Archive for November, 2015

Time In Nature Helps Curb Impulsivity And Boost Self-Control

Monday, November 30th, 2015

Spending time in nature — aside from being one of life’s greatest simple pleasures — comes with a whole host of mental health benefits, from lower stress levels to reduced depression and anxiety to improved memory and focus.

Now, new research from the University of Montana suggests that going camping or taking a hike may also be helpful for combatting addiction, as researchers found that being exposed to nature led people to behave less impulsively and exercise greater self-control.


What explains this effect? It’s likely that the calmness and tranquility of natural landscapes reduces stress levels and promotes relaxation, which results in a feeling of time going by more slowly or a sense of having free time. In turn, this more expansive sense of time may encourage us to consider the relative benefits of future over immediate rewards.

“When our perception of time is expanded, this may help to bridge the gap between present choices and future consequences,” Dr. Meredith Berry, a psychologist at the university and one of the study’s authors, told The Huffington Post in an email. “Such expanded time perception may enable us to favor long-term healthier behaviors, rather than immediate gratification.”


Annie Kagan writes

Tuesday, November 24th, 2015

Dear Thomas,

I’ve been stressed out lately. The news is daunting; terror attacks, families fleeing war torn countries, the environmental mess.

In my book, The Afterlife of Billy Fingers, How My Bad-Boy Brother Proved To Me There’s Life After Death, my brother Billy teaches how to better navigate life on planet Earth. Amazingly, Billy began sharing this wisdom with me a few weeks after he died. Two years of our conversations are recorded in our book.

One thing Billy says is;
People spend lots of time on things that make them unhappy. To cultivate joy, pay attention to what you like.

So, with all the disturbance happening on Earth, I made a list of things Billy says can soothe the soul.

The light, colors, scents and sounds of the natural world bring pleasure to and heal the senses. Walking in the forest, planting a garden, or simply feeling the warmth of the sun on your face, help you tune to the miracle of creation.

Many spiritual paths promote the concept of gratitude. Saying “thank you” may be simpler than trying to feel grateful. Saying thank you to all the things that please you, silently or out loud, helps you notice the grace in your life. Thank you is an easy step down the road toward gratitude.

Take time every day to admire something of beauty. Beauty is evocative; it awakens something deep inside and transcends the noise and static of the world. Beauty reminds you of the awe at the heart of life itself.

Singing, dancing and listening to music connects you to the special pleasure of being alive. Have favorite songs on standby to enhance your mood or change it. Some music could be bright and upbeat, some slow and melancholy, some designed for healing. Melody and rhythm turn the ordinary into the magical.

A change in perspective is powerful. According to Quantum physics, the way you see things can actually change them. If something upsets or frightens you, look for what you like about it. When it comes to people, focus on their deep voice, their sparkling eyes, their quick smile, their unique wit. When someone senses positivity coming their way, they may respond in kind.

Joy comes from doing what we love simply for the pleasure of it. Keep a journal, learn to surf, sing in a choir, bake bread, plant a garden, feed the birds. Everything you do doesn’t have to lead to an outcome. The doing can be its own reward.
© 2015 annie kagan

With Love
Your friends
Billy Fingers
Annie Kagan
From the Cosmos

Creative types really may be more complicated people than most

Tuesday, November 17th, 2015

And psychologically speaking, creative personality types are difficult to pin down, largely because they’re complex, paradoxical and tend to avoid habit or routine. And it’s not just a stereotype of the “tortured artist” — artists really may be more complicated people. Research has suggested that creativity involves the coming together of a multitude of traits, behaviors and social influences in a single person.

“It’s actually hard for creative people to know themselves because the creative self is more complex than the non-creative self,” Scott Barry Kaufman, Ph.D., Scientific Director of the Imagination Institute at the University of Pennsylvania, told The Huffington Post. “The things that stand out the most are the paradoxes of the creative self … Imaginative people have messier minds.”

While there’s no “typical” creative type, there are some tell-tale characteristics and behaviors of highly creative people. Here are 18 things they do differently.


The Importance of Empathy

Saturday, November 7th, 2015

Empathy might seem like a squishy, vaguely liberal word—a sentimental virtue of minor importance. But the more we learn from neuroscience and psychology, the more it appears that much of human social and economic life, not to mention individual health, fundamentally relies on it. Which makes the rise of inequality— something that threatens empathy—all the more troubling.


10 Complaints Sex Therapists Hear All The Time

Monday, November 2nd, 2015

What do couples talk about when they sit down with sex therapists?

We asked seven sex therapists and psychologists from around the country to share the problems people in relationships bring up most frequently in their offices. See what they had to say below.


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.