Meditation: An opioid alternative


In light of the opioid crisis, doctors are searching for alternatives to help patients in chronic pain. Physical therapy, numbing creams, different drugs – these are all common alternatives.

But here’s a new one: meditation.

There’s science to meditation. Pain creates a stress response in the body that can cause anxiety, causing a bigger stress response and more anxiety.

“It’s this vicious circle which can be slowed down by narcotics or by other mindfulness techniques,” Marco said.

And while opioids flood the brain with dopamine, studies show that meditation can increase dopamine naturally.

Marco recommends a couple apps to his patients: Back Doctor and Stop, Breathe and Think. You can find both of those for free in the App Store. The exercises trigger the body to make endorphins.

Read entire article here.

Optimal Way to Structure Your Day

best work schedule

The eight-hour workday is outdated and ineffective. To be more productive, you have to find a new way of working.

A recent study tracked employees’ work habits. They found that the length of the workday didn’t matter as much as how people structured their day. People who regularly took short breaks were much more productive than those who worked longer hours.

The best ratio was 52 minutes of work followed by a 17 minute break. This schedule is more in sync with our body and brain. Our brain naturally works in bursts of high energy (about an hour) followed by times of low energy (15–20 minutes).

Once you align your schedule with your natural flow, expect your productivity and attitude to improve.

Here are 4 tips that should help:

  • Break up your day into hourly intervals.
  • Stop after an hour.
  • Don’t skip a real break.
  • Don’t wait until you’re tired to take a break.

See the original article here.

Girl fakes chickenpox to miss test – backfires after she uses permanent marker – Fox News

A 6-year-old’s attempt at faking sick to miss school has left her “red-in-the-face” after the marker she used to cover herself in phony chickenpox turned out to be permanent. Lily Schooley, who was allegedly dreading an upcoming spelling test, had reportedly seen a similar stunt pulled on YouTube.

The Cornwall student reportedly asked to borrow a marker to do her homework before appearing 10 minutes later with what she described as an “itchy rash,” according to the

When Lily’s mom, Charlotte, said she’d have to go to the doctor, she reportedly headed back upstairs to rub the rash off — and that’s where she ran into trouble.

Charlotte Schooley told the news outlet that Lily had come down with chicken pox before, and had several classmates out with the illness so she figured she had a believable plan.

“She was deadly serious about it until we said ‘Oh gosh, it’s come on so quickly in 10 minutes. We’re going to have to see the doctor,” she told the “She quickly disappeared and we went upstairs to find her trying to rub them off with a flannel.”

Her parents say she got the idea from a YouTube clip, and figured since several of her classmates were out sick her case would be believable.
(Kennedy News and Media)

Her parents’ attempts to remove the fake pox were also futile, and Lily quickly went from feeling “ill” to feeling embarrassed.

“She said ‘I can’t go to school mummy because everyone will laugh,’” Charlotte Schooley told the news outlet.

But they sent her to school the next day with a letter explaining that Lily wasn’t contagious. Lily’s “chicken pox” were finally resolved four days later with the help of hairspray, the outlet reported.

“The house is always full of laughter with Lily,” Charlotte said. “She is very witty.”

Disturbing scans reveal brain damage from alcohol lasts up to SIX WEEKS – Daily Mail

Disturbing scans reveal how brain damage caused by alcohol carries on for up to SIX WEEKS after you stop drinking

  • Experts in Germany and Spain scanned the brains of alcoholics and non-drinkers
  • They found there was less activity in the drinkers’ brains even weeks later
  • Areas of the brain controlling emotions, behaviour and memory were affected 

The headaches, feeling sick and tiredness caused by a hangover usually go away the next day.

But your brain may still be feeling the effects of boozing for six weeks after, a study has found.

Scientists used brain scans of alcoholics to find the white matter – parts of the brain containing nerves – continues changing after more than a month of being sober.

Scans done by the researchers in Spain and Germany revealed there is significantly less electrical activity (shown by the blue lines) in the brain of an alcoholic after two weeks of sobriety (left) than in the brain of a teetotaller (right)

Scans done by the researchers in Spain and Germany revealed there is significantly less electrical activity (shown by the blue lines) in the brain of an alcoholic after two weeks of sobriety (left) than in the brain of a teetotaller (right)

Researchers at the Spanish Institute of Neuroscience and the Central Institute of Mental Health in Germany scanned the brains of 90 alcoholic men.

The patients had ended up in hospital because of their drinking problems, and the scans were compared with 36 men who didn’t have addictions.

And while it was known that drinking alcohol changes how nerves communicate in the brain, the experts realised the changes continue when drinking stops.

Although drinking can make people feel happier and more sociable, overuse can cause damage parts of the brain controlling thoughts and movement.

Scans showed there is significantly less electrical activity in the brains of drinkers than of teetotallers – even after two weeks of sobriety.

The changes were still present in the brain after six weeks of no alcohol, according to the research published in the journal JAMA Psychiatry. 

The researchers said their findings go against the conventional idea that damage from alcohol stops when the drinking ends.

Dr Santiago Canals, one of the study authors, said: ‘Until now, nobody could believe that in the absence of alcohol the damage in the brain would progress.’

The two areas worst affected, the scans showed, were the hippocampus and the prefrontal cortex.

Memories, emotions, decision-making and behaviour are controlled by these parts of the organ, suggesting these characteristics could be particularly altered.  

‘We found that at two and six weeks of abstinence, the microstructural changes progressed,’ the scientists wrote in their report.

They said the travel of the nerve signals continued to be restricted in the brain.

And they added: ‘These results challenge the conventional idea that the microstructural alterations start to revert to [normal] immediately after discontinuing alcohol consumption.’


Alcohol damages the brain more than cannabis, research suggested in February 2017.

Unlike booze, marijuana does not affect the size or integrity of white or grey matter in the brain, even after years of exposure, a study found.

Grey matter enables the brain to function, while white controls communication between nerve clusters.

Study author Professor Kent Hutchison, from the University of Colorado Boulder, said: ‘While marijuana may also have some negative consequences, it definitely is nowhere near the negative consequences of alcohol.’

The scientists add, however, research into cannabis’ mental effects are still very limited.

Lead author Rachel Thayer said: ‘Particularly with marijuana use, there is still so much that we don’t know about how it impacts the brain.’

In the US, 44 percent of those aged 12 or over have used cannabis at some point in their lives.

Although their findings appear positive, the researchers also add there is a long way to go before cannabis will likely be broadly legalised.

Many are still concerned as to how the class-C drug affects people of different ages, manages pain and causes addiction.

9 Tips For Acing That Job Interview

job interview

So you’ve passed the initial application stage and have secured an interview for a role you really want. Congratulations! But the hard part isn’t over yet. You still need to ace the interview. And there’s a lot to consider when it comes to job interviews, from wondering what questions will be asked to figuring out what to wear. Plus, it’s as much about using it as an opportunity to find out if they’re a good fit for you, as well as you being a good fit for them.

It’s easy to feel nervous or overwhelmed, but an interview doesn’t have to be a big, scary obstacle between you and your dream job. If you’re prepared, motivated, and confident, you’re already several steps closer to success. Here are some simple tips that will help alleviate your nerves, empower you as a professional, and make your interview a triumph.

  1. Do your research. Learn as much as you can about the company you’ll be working for, what your role will entail, and who will be interviewing you. You’ll feel much more confident after building a strong foundation of knowledge and won’t be thrown off if you’re questioned on your understanding of the company.
  2. Look back over your application. That’s what helped secure you an interview after all. The interviewer might draw questions from or refer back to your application, so refresh your memory and identify ways you could elaborate on what you had initially submitted.
  3. Practice questions and answers. There are a range of ways you might do this: you might want to comb through common questions or you might prefer role-playing the interview process with a trusted friend or family member. Either way, anticipate what you might be asked and have strong answers prepared.
  4. Practice the route. It’s not just important to plan what you’re going to say at your interview, you need to know how you’re going to get there! Whether you’re driving, cycling, or traveling by public transport, going on a dummy run will help you plan the logistics of your journey and ensure you won’t get lost. On the day itself, you can concentrate only on the task at hand and not worry about the route.
  5. Prepare your outfit. Yes, you want to wear something appropriate, but it’s not just about what the clothes look like, it’s how they make you feel. Choose an outfit that shows your personality in an appropriate way and makes you feel confident.
  6. Think positively. Practical preparations are important, but you also need to adopt a positive mindset. Meditation, positive playlists, and even visualization exercises can help you envision success. According to a study by The Journal of Consulting Psychology, visualization exercises make a big difference to a candidate’s success, as 66 percent of the subjects who adopted these techniques were employed within two months. Choose a method that will aid your positive thinking and turn your hopes of success into a reality.
  7. Check your body language. From a smile to good posture, open body language communicates that you’re approachable, confident, and capable of doing the job at hand. Make sure you practice techniques before your interview so that any positive habits you adopt feel natural in your body.
  8. Make healthy lifestyle choices. If you want to perform well at your interview, it’s important that you take care of yourself. Eat healthy and nutritious foods and get some rest. That way, on the day of your interview, you’ll feel fresh and energized instead of slow and sluggish.
  9. Warm up. On the day of the interview, make sure that you aren’t going in cold. Stretch, go for a run, meditate — just channel your nerves physically. Even practice speaking aloud to warm up your voice so that when you greet the interviewer, you’ll already sound calm and confident.

Meditate with Urmila: How to do it daily –


I often get asked, ‘How can I set up a daily practice of meditation?’ The answer is quite simple: ‘By setting up the resolve!’

But how do I ensure that I follow my resolve, it is asked. Well, this question is valid too. And the answer is: by practicing affirmations. You can practice affirmations anywhere and everywhere: “Today, I will sit for meditation, no matter what.”

You can repeat this until it sinks into you fully. Or visualise yourself sitting in meditation, enjoying the calm and stillness.

This is how you set up the resolve; bring it back in your mind again and again, until you remember it fully, imbibe it completely and feel the benefits.

Resolve is important for people who waver or find excuses. Excuses have no nature, they could be anything. The most common one is: ‘I’ll do it tomorrow.’ Others include; ‘I am not cut out for it or it’s a long shot to peace.’

People find excuses because they do not have faith that they can attain something by sitting at one place. The belief that rushing around is the way to get things done is strong. People lack trust in the inner self and hence make up excuses. When they trust ‘I can do it,’ they will do it.

It is not uncommon to face initial frustration in not being able to concentrate. Initially, concentration may be difficult. You see, you are tuning into a new vibration; the vibration of stillness, peace and quiet. Tuning into that frequency takes practice.

People try and give up meditation as well. That is because they again get caught up in the drama of the external world. Perhaps they find the drama juicy or perhaps it is a way to cope up to their inhibitions. For either category, getting back is possible. Setting up a resolve is helpful.

How long?

In daily practice, 15-20 minutes is good to begin with. Gather yourself first. When you have gathered yourself and are able to slip into that mode effortlessly, you can gradually increase the time. Pick a time in the day when you are able to concentrate the most.

In the context of how long to practice in life, the answer is: as long as you want. As long as you feel the need to discover yourself. Self-discovery is a very interesting journey. There are so many aspects of yourself that you will realise you have. You are your own biggest mystery to solve. You may take years to solve your own (self) puzzle. There is so much task at hand, yet you get caught up in everyone’s drama but your own.

How do you know your meditation is working?

It depends on what results you are looking for. It will reveal if you are clear on the goals of your meditation. You will see discernible changes in those areas.

For example, if you want good relationship with your family and friends then meditate with that intention. Set your affirmations; tell your body, mind and soul. Tune yourself to the frequency of love. Tell your being: “I have healthy relationship with… I thank him/her for being in my life, for teaching me the lessons of patience or kindness or compassion or.” Extend appreciation as the frequency of appreciation is high. When you give out your appreciation, you raise your vibration.

Know that no one comes into your life without a purpose. So, thank him or her for the lessons they have taught you. Think of it as a great service the person has done to you in the path of your growth and your evolvement by bringing the lessons that you needed to learn. Appreciation and compassion extended in this vibratory manner is not lost. You will start seeing improved relationship with the person.

Set up a resolve and follow it. Back up with affirmations and thank yourself for following through with the resolve. Extend and express gratitude to self and others, be compassionate and bask in the purity of your soul. Bask in the purposeful living of yourself.

— Urmila Rao is a chakra balancing meditation coach and a certified Theta healer-practitioner. She can be reached at