More ArticlesDevelopmental psychology

Friday, April 28, 2017

Bibo: The exciting video that teaches how to value small daily habits


During the day we are often engaged in different routines, many of which are so automated that we almost do not realize their existence or appreciate them enough. But when they are gone, we miss them and leave an unmistakable void within us.

Habits like kissing your partner before going to work, sharing a tea or coffee with a friend, taking a walk with our dog, or having dinner with your partner every day, are the little things that fill our day and, in a broader sense, even our lives.

Unfortunately, we are not always aware of the importance of those small details and put our life in standby until the big hit hits us or we reach those desired results. We do not realize that the things we already have are more than enough to make us happy.

This wonderful and award-winning video titled "Bibo" refers to the small habits of our everyday life. Created by Anton Chistiakov and Mikhail Dmitriev, it is based on Ray Bradbury's story "There will be soft rains".

This is the story of a robot that was designed to sell ice cream. However, the buoy ride that takes place at the end of the story will allow us to fully identify with the character.

After seeing the video we can ask: if we were in the place of the robot what would be the day we would like to repeat?

You'll probably be surprised to find out that it's a common day of your life, when everything was fine. And it is also likely that day you were not even aware of how fortunate you were.

Maybe you can’t live that day once again, but remember that every day you have the chance to create those special days. Do not waste it.
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Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Cardiac Coherence: The concept that will change the way you see and face life


A few years ago it was discovered that we have not only one brain. The gut and the heart have their own circuits formed by tens of thousands of neurons that act as "little brains" inside our body and can have their own perceptions, to change the operating response of these and become a starting from their experiences. That is, in some way, even the heart is forming its own memories.

But the heart doesn’t have only a semi-autonomous neuron system but also a small factory of hormones. It secretes its own reserves of adrenaline, which uses when it needs to function at its full capacity. Secretes and also regulates the release of ANF, a hormone that regulates blood pressure. It also has its reserves of oxytocin, the hormone of love. Obviously, all these hormones act directly on the brain and on the body.

The heart, a small "brain" that beats to the rhythm of emotions and thoughts

When we learn to control our heart we can regulate our emotional brain, and vice versa. The strongest relationship between the heart and the emotional brain is established through the autonomic peripheral nervous system; the part of the nervous system that regulates the functioning of all our organs.

The autonomic nervous system consists of two branches that innervate every organ of the body from the emotional brain. The sympathetic branch releases adrenaline and noradrenaline, controls the fight and flight responses and accelerates the heart rate. The parasympathetic branch releases a different neurotransmitter that accompanies states of relaxation, as well as slows the heart rate.

These two systems, one acts as a brake and the other as an accelerator, should be in constant equilibrium. In fact, to address the problems of everyday life we need that brake and accelerator are in perfect conditions to compensate one another.

However, the heart is not limited to be influenced by the central nervous system, but also sends nerve fibers that control brain activity towards the base of the skull. In addition to the hormonal and electromagnetic influence, the heart also affects the emotional brain via direct nerve connections. This means that when the heart is irregular, it also brings with itself the emotional brain.

The swing reflected in the emotional brain and the heart is the frequency between heartbeats. The two branches of the autonomic nervous system are always about to speed up or slow down the heart, for this reason, the interval between two successive beats is never the same. This variability is healthy because indicates the correct functioning of the brake and accelerator and has nothing to do with the arrhythmia, tachycardia or symptoms of anxiety attacks that indicate that the parasympathetic brake does not control well the heart.

In fact, the heart can beat at an average of 60 beats per minute, but in an instant it can increase up to 70 and then down to 55, and we can’t understand why. A simple operation of complex mathematics is able to generate a tension that causes these peaks, even if we do not perceive it.

With new technology we’re able to perceive these changes in the heart rate, which are known as chaos and cardiac coherence. Generally, variations are soft and "chaotic": accelerations and braking occur sparsely and irregularly. Conversely, when the frequency of the heartbeat is strong and healthy the phases of acceleration and deceleration of the speed alternation show rapid and regular. This produces an image of an harmonic wave, known as "cardiac coherence."

Negative emotions, such as anger, anxiety, sadness, and even mundane concerns, are the ones that drop the heart rate and wreaks the havoc. In contrast, positive emotions such as joy, gratitude, and above all love, are those that promote more coherence.

Obviously, chaos or cardiac coherence also affect our physiological rhythms. The frequency of blood pressure and breathing align quickly to the cardiac coherence, and these three systems are synchronized. So, learning to develop cardiac coherence means saving energy.

For example, the cardiac coherence helps our brain to be faster and more accurate, which means that our ideas flow naturally and effortlessly. We are also more likely to adapt to any kind of unexpected event, because we are in balance and open to anything that might happen.

How to develop the cardiac coherence?

We need a change of perspective: we must face the problem from backward. Instead of waiting for the external circumstances to be ideal, we must begin to check the inside. When we achieve balancing the physiological chaos, we automatically feel better and improve our results.

One of the most effective methods for improving cardiac coherence is meditation.

1. Direct your attention inward. We must disconnect from the outside world and from all worries for a few minutes. It is important that we accept that our concerns can wait for a while, the time it takes for the heart and brain to recover their balance. The best way to do this is to start by making slow, deep breaths thus stimulating the parasympathetic system and slightly tilting the balance towards the physiological “brake”. To maximize its effect we have to fully concentrate on breathing until it becomes more natural and harmonious.

2. Concentrate on your heart. After approximately one minute is important that we focus in the chest. We can imagine breathing through the heart. We will continue to breathe slowly and deeply visualizing the heart. We can imagine that the inspiration gives us the oxygen we need and the exhalation allows us to get rid of the waste. We can imagine slow and flexible movements while the heart relaxes.

3. Connect to the feeling of warmth or expansion in the chest.
At first it will be very light, a way of enhancing it is to directly evoke a feeling of gratitude allowing it to invade our chest. The heart is always particularly sensitive to gratitude and to every sentiment of love.

Servan, D. (2003) Curación emocional. Barcelona: Editorial Kairós.
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Monday, April 24, 2017

Screaming to children damages their brain


Raising your voice will not give you the reason. Also, using this as an educational resource can be completely counterproductive. In fact, when we cry out to children we're just recognizing that both we have lost the control. Yelling is a sign that the situation got out of hand and we do not know how to approach it.

In the US they say that screaming to children is like using the horn while driving the car, and usually generates the same results. Also, we do not normally shout after a careful and deep reflection, because we believe it is the most effective tactic, we scream because we do not know what else to do.

The situations that lead us to speak out are varied, but it is seen that the maternal isolation and the nervous exhaustion are the main causes. In fact, many parents recognize that behind their screams hide stress and fatigue. In practice, what leads us to yell is not so much the child's behavior, but rather our inability to deal with the situation, probably because our cognitive and emotional resources are depleted.

Shouting affects the psychological and cerebral development of children

A study at the University of Pittsburgh found that yelling regularly to children as a form of discipline, holds many risks for their psychological development, including the possibility of developing an aggressive behavior or, conversely, over-shies.

These psychologists have analyzed 976 families and their children for two years, and found that crying out daily as part of the educational style, could predict the onset of behavioral problems in adolescents aged 13 or depressive symptoms at the age of 14.

Furthermore, they discovered that instead of minimizing the problems, the cries tended to aggravate the disobedience. They also saw that the "warmth" of parents; that is, their love and degree of emotional support, did not reduce the psychological impact of screams. This means that the mark left by the screams can’t be cleared with a hug or a loving gesture.

Another research conducted by a group of psychiatrists at Harvard Medical School has made a step further: its results warn that verbal abuse, such as yelling and humiliation, can alter significantly and permanently the brain structure of children.

These researchers analyzed the brains of 51 children who received psychiatric treatment and compared them to those of 97 healthy children. So they discovered that abandonment, corporal punishment and verbal discipline caused a significant reduction of the corpus callosum, a sort of "cable" consisting of nerve cells that connects the two hemispheres of the brain.

A smaller corpus callosum causes a lower integration of the two halves of the brain, which can cause dramatic changes in mood and personality. The study also found a decrease in activity in parts of the brain associated with emotions and attention. These children had a lower blood flow to a part of the brain known as the cerebellar vermis, which is essential to maintain a good emotional balance.

Why yelling causes so much suffering to children?

When children are very young they are not able to distinguish the difference between shouts and affection. In practice, they do not understand that if parents raise their voices with them does not mean they do not love them, but that can be stressed or are blaming them for a bad behavior. Not knowing the difference could create a strong feeling of anxiety and stress. In fact, the researchers believe that changes in brain structure are due to the excessive release of cortisol, the stress hormone, during the first years of life.

It is curious, but children and adolescents who have grown up in an environment where screams are daily bread, are also twice as likely to have an abnormal brain electrical activity. In some cases, this activity has even been likened to that of people who suffer from epilepsy.

How to stop screaming to your children?

- Assume that yelling is synonymous of losing the control. Screams are not an educational strategy or a discipline, but a sign that the situation is out of control. If you are aware of this difference you’ll be able to cope better with the situation.

- Find out what are the situations and times when you screams more.
The researchers found that parents often shout at some time throughout the day, such as at breakfast, before going to school or in the evening. Locating this scheme will allow you to discover the root cause of your behavior, which generally tends to be hurry, stress or fatigue.

- Take your time to calm down. It is important that parents are alert to signs that indicate that are losing the control. Before you let the emotional brain take control, take a minute to calm down. Breathe deeply and, if necessary, leave the room.

- Do not feed high expectations. Sometimes frustration stems from the difference between expectations and reality. It's possible that you're frustrated because you expect that your son did the tasks alone, for example, and this didn’t happen. Therefore, it is sometimes convenient to remember that he’s only a child and does not do things out of spite against you, but still needs to get mature.

- Do not feel guilty. In any case, you don’t have to feel guilty because feeling bad can only increase the tension. Anyone can shout out from time to time, you just have to make sure it does not become the norm. Parenting is not easy, and you do not have to claim to be perfect, just make sure to always show the best part of yourself.

Wang, M. T. & Kenny, S. (2014) Longitudinal Links Between Fathers’ and Mothers’ Harsh Verbal Discipline and Adolescents’ Conduct Problems and Depressive Symptoms. Child Developmental; 85(3): 908–923.
Teicher, M. H. et. Al. (1993) Increased prevalence of electrophysiological abnormalities in children with psychological, physical, and sexual abuse. J Neuropsychiatry Clin Neurosci; 5(4): 401-408
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Friday, April 21, 2017

10 Taoist phrases that we should always remember

personal growth

Taoism is an ancient and wise philosophy that can enhance our daily lives and help us expand our worldview. Most of the phrases attributed to great Taoist masters are quite enigmatic, so there is no single meaning, but may have different interpretations over time and according to the moment of life we ​​are going through. However, some of these can become a mantra that helps us through the most difficult situations or can give us that extra dose of motivation that allows us move forward.

1. A thousand miles journey begins with the first step

One of the methods inspired by Taoism, Kaizen, teaches that little by little you go far. You can only have one certainty: if you don’t take the first step you’ll never reach your destination. The simple act of moving will not get you where you want to go, but at least you move from where you are. The secret is to get going and not wait for the "right time" that will probably never come. And above all, do not despair or expect to get the results instantly.

2. There is a time to move forward and one to go back. A moment to go up and one to go down

Life is marked by ups and downs, the "bad" periods teach us to value the "good" phases, but in fact in all situations there are good and bad aspects, it’s just that we often fail to notice them. In any case, it is important to be aware that each stage brings something. Accepting each of these will enable us to make the most with the least effort. In this regard, a part of the Taoist intelligence consists of not resisting and learn to flow with the tide.

3. If you can’t advance one inch go back one foot

In Taoism, the concept of flowing is critical. This philosophy teaches us that it is wiser to follow the current than swim against it. So when we find different obstacles on our way, rather than insisting in that direction we should take a step back and reconsider the path we have taken. It is not always necessary to change objectives, sometimes is enough to make some changes to the route. But other times we should really consider whether it's worth doing so many efforts and sacrifices to reach a certain goal.

4. When I stop being what I am become what I might be

Learning to unlearn, it would be another way to express this idea. Throughout life we ​​go accumulating too many stereotypes, prejudices and beliefs that end up limiting us. For example, every label that we assigned ourselves is a limitation that prevents us to go further and develop our potential. So Taoism teaches us that, at times, to reach our potential we must leave behind everything we think to be and determines us, because at some point, these beliefs become obstacles to development.

5. No one can see oneself reflected in the water flowing

Making decisions, especially when they are important, being drifted by emotions, can lead to regrets. No matter whether it is anger, sadness or euphoria, when the emotional brain takes over, we can’t think clearly, simply because this disconnects its rational part, so that we are not able to know exactly what is best for us. So to make decisions is better wait for waters to calm down.

6. Perfection is willingness to be imperfect

The obsession with perfection ends up creating an unnecessary tension which not only make us sick but also consumes our energy. The Taoist philosophy proposes that we learn to flow, getting the best out of ourselves, but without claiming to be perfect in everything we do. In this way we become more authentic because we express ourselves more naturally.

7. A good traveler has no fixed plans, and is not aimed to arrive. The journey is its own reward

In many cases, it is not so important what we have achieved, but the person we become while pursuing this goal. Along the way we meet interesting people, we grow and expand our minds or, conversely, we lose the people we love, forget our values ​​and become more strict and closed persons. So when you pursue a goal, don’t lose the sight of the way and, most importantly, do not forget to enjoy it.

8. Stop thinking, and ends with your problems

The vast majority of our problems exist only in our minds, because it’s not the situations, but how we react to them and the meaning that we give them that can cause us damage. So, in many cases, to end the feeling of anxiety and stress, you just need to change your point of view and stop those negative and catastrophic thoughts that normally occupy your mind. It is not easy, but be aware of it is the first step.

9. What for the caterpillar is the end of the world for the rest of the world is called butterfly

Sometimes the trees keep you from seeing the forest. When you are immersed in a situation that is considered "negative," you assume a catastrophic attitude that will prevent you from seeing opportunities. Taking a step back and asking the opinion of another person, will allow you establish a psychological distance that will not only reduce suffering, but will also help you to radically change the situation. Remember that every situation can be seen from different points of view and yours is just one of the many and can also be the worst.

10. Life is a series of natural and spontaneous changes. Do not resist them, it would cause you just pain. Let reality be reality

Life stands for change, nothing is static, even if our obsession with control is opposed to this reality. But pretending that everything would continue always the same means to resist the reality, ignore it, and this does not mean it will disappear but that we’ll harm ourselves. The best way to handle it is to face reality, with the conviction that it is just a phase and that we are waiting for better times in the future. Similarly, we must learn not to cling to things because attachment is the seed of suffering.
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Thursday, April 20, 2017

5 mental habits that keep you from thinking clearly

personal growth

I suggest you to do a very simple exercise before you start reading this article. Stand up and start walking counting backwards, starting from 1000 and subtracting seven from time to time, for example, 1,000, 993, 986... At some point, you’ll stop walking, probably very soon. This is because the brain has to concentrate and work seriously to make the calculation and is not able to control where your legs are going.

In fact, the brain works similar to a computer's processor: has a limited power of data processing or, our cognitive resources are finite at a given moment. Any emotional or intellectual activity that requires too much “space” eventually it will affect our ability to concentrate, solve problems, be creative or even remember. As a result, our IQ is reduced, at least temporarily, until we release these resources.

The most common mental habits

Most of the activities that we make every day don’t have a significant impact on our ability to think and make decisions, but some mental habits consume such amount of resources as to affect our ability to think clearly. The interesting thing is that most people are not aware that these psychological habits are so harmful, so to continue to nourish them and slip into a downward spiral.

1. Brooding negative ideas

Facing a negative event is understandable that we can’t erase it right away and leave it behind. In fact, sometimes, keep it up in our minds trying to find imaginary solutions helps us release tension and has a cathartic power. But when this becomes a habit and you can’t get rid of these negative ideas, you will end agonizing, and your emotional health as well as the physical one will suffer. When you continually relive in your mind the facts that worry you, your ability to concentrate will decrease considerably because it is like looking at the world through gray lenses.

2. Unresolved guilts

We all feel guilty from time to time for something we did wrong, or not as we wished. But when guilt does not abandon us it turns into a cognitive distraction that affects heavily our capacity and eventually causes some emotional damage. When you feel guilty your self-esteem is reduced, you develop a negative image of yourself and you’re not able to take advantage of good opportunities because you think not to deserve it. Therefore, feeding guilt will make you feel very unhappy and will immerse you in a cycle of negativity.

3. Ineffective complaints

Most people tend to share their frustrations with those next to them. Sometimes complaining has a cathartic power, it allows you release anger and frustration and feel lighter. But when complaints become the norm, when you see only the negative part in everything that happens, you lose the other part of the picture, and run the risk of making rash decisions. Remember that complaining means always chose the most negative part and focus on the limits. Moreover, complaints are like vampires that drain your energy, so it is not surprising that several studies have established that the complaints are a poison for the brain.

4. Constant Criticism

We all criticize in some occasion, criticism comes from our tendency to confront and are not always negative. However, if you become an extremely critical person, who is not satisfied with anything, not even himself, you're going to assume a hypervigilant attitude, and you'll always be chasing the mistakes of others or your own. Obviously, living constantly in this state will take you a large bill to pay, at cognitive and emotional level.

5. Unnecessary concerns

When we have a problem, it is normal that it fills our minds as we try to find a solution. But if instead of looking for possible solutions you’re constantly worried, even for problems that do not exist yet, you’ll transform yourself in the typical person who has troubles for each solution. The concern will keep your mind constantly distracted, looking for troubles everywhere. If you're concerned your mind neglects everything else, because it considers that it is not important, and will focus only on the concerns, generating much anxiety and distress.
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Wednesday, April 19, 2017

The secret of a happy marriage? The man must be emotionally intelligent

couple and sexuality

In a couple’s relationship is important that both play their grain of sand and are able to stop those that John Gottman, one of the greatest scholars of married couples in recent times, has called the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse: criticism , defensiveness, contempt and stonewalling.

However, a series of studies conducted by Gottman himself at the University of Washington where hundreds of couples were followed for more than a decade, recording some of their conversations and discussions, indicates that one of the keys for having a happy marriage and reduce the chances of a divorce resides in emotional intelligence, especially that of man.

Male defensiveness increases the chances that the couple goes into crisis

Couple's relationships can survive the moments of anger, complaints and criticisms, but there is a tipping point where negativity creates more negativity and is necessary that one of them be able to stop and defuse the conflict.

Interestingly, according to Gottman’s research, 65% of men increases the negativity during a discussion, often responding with a defensive attitude that reveals resistance to partner’s influence. In addition, there is 81% probability that a wedding goes into crisis when the man is not willing to share power with his partner.

The problem is that when the man did not develop sufficiently his emotional intelligence rejects the partner's influence because he’s afraid of losing power. Therefore, all that the partner says or does is perceived as an attack, which in turn generates defensiveness and leads to a new attack causing an escalation of frustration and anger.

On the contrary, an emotionally intelligent man is able to perceive and consider the partner's emotions. This means that it does not stop at words, but goes further to perceive a sense, this allows to connect better and "turn off" the fire caused by the discussion instead of feeding it.

Moreover, when man has developed his emotional intelligence is not afraid to express his feelings, and this helps him to connect with his partner. We must not forget that emotions, such as fear and sadness, generate empathy and encourage each other to make peace.

Obviously, this does not mean that women do not get angry and increase the negativity in the discussions. In fact, in the study it was noted that many women often resort to scolding. But they were also much more receptive to the influence of the partner and kept into consideration his emotions and feelings.

Men are from Mars and women from Venus?

A book says that "men are from Mars and women are from Venus." But it’s not entirely true, there are more things that unite us than those that differentiate us, but sometimes in relationships men and women feel that they are from different planets.

Normally these differences begin to take shape during childhood. When male children play, their goal is usually to beat the opponent and if someone gets hurt, unless it is really serious, the game continues. Children are told that they must not cry or show weak in front of others. Obviously these stereotypes are progressively fixed in their mind. On the contrary, in their games the little girls tend to adopt roles as social workers or nurses, in which emotions are the key.

Over time, these differences tend to reinforce, though this does not mean that all women or men correspond to these models. Some women may become very insensitive and some men are able to develop a high sensitivity. But according to Gottman, only 35% of men can develop a high emotional intelligence.

The key to a long and happy couple relationship: Accept the influence and learn to connect

Other psychologists have analyzed the influence of emotional intelligence on the duration of the relationship and the satisfaction of its members. A meta-analysis conducted by researchers at the University of Punjab revealed that emotional intelligence is a good predictor of the duration of a marriage, especially characteristics such as empathy, emotional assertiveness, self-control and self-knowledge.

Another research conducted by psychologists at Clark University with 92 pairs revealed that the ability to identify and express emotions is key to maintaining a long marriage and because both people feel happy and satisfied with the relationship.

In addition, Gottman also found that when women come forward with complaints more gently and add a touch of humor, men are much more receptive and less bellicose.

All this indicates that men and women should assume that the relationship is not a battlefield or a space in which to measure forces. They both need to acknowledge the other's influence, recognize their own mistakes and learn to reduce tension when it threatens to spin out of control.

To do it both of them have to compromise and, above all, must be able to put themselves in someone else's shoes and learn to express their needs and desires without attacking or criticizing. Although there are several studies that show that emotionally women are more intelligent than men, we must not forget that emotional intelligence is a broad concept that encompasses several areas.

The same Daniel Goleman said that one of the gender differences is that women are more empathetic, while men are more inclined to action. The insula, a key area for empathy, is more active in women but turns itself “off" faster in men, who tend to quickly take action to find a solution. A form is not better than the other, both are valid and can be used to feed the relationship. After all, to find the balance is not necessary that two people be equal, but able to complement each other.

Shahida, S. & Khalid, R. (2009) Role of emotional intelligence in marital relationship. Pakistan Journal of Psychological Research; 24(1-2): 43-62.
Cordova, J. V. et. Al. (2005) Emotional Skillfulness in Marriage: Intimacy As a Mediator of the Relationship Between Emotional Skillfulness and Marital Satisfaction. Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology; 24(2): 218-235.
Gottman, J. M. & Levenson, R. W. (2002) A two-factor model for predicting when a couple will divorce: exploratory analyses using 14-year longitudinal data.Fam Process; 41(1): 83-96.
Feldman, B. et. Al. (2000) Sex Differences in Emotional Awareness. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin; 26. 1027-1035.
Carrere, S. & Gottman, J.M. (1999) Predicting Divorce among Newlyweds from the First Three Minutes of a Marital Conflict Discussion, Family Process; 38(3): 293-301.
Gootman, J. M. et. Al. (1997) Battering and the male rejection of influence from women. Aggressive Behavior; 23(5): 375-388.
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Tuesday, April 18, 2017

The best song in the world to feel empowered


Music is one of the most powerful tools we have at our disposal to rapidly affect our mood. The key is simple: music directly affects the oldest structures in our brain, the kind that are connected to emotions. This means that music skips the prefrontal area of ​​the brain responsible for regulating and contain emotions, so we might call it a kind of "emotional serum" injected directly into our veins.

Consequently, there are melodies that can relax, help to sleep, relieve pain, generate nostalgia and joy and also stimulate creativity. But on this occasion, psychologists at Columbia University have wondered what is the song that creates a strong feeling of empowerment.

Music to stimulate the feeling of empowerment

The novelist George Eliot stated that the music gave strength to his limbs and to ideas into his brain and Abraham Lincoln instructed the Union Army band to sound melodies of the confederation to indicate the power of the federal government and dominion over southern rebels. The power of music has never gone unnoticed.

Thus, these psychologists selected 31 songs of different musical genres, from heavy metal to hip-hop, classical and punk music. Later they asked a group of people to listen to them and indicate which of those generated a greater feeling of empowerment and which don’t. They spotted the winner in the song: "We Will Rock You" by Queen. The second position was conquered by the song "Get Ready for This" by 2 Unlimited.

Then researchers recruited other volunteers and subjected them to various tests as they listened to these two songs and others that were classified as demotivating. In this way they discovered that the winning songs:

- Activate the feeling of empowerment. The songs that create a sense of power activate concepts related to control, strength, authority and power. In fact, during the experiment the participants who heard these musical themes tended to complete words related to these concepts, indicating that they were activated in their mind.

- Create the illusion of control. The musical themes that trigger the feeling of empowerment even create the illusion to have control. Researchers found that when people listened to these songs felt they had more control over their environment and even thought they could influence the results of different tests, although this depended largely on the case.

- Encourage to take the initiative. Music tracks that generate the feeling of empowerment encourage people to take the first step. Researchers saw that the people who listened to these songs were twice as likely to take the first step.

The key is the bass

Another interesting result is that lyrics had virtually no effect on the feeling of empowerment. But what seemed to have a strong influence was an instrument, the bass.

Researchers used different musical pieces with the sound of the bass digitally enhanced and found that people reported increased feelings of empowerment as much as crispy and sharp was the bass sound.

Galinsky, A. D. et. Al. (2015) The Music of Power. Perceptual and Behavioral Consequences of Powerful Music. Social Psychological and Personality Science; 6(1).
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Monday, April 17, 2017

Everybody talks and criticizes, nobody listens and intends

personal growth

Talking and criticizing is easy, we just open our mouth and say what we think. Listening and understanding is much more difficult because it involves, above all, taken a proactive approach that allows us to put ourselves in background and empathize with the person we’re facing. To avoid the problems caused by this attitude in interpersonal relationships, we just have to keep in mind the words of Epictetus: "Nature gave us two eyes, two ears and one mouth so that we could observe and listen twice as much as we speak."

Active listening is a virtue for a few

Many people will simply listen, which is not the same as understanding. They hear what we’re saying but do not process it, then they just simply follow a set script in their mind that sometimes does not even have points of contact with what we’ve said. These people do not understand communication as something that enriches, but as a battle to be won at all costs, in which one must be right and the other wrong.

Active listening is another thing, implies a greater effort, both cognitively and emotionally. Active listening means going beyond words to understand the emotions and feelings that underlie the speech.

It implies an active attitude, in which we try to put ourselves in the place of the other, so as not to criticize but put ourselves in his way of being and into the experiences that has lived, to really understand what he’s saying.

Active listening means being emotionally available, fully present, to connect with our interlocutor. In fact, it doesn’t simply mean listening, but also ask questions to help us better understand the message that are trying to send us.

A subtle clue indicating that the person is connected emotionally and maintains an active listening is what is known as "mirroring." It is a reflex in which the listener repeats, without realizing it, some of the body movements and gestures of the speaker, especially facial expressions that indicate emotions such as pain, joy, disgust or fear.

When we criticize we lose an opportunity to grow

We all criticize. The criticism stems from our tendency to compare. We constantly compare things to see if they are better or worse, larger or smaller, more or less adequate...

But in relationships it is very easy to switch from confrontation to criticism assuming the role of judges. All those behaviors, attitudes and ways of thinking that do not conform to our values ​​and expectations end up being criticized. Because we often criticize what we do not understand or frighten us.

However, when we criticize we lose a valuable opportunity to grow. Criticism is a conclusion, a fact that we take for granted. Conversely, when we put ourselves in the place of the others it can be produced a substantial change because we go out of our smaller "self" and enter into another reality, which can be much richer or simply different, where we can learn and try new things.

Therefore, criticism does more harm to those who use it rather than those who are criticized, because the latter can forget the words he has heard, but critics will have lost forever the chance to grow and connect with another person.

3 Golden Rules to criticize less and be more empathetic

1. If you focus on words you perceive only half the message. Only when you go beyond the words you can really connect with the person. Try to discover the emotions that support your speech and you’ll be able to better understand what the person is telling you, thanks to empathy.

2. Put yourself in the place of the other, or at least try. If for a moment you stop thinking about yourself, leave your preconceived beliefs and try to put yourself in another's place, it will be much more difficult to assume the judge's attitude.

3. Everybody makes mistakes, you too. Treat the others as you want to be treated. When you assume that we all make mistakes sooner or later, you’ll become more comprehensive and adopt a more tolerant attitude. Think about how you like to be treated. You want to be judged or criticized, or would you prefer a more empathetic and comprhensive attitude towards you? Remember that everything you give sooner or later it will be returned to you, in one way or another.
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