

This bias, called "extreme response bias" has annoyed many manufacturers, or politicians, who believed their targeted audience was passionately in favor of a new flavor of coke or a ban on littering, trotted the idea out, and gotten a lackluster response. Sometimes people are actually passionate about a subject, and sometimes they just want to be that way. Researchers took a look at separating out the two. They came up with a few guidelines to tell if people were inflating their opinions.

Parental incarceration can be worse for a child than divorce or death of a parent

With more than 2 million people behind bars, the U.S. has the highest incarceration rate in the world. This mass incarceration has serious implications for not only the inmates, but their children, finds a new University of California-Irvine study. The study found significant health problems, including behavioral issues, in children of incarcerated parents and also that, for some types of health outcomes, parental incarceration can be more detrimental to a child's well-being than divorce or the death of a parent.

Depression linked to Parkinson's disease

Depression is known to be a common symptom of Parkinson's disease, but remains untreated for many patients, according to a new study by Northwestern Medicine investigators in collaboration with the National Parkinson's Foundation (NPF).

In fact, depression is the most prevalent non-motor symptom of Parkinson's, a chronic neurodegenerative disorder typically associated with movement dysfunction.

"We confirmed suspicion that depression is a very common symptom in Parkinson's disease. Nearly a quarter of the people in the study reported symptoms consistent with depression," said Danny Bega, MD, '14 GME, instructor in the Ken and Ruth Davee Department of Neurology and first author of the study. "This is important because previous research has determined that depression is a major determinant of overall quality of life."

Using the NPS's patient database, the investigators looked at records of more than 7,000 people with Parkinson's disease. Among those with high levels of depressive symptoms, only one-third had been prescribed antidepressants before the study began, and even fewer saw social workers or mental health professionals for counseling.
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Are you a workaholic? Tool to tell

© Unknown
A tool that measures workaholism has found that 8.3% of the Norwegian work force is addicted to work to the point where it becomes a health issue.
Do you often think of how you can free up more time to work or become stressed if you are prohibited from working? You may be a workaholic.

A tool that measures workaholism has found that 8.3% of the Norwegian work force is addicted to work to the point where it becomes a health issue.

Researchers from the University of Bergen in Norway used the Bergen Work Addiction Scale (BWAS), a workaholism instrument that is based on core symptoms found in more traditional drug addictions; ie, salience, mood modification, tolerance, withdrawal symptoms, conflict, relapse, problems.

Comment: For relaxation, consider practicing the breathing and meditation program Éiriú Eolas.
For more information, see: Face life with Éiriú Eolas, a stress relief program


Great musicians experience a 'trance-like' state

In the rapture zone...
When a great musician like Hélène Grimaud sits in front of a piano and begins a Mozart concerto, something remarkable is happening in her brain. She will go into something like a trance -- you can see it in her face -- and Mozart goes on autopilot.

What is happening is called muscle memory or a flow state, said Alan Hugh David Watson, a reader in bioscience at Cardiff University in Wales, a musician himself. She can do that because of practice -- constant, singled-minded, seemingly endless repetition that only the most dedicated consider.

The best musicians begin playing -- and practicing -- before they are eight, Watson said. The result may be a brain physically different from a non-musician's.

The simplest example of muscle learning may be what happens when you buy a new car, explained Watson. You don't know where all the switches and dials are when you first drive it and have to take your eyes off the road to do anything with the dashboard. But after a while you can turn the heat up or change radio stations without looking. Your brain is wired for the instrument panel. In fact, most people probably drive in a flow state, their minds on something else.

So too is a musician's brain while playing a sonata or a jazz riff.

Comment: When was the last time you channeled your "inner Mozart?" According to this report, its a "no-brainer!" (pun intended!)