Neuroplasticity

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25 Quotes about Gratitude

25 Quotes about Gratitude

Gratitude has been getting a lot of attention in the world of positive psychology and neuroscience. It turns out that the simple wisdom of counting your blessings has a profound impact on the brain and the body.

Just the act of seeking things for which to be grateful has a positive impact. As we shift our mental energy towards gratitude, it changes the patterns in our brain, stimulating neurotransmitters like serotonin and dopamine and strengthening the neural pathways that will allow us to feel more gratitude in the future.

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How Meditation Changes Your Brain for the Better

How Meditation Changes Your Brain for the Better

It wasn't that long ago that scientists believed that our brains were fixed at about the age of three, and that they didn't alter over time, except to deteriorate.

In the last ten to fifteen years, however, the scientific literature has been exploding with evidence that this idea was completely wrong. The concept of neuroplasticity has emerged as we've learned how our brains change in response to stimuli - both positive and negative.

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Three Ways to Cultivate Patience

Three Ways to Cultivate Patience

If you're old enough to remember the mid-1980s, you might recall a popular film from that era called "The Karate Kid". It is a coming of age story in which a young man, Daniel, is tutored in karate by a wise mentor, Mr. Miyagi. Some of Miyagi's educational techniques seem unconventional to Daniel and he must cultivate a lot of patience and self-control during the process to learn the inner art of karate. Of course, these attributes serve him well in the end.

These days, our fast-paced world is wired more for reinforcing immediate gratification than patience. As we go through our days, we encounter urges that we would like to gratify - to get what we want, or to have things go our way. When things don't go as we hope, we may react in ways that aren't helpful or healthy. The reactions that stem from impatience can be significant sources of suffering.

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5 Essentials for Building a Better Brain

5 Essentials for Building a Better Brain

"I think, therefore I am." ~ René Descarte

As a culture, we tend to place a high value on a well-functioning brain. Of all our organs, none is so linked to our sense of who we are and our possibilities.

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Six Self-Care Practices to Beat the Blues

Six Self-Care Practices to Beat the Blues

The United States has one of the highest rates of depression in the world.  An estimated 1 in 6 (16.6%) of us are diagnosed with a major depressive episode at some point in out lives and this does not include those of us who suffer from milder cases of the blues that aren't diagnosed. A 2011 study of prescribing habits found antidepressants to be the most highly prescribed class of drugs in the United States. Unfortunately, research has found that antidepressants aren't effective for everyone - especially those with milder symptoms. 

Fortunately there are a number of non-drug approaches to treating and preventing depression. These approaches may be used with or without treatment with medication. Dr. Stephen Illardi, a psychologist at the University of Kansas, has tested a number of them in his practice and has developed a program that he calls Therapeutic Lifestyle Change (TLC). He shares about the six core strategies in his book, The Depression Cure. As you read them, you'll see that many of them are common-sense self-care practices that have many other benefits!

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Five Ways to Mind Your Mindset

Five Ways to Mind Your Mindset

We live in an age where boundaries between work and personal life are easily blurred or ignored. Technology allows many of us to work anywhere, anytime — and while that flexibility can be freeing, it can also entrap us. Because we CAN, we have begun to feel that perhaps we SHOULD — and before we know it, we are overworked, overstressed, and overwhelmed.

It's no wonder that we fall into a reactive mode, when some of us scarcely make time to pause, reflect, or take a few deep breaths. Have you ever stopped to wonder — just where is it that we are all rushing to?

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Eight Ways to Find Your Focus (Part 1)

Eight Ways to Find Your Focus (Part 1)

"Squirrel!"

Around our house, this exclamation has become the signal that someone has wandered off topic. If you've ever seen the movie "Up", you'll remember "Dug" - the dog with attention issues.The truth is, most of our days are filled with "squirrel" moments. Our external environments provide endless opportunities for information-overload and distraction. Our internal environments, left unmanaged, are at the mercy of our "monkey-minds", wilding swinging from thought to thought and often prompting us to behave reactively.

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Wellness Wrap-up - May 2014

Wellness Wrap-up - May 2014

May has provided another busy month in wellness news. Once again, information about exercise and brain health were dominant themes, as were new resources for creating happier, healthier lives.

Exercise

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What's Your Story?

What's Your Story?

b2ap3_thumbnail_Princess.jpgEvery day, my dog Princess and I take a walk together — differently. Having been her walking partner for the last six years, I can tell you that she and I don't experience our expeditions together in the same way. Her body, temperament, and sensory organs give her access to things that I can't imagine. It boggles my mind to think of the stimuli that her nose alone provides!

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