Science of the Spirit
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15 beliefs and habits of highly effective and happy people

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Regardless of industry, profession, town, city or nation, highly effective and happy people share many of the same perspectives and beliefs and they act on those beliefs.

1. Time doesn't fill me. I fill time.

The average person who is given two weeks to complete a task will instinctively adjust his or her effort so it actually takes two weeks. Average people allow time to impose its will on them; remarkable people impose their will on their time and allow fluidity. They don't stress about time and because their perception is more fluid, time does not become their focus and tasks become more manageable.

2. I understand balance.

They know that the terms money and success are not interchangeable. They understand that people who are successful on a financial level only, are not successful at all. They have an off switch. They know how to relax, enjoy what they have in their life and to have fun. Their career is not their identity, it's their job. It's not who they are, it's what they do. Unfortunately we live in a society which teaches that money equals success. Like many other things, money is a tool. It's certainly not a bad thing but ultimately, it's just another resource. Unfortunately, too many people worship it.
People

Racism takes a toll on kids' mental health

Being a victim of racism may trigger poor mental health, depression and anxiety in children and teens, according to a new review.

The report, published in the October issue of the journal Social Science & Medicine, looked at 461 cases of links between racism and the health and well-being of youngsters.

"The review showed there are strong and consistent relationships between racial discrimination and a range of detrimental health outcomes such as low self-esteem, reduced resilience, increased behavior problems and lower levels of well-being," lead researcher Naomi Priest, of the University of Melbourne in Australia, said in a university news release.

Most of the racism experienced by children and teens involved discrimination by other people, rather than institutional or systemic racism, according to the findings.

The review also revealed an increased risk of poorer birth outcomes among children whose mothers experienced racism during pregnancy.
Red Flag

How our society breeds anxiety, depression and dysfunction

Our belief in "progress" has increased our expectations that life should be more satisfying, resulting in mass disappointment.

In The Epidemic of Mental Illness: Why? (New York Review of Books, 2011), Marcia Angell, former editor-in-chief of the New England Journal of Medicine, discusses over-diagnosis of psychiatric disorders, pathologizing of normal behaviors, Big Pharma corruption of psychiatry, and the adverse effects of psychiatric medications. While diagnostic expansionism and Big Pharma certainly deserve a large share of the blame for this epidemic, there is another reason.

A June 2013 Gallup poll revealed that 70% of Americans hate their jobs or have "checked out" of them. Life may or may not suck any more than it did a generation ago, but our belief in "progress" has increased expectations that life should be more satisfying, resulting in mass disappointment. For many of us, society has become increasingly alienating, isolating and insane, and earning a buck means more degrees, compliance, ass-kissing, shit-eating, and inauthenticity. So, we want to rebel. However, many of us feel hopeless about the possibility of either our own escape from societal oppression or that political activism can create societal change. So, many of us, especially young Americans, rebel by what is commonly called mental illness.
Info

Strange new state of consciousness could exist, researcher says

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With anesthetics properly given, very few patients wake up during surgery. However, new findings point to the possibility of a state of mind in which a patient is neither fully conscious nor unconscious, experts say.

This possible third state of consciousness, may be a state in which patients can respond to a command, but are not disturbed by pain or the surgery, according to Dr. Jaideep Pandit, anesthetist at St John's College in England, who discussed the idea today (Sept. 19) at the at an anesthetists meeting in Dublin.

Pandit dubbed this state dysanaesthesia, and said the evidence that it exists comes partly from a recent study, in which 34 surgical patients were anesthetized, and had their whole body paralyzed except for their forearm, allowing them to move their fingers in response to commands or to signify if they are awake or in pain during surgery.

One-third of patients in the study moved their finger if they were asked to, even though they were under what seemed to be adequate anesthesia, according to the study led by Dr. Ian F. Russell, of Hull Royal Infirmary in England, and published Sept. 12 in the journal Anaesthesia.

"What's more remarkable is that they only move their fingers if they are asked. None of the patients spontaneously responded to the surgery. They are presumably not in pain," said Pandit, who wrote an editorial about the study.
Attention

Researcher finds the most depressing discovery about the brain ever

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Say goodnight to the dream that education, journalism, scientific evidence, or reason can provide the tools that people need in order to make good decisions.

Yale law school professor Dan Kahan's new research paper is called "Motivated Numeracy and Enlightened Self-Government," but for me a better title is the headline on science writer Chris Mooney's piece about it in Grist: "Science Confirms: Politics Wrecks Your Ability to Do Math."

Kahan conducted some ingenious experiments about the impact of political passion on people's ability to think clearly. His conclusion, in Mooney's words: partisanship "can even undermine our very basic reasoning skills.... [People] who are otherwise very good at math may totally flunk a problem that they would otherwise probably be able to solve, simply because giving the right answer goes against their political beliefs."

In other words, say goodnight to the dream that education, journalism, scientific evidence, media literacy or reason can provide the tools and information that people need in order to make good decisions. It turns out that in the public realm, a lack of information isn't the real problem. The hurdle is how our minds work, no matter how smart we think we are. We want to believe we're rational, but reason turns out to be the ex post facto way we rationalize what our emotions already want to believe.

For years my go-to source for downer studies of how our hard-wiring makes democracy hopeless has been Brendan Nyhan, an assistant professor of government at Dartmouth.
Info

How and where imagination occurs in human brains

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Eleven areas of the brain are showing differential activity levels in a Dartmouth study using functional MRI to measure how humans manipulate mental imagery.
Philosophers and scientists have long puzzled over where human imagination comes from. In other words, what makes humans able to create art, invent tools, think scientifically and perform other incredibly diverse behaviors?

The answer, Dartmouth researchers conclude in a new study, lies in a widespread neural network -- the brain's "mental workspace" -- that consciously manipulates images, symbols, ideas and theories and gives humans the laser-like mental focus needed to solve complex problems and come up with new ideas.

Their findings, titled "Network structure and dynamics of the mental workspace," appear the week of Sept. 16 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
Info

From the deepest coma, new brain activity found

Brain Waves
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When a patient's brain falls completely silent, and electrical recordings devices show a flat line, reflecting a lack of brain activity, doctors consider the patient to have reached the deepest stage of a coma. However, new findings suggest there can be a coma stage even deeper than this flat line - and that brain activity can ramp up again from this state.

In the case of one patient in a drug-induced coma, and in subsequent experiments on cats, the researchers found that after deepening the coma by administering a higher dose of drugs, the silent brain started showing minimum but widespread neural activity across the brain, according to the study published today (Sept. 18) in the journal PLOS ONE.

The findings were based on measures of the brain's electrical activity, detected by electroencephalography (EEG), which shows various waveforms. In comatose patients, depending on the stage of their coma, the waveforms are altered. As the coma deepens, the EEG device will eventually show a flat line instead of a wave - this stage is considered to be the turning point between a living brain and a deceased brain.

"Flat line was the deepest known form of coma," said study researcher Florin Amzica, neurophysiologist at Université de Montréal.
Info

Baby elephant in China can't stop crying after being stomped by mom

Newborn elephant cried for five hours after mom tried to kill him. Chinese zookeepers forced to keep him away from momma.


Despondent baby elephant weeps for hours after mom gives birth, then attacks him at game preserve in China.
Poor baby.

Little Zhuangzhuang, a newborn elephant at a wildlife refuge in China, was inconsolable after his mother rejected him and then tried to stomp him to death.

Tears streamed down his gray trunk for five hours as zookeepers struggled to comfort the baby elephant.

They initially thought it was an accident when the mom stepped on him after giving birth, according to the Central European News agency.

Chalkboard

Science confirms: Politics wrecks your ability to do math

Everybody knows that our political views can sometimes get in the way of thinking clearly. But perhaps we don't realize how bad the problem actually is. According to a new psychology paper, our political passions can even undermine our very basic reasoning skills. More specifically, the study finds that people who are otherwise very good at math may totally flunk a problem that they would otherwise probably be able to solve, simply because giving the right answer goes against their political beliefs.

The study, by Yale law professor Dan Kahan and his colleagues, has an ingenious design. At the outset, 1,111 study participants were asked about their political views and also asked a series of questions designed to gauge their "numeracy," that is, their mathematical reasoning ability. Participants were then asked to solve a fairly difficult problem that involved interpreting the results of a (fake) scientific study. But here was the trick: While the fake study data that they were supposed to assess remained the same, sometimes the study was described as measuring the effectiveness of a "new cream for treating skin rashes." But in other cases, the study was described as involving the effectiveness of "a law banning private citizens from carrying concealed handguns in public."

The result? Survey respondents performed wildly differently on what was in essence the same basic problem, simply depending upon whether they had been told that it involved guns or whether they had been told that it involved a new skin cream. What's more, it turns out that highly numerate liberals and conservatives were even more - not less - susceptible to letting politics skew their reasoning than were those with less mathematical ability.
Info

Some brains may be hard-wired for chronic pain

Chronic Pain
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Structural differences in the brain may be one reason why one person recovers from pain while another develops chronic agony, a new study suggests.

The researchers scanned the brains of 46 people who had lower back pain for about three months, and then evaluated their pain four times over the following year. About half of the patients recovered during the year; the other half continued to have persistent pain throughout the study.

Looking back at the brain scans, the researchers found structural differences in the brains of people who recovered compared with people who developed chronic pain. The differences were found in the brain's white matter, which mostly consists of long connections between neurons and brain regions.

Specifically, the differences lay in the connections between brain regions thought to be involved in pain perception, the researchers said.

"We may have found an anatomical marker for chronic pain in the brain," study researcher Vania Apkarian, professor of physiology at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago, said in a statement.
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