|Find Happiness: The Joy Of Giraffes
||Giraffes Part 1|Giraffes Part 2|Giraffes Part 3 The Joy Of Giraffes A Giraffe, have you ever seen one face-to-face? Or pet their soft, lush, fur coat. Or feed one from your own hands?? They are unquestionably one of the most amazing, beautiful creatures my family has had the privilege to...
|Add nature, art and religion to life’s best anti-inflammatories
||Taking in such spine-tingling wonders as the Grand Canyon, Sistine Chapel ceiling or Schubert’s “Ave Maria” may give a boost to the body’s defense system, according to new research from UC Berkeley. Researchers have linked positive emotions – especially the awe we feel when touched by the beauty of nature, art and spirituality – with [...]The post Add nature, art and religion to life’s best anti-inflammatories appeared first on PsyPost.
|Simple strategies lead to improvements in 1 year-olds at risk for autism
||A new study by University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill researchers finds that a collection of simple strategies used by parents can lead to significant improvements in one-year-olds at risk for autism spectrum disorder (ASD). In the study, published in Autism Research and Treatment, a group of UNC faculty from the departments of Allied [...]The post Simple strategies lead to improvements in 1 year-olds at risk for autism appeared first on PsyPost.
|Primed memories tempt people into gambling more
||People are more likely to gamble after having their memories primed, an international team of researchers has found. When reminded, or primed, of past winning outcomes as part of a controlled test, people were over 15% more likely to gamble and select the risky option. Surprisingly, being reminded of past losing outcomes did not change [...]The post Primed memories tempt people into gambling more appeared first on PsyPost.
|Power psychs people up about themselves
||We all know the type – people who can talk on and on about their latest adventures, seemingly unaware that those around them may not be interested. They also get really psyched up about their own experiences. A new paper suggests that what separates such people from the rest of us is their perceived sense [...]The post Power psychs people up about themselves appeared first on PsyPost.
|Protective brain protein reveals gender implications for autism, Alzheimer’s research
||For parents of children struggling with autism, the dearth of information is heartbreaking. Medical professionals are hard put to answer the primary questions: Who is autistic? What causes autism? What treatments are available? The situation is similar for Alzheimer’s patients and relatives, who are helpless before the aggressive disease devouring a sufferer’s identity. A new [...]The post Protective brain protein reveals gender implications for autism, Alzheimer’s research appeared first on PsyPost.
|Superager brains yield new clues to their remarkable memories
||SuperAgers, aged 80 and above, have distinctly different looking brains than those of normal older people, according to new Northwestern Medicine® research that is beginning to reveal why the memories of these cognitively elite elders don’t suffer the usual ravages of time. SuperAgers have memories that are as sharp as those of healthy persons decades [...]The post Superager brains yield new clues to their remarkable memories appeared first on PsyPost.
|Study finds our thoughts are susceptible to external influence — even against our will
||For a recent San Francisco State University study, participants were asked to look at a commonplace image but avoid thinking of the word that corresponds with the image or how many letters are in that word. The task may seem simple, but the study found that when presented with ☼, for example, nearly 80 percent [...]The post Study finds our thoughts are susceptible to external influence — even against our will appeared first on PsyPost.
|New tool provides unique insight for those with traumatic brain injury
||A new study reveals that individuals with traumatic brain injury (TBI) have significantly more difficulty with gist reasoning than traditional cognitive tests. Using a unique cognitive assessment developed by researchers at the Center for BrainHealth at The University of Texas at Dallas, findings published Friday in the Journal of Clinical and Experimental Neuropsychology indicate that [...]The post New tool provides unique insight for those with traumatic brain injury appeared first on PsyPost.
|Neurologists find movement tracking device helps assess severity of Parkinson’s disease
||A device that measures movement and balance can effectively help assess and track the progression of Parkinson’s disease, even when medications are used to reduce Parkinson’s symptoms, UT Southwestern Medical Center research found. Researchers found that the APDM Mobility Lab – a portable set of sensors that track gait, balance and other movement – can effectively [...]The post Neurologists find movement tracking device helps assess severity of Parkinson’s disease appeared first on PsyPost.
|How to turn insecurity into confidence.
||A certain amount of insecurity is healthy and helpful. When we feel insecure we question the things we do which, in turn, forces us to look closer at any given situation to analyze and clarify our options in order to move forward. The problem with insecurities is not that they...
|How the brain ignores distractions
||By scanning the brains of people engaged in selective attention to sensations, researchers have learned how the brain appears to coordinate the response needed to ignore distractors. They are now studying whether that ability can be harnessed, for instance to suppress pain.
||As a therapist, I can provide the best care by doing many different things. I see many different folks in my office for psychotherapy. When you work with people with everything from postpartum depression to acute panic disorder or even schizophrenia, you should have a lot of different tools in...
|Is there a ‘right’ way to bring up your child? Linda Geddes asks whether parent school is the answer
||How do you entertain a grumpy three-year-old? My strategy is generally: (a) panic; (b) rustle about in my bag for some breadsticks or – if she’s lucky – a colouring book; (c) hand over my iPhone and let her watch some cartoons – all the while worrying I’m stunting her brain development. My friend, however, has a [...]The post Is there a ‘right’ way to bring up your child? Linda Geddes asks whether parent school is the answer appeared first on PsyPost.
|People in their eighties have sex – get over it
||When we consider society’s prevailing view of late-life sexuality, the convention has been that older people are not particularly sexually active or interested in intimate sexual relationships. These preconceptions can be extreme, ranging from humour to disgust, or simply a refusal to believe that people in their seventies and eighties have sexual interests or needs [...]The post People in their eighties have sex – get over it appeared first on PsyPost.
|It turns out male sexuality is just as fluid as female sexuality
||If women can kiss women and still be straight, what about men? Some scholars have argued that female sexual desires tend to be fluid and receptive, while men’s desires – regardless of whether men are gay or straight – tend to be inflexible and unchanging. Support for this notion permeates popular culture. There are countless [...]The post It turns out male sexuality is just as fluid as female sexuality appeared first on PsyPost.
|Blocking rewards: How the immune system could help treat cocaine addiction
||Cocaine is a popular recreational drug that makes users energetic, confident and talkative. It’s also highly addictive and dependence-producing. Australians rank fourth in the world in cocaine abuse rates. We have a drug that could be used to treat opioid abuse and dependence, (+)-naloxone. This works differently to the classic Narcan (aka (-)-naloxone), instead preventing [...]The post Blocking rewards: How the immune system could help treat cocaine addiction appeared first on PsyPost.
|Does brain training work? That depends on your purpose
||Over the last decade, an ever-growing number of brain-training programs claiming to enhance learning, memory and general well-being have been developed and marketed for use in the classroom. Unfortunately, despite many years of laboratory research and classroom scrutiny, the effect of these programs on real-world learning and health remains uncertain. To address this issue, the [...]The post Does brain training work? That depends on your purpose appeared first on PsyPost.
|Stanley Milgram was wrong: We don’t obey authority, but we do love drama
||Why have the landmark psychology experiments of the post-war era proved so enduring? Designed as dramas about human behaviour, experimenters drew on theatrical techniques and tailored their results for cinema – results that, though skewed, have become embedded in the collective subconscious. The two best known experiments of this sort are Obedience to Authority (1961-3) [...]The post Stanley Milgram was wrong: We don’t obey authority, but we do love drama appeared first on PsyPost.
|The Unjealous Friend
Do you feel jealous of your friends, or are you able to selflessly celebrate their life triumphs? Happy people are generous in celebrating accomplishments of their friends, as I do with my famous friend, Afaf.
Afaf and I were born five months apart in different hemispheres. We have married funny, loving, loyal, brilliant men. We combined mothering with hefty careers that serve others. We teach and write books. We love flowers, figs, jewelry, and colorful fashion statements. We work out. When my husband John had a heart attack last year, Afaf ‘s contacts ensured we got the best medical care. We are buddies in spirit. Jealousy and envy are not part of our friendship. Instead, we discuss our families, our careers, and what the future has in store for us as we get older.
A world leader in nursing education, Afaf’s vision, grit, and competency could spark jealousy. She brings hope and wisdom to professors, government leaders, and the thousands of nursing students she touches. Her presence fills a room. The steeliness in her friendly eyes when she asks me a question makes me draw breath and answer carefully. When we breakfast casually, I feel challenged, titillated, and alive. At the end of the day, Afaf returns home to her devoted, equally brilliant but less hectic husband, Mahmoud. Dinner with Afaf and Mahmoud is a time of gentle banter. Afaf is delighted to relax and let Mahmoud hold court as he warmly embraces friends.
Last year, during a time when Afaf was attracting attention through her global projects in women’s health, I wrote her the tribute below and plunked a great gob of purple flowers in her arms. She beamed.
I have a friend with a birthday today.
She is loyal and funny and loves purple.
She is a regular person, except for one gift...She has vision.
My friend had the vision to transform nursing
at the University of Pennsylvania.
I do not know how she knew to do this, but she did.
It must be in her blood.
Many people shoot for a small goal,
Then maybe they try for a bigger goal.
They crawl slowly through tiny tentative places
To get to slightly better places.
A few times in their lifetime,
Normal folks bumble on a visionary.
Most of the time they are too self-involved to notice.
When I first met my friend, I noticed
That she picked up small cues that others missed.
I noticed that her memory was sharp.
I noticed that she took pride in self-care.
Then, little by little, I noticed her vision.
I noticed that she had redesigned large buildings.
I noticed that she had raised large monies.
I noticed that she bought sparkly jewelry to have on hand for daughters-in-law.
As we talked on car rides, I discerned her vision.
She moves gobs of people to a better future than they can carve alone.
Mostly they don't notice. That is OK with my friend.
She is not trying to be noticed.
She is doing a job because she can.
This month she wore pearls and white clothing.
She looked beautiful but she did not look her age.
She led a trajectory to global progress.
She talked from her heart about our future.
Lots of important people perked up.
This month everybody noticed.
What do we know about happy people and friendship? We know that we are buoyed by others' good fortune and that a friend lends a hand in times of need, just as Afaf did. In a recent Gallup World Poll, the biggest predictor of happiness at work was whether a person had a best friend for support in crisis. The happiest people are present to celebrate their friends and have friends who celebrate their accomplishments. And, couples who celebrate each other's accomplishments are more likely to feel committed to their relationship and happier as individuals.
How does friendship help us feel happier? Discussing a positive experience with a responsive listener actually increases the level of positivity we attach to the event itself and deepens our memory of the event years later. And, listening to a friend’s accomplishments increases the happiness of the listener. We are happier when we give attention and are given attention by others.
So, this week consider how attentive you are to your friends. Do you take time to call and listen? Do you feel heard? Are they there for you in a crisis? If so, please curb your temptation to feel jealous. You’ll be glad you did.
To Consider: Am I jealous of my friends? If so, how might life be richer if I celebrated with them fully.
To read: Happiness. Diener, Biswas-Diener. New York. Wiley.
Generosity of spirit allows friendship to blossom
Blog to Post to:
No Ordinary Life
Research informs us that generosity of spirit is a key quality for happy people. Join us as we celebrate the accomplishments of my oft awarded friend, Afaf.
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