Science of the Spirit
Wed, 12 Apr 2017 17:24 UTC
After following the surviving Crimson men for nearly 80 years as part of the Harvard Study of Adult Development, one of the world's longest studies of adult life, researchers have collected a cornucopia of data on their physical and mental health.
Of the original Harvard cohort recruited as part of the Grant Study, only 19 are still alive, all in their mid-90s. Among the original recruits were eventual President John F. Kennedy and longtime Washington Post editor Ben Bradlee. (Women weren't in the original study because the College was still all male.)
In addition, scientists eventually expanded their research to include the men's offspring, who now number 1,300 and are in their 50s and 60s, to find out how early-life experiences affect health and aging over time. Some participants went on to become successful businessmen, doctors, lawyers, while others ended up as schizophrenics or alcoholics, but not on inevitable tracks.
Fri, 14 Apr 2017 00:00 UTC
That is the ability to pay attention to everything.
As adults we learn to focus our attention and block out distractions.
But, sometimes being distracted means noticing and learning more.
Thu, 13 Apr 2017 18:48 UTC
These numbers only reflect cases of reported depression, suggesting that in actuality, the crisis may be much worse."According to the World Health Organization (WHO), depression is now the leading cause of ill health and disability worldwide,1,2 affecting an estimated 322 million people worldwide, including more than 16 million Americans. Globally, rates of depression increased by 18 percent between 2005 and 2015.3
According to the U.S. National Institute of Mental Health, 11 percent of Americans over the age of 12 are on antidepressant drugs. Among women in their 40 and 50s, 1 in 4 is on antidepressants.4
In addition to the human suffering, the financial impact of depression is also severe. WHO estimates the global economic loss by households, employers and governments is at least $1 trillion annually.
Depression is also strongly linked to an increased risk for substance abuse, diseases such as diabetes and heart disease, and suicide." [Source]
Ehrenreich wrote that when she was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2000, she found the wildly optimistic books, support groups and popular media surrounding the condition nearly as daunting as the disease itself. Instead of allowing her to have perfectly normal responses to a potentially life-threatening diagnosis - fear, worry, anger - she was told over and over that cancer was her chance to grow spiritually, to embrace life, to find God. The result, from her perspective, was simply exhaustion - denied the opportunity to react instinctively, recover her emotional balance, and then move on to therapy, she felt profoundly stressed. She surmised that others in her condition felt this way too, at least privately.
People often assume that a person's face will betray their true emotions—even when that person is trying to hide them. As we go about our days, we watch other people's facial expressions and mannerisms, looking for signs of stress, sadness, and happiness in our coworkers and our loved ones.
But if we want to understand the mind of another person, is that the best way?
Not always, according to a recent study. It turns out people tend to overestimate their ability to read other people's emotions from their facial expressions—which means that we may be missing out on opportunities for understanding and connection.
The study, published in the journal Psychological Science, compared observing facial expressions with a second perspective-taking strategy: putting ourselves in a similar situation, or "taking a walk in someone else's shoes." It's the first study to examine how effective people think these different methods are with how effective they actually are.
Comment: Some more insights into understanding how empathy works:
- Empathy with strangers can be learned
- Transforming lives by nurturing the growth of empathy
- Psychological well-being and empathy
- Study: The brain's response to others' good fortune depends on our levels of empathy
- The Smell of Anxiety Induces Empathy in Humans
- Technology used to measure empathy
- Empathy: Could It Be What You're Missing?
- Have humans forgotten the basic tenets of empathy?
Thu, 13 Apr 2017 14:20 UTC
As part of the study, researchers from the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE) and the University of Toronto - along with collaborators from the US, UK, France and China - gave infants a series of videos to watch.
In each video, a female adult looked at one of the four corners of the screen. In some videos, an animal image appeared in the direction she had looked. In other films, an animal image appeared at a non-looked at location.
The results showed that the infants followed the gaze of members of their own race more than they followed the gaze of members of other races.
But just because we may have ignored the child doesn't mean she or he isn't there. The wounded child is always there, trying to get our attention. The child says, "I'm here. I'm here. You can't avoid me. You can't run away from me." We want to end our suffering by sending the child to a deep place inside of us and staying as far away as possible. But running away doesn't end our suffering; it only prolongs it.
The wounded child asks for care and love, but we do the opposite. We run away because we're afraid of suffering. The block of pain and sorrow in us feels overwhelming. Even if we have time, we don't come home to ourselves. We try to keep ourselves constantly entertained - watching television or movies, socializing, or using alcohol or drugs — because we don't want to experience that suffering all over again.
Mon, 10 Apr 2017 17:11 UTC
They found that experiencing or even just anticipating uplifting events in daily life was related to feeling less depressed that same day. Happiness changes your cells.
The study, conducted by University of Rochester assistant professor of psychology Lisa Starr and Rachel Hershenberg, assistant professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Emory University, found that a decrease in depressive mood was especially marked when the experience included interpersonal uplifts, such as participating in fun activities with friends or family.
"It's the social activities--positive, everyday experiences that involve other people--that may be most likely to brighten the mood of those struggling with depression," says Starr.
Mon, 10 Apr 2017 17:26 UTC
Cognitive control is the ability to deliberately inhibit responses or make choices that maximize the long-term best interests of the individual. For example, when a person is very hungry and sees a sandwich but does not eat it, he is exhibiting cognitive control.
Lead researcher Dr. Idit Shalev of the Ben-Gurion University (BGU) Department of Education says:
"Metaphorical phrases like 'coldly calculating,' 'heated response,' and 'cool-headed' actually have some scientific validity, which we demonstrate in our study. Previous research focused on the actual effect of temperature on the psychological phenomenon known as 'cognitive control.' But this is the first time we were able to measure the effects of perceived temperature."
We spent the entire last weekend with Lily in the emergency room as she struggled against various gastrointestinal issues and, finally, internal bleeding. Her vet and neurologist felt that the disease had progressed and her prognosis was bleak. It was then that we made the most difficult decision we have ever made — to let her go. We took time lying with her, holding her, reminiscing ... and stayed with her until her last heartbeat.