Can positive thinking make you well?

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read it here cnn.com

Very interesting article.

I especially liked these points:

> The real point isn’t to rescue a dying patient but to maintain wellness.

> Genes are dynamic, not fixed… there is no harm in assuming that your mind affects your genes, because there is abundant evidence to support this attitude.(knowing you have a genetic predisposition to something can set your mind against wellness but it’s important to know that genes aren’t fixed)

> medicine cannot be definitive on how mood affects wellness. But if I wanted to enhance a state of wellness before symptoms of illness appeared, there is much to be gained and no risks involved in trying to reach the best state of mind possible.

Introvert advantages

http://hiddengiftsoftheintrovertedchild.com/being-an-introvert/

Top 10 Advantages Introverts Possess:

10) Work Well With Others, Especially In One-to-One Relationships

9) Maintain Long-Term Friendships

8) Flexible

7) Independent

6) Strong Ability To Concentrate

5) Self-Reflective

4) Responsible

3) Creative, Out-of-the-Box thinking

2) Analytical Skills That Integrate Complexity

1) Studious and Smart

Science, Sacred, Spiritual: What Is In A Word? : 13.7: Cosmos And Culture : NPR

In this remarkable historical moment we face existential challenges that demand an informed deployment of science. In response, the question before us becomes how to marshal the resonance in words like “sacred.” We will, without doubt, need its poetics as we build the next version of culture our evolution now demands.

read it all here npr.org

Liberals, Conservatives May Have Different Brain Structures

FRIDAY, April 8 (HealthDay News) — Opposing political views may linked to differences in brain structures, a new study suggests.

Researchers at University College London found that liberals tend to have a larger anterior cingulate cortex, while conservatives have a larger amygdala.

Based on what’s known about the roles of these two areas of the brain, the structural differences are consistent with previous studies that found liberals are better able to cope with conflicting information and are more open to new experiences, while conservatives are better able to recognize a threat and more anxious when faced with uncertainty, according to team leader Ryota Kanai and colleagues.

The study appears online April 7 in the journal Current Biology.

“Previously, some psychological traits were known to be predictive of an individual’s political orientation. Our study now links such personality traits with specific brain structure,” Kanai said in a journal news release.

But it’s not clear whether political preferences and other personality traits influence brain structure or vice versa. It’s possible that a person’s experiences can change brain structure over time and, of course, many people change their political views during their lifetime, Kanai noted.

He also warned against reading too much into these findings.

“It’s very unlikely that actual political orientation is directly encoded in these brain regions,” Kanai said. “More work is needed to determine how these brain structures mediate the formation of political attitude.”

More information

McGill University has more about the amygdala.

Sounds about right to me.

fantasy, reality and happiness

Good-looking men always cheat. They cheat on you while they are at the peak of their powers, because other women will throw themselves at them. And they will cheat on you when their hair recedes and they need Botox, because they need the affirmation that they have not lost their looks.

You cannot win with good-looking men.

They misplace your tweezers.  They were treated as little gods by their mothers and, therefore, cannot change a fuse or a duvet cover.

No intelligent, funny, helpful-in-the-kitchen man ever looks like David Beckham.

read it all here dailymail.co.uk

This whole article is a bit silly but this last section is really interesting given conversations I’ve had lately with my husband and a few women. For some reason this topic keeps popping up. Yesterday, I was talking with my co-worker about how “real people” do not typically end up “settling down with” their fantasy characters. The men we like to look at are not the men we want to father our children – which is not to say that we don’t like to look at the father of our children of course.

I can also speak from experience that good looking men at their peak ARE a pain in the ass and they DO actually have women throwing themselves at them which is not as fun as it sounds.

Rabbi Alan Lurie: The Allure of Narcissistic Spirituality

To understand spiritual narcissism we must first understand the word “spirituality.” My acting definition is, “The experience of a transformative connection.” In other words, spirituality is experienced — it is not a concept or construct. It transforms us. It changes how we act, think and feel in all environments. And it is a connection — a profound contact with something and someone outside of our selves.

All three of these components are needed in order for spirituality to occur, but the most essential is that it be a connection — between a person and the Divine, or between one person and another. Spiritual practices are designed to facilitate these connections, and begin with the knowledge that we have two selves: an ego-self and a true-Self. The ego-self is built on our strategy for ensuring that we are physically safe, stemming from our interpretation of the experiences of our lives (primarily our childhood) in which we determined what was required in order to survive. The ego-self may need to impress, dominate or control and sees others as either threats or tools. There is nothing inherently wrong with the ego-self; it is a necessary structure put in place so that we can survive in physical reality. But it is not who we really are, and we can not make a spiritual connection from it. Our true-Self, however, which is often referred to as our soul, contains the very purpose that we incarnated, and is in constant connection with Spirit/Consciousness/Creation/God. It sees others as fellow souls with equally needed purposes, and has compassion for the suffering that comes from the ego-self’s attachment to things.

Spiritual practices help us to loosen the grip of the ego-self and to connect to the true-Self, so that we can live purposefully, be of service and participate in love. The central Biblical injunction to “Love your neighbor as yourself” is usually interpreted to mean that we must learn to love others, with the assumption that we already love ourselves. Literally translated, though, this line actually reads, “And you will [in the future tense] love your fellow in the same way that you love yourself.” In other words, we will love another to the extent and in the way that we love ourselves. If you are harsh with yourself, you will be harsh with others. If you can not forgive yourself, you can not forgive others. In this way, this line is not a commandment, but is a statement of fact. The truth is that most of us do not love ourselves very well, and consequently we hurt others. This is why spiritual practices so often seek to teach us how to love ourselves, so that we can better love others. Real love naturally flows in two directions.

Spiritual practices becomes narcissistic, though, when the ego-self hijacks the process and assumes that it is the object of self love, becoming enamored of looking in the mirror and claiming that its reflection is the true-Self. Then we loose our way, forgetting that the purpose of learning to love ourselves is to become more open, kind and effective in interactions with others, and instead of opening our hearts with humility and compassion, we assume a position of superiority — exactly what the ego desires for its safety. Spiritual narcissism sees self-love as the end goal. Spirituality to the ego-self is an object of attainment, much like fame, wealth, an expensive car and a sexy body.

Spiritual narcissism creates the pretense of holiness as an ego strategy to mask insecurity, receive approval, or avoid struggle and growth. “I’m a spiritual person” it proclaims proudly. “I travel to alternate realities, see auras, heal chakras, predict the future, talk to spirits, commune with angels, manipulate energies, meditate for three hours a day, harness the powers of the Universe to attract success. … The truth is that I’m more evolved than you!” Deep spirituality makes us more sensitive to the feeling of others, encouraging an open stance of courage where we can drop our protective shields and accept the vulnerability to be seen as we are. Narcissistic sensitivity, however, is focused solely on the subtle nuances one’s own internality, and resists looking at hard, uncomfortable truths that may upset the self image. One who is narcissistically sensitive is easily offended by the “coarseness” of others, seeks to make his environment change to align with the contours of his needs, and gets angry or offended when this does not happen.

read it all huffingtonpost.com

thought-provoking, click the link to read it all.