More ArticlesDevelopmental psychology

Thursday, February 23, 2017

There are people, who for their chronotype, shouldn’t get up early in the morning

sleep disorders

There are people who, before the sun rises, they had breakfast, cleaned the house and organized the day. But for most of the people, getting up with the first rays of the sun is a feat. In fact, some people are just the opposite: they are much more efficient and productive at night.

In this respect, science has created two opposing groups: the early risers (larks), who wake up early and take advantage at most of the morning and the vespers (owls), whose yield increases during the day. Recently, a new study conducted at the Research Institute of Molecular Biology and Biophysics of the Russian Academy of Sciences revealed that in reality there is much more behind these chronotypes and that certain people should never get up early in the morning.

"Lethargic" and "energetic" people

These researchers looked at 130 people who had to stay awake for 24 hours in order to analyze their energy level. So they found out that there are people who can spend the whole day with a low energy level, classified as "lethargic", while others could remain more active despite sleep deprivation and no matter what time they'd wake up , the latter were classified as "energetic".

These new categories indicate that for people with less energy would be detrimental to rise early. In fact, their problem would be due to the fact that their circadian rhythm is not well synchronized with the natural light-dark cycle.

In essence, the sun light is a kind of natural clock that stimulates our body to stop producing melatonin, the hormone that causes sleep. So we can maintain an adequate level of attention during the day. On the contrary, when the light ceases, the levels of melatonin increases and we get slowly dozed.

In the early risers and energetic people, the peak of greatest activity comes mostly at midday, when sunlight is most intense. However, the vespers or lethargic would not be so well synchronized with the cycle of light, so their performance would increase slowly during the day.

These differences are due, among other factors, to our DNA. According to a research conducted at the National Center of Neurology and Psychiatry in Tokyo, the PER-3 gene, one of the genes of our biological clock, determines the propensity to get up sooner or later, as well as our energy levels throughout the day.

Why should you know and adapt your rhythm to your chronotype?

Knowing your chronotype allows you to work at your own natural circadian pace, which has an influence not only on your productivity but also on your mood and health. In fact, it has been shown that when there is a mismatch of the circadian rhythm the person is more likely to suffer from obesity, diabetes and certain cancers. Also, taking advantage of the moments of greater productivity will allow you to do more with less effort, which will have a positive effect on your mood.

In fact, the circadian rhythm is so important that some doctors at the hospital Paul Brousse in Paris have come to affirm that chemotherapy should be applied according to this cycle because we know that the cells of some types of lymphoma tend to multiply more between 9 and 10pm. In contrast, the intestinal cells tend to do so at 7am and those of the bone marrow at noon. Therefore, if the chemotherapy is applied in these moments, it will be more effective and less toxic.

Pulitov, A. A. et. Al. (2015) How many diurnal types are there? A search for two further “bird species”. Personality and Individual Differences; 72: 12-17.
Hida, A. et. Al. (2014) Screening of Clock Gene Polymorphisms Demonstrates Association of a PER3Polymorphism with Morningness–Eveningness Preference and Circadian Rhythm Sleep Disorder. Scientific Reports; 4: 6309.
Lévi, F. et. Al. (2007) Implications of circadian clocks for the rhythmic delivery of cancer therapeutics. Adv Drug Deliv Rev; 59(9-10):1015-1035.
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Wednesday, February 22, 2017

How technology is changing psychology?


Psychology has never held out by technological advances, it has always tried to put them in its practice. If we take a look at the history of this science we will discover that many psychologists, psychiatrists and neurologists, invented their own devices based on the technological advances of the time.

In the eighteenth century, for example, Franz Mesmer, an Austrian physician, used magnets to try to alleviate mental disorders. He then created his famous "health tanks", a wooden container in which two rows of bottles filled with magnetized water run towards a steel bar fitted with movable conductive tips. The patient applied one of these tips to the painful side. He also used to seat people around this tank holding hands to convey the magnetism between them.

However, it was only in the nineteenth century, when in Psychology broke the passion for technological devices, mainly those used for measuring and limited to the use in the laboratory. Such is the case of the plethysmograph, which could be considered the precursor of the TAC and that measured changes in brain volume in people with skull lesions.

Also during this period made its appearance the kymograph, the precursor of the lie detector (polygraph), which was introduced in the early decades of the twentieth century, and even today is still used to measure changes in physiological parameters when the person is exposed to certain stimuli.

Now Psychology is facing the new challenges posed by digital technology, the progress of the Internet and mobile phones, as well as the use of Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality, the new horizons that are changing not only the way we communicate, but also perceive the world and live.

Computerized tests have become the norm

Once the psychological tests were performed by hand, with a pen and a paper. The psychologist would sit in front of the person and apply the various tests. But now many of those tests are realized with computer or directly on the mobile phones. This way we save time and many people report feeling less nervous because the presence of the psychologist made them feel uneasy.

In the research field the possibility to perform remote testing opens new horizons, since we can collect more data in less time. In fact, many of the major studies involving thousands of participants, are made from online surveys that people can fill in anywhere in the world they are.

Obviously, this new way of gathering information also implies that the psychologist can’t offer help and see how the person reacts. In this way, the tests do not analyze the potential, but focus in providing a framework, more or less certain, of the present. Therefore, it is essential to properly formulate the questions, structure the interview very well and choose the right online tool to create the questionnaire. This reduces the risk that people abandon the interview or that is collected information very difficult to analyze.

"Big Data" gives a boost to the new branches of Psychology

Before every science followed its path, the results didn’t transcend that field. But today, with Big Data, a vast ocean of data produced from each of these studies can easily be stored in such a way that we can access to a huge database where we can analyze and cross several behavioral variables.

This possibility, unthinkable until now, allowed the development of disciplines such as neuroeconomy and neuromarketing. In fact, it opens the way for the realization of the most comprehensive meta-analysis in which we can access a huge amount of data that offer conclusions closer to reality, starting from the analysis of the behavior of hundreds of thousands of people. This way we can better understand how they react and under what circumstances, to design the most appropriate treatments.

Therapies can be given on the internet

It is no longer necessary to go to the psychologist, an Internet connection is enough to receive treatment at home. When the case is not very serious, many psychologists offer the possibility to realize some online sessions or even the entire treatment. Therefore geographical barriers fall down and people who have difficulty to move can follow the treatment.

This new way of doing therapy also encourages those people who were afraid of being seen entering the psychologist’s clinic, since there are still many stereotypes at the respect. In addition, there are online programs in which people can remain anonymous and clarify their doubts or receive orientation.

Of course, online consultations also have drawbacks. For example, the psychologist will have problems reading the non-verbal language and may overlook important details. In online psychological sessions it possible to capture visual clues, but there are limits, it is difficult to see so many emotional signs as in an encounter face-to face.

It is even more difficult to establish the necessary relationship for the therapy and make the person feel comfortable and supported. But nonetheless, a recently published meta-analysis revealed that online therapy can be as effective as the traditional one for the treatment of depressive disorders, anxiety and phobias.

Heal ourselves in a world of virtual reality for being healed in real life

Virtual reality is gaining ground in psychological therapies, in particular for the treatment of disorders such as anxiety, phobias and post-traumatic stress, in which has already proved its effectiveness. In fact, a meta-analysis that included 13 studies that were comparing the use of virtual reality with the traditional one with almost 400 patients, concluded that this tool is not only more effective, but its results also last longer.

The key lies in the fact that virtual reality takes advantage of our fear and confusion, a state that triggers a strong emotional response that changes the functioning of our brain, preventing us to detect small details that would indicate that we are not in a real environment. All this takes place in only 12 or 15 milliseconds, and, even if the situation that the person lives in a virtual environment is not real, are activated the same physiological and psychological mechanisms, so as to be able to correct the inadequate response with extraordinary effectiveness .

In addition, virtual reality has an acceptance rate higher than the systematic desensitization and in vivo exposure, since about 27% of people refuse to submit to traditional techniques, simply because they are too afraid. In contrast, only 3% of the people refuse to use virtual reality, because they know they can face their fears in a safe and controlled therapeutic environment, where they can decide when to stop.

Furthermore, most of the virtual reality modern systems allow the psychologist to control in every instant the exposure to the therapy, adapting the experience at the level of each patient. It is also possible to track the person's physiological constants to know exactly the level of anxiety and make sure that doesn’t increase excessively.

Would you tell your problems to a robot?

However, the changes already underway are not the most interesting, but the ones that will come in the future. Right now, 6% of smartphone’s apps in the health sector focus on mental health. Many of these claim to become a "digital coach" offering the person the necessary guidance to face his troubles or improve some areas of his life.

In addition, engineers are already working on a new field called "affective computing" in order to make sure that the machines will learn to seize our emotional states and react accordingly. So perhaps, in the future, you could find yourself telling your problems to a robot.

Aboujaoude, E. et. Al. (2015) Telemental health: A status update. World Psychiatry; 14(2): 223–230.
Bouchard, S. et. Al. (2012) Description of a Treatment Manual for In Virtuo Exposure with Specific Phobia. Virtual Reality in Psychological, Medical and Pedagogical Applications; 82-108. Rijeka: InTech.
Powers, M. B. & Emmelkamp, P. M. G. (2008) Virtual reality exposure therapy for anxiety disorders: A meta-analysis. J Anxiety Disord; 22: 561-569.
Gil, T. et. Al. (1998) Una historia de la Psicología Moderna. Madrid: McGraw-Hill.
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Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Who does not know the adversity is not aware of he’s strength

personal growth

No one wants to encounter obstacles in its path, suffering losses or face adversity. All these situations are surrounded by a negative aura, especially because in our society we are used to polarize the experiences, cataloging them as positive and, therefore, desirable and others as negative and undesirable.

But the Taoist philosophy teaches us that "positive" and "negative" come together in all situations, and that is bad the excess of negativity as well as that of positivity. To live a more balanced life you should learn to see the positive in the negative, learn the lesson hidden behind the failure and focus on how recuperate after a fall.

Only adversity allow you to discover your true strength

"The blows of adversity are bitter, but never sterile,"
said the French philosopher Ernest Renan. When faced with situations that lead us out of our comfort zone, when we are forced to abandon the calm waters to face the fury of the tide, then we need to activate our psychological resources to survive. In these moments of inner struggle we can produce a psychological change, a learning process that will turn us into more resilient people.

In fact, a person who doesn’t know the adversity doesn’t know itself completely, doesn’t know what are its limits and hasn’t tested its strength. So, we can consider the hardships as a sort of telescope that instead of pointing outward is heading within us. Then, when we get out of this situation, we will not return to see life in the same way and will be changed, we’ll have enriched our "box of psychological tools."

Therefore, we can understand adversity as an opportunity to know each other better. Once the tide is calm and we reflect, we realize that we are a bit stronger, more mature and wiser.

Resilience is like a muscle that gets stronger in adversity

Resilience is the ability to exit the situations strengthened. It is not just to recover from the "hangover" and continue as usual, but develop new resources we hadn’t to project into the future and cope better with the new problems that will arise.

In this regard, it is particularly enlightening a study conducted at the Royal Mardesen Hospital in Sutton and King's College Hospital in London. These psychologists wondered if the way to deal with the disease can affect its course.

Thus they identified the five most common reactions to the diagnosis of cancer: fatalism, hopelessness/helplessness, anxiety, denial and fighting spirit. Then they discovered that when the initial clinical conditions were similar, those who faced the disease with a fighting spirit and showed resilient had a better prognosis.

But the most interesting result was that those who had suffered major trauma in the past and had overcome them with their own strength, were more likely to face successfully the new problems and find the tools necessary to solve them, because they had more confidence in their capacity.

This indicates that resilience is like a muscle that is trained and strengthened in adversity. If we have already gone through difficult situations and exit them, when we find ourselves faced with adversity we will have more confidence in our abilities.

In fact, another study carried out by the Boston College indicates that resilient people are able to experience positive emotions even in high stress situations. So they can reduce their level of physiological activation and quickly find a new balance.

In resilient people certain brain circuits work differently, especially the anterior insula, an area that is responsible for creating an emotionally relevant context for the situations in which we live, and which is linked to basic emotions such as pain, fear and hatred. This means that in resilient people the insula is activated only by really negative stimuli, which allows them to "preserve" their psychological resources and avoid stressing out unnecessarily.

Adversity only make sense when foster learning and growth

"The world breaks everyone and then many are strong in the broken points," wrote Ernest Hemingway. Undoubtedly, adversity is not synonymous of growth. Not all people grow up with problems, some prefer to turn their backs in haste without learning nothing. Others take a negative attitude or become chronic victims, something that will only bring them more problems and misfortunes.

Therefore, in front of adversity is necessary to adopt a proactive attitude. We can’t expect that life will not bring us challenges and obstacles, but we can prepare ourselves to overcome them and grow. When facing difficult situations ask yourself what you can learn and how they can help you become stronger and more positive person. Probably at the beginning it will be difficult, but when you will be in calmer waters is important for you to reflect on the experience. Only this way pain and suffering will have a sense.

Waugh, C. e. Et. Al. (2008) The neural correlates of trait resilience when anticipating and recovering from threat. Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience; 3(4): 322–332.
Tugade, M. M. & Fredrickson, B. L. (2004) Resilient individuals use positive emotion to bounce back from negative emotional experiences. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology; 86(2): 320-333.
Taylor, S. E.; Lichtman, R. R. & Wood, J. V. (1984) Attributions, beliefs about control and adjustment to breast cancer. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology; 46: 489-502.
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Monday, February 20, 2017

What are revealing of you the emoji that you’re using?


Emoji are already part of our online communications. However, behind those symbols hides much more than a simple message, they can reveal details of the personality of the user. Or at least that's the result of a study conducted at the Edge Hill University and the Australian Catholic University, which states that emoji are similar to the gestures we use and their usage varies from person to person.

These researchers believe that just as happens in a face to face conversation, in which we look at details such as body movements, facial expressions and tone of voice, in a digital conversation emoji perform the same function: they serve to help understand the message and the emotions hidden behind the words.

Emoji are our virtual gestures, help us to express our emotions, feelings and moods, to leave no doubt. Therefore, they are a sort of an extra-verbal virtual language.

The first emoji were introduced to avoid the ambiguity of the virtual messages

The first emoticon appeared in 1980, when Scott Elliot Fahlman, a computer science professor at Carnegie Mellon, joined for the first time a parenthesis and a colon in a forum so that people could distinguish jokes by serious topics.

But unlike emoticons, emoji not only include images of faces, but also other figures, such as Flemish and monkeys. Today, these symbols have penetrated so deeply in our culture that it is estimated that 75% of Spaniards use them in chat rooms and instant messaging.

What your emoji say of you?

These psychologists say that if you often use smileys in your messages probably you are a happier, creative person, open to new experiences and more authentic in interpersonal relationships.

In fact, these people usually send a good impression to the others. Researchers have found that when using emoji with happy or positive faces, people believe that behind that message there is someone who stands out for his kindness, responsibility and openness. And often they aren’t wrong.

Generally the use of emoji has also been linked to extroversion and naturalness. In fact, it was noted that people who have no trouble in real life expressing their emotions also tend to use more emoji to convey their emotional states when communicating with others online.

The fact that you decide to use the emoji also means that you worry that the message is understood properly and want to avoid misunderstandings. Furthermore, it indicates that you're trying to connect emotionally with the other person, giving a more personal touch to the conversation.

Those who use more often emoji are also aware that the others analyze and judge them starting from their messages, then use less sad faces or emoji that send messages that may be considered negative.

Therefore, who does not just use the typical smilies but chooses more elaborated emoji can be a most creative person, who wants to surprise the others and probably has a greater ability to communicate.

But it must be also said that the use of an excessive number of emoji can be counterproductive. Many people are bothered by the excessive use of these symbols. In fact, in some cases the excessive use of emoji has been linked to emotional instability.

How to properly use emoji?

Of course, the use of a smiling emoji do not automatically transforms you into a kind person, but will help present yourself better and send a more positive message. However, you should not abuse these symbols because you’re at risk of sending a negative message, especially if you're talking to someone you do not know well.

In general, the emoji should be used where are needed to clarify the ambiguity of the message or strengthen a certain point in the conversation. You can also use them to make a good impression or positively capture the attention of the others, especially if you choose less used symbols.

Kaye, L. K. et. Al. (2017) Emojis: Insights, Affordances, and Possibilities for Psychological Science. Trends in Cognitive Science; 21(2): 66–68.
Kaye, L. K. et. Al. (2016) “Turn that frown upside-down”: A contextual account of emoticon usage on different virtual platforms. Computers in Human Behavior; 60: 463–467.
Wall, H. J. et. Al. (2016) An exploration of psychological factors on emoticon usage and implications for judgement accuracy. Computers in Human Behavior; 62: 70–78.
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Friday, February 17, 2017

How stress can cause a heart attack


Stress is the modern epidemic. The pace of modern life, social needs and those that we impose ourselves, generate a degree of tension and anxiety that, in the long term, is unsustainable and ends up presenting us a large bill to pay, even physically. In fact, always be in the fast lane of life is not a good idea, especially for the heart.

A longitudinal study on a large scale conducted by a team of cardiologists at the University of Harvard and the Massachusetts General Hospital, found that stress increases the risk of suffering a heart attack. Obviously, this is not the first research that gets these results, all the evidence suggests that stress can have fatal consequences. But this time the researchers studied the mechanism behind it to understand how stress can trigger a heart attack.

The fault lies with an overactive amygdala

The amygdala is a brain structure that is connected to the emotional functioning. In fact, we can say that is the command center of fear in the brain. This almond-shaped structure that is located in the temporal lobe, is activated by fear, anxiety, stress and all those stimuli that may seem potentially dangerous.

When the amygdala is working properly protects us from stress because is not active all the time, but only in cases when we’re really in danger, to keep us safe. But an overactive amygdala becomes an enemy because it triggers a series of physiological reactions in front of situations that are not really dangerous.

The amygdala can become overactive at any time of life, mainly due to stress maintained for a long period. In fact, it has been seen that children who are subjected to stress, such as separation of the parents or when are left to cry for long periods of time without meeting their needs, develop an overactive amygdala which remains such even in adulthood.

A fatal combination: an overactive amygdala and the excessive activity of the bone marrow

This new study revealed how an overactive amygdala can cause a heart attack or a stroke. In practice, the stress not only activates the amygdala, but also stimulates the functioning of the bone marrow and causes arterial inflammation, ideal conditions to produce a heart attack.

In the study took part 293 people over 30 years of age and with no previous heart problems. They have all been subjected to a series of tests to evaluate the level of inflammation of the arteries, the brain activity and the activity of the bone marrow.

The researchers followed them for four years, a period during which 22 of these people suffered particularly serious heart attacks. This is how they could see that those who showed an overactive amygdala at the beginning of the experiment were more likely to suffer a heart attack or serious heart problems.

The basic mechanism is the following: the amygdala is not able to distinguish between stimuli that are truly dangerous and those that we can manage with certain normality, thus it ends cataloging good the majority of everyday situations as dangerous. In this way, the stress increases and also increase the levels of cortisol, a hormone that causes inflammation. When this situation is maintained over time, the inflammatory process restricts and blocks the arteries, restricting the blood flow.

At the same time, the activity of the bone marrow has been linked to an increased risk of clots in the blood, another risk factor for heart attacks and strokes. Therefore, it is a combination that can be fatal.

Can we re-educate the amygdala?

The good news is that emotional re-education can restore the proper functioning of the amygdala. In practice, the person must learn to distinguish consciously between dangerous stimuli and harmless ones.

The first step is to learn to recognize the triggers that indicate that the amygdala is overreacting, such as an increased heart rate, shortness of breath, sweating, tightness in the chest and the epigastric spasm. So you can use different techniques, from cognitive restructuring to modify the catastrophic thoughts that come to mind to diaphragmatic breathing or relaxation techniques.

Over time the amygdala will learn to distinguish those situations that are truly dangerous from those which, although can generate tension and are unsightly, are not.

Tawakol, A. et. Al. (2017) Relation between resting amygdalar activity and cardiovascular events: a longitudinal and cohort study. The Lancet; S0140-6736(16)31714-7.
Ressler, K. J. (2010) Amygdala Activity, Fear, and Anxiety: Modulation by Stress. Biol Psychiatry; 67(12): 1117–1119.
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Thursday, February 16, 2017

A video shows how the society steals to children their creativity


Creativity is one of the qualities that society values the ​​more, but it is also one of the rarest. It is not unusual that the school is the main responsible of tearing it from children from early childhood.

In fact, creativity is not simply the ability to connect the different elements to create something original and new, creativity is also:

- Daring to be different

- Risking and go beyond the limits

- Trusting the instinct

- Being authentic

- Developing a different outlook of life

Unfortunately, many schools are structured as to transmit only existing concepts and theories, without promoting the reflection. Children should only copy and save, there is no room for creation.

At home, the situation is not much different as parents require their children to get good grades at school, that means following the rules of a school education that ignores individuality.

So, at some point it is produced a phenomenon that could be called "ego amputation". The child gradually adapts to his environment, abandons his dreams and starts to respect the rules imposed by the society because understands that in this way he will be accepted and loved. Thus it is considerably reduced his "self".

Phrases such as "this is not the right answer", "playing is a waste of time" or "this is not logical" imply that creativity doesn’t fit in the overall scheme of the world. So children end up also losing fantasy, imagination and joy, then it is not surprising that they turn into gray adults who feel trapped in a job that don’t like.

We should go to school by adults, not when we’re children

Each child is unique and special. You can’t judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, because it will live all its life thinking to be stupid.

The relationship with children should not be made of impositions, but discoveries. We must not impose what they should do, but help them discover who they are and want to be. Parents and teachers should be guidance, companions of exploration and adventure, rather than people responsible to establish impossible standards.

This beautiful short video shows how we tear the creativity from children and makes us think. It is an animated co-production directed by Rafa Cano Méndez and Daniel Martínez Lara who received the Goya Award for the best animated short video. Check it out, because every minute is worth it.

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Wednesday, February 15, 2017

The 10 energy thieves

personal growth

We often have habits, ways of thinking, attitudes and behaviors that play against us. Are the "energy thieves", in the most literal sense of the word, because they rob us our strengths, both mental and physical, diverting them on worries and mental states completely useless that does not bring anything and make us feel bad. The main problem is that these "energy thieves" are working underground, in the shadows, they turn into something so usual that we don’t even perceive it’s existence.

The habits that steal from us health, balance and happiness

1. Complaining. Some people have made of complaints the sense of their lives, they live to complain, they always find a reason to be dissatisfied. The problem is that these people do not complain to solve the problems, but simply to wallow into them. As a result, they are constantly snooping in their "daily junk" looking for something to complain about. In this way they focus their energies into something totally useless.

2. Postponing continuously. Postponing continually those tasks that, sooner or later we will have to deal with, is the best way to add unnecessary stress to life. In fact, it is often more stressful than having to remember what we have to do rather than deal with it and carry it out.

3. Do not giving us the necessary rest. The society is very strict with us, but we can’t always keep the pace. In fact, expecting to continually live in the fast lane sooner or later will bring us a large bill to pay, both physically and psychologically. So it is desirable not to be over the limit to rest but make of the rest a daily habit.

4. Being disorganized. The places where disorder reigns are like a black hole that sucks our energy. The chaos will make us lose precious time in search of things and, above all, generates a feeling of uncertainty and disorganization in our brains, making us even more exhausted. Take some time to do some cleaning every time you can, a desk and a house in order will make you feel much better and transmit positive energy.

5. Do not accept the facts. Acceptance is not resignation. Accepting means assuming the things you can’t change and do what we can to change those on which you have the control. When you don’t accept a situation that becomes an obstacle on your path, it is like adding one more stone in the backpack of our lives that we will make us proceed much more slowly and with more difficulty.

6. Clinging on properties or persons. It is difficult to put into practice the detachment, but it is essential if we won’t suffer more than necessary. Detachment does not mean not to love, but love leaving the other person free, knowing that at any given time that person might abandon us. Cling to things or people obsessively only generates addiction and malaise. In addition, swimming against the tide will make us lose precious energy that could be used in other projects that make us happier.

7. Worrying without a reason. Usually we do not react to situations but to the image that we have created in our minds. In this context we are not objectives, but we include all the concerns about what might happen. This tendency toward negativity adds completely useless stress and anxiety because often, the bad prophecies don’t turn into an action plan, but remain just annoying flies buzzing in our mind. So, faced with a difficult situation, it is better to focus on the here and now, going on step by step, without imagining the negative consequences that won’t probably occur.

8. Do not know how to say "no". People who do not know how to say no tend to overload themselves with tasks that end up destroying them, both physically and mentally. Many times these people don’t say no because they feel embarrassed or because they fear to be refused by the others. However, time is the most valuable asset we have and we should use it wisely. Don’t waste it on projects that do not motivate you, or that are not your responsibility. Have time for yourself, for your family and enjoy what you like is fundamental for your health.

9. Keeping resentment. Hatred and resentment are feelings that consume us on a low heat. These feelings, fed over the years, have also very negative consequences for our physical health as they can trigger physical illness. Therefore it is very important to learn to let go. Of course, all wounds need time to heal, but make sure that this time is not excessive.

10. Do not decide. When we have to make important decisions it is normal that we have doubts and want to have more time to think, but continually postponing the decisions will subtract from us precious energy turning us into a state of uncertainty and malaise. Therefore, we should get rid of all those "internal battles." We must assume that we won’t always take the best decision, perhaps we’ll err, but mistakes will always teach us something. It is better to make mistakes and try to repair for them than stand still and suffer for the indecision.
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Tuesday, February 14, 2017

The most relaxing song in the world reduces anxiety by 65%


Anxiety is one of the great monsters of the modern era. A research published recently by Harvard University researchers noted that the problems generated by stress and anxiety cause more deaths than diabetes and influenza. Surely this state, especially if maintained over time, is not something to be taken easily.

The fact that we live in a highly competitive and individualistic society greatly contributes to develop a higher level of anxiety. When we perceive not to have handholds to grab to we can come beset by panic attacks, shortness of breath and a huge anxiety; the symptoms of disconnection of which we are victims.

Unfortunately, there is no magic solution to eliminate this problem permanently and the drugs for anxiety are not a solution, at least in the long term. However, when we experience a lot of stress we can use music, a great way to channel our mood and regain the balance we’ve lost. In fact, neuroimaging studies have shown that music acts at a deeper level in the brain, stimulating the areas to which we usually do not have rationally access and that are linked to emotional responses.

What is the most relaxing song in the world?

A team of researchers at Minlab International were concerned to identify what are the songs that can help fight anxiety. These neuroscientists discovered that a particular song gave extraordinary results since people showed a 65% reduction of anxiety.

To reach these conclusions was selected a group of volunteers and was asked to complete a series of puzzles, a task that had to end in a very short time. The test was designed specifically to generate stress. Later, the participants listened to several songs while researchers were monitoring their heart rate, blood pressure, brain activity and breathing rate, looking for signs that would indicate the lowering of the level of stress.

The song in question is of Marconi Union, a British trio who composed it intentionally to promote a state of relaxation. Therefore, it is not surprising that a few years ago this piece was listed as "the most relaxing song in the world". It is  "Weightless".

This song is so special because it begins with a rate of 60 beats per minute and gradually decreases to 50. When we listen to it and concentrate on the music, our heart is "tuned" by these pulsations. It is also important the fact that the song lasts eight minute, since this physiological synchronization process takes about five minutes, then a shorter track would not have the same relaxing effect.

On the other hand, the harmonic intervals between notes generate a feeling of euphoria and comfort. Finally, the melody is composed in such a way as to allow the brain to disconnect completely, because it doesn’t need to remain alert to anticipate the next note.

Instead of continuous high and low are appearing bells randomly inducing a feeling of even more profound relaxation. The final element is the lowest tone sounds, like a whisper, a hum, as in Buddhist chants.

Of course, this musical theme is not a panacea and it is likely that some people would find other songs much more relaxing. In any case, the important thing is that you have your own playlist for the moments when you need it most.

If you need a bit of inspiration, these neuroscientists believe that the 10 most relaxing song in the world are the following:

10. "We Can Fly", Rue du Soleil (Café Del Mar)

9. "Canzonetta Sull'aria", Mozart

8. "Someone Like You", Adele

7. "Pure Shores", All Saints

6. "Please Don't Go", Barcelona

5. "Strawberry Swing", Coldplay

4. "Watermark", Enya

3. "Mellomaniac (Chill Out Mix)", DJ Shah

2. "Electra", Airstream

1. "Weightless". Marconi Union
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