Tag: Neuroscience

3 Key Techniques on How to Train Your Subconscious Mind

Subconscious Mind - Consciousness

Subconscious mind is that part of the brain that functions 24/7, but we essentially do not notice it. It holds a plethora of information that we may come across just once, but our brain processes it in our subconscious state of mind. This part of the brain does wonders to those who know precisely how to use it in a positive way. Don’t be wary of its power to bring changes in your life.

The Invisible Hand

There are billions of people in this world and all are different in one way or the other. However, there are areas where people also familiarize others. For instance, some people look similar, some study the same discipline, some are financially equivalent, and some struggle for similar desires and ambitions. You can find many people who are similar in every manner yet lead totally different lives.

It’s not hard to find two or more people who possess the same academic qualification, intelligence level, and goals in life. Nevertheless, the lives of each are likely to be significantly different from the rest of the people in the group. The underlying reasons behind variations in lifestyle and success/failure can be numerous. For instance, their social network, financial background, external stimuli or opportunities, luck, physical appearance, or maybe an invisible hand could be the reason.

One thing that is common in almost every successful person is his/her belief. They empower themselves with self-control, motivation, willpower, and discipline. Believing that you are entitled to success is not wrong if you keep working hard to achieve success. Wealth, fame, position, and peace of mind cannot be gifted to you, so you must admit that internal drive to achieve your goals is one big factor that can make your dreams come true.

Your subconscious mind is that powerful internal drive!

In order to use your subconscious mind and to make the most of its incredible power, you must know how to train your subconscious mind. Though it may be a bit challenging in the very beginning, you will develop the habit of working as per the required conditions.

#1

The first step is to train your subconscious mind to solve problems. This is basically an attempt to improve your analytical skills. Whenever confronted with a problem which you cannot figure out the possible solution to, let your subconscious mind assume your conscious mind’s responsibility. All you need to do is to think about the problem for a while. You can also write a problem statement and keep reviewing it for a few minutes.

Instill the thought that you want your subconscious mind to derive out the possible solution to the problem. Now stop thinking about the problem altogether and just continue with routine tasks. A solution will eventually click in your mind within a few days; try it as it is highly likely to work out for you. This is how your subconscious mind helps you in resolving problems.

You can also go the other way around. Review the problem, think about alternative solutions, evaluate and weigh each one of them in terms of their respective pros and cons. Now stop thinking about it until your subconscious mind processes all alternatives to bring out the best option for you. Your analytical skills improve over time and with use.

#2

Meditation holds importance with reference to training your subconscious mind. Get inspired by new beliefs, think about new ideas, and learn to believe in yourself. Meditation will help you achieve desired levels of mental focus and concentration so that you can gain cognitive power. It also enables you to enjoy the present, while planning for the future.

#3

Repeated visualization is extremely effective in training your subconscious mind to enable you to accomplish targets. Set exciting goals, be passionate about them, and imagine the end objective on frequent basis like thrice a day or so. Your mind will then accept the visualization as a part of reality and you will start working to achieve the set goals.

How To Go 12 Months With No Alcohol And Come Back A Champion

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I’ve been completely sober now for twelve months. People keep asking me how an earth I did it. They had questions like how do you be social, how do you relax, how do you have fun, etc. All you need to go twelve months without alcohol and come back a champion are these seven simple steps.

 

1. Chunk it down

Initially, I told myself I was giving up for one month; then it became three months, then twelve months, and now I have completed a year, and I know I can give it up forever. If you want to give up alcohol for at least twelve months, then you have to chunk down the milestones.

Starting at twelve months won’t work because it’s too long. You need to have a few quick wins along the way and then once the twelve months comes around, you’ll realise that excessive drinking is for retards who are going nowhere in life, and are trying to escape their current circumstances – that’s not you.

 

2. Have a higher purpose

Not something small but something that is revolutionary. Start saying no to drinking nights regularly even though your friends and colleagues might be upset. In the beginning, it will be hard and you will feel lonely. You will feel like an outcast with no friends who can’t have fun anymore.

When you finish your work at the end of the week, go home early, and then wake up early the next day. When your friend’s text you to say how good their night was last night, just put the phone down and start working on your dream straight away.

As Saturday night comes around, have dinner with your friends and then leave when they all head to the bar. Go home, and work on your dream. When you are absolutely exhausted from all the work that night, go outside for a moment, look up, and see the stars.

Blue shining vector star with dust tail

See the one that is shining the brightest and realise that is you. Get your mind to understand that not drinking is the way for you to achieve everything you have ever wanted. Tell yourself that cold winter’s night that you were destined to do bigger things.

Seek comfort in knowing that you are not missing out on anything, and you are doing what you have always wanted. On Sunday, go to the market and try buying some vegetables. Come home, and eat them or juice them. Notice how freaking good you feel.

Ask yourself the question, what if I could feel this all the time? For the rest of your day keep working on your dream even when those around you think you’re nuts. Just before it get’s dark, make some tea, go outside, and watch the sunset.

Reflect on how great your day has been and how you have turned your circumstances around. As the yellow and orange from the sun shines on your face, commit to being in greater control of your life and notice how you are starting to feel more powerful each day.

Notice the champion beginning to awaken within you. As your phone alarm clock goes off for the start of Monday morning, wake up full of energy and go to your income-producing activity with a smile on your face. Even if everyone around you has a negative look on their face, smile at them.

Once your computer has booted up, go somewhere quiet, and do five minutes of meditation with the Calm app. Realise how easy it is to bring yourself back to the present. Remember how your thoughts used to be before you began meditating.

At lunchtime, get off your ass and go for a walk to find a healthy option to have for lunch. Forget all the people trying to call your phone and just have some time for you. On the way home, stop to fill up with petrol.

When you see a heroin addict getting ready to rob the store, warn the nice lady who always tries to serve customers with a smile. When she asks why you care, just tell her that you do and smile again. Get back in your car and drive home with the latest personal development podcast that you downloaded the week before.

Think about what your life was like before you discovered Tony Robbins and just how miserable alcohol made you when you tried to forget about your current circumstances. Remember all the girls you hooked up with when you were drunk and how none of them actually cared about you, and it was just the fake effects of the alcohol that made it all happen.

Hone in your thoughts to focus on how your life has become nothing more than you, your dream, eating healthy, meditating, and giving to others.

My Last Time Drinking With Andrew MorelloOn Monday night, check out your Instagram account and see the photo of the last time you had an alcoholic beverage and be proud of yourself. Know that it was your thoughts and your dream that created this new reality.

Before you go to bed, stay up an extra hour and write a blog post like this so you can share your experiences with the world to help them with their own struggle with alcohol. Picture that Tim Ferriss is reading your blog post and that he would be proud of who you’ve become.

Visualise other game-changing human beings also reading this same blog post and waiting for you to get better at your craft. Visualise how great it will be when the world discovers your true talent which has nothing to do with alcohol or the losers you meet at the bar who are still trying to escape.

At 9 pm, tell yourself it’s time for bed and then stop yourself, and go back to your computer so you can create a design contest online for the purpose of creating your new ebook cover. Be excited about how good the design is going to look and how your dream is to inspire millions of people.

Make the act of inspiring others more important than everything else you do. In the coming weeks, when times get tough, think of what it’s going to be like standing on stage and sharing your story with thousands of people.

Take your mind into the future and picture yourself watching a movie that has been made about your life because you didn’t let alcohol win and you became a champion that everyone will remember. When you wake up on Tuesday, turn on your computer and see the email you have been waiting for that makes all of those sober days worthwhile. See the email that is your dream coming to life.

Realise you have now come back a champion!

 

3. Stop suppressing your thoughts

Booze is used mostly as a form of escape. This need for an escape is caused by the suppression of negative thoughts and one’s current life circumstances. Come to terms with your reality and make it a must to grow every single day. Booze will quickly become boring – trust me.

Then, when you work on yourself every day and find ways to have more positive thoughts than negative ones, there’s nothing to suppress anymore. Alcohol becomes a way to suppress positive thoughts, and you’ll realise pretty quickly that’s the last thing you want.

 

4. Find other ways to reward yourself for hard work

Alcohol is often used as a reward for hard work. What I found, and what you’ll find, is there are other ways to reward yourself. During my hiatus from alcohol I took up eating at my favorite restaurant Vegie Bar, drankThe-Vegie-Bardelicious Chinese tea, and traveled the world.

These options are so much better than booze. Since quitting alcohol I have 10X’d my results further by giving up caffeine. Caffeine does us no favours, and I have since fell in love with “Caffeine Free Teas” that taste just as good as regular tea.

 

5. You’ll have more money

Booze is expensive nowadays. In Australia, it’s pretty easy for me to blow $150-$200 on alcohol with my eyes closed. It’s expensive and useless at the same time. A better use for the money is to put it into starting an online business or your next travel adventure (that’s what I did and you can too).

 

6. Think of the time you will get back

Boozy nights don’t just take up your time while you’re drinking. Drinking typically takes six hours or more to get into a dehydrated enough state that you feel drunk. At the end of the six hours, you will go on a downward spiral followed by either vomiting or sleep.

The next day you will try to wake up and probably decide to sleep a few extra hours because you feel strangely tired (I wonder why). When you do finally wake up your head will weigh more than those unused gym weights sitting in your garage that you swear you will regularly lift one day.

For the next few days, you will function, but you won’t feel overly productive – you’re basically doing a half-assed job at your work. Then, as if by magic, you will get a (insert illness here), and start taking medicine that makes you more sick.

Before you know it, two weeks will pass, and you will have got jack all done. That’s motivation to quit alcohol right there. Having all this time back in your life could completely change your circumstances and your success. I promise you booze is the problem for you right now.

 

7. Be a high performer

As I sped past those around me in terms of performance, I became motivated in a different way. High performers typically are not trying to escape life; they are trying to live life at the highest level. Most people that were around me when I gave up booze had no idea about my entrepreneurial background which gave me a taste of peak performance.

These same people didn’t know my one secret; personal development. That’s how you excel through the ranks and outperform everyone. Once you realise this, you will see that booze is the anchor that’s keeping you at the bottom of the ocean with the algae, where it’s dark and lonely.

 

Author: Tim Denning

Source: Addicted to success

The Truth About The Left Brain / Right Brain Relationship

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Sometimes ideas that originate in science seep out into the broader culture and take on a life of their own. It’s still common to hear people referred to as “anal,” a Freudian idea that no longer has much currency in contemporary psychology. Ideas like black holes and quantum leaps play a metaphorical role that’s only loosely tethered to their original scientific meanings.

What about the idea that some people are more right-brained and others more left-brained? Or that there’s a distinctive analytic and verbal style of thinking associated with the left hemisphere of the brain, and a more holistic, creative style associated with the right? Are these scientific facts or cultural fictions?

An infographic reproduced just last month at Lifehack.org, for example, promises to explain “why you act the way you do” by revealing “which side of your brain you tend to use more.” An article at Oprah.com explains “how to tap into right-brain thinking.” And decades of research using behavioral and neuro-scientific techniques do reveal fascinating and systematic differences across brain regions.

On the other hand, some recent headlines challenge the left brain / right brain dichotomy. One highly publicized paper, summarized at The Guardian, failed to find evidence that individuals tend to have stronger left- or right-sided brain networks. A new book by Stephen M. Kosslyn and G. Wayne Miller argues that the left / right brain divide is largely bogus, and should instead be replaced by a top brain / bottom brain distinction.

So while there’s something deeply compelling about the clear-cut, right-brain versus left-brain classification (or is that just my left hemisphere speaking?), we have good reasons for skepticism. The real story, as you might expect, is a bit more complicated — but arguably more interesting — than the infographics and popular headlines seem to suggest.

To get a clearer picture of what we do and don’t know about hemispheric brain differences in humans, I was fortunate to have an opportunity to interview a leading cognitive neuroscientist, Kara D. Federmeier, whose research focuses on language, memory and hemispheric asymmetries throughout the lifespan. Dr. Federmeier is a professor of psychology at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where she’s also affiliated with the Neurosciences Program and The Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology. (And, full disclosure, she was also one of my first scientific mentors and co-authors.)

One idea that’s often heard in popular discussions of psychology is that the left brain is the seat of language and more “logical,” while the right brain is more creative. Is there any truth to this idea?

One problem with answering this question is that we would first have to agree on what “logical” and “creative” even mean. So let’s consider a (relatively) more well-defined case: math skills, which are often taken to be part of what the “logical” left hemisphere would be good at.

There are different kinds of math skills, ranging from being able to estimate which of two sets of things has a greater number of items, to counting, to various types of calculations. Research shows that, overall, the abilities that make up math skills arise from processing that takes place in BOTH hemispheres (especially the brain area in each hemisphere that is known as the intraparietal sulcus) and that damage to either hemisphere can cause difficulties with math. A left hemisphere advantage for math is mostly seen for tasks like counting and reciting multiplication tables, which rely heavily on memorized verbal information (thus, not exactly what we think of as “logical”!). And there are right hemisphere advantages on some math-related tasks as well, especially estimating the quantity of a set of objects. This kind of pattern, in which both hemispheres of the brain make critical contributions, holds for most types of cognitive skills. It takes two hemispheres to be logical – or to be creative.

The claim that the left hemisphere is the seat of language, however, is a little different. That idea comes from observations that damage to the left hemisphere (for example, due to a stroke) is often associated with difficulties producing language, a problem known as aphasia. Similar damage to the right hemisphere is much less likely to cause aphasia. In fact, for most people, the left hemisphere does play a much more important role in the ability to speak than the right hemisphere does.

However, this does not mean that the right hemisphere is “nonverbal.” My laboratory studies the hemispheres’ ability to comprehend (rather than produce) language, and we, like others, have shown that both hemispheres can figure out the meaning of words and sentences – and that they have differing strengths and weaknesses when it comes to comprehending. So, like other complex skills, the ability to understand what we read or what someone is saying to us requires both hemispheres, working together and separately.

Early studies of hemispheric asymmetries often relied on “split-brain” patients who had the corpus callosum — the bundle of neural fibers that connects the two hemispheres — severed as a treatment for severe epilepsy. In such studies, information could be provided to a single hemisphere at a time by presenting people with input to one side of the visual field, since the right visual field is processed by the left hemisphere, and vice versa.

Your lab uses contemporary neuro-scientific techniques, such as measures of brain wave activity (EEG and ERP) to investigate hemispheric asymmetries, and typically does so in individuals with intact brains. How do you do so, and do your findings corroborate or challenge earlier inferences made from the behavior of split-brain patients?

We actually use the same basic technique, known as “visual half field presentation.”

As an aside, I should point out that many times people misunderstand and think that each EYE is connected to a different hemisphere. That’s not true. (It would make our studies so much easier if it were, since we could just ask people to close one eye!) Instead, half of the information coming into each eye goes to each of the hemispheres, with the result, as you point out, that if you are looking forward, things you see to the right of where you are looking are being picked up initially by your left hemisphere and things to the left by your right hemisphere.

To look at hemispheric differences, we ask our participants, who are usually either college students or retired adults, to look at the center of the screen. We then display words (or pictures, or other types of stimuli) fairly rapidly – so people can’t move their eyes fast enough to fixate them directly – to the left or the right side of a computer screen. By comparing how people respond (for example, whether they can accurately remember a word) when it was processed first by the left hemisphere versus by the right hemisphere, we can test ideas about what each hemisphere is capable of and whether one hemisphere has better, or different, abilities compared to the other.

Often, we also measure brain electrical activity in these experiments because that provides rich information about how processing is unfolding over time: we can track what happens as the eyes send information to visual processing areas in the brain, as people pay attention to a word, access its meaning from memory, and add this new information into their unfolding understanding of a sentence, and as people, in some cases, decide how to respond and then prepare to press a button to register their response. With electrophysiological measures we can thus find out not only THAT the two hemispheres do something different but WHEN and HOW.

In general, the kinds of hemispheric differences that were uncovered in split-brain patients have been replicated (and then extended) using these techniques in people with intact brains. This sometimes surprises people, including my fellow cognitive neuroscientists. The idea that the two hemispheres perceive things differently, attach different significance to things, obtain different meanings from stimuli, and, sometimes, make different decisions about what to do seems like it should be an exotic side effect of the split-brain condition. When the hemispheres are connected, don’t they just share all the information and operate in a unified fashion?

The answer is, no, they don’t.

They don’t, in part, because they can’t. Processing within each hemisphere relies on a rich, dense network of connections. The corpus callosum that connects the hemispheres is big for a fiber tract, but it is tiny compared to the network of connections within each hemisphere. Physically, then, it doesn’t seem feasible for the hemispheres to fully share information or to operate in a fully unified fashion. Moreover, in a lot of cases, keeping things separate is (literally!) the smarter way for the hemispheres to function. Dividing up tasks and allowing the hemispheres to work semi-independently and take different approaches to the same problem seems to be a good strategy for the brain … just as it often is in a partnerships between people.

It makes sense to have specialized brain regions, just as it makes sense to have divisions of labor in other areas of life. But why have specialized hemispheres? In other words, do you think there’s something general that can be said about the sorts of processing that occur in the left hemisphere versus the right hemisphere, or is each simply a constellation of somewhat distinct, specialized regions?

Specifically how and why the hemispheres differ remains a mystery. They are actually remarkably similar physically, and this is one reason I think that studying hemispheric differences is critical for the field.

Over the past decade or so, a lot of effort has been put into “mapping” the human brain – that is, linking areas that differ anatomically (have different inputs, outputs, types or arrangements of neurons, and/or neuropharmacology) to different functions. From this, we hope we can learn something about how and why these anatomical differences matter. However, in doing this, the field has also uncovered a lot of hemispheric asymmetries – cases in which, for example, a left hemisphere brain area becomes active and its right hemisphere homologue (with the SAME basic inputs, outputs, etc.) is much less active (or vice versa). This should really surprise us: here are two brain areas that are essentially the same on all the dimensions the field is used to thinking about, yet they behave strikingly differently. There must be physical differences between them, of course – but then, this means that those “subtle” differences are much more critical for function than the field has appreciated.

My own view is that studies of hemispheric differences will help to move the field away from thinking in terms of mapping functions onto localized brain areas. I believe that cognitive functions arise from dynamically configured neural networks. On this view, the role played by any given brain area is different depending on the state of the network of which it is currently a part, and how activity unfolds over time often matters more than where it is in the brain.

Why do the hemispheres differ? I think it is because even small differences in something like the strength with which areas are connected can lead to very different dynamic patterns of activation over time – and thus different functions. For language comprehension in particular, my work has shown that left hemisphere processing is more influenced by what are sometimes called “top-down” connections, which means that the left hemisphere is more likely to predict what word might be coming up next and to have its processing affected by that prediction. The right hemisphere, instead, shows more “feedforward” processing: it is less influenced by predictions (which can make its processing less efficient) but then more able to later remember details about the words it encountered. Because of what is likely a difference (possibly small) in the efficacy of particular connections within each hemisphere, the same brain areas in the two interact differently, and this leads to measurable and important asymmetries in how words are perceived, linked to meaning, remembered, and responded to.

This is unlikely to be the only difference between the hemispheres, of course. But I think the answer to your question is that what we see across the pattern of asymmetries is neither a random collection of unrelated differences nor divisions based on one or even a small set of functional principles (e.g., the left hemisphere is “local” and the right hemisphere is “global” … another popular one). Rather, some of the underlying biology is skewed, and this has far reaching consequences for the kinds of patterns that can be set up over time in the two hemispheres, leading to sets of functional differences that we can hopefully eventually link systematically to these underlying biological causes, and thereby deepen our understanding of how the brain works.

What’s surprised you most about the hemispheric asymmetries you’ve found (or failed to find!) in your own research?

One of my favorite findings came from an experiment in which we used adjectives to change the meaning of the same noun. For example, the word “book” in “green book” refers to something concrete – that is, something for which it is easy to create a mental image. However, given “interesting book” people now usually think about the content of the book rather than its physical form, so the same word has become more “abstract” in meaning.

A lot of research shows that concrete and abstract words are processed differently in the brain. We wanted to see if those differences could be found for exactly the same word depending on what it was referring to, and whether the two hemispheres were similarly affected by concreteness. We found in this experiment, as we had previously in many others, that the left hemisphere is very sensitive to the predictability of word combinations. Fewer nouns can go with “green” than with “interesting,” and brain activity elicited in response to “book” reflected this when the words were presented initially to the left hemisphere.

However, to our surprise, it was the right hemisphere that elicited imagery-related brain activity to “green book” compared to “interesting book.” Thus, although the left hemisphere is clearly important for language processing, the right hemisphere may play a special role in creating the rich sensory experience that often accompanies language comprehension … and that makes reading such a pleasure.

Another popular idea is that some people are more “left brained” and others more “right brained.” Is there any evidence for individual differences in the extent to which people rely on one hemisphere versus another? More generally, what kinds of individual differences do you see in hemispheric specialization?

There are certainly individual differences in hemispheric specialization across people, but they are very difficult to reliably determine. Where this matters most is in medical contexts: when people are going to have brain surgery (e.g., for epilepsy or tumor resection), physicians would like to make sure that in removing certain brain tissue they are not going to disrupt critical functions like language.

As I mentioned already, most of the time the left hemisphere is more important for speaking, for example, but that isn’t true in absolutely everyone. In order to determine if a person’s left or right hemisphere is more important for their language production, physicians use things like the WADA test, in which a barbiturate is injected into one hemisphere to temporarily shut it down, allowing the physician to see what each hemisphere can do on its own. This is obviously a very invasive test (and not perfect at that). If it were possible to instead figure out whether someone relied more on their left or right hemisphere by having them look at a spinning figure or answer a few questions, that would obviously be preferable … but it doesn’t work.

There are, of course, differences in how people learn and think, what they like, and what they are like (although, since everyone’s brain is different, I think the similarities are actually more surprising than the differences). Some of these differences may arise because of individual differences in how the hemispheres are organized or which hemisphere tends to be used in particular circumstances. Given that the hemispheres do operate somewhat independently, the question of how their independent processing is eventually combined and/or which hemisphere gets to “take control” of processing for a particular task is one that we are only beginning to understand. (In some cases, split-brain patients’ hands – one controlled by each hemisphere – literally fought for control of a particular task; it is intriguing to imagine that kind of struggle routinely taking place internally for everyone else!)

However, it seems safe to say that for the most part we all use both sides of our brains almost all the time. We do know a few factors that influence how functions are lateralized and how much they are lateralized. For example, having a “reversed” laterality (with, for example, control of speech in the right rather than the left hemisphere) is more likely for left-handed than right-handed people (although it is important not to overgeneralize from this: the vast majority of left-handed people have the typical lateralization pattern). Moreover, differences have been seen among right-handed people depending on whether or not they have left-handed biological relatives; this is something my lab is beginning to explore. Again, small biological shifts, caused in part by (complex) genetic differences, can lead to different functional patterns, including whether a function tends to be very lateralized or accomplished by both hemispheres.

I will end with one last fact about hemispheric differences that many people may not be aware of, and that is that lateralization of function changes with normal aging. The kinds of lateralized patterns of brain activity I mentioned earlier when talking about brain mapping studies are more common in young adults. Across many types of tasks and many brain areas, these lateralized patterns tend to switch to bilateral patterns in healthy older adults.

Is this because older adults have better learned how to be both logical AND creative? Maybe :-). It is actually difficult to know when this kind of a shift is helpful – for example, bringing extra processing resources to bear on a task to compensate for age-related declines in function – versus when it might be a sign that the brain is simply less good at maintaining a healthy division of labor. Understanding hemispheric specialization is thus also important for discovering ways to help us all maintain better cognitive functioning with age. This is something my laboratory actively investigates, aided by support from the National Institute of Aging as well as the James S. McDonnell Foundation.

Finally, can you recommend any accessible resources for readers who want to learn more about hemispheric asymmetries?

My own interest in hemispheric differences was sparked, in part, by books like Left Brain, Right Brain by Sally Springer and Georg Deutsch and Hemispheric Asymmetry: What’s Right and What’s Left by Joseph Hellige. These are accessible books written by scientists and well-grounded in the research – although both books are now more than a decade old, so don’t reflect current developments in the field. Unfortunately, I don’t know of more recent books that are comparably reliable and accessible.

Some readers may be interested to read journal articles on the topic. For example, I drew some of my information about math and the hemispheres from the article, “Arithmetic and the brain” by Stanislas Dehaene, Nicolas Molko, Laurent Cohen and Anna J Wilson in the journal Current Opinion in Neurobiology (2004; Volume 14, pages 218-224). For those interested in language, I (with coauthors Edward Wlotko and Aaron Meyer) have written a fairly accessible review called “What’s “right” in language comprehension: ERPs reveal right hemisphere language capabilities” published in Language and Linguistics Compass (2008;

Volume 2, pages 1-17).

9 Mental Habits That Will Turn You Bitter Over Time.

Over the course of our lives, we run across all types of people—and the fact that we’re prone to classifying them as “types” shows just how much we tend to believe that people are certain ways by nature. The truth is, many aspects of our personalities and emotional make-ups are brought on over time by the psychological habits we have adopted: the ways in which we interpret events, the thoughts that run through our heads like clockwork, and the explanations we give ourselves for how the world works. Few people would endorse wanting to become bitter and negative human beings, and yet it’s not an uncommon sight to see, especially for people who have experienced more than their share of tough times. Want to have a more hopeful and optimistic outlook on life? See if you can diminish the following mental habits, and go from there.

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1) Not forgiving others. Many people equate forgiveness with forgetting that something happened altogether or saying that it was okay that it did. That’s not what forgiveness is about. And many people claim that they have forgiven someone for something, and yet in reality, they have not. What real forgiveness means is allowing yourself to be free from the resentment of having been wronged, to accept that something has occurred and to believe that you deserve to move on from it. It’s to declare your independence from perseverating on how to get revenge on another person, to stop dwelling on how to make them “make up for it” and continuing to let that corrode your emotional well-being. It is letting go in its healthiest, truest sense. Forgiveness doesn’t minimize the wrongness of someone’s actions. It just allows you to no longer be hurt by them. Forgiveness is associated with reduced depression, stress, and hostility, and improved self-esteem and even physical health. When you look at its benefits, you’ll see it’s about being kind to yourself, not doing a favor for someone else.

2) Not forgiving yourself. Even more kind is allowing yourself to move on from your own mistakes. Regret, embarrassment, shame, and guilt from a single mistake can haunt you for years. And the ensuing negative thoughts, stress, and pessimistic outlook on life can create a dynamic where you view the world in a bitter way—all because you feel like you are unworthy of feeling okay. In fact, forgiving yourself has been shown to help reduce feelings of depression. If you find yourself plagued by thoughts of past mistakes, start noticing and exploring them. When are they at their worst? What feelings do they bring on? What makes them go away? If you are locked in a never-ending fight with the thoughts, trying to “reason” your way out of them, see if instead you can learn to accept their presence without endorsing their meaning. “I’m having the thought again about the time I really was cruel to my parents. Hi, thought. I hear you there. You can’t hurt me right now, though, because I’m deciding what to have for lunch.”

3) All-or-none thinking. It is amazing how frequently all-or-none thinking seems to underlie such a variety of unhealthy psychological states. From panic to low self-esteem, from perfectionism to hopelessness, it is not uncommon to uncover hidden and not-so-hidden patterns of this dysfunctional thinking in my clients when they are struggling with a negative worldview. What all-or-none thinking does, by its very definition, is make your outlook on life more rigid. It magnifies negativity by making it appear bigger than it really is. It keeps your mind focusing on what’s gone wrong rather than what’s gone right, and it sets you up to see the bad in people, things, and life more often than the good. See if you can catch yourself making this mistake in daily life. Are you inherently uncomfortable with shades of gray, and do you prefer things to be more black-and-white? That might be good for organizing a closet, but when it comes to how you process bad things happening, it can hurt you.

4) Holding others to a higher standard than you hold yourself. When you are constantly disappointed and annoyed with people around you, it could mean that you are having an unlucky break and not being treated the way you deserve. It could also mean that you are choosing ill-fitting people to accompany you throughout life. Or, more likely, it could mean that you have a set of overly rigid standards for other people’s behavior that you don’t apply to yourself. In fact, sometimes we are hardest on others when we see our own traits in them—things that we don’t like to admit or look at. Seeing them in others makes us uncomfortable. Like the classic hypocrite who crusades against sins far smaller than the one he or she commits in their private life, it’s bound to create a disconnect within us that causes stress, hostility, and negativity. Examine what’s really going on when you’re chronically frustrated with someone, whether it’s the stranger in the left-hand turn lane or your messy roommate. Are you looking at the whole picture? What if you, instead of bathing in the negative energy, chose to reflect on the last time you made a mistake and the way it may have looked to others? Sending empathy to others, even when you least want to, can be a surprisingly powerful tool to take away the anger.

5) Believing that things will never get better. Severe hopelessness can be particularly dangerous, putting people at increased risk for depression and even suicide. But even milder beliefs about how things will never improve can do significant damage day-to-day. “My sister will never get her act together,” “I’ll never be able to pay off my student loans,” and “The world is a bad place and getting worse” are all beliefs that show hopelessness and can blind a person to significant evidence to the contrary. A lifetime is, for most of us, a decades-long ride that sees many highs and many lows, and many ebbs and many flows. Believing that there is a downward trajectory obstructs the beauty of everyday things and keeps you hopelessly and inaccurately believing negative ideas—giving them a staying power in you that they don’t deserve. Imagine how much peace you can feel simply by allowing yourself to believe that harmonious and beautiful things are out there in the world, yet to be experienced. It takes practice to see them, but they are there and always will be.

6) Believing you have less control over your life than you really do. Learned helplessness, first identified by Martin Seligman, involves the belief that we don’t have control over our situations even in cases when we do, and so we convince ourselves we shouldn’t even bother to try. This mindset has been shown to be correlated with depression, and for some people it follows a period of time when they really did not have much control over their lives—perhaps suffering from abuse or neglect, for example. But when the beliefs that we have no power persist after we, in actuality, have gained power back, we deny ourselves the potential to make our lives better. And we increase the likelihood that we view the world as an inherently demoralizing place, convincing ourselves that we can’t make a difference. The more that we can feel that we can steer our own ship, the more we can build a life that suits us. Are you underestimating your ability to get out of that dead-end job, find a partner that treats you well, or develop a peaceful resolution to your years-long fight with your brother? If so, you are doing yourself a great disservice—and increasing your chances of letting your mindset harden into a bitter one.

7) Believing the myth of arrival. The myth of arrival refers to the idea that once you have “arrived” at a certain point in your life, everything will fall into place and the life you have waited for will finally begin. But sometimes this belief, that things will automatically get better once a certain thing happens, can be nearly as damaging as believing that things will never improve, because the former sets you up for a devastating letdown when things actually don’t get better. “Once I finally meet the one/get my promotion/lose those twenty pounds/live in a bigger house/get my kids settled into independent and successful lives… then I’ll be happy” are common ways of thinking. But putting our happiness on hold and in the hands of a random life event that may or may not have any effect whatsoever on our happiness is giving way too much power to an external situation and not nearly enough to ourselves. It robs us of the ability to find joy on our own terms. It makes us miss the proverbial journey because we’re so over-focused on the destination. And worst of all, it sets us up for the crash that comes when we realize that it wasn’t those twenty pounds that were making us depressed—it was the fact that we were depressed, for different reasons entirely, that made us put on twenty pounds in the first place.

8) Overgeneralizing. It was one of the “cognitive errors” that Aaron Beck first identified as putting people at higher risk for depression, and it often manifests itself in believing that if you fail at one thing, you will fail at everything. The tendency to overgeneralize—to turn a setback into a mountain from a molehill—also underlies a lot of people’s thinking patterns who have pervasive negative views of the world outside of themselves. Sometimes this type of thinking can even look like paranoia (“Give anyone an inch, and they will take a mile” or “Just about everyone will take advantage of you if you let them.”) It’s true that not every human being out there is a paragon of virtue, but it’s also true that there is a heck of a lot of goodness if you look for it. And just because there are scammers out there doesn’t mean that you should stop helping those who aren’t. After all, helping others gives us a mood boost. Examine your beliefs to see if you are—against all available evidence—overgeneralizing the world into a dangerous or hostile place, which may show hostility coming from within.

9) Not practicing gratitude. By now you’ve probably heard it, and I’ve written about it in this very space: Being grateful for things big and small brings big changes to your mentalhealth. It is much harder to be bitter about your late-arriving dinner (“I AM NEVER COMING TO THIS RESTAURANT AGAIN!“) and have it ruin your whole night if you allow yourself to acknowledge how gorgeous the blooming trees outside the restaurant window were while you waited, or the fact that you are able to afford to pay someone to cook you a meal at all, or the fact that you were with someone who could make you laugh, no matter how much your stomachs were growling. Some people may think that gratitudemeditation or keeping a list of things that you’re grateful for is hokey. But would you rather be a little hokey or be the person who goes their whole life without the mental and physical health benefits (lessened depression, improved immune system functioning and heart health, among many others) that gratitude brings?

Do you notice any of these habits in yourself or those you love? Let me know in the comments, and join me and other readers on Facebook!

 

Andrea Bonior, Ph.D., is a speaker and licensed clinical psychologist. She is the author ofThe Friendship Fix and an upcoming book about the psychology of everyday life (stay tuned!), and serves on the faculty of Georgetown University. Her mental health advice column Baggage Check has appeared in the Washington Post Express for more than eleven years. She speaks to audiences large and small about relationships, motivation, and work-life balance and is a television commentator about mental health issues. Join the conversation on Facebook or Twitter!

 

Source: Psychology Today 

MICRODOSING- HOW THIS REVOLUTIONARY WAY OF USING PSYCHEDELICS IMPROVES MENTAL AND PHYSICAL ABILITIES.

Using-Psychedelics

Let’s talk about microdosing.

Taking sub-perceptual amounts of psychedelics (6-25 microgram LSD, 0.2-0.5 gram dried mushrooms, 50-75 microgram mescaline HCL), while maintaining your daily routine, playing sports, or performing any other activity, has been proven to increase mental capabilities as well as physical ones. Using psychedelics in this low-dose capacity, also referred to aspsycholytic doses, doesn’t have the same effect as a hearty Terence McKenna dose does; psycholytic doses do not inhibit ego-functioning in the same aspect.

The author of Tryptamine Palace: 5-MeO-DMT and the Sonoran Desert Toad, James Oroc, conducted his own studies with microdosing and discovered “cognitive functioning, emotional balance, and physical stamina were actually found to be improved.”

He goes on to say,

Virtually all athletes who learn to use LSD at psycholytic dosages believe that the use of these compounds improves both their stamina and their abilities. According to the combined reports of 40 years of use by the extreme sports underground, LSD can increase your re- flex time to lightning speed, improve your balance to the point of perfection, increase your concentration until you experience ‘tunnel vision,’ and make you impervious to weakness or pain. LSD’s effects in these regards amongst the extreme-sport community are in fact legendary, universal, and without dispute.”

Oroco even suggests that, in some extreme sports subcultures, microdosing at any physical competition is regarded as cheating.

But what about in schooling? Would it be considered cheating if someone were to use microdosing to help themselves learn? P.G. Stafford and B.H. Golightly, authors of LSD — The Problem-Solving Psychedelic, wrote about a student who was attempting to learn German. This student made massive leaps and bounds under the influence of small doses of LSD. These are the student’s words:

“It was a week before registration and it depressed me tremendously that I had not spent the summer learning German, as I had planned. I had intended to give myself a crash course so I could take second-year German, which I needed for my study in physics. I had heard of a woman who had learned enough Spanish in a few days, via LSD, to speak it fluently when she had to go to Mexico on business.

I had taken LSD before, and while I couldn’t see how she did this, I decided it was worth a try. I hadn’t even gotten around to picking up a textbook, but I did have a close friend who knew German well and who said he was willing to “sit in” while I took the drug and try to teach me the language.

Fortunately, I knew something about conjugation and declension, so I wasn’t completely at sea. I wanted to get worked up and feel involved with the language, as it seemed that this must be at least part of the key to the problem, so I asked my friend to tell me about Schiller and Goethe, and why the verb came at the end. Almost immediately, after just a story or two, I knew I had been missing a lot in ignoring the Germans, and I really got excited. The thing that impressed me at first was the delicacy of the language (he was now giving me some simple words and phrases), and though I really messed it up, I was trying hard to imitate his pronunciation as I had never tried to mimic anything before.

For most people German may be “guttural,” but for me it was light and lacey. Before long, I was catching on even to the umlauts. Things were speeding up like mad, and there were floods of associations. My friend had only to give me a German word, and almost immediately I knew what it was through cognates. It turned out that it wasn’t even necessary for him to ask me what it sounded like.

Memory, of course, is a matter of association, and boy, was I ever linking up to things! I had no difficulty recalling words he had given me—in fact, I was eager to string them together. In a couple of hours after that I was reading even some simple German, and it all made sense.

The whole experience was an explosion of discoveries. Normally, when you’ve been working on something for a long time and finally discover a solution, you get excited, and you can see implications everywhere. Much more than if you heard someone else discovering the same-thing. Now this discovery thing, that’s what was happening with me—but all the time.

The threshold of understanding was extremely low, so that with every new phrase I felt I was making major discoveries. When I was reading, it was as though I had discovered the Rosetta Stone and the world was waiting for my translation. Really wild!”

With this information, we can see that small doses of LSD can really improve cognitive abilities! There was a study done by James Fadiman in the 1960’s that is still considered to be one of the most significant on this topic. In this study, Fadiman researched the effect of taking 100mcg of LSD when faced with long-term problems that participants were unable to solve. When the participants were finally able to present their solutions, they were reviewed by a panel of experts in the same field. What did the participants end up discovering? The Morning News’ Tim Doody answers that for us:

“LSD absolutely had helped them solve their complex, seemingly intractable problems. And the establishment agreed. The 26 men unleashed a slew of widely embraced innovations shortly after their LSD experiences, including a mathematical theorem for NOR gate circuits, a conceptual model of a photon, a linear electron accelerator beam-steering device, a new design for the vibratory microtome, a technical improvement of the magnetic tape recorder, blueprints for a private residency and an arts-and-crafts shopping plaza, and a space probe experiment designed to measure solar properties.”

Since psychedelics are “non-specific amplifiers”, it is not just creativity and cognitive function that are enhanced- the distressing states of the mind can also become more lively. However, in small doses this is not so overwhelming and can therefore be very beneficial.

In the Journal of Humanistic Psychology, Myron Stolaroff wrote about the benefits of using psychedelics in meditation:

“The use of low doses often can be much more effective in dealing with our “psychic garbage.” Many do not care for low doses because they can stir up uncomfortable feelings, and they prefer to transcend them by pushing on into higher states, but it is precisely these uncomfortable feelings that must be resolved to achieve true freedom.

With low doses, by focusing directly on the feelings and staying with them without aversion and without grasping, they will in time dissipate. Resolving one’s repressed feelings in this manner clears the inner being, permitting the True Self to manifest more steadily. Such a result provides greater energy, deeper peace, more perceptive awareness, greater clarity, keener intuition, and greater compassion. It permits the deepening of one’s meditation practice. The surfacing of buried feelings that this procedure permits often can bring new understanding of one’s personality dynamics.”

Our potential for improving ourselves with microdosing (mentally, physically, and spiritually) is limitless. It is safe to say that everything in life is balance, so with the good must come the not-so-good. Luckily, the not-so-good parts of microdosing are managable, and worth the experience. So let’s take a look at the five categories of overall effects of microdosing so we can see both sides of the coin. These findings were gathered from a personal survey conducted, and first person reports via Martijn Shirp.

Physical:

  • More overall energy, like a psychedelic coffee. A buzzing effect.
  • Being able to walk very long distances without tiring.
  • Need of extra sleep at the end of the day, feeling more drained than usual.
  • Sometimes an uncomfortable stomach feeling, heavy body load.
  • More relaxed and better focus.

Emotional:

  • More appreciation for little things.
  • A resonance and openness by which world seems to invade more deeply and I have a more playful way of relating to this invasion.
  • Anti-depressive qualities, improved mood.
  • More patience.
  • Personal issues are at times disturbing.
  • Enhanced emotional clarity.

Perceptual:

  • Music is better, more persuasive in guiding inner states.
  • Sometimes objects seem to glow, having an aura surround them.
  • Time perception is warped.
  • Enhanced sense of touch, smell and hearing. Sometimes synesthesia.

Creative:

  • More flow.
  • A fuller awareness of the entanglement of ideas, a richer and seemingly higher overview and increased association.
  • Comprehension of ideas is greatly enhanced.

Spiritual:

  • Increased awareness of universal connectedness, in a marvelous, enlightening and almost divine way.

If you want to be able to experiment with these states of consciousness in a safe and constructive way, I suggest following these guidelines from Shirp:

  • Start out with a dose on the lower end of the psycholytic spectrum and record how you react to it. A microdosing regime that is too high makes you incapable of following your normal routine with the risk of staying in the limbo/coming up phase the whole time, which is neither beneficial nor trippy and can often be uncomfortable.
  • Follow your normal routine, especially sleeping, eating, working and spiritual practice.
  • Be conservative with consecutive doses. Building a tolerance is unlikely, but having a normal baseline improves integrity of action.
  • Be discreet to whom you tell. Disinformation, stigma and prejudice are still mainstream.

“To make this trivial world sublime, take half a gram of phanerothyme”Aldous Huxley

Written by Raven Fon

Source: http://iheartintelligence.com/