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Fri, 17 Nov 2017
The World for People who Think

Science of the Spirit

Magic Wand

Boost brain power: Memory improvement tips

© neurologues
Have you ever imagined how life would be without long-term memory? Not remembering your phone number, your friend's name, where you live, or what to say in speech class can be quite embarrassing, not to mention a little bit scary.

The truth, however, is that memory loss can happen to anyone and at any point in life. There was a time when memory loss was often linked to aging but things have changed. Nowadays, due to the combination of busy schedules, workplace stress, unhealthy diets, and large consumption of alcohol, memory loss is now a common problem.


Sidetracked by Dabrowski: An introduction to the Theory of Positive Disintegration

© Fintrvlr
I have been fascinated by Kazimierz Dabrowski's Theory of Positive Disintegration since first being introduced to it almost 20 years ago. Dabrowski, a clinical psychologist and psychiatrist, developed the theory to explain why and how some people are driven toward personal growth and self-chosen ideals, and the role that disintegration—falling apart—plays in this growth.

Dabrowski's theory is richly layered and not easy to unpack, and I learn something new with each revisitation. This post is the first in a series about the Theory of Positive Disintegration (hereafter TPD), my current in-progress understanding of it, and why the theory is particularly useful today.

Dabrowski's 1967 book, Personality-Shaping Through Positive Disintegration, has been recently published in a new edition by Red Pill Press. The book is more accessible to a general reader than many of his other writings, and for this reason and because it is easily available as both a paperback and an ebook, I will use Personality-Shaping as the basis for this blog series in case anyone wants to follow along by reading the book (all quotations from Dabrowski otherwise unattributed will be from this new 2015 edition).

Comment: It's a shame Dabrowski's TPD isn't better known today. So it's great to see more awareness of his work, which is probably more important and relevant today than ever. TPD makes pretty much every other psychological theory look like child's play.


Interrupted sleep impacts mood more than lack of sleep, study finds

© Medical News Today
Researchers say interrupted sleep is more likely to lead to poor mood than lack of sleep.
After a bad night's sleep, you are unlikely to be in the best of moods. But according to a new study, your bad mood may be down to lack of quality sleep, rather than lack of quantity.

Published in the journal Sleep, the study found that people whose sleep was frequently interrupted for 3 consecutive nights reported significantly worse mood than those who had less sleep due to later bedtimes.

Lead study author Patrick Finan, an assistant professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore, MD, and colleagues say their findings indicate sleep interruption is more detrimental to mood than lack of sleep, which may shed light on the association between depression and insomnia.

According to the National Sleep Foundation, adults aged 18-64 should aim to get around 7-9 hours of sleep each night, while those aged 65 and older should get around 7-8 hours of sleep nightly. The Foundation say getting enough sleep can help boost the immune system, productivity and mood.

But increasingly, studies are showing that the quality of sleep is just as important as duration of sleep. "When your sleep is disrupted throughout the night, you don't have the opportunity to progress through the sleep stages to get the amount of slow-wave sleep that is key to the feeling of restoration," notes Finan.


Infants find meaning in beeping signals

© MNStudio / Fotolia
Six month old baby girl. The researchers set out to discover whether infants could learn that a novel sound was a "communicative signal" and, if so, whether it would confer the same advantages for their learning as does speech.
Researchers have long known that adults can flexibly find new ways to communicate, for example, using smoke signals or Morse code to communicate at a distance, but a new Northwestern University study is the first to show that this same communicative flexibility is evident even in 6-month-olds.

The researchers set out to discover whether infants could learn that a novel sound was a "communicative signal" and, if so, whether it would confer the same advantages for their learning as does speech.

To do so, they had infants watch a short video in which two people had a conversation -- one speaking in English and the other responding in beep sounds. Infants were then tested on whether these novel beep sounds would facilitate their learning about a novel object category, a fundamental cognitive process known to be influenced by speech. Could the beeps, once communicative, have the same effect? Indeed, the researchers found that after seeing the beeps used to communicate, the infants linked beep sounds to categorization just as if they were speech.

People 2

Jon Kabat-Zinn: 'McMindfulness is no panacea'

© Alamy
‘Some worry that a sort of ‘McMindfulness’ is taking over which ignores the foundations of the meditative practices from which mindfulness emerged.’
Britain's robust cross-party parliamentary report on the benefits of mindfulness is a model to legislators across the developed world: this 'way of being' is no quick fix.

Mindfulness is rapidly becoming a global phenomenon, supported by increasingly rigorous scientific research, and driven in part by a longing for new practices that might help us to better apprehend and solve the challenges that threaten our health.

Comment: The shadow side of the McMindfulness craze

People 2

How imagining death can help us live more fully

"Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside in a cloud of smoke, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming "Wow! What a Ride!" - Hunter S. Thompson

Steve Jobs once asked the question: "If today were the last day of your life, would you want to spend it the way that you're about to?"

If you sit in a quiet place and think deeply about this question, it becomes scary, yet liberating. Scary because one day everything we love and everything we've become attached to will cease to exist through our eyes. Liberating because realizing this fact motivates us to contemplate how we walk in our daily lives.

Comment: Read Gabor Maté's When the Body Says No, for a thorough understanding on the societal and familial programming that prevents us from living authentic lives, and how we can learn to be true to ourselves and the people close to our hearts.

Magic Hat

The anesthetization of humanity

Humanity's been carefully anesthetized.

Things are moving so fast and crazy and in so many weird directions it's tantamount to mass insanity going on. Yet most don't even notice, and that's the weirdest thing of all. That polarization is what compounds the problem, and that's why the cryptos love to try to continue to confuse and divide us in every way they can.

Hence the growing divide between the awakened and anesthetized.

It's coming down to those who dare wake up to reality vs. those who continue on within the projected mindframe. All have a chance to wake up, but not all will take the challenge and opportunity.

Such is the nature of the Universe apparently. This ongoing contest seems to be the playing field into which we have been planted, and it is each of our choices individually that will make up any sort of outcome.

All will be eventually resolved, but at what cost? Where and in what lies our response-ability?



Stories that define us & letting go

© Beth Scupham/flickr
Your story is not who you are. Addiction, Love, Pain: They're merely parts of who you are, not the whole picture.

Author and mystic Caroline Myss created a word that I love: woundology. It describes the way in which some people define themselves by their emotional, physical, and social wounds. It's so easy to suffer from woundology because when we face our pain, becoming intimate with the many ways in which it manifests (both internally and externally, from heartbreak to drug consumption, depression to excessive shopping), we can empower ourselves. Perhaps it's the first time in our lives when we're acknowledging and conquering a fear that's kept the deepest potential of our well-being—the experience of true joy, peace, and equanimity—just out of reach.

Comment: Writing your way to happiness by editing your personal narratives
Now researchers are studying whether the power of writing — and then rewriting — your personal story can lead to behavioral changes and improve happiness.

The concept is based on the idea that we all have a personal narrative that shapes our view of the world and ourselves. But sometimes our inner voice doesn't get it completely right. Some researchers believe that by writing and then editing our own stories, we can change our perceptions of ourselves and identify obstacles that stand in the way of better health.


Prevent disease & prolong your life with conscious breathing

Breathing is an unconscious yet ever so vital part of daily life. Very few of us take the time to consider our own breathing patterns. Even physicians in allopathic medicine, me included, pay little attention to respiratory rate unless it is affecting our pH levels or mental status.

Our respiratory rate is determined by how many breaths we take in one minute. Increasing our respiratory rates is a natural response to stress and anxiety. This increases our oxygen while decreasing carbon dioxide in preparation for an emergency escape from something like a wild animal, per se.

Comment: Learn more about the importance of breathing and meditation exercises to relieve physical, mental and emotional stress check out the Éiriú Eolas Stress Control, Healing and Rejuvenation Program website and give it a try!


Do testosterone levels predict father's parenting?

As they age, men often get concerned about their testosterone levels dropping. And rightfully so, as it affects their sex drive and other health factors.

But the hormone decline can also provide a window into men's parenting.

A new University of Michigan study found that when men saw their infants in distress, it lowered their testosterone. That factor, as well as being empathetic and having a loving relationship with the infant's mother, predicted whether they were nurturing fathers.

Sensitive and responsive fathering has been linked to young children's social, emotional and cognitive development. Studies have shown that positive father involvement usually leads to positive child outcomes.

Comment: See also: Fathers who sleep closer to children have lower testosterone levels