Saturday, 30 April 2016

Random statistics about better health and keeping journals

  • The ones who kept gratitude journals scored better on measures of mental health and general well-being than those who kept only routine notes about their days.
  • Patients with asymptomatic heart failure who kept gratitude journals experienced better mood, better sleep, less fatigue and less inflammation. 
  • Couples who recorded their feelings of appreciation for their partner's actions boosted happiness, romance and satisfaction in their relationships.
What I want to say? Buy a journal. Write at least few minutes every day. Simply list three or five things you are grateful for it. Enjoy a long, happy life.

Quote of the day

"The capacity to be alone is the capacity to know enough about yourself and who you are, and be comfortable enough with that."
( Sherry Turkle )

No comments

Friday, 29 April 2016

10 ways to have a better conversation

1. Don't multitask.
2. Don't pontificate.
3. Use open ended questions (What was that like? or How did you feel?)
4. Go with the flow.
5. If you don't know, say that you don't know.
6. Don't equate your experience with theirs.
7. Try not to repeat yourself.
8. Forget the details. Leave them out.
9. Listen.
10.Be brief.

Thursday, 28 April 2016

Quote of the day

"When we go inward and our heart is open, we will connect with the heart, and the heart will compel us to go outward and connect with others."
(Dr. James Doty - neurosurgeon)

A splendid description of how to point our focus inside-outside us. Most of the time we believe we are focusing on the outside world, but we are not. We are focusing inside, on the past or future experiences. And in doing this we miss everything. It is only one way to live, in the present, always connected to your emotions, to your heart. Try it, and you will transform.

Saturday, 23 April 2016

About forgiveness

There is a story about two old Jews that talked about their experience in Auschwitz. One asked another:
-Did you forgive your jailers?
-No, never. I cannot forgive them for what they done to me, the second answered.
-Then they still got you imprisoned, isn't it? said first Jew.

This little story will tell us a lot of forgiveness, and of the amazing abilities of the human race. They also point out that, if we keep thinking at revenge, or if we cannot forgive, it is mostly us that suffer the consequences of our negative way of thinking.

About meaning - the six fundamental human needs ( Mastery ep.02)

   There are six human needs - fundamental drives within each of us - that compel us forward in our effort to experience a life of meaning. There is no conscious effort, our will to satisfy these primal needs is automatic. 
   Four of them are so-called primal needs: certainty, uncertainty, significance and connection. The last two are spiritual needs: growth and contribution. 
   Certainty - everybody want stability about their basic necessities: food, shelter and material resources. When people cannot control their psychical circumstances, they may seek certainty through a state of mind (such as religious faith). 
   Uncertainty - people need to change their state, to exercise their body and emotions. Therefore they seek variety through a number of means: stimuli, change of scene, physical activity, mood swings, food etc.
   Significance - everybody needs to feel special and important in some way. People will seek significance through obtaining recognition from others or from themselves. When people feel insignificant, they make themselves feel significant by getting angry. 
   Connection - humans need to feel connected with someone or something: a person, an ideal, a value, a habit or a sense of identity. Connection may take form of love, or merely intense engagement, for instance one can feel connected by means of an aggressive interaction. 
   Growth - everything in the universe is either growing or dying, there is no third alternative. People are not spiritually satisfied unless their capacities are expanding.
   Contribution - Just as people cannot survive without others contributing in some way to their welfare (no baby grew up on its own), they cannot be spiritually fulfilled unless they are contributing to others as well. 
  People find ways to meet these needs in positive, negative or neutral ways, but every person finds a way to meet them in some way. Any activity, action or emotion that fulfill at least three needs at a high level becomes, in effect, an addiction. Likewise, people have positive, negative or neutral addictions. There is always a way to fulfill a need, the skill lies in finding a sustainable way to fulfill it, and in a way that gives us more pleasure than pain. 

Friday, 22 April 2016

About revenge and forgiveness

We have here some ideas from the expert Jack Kornfield (PhD in Buddhist psychology).

A. The desire for revenge is a built-in feature of human nature.
57 out of 60 (95%) societies examined have it. The presence of others will increase the chance of revenge (pride involved). If two men have and argument, the mere presence of a third person will double the chances for this to escalate.

B. The capacity for forgiveness is also a built-in feature of human nature.
93% of the societies examined have it. Most of animals, especially primates, have conciliatory gesture, except the cats (if you have a cat, you know this already).

C. To make the world a more forgiving , less vengeful place, do not try to change the human nature, change the world.
Raised in more conciliatory environment, you tend to become more conciliatory than is typical. What Mahatma Gandhi said "Be the change you want in the world!" was never more truthful than in this case.

If you want to give a try, check this link.

Thursday, 21 April 2016

Effective apologizing

For an apology to be effective, must satisfy at least one of this seven psychological needs of an offended person:

1. Restore dignity.
2. Affirm that both parties have shared values and agree that the harm committed was wrong.
3. Validates that the victim was not responsible for the offence.
4. Assures that the victim is safe from a repeat offence.
5. Reparative justice (some type of punishment).
6. Provides reparation (some form of compensation).
7.Fosters dialogue that allows victims to express their feelings toward the offender and even grieve the losses.

Now, with this in mind, search or remember the Abu Ghraib prison incident and find why the Arab countries were offended by the U.S public apology.

Five parts to an effective apology

The apology is the most common method of reconciling. It is also the most effective forms of resolving interpersonal conflicts. The apologizer will benefit from it, the research showing increased psychological health, increased positive emotions and what the experts call "authentic pride". The five parts to an effective apology are:

1. Express remorse, shame or/and humility.
2. Acknowledge the offence/ accept responsibility.
3. Offer empathy/explanation.
4. Undo harm: offer compensation/reparation.
5. Reassure that there is a low likelihood of recurrence.

Monday, 18 April 2016

Life is a joke

A Buddhist monk at the hot-dog stand:
- Make me one with everything!
He gave a 20 to the vendor and he was waiting. The vendor pocketed the money.
- The change come from within! he reply.

Sunday, 17 April 2016

Healing potion

Al Kidr said:
You are not broken.
You don't need to be fixed.
Even if sometimes
you identify yourself
with your self limiting beliefs,
your thoughts or your body,
you are not them.
You are an immortal being
Made of light.

I listen to his words and  become aware of my potential. I start a new chapter of my life. And then, in my mind, i hear the words of The Green One:

Now, I am the voice
I will lead, not follow
I will believe, not doubt
I will create, not destroy
I am a force for Good
I am a Leader
Defy the odds
Set up a new standard
Step up!

I assume the interplanetary command. We are ready now.

Saturday, 16 April 2016

About meaning ( Mastery ep.01)

Motto: Nothing in life has any meaning except the meaning you give it. 
(T. Robbins)

   Din you ever wonder what controls and determines the quality of our life? Why are you doing the things you do?We are shaped by our beliefs and our values, and doesn't matter if they are right or wrong. It is more important what we think, even if they are false for the rest of the world, if we believe it, they will be real for us. The meaning we give will shape us, and like the dog of Pavlov, we will manage to attach a set of emotions to every meaning and belief that it is important for us. And then we will limit ourselves to a set number of emotions. We will become predictable, encompassed in our routine. How our life will be? Depends, if we have the right beliefs and values, we will live a happy life, if we have the wrong beliefs and our values will be in conflict, we will suffer and self-sabotage. If we will have a mix of right and wrong beliefs and values (this being the case of the majority of us), we will have an ordinary life, with good and bad things happening to us. 

   Can we change all this, can we sort out the mess, and navigate towards a happy life, defined by excellency? Yes, we can and i will try to explain how we gonna make this changes, how to not be ruled by emotions, and how to use them as fuel, instead of being burned in a witch trial fire. By tampering with the bundle of emotions that are behind each meaning, we can define new ones and we can grow as a being. There are three ways to do that, three forces that can shape a meaning. First, we can do this being helped by physiology, how we use our physical body, such as breath, posture, movement, second, by changing focus, whatever you focus on, you will feel, and a method to change your focus is by asking better questions, which will lead to better answers, and third, by being aware of our language, because as soon as we put different words to an experience, it change the meaning we experience. 

I hope I made you curious, as i will continue with this ideas very soon. 

Have a wonderful end of the week,

Friday, 15 April 2016

About pain and its remnants

     Did you ever heard about John J. Bonica? Or maybe you know him by his wrestler name Johnny "Bull" Walker. You should know about him, as he is the guy that practically invented the pain relief, as we know today. He was a professional wrestler in summer holiday, and a doctor and a healer, for the other part of his life. He was one of the first that has claimed that pain is the most complex human experience. That it involves your past life, your current life, your interactions, your family. He invented anesthesiology. Later, he'd even go on to help develop the epidural, for delivering mothers. He influenced all the pioneers who developed the modern basis for pain management. And much more. This is one of the unknown heroes, whose names should be always remembered. 

Quote of the day

"They always say time changes things, but you actually have to change them yourself."
( Andy Warhol)

There is something deep here, and as much as i do not like Andy Warhol too much, he is right. We are not powerless beings, we are able to adapt and thrive, and by carefully changing our physiology, we can change our perception in a heartbeat. How we do that, this is a story for another time. But is it easy to learn, and we can all benefit from this kind of practice. 

Thursday, 14 April 2016

Few easy way to simplify your life

  • Read books often. Especially books about what are you interested. Learn from other's mistakes. This will save you time.
  • Make decisions and accept full responsibility for them, once you decided what to do. Good or bad. Don't be one of the weak people who blame external causes for their shortcoming. 
  • Remove all of your possessions that you do not need. Learn about minimalism. My rule is: If i did not use it in the last 12 months, i do not need it. 
  • Learn from the effort, not from the outcome. Sometimes the effort can be more valuable than the outcome. Failing many times can bring you close to Mastery. 
  • Plan your life. Always have a plan. But do not use check in lists, use goals and directions instead. 

Tuesday, 12 April 2016

A multipotentialite story - the art of achieving Mastery

Motto:“I think if you have ability and talent in one way, you have it in all ways. I’m not a jack of all trades; I’m a master of many. I don’t feel there is anything I can’t do if I want to.”
(Evel Knievel)

So, big news, very soon i will start a series of posts about reaching our full potential, based on my latest trainings and experiences, viewed through a multipotentialite's eyes. Yes, that will be me.

See you!

Monday, 11 April 2016

Quote of the day

"Being bored is an insult to your intelligence."
(Jules Renard)

No comments on this. I let your intelligence to draw the conclusions.

Sunday, 10 April 2016

How music changes your behavior at home

Playing music at home brings people physically closer. In an experiment done by neuroscientist Daniel Levitin, after starting to play your music of choice, in your own home, the average distance between household members decreased by 12%, people were 33% more likely to cook together, 85% more likely to invite people over, 15% more likely to laugh together and 18% more likely to say "I love you!". Couples reported 66% more intimacy, 37% more time spent "awake in bed". Music can induce emotions on the long term in the same way as coffee or alcohol, altering neurochemistry, but in a good, non-addictive process.

Saturday, 9 April 2016

Sound happy, feel happy

   According to a research done by the French National Centre for Scientific Research, manipulation of vocal emotion alter speakers' emotional status in a congruent direction. In translation, if you sound happier, you will soon feel happier and everyone around you will be happier. The voice affects your mood and everyone's else around you. 
   This is an important cue, that will make us more responsible, to be always aware of our tone and voice. We are now in charge, and we should never sound sad, fearful or depressed. 

Friday, 8 April 2016

The power of touch

Today I will write about 10 unknown benefits of hugging and cuddling.
1. Releases oxytocin.
2. Boosts your immune system.
3. Relieves pain.
4. Helps deepen your relationships.
5. Can lead to more sex.
6. Helps women bond.
7. Reduces social anxiety.
8. Reduces stress.
9. Lowers your risk of heart disease.
10. It is not limited by your romantic partner. Hugging a friend, cuddling with your pet or even having a warm bath or massage will do the trick, warm and connected by some sort of touch is enough.

Thursday, 7 April 2016

Silence is golden, and silvery some times

Noise pollution is a modern plague. We are living in an ocean of countless stimuli and this has adverse effects on our health. Here are some of the reasons to rejoice in silence, being it for 10 minutes daily or one week of silence retreat every year. Why should we seek silence?

1. Silence relieves stress and tension. (Research from 2004 - Craig Zimring -) Two minutes of silence are more relaxing than 30 minutes of listening relaxing music. Time saving too.
2. Silence replenishes our mental resources. Continuous sensory input will deplete our attention resources, we will become distracted and mentally fatigued, struggling to focus, solve problems and being creative. The brain can restore its finite cognitive resources when we are in environments with lower levels of sensory input (the attention restoration theory).
3. In silence, we can tap into the brain's default mode network. Engaging this network helps us to make meaning out of our experiences, empathize with others, be more creative and think deeply.
4. Getting quiet can regenerate brain cells. A 2003 study (Effects of auditory stimuli and their absence on adult hippocampal neurogenesis - Kirste/Walker/Liu) found that two hours of silence led to development of new cells in hippocampus. This could be therapeutic for conditions like depression and Alzheimer's, conditions associated with decreased rates of neuron regeneration in the hippocampus.

Wednesday, 6 April 2016

Queen Amygdala and the war of stars

   Today we will explore a bio-hack opportunity to improve our nervous system response to the negative and positive things. We will go through some of the recent researches related to amygdala - a small almond-shaped region of the brain. Until recently, the scientists were seeing amygdala as the fear center of the brain, always on lookout for potential threats. Increased activity of this region was linked to depression and anxiety, however, less was known about how amygdala is responding to positive stimuli, and how this activity is relating to feeling positive emotions. 
   William Cuningham (University of Toronto) and Alexander Todorov (Princeton University) explored these new hypotheses. They've discovered that amygdala is implicated in human connection, compassion and happiness. According to their research, the happiest people do not ignore threats. They just might be better at seeing the good. In a fMRI study done last year, Cunningham and his colleagues found that negative images provoke amygdala activity, as expected. But  positive images did as well - but only when the participants were explicitly told to focus on them. This research suggest that people may be able to compensate for their tendency to focus on threats, on negativity, by consciously trying to focus more on the positive ("given the proper ability and motivation, they can show the same sensitivity to positive stimuli", as they automatically do to negative stimuli). Another study that included Cunningham and Todorov, to be published this year, found that amygdala may also be the "heart of compassion", as activity spiked when participants perceived people in need. This was especially true for participants who scored high on empathy. Added to other research that linked the ability to connect with and help others to personal wellbeing, all these studies suggest that humans posses a compassionate instinct that exists even in parts of the brain that are referred as primitive or reptilian. 
   Cuningham and Kirkland sought to determine whether the amygdala of happier people respond differently to positive and negative stimuli when compared with less-happy people. The researchers found that happier people have greater amygdala activation in response to positive stimuli, but they did not have a decreased response to negative ones, as would be predicted by the "rose-colored glasses" theory. 
   It seems that even at a very deep, instinctive level, we are wired to see people in need and help each other out, and that doing so might help us to be happy. 

Quote of the day

"Let death be what take us, not a lack of imagination."
Dr. B.J.Miller

Seems a bit dramatic, but it is a hidden truth in today's quote. How many times did you hear or you think yourself: "This is not a life!". You were thinking that life can be better than this, that you wanted much more, that you dreamed about so many aspects of your life. Once we stop dreaming, once we are not creative enough, we die inside. An ancient text of wisdom said that sometime people die before their death, and life finish long before you die. This is how i see it. Do not close off to the other people, open yourself and embrace all the nuances of emotions and feelings that are already in your life. Live!

Tuesday, 5 April 2016

How to become more positive in just one month

1. Get more positive reference experience
2. Spend time outside, in nature, in order to avoid being inside all the time.
3. Stop seeking approval, do not worry about others' disapproval of your actions, take responsibility for what you want to do and do it.
4. Take yourself less seriously, ignore your worries, anxieties and confusions if they are related to a possible future.
5. Exercise. Do not be lazy, have a weekly routine and stick with it. Mood elevation, happiness hormones and many other benefits adds up to the physiological ones.
6. Eat healthy. Do not eat like an automaton, think about, improve the quality of your meals, make a strategy when you are doing your weekly shopping.
7. Track your progress. When you start this month of personal improvement, take a new notebook and write in it daily a detailed report of your efforts. You motivation will increase dramatically after one month when you will read and see the progress.
8. Meditate of just take time for yourself, when you watch the clouds, contemplate the river or something similar. Silence is good also, I will post a short text about it soon.

Monday, 4 April 2016

Quote of the day

"All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing."
(Edmund Burke)

According to the research of Phil Zimbardo (Stanford Prison experiment ring a bell?), 5% of the people act as evil doers, 5% of the people transform in heroes, and the remaining 90% are just passive bystanders. They are the ones that can change the world, if we can tip the balance towards a heroic attitude. And the difference is done by one thing only, action. We can all be sympathetic, we can all feel empathy when someone is in pain, or is not treated right, but empathy plus action equals compassion. And sustaining compassion actions with every occasion, even if you got something to loose, this is heroism. Let's change the world together.

Want to know how?
You can begin here, on this website. Learn. Act. Surpass your yesterday Self.

Kind regards

Sunday, 3 April 2016

Novelties, boundaries and other surprises

What it is this about? You gonna find soon. Very soon. I have some interesting facts and conclusions to write about, as soon as i'll have some free time. Silence, flow, how to use a bow, perfect worlds, childlike eyes and something nice.

Keep in touch!

Friday, 1 April 2016

How it randomly happen to find the best world to live or why i like to offer flowers

The question for today is:
Can we make a better world for everyone?

The answer is:
Yes. And i will give you not one, but two examples to prove it.

First hint is from a research called "Cooperative behavior cascades in human social networks", made by James Fowler and Nicholas Christakis. The discovered that random acts of kindness have a ripple effect, spreading not by one degree, as it was expected, but by three degrees, in a social network - from a person to person to person to person. Each person in a network can influence dozens or even hundreds of people, some of whom he or she does not know and has not meet. Conclusion is: Be good, become the change you want in the world and the our world will become your world you want to live in.

Second example treat the feeling known as elevation, that warm uplifting feeling we get when we witness someone else good deed. Jonathan Haidt at first, and Simone Schnall later, both researched and found that elevation leads to altruistic behavior. The more will witness your good deed, the better world will become. Witnessing another person's altruistic behavior elicits elevation, a discrete emotion that , in turn, leads to tangible increases in altruism.

You can think about at least few occasions when you witnessed or feel it, and maybe this will make you more prepared to be kind with others. We can bring magic in our life, and other's, we only need to act. That's it!

Have a nice day!


Basic bioengineering - Improving ourselves as we build our Iron-Man suit

We live in an instant gratification society. Basically all our problem derive from our inability to manage pleasure. Obesity, smoking, drinking, superficiality, any other major dilemma of this millennium you can think about, all of them come from our on-demand culture. We are learning very slow when is about long term gratification. Going to the gym for 12 months, learning that psychology class for the next semester, you name it, all of these are very hard to approach and finish. We want to do it, for real, but motivation slowly dissipates and we fall back to our previous habits. Bad habits, most of them. But what you need to know is that you can modify your responses, you can learn to ignore that momentary bursts of dopamine resulting from our instant gratification. We can learn to build a character, to focus and improve our self-control. Discipline will lead to extraordinary achievement. But it will not happen over night. You need to start small. To commit. And here come the third ingredient. Consistency. I will give you an example of this kind of challenge. You tried a lot of diets, you wanted to have a better body, went to gym 5 times a week for a month. And then stopped. Let me tell you how you can do it. Go to gym only 3 times a week. But instead of training blindly, make a plan. And commit to 1.5 hours of training. Do not slack, just do it and have a rest day after. In the same time, start to eat more healthy. Do not change your diet drastically, just eat in a smaller plate, and drink a lot of liquids every day. Exchange the unhealthy meals with better options. At least one every meal, for the first month. Two in the second month. Three substitutions in the third month. Have popcorn instead of crisps. Fruits instead of sweets. Boil instead of frying. Try a veggie burger. Change will come slowly. And then, after three months, the magic moment will come. Your body will be changed. Not much, you will not look like an elite athlete. But something will change, and you will be able to see it. Same as writing. If you want to write a book, the easiest way is to be consistent. Write every day. 2 pages or 10, it is entirely your choice. But do it daily. Sometimes you suck, but now and then you will have something good. Give yourself three months, and then read what you wrote. Join them together, your best texts. And here you are, the improved version of you.

Give yourself a chance! A real chance.

Good luck.