How to flip the switch – Shame, guilt and worry

Our brain wants us to feel good but it hasn’t quite figured out how to differentiate “good” feelings from “bad”.  When you feel shame, guilt and worry your brain is trying to reward you by activating its reward center! 

Feel’n Blue by Peggy

When you are being followed by a black cloud, Alex Korb* has some insights that might help you find the sun. It’s all about neuroscience.

According to Korb, “Despite their differences, pride, shame, and guilt all activate similar neural circuits, including the dorsomedial prefrontal cortex, amygdala, insula, and the nucleus accumbens. This explains why it can be so appealing to heap guilt and shame on ourselves — they’re activating the brain’s reward center.“

“A similar thing may be going if you just can’t seem to stop worrying. Korb says worrying stimulates the medial prefrontal cortex and lowers activity in the amygdala, thus helping your limbic system, your emotions, remain copascetic. His theory is that, even though worry is widely recognized as a pointless thing to do from a tactical point of view, apparently the brain considers it better than doing nothing at all when you’re anxious.”

How do you redirect your brain from “rewarding” you with guilt, shame or worry?

“Korb suggests asking yourself: “What am I grateful for?” His reasoning is chemical: “One powerful effect of gratitude is that it can boost serotonin. Trying to think of things you are grateful for forces you to focus on the positive aspects of your life. This simple act increases serotonin production in the anterior cingulate cortex.”

“Even more intriguingly, actually coming up with something you’re thankful for — not always an easy thing to do in a dark mood — isn’t even required. Just the acts of remembering to be thankful is the flexing of a type of emotional intelligence: “One study found that it actually affected neuron density in both the ventromedial and lateral prefrontal cortex. These density changes suggest that as emotional intelligence increases, the neurons in these areas become more efficient. With higher emotional intelligence, it simply takes less effort to be grateful.”

Serotonin Boost by Peggy

We’ve written about gratitude before – and will undoubtedly continue.  Quick and easy ways to refocus on what you can be grateful for is often hard when you’re feeling down.  Force yourself to name, list, draw 3 – 5 things every day.

They can be the same things every day and minor things taken for granted.

Examples of my gratitude:

  • I have teeth to brush

  • When I turn on the faucet water runs out

  • Blog followers clicked “like” on this post whether they “liked” it or not

Ahhhh. . .  I feel a serotonin surge in my anterior cingulate cortex and my  emotional intelligence increasing as I type . . . 

(jw)

*Alex Korb,  The Upward Spiral: Using Neuroscience to Reverse the Course of Depression, One Small Change at a Time

http://bigthink.com/robby-berman/4-things-you-can-do-to-cheer-up-according-to-neuroscience

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The Power of Touch

I’m a hugger.  I admit it.  It’s almost a reflex when I see someone I like or admire.

In the 1970’s I taught 3rd grade.  It was common for some students to run up, throw their arms around my waist and give me a big hug.  We teachers would always hug back.  When a student got hurt or was in distress a hug was automatic.  Our cultural climate has changed and teachers are no longer suppose to touch, much less hug, students.  Our cultural climate is continuing to change and unwanted, unwarranted “hugs” are rightly being brought out into the open and condemned.

So I share this information from the work of Alex Korb, UCLA neuroscientist author of The Upward Spiral: Using Neuroscience to Reverse the Course of Depression, One Small Change at a Time  with the acknowledgement that we should only be touching others who want to be touched.

Got someone to hug? Go for it. Alex Korb,  says ‘A hug, especially a long one, releases a neurotransmitter and hormone oxytocin, which reduces the reactivity of the amygdala.”

“Hand holding, pats on the back, and handshakes work, too. Korb cites a study in which subjects whose hands were held by their partners experienced a reduced level of anxiety while waiting for an expected electrical shock from researchers. “The brain showed reduced activation in both the anterior cingulate cortex and dorsolateral prefrontal cortex — that is, less activity in the pain and worrying circuits.”’

And if you have no one handy to touch, guess what? Massage has also been shown to be an effective way to get your oxytocin flowing, and it reduces stress hormones and increases your dopamine levels. Win win.

Mousey Masseuse by Peggy

The value of touching shouldn’t be overlooked when you’re down. According to Korb:

“In fact, as demonstrated in an fMRI [functional magnetic imaging] experiment, social exclusion activates the same circuitry as physical pain . . .”

The next time you see me HUG AWAY!

(jw)

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Procrastination Style, Part II – My Inner Conflicts

It’s About Time: The 6 Styles of Procrastination and How to Overcome Them

by Dr. Linda Sapadin

“Chronic procrastinators are not lazy; they simply need to cultivate a more natural and fluid transition from mental activity to physical activity, while allowing an appropriate amount of time and energy to complete the task. To do this, the procrastinator first needs to understand the inner conflicts that produced the procrastination pattern. This book provides a quiz to help the reader understand which procrastination style or combination of styles best fists them, and it offers suggestions for changing how you think, speak and act, based on your procrastination style. Here is a review of the six styles.”

If you haven’t already, take the quiz click PART I – HERE

Style #1:  Perfectionist.  Reluctant to start or finish a task because they don’t want anything less than perfect.

Personality Type:  Critical
Thinking Style:  All or nothing
Speaking Style:  I should…  I have to…
Acting Style  Flawless
Psychological  Need For:  Control

Style #2:  Dreamer.  They don’t like details.  This makes ideas difficult to implement.

Personality Type:  Fanciful
Thinking Style:  Vague
Speaking Style:  I wish…
Acting Style:  Passive
Psychological need for:  Being special

Style #3:  Worrier.  They have an excessive need for security, causing them to fear risk.  They fear change, causing them to avoid finishing projects so they don’t have to leave the comfort of the “known.”

Personality Type:  Fearful
Thinking Style:  Indecisive
Speaking Style:  What if…?
Acting Style:  Cautious
Psychological Need For:  Security

Style #4:  Defier.  A rebel seeking to buck the rules.  By procrastinating, they are setting their own schedule — one that nobody else can predict or control.  More subtle forms are called passive-aggressive.

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Personality Type:  Resistant
Thinking Style:  Oppositional
Speaking Style:  Why should I…?
Acting Style:  Rebellious
Psychological Need For:  Non-conformity

Style #5:  Crisis-Maker.  Addicted to the adrenaline rush of living on the edge.

Personality Type:  Over-emotional
Thinking Style:  Agitated
Speaking Style:  Extremes – “Unbelievable”
Acting Style:  Dramatic
Psychological Need For:  Attention

Style #6:  Over-Doer.  Says yes to too much because they are unable or unwilling to make choices and establish priorities.  They have difficulty making decisions.  Prime candidate for burnout.

cleaningtodo-list

Personality Type:  Busy
Thinking Style:  Compelled
Speaking Style:  Can’t say “no”
Acting Style:  Do-it-all
Psychological Need For:  Self-reliance

                    *          *          *

Now that I’ve read all 6 styles my profile is:

  • Personality type is Dreamer #2  (Fanciful)
  • Thinking style is #1 Perfectionist  (All or Nothing)
  • Speaking style is #5  Crisis Maker (Extremes)
  • Acting style is  #2 Dreamer (Passive)  
  • Psychological style is #6- (Self-Reliance) 

I’m an all-purpose, well-rounded procrastinator.

(Dr. Linda Sapadin doesn’t address that  category in her book . . . I’ll have to write my own book . . . when I get around to it.)

Coming! Part III-SOLUTIONS for your procrastinator style

Procrastination, Part I – What’s Your “Style” Quiz

I prefer to call myself a multi-tasker who has so many projects going there’s never enough time to finish any . . .  rather than a procrastinator

I prefer to call myself a planner who takes planning so seriously that there is never enough time to finish the planning stage . . . rather than a procrastinator.

I prefer to call myself a creative type who is more invested in the process  than the product . . . rather than a procrastinator.

I took this quiz to make sure I was right in my self assessment.

Your Procrastination Style Quiz

from: It’s About Time:  The 6 Styles of Procrastination and How to Overcome Them
by Dr. Linda Sapadin

Directions

If MUCH OF THE TIME” is MOSTLY correct for you with each question just circle the question number.  Otherwise, go on to the next question

1.   Do you have difficulty completing a project because your own high

standards have not been met?

2.   Do you get preoccupied with details, rules or schedules that others don’t

seem to care much about?

3.   Do you think a lot about things you want to accomplish, but rarely get them

off the ground or finished?

4.   Do you wait for opportunities to drop into your lap rather than take an

active, “go-get-‘em” approach?

5.   Do you paralyze yourself before starting a project, worrying so much about

the “what ifs” that you are too anxious or out of time to do the task?

6.   Do you hesitate to leave your comfort zone, avoiding situations that might

cause stress or anxiety?

7.   Do you become sulky, irritable or argumentative when asked to do a task

that you don’t want to do?

8.   Do you take offense or are annoyed at suggestions from others regarding

how you could be more productive?

9.   Do you ignore or put off deadlines, then at the last-minute work frantically

to get things done?

10.   Do you enjoy, or take pride in, taking risks or living on the edge?

11.   Do you have difficulty saying “no” to other’s requests and then feel

resentful or overwhelmed when it’s time to do them?

12.   Do you run around doing things, without really feeling that you’re

accomplishing very much?

Your Procrastination Style Answers

If you’ve answered “Yes, that’s frequently me” to any of these questions, you probably know you’ve got a procrastination problem (You probably knew it before you took the test)

Now take a look at your “Procrastination Style(s)

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If you:

  • Answered Yes to Questions     1 & 2   You are a Perfectionist Procrastinator
  • Answered Yes to Questions     3 & 4   You are a Dreamer Procrastinator
  • Answered Yes to Questions     5 & 6     You are a Worrier Procrastinator
  • Answered Yes to Questions     7 & 8   You are a Defier Procrastinator
  • Answered Yes to Questions     9 & 10   You are an Crisis-Maker Procrastinator
  • Answered Yes to Questions 11 & 12 You are an Over doer Procrastinator

Here’s a summary of what fuels your procrastination style:

  • Perfectionists procrastinate because they want everything to be perfect (that seems obvious!)
  • Dreamers procrastinate because they hate dealing with all those pesky bothersome details and enjoy the “what if”.
  • Worriers procrastinate because they are afraid of change and worry about “what if”.
  • Defiers procrastinate because their difficulty with authority makes them resent and resist doing tasks.
  • Crisis-Makers procrastinate because they love living on the edge, only get motivated at the last minute to enjoy the adrenaline that comes with crisis.
  • Over doers procrastinate because they have too much on their plate, don’t prioritize well and have difficulty getting it all done

If you want more details check out this post http://wp.me/p18HbQ-zt

Now I’m completely confused.  I answered yes to half of each in perfecting, dreamer, over-doers.  Luckily, I’m not a  worrier or defier cuz I always defy myself to worry.

(jw)

What did you learn from taking the quiz?  Let us know in the comments.

Coming!

Part II, Procrastination – My Inner Conflicts

Part III, Procrastination – Solutions

Want to buy the book?  Click here:  https://www.amazon.com/Its-About-Time-Procrastination-Overcome/dp/0140242716

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