The news has been hard on anti-depressants – calling them little better than placebos with side-effects. So, if you’re depressed, what can help?
Find a group.
A new review of research on depression shows that a peer group can help reduce symptoms of depression with similar if not better results than cognitive behavior therapy and other traditional care methods.
Dr. Paul Pfeiffer, M.S., assistant profession of psychiatry at the University of Michigan Medical School, reviewed 10 randomized clinical trials from 1989-2009 of peer group based interventions for depression.
He found that getting the support of a peer group has been shown to decrease feelings of isolation and reduces stress. The great part is that in a group people are able to share information on healthy habits and their own personal stories of struggle and eventual success, improving their lives in multiple ways.
That’s just the beginning. Other specific studies on the subject shows that peer groups can be helpful to many in their healing process.
A new survey shows that – depending on who you are and where you live – national pride can have a definite impact on happiness.
Mike Morrison, Louis Tay and Ed Diener predicted that even when people fall into hard times, even when we don’t have enough money or food, they can find consolation in personal pride for their nations.
To find out they interviewed 132,516 individuals from 128 countries via telephone and in-person, who completed multiple surveys on life satisfaction, national satisfaction, domain (standard of living, personal health and job), residential mobility (are they planning on moving) and environmental variables (do you have electricity, telephone, television). All of these surveys were compiled to get a sense of an individuals’ Subjective Well Being (SWB).
They found that satisfaction with one’s country can a strong predictor for life satisfaction -- but only for some people
For you and me, this is an automatic experience. Experts say, the average healthy adult breaths 9-14 breaths every minute. That’s every 4-5 seconds.
It turns out that if we make this routine process a little less routine, it can have life-giving and healing effects for cancer other physical and psychological aliments?
New research published in the Journal of Psychosomatic Medicine proves that breathing and guided imagery have substantial benefits for stress management and post-surgery healing; especially for cancer patients. The research studied 159 men with cancer and found that a stress management program focused on proper breathing techniques and healing imagery resulted in stronger immune responses in recovery; measured by higher levels of cell function and circulating pro-inflammatory cytokines, which directly affect the healing process after surgery and after cancer treatment.
Dr. Jeffrey Rossman in the acclaimed Mind Body Mood Solution presents various breathing strategies that are empirically validated to help with chronic pain, psychiatric diagnoses, physical illness and overall wellness.
If you are presently healthy—or suffering from an illness, check out these breathing strategies and you very well might be on your way to a healthier tomorrow.
What makes me nervous is that that BigPharma is handing out little white pills to deal with this problem ... and instead of helping anxiety, these pills are funding the vacation homes of corporate executives.
What makes me downright frightened is that research nearly 30 years in the making shows that some of these anti-anxiety drugs cause brain damage similar to the long-term effects of alcohol abuse.
Yes, you heard me correctly. Anti-anxiety medication more likely to cause your brain to shrink than it is to cure your anxiety. And a lot of Americans are on them.
Twenty eight percent of us will struggle with anxiety in our lifetimes, and 83 million Americans take tranquilizers to deal with it. Commonly called “benzos” they are often known by the names: Valium, Xanax, Librium, Ativan, and Klonopin. “Benzos” are said to cause memory loss, damage to the cerebral cortex, addiction, cognitive impairment, memory loss—and a host of other domino effects.
Is it possible to find peace even within the confines of prison?
For 43- inmates of the William E. Donaldson Correctional Facility just outside of Birmingham, Alabama, many of whom are serving life sentences without possibility of parole, inner peace has indeed become attainable. They’ve taken 10-day, in house, Vipassanā meditation retreat ... and. the results are looking pretty good.
The William E. Donaldson Correctional Facility is the set for the documentary The Dhamma Brothers. The 2007 film focused on the prisoner meditation program and followed four inmates, convicted of murder, through their progress of learning and practicing Vipassanā.
Vipassanā is one of two types of meditation practice in the Buddhist Tradition that is sometimes referred to as “Insight meditation” here in the U.S. Insight into self is the primary focus of this meditation practice: it is a way of self-transformation through observing self. The practice focuses in on the deep connection between the mind and the body. That focus is achieved in meditation by paying attention to physical sensation in the body.
Someone who is in prison can’t go far ... there are walls everywhere. But they can go deep. Someone who has been convicted of a crime can’t change their past, but they can get insight into their present, and insight into themselves. Imagine the impact that an intensive study of Insight Meditation could have.
But we don’t have to imagine.
General Mills Total Blueberry Pomegranate Cereal, Kellogs Frosted Blueberry Mini Wheats, Kelloggs Special K Fruit Crisps, Fiber One Blueberry Muffin Mixes—[please insert your non-organic cereal name here] do not contain the ingredients in their pictures or their names.
These breakfast foods and countless others do not have real blueberries, pomegranates or the other fruits they purport to have. Instead, those colorful little antioxidant look-a-like berries in the names and package pictures of your breakfast foods are actually hydrogenated oils and liquid sugars! Yup, you read that correctly—its sugar and chemical specifically red 40, Blue 1, Blue 2, dextrose, partially hydrogenated soybean oil, citric oil, high fructose corn syrup—the list is endless.
If I were you, I would run to your cabinet and pitch these breakfast chemicals in your nearest wastebasket.
Guess what else these dishonest companies are marketing to your body? Depression and Anxiety. Recent studies published by Psychology Today suggest that the chemicals and sugar based diets of Americans could be causing and worsening Major Depressive Disorder and a litany of other psychological and psychiatric conditions.
A new meta-analysis shows that teaching children how to play well with others has far reaching benefits – it helps kids emotionally, socially and academically.
This is the first large-scale meta-analysis (review of relevant research literature) of school programs that focus on helping students improve their relationships with others and themselves
The research study looked at classroom based instruction conducted by the students’ teacher or by an outside instructor such as a university researcher. They looked at programs that were taught by a combination of classroom based instruction, additional school programs such as afterschool programs and within families.
They reviewed 213 school based programs focused on social and emotional development that were available to all students who did not have any identified behavioral issues. The programs included more than 270,000 K-12 students from rural, suburban and urban schools and crossed socio cultural backgrounds.
The great news is that students who were in these types of program showed an improvement in their social and emotional skills. This means that these kids were far more caring, aware, less stressed and anxious and acted in positive ways with others in their schools and lives. The improvements were small but present nonetheless compared to the control group.
The great rat race doesn’t bring happiness! More money doesn’t either! Forgot what you were told: more espresso shots to stay awake at work, Ambien to stay asleep at night, and Prozac to keep you from screaming aren’t actually inching you any closer to a happy life.
Throw out your self-help books and career guides. It turns out happiness doesn’t come from success, success comes from happiness.
If you want to be happy, research shows, deepen your sense of identity, your sense of intrinsic value, and find your purpose in life. Do that, and success will follow. Nothing else counts for nearly as much as we’ve been promised.
Artificial Intelligence's biggest success isn't making computers smarter -- it's making people dumber02/04/2011
Well, were they?
Today it doesn’t seem like it. I doubt you can come up with a single substantive way that a computer being better at chess than Gary Kasparov has affected your life. Sure, you use computers even more now, in even more ways, than you did ten years ago ... but that no longer feels threatening. In fact, when IBM’s newest supercomputer “Watson” beat the all-time (human) Jeopardy champion in a test match, nobody panicked.
The success of Artificial Intelligence (AI) doesn’t seem to threaten humanity at all.
But the failure of AI may be doing lasting and terrible damage.
Artificial Intelligence is much better understood through its failures than its successes. Sure, we’ve taught a computer to win at Jeopardy, but was that actually something we set out to do? No – the field set out to create true “thinking machines.” In 1963 the scientists at Stanford’s Artificial Intelligence Laborabory (SAIL) anticipated that making a computer capable of truly understanding the world as people do would take about a decade. Alan Turing expected AI machines to be able to make moral judgments.
Today we’re not even close – even Watson, the Jeopardy winning computer, doesn’t “understand” the world, it just searches the web for terms that are linked together. It’s found that “Jericho” is the link between “Joshua,” “city,” and “walls fell.”
But rather than admitting failure and thereby celebrating what human intelligence is, AI researchers ... and the business world ... are trying to pull human intelligence down to the level of a machine.
It’s been well established that poverty hurts the well being of children. Bad health, obesity, mental illness – these are associated with childhood poverty and everybody knows it. What we’re discovering now is that a lack of community engagement and connections caused by poverty might be a cause.
A new study published in Psychological Science, looked at the long term outcomes for children who were living in poverty in rural upstate New York. Over ten years ago a research team lead by Gary Evans of Cornell University were looking for an answer to the question “What is it about poverty that leads to these negative outcomes?” Their research study shows that the lack of financial capital isn’t the only factor.