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Elon Musk’s Neuralink looks to begin outfitting human brains with faster input and output starting next year

Neuralink, the Elon Musk-led startup that the multi-entrepreneur founded in 2017, is working on technology that’s based around ‘threads’ which it says can be implanted in human brains with much less potential impact to the surrounding brain tissue vs. what’s currently used for today’s brain-computer interfaces. “Most people don’t realize, we can solve that with a chip,” Musk said to kick off Neuralink’s event, talking about some of the brain disorders and issues the company hopes to solve.

Musk also said that long-term Neuralink really is about figuring out a way to “achieve a sort of symbiosis with artificial intelligence.” “This is not a mandatory thing,” he added. “This is something you can choose to have if you want.”

For now, however, the aim is medical and the plan is to use a robot that Neuralink has created that operates somewhat like a “sewing machine” to implant this threads, which are incredibly thin I(like, between 4 and 6 μm, which means about one-third the diameter of the thinnest human hair), deep within a person’s brain tissue, where it will be capable of performing both read and write operations at very high data volume.

All of this sounds incredibly far-fetched, and to some extent it still is: Neuralink’s scientists told The New York Times in a briefing on Monday that the company has a “long way to go” before it can get anywhere near offering a commercial service. The main reason for breaking cover and talking more freely about what they’re working on, the paper reported, is that they’ll be better able to work out in the open and publish papers, which is definitely an easier mode of operation for something that requires as much connection with the academic and research community as this.

Neuralink1

Neuralink co-founder and president Max Hodak told the NYT that he’s optimistic Neuralink’s tech could theoretically see use somewhat soon in medical use, including potential applications enabling amputees to regain mobility via use of prosthetics and reversing vision, hearing or other sensory deficiencies. It’s hoping to actually begin working with human test subjects as early as next year, in fact, including via possible collaboration with neurosurgeons at Stanford and other institutions.

The current incarnation of Neuralink’s tech would involve drilling actual holes into a subject’s skull in order to insert the ultra thin threads, but future iterations will shift to using lasers instead to create tiny holes that are much less invasive and essentially not felt by a patient, Hodak told the paper. Working on humans next year with something that meets this description for a relatively new company might seem improbable, but Neuralink did demonstrate its technology used on a laboratory rat this week, with performance levels that exceed today’s systems in terms of data transfer. The data from the rat was gathered via a USB-C port in its head, and it provided about 10x more what the best current sensors can offer, according to Bloomberg.

Neurlalink’s advances vs. current BCI methods also include the combined thinness and flexibility of the ‘threads’ used, but one scientist wondered about their longevity when exposed to the brain, which contains a salt mix fluid that can damage and ultimately degrade plastics over time. The plan is also that the times electrodes implanted in the brain will be able to communicate wirelessly with chips outside the brain, providing real time monitoring with unprecedented freedom of motion, without any external wires or connections.

Elon Musk is bankrolling the majority of this endeavour as well as acting as its CEO, with $100 million of the $158 million its raised so far coming from the SpaceX and Tesla CEO. It has 90 employees thus far, and still seems to be hiring aggressively based on its minimal website (which basically only contains job ads). Elon Musk also noted at the outset of today’s presentation that the main reason for the event was in fact to recruit new talent.

Benefits of Handwriting: How Handwriting Can Boost Your Productivity

In the world of laptops and mobile devices, it’s hard to imagine anyone using the good old handwriting technique. Most people consider it to be a charming skill, but the vast majority still finds it obsolete and impractical in the 21st century.

But there is a lot more to penmanship than just writing.

As a matter of fact, it turns out that handwriting can boost your productivity in a number of different ways, making this activity much more useful than sheer typing. Different studies prove the potential of cursive, but we will only point out a few examples:

  • Handwriting creates a drain on mental resources needed for higher-level aspects of writing such as attention to content, elaboration of details, and organization of ideas.
  • In the case of learning cursive writing, the brain develops functional specialization that integrates sensation, movement control, and thinking.
  • Handwriting is important for early recruitment in letter processing of brain regions known to underlie successful reading, so it may facilitate reading acquisition in young children.

Longhand writing is obviously beneficial, but how does it make people more productive? Keep reading to find out as we are about to show you seven benefits of handwriting.

Handwriting Helps You to Concentrate

This activity encourages you to concentrate on what you are supposed to do instead of procrastinating and focusing on the things around you. It successfully eliminates distractions and enables writers to delve deeper into the subject.

Now, the real question is this: how handwriting can boost someone’s concentration?

The answer is simple. Unlike typing, cursive writing is not an automated activity. When we type letters using digital devices, we basically repeat well-known moves and don’t think about it at all. On the other side, handwriting forces people to pay attention because they have to create each word single-handedly.

Every letter matters here, so you have to stay focused 100% of the time. A lot of individuals use anti-procrastination apps these days to ensure peace of mind and concentrate on their work, but handwriting might as well be much a simpler and cheaper solution.

Handwriting Makes Brainstorming Easier

Brainstorming is a mental activity that enables you to generate fresh ideas all by yourself in a relatively short time. However, the process is even faster and easier if you write down your random thoughts, suggestions, and concepts. It allows you to scrabble and note alternative proposals, no matter how strange or meaningless they might seem.

Once again, this is not something you can do by opening a Word document and typing in different ideas. It’s because digital writing is too sterile and mechanic. Using your own hand to write can set you free from creative barriers and serve as a genuine idea generation booster.

Handwriting Improves Memory

benefits of handwriting on children

Do you know that handwriting can improve your memory? It’s a well-known scientific fact and it reveals that cursive writing strengthens an individual’s potential to retain information and figure out fresh concepts.

Namely, studies show that typing and handwriting produce pretty much the same results when it comes to the sheer number of facts students are able to write down. But the big difference is that handwritten notes help students to truly understand the concepts and ideas. Once again, it happens because typing is automatic, while longhand writing demands much more effort and engagement from students.

See Also: 7 Tips on How to Improve a Child’s Working Memory

Handwriting Strengthens Creativity

Another benefit of handwriting is that it can strengthen your creativity. First of all, it encourages you to exercise and improve results over time. After all, we do understand that practice makes perfect. But this is not the only way handwriting enhances creative skills.

Various studies show that longhand writing actually boosts cognitive processes in the brain and forces people to make logical connections between seemingly unrelated concepts. This is exactly what happens to human beings when they want to perform any other type of intellectual activity. They have to establish relationships between different ideas and find a way to make them work together.

Handwriting Makes Mind Mapping Simpler

Mind mapping is a precious mental activity that helps to organize ideas, thoughts, and concepts into visually appealing diagrams. As such, mind mapping is perfect for complex projects demanding a lot of planning and analyses.

While you can find tons of mind mapping tools online, none of them can assist you in planning, scheduling, and organizing ideas as quickly and effectively as the plain “pen and paper” technique. Handwriting makes it easy to test a number of alternatives in no time, thus, helping you to prepare and launch professional projects very productively.

Handwriting Impacts Personal Motivation

benefit of handwriting

Cursive writing creates a special feeling of engagement and involvement. Unlike alienated computer-based typing, handwriting brings the notion of something deeply personal and unique. This is exactly why people tend to approach it more carefully and studiously.

For instance, a handwritten to-do list feels like a promise that you give to yourself. It’s a big motive for most people to treat it with all due respect and try to fulfill every item on the list as planned. It is only one but very significant example of how longhand writing impacts self-motivation and persistence.

See Also: 3 Writing Techniques to Increase your Self-Esteem

Handwriting Slows Down Intellectual Aging

Handwriting does not only bring you short-term benefits. On the contrary, this type of activity also helps you to nurture your intellectual stamina. It can help you stay productive in the long run. It keeps you fresh and agile, so you can successfully cope with mental tasks even as you get older.

This is a long-term effect of cursive writing that most people neglect, but it is actually very important if you want to stay mentally competitive after decades of hard work. It makes you a better employee and slows down the intellectual aging process in general.

Conclusion

The power of handwriting is immense, but it is often neglected in the world dominated by mobile phones, tablets, and laptops. However, the fact remains that longhand writing is extremely beneficial and useful to individuals who are trying to boost personal productivity.

In this article, we explained seven ways how handwriting can impact your achievements and make you a more efficient person. Give it a chance and you will probably notice the same effects very soon!

The post Benefits of Handwriting: How Handwriting Can Boost Your Productivity appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

Watch Out for These Warning Signs of Alzheimer’s Disease

Many people often joke about forgetting the names of their loved ones or where they put their things. That forgetfulness may not be that alarming if it’s because of a lack of focus. However, forgetfulness caused by the effects of Alzheimer’s disease should be a cause of concern.

Alzheimer’s is a deadly neurodegenerative disease that results in a gradual decline in memory, thinking, reasoning, and communication skills. In Australia, Alzheimer’s is the most common type of Dementia, comprising of 50–75% of the diagnosed cases.

Some people can display early warning signs of Alzheimer’s, allowing for early diagnosis and possible treatment for its symptoms. Therefore, check out this list of warning signs of Alzheimer’s Disease.

Forgetfulness

As mentioned previously, one of the common indicators that you have Alzheimer’s is forgetfulness. For instance, forgetting recently learned information, significant life events or appointments, asking for the same information repeatedly, and constant dependence on memory aids.

Difficulty in Planning and Solving Problems

People who are suffering from the disease struggle in developing and following a plan or solving problems. For example, they may find it hard following a daily to-do list or balancing a checkbook. Challenges in their ability to concentrate and doing or solving things longer than they did before are also common signs of Alzheimer’s disease.

Confusion with Time or Place

alzheimers disease

Individuals with Alzheimer’s disease often forget dates or lose track of the passage of time and seasons. For instance, being uncertain about the day of the week. Also, they may find it a considerable challenge to understand a thing if it’s not happening at the moment. They may also get confused about their current place or how they got there.

Challenges in Doing Simple and Familiar Tasks

One of the nasty effects of the disease is the difficulty to complete simple tasks. There are times that people with Alzheimer’s find it hard to drive to a familiar location, keep in mind the rules at work or do simple household chores. Occasionally, they need help in operating a gadget or a home appliance.

Difficulty with Words

Alzheimer’s disease can cause people to have problems carrying a conversation. People who have the condition may find it hard to speak and socialize with other people. Sometimes, they stop in the middle of a speech and don’t know how to continue a sentence. Vocabulary and finding the right words are real challenges to them.

Trouble Understanding Visual Images

signs of alzheimers disease

One of the warning signs of Alzheimer’s disease is having vision problems or difficulty in understanding visual images. People who have the disease may have trouble figuring out a color or contrast and determining distance and spatial relationships. These effects are dangerous because they can lead to accidents.

Changes in Judgment or Decision-Making Skills

Individuals affected with the early onset of the disease may show signs of poor judgment or a slow decision-making process. For instance, they might not make wise decisions on financial matters. Specifically, they tend to waste money on unimportant things or put their money in bad investments. Moreover, paying less attention to their hygiene is also a common sign of Alzheimer’s disease.

Misplacing Things

People who have Alzheimer’s are notorious in misplacing things. Often they place their things in an unusual spot, they’ll find it hard to remember where they place them. Sometimes, they lose things and put the blame on others or accuse others of stealing their things. This situation can happen frequently to someone who is suffering from the disease.

Unusual Changes in Personality and Mood Swings

A person with Alzheimer’s disease may experience mood swings or unusual personality changes. For instance, he or she can become suspicious, confused, anxious, fearful or depressed. Even simple matters may be a source of worry or cause of anger for the person suffering from Alzheimer’s.

He or she may develop strange ways of doing things and become upset when a routine is disrupted. These mood swings and personality changes can happen at home, at work, and everywhere.

Becoming Aloof from Social Activities

People with Alzheimer’s disease often start to shy away from work or social activities. They may not do their hobbies or sports they liked doing before. In addition, they become aloof from their family, relatives or friends. Individuals who have this disease become tired of family, work, and social obligations.

Takeaway

Alzheimer’s disease is indeed a serious medical condition that we should understand better. This disease can disrupt the normal functions of the brain that can lead to memory loss and gradual degeneration of our cognitive abilities. Hence, we should be aware of its early warning signs for us to seek possible treatment of its symptoms.

See Also: 9 Ways To Keep Your Brain Young

The post Watch Out for These Warning Signs of Alzheimer’s Disease appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

Watch Out for These Warning Signs of Alzheimer’s Disease

Many people often joke about forgetting the names of their loved ones or where they put their things. That forgetfulness may not be that alarming if it’s because of a lack of focus. However, forgetfulness caused by the effects of Alzheimer’s disease should be a cause of concern.

Alzheimer’s is a deadly neurodegenerative disease that results in a gradual decline in memory, thinking, reasoning, and communication skills. In Australia, Alzheimer’s is the most common type of Dementia, comprising of 50–75% of the diagnosed cases.

Some people can display early warning signs of Alzheimer’s, allowing for early diagnosis and possible treatment for its symptoms. Therefore, check out this list of warning signs of Alzheimer’s Disease.

Forgetfulness

As mentioned previously, one of the common indicators that you have Alzheimer’s is forgetfulness. For instance, forgetting recently learned information, significant life events or appointments, asking for the same information repeatedly, and constant dependence on memory aids.

Difficulty in Planning and Solving Problems

People who are suffering from the disease struggle in developing and following a plan or solving problems. For example, they may find it hard following a daily to-do list or balancing a checkbook. Challenges in their ability to concentrate and doing or solving things longer than they did before are also common signs of Alzheimer’s disease.

Confusion with Time or Place

alzheimers disease

Individuals with Alzheimer’s disease often forget dates or lose track of the passage of time and seasons. For instance, being uncertain about the day of the week. Also, they may find it a considerable challenge to understand a thing if it’s not happening at the moment. They may also get confused about their current place or how they got there.

Challenges in Doing Simple and Familiar Tasks

One of the nasty effects of the disease is the difficulty to complete simple tasks. There are times that people with Alzheimer’s find it hard to drive to a familiar location, keep in mind the rules at work or do simple household chores. Occasionally, they need help in operating a gadget or a home appliance.

Difficulty with Words

Alzheimer’s disease can cause people to have problems carrying a conversation. People who have the condition may find it hard to speak and socialize with other people. Sometimes, they stop in the middle of a speech and don’t know how to continue a sentence. Vocabulary and finding the right words are real challenges to them.

Trouble Understanding Visual Images

signs of alzheimers disease

One of the warning signs of Alzheimer’s disease is having vision problems or difficulty in understanding visual images. People who have the disease may have trouble figuring out a color or contrast and determining distance and spatial relationships. These effects are dangerous because they can lead to accidents.

Changes in Judgment or Decision-Making Skills

Individuals affected with the early onset of the disease may show signs of poor judgment or a slow decision-making process. For instance, they might not make wise decisions on financial matters. Specifically, they tend to waste money on unimportant things or put their money in bad investments. Moreover, paying less attention to their hygiene is also a common sign of Alzheimer’s disease.

Misplacing Things

People who have Alzheimer’s are notorious in misplacing things. Often they place their things in an unusual spot, they’ll find it hard to remember where they place them. Sometimes, they lose things and put the blame on others or accuse others of stealing their things. This situation can happen frequently to someone who is suffering from the disease.

Unusual Changes in Personality and Mood Swings

A person with Alzheimer’s disease may experience mood swings or unusual personality changes. For instance, he or she can become suspicious, confused, anxious, fearful or depressed. Even simple matters may be a source of worry or cause of anger for the person suffering from Alzheimer’s.

He or she may develop strange ways of doing things and become upset when a routine is disrupted. These mood swings and personality changes can happen at home, at work, and everywhere.

Becoming Aloof from Social Activities

People with Alzheimer’s disease often start to shy away from work or social activities. They may not do their hobbies or sports they liked doing before. In addition, they become aloof from their family, relatives or friends. Individuals who have this disease become tired of family, work, and social obligations.

Takeaway

Alzheimer’s disease is indeed a serious medical condition that we should understand better. This disease can disrupt the normal functions of the brain that can lead to memory loss and gradual degeneration of our cognitive abilities. Hence, we should be aware of its early warning signs for us to seek possible treatment of its symptoms.

See Also: 9 Ways To Keep Your Brain Young

The post Watch Out for These Warning Signs of Alzheimer’s Disease appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

Boost Your Memory With Exercise

Generally, I think it’s a good thing we can forget things.

Would you really want to remember all your homework and assignments from grade school with the same clarity as you would present-day events?

I certainly wouldn’t!

That’s why you should be tracking your workouts. That way, you won’t have to waste memory space on remembering what you are currently lifting or if you broke a personal record.

But when it comes to boosting your memory with exercise, the memories most of us are referring to are the really important ones. It includes memories with family, friends, and our general knowledge of how to live our day-to-day lives. Yet, diseases like Alzheimer’s threaten these memories.

Currently, there are around 5.8 million Americans living with Alzheimer’s disease. That number is projected to rise to around 14 million by 2050. But you don’t have to accept that your memory will decline. Instead, you can protect your health and memory with exercise.

Develop Brain Volume With Regular Exercise

exercise and memory

As we age, our brains tend to shrink, losing not only its overall volume but also impairing some of its functionality. One critical area which can be affected is the hippocampus. It’s the area of our brain where long-term memories are stored and accessed.

As this area of the brain decreases in size, our memories become harder to reach. It becomes difficult to store new memories, too.

But with exercise, this grim, memory loss future doesn’t have to happen.

A particularly engaging study made a connection between exercise and an increase in brain volume, specifically with the hippocampus. In the study, the participants in the regular exercise group had an increase of 2% brain mass volume in their hippocampus. This means the effects of age-related brain volume loss was reversed for as much as 1-2 years worth of loss.

That means, if you set up regular exercise patterns, you can protect yourself from years of brain volume loss and keep your hippocampus healthy. In fact, you can even reverse some of your brain volume loss if it has occurred.

Acute Exercise Can Also Positively Impact Your Memory

Along with the great benefits of long-term exercise, you can positively impact your memory with just one short workout, according to memory researchers.

In a study on activating semantic memory in older adults, researchers studied to see if acute exercise had any impact on the memory. To clarify, acute exercise ranges from moderate-to-high intensity exercise that lasts under 45 minutes. Most HIIT workouts fall into this category. So if you have some favorite HIIT workouts, you may want to break them out.

Well, the participating older adults did experience greater memory activation, particularly their semantic memory. It’s the memory which contains your knowledge of your culture, basic world knowledge like how to hold a spoon, and all the simple things we tend to take for granted.

So, even if you haven’t quite mastered a regular routine of working out, even doing periodic, intense workouts can be helpful for your memory.

Create Greater Cognitive Function With Focused Workouts

You don’t have to just do aerobic workouts to boost your memory. A meta-analysis of multiple studies found that more meditative and focused exercises like Tai Chi can also help seniors improve their overall cognitive function.

It makes sense when you consider what slower, focused exercises offer. The person performing the exercise needs to not only engage their body but also their mind as they move through poses, patterns, and keep their movements mindful.

So, rather than doing a Soduku puzzle, maybe take up Tai Chi or yoga for brain engagement.

See Also: 10 Tips to Develop Both Sides of Your Brain

Blend Different Types of Exercises For Cognitive Benefits

exercise for memory boost

I often advocate for blending different types of exercise together, like how runners should lift heavy to support their muscles and joint while weightlifters should run to boost their cardiovascular health. And the same kind of balanced, blended workout effects can apply for memory-building workouts.

So, if you are determined to incorporate good, memory boosting workouts into your daily life, shoot for a mix of workouts. Say, dedicate 1 to 2 days to the more meditative and focused exercises. Then, maybe 3 to 4 days where you do longer aerobic workouts. Feel free to swap out one of the days with a more acute, anaerobic exercise program.

As you do things like work in simple posture exercises into your daily routine, be sure that you are also incorporating some of these other types of workouts. That way, you can boost your memory both in the short- and long-term.

See Also: 10 Brain Damaging Activities You Need To Stop Doing Now

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How to Rewire Your Brain for Success

The brain is an incredible organ. It is constantly regenerating and renewing itself while absorbing the information being thrown at it. However, not every piece of information it absorbs is positive or even correct.

For example, if you fall down in public and feel embarrassed, the thought “I’m an idiot” pops into your head. Your brain will absorb it and form a neural pathway. This pathway is the connection through which neurons send their signals from one part of the brain to another.

And as more things cause embarrassment for you, the stronger that pathway becomes to the point that it affects how you live your life.

What if you utilize how your brain works naturally to promote productivity, happiness, a sense of self-worth, and success in your workplace? The results will amaze you.

What Am I Talking About?

importance of mindfulness

What I am really referring to is something called Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), a therapy used by mental health professionals all over the world. CBT is an evidenced-based therapy that assumes changing harmful thinking can lead to an ultimate change in behavior. Even further, more recent versions of CBT focus on changing a person’s relationship to harmful thinking. It rewires the brain and those aforementioned neural pathways to initiate a change in behavior.

This kind of practice can also be described as ‘mindfulness’. It involves focusing on the present moment and acknowledging and accepting one’s feelings while noticing one’s relationship to those feelings. It is much easier to change one’s relationship to feelings and circumstances when they are acknowledged.

Does This Even Work?

The Harvard Gazette recently published an article outlining a study done on the effectiveness of using the above techniques to change one’s brain with respect to depression. I believe this to be interchangeable with anxiety, stress, or even a lack of productivity in one’s life.

Dr. Gaelle Desbordes, an instructor in radiology at Harvard Medical school and a neuroscientist, began practicing mindfulness and experienced great benefits. As a scientist, she wondered how it could benefit others and how the process could be documented.

What is amazing about her study, outlined in this article, is that she could visually see a difference in scans of patients’ brains before and after they practiced mindfulness and the change seemed to be there to stay.

See Also: 7 Ways Mindfulness Can Unlock The Door To Your Authentic Life

What Does This Mean For You?

practice mindfulness

Even if you are not struggling with something as serious as depression or PTSD, utilizing a tool or practice like mindfulness or CBT could really make a difference to your success as a person. It’s possible that you have some thought patterns cycling on a daily basis that are hindering your success in work or your productivity on a project.

I truly believe that taking inventory of your daily thought patterns can tremendously help you. You can begin by pinpointing something in which you have a physical hiccup.

Do you struggle with deadlines and procrastinate until the last second? Do you eat healthy all day and binge on all the unhealthy foods right before bed?

Whatever your goals or scenarios are, write them all out as they pop into your head.

See Also: How to Deal With Depression: 22 Things You Need to Try Today

For example, if you struggle with procrastination, your thoughts surrounding this issue may be one or a few of the following:

  • I feel overwhelmed.
  • I want to do a perfect job so I fear to start the project.
  • I’m not good enough.
  • I dislike my work and do not want to begin the project.

You probably have a lot more thoughts or reasons for feeling such way. So, sit with yourself for a few minutes and really think about them before writing them out. Choose one that you deem is harmful to your productivity and write down why it shouldn’t be that way.

In Conclusion

Now, you know how to rewire your brain for success.

The next time you are procrastinating, revisit what you’ve written and it’ll create the positive changes you want in your brain. It will file this new information and override the old, ultimately changing your behavior.

I hope you find this information helpful in your quest for a more productive, happy, and successful life.

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Depression Is A Myth: 4 Simple Reasons Why You Think So

It’s easy to understand why depression is a myth for most people. Unlike cancer which has physical symptoms that you can easily relate to, the symptoms of depression aren’t easy to recognize.

What exactly is depression?

depression

Depression, also called depressive disorder or clinical depression, is a mood disorder that affects your basic activities. It affects how you sleep, think, handle situations and the way you relate to others. Depression can also make you suddenly lose interest in things that would normally bring you pleasure.

See Also: Social Media Causing Depression and Anxiety: Is It True?

Why You Think Depression Is A Myth

Quite a lot of people think depression is a myth and you just might be one of them. Below are some possible reasons why.

You have never been a victim

This, I believe, is the number one reason why you think depression is a myth. Experience is the best teacher and this is particularly true in this case.

There are over 300 million people worldwide suffering from depression. They all have their respective stories to tell.

These people believe depression is real simply because they have lived through it or are still experiencing it. They understand what it means to not be in control of your mood, to suddenly hate the things you used to love and to have sudden suicidal thoughts.

You have no personal relationship with someone experiencing depression

A mother who had to watch her child go through depression will never think of depression as a myth. You, on the other hand, would believe depression is a myth because you have never watched someone you know go through the agony of depression.

It’s usually easy to disprove a thing or not believe in it when it has no direct effect on you.

You confuse sadness with depression

sadness not depression

As humans, it is perfectly fine to feel sad at various times- your favorite team lost a perfectly fine match, your favorite designer ruined a dress you love, your relationship isn’t going all too well.

In each of those situations, it’s perfectly fine to feel sad for a few days. Depression, however, is totally different.

Unlike sadness, depression does not stay for a few days. It stays for weeks or months and even years. And the crazy thing about it is that you can feel depressed without a single reason.

You have zero idea what depression means

It is quite easy to consider depression as a myth when you have no idea what it means.

A kid believes Santa is real simply because the kid doesn’t fully understand the things that are going on. The same principle goes with depression but with a little adjustment.

Instead of believing like a kid, you don’t believe depression exists because you do not understand what it is.

See Also: How to Deal With Depression: 22 Things You Need to Try Today

Don’t be ignorant of the truth. Just because you say something isn’t true, that doesn’t make it any less true. You might consider depression a myth, but it’s not.

If you still can’t comprehend, talk to people who have gone through it. Try to get a feel of what it truly means or do a little research and get your self up to date.

The post Depression Is A Myth: 4 Simple Reasons Why You Think So appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

About Dementia: The Silent Epidemic

Despite the notable dips in life expectancy in the United States in recent years, humans’ overall life expectancy is up. A hundred years ago, life expectancy in the U.S. was 48.3 for men and 51.1 for women. That is, of course, factoring in the exceedingly high rate of infant mortality people experienced back then.

Today, most people live well beyond childhood, their childbearing years, and even retirement. With this uptick in life expectancy has come an uptick in age-related illnesses. This makes it important that you do your research about dementia well.

What Is Dementia?

Part of the problem with treating and even diagnosing dementia is that it is not just a single condition with a single cause. The three most common forms of dementia are Alzheimer’s, vascular dementia, and dementia with Lewy bodies. Unfortunately, it is often difficult to tell which kind of dementia a patient has until after death when the brain can be examined.

Common warning signs of dementia include:

  • Memory impairment
  • Difficulty with speech and communication
  • Loss of focus or attention
  • Decreased vision
  • Poor judgment
  • Decreased reasoning skills

Dementia Is Incredibly Common

dementia

Between the ages of 65 and 74, your chance of developing dementia is only 3%. Once you make it to 75, your chances increase dramatically. That’s 17% between 75 and 84 years of age. When you hit 85, your chance of developing dementia jumps to a staggering 32%.

There are currently at least ten different known forms of dementia and post-mortem studies suggest that only 49% of diagnoses are correct. To make matters worse, any form of treatment is incredibly complicated, thanks to the blood-brain barrier which keeps foreign objects and organisms out of the brain.

New treatments seek to circumvent this issue using ultrasound technology. For now, making patients and their families as comfortable as possible is the greatest concern.

We Need Better Dementia Care Now

If we can’t cure or even treat dementia effectively, then we should exert more effort in making sure that patients can live a life as dignified as possible. We all know that dementia care is expensive. One study found that it was 80% more expensive than caring for someone with cancer.

Unfortunately, many people don’t plan for their life once they become older. This can leave loved ones scrambling to figure out how to care for them with a limited budget. The most basic care can cost $70,000 per year.

Higher quality care can lead to better patient outcomes for dementia patients. Choosing a facility with a lot of green space and residences that appear normal can encourage independent behavior. Those green spaces can even cut down aggression, a natural reaction of a dementia patient when he can’t make sense of the world around him.

Making the patient’s surroundings as familiar as possible can also cut down on confusion and make them feel more at home. Some nursing homes even make their patients’ door look like the ones they have at home.

A nursing home in Germany did something ingenious to help their residents who suffer from dementia. They carefully studied patients who tried to run away and realized one very important thing: they all headed to the bus stop first.

Their solution was to build a fake bus stop in front of the nursing home so that when a patient couldn’t be persuaded not to leave, they would have a place to go and calm down. Oftentimes, staff would accompany them to the bus stop and escort them back into the building.

See Also: Exercise Your Mind and Reduce Your Risk of Dementia With These 10 Ways to Keep Your Brain Sharp

Humane Treatment Is Imperative

Dementia has to be a very frustrating experience for a patient. Could you imagine literally being locked up in your old age? Encouraging greater independence and trying to give the patient something familiar to cling to are very important steps toward giving dementia patients greater peace of mind.

Learn more about the need for better dementia care from this infographic!
”Understanding
Source: Executor.org

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How Can Stroke Prevention Save Your Life

No one wants to think about the possibility of having a stroke, but someone in the United States has a stroke an average of every 40 seconds. It could be life altering or even life ending.

The good news is that it is possible to survive a stroke and it’s also possible to prevent one from happening in the first place. You should take steps to understand your risk factors, make lifestyle changes, and finally plan for your best possible outcome should the worst happen.

Do You Have Risk Factors For Stroke?

There are certain risk factors that make you more prone to developing a stroke. According to the National Institutes for Health, here are some of those risk factors:

  • Increased blood pressure
  • Personal history of stroke
  • Diabetes
  • Existing heart Disease
  • Smoking
  • Malformations of brain blood vessels
  • Age
  • High Cholesterol
  • Gender
  • Race or Ethnicity
  • Family history
  • Poor diet
  • Stress and Depression

See Also: 4 Ways To Overcome Depression Naturally

When you have any of those risk factors, it’s important to check your lifestyle and make the necessary changes to prevent stroke. Eat a healthier diet, be more physically active and quit smoking. Seeking medical treatment for other risk factors is also crucial.

stroke risk factor

See Also: 16 Essential Tips for Quitting Smoking

How To Know If You Are Having A Stroke

When you or someone you love is having a stroke, it isn’t always immediately obvious. Someone having a stroke may just seem tired or even a little drunk, so early warning signs are often brushed off.

According to the American Stroke Association, you should think FAST. It’s an acronym which stands for:

  • Face drooping
  • Arm weakness
  • Speech difficulty
  • Time to call

Another easier method is to have the person stick out their tongue and see whether it is lopsided.

No matter what, if you suspect you or someone else is having a stroke, you must get to the nearest emergency room immediately or call 911.

call 911

Stroke Prevention: Giving Yourself A Better Chance Of Survival

Obviously, getting yourself to the hospital as soon as you suspect a stroke is crucial to your survival. Preventing a stroke from happening in the first place is also a great idea. But if you know you are at risk and you have already done everything you can to prevent a stroke from happening, it’s time to plan for the worst-case scenario.

How do you give yourself the best chance of surviving a stroke once it already starts?

With a little planning, you can identify which hospitals in your area will give you the best chance of surviving a stroke. It starts with identifying the Comprehensive Stroke Centers.

A hospital with a Comprehensive Stroke Center certification is one where the doctors, nurses, and other staff have been trained to work together to ensure the best possible outcome for stroke patients. These healthcare professionals are constantly updating their training to be on the cutting edge of research that will allow patients to recover more quickly and more thoroughly.

This research is not only used to stop your stroke as quickly as possible, but it is also used to put you on the right path toward recovery. It can help you get your life back as quickly as possible.

It’s not always easy to identify which hospitals in your area are certified as comprehensive stroke centers. This is why it is important to do your research ahead of time and talk it over with your family. When you make a plan before anything bad happens, it will be that much easier to get where you need to go in an emergency. It could save your life.

Learn more about Comprehensive Stroke Centers from this infographic. A little bit of preparation could lead to a 7% reduction in death when the absolute worst happens.Comprehensive Stroke Centers

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7 Unhealthy Behaviors That Affect Your Mental Health

Bad mental health habits are behaviors that have a negative effect on the way we think and the way we feel about ourselves.

We often believe our mood and our mental health are solely dependent on external factors and we only have little ability to control them. We often wonder why we get so easily irritated, upset, sad, lethargic, and bored in life. As a solution, we try to improve our mood and cope with stress by engaging in unhealthy behaviors. This, unfortunately, makes our mood even worse.

Yes, our mood is affected by our brain chemistry. But, remember this:

Our brain chemistry is largely affected by our behaviors and habits in life. If we treat ourselves with care and know what makes us happy, we are going to have a more balanced brain chemistry.

Here are a few common bad mental health habits that are making you unhappy and unsatisfied with your life:

Bad Sleep Routine

bad sleep routine

Even if you get enough sleep, having a regular sleep routine matters a lot.

Going to bed early promotes more happiness and energy in life. Studies have shown that going to bed late may be linked to depression and poorer mental health in general. The reason could be that negative thoughts are more likely to appear in our mind at night.

So, by staying up late, you get more and more overwhelmed with worries and negative thoughts. Also, by being a ‘night owl’, you socialize less with people and may start to feel isolated over time. You’ll also be less productive and less energetic the next day.

See Also: Get Strong, Sleep, Repeat: The Importance Of Sleeping

Not Taking Time to Relax

Many of us live with a lot of stress and have a lot of thoughts going through our minds on a daily basis. We may have a stressful job or suffer from anxiety or other problems. Most of us may be hyperactive and constantly seeking new stimuli without realizing that they are making us feel worse.

Taking some time during the day to relax and be with yourself without distractions can significantly improve your mood and well-being.

Lack of Physical Activity

It is a well-known fact that physical activity is necessary in order to maintain a healthy body. But, exercise has huge benefits for your mind, too.

When you exercise, your blood flow improves and your body releases feel-good chemicals. You are also releasing the tension build-up from excessive stress and anxiety. Your muscles feel and work better.

Spending a Lot of Time with Toxic People

We all know people in our lives that just make us feel bad whenever we are interacting with them. They may put us down, undermine our success, not respect our boundaries, and find ways to ruin our mood when we are happiest.

If you are continually trying to change those people, you are just wasting your time and making yourself more miserable. So, try to avoid toxic people as much as possible.

See Also: 8 Types of Toxic Friends That Are Holding Your Happiness Hostage

Lack of Personal Goals

Goal-oriented behavior is what activates our reward system. This has a huge influence on our mood and happiness. If you don’t push yourself to achieve your goals, even small goals, you will not feel fulfilled and you are likely to seek unhealthy ways to activate your brain reward system.

Also, not focusing on achieving your goals leaves you feeling like you are stagnating in your life and that can easily trigger poor mood and depression.

Excessive Use of Technology

excessive use of technology

Most of us enjoy our computers, phones, social media and we naturally want to watch the news and see what is currently happening in the world. Even though those tools are great at making our lives and work easier, they can also be great tools for distraction.

They also promote inactivity and tend to be overly stimulating to your brain. Your brain doesn’t like too much stimulation and you may find it more difficult to relax and unwind after spending hours on social media.

Not Being in Touch with Your Emotions

Our emotions often feel too intense and too difficult to deal with, so we tend to suppress them. We distract ourselves with all kinds of unhealthy behaviors.

The problem with that is that we don’t get to process our emotions and face our real problems. We fail to find out through attention and awareness what truly makes us unhappy, anxious, angry or sad.

Poor Nutrition

Our nutrition affects everything in our body, including our brain chemistry. A deficiency in certain nutrients can cause imbalances in our system. Even if we don’t have any serious deficiencies, our eating habits can still affect our mental health. Overeating and not eating enough are both unhealthy behaviors that can affect our relationship with food and our overall mental health.

The post 7 Unhealthy Behaviors That Affect Your Mental Health appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

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Seven Mindfulness Steps To Build Self-Esteem

It’s no secret that a lot of what we think and do are the products of our habits. These habits are often carried out unconsciously and they lead to our emotions and beliefs. These emotions and beliefs then lead to certain actions. These actions can reinforce our beliefs or have consequences that start the cycle all over again.

What exactly is mindfulness?

Mindfulness has been defined in many ways. Dr. Jon Kabat-Zinn has described it as, “Awareness that arises through paying attention, on purpose, in the present moment, non-judgmentally. It’s about knowing what is on your mind.”

Generally speaking, mindfulness has two major aspects to it.

The first involves the following:
• Being generally aware of the present moment
• Noticing when that awareness wanders
• Bringing that awareness back to the present moment

The second most common aspect of mindfulness is focusing on something in particular. This involves:
• Paying attention to something in particular, like one’s breath
• Noticing when the mind drifts from that thing
• Bringing attention back to that thing.

Strengthening mindfulness for self esteem

Mindfulness is a skill that most westerners are not used to. Becoming more mindful usually takes specific forms of practice. Many traditions and methods have been developed over the years.

The different forms of meditation have been generally accepted as mindfulness practice. Still, the main goal of being more mindful is to apply its principles to real life situations.

mindfulness and meditation

See Also: The Profound Effects Of Meditation On The Mind

Seven steps to utilize mindfulness for self-esteem

Stay in the present moment

Most of your distressful feelings are either memories of things gone wrong or thoughts of a less than optimal future. If you find yourself feeling less confident, odds are you’ve been harping on past failures or are worrying about a particular outcome.

You must strive to vigilantly observe when your mind isn’t focused on the present. When you notice your awareness drifting, bring it back to the here and now. Concentrate on what you’re doing right now at this very moment. There’s a saying, “If you have one foot in the future and the other in the past, you’re pissing on today.”

Don’t confuse ruminating and worrying about the future with planning. Depending on how ingrained your habit towards negative thinking is, it can be a thin line between worrying and planning.

Think of it like this.

If you tell yourself that you are going to do x, y and z, it’s usually planning. But, if your thinking is along the lines of “what if” or “such is probably going to happen”, then you’re probably worrying.

Don’t judge

Judge not or you shall be judged.

This saying has more truth to it than most people realize. Judging can become a formidable unconscious habit. What you often don’t realize is that by judging others, you’re actually drawing comparisons.

You will eventually judge someone to be better at something than you. And once that happens, you will start to down yourself and attack your own self-esteem.

A good way to practice being non-judgmental is to watch the news or read the newspaper and not form an opinion about what you see. In other words, try not to think that the event, the people involved or their actions are right, wrong, smart or stupid, etc. Then, try to bring this same mindset when dealing with others.

When you judge others, your mind slips out of the present moment. It makes you vulnerable to ruminating about the past and future. Remember, judge not, or so you shall be judged.

Stand tall

Research has shown that standing with good posture can have beneficial effects on your mood. It is hard to walk with one’s head, shoulders and chest held upright and not feel good. If you’re standing with good posture, most people will look at you and treat you as if you are confident. It can help you feel better about yourself.

One of the hindrances that make it hard for many people with low self-worth to stand tall is fear of eye contact. If you keep the two previous steps in mind, staying in the present and forming no judgments, it will be easier for you to look people in the eye.

Don’t stare. Just occasionally look people in the eye, especially if they’re looking at you. If you still find eye contact hard, there are a couple of hacks for it. You can look at the bridge of a person’s nose, instead of directly in the eye. Another trick is to look at a person’s ears if you’re directly in front of but not too close to him.

Demand your space

People with low self-esteem often don’t want to be noticed. When in public, they try to be as unobtrusive as possible. Whereas people with high self-worth stand out. One of the ways they do this is by taking up space.

For instance, when standing, try to keep your feet shoulder-width apart. When sitting, keep your knees apart as much as is appropriate for the situation. When you do this, you’re basically telling the world that you not only have balls, but they’re big ones. Try and keep your hands away from you as well, being mindful not to consistently fold your arms across your chest.

If you are a man, you should also be mindful of keeping your elbows away from your torso as well. Keeping the knees and elbows drawn in is often viewed as weak and submissive, not to mention effeminate in some cultures.

Make faces

The look you hold on your face often influences your mood. You should strive to have the look of a confident winner. Different people show that differently.

For one person, it could be a smiling face. For another, it could be the look of a person who’s serious and doesn’t play games. The choice is yours, as long as it is the facial expression that you feel a confident person would wear.

A lot of times, when you have low self-esteem, you defeat yourself before you even start. You have a look of defeat, submission or unhappiness plastered on your face. Not only does this affect your mood, but it can influence those around you.

When you smile, the whole world smiles with you. If you look upbeat and confident, it can make it easier for people to gravitate towards you. People instinctively know that emotions are contagious. Therefore humans tend to be attracted to people who feel good.

On the other hand, if you look like a depressed loser, not only will you tend to feel that way, but it can make people hostile towards you. They don’t want to feel like you do, so they will tend to avoid you or drive you away.

You’ll even find people will often be attracted towards you if you look slightly angry. The key word is “slightly”. If you look enraged or ready to explode, people may stand clear out of fear for their physical safety. Anger is not generally considered a positive emotion, but an angry person is generally looked at as having more confidence than one who looks submissive.

Relax

mindfulness and relaxation

Relaxation techniques help to alleviate the effects of the fight or flight response. Being in a relaxed state won’t necessarily build confidence, but it can help to relieve anxiety and other adverse moods. This step takes practice.

In the beginning, it’s recommended that you practice some type of relaxation technique. This is so that you know what relaxation actually feels like. Once you have established how it feels, you’ll have to be mindful of the stress on your body. The common trouble spots are the face, neck, shoulder region and the central torso. During your day, you can do a quick self-check to see if there is unnecessary tension in those trouble spots.

Act as if

This step includes bringing all the other steps together. It’s sort of like being a method actor.

You contemplate how you would imagine a person with high self-esteem would act and then you strive to emulate that type of behavior. It may be awkward at first and people that know you may be put off a little. They may not take the ‘new’ you seriously. But, if you’re consistent, they will fall in line. The key is consistency.

You will eventually slip into your habitual ways of behaving. This is where mindfulness plays its part. You have to train your mind to become aware of your thoughts, attitudes and behaviors so that you can correct them as soon as possible. If done often and consistently enough, this in and of itself will become a habit.

See Also: 7 Ways Mindfulness Can Unlock The Door To Your Authentic Life

Conclusion

We see that high self-worth can be influenced by what you do and don’t do. Always remember that it’s about progress and not perfection. You should strive to be mindful of using your thoughts and behavior to:
• Prevent self-defeating thoughts from arising
• Eliminate self-defeating thoughts that do arise
• Bring up esteem building thoughts when they are not presently in mind
• Maintain esteem building thoughts that are currently in mind

If you want moderate gains in your self-esteem, be mindful of the steps you take to move through life. Your limits are only set by the limits of your mindset.

The post Seven Mindfulness Steps To Build Self-Esteem appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

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7 Ways Mindfulness Can Unlock The Door To Your Authentic Life

“Many people are alive but don’t touch the miracle of being alive.”
— Thich Nhat Hanh, The Miracle of Mindfulness

In between work, family and social media, we take few precious moments to reflect upon our lives and realize the importance of mindfulness.

Perhaps, you purposely avoided looking at your life because, if you’re totally honest, it can be brutal. Just think about the tsunami of judgmental thoughts that swamped your mind and caused you a great deal of stress and anxiety.

Not surprisingly, a lot of worries are just byproducts of our society. However, our greater personal dissatisfactions are actually the result of our own internal turmoil driven by confusion.

Are you feeling confused?

You’re not the only one. Notice how confusion is self-evident all over the world.

Research scientist Kathryn Tristan suggests in her book Why Worry that at some time in our lives, half of us in the U.S. will suffer from anxiety, depression or addiction—the very opposite of an authentic life.

But, then something miraculous happens.

On your way home from work or a rushed meal out, the dusk’s rising luminous moon captivates you and you experience a moment of ecstasy and utter peace.

All is right with the world and you weren’t thinking about a thing. You were just alive and brilliantly so!

From mundane to miraculous

What was the shift?

The clouds of confusion lifted. For a moment, you were in perfect balance, consciously mindful of the miracle of life that involves you.

Here’s the big picture:

You were being your best, most authentic self instead of listening to habitual, self-limiting thought patterns.

Authenticity emerges when you live not just from mind and body, but from the heart which is your natural state. Done consciously, it is mindful living. It is the mastery of life.

A life lived without a heart and soul is a life filled with confusions. This can manifest as problems in your personal life.

“If quality of life is important to you, mindful living trades confusion for life’s magical moments—every single day.”

In his book, Living from the Heart, Nirmala said, “What you are seeing, smelling, hearing, sensing, and pondering is limited by and filtered through your thoughts. Your thoughts mediate between you and reality and interfere with seeing it more fully and purely.”

According to neuroscience, what thoughts are and what gives rise to them is still a mystery.

Think of thoughts as one of the many useful tools the brain uses to navigate our physical world. By themselves, thoughts are two-dimensional mind fences.

An expanded awareness that includes the heart means a far richer life that is fulfilling, regardless of the circumstances or what you are doing.

Shocking to some, you don’t have to do anything at all to experience an authentic life.

But, ask yourself this:

Would you rather run through a meadow at sunset with fences? Or the meadow of your life unhindered as far as the eye can see or even beyond?

When we live from the more inclusive reality of our mind, body, and spirit (heart), we open our lives to the miraculous on a daily basis.

How to enjoy the miracle of your authentic life

Slow life down each day

Although you’re not fully aware of the importance of mindfulness, you’ve been actually practicing it intermittently throughout your life without realizing it. Immersing yourself in nature, going for a walk and even hand-washing dishes are forms of mindfulness.

Recall how you felt a sense of calm and well-being within your body. Notice how balanced your world became. Now, do these things consciously and with your heart. Add yoga and meditation.

Life gets immensely satisfying when we let go of our mental expectations and enter the “Zen” or the flow.

Mind the gap for miracles

“When you allow your thoughts to breathe by paying attention to the gap in between, you move out of reactive-ness to being response-able.”

Thought devoid of the heart and soul is a form of insanity. No wonder so many people are confused.

You have the ability to tap into your highest wisdom and determine whether the glass is half empty or half full.

Minding the gap is how you go from continually making lateral moves in life to sky-high vertical limitlessness.

Whenever there’s a challenge, rather than carelessly and spontaneously reacting, surprise everyone by saying you’ll give it some thought. This means giving your initial thoughts some space to breathe.

Silence without judgment is extremely powerful and contains miracles. It shifts, even breaks, habitual destructive patterns.

Give up planning for 90 days

In Western culture, planning is thought to be one of our greatest assets. Google the power of planning and you’ll be inundated with reasons why a plan is paramount to reaching your goals.

Are you willing to open the door to the even higher power of synthesis the Harvard Business Review calls “strategic thinking?”

Strategic thinking lets go of planning initially, integrating intuition and creativity to allow spontaneity to appear naturally.

Albert Einstein said, “The intuitive mind is a sacred gift and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift.”

Rather than projecting different possible scenarios, be a blank slate by asking, “What’s next?”

Leaving infinite possibility open is to create a vacuum that life must fill. It’s more powerful than projecting imagined preferred scenarios which contain limits.

Say “I don’t know” often

get comfortable with emptiness

At least to yourself!

Emptiness is very challenging when you are pressured by society to fill every nook and cranny with busyness. Your brain will be sure to scream it to you every chance it gets.

Emptiness removes all barriers, including you getting out of your own way.

I can tell you, based on my experience as a writer, that the muse is within. Any artist or creative person will agree to that. All inspiration arises from the void of emptiness.

Get comfortable with emptiness and learn to play with unlimited possibilities.

I personally prefer being a blank slate every chance I get. Like the unofficial Buddhist mantra goes, “Empty, empty. Happy, happy.”

I can easily put myself into a state of emptiness by watching trees blow in the breeze.

Open yourself to higher consciousness

In Practicing the Power of Now, spiritual teacher and author, Eckhart Tolle, extols the value of mindfulness by acting as witness to your thoughts. To quote, “So when you listen to a thought, you are aware not only of the thought but also of yourself as the witness of the thought. A new dimension of consciousness has come in.”

Have you tried being a witness to your own thoughts? It’s life transforming.

The beauty of learning to be mindful at any age is that it allows you to express your thoughts at your personal level of truth and authenticity while enabling you to dig for deeper understanding.

Don’t stop there. Yes, keep going. There is always more inclusive wisdom to discover.

“Let us honor one another where we stand, knowing we each travel
a unique journey toward higher consciousness.”

Be bigger than your body

practice meditation

Ask any Zen Master or Yogi and she or he will tell you that your identity is not wrapped up in your thoughts. Yet, it’s one of the causes of human existential crisis.

As you climb Abraham Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs toward self-actualization, you will come to realize that you are much more than your body. Only in the complete synthesis of mind, body and spirit can you see beyond basic survivalism so that you finally begin to thrive!

Know you are enough

Mind, body and spirit realization is fulfillment in and of itself!

There is no greater authenticity than to know who you really are as part of the infinite. Greater is the gift of YOU, boundaries removed.

As a guiding light, you now offer others, by example, the same freedom and opportunity. No longer confused, doing good naturally follows as you move from a place of selfishness to one of service to humanity.

Are your choices today filled with love?

Your authentic life

As part of evolution, aided by the tools of technology, human consciousness is expanding faster than ever. Living multidimensionally in mind, body and spirit will be your brilliant future.

Embodying consciousness, your new, authentic life will change everything for you. Your mojo is now working for you, instead of the other way around.

You will wake up energized in the morning, excited to be alive because you’re expressing yourself authentically. You will feel empowered like never before as things you despise begin to disappear. Freedom and prosperity will flow more abundantly in your life.

The importance of mindfulness is now completely clear to you. You will see the world and the Universe supporting you every step of the way.

It got you here, didn’t it?

The post 7 Ways Mindfulness Can Unlock The Door To Your Authentic Life appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

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What To Do When You Hit A Roadblock: The Power Of The Subconscious Mind

Many of us know that if you want something in your life, you’ve got to visualize it, hold it clearly in your mind, feel it and be it. In essence, you have to implant that thing using the power of the subconscious mind.

You can spend time each day visualizing exactly how your life is going to look. You can imagine yourself there, living the lifestyle you want, doing the things you want to do and being the person you want to be.

Another way is to journal. It can help you imprint your goals in a much stronger way.

You can try writing out your life in detail, repeating all those things you want to have in your life over and over again. Or you can meditate and spend time each day doing affirmations about who you’re going to be and what you’re going to have and do. You can do an evening gratitude list to get your mind to concentrate on the good things that are happening instead of the not-so-great.

You dream, you visualize and you act.

But, what if something comes along that knocks you sideways?

You see, the thing is, you’re really powerful- unbelievably powerful.

All the tools and techniques that I’ve listed out are just to help you harness and utilize the enormous power of the subconscious mind.

The problem is that we let our subconscious minds get on with things.

For a long time, our minds have ruled our lives. What the mind says, we believe. What the mind tells us to do, we do. The opinions our minds have seem like they’re their own. And for most of our lives, we’ve listened to our minds as though they are us.

We’ve Believed Everything It’s Told Us

And then, you suddenly decided that wasn’t good enough and you want to be in charge. You started exercising your mind on your terms, telling it what to think, where to place its attention, and even – heaven forbid – telling your mind that it’s wrong in what it’s thinking.

Now, you might think that you’re in charge here and that you’re going to get that stuff together and harness the power of the subconscious mind as though it was some tidal power station. Unfortunately, your mind has other ideas.

If you’ve been in charge for all those years, would you let go of control easily and quietly?

Didn’t think so? Your mind isn’t going to either. It’s got way more subtle (sneaky) powers than you ever dreamed possible.

You can visualize and journal and focus and imagine all you like. But, your subconscious mind will test your resolve- every time.

journaling

See Also: 5 Benefits of Journaling To Inspire and Motivate You

You say you want something? The mind will check if you really do. Your mind will create a massive roadblock that’s going to stop your visualization train in its tracks.

Let’s say you’ve been visualizing a wonderful and relaxing Caribbean holiday. You’re imagining yourself there on the beach. You can hear the waves, smell the ocean and feel the warm breeze upon your skin. You’ve almost saved enough for your holiday. You’re going to go out after your next payday and book your trip.

Then, your car breaks down and what do you know? The repair bill is what you’ve saved for your holiday TO THE DOLLAR!

At this point, you’ll probably think “Why does this stuff always happen to me?” or “I can never get ahead” or “I knew I wouldn’t be able to do this.”

But, consider this:

That, my dear, is just your mind testing you. It’s just your mind at work making sure that you do want all the things you’re thinking about.

How Powerful Is Your Mind?

How powerful is your mind that it can create stuff like that? It’s extremely powerful.

Instead of getting upset (like we tend to), acknowledge the power and creativity your mind has. See it as proof that you’re on the right track and your mind is just making sure. See it as evidence that you really can have everything you want. If not, the things you want are going to pose no problem.

subconscious mind

Your job is to visualize the end result. Leave working out how to get there to your subconscious mind. It knows far more about how to work the universe than you do.

So, next time you run into one of those roadblocks, don’t stop and just keep going. Get straight back into visualizing the end result, journal about it, do whatever you can to get that vibration back to the level you want.

See Also: The Secret Mind Hacks That Can Change Your Life Today

The post What To Do When You Hit A Roadblock: The Power Of The Subconscious Mind appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

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Do You Drown Out Your Intuition?

Our higher self

You can call it intuition, inner knowing, the universe, higher beings or whatever works. Everything that exists contains this flow of energy. It’s always there. When you are in that flow, you know that you are safe. You know you can do anything. You know that everything will go well and everything will work out.

There are no mistakes when you’re in the flow. You can’t do anything wrong.

It’s kind of like being in that make-believe world we had as children where we could do anything we set our minds to and nothing could ever go awry.

That’s what being in the flow is like.

We are designed to live in the flow. We are designed to live our lives as powerful beings.

Unfortunately, our minds get in the way

Our minds live in the physical world. Our minds need PROOF. Our minds KNOW…

…that we’re individuals

…we’re not connected to everyone else

…we’re separate

…other people are dangerous

…mistakes are wrong and bad and we must avoid making them or other people will think we’re really stupid

…we measure success by comparing ourselves with others

We live in a world created by our mind.

The Subtlety of Our Intuition

Our minds are so loud that we often miss what our higher self is trying to tell us because our higher self is very subtle, very gentle. In fact, it’s the complete opposite of how the mind is!

Our higher self might give us a nudge to go in a different direction when we think that we absolutely know the way. Synchronicities and coincidences map out the path that our higher self is guiding us along.

The difference between the way the mind works and the way our higher self works is like trying to compare Las Vegas and Vienna. You can bet your bottom dollar that the path our higher self will take us on will be the quickest and most beneficial one for us in more ways than we can possibly imagine.

Our higher self gives little nudges: ‘take the next left turn’ or ‘call Sam’ whom you haven’t seen in ages. Before we know it, something completely unexpected happens. It’s like landing on a ladder square in snakes and ladders: we bypass three rows of squares and catapult forwards.

Can you remember how it feels when that happens in snakes and ladders? You’re way behind everyone else then you land on a ladder square and suddenly, you’re in the first place and way AHEAD of everyone else?

You feel amazing: light, happy, gleeful, joyous.

Anything and everything become possible.

That’s how life SHOULD feel. You SHOULD feel happy, joyful, excited, safe, loved ALL THE TIME.

You’re meant to live your life IN THAT FLOW of energy.

But to do that, you must quieten the mind down to the point where you can hear those intuitive nudges.

Which is easier said than done, to be honest, because the purpose of the mind is to protect you.

And really, all it wants to do is to keep us safe from harm. It works to be KIND to your mind, to not judge it and to understand where it’s coming from.

The more you resist what your mind is trying to do, the louder it’s going to become.

Give your mind a break: its job is to protect you.

Quieten The Mind To Hear Your Intuition

Having said that, how can we quieten our minds to the point at least where we can hear our intuition?

  • Doing something physically strenuous will usually get your mind to calm down: e.g. running, swimming, boxing or an aerobics class.
  • Doing yoga
  • Meditating
  • Journaling
  • Visualising

Find a method that you can do DAILY to help calm your mind to the point where you can at least HEAR the nudges from your intuition.

Get into the habit of listening out for those nudges. Look for synchronicities, the coincidences, the little hints and suggestions…

And then, FOLLOW them! Now you can hear them, FOLLOW THEM! Don’t ignore them!

When you get one of those nudges, it’s like landing on the ladder square: take advantage of it!

If you were playing snakes and ladders and you couldn’t see where the ladder was heading, you STILL wouldn’t hesitate to take the ladder square, would you?

You wouldn’t take another turn just in case you ended up somewhere you didn’t want to?

You wouldn’t take another roll of the dice just because you couldn’t see what was at the end of the ladder…

Because you’d KNOW that the ladder was heading UPWARDS and by taking it, you’re going to end up that much closer to the end square.

Your higher self wants you to win

It wants you to have everything you’ve ever dreamed of.

You just need to listen to it when it’s talking to you.

Try thanking your mind kindly for its input, give it a big hug, quieten it down and listen out for those nudges from your higher self and follow where they’re leading.

You will end up somewhere completely unexpected and more amazing than where you planned to be!

And I’d love to hear where that is!

 

The post Do You Drown Out Your Intuition? appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

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Mental Toughness: The Secret To Success

Have you ever wished you had a super power? Something that can make you special or better than everyone else?

Of course, almost everyone wishes, in one way or another, to have some secret potential to unlock. Well, what if I told you that all your superhero dreams of unlimited power, potential, and unmatched skills are completely attainable?

Now, you might probably be thinking that this is another cheesy scam. Well, it’s not. I’m not trying to sell anything either.

I am trying to tell you the simple yet spectacular secret to success: mental toughness.

You may have probably heard of this before many times, but let me give you a new perspective. There are two kinds of talent in this world: talent you are born with and talent you develop.

einstein

Think of Mozart, Einstein, and Stephen Hawking. These are examples of people born with an amazing talent or just pure genius.

How could anyone ever be like them? Especially you and me, right?

This is where mental toughness comes in.

You see, we all know that if we want something, all we need to do is work hard to obtain it. Easier said than done, but it makes sense. The problem with doing this is the universal law: nothing is free. Ever.

We might be willing to give up some time and hard work to achieve a goal, but to truly achieve that goal, we need to understand what it is going to cost. This is mental toughness. It’s not just mentally pushing yourself to endure through the hard times, but it is knowing what you are willing to give up, the challenges, and rewards.

Let me give you an example. I love to run. I run quite often and have even done races and triathlons. A friend of mine coaxed me into training for a 50-mile race…50 MILES!!!

running mental toughness

For some reason, I agreed (probably because I’m an idiot) and have been training for this demon of a race for several months. But, I ran into a problem.

You see, training so hard for so long tends to take its toll on the body, especially the tendons, ligaments, and joints. I have developed a pretty bad case of runner’s knee (if you are a runner you will understand), and have put a lot of thought toward what I am going to do about this 50 miler.

Should I keep training and risk further injury? Or should I quit?  Well, if I am truly mentally tough, I will push through and suck it up, right? Wrong.

Being mentally tough does not mean being an idiot. Being mentally tough means you see all your options and do the math. For example, with that situation, I can look at the problem as if there are only two perspectives: injure myself or quit.

I can consider what needs to be done to continue and if it is worth it. Could I run this race with my injury and still complete it? Yes. It would hurt like hell and maybe give me a permanent injury, but, yes, I could do it. But, do I want to take that risk? No, I don’t.

So how can I achieve my goal without so much risk and pain? I can treat the injury, let myself heal and then resume training. Is this a perfect plan? No, I may still be injured and unable to race when the scheduled date arrives but that doesn’t matter. Why? Because I have an entire lifetime to achieve this goal.

See Also: How Runners Can Easily Improve Their Foot Strength

The point of this story and article is to give you a new perspective of what you can and cannot do. Can you climb Mt. Everest? Some of you reading this will say no. BUT YOU CAN, you just don’t want to.

Can you do 1,000 pushups in under an hour? Right now, maybe not. But, eventually, could you? YES! You just have to want to.

You must understand what you are giving up (time, sweat, pain) and the worth of that to you. This is mental toughness. This is the power of the mind. Your body can do just about anything, you just need your mind to guide it.

How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time. If you want to be successful, then you must endure through the hard things. But more than that, you have to understand things in a simpler way.

One plus one is two. Pain plus sweat can give you a healthy body. Hard work plus schooling can give you a successful business. Walking one step millions of times can get you across the country. Swimming one stroke over and over can take you across the ocean.

Think about these things. If you want to be successful, remove yourself from your body and win with your mind. This is mental toughness. This is mind power.

See Also: 5 Ways To Use The Mind Muscle Connection For Better Workouts

The post Mental Toughness: The Secret To Success appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

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The Secret Mind Hacks That Can Change Your Life Today

Have you ever wondered about that little voice in your head? What it actually does to you and your way of thinking?

In reality, it’s possible that it mostly does you harm. It puts up invisible self-sabotaging barriers for you. What’s worse is that it creates habitual, unconsciously negative emotions in your body that can lead to real physical pain over time. Eckhart Tolle, author of “Practicing The Power of Now”, calls this “the pain body”.

The good news?

It’s just your mind, NOT YOU! That voice is just one of your brain’s many tools. It can definitely be turned off. And by doing that, you also gain the power to consciously choose your thoughts, emotions, and responses to the outside world.

In this article, I’m going to tell you how to first shut that voice off so it doesn’t bother you and how to make your mind work for you. You’ll get actionable insights on how to make fast changes, delete horrible, life-long habits and set your mind to put you on the fast track to success.

Freeing Yourself From The Toxicity of Your Mind

Studies suggest that humans think between 12,000 – 70,000 thoughts daily. Around 80% of these thoughts are negative.

With this number, it’s easy for your actions to turn into habits.

Keep in mind that thoughts coupled with feelings become emotions. Emotions, when felt frequently and consistently, become actions. Actions then become habits which shape our entire lives.

This makes it important that you free yourself from the negative, self-sabotaging thoughts and self-talk. Replace them with positive, empowering thoughts that can move you into a better, happier place.

How?

By becoming intensely in the “here and now” and shutting off that chatterbox in your head. You can do that through physical activities, like Yoga or meditation.

practice meditation

Meditation trains and strengthens the “choosing muscle” in your brain. By monitoring what goes on in your mind, you become intensely focused in the here and now.

With daily practice (10-20 min), meditation can remove the toxicity from your whole being. It can help you shut off your senseless thoughts and bring focus into the present. Meditation has an amazing 76 scientifically confirmed benefits.

See Also: Questions and Answers: A Beginners Guide to Meditation

The most important relationship in your life is between you and your mind. It’ll make you or break you so make sure you build a healthy and strong relationship with it.

5 Hacks to Make Your Mind Work For You

The majority of people are stuck in the same, limiting ways of thinking and feeling throughout their entire lives. These limiting beliefs, fears, habits and thoughts consistently disempower and damage them.

Mohammed Ali said: “A man who sees the world the same at 50 as he did at 20 has wasted 30 years of his life”. Remember, what you think and feel frequently, you BECOME!

The good news is that there are powerful mind hacks that can help you break the chain and let your mind work for you. Here are five of them:

Your Mind is Hard-Wired to Like Pleasure Than Pain

“The secret to success is learning how to use pain and pleasure, instead of having pain and pleasure use you” – Tony Robbins.

What does that really mean?

If you want to change, your current situation has to be more painful than the pain of change. That can happen either by circumstance or through your own effort.

For example, if you wanna stop the habit of procrastinating, one of the best mind hacks you can do is to think of what may happen if you don’t change it.

procrastinating

Take, for example, the following:

– The more you procrastinate, the more time you waste
– Self-loathing
– Loss of self-respect
– Horrible self-esteem and confidence
– Feeling constantly anxious until it’s done
– Less creative
– Poor health
– Less money
– Missed opportunities
– Possibly get fired from your job for low productivity or poor quality of work
– The longer you wait, the more stressful it will be in the end
– Forcing yourself to stress at the last minute

If you wanna change a bad habit, you absolutely have to reward yourself when you act on a new, better habit. That can be done through strong, positive, inner self-dialogue. You choose how you want to reward yourself, but make it pleasurable and good for you.

See Also: 7 Mentally Damaging Habits You Need To Let Go

Your Mind Loves Familiarity

The key here is to make the familiar unfamiliar (through pain) and the unfamiliar familiar (through pleasure). Reward yourself when you do something good that’s unfamiliar to you and watch what happens.

Smoothly Build High Self-Esteem

You know what the major reason for depression is?

Harsh, hurtful, critical words you say to yourself- repeatedly.

You know the best way to build your self-esteem?

Praise yourself, especially if it feels odd to give yourself compliments. That’s a tough one for many people to do but you absolutely have to do it. Your happiness and self-esteem depend on it.

Don’t wait for external validation. It’s not as effective and it rarely comes in sufficient amounts.

My own inner dialogue was like poison to me, until I came across Marisa Peer’s video.

It’s deeply changed me and many people. I now consistently feel more whole, self-loving and free from worry of others’ opinion of me.

Practice your inner dialogue by saying these lines 3 times, with strong emotion:

“I am Lovable. I’ve ALWAYS been Lovable. I am Enough!”

No matter how odd it feels, say it and make it a habit.

Your Mind Gives You Specifically What You Ask For

Have you ever experienced hoping you wouldn’t get sick on an important day and then you got sick? Wished you wouldn’t be late for a meeting and that’s exactly what happened?

Your mind can’t tell the difference between your sentences and ideas. It takes everything as a yes.

So, instead of beating around the bush, the key is to tell your mind exactly what you want. It loves specifics.

Example:

If you really want to lose weight, say 5 kg or 10lbs, then soon enough you’ll start seeing pieces of advice everywhere on how to lose that weight. You’ll see and hear them online, from your friends or at the gym.

What your mind thinks, it attracts.

Two Things To Change How You Feel

How you feel at any time is tied to two things: the images you hold in your head and the words you say to yourself.

Imagine two people preparing to do the exact same workout at the gym.

One is telling himself how much he hates it and would rather be home, watching TV on the couch. The second one, meanwhile, is telling himself how exciting it is to go to the gym and push harder than last time. He’s thinking of all the benefits he could get from the workout.

The first person was able to exercise but didn’t feel too motivated to do his best. The other person was able to happily finish his workout despite how tough it is.

Don’t let your mind wander with random thoughts. Actively choose good words and imagery. They shape your life.

 

The post The Secret Mind Hacks That Can Change Your Life Today appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

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5 Ways To Use The Mind Muscle Connection For Better Workouts

Ever wonder why some people are so committed to working out? Maybe it’s because you have never experienced and truly enjoyed the feeling of what many weightlifters call the ‘pump.’ It’s the stimulating and euphoric feeling that directly results from the mind muscle connection.

Contrary to what you might be thinking, it’s actually easy to achieve.

We are not always in the prime position to reap the full benefits of exercise. If we are simply going through the motions and repetitions, we miss out on the good stuff. We miss out on that euphoric feeling and “pump” that comes with exercising.

As a guide, here are 5 tips to help you achieve the right mind muscle connection for a better workout.

Touch the muscle you are trying to work

Before starting out with your routine, you should do a pre-ritual. It will mentally prepare you to give your best in your workout. Flexing and touching the muscle you are about to exercise can help you build the right mind muscle connection. It will bring awareness to the muscles.

Think positively

think positively

Arnold Schwarzenegger believed that the origin of all of his power came from “channeling positive energy into his muscles during every exercise.” He created such a positive emotional attachment to them that each time he steps into the gym, he aims to re-experience the rush of endorphins his mind and body work together to create.

In practice, we must learn to imagine the strength we are gaining and embrace the struggle. Remember why you are working out and visualize the body and physique you are trying to achieve. Because, when we become aware, we generate more happy feelings and endorphins in our body.

Understand the feeling of the muscle working

When we take the time to visualize and experience the feeling of the muscles we are working out, we subconsciously remember what that feels like during the exercise. This helps us to know whether or not we are working our muscles properly. Armed with this knowledge, we can determine if we need to make any adjustments to our exercise routine.

Sometimes, touching our muscles and flexing them is not enough. Try to do a lightweight isolation exercise that focuses on the muscle you are trying to work so you can get an idea.

Check your ego

check ego

Sometimes, we get caught up in reaching that PR that we forget about proper form.

For example, when we add more weight without establishing a good foundation, we are only tricking our minds into thinking we can handle it. This is the primary reason for muscle imbalances, which eventually turn into pain.

The body is a complex mechanism with hundreds of muscles, bones, and tissues. All of these things work together to help you complete a move.

This makes it essential that you know what other muscle groups are used in every exercise you do. If your primary focus is muscle X, don’t allow yourself to become lazy and allow other muscles to compensate for it.

Take a 5-minute warmup before your workout

Rushing into anything rarely produces the best results. When we jump from one task to another, it becomes harder to gain immediate focus, especially if we haven’t cleared our minds enough to focus on the present moment.

When our workout becomes focused on getting the job done, we rush in order to advance to the next task on our list. This makes us miss the whole purpose of working out.

Don’t jump right into the thick of things. You can take as little as 5 minutes to calm your mind and clear your thoughts before your warm up. Get lost in your music, float around and stay loose.

Think about getting into “the zone.”

See Also: 5 Essential Items to Enhance Your Gym Experience

Moving forward

If we cannot feel the muscles we are trying to work on, then what is the point of exercising? Achieving the ‘pump’ or muscle stimulation is the primary purpose of lifting weights. If you have experienced this, then you are in on the secret. You have a very good idea of what makes a good mind muscle connection.

The ‘pump’, however, is something anyone can achieve.

By making your mind work together with your muscles, you can progress at a much faster rate. Don’t just move the weight, lift it purposefully! You will soon discover how exercise can make you experience that ‘pump’ feeling, and it can be the driving force that keeps you progressing in the gym.

How do you channel your inner beast?

See Also: 19 Ways to Get Motivated to Exercise

 

The post 5 Ways To Use The Mind Muscle Connection For Better Workouts appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

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Is My Cat Going To Drive Me Crazy?

Studies have previously suggested a link between cat ownership and the development of neurological diseases such as schizophrenia. However, a new study published in Psychological Medicine by Francesca Solmi and colleagues at University College London failed to find such a link.

Why would researchers suspect such a link in the first place? This is because of a single-celled parasite called Toxoplasma gondii. Toxoplasma can infect any warm-blooded vertebrate, including people, but it only reproduces in the gut of feline species. When a cat becomes infected with the parasite, it excretes infectious oocysts into the litterbox or elsewhere in the environment for one to two weeks. A new host can acquire the infection through ingestion or inhalation of these oocysts.

Toxoplasma presents a clear danger to two primary groups: immune-compromised patients and unborn children. The latter is why doctors advise pregnant women to avoid changing the litterbox, to wear gloves and a mask while gardening, and to wash fruits and vegetables before eating. Importantly, Toxoplasma can also infect people who consume undercooked meat since the parasite can encyst in muscle tissues of infected animals.

wash fruits and vegetables

See Also: The Importance of Personal Hygiene for Healthy Living

Given these multiple routes of parasite transmission, it is no wonder that Toxoplasma has spread widely around the globe with an estimated one-third of the human population carrying this parasite. Despite its prevalence, most people have not heard of Toxoplasma because it rarely causes symptomatic disease.

However, reports have surfaced over the last fifteen years that Toxoplasma infection may be producing neurological changes in people. Taking up residence as tissue cysts in the brain, heart, and skeletal muscle, the parasites are never eradicated from the body. Given the parasite’s predilection for the brain, it is tempting to speculate that neurological problems may ensue.

Well-documented studies do indeed show that Toxoplasma causes mice and rats to lose their fear of cat urine. That seems like an oddly specific behavioral change until you recall that the cat is where the parasite completes the sexual stage of its life cycle.

Since 2001, Robert Yolken and E. Fuller Torrey at Johns Hopkins have published many correlative studies showing a link between Toxoplasma infection and schizophrenia. Other neurological problems have also been linked to Toxoplasma infection, as have personality changes.

cat ownership

Since cats are the definitive host and one means of parasite transmission, investigators have been trying to find a link between cat ownership and the development of psychotic symptoms. Yolken and Torrey have published studies suggesting a correlation, but the latest study by Solmi and colleagues contradicts these data.

There are important differences in study design that may account for the discrepancy. The newer study by Solmi’s group used a much larger sample size (nearly 5,000 individuals) than previous studies, and accounted for several confounding variables that could have been misconstrued as a link between cat ownership and neurological disorders. The current study also followed individuals in real-time since the 1990s; previous studies have been retrospective, which relies on the participant’s recollection of the past.

It should also be noted that the current study tracked individuals up to eighteen years for psychotic experiences, which are typically predictive of schizophrenia later in life. Previous studies supporting a link were based on a clinical diagnosis of schizophrenia.

None of these studies address whether Toxoplasma actually causes neurological issues in people. This is still an outstanding question that deserves further research. It is estimated that 60 million people in the US are infected with the parasite yet 3.5 million people in the US are schizophrenic. If Toxoplasma is involved with schizophrenia, there must be another factor at play in this relatively small subset of patients.

To date, there is insufficient evidence to declare pet cats to be a cause of mental health problems. Nevertheless, simple precautions can be taken to safeguard you and your cat from getting infected with Toxoplasma. Keep your cat indoors. Do not feed your cat raw or undercooked meat. Finally, clean the litterbox promptly, as it takes a day for the oocysts to mature into an infectious state.

 

The post Is My Cat Going To Drive Me Crazy? appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

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Is My Cat Going To Drive Me Crazy?

Studies have previously suggested a link between cat ownership and the development of neurological diseases such as schizophrenia. However, a new study published in Psychological Medicine by Francesca Solmi and colleagues at University College London failed to find such a link.

Why would researchers suspect such a link in the first place? This is because of a single-celled parasite called Toxoplasma gondii. Toxoplasma can infect any warm-blooded vertebrate, including people, but it only reproduces in the gut of feline species. When a cat becomes infected with the parasite, it excretes infectious oocysts into the litterbox or elsewhere in the environment for one to two weeks. A new host can acquire the infection through ingestion or inhalation of these oocysts.

Toxoplasma presents a clear danger to two primary groups: immune-compromised patients and unborn children. The latter is why doctors advise pregnant women to avoid changing the litterbox, to wear gloves and a mask while gardening, and to wash fruits and vegetables before eating. Importantly, Toxoplasma can also infect people who consume undercooked meat since the parasite can encyst in muscle tissues of infected animals.

wash fruits and vegetables

See Also: The Importance of Personal Hygiene for Healthy Living

Given these multiple routes of parasite transmission, it is no wonder that Toxoplasma has spread widely around the globe with an estimated one-third of the human population carrying this parasite. Despite its prevalence, most people have not heard of Toxoplasma because it rarely causes symptomatic disease.

However, reports have surfaced over the last fifteen years that Toxoplasma infection may be producing neurological changes in people. Taking up residence as tissue cysts in the brain, heart, and skeletal muscle, the parasites are never eradicated from the body. Given the parasite’s predilection for the brain, it is tempting to speculate that neurological problems may ensue.

Well-documented studies do indeed show that Toxoplasma causes mice and rats to lose their fear of cat urine. That seems like an oddly specific behavioral change until you recall that the cat is where the parasite completes the sexual stage of its life cycle.

Since 2001, Robert Yolken and E. Fuller Torrey at Johns Hopkins have published many correlative studies showing a link between Toxoplasma infection and schizophrenia. Other neurological problems have also been linked to Toxoplasma infection, as have personality changes.

cat ownership

Since cats are the definitive host and one means of parasite transmission, investigators have been trying to find a link between cat ownership and the development of psychotic symptoms. Yolken and Torrey have published studies suggesting a correlation, but the latest study by Solmi and colleagues contradicts these data.

There are important differences in study design that may account for the discrepancy. The newer study by Solmi’s group used a much larger sample size (nearly 5,000 individuals) than previous studies, and accounted for several confounding variables that could have been misconstrued as a link between cat ownership and neurological disorders. The current study also followed individuals in real-time since the 1990s; previous studies have been retrospective, which relies on the participant’s recollection of the past.

It should also be noted that the current study tracked individuals up to eighteen years for psychotic experiences, which are typically predictive of schizophrenia later in life. Previous studies supporting a link were based on a clinical diagnosis of schizophrenia.

None of these studies address whether Toxoplasma actually causes neurological issues in people. This is still an outstanding question that deserves further research. It is estimated that 60 million people in the US are infected with the parasite yet 3.5 million people in the US are schizophrenic. If Toxoplasma is involved with schizophrenia, there must be another factor at play in this relatively small subset of patients.

To date, there is insufficient evidence to declare pet cats to be a cause of mental health problems. Nevertheless, simple precautions can be taken to safeguard you and your cat from getting infected with Toxoplasma. Keep your cat indoors. Do not feed your cat raw or undercooked meat. Finally, clean the litterbox promptly, as it takes a day for the oocysts to mature into an infectious state.

 

The post Is My Cat Going To Drive Me Crazy? appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

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Is My Cat Going To Drive Me Crazy?

Studies have previously suggested a link between cat ownership and the development of neurological diseases such as schizophrenia. However, a new study published in Psychological Medicine by Francesca Solmi and colleagues at University College London failed to find such a link.

Why would researchers suspect such a link in the first place? This is because of a single-celled parasite called Toxoplasma gondii. Toxoplasma can infect any warm-blooded vertebrate, including people, but it only reproduces in the gut of feline species. When a cat becomes infected with the parasite, it excretes infectious oocysts into the litterbox or elsewhere in the environment for one to two weeks. A new host can acquire the infection through ingestion or inhalation of these oocysts.

Toxoplasma presents a clear danger to two primary groups: immune-compromised patients and unborn children. The latter is why doctors advise pregnant women to avoid changing the litterbox, to wear gloves and a mask while gardening, and to wash fruits and vegetables before eating. Importantly, Toxoplasma can also infect people who consume undercooked meat since the parasite can encyst in muscle tissues of infected animals.

wash fruits and vegetables

See Also: The Importance of Personal Hygiene for Healthy Living

Given these multiple routes of parasite transmission, it is no wonder that Toxoplasma has spread widely around the globe with an estimated one-third of the human population carrying this parasite. Despite its prevalence, most people have not heard of Toxoplasma because it rarely causes symptomatic disease.

However, reports have surfaced over the last fifteen years that Toxoplasma infection may be producing neurological changes in people. Taking up residence as tissue cysts in the brain, heart, and skeletal muscle, the parasites are never eradicated from the body. Given the parasite’s predilection for the brain, it is tempting to speculate that neurological problems may ensue.

Well-documented studies do indeed show that Toxoplasma causes mice and rats to lose their fear of cat urine. That seems like an oddly specific behavioral change until you recall that the cat is where the parasite completes the sexual stage of its life cycle.

Since 2001, Robert Yolken and E. Fuller Torrey at Johns Hopkins have published many correlative studies showing a link between Toxoplasma infection and schizophrenia. Other neurological problems have also been linked to Toxoplasma infection, as have personality changes.

cat ownership

Since cats are the definitive host and one means of parasite transmission, investigators have been trying to find a link between cat ownership and the development of psychotic symptoms. Yolken and Torrey have published studies suggesting a correlation, but the latest study by Solmi and colleagues contradicts these data.

There are important differences in study design that may account for the discrepancy. The newer study by Solmi’s group used a much larger sample size (nearly 5,000 individuals) than previous studies, and accounted for several confounding variables that could have been misconstrued as a link between cat ownership and neurological disorders. The current study also followed individuals in real-time since the 1990s; previous studies have been retrospective, which relies on the participant’s recollection of the past.

It should also be noted that the current study tracked individuals up to eighteen years for psychotic experiences, which are typically predictive of schizophrenia later in life. Previous studies supporting a link were based on a clinical diagnosis of schizophrenia.

None of these studies address whether Toxoplasma actually causes neurological issues in people. This is still an outstanding question that deserves further research. It is estimated that 60 million people in the US are infected with the parasite yet 3.5 million people in the US are schizophrenic. If Toxoplasma is involved with schizophrenia, there must be another factor at play in this relatively small subset of patients.

To date, there is insufficient evidence to declare pet cats to be a cause of mental health problems. Nevertheless, simple precautions can be taken to safeguard you and your cat from getting infected with Toxoplasma. Keep your cat indoors. Do not feed your cat raw or undercooked meat. Finally, clean the litterbox promptly, as it takes a day for the oocysts to mature into an infectious state.

 

The post Is My Cat Going To Drive Me Crazy? appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

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Yoga and Health: From Better Mental Health To Improved Sleep Quality

Did you know that yoga and health are intertwined?

Although a spiritual practice at its core, the Western world views the ancient practice of yoga mostly through the lens of holistic healing. Even the National Institutes of Health classifies yoga as a form of Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM). But there is some truth to this because at the core of yoga philosophy is a focus on one’s health with the purpose of preparing the mind and body for enlightenment. Furthermore, the healing benefits of yoga are now widely recognized within the medical community thanks to a growing body of research confirming the yoga’s healing power.

Most of these studies found that yoga prevents stress-related diseases and improves overall health and well-being. Considered a holistic practice, yoga is said to heal the mind, body, and soul. Whatever ailment you may be suffering, yoga can help you without any risk of side effects.

If you need more convincing on why you should start practicing yoga, here are a couple of the health benefits yoga provides.

Better mental health

yoga mental health

According to an article published in the International Journal of Yoga, mental health problems such as anxiety and depression are one of the most common reasons why people seek alternative treatments such as yoga.

Yoga seems to be just as effective, if not better, like medication and talk therapy in relieving the symptoms of mental illness. The reason for this being that yoga helps one relax by downregulating the hypothalamic–pituitary–adrenal axis (HPA axis) which is, almost without exception, overactive in people with mental disorders.

Put simply, yoga helps one achieve tranquility of the mind, greater levels of well-being, relaxation, improved self-esteem, lowered irritability, and a positive outlook on life, all of which are lacking in people with anxiety and depression. The mood-boosting benefits of yoga are also long-lasting and become permanent aspects of one’s outlook on life.

Reduced stroke and heart attack risk

Chronic stress is now recognized as a major contributing factor for atherosclerosis, a condition which increases a person’s risk of stroke and heart attacks. But yoga does not solely reduce your risk of stroke via stress relief.

The deep breathing and stretching during yoga practice are known to help thin the blood and as such reduce your risk of blood clots. Twisting poses wring out the venous blood in internal organs, and this allows oxygen-rich blood to reach these organs once the twist is released.

Similarly, inverted poses help the venous blood in the lower extremities go back to the heart and into the lungs where it is oxygenated. Yoga postures that increase heart rate can also provide aerobic-like benefits to the heart muscle, strengthening the heart and with this reducing the danger of stroke and heart attack.

Greater flexibility and strength

Stiff joints, sore muscles, and poor function biomechanics are today’s common complaints that tend to get worse with age. Regular yoga practice can help prevent age-related decline in flexibility and strength.

This is simply because yoga postures help gets your body through a whole range of movements that inevitably lead to greater flexibility and muscle strength. One of the main reasons why people develop arthritis with age is simply limited and repetitive movements that lead to muscle atrophy and joint cartilage wasting.

Yoga can help with other age-related problems as well such as osteoporosis, cognitive decline, hormonal imbalances, and even urinary incontinence. Because incontinence can result from weak pelvic floor muscles, yoga postures that strengthen the pelvic floor can provide much relief just like Kegel exercises for men and women.

See Also: 13 Yoga Trends To Immerse Yourself In On Your Journey To Health & Happiness

Improved sleep quality

sleep quality

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC), as much as 1 in 3 US adults are not getting the sufficient amount of sleep. This is rather concerning considering that sleep disorders increase a person’s risk of systematic disease, mental illness, and even cancer.

One of the main reasons why people of today seem to have trouble sleeping is an overactive nervous system. Yoga calms the central nervous system by helping you turn your senses inward which inevitably bring you into a relaxed state of mind – something that is crucial for quality sleep.

A study that was published in Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine even found that older adults practicing meditative yoga for 12 weeks reported better overall sleep quality, reduced anxiety and depression, reduced fatigue, greater vitality, and improved sense of well-being.

See Also: Are You Sleep Deprived? 8 Health Risks Of Poor Sleep 

Stronger immune system

One of the strongest side effects of chronic stress is a weakened immune system. On the other hand, the stress-reducing benefits of yoga are known to lead to overall greater vitality by strengthening immune system functioning.

Our immune system protects us from pathogenic diseases but also from cancer, autoimmune disorders, allergies, and general disease-susceptibility. Because stress leads to the suppression of the mechanisms that control the immune system such as T-cell production, our risk of becoming ill increases.

Yoga can help keep us disease-free thanks to the stress-relief it provides but also by improving blood flow to vital organs, establishing hormonal balances, and making us more attentive to our health by increasing our awareness.

Conclusion

In today’s hectic world, stress is taking a toll on our health and well-being. Reducing your stress levels can make a big difference for your health, but this seems to be easier said than done.

Thankfully, the ancient wisdom of yoga that’s over 3000 years old has provided us with the secrets to keeping our mind’s at ease during the most stressful times. But the gentle stretching and deep breathing in yoga also help us stay healthy throughout life.

Yoga postures improve flexibility, joint health, and cardiovascular functioning. The result is no more aches and pains. Yoga also strengthens our immune system which research shows is important not just for fighting viruses, but also for preventing cancer and chronic illness.

In short, yoga as a holistic practice treats our body as a whole and provides healing from within. Practicing yoga will provide you with more health benefits than you can count.

 

The post Yoga and Health: From Better Mental Health To Improved Sleep Quality appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

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Yoga and Health: From Better Mental Health To Improved Sleep Quality

Did you know that yoga and health are intertwined?

Although a spiritual practice at its core, the Western world views the ancient practice of yoga mostly through the lens of holistic healing. Even the National Institutes of Health classifies yoga as a form of Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM). But there is some truth to this because at the core of yoga philosophy is a focus on one’s health with the purpose of preparing the mind and body for enlightenment. Furthermore, the healing benefits of yoga are now widely recognized within the medical community thanks to a growing body of research confirming the yoga’s healing power.

Most of these studies found that yoga prevents stress-related diseases and improves overall health and well-being. Considered a holistic practice, yoga is said to heal the mind, body, and soul. Whatever ailment you may be suffering, yoga can help you without any risk of side effects.

If you need more convincing on why you should start practicing yoga, here are a couple of the health benefits yoga provides.

Better mental health

yoga mental health

According to an article published in the International Journal of Yoga, mental health problems such as anxiety and depression are one of the most common reasons why people seek alternative treatments such as yoga.

Yoga seems to be just as effective, if not better, like medication and talk therapy in relieving the symptoms of mental illness. The reason for this being that yoga helps one relax by downregulating the hypothalamic–pituitary–adrenal axis (HPA axis) which is, almost without exception, overactive in people with mental disorders.

Put simply, yoga helps one achieve tranquility of the mind, greater levels of well-being, relaxation, improved self-esteem, lowered irritability, and a positive outlook on life, all of which are lacking in people with anxiety and depression. The mood-boosting benefits of yoga are also long-lasting and become permanent aspects of one’s outlook on life.

Reduced stroke and heart attack risk

Chronic stress is now recognized as a major contributing factor for atherosclerosis, a condition which increases a person’s risk of stroke and heart attacks. But yoga does not solely reduce your risk of stroke via stress relief.

The deep breathing and stretching during yoga practice are known to help thin the blood and as such reduce your risk of blood clots. Twisting poses wring out the venous blood in internal organs, and this allows oxygen-rich blood to reach these organs once the twist is released.

Similarly, inverted poses help the venous blood in the lower extremities go back to the heart and into the lungs where it is oxygenated. Yoga postures that increase heart rate can also provide aerobic-like benefits to the heart muscle, strengthening the heart and with this reducing the danger of stroke and heart attack.

Greater flexibility and strength

Stiff joints, sore muscles, and poor function biomechanics are today’s common complaints that tend to get worse with age. Regular yoga practice can help prevent age-related decline in flexibility and strength.

This is simply because yoga postures help gets your body through a whole range of movements that inevitably lead to greater flexibility and muscle strength. One of the main reasons why people develop arthritis with age is simply limited and repetitive movements that lead to muscle atrophy and joint cartilage wasting.

Yoga can help with other age-related problems as well such as osteoporosis, cognitive decline, hormonal imbalances, and even urinary incontinence. Because incontinence can result from weak pelvic floor muscles, yoga postures that strengthen the pelvic floor can provide much relief just like Kegel exercises for men and women.

See Also: 13 Yoga Trends To Immerse Yourself In On Your Journey To Health & Happiness

Improved sleep quality

sleep quality

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC), as much as 1 in 3 US adults are not getting the sufficient amount of sleep. This is rather concerning considering that sleep disorders increase a person’s risk of systematic disease, mental illness, and even cancer.

One of the main reasons why people of today seem to have trouble sleeping is an overactive nervous system. Yoga calms the central nervous system by helping you turn your senses inward which inevitably bring you into a relaxed state of mind – something that is crucial for quality sleep.

A study that was published in Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine even found that older adults practicing meditative yoga for 12 weeks reported better overall sleep quality, reduced anxiety and depression, reduced fatigue, greater vitality, and improved sense of well-being.

See Also: Are You Sleep Deprived? 8 Health Risks Of Poor Sleep 

Stronger immune system

One of the strongest side effects of chronic stress is a weakened immune system. On the other hand, the stress-reducing benefits of yoga are known to lead to overall greater vitality by strengthening immune system functioning.

Our immune system protects us from pathogenic diseases but also from cancer, autoimmune disorders, allergies, and general disease-susceptibility. Because stress leads to the suppression of the mechanisms that control the immune system such as T-cell production, our risk of becoming ill increases.

Yoga can help keep us disease-free thanks to the stress-relief it provides but also by improving blood flow to vital organs, establishing hormonal balances, and making us more attentive to our health by increasing our awareness.

Conclusion

In today’s hectic world, stress is taking a toll on our health and well-being. Reducing your stress levels can make a big difference for your health, but this seems to be easier said than done.

Thankfully, the ancient wisdom of yoga that’s over 3000 years old has provided us with the secrets to keeping our mind’s at ease during the most stressful times. But the gentle stretching and deep breathing in yoga also help us stay healthy throughout life.

Yoga postures improve flexibility, joint health, and cardiovascular functioning. The result is no more aches and pains. Yoga also strengthens our immune system which research shows is important not just for fighting viruses, but also for preventing cancer and chronic illness.

In short, yoga as a holistic practice treats our body as a whole and provides healing from within. Practicing yoga will provide you with more health benefits than you can count.

 

The post Yoga and Health: From Better Mental Health To Improved Sleep Quality appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

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Yoga and Health: From Better Mental Health To Improved Sleep Quality

Did you know that yoga and health are intertwined?

Although a spiritual practice at its core, the Western world views the ancient practice of yoga mostly through the lens of holistic healing. Even the National Institutes of Health classifies yoga as a form of Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM). But there is some truth to this because at the core of yoga philosophy is a focus on one’s health with the purpose of preparing the mind and body for enlightenment. Furthermore, the healing benefits of yoga are now widely recognized within the medical community thanks to a growing body of research confirming the yoga’s healing power.

Most of these studies found that yoga prevents stress-related diseases and improves overall health and well-being. Considered a holistic practice, yoga is said to heal the mind, body, and soul. Whatever ailment you may be suffering, yoga can help you without any risk of side effects.

If you need more convincing on why you should start practicing yoga, here are a couple of the health benefits yoga provides.

Better mental health

yoga mental health

According to an article published in the International Journal of Yoga, mental health problems such as anxiety and depression are one of the most common reasons why people seek alternative treatments such as yoga.

Yoga seems to be just as effective, if not better, like medication and talk therapy in relieving the symptoms of mental illness. The reason for this being that yoga helps one relax by downregulating the hypothalamic–pituitary–adrenal axis (HPA axis) which is, almost without exception, overactive in people with mental disorders.

Put simply, yoga helps one achieve tranquility of the mind, greater levels of well-being, relaxation, improved self-esteem, lowered irritability, and a positive outlook on life, all of which are lacking in people with anxiety and depression. The mood-boosting benefits of yoga are also long-lasting and become permanent aspects of one’s outlook on life.

Reduced stroke and heart attack risk

Chronic stress is now recognized as a major contributing factor for atherosclerosis, a condition which increases a person’s risk of stroke and heart attacks. But yoga does not solely reduce your risk of stroke via stress relief.

The deep breathing and stretching during yoga practice are known to help thin the blood and as such reduce your risk of blood clots. Twisting poses wring out the venous blood in internal organs, and this allows oxygen-rich blood to reach these organs once the twist is released.

Similarly, inverted poses help the venous blood in the lower extremities go back to the heart and into the lungs where it is oxygenated. Yoga postures that increase heart rate can also provide aerobic-like benefits to the heart muscle, strengthening the heart and with this reducing the danger of stroke and heart attack.

Greater flexibility and strength

Stiff joints, sore muscles, and poor function biomechanics are today’s common complaints that tend to get worse with age. Regular yoga practice can help prevent age-related decline in flexibility and strength.

This is simply because yoga postures help gets your body through a whole range of movements that inevitably lead to greater flexibility and muscle strength. One of the main reasons why people develop arthritis with age is simply limited and repetitive movements that lead to muscle atrophy and joint cartilage wasting.

Yoga can help with other age-related problems as well such as osteoporosis, cognitive decline, hormonal imbalances, and even urinary incontinence. Because incontinence can result from weak pelvic floor muscles, yoga postures that strengthen the pelvic floor can provide much relief just like Kegel exercises for men and women.

See Also: 13 Yoga Trends To Immerse Yourself In On Your Journey To Health & Happiness

Improved sleep quality

sleep quality

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC), as much as 1 in 3 US adults are not getting the sufficient amount of sleep. This is rather concerning considering that sleep disorders increase a person’s risk of systematic disease, mental illness, and even cancer.

One of the main reasons why people of today seem to have trouble sleeping is an overactive nervous system. Yoga calms the central nervous system by helping you turn your senses inward which inevitably bring you into a relaxed state of mind – something that is crucial for quality sleep.

A study that was published in Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine even found that older adults practicing meditative yoga for 12 weeks reported better overall sleep quality, reduced anxiety and depression, reduced fatigue, greater vitality, and improved sense of well-being.

See Also: Are You Sleep Deprived? 8 Health Risks Of Poor Sleep 

Stronger immune system

One of the strongest side effects of chronic stress is a weakened immune system. On the other hand, the stress-reducing benefits of yoga are known to lead to overall greater vitality by strengthening immune system functioning.

Our immune system protects us from pathogenic diseases but also from cancer, autoimmune disorders, allergies, and general disease-susceptibility. Because stress leads to the suppression of the mechanisms that control the immune system such as T-cell production, our risk of becoming ill increases.

Yoga can help keep us disease-free thanks to the stress-relief it provides but also by improving blood flow to vital organs, establishing hormonal balances, and making us more attentive to our health by increasing our awareness.

Conclusion

In today’s hectic world, stress is taking a toll on our health and well-being. Reducing your stress levels can make a big difference for your health, but this seems to be easier said than done.

Thankfully, the ancient wisdom of yoga that’s over 3000 years old has provided us with the secrets to keeping our mind’s at ease during the most stressful times. But the gentle stretching and deep breathing in yoga also help us stay healthy throughout life.

Yoga postures improve flexibility, joint health, and cardiovascular functioning. The result is no more aches and pains. Yoga also strengthens our immune system which research shows is important not just for fighting viruses, but also for preventing cancer and chronic illness.

In short, yoga as a holistic practice treats our body as a whole and provides healing from within. Practicing yoga will provide you with more health benefits than you can count.

 

The post Yoga and Health: From Better Mental Health To Improved Sleep Quality appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

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10 Brain Damaging Activities You Need To Stop Doing Now

The brain is one of the most vital organs in the human body, and it is everyone’s responsibility to keep it in optimal condition. People race for time, information and money nowadays and some even cling to limitless brain pills out of their desire to perform better mentally. However, even with the desperation to become mentally infinite, there is little to no attention given to brain health.

There are many movements and advocacies done to help people lose weight and become more aware of their heart health. Less attention is given to brain health, yet more people are diagnosed with brain illnesses every year.

This increasing growth of brain illnesses is probably because brain damages mostly produce degenerative diseases that aren’t experienced in real time by individuals and the physical changes aren’t so visible. Nonetheless, there is a need for you to know how bad your day-to-day routine might be affecting your brain.

Excessive Coffee

excessive coffee

The aroma, the richness and the taste. That’s how we usually start our day. Quitting coffee is probably the craziest thing a sane man would do. However, studies showed that coffee is only healthy when you take in 4 cups with only 100 mg caffeine content. Coffee is an incredibly rich source of antioxidants, however, drinking too much can result in brain damage.

Many people believe coffee to be their morning wake-up call in a cup. Coffee lovers believe that coffee can imbue them with superhuman thinking and wakefulness that help them finish a 4-hour workload much much faster. Unfortunately, that’s not true.

Coffee is not a limitless pill. What coffee does is to hinder your brain’s adenosine receptors to make your brain think that you’re still good for the day and you’re not sleepy yet despite your adenosine levels shouting that you are. Of course, this wears off, and people who need to stay up late drink more coffee to stay awake.

The effect of caffeine hinders or alters the standard brain mechanisms and the body develops tolerance to its effects resulting in coffee addicts drinking more to stay awake and active as they were before.

Frequent Headbutts

There’s nothing wrong with boxing or football except the fact that you have higher chances of headbutts. A lot of sports superstars and athletes lost their brain health at an earlier age because they neglected to take headbutts seriously.

Muhammad Ali and Freddie Roach (Manny Pacquiao’s coach), to name a few, have Parkinson’s disease because they retired a little too late. Numerous football players also developed CTE ( Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy), a progressive, degenerative disease that can be a product of head traumas such as headbutts and concussions.

Constant Exposure To Devices

“Is the drug from Limitless real?”

You may think staying in bed and googling all day is safe, but it’s not.

Constant exposure to devices also has its fair share of damage to the brain as research says. Technology has granted us the capability to be better multi-taskers. However, this caused a shorter span of attention even among adults. This chronic lack of focus is a result of a rewiring in the brain.

Getting used to instant gratification from being able to search things instantly actually rewires the brain and this results in a lack of focus and attention. Expect generation Z to be like this, though.

See Also: 4 Ways Technology is Gradually Ruining Humanity and How to Tackle it

Lack Of Sleep

Aside from cutting off years from your average life expectancy, lack of sleep also damages the brain. Sleeping is the body’s natural way to regenerate new cells even for the brain. Sleeping is also one way for the brain to develop new neural connections, to process the left-over information during the day which usually appears as dreams.

Sleeping is also the time when the brain develops plasticity in brain neurons, aside from brain stimulation. Mental flexibility helps protect the brain from degeneration and eventual cell loss.

Sleep is not just for the weak; it is for everyone.

See Also: Are You Sleep Deprived? 8 Health Risks Of Poor Sleep

Missing Breakfast And Insufficient Water Intake

Not eating breakfast is not just starving your tummy. It is also starving your brain. Lack of nutrients and enough energy to keep your body up and running for another busy day will make your brain work harder. Using your brain without getting enough nutrition is like expecting your car to run without enough gasoline.

Failing during exams is no surprise especially when you don’t usually eat breakfast to start your school day. If you don’t want to fall behind your colleagues when it comes to performance, you should eat your breakfast.

No breakfast, no work.

Another lingering concern that has been given little attention is the lack of water intake. Almost everyone doesn’t count how many of glasses of water they have taken for the day, and this is the reason why most are dehydrated but know nothing nor care about it.

The brain is more than 80 percent water, and having enough water to function, it will result to faster thinking, better focus, creativity, and clarity. The brain knows no other way to store water on its own, so it is important to stay hydrated all the time. Drinking enough water will help both your body and brain in all of their vital functions.

Overeating

In addition to the last item, overeating or binge eating is also not healthy for the human brain. Ever remember having a headache after a hearty meal?

Overeating slows your brain down, and this is why some people feel sleepy when they eat too much. Doing it on a regular basis can also become an addiction in the long run. Eating affects the brain reward system, which releases the hormone Dopamine, or the “feel good” hormone. If you overeat, the brain’s circuitry will change, and it will be difficult for you to control your eating habits.

Researchers think this is the reason why obese or overweight people find it hard to go on a strict diet.

Vices

Needless to say, there’s too much harm in illegal drugs and smoking.

Drug addiction in itself is a brain illness. Nicotine is addictive, and that addiction is a brain disease. Mood and anxiety disorders are said to tie in with drug and nicotine abuse. In fact, researchers think schizophrenia is highly related to smoking.

Although no study has confirmed this yet, we have heard of substance abusers seeing the devil in their mother’s face and what happened next is yours to imagine. Illegal drugs are not the pill from Limitless. It was either Modafinil or Donepezil.

Alcoholics are also subject to long-term brain damages. No one takes alcohol seriously because its effect seems instant and short term, however, there are a few studies that link alcohol to diminishing brain size which affects mental functioning.

Thiamine deficiency among heavy alcohol drinkers also leads to WKS or Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome which affects cognitive function, memory, learning ability, eye nerve paralysis and muscle coordination.

Too Much Sugar and Unhealthy Food

too much sugar

Just like any other drug, there is a need to regulate the use of sugar in every household, especially when you know excessive sugar is addictive. Sugar intake also signals the brain to release dopamine- the reward. The brain will think that this practice is something necessary for survival and will naturally make you desire for more.

People who have too much sugar will have insulin spikes and lows, which eventually makes a super perked person suddenly tired. The only way to become high again? Sugar. People think sugar to be the “new limitless pill,” but it’s not.

“Junk Foods” also have artificial sweetening and may have an excessive amount of sugar; even some cereals can be part of this category.

Lack Of Mental Stimulation

Yes, boredom kills. Lack of mental stimulation will cause brain cells to die faster. There is a need for your brain to develop plasticity to protect the brain from cell death in the future. Solving puzzles, doing a little arithmetic and chess can save you a ton of brain cells.

Researchers suggest that the lack of mental activity or stimulation is the cause of cognitive decline and even dementia. Depression is also highly related to lack of mental activity.

Exercise your brain! Sharpen your memory, solve problems, practice reason and logic, and read. Train your brain.

Lack Of Oxygen When Sleeping And Pollution

Air pollution also causes brain damage. Toxins that live in the city air kills brain cells as numerous studies suggest. Lead exposure, carbon monoxide poisoning, pesticides and mercury toxicity are just a few of the air pollutants that exists in big metros.

Covering your face while sleeping will also cause a severe lack of oxygen which will make the brain suffer. The brain needs oxygen to function, and without enough oxygen, in the bloodstream, it can cause instant brain cell death.

So sleep somewhere not too cold so you won’t have to cover your face when sleeping.

Takeaway

The brain is the body’s headquarters, and it has the chief function of maintaining balance and organization in the entire body. Taking care of the human brain should be on top of everyone’s list. Although the brain can still reproduce brain cells throughout its lifetime, there is no guarantee that the brain is going to replenish them as fast as we lose them.

If you think what you’re doing is not brain damaging, think twice.

 

The post 10 Brain Damaging Activities You Need To Stop Doing Now appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

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Get Strong, Sleep, Repeat: The Importance Of Sleeping

When you’ve had a long and tiring workout, you just want to go home and sleep. You feel satisfied knowing that when you wake up, you’re ready to take on another day at the gym for successful growth.

How do we fall asleep?

In a simple manner, your internal body clock recognizes your environment. When it is bright, your brain signals to your body that it is daytime. When it is dark or night time, your body automatically releases a chemical called melatonin. You will start to feel drowsy as your melatonin level increases.

If you’re a bodybuilder and you’re aiming for a more muscular size, don’t disregard the importance of sleeping. There are certain hormones released for muscle reconstruction during sleep. You will recharge your mind and mentally recuperate to prepare for your next day’s workout during your sleep.

Benefits and the importance of sleeping

sleeping pattern

How many hours?

How long do we have to sleep? If we lack sleep, we feel weak and don’t want to get up from bed. If you give in and oversleep though, all you get is feeling even sleepier and a throbbing headache.

According to National Sleep Foundation, there is a specific number of hours we should be sleeping depending on which age group we belong to.

AGE GROUP AND HOURS OF SLEEP
0-3 Months —> 12-18
4-11 Months —> 14-15
1-2 Years —> 12-14
3-5 Years —> 11-13
6-13 Years —> 10-11
14-17 Years —> 8.5-9.5
18-25 Years —> 7-9
26-64 Years —> 7-9
65+ —> 7-8

What are the benefits to my body?

It’s a win-win situation when you get enough sleep every day. Here is what happens when you don’t lack sleep:

• Your body regulates insulin to control your blood sugar thus lowering your risk for diabetes.
• During sleep, your body recovers. It repairs damaged cells. Your muscles grow and heal themselves during your sleep.
• Natural growth hormones are released. It is important for children, teens, and adults.
• Your immune system strengthens during your sleep. It helps you fend off common sicknesses that you may otherwise catch from the people around you and your environment.

Enhanced Performance and Senses

alert in school

When you’ve only had a few hours of sleep, the tendency is that you feel uncomfortable throughout your day. You will only disappoint yourself by not performing well in your activities. Sufficient sleep improves your performance in a significant way.

• You’ll have a lower chance of getting into car accidents because you will be aware of the hazards around you. If you drive and you still feel a little bit sleepy, your life is already at risk.
• You won’t feel lazy in your line of work because you are well rested. You wouldn’t want to get fired just because you are caught sleeping on the job, do you?
• As a student, listening to lectures won’t be hard because you can focus more on lessons.

See Also: Personality & Sleep: How To Be More Productive At Work

Importance of Sleeping for My Muscles

I have been lifting for around six years now and I have experienced the importance of discipline in my workouts, maintaining a proper diet, and getting all the sleep I can get. I have been working hard for it because I wanted to improve my body and see what I can do with it.

I started lifting when I was in 3rd-year high school because it was a fad amongst my friends. I would always stay up late because of my school works and my social life. I never saw the importance of sleeping to grow muscle. One day, I realized that I wasn’t getting any bigger, and I always looked tired. My performance in lifting was getting poorer and poorer every single day. I didn’t think it was my diet though because I was eating clean.

It wasn’t until the summer break when I was finally getting enough rest and sleep that I noticed an improvement in my lifting performance. My lifts increased. I was burning excess fat and gaining leaner muscle.

That’s when I realized that I should never take the amount of time to rest for granted. Lifting weights is just a part of the process, and the diet is just another. Rest and sleep is just as essential for muscle growth.

Sleeping Advice for Muscle Growth

No more lifting near bedtime

• Even after your workout, your adrenaline is still pumping. You’ll likely toss and turn if you lift too near before your sleeping time.

Turn off your electronic devices

• Your senses reactivate themselves under the influence of light. Make sure to turn off your gadgets. Using your mobile phone or tablet disrupts the production of melatonin thus making you wide awake.

Keep to your sleeping schedule

• Keep track of your sleeping schedule. If your sleeping schedule gets disrupted, you will have difficulties sleeping and waking up on time.

Control your caffeine intake

• For the coffee lovers out there, coffee makes you more hyperactive and will keep you from falling asleep easily. I suggest that you only take caffeine in the morning, and the latest would be in the afternoon.

See Also: Are You Sleep Deprived? 8 Health Risks Of Poor Sleep 

Conclusion

Sleep deficiency, in general, is harmful to us. It can do a lot of damage and in an instant, it can take away one’s life. The importance of sleeping is bliss. With our fast-paced culture today, we need to find time to get enough sleep as much as we can.

 

The post Get Strong, Sleep, Repeat: The Importance Of Sleeping appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

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Top Tips On Training Your Brain To Be Creative

Creativity is one of the most vital aspects of life. Were it not for people’s creativity, we would not have the Internet or smartphones or even the car that we drive to work.

Think about all of life’s necessities that exist because of human innovation and you can see just how important it is that we all encourage and train our minds to be creative. You may never be a world leader in innovation but you may just be able to come up with a great fundraising idea for a charity you support or a fresh marketing strategy for your business.

The great thing about creativity is that you can develop it. Yes, there are people who are more naturally adept at being creative but even if this does not apply to you, there are still strategies which exist that can help you to be more creative in the way that you think.

The most important thing you have to do is be open to the idea. If you tell yourself that you are “not the creative type”, then you are already closing the door on a whole world of opportunity. It’s important that you embrace your creative potential.

Let’s see what you can do to help this happen.

Give routine the elbow

creativity tips

We are not suggesting that you dispose of all routine in your life; most people need some sort of shape to their existence in order to keep all the balls of life in the air. What we do want to encourage is the variance of routine to include new experiences.

Have you had a meal at that new Japanese restaurant? When was the last time you took a walk around the park enjoying the flora and fauna? Why not actually go that meeting about local amenities? It could be interesting to get involved.

If you stick to the same routine all the time, then your brain is not exposed to any new stimuli. It sees the same places and people all the time. This is not an environment which is conducive to creativity.

You do not have to train your brain to think creative thoughts all the time. You just have to give it the benefit of new stimuli. This may sound strange but it’s not. If this is not something that you normally do, then your brain is being opened to a new experience. It’s doing this to your brain which puts it in a position where creative thought comes more naturally.

Share with a wider network

We all have people around us who we happily confide in when it comes to sharing ideas. This is often because we feel comfortable with receiving their feedback. But here is the thing; if you do this all the time, how do you know you are getting the right feedback? A major part of encouraging your brain to be creative is making sure that you get constructive responses to your creativity.

The more people you share your ideas with, the more likely you are to get a full range of feedback which is more useful in developing your ideas going forward. Think about it, your friend or partner is not usually going to be an expert when it comes to commenting on innovative ideas for your business, just like a business colleague may not be the best person to ask about your design for a state of the art treehouse. It’s all about getting a well rounded perspective to help develop your thoughts.

Do not be constrained by rules

One of the most common mistakes that people make, when it comes to creative thinking, is they try to think within the constraints of what they believe to be normal or sensible. If you really want to flex your creative muscles, you should not shut your mind off to any possibility. It really does not matter how absurd your ideas seem to be; you should still let them happen unrestricted. You may even find yourself laughing at the ridiculousness of some of the things you consider; this is actually good for you and for your creative mind.

The fact is, that the more you open your mind to thought, the more creative ideas you will have. Even if you only have one though out of one hundred that actually works out, it’s well worth it.

See Also: One Awesome Tip On How To Shift Perspective 

Take notice of your environment

creativity tip

Too many people walk around as though they have blinkers on because they lead such busy lives. This is very restrictive for your brain. If you see something that you have not noticed before such as new flowers in the park or a new building being constructed, take an interest. This could mean that you make a mental note or that you capture an image on your smartphone. If you meet someone new, make a note of it and of what effect the experience had on you.

It’s all about training yourself to be more aware of the world around you and making a note of things that catch your eye or ear. The more “stuff” your brain is exposed to, the more ammunition it gains to help it be creative.

Hopefully, we have helped you to see that anyone can be creative. The most important thing is that you give your brain the best life and training in order to help unleash its creativity.

See Also: Here’s How to Get Creativity Bursting Out of Your Eyeballs

The post Top Tips On Training Your Brain To Be Creative appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

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Can you “hear” flashes of light? Do you have synesthesia? Take a test.

Can you “hear” motion or light flashes? If so, according to new research from City University London, you may be experiencing a not-so-rare form of synaesthesia. Synesthesia is the fascinating neurological phenomenon whereby stimulation of one sense involuntarily triggers another sensory pathway. For example, a synesthete might taste sounds or hear colors. (In this study, 8 out of 40 participants, a very high percentage, were considered to have hearing-motion synaesthesia.) Here is their test for you to take yourself. From The Guardian:

(This new study) suggests that many more of us experience a less intrusive version of (synesthesia) in which visual movements or flashes are accompanied by an internal soundtrack of hums, buzzes or swooshes. Since movements are very frequently accompanied by sounds in everyday life, the effect is likely to be barely discernible.

When tested under laboratory conditions, the “hearing motion” effect appeared to enhance a person’s ability to interpret fine visual movements, but also interfered with the ability to hear real sounds when visual and audio signals were mis-matched.

“These internal sounds seem to be perceptually real enough to interfere with the detection of externally-generated sounds,” said Freeman. “The finding that this ‘hearing-motion’ phenomenon seems to be much more prevalent compared to other synaesthesias might occur due to the strength of the natural connection between sound and vision.”

In a separate study, the team tested for the phenomenon in trained musicians and found that it was much more common in the group. It is not clear if this is due to a natural disposition to link sounds and visual cues or whether thousands of hours of training might have strengthened the neural circuitry behind the effect.

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