Welcome to Sott.net
Thu, 19 Oct 2017
The World for People who Think

Science of the Spirit


You're emotionally intelligent if you avoid these 13 behaviors

© Getty Images
We all reach critical points in our lives where our mental strength is tested. It might be a toxic friend or colleague, a dead-end job, or a struggling relationship. Whatever the challenge, you have to see things through a new lens, and take decisive action if you want to move through it successfully.

It sounds easy, but it isn't.

It's fascinating how mentally strong people set themselves apart from the crowd. Where others see impenetrable barriers, they see challenges to overcome.

Too many people succumb to the mistaken belief that mental strength comes from natural, unteachable traits that belong only to a lucky few. It's easy to fall prey to this misconception. In reality, mental strength is under your control, and it's a matter of emotional intelligence (EQ).

When it first appeared to the masses, emotional intelligence served as the missing link in a peculiar finding: people with average IQs outperform those with the highest IQs 70% of the time. This anomaly threw a massive wrench into the broadly held assumption that IQ was the most important source of success.

Comment: See also:

People 2

Parents who show warmth and are less controlling bring up happier children

© Shutterstock
Poor parenting still resonating with people now in their 60s as much as the death of a loved one.

Children of parents who are warmer and less controlling grow up happier, a new study finds.

In contrast, parents who are overly controlling tend to bring up children with worse mental well-being.

Dr Mai Stafford, one of the study's authors, said:

"We found that people whose parents showed warmth and responsiveness had higher life satisfaction and better mental wellbeing throughout early, middle and late adulthood."

The study tracked 5,362 people from their birth in 1946.

Comment: Further reading:

Snow Globe

Why being aware of your mortality can be beneficial to growth

Nobody likes to think about lying on their death bed. From health anxiety to midlife crises, it seems like thoughts about ageing and death can often unleash some level of neurosis.

But is that the whole story?

We have examined mortality awareness - the realization that we are all one day going to die - and found that, although the prospect of death is often scary, it can also have positive effects.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, research on death awareness so far has focused largely on the negative aspects of realizing that we will eventually stop living. Indeed, until now, the dominant psychological theory has been "terror management theory", which assumes that contemplating our demise invokes fear and anxiety. For example, studies using this framework have found that thinking about death can make us more punitive and prejudiced.

However, throughout the years, literature from various fields has offered other explanations. For example, "positive psychology" proposes concepts such as "post-traumatic growth" - the idea that people can grow psychologically through traumatic experiences.


Hearing from the heart: The power of deep listening

My three daughters are all very different in how they view the world, how they communicate and how they process emotions. One of the most challenging things I've had to learn as their mom is that I have to listen to each of them differently.

One is introverted and takes a long time to process things, so even when I sense that something might be bothering her, I often have to wait a couple of weeks before I'll hear about it. One is more extroverted and tends to think and experience the world the most like I do, so I often make the mistake of assuming I know things about her before I've taken the time to genuinely listen. A third is very private about her emotions and uses humour as one of her ways of processing the world, so I have to listen extra carefully for the subtle things she's saying underneath the witticism.

Comment: The practice of listening
Listening informs our decisions so that we can make choices for what is best for us, our families, our community, and our planet. But what starts to happen as we age and become governed by the ego is that we lose that curiosity, that hunger, to learn more. We become set in our ways, we think we may know enough to get by and be happy. So we stop listening, or we only listen to what we choose we want to hear. We stop paying attention and close ourselves off from possibilities and opportunities. The universe sends us glaring signs and we ignore them because we think we've figured it out. As you well know, nobody does-and maybe nobody ever will. But that is what life is all about: to search, to stay open, to receive, to love, to connect, to grow... And to listen.


Why aren't we discussing the things we agree on?

© iz quotes
The political environment since Trump's election seems to get worse and worse by the day, as much of the American public becomes increasingly divided, embittered and downright insane. People across the political spectrum are enthusiastically fueling this destructive behavior in their varied quests to show how right they are and how hopelessly wrong everyone else is. Meanwhile, those who truly wield power in our society continue to laugh all the way to the bank.

Earlier today, I came across a prescient and powerful article written by Pamela B. Paresky in Psychology Today titled, Angry About the Election?

Although the piece was composed only a few weeks after the 2016 election, the writing was already on the wall and she identified and warned about the dangerous direction we were headed in. Here are a few choice excerpts:


Happy music boosts creative thinking, say researchers

© Alamy
The authors claim that we are in a “creativity crisis” and that a boost in creative thinking is needed.
Uplifting music can help people think more flexibly and avoid getting stuck in a creative rut, say psychologists

Jack London hunted it down with a club. Graham Greene found it on benzedrine. For Mary Godwin it struck one wet summer night after making up ghost stories with Lord Byron and her husband-to-be, Percy Shelley.

Artists have relied on muses, nature, drink and drugs to fuel their creativity, but according to new research there may be another way to boost imaginative thinking: a blast of happy music. According to psychologists, uplifting music can help people think more flexibly and avoid getting stuck in a creative rut.

Simone Ritter from Radboud University in Nijmegen and Sam Ferguson at the University of Technology in Sydney decided to test the power of music by setting 155 people in their late teens and twenties a series of puzzles to tackle in silence or while listening to classical scores ranked as either calm, happy, anxious or sad.



Does music give you goosebumps? If so, your brain may be different

© iStock/Getty Images
Do you ever get that feeling when listening to a great song that makes all the hairs on your arm stand on end?

Personally this writer can remember getting chills when listening to 'Whole Lotta Love' by Led Zeppelin on the number 9 bus from Stourbridge when he was 16.

Experiencing sensations like goose bumps or a lump in the throat when listening to music is quite rare and unique.

Matthew Sachs a former undergraduate at Harvard, last year studied individuals who get chills from music to see how this feeling was triggered.

The research examined 20 students, 10 of which admitted to experiencing the aforementioned feelings in relation to music and 10 that didn't and took brain scans of all of them all.

Comment: See also:

Ice Cube

Chill out! Your perfectionism may put you at higher risk of suicide

This positive personality trait is linked to more suicidal thoughts and suicide itself.
People who have a tendency towards perfectionism are at a much higher risk of suicidal thoughts and suicide itself, new research finds.

Perfectionists find it harder than others to deal with a world that is fundamentally flawed.

Perfectionism involves being highly self-critical, constantly striving to meet the standards of others (typically parents or mentors) and being unsure about the efficacy of one's own actions.

While a certain amount of perfectionism is adaptive and necessary, when it becomes an obsession, it can lead to a vicious cycle.

People in professions which have a strong emphasis on perfectionism - like lawyers, architects and physicians - are at a higher risk of suicide.

Comment: For information on methods to combat the insidious effects of perfectionism, see:
Through her many years of practice, Dr. Edwards has treated people with painful issues of perfectionism, shame, indecisiveness, control issues, and a fear of needing others. Rather than solely focusing on coping with symptoms of these anxieties, she has helped people go inward, facing the specific fears that caused these symptoms. She has found that these painful symptoms - defensive in nature - would lessen considerably or simply vanish when the core issue was addressed. Dr. Edwards is the author of the best-selling book Fear of the Abyss: Healing the Wounds of Shame and Perfectionism.


You'll never be famous — And that's O.K.

© Charlotte Ager
Today's college students desperately want to change the world, but too many think that living a meaningful life requires doing something extraordinary and attention-grabbing like becoming an Instagram celebrity, starting a wildly successful company or ending a humanitarian crisis.

Having idealistic aspirations is, of course, part of being young. But thanks to social media, purpose and meaning have become conflated with glamour: Extraordinary lives look like the norm on the internet. Yet the idea that a meaningful life must be or appear remarkable is not only elitist but also misguided. Over the past five years, I've interviewed dozens of people across the country about what gives their lives meaning, and I've read through thousands of pages of psychology, philosophy and neuroscience research to understand what truly brings people satisfaction.

Comment: Message to Millennials: How to Change the World - Properly (VIDEO)


5 signs that you're a self-learning autodidact

"Self-education is, I firmly believe, the only kind of education there is." ~Isaac Asimov
Institutional learning is old hat. It kills creativity. It motivates through fear. It robs you of all your time. It robs you -full stop. The traditional-minded, especially the older generations who are still stuck in their "get a job" mindsets and snubbing their nose at any kind of informal learning, have kept education entrenched in a parochial, test-driven game of memorize-regurgitate-grade-repeat that they keep shoving down the younger generation's throat. This can lead to a socially acceptable degree, true, but it also tends to leave people with rigid institutionalized mindsets that make it all too easy for them to conform to the dull-minded nine-to-five daily grind of the common workplace. Unless you're an autodidact first and a student second.

Still, this "it's just the way things are" mindset regarding education, becomes a smokescreen that keeps people ignorant to the fact that our world is becoming more and more connected. Technology has changed the education game, especially with the power of the internet making knowledge available at the click of a button, but also with transportation shrinking the world and making it more available and hands-on.

Aware of how technology has changed the education game, autodidacts are changing the way the game is being played. They are taking full advantage of it. It's the age of information, after all. And since information means knowledge, and knowledge means power, they realize that it would be foolish for them not to wrap their brains around all the information they can soak up.