Stress and Anxiety

stress and anxiety
image courtesy of londoncounsellingdirectory.com

A culture motivated by speed and greed has brought more stress and anxiety to life. A dictionary definition of stress is:

A constraining or impelling force, effort or demand upon physical or mental energy”.

According to the Confederation of British Industries (C.B.I.) illness caused by stress has increased by 500% since the mid 1950’s. Current cultural conditions increase our stress, resulting in effects such as:

·    lack of predictability in life
·    lack of control over external events
·    lack of outlets for frustration

But stress is also an essential part of life. If there were no stress there would be no reaching for growth. There is a functional element to stress that helps us to grow and develop as individuals and a society. If we become overwhelmed by stress, without any outlet for the negative energy it can produce, for prolonged periods of time, then illness and disease will result.

Much of our stress in the modern world comes from ‘cognitive dissonance’ – a feeling that something is wrong but we can’t quite put a finger on what it is. It is defined in psychological terms as: the state of having inconsistent thoughts, beliefs, or attitudes, especially as relating to behavioural decisions and attitude change. We know something has to change, that our culture has taken a turn that will result in its own demise, but are in denial or seem unable to do anything about it. This state of being creates a basis of anxiety.

It is how we cope with stressors such as this that determine how much they affect us physically. There is no doubt that for many of us the world is becoming a more complex place and this produces stress and its associated toxins which are part of eventual cell insult and disease if we cannot deal with them.

Our daily diet consists of more than what we eat, drink and breathe. We consume many thousands of messages every day from our culture. Images, conversation, music, TV, radio, newspapers, books and so on. Just once in a while it is a good idea to stand back and consider just what messages we are getting. Certainly mainstream media seems to provide a diet of violence and sensationalism and Western ‘news values’ prefer negative stories of drama, crisis and criminality to more positive or healthy views. Just what impact does the media you consume have on your own perception of the world?

For any consumers of ‘fed culture’ – TV, radio, news, magazines etc. the diet is mostly one of negativity, violence, fear, greed, speed and ‘celebrity’ – the state of personal fulfillment to which we are all supposed to aspire. The media exist for only one reason, to deliver us into the hands of advertisers who seek to manipulate our needs.

wizcov800optIn a world going toxic, you owe it to yourself, your friends and your family to protect your very being, increase your immunity to modern disease and limit harm to our planet. With WildFood Wizard you enter a place of nutrition, of living lightly on the earth and enjoying radiant health. By bringing more of nature’s healing gifts into your life you will find a quiet joy, feelings of belonging, links with natural seasons and cycles – and nature wants you back.

We all know time is running out for our culture on planet earth. You can help by taking a step into a healthy relationship with the natural world around you. Start the journey back to nature with WildFood Wizard, available in hardback, paperback and for the Kindle. Just click the cover image to find out more…

Air pollution

483897main_Global-PM2.5-map
Global air pollution coutesy of http://www.nasa.gov

In addition to what we consume through eating and drinking, there are poisons in the air. Although air quality reports are now common, like weather reports, there is relatively little being done to stop the pollution because it operates within the interests of economy and GDP (GNP in US). The Environmental Protection Agency identifies just four main hazards of polluted air: bad ozone levels, particle pollution, sulphur dioxide and carbon monoxide.

Bad ozone is formed in the Earth’s lower atmosphere when pollutants emitted by industrial processes or cars react chemically to sunlight. They form a gas with three oxygen molecules and have several negative effects on people, especially those who are active outdoors during the summer months or with existing respiratory problems. These are: irritation of respiratory system, causing coughing, throat irritation, uncomfortable chest, reduced lung function especially through vigorous exercise, aggravated asthma, increased sensitivity to allergens and respiratory infections, inflamed and damaged lung lining and scarred lung tissue.

A similar picture emerges with particle pollution in the air. This includes a mixture of solids and liquid droplets. Some particles are emitted directly; others are formed in the atmosphere when other pollutants react. Particles come in a wide range of sizes. Those less than 10 micrometers in diameter are so small that they can get into the lungs, potentially causing serious health problems. Ten micrometers is smaller than the width of a single human hair.

Sulphur dioxide (SO2) is a colourless, reactive gas, is produced when sulphur-containing fuels such as coal and oil are burned. Sources include power plants and industrial boilers. Generally, the highest levels of sulphur dioxide are near large industrial complexes.

Carbon monoxide (CO) is an odourless, colourless gas formed when the carbon in fuels does not completely burn. Vehicle exhaust contributes roughly 60 percent of all carbon monoxide emissions nationwide, and up to 95 percent in cities. Other sources include fuel combustion in industrial processes and natural sources such as wildfires. Carbon monoxide levels typically are highest during cold weather, because cold temperatures make combustion less complete and cause inversions that trap pollutants close to the ground.

Tobacco use in all forms is responsible for about 30% of all cancer deaths in developed countries. Passive smoking also carries risks. Unchecked, smoking will cause more than 10 million deaths from cancer (predominantly lung cancer) in the next decade. Tobacco smoking, due to the advertising of unscrupulous multinationals, is still increasing in the Third World. In China smoking increased from 500 billion cigarettes in 1978 to 1,700 billion in 1992. Africa shows a similar picture.

Why is it that only some people get lung cancer from smoking? Genetic predisposition and other lifestyle factors contribute to this. It has been estimated that the average city dweller inhales the equivalent of several cigarettes a day in the form of air pollution. A person who gets regular exercise, eats wisely and exercises in fresh air, but still smokes a few roll-ups, may be less at risk to tobacco induced cancer than a city dweller who drives everywhere and eats ready meals, but doesn’t smoke. It is an indication that there are many factors at work in insulting our cells. Degenerative disease is complex disease and there are unique variables with every case.

wizcov800optIn a world going toxic, you owe it to yourself, your friends and your family to protect your very being, increase your immunity to modern disease and limit harm to our planet. With WildFood Wizard you enter a place of nutrition, of living lightly on the earth and enjoying radiant health. By bringing more of nature’s healing gifts into your life you will find a quiet joy, feelings of belonging, links with natural seasons and cycles – and nature wants you back.

We all know time is running out for our culture on planet earth. You can help by taking a step into a healthy relationship with the natural world around you. Start the journey back to nature with WildFood Wizard, available in hardback, paperback and for the Kindle. Just click the cover image to find out more…

Pathogens

pathogensViruses of one sort of another are always present in our bodies. If an immune threshold drops low enough these can create havoc in a number of ways, including ‘cell insult’.

The common Herpes Simplex (cold sore) virus is an example of this. It waits in the body until conditions are right for it to emerge. Viruses often stay in the body, or ‘outside on the balcony’ just waiting for an opportunity to thrive on a weakened life form.

With the world a much smaller place than it has ever been, there is unprecedented opportunity for bacteria, viruses and parasites to travel and infect widely. Combined with the overuse of antibiotics helping to create ‘super-bugs’ this creates a situation where our immune systems need all the help they can get. We have evolved organisms proliferating that have never, until now, existed in nature.

Hospitals that you visit ‘to get better’ may be the centre of powerful, mutating germs that are resistant to all known medical treatments. The wonder-working antibiotics of the 1940’s and 50’s have created monsters for the 21st Century in the form of super-bugs that are so far proving to be cleverer than mankind. The S.A.R.S. breakout from China is a wake-up call concerning super-bugs. The human tendency to ‘meddle’ with nature, mostly in the hope of improving it often gives rise to even worse problems in the process.

wizcov800optIn a world going toxic, you owe it to yourself, your friends and your family to protect your very being, increase your immunity to modern disease and limit harm to our planet. With WildFood Wizard you enter a place of nutrition, of living lightly on the earth and enjoying radiant health. By bringing more of nature’s healing gifts into your life you will find a quiet joy, feelings of belonging, links with natural seasons and cycles – and nature wants you back.

We all know time is running out for our culture on planet earth. You can help by taking a step into a healthy relationship with the natural world around you. Start the journey back to nature with WildFood Wizard, available in hardback, paperback and for the Kindle. Just click the cover image to find out more…

Cultural Paradigms

cultural paradigms
Nicholas Copernicus (1473 – 1543), mathematician and astronomer, established a model of the universe with the sun, rather than earth, at its center. His most notable book, On the Revolutions of Heavenly Bodies, was highly controversial when it was published in 1543 but nevertheless became a fundamental turning point in the history of science.

A paradigm is a sort of cultural, consensual pattern of thought or model of something, for example the ‘current consensus in scientific medicine’. Paradigms change, like the impact of Galileo’s work on disproving the flat-earth theory or Copernicus’s heresy that the Earth moves round the Sun. These new ideas met a great deal of resistance from orthodox philosophy but eventually gave rise to a changed perception of the world we live in.

We live now in a time of ‘paradigm shift’, which creates fundamental changes in our assumptions about the world, and even this contributes to modern stress! Although our physical sciences have discovered new fields of quantum reality, medical science is still lagging behind.

Philosophy has traditionally been an important part of medical practice since the medieval days of Paracelsus, even Hippocrates, the originator of the Hippocratic Oath. How we perceive the world and our part in it is central to how we perceive the role of disease and our reaction to it.

One of the present problems of finding effective treatments within Western scientific medicine is a ‘paradigm gap’. There are different perceptions of the world at work speaking incompatible languages. These have deep roots in our philosophy. This gap is presently condemning millions of people world-wide to suffer treatments that can be as destructive, or sometimes more destructive, than the diseases.

Paradigm 1: The Mechanistic View

This can be traced back to Descartes and other scientists such as Sir Isaac Newton. The universe is a vast machine and we are all cogs, all with our part to play in its function. The healthy body is a well-made clock and if it goes wrong we simply take it apart and tinker with the insides until it goes again. If it breaks it doesn’t really matter because there are plenty more where that came from. Nothing exists unless it has been proven through logical methods.

cancer: something had gone wrong with this body, it has a lump. Cut it out and throw the lump away.

Paradigm 2: The Anthropocentric View

This paradigm is central to the philosophy of Darwinism and others who helped set humans as ‘apart and above’, or at the head of other life forms. Humanity is the supposed crown of creation, we are created to lord it over every other creature as ‘head of the food chain’. The planet is ours to dominate and exploit to our own demands. We must conquer every mountain and battle against disease.

We are the most evolved and dominant species in a process of natural selection. We exist for no purpose and have just evolved through sheer luck. In this world our media fantasy industries create pigs and fish that can talk human. Animals are anthropomorphised through culture to have the same needs, desires and dreams as humans.

The animals, forests, oceans and environment around us exist purely for our convenience. This paradigm is human self-centred and exploitative to everything including ourselves.

cancer: something has gone wrong with this body, it has grown an enemy inside it. I will root it out and battle with it.

Paradigm 3: The Gaian View (an emerging paradigm)

This paradigm started with Einstein and the science of energy. Its inception combines an age when we saw the first images of the Earth as a whole entity from space. James Lovelock and his search for life on Mars is a central figure in its development through his identification of the Gaia Hypothesis regarding Earth.

This planet we inhabit is a self-balancing, homeostatic system similar to our own as single biological entities. It still (just) maintains the optimum conditions for life despite our best efforts to pollute it. Our bodies are a miracle of biology, constantly flexible and adaptive but easy to harm. Anything we do to it or each other, we do to ourselves as we are part of the same ‘web’ or ‘circle’ of life. We exist for a purpose but do not yet know what it is. We are part of an evolving cycle of life, a happening miracle.

cancer: something has gone wrong with this body, it is trying to tell me something. I will listen to it and get help to understand why it has happened and what I need to learn and do to get better.

wizcov800optIn a world going toxic, you owe it to yourself, your friends and your family to protect your very being, increase your immunity to modern disease and limit harm to our planet. With WildFood Wizard you enter a place of nutrition, of living lightly on the earth and enjoying radiant health. By bringing more of nature’s healing gifts into your life you will find a quiet joy, feelings of belonging, links with natural seasons and cycles – and nature wants you back.

We all know time is running out for our culture on planet earth. You can help by taking a step into a healthy relationship with the natural world around you. Start the journey back to nature with WildFood Wizard, available in hardback, paperback and for the Kindle. Just click the cover image to find out more…

Medicine Gone Bad

bad medicineIn pre-industrial societies disease was not seen as a ‘random assault from outside’ but as a deeply significant life event integral to the sufferer’s whole being – spiritual, moral, physical and life course – past, present and future.

In modern culture this whole aspect of treating disease is lost. Disease was interpreted as packed with moral, spiritual and religious messages as one of the many ways through which ‘God revealed his will to mankind’. Other philosophies of medicine such as Ayurvedic or Tibetan think similarly, in these, disease even has a karmic aspect.

Around the tenth century in Europe – after the so called ‘Dark Ages’ – women, the original stewards of the land (men did ‘animal husbandry’), were dispossessed of it by the new patriarchies of the Church and State. This male hierarchy hid the things they were most afraid of, namely the fact that it is women who hold the key to the processes and powers of life. They took them as their own, decreeing laws about how we should behave to impose control and inventing ‘original sin’ allied to the curse of Eve and the demonisation of women..

From the early Middle Ages there came a prolonged persecution of women involved in healing. Some sources estimate 5 – 9 million women were destroyed across Europe during this persecution although others claim this a gross exaggeration. Essentially the role of women as healers was discouraged as part of a shift to a patriarchy. This resulted in the destruction of indigenous folk medicine in Europe.

The roles of women in mothering and ‘home-making’ and its many associated skills are still regarded as worthless according to our primarily fiscal values based on GDP. One of the most important things for our future, bringing children into the world, is totally financially unsupported.

When a patriarchy took over, one of the things that happened was that ‘healing’ and ‘spirituality’ were separated out. This shift left our culture bereft of many means of self-healing as a personal journey. The world of spirit and physic were separated and became even more so during the great ‘Age of Reason’ that began with Descartes and continued with Newton and Darwin, the tail-end of which many are presently clinging to in desperation and a degree of applied self-interest. Rene Descartes (1596 – 1650) was a central influence on the 17th century revolution that began modern science and philosophy. His ‘Method of Doubt’ was published in 1637:

“I resolved to reject as false everything in which I could imagine the least doubt, in order to see if there afterwards remained anything that was entirely indubitable”.

The philosophy of ‘Cartesian dualism’ became part of our science, where the mind and the body are seen as essentially separate. Misguidedly (it was not Descartes’s intention) this philosophy contributed to the mechanistic and rational philosophy of the universe adopted by our culture. Descartes was one of the first people to suggest that ‘phenomena could be understood by breaking them down into constituent parts and examining each minutely’. His view of the human body as a machine functioning within a mechanistic universe took prevalence within the Age of Reason.

“Consider the human body as a machine. My thought compares a sick man and an ill-made clock with my idea of a healthy man and a well made clock”.

This attention to analytical detail is still at the heart of our scientific research methodologies. Even during the time of Sir Isaac Newton the human body was viewed as an intricate biological machine. The Universe was an orderly, predictable but divine mechanism, a ‘grand clockwork’. Although hundreds of years have passed, Western scientific medicine still holds the same basic philosophy, but is more sophisticated in studying biological mechanisms at a molecular level. Our cultural values are more biased towards examining constituent parts as unrelated than ‘seeing a whole picture’.

The first Newtonian approaches were essentially surgical. The body was seen as if it were a complex plumbing system. If it went wrong the offending piece was removed or bypassed. These days instead of using knives, drugs are often used to do more or less the same things.

Humans though are far more than walking sacks of chemicals. The animating life-force central to other medical systems is an energy that is not addressed by modern scientific methodology and there are no medical models that explain what it is and what it does. It is misguided by the concept that all illnesses are cured by physically repairing or eliminating abnormal cells. This reveals a deep conflict between ‘Western’ and Eastern’ medical philosophies that has its roots in the division of science and religion.

Degenerative disease cannot be treated effectively under a philosophy of reductionism. Research has failed to find effective cures for modern diseases because it is looking in the wrong places with the wrong tools.

Modern disease needs to be understood as a ‘whole’ disease in relation to each individual’s experience and the culture of which they are part. It has multiple causes that vary with each patient. General ‘same cure for everybody’ pills are only produced in the interests of drug manufacturers and they occlude self-healing as an option.

wizcov800optIn a world going toxic, you owe it to yourself, your friends and your family to protect your very being, increase your immunity to modern disease and limit harm to our planet. With WildFood Wizard you enter a place of nutrition, of living lightly on the earth and enjoying radiant health. By bringing more of nature’s healing gifts into your life you will find a quiet joy, feelings of belonging, links with natural seasons and cycles – and nature wants you back.

We all know time is running out for our culture on planet earth. You can help by taking a step into a healthy relationship with the natural world around you. Start the journey back to nature with WildFood Wizard, available in hardback, paperback and for the Kindle. Just click the cover image to find out more…