from the world's big
Tweak your brain chemistry toward happiness, purpose, meaning
JILLIAN MICHAELS: There is a definite connection between the physical laws of inertia, a body in motion tends to stay in motion and the psychological components of inertia it's like when we become sedentary it's very difficult to begin moving again and to become motivated once more. And it's not just emotional, it's also physiological. Depression and feeling sedentary and feeling down and engaging once again in being hopeful, because essentially that's what motivation does require, can become a bit like a spider web. So in The Six Keys one of the major pathways we need to travel down is comprehending the connection between the state of our mind and how it very tangibly affects our bodies. When you look at something like depression or sadness or tragedy that kind of emotional stress we see that it literally changes our brain, it shrinks the size of our amygdala, our hippocampus, it shifts the ratios between gray matter and white matter, it changes our brain chemistry. And what all of these physiological changes do is essentially gear us to be more impulsive, less emotional regulation, more prone to depression and these thoughts then, of course, leading to our behaviors, which dictate the outcome of our reality.
So, as I mentioned it's a bit of a black hole so to speak so how do we turn it around? And it has to be something in my opinion that is fought on a myriad of fronts. First and foremost we need to establish a why, so we're going to look at the actual psychology of motivation. I believe it was Nietzsche who said, "If you have a why to live for you can tolerate the how." Because anything worth having, be in a healthy marriage, a thriving career, a healthy body, is going to require work and sacrifice. But work with purpose is passion; work without purpose is punishing and a lot of us already feel very punished by the rigors of our daily lives. So forming a very concrete goal, not just health, what does that even mean? How do you emotionally connect to being healthy? Somebody says well don't have that pizza tonight and don't watch How to Make a Murderer season two and you'll be healthy like that's not sexy. However, if it was hey you know what, give me 20 minutes in your living room with a quick exercise routine and get the sauce on the XY or Z meal you just ordered on the side, forgo the soda, get water instead and you're going to fit into those skinny jeans, have sex with the lights on with confidence, although I think that's greatly overrated, it's light at least 12 hours out of your day so why not open up your options? I mean walk your daughter down the aisle or look good in your wedding dress or meet your great, great grandchildren, watch humans land on Mars. I don't care what your reason is. It doesn't matter how profound it is, it doesn't matter how superficial it is, but it has to move you and you have to care because that's what makes that work in order to achieve it more manageable and turns it into passion versus punishment. At the same time how do we make this concept neural plasticity work for us instead of against us? How do we change our brain chemistry and the shape and size of various parts of our brain so that we're more prone to positivity and hopefulness as opposed to nihilism? Well, things like meditation, these mind-body interventions, and for the longest time I was like I live in L.A. like I can't hear this one more time. You know what's going to stress me out? Wasting five minutes chanting in my car on my lunch hour when I have stuff to do.
But the evidence is overwhelming and we see that five minutes even of meditation, I don't care when you get it in if it's in the morning, if it's at night, if it's in your lunch hour even if you suck at it, download an app, be consistent with it and over time we see that it helps to shift the physiology of our brain so we are more geared towards happiness, purpose and meaning. And in fact when we look at it holistically, in conjunction with that ball getting rolling so now maybe you've got just enough motivation to take that first step and you're moving. So the first step at the gym, the first one is always the hardest because now that body in motion stays in motion, now you're motivated to a certain extent, you're starting to see results. The fears and concerns with breaking out of that comfort zone have abated because you already went and you did it. Maybe you're uncomfortable at the gym, you're done with feeling uncomfortable at the gym you survived it; you're ready to go back tomorrow; the world is not going to end. You're eating a little bit healthier and all of those micronutrients are gearing your brain chemistry for the better and not the worst. So each and every step in the right direction is what begets more success. So it's a holistic and a cumulative approach that's going to yield those positive results. And then of course, once you're emotionally and physically in motion it's much easier to stay in motion.
- The body influences the mind: physical activity changes our brain chemistry.
- More activity in the body, and therefore in the brain, reorients us toward happiness, purpose, and meaning.
- Neuroplasticity suggests we can program ourselves to be more optimistic and hopeful.
Join multiple Tony and Emmy Award-winning actress Judith Light live on Big Think at 2 pm ET on Monday.
Frequent shopping for single items adds to our carbon footprint.
- A new study shows e-commerce sites like Amazon leave larger greenhouse gas footprints than retail stores.
- Ordering online from retail stores has an even smaller footprint than going to the store yourself.
- Greening efforts by major e-commerce sites won't curb wasteful consumer habits. Consolidating online orders can make a difference.
A pile of recycled cardboard sits on the ground at Recology's Recycle Central on January 4, 2018 in San Francisco, California.
Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images<p>A large part of the reason is speed. In a competitive market, pure players use the equation, <em>speed + convenience</em>, to drive adoption. This is especially relevant to the "last mile" GHG footprint: the distance between the distribution center and the consumer.</p><p>Interestingly, the smallest GHG footprint occurs when you order directly from a physical store—even smaller than going there yourself. Pure players, such as Amazon, are the greatest offenders. Variables like geographic location matter; the team looked at shopping in the UK, the US, China, and the Netherlands. </p><p>Sadegh Shahmohammadi, a PhD student at the Netherlands' Radboud University and corresponding author of the paper, <a href="https://www.cnn.com/2020/02/26/tech/greenhouse-gas-emissions-retail/index.html" target="_blank">says</a> the above "pattern holds true in countries where people mostly drive. It really depends on the country and consumer behavior there."</p><p>The researchers write that this year-and-a-half long study pushes back on previous research that claims online shopping to be better in terms of GHG footprints.</p><p style="margin-left: 20px;">"They have, however, compared the GHG emissions per shopping event and did not consider the link between the retail channels and the basket size, which leads to a different conclusion than that of the current study."</p><p>Online retail is where convenience trumps environment: people tend to order one item at a time when shopping on pure player sites, whereas they stock up on multiple items when visiting a store. Consumers will sometimes order a number of separate items over the course of a week rather than making one trip to purchase everything they need. </p><p>While greening efforts by online retailers are important, until a shift in consumer attitude changes, the current carbon footprint will be a hard obstacle to overcome. Amazon is trying to have it both ways—carbon-free and convenience addicted—and the math isn't adding up. If you need to order things, do it online, but try to consolidate your purchases as much as possible.</p><p>--</p><p><em>Stay in touch with Derek on <a href="http://www.twitter.com/derekberes" target="_blank">Twitter</a>, <a href="https://www.facebook.com/DerekBeresdotcom" target="_blank">Facebook</a> and <a href="https://derekberes.substack.com/" target="_blank">Substack</a>. His next book is</em> "<em>Hero's Dose: The Case For Psychedelics in Ritual and Therapy."</em></p>
Chronic irregular sleep in children was associated with psychotic experiences in adolescence, according to a recent study out of the University of Birmingham's School of Psychology.
A time for sleep<div class="rm-shortcode" data-media_id="Mt29uUqI" data-player_id="FvQKszTI" data-rm-shortcode-id="931343dee3c02121445e51e94ba22446"> <div id="botr_Mt29uUqI_FvQKszTI_div" class="jwplayer-media" data-jwplayer-video-src="https://content.jwplatform.com/players/Mt29uUqI-FvQKszTI.js"> <img src="https://cdn.jwplayer.com/thumbs/Mt29uUqI-1920.jpg" class="jwplayer-media-preview" /> </div> <script src="https://content.jwplatform.com/players/Mt29uUqI-FvQKszTI.js"></script> </div> <p>Previous studies had already suggested a link between persistent nightmares in childhood and psychosis and borderline personality disorder (BPD) by adolescence, but researchers at the University of Birmingham's School of Psychology wanted to see if a similar connection existed between these mental disorders and other childhood behavioral sleep problems.</p><p>To do this, they scoured data from the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children, a longitudinal cohort study that followed approximately 14,000 children born in Avon, England, in the early 1990s. The study followed the children for more than 13 years. During that time, mothers filled out questionnaires asking about the children's lives. Factors looked at included housing, parenting, nutrition, physical health, mental wellbeing, environmental exposures, and so on. </p><p>The cohort study inquired about sleep routines, sleep duration, and awakening frequency when the children were 6, 18, and 30 months old, and then again at 3.5, 4.8, and 5.8 years. It also assessed mental health in adolescence using semi-structured interviews, such as the Psychosis-Like Symptom Interview.</p><p>"We know that adolescence is a key developmental period to study the onset of many mental disorders, including psychosis or BPD. This is because of particular brain and hormonal changes which occur at this stage," <a href="https://www.birmingham.ac.uk/staff/profiles/psychology/marwaha-steven.aspx" target="_blank">Steven Marwaha</a>, professor of psychiatry at Birmingham and senior author on the study, <a href="https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2020/07/200701125431.htm" target="_blank">said in a release</a>. "Sleep may be one of the most important underlying factors—and it's one that we can influence with effective, early interventions, so it's important that we understand these links."</p><p>After compiling the data, the researchers discovered an association between children with irregular sleeping patterns and teenagers with <a href="https://www.mind.org.uk/information-support/types-of-mental-health-problems/psychosis/about-psychosis/" target="_blank">psychotic experiences</a>—that is, episodes when the person perceives reality differently than those around them. Even when depression at 10 years old was considered as a mediating factor, their findings still suggested "a specific pathway between these childhood sleep problems and adolescent psychotic experiences." </p><p>Toddlers with shorter nighttime sleep duration and late bedtimes were likewise associated with a <a href="https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/borderline-personality-disorder/index.shtml" target="_blank">borderline personality disorder</a>—a disorder marked by a pattern of varying moods, self-images, and behaviors—in their teenage years. Depression at age 10 did not mediate this particular association, suggesting a separate and more specific pathway. </p>
A more restful tomorrow<p>While the sample size was large and mental health was assessed with a validated interview, there nevertheless remain limitations to this data. For starters, sleep habits were based on mothers' reports. Because they came from memory, versus a more direct observation method such as actigraphy, these data may be prone to imperfect recollection and reporting error. There are also many confounders that could be secretly nudging the results, such as family conditions, prenatal medicines, and a host of environmental factors. Finally, <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6024884/#:~:text=Sleep%20difficulties%20in%20youth%20with,fear%20of%20dark%20%5B13%5D." target="_blank">the relationship between sleep problems and mental disorders</a> is both complex and two-way.</p><p>As such, the study shows an association between poor childhood sleep later mental disorders but does not prove a causal link. Parents need not worry that a string of nightmares or the eternal struggle settle into bed will be the first ingredients in a witches' brew of debilitating mental disorders. The goal of the study, the researchers point out, is not to create undue worry but improve our ability to recognize the signs of at-risk children and deliver necessary interventions earlier.</p><p>"The results of this study could have important implications for helping practitioners identify children who might be at higher risk for psychotic experiences or BPD symptoms in adolescence, and potentially lead to the design of more effectively targeted sleep or psychological interventions to prevent the onset or attenuate these mental disorders," Isabel Morales-Muñoz, the study's lead researcher, <a href="https://www.healio.com/news/psychiatry/20200702/childhood-sleep-problems-linked-to-adolescent-psychosis-borderline-personality-disorder#:~:text=Sleep%20problems%20during%20early%20childhood,study%20published%20in%20JAMA%20Psychiatry." target="_blank">told Healio Psychiatry</a><u>.</u></p><p>If a parent reading this is worried that their child's sleep patterns are deleterious, the take away should not be despair over an unyielding fate. It should be to seek professional help as soon as possible to begin improving sleep duration and quality. Even if you aren't worried, it's worth remembering that childhood experiences lay the foundation for a lifetime of salubrious sleeping habits. It's so much more than beauty rest.</p>
Construction of the $500 billion dollar tech city-state of the future is moving ahead.
- The futuristic megacity Neom is being built in Saudi Arabia.
- The city will be fully automated, leading in health, education and quality of life.
- It will feature an artificial moon, cloud seeding, robotic gladiators and flying taxis.
The Red Sea area where Neom will be built:
Saudi Arabia Plans Futuristic City, "Neom" (Full Promotional Video)<span style="display:block;position:relative;padding-top:56.25%;" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="c646d528d230c1bf66c75422bc4ccf6f"><iframe type="lazy-iframe" data-runner-src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/N53DzL3_BHA?rel=0" width="100%" height="auto" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" style="position:absolute;top:0;left:0;width:100%;height:100%;"></iframe></span>
Are we genetically inclined for superstition or just fearful of the truth?
- From secret societies to faked moon landings, one thing that humanity seems to have an endless supply of is conspiracy theories. In this compilation, physicist Michio Kaku, science communicator Bill Nye, psychologist Sarah Rose Cavanagh, skeptic Michael Shermer, and actor and playwright John Cameron Mitchell consider the nature of truth and why some groups believe the things they do.
- "I think there's a gene for superstition, a gene for hearsay, a gene for magic, a gene for magical thinking," argues Kaku. The theoretical physicist says that science goes against "natural thinking," and that the superstition gene persists because, one out of ten times, it actually worked and saved us.
- Other theories shared include the idea of cognitive dissonance, the dangerous power of fear to inhibit critical thinking, and Hollywood's romanticization of conspiracies. Because conspiracy theories are so diverse and multifaceted, combating them has not been an easy task for science.