Sharing ways to make good days happen

 


Lindsay Ogden Makes The Greatest Web Sites! sticky icon

Fort Collins Web Site Maker Gets A Custom Fit Of A Web Site For You...

Web Design  Uses Drupal For Cost Effective Web Site

History of Good Day Journal Highlighted Below

by Harris Jensen, MD

Editor, Good Day Journal

If you want a web site that is fast to use, cost effective, and customized to your exact needs....there is no quick fix.  Go to Intuit.com, Bluehost.com, Google, Go Daddy, and you'll get formulas for web site construction.

Need A Home Repair or Home Improvement In Fort Collins, Colorado? sticky icon

Gary Ogden Will  Repair What You Want, The Way You Want It!

He's One Of The Best In Fort Collins For Home Improvement And Home Repair!  Friendly, Fast And Economical!

by Harris Jensen, MD

Editor, Good Day Journal

"I got a leaky faucet." My porch needs fixing."   "I need a doorbell put in."  "My porchlight went out."  "I need to put on new siding and a new sliding glass door."  "I need to put in some fencing for a dog yard."  "I have some broken rafters in a shed."  "I have some leaky plastic pipes."

Help!

Job hunting? Here's Thinking Strategies For You! sticky icon

The Words You Use Make All The Difference In Job Interviews In Northern Colorado...Here's Thinking Strategies That Are Tested By Experience

by Harris Jensen, MD

Editor, Good Day Journal

The words we use to think our thoughts are so powerful, and no where is this more true than in the job interview.

Heck, I ought to know, I'm an employer!  I didn't know what to look for when I started interviewing people to work in my office in 1998 when I started in private practice.

Depression Still Breaking Through Your Medication? sticky icon

Our Brain Has Areas Dedicated To The Power Of Practical Thinking!

Here's How To Use Them!

by Harris Jensen, MD

Editor, Good Day Journal

Medical Marijuana In Colorado: What's Going On And Who Cares? sticky icon

Addiction To Marijuana Can Come From Exposure To The Addictive Substance, With Behavior Changes That Follow

Parents In Colorado Watch Out!  New Laws Have Unleashed A Monster!

by Harris Jensen, MD

Editor, Good Day Journal

It happened again this week.  Another young patient came to my office with the family alarmed at changes in his behavior: moodiness, anger, impulsiveness, trouble following through on adult responsibilities.

And it all started with the use of medical marijuana.

Google Sites and Blogger and Facebook Are Great For Networking! sticky icon

Free Applications Help Job Hunters In This Tough Economy!

by Harris Jensen, MD

Editor, Good Day Journal

 

The story is all too common.  A hard working man or woman, the backbone of the American Economy, gets laid off when the business is downsizing.

Now the dominoes can fall: the lack of income can threaten payments on credit cards, the mortgage, and stress mounts up in the family.

Power Your Motivation For Exercise With An Animal Companion! sticky icon

Dogs come to the rescue to help us work out!

Unconditional affection and unbridled enthusiasm from dogs are infectious!

by Harris Jensen, MD

Editor, Good Day Journal

You can out think urges to eat too much.  Focus on your goals, move from the feeling step to the thinking step and then to the action step.  These are the three simple steps in the three step model for stress managment, as I've written about elsewhere.

Make all you actions revolve around you, what's good for you, what you love, what you are passionate about.

The addictive cycle of thinking has all these steps, thinking and feeling and actions, revolve around what is good for your addiction, whether it be for too much food or alcohol, or using marijuana, cocaine and the like.  Here there is a "disconnect" with your brain focusing on what is good for the addiction, not what is good for you, and it isn't caring about what is good for you.

While this was helpful for one reader, Kira, it is also alot of work.

Enter her animal companion!  This morning it was her morning to exercise.  Hey, she's lost 12 pounds in the past month or so, so she is on a roll. (See her blog at http://kiraslossforgood.blogspot.com/2009/12/dinner.html). 

But where was the motivation?

It was frosty out there.  And foggy.  And the fog was freezing.  And her dog was wagging its tail, saying lets go, it's fun to run!  So they did!  And they had a great time.  Above you'll see Bailey's frosty mug shot, proof positive of the power of optimistic thinking and the power of love from our animal companions!

Way to go Kira!

HJ

 

Fight Your Addictions To Food And Alcohol and Nicotine With New Thinking Strategies! sticky icon

New Three Step Model Can Help You Kick Your Addiction!

Out Think Those Urges To Over Eat Or Drink And Start Losing Weight!

by Harris Jensen, MD

Editor, Good Day Journal

New imaging studies of the brain show the brain gets "excited" by even the sight of the substance of abuse!  And without the drug, whether it is nicotine or cocaine or crystal meth, the brain's own ability to think clearly, solve problems, regulate emotions--is physically not normal.

Addicted brains have a decreased number of dopamine receptors in the brain's "pleasure center."  That means that there just isn't the "wiring" needed to normally feel pleasure from the things one enjoys...unless those dopamine receptors are excited by the substance of abuse: alcohol or crystal methamphetamine or cocaine or excessive amounts of food.

A great article detailing, for example, the addictive properties of high amounts of sugar, are at this article link, click Sugar Addiction Is Real

The use of the drug of addiction causes changes in how the brain physcially works, so a person can feel pleasure normally again..but they are hooked on the drug to make that happen!

The articles reviewed below have actual pictures of these dopamine receptors "in action" creating this sinister situation in the brain.

The bottom line is this: a person may be predisposed to getting addicted.  Then they get addicted by the thoughts and actions they take, triggering changes in their brain chemistry by using these drugs and thinking about the drugs in a distorted way.

A person's thoughts and actions then trigger changes in the working parts of nerves.  Receptors, which are dedicated to catching certain chemicals and then sending messages down the nerve, change in response to what a person is thinking a doing.

The dopamine type two receptors actually decrease in number in the brain's pleasure centers.

But just the same, the brain can be changed back to normal, not craving the substance of abuse and lacking rational thinking about it.  This change can happen by a coordinated treatment plan involving treatment of underlying issues, such as depression and anxiety, and new thinking and new actions based on a healthy lifestyle and healthy thinking.

The new thinking model I outline below is based on these imaging studies, and I am seeing it really work to help people stay on track with their plan to kick their addiction.  It accounts for the fact that parts of the brain can still be craving the drug while a person is trying to redirect it to like the new healthy lifestyle the person is trying to achieve.

The area of the brain that we use to think things through, which is the front part of the brain, the prefrontal cortex, actually isn't working normally, after people quit using a drug of addiction.  That front part of the brain, so critical to our ability to "steer" out lives, think things through clearly, slows down.

Our ability to control our behavior is impaired from the inside of our brain, by drugs of addiction.  How sinister!

Likewise, our ability to experience pleasure is twisted by addictive drugs, such as nicotine.  The pleasure centers of the brain are not functioning normally without the drug of addiction, unless the drug of addiction is used!  Of course these drugs can lead to death, such as from lung cancer from smoking cigarettes, so this is a sinister example of how the brain can learn to be "sick" or want things that are bad for it.  What Dr. Stephen Stahl calls "diabolical learning,"

Adding to this, the very area of the brain where we experience depression is altered.  This is the anterior cingulate cortex.  It's activity is altered by drugs of addiction, so addicts can only feel "good" when they are using a drug, whether it is nicotine, cocaine, methamphetamine.  This is also the area where we understand what we need, or what is good for us, where we feel our self awareness of our needs.

A review of these amazing brain imaging studies with color photos of the brain imaging itself, is available at this article by Volkow and associates in the Journal of Clinical Investigation: click it and be amazed!

http://www.jci.org/articles/view/18533/version/1

 

Volkow and others reviewed how similar neurons are similarly "out of control" in obesity and drug addiction in this fascinating article, complete with brain imaging with people with obesity:

Click it and be informed!  Information is power!  An informed person is an empowered person...

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2607335/

 

A simple three step model provides a start at counteracting this wicked tendency of the brain to learn to like what is not good for it.  It is wickedly powerful!  Here is a blog site from someone who learned about this model from reading articles on this web site, and is using this new approach!  See new thinking in action!  Click this link and see for yourself! http://kiraslossforgood.blogspot.com/2009/12/dinner.html

 A similar article reviewing altered dopamine receptors in alcoholism is at this link:

http://www3.interscience.wiley.com/cgi-bin/fulltext/118975153/HTMLSTART

Volkow's article said new approaches are needed to counteract this addictive behavior of the brain, new medicines and new counseling or cognitive approaches.

Patient's have found this simple three step model above  to provide great help to them, as they fight their addictions to food, nicotine, alcohol, pornography, and cocaine.  It doesn't of course provide a "Miracle cure" nothing does, but it does provide a model to explain their experience of the addiction, and the loss of control of how they feel and think, and it provides a way to "win at the mindgame" which is at the heart of winning over your addiction.

Whether it be to food or nicotine or alcohol or crystal meth. 

I'll write more on this in the near future...

In the healthy brain, the thinking and actions and feelings revolve around what is good for the self or the person, and a person naturally likes what is good for them, the feelings are sympathetic to what a person likes.  The thinking likes to track consequences and focus on keeping a person safe.

In the addicted brain, the thinking and feeling and actions revolve around what is good for the addiction.  The feelings don't automatically "care" about what is good for the person and their hopes and dreams and goals and emotions.  The feelings automatically are focused on what will work to use more of the substances.  Likewise the thinking is more automatically reacting (with denial, minimizing consequences, pretending it is too hard to look at consequences, etc) in ways that reinforce the substance abuse.  The actions likewise focus on what works for the addiction.  All these mental processes are a product of a network of neurons that have changed to depend on a substance of abuse.

A network of neurons has in effect "hijacked" the brain and twisted the feelings and thinking around to work for the addiction.

The metaphor for this addicted brain's mental processes would be the same as the above, but with "what is good for the addiction" put in place of the "Self", in the middle of the triangle.

This has proven a powerful tool as people try to wrestle with their cravings for the things that are not good for them: whether it is too much food, sweets, carbohydrates, alchohol, crystal methamphetamine or cocaine.

Relaxing Nature Music Videos Released! sticky icon

Nature music videos will now stream 20 minutes at a time on Good Day Journal

"Spring Comes To The Rocky Mountains" and "Fall Mountain Memories" are now showing!

by Harris Jensen, MD

Editor, Good Day Journal

Google keeps turning out more and more applications for the internet savvy people out there. 

If you want to send out videos, everyone now goes to Youtube.  The limit there is videos can't be any longer than 10 minutes.  That's frustrating for some of us with longer videos.

Now at Google we have Picasa Web Albums which will let you store up to 500 pictures for the public (including your friends) to view and download if they wish.

A new innovation with Picasa Web Albums is to use Picasa (another download of software to your computer).  Picasa organizes your videos and photos on your computer, and with it you can upload videos up to 100 mb in length to Picasa Web Albums.

Below are some of my longer movies.  Check out Picasa and Picasa Web Albums if you wish, and my videos below, by clicking on the image...

 

From Spring Comes To The Mountains by Harris Jensen, MD 24 minute movie

 

From Fall Mountain Memories By Harris Jensen, MD

"Medical Marijuana" is interfering with medical care in Colorado sticky icon

Marijuana should be regulated like opiates and other powerful "natural" substances

The Term "Medical Marijuana" is no more than marketing hype

"Medical Marijuana" in Colorado has caused a number of adverse medical and behavioral problems in my patients and  few are talking about these problems in the media...so I am!

by Harris Jensen, MD

Editor, Good Day Journal

Marijuana is a powerful drug.  It is strong enough to affect people's behavior, memory, mental capacity, and stop other medications from working.