Science of the Spirit


New trick could help overcome procrastination

© Thinkstock
"I got so much procrastinating done today!"
Researchers from the University of Southern California say that they've come up with a sure-fire way for people to overcome procrastination and get to work on accomplishing their goals.

The trick, they explain in the journal Psychological Science, is to change the way that you think about the future. Future goals have to feel as though they're important now.

"The simplified message that we learned in these studies is if the future doesn't feel imminent, then, even if it's important, people won't start working on their goals," said Oyserman, who was assisted on the research by co-author Neil Lewis Jr. of the University of Michigan.

In a series of experiments, the duo presented study participants with different scenarios and found that those individuals looked at the future as something that was far more imminent when they evaluated goals and deadlines in terms of days rather than months or years.


The power of kindness


How being good to others can be good for you.

Treating other people well isn't just good for your karma. It's good for your health and vitality, too.

Psychology researcher Barbara Fredrickson, PhD, author of Love 2.0: Creating Happiness and Health in Moments of Connection, studies how "micro-moments" of connection with others, like sharing a smile or expressing concern, improve emotional resilience, boost the immune system, and reduce susceptibility to depression and anxiety.

Comment: Kindness holds the power to heal
Forget Survival of the Fittest: It Is Kindness That Counts
Study: Empathy Genes Overcomes Threats and Fear
Kindness facilitates happiness and acceptance for children

People 2

The difference between a mature relationship and an immature relationship

Mature couples don't "fall in love," they step into it. Love isn't something you fall for; it's something you rise for.

Falling denotes lowering oneself, dropping down and being stuck somewhere lower than where you started. You have to get up from falling.

Love isn't like that — at least not with people who are doing it right. Immature couples fall; mature couples coast. Because love is either a passing game, or it's forever. Love is either wrong, or it's right. A couple is either mature or immature.

How do you know? How can you tell if your relationship is in it for the long haul or the two-month plummet everyone predicted behind your love-obsessed back?

First, it should be easy, from the beginning to end. There are no passionate fights with passionate make-up sex. There's no obsessive calling, texting or worrying.

Heart - Black

Study: Bullying as a child has a worse effect on mental health than parental abuse

© Unknown
The severe effect on adult mental health of an experience suffered by one in five children.

Bullying as a child has a worse effect on adult mental health than parental abuse, new research shows.

The study, published in The Lancet Psychiatry found very severe outcomes for bullied children (Lereya et al., 2015).

Professor Dieter Wolke from Warwick's Department of Psychology and Warwick Medical School, who led the research, said:
"The mental health outcomes we were looking for included anxiety, depression or suicidal tendencies.

Our results showed those who were bullied were more likely to suffer from mental health problems than those who were maltreated.

Being both bullied and maltreated also increased the risk of overall mental health problems, anxiety and depression in both groups."
While both abuse and bullying are known to cause mental health problems later on, this is the first study to compare them.

Comment: Far from being a 'rite of passage', the suffering that children undergo from their peers has long-term negative consequences:


Children's knowledge of nature is dwindling, UK study finds

© Alamy

Just over a third of children said they go to explore nature and wildlife on a weekly basis
Research shows younger generations are getting less and less clued up about nature with knowledge of basic facts declining

Britain's knowledge of nature is dwindling to worrying new levels with younger generations now less clued up than ever, according to a new study.

Nearly double the number of parents aged over 51 (49 per cent) said nature was one of the most important things to teach children, compared to just one in three aged under 30.

And the naivety of younger adults revealed just six in ten (58 per cent) 25 to 30 year olds knew a vixen was a female fox - a fact nearly all parents over 51 (96 per cent) knew.

In fact, one in six (17 per cent) of the younger generation of parents believed female foxes were called "sows" - the name for a female pig.

Light Saber

Brave poet describes seeing his rapist under Facebook's people you may know tab

© Youtube/screengrab
Kevin Kantor performing 'People you may know'
Facebook's 'People You May Know' is often just a conglomeration of porn stars and shirtless folks who think they're a porn star - and occasionally Shelley Long (true story). But occasionally Facebook's algorithm is far more pointedly insidious.

Such was the case for spoken word poet Kevin Kantor, who found himself staring at a picture of his rapist, a feeling he described as "the closest to a crime scene I've ever been."

On stage in front of thousands for this year's College Unions Poetry Slam Invitational, Kantor delivered his gut-wrenching prose in a cathartic act of bravery.

"Every day I write a poem titled 'Tomorrow,' it is a hand-written list of the people I know that love me. And I make sure to put my own name at the top."

Comment: Powerful performance. It's hard to imagine seeing your rapist appear as a potential new 'friend' on facebook, Kevin's work brings the experience much closer to home.

2 + 2 = 4

Who is delusional? The answer is: We all are

"Show me a sane man and I will cure him for you" - Carl Jung


Still from "What Dreams may Come"
Within the mental health profession, clinicians and researchers who value a system of categorical illnesses and individual defects too often proclaim that the major feature delineating "real psychosis" from other "disorders" is the presence of delusions. Two recent articles in the New York Times exemplified for me how skewed this assertion is. It also led to a greater awareness, more specifically, of how problematic it is to view so-called delusions as meaningless indicators of disease . . . for we all experience delusion. How one experiences the self, the world, and relationships (usually based on our relationships with our caregivers) determines the level with which one must cling to seemingly irrational ideas in order to maintain a sense of order and meaning in the world. Let me explain . . .

Magic Wand

Communication from the future: Is it already here?

© unknown
Did you know that there was a study conducted to see if someone from the future was here present in our time? Yes, it's true! Astrophysicists - Robert Nemiroff and Teresa Wilson at Michigan Tech University did just that as reported in 2014. They figured that if someone from the future traveled back to our time, there may be trace evidence. Someone may have done internet searches of future events. The search dates would have been prior to the events and would stand out that way. Enough of them traced to one user would reveal a pattern of advanced knowledge.

After exhausting their funds, the results of that study remained inconclusive. However, in response to a question posted on one website asking: "Do you believe communication through time would be possible?" I replied that "I believe it has already happened." Only because I believe that our near future thinkers will be quantum computers with artificial intelligence. I believe that not only would they be able to figure it out, but man has figured it out already.

Comment: For more on an ongoing experiment in superluminal communication see: The Cassiopaea Experiment Transcripts 1994 (Volume 1)


Mindfulness cognitive therapy works just as well as medication in treating chronic depression

Klia Bassing (L), director of Visit Yourself at Work, a mindfulness meditation center, leads a meditation session at the American Psychological Association (AFP)
Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT) may be just as effective as anti-depressants in helping prevent people with chronic depression from relapsing, scientists said on Tuesday.

Depression is one of the most common forms of mental illness, affecting more than 350 million people worldwide. It is ranked by the World Health Organization as the leading cause of disability globally.

Treatment usually involves either medication, some form of psychotherapy or a combination of both. Yet many patients fail to get better and suffer recurring bouts of illness.

MBCT was developed to help such people by teaching them skills to recognize and respond constructively to thoughts and feelings associated with relapse, aiming to prevent a downward spiral into depression.

Comment: Since anti-depressant medications bring numerous unpleasant side effects, and studies have found that these drugs provide little or no benefit over the effect of a placebo, this study is good news for those who would welcome an alternate solution.

Heart - Black

The lack of gentle platonic touch in men's lives is a killer

In preparing to write about the lack of gentle touch in men's lives, I right away thought, "I feel confident I can do platonic touch, but I don't necessarily trust other men to do it. Some guy will do something creepy. They always do." Quickly on the heels of that thought, I wondered "Wait a minute, why do I distrust men in particular?" The little voice in my head didn't say, "I don't necessarily trust people to not be creepy", it said, "I don't trust men."

In American culture, we believe that men can never be entirely trusted in the realm of the physical. We collectively suspect that, given the opportunity, men will collapse into the sexual at a moment's notice. That men don't know how to physically connect otherwise. That men can't control themselves. That men are dogs.

There is no corresponding narrative about women.

Comment: Hugging as form of social support protects people from getting sick
The physiological benefits of hugging