from the world's big
Flow Research Collective COO Rian Doris explains how to harness the power of your nervous system to find your flow during a pandemic.
- Knowing the difference between healthy stress (eustress) and unhealthy stress (distress) can help you maximize your performance during difficult times.
- The Flow Research Collective helps to decode the flow states of your mind so you can live (and work) in the zone, even during a pandemic.
- COO of The Flow Research Collective, Rian Doris, explains how to find your maximum potential and harness the power of your nervous system to work for you instead of against you.
How to find your flow and maximize your performance during the COVID-19 pandemic<img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yMzE4MDc3OC9vcmlnaW4ucG5nIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTYyNTc3Mzc4Mn0.jWjWzkpW5farRcGt70YCWHtcK-xkLAd_bYDwPmLvP6k/img.png?width=980" id="5bd13" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="b8762aae0f21100b36ee6a7467c0ab42" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" alt="infographic courtesy of the Flow Research Collective finding your state of flow" />
Finding your "flow channel" can help you maintain healthy stress and decrease unhealthy stress.
Image by Flow Research Collective<p><strong></strong><strong>Increasing our capacity: What we perceive as stress goes down when we become more capable of coping with stressful situations.</strong></p><p>When it comes to increasing our capacity for handling negative stress, there are a few ways we can accomplish this - most of them are what are referred to as "bottom-up approaches." </p><p>A bottom-up approach is like piecing together a puzzle made of our various systems to give a more complex and complete picture . We need to ensure all of our systems are working at optimal levels without being too overwhelmed so they can function better together. </p><p><u>Things you can do to achieve this kind of systemic functionality include: </u></p><ul><li>Movement - exercising, running, jogging, or going for a walk.</li><li>Breathing exercises that help us practice mindfulness and achieve a calm state of mind.</li><li>Hot and cold therapy or other types of sensation therapy that can get us more in tune with our bodies. </li></ul><p><strong>Decreasing the impact: Manage how stress impacts our lives so the negative impact doesn't overwhelm our systems. </strong></p><p>While decreasing the impact of <a href="https://bigthink.com/mind-brain/seven-stress-personalities" target="_self">stress</a> is important, it's certainly not an easy thing to accomplish. After all, if we could simply decrease how negative stress impacts us then it would not be so much of a problem. </p><p>Especially in unprecedented times such as when we're dealing with a pandemic, it's not as easy to shield our system from the negative impacts of chronic stress. </p><p>Cognitive reframing is essentially changing the way you look at something, and as a result, changing your experience of it. This can turn a traumatic event (such as experiencing a pandemic or a major trauma in your life) into something that can be a challenge that is eventually overcome—or it can be as simple as depicting a really bad day as a "bump in the road" in your overall happy life. </p><p>Using <a href="https://www.verywellmind.com/cognitive-reframing-for-stress-management-3144872" target="_blank">certain reframing techniques</a> can actually change how your body responds to negative stress. Your body's stress response is triggered by perceived information around that stress—change the perception, change the response. </p><p><u>The pattern to follow with cognitive reframing is: </u></p><ol><li>Learn about thinking patterns (<a href="https://www.verywellmind.com/about-explanatory-styles-3145110" target="_blank">explanatory styles</a>). </li><li>Notice your own thoughts as they come. </li><li>Challenge negative thoughts and trace them to their origins. </li><li>Replace the root negative thought with a more positive thought. </li></ol><p>Cognitive reframing takes a lot of practice but you can do this as often as you'd like in your daily life and eventually it becomes easier to stop negative thoughts before they become chronic stressors. </p><p><strong>Keep in mind the challenge/skill balance when dealing with stress.</strong></p><p>According to Doris, a flow exists in the sweet spot between challenge and skill. This flow happens when we undertake challenges or goals in life that are optimally challenging for you to complete - not too easy that it requires no effort and not too difficult that it overwhelms your system.</p><p>Keeping this challenge/skill balance in mind for things in our daily lives can help us navigate our stressors, especially during a pandemic <a href="https://bigthink.com/surprising-science/coronavirus-impact-on-economy" target="_self">such as COVID-19</a>. Anything too easy doesn't pose as a challenge and doesn't excite us. However, if the challenge is too difficult, it overwhelms us and becomes a source of unhealthy chronic stress instead of healthy eustress. </p><p><em>"The challenge level for almost everyone has been increased in a systemic way by COVID-19, which means what we should do is decrease the challenge level in our own lives and the things we have control over in order to get us back to that challenge/skill sweet spot." </em></p>
Dr. Robert Emmons and other researchers dig into the positive mental and physical health benefits of expressing gratitude.
- According to Dr. Robert Emmons, gratitude is an affirmation of goodness and a recognition that these sources of goodness exist outside of ourselves.
- Various studies have proven there are physical benefits to expressing gratitude on a daily basis, some of which include positive interactions in the brain in the areas that control decision-making, metabolism, and hormone regulating.
- Other studies have confirmed gratitude is beneficial for our mental health, even during a time of crisis.
Gratitude is an affirmation of goodness, according to Dr. Robert Emmons.
Photo by stockfour on Shutterstock<p><a href="https://greatergood.berkeley.edu/profile/robert_emmons" target="_blank">Dr. Robert Emmons</a> is known as the "world's leading scientific expert on gratitude." He is a psychology profession from the University of California, Davis and also the founding editor-in-chief of the Journal of Positive Psychology. Emmons has dedicated his life to better understanding what role gratitude and thankfulness play, not just in our lives, but in our mental and physical health as well.</p><p>Many people are in need of motivation to practice gratitude for the good things in life, especially during a pandemic when stress-levels are at an all-time high. For the past decade, Emmons has been studying the effects of gratitude on our physical health and psychological well-being. </p><p>"It's an affirmation of goodness," <a href="https://greatergood.berkeley.edu/topic/gratitude/definition#why_practice" target="_blank">Emmons explains</a>. "We affirm that there are good things in the world, gifts, and the benefits that we've received. We recognize that the sources of this goodness are outside of ourselves and we acknowledge that other people - even higher powers, if you're of a spiritual mindset - give us many gifts, big and small, to help us achieve the goodness we have in our lives." </p><p>"I see it as a relationship-strengthening emotion," Emmons writes of the social dimension of gratitude, "because it requires us to see how we've been supported and affirmed by other people</p><p>According to sociologist <a href="https://greatergood.berkeley.edu/topic/gratitude/definition#why_practice" target="_blank">Georg Simmel</a>, gratitude serves as a way to personalize things that we all experience objectively. Simmel has often referred to gratitude as "the moral memory of mankind." </p>
How does gratitude impact our mental and physical wellbeing?<img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yMzE0ODQ2Mi9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTYyNjkxMDk0M30.dSq9nhaUWs53dYuYaSDCovbhnxZODpbsDbizfgS3Tfc/img.jpg?width=980" id="646d7" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="5498146f1406ea65b258fca78a8db21a" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" alt="neural correlates gratitude Glenn Fox how gratitude impacts the brain" />
Your brain on gratitude, according to fMRI images taken during a gratitude study lead by Glenn Fox.
Image by Glenn Fox<p>There have several studies investigating what gratitude and thankfulness look like within the human brain—what neural networks are being used and how does that positively impact us?</p><p><strong>Gratitude makes you feel good mentally and physically. </strong></p><p>The first fMRI images of a brain experiencing gratitude were taking <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2733324/" target="_blank">in 2008</a>. The scans showed that gratitude causes synchronized activation of multiple regions of the brain, including some of the brain's reward pathways and the hypothalamus, which plays a crucial role in releasing hormones throughout our bodies.</p><p>Later, <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3010965/" target="_blank">in 2009,</a> researchers realized that these higher levels of activity in the hypothalamus had a huge influence on metabolism and stress levels. This means that gratitude could have such wide-reaching positive effects that you begin to eat better and sleep more, which could ultimately lead to decreased depression and better physical health. </p><p><strong>Gratitude helps improve the decision-making process in your brain.</strong></p><p><a href="https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2015.01491/full" target="_blank">A 2015 study</a> from the University of Southern California hypothesized that gratitude spikes activity in the regions of the brain associated with moral cognition, value judgment, and theory of mind (the anterior cingulate cortex and medial prefrontal cortex, respectively). The FMRI data results of the study, which included 26 participants ranging in ages 18-28, confirmed activity spikes in those regions.</p><p><strong>Gratitude can improve mental health (even when you're at an all-time low). </strong></p><p>That same year, <a href="https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/10503307.2016.1169332?scroll=top&needAccess=true&journalCode=tpsr20" target="_blank">another study</a> was conducted, this time on individuals who had pre-existing mental health concerns. These 293 people were recruited for this study at a time when their mental health was at an all-time clinical low, as they hadn't yet begun counseling sessions. The majority of these participants struggled with depression and/or anxiety. </p><p>The subjects were divided at random into three groups: a control group (psychotherapy), a group that underwent psychotherapy and expressive writing, and a third group that underwent psychotherapy and gratitude writing. </p><p>Within 4-12 weeks after the conclusion of their writing interventions, the participants who underwent psychotherapy and gratitude writing reported significantly better mental health than those in the expressive and control writing intervention groups. </p><p>The findings of this study (and others like it) suggest that gratitude writing can be beneficial not just for the healthy, well-adjusted mind, but for individuals who are struggling with mental health concerns. </p><p><strong>Gratitude should be a long-term adaptation of your behavior to have the best impact on your physical and mental health.</strong></p><p>It's important to note that in the writing study, the mental health benefits of gratitude weren't felt immediately after writing gratitude letters, but gradually accrued over time as participants of the study made gratitude writing a habit in their lives. </p><p>Not only that, but fMRI images (<a href="https://www.researchgate.net/publication/288932385_The_effects_of_gratitude_expression_on_neural_activity" target="_blank">found here</a> on page 5) taken of the participants' brains while completing a "pay it forward" task shows that their brain activity was distinct from brain activity related to guilt and the desire to help a cause. People who were more grateful tended to give more money to a cause they believed in and showed a greater neural sensitivity in their prefrontal cortex, the area of the brain associated with learning and decision making.</p>
Your favorite color can be linked to various personality traits, motivation, and productivity levels in your life.
- Color psychology has been used in marketing and branding for years, but research in the last decade has taken color psychology and applied it to human personality traits.
- Colors aren't merely associated with various feelings but can actually shape our perceptions and personalities.
- Various studies across multiple years have given us insight into what each color represents in regards to our personality, work ethic, and motivation levels.
What is color psychology?<img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yMjkzNDU4MC9vcmlnaW4ucG5nIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTY0Mzc2Mzk4NX0.KqHFgzhzl-dKmUvgDZsYGEDgDPVU40mA2mV1GLb1a68/img.png?width=1500&coordinates=0%2C0%2C0%2C0&height=1314" id="109d8" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="42ec0b499017c39ed1e3df32308370c2" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" alt="The Logo Company color marketing infographic" />
Colors have been used strategically in branding for years.
Image by The Logo Company<p>Many people are unaware of the impact colors have on our thoughts, emotions, and behaviors in everyday life.</p><p>It's extremely likely that you have purchased something in a store or chosen one product over another due to what brands call color marketing: targeting brands, colors, and adverts based on colors that will influence you to buy. </p><p>You can see in the infographic above that companies that want to be associated with dependability (Dell, HP, IBM) use the color blue. Companies that want to be known for being exciting and fun (Fanta, Amazon, Nickelodeon) use a splash or orange. </p><p>Color psychology is being used around us every single day and not only in what brands we buy, but also in how we react to our environment. Extending color psychology into the realm of personalities is about proving that colors aren't just about what looks the best, but about what meaning we subconsciously attach to those colors, and how to use that to benefit our lives.</p>
What your favorite color says about your personality<img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yMjkzNTc2Ny9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTY0NTc2MTU1NH0.iLH4yQoMFZMDW1YJo1YRMR8jOZDfDd3PFdu_IynkBcM/img.jpg?width=980" id="6e5e9" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="5b38c0f7793933f9ab35a61a2f7bb14a" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" alt="child holding crayons" />
About a third of doctors may not be doing enough.
- More than 130 people die every day from opioid-related overdoses, and some 11.4 million Americans have an opioid disorder.
- Americans remain wary of opioids and want more guidance; about a third of doctors need to explain options better.
- Patients have to pro-actively question subscribing physicians.
How uncomfortable we are about getting started with opioids<p>Comfort with opioids is, to some extent, generational, with baby boomers being the most concerned about beginning a course, at 39%, and millennials somewhat more okay with going on pain meds, at 29%. Overall, 54% aren't really concerned one way or another. But still, a third of people surveyed have concerns. Part of what leaves people uneasy is the degree to which their doctors have screened them as candidates for an opioid prescription—over a third were never asked the questions the accepted guidelines recommend prior to prescribing.</p><a href="https://drugabuse-com.s3.amazonaws.com/uploads/asset6.png" ><img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8xODc4MzEwNy9vcmlnaW4ucG5nIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTYxOTczMDY4N30.SypsnfH64m8D6R2olX_QeHvtM8ICuqmxKKTBS2cAwNg/img.png?width=980" id="79cce" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="3769e0fbee246589a2e50b49687141bd" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" /></a>
What did the doctor explain?<p>While doctors overwhelmingly explain how to use the opioids they prescribe, about 40% of of them poorly lay out, or fail to mention altogether, three things a patient should know:</p> <ul> <li>non-opioid alternatives</li> <li>risks of taking the medications</li> <li>possible side effects.</li></ul><a href="https://drugabuse-com.s3.amazonaws.com/uploads/asset1-1.png" ><img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8xODc4MzExMS9vcmlnaW4ucG5nIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTYxMDgzNzkxNH0.xjCUUHj_AeBaOX_OTJHhrP9y1B-wvMPWV9uB_aNDCKo/img.png?width=980" id="0d260" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="5e8bd29bb6520936fd8caf8374623e0f" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" /></a>
Are opioid prescriptions being controlled via treatment plans?<p>Once doctors decide to prescribe opioids, about half establish a plan that includes a time limit on patient use of opioids. Slightly more doctors do this for longer-term prescriptions. Again, though, many non-opioid treatment plans seem not to be taken quite as seriously, nor, again, are doctors asking their patients at least one key question patients expect to be asked before proceeding. All of this depends on the type of pain that a patient needs addressed.</p><a href="https://drugabuse-com.s3.amazonaws.com/uploads/A2PKP.png" ><img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8xODc4MzExNy9vcmlnaW4ucG5nIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTYwMjU4NzI1OH0.MyYL7M-trYVfGMKxI4S-QJAxTa61fxbrz_UxBd6MgE4/img.png?width=980" id="2b5f9" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="db1338d899860034a255b676b714d87d" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" /></a>
Pain and opioids<p>Prescriptions are doled out, naturally, according to the intensity of pain being experienced. Using a scale of 1 to 10, where 10 is the most extreme level of pain, women had to be at a pain level of 7.3 before getting a scrip. That's higher than the 7.0 that triggered meds for men—one would expect this to be more equal. Men and women have different expectations about when their pain merits treatment, too, with men wanting relief sooner—at a pain level of 6.6—and women wanting to hold out until it reaches 7.7.</p><p>In any event, the differences on the impact of opioids on women and men <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3164783/" target="_blank"><u>aren't clear</u></a>, seesawing back and forth depending on the specific drug. </p><a href="https://drugabuse-com.s3.amazonaws.com/uploads/asset4-1.png" ><img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8xODc4MzEzNy9vcmlnaW4ucG5nIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTYyODQ2NTk2OX0.HnzWocvDfAFtCc7FN6C-67LVk37XPxKD6xB17L3F9cA/img.png?width=980" id="cca0d" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="14a5f9a6a827b7a415a406c166f4593c" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" /></a>
How appropriate are prescribed opioid levels?<p>By and large, respondents felt they were prescribed the right amount of pain relief, whether for acute or chronic pain. Opioids prescribed after childbirth and for oral pain felt for some as if a milder dose would have been enough, though roughly a third of those with nerve or muscle pain felt they could have used a stronger prescription.</p><a href="https://drugabuse-com.s3.amazonaws.com/uploads/asset3-1.png" ><img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8xODc4MzE0Mi9vcmlnaW4ucG5nIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTYxMTczMDI5N30.NGE8jRcaQiVP4hJiz8mwlILs7BxSROBPkc62i9iVFzA/img.png?width=980" id="07261" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="da38041c4bbbf9b658294dfefc2b5aa9" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" /></a>
After the pain<p>So what do you do with left-over opioids, after they're no longer needed? The proper approach is to take them to an <a href="https://apps.deadiversion.usdoj.gov/pubdispsearch/spring/main?execution=e1s1" target="_blank"><u>authorized drug collection</u></a> site, where they can be safely disposed of . Only about 12% actually do this. Mostly we hold on to them "just in case"—12% of us <em>do</em> repurpose them for other pain—or we just toss them in the trash. 1% sell the extras.</p><a href="https://drugabuse-com.s3.amazonaws.com/uploads/asset5-1.png" ><img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8xODc4MzE2Mi9vcmlnaW4ucG5nIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTYzODA2OTgxMH0.R7wnMRD1g0p2BmpZM_og22nqTy5VKvJpACZJbxwxS7w/img.png?width=980" id="43cab" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="43f7c1b8d502001e9e04044aff2b5888" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" /></a>
Most of those who try to sneak stuff onboard succeed.
- 32.4 percent of American travelers try to sneak forbidden items onboard.
- 87.7 percent of them succeed.
- It's mostly about recreational drugs, but also about explosives, poisons, and infectious items.