Tag Archives | Anxiety

Increased Anxiety Linked to Sitting Down

Joana Coccarelli (CC BY 2.0)

Joana Coccarelli (CC BY 2.0)

Sitting down has been linked to an increase in anxiety.

via Psyblog:

Sitting down all day has been linked to increased anxiety, a new study finds.

Low energy activities like watching TV, working at a computer or playing electronic games may all be linked to anxiety.

The link between sedentary behaviours and worse physical health is well-established.

This study is the first to review the evidence on sedentary behaviours and the psychological impact on anxiety.

Dr Megan Teychenne, who led the study, said:

“Anecdotally — we are seeing an increase in anxiety symptoms in our modern society, which seems to parallel the increase in sedentary behavior.

Thus, we were interested to see whether these two factors were in fact linked.

Also, since research has shown positive associations between sedentary behavior and depressive symptoms, this was another foundation for further investigating the link between sedentary behavior and anxiety symptoms.”

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The Future: 1972

Future Shock

It’s common for folks like myself and the readers of this blog to frequent sites and browse magazines filled with articles about leaps in information processing, advances in artificial intelligence, and the future of human/machine interfacing. It’s the 21st century after all, and even though many of our institutions and officials are woefully culture-bound to reality paradigms that were cast aside many decades ago, the rest of us are living in the future. We are busy helping to define what tomorrow will be instead of allowing ourselves to be overwhelmed by perceived, pessimistic inevitabilities.

We’re used to these ideas and this kind of thinking in 2015, but we can also feel the anxiety of trying to maintain a sense of self and place when the very nature of information seems to be changing, and changing everything we understand about ourselves and the world around us.

Some folks saw this coming almost 50 years ago, and you can watch a movie about it.… Read the rest

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Mindfulness has lost its Buddhist roots, and it may not be doing you good

Harry Koopman (CC BY 2.0)

Harry Koopman (CC BY 2.0)

Miguel Farias, Coventry University and Catherine Wikholm, University of Surrey

Mindfulness as a psychological aid is very much in fashion. Recent reports on the latest finding suggested that mindfulness-based cognitive therapy is as effective as anti-depressants in preventing the relapse of recurrent depression.

While the authors of the paper interpreted their results in a slightly less positive light, stating that (contrary to their hypothesis) mindfulness was no more effective than medication, the meaning inferred by many in the media was that mindfulness was superior to medication.

Mindfulness is a technique extracted from Buddhism where one tries to notice present thoughts, feeling and sensations without judgement. The aim is to create a state of “bare awareness”. What was once a tool for spiritual exploration has been turned into a panacea for the modern age — a cure-all for common human problems, from stress, to anxiety, to depression.… Read the rest

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Don’t Overthink It, Less Is More When It Comes to Creativity

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Amber Case (CC BY-NC 2.0)

Just in case you’re in a bit of a creative rut, Jessica Schmerier at Scientific American has some news on how to get the juices flowing: don’t force it. (Though, I can’t decide if this just makes things more difficult.) The new study calls into question the traditional “right-brained,” “left-brained” dynamic.

There is a scientific belief that the cerebral cortex is the part of the brain that “makes us human,” and that the two hemispheres of the cortex differentiate the creative thinkers from the logical thinkers (the “right-brained” from the “left-brained”). This has fostered the view that “neurological processes can be divided into “higher” cognitive functions and “lower” basic sensory-motor, functions,” says Robert Barton, an evolutionary biologist at Durham University in England who was not involved in this study—but the latest research calls that understanding into question.

Participants in the study were placed into a functional magnetic resonance imaging machine with a nonmagnetic tablet and asked to draw a series of pictures based on action words (for example, vote, exhaust, salute) with 30 seconds for each word.

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How we make emotional decisions

Craig Sunter (CC BY-ND 2.0)

Craig Sunter (CC BY-ND 2.0)

Massachusetts Institute of Technology via EurekAlert:

CAMBRIDGE, MA — Some decisions arouse far more anxiety than others. Among the most anxiety-provoking are those that involve options with both positive and negative elements, such choosing to take a higher-paying job in a city far from family and friends, versus choosing to stay put with less pay.

MIT researchers have now identified a neural circuit that appears to underlie decision-making in this type of situation, which is known as approach-avoidance conflict. The findings could help researchers to discover new ways to treat psychiatric disorders that feature impaired decision-making, such as depression, schizophrenia, and borderline personality disorder.

“In order to create a treatment for these types of disorders, we need to understand how the decision-making process is working,” says Alexander Friedman, a research scientist at MIT’s McGovern Institute for Brain Research and the lead author of a paper describing the findings in the May 28 issue of Cell.

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The Most Common Mental Health Problem is ‘Contagious’

via Psyblog:

Anxiety is ‘contagious’ and can be passed from parents to children and the other way, a new study finds.

The ‘catching’ nature of anxious thoughts and behaviours exists over and above the effects of genetics.

That’s the conclusion of a new study of twins conducted by researchers in the UK.

Professor Thalia Eley, who led the study, said that anxious parents should avoid passing it on to their children through their behaviour:

“Our research shows that even if you have had to cope with high levels of anxiety yourself, it is not inevitable that this will follow in your children.

There are many things that can be done at home to prevent or reduce anxiety in children and adolescents.

Whilst a natural tendency when your child is anxious is to try to protect them, it can be more helpful to support them in taking small age-appropriate risks.

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DEA approves study using MDMA for anxiety in seriously ill patients

Henry Riley (CC BY 2.0)

Henry Riley (CC BY 2.0)

Amid growing support for the therapeutic use of psychedelics, the DEA has approved a clinical trial that uses MDMA to treat anxiety.

Renee Lewis has the story at Al Jazeera:

The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has approved the first clinical trial using MDMA along with psychotherapy to treat anxiety among people with life-threatening illnesses, researchers told Al Jazeera on Tuesday, adding that public support for the therapeutic use of psychedelic drugs is rapidly growing.

“The tide has changed for psychedelic research,” said Brad Burge, the communications director for the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS), a California-based nonprofit research group that studies medicinal uses for psychedelics and marijuana and is sponsoring the study. The DEA approved the project on Friday, he said.

Unlike Ecstasy or Molly — names for MDMA sold on the street and often mixed with dangerous adulterants — pure MDMA has been proved “sufficiently safe” when taken a limited number of times in moderate doses, MAPS says on its website.

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Mastering the Mind and Body Through Meditation, Jiu-Jitsu and Ayahuasca with Nicolas Gregoriades| the midwest real podcast

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Nic Gregoriades is a world-traveling, ayahuasca-drinking, elite Jiu-Jitsu black belt. He’s founder of the Jiu-Jitsu Brotherhood and co-host of The Journey Podcast.

Via Midwest Real

“Life is not a problem to be solved, it is a mystery to be lived” – Osho 

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What a mind-blasting reminder that is, “life is not a problem.” So many of our personal shortcomings, issues and anxieties stem from just such a mindset- living life as if it’s a series of problems to be solved. Over the centuries, we’ve questioned and tinkered with what life is and what it “means” so much that we’ve condemned ourselves to a poisonous abyss of paradigms, expectations and momentum.

Overcoming that conditioning isn’t about running off into the woods and becoming a Luddite. We can’t just climb out of the proverbial pandora’s box of knowledge, stimulation, passion and competition we’re immersed in. But, there’s a beautifully simple escape sitting right behind the eyeballs you’re using to stare at this screen.… Read the rest

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Anandamide: The Feel-Good Gene

Emperor Traianus Decius (Mary Harrsch).jpg If you’re lucky you have a genetic mutation that produces high levels of  anandamide, which Richard A. Friedman refers to as “the so-called bliss molecule and our own natural marijuana.” He describes the latest neuroscience research in the New York Times:

Chances are that everyone on this planet has experienced anxiety, that distinct sense of unease and foreboding.

Most of us probably assume that anxiety always has a psychological trigger.

Yet clinicians have long known that there are plenty of people who experience anxiety in the absence of any danger or stress and haven’t a clue why they feel distressed. Despite years of psychotherapy, many experience little or no relief. It’s as if they suffer from a mental state that has no psychological origin or meaning, a notion that would seem heretical to many therapists, particularly psychoanalysts.

Recent neuroscience research explains why, in part, this may be the case. For the first time, scientists have demonstrated that a genetic variation in the brain makes some people inherently less anxious, and more able to forget fearful and unpleasant experiences.

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Woman’s Rare Case of ‘Seasonal OCD’ Cured

Porsche Brosseau (CC BY 2.0)

Porsche Brosseau (CC BY 2.0)

Agata Blaszczak-Boxe writes at LiveScience:

A rare case of “seasonal” obsessive-compulsive disorder in a woman highlights the complexity of this mental health condition, researchers say. The woman’s OCD symptoms appeared every year when winter began, and then ended as the seasons shifted toward summer.

After living with the condition for a decade, the woman was treated at a clinic and recovered, the case report said.

Psychiatrists “do believe that there is a tie between times of the year and the exacerbation of illness,” said Dr. Howard L. Forman, an attending psychiatrist at Montefiore Medical Center in New York, who was not involved in the woman’s case.

Patients with other mental health conditions, such as depression, may also get worse in the winter and feel better again in the summer, Forman said.

The 41-year-old woman came to an outpatient clinic during the month of October.

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