Archive for March, 2015

Everyone has the ability to build mental strength

Tuesday, March 31st, 2015

We often hear advice like, “Think positive and good things will happen,” or “Try your hardest and eventually things will work out.” While these words of wisdom certainly have merit, what may seem like well meaning suggestions won’t help you reach your goals if you’re simultaneously engaging in unhealthy behavior. Recognizing and replacing the unhealthy thoughts, behaviors, and feelings that may be sabotaging your best efforts is the key to building mental strength.

Try comparing mental strength to physical strength. While a bodybuilder maintains his physique with good habits, like going to the gym, it’s equally important for that bodybuilder to get rid of unhealthy habits, like eating junk food. An exercise regimen won’t be effective in building lean muscle unless unhealthy eating habits are also eliminated.

Similarly, building mental muscle requires hard work, dedication and exercise. In addition to adopting healthy habits, avoiding detrimental habits, like negative thoughts, unproductive behavior, and self-destructive emotions, is also essential.The good news is, everyone has the ability to build mental strength. But to do so, you need to develop self-awareness about the self-destructive thoughts, behaviors, and feelings that prevent you from reaching your full potential. Once you recognize areas that need work, committing to mental strength exercises will help you create healthier habits and build mental muscle.


Peter Diamandis’ new book, Bold: How to Go Big, Create Wealth and Impact the World

Saturday, March 28th, 2015

from a Huffpost interview:

Diamandis: Yes, we have ISIS. But the data overwhelmingly suggests the future I’ve been describing.

One big problem is that the news media has a grip on our imagination. The fundamental function of the news media is to deliver every piece of negative news to my living room in high definition over and over again. It’s a drug pusher that fuels our instinctual addiction to paying more attention to negative news instead of positive news.

Sure, there are lots of problems. But the world is getting better in extraordinary ways we’ve never seen before. Though you wouldn’t believe it from the headlines, violence per capita of the global population is at its lowest point in history. Food, water, sanitation, health — all have improved dramatically over the last century and will improve even more dramatically in the decades ahead.

We all tend to have this negativity bias. We need to balance that out a lot more and focus on connectivity, not negativity.

7 minute chakra tuneup

Wednesday, March 25th, 2015

I recommend this. Easy to do. Just listen to it for your tuneup.

12 Myths About Meditation We Have To Stop Believing

Sunday, March 22nd, 2015

With meditation practices on the rise, it makes sense that there is some confusion out there. Myths, misnomers and misinformation are to be expected — but that doesn’t mean we can’t do our best to set the record straight. After discussing things you should know about meditation and ways anyone can learn, next we tackle things people simply keep getting wrong.


11 Reasons Your Crazy Cat Obsession Makes You Happier And Healthier

Thursday, March 19th, 2015

Even pet owners who prefer puppies can’t deny the major benefits that come along with caring for a furry friend of either species. Science shows that pets can help prevent allergies in kids, ward off respiratory infections, improve your mood and even boost self-esteem.

Whether you’re a crazy cat lady or a dude ready to publicly proclaim your obsession with your feline friend, get ready to celebrate the many pros of being a proud cat owner — all negative stereotypes aside.


Personally I think everyone ought to have one or two cats and one or two dogs. You could take on more if you really are capable of taking good care of them. But taking proper care of an animal, like a child, requires time, wisdom, and work–not to mention money, not just for food but for toys, training, medical care, and so on.

How The Brain Performs ‘Mental Time Travel’

Monday, March 16th, 2015

The researchers found that when the participant’s brain activity revealed that they had retrieved a memory with “high fidelity,” their next response was likely to be the next item on the list — suggesting that they also recalled the detail around the object. But when they did not recall the item with high fidelity, the next item was often not the next one on the list, which suggests that the information was recalled in isolation.

“This demonstrates that the brain stamps memories with a temporal code,” Polyn said in the statement. “These time-travel recollections allow the brain to retrieve that temporal code, which makes memories for nearby things more accessible, in this case the next item in the list.”

Understanding what’s happening in different brain regions when we’re searching for memories may have some important implications for the study of memory-related disorders like Alzheimer’s.



Freud On How To Forget The Past

Friday, March 13th, 2015

The following is an excerpt from Freud: Great Thinkers on Modern Life, a new series published by The School of Life. In this particular chapter, author Bret Kahr uses Freud’s writings to make a case for the value and effective methods of forgetting the past.

As a psychotherapist, I spend a great deal of my working life helping patients to think about their childhood and its impact. Many people suffer from parental bereavements, painful punishments, crushing humiliations and other adverse experiences, and may, also, have enjoyed tender affection from mother or father, or the joys of happy play with siblings and friends. Some of us revisit childhood in our mind, celebrating the healthy peaks, crying about the debilitating troughs. But other people tend to place a repressive blanket over childhood, pretending that toxic events never happened. I find that such people often suffer from great anger, resentment and rage in adult life, still nursing early wounds which have never healed. Freud has helped us to recognize the importance of childhood and of its excavation.
Freud reveled in the Latin aphorism Saxa loquuntur, “the stones speak” (“The Aetiology of Hysteria,” 1986), a phrase that he may well have noticed while walking through the Sigismundtor or Sigmund’s door, an eighteenth-century tunnel in Salzburg which, as it happens, bears his forename. By relishing the archaeological excavation of the mind, and my resurrecting repressed memories, Freud taught us a vital life lesson, namely, that we cannot, and must not, forget the past. It impacts upon us whether we with it to or not; and thus we have an obligation to explore our childhood in the hope of putting our ghosts in the nursery to rest.



Why Reading On A Screen Is Bad For Critical Thinking

Tuesday, March 10th, 2015

A related distinction is between what’s called deep reading (that time-consuming process involving reasoning skills and reflection) and hyper reading (a term developed in the late 1990s). In How We Think, Katherine Hayles defines hyper reading as “a strategic response to an information-intensive environment, aiming to conserve attention by quickly identifying relevant information, so that only relatively few portions of a given text are actually read.” Not surprisingly, hyper reading is what young people (and, increasingly, many of the rest of us) do when we read onscreen. We make quick judgments, trusting intuition as to what’s relevant to read, rather than working — and thinking — our way through.

Deep reading takes time, patience, and effort. In distinguishing between fast (System 1) and slow (System 2) thinking, Kahneman reminds us that even when System 2 might be called for, we humans tend to get lazy and defer to the rapid, instinctual judgments of System 1. When we read online, the deck is stacked again System 2 thinking, deep reading, and critical thinking.

Sure, those with ironclad discipline can read, think, and analyze regardless of the reading medium. For the rest of us mortals – like over 90% of the college students I surveyed — concentration and digital screens don’t generally mix. If as parents and teachers we are serious about developing critical thinking in our progeny and students, we need to ask ourselves whether those handy digital devices are helps or hindrances.



A Sense of Wonder May Be Good for Your Health

Saturday, March 7th, 2015

Research has indicated that awe seems to encourage collaboration, for one; it also appears to slow down our perception of the passage of time. And the latest study, published recently in the journal Emotion, suggests that feeling awe may promote good health.


Still More.

Is there anything more?

Wednesday, March 4th, 2015

In a mother’s womb were two babies. One asked the other: “Do you believe in life
after delivery?” The other replied, “Why, of course. There has to be something
after delivery. Maybe we are here to prepare ourselves for what we will be

“Nonsense” said the first. “There is no life after delivery. What kind of life
would that be?”

The second said, “I don’t know, but there will be more light than here. Maybe we
will walk with our legs and eat from our mouths. Maybe we will have other senses
that we can’t understand now.”

The first replied, “That is absurd. Walking is impossible. And eating with our
mouths? Ridiculous! The umbilical cord supplies nutrition and everything we
need. But the umbilical cord is so short. Life after delivery is to be logically

The second insisted, “Well I think there is something and maybe it’s different
than it is here. Maybe we won’t need this physical cord anymore.”

The first replied, “Nonsense. And moreover if there is life, then why has no one
has ever come back from there? Delivery is the end of life, and in the
after-delivery there is nothing but darkness and silence and oblivion. It takes
us nowhere.”

“Well, I don’t know,” said the second, “but certainly we will meet Mother and
she will take care of us.”

The first replied “Mother? You actually believe in Mother? That’s laughable. If
Mother exists then where is She now?”

The second said, “She is all around us. We are surrounded by her. We are of Her.
It is in Her that we live. Without Her this world would not and could not

Said the first: “Well I don’t see Her, so it is only logical that She doesn’t

To which the second replied, “Sometimes, when you’re in silence and you focus
and you really listen, you can perceive Her presence, and you can hear Her
loving voice, calling down from above.”

— Útmutató a Léleknek

Thomas Ramey Watson is an affiliate faculty member of Regis University's College of Professional Studies. He has served as an Episcopal chaplain (lay), trained as a psychotherapist, done postdoctoral work at Cambridge University, and was named a Research Fellow at Yale University.

In addition to his scholarly writings, he is a published author of poetry and fiction.