85 SAVED IDEAS
You may have heard that your passions lie deep in ancient parts of your brain that you apparently inherited from prehistoric reptiles. Or that your "rational brain" which sits on top of your "lizard brain" tries to moderate your desires.
The only animal with a lizard brain is a lizard. Neuroscience clearly shows that brains don't evolve in layers but follow a single manufacturing plan.
Generally, no part of your brain is exclusively dedicated to creativity or mathematical reasoning. Neurons compute every action you take from across the entire brain.
While your cerebral cortex consists of two halves, both are intricately connected. Language ability does take place mainly in the left hemisphere, but this lateralisation develops gradually in most people.
Hormones don't just have one specific psychological purpose, and all the chemicals work together in your mind.
All of your sensations are computed in your brain.
During any day, it can seem like your brain is reacting to events around you. You're pricked by a needle and feel a bit of pain.
However, your brain constantly predicts the next moment and compares the guess to the data it receives from the world and inside your body. These predictions turn into your actions.
Decades ago, scientists noticed neurons increase their activity when an individual is taking a particular action, for example, waving when others are waving. They named them "mirror neurons."
But, your brain is really predicting your next action based on what you see, hear, and feel if you move. Seeing someone wriggle their fingers in the air and understanding it as a greeting is a normal part of your brain's predictive processes.
Your brain doesn't store memories like a filing system. Your brain reconstructs your memories on demand with electricity and chemicals.
"Remembering" is really "assembling" and may be influenced by your current situation, so your brain may reshape each occurrence so that it differs in the details.
Most parts of the human brain can't grow new brain cells, but some parts can.
The hippocampus can grow new neurons. The hippocampus is important for learning, remembering, regulating your eating, and other biological functions.
The worst-case scenario thinking is troublesome because it causes the very problem we're trying to prevent - an unpleasant or difficult situation.
How often does a negative thought turn into catastrophic thinking? A spot on your face becomes a cancerous tumour. Your child not attending a specific school spirals into him not getting a good job. From just entertaining an idea, it quickly turns into a worst-case scenario.
When your thoughts tip from realistic anxieties into unlikely scenarios, take note of it. Also, if your thoughts become catastrophic, notice if you're judging yourself: "I always do this."
We often may not realise when our thoughts become catastrophic. A long-term solution for sharpening self-awareness is mindfulness meditation. It can help you become better attuned to your thoughts.
While you can't control everything, you can consider realistic options.
If you're worried about flying, research the physics and statistics, and remind yourself that you're safer in a plane than in your car. If you're concerned about a blemish on your face, make an appointment with your dermatologist.
The most effective way to overcome your fears is to face them.
If you fear flying, take a vacation where you have to fly. If you fear that you have a severe problem in your marriage, address it with your partner. This way, you will know what to work on instead of just worrying or feeling stuck.
Working with a therapist can help to overcome your catastrophic thoughts.
Focusing on the worst-case scenario may mask a different problem. For example, a fear of flying might be a fear to take a job out of state.
The system for counting calories comes from chemist Wilbur Atwater. To find out how much energy we get from eating, he measured the nutritional value in food and subtracted the amount of energy left in people's bodily excretion.
His research resulted in the 4-9-4 rule: Each gram of protein, fat, and carbohydrate provides 4, 9, 4 calories of energy, respectively.
Nutritionists are calling for calorie intake and nutrition information to be reviewed.
For much of history, human beings had an active lifestyle, but it did not include any kind of formal exercise.
Movement just for movement's sake is a relatively new phenomenon in human history.
Getting up every 10 minutes or so just to go to the bathroom or make yourself a cup of tea is turning on your muscles. It uses up fats and sugars in your bloodstream, and it produces molecules that turn down inflammation.
Interrupted sitting and not sitting in a chair that's nestling your body keeps your muscles going and is much healthier for you.
Our ancestors walked about 5 miles a day - or about 10,000 steps. Many people are moving less than they did before the pandemic. If 10,000 steps feel too out of reach, it's OK. It doesn't really matter what you do, as long as you're focused on movement.
In villages in remote parts of the world where people don't have chairs or a hunter-gatherer camp, people sit on average 10 hours a day. So it is not unnatural to sit a lot, but it is problematic if that's all you do.
Until recently, only the wealthy people had a chair with a seatback. Human beings used to either sat on the ground or on stools or benches.
A seatback makes sitting more passive than just sitting on a bench or stool because you use fewer muscles to stabilize your upper body. If you don't use your muscles in your body, they atrophy. And weak muscles make us more prone to pain.
There is this idea that running wears away your cartilage and causes arthritis in the knees. But it is not valid. Studies show that people who run more are less likely to get arthritis in their knees and more likely to benefit from physical activity.
Knee injury is indeed most common among runners. But these injuries can be prevented by learning to run properly.
As we age, physical activity becomes more important. One serious negative consequence of older individuals who are less physically active is that their muscles dwindle, they atrophy. The less they are active, the frailer they become.
The good news is that you can turn it around. The mechanisms that get turned on when we do a little bit of strength training don't diminish with age. Strength training will give you enormous benefits.
People often get stressed about how much they should be sleeping. The stress elevates their cortisol that prevents them from sleeping. So they get into a vicious circle.
People who live in places where there is no electricity, iPhones or TV's don't sleep any more than the average American. They sleep 6 -7 hours on average at night. They also don't nap. If you get six or seven hours of sleep a night and you feel fine, then it is enough.
People that have acrophobia have an irrational fear of heights. Many symptoms of acrophobia are shared with other anxiety disorders, such as shaking, sweating, a racing heart, difficult breathing, nausea, and a dry mouth. Symptoms unique to acrophobia include vertigo and the desire to drop to the knees or clutch on to something.
If your fear of heights starts to interfere with your daily life, then you might want to try to do something to reduce it.
People with height phobias think something bad will happen when they are up high. But you are safer than you think and your feared outcome about heights won't really happen.
Once you've answered the questions, start small with the thing you fear and see that the worst doesn't actually happen, or that it is not as bad as you feared.
Anxiety is a healthy response. When we detect a threat, our bodies respond with a fight-or-flight response to protect us. Our heart beats faster, and we breathe more quickly to get more oxygen to our muscles. We get a dry mouth, and our stomach turns.
Misinterpretation of these bodily sensations is common in many anxiety disorders. Try to see your symptoms for what they are: nothing more than your body’s natural fight-or-flight response.
Gradually expose yourself to your fear, starting small and slowly working up to more challenging situations. Practice a step until your anxiety subsides, then move on to a more challenging situation. It will help you to create new memories without feeling anxious.
Practise relaxation exercises before, during, and after exposure.
Identify any safety behaviours you resort to because you think they help to keep you safe.
The most common safety behaviour is avoidance. More subtle examples include closing your eyes, not looking down or over the edges, or tightly holding on to something. Once you've identified your defences, repeat the behavioural experiment without using them.