Tag Archives | Wellness

How Spirituality Can Help With Addiction Recovery

Addiction and spirituality: two states that are counterparts yet also irrefutably interlinked. There are myriad opinions as to what fuels addiction and why, but many believe that the urge to alter perspective, to escape from normality, and to feel a connection with something grander is the main catalyst.

The addicting power of alcohol and drugs is, according to psychologist William James, “unquestionably due to its power to stimulate the mystical faculties of human nature, usually crushed to earth by the cold facts and dry criticisms of the sober hour.” If this statement is even partly true then it suggests spiritual people are less inclined to try drinking and drugs as their desire for mystical realization is already fulfilled.

Spirituality

The urge to find spiritual fulfillment can go in some way to explain addiction. Image by g-useppe.

 

Research has shown that people who regularly attend religious services and consider themselves ‘spiritual’ are up to eight times less likely to use illicit drugs.… Read the rest

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How a Sense of Purpose Can Help You Live Longer

Seth Sawyers (CC BY 2.0)

Seth Sawyers (CC BY 2.0)

“Having goals in life and a sense of directedness; feeling there is meaning to present and past life; holding beliefs that give life purpose; having aims and objectives for living” can help you live longer.

Romeo Vitelli via Psychology Today:

a new research study published in the journal Development Psychology(link is external) demonstrates that having a purpose in life is especially important in successful aging.

Conducted by a team of researchers at Flinders University in Adelaide, Australia, the study examined older adults who were part of the Australian Longitudinal Study of Aging(link is external)(ALSA). Started in 1992, ALSA has followed over two thousand older Australians for decades to examine how health, emotional well-being, and living conditions have changed over time and to identify factors involved in successful aging.

As part of the broader ALSA study, 1,475 adults were questioned about their sense of purpose in life and whether they had objectives they wanted to achieve.

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Why meditation should be taught in schools

Moyan Brenn (CC BY 2.0

Moyan Brenn (CC BY 2.0

Lea Waters, University of Melbourne

New research in the fields of psychology, education and neuroscience shows teaching meditation in schools is having positive effects on students’ well-being, social skills and academic skills.

A recent meta-review of the impact of meditation in schools combined the results from 15 studies and almost 1800 students from Australia, Canada, India, the UK, the US and Taiwan. The research showed meditation is beneficial in most cases and led to three broad outcomes for students: higher well-being, better social skills and greater academic skills.

Students who were taught meditation at school reported higher optimism, more positive emotions, stronger self-identity, greater self-acceptance and took better care of their health as well as experiencing reduced anxiety, stress and depression. This was compared to before the meditation programs and compared to peers who were not taught meditation.

The review also showed that meditation helps the social life of students by leading to increases in pro-social behaviour (like helping others) and decreases in anti-social behaviour (like anger and disobedience).… Read the rest

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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.”

Continue reading.… Read the rest

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Fructose contributes to weight gain, physical inactivity, and body fat, researchers find

Tony Alter (CC BY 2.0)

Tony Alter (CC BY 2.0)

Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology via Science Daily:

In the last 40 years, fructose, a simple carbohydrate derived from fruit and vegetables, has been on the increase in American diets. Because of the addition of high-fructose corn syrup to many soft drinks and processed baked goods, fructose currently accounts for 10 percent of caloric intake for U.S. citizens. Male adolescents are the top fructose consumers, deriving between 15 to 23 percent of their calories from fructose–three to four times more than the maximum levels recommended by the American Heart Association.

A recent study at the Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology at the University of Illinois found that, matched calorie for calorie with the simple sugar glucose, fructose causes significant weight gain, physical inactivity, and body fat deposition.

The paper, “Fructose decreases physical activity and increases body fat without affecting hippocampal neurogenesis and learning relative to an isocaloric glucose diet,” was published in Scientific Reports.

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Space travel may be bad for your brain – here’s why

I really hope this is the right flag. NASA/flickr, CC BY

I really hope this is the right flag. NASA/flickr, CC BY

Magdalena Ietswaart, University of Stirling and Paul Dudchenko, University of Stirling

There is bad news for those planning to go to Mars in the near future: a study in mice has suggested that radiation in space could cause cognitive decline in astronauts. However, we know from past research that mental, social and physical exercise can boost cognitive functions. With planned Mars missions moving ever closer, it might be be worth exploring activity as a way to counter radiation damage.

There are many hurdles to overcome to get to Mars. The obvious one, of course, is the amount of time it takes – about eight months. But for those brave enough to attempt such a journey, this may well be acceptable. What could be harder to accept, however, are the harmful galactic cosmic rays you’d be subjected to, produced by supernovae far away from Earth.… Read the rest

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Depression may result from “hyperactivity” in “the disappointment circuit” of the brain

Gerald Gabernig (CC By 2.0)

Gerald Gabernig (CC By 2.0)

Dr Jeremy Dean writes at PsyBlog:

People who are depressed may have hyperactivity in a part of the brain known as ‘the disappointment circuit’, a new study finds.

Scientists led by Professor Roberto Malinow of the University of California, San Diego, found what could amount to an antidote to feeling let-down.

The study focused on a part of the brain called the lateral habenula, which has been linked to the feeling of disappointment which follows from the absence of an expected reward.

Professor Roberto Malinow, who led the study, said:

“The idea that some people see the world as a glass half empty has a chemical basis in the brain.

What we have found is a process that may dampen the brain’s sensitivity to negative life events.”

The neuroscientists found that this area, unlike almost any other in the brain, produces neurotransmitters which both ramp up and damp down brain activity.

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Muscle Strength Is in the Mind

istolethetv (CC BY 2.0)

istolethetv (CC BY 2.0)

via The Atlantic:

“If there are jocks on one side, and it’s a confrontation, the other side, by definition, has to be nerds,” David Anderegg wrote of what he calls the “archetypal struggle” in Nerds: Who They Are and Why We Need More of Them.

Of course, there are moments—mostly in Disney musicals—when both camps lay down their footballs and their calculators and realize that really, brain and brawn aren’t mutually exclusive—that, in fact, they have more in common than they ever thought.

This is one of those moments.

In a small study recently published in the Journal of Neurophysiology, researchers found that much of muscle strength is based on brain activity, rather than on the mass of the muscles themselves. Researchers at Ohio University’s Musculoskeletal and Neurological Institute, 29 volunteers had their non-dominant arms placed in elbow-to-finger casts for four weeks. (Fifteen others acted as a cast-free control group.) Of the 29, 14 were asked to perform mental-imagery exercises five days a week, imagining themselves alternately flexing and resting their immobilized wrists for five-second intervals.

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Detoxing is Bullshit, a Term Hijacked by Charlatans and Entrepreneurs

epSos .de (CC BY 2.0)

epSos .de (CC BY 2.0)

via The Guardian:

Whether it’s cucumbers splashing into water or models sitting smugly next to a pile of vegetables, it’s tough not to be sucked in by the detox industry. The idea that you can wash away your calorific sins is the perfect antidote to our fast-food lifestyles and alcohol-lubricated social lives. But before you dust off that juicer or take the first tentative steps towards a colonic irrigation clinic, there’s something you should know: detoxing – the idea that you can flush your system of impurities and leave your organs squeaky clean and raring to go – is a scam. It’s a pseudo-medical concept designed to sell you things.

“Let’s be clear,” says Edzard Ernst, emeritus professor of complementary medicine at Exeter University, “there are two types of detox: one is respectable and the other isn’t.” The respectable one, he says, is the medical treatment of people with life-threatening drug addictions.

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