Name it, Blame it and feel happier

A favorite strategy to feel better, feel happier is backed by neuroscience, requires no Rx, practically no time nor physical energy.

When feeling angry, stressed, sad, lonely all you need to do is give your feeling a name to defuse it.

David Rock* explains:
“To reduce arousal, you need to use just a few words to describe an emotion, and ideally use symbolic language, which means using indirect metaphors, metrics, and simplifications of your experience. This requires you to activate your prefrontal cortex, which reduces the arousal in the limbic system. Here’s the bottom line: describe an emotion in just a word or two, and it helps reduce the emotion.”

“fMRI studies support this idea.  Participants viewed pictures of people with emotional facial expressions. Each participant’s amygdala activated to the emotions in the picture. But when they were asked to name the emotion, the ventrolateral prefrontal cortex activated and reduced the emotional amygdala reactivity. In other words, consciously recognizing the emotions reduced their impact.”

Here are some Peggyjudy ways you can NAME IT-BLAME IT and feel HAPPIER:

Call your emotion a Silly Name

  • Fantastically futile funk
  • Silly Sally Sad
  • Fangry Angry
  • Mumifiably Mad
  • Fraiday-Cat Fear

Draw a stick figure or an “emoji”

Metrics – Washed over by Emotion

  1. Give your emotion a number from 1 – 10 points.
  2. 1 = Ripple  5=Body-surfing wave  10=Tzunami
  3. Each minute after assigning a number to your emotion subtract 1 point until you are down to a ripple.

Pick a Mad Metaphor

Fit to be Tired by Peggy

  • I’m fit to be tied
  • Foaming at the mouth
  • Fly off the handle
  • Blow a gasket, blow a fuse
  • Up in arms
  • In a black mood
  • Go ballistic

Pick a Fear Metaphor

  • Trembling like a leaf
  • Like a deer (or a mouse) in headlights
  • A shivering wreck. 
  • Paralysed with terror. 
  • Scared silly

Pick a Sad Metaphor

Woofer’s Sinking Heart by Peggy

  • Down in the mouth
  • Feeling low
  • Feeling blue
  • In a black mood
  • Gloomy Gus
  • My heart sank.
  • In the depths of despair.

DISCLAIMER!

You are hereby notified that the stunts and tricks displayed in this post are performed by professional animals and stick figures in controlled environments, such as closed circuit dark roads at midnight. Do not attempt to duplicate, re-create, or perform the same or similar stunts and tricks at home, as personal injury or property damage may result. All animals were paid scale-wage treats and none were harmed in the production of this post. The authors of this post are not responsible for any such injury or damage.

 

*David Rock,  Your Brain at Work: Strategies for Overcoming Distraction, Regaining Focus, and Working Smarter All Day Long

My daily dose of happy vibes

Even though I grew up in Arizona, where the summer heat can be brutal, I love sunshine.  Perhaps some of my love of being outside is connected to feelings of riding Misty Soda, my first horse, a pale palomino.  After school,  no matter the temperature, I would rush to go riding. Perhaps some of my love of the sun is remembrance of teenage years laying by the pool, getting tan, taking a dip in the cool water and the feeling of water evaporating from my skin.

Riding by Peggy

Research indicates my love of sunshine may be more than just wonderful memory triggers. 

In the top layer of our skin, we have a substance called 7-dehydrocholesterol. Sunlight stimulates the production of vitamin D3 from that substance. Vitamin D3 is then taken to the liver and kidneys to become the most effective form of vitamin D..

Most know that vitamin D is linked to strong bones and teeth.  Less known is research shows vitamin D deficiency also plays a role in some cases of depression, chronic fatigue and an increased tendency to infections.

For those who live in less sunny climates you can get vitamin D from foods too:

  • fish
  • butter
  • milk (especially full cream)
  • fortified margarine
  • breakfast cereals
  • meal replacement shakes.

Vitamin D is fat-soluble – so if you take a vitamin D supplement, eating healthy food with a little bit of fat such as fish, avocado or nuts at the same time.

Beaching it by Peggy

My adult years have been spent in California and my favorite place is the beach.  I know I am always more relaxed and happier when outside – being supercharged with vitamin D from the sun!

(PW)

https://www.goexpress.co.za/2017/11/06/get-daily-dose-happy-vibes/

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Pawsitively Tuesday – Your Brain

Just three weeks after conception, the embryonic brain generates a quarter of a million neurons every minute.

About 20% of the body’s energy is channelled to the brain, yet it remains staggeringly efficient, consuming less energy than a filament light bulb.

The human brain isn’t fully developed until the mid-twenties – much later than experts once thought.

The internal clock that controls sleepiness runs up to three hours ‘late’ in teenagers, although scientists aren’t quite sure why.

Even into old age neurons are still building new connections and circuits, maintaining our ability to adapt and learn.

Frankly Freddie, Your Dog Can Help You Get A Better Night’s Sleep (parenthetically speaking)

Dear Human-beings, my faithful fans,

Some human-beings have a bit too much time on their hands, coming up with stupid studies to prove the obvious.  Here’s my evidence:

“According to the American Veterinary Association, currently, over 40 million American households have dogs. Among these households, 63 percent consider their pet dogs as a part of their family. (The other 37 percent are cat owners) However, many of them still are divided when it comes to having their furry family members sleep with them in the bedroom.”

“But, there’s a solution to the problem in a new study published this month, which said that having canine companions could actually improve the quality of your sleep. (Quality of sleep!? . . . we improve the quality of your LIFE) Although, there’s a catch. Letting them sleep in your bedroom is ok, but it doesn’t hold true if your dog is in the bed with you.”

A Mayo Clinic study, titled “The Effect of Dogs on Human Sleep in the Home Sleep Environment,” published in the September issue of Mayo Clinic Proceedings  . . . , suggested that people might actually sleep better when their dogs are in the bedroom with them, meaning that shooing your furry friends off might not be such a good idea. (They needed a study to discover it’s not nice to “shoo”?)

The study was based on an examination of 40 people who owned dogs and didn’t suffer from any sleep disorders over the course of five months. They put accelerometers on both the dogs and the owners for seven nights for the study and then determined the results.  (Accelerometers?! – no wonder no one could sleep) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Accelerometer

The study found that people had a greater sense of comfort and security when they allowed their dogs to sleep in the bedroom. The study also differentiated between the dog being on the bed or just simply in the bedroom. It found that owners with dogs on their beds suffered from lower sleep quality than normal.  (What the study didn’t say is that we Canine-dogs suffer from lower sleep quality than normal when humans are on the bed.  Humans kick and turn, hog the covers,  groan and snore. Their accelerometer is off the charts)  

The researchers also said that it is important to consider the limited sample size on which the study was conducted and also to note that none of the dogs examined were under six months old. Younger puppies have more energy and thus might be problematic if they let into the bedroom at night. Thus, further research is required to understand the association between letting your dog sleep in the bedroom or not.

(Further research is NOT needed.  All you need to do is ask your dog)

Frankly,

Freddie Parker Westerfield, SSCD

Sound Sleeping Canine Dog

http://www.ibtimes.com/your-dog-can-help-you-get-better-nights-sleep-study-2588111

Happy is as Happy Does and a Hack

Compassion makes you feel better.  I saw this first hand when I worked in an outpatient program with people diagnosed with severe psychiatric disorders – schizophrenia, manic depressive disorder and major depression.  Many had been hospitalized more than once.

My goal was to help patients manage their illness, so they could stay out of the hospital  and live a more normal life. Besides many of the things the program offered to help them, including medication, I believed if I could help them be happier, have more positives in their lives, some of the stressors they felt would be offset and help them stay well.

Acts of Kindness by Peggy

I had read a research project using compassion exercises and decided to try it. It worked well in the research and I hoped it worked for the patients. Here’s what I did:

Week 1: I asked the patients to spend an hour being really good to themselves, something to pamper themselves. It didn’t matter what they chose as long as they personally enjoyed it.  When they shared everyone expressed liking their experiences and felt happy they participated.

Week 2: The patients were to take the same amount of time – an hour – and do something nice for somebody else, something to brighten someone else’s day.  It didn’t matter who they chose or what they did as long as it was something kind and giving.  When they shared this experience they were even happier!  All reported they felt better doing something nice for somebody else for an hour than doing something for themselves.

Caring for others, having compassion, can make you happier. You don’t have to wait weeks between.  Do something nice for yourself for an hour one day.  The next day do something nice for another person.  It doesn’t even have to be for an hour.  Try it and see for yourself.  And let us know how it goes.

Compassion Hack

According to brain science Buddhist monks are some of the happiest people in the  world.  They are don’t leave their monasteries and do things for others, but meditate on compassion.  Research shows compassion meditation changes the brain and makes it happier!

Don’t have an hour to do something nice for someone else?  Spend 10 – 20 minutes and meditate on compassion . . . Remember – It’s a hack NOT a substitution for the real thing.

 (PW)

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Pawsitively Tuesday – Burning your Bridges

Sometimes you have to burn a few bridges

to keep the crazies from following you.

a judy collage

Thanks Sharon M.!

Practical Tips For Handling Conflict, Part II

Conflict is an indication that your “relationship has not been attended to in some way.” It gives couples the opportunity to identify this issue, address it, improve it and move on to enjoying your healthy relationship.

 

Bush and Hendrix shared several tips for navigating conflict effectively.

Make an appointment to talk.

“When you have an issue with your partner, ask them if it’s OK to talk about it,” Hendrix said, which he calls “making an appointment.” This is important because not asking can trigger your partner’s anxiety, leading to a defensive reaction, he said. You might simply say, “Is now a good time?”

Talk about yourself.

Hendrix suggested using “I” statements, such as “I think, I feel, I hope, I want.” When your partner hears the word “you” – such as “you did this” or “why didn’t you do that” – this also can activate defensiveness, he said.

Pretend to be your partner.

Pretend that you’re looking through your partner’s eyes, Bush said. Describe aloud how you think your partner is feeling (e.g., a wife pretends to be her husband and says “I am Mike, and this is how I see it.”) Then your partner can respond by either agreeing or clarifying how they feel, she said.

Deal with conflict immediately.

“Anything hurtful and left unattended festers and grows bigger,” Hendrix said. That’s why “when there’s a breakdown, repair should occur immediately.”

Be specific about what you need or want.

“Ask for what you want in one or two sentences, and make it positive,” Hendrix said. By being specific, direct and concrete, you give your spouse a chance to meet your request.

For instance, instead of saying, “I wish you were always on time,” say, “The next time we have a movie or dinner date, I’d like that if you can’t make it, you’ll call me 15 minutes ahead of time, and let me know.”

Express gratitude.

“Conflict is inevitable, but it shouldn’t be the background music [of your relationship],” Bush said. She and Hendrix stressed the importance of showing your appreciation to your partner. For instance, you might say, “Thank you for listening to me” or “Thank you for sharing that,” Hendrix said.

 

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