Thursday 20 December 2018

Exercise is Not Optional... It's Critical

A fascinating article in Scientific American in Jan 2019 called "Evolved to Exercise" (by Pontzer Herman) argues that humans have evolved to be active.  We are designed to move a lot every day as we work together to hunt and gather food.  We have to work with others and socialize with others... AND we have to move a lot every day because our bodies have grown to require this. 

How else can we have come to live throughout the entire world, when most of our primate cousins remain contained to relatively smaller habitation areas?  

I got an advance look at this article, and I still cannot find an online link... I'll add it here when I do... 

Saturday 27 October 2018

Living Near a Forest is good for your brain

A study of older urban dwellers found that living in close proximity to forest land is linked with strong, healthy functioning of a key part of the brain. This indicates that, compared with those who live in a mostly man-made environment, people who dwell on the border between city and forest may be better able to cope with stress.

Perhaps surprisingly, Kuehn and her colleagues found no such association from living near bodies of water, or close to urban green spaces such as parks. Only proximity to forest land had this apparent positive effect.

The researchers caution that these results do not prove causality; it is possible that, for whatever reason, people with healthier amygdalae choose to live near forests. But that seems improbable, to put it mildly.

Thursday 25 October 2018

It's Important to have a Closure Conversation with Your Ex, so you can Both Move On

In 1922, a study was published that showed that waiters only remembered patrons and their orders while they were actively in the middle of ordering and delivering the food.  After the food was delivered and payment made, they would forget the details of the interaction.

The Gottman Institute has used the Zeigarnik Effect to create a framework for processing a regrettable incident between people.  They say it shows the importance of "completing" something so that the mind (and heart) can move on.

Below are the details about how to have a productive closure conversation.

Our Smart-Phones Are Negatively Affecting Our Relationships

Recent studies have shown that our constant attention to our smart devices, which serve to connect us at all times to everybody, are actually negatively affecting the most important form of relationships: the in-person connection.

One study found that merely having a cell phone in hand or nearby negatively affects many interactions, as the other person is watching for body-language cues that the person with the phone out is not really fully engaged in conversation. 

A second study showed that if somebody actually uses their phone during an in-person encounter, it can be perceived as social rejection, with all the strong implications of that on the strength of the interpersonal connection.

Tuesday 23 October 2018

Increase Gratitude, and save money!

An article in Forbes Magazine refers to studies which show that the youngest generation is the most materialistic ever, and who can blame them, given the unprecedented onslaught of messages to consume.  Along with this, however, there are clear signs that the youngest generation is less empathetic and their school grades are falling... 

Thankfully it’s been shown the gratitude exercises can help reverse this trend, and make for happier adults who actually spend less!

Thursday 11 October 2018

AMSR is passively helping people relax

Two recent studies from the University of Sheffield in the United Kingdom  have show real benefits from listening to AMSR... or Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response.

AMSR is a repetitive, relaxing sound.  It can be different for different people.  As the site at the link below says, AMSR is a “...relaxing, static-like, sensory phenomenon”  Its designer to invoke a tingly sensation that goes from your scalp and down your spine... which provides a sense of euphoria.  There are lots of online options to experience this.

Benefits include 
Reduce heart rate and a sense of relaxation such as from a massage.

Wednesday 25 July 2018

Conservatives are Happier than Liberals

A provocative headline!  A meta-study (a study that combines the results of other studies) has found that, generally speaking, conservative people tend to know their life’s meaning, and are more comfortable with answers they may have to significant questions.  These two factors have been shown to positively affect ones perceived  quality of  life.

Religion does play a small part in this.  And of course, it’s far from universal they every liberal is depressed while every conservative is upbeat.  

Sunday 22 July 2018

Sex Leads to a More Fulfilling Life

While it may seem just fleeting and hedonistic, research is finding that good sex has many layers of benefits, the effects of which can last for days!  Can good sex match the benefits of a strong spiritual practice?

Saturday 21 July 2018

Doctors discover healing power of touch

An article about the real health and healing benefits of human touch, including the possible exchange of electrons.  

Wednesday 9 May 2018

The positive lexicography

A couple of days ago, I came upon a Psychology Today article about the Danish (and Norwegian) word "Hygge".  It is a word that encompass such a delightful concept (to me) of:

  • Feeling cozy "in one’s heart."  In such moments, all is right with the world, and we feel safe and at ease, caring and cared for."
  • a mood of coziness and comfortable conviviality with feelings of wellness and contentment.
  • "a form of everyday togetherness", "a pleasant and highly valued everyday experience of safety, equality, personal wholeness and a spontaneous social flow"  
I have since come upon a website by a man exploring positive words from other cultures and languages.  There's a particular delight in experiencing another world-view by witnessing the words another language uses to describe a concept, event or feeling that we may have, but despite our nearly 250,000 words in English, have not yet really found a way to describe.
Some examples are:
Finnish hyppytyynytyydytys, which refers to the satisfaction one gets from sitting on a bouncy cushion or comfortable chair.

Spanish estrenar, which conjures the feeling of confidence one gets when wearing new clothes

English chrysalism, defined as “the amniotic tranquility of being indoors during a thunderstorm.
To illustrate the power of a bigger vocabulary, Lomas presents the example of a study in which children who were taught new words to describe their emotions showed improvement in behavior and academic performance. It’s possible that when words give us a greater ability to differentiate feelings, we become more capable of understanding and regulating them.

The website and list is located here:

Monday 7 May 2018

We’re all Searching for More Hygge in Our Lives

This article in Psychology Today talks about the phenomenon of the Danish word Hygge being introduced into English, to explain the concept of “... feeling cozy "in one’s heart," whether or not one’s milieu is actually warm and enveloping. In such moments, all is right with the world, and we feel safe and at ease, caring and cared for.”

Despite marketing trying to appropriate with this term, hygge (HEW-ge) is more than just a warm pair of socks, or candles.

Sunday 6 May 2018

5 Neuroscience Tricks to Make You Happy

This article has 5 quick ways, or hacks, that can make you instantly “happy”.  This is shifting your mood in the moment, and should be combined with other long-term strategies to predispose yourself to a positive experience of life.

Listen to Music from the happiest time of your life.
Smile and wear sunglasses
Think about your goals
Get good sleep
Reduce stress to help break bad habit cycles 

Friday 27 April 2018

Tuesday 10 April 2018

Use the ABC technique to overcome pessimism

Use the ABC technique to reduce pessimism 


And then optimists see 

differently than pessimists, so this article explains how you can change these thoughts to be more positive.  

Friday 6 April 2018

Brain Favours an Optimistic Outlook

There are many studies that point to the health benefits of having a positive disposition, and I’ve read that up to 80% of people tend towards being positive in life.  (I’ll try to find the links and cross reference.) 

A study in England in 2011 reported that most of us have a bias towards positivity. 

“When the news was positive, all people had more activity in the brain's frontal lobes, which are associated with processing errors. With negative information, the most optimistic people had the least activity in the frontal lobes, while the least optimistic had the most.”

"And despite how sophisticated these neural networks are, it is illuminating to see how the brain sometimes comes up with wrong and overly optimistic answers despite the evidence."

Monday 26 March 2018

EQ, MQ & BQ beat our IQ

We have learned that IQ (Intelligence Quotient) is only a small part of the performance picture.  The most successful... in whatever the endeavour... are those people who have worked on their EQ (Emotional Quotient), MQ (Moral...) and BQ (Body...).  This article explains what these other quotients are, and why they are perhaps more important to a well-balanced, effective approach to projects and life than IQ.  Look for tips on how to improve the other three “Q’s” as well!

Tuesday 30 January 2018

Not all Touch Has Positive Impact

While most of the postings here talk about the power of touch, not all touch is positive, of course.  It can be equally “powerful” and life changing to experience touch as sexual assault.  

A New York University researcher has combed through studies to analyze the results of sexual assault touch on lives of those who were victimized and suffered.  

Monday 8 January 2018

Children Need Love to Thrive

I’ve read a couple of interesting articles on how orphanages are horrible places to raise children, because of the lack of love and touch. 

For me, it raises the question of what institutionalizing our elderly is doing? And I’m not asking that as a thretorical question, drawing a false parallel between the two.  I’m genuinely interested in seeing what studies there are about this topic.