Melencolia_I_(Durero)Negative thoughts have a way of inserting themselves unbidden into our minds. They reflect the unhappiness, perversity, and tragedy in our past and in the world about us. Only a Pollyanna would be ashamed to acknowledge them.

Negative thinking does little harm as a long as it simply passes like a shadow across the otherwise sunny landscape of the mind. But negative thoughts bear a burden of emotion. They tend to plant themselves squarely in our path and grow roots. We dwell on them, sometimes for hours at a time. In certain cases this can lead to genuine depression. More often, habitual negative thinking tends to make people unhappy, pessimistic, cynical, suspicious, and morose. It also wastes precious resources of time and emotional energy. Continue reading »

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saffronThe Afghan Herbal Medicines for Addiction and Depression project will conduct clinical trials of promising herbal medicines drawn from Afghanistan’s high-potential medicinal and aromatic plants (MAP) sector, in keeping with traditional Unani medicine. Addiction (overwhelmingly from opiates) and depression (some from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder from the horrors of Afghanistan’s wars, and some from mistreatment of women) represent especially salient targets, and they possess worldwide importance. Unani herbal medicines have been reported in preliminary Iranian clinical studies to be effective and safe in these indications, and they possess certain advantages over synthetic drugs. However, thorough, scientific, multicenter trials need to be done. Continue reading »

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organMusical instruments play an important role in music therapy. Sometimes therapists play them to exert a calming effect on certain kinds of patients. Often the therapy consists of patients themselves extemporizing on instruments they choose. Or a patient can undertake to learn how to play an instrument as part of healing. The piano or various wind instruments are popular in these uses, but any instrument can presumably be employed.  Continue reading »

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