Six Scientific Ways to be Light Up Your Holiday Sparkle
Melanie Greenberg's insight:
The science of positive psychology holds the key for happiness over the holidays and behind. Practicing gratitude, giving back, holding onto what's meaningful, creating positive experiences are all science-based strategies to create lasting happiness. #holidays
Are you waking up just feeling “blah”? Like you don’t want to do anything except lie like a couch potato and watch TV, and even that is unsatisfying? You not only feel low energy, but kind of miserable. Perhaps you’re mad at yourself for not getting the house cleaned or not getting your work done and papers filed. Perhaps you’re feeling a bit lonely, left out by friends or unsupported by family. You may dwell on mounting bills or the fact that you’re 10 or 20 pounds overweight. You may feel aches and pains in your neck or back. Or you may just may feel grouchy and want to remain undisturbed by life’s demands and conversational opportunities. You may compare yourself unfavorably to your friend, roommate, cousin, or neighbor, who always seems to be on time, well-groomed, and on track to meet her goals. We all have those “blah” days, but why do they happen and what can we do about them?
You know that girl, the one with a Starbucks cup stashed in the cup holder of the elliptical during her a.m. sweat sesh? Admit it: you’ve judged her. But, turns out, she might be on to something. Drinking a couple cups of coffee before a workout could actually make it feel more enjoyable, according to new research published in the Journal of Applied Physiology.
The study basically simulated your average morning: a mug of coffee to wake up, a little gym time, another cup with breakfast, followed by lunch. Fourteen participants completed two moderate workouts on a stationary bike: one where they took caffeine (equal to two 8-ounce cups of coffee or 4 cups of black tea) 90 minutes before the workout, and one where they took a placebo. When caffeinated, the participants reported the ride as way easier than it was without the stimulant.
Have you ever noticed how easy it is to make a to do list, but how much harder it is to actually finish it? Prioritization makes a huge difference when it comes to actually completing that task list. The trick is to be as ruthless as you can stand.
Filmmaker Andrew Stanton ("Toy Story," "WALL-E") shares what he knows about storytelling -- starting at the end and working back to the beginning. Contains graphic language ... (Note: this talk is not available for download.)
PsychCentral.com CBT Mindfulness for Depression May Also Reduce MD Visits PsychCentral.com New Canadian research finds a reduction in primary care visits among individuals receiving mindfulness-based therapy for depression.
"...Seigel highlighted findings in the field of interpersonal neurobiology and from his own"mindsight approach" to psychiatry -- both systems revolve around the principle of "integration," which suggests that the linking of different aspects of a system, such as the brain, is at the heart of well-being, resilience, mindfulness and compassion.
"Integration is seen as the essential mechanism of health as it promotes a flexible and adaptive way of being that is filled with vitality and creativity," Siegel writes on his website. "The ultimate outcome of integration is harmony."
Through this interdisciplinary form of inquiry into the brain and mind, Siegel says, we can "build a framework thats based on science but goes beyond what science says, and looks more deeply at what it means to be human."
Compassion is a central component of what it means to be human, but we don't necessarily know how it works in the brain or why we're wired to be compassionate towards others -- and interpersonal neurobiology may be a particularly helpful framework for examining the importance of this quality in our lives and relationships..."
In life, unnecessary tolerations can bleed you of energy and make it impossible for you to function effectively. You can’t live a happy, successful, fulfilling life when you’re spending all your energy tolerating things that shouldn’t be tolerated. Sometimes you need to put your foot down.
Using functional magnetic resonance imaging to show the brain at work, they have observed the same regions activated in a similar pattern whenever a person remembers an event from the past or imagines himself in a future situation. This challenges long-standing beliefs that thoughts about the future develop exclusively in the frontal lobe.
Remembering your past may go hand-in-hand with envisioning your future! It's an important link researchers found using high-tech brain scans. It's answering questions and may one day help those with memory loss.
For some, the best hope of 'seeing' the future leads them to seek guidance -- perhaps from an astrologist. But it's not very scientific. Now, psychologists at Washington University are finding that your ability to envision the future does in fact goes hand-in-hand with remembering the past. Both processes spark similar neural activity in the brain.
"You might look at it as mental time travel--the ability to take thoughts about ourselves and project them either into the past or into the future," says Kathleen McDermott, Ph.D. and Washington University psychology professor. The team used "functional magnetic resonance imaging" -- or fMRI -- to "see" brain activity. They asked college students to recall past events and then envision themselves experiencing such an event in their future. The results? Similar areas of the brain "lit up" in both scenarios.
"We're taking these images from our memories and projecting them into novel future scenarios," says psychology professor Karl Szpunar.
Most scientists believed thinking about the future was a process occurring solely in the brain's frontal lobe. But the fMRI data showed a variety of brain areas were activated when subjects dreamt of the future.
"All the regions that we know are important for memory are just as important when we imagine our future," Szpunar says.
Researchers say besides furthering their understanding of the brain -- the findings may help research into amnesia, a curious psychiatric phenomenon. In addition to not being able to remember the past, most people who suffer from amnesia cannot envision or visualize what they'll be doing in the future -- even the next day.
Over the past few years, meditation has evolved from an of-the-moment fad to a legitimate health craze, as research has linked the practice to everything from improved cardiovascular health to cognitive benefits. Science has even shown that mindfulne...
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