Can Laughter and Contemplation Overcome Stress?

Stress reduction through contemplation and laughter

models used for illustration purposes only @Glowimages

Have you ever heard someone say, “I’m stressed out and it’s awesome”? Probably not. We don’t usually connect awesomeness with stress. Some seem to live in a perpetual state of feeling out of control and enduring more pressure than they should. When they talk about stress it’s usually negative. How often do you describe your state of mind that way? Some say stress isn’t always bad. Researchers have identified something they call Eustress, a good stress coming from being excited about Continue Reading

What the Brain Isn’t – Mind or Love

The brain is not mind or love 
@Glowimages, Models used for illustration purposes only

Dr. Dan Siegel, as a brain researcher, is astounded that neither scientists, including psychiatrists, nor philosophers or academicians have come up with a good working definition of mind, nor can they describe what thinking is. Neurobiologist Dan Siegel recently visited Portland to speak at a conference on integrative medicine. He opened his talk with the question: “What is mind?” He asks this question of all his audiences. Over his years of speaking to perhaps 100,000 science professionals Continue Reading

Where Will Mapping the Brain Lead Us?

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“Investing in “the best ideas.” That’s what President Obama wants to do. And he plans to do it by funding the mapping of the human brain. Scientists envision this as a “concerted effort to advance the knowledge of the brain’s billions of neurons and gain greater insights into perception, actions and, ultimately, consciousness.” Understanding where perception, actions, and consciousness comes from or resides is an intriguing idea, but I’m wondering if the search will ever provide the Continue Reading

Lifting the Fog of Chronic Depression

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Model used for illustrative purposes only

I have a friend who suffers from SAD -- seasonal affective disorder. The long periods of clouds and rain depress her so much that she feels she can no longer live in the northwest. She and her husband are actively looking to work and live in a sunny climate. My friend is not alone in her depression. The Center for Disease control estimates that 1 in 10 adults in the U.S. suffer from depression. Moments of temporarily feeling blue are not uncommon for most people at some point in their Continue Reading

A Softer Side of Health Care

Dr. Pamela Wible
Photo used with permission

Not long ago I had an email exchange with Dr. Pamela Wible, a physician in Eugene, about the recent documentary Escape Fire. The movie examines the problems with health care in the United States, and possible solutions. Unhappy with the “conveyor belt” system of medicine that she had found herself in since medical school, “pushing pills into patients as they flew past me,” Dr. Wible got off the racetrack and stopped to consider what kind of health care system she wanted to work in. The Continue Reading

Holding Crime in Check

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By John D. Clague, Christian Science Committee on Publication for Oregon This piece was originally published on OregonLive last December not long after the shooting at Newtown, CT.  Emotions surrounding the shooting are still raw.  I thought it would be helpful to post my comments here, with a few changes to make it current. It’s never easy to see tragedies that undo lives and families and communities. In my 30 years of law enforcement I encountered plenty of this sort of thing. Our hearts go Continue Reading

Health Apps, or an Inner Spiritual Sense?

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By John D. Clague, Christian Science Committee on Publication for Oregon Simplifying our life seems to be getting more complicated. But never fear, there is an app for everything nowadays. Managing each aspect of the most intimate everyday details is being digitized through applications running on ever faster and smarter devices in astounding numbers. Almost everyone I know owns one of those ubiquitous smartphones or tablets. They seem to be able to do everything a computer can, and then Continue Reading

Compassion to What End?

Model used for illustrative purposes only © Glow Images

by John D. Clague, Christian Science Committee on Publication for Oregon I’ve noticed an increase in the number of people on street corners asking for money the last several years. I have to admit that sometimes cynicism nags at me in response to the plea scribbled on a piece of cardboard in their hand. “Anything will help. God bless” Other times I just feel bad for the person holding the sign.  On rare occasions I actually give them some money.   I can’t explain why some people struck a chord Continue Reading

WHO HEALS THE HEALERS?

iStockphoto/WillSelarep

By John D. Clague, Christian Science Committee on Publication for Oregon I’ve imagined that doctors are good at taking care of themselves, and that they’re a healthy lot.  After all, they’re smart people.  Their discipline and training are more rigorous than most professions. They are dedicated to helping people get well and stay well, and I assumed that included them. It appears that I’m not alone in this point of view. Merry N. Miller writes in Medscape News about what we think doctors should Continue Reading

Holding Crime in Check

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by John D. Clague, Christian Science Committee on Publication for Oregon It’s never easy to see tragedies that undo lives and families and communities. In my 30 years of law enforcement I encountered  plenty of this sort of thing.  Our hearts go out to the community of Newtown, Connecticut, and to all parents and teachers across the country.  And yet, as we enter the season of good will and peace on earth, we are challenged to find a way to address the unexplainable. Without some view of the Continue Reading