Archive for the ‘Facebook’ Tag

Ways To Beat Worries

Worry does not empty tomorrow of its sorrow. It empties today of its strength. Numerous studies have shown that worry not only puts a strain on mental health, but on physical health, too. Worry in and of itself is not bad; it spurs one into action, after all, too much of worry can lead to anxiety, which can have a lasting impact on health and happiness. Anxiety takes a toll on sleep, tax immune system, raise risk of post-traumatic stress disorder, and even affect risk of dying from disease.

Habit of worrying is a self-perpetuating negative thoughts. Worry is a chain of thoughts and images that are affectively negative and relatively uncontrollable. Instead of worrying all day, every day, just designate a 30-minute period of time to think about problems. A four-step stimulus control program helps one to take control of anxiety. Step one: Identify the object of worry. Step two: Come up with a time and place to think about the said worry. Step three: If you catch yourself worrying at a time other than your designated worry time, you must make a point to think of something else. Step four: Use your "worry time" productively by thinking of solutions to the worries.

All that time we spend perusing Facebook newsfeed probably isn’t doing our mental health any favors. A recent study from Anxiety UK showed that nearly half of people feel "worried or uncomfortable" being away from email or Facebook. We need to re-establish control over the technology we use, rather than being controlled by technology.

The most effective strategies to stop worrying and rumination may be the ones based in mindfulness, which involves nonjudgmental awareness of present thoughts and emotions, as well as cognitive behavioral therapy strategies. Try to adopt concrete and specific thinking or cognitively restructured thinking in a more positive and constructive way is especially effective.

Worrying about worrying is a dangerous cycle to fall into. People who naturally try to suppress their unwanted thoughts end up being more distressed by said thoughts. Those who are naturally more accepting of their intrusive thoughts are less obsessional, have lower levels of depression, and are less anxious. People who get caught up in worry when they try to force themselves to stop worrying may want to try a different strategy like acceptance.

Letting all emotions on paper decreases test-taking worry. It might be counterintuitive, but it is almost as if you empty the fears out of your mind. You reassess that situation so that you’re not as likely to worry about those situations because you have slain that beast. While exams are no longer a threat to many of us, this approach works well for people facing anxieties for other things.

The perceived need to follow all the rules when it comes to health can be a source of stress and worry in itself. Breaking the rules won’t break your health. It is impossible to have perfect health, and you are probably a lot healthier than you realize. Is the goal to live forever? I would contend it is not. It is really to live as long as you can with the best quality of life you can. The problem is all of these who are scared to death if they didn’t eat a cup of blueberries a day they would drop dead.

Engaging in activities that keep our hands busy and mind distracted helps prevent flashbacks from traumatic experiences. Keeping your hands and mind busy interferes with storing and encoding visual images.

Taking some time to find some ‘Zen’ can really help anxiety in your brain; even brain scans say so. Meditation training not only lower anxiety levels, but it also affects the anterior cingulate cortex and ventromedial prefrontal cortex brain regions; the former region controls emotions and thinking, the latter controls worrying.

Exercise is a predictable way to beat stress, but it is only predictable because it is so effective. Exercise can affect brain activity of serotonin; a so-called "happy" brain chemical, as well as reduce the effects of oxidative stress. Exercise interventions result in lower anxiety levels than staying tied to the couch. The effects of aerobic exercise are initially similar to those of medication. However, in the long term, exercise works better.


Posted October 2, 2013 by dranilj1 in COGNITION

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Internet at Its Best

Internet at Its Best

Internet at Its Best

Autonomous sensory meridian response is a physical sensation characterized by a pleasurable tingling that typically begins in the head and scalp, and often moves down the spine and through the limbs. Also known as attention induced euphoria, or simply head tingles. This is sometimes referred to as head orgasms, but this is about as sexual as saying eating chocolate is orgasmic; in that, it is not sexual. This physical phenomenon is not experienced by everyone. If you have never had it before, you most likely won’t feel it from the different triggers. It is not to be confused with music based tingles or shivers. They are called frisson.

Common triggers include slow speech patterns, accents, soft-speaking voices and whispers. Lip sounds, smacking or eating. Clicking sounds, brushing sounds white noise, etc. Watching other people performing simple tasks, getting close, personal attention from someone like eye-exam or make-over can induce head tingles. People playing with your hair produce pleasurable tingling.

A voice of many fans of public television will know is that of the late Bob Ross, host of the Joy of Painting series on PBS. Although, Ross passed away in 1995, his voice and his videos have lived on, taking on almost cult status among a group of YouTube users for their ability to trigger a pleasing physical effect they call autonomous sensory meridian response. It is not clear who came up with the term, or its definition. Jon Ippolito, a new media specialist at the University of Maine, described it like this: "Sound induced scalp-orgasms, right? This tingling sensation in your head and shoulders and down your back when you hear certain kinds of sounds, or when you watch particular activities, like people doing a task that they’ve done many times before."

Autonomous sensory meridian response is also described as a feeling of extreme tranquility, along with the trademark "head tingles’ and "spine tingles." The variety of these videos existing on YouTube is surprising, ranging from people’s favorite Bob Ross moments to videos of people tapping quietly on a desk, chewing gum, the sounds of whispering, unwrapping crinkly packages, and role-playing a variety of scenarios, from trips to the hair dresser to filling out passport applications.

One of the top results is produced by a YouTube user called Gentle Whispering, who wished only to be identified as Maria. She is one of the superstars of the autonomous sensory meridian response community, both on YouTube, and in her home country of Russia. She has created 129 videos of her own, designed to replicate the autonomous sensory meridian response effect. At the end of watching a Bob Ross video, you tended to believe, I can be a painter. I can do what this man tells me," said Bill Donahue, a therapist in Bangor. He is not surprised by the autonomous sensory meridian response phenomenon. It is not unlike what therapists do during hypnosis sessions, where subjects are systematically calmed with gentle, repetitive sounds, and where they can let go of certain anxieties and accept positive suggestions.

The access of some of the central experience through our different senses, eyes, ears, nose, mouth and sense of touch, the pathways and understanding of how they work, interrelate with the brain, is not well-understood. It is still an undiscovered part of the human body. Other than simply for pleasure, fans say there are other benefits to the relaxation technique. Some who had gone through a spell of depression and anxiety, actually found it very calming and a very neutral device for their own personal beings. Some of the subscribers include soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan. They share the struggle with their nightmares and that they get and the autonomous sensory meridian response whisper videos actually help them fall asleep better, which is amazing because they sometimes say medications don’t work, but these videos work instead.

The unexpected enrichment of people’s lives through videos like these produced by the autonomous sensory meridian response community, and a platform on which strangers can share the human experience, is the Internet at its best. The specialty seems to be so idiosyncratic, almost genetic, that’s it’s unlikely that you’d find any more folks like that in your backyard. That’s where the Internet’s power really comes in because all you have to do is put out a search query or post something to a message forum and suddenly all these people may respond. We have seen it in Arab Spring, where entire governments have been toppled; thanks to social networks like Twitter and Facebook.

Autonomous sensory meridian response community is just another example of how people are no longer bound by a "top down" delivery of information. Now, the real power lies in the ability of solitary people to find and connect with someone just like them, regardless of where they are, and how isolated they may feel.

Refrain from Infantilizing

Social network sites risk infantilizing the mid-21st century mind, leaving it characterized by short attention spans, sensationalism, inability to empathies and a shaky sense of identity, according to a leading neuroscientist. So keep old media alive. See interesting books available at the community library. Find ways to entertain yourself without your e-reader or Pandora. Act like a kid. Swings are fun and playgrounds are everywhere. Go hiking. Just find some free places to hang out outside. Go to bed early. Get into bed and don’t check your phone. You’ll fall asleep faster and have more energy the next day. Leave your phone home for a day. Don’t even tempt yourself by bringing it with you. If you are with someone, you don’t need multiple phones. Be spontaneous. Whether it’s a weekend or day trip, do something with friends, family or even by yourself that you’ve never done before. Don’t plan, just hit the road. You’ll remember it forever. Just because you are not posting live in the moment doesn’t mean you can’t share it or blog about it later on social media. The conversations you’ll have with friends can be enjoyed anytime. Consider how you can disconnect from distractions in your life to ensure a better performance come Monday morning.

Thinking outside Yourself

We generate more creative ideas for other people than for ourselves. The commonplace phrase of thinking outside the box is thought to come from the puzzle below. The idea is to try and join up all the dots using four straight lines or fewer without taking your pen off the paper or tracing over the same line twice.

The ‘box’ that the expression refers to is the implicit one formed in your mind by the dots. To get the solution you have to ignore this implicit box. You have to, as it is, think outside it. If you’re stuck in the box, google the ‘nine dots’ puzzle for the solution.

Puzzles like this challenge us to reach novel solutions by avoiding habitual ways of thinking. But as well as thinking outside the box, you can also try thinking outside yourself. Here is another puzzle, one that reveals a fascinating aspect of creativity.

Imagine there is a prisoner trying to escape from a high tower. All he has is a rope but it’s only half as long as the drop from the window. Still, he manages to escape from the tower by dividing the rope in half and tying it back together. How is that possible?

People were given slightly different versions of this test in a new study by Polman and Emich in 2011. Half were given this version of the puzzle while the other half were told to imagine it was they themselves who were stuck in the tower, rather than an unnamed ‘prisoner. Both groups then had to explain how the escape from the tower was possible.

What happened was that 66% of people got the answer right when told it was a nameless ‘prisoner’ who was stuck in the tower. But when told to imagine they were stuck in the tower themselves, only 48% got it right. The answer to the problem is, the rope is divided in half width-ways rather than length-ways. Then you can halve the width and double the length.

In a second study, they tested the same thing in a different way. This time it was to see how creative people could be when they were thinking up gift ideas. People were asked to think up ideas for themselves or for other people. The other people were also divided into two categories. Some were people who were socially close and others were socially distant.

When the ideas were analyzed, participants who were thinking up ideas for socially distant others were most creative. The other two conditions lagged behind. The reason this happens is to do with the way the mind represents problems like this. When we think about a ‘nameless other’ or the prisoner in the high tower, our minds tend to think more abstractly. In an abstract frame it becomes easier to make creative leaps because we aren’t stuck thinking about concrete details.

So, perhaps the old and tired expression "thinking outside the box" should be replaced with the new, evidence-based expression "thinking outside yourself."

There Is No One More ‘Youier’ Than You!

Keep your eyes wide open for inspiration. Look for a beautiful sunset. Feast your eyes on the perfection of flowers – the perfection of their colors and of their conformation. Realize that none of the colors in nature clash with each other. See the world through the camera’s lens and you will be inspired by the beauty that you have chosen to record. It will also help you to focus on your subject with clarity. This will give you an appreciation for form.

Listen for the sound of the birds singing on a new spring day. Hear the 23rd Psalm word for word. Sit back and hear a Beethoven Symphony in your heart and wonder that he was deaf. I think you will experience joy. Feel that experience; let it soak into your inner being; let it imprint on you. When you need inspiration you can call up the memory of how you felt during those moments.

Inspiration is just around the corner, it is so important to be in touch with your feelings so you will recognize it. Permit yourself to feel and then prepare yourself to express your special gifts.

As Dr. Seuss said, "There is no one more ‘youier’ than you!" Be your own best friend and be very kind to yourself. Most of us tend to be very critical of ourselves and that can strangle inspiration. Laugh at your self. Life is an amazing journey. Approach it with humor and love.

Sharing your gifts with others will fill your heart and reward you in so many ways. Your cup will run over with good things. I believe that we are called on to be the very best representatives of God that we can be. We are given so much and I think the happiest people are the ones who are very thankful for what they have and who do not focus on what they do not have.

My favorite quote is from Oscar Wilde. He says, "If you don’t get everything you want, think of the things that you don’t get, that you don’t want". It takes a little while for that to sink it, but it is so very true. Doing random acts of kindness will enrich your soul and help you realize how blessed you are.

Take time to smell the roses. Their fragrance is so sweet. It will ground you to do this. Pet a dog, love a child, do not miss an opportunity to soak it all in. Express thanks in all you do and practice healthy habits and thoughts. I think you will be inspired. Not only will you be inspired but you will be energized. You will be creative.

Are You Veiling?

If you learn from a loss you have not lost. I lost my grandfather. He had been ill the last time I saw him and I knew it was coming and yet, I was still not prepared for the depth of my grief. I had lost loved ones before, but while I had loved them, they weren’t him. He was special. He saw me. If you know what it means to be seen I don’t need to say anymore.

If you’ve never felt seen, let me explain what that feels like: It is the very best feeling; better than love, better than friendship. It’s looking into another’s eyes and seeing complete acceptance, acknowledgement, and the truest form of love. I got that from him. Every time he looked at me. Every conversation we had. Every moment we shared together and then he was gone. He moved on and I was left feeling worrying that I would never know that kind of love again; I would never be seen.

We all wear so many masks. We wear them to fit a role: mother, sister, wife, father, brother, husband and good worker. We wear them to protect us in social situations. For so many of us, we hide ourselves because we are afraid that the truth of who we are will not be acceptable. If others, even those who we trust with our love, were to see who we really are they would turn from us, that we will be seen not as angels but as monsters.

Do you see your loved ones? Do you let yourself be seen? I have been reading Dr. Brene Brown’s book Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead. It’s an extraordinary piece of work. It’s beautiful and terrifying. Dr. Brown explains that while we are all afraid of making ourselves vulnerable, study after study shows that the majority of people are truly rooting for you. They want to see you; they admire your courage. It’s eye opening information.

The very thing we are protecting ourselves from could be the source of our greatest strength. It’s in large part because of these two things—the loss of my grandfather, and being inspired to let myself be seen despite deep shyness and a healthy amount of social terror—that I started my blog, and am working on starting my own business. Before last year these are two things that I would have never considered. They were for other people, not me. As I sorted through my grandparents’ photographs looking for a keepsake photo of my grandfather and me, a talisman I could hold on to, it occurred to me that my family’s photos were in desperate need of organization and preservation.

I began to think that I couldn’t be the only one in this situation. That there had to be others who were grieving a loss and were left with shoeboxes filled with precious family photos and no idea how to keep them safe. I knew I could help. I could help them and I could help me. I’m naturally organized; my mom calls it bossy. I’m an amateur photographer, I’m a postdoctoral researcher studying preservation of medical traditions, and I’ve lost someone very dear to me. I’m perfect for the job of photo organizer! But wait, I’m an introvert. I’m very shy. I’m very private. I hate any kind of public display. I find posting my status on Facebook challenging. The thought of putting me out there, of letting others see me was just terrifying.

How could I let myself be so exposed? What if I failed? And that’s when I remembered what this was all about, my fear of never feeling seen again. How could I ever be seen if I hid behind my fears? If I didn’t put myself out there, no one would even know to look for me. See, I know that I struck the emotional jackpot with my grandpa. He was there from the day I was born supporting me, encouraging me, believing in me. If I ever wanted that again, I would have to actively seek it from someone else. Or would I?

You see, as I started to open myself up to being vulnerable, as I started to show myself through my blog, through my actions, an amazing thing happened: I began to feel seen. I began to feel appreciated. I began to feel admired, and what’s amazing is that he was also there from the moment I was born; he had been rooting for me the whole time. He was me. I had been so busy hiding from others that I hadn’t realized the real person I was hiding from was me. I had denied myself my greatest champion. I had been scared to not measure up to the ridiculousness of my internal standards, scared that if I tried and failed, I would hate me. But that’s ridiculous! If I can’t accept myself, see myself as great, how can I expect anyone else to see that? It’s a trap so many of us fall into.

I’m still a work in progress and I still catch myself trying to hide so others won’t notice me, won’t judge me, but I am getting stronger. I am better at acknowledging that there is only one me and he is kind of fun. Now when I look into my eyes, I see me and I see my grandpa and I feel the love and support that was always there.

Why Are We Afraid?

Fear is the worst kind of grave, because it buries one alive. Fear can force obedience, but it can never transform a heart. What you fear will not go away; it will take you into yourself and bless you and keep you. That’s the world, and we all live there. Fear kills everything; your mind, your heart, your imagination. Children have a lesson adults should learn, to not be ashamed of failing, but to get up and try again. Most of us adults are so afraid, so cautious, so ‘safe,’ and therefore so shrinking and rigid and afraid that it is why so many humans fail. Most middle-aged adults have resigned themselves to failure. It’s better to die laughing than to live each moment in fear. One is never afraid of the unknown; one is afraid of the known coming to an end. Don’t be afraid of your fears. They’re not there to scare you. They’re there to let you know that something is worth it. Imagine not being frightened by any feeling. Imagine knowing that nothing will destroy you and you are beyond any feeling, and state. There is no reason to use drugs because anything a drug could do would pale in comparison to knowing who you are. Find what you are afraid of, face it, and then you won’t be afraid of it anymore.

Fear is about the loss of familiar things. We fear losing the jobs we don’t like and the people we don’t love. This is what keeps us stuck in insanity. We fear losing the comfort of a habit that gets in our way. This is why we continue to numb ourselves. We fear the loss of pleasures that we enjoy. This is what causes us to lie, cheat or steal. We fear losing our youth. This is why we are deceitful about our age or try to stay forever young.

We fear losing our money or never having enough. This is what causes us to ignore the people around us and to work an insane amount of hours. We fear losing our status or recognition. This is what causes us to pretend to be someone we’re not. We fear death or losing our health. This is what causes us to ignore and neglect the elderly population. We fear losing our children. This is why they can’t talk to strangers or play in the front yard. We fear losing our sense of identity. This is why we worship our degrees, titles and live in cubicle prison.

We fear losing our sense of safety. This is why have stuff packed in storage units and supplies stockpiled for doomsday. We fear feeling unlovable and being unloved. This is why we become people-pleasers and lose our souls in the process. Fear sucks. The only way to get around this nonsense is to understand that we really don’t have any of these things to begin with. Every thing is subject to change and alteration.

Safety is an illusion. The only thing that we can count on is the present moment. Notice that you are safe right now and get on with what you need to do!


Posted March 14, 2013 by dranilj1 in Cognitive Biases

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