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Some Advice on Depression you might actually be able to Use

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Well intentioned ideas are not always what works

When you don’t suffer from any mental health issues, like that of depression, it can be very easy to have “helpful” advice and well-intentioned  interventions you may think will alleviate someones’ depressed mood.  Yet the truth is there is no steadfast or  correct answer, every person experiences depression very uniquely.  Some respond to medications and therapy/counseling great, while others it doesn’t work.  Some have found that a change in diet and adding exercise have helped , while, again with others it did nothing.

Photo by Hisu lee on Unsplash

Whether it is just the beginning of the new year and you want to take healthy and proactive steps to improve your mental health, or wanting to find new ways on how to better manage your depression, the below may be helpful. 

Read More: Contain your Negative Chatter and Shift towards a more Positive Perspective 

A recent article from Cosmopolitan, shared five pieces of advice on depression that the author, Kate Lucey, found useless for herself as being someone who has been diagnosed as having depression. 

  1. Utilize the times when you feel less bad
  2. Communicate with family, friends, loved-ones that depression is a mental health illness
  3. Get a plant / add some greenery to your world
  4. Follow positive social media accounts that make you happy 
  5. Allow yourself to feel however you need to feel

I found that each piece of advise above to have a positive or helpful impact on my own mental health.  

Click to see “Chocolate Truffle Hearts” on Google Shopping and Amazon.

It is important to first acknowledge the times that you feel bad, awful, depressed, or however your mood declines.  Whether that is physically writing it down in a journal or to yourself, making a point to note your change is mood is key.  Once you become routinely more conscious about your mood change, you can better utilize the times when you feel OK. 

Allowing yourself to feel crummy is extremely helpful as well.  It seems common for many, including myself, to try to block out or try to “snap out of it”, when really all that is doing is further sabotaging your ability to actually accept your depression and allow yourself to emote ( a good cry can prove carthartic). 

Holistic is a fuzzy term but the whole person really does matter

Adding some green to your life has proven to help mental health. If you are able to get plants in your home, bringing in some greenery is a very good idea.  If you have a crazy kitty that decides to eat any plants you bring, I found walking around the neighborhood and focusing on the green plants, trees, flowers, and overall beauty of nature, takes me out of my head and makes a difference at the end of walks. 

Lastly, increasing more of things that makes you feel good and less alone is great.  Most of us are still living pretty restrictive lives due to pandemic, so social media, or streaming is a large portion of my life.  I find when following funny, cheesy, or positive content help to lift up the spirits.  

If you are struggling with mental health and need support here are a few resources: (National Alliance of Mental Health/ NAMI.


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Breaking News

5$ Gas in LA after Cyberattack on Colonial Pipeline

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Already high prices hit new records, although east coast was meant to see impact first

Above: photo credit: Lynxotic

The main pipeline carrying gasoline and diesel fuel to the U.S. East Coast was shut down by its operator after being hit with a cyberattack. The attack has been attributed to DarkSide, a group of veteran cybercriminals. Colonial Pipeline Co. operates the Colonial Pipeline system that takes fuel from the refineries of the Gulf Coast to the New York metro area.

The pipeline stretches 5,500-miles, and the company learned Friday that it was the victim of the attack and “took certain systems offline to contain the threat, which has temporarily halted all pipeline operations”, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Although, according to sources, the cyberattack targeted only business related computers and none involved in the system itself, there have been reports that the supply chain would likely be affected and that prices could rise.

Prices are rising, but the West is way out ahead

Indeed, Gasoline futures saw an increase 2% to $2.168 per gallon, and heating oil futures also rose 1.2% to $2.03.

Above: photo by Lynxotic

Wst Texas Intermediate crude futures, which is the U.S. oil benchmark, also jumped 56 cents to $65.46 per barrel. International benchmark Brent crude was trading at $68.95 per barrel, for a gain of 65 cents.

Leave it to California, home to the highest consumer gas prices in the nation to move fast to the upside, base on anticipated higher costs, or just to take advantage of the news? Hard to say.

Just recently, in early March, California had the highest price in the nation overall at $3.68 on average.

The station in the photos, in Escondido, California, which is near San Diego, represents a single station and not an average for the State.

However, with premium plus at this station which is branded “V-power” is actually being sold for $5.19 which, if it were an average is likely the highest ever in the US, to date, by a very wide margin.

Jen Psaki, White House spokesperson for the Biden Administration made this statement with regard to the incident:

“As the Administration works to mitigate potential disruptions to supply as a result of the Colonial Pipeline incident, @USDOT is taking action today to allow flexibility for truckers in 17 states”

The effect, if lasting, could put a damper on holiday road trips

Many in the media have been predicting a blockbuster kick-off to the summer travel season with pent up demand, particularly for road trips, set to explode after a long year of lock-downs and Tavel bans. In the west, and particularly California, if gas prices at the pump rise above $5 that prediction could be in doubt.

Of course, if demand drops enough that could mitigate the ability of the industry to continue squeezing the maximum out of every drop. Let’s hope that the price, regardless of how, will drop below $4 in time for road trips and mobility as the weather continues to improve.

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Books

Peterson Guides make Perfect Companions for Bird and Animal Watching

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Above:Photo Credit / Amee Fairbank Brown / Unsplash

With spring now finally in full swing and pretty much all of us looking forward to getting out of our winter caves, taking to the wilds, in whatever part of the country we are in. Hiking while bird and animal watching can be an incredible treat to add more to the pleasure of the outdoors. Rather than relying on our trusty smart phones and a voice assistant or google search, why not go the tried and true route using a vinyl reinforced guide book with the photos and information right at your fingertips? If you do this right there won’t be cellular data reception anyway! Peterson just happens to have a fantastic assortment of guides for just this purpose, so, no matter what part of the US you find yourself in, or which species or category of living creature you expect to encounter check out the guides people as a perfect companion for your journey!

Peterson Field Guide to Birds of Eastern and Central North America, 6th Edition

Guide to birds of eastern and central north america guides a unique identification system, which has been called the greatest invention since binoculars.

This guide is illustrated with drawings and photographs in color and black and white and all provide up to date range information and the most useful descriptions, pinpoints key field marks for quick recognition and easy comparison of species. 

This guide will feature updated text and range maps, and art updated to reflect current knowledge in ornithology. This is the most popular book for the area of the US that has the absolute highest number and greatest diversity of bird watching opportunities.

Peterson Field Guide to Bird Sounds of Western North America

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A comprehensive field guide that uses an innovative Sound Index to allow readers to quickly identify unfamiliar songs and calls of birds in western North America.

Bird songs and calls are at least as important as visual field marks in identifying birds. Yet short of memorizing each bird’s repertoire, it’s difficult to sort through them all. Now, with the western edition of this groundbreaking book, it’s possible to visually distinguish bird sounds and identify birds using a field-guide format. 

At the core of this guide is the spectrogram, a visual graph of sound. With a brief introduction to five key aspects–speed, repetition, pauses, pitch pattern, and tone quality–readers can translate what they hear into visual recognition, without any musical training or auditory memorization.

Peterson Field Guide to Mammals of North America

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This fourth edition has been completely rewritten, with all-new range maps and illustrations for all species

A Field Guide to Mammals of North America The most comprehensive, in-depth, and current guide to North American mammals, this book covers all the mammals found in North America north of Mexico, including those that live in near-shore waters.

The only guide to include paintings and photographs of the animals as well as photographs of mammal skulls, it has 80 color plates, plus 46 additional color illustrations and black-and-white drawings, nearly 400 range maps, and more than 100 color photographs.

With global warming on the horizon it’s more important than ever to learn about and appreciate the incredible mammals that exist on our planet.

A Peterson Field Guide to Insects: America North of Mexico

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Detailed descriptions of insect orders, families, and many individual species are illustrated with 1,200 drawings and 142 superb color paintings.

Illustrations – which use the unique Peterson Identification System to distinguish one insect from another – include size lines to show the actual length of each insect.

A helpful glossary explains the technical terms of insect anatomy.

Donald J. Borror has worked as a professor of entomology at Ohio State University. With Dwight M. DeLong, he is coauthor of An Introduction to the Study of Insects, a widely used textbook. Dr. Borror recorded The Songs of Insects, one of the Sounds of Nature disks in the Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology series, with Richard D. Alexander. 

Peterson Field Guide to Reptiles and Amphibians of Eastern and Central North America

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A completely updated edition, including 122 newly recognized or recently established non-native species of reptiles and amphibians.The new edition of this definitive guide reflects 25 years’ worth of changes in our knowledge of reptiles and amphibians.

It includes descriptions of 122 newly recognized or recently established non-native species, updated maps, and new figures and photos. Color illustrations and drawings show key details for accurate identification. More than 100 color photographs and 322 color distribution maps accompany the species descriptions.

Clear and concise species accounts provide key characteristics, similar species, habitats, and ranges, as well as subspecies, voice descriptions, and conservation status. This edition will be a crucial resource for professional and amateur herpetologists, naturalists, outdoor enthusiasts, and students.

Peterson Field Guide to Freshwater Fishes, Second Edition

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There are nearly 1,000 species of freshwater fishes in North America alone, and identifying them can sometimes be a daunting task. In fact, in just the twenty years since publication of the first edition of the Peterson Field Guide to Freshwater Fishes, the number of species has risen by almost 150, including 19 marine invaders and 16 newly established nonnative species.

This second edition incorporates all of these new species, plus all-new maps and a collection of new and revised plates. Some of the species can be told apart only by minute differences in coloration or shape, and these beautifully illustrated plates reveal exactly how to distinguish each species. 

The guide includes detailed maps and information showing where to locate each species of fish–whether that species can be found in miles-long stretches of river or small pools that cover only dozens of square feet. The ichthyologic world of the twenty-first century is not the same as it was in the twentieth, and this brand-new edition of the definitive field guide to freshwater fishes reflects these many changes.

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Books

Feeling the Stress? For Thousands of Years Yoga Techniques have been giving Relief

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Buddha Yoga meditation

Above: Photo by RKTKN on Unsplash

Unlike what they say about missing sleep, stress can build up over weeks, months even years. True to the “silent killer” moniker it can eventually kill you. After basically the entire world has been in an extra stressful situation due to covid and the economic fallout from the preventative measures taken to stop it, we all need to begin finding ways, not only to reduce the current stress levels, which are likely high, but to work off the effects of the accumulated stress that has been building for at least a year.

And that is not accounting for the “normal” stresses we all face individually in our own worlds, lives and due to our own unique problems.

Enter the practice and lifestyle benefits of yoga. Estimates of the origins of Yoga peg the beginnings at at least five thousand years and believe the practice could have been developed as long ago as ten thousand. The study of yoga goes beyond just the familiar “pretzel poses” and encompasses a way of life and philosophy that is universal.

According to the “Yoga Sutras of Patanjali” (wikipedia: Sutra in Indian literary traditions refers to an aphorism or a collection of aphorisms in the form of a manual or, more broadly, a condensed manual or text. Sutras are a genre of ancient and medieval Indian texts found in Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism.) there are eight “limbs” to the path of yoga:

1. yama (moral restraints) – how we relate to others
2. niyama (observances) – how we relate to ourselves
3. āsana (posture) – how we relate to our body
4. prāṇāyāma (breath extension) – how we relate to our breath or spirit

5. pratyāhāra (sensory withdrawal) – how we relate to our sense organs
6. dhāraṇā (concentration) – how we relate to our mind
7. dhyāna (meditation) – moving beyond the mind
8. samādhi (meditative absorption) – deep realization and inner union
(quoted from http://ashtanga-yoga-victoria.com/what-are-the-eight-8-limbs-of-yoga/)

As can be seen from the list above there are many levels of thought and action that can all coalesce to form a bulwark against stress and to improve the enjoyment of life as a whole. Wherever you begin and at whatever level your journey brings you to, any interaction with these thoughts, actions and choices can enhance your life in some way.

Even the simplest meditation or reflection on our breathing and its connection to our inner spirit can cause an instantaneous reduction in stress and psychic pain. Below we’ve put together a variety of books that could represent a first step toward discovering how yoga, in whatever level or aspect your choose to explore, can reduce stress and help you take a huge step on the road to recovery.

Descriptions are courtesy of bookshop.org and the individual publishers:

Yoga: A Manual for Life

Click here to see “Yoga: a Manual for Life” also available on Amazon.

A stand alone practice companion and beautiful coffee table book, Yoga: A Manual for Lifeis for anyone interested in yoga, mindful movement and meditation, and exploring how these practices fit within the modern world. 

As well as an extensive guide to poses, this book features a number of picture-led sequences with specific targets in mind: to combat stress and fatigue, to ground, to uplift, to inspire creativity and to sleep better.

These sequences are underpinned with essays on yoga’s relationship with different aspects of life, such as yoga and discipline, yoga and self-care, and yoga and difficulty.

Peppered throughout the book are mindful life hacks–simple ways to take yoga’s message of radical self-care off the mat and into daily life. Click here to see “Yoga: a Manual for Life” also available on Amazon.

Restorative Yoga: Relax. Restore. Re-Energize.

Click here to see “Restorative Yoga” also available on Amazon.

Are you seeking balance, healing, and a calmer mind? Unlike active styles of yoga that focus on stretching and movement, restorative yoga emphasizes mindful rest by using props to support your body in complete comfort and relaxation–no flexibility required!

Whether you already practice yoga or are just getting started, Restorative Yoga is your step-by-step guide to deepening the connection between your body and mind. Click here to see “Restorative Yoga” also available on Amazon.

Yoga: Relaxation, Postures, Daily Routines

Click here to see “Yoga” also available on Amazon.

Yoga is a popular physical, mental, and spiritual discipline that originated in ancient India.

Various traditions of yoga can be found in Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism and Sikhism, and in recent years Western culture has embraced yoga’s power of simplicity, stillness and mental poise.

This accessible new book focuses on a series of exercises, body motions and self-disciplines that offer the benefits of yoga to everyone.

Featuring specially commissioned practical photography, step-by-step instruction, and an introduction to the entire scope of the system of yoga. Click here to see “Yoga” also available on Amazon.

Restore and Rebalance: Yoga for Deep Relaxation

Click here to see “Restore and Rebalance” also available on Amazon.

Restorative yoga offers the body a chance to rest deeply and revitalize. Whether you are feeling weak, fatigued, stressed from daily activities, or simply need to slow down and tune into your body, this wonderfully adaptive practice is essential for well being.

Many of the practices are simple and accessible for people of all ages and in all states of health, using props that are readily available–like pillows and chairs. These deeply relaxing poses help you. Click here to see “Restore and Rebalance” also available on Amazon.

Yin Yoga: Stretch the Mindful Way

Click here to see “Yin Yoga” also available on Amazon.

Yin yoga offer remedies to the stresses of your busy yang life. Each restorative pose targets your deeper fascia and connective tissues, helping you experience increased flexibility and improved joint health. 

Yin yoga also focuses on deep breathing and longer hold times, allowing you the time and space to clear your mind and enhance your mental acuity.

These meditative poses will help you attain a renewed sense of mindfulness and physical well-being, making them the perfect complement to an active yang lifestyle and helping bring you back into balance. Click here to see “Yin Yoga” also available on Amazon.

Sleep Recovery: The Five Step Yoga Solution to Restore Your Rest

Click here to see “Sleep Recovery” also available on Amazon.

Insomnia is reaching epidemic proportions: more than half of us will suffer from a sleep problem during our lifetimes.

In this practical, compassionate guide, renowned yoga teacher and sleep specialist Lisa Sanfilippo shows how to sweep out sleep saboteurs and rest wreckers, putting in place sustainable strategies that will boost your energy during the day, and help you access a good night’s rest.

Click here to see “Sleep Recovery” also available on Amazon.

As we began this article above sleep was mentioned and, in contrast to our initial statements, recovery is also possible and yoga is one way that improvement, that so many of us desperately seek, is available. We hope you enjoyed this selection of books to help combat stress and ask that you please visit us again and also our sister sites Cherrybooks and InforMinx.


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Climate Crisis

Elon Musk donating $100M for Carbon Capture Tech: Twitter wants Trees

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Immediate pushback is a healthy sign of debate

Elon Musk is one of the most interesting humans, and now he is also, at any given moment, the wealthiest. It’s somewhat unusual, even on Twitter, to see anything but positive and supportive reactions to his tweets, given the level of love and admiration he has among followers.

Tree and Man Graphic

Above: Photo / Adobe Stock

Add to that the concrete, if cryptic, pledge to donate 100M towards a prize for the “best carbon capture tech. It has been pointed out that this is .05% of his net worth, but that is an odd calculation, it seems, since Tesla itself is firmly on the side of climate rescue, with it’s stated mission to “to accelerate the world’s transition to sustainable energy”.

It is, as a matter of fact, what separates Musk from almost every other tech-billionaire: His motivations are not to acquire wealth as an end but only to support his planet and species saving efforts. Others, such as his sometimes rival (not worthy) Jeff Bezos, can not claim any such thing with a straight face (or any believability).

The reactions were swift and attempted humor but also truth

Click to see “Kiss the Ground” on bookshop. Also available on Amazon.

The number of replies that popped up swiftly proposing planting trees as likely the best “carbon capture tech” that would deserve such a prize was noteworthy. Because, in one of the few criticisms of the EV revolution that Tesla has started, it is likely not enough to rely solely on “S3XY” technology to save the world from carbon emissions causing global warming and climate change.

Not only is the plant-a-tree a valid rejoinder to the idea that some kind of elaborate technological breakthrough is needed (Bill Gates recently suggested blotting out the sun as a cooling solution), but there are also other “low tech” solutions that should not get short-shrift in order to fund expensive, possibly overly technological, solutions to a problem of our own making.

The recent highly acclaimed documentary film “Kiss the Ground” proposes soil regeneration to reduce carbon emission, improve health benefits of food and, at the same time actually reduce the amount of carbon already in the atmosphere.

Read More: “Kiss The Ground” Documentary Offers Hopeful Remedy to Climate Change by Focusing on Soil Regeneration

The arguments made by this excellent documentary beg the question: why not take funds, such as those being offered by Elon Musk, and divert them first towards obvious, low-tech solutions with proven results, rather than funding a moon-shot style tech search for a method that may, in then end, like so much that has come before, have unintended and even possibly negative repercussions.

At the very least, shouldn’t a portion of this 100 million, or even an equal sum (purportedly amounting to, therefore, 1% rather than .05% of Musks net worth) be allocated to existing, proven methods, rather than a search for new tech invented out of whole cloth?

Twitter posts hit a nerve, now maybe government and private funding should follow common sense

This is not a scientific or detail specific criticism. There may well be “issues” with planting trees or recovering damages soil around the world, and in the process reversing carbon imbalances and even reducing the levels currently measured.

But common sense says otherwise. The destruction of the soil and the deforestation of the globe are part and parcel of the same problem, extreme dependence on fossil fuel long after the dangers were well known, that has caused the current and worsening global problem.

Elon Musk is a hero of the sustainable energy movement, as he well should be. It is powerful and dedicated figures like Musk that are needed, desperately, to solve the looming and already unfolding crises that we face.

The voices for trees and soil regeneration are also an extremely important element of the solutions that are desperately needed, sans the hoopla and massive money prize that tech already has attached.

Would it be too far fetched, @elonmusk, for these various factions, all wanting the same result, to cooperate and collaborate on all the solutions that will undoubtedly be required is we are to pull back from the brink and substantially improve the condition of a planet on its way to possible total annihilation?

Read more: Climate Crisis Coverage by Lynxotic

Thanks to Elon Musk for all his contributions and they are many. Rescuing the E.V. and turning the entire auto industry on it’s head and bringing about an accelerating transition to sustainable transportation much sooner than could have happened without him and Tesla.

Creating the understanding that a business and an entrepreneur does not have to focus relentlessly on profit for its own sake to be successful and powerful. And, as for giving the human species a “plan-b” in the form of abandoning a dying earth in favor of Mars, let’s stick with plan A for now and plant trees, reiterate the soil and, yes, find other solutions to the massive carbon emissions that are choking the life out of our world.


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