Science of the SpiritS

Bizarro Earth

Many Americans Caught In Cycle Of Stress And Unhealthy Ways To Manage It

A considerable number of Americans are trapped in a vicious cycle of unhealthy attempts to manage their high levels of stress, which limits their ability to make beneficial behavioral or lifestyle changes. 2010 Stress in America, a new study released by the American Psychological Association cautions that the impact of long-term (chronic) stress can leave serious physical and emotional consequences for individuals and their families.

A 2010 Harris Interactive survey reveals that many people, especially those who believe they are in fair or poor health, claim to lack the willpower and opportunity to make useful changes that would improve their lives.

Parents also appear to be unaware of the effect the stress they have to bear is having on their children. A growing number of young children are describing emotional and health consequences typically linked to stress.

Comment: Stressed? Check out Éiriú Eolas: An Amazing Stress Control, Healing & Rejuvenation Program.

Black Cat

Wanna Lose Your Soul?

© Time Grabber

"When we talk about compassion we talk in terms of being kind. But compassion is not so much being kind; it is being creative [enough] to wake a person up" --
Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoch, 1939-1987

When we don't exercise our bodies, our muscles become weak. When we do not exercise our minds, what has the potential to be a steel trap begins to rust and it's springs lose snap.

Our conscience, that regulates our morality, also becomes rusty and weakens if not used. Ignore your conscience long enough and you might lose your soul.

A soul-less being has no empathy for others. Lose your empathy, and you'll know you've lost your conscience, on the way to losing your soul.

"If there is a future, you are going to be judged by your grandchildren. They will ask you what you did. They will ask you how it was that Bush and his pathological buddies were able to subvert the US constitution. They will ask you why you did nothing while innocents were tortured and brutalized in detention camps that span the globe. They will ask you how it was that you couldn't see the, oh, so obvious lies that were told to justify this violence and aggression, not the first time after 9/11, not the second time for Iraq, and not the third time for Iran.

What will you have to say for yourself?"
What does it mean to be "ponerized?


Are US Soldiers Being Prescribed Drugs That May Make Them Kill Themselves?

© Alternet
More soldiers than ever are on drugs that have been linked to suicide and violent behavior.

In 2009 there were 160 active duty suicides, 239 suicides within the total Army including the Reserves, 146 active duty deaths from drug overdoses and high risk behavior and 1,713 suicide attempts. In addition to suicide, other out-of-character behavior like domestic violence is known to erupt from the drugs.

More troops are dying by their own hand than in combat, according to an Army report titled "Health Promotion, Risk Reduction, Suicide Prevention." Not only that, but 36 percent of the suicides were troops who were never deployed.

Arrow Up

Yoga Decreases Stress in Childhood Cancer Patients and Parents

© unknown
Yoga may help childhood cancer patients and their parents cope with the stress of a cancer diagnosis and treatment, according to a new study.

Yoga was beneficial for older children, ages 13 to 18, but not younger ones, ages 7 to 12.

Adolescents and their parents experienced a decrease in anxiety and increase in sense of well-being following the yoga sessions, the researchers say.

"Yoga is emerging as an effective complementary therapy in adult oncology," the researchers wrote in the September/October issue of the Journal of Pediatric Oncology Nursing, "promising benefits for decreasing symptom distress including fatigue, insomnia, mood, and stress resulting in improved quality of life."

Alarm Clock

SOTT Focus: Subtle Propaganda And The War For Your Mind

Despite all the talk over the past 15 years or so about the US and coalition forces being engaged in various 'wars', there haven't actually been any. To have a war you need two sizable armies representing two opposing nation states both with the capability to wage war on each other. I'd be impressed if anyone can point to the US or any Western nation being involved in such a conflict over the past 15 years, anywhere in the world.

During those last 15 years however, a very different type of war has been waged. It has been a much more subtle, stealthy and insidious war, and the mind of every Western citizen with two active neurons to rub together has been the target.

Do you know who Dr. Aafia Siddiqui is? She's a American-educated Pakistani cognitive neuroscientist and mother of three children, but she hasn't seen her children for 7 years. Aafia and her children were abducted in Pakistan in 2003 by US and Pakistani intelligence agents and incarcerated on trumped up 'terrorism' charges.

During her long 'rendition' she was held in various locations, including the infamous US Bagram Air Force base in Afghanistan, where she was regularly tortured, raped and ultimately shot and wounded.


Best of the Web: The Normalization of Pathology in America

© Unknown
The moral rot at the center of American life results from a normalization of pathologies--sociopathic and psychopathic states and behaviors are now "normal" or incentivized. Moral behavior is institutionally punished.

My entry on the moral rot which has taken hold in all socio-economic levels of America drew a number of insightful responses: Runaway Feedback Loops, Wealth Concentration and Gaming-The-System (October 13, 2010).

While the American/Western worldview holds that we are autonomous individuals exercising free will at every moment, in reality we are all heavily programmed by our socio-economic class conditions. What is so striking about present-day America is the way in which the narcissistic, no-moral-compass social pathologies of entitlement, denial and fabrication of "truth"/reality has been "normalized" (accepted as normal behavior and thinking) in all social classes.


Neurogenesis: How to Change Your Brain

"In adult centers the nerve paths are something fixed, ended, immutable. Everything may die, nothing may be regenerated."
-- Santiago Ramon Y Cajal, Degeneration and Regeneration in the Nervous System, 1928

This long-held tenet, first proposed by Professor Cajal, held that brain neurons were unique because they lacked the ability to regenerate.

In 1998, the journal Nature Medicine published a report indicating that neurogenesis, the growth of new brain cells, does indeed occur in humans. As Sharon Begley remarked in her book, Train Your Mind, Change Your Brain, "The discovery overturned generations of conventional wisdom in neuroscience. The human brain is not limited to the neurons it is born with, or even the neurons that fill in after the explosion of brain development in early childhood."


Exercise During Leisure Time Can Keep Depression at Bay

Exercising during your leisure time can keep the blues away.
Physical activity can almost halve your risk of depression - but only if you build up a sweat in your leisure time, according to a study.

Researchers from King's College London found people who take regular exercise are far less likely to be depressed.

But the benefit was not felt by people who exerted themselves at work, for instance by digging up roads or performing heavy lifting.

The team of scientists studied just over forty thousand Norwegian residents. They asked them how often they engaged in both light and intense physical activity during their leisure time.


New Findings on PTSD and Brain Activity

Researchers have discovered a correlation between increased activity among brain circuits and flashbacks among individuals with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

University of Minnesota investigators learned that an increased circuit activity in the right side of the brain is associated with the debilitating, involuntary flashbacks that often characterized PTSD.

The ability to objectively diagnose PTSD through concrete evidence of neural activity, its impact and its manifestation is the first step toward effectively helping those afflicted with this severe anxiety disorder.

Black Cat

Halloween Special: Why We Love to Scare Ourselves; The Anatomy of Fright

© Guillaume DuchenneMental control may separate the horror of a scary movie from the terror of a truly dangerous situation.
Dracula, Frankenstein, witches, ghosts and goblins are all around us at this time of year -- and Hollywood keeps them at our beck and call for the rest of the year as well. Scary movies allow us to experience the tonic of a good fright whenever we want one, but why do people seek out that experience?

What in your brain separates the pleasurable adrenaline high of a horror film from the traumatizing experience of someone breaking into your house?

The obvious answer is that you know that what's happening on the screen isn't real. According to Andreas Keil, a professor of psychology at the University of Florida in Gainesville, that knowledge starts in the visual cortex, an area at the back of the brain that processes what we see and helps link those images to personal and cultural events that put them in a context.

Like the other cortical areas of the brain (the auditory cortex, the sensory cortex, the motor cortex, and the cerebral cortex), it thinks. You see a dark spot on the floor, notice that the dark spot has projections, realize that these projections are legs, and your brain says "Spider!"