thoughts

If You’re Happy and You Know it… Grow Some Neurons!

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We’ve all heard and intuitively know that when you’re happier, you’re healthier. Joseph Campbell has been saying for ages — follow your bliss. Abraham-Hicks says it too — the most important thing is that you feel good now. Well, I recently came across a tidbit of research that tells me science is finally catching up!

I read this excellent article recently that explains how scientists have proven that serotonin — the hormone associated with happiness — helps rats grow new brain cells. Specifically, when a certain serotonin-receptor is stimulated, the rats grew new neurons in their Enteric Nervous System (ENS). The ENS is a complex system of about 100 million neurons that inhabit the “gut” which supervise digestion and have intricate ties with the central nervous system (the brain and spinal cord). This alone is quite revolutionary, that we have neurons, essentially brain tissue, in our gut and not just our brain. In fact, we have two “small brains” — one in our gut and one in our heart, which account for the nervous, fluttery or heart-poundy feelings we can get at times. As a fetus develops, all the neurological tissue starts out in one area, a sort of tube, which extends out to form clusters which eventually become the brain, the heart and the gut. The exact role of these “small brains” is unknown, but I can’t help but wonder if it has something to do with our intuition. This is another excellent article about the heart’s rhythms and how the heart is a “small brain.”

The results of the study on the rats was published in The Journal of Neuroscience in August of 2009. So this isn’t even cutting-edge research (it’s just new to me). Yet so many of us are taught that if you drink too much, you’ll kill brain cells, and that you were only born with a certain number of them and if you kill them, you’ll never get them back. This is only half true — you can kill brain cells but you can also grow them back. If you are happy, your brain is healthier, and you are able to regrow new brain cells and the health of your existing cells is maintained. Plus, you can grow neurons in places other than your brain, and keep your gut and heart healthy.

Rack it up with all the other evidence that being happy is the best way to be! Nourish your playful spirit! Don’t let anything get you down. You are 100% in charge of your happiness and you can never blame circumstances when you’re miserable.

Note: I don’t approve of animal testing in general, but these studies on rats are pretty revolutionary. I hope the rats were treated well.

Science Doesn’t Have All the Answers

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I love science. I even have a T-shirt that says “Eat. Sleep. Explore Science.” Mind you, I haven’t worn it in a while, but still, it expresses a certain sentiment.

The other day, I had a revelation. It’s a pretty big shift from that traditional “loving science” paradigm. That revelation is

Science is overanalyzing the one you love.

If you get it, feel free to click on to some other website now, perhaps one of the links to the right. If you don’t immediately get it, let me explain what I mean.

Science is great, but it is a lot of analyzing. It’s all left-brain. I think there are a few scientists out there using both hemispheres, but on the whole, it’s detached, objective and logical. Well, except when scientists get attached to a theory and then ignore evidence to the contrary of that theory, which happens more than we know, I think. But I digress.

The problem with living in the left brain is that we miss all the beauty, the art, the loveliness of the thing we are studying. We can measure the heck out of Mother Earth, and how will that help? I wonder if we could make more of a difference by just loving her?

Any happily married man will tell you — analyzing his wife, especially to her face, is not a good idea. It is not going to help her or their relationship. But loving her, and not focusing on anything besides the things that he likes about her makes all the difference. Could it be the same with Mother Earth?

I think we may already have our answer. If you look at the science that has been done on our planet, most of the time, it doesn’t paint a pretty picture for our future. But when I am actually out on the planet, in the wilderness enjoying myself and loving it — loving the Earth — I can see nothing wrong with it. I don’t see global warming. I don’t see any of the other myriad of problems the scientists say Mother Earth has. Perhaps this is just another example of the Law of Attraction at work, I don’t know. I want to see beauty, I focus on joy, so that’s what I get. Or, maybe I am just putting my head in the sand. But I can’t help but wonder what would happen if we all did it my way, and gave less power to science?

And I’m not saying science is all bad. But if you go looking for problems, you will find them. I look for beauty instead (all right-brainy now, I know)!

Why Bad Things Happen to Good People

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I should be in bed sleeping. Or sending important emails, or working on other aspects of this huge project I’m managing, but I just got a flash of insight so clear, I had to blog it.

Why do bad things happen to good people?

Because they expect it to happen.

Watching a mere five minutes of the news will convince you that the world is full of terrible people, all your neighbours are criminals, war is breaking out everywhere, all policemen are corrupt, and Mother Nature is punishing us with natural disasters. And we are all pretty sure we know why — we deserve it.

Here’s an example of how the news has affected a lady I know. The evening news was filled with serious reports about forest fires raging through Slave Lake, a medium-sized town in Northern Alberta. There was a strong wind pushing the fire, causing it to spread faster than they could put it out, at least initially. The whole town, around ten thousand people, were evacuated and a whole neighbourhood, about a third of the town, burned down — a serious situation, even a tragedy. The Premier, being interviewed for the news, looked like he might cry.

One of the first comments I heard this particular lady make was “oh, there will be looting! With all those homes empty, there will be LOOTING!”

What?!? The town is empty! The only people there are fire fighters, and even if there were others around, that is the absolute LAST thing that would happen. I know this town, and it just would not happen. But years of living in a big city, listening to the radio news every hour and watching TV news throughout the day has completey skewed this woman’s view of the world, and also her expectations.

She expects the worse. Wherever she goes, whatever is going on around her, she sees crime, tragedy, illness, and other newsworthy stuff. I’m afraid to say that this is what she will attract into her life, because the Law of Attraction is ALWAYS at work.

You ever heard of the lawyer’s house that gets broken into repeatedly? The woman who continually has car trouble because she is always worried about her car? That man who gets ripped off because he’s always trying to cheat the other guy?

We each get what we THINK about most, especially if there is strong emotion involved, and what we EXPECT. It’s sometimes also what we WANT, but sometimes we get the opposite of what we want because the thinking and expecting are so strong.

Except for today, I have not watched the news for weeks. It’s a good thing, because I am working on focusing only on positive things, and I gotta tell ya, I get courteous drivers around me, holes in the traffic, mostly green lights (but red lights let me check my map or change my music), and I believe it happens because I know it’s possible. It is not only possible, it’s virtually* guaranteed when I focus on good things, and look for the best in people and situations around me. I have started expecting to have days that go smoothly.

Sometimes it’s hard. With the fires in Slave Lake, all I can think of is that this is a chance for our fire fighters and emergency co-ordinators to shine. And shining they are.

* only “virtually” because I’m sill practicing!

I’d love to hear your comments on this!

Lies We Believe

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Recently, I’ve realized and read some really big truths. Or rather, I’ve realized some really big lies that many of us believe without even realizing it.

1 - The lie: Outside things control us. The full quotation from The Science of Mind by Ernest Holmes says

We have thought that outside things controlled us, when all the time we have had that within which could have changed everything and given us freedom from bondage. – Holmes

Although we may think that our external environment controls what we do or how we live, it simply isn’t true. You never give up your control over your actions and thoughts. In tough times, you can choose to think positively. When someone is rude to you, you can choose to be polite. We have complete, utter sovereignty over our thoughts and therefore our lives.

2 – The lie: Things create more things. You might think, “no, people create things.” That’s not exactly true either. When it comes to creating anything in our lives, attitudes create things. And when I say “things,” I mean physical objects, circumstances, etc. You have probably experienced the frustration of trying to do something and just none of it will go right — your attitude, or thoughts, have made that thing hard to do, or they’ve made you want to do them when it isn’t the right time yet. If you get into an A-type personality mode, you can often push hard to do something that just isn’t needed/ready/the best thing to do. So your attitude creates a difficult time.
But getting back to the idea that attitudes create things, just realize that anything, good or bad, is in your life because you brought it there through a conscious or subconscious attitude and only you can remove it or change it. That is the foundation, but I don’t want to make it sound like it’s just “snap your fingers and voilà, it’s done.” It’s quite a bit of work to start being aware of what you’re thinking and how that’s affecting your life, and then learning to change it!

3 – The lie: Women need make-up. Why? To be attractive, of course. But make no mistake — you don’t attract people by how you look. Society feeds us the lie that women need make-up (and hair products, and skin lotions…) and popular media tries to tell us that our worth is tied to our looks, but that is so wrong! We attract people by who we are. We each have our own way of being, which includes our body language (like how we talk, move, look people in the eye, etc) and personality, but it also includes that “je ne sais quoi” — that special something, a person’s spirit. Sometimes, when you meet someone new, you can just tell you’re going to be friends with them. Or you might get a funny vibe not to trust them. In either case, it doesn’t have much to do with how they look, and we must stop believing the lie that we need to BUY THINGS to change the way we look to be more attractive. It’s just NOT TRUE! Authenticity should guide us instead. [Dove Evolution video]

4 – The lie: Men attract women by what they do. For the most part, men are told they have to do something cool, interesting, money-making, etc, to be successful and attract women. Or that they have to be clever/witty or romantic to say the right thing to get the girl.
Not true. You are not what you do. You attract by who you are. You don’t need a sexy job like race car driver to get the girls! Your attitude/spirit will attract them. Be the kind of person you want to attract — if you want a fun-loving, honest girl, be that. If you want a positive, easy-going partner, be that. Trust me, girls aren’t saying “I want a paramedic boyfriend” or “I want a guy who works at the Ford dealership!” It doesn’t matter what you do, it matters who you are. Think about who you would attract by who you are.

I think that the standard stereotypes are starting to be reversed, too. Men are now much more concerned about how they look, and products are now being pushed on them too (such as shave-gel, cologne, hair products). I’m guessing the products and marketing came first and then men started developing concern for their appearance. And women are now becoming more concerned with what they do, too.

I leave you with this last thought: You are not who you think you are… no one is. With no distractions, when you are truly alone with yourself, who are you? If you have no idea, but wish you did, go away by yourself with no distractions (TV, books, hobbies) and no mirror for 4+ days and I think you’ll find out! I certainly did when I went on my long kayak trip. It was wonderful!

Perspective

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What a surreal day I am having! Last night, I bought a newspaper. Turns out, Darren bought one, too, and when we were sitting around the table, I told him that, but then I couldn’t find where I’d put it. I was a little mildly annoyed (at myself, for having misplaced it). This morning, I was getting ready for work, and wondering where I had put my wallet — what is with me losing things?!? Well, I thought it was in my back pack, but I had taken it out to buy something… ah, yes, the newspaper, last night. Well, I will have to look for it later.

What do I find, sitting on the hood of my car this morning? My wallet, sitting on top of the newspaper, where I had put it down last night! Ack!

Everything was in the wallet, including the cash, and the paper looked completely undisturbed. How wild is that?!? Wow. When I got home last night, I had grabbed them off the front seat, but I needed to plug my car in, so I put them on the hood so my hands were free. Then I opened the back door, got my back pack and lunch bag and walked right by the wallet and newspaper on the car. And yet, my absent-mindedness had no repercussions whatsoever. Unless someone stole my VISA, bought stuff and then put it back… hang on while I check my account balances!  :) I can’t help but think the universe is looking out for me!

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Man I hate working early! It sucks getting out of my nice, warm bed! I have to walk down the cold hallway to the bathroom and then after my shower, I get all cold again! The house is never warm enough, at least not in the basement. And I am up before the sun, for pete’s sake.

Wow, I have seen the sun rise every sun-rise-jan-15-2day for the last 3 days! It is so beautiful — I have missed it so many times when I just wanted to sleep in… how much of life have I missed because I wanted to just stay in bed?! (What can I say, I’m not naturally a morning person.) I am lucky to work a job with a great view, and on day shifts, I get to watch the sun rise every day!

I love my shower! It is so nice and warm, and the water feels so wonderful on my skin!

I hate getting called into work on my day off!  I mean, I had plans for today! I had things I wanted to do! Now, I have drag myself out of bed to go to work. Ugh.

Okay, so I wasn’t planning on working, but it’s all going very well. Heck, I get to watch planes land all day! It’s not like I’m shoveling snow or working outside in the cold and wind. But I get a little fresh air from time to time, and that’s great too. I’m not tied to a desk, and have a lot of freedom in my job, which is perfect for me.

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There are always 2 sides to a situation and we can choose which side to see. We always have the chance to pick the positive or the negative thoughts about every situation we are in. We don’t just “find ourselves” in a situation, we are actively there. We don’t just randomly think thoughts, we either follow the pattern of thoughts we’ve been in for a while (a rut), or we actively choose what thoughts to think. Getting out of a rut is not as hard as you think… it just requires a change in direction.

Think outside the box today! See things from another perspective, and pick your thoughts with care!

Mind Your Television

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I’ve been noticing lately that I feel different when I watch TV. Within minutes of watching, my mind, somehow, feels different. It’s like the free-flowing thinking is being re-routed. Difficult to explain or understand, until now.

I’ve been reading in a very good book Evolve Your Brain by Joe Dispenza, D.C. He talks about how when you think a certain thought over and over, new neural nets are produced. In other words, neurons that fire together, wire together (as he puts it). This does make sense when you think of habits and things… you seem to do them automatically, don’t you? Those particular thoughts are so used to occurring together, they become almost “hard-wired,” probably to make it easier for your brain to do repeatedly. Well, we also have automatic thought patterns, although many of are unaware of what those are. It’s a great exercise to start becoming aware of what you are thinking, and also practicing staying in the moment with your thoughts and feelings, and not letting yourself get carried away in daydreams, or negative fantasizing (which I have dubbed “apocalypsing”). But, this is the subject of another blog, or heck, a whole book!

So, as I was reading Evolve Your Brain just now, it occurred to me: what if millions of people are all watching the same TV program, and all the commercials, at the same time? What does that do to the collective consciousness? For example, if a million women watch an hour-long show, and during that show, see the same anti-aging commercial 6 times (at least!), what effect does that have on women-kind as a whole? I think it might make us kind of obsessive about wrinkles or sagging, or age spots – you get the idea! What if that message affects only half of those women negatively (and the other half resist the message, knowing there is more to you than how young your face apparently looks)! That’s still an awful lot of people thinking the same thing at the same time… I wonder what that does to the Earth and all of mankind’s consciousness as a whole? What about violent shows, shows where the criminal takes centre stage, where twisted, aberrant behaviour is showcased. Maybe people would start to see those things as normal, or even as a way to get attention (since the criminal gets lots of attention, people chasing him etc.)… Scary, isn’t it? I am starting to understand how violence (in shows or video games) can be seen as entertainment. I never used to understand, but it’s the excitement that goes along with it – what will happen next, wow, I can’t believe he did that, etc. That excitement can be addictive – in fact, I think it’s pretty accurate to say that excitement is addictive no matter what form it comes in – TV, real life adventures, reading books, playing games to escape reality, etc.

So, the messages of TV are powerful, and they are amplified by the fact that so many millions of people see them. Even if you think they aren’t affecting you, they are. See if you can notice how you think or feel differently when you start to watch – you’ll probably only feel it for the first few minutes before the brainwashing begins and you lose your immunity to it. See if violent shows change you. That’s my theory anyway! Thoughts anyone?

Evolve Your Brain