Redefining mental illness

Psychological researchers are finally making some major and much-needed changes in how they look at and classify anxiety, psychosis, and other problems: Two months ago, the British Psychological Society released a remarkable document entitled “Understanding Psychosis and Schizophrenia.” Its authors … Continue reading

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Does new blink science explain eye-closure fractionation?

You blink far more often than necessary to keep your eyes clean and moist. Scientists have discovered that the timing of your blinks relates to what you’re doing and experiencing.

Now new research suggests that each blink allows your brain to rest momentarily.

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Study: Empathy represses analytic thought, & vice versa

Research in neuropsychology continues to shed more light on how and why NLP processes work:

Empathy Represses Analytic Thought, and Vice Versa: Brain Physiology Limits Simultaneous Use of Both Networks

ScienceDaily (Oct. 30, 2012) — New research shows a simple reason why even the most intelligent, complex brains can be taken by a swindler’s story — one that upon a second look offers clues it was false.

When the brain fires up the network of neurons that allows us to empathize, it suppresses the network used for analysis, a pivotal study led by a Case Western Reserve University researcher shows.

How could a CEO be so blind to the public relations fiasco his cost-cutting decision has made?

When the analytic network is engaged, our ability to appreciate the human cost of our action is repressed.

At rest, our brains cycle between the social and analytical networks. But when presented with a task, healthy adults engage the appropriate neural pathway, the researchers found.

The study shows for the first time that we have a built-in neural constraint on our ability to be both empathetic and analytic at the same time.

This study has a lot of interesting implications.

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Why inner game ISN’T everything

As a NLPer I see and hear a lot of “do your inner work and the outer will take care of itself” type of advice. I think it’s crap.

While inner game alone can dramatically change how you feel, it’s only when you change what you do that you start affecting other people and the world, and generating better real-world results. Inner game can help you act more easily and more effectively… but only when you actually get off your butt and take action.

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The right way to speak to yourself

I’m always on the lookout for ways to build people up and encourage them, rather than shutting them down. That’s why Peter Bregman’s post The Right Way to Speak to Yourself delighted me. Excerpt:

It felt so good to be in that classroom, I didn’t want to leave. Eventually though, when it was clearly time to go, I left with a smile on my face that remained long after I had gone.

Sitting in that classroom was a lesson in people management; the positive way Dorit interacted with the children is a great model for how managers should interact with employees.

But, for me, the morning was more profound than a lesson in managing other people. It was a lesson in managing myself.

As I left the classroom I found myself thinking about whether I treat myself the way Dorit treated her students. Am I encouraging? Do I catch myself doing things right as often as doing things wrong? And when I do something wrong, do I simply move on or do I dwell on it, haranguing myself?

In other words, what kind of classroom is going on in your head?

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Love is more than a feeling or good intentions

From an Inherent Excellence blog post by NLPer and life coach Erol Fox, who writes some good stuff:

People just don’t understand what love is, so they suffer. Most Westernized people think love is when you can’t live without someone or some object. Any doctor will tell you that actually sounds like a disease.

Atisha, a Buddhist monk in the 10th Century echoed what love really is:

“Love is the wish for others to be happy.”

Really? I disagree.

Merely wishing others to be happy, without taking tangible action to help them achieve happiness, is not love. It is mental masturbation. And delusional, if a person thinks that intending love makes up for their unloving actions.

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How much do you care what other people think?

Recently I assisted at a workshop designed to help singles gain social skills and connect with each other.

At the end of the evening, an attractive young woman said she is usually shy because she cares too much about what other people think. During some of the workshop exercises, she was able to not care what others thought of her, and found it liberating. She wanted the ability to not care what others think in the rest of her life.

I gently pointed out that while not caring what others think can be liberating, it can also be problematic. Would you really want ignore how your actions affect other people to the point that you hurt or offend them? Or maybe suffer serious consequences, such as getting fired? Probably not.

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Re-traumatized by old memories

When Gary recalls a negative memory, he re-experiences the emotion he felt, and gets upset. Since he is prone to obsessive thinking, once a negative emotion triggers, he can obsess about it — and stay upset — for hours.

Tabitha gets trauma flashbacks. She re-experiences events so vividly that they re-traumatize her. Afterward fear, anxiety, depression, and crying jags can debilitate her for days, and affect her mood for weeks.

Emotionally loaded recall is especially common in people with Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD), a learned trauma response. It’s also common among people with Asperger syndrome. Like Gary, Aspies are prone to obsess over negative emotions and make them worse.

Of course, re-experiencing remembered emotions can be an asset when you recall pleasant memories. But with negative experiences — especially traumas — it’s usually preferable to get the useful life lessons from less-than-positive memories, without getting upset or re-traumatized.

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