|Key signaling protein associated with addiction controls the actions of oxycodone in pain-free, chronic pain states
||RGS9-2, a key signaling protein in the brain known to play a critical role in the development of addiction-related behaviors, acts as a positive modulator of oxycodone reward in both pain-free and chronic pain states
|Backhanded Compliments: Identify, Recognize, & Resolve
||Ever give a compliment to someone and they seemed upset with you? Maybe they did not show the gratitude you thought they would or gave you a funny look after. This could be the result of accidentally giving a backhanded compliment. A backhanded compliment is … ...
|#229 A Womb of Her Own: Book Pre-release
||#229: A Womb of Her Own: Book Pre-release A Womb of Her Own: Women’s Struggle for Sexual and Reproductive Autonomy Mar 2, 2017 by Ellen Toronto, Joann Ponder, Kristin … ...
|Symptom of the Day: Depressed Mood
||Bipolar depression is not just about feeling sad. It is not about cheering up or appreciating what we have. It is part of a mental illness that can be treated, … ...
|What Do You Take A Stand For?
||Yesterday marked the 34th anniversary of the day the Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday was signed into law. Celebrated as a ‘day on and not a day off‘, it is heralded as … ...
|First cell culture of live adult human neurons shows potential of brain cell types
||Studying brain disorders in people and developing drugs to treat them has been slowed by the inability to investigate single living cells from adult patients. In a first-of-its-kind study, researchers were able to grow adult human neurons donated from patients who had undergone surgery. From these cell cultures, they identified more than five brain cell types and the potential proteins each cell could make.
|Scientists find sensor that makes synapses fast
||Synapses, the connections between neurons, come in different flavors, depending on the chemical they use as transmitter. The type of synapses that use a signal transmitter called GABA stand out because of their speed and precision. But the secret behind their speed was not fully known until now, and neither was the sensor they use to detect the inflowing calcium.
|Opioids produce analgesia via immune cells
||Opioids are the most powerful painkillers. Researchers have now found that the analgesic effects of opioids are not exclusively mediated by opioid receptors in the brain, but can also be mediated via the activation of receptors in immune cells.
|Mounting challenge to brain sex differences
||A meta-analysis of human amygdala volumes reveals no significant difference between the sexes.
|Good Divorce Advice: Resist the Urge to Compare
||It can be hard to avoid negative self-comparison, but you want to remain focused on your own path.
|The Forbidden Words The Most Honest People Use More
||These words have also surprisingly been linked to a greater vocabulary and even being more persuasive.
Dr Jeremy Dean's ebooks are:
The Anxiety Plan: 42 Strategies For Worry, Phobias, OCD and Panic
Spark: 17 Steps That Will Boost Your Motivation For Anything
|Paper Napkin Mental Health Challenge #2: Sphere of Control...
||“Can I please go over to Jordan’s house after school?” “I don’t want asparagus for dinner!” “Why do I have to be home by 10? Mary’s mom lets her stay … ...
|Trying to Lose Weight? Maybe You Should Ditch That...
||Wearable technology — those things people wear around their wrist to track their heart rate or number of steps walked or run — is all the rage. This sort of personal data tracking is especially popular among younger people and those who exercise regularly. Whether … ...
|How to Listen with All Four of Your Ears
||We typically think of communication in terms of the two channels of verbal and nonverbal behavior. New research shows how our 4 ears can get tuned in under the right conditions.
|Are Your Happiness Goals Too High?
||In our competitive culture, we usually think “more is better.” Being Number One, winning at all costs, and “having the most” is deeply ingrained in our psyche as real success. This model of going for the max is often erroneously applied to our own well-being. People mistakenly think intense delight is a sign that their attempt at awakening joy is truly successful.
However, when we look for bells and whistles as indications of true happiness we’re misunderstanding a very important principle: Setting a high bar of intense happiness works against true well-being. Although I’m all for enjoying peak experiences when they arise, measuring that ideal against a moderate level of okayness can easily render this moment as “not good enough.”
We find what we look for. Science calls this phenomenon the brain’s “confirmation bias.” Your brain tends to see what it believes to be true and misses whatever doesn’t confirm its hypothesis. If you don’t think you experience much true happiness because you’re holding an image that it should be a peak experience of ecstasy, you probably will keep confirming that belief.
What’s the alternative? Aim for noticing how you really feel right at that moment—and embrace all your diverse feelings.
The science of emotional diversity
There are studies that show over-pursuing happiness actually may be detrimental to your mental and physical health. People who have “emodiversity”—meaning they express a full range of emotions including anger, worry and sadness—are actually healthier than those whose range tends to be mostly on the positive side.
In a study of over 35,000 people, researchers found that “people high in emodiversity were less likely to be depressed than people high in positive emotion alone.” In another study of 1,300 Belgians, those with greater emodiversity used fewer medications, didn’t go to the doctor as often, exercised more, ate better, and had all-around better health than those with more limited emotional range.
Too much intense happiness can affect our creative juices too. In one study measuring mood and creativity, Mark Alan Davis found that when we experience extreme or intense happiness we tend not to tap into our creativity as much. In extreme cases we can get manic and lose our connection to creativity. Not that you need to be melodramatic to be creative. Happy people are creative too. But at some point only going for the gusto can be counter-productive if you’re trying to access your muse.
Another study found that those who are consistently on the high end of happiness curve tend to be less flexible in adapting to challenging situations. It becomes harder to adjust when things go south. What’s more, those who are in constant pursuit of positive experiences are more likely to engage in risky behaviors like sexual promiscuity and substance abuse. This extreme happiness/risky behavior syndrome was also confirmed in a 1993 study. Children who were regarded as “highly cheerful” tended to have a higher probability of mortality as adults probably due to riskier behavior.
Indeed, when we try too hard to attain happiness we may be setting ourselves up for its opposite. Researcher Iris Mauss and colleagues have shown that sometimes people chase happiness to an unrealistic degree, which can actually end up leading to major disappointment. It can turn into a vicious cycle where the harder you try for happiness the more elusive it becomes.
So perhaps it’s better not to try so hard to be happy.
It’s OK to feel OK
When people do my online Awakening Joy course, they often come with ideas of what joy is supposed to look like. A complaint I sometimes hear is, “I’m trying really hard to be joyful and it’s not working.” As the science suggests, that’s not surprising. Instead, I recommend that one simply begin noticing moments of feeling okay. If you tend to have a life filled with intense drama, I often suggest being aware of moments when you’re not miserable. That’s a good start.
However, if you see moments of “okayness”—moments where you’re not suffering—as moments worthy of appreciation, you open the channel to true well-being. And the more you notice and take them in, the stronger that flow of well-being naturally grows—not through force but through wise attention. As neuroscience expert Rick Hanson says: “The brain is like Teflon for positive experiences and Velcro for negative ones.” We need to train ourselves to appreciate and take in those simple moments of life where things are actually okay.
When you let go of looking for ecstatic states, you can find joy in the most commonplace moments. Edith, a student in Germany, had somehow equated joy with intense positive experiences. But when she stopped looking for those and simply opened up to a simple feeling of well-being she started to experience things very differently. She put it this way:
“I noticed how much joy there already is and how I had somehow looked for a kind of super-mundane, “spiritual” joy, more profound and lasting than our ordinary joy, that I would only reach if I practiced hard and in the right way. By having this concept, and by looking for this other kind of joy, I had missed out on a lot of “ordinary joy” moments. As I focused on them, appreciated them and felt them more fully, I was so happy and sometimes almost overwhelmed at all the joy and blessings in my life.”
I remember many years ago hearing a wise teacher give instructions on the heart practice called “Loving-kindness” meditation. He said that sometimes the word “loving-kindness” can seem so lofty and noble that we imagine it’s beyond our reach. He suggested connecting with the simple feeling of “kindness” or “friendliness” towards oneself or others. That’s so much more accessible and it will start the gentle flow of good-heartedness we’re looking for. It really worked. As I let go of getting a gold-star in my loving-kindness practice I simply enjoyed extending good will and let myself be touched by my kind heart.
In some Eastern philosophical models of happiness, refined states of well-being are considered ultimately more sustainable and more satisfying. As wonderful as it is, rapture is considered a courser level of happiness that, after awhile, becomes jangling to the system. Going up the ladder of refined states, gladness, happiness, and contentment are considered qualities that are much more developed and fulfilling. Ultimately, deep peace is the most satisfying state of all and is said to be the pre-cursor to true enlightenment.
So if you’re trying to cultivate genuine happiness within yourself, you might consider letting go of trying to experience a gusher of intensity. Awakening joy comes naturally from truly appreciating the simple moments of well-being in our lives. Don’t miss them! Once you start having your radar out for them you’ll see them everywhere.
|Warriors’ Calm Coach, Steve Kerr
||“Kerr credits his father for his demeanor on the sideline as an N.B.A. coach: calm and quiet, mostly, and never one to berate a player.”
|Talking therapy changes the brain's wiring, study reveals for first time
||For the first time, research shows that cognitive behavior therapy (CBT) strengthens specific connections in the brains of people with psychosis, and that these stronger connections are associated with long-term reduction in symptoms and recovery eight years later.
|Today I Love Warm Feet
||Today I love warm feet and a comfortable over shirt, a cheerful room in which to write, and the threat of a week of mild temperatures and rain ahead which … ...
|Evolutionary Mismatch and What You Can Do about It
||Our modern worlds are mismatched dramatically from the environments we evolved to live in. Here are some things you can do about it.
|My First Lesson in Sufficiency
||Recently I have developed a bit of a throw pillow problem. When I moved into my current one-room casa (size: 400 sq. feet) I was oh-so eager to downsize. Or at … ...