Category Archives: Uncategorized

Important Critique of Algorithms

This is a TED talk from Cathy O’Neill, author of Weapons of Math Destruction.

I think she makes an important critique of how algorithms are too often used to rate people in absurdly biased ways with no accountability on the part of those who create the algorithms and profit from their use. In my field, medicine, the “patient satisfaction” scores are a perfect example of this perversion.

https://embed.ted.com/talks/cathy_o_neil_the_era_of_blind_faith_in_big_data_must_end

HRV Trace and Resilience Training

A short note to communicate why I haven’t posted anything in a few weeks.

I have been developing materials for the International Performance, Resilience and Efficiency Program , iPREP. They use scientifically based training methods to train law enforcement officers and first-responders to make more effective decisions under extreme stress. They are an awesome team and I am excited to be working with them.

I have also been working on an iOS app which just got approved by Apple. The app is HRV Trace and it uses data from a chest-strap heart rate monitor to augment stress-management and resilience training. HRV Trace is  being used by the iPREP team as a part of their training program.

I am working to catch up on posting.

Stop Doing Your Best

One theme this past week was hearing from people who are exhausting themselves by trying to do their best.

While the advice to “just do your best” is given by people who mean well, it can be a trap that drains our energy. Instead of doing our best we need to know how to pace ourselves.

Briefly:

  1. Do good enough at each task.
  2. If you can do a task good enough without doing your best, then do NOT do your best.
  3. If you really love an activity, then do your best at it.

If we follow rules 1 and 2 then we will have energy to follow rule 3.

Contemplation vs Rumination – Overview

This is a short video on two different types of thinking: Contemplation and Rumination. I describe each and give some suggestions on how to shift from rumination to contemplation. I will be using this for the classes I am teaching this week.

I am also uploading the audio if you want to download it.

Here is the transcript: Continue reading Contemplation vs Rumination – Overview

Permission and Advice

Another short post:

I learned a very simple rule years ago about giving advice, whether to friends, relatives or children. It is amazingly simple, incredibly effective, and really hard to stick to.  The rule is:

Get permission before giving advice or offering suggestions.

My experience, and the reports I get from the people I have shared this with, is that when we have permission to give advice then we are much more likely to be listened to. And if we are not given permission then by graciously keeping quiet we avoid wasting a lot of energy and annoying the listener.

This is a very hard rule to follow so the damage-control rule is:

If you gave advice without permission, apologize.

Regarding when to start doing this with children. Once when my daughter was 3 she was having difficulty putting her shoes on. I asked her if she wanted some help and she replied “I do it myself!!”

 

 

Reducing Pain by Creating Changes in Perceived Size and Shape of the Pain

This is another technique for reducing pain that involves changing the way the brain experiences the pain rather than distracting the brain from the pain. It seems to work best for neuropathic pain or chronic pain rather than acute pain.  In this technique we focus on how the perceived location and extent of the pain can vary with the intention of having our brain reduce the  size of the area that is feeling the pain, and perhaps moving it out of the body altogether. Over time our brain can become more skilled at reducing the extent of the pain and reducing the intensity.

Notes:  Continue reading Reducing Pain by Creating Changes in Perceived Size and Shape of the Pain

Pulling Breath Downward to Reduce Headaches and Neck Pain

I made this track specifically for a couple of my patients who are struggling with neck pain and headaches, to remind them of what we did in the office.

It teaches a somewhat unusual technique for engaging the abdominal muscles while breathing so that the neck and shoulder muscles can relax. That often helps the head and neck feel more comfortable.

If you are not one of my patients you are welcome to listen, but please do  not use it if it causes discomfort.