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My What?!

Your endocannabinoid system is alive and well in your body even if you never consume cannabis. But what happens when you do? The endocannabinoid system. Let’s face it – it sounds confusing and a bit scary. But understanding how and why this system functions in your body can help you make the best decisions about cannabis and you. So, it’s time to dust off the far regions of your brain that helped you through high school biology and settle in. WHAT EXACTLY IS THE ENDOCANNABINOID SYSTEM? The endocannabinoid system (ECS) is a molecular system responsible for regulating and balancing many processes in the body, including immune response, communication between cells, appetite and metabolism, memory, and more. Enter cannabis. The ECS is a network of cell receptors that respond to key molecules found in cannabis, known as cannabinoids. The system was first discovered in the early 1990s by researchers who were

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Mind

Why Does Technology Seem so Overwhelming?

Robots taking over manufacturing jobs. Autonomous cars and delivery trucks. Drones in warfare but also delivering aid in disasters. Webcams on our porches. Surveillance capitalism and our privacy. Disinformation on social media, doxing and trolls. Cryptocurrencies, scams and hackers. Constant notifications. Augmented and virtual reality. Genetic engineering. Nanotechnologies clearing clogs in our arteries. Brain computer interfaces. And so much more. We are feeling overwhelmed with all the technology come at us today. Yes, we are overwhelmed. You’re not alone. But why do we feel so overwhelmed? How did we get to this point and what can we do as technology inevitably embeds itself deeper into our lives? There are, I think, two primary reasons we feel so overwhelmed. The first has to do with our ability as a species, to adapt. The second has to do with technology itself, specifically digital technologies and their exponential advancement. Our Ability to Adapt

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Fitness

Post-Pandemic Anxiety & Yoga Therapy

We’ve longed to be out and about, but for many post-pandemic anxiety is taking the joy out of life. Therapeutic yoga can help. After the intensity of two years waiting out this global pandemic and months of praying, begging and pleading to the powers that be to ease restrictions, a brand-new fear arose.  What will it be like to step back out into the world again? Most of us expected that once openings were announced, all our anxieties would slip away. Yet for many, it only made them increase. After living so long under stay-at-home-orders, social distancing and no group gatherings, including with our loved ones, we’ve become like prisoners tasting freedom for the first time, grateful, overwhelmed, and maybe even afraid all at the same time. This is exactly how I felt and I was surprised. Where being out and about amid the hustle of people all around was

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Mind

The power of therapeutic writing

No, we’re not talking about a gratefulness journal or a daily affirmations journal either. This about using some different writing techniques to help deal with a trauma in life, or when in a difficult time period. And fortunately, it doesn’t mean having to relive that trauma either. That said, it can open fresh wounds that haven’t been fully treated, so if you have a recent experience, it may be worth it to wait a little longer. ‘I hear and I forget, I see and I remember, I write and I understand.’ Chinese Proverb A study in the British Journal of General Practice found that “expressive writing” or “therapeutic writing” helped patients in several ways, from decreasing stress and anxiety to improving breathing and reducing chronic pain from issues such as Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS.) Therapeutic writing also helped reduce physical symptoms of people with breast, colorectal and prostate cancer. A

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Mind

Mental Health and Artificial Intelligence

It seems Artificial Intelligence (AI) is finding uses across every aspect of life these days. And it is. Now, AI is being applied to mental health across all ages. In Canada, by age 40, according to the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA), 50% of people will have had a mental illness. Depression affects 5% of the population and around 4.6% of Canadians suffer from an anxiety disorder. The pandemic hasn’t helped. One of the challenges of the pandemic was being able to connect with a psychiatrist or psychologist as well. Many people rely on their employer-based benefits or bear the personal cost of private services. Canadians spend an estimated $950 million a year on psychologists in private practice. About 30% of this is paid out-of-pocket while the remainder is paid through employment-based private health insurance plans. Now, some technology companies are seeing some degree of success using AI to help

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Health

Mindfulness: The Darker Side

There’s no doubt that mindfulness can and has helped millions of people. New research is showing there can also be a downside. From helping reduce anxiety and stress to being more focused, mindfluness has many benefits and has even been incorporated into prison programs in the U.S. and Canadian systems. New research from the University at Buffalo however, suggests that mindfulness can make us more selfish and impact our social behaviours. The research looked at a rang of what are called prosocial behaviours, or the range of behaviours we have when we’re around other people. From how we interact with others to the actions we may take in certain settings. In the research, Dr. Michael Poulin, an assistant professor of psychology looked at how people view themselves and their place in society. In Asian countries, people tend to see their relationships with others as interdependent versus in countries like Canada,

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Health

COVID-19: What would Churchill do?

“Watch out now. Take care, beware the thoughts that linger Winding up inside your head. The hopelessness around you…” Beware of Darkness – George Harrison When Prime Minister Churchill made his radio broadcasts during the Battle of Britain during the Second World War, he told his audience, in effect, to chill. Britain might not be winning the war, yet, he admitted, but they had the right stuff. They were tough. They were brave. They could laugh at adversity. The forces of good would win over evil. It would not be easy, but it would happen. Attitude would be a key part of this. Keep a stiff upper lip. Don’t take all this too seriously. Today, we get the opposite message from those in power — not without some justification. Just today I was speaking to two accomplished women. They are talented, responsible, and well balanced. But they have a problem.

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Mind

Top 5 Mental Health Apps

Our smartphones are with us everywhere we go, often that includes by our bedside. While we use them for everything from shopping to listening to music, there are some apps that can help us with mental health too. Here we rank our top 5 favourite mental health apps. While they can help, we do want to point out that they won’t cure issues such as anxiety or depression. It’s important not to self-diagnose and seek help if you need it. Moodfit: This is a great all-around app for mental fitness. It’s available on iPhone and Android. The app includes breathing exercises, journaling, you can set daily goals and track them as well. Well designed and easy to use! Some items are free and some cost. You can find it here. PTSD Coach Canada: Created and managed by Veterans Affairs Canada, this free app has great resources for those who may

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