Still The Best Medicine - Deepstash

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The science of laughter - and why it also has a dark side

Still The Best Medicine

Laughter may have a dark side, but it is generally a positive emotion, as it enhances cardiovascular functions, fortifies our immune and endocrine systems.

Laughter therapy has amazing positive effects on our body and mind like an increase of serotonin levels, decreased stress and anxiety, improved respiration, and an enhancement in mood and resilience.

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Love sets the stage
Love sets the stage

When a loving mother holds the newborn baby in her arms for the first time, she intuitively knows to care for the child. A relationship is formed, a bond created. The child will emerge in abilities...

The neurobiology of bonding

The neurobiology of affiliation is the new scientific field that describes the neural, endocrine, and behavioral systems sustaining our capacity to love. There are three factors in the neurobiology of bonding:

  • Oxytocin that drives both care and prejudice
  • The affiliative brain
  • Synchrony.
Oxytocin and attachment

Oxytocin - a large molecule produced by neurons in the hypothalamus - is known for coordinating bonding, sociality, and group living. Oxytocin targets mainly the amygdala, a center for fear and vigilance, the hippocampus, and the striatum, a locus of motivation and reward.

Oxytocin is released through the central part of the neuron as well as its extensions, called dendrites. The dendrites increase oxytocin release whenever attachment memories are used and prime us for a lifetime. Early attachment memories help us move without fear. It imprints the infant's brain with distinct social patterns.

A new disorder

The World Health Organization officially added a new disorder to the section on substance use and addictive behaviors :

The term "addiction"

Addiction can include:

  • Addiction as a moral transgression, like excessive drinking or drug use.
  • Addiction as a scientific disease, which characterize alcoholism and drug addiction as biological.
  • Colloquial violation, which applies the term to almost any fixation. 

The idea that someone can be addicted to a behavior, as opposed to a substance, remains debatable.

Arguments against gaming addiction
  • Excessive gameplay is a symptom of a larger problem, like anxiety or depression.
  • The fear of possible addiction arrises from moral panic about new technologies, not scientific research or clinical data.
  • Making excessive gaming a disorder can harm the gaming industry by stigmatizing their products. 
A clear mind
A clear mind

Running never fails to clear your head. Do you have to make a potentially life-altering decision? Go for a run. Are you feeling mad or sad? Go for a run.

A run can sometimes make you ...

Exercise and improved memory

Neuroscience used to think that our brains got a set amount of neurons. However, studies in animal models show that new neurons are produced in the brain throughout the lifespan.

Vigorous aerobic exercise - about 30 to 40 minutes - is the only activity that triggers the birth of those new neurons. The new neurons are created in the region of the brain associated with learning and memory, partially explaining the link between aerobic exercise and improvement in memory.

The brain’s frontal lobe

Increased activity is seen in the brain’s frontal lobe after adopting a long-term habit of physical activity. After about 30 - 40 minutes of vigorous aerobic exercise, studies have recorded increased blood flow in this region, which is associated with clear thinking: planning ahead, focus and concentration, goal-setting, time management.

This area is also linked to emotion regulation, allowing us to recover faster from emotions.