~ Byron Katie
“Everything is interconnected. Gratitude improves sleep. Sleep reduces pain. Reduced pain improves your mood. Improved mood reduces anxiety, which improves focus and planning. Focus and planning help with decision making. Decision making further reduces anxiety and improves enjoyment. Enjoyment gives you more to be grateful for, which keeps that loop of the upward spiral going. Enjoyment also makes it more likely you'll exercise and be social, which, in turn, will make you happier.”
--UCLA Neuroscience researcher Alex Korb
Four Rituals that Make You Happy:
(in summary, and as suggested by science to date)
1. Be grateful.
2. Name negative emotions.
3. Make good enough decisions.
4. Touch people.
- This epidemiologic analysis revealed that mortality rates are increasing in the middle-aged white male population, largely due to preventable conditions like poisonings and overdoses.
- Reductions in mortality were seen in other racial groups.
Sometimes the thing I learn is a negative. Part of growing up and separating from your parents is deciding "I don't want to ever do that." What I have been learning recently is that many teachers are so busy teaching that they don't take the time to breathe. That is to say, the best teachers are the ones who are truly present with us in the practice, and not simply filling airspace with instructions.
My yoga practice involves tuning in to my own inner voice, and being present with my breath and body. This was a great learning for me, because I grew up very American, unaware of my body, or worse, in denial of it.
( Exhale, inhale... )
center releases its yellow hornet
to tell you you're missing the point,
the point being that getting smacked
by a board, gored by umbrellas, tongue-
lashed by cardiologists, bush-wacked
by push-up bras is a learning experience.
Sure, you're about learned up. Weren't
we promised the thieves would be punished?
Promised jet-packs and fleshy gardenias
and wine to get the dust out of our mouths?
And endless forgiveness? A floral rot
comes out of the closet, the old teacher's
voice comes out of the ravine, red-wings
in rushes never forget their rusty-hinged
song. Moon-song, dread-song, hardly-a-song
at all song. Let's ignore that call,
let someone else stop Mary from herself
for the 80th time. It's never really dark
anyway, not even inside the skull. Take
my hand, fellow figment. Every spring
we'll meet, definite as swarms of stars,
insects over glazed puddles, your eyes
green even though your driver's license
says otherwise. And yes, mortal knells
in sleepless hours, hollow knocks of empty
boats against a dock but still the mind
is a meadow, the heart an ocean even though
it burns. As long as there's a sky, someone
will be falling from it. After molting,
eat your own shucked skin for strength,
keep changing the subject in hopes
that the subject will change you.
This is the latest Ted Talk to cross my viewscreen. It's Richard Wilkinson, speaking about the differences between societies with wide vs narrow differences between the highest and lowest income groups. The finding is intuitive, but the specific data that he pulls together, and the way he makes sense of it, is very interesting. At the end of brings it all together with some science about stress. According to him, the stressors that cause the greatest increase in cortisol are "social evaluative threats" to one's esteem or status. In other words, "people are sensitive to being looked down on". In societies where there is greater equality, there is less stress, hence explaining the increased longevity, health and peace that is seen in those societies. Of course, the US rates only second to Singapore in his scaling of wealth disparity, with Japan and Sweden at the other end of the scale. Anyway, it's worth seeing for yourself, if you have the 15 minutes.
Also interesting, the mortality gap between normal people and those with mental illness is getting larger. All current mental health efforts are not yet improving the odds of survival for those with bipolar and shizophrenia. SOURCE: http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/
On managing aggressive schizophrenics: http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/
( a question )
Constant toothy smiling can cause stress, high blood pressure, depression and heart problems according to Johann Wolfgang Goethe who studies smiles at the University of Frankfurt. "Zapf recommends that 'professional smilers' take regular breaks to relax, rid themselves of aggression and recuperate from the effort of smiling." There are some jokes in the article about how German customer service isn't the friendliest on the planet, anyway.
( more )