Self-Talk Yourself into Love

Early on in our practices we learned that feelings are neurochemically based.  Emotions and what we think are vitally interconnected in a feed-back loop in our brain.  There aren’t many things in this life we can control (contrary to popular opinion) but we CAN control what we THINK .

In psychology, inner conversation is called self-talk. Research shows self-talk has the power to actually shape our perceptions. The way we talk to ourselves influences how we view ourselves, how we view other people, and how we interact with others.

Self-talk can change negative feelings such as shame, loneliness, and anxiety to feelings of pleasure, reassurance, and safety. Our thoughts also influence our self-esteem and self-confidence. Self-talk not only affects these emotions and characteristics, but also how we view others.

Thinking Love, by Peggy

 Here’s some basics to guide you:

  1. Neuroscience has shown us that love has real estate in the brain. Love lights up the right hemisphere.
  2. Brain scans and longitudinal studies have revealed that neglect, abuse and early chronic stress damages the developing brain and primes people for addiction, disease and premature death.
  3. Lack of love shrinks the brain’s hippocampus. Neuroplasticity allows for some neural growth and rewiring, but the damage from early severe neglect and abuse may be permanent.
  4. Attachment science tells us that it’s never too late to create a secure base in relationship. While we are wounded in relationship, it’s neurobiologically true that we heal in relationship too. We don’t have to heal in the same relationship where the wound originated, as studies show that, through attuned, reliable emotional connection, we can grow the front of the brain, our pre-frontal cortex, which mediates empathy, trust, intuition, self-regulation, even morality.

  5. Practicing sensitive and responsive communication, mindfulness and compassion (including self-compassion) changes the nervous system, our chemistry and circuitry from an anxious, hyper-vigilant mode to a calmer, more connected state.

It’s not “nature versus nurture,” but both nature AND nurture. When we actively, intentionally and consciously practice strong bonds, we nurture our nature.

      *    *      *

“If you truly loved yourself,

you could never hurt another.”

Gautama Buddha

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Want to be happy? Eat Your Dessert First

We’ve all fallen into thinking “I will be happy when ___________”.  Sometimes it’s a mind set we’ve been taught: Eat your vegetables before you can have dessert;  There’s no time for happiness just “hard” work.  Often it’s simply paddling as fast as we can to keep our head above water.

Shawn Achor, author of The Happiness Advantage, maintains we need to get happy first and success will be easier for when we are in a good mood we work better, are more creative, and cope better.

The neurochemistry says it all
“Positive emotions flood our brain with dopamine and serotonin, chemicals that not only make us feel good, but dial up the learning centers of our brains to higher levels. They help us organize new information, keep that information in the brain longer, and retrieve it faster later on. And they enable us to make and sustain more neural connections, which allows us to think more quickly and creatively, become more skilled at complex analysis and problem solving, and see and invent new ways of doing things.”

Heels over Head by Peggy

Smple activities that will increase the “happy” neurotransmitters in your brain.

Recall a memory of something happy or funny
Take a brisk walk
Watch a funny video clip or cartoon
Hang out with someone who makes you smile

Proven ways to increase happiness which take a bit more time and effort:

1. Meditation (Joy on Demand”, a book on easy ways to meditate)

2. Think of something you can look forward to doing

 3. Perform an act of kindness

Acts of Kindness by Peggy

4.Modify your physical environment (go outside in nice weather, surround yourself with pictures that remind you of loved ones, happy times, trips, read positive magazines, books, videos or surround yourself with objects or symbols that bring a smile.

5. Exercise 20 – 30 min. 3X week

6. Create & nurture relationships.

 7. Use your skills and do something you enjoy

 

 

 

 

 

 

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I hear you!

I didn’t think I was hard of hearing.  My daughter did.  I simply want to hear what I want to hear, not necessarily what others think I should be hearing . . .  

 

Research* indicates that half of hearing loss is due to the brain getting “fuzzy” about discriminating sounds.  There is some evidence that the brain can be re-trained. There are several sites which are based on neuroplasticity and retraining the brain.  I figured I had nothing to lose and could prove to her I my hearing was just fine.   I checked out one of several sites that claim to re-train the brain for better hearing.  

The exercises I chose slowed down sounds. Then two sounds that were very alike and hard to tell apart were speeded up.  I practiced discriminating between them.

I  think it helped.  There is a commercial on TV where I never could understand part of what they said–and after the training I could.  Don’t tell my daughter.  I’m waiting to see if she comments again on my hearing. 

 

Here’s some of the research I read:

“Department of Hearing & Speech Sciences, recently published the results of her dissertation work, “Reversal of Age-Related Neural Timing Delays with Training,” in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The study, carried out at Northwestern University’s Auditory Neuroscience Laboratory, focused on the effects of auditory training on the brain’s ability to rapidly process sound. Essentially, auditory training involves teaching the brain to listen. For those with unimpeded hearing, this normally occurs early in life and is part of a young child’s rearing. Later in life, or for those who require additional support, auditory training is usually supervised by an audiologist or speech-language pathologist and involves exposure to stimuli and coaching to help individuals identify and distinguish sounds”.

“Dr. Anderson’s research included 67 adults between the ages of 55 and 70. They completed in-home computerized training for 40 hours over eight weeks. The training involved discriminating between consonant-vowel syllables that were initially spoken slowly with exaggerated enunciation. As they improved, the syllables were compressed in time and were more difficult to distinguish. In addition, participants received memory training that focused attention on the syllables as they were presented in words, sentences and stories. “For most of my participants, the training was quite a positive experience,” Anderson said. “Many of them reported that they enjoyed the challenge and that they noticed the benefits of hearing better in social activities. In fact, I had no difficulty recruiting participants because they encouraged their friends to come in for the study. I was impressed with their high motivation to do activities that might offset the effects of aging.”’

“After training, the study participants had better scores on tests of speech-in-noise perception, memory and speed of processing—demonstrating their improved ability to decipher speech in challenging environments. They also had faster neural timing in the auditory brainstem, indicating that their brain’s processing speed was partially restored to typical timing in young adults. Nina Kraus, director of the Auditory Neuroscience Laboratory at Northwestern University and Anderson’s research partner, commented on the training’s effectiveness.”

“After training, the participants’ neural timing did not become equivalent to that of a young adult…but they were, however, able to successfully hear, remember, and understand sentences in noisy background listening conditions—conditions that prior to training, rendered understanding of what had been said impossible,” Kraus said. In fact, participants that repeated behavioral and electrophysiological tests post training understood about 20% more words and could process about 15% more cognitive items on a timed test, and showed a 50% increase in neural timing. Participants that received no training showed no improvements in any area of their hearing and processing capabilities.”

https://bsos.umd.edu/messaging/Improving-Human-Condition-PSYC  University of Maryland, College of Behavioral and Social Sciences

(Peggy A)

Here’s another study from The National Institute of Health

*https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4055506/

 

 

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Stress, Pain & Depression – The leg bone is connected to the hip bone!

I’ve noticed that when I’m in the most physical pain I also feel “depressed”.  Depression has become catch-all word and it’s sometimes difficult to sort out.  The biggest hallmarks are usually:

Trouble sleeping

Low energy

Can’t find motivation

Disinterested in life

It’s not necessarily simply depression! by Peggy

Research has uncovered stress links among depression and pain.   It can be the effects of excess stress which depletes natural dopamine stores and creates a ripple effect on nearby endorphins.  

Turns out that endorphins are necessary to prevent pain and maintain good mood.  

And here’s the connection:

  1. Stress interferes with dopamine function in the brain, inhibiting the messages it sends to create the feeling of pleasure and the absence of pain, and can lead to a state of overstress.
  2. Dopamine function is correlated to endorphin function.  In periods of continual stress, both compounds decline, leading to the weakening of the body’s natural defense against pain.

According to the Franklin Institute, when dopamine and the endorphins malfunction, minor injuries can become major obstacles and experiences of both pain and misery are heightened. Previously enjoyed activities will no longer provide pleasure.”

Once again . . . lowering stress levels is important.  Check out some CATNIP posts on how to lower your stress:

The Write Way to Emotional & Physical Well-Being

Frankly Freddie – Dog Owners are healthier hoofers

Are you one of 30 who are sensitive to Negative Ions

 

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How to fall asleep – Cool It!

Bodies cool down while we prepare to nod off. Our blood vessels expand, allowing heat to escape our bodies quicker. Body temperatures, which fluctuate by about 1 degree over the course of 24 hours, will bottom out in the wee hours of the morning.

People tend to sleep best in colder rooms, between 60 and 67 degrees

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Sleepy, from Maui’s Story by Peggy

Sleep researchers know that right before you fall asleep, your body temperature starts to drop; in the deepest stages of sleep, your body is at its coolest, about one or two degrees below normal. Some scientists believe cooler temperatures cause sleepiness, and although the pre-slumber cooling process happens naturally, there are a few things you can do to help it along:

  • Take a warm bath right before bed.  When you leave the tub, your body temperature rapidly cools, triggering that sleepy feeling.

  • Drink a warm beverage – works the same way as a warm bath.

  • Turn on a fan.

  • Stick your foot out of the covers.

But why the foot, specifically? The skin surfaces of both our hands and feet are unique – they’re hairless and contain specialized vascular structures that help with heat loss. Specifically, the hands and feet contain blood vessels called the arteriovenous anastomoses, which — coupled with the lack of hair on the bottoms of your feet — are perfectly designed to help dissipate body heat.

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Healing a broken heart, Part III – PUTTING THE LOSS BEHIND YOU

When you have discovered what there is to learn, it is time to put the loss behind you. Here are some ways to re-focus.

1. CREATE A Goodbye RITUAL
Create a way to say goodbye to your old feelings. I say set aside, not discard, because everything in your life is a resource and you may want to draw upon this resource sometime in the future. My ritual was to gather all objects, letter and notes that reminded me of the relationship, put them in a large box, and store them in the attic. Other people have written things on paper and then burned the paper.

2. TURN TO NATURE

Nature Heals by Peggy

Getting out into nature helps you gain perspective. There is wonder and beauty in nature. Look up to the stars, out to the sea and watch the sun give life to the trees, plants, flowers and you!  It’s simply  there for you to notice.  Take a walk by water and feel the release of the endorphins.  Read Falling Water Boosts Your Mood.

3. REPLACE WHAT YOU HAVE LOST
Your loved one played several roles in your life, and you can replace them.  And the “replacement” need just with just one person.  Volunteer, enlarge your circle of friends, stretch yourself and do things alone, take dancing lessons, learn to play a musical instrument, travel

4. KNOW YOU CAN ALWAYS HAVE LOVE IN YOUR LIFE . . .

Love a Hug by Peggy

. . .  because you know how to GIVE love.

Read

Part I, Healthy Grieving

Part II, Learning

(PA)

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Healing a Broken Heart, Part II – Learning

The second most important thing (the first being to grieve and forgive myself) was to LEARN SOMETHING FROM MY EXPERIENCE

Learning about myself and (even while enduring the pain) what I gained from the relationship was extremely helpful. Some of my lessons were obvious. It was immediately clear that I had moved away from being the kind of person I wanted to be. The disagreements I had with my boyfriend were not worth the frustrations and bad feelings they created.  I realized my priorities had been out of whack and my short-term goals and long-term goals didn’t match. There were other lessons I learned that weren’t as obvious to me and took time to discover. Here are some ways that helped me learn more:

1. MEDITATE


Our conscious minds tend to dwell on the negative.  Our unconscious knows the whole truth.  The quickest and easiest way to access the unconscious is to meditate.  Set aside 20 – 30 minutes every day to sit quietly by yourself (even 10 minutes will help). Pick a time of day when you feel pretty good. Spend a few minutes getting into a relaxed state (there are many books on meditation – I recommend Joy On Demand by Chade-Meng Tan). Just put the question to your mind “What can I learn from this relationship that ended?”. Let thoughts bubble up without trying to figure anything out. Your unconscious mind is very good at finding answers, just give it a little time.

2. READ

Read everything you can on broken hearts. You feel less alone as it becomes clear that many others have been through this experience and you get  ideas and inspiration that can make you feel better.

3. WRITE
Just writing the story of what happened and how you felt will help. In fact, if you write about it for 20 minutes a day for 3 days helps a lot, according to James Pennebaker, who researched writing about emotional experiences. Putting your thoughts down on paper helps you get some distance from them. Most importantly, spend some time playing “devil’s advocate” with any negative thoughts. Ask if they are really true, completely true. Argue with them.

4. DEVELOP GOALS 
Start with qualities, skills and attributes you have,  want to keep or expand, then add qualities you want to develop. This will put you at the center of your life (as opposed to centering your life around someone who is not there).

(PA)

Read

Part I, Healthy Grieving

Part III, Putting the Loss Behind You

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