Stress is Contagious . . . and it’s not seasonal.

I’m a passionate but fairly even-tempered person.   Times when I’ve felt stressed were very few and far between until I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia and consciously being on over-load and “wigged-out” became greater and more obvious.

It also became obvious that stress exacerbated my symptoms.

There’s a saying that the stress of one person ‘rubs off’ on another.  Having “sat with” thousands of stressed- out clients for 30 years I’ve often wondered if there was any connection to my developing fibromyalgia.

Now there’s scientific evidence that stress can more than just ‘rub off’ – it can mess with my brain as badly as it can mess with people in my life (and vice versa) . . . even if I’m not a mouse.

Contagious by Peggy

A study published in the journal Nature Neuroscience has found that stress may be contagious and even its effects on the brain may be transferred to people around. The research was conducted by Jaideep Bains, PhD, and his team at the Cumming School of Medicine’s Hotchkiss Brain Institute (HBI), at the University of Calgary and his team.

“The study that was conducted on mice, also showed that the effects of stress were reversed in female mice, following a social interaction, but the same was not true for male mice. “Brain changes associated with stress underpin many mental illnesses including PTSD, anxiety disorders and depression”, said Dr. Bains

“Recent studies indicate that stress and emotions can be ‘contagious’. Whether this has lasting consequences for the brain is not known.”

The research team studied the effects of stress in pairs of male and female mice. They removed one mouse from each pair and exposed them to mild stress and then returned them to their respective partners to test the results. The researchers monitored the response of a specific group of cells that control the brain’s response to stress. This showed that the cells of both the stressed mice and their partners were affected in the same way.

The most remarkable result of the experiment was that the neurons of the mice who were not themselves exposed to stress had been altered in a way that was identical to that of the exposed ones. The mirror effects were caused due to the release of a chemical from the activated neurons called the ‘alarm pheromone’. This chemical alerts the partner mouse who can then transfer the same signals to others in the group.

(jw)

https://www.ndtv.com/food/your-stress-can-affect-your-partners-brain-too-says-study-eat-these-foods-to-beat-stress-1822182

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Bet you didn’t know Your Heart Literally Talks to Your Brain

If you think your neck’s main function is to hold up your head you gotta read this!

“Given its distance from the brain, neuroscience hasn’t had much to do with the heart quietly thumping in your chest. But to get a fuller picture of the mind, you need to start looking below the neck.”

“These matters of the heart are University of Sussex researcher Sarah Garfinkel’s speciality.  Over the past several years, she’s found evidence that the beats of your heart — and your awareness of that rhythm — shapes everything from anxiety to racism to stock trading.”

“Every time the heart projects blood, it pings pressure-sensitive receptors that send signals to the head . . .The brain essentially flashes each time the heart beats,” she says, “and the degree of signal in the brain corresponds to how fast and how hard the heart is beating, so the brain is in dynamic, constant communication with the heart,” especially the amygdala and thalamus, regions associated with fear and pain perception, among other roles.”

“. . . your brain, but it also represents the activity of our organs, and whether you realize it or not, these sensations guide the way you navigate the world. Recognizing this marks a shift in how neuroscience could be approached, she says: Rather than separating the brain and the body, the brain is seen as embedded within the body. Doing so could offer new treatments for things like anxiety, where drugs could target bodily processes as well as those in the brain, or behavioral techniques like meditation that make people more bodily aware.

“I think the general public kind of knows it instinctively, they know if they exercise they feel better, they know their mood changes, their cognition and memory increases; people who meditate also see changes in their cognition and emotion,

“One of those primary somatic tools is interoception, or the felt sense of the activities of your organs. Garfinkel (and other neuroscientists and social psychologists) are finding that bodily sensations are key ingredients in emotional experiences, and that how fine-tuned of an internal “feeler” you are predicts your ability to stabilize them.”

Making decisions can be emotionally loaded — the decision feels right or good. 

More hopefully, heartbeat awareness looks to be trainable: Garfinkel says she has yet-to-be-published data suggesting that you can teach people to align their interoceptive self-confidence and their accuracy, reducing the unrecognized sensations and the anxiousness they promote . . .”

Source: To read how autism, negative racial stereotyping and how high interoceptive fluency can also help you make a lot of money  read the entire article: How Your Heart Talks to Your Brain

 

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Science says gratitude is good for your health (and ours too) & Anniversary Post Winners –

Curious Critters

Winners of our One-Year-Anniversary-Celebration Drawing

Claremary P. Sweeney,  Around ZuZu’s Barn

Kathy Whittam

Jessica-Lauren,  Mother is a Verb

Claremary, Kathy, Jessica,  Here’s what to do to pick out your prize:

  1. Click on this link to choose your prize:  ZAZZLE CATNIPblog Store
  2. E-mail your choice and mailing address to: Peggyjudytime@gmail.com

Being grateful for you AND ALL OUR FOLLOWERS helps us grow healthier and makes us feel so good.

Peggy, Judy & Freddie Parker Westerfield

and all the Curious Critters at Curious to the Max

___________________________________________________________________

*Robert A. Emmons, professor of psychology at UC Davis.

http://www.today.com/health/be-thankful-science-says-gratitude-good-your-health-t58256?cid=eml_tst_20170515

Take this quiz – We dare you

Most of us like to think we are emotionally intelligent.  Despite decades in the business of “psychology” I admit, I sometimes “lose it” . . . lose my emotional intelligence.  When I’m stressed, sick, tired (or sick ‘n tired) it’s harder to muster up my objectively and control,  much less compassion for myself or others.  I experience emotional intelligence as not a fixed number like I.Q. but rather waxes, wanes, ebbs and flows throughout my day.

Cat in “the hat” by peggy from Pawsitively Tuesday

According to Psychology Today, “Emotional intelligence is the ability to identify and manage your own emotions and the emotions of others. It is generally said to include three skills:

Emotional awareness, including the ability to identify your own emotions and those of others;
The ability to harness emotions and apply them to tasks like thinking and problems solving;
The ability to manage emotions, including the ability to regulate your own emotions, and the ability to cheer up or calm down another person.”

Here’s a checklist from MindTools that can help you determine your EI

15 Statements to Answer

Not at All Rarely Sometimes Often Very Often
1 I can recognize my emotions as I experience them.
2 I lose my temper when I feel frustrated.
3 People have told me that I’m a good listener.
4 I know how to calm myself down when I feel anxious or upset.
5 I enjoy organizing groups.
6 I find it hard to focus on something over the long-term.
7 I find it difficult to move on when I feel frustrated or unhappy.
8 I know my strengths and weaknesses.
9 I avoid conflict and negotiations.
10 I feel that I don’t enjoy my work.
11 I ask people for feedback on what I do well, and how I can improve.
12 I set long-term goals, and review my progress regularly.
13 I find it difficult to read other people’s emotions.
14 I struggle to build rapport with others.
15 I use active listening skills when people speak to me.

2, 6, 7, 9, 10, 13, 14 indicate needing to work on EI.

“You get the idea. Emotional Intelligence is the ability to work well with others, keep oneself in check, motivate yourself and others without resorting to fear or intimidation, to be empathetic, and to know oneself. Psychologist Daniel Goleman says there are five elements that define EI:”

Self-awareness
Self-regulation
Motivation
Empathy
Social skills

Does YOUR EI wax & wane or is it a fixed attribute?

(jw)

http://www.usatoday.com/story/money/columnist/strauss/2017/02/24/you-emotionally-intelligent-s-big-help-workplace/98358312/

Freddie Presents: Remington’s “Tail”

Dear Freddie Fans and other creatures,
 
Lyn is Remi’s human.  Because Remi is a very busy canine dog, helping Lyn (he even carries items to the laundry room and puts them in the hamper for her) and working at the senior center I asked Lyn to write this instead of Remi – who deserves some time off. 

Herrrrrrrrrrrrre’s the “tail” of Remington Royce Glover by his human Lyn

 “I had been “dogless” for a number of years due to my work schedule and life circumstances, but had always held on to my hope of one day having a therapy dog again.  In 2008, I found myself in a place where I could seriously consider finding a puppy that I could bring into my life with that goal in mind.”

All Grown Up

“Since I used to be an animal trainer and behaviorist, I had a very good idea of what breeds I thought would be the best fit as my companion and the best possibility of being certified as a Therapy Dog.  After months of searching and meeting lots of dogs, I was fortunate enough to find a woman who raised Goldendoodles (hybrid of Golden Retriever/Standard Poodle).  After meeting lots of her dogs I found what I felt would be the perfect new addition to my life.”

“Remi actually picked me more than my picking him ( I thought I would prefer a female, but Remi had other ideas.)   He stood out from all the other 18 puppies.   I was so impressed with his focus on me, his responses and his wanting to interact and figure out what I was doing with him from the minute we met.  Not to mention, he was absolutely adorable!!”

Remington Royce, 9 weeks old

“I brought Remi home when he was 9 weeks old and we began our life together.  He has, from the very beginning, been the most loving and devoted dog I have ever had the privilege of spending time with.”
 I named him
Remington Royce Glover 
(Remington – inspired by Frederic Remington, one of my favorite sculptors/illustrators). 
  • a name for a male, means sweet and caring. 
  • loyal person with a true heart, a royce loves with their whole heart not letting anything back
  • knows how to make people happy without knowing they’ve done so
  •  intelligent and a hard worker 
  • great charm, usually having beautiful eyes and a heart stopping smile 
  • the best thing that would happen to a person

He is amazingly smart, learns so quickly and absolutely loves everyone he meets.”
 
“In addition to all the basic obedience commands, Remi’s repertoire of behaviors include:
  • shake hands with his right paw
  • high-five with his left paw
  • bow to the Queen (me!)
  • do the hokey pokey (turns in a circle)
  • whisper
  • sneeze 
  • back up
  • “stop, drop and roll”
  • He knows most of his toys (and there are many) by name and can pick them out if asked – Caterpillar, gator, teddy, squirrel, snakey, piggy . . . .”
“When I launder his toys, he waits in the laundry room and watches for me put them in the dryer.  When the dryer buzzer sounds to let me know they’re dry, he runs back in and waits for me to open the door of the dryer so he can take them out.”

Remi & Catypillar

 He is “toy” obsessed and will do anything for a stuffed toy.  His favorite toy is his “caterpillar” which he carries everywhere, inside or out.  He has an abundance of toys and knows most of them by name, but his “Catypillar” is definitely the one he prefers. 

“Remi  knows three of our neighbors by name and where they live.  When we go outside, if I say, go see if “so and so” is home, Remi runs to their patio door and waits to see if they are there.  They all love him and if they’re home, they open the door and let him in – they don’t let me in, but …….. (just kidding)”

“Spending time with him and watching him learn and grow into the wonderful boy he is has been so rewarding for me.  As anyone who shares their life with animals can tell you, the unconditional love they offer is amazing. One of the best things about being with him and taking him anywhere is that no matter where we go or who we meet, he is always happy, smiling and excited to be there.”
“Whether we’re walking down the street, meeting children or visiting seniors at the care facility, people look at him and smile!!  Watching  people’s reactions to him is so heartwarming and satisfying.  He just makes people happy – and in a world so filled with fear, stress,  unhappiness  and conflict, I think that is just a wonderful gift for him to give.  I’m so proud of him and honored to be a part of it with him.”
Besides people, Remi has 3 cat siblings that he also loves –
playing with Dashiell, his favorite.

 Remi is certified by the AKC as a “Canine Good Citizen” and a Certified Therapy Dog

“Remi and I currently go to visit a Senior Care Facility every Friday morning – he absolutely loves it and the feedback we receive is that the residents just love seeing him and the other two smaller dogs that accompany us with their owner.  It is so gratifying to see the seniors “light up” and spend time with the dogs.  So many of them tell us stories of the dogs/pets they used to have and recall such lovely memories.”

Remi and his “visiting buddy”, Paulie, at the Senior Center, waiting for one of their favorite people to get to them!

“One resident was very disparaging when we first visited.  She had never been around dogs and had nothing good to say to us, but we’re slowly winning her over.  She now walks by and comments that the dogs are “very cute”.  She still won’t come too close and refuses our offers to have her pet them, but we’re optimistic that will happen!”

“We are hoping to find a way to work with disabled veterans who have served our country and offer them whatever help and joy we can by visiting them at their rehab facility – it’s an ongoing goal for us and one I hope I can find a way to make happen.”

“Watching him makes me want to follow his lead and try to focus on making others happy, rather than worrying about “stuff” in my life.”

“Thanks so much for giving me the opportunity to share my wonderful boy with others.
It means more to me than you know.”

Hugs and love,

Lyn & Remi

If you have a pet whose “tail” you would like to share (even if  they don’t have a tail) email me at peggyjudytime@gmail.com. I have connections and editorial rights.

Frankly,

Freddie Parker Westerfield, Senior editor and correspondent for all things important

6 factors that may predict divorce or separation

What predicts divorce is a complicated subject.  However, a few themes have borne out in repeated studies.

6.  Age:  Couples that marry later tend to have relationships that last longer. The earlier the couple gets together, the greater the risk of later divorce. That holds if couples move in together while they’re younger (as in teen years), too.

5.  Education and religion:  According to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, are both powerful predictors of lasting or dissolving unions.

“Women with a bachelor’s degree have a 78 percent chance of having their marriages lasting 20 years, compared with 41 percent for those with a high school education, while it’s respectively 65 percent and 47 percent for men. Identifying as religious also gave a similar bump versus being nonreligious.”
3.  Neuroticism or emotional instability, a personality trait that measures how sensitive you are to perceived threats, and how likely you are to ruminate about them:  It’s been implicated in anxietyand depression disorders, and,has been shown repeatedly to predict divorce. ( Lehmiller)
2. Infidelity.  No surprise here. When people cheat on each other, As documented in a 17-year longitudinal study following nearly 1,500 people, cheating leads to lower marital happiness, a greater feeling of “divorce proneness,” or the chance you might split up, and a higher occurrence of actually doing so.

1.  Contempt:  The number one killer – things that signal you’re disgusted with your partner are all super toxic for a relationship, like hostile humor, name-calling, eye-rolling.

(John Gottman relationship research)

But there’s hope: if you want a relationship to last, be kind to the person you’re with. It could be that simple.

Justin Lehmiller, Ball State associate professor, Sex & Psychology blog.

It’s important to note that all of these things are correlations, even in the case of infidelity. these studies can’t say definitely what causes divorce.

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Your brain is wired for gossip

Who knew my urge to read the National Inquirer headlines at the grocery store check-out stand means I’m highly adaptive in the food chain . . . if not the food market.  

This is fascinating!

Our intense interest in gossip is not really a character flaw. It’s part of who we are. It’s almost a biological event, and it exists for good evolutionary reasons.

P.S. If you aren’t in the mood to read the whole thing, scroll down to where I’ve highlighted in red the results of the study.

Psst! The Human Brain Is Wired For Gossip  by Jon Hamilton,

“Hearing gossip about people can change the way you see them — literally.

Negative gossip actually alters the way our visual system responds to a particular face, according to a study published online by the journal Science.

The findings suggest that the human brain is wired to respond to gossip, researchers say. And it adds to the evidence that gossip helped early humans get ahead.

“Gossip is helping you to predict who is friend and who is foe,” says Lisa Feldman Barrett, distinguished professor of psychology at Northeastern University and an author of the study.

Barrett is part of a team that’s been studying how gossip affects not just what we know about an unfamiliar person but how we feel about them. The team has shown that getting second-hand information about a person can have a powerful effect.

But Barrett and her team wanted to answer another question: Once hearsay has predisposed us to see someone in a certain way, is it possible that we literally see them differently?

That may seem like a strange thing to ask. But it makes sense when you consider that the human brain has a whole lot of connections between regions that process visual information and areas involved in our most basic emotions, Barrett says.

So the team brought in volunteers and had them look at faces paired with gossip. Some of these faces were associated with negative gossip, such as “threw a chair at his classmate.” Other faces were associated with more positive actions, such as “helped an elderly woman with her groceries.”

Participants in the study were shown a neutral face paired with (A) negative gossip, (B) positive gossip, (C) neutral gossip, (D) negative non-social information, (E) positive non-social information, and (F) neutral non-social information. When the study participants viewed the faces again, their brains were more likely to fix on the faces associated with negative gossip.
Then the researchers looked to see how the volunteers’ brains responded to the different kinds of information. They did this by showing the left and right eyes of each person very different images. So one eye might see a face while the other eye would see a house.

These very different images cause something called binocular rivalry. The human brain can only handle one of the images at a time. So it unconsciously tends to linger on the one it considers more important.

And the researcher found that volunteers’ brains were most likely to fix on faces associated with negative gossip.

Gossip doesn’t just influence your opinions about people, it actually influences how you see them visually,“ Barrett says.

The finding suggests we are hardwired to pay more attention to a person if we’ve been told they are dangerous or dishonest or unpleasant, Barrett says.

“If somebody is higher than you in the food chain, you want dirt about them. You want negative information, because that’s the stuff you can exploit to get ahead.”
– Frank McAndrew, Knox College psychology professor
Other scientists say that makes sense from an evolutionary perspective.

Even when primitive humans lived in small groups, they needed to know things like who might be a threat and who was after a particular mate, McAndrew says. And learning those things through personal experience would have been slow and potentially dangerous, he says.

So McAndrew says one shortcut would have been gossip.

“People who had an intense interest in that — that constantly were monitoring who’s sleeping with who and who’s friends with whom and who you can trust and who you can’t — came out ahead,” he says. “People who just didn’t care about that stuff got left behind.”

And it makes sense that our brains pay special attention to negative gossip, McAndrew says.

“If somebody is a competitor or somebody is higher than you in the food chain, you want dirt about them,” he says. “You want negative information, because that’s the stuff you can exploit to get ahead.”

Who knew tabloid news is the best thing

since we discovered fire?    

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