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Here's a Question for All of You (Read 258592 times)
George
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Re: Here's a Question for All of You
Reply #15 - Jun 30th, 2010, 5:18pm
 
I haven't really read your replies in detail but you all seem to agree there is an issue with control and how the fact that we are not in control is an issue. I will reserve my comments on this and explain my own situation in the best way I can and see where it leads me.

RLR wrote on Jun 30th, 2010, 11:54am:
So the next part of my question is to explain to me specifially how this is possible? Using whatever platform you choose, please explain why you see these equally potential risks to your life as clearly resting on opposite ends of the spectrum by comparison to your vigilence and concern.


Firstly I would just like to note that my fears about my heart being the cause of my symptoms is not nearly as strong as they once were. I also know to the best of mine and my doctors knowledge that the cause of my symptoms is entirely unrelated to my heart. Anyway, on with the post. The question posed is: why are we so fearful that we have problems with our hearts yet we are not in the slightest bit scared of getting in our cars and going for a drive, when both are equally likely to be the cause of our death?

Well, right now I don't know, but I'm hoping by the end of this thread I will have some idea. First I must ask myself a couple of questions. First: "why am I scared?" and second "how did this fear begin?". To answer these as simply as possible, the reason I am scared is because I developed symptoms that I didn't understand with the most important organ in my body. I immediately thought of the worst possible outcome (for me, heart attack) and suddenly became fearful that this was going to happen to me at some point in the near future. I had no medical basis upon which to form such an eventuality; however, I associated chest pain with heart attack and thus my fear began.

The original symptom which catalyzed my fears was not even a 'heart' symptom; merely chest wall pain. As I worried more and more the symptoms became worse: palpitations, racing heart, more chest pain which was stronger and more severe than before and I developed other symptoms such as dizziness, trembling and tingling. I then started believing I had some major problem with my body and my fear worsened.

As for the second part of the question: why am I not fearful of having a car crash? I actually don't know the answer; perhaps  I should be and maybe I will develop an anxiety disorder over it, but I doubt it. I have never had a car crash or even a near miss so I have nothing upon which to base a fear. Now, if I had been in a car crash, I may very well have the same fears that I do about my body. The fact is, something 'happened' to me that I believed to be symptoms of pathology when they weren't. If a car crash 'happened' to me, I would more than likely develop a similar fear and I would probably avoid using a car for as long as I could. I'm just that sort of person. There are people who wouldn't think twice about getting back in a car and likewise, there are people who wouldn't think twice about the symptoms we 'suffer'.


To end I would like to ask a question of my own: why are some people worriers and others don't care? I'm sure there are many people who actually have heart disease who don't have the levels of anxiety that the users of this forum have. Why is it that some people develop strong fears of things they don't have and others who actually have them, who never feared them to begin with, still don't fear them even when they have them?

I look forward to your response,


George.
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Re: Here's a Question for All of You
Reply #16 - Jul 1st, 2010, 12:57am
 
Good questions George,
I've had a couple of car crashes - not that I am a bad driver mind!  Wink usually people go in to me.

One crash was quite bad and I was VERY lucky to walk out of it with just a few knocks.

Now I have been an anxious person for most of my life and the crashes did affect me in a way at the time, I was replaying the event in my mind very frequently over the few weeks that followed, much like most of us do now with palps and anxiety, but after a time and when I continued driving without another crash, the repetitive thoughts faded away more and more until I didnt really think of it at all - it took quite a while to get to that stage.

Looking back, if I had obsessed about it, stopped driving and getting in cars then it could easily have become a problem / phobia for me, but as per normal I got on with life instead, not driving didn't seem like an option at the time.

I guess that is where we can get stuck with palps, let it run riot and it certainly will.

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Regarding why some people have anx and others don't.

Well my mother had it and I certainly think I have it as a learned response from her, I've had this in some form for as far back as I can remember, like being really wound up when it was my turn to read in class (8year olds) etc, much more than regular kids - so it can be learnt, I don't think you can be born with it though. and I know that although I probably learnt it, it is me that is perpetuating it, nobody else, so it is me that has to stop it too.

It doesn't always have to be learnt from someone though, we can have our own event then run with it ourselves, ie initial palps, followed by worry, more palps, more worry etc etc

There is a formula for getting away from anxiety, and just about every top book etc says exactly the same thing in a slightly different way, but it's easier said than done - you have to UNLEARN anxiety.

And you do this by -

Gaining knowledge about your symptoms etc so you know what they are and are not so afraid.

You need to stop obsessing and filling the day with everything anxiety related, like researching symptoms etc etc (you probably know what I mean) ie studying anxiety.

You then need to fill your life with things you like doing, like hobbies etc this is basically a distraction. ie studying good things

Notice all the negative talk going on inside your head and then try to logically disagree with it, ie CBT.

Exercise will help to use up excess adrenaline, so is always a good addition.

There is more, but I had better stop there  Roll Eyes

Sorry I have rambled again, but hopefully some of it is of use George.
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Re: Here's a Question for All of You
Reply #17 - Jul 1st, 2010, 3:02am
 
Amazingly, I do have a phobia about being a passenger in a car. I'd rather walk or bus it. I do of course have to go in a car, but I feel anxious the whole time. I developed this about 20 years ago and have some theories as to why.

I guess my fear with the palps is waining since I came to this forum. I am not quite where I would like to be, but it seems like a journey I am on, and that somehow reading here is gradually helping me heal from and deal with the stress that caused it. For me, it is not the palps I need to tackle; my energy needs to go into sorting out the reason for the stress.


Before the palps, I only ever felt anxious twice before. First time was when I found out I had/have a blood disorder. At the time I was diagnosed with a terminal condition. The diagnosis was wrong, although no-one bothered to tell me for almost 15 years. The second time was when I had uterine fibroids and because of my condition coupled with heavy bleeding I did fear bleeding to death.


I had long term stress for the past 3.5 years and became depressed. Then the palps, IBS and dizziness. That's when the anxiety started. Now I am what I would call anxious, and I pray that I can fight my way back.

Interestingly for 11 days, I have had only 1 or 2 palps a day, after 11 months of them being 100's a day. The ones I am getting right now are positional (when I bend or lift or lean to my left side). On saying that, today I  have my echo and I feel anxious (plus I will be a passenger in a car) so I may kick them off today but, at least I will know why I have them.


I do wonder why some people are prone to anxiety and some not. I would say there is more than one answer. There are different schools of thought on this, some say it is learned behaviour and that we learn from our parents or others how to react to situations. Some think its genetically inherent and then there are those who think its a combination of both those factors. Then there are degrees of post trauma, and the whole concept of anger and other emotions turned inwards, only to manifest as anxiety. There has been huge therapeutic success with that type of anxiety.

I have known people who suffered trauma either physically or psychologically and have been left with severe anxiety. Equally, I have known as many people who have come from stable, virtually worry free backgrounds, and yet are severely anxious. Its very individual, and I am sure if you were to analyse yourself or your history, you'd come up with your own answer


EDIT: Sorry I think I did not answer the question:

Quote:
Now we're getting somewhere. Let's continue to discuss this comparative analysis a bit more and see what arises from it.

I'll make my point once we've collected enough responses.


For me who has fear of both, I would answer the same as Jothenurse, its about feeling out of control, but for me in both situations.

1: Someone else in the driving seat (control) and 2: my heart/nervous  system seeming to be out of my control
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Re: Here's a Question for All of You
Reply #18 - Jul 1st, 2010, 9:42am
 
Yes I agree with everyone else.  Even though my daily drive to work is 32 miles on the motorway at fast speeds I never worry about accidents.  I am in control of the car and although there is a possibility that someone else could cause the accident or something could happen to the mechanics of the car to cause one, it's not really something you think about.  Whereas the hearts unpredictability leaves no sense of control whatsoever so this leads most of us on here to think that anything could happen!

I can see where you are going with this.

Rich
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Re: Here's a Question for All of You
Reply #19 - Jul 1st, 2010, 10:54am
 
Okay, we're getting some excellent responses here to the extent that I can make my brief point.

When we climb into our vehicles, we feel competent to the extent that risk of harm is subdued and the competence extends to the belief that we can react in the event of a potential or imminent accident. Realize that based upon the statistics I provided from the institute of safety, car accidents rank number one in death by vehicular accident. So that would tend to suggest that accidents are not as predictable as one might think and not nearly as preventable as one's confidence might preclude. Otherwise, its ranking would be much farther down the list.

The reality of this premise sets in when you pause to consider how many times you drive your cars, or alternatively ride as a passenger, and pass the time between destinations by thinking of other things besides the true risks posed by interaction with other drivers on the roads and highways. So the premise of control is based more upon belief and not actual experience or competence.

The reason that some things produce imminent fear and others don't has to do with a phenomenon known as personal fable. It is basically the overdrawn attenuation of fear of risk because the effects and consequences are latent in context. In other words, risk is devaluated because it is too distant.

The most common example of personal fable is the use of tobacco. People understand that the risks associated with use of tobacco are long-term and therefore, they don't believe that they are at any degree of risk at any given time. They view all the statistical data more as propaganda and scare tactics, being unmotivated to alter their habits in that regard. In other words, the consequence must be very proximal to the activity itself for people to abstain and this type of response set is hard-wired into all humans.

Consider that if the palpitations presented no outward symptoms but your doctors told you that they could present you with some problems later in life, most of you would put it out of mind and if predisposing risk behaviors were associated with the prominence of palpitations, most of you would likely be unconcerned.

The notions that benign palpitations produce imminent risk is likewise a personal fable, but literally on the opposite end of the spectrum, where the effects and potential consequences are immediate and very proximal. Whereas death by car accident rarely, if ever, crosses the minds of persons who drive daily to and from their destinations due mostly to distraction, the palpitations present the sufferer with imminent fear of catastrophic outcomes. In fact, this influence is so powerful that it can literally demotivate many individuals to pursue the day with ambition.

So the point here is that all such matters are strictly born out of perceptions based upon one's relative competence and accurate understanding of any risk. The statistical risk of death by car accident is far from number one on anyone's list because they feel capable of successfully intervening should the circumstances arise. They possess a false sense of safety because they are in control of their automobile to some extent. Yet, death by car accident is nevertheless number 1, so the facts prove one's own perceptions to be grossly inaccurate.

Benign palpitations demonstrate a rather inverse relationship due to prioximal effect and the nature of the circumstances. You perceptually believe that since the palpitations are at the very least a disruption to the normal performance of the heart and that the consequences by your knowledge range specifically within the context of life-threatening, your response set and fear is elevated often to its highest levels and priority. From your rationale, you observe people traveling the highways in their cars literally on a daily basis, rarely if ever observing an accident wherein death results. By that same rationale, you are not exposed to daily circumstances where people suffering from benign palpitations do not suffer any actual harm. You have no direct association from an experiential standpoint.

The statistical facts show car accidents to be a number one cause of death by accident and by contrast, the evidence to support any single commentary or discourse of mortality associated with benign palpitations is all but non-existent. In fact, little attention at all is given to the phenomenon of benign palpitations because there is benefit to be gained from the standpoint of intervention. While they certainly pose an emotional liability, they are indeed harmless in all respects and therefore are incapable of attracting funding or research to identify interventional techniques.

So the facts are laid out before you and it's certain that all of you rest on the side of complacency regarding one risk while maintaining the highest degree of vigilence to another, with the profound realization that your priorities of concern are inversely related. How can that be?

If you insist that your approach to concerns about your heart health are logical and justifiable, then how can such a polarized and inverse relationship exist? So are your concerns authentic and based upon facts or are they falsely based upon perceptions? Are you immobilized in many instances by the direct proximity to danger you feel with the palpitations as opposed to potential death by car accident?

Best regards and Good Health    
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Re: Here's a Question for All of You
Reply #20 - Jul 1st, 2010, 10:07pm
 
My concern about this issue is that unlike palpitations happening several times out of the blue and startling us, car accidents don't occur to an individual as often.
Therefore, a person wouldn't necessarily be obsessed with a car accident because it is not as frequent as a palpitation. There is not a feeling associated with it.
Even knowing nothing harmful is happening to your heart does not dismiss the fact that, the feeling of a palpitation can be very uncomfortable and anxiety provoking.
You have some degree over a car accident ocurring, whereas with a palpitation your control is pretty much nil.
Knowing the palpitation will not kill or hurt you is one thing, the fact that it feels terrible and can interrupt what you are doing is another.
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Re: Here's a Question for All of You
Reply #21 - Jul 2nd, 2010, 12:59am
 
Good points.

If you think of palpitations like a moderate toothache, one that is not really that painful, but niggles away for a long time, then it always brings you down and you lose interest in the fun things in life.

Thats how I see palpitations when you get over the fear side of them.
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Re: Here's a Question for All of You
Reply #22 - Jul 2nd, 2010, 3:27am
 
I do get what RLR is demonstrating I think. Perhaps this is to help those who fear they will drop dead when its happening. One can lose the fear of them coming, but the hard part is to lose the fear when they are happening.

I am not sure if what RLR might be getting at is that it is that fear and anxiety that fuel these things to continue, but that the fear is irrational, or illogical.

I do agree that fear of eminent death is not the only worry, and the feeling of them being around and spoiling things is left after the fear has been tackled and of course they do drag you down, just as a toothache does as you say Jason.

But, I have to believe the answer/help lays within and not only must we get passed the fear, but also address what started them off. Perhaps general anxiety, or stress. First though, I do think we have to really believe deep down that no harm will come to us...that is hard when we are having a nasty run of them I agree.

I have been virtually palp free for 12 days, unless I have any today. I say virtually as I have had the odd one. yet, I still feel a little anxious. But, I did change a few things in my life and am really working on what caused my stress.
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Re: Here's a Question for All of You
Reply #23 - Jul 2nd, 2010, 4:25am
 
I think I understand what RLR is trying to explain.  I do think it is hard though when the tachycardia that I get is happening to not feel anxious.  But I think it is helpful to know it is not harmful.  When you are in a car and if you felt anxious about a car accident, you could always get off the road and the anxiety would be gone.  You can't always stop the tachycardia as fast or know what will stop it as easily.
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Re: Here's a Question for All of You
Reply #24 - Jul 2nd, 2010, 4:34am
 
Okay, here's the kind of example I wish to highlight. It's very critical to examine it here for purposes of illustration.

jazzyman responded:

My concern about this issue is that unlike palpitations happening several times out of the blue and startling us, car accidents don't occur to an individual as often.
Therefore, a person wouldn't necessarily be obsessed with a car accident because it is not as frequent as a palpitation. There is not a feeling associated with it.
Even knowing nothing harmful is happening to your heart does not dismiss the fact that, the feeling of a palpitation can be very uncomfortable and anxiety provoking.
You have some degree over a car accident ocurring, whereas with a palpitation your control is pretty much nil.
Knowing the palpitation will not kill or hurt you is one thing, the fact that it feels terrible and can interrupt what you are doing is another.


The aspect of perspective narrows and focuses one's beliefs. For people who have suffered a major car accident but have never experienced palpitations, their own perspective and beliefs might be entirely opposite. Jazzyman states that accidents don't happen as often because of personal experience, yet the statistics prove them to be the #1 cause of accidental death. The question to raise here is what is the occurence of benign palpitations across the population? In other words, how often do they happen to people by comparison to our example of fatal car accidents?

The assertion that similar obsession would not occur with car accidents versus palpitations and that no physical feelings or symptoms is associated with fear of death by car accident is again, clearly belief established on perspective. For people who have suffered a major car accident, driver or passenger, the exact same fear that is being established toward ones' health can manifest in these instances as well.

People have no control over accidents which cause their death. If they did, the outcome would be obvious. It is a belief arising from confidence and personal experience that one can avoid such a risk, when in fact the statistics based upon actual occurrences prove different.

You can't avoid a fatal accident if you're unaware that it's going to be fatal.

People establish their own beliefs where this is concerned, very often through some type of experience or observation. If they at some point in time avoid a collision, they may describe the event as escaping potential death, when in fact they really have no evidence to support the claim. The actual outcome is unknown, but they believe their premise to be certain. This perspective based on experience is very contributory to one's beliefs. In fact, there is as little control over a fatal car accident as there is potentially with the aspect of benign palpitations.

Now my point here is certainly not to hold jazzyman's response up to the light as erroneous, for many if not most people hold the very same belief patterns. If you read the response, it is very direct and appears to be based upon confidence in its accuracy. It is a strongly stated opinion being asserted as  accurate from one's own set of beliefs.  

I'm trying to get all of you to understand that the influences which guide your perceptions and beliefs manifest the "truth" upon you as you see it. You must come to understand that perspectives are developed upon certain criteria that can change based upon experiential and intellectual intervention.

People who experience benign palpitations and other physical symptoms that are misunderstood establish belief patterns in this very same manner and they are most often extremely rigid and resistent to change. They have developed a perspective very much like Jazzyman's perspective concerning any relative circumstances about fatal car accidents.

The other aspect I want to point out is that Jazzyman's intepretation is also based upon the generality of car accidents and not fatal car accidents. This type of universality is very common in all humans and it plays a major role in how you elect to interpret experiences and establish subsequent beliefs. It is indeed true that in many instances, a person may well be able to avoid minor car collisions but there is absolutely no link whatsoever between this ability and the capacity to avoid a fatal car accident. The person who establishes this belief can indeed even create mental imagery that would suggest otherwise, based upon generality.

People who experience benign palpitations create this same generality and their inquiry into the matter quickly spills over into any and every variety of arrhythmia as being similar. In other words, their own palpitations could represent any one of hundreds of pathological variants based upon their generality of the matter. They become convinced that this approach is logical because the mind practices it on a daily basis. It feels natural to make these assumptions and therefore, they feel accurate.

There is indeed some element of control over the aspects which cause benign palpitations. You must first come to realize that your perspectives about the phenomenon are indeed in question.

Let the discussion continue.

Best regards and Good Health  
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Re: Here's a Question for All of You
Reply #25 - Jul 4th, 2010, 2:13am
 
Without a doubt much if not all the continued effects of benign palpitations is perpetuated by our distorted belief systems.

You know I can get up 1 day have a few palps and still feel on top of the world, back to normal me.

Then the very next day I might get up, have the same few palps but become fixated on them, depressed and end up havign a bad day with lots of continuous palps.

My body hasnt changed, but my perspective has.

I think the realization that palps are not going to kill us but are a nuisance instead takes are anx leveldown a few nothes, but the fact that these palps remain, like a moderate toothache is what keeps dragging us down all the time, and this is the bit I am struggling to eliminate.
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Re: Here's a Question for All of You
Reply #26 - Jul 4th, 2010, 4:35am
 
RLR - is the perspective on tachycardia and palps the same we would have on our other symptoms of anxiety?  (feelings of unreality, lightheadedness, loss of appetite, shakiness).  Meaning that because these are not dangerous either, but our focusing in on them and being frightened by them, makes them more intense and stay with us?
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Re: Here's a Question for All of You
Reply #27 - Jul 4th, 2010, 1:41pm
 
jothenurse wrote on Jul 4th, 2010, 4:35am:
RLR - is the perspective on tachycardia and palps the same we would have on our other symptoms of anxiety?  (feelings of unreality, lightheadedness, loss of appetite, shakiness).  Meaning that because these are not dangerous either, but our focusing in on them and being frightened by them, makes them more intense and stay with us?


Hi Jo,

From my own experience I would say yes, focusing on something as dynamic as this can make it happen. For over a year now my chief symptom has been an increase in heart rate and coincidently, it is the one that I have worried about the most. I'm usually not tachycardic anymore and I couldn't tell you what my average heart rate is anymore because I never bother to check it. My problem is, I can't seem to 'let it go' and just forget about it for more than a few hours. I am constantly thinking about my heart in a negative way and consequently, I am always somewhat aware of it and it is constantly being forced to increase in rate.

A good example to demonstrate my case would be the following:

A couple of years ago I had a colonoscopy procedure performed as a day case patient. I was feeling a little nervous beforehand (this was way before any anxiety disorder had started) and was uncomfortable being in the skimpy robes I was given. I had to get on the bed and was wheeled in to the theatre where I saw all the equipment that was going to be used on me and suddenly I felt my heart going, my stomach was churning (butterflies) and I was actually scared. The nurse clipped the heart rate monitor on my finger and when I looked up at the machine I could see number that was changing between 130 and 132 which was obviously my heart rate. She looked at me and said 'nerves?' and I actually laughed and said 'yeah'.

Not once was I concerned with that heart rate. It didn't bother me in the slightest, didn't cause me to become even more anxious nor did it start a spiralling downward flood of negative thoughts. It was what it was... a fast heart rate because I was quite scared of what was about to be done. I never even gave it a second thought as soon as she pulled the monitor off my finger. The doctor then sedated me to the point where I fell asleep for most of the procedure, I woke up feeling a little dizzy and was let out about 2 hours later. The nurse didn't mention my heart rate again.

Several months ago I went in to the emergency room because of a perianal abscess that was causing extreme pain to the point where I couldn't walk. I was given painkillers and a bed in a side room where a colorectal surgeon came to examine me. My heart rate was around 120 during my time in A&E (even slower than before my colonoscopy) yet this heart rate was extremely worrying. To make it worse, it wouldn't slow down either. For hours it was staying up there at 120 and they even thought it was necessary to give me an ECG and get a cardiologist down to see me, which made me feel worse. Needless to say, I had the ECG and no cardiologist came to see me.

A while after I was put on an overnight ward where another colorectal surgeon came to examine me (he was the one who would be performing the removal of the abscess). I asked him about my heart rate and he checked my wrist pulse and made no comment. Then, when his colleague came in to watch, he said to himself as he was writing something down: "tachycardia... anxiety" which was when I thought to myself "not another doctor telling me it's just anxiety". Of course I will never know for sure why it wouldn't slow down, but I think it is fairly obvious.

So here are two very similar situations where I have had very similar symptoms, yet in one of them I was completely obsessed over them while in the first, I never had a second thought and they disappeared as quickly as they came on.

I don't know what sequence of events transpired between these two times but somewhere along the line something happened which caused me to be extremely concerned to the point of obsession, over a completely normal body function which subsequently led to the constant continuation of said symptoms.

I don't actually know how I'm going to stop thinking this way, but I think I will find a way in time.

Good luck,

George.
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Re: Here's a Question for All of You
Reply #28 - Jul 4th, 2010, 4:22pm
 
I know how that goes.  I had a very rapid heart beat when they were going to do a stress test and I got so scared that I ended up in the ER on a monitor, oxygen, and an IV.  One doctor thought that I had a supraventricular tachycardia, but it did not show up on the monitor.  After that, I was so scared that it would happen again (which it did - I ended up in the ER a few times after that - always with a normal EKG and it was considered a panic attack).  I had a history of panic disorder 30 years ago, and all this came back from worrying so much about my heart, along with all the fun symptoms of anxiety that I mentioned (feelings of unreality, lightheadedness, weight loss (20 pounds), shakiness...).  RLR has helped me a lot not to be so concerned about my heart, though I have a long way to go getting back into shape the way I used to be.
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Re: Here's a Question for All of You
Reply #29 - Jul 4th, 2010, 5:22pm
 
Okay, let's take the topic back toward responding to my last posting.

I want to hear your responses to my comments. This is an important exercise in revealing the manner that perceptions can influence the kind of beliefs which are established.

I'm trying to take you in the direction where you need to be in order to decifer why you experience symptoms and the subsequent mindset that is created. Stay with me on this.

Best regards and Good Health
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