Cutting Through TMI

For a long time, consumer educators believed that people make the best choices when they have plenty of information. Consumer education programs taught us how to locate information so we had enough to make good decisions.

That was before the Internet.

These days, the challenge is not in finding information. It’s in learning how to manage an over-abundance of it. There are two issues here:

  1. Discerning what has integrity in a medium without gatekeepers, one in which anyone can say and publish whatever they want to.
  2. Coping with the volume so that we don’t shut down from information overload.

A previous post featured Dr. Barry Schwartz speaking about the paradox of choice. His research discovered that people actually make worse decisions when overloaded with information and choices.

Yet none of us would deny that there is useful information online. So let’s look at some strategies for navigating online information without being consumed by it.

How can we discern what has integrity?

Start with credible sources. Who is bringing you this information? What are this person’s credentials? motivations? mindset?

When researching a health issue online, I like to start where I have the best chance of success. Here are some of my guidelines.

  1. Lean toward doctors with conventional medical training complemented by additional study in functional and integrative medicine. To me, it’s the best of both worlds when they bring all these perspectives to bear on a problem.
  2. Pay attention to whether they base their statements on research and experience, or theories and opinion. I watch for sweeping generalizations and unsupported statements.
  3. Look for someone who is open to learning about new developments, and is not afraid to consider options outside the box of their conventional training.
  4. Research the person, at the very least by reading the “about” page on their website. Usually the content of the about page gives a good sense of the person’s philosophy and mission, which is something I find particularly helpful. Of course they’re going to present themselves in a good light, but it’s unlikely they will lie about books they have written or certifications they have because these are too easily traceable in the Internet era.
  5. Subscribe to their newsletter. This gives you a chance to become familiar with their areas of interest, approach to health, and recommendations. If they are not for you, It’s easy to unsubscribe and move on.
  6. Filter all of this through your intuition. What does your gut say about the trustworthiness of this person and their information?

Below are a few examples of online doctors I respect and trust. This is not an exhaustive list but gives you an idea about what’s important to me. Your list might be quite different. The important thing is that you find the people who ring bells for you, in order to get the help you need.

I care that you think

A few of my go-to online doctors

Dr. Kelly Brogan is a Manhattan-based holistic women’s health psychiatrist. She is the  author of a New York Times best-selling book, A Mind of Your Own, and co-editor of the landmark textbook, Integrative Therapies for Depression. Dr. Brogan is dedicated to helping people learn the truth about mental health and how to reclaim their vitality. One section of her website, titled “Rethink Health” is introduced this way: “You may have noticed that my approach to women’s mental health deviates from the norm—from what is being taught in medical school and what is being offered by doctors around the country. I believe that our current model is outdated and disempowering.”

Dr. Christiane Northrup is a board-certified OB/GYN physician, and a leading authority in the field of women’s health and wellness, which includes the unity of mind, body, emotions, and spirit. She says, “When we find the connection between our thoughts, beliefs, physical health, and life circumstances, we find that we are in the driver’s seat of our lives and can make profound changes. Nothing is more exhilarating or empowering.” Dr. Northrup is an internationally respected writer and speaker whose books have been translated into 24 languages. In 2016, she was named one of Oprah Winfrey’s Super Soul 100, a group of leaders who are using their voices and talent to awaken humanity.

Dr. Sarah Myhill is a general practitioner who has spent many years working with those  experiencing chronic fatigue. Frustrated with the limitations and restrictions of practising  under the National Health Service, she is now in private practice in Wales. Her focus is to  discover root causes of health issues instead of treating symptoms, and her highly successful approach is based on diet, micronutrient status, allergies, and lifestyle. Dr. Myhill is a member of the British Society for Ecological Medicine, the British equivalent of functional medicine. She has a website full of detailed health information, is the author of several books, and recently founded National Health Worldwide to offer people access to a range of health practitioners no matter where they live.

That is plenty about thinking and researching for now. And if this is all feeling a bit onerous, here’s a fresh perspective…

A Revolutionary View of Alzheimer’s

Albert Einstein is frequently quoted for saying that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. Much of what goes on in medicine fits this definition. Researchers and practitioners go around in circles, trying small variations on the same approach, and not finding the results they hope for.

The issue is, all of the variations are rooted in the same mindset. In medicine, the prevailing mindset is that the solution to any condition is a magic bullet in the form of a pill to correct the issue. It’s an outdated attitude that worked in the days when penicillin was discovered to kill the bacteria that caused pneumonia, rheumatic fever, blood poisoning and other infections. Penicillin was the magic bullet that ushered in the age of antibiotics at a time when untreated infections were a major cause of death.

However, the landscape has shifted. Today’s health issues are primarily complex chronic conditions. Think heart disease, diabetes, metabolic syndrome, cancer, chronic fatigue and Alzheimer’s. Despite the enormous amount o money and effort put toward finding the magic bullet, it hasn’t happened.

The prevailing medical view of Alzheimer’s is a good example of stuck thinking.

Doctors are taught that once a person shows signs of Alzheimer’s, continued deterioration is inevitable. Drugs might be able to slow the progression, but there is absolutely no possibility of reversing the condition.

As the title of this post suggests, that belief has now been proven to be untrue. But before we look at who says so and why, let’s get a fuller sense of the prevailing medical view. Here’s some of what the Mayo clinic says in its information for patients:

Alzheimer’s drugs might be one strategy to help you temporarily manage memory loss, thinking and reasoning problems, and day-to-day function. Unfortunately, Alzheimer’s drugs don’t work for everyone, and they can’t cure the disease or stop its progression. Over time, their effects wear off.

…Clinical trials testing whether Alzheimer’s drugs might prevent progression of MCI [mild cognitive impairment] to Alzheimer’s have generally shown no lasting benefit.

…Cholinesterase inhibitors [the main class of medication] can’t reverse Alzheimer’s disease or stop the destruction of nerve cells. These medications eventually lose effectiveness… Common side effects can include nausea, vomiting and diarrhea.

…Because Alzheimer’s is a progressive disease, your symptoms and care plan will change over time. …Because the effects of Alzheimer’s drugs are usually modest, it might be difficult to tell if the drugs are working. However, you can’t know if your symptoms might be more severe without your medication.

With that as the current view, is it any wonder there is great anxiety among aging adults? What a hopeless situation to face.

Except…it isn’t hopeless at all.

Dr. Dale Bredesen has created an entirely different outcome for patients by approaching Alzheimer’s from a different mindset. Instead of using the magic bullet approach, he’s using a “magic buckshot” protocol.

Discovery quote

Dr. Bredesen sees patients in the same condition as other researchers and clinicians, but thinks differently about what is going on and what would help. Instead of looking for one therapy for Alzheimer’s, he recognizes that it’s a condition with multiple contributing factors. In the interview below, he points out that looking for a mono-therapy to treat a complex chronic illness is like using a checker strategy for a chess match. It can’t work.

His program, which has been tested and published, considers 36 different entry points when determining how to treat a particular person. As he notes, they are looking for the root cause(s) and this can differ from person to person. You might be surprised to learn that mold in the environment and heavy metals like mercury in the body are among these factors.

The stunning finding is that people experience sustained improvement when continuing on the protocol because they are treating the root cause. Next spring, Dr. Bredesen’s organization will launch a documentary that follows people using this protocol and shows the impact on their lives.

Comprehensive protocol

The research is compelling and Dr. Bredesen has recently published a book to make this new information accessible to all of us. A New York Times bestseller. The End of Alzheimer’s is a manual for professionals and the rest of us, featuring both the evidence behind the protocol, and practical information about what we can do.
In addition, physicians and other health professionals are being trained in this protocol around the world. And an institute is being established where people can go for treatment.
All of that is very encouraging, as is Dr. Bredesen’s assertion that we are at a unique point in history where we are able to attack complex chronic illnesses successfully for the first time. The interview below will give you a chance to hear him speak about his work and the impact it can have…for Alzheimer’s and beyond.

Panning for gold in a never-ending stream of information…

One of my themes is resourcefulness, the valuable ability to devise effective ways and means of meeting any situation we face. I’m curious about how we can increase our capacity for resourcefulness. And about how we can discover and engage with available resources without being duped or overwhelmed.

To engage fully, we must recognize that there are two aspects of resourcefulness—what we find within ourselves, and what we can learn from others.

What are resources?

Our inner resources are the attitudes and skills developed from life experience. They keep us going and make us resilient. When we tap into our inner knowing, we bring these resources to the forefront. That’s why it’s helpful for each of us to find our own best method of accessing that inner wisdom. It makes us stronger and better able to cope. My recent blogs have been about accessing inner resources. But… Continue reading

Finding your inner “yes”

One of the capabilities that kept me going in difficult times is my intuition, which I usually refer to as my inner sense of knowing. It helps me find the answers that are grounded in my self. In this way, I’m able to discover new perspectives and feel more confident in making decisions. I don’t know how I would have managed without it!

I think my inner knowing was always with me, but not fostered in my environment. It wasn’t until adulthood that my intuition and I reconnected when I took an energy psychology workshop. It was teaching a method of releasing emotions stuck in the energy field. Muscle testing was used to help us identify them so they could be released.

Muscle testing is a means of communicating with the subconscious through our bodies. It was exactly what I needed to make my long-ignored intuition visible.

After a few years, I became aware that I knew the answer inside me before the muscle testing showed it. These days, I use muscle testing when working with clients so they can see what’s happening. Otherwise, I go with the inner sense which, for me, feels like the answer landing squarely on my heart (yes) or rolling off to the left (no).

Befriending your intuition…

Continue reading

Does energy psychology really work?

Energy can be felt and experienced, but not seen. That is both its power and its Achilles heel.

Energy medicine has been practised in ancient cultures for thousands of years. The philosophy is that when energy is blocked or unbalanced, the body will develop symptoms of dis-ease. Since the condition originates in the energy system, that’s what is treated. Acupuncture is one of the more familiar examples of this approach.

In Western culture, we are schooled to discount the energetic aspects of our existence. This leaves many people playing the game of life with a poor hand, the best cards still left in the box.

Playing with a poor hand

Continue reading

Healing Illness with the Subconscious Mind

.If you can heal your mind, you can heal your life. There are resources out there to help you feel like the best you. There isn’t one modality that’s right for everyone, but we can each find something that works for us. Here’s another possibility for your consideration and exploration.

The human body has an innate ability to heal—sometimes it just needs a little help. Danna Pycher knows that from first-hand experience. Surviving a near-fatal accident was the easy part; coping with the PTSD and chronic pain afterward was more difficult. In this TEDx talk, she shares her story about trauma and the transformative insight that allowed her to harness the healing power of her subconscious mind.

Today Danna Pycher is a certified Neuro-Linguistic Hypnotherapist specializing in chronic illness and trauma. She is also a motivational speaker, coach, and Psych-K practitioner.

To learn more…

Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP)

Combining NLP and Hypnotherapy

Continue reading

Be curious. Ask questions.

Curiosity is the antidote to being stuck in that awful place when you know what to do and can’t make it happen. You are stuck, and might be inclined to beat yourself up about that. Instead, get curious about what is going on that’s keeping you stuck.

It might be that you’re not hurting enough yet to want to make the effort to get unstuck. You might be afraid of losing something when making lasting changes. There are a lot of gains we get from doing things as we’ve always done them, or doing what we know we shouldn’t be doing. Or you might feel you “should” do something, but part of you is resisting.

Whatever the case, this is an invitation to find out what’s really underlying your resistance to making a change. Being more self-aware and understanding ourselves is our superpower…when we use it.

Get curious on your own behalf.

Continue reading

Getting rid of inner clutter to deal with outer chaos

Paper chaps

True confession—this is what my outer chaos looks like most days.

Ever since I started this blog a year ago, I’ve been drowning in books, papers, and sticky notes. I find myself researching a wide array of sources and don’t want to lose track of  important thoughts. My aim is to pull ideas together in new ways. That seems to mean I have to amass a of ideas before I can recombine and distill them. It’s a messy process, but that’s how I work.

Recently I became aware that the volume of idea clutter had become overwhelming. It was no longer helpful. It was causing me stress.

Relieving the stress of overwhelm

Continue reading

Self Help for Stress Relief

Stress usually arises at inconvenient times. How useful it is to know what to do about it at the time, on your own!

This post is an introduction to two energy psychology modalities that are self-empowering—easy to learn and you can do them yourself. Both are methods I use and recommend.

Emotional Freedom Technique

What is the Emotional Freedom Technique? How is it used? Does it work? Dawson Church explains…

Continue reading

When life seems too demanding…

It’s easy to feel stuck or overwhelmed by the demands of modern life. It’s not a constructive state of mind. It can lead to stress and anxiety.

Daniel Friedland MD is a high-performance leadership trainer. In this video he shares tips on how to shift your mindset so you can accomplish what seems overwhelming. The key is to turn stress into challenge. This shift in viewpoint leads to a different energy toward what needs to be accomplished, resulting in a greater sense of control and a more productive outcome.

It applies to demands in any setting, for people at all stages and in any role in life. When the shift is made, it’s like a weight being lifted—you feel lighter, with a sense of breathing space. Then you can tackle the challenge with enthusiasm rather than dread.

His two key tips Continue reading