More ArticlesDevelopmental psychology

Friday, August 18, 2017

Love without possessing, accompany without invading and live without depending

personal growth

The greatest proof of love is to let the beloved one be themselves. It is also a great sign of maturity. And it is very difficult to put into practice because the society "programmed" us to own. In a culture where the more valuable person is who more has, it is difficult not to extrapolate this concept even to interpersonal relationships. Then we become possessive.

The origin of possessiveness lies in fear of loss

As soon as we have something, as soon as we feel something belongs to us, we are afraid of losing it. And the more we cling to possession or the more we love this person, the greater the fear.

In many cases this fear of loss depends on past experiences, especially from childhood, that left painful scars in our brain. It has been noted that people who have suffered loss in their childhood or who have not received enough attention, tend to develop an insecure attachment that leads them to depend on others or want to control their lives. These people are constantly looking for attention and don’t want to share that special person with anyone for fear of losing it, and this will make them feel the impotence feelings they experienced when they were children.

But there may be other reasons why a person develops this possessive attitude. In fact, possessiveness always involves insecurity and low self-esteem. Insecure people tend to be more possessive because they are more afraid of losing what they have gained and, at the bottom, they believe they do not deserve it.

The problem is that these people, instead of analyzing where possessiveness comes from, try to counter their fears and insecurities with greater control.

The perverse dynamic of control

There was once a monk follower of Buddha. The monk wandered day and night in search of illumination. He carried with him a wooden statue of the Buddha who had carved himself and burned incense every day before the statue and worshiped the Buddha.

One day, he came to a quiet village and decided to spend a few days there. He stayed in a Buddhist temple where there were several Buddha statues. The monk continued to follow his daily routine, burning incense in front of his statue in the temple, but he did not like the idea that the smoke of the incense burning for his statue would come to the others.

Then he had an idea: he put a funnel in front of his statue so that the smell of incense came only to his statue. After a few days, he noticed that the nose of his statue was black and ugly because of the smell of incense.

This simple parable shows us what can happen when possessiveness blinds us. In fact, it is not difficult to fall into behaviors similar to those of the monk and end up strangling the person we love. However, the curious aspect of the control is that the more we apply it and the more we want to apply it to everything, but this will become more elusive.

To love and let it be you need to change your mindset

- Do not confuse attachment with love. Possessiveness often results from confusion: we erroneously interpret our attachment as love. Attachment is a superficial emotion that binds us, while love is a deeper feeling that frees us. Loving someone is let him or her free, binding someone means living an addiction. Thus, possessiveness is a form of attachment that does not reflect love, but our desire and need to control.

- Let go the need to control. Possessiveness comes from insecurity, which we try to mitigate through control, because this gives us the illusion of security. But when you realize that in reality the control you exercise is minimal, because at any time life can tear you something or someone, then you know that it makes no sense to waste so much energy unnecessarily. Then a small miracle happens: instead of trying to control, you strive to enjoy more that person or the things you have.

- Cultivate your "self". The emotional dependence on others and the desire to control them arise when we feel that we are unable to meet our needs. When we have a mature "self", when we have confidence in our abilities and are connected with our emotions, possessiveness disappears, simply because we no longer need it. Therefore, for loving without domination or dependence, it is necessary to carry out a profound inner work.

- Assume that everyone has the right to be. We don’t act well toward the others when we impose our opinions and ways to do things on them. So do not make the mistake of trying to impose your way of seeing the world to "help" the other. No one is obliged to meet our expectations so that the greatest gift we can make is to allow those we love to be themselves, and accept them unconditionally.

Fritz Perls summarized this idea very well:

I do my thing and you do your thing.

I am not in this world to live up to your expectations,

And you are not in this world to live up to mine.

You are you, and I am I,

and if by chance we find each other, it's beautiful.

If not, it can't be helped.
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Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Waking up early in the morning could be the worst mistake we make every day, according to science


It is probable that on more than one occasion you have heard the phrase "God helps who gets up early in the morning". This popular belief emphasizes what is a fact for many: getting up early is a positive value while staying in bed is synonymous with laziness.

But perhaps the reason resides in another popular Spanish saying that says exactly the opposite: "As soon as we get up, dawn will always rise at the same time". The Westmister University researchers suggest that getting up early could be harmful for the body and mind.

Getting up early is very stressful

40 people took part in the study, who were asked to collect samples of their saliva eight times during the day, for two days in a row. The first sample had to be picked just awake and the last one before going to bed.

When analyzing the data, it was seen that those who woke up before 7:20 am had higher levels of cortisol, the main stress hormone, than those who woke up later. And the worst thing was that the cortisol level of these people remained high throughout the day, regardless of the number of hours of sleep.

At this point the researchers wondered if these people got up early because they were already stressed or if getting up early was what generated this increase in cortisol.

To find it out, they followed the participants for 10 weeks. In this way it was discovered that those who got up early also experienced more muscular pain, symptoms of colds, headaches and negative mood.

While it was true that those who wake up early showed greater ability to concentrate and a higher level of activity during the day, they reported even more physical discomfort, became angry and irritated more easily, and felt tired at the end of the day.

On the contrary, people who did not get up early reported experiencing less physical discomfort, a more positive mood and spent the day in a more relaxed way. These results were validated by a recent study at University College London with 30 airplane pilots.

Why getting up soon causes an increase in cortisol?

The level of cortisol, a hormone that is not only associated with chronic stress, but also with inflammatory processes that are at the base of cancer and a weakening of the immune system, can increase due to several factors. Apparently, getting up early is one of these.

A group of German researchers found that the increase in cortisol in persons who get up early in the morning is due to the fact that the circadian rhythm of hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal activity is interrupted.

In other words, when we wake up naturally, we immediately recover consciousness, but we spend 20-30 minutes more to recover the state of alert. This allows our brains to adapt and disconnect areas that are no longer necessary while regulating hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal activity.

Conversely, people who wake up early and stand up with the alarm sound, do not have this time to adapt and the change from sleep to wake is too fast. This sudden change, which Neuroscience calls "flip-flop", is largely responsible for the increase in cortisol and the imbalance of other hormones.

Getting up early every day passes a high bill

The researchers explain that it is likely that the increased attentiveness and the best performance of those who wake up early in the morning is due to the increase in cortisol levels, as this hormone helps prepare the body for stressful situations by releasing stored energy.

But when this model is maintained over time it can become very damaging. In fact, cortisol also inhibits he body sensitivity to pain, which can be positive in a precise moment, but in the long run may prevent us from paying attention to the signals sent by our body. That is why when we cross a period of stress, we seem to have a huge amount of energy, but at some point, we collapse.

One possible solution is to use an alarm that is not too invasive but it helps us to wake up gradually. In fact, there are also some models that simulate the sunrise and may be useful because their light gradually modulate the hormonal changes.

Bostock, S. & Steptoe, A. (2013) Influences of early shift work on the diurnal cortisol rhythm, mood and sleep: Within-subject variation in male airline pilots.Psychoneuroendocrinology; 38(4): 533–541.
Clow A. et. Al. (2010) The cortisol awakening response: More than a measure of HPA axis function Angela Clow. Neuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews; 35(1): 97-103.
Wilhelm, I. et. Al. (2007) Is the cortisol awakening rise a response to awakening? Psychoneuroendocrinology; 32(4): 358-366.
Clow A. et. Al. (2001) Association between time of awakening and diurnal cortisol secretory activity. Psychoneuroendocrinology; 26: 613–622.
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Monday, August 14, 2017

People could learn from their mistakes if they were not so busy denying them

personal growth

"I didn’t do it"
is the children's mantra, a phrase they learn right away as soon as they realize that when they make a mistake they are punished. For some strange reason, some people continue to repeat this sentence even by adults. Maybe they do not repeat it aloud, but it continues to echo in their mind: "It's not my fault, it's the fault of the others".

The problem is that if it is true that denying the mistake you are more likely to avoid the consequences, it is just as true that it prevents you from growing and maturing. Every mistake brings with it the seed of learning, but because this germinates is necessary to assume the mistakes.

3 ways to deal with mistakes that prevent us from growing

A very interesting study conducted at the universities of New York and California revealed that the way we assume our mistakes is closely related to our personality and our growth potential.

These psychologists have analyzed thousands of people to identify the types of personalities that predominate in reaction to mistakes. So they concluded that 70% of the population can be divided into three main groups:

1. The blame is on others

These people continue to repeat the sentence they used to be children: "I didn’t do it". When they make a mistake they try to discharge the responsibility on someone else. Obviously, these people can’t learn from their own mistakes simply because they do not recognize them and are not sufficiently mature. They tend to put themselves on defensive in front of every attempt of criticism, even constructive, and often adopt a victimistic attitude.

2. Error. Which error? Nothing happened here

These are people who come to deny the existence of the error, and this often turns the others angry. This person, even confronted with the evidence, will not only deny his or her involvement in the matter, but will also try to convince us that nothing has happened. This way of dealing with mistakes means that the person expects to be forgiven for whatever he or she does, and is unwilling to acknowledge his or her faults and the damage he or she may cause to others. Obviously, assuming this attitude is impossible that he or she will learn from his pr her mistakes and correct them.

3. It’s my fault

These people assume a diametrically opposed attitude: intonate the mea culpa to the slightest problem. The point is that they often blame themselves for everything that happens and can also assume responsibilities that are not theirs. They tend to judge themselves severely and often pass on self-flagging without any need. However, these people also learn a lot from their mistakes as they automatically recognize the responsibility because of a sense of visceral guilt that probably was instilled in them during childhood, but this does not imply a reflective analysis of their involvement and responsibility in the situation.

The error is a learning opportunity: You decide whether to take advantage of it or not

Most people do not recognize their mistakes for fear or shame, or because it makes them feel weak and incompetent. That's because our society has surrounded the mistakes with a negative halo making us believe that intelligent, competent and capable people are never wrong.

But mistakes are part of life and offer lessons that allow us to improve as persons, but only if we are able to recognize and willing to correct them. As Confucius said, "The man who made a mistake and does not correct it makes another mistake even bigger".

Therefore, even if going wrong may not be the most enjoyable feeling in the world, it is even worse to miss this opportunity to learn.

Dattner, B. & Hogan, R. (2011) Managing Yourself: Can You Handle Failure? En: Harvard Bussiness Review.
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Friday, August 11, 2017

Mom Shaming: The phenomenon that turns real mothers into bad mothers

developmental psychology

Today's parents are subjected to a brutal social pressure. On the one hand, there are laws that almost criminalize certain behaviors and, on the other hand, science shows them all the consequences of their mistakes in the development of their children.

We know that crying to children damages their brains, changes in the mood of the fathers leave sequels in the emotional development of their children and some praise can destroy the self-esteem of the children.

Additionally, many hypocritical and moralistic people do not hesitate to attack parents, especially through social networks, becoming teachers, psychologists and model parents. Therefore, some will say that you have abandoned your son even if you are next to him, or you are only mistreating him because you raised your voice a couple of decibels.

Mothers are often the target of destructive criticism

In recent times, mothers around the world have witnessed the multiplication of comments with which people judge the way they raise their children. Normally, these are critical never requested and not constructive that only serve to embarrass mothers and make them feel insecure. The problem is that it doesn’t really matter what you do, there will always be people who criticize you because everyone has their own opinion of how children should be educated.

A survey conducted recently by the University of Michigan revealed a frightening reality: two-thirds of mothers claim to have been unhappy because of the judgments of the others about the way they raise their children. And the worst thing is that many of these criticisms come from the narrower circle: the family.

The survey involved 475 mothers whose children were less than 5 years old. 61% said they had been criticized for the decisions they had taken with respect to their children, both from their partner and parents.

In addition, 62% believe that mothers usually get many unnecessary advices from others, and 56% think they are wrongly blamed for their children's behavior. Most mothers said they were criticized about how their children were disciplined, and half were embarrassed for the eating and sleeping habits of their children. Almost 40% received some negative criticisms about breastfeeding or the use of the baby bottle.

42% acknowledged that when their skills as mothers were questioned, they felt more insecure about the opinions and decisions they had to take.

This survey shows that in many cases criticism ends up doing more harm than good, even if done with the best intentions. Critics often only serve to increase the doubts and tensions faced by fathers and mothers. A role that, among other things, is not easy.

There are many reasons why the others are willing to judge you and even classify you as a "bad mother," among which that:

- You are a bad mother for choosing the caesarean rather than the natural birth

- You are a bad mother for not feeding your son and giving him a baby bottle

- You are a bad mother because you have suffered from postpartum depression and you can’t handle your emotions

- You are a bad mother because you go to work and leave your child in the hands of another adult when you are out

- You are a bad mother because from time to time you let your son play with your tablet or cellphone to take a few minutes to rest

- You are a bad mother because you leave your son in front of the television to prepare for dinner and clean the house

- You are a bad mother because tiredness is hitting you and you don’t read a story to your baby every night

- You are a bad mother because you let your son eating sweeties occasionally and do not force him to eat all the vegetables and fruits that he or she should

- You are a bad mother because sometimes you lose the patience and raise your voice a little

- You are a bad mother because you're not a perfect mother

- You are a bad mother because YOU ARE A TRUE MOTHER

If you feel identified with some of these situations it means that you are a real person, you love your son but you also have doubts and there are times when you do not know what to do, you would like to spend more time with your baby but every day obligations and fatigue do not always allow you to do it.

There is no manual to be good parents, everyone should find their own way, which means to go wrong, go back on their steps, and try to correct the mistake they have done. It is important that you learn to enjoy maternity or paternity, avoiding the desire to do everything perfectly and the pressure to meet social expectations.

If you love your children and show it to them every day, if you do all you can to make them happy and at the same time try to give them the best of you, it's more than enough.

You never have to feel guilty about being a real mother. This short video shows that the work of mother is difficult and we’re not always able to do what we would, sometimes we need rest and help. But that's fine too!

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Wednesday, August 9, 2017

A video from FX Goby and Google teaches us how good ideas come to life and grow


"This is a story for anyone who has had an idea, big or small". This is how Google presents this short video titled "The Story of an Idea" created by FX Goby.

The story begins with a couple of simple black and white traits, but advancing, the idea is taking shape and the video fills in color and depth.

In addition, the video is full of small clues and metaphors that become valuable lessons for all those who know how to capture and decipher them. The video is an allegory of the creative process, from the intuition to the completion phase.

7 lessons because a good idea does not remain stuck in the limbo of creativity

1. At first, a good idea may seem insignificant.
It may seem obvious, but the first step in developing an interesting project is to be able to conceive a good idea. At first, every idea is small, and may seem unattractive, unlikely or even trivial. It is important to be able to go beyond this stage and discover its potential. Sometimes an idea that seems insignificant can turn into something bigger than what its creator could imagine.

2. Let yourself be guided by instinct. The most brilliant ideas are often cultivated in the unconscious, in that part of the mind where concepts, shapes and experiences mingle below the threshold of consciousness. If an idea persists and you can’t get it out of your mind, it is likely to be good, do not discard it immediately, explore it. Many good ideas have been relegated to the limbo of creativity, simply because people did not listen to their instincts.

3. Do not compare yourself to others. It is likely that when you begin to shape your idea, you find out that there are other people working in the same direction. Do not let yourself be intimidated by the ideas of others, never let yourself be frightened of the competition. Your idea will grow and shine if you do things for good and you know how to distinguish yourself.

4. Time and effort aren’t enough, passion is also needed. Good ideas that turn into big projects do not only have many hours of hard work at the basis, but also passion. Because an idea grows and produces fruit requires love and passion, like a child. And while you take care of it, it's important not to forget to have fun, because after all, it's crucial that you enjoy all that you do.

5. Following an idea is discovering new paths. Following a good idea always involves discovering new ways, new paths of doing things and thinking. If you can’t get out of your comfort zone and have no courage to try new things, the idea will die because its potential lies in the new universe you could create. For that reason, following an idea always means having a good dose of courage and an adventurous spirit. Alfonso Rodriguez Castelao also said: "True heroism consists in turning desires into reality and ideas into facts".

6. When everything turns difficult, ask for help. There will be difficult moments, every worthwhile project have them. When the obstacles are too big, do not be afraid to ask for help, big ideas sometimes need a great deal of support. Remember that you are no longer weak because you ask for help, knowing your limits is a sign of intelligence, not of weakness.

7. Don’t remain obsessively grabbed to your creation. In large projects, a time comes when the idea comes to life, grows and often overcomes its creator. Then you need to learn how to flow and let the potential of the idea continue to grow to reach more people, even though this means that you have to play a less important role. No doubt, this is one of the hardest parts. The best way to deal with it is to feel proud of what you achieved.
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Monday, August 7, 2017

Hypocrite People: The Thousand Faces of Falsehood

social psychology

I like authentic and direct people, those who, if they miss you look for you, if they like you, they tell it to you as if something of you bothers them. Without compromise. I have always preferred honest distance to hypocritical proximity.

But in the world there are also hypocrites, and we must learn to live with them. Hypocrisy is the inconsistency between what is said and what is being done. In a sense, it is a way to conceal or suppress true desires, thoughts and emotions to adapt to the expectations of the environment or to gain a benefit.

Perhaps the best definition of hypocrisy comes from Adlai E. Stevenson: “A hypocrite is the kind of politician who would cut down a redwood tree, then mount the stump and make a speech for conservation”.

3 types of hypocrisy

1. Double morality. It refers to people who constantly cite rules, but in reality they never act according to those moral rules. For example, a person can continually talk about the importance of helping the others, but when it comes the time to stretch the hand he or she turns to the other side. That person can exalt values ​​such as loyalty and the importance of telling the truth, but then he or she is unfaithful to his or her partner.

2. Double moral standard. It refers to those who are lazy when judging themselves, but apply iron rules to the others. For example, those who get very angry when a driver does not respect a pedestrian crossing, but when they do it, they get many excuses to explain why they did not stop. They are the classic people who see the glitter in the neighbor's eye, but not the beam in their eyes.

3. Moral weakness. These are people who come into conflict with their attitudes because of what is known as cognitive dissonance. For example, they can talk about the importance of voting, but the day of the election they won’t do it. In this case, it is about a lack of self-control, the person truly believes in what he or she says, but when it comes to put it into practice he or she does not have sufficient willpower, even though has no courage to acknowledge it publicly, so he or she continues to give moral lessons.

Why are people hypocritical?

You are likely to know more than a hypocritical person. And it is also likely that you wonder how this person can’t understand the inconsistency of his words and actions.

The explanation for this phenomenon is offered by psychologist Patricia Linville, who worked at Yale University and who coined the term "self-complexity" in the mid-1980s. Her hypothesis is that as less complex is the cognitive representation of the ego the more extreme will be the mood fluctuations and attitudes of the person.

In other words, some people tend to perceive themselves from a very limited point of view, for example, they define themselves through a series of roles they play, so they think they are a "devoted mother" or a "successful manager". The problem is that having a so limited definition of ourselves makes us psychologically unstable and prevents us from facing the contradictions inherent the complexity of personality and the environment.

To better understand this phenomenon we can take a look at an experiment conducted at the University of Miami. These psychologists asked college students to evaluate the importance of study skills. So they asked them to remember every time they overlooked the study, in order to uncover the possible hypocrisy behind the first answers.

It is interesting to note that at that time, students who had a lesser self-complexity were more likely to change their initial opinions; that is, they rectified by indicating that after all, studying was not so important.

This could explain why some people say something and do some completely different. Their comments come from a representation of the self completely separate from the one acting in other circumstances. In practice, hypocritical people seek only to preserve the identity they have built by separating their words from their actions.

In the case of politicians, for example, it often happens that they maintain a speech related to their "political self" while doing something diametrically opposed to their “business” or “family self”. In this way they save their different "self" because they are not able to integrate them.

These studies indicate that many people behave hypocritically without realizing it. In fact, often when we point out their contradictions they do not recognize them and hide behind apologies.

Of course, not all people live in this state of "hypocritical ignorance". There are also those who learn to exploit hypocrisy, especially when they realize that following certain ideas is neither practical nor profitable. These people have no problem in proclaiming something and doing exactly the opposite, if they think it is convenient. But they do not openly recognize their hypocrisy, because it is too painful and would represent a tough blow for their "self", so they will argue that they acted out of the circumstances.

5 behaviors that betray the hypocrites

1. They are always ready to punish someone. Their "high" moral standards will always make them to point their finger at someone, and they may also be willing to publicly humiliate that person. It is a clearing strategy through which they try to focus their attention on the other to avoid falling into their discrepancies and behaviors.

2. Have a halo of moral superiority. Hypocrite people tend to be halfway between narcissism and intellectual superiority. Their level of arrogance can make that when you interact with them you feel inferior, immature or not good enough. These people will not hesitate to reproach any of your actions, words or attitudes.

3. Rules never apply to them. Rules and regulations exist, but only for the others. Hypocrite people believe that because they have an innate sense of law and morality, they are above the law.

4. They are never guilty, they always have an excuse at hand. Hypocrite people almost never recognize their discrepancies and mistakes, even in the face of evidence. These people do not apologize or admit their responsibility, but continually resort to apologies. For them, circumstances are always a mitigating factor, and mistakes are never theirs.

5. Do what I say but not what I do. This could be the motto that characterizes hypocritical people. Their actions almost never coincide with their words. That's because their main motivation is to look good and meet the expectations of the others.

Why do hypocritical people bother us so much?

The answer, or at least part of it, comes from a Yale University study. These psychologists discovered that what most concerns us about hypocrites is not the inconsistency of their words and actions, but their false moral affirmations and that pretend to be more virtuous of what they are.

In practice, we do not like hypocrites because they disappoint us. In fact, it has been found that we tend to believe and prefer moral statements or that imply a certain degree of generalization to explain behavior. For example, if a person abandons a project, we prefer the explanation "it makes no sense to waste more energy" rather than "I do not want to waste more energy". So when we discover the truth we feel more disappointed and deceived.

This means that, in a sense, we also help to ensure that hypocrisy is kept at a social level. In fact, in some situations it could be that we too have acted hypocritically trying to give a better image of ourselves.

So the best way to fight against hypocrisy is to be authentic and understand that there are many contradictions in each of us. We do not need to meet the expectations of the others, nor do we have to transform ourselves into moralists who preach their gospel to others. Live and let live.

Jordan, J. J. et. Al. (2017) Why Do We Hate Hypocrites? Evidence for a Theory of False Signaling. Psychological Science; 28(3): 1–13.
McConnel, A. R. & Brown, C. M. (2010) Dissonance averted: Self-concept organization moderates the effect of hypocrisy on attitude change. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology; 46(2): 361-366.
Linville, P. W. (1985) Self-Complexity and Affective Extremity: Don't Put All of Your Eggs in One Cognitive Basket. Social Cognition; 3: 94-120.
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Friday, August 4, 2017

Don’t sow flowers in gardens of people who won’t water them

personal growth

Our resources are limited. Our energy is not inexhaustible, in the same way as our time and attention. This means we have to be more careful when deciding where we invest them.

Unfortunately, often we are not fully aware that our emotional and cognitive resources are limited, so we end up wasting them, engaging in activities that are worthless or relating with people who do not appreciate them.

Don’t strive for someone who does not appreciate what you do

Compassion and the ability to help the others are characteristics that ennoble us and allow us to grow as people. However, everything has a limit beyond which you could start hurting yourself without realizing it and without the other person appreciating it.

How do you know when you are struggling unnecessarily?

- When you make more efforts for the other person than he or she does

- When your level of compromise is greater than that of the person you are trying to help

- When you risk a lot to help someone, but that person does not risk anything at all

- When you are consuming too much on the road, but the other person is not willing to invest the same amount of energy

- When that person does not value your time, commitment, and dedication

- When that person would not be willing to do the same for you

In these cases, it would be worthwhile to wonder if it is worth wasting enough energy, time and effort to plant flowers that no one will water, since the person you are helping is not interested in them.

Remember there are situations where the best way to help is not doing it. If your intervention takes on hyperprotective tones, you might even prevent the person from growing up and learning the lesson. After all, we do not mature with the years, but with the errors.

A weird equilibrium where one consumes himself and the other does not assume the compromise

In many interpersonal relationships, in the couple, between parents and children or among friends, is established an unhealthy balance in which one always acts as a salvation while the other merely clings to him or her.

Thus, the person who assumes the role of "savior" ends up consuming himself without receiving virtually anything in return. And the person who is "saved" can’t grow because feels too comfortable in his or her role.

In practice, it's like planting flowers continuously because, since the other person does not assume his responsibility and does not water them, they end up drying up. Obviously, this is an unhealthy behavior that no one would repeat, but in interpersonal relationships, especially when feelings are involved, it is not always easy to realize that we are planting flowers in the desert.

This does not mean that we should abandon that person to his or her destiny, but it is certainly a sign that he or she is not on the right track. Maybe that person is too selfish to acknowledge your commitment, perhaps he or she is not willing to take on the responsibility and commitment required by the situation or maybe just do not make the effort you are doing to help him or her out.

In fact, the main problem of this insane equilibrium is that you give, you compromise yourself and assume much more responsibility than the other person to solve a problem that is not yours.

We all need and deserve to be loved, recognized and sustained

This is not a quid pro quo. But we all need to know that there are people who love us, support us, and recognize our efforts. If we give ourselves continually without receiving anything in return, we should not be surprised if one day, wandering within us, we perceive a huge emotional void.

Therefore, although this does not mean that we must only help those who can return our favor, it is important that we use our time and energies with those people who really recognize our efforts and, above all, are willing to engage and assume their responsibility, not with us, but with themselves, with the process of change and improvement they have begun.

What is the solution? You simply shouldn’t sow, but help seed the flowers, making it clear from the beginning that you are willing to help but that final responsibility is not yours, and that you expect the same level of commitment and effort from the other person.
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Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Science confirms it: Women feel more pain than men


Pain is a very subjective experience. In addition, there are many factors that can alleviate or increase it. For example, stress, anxiety and depression increase our perception of pain while holding the hand of a beloved person or meditate reduce it.

However, several studies suggested the idea that women may experience more pain than men. Among them, a research conducted at the University of Stanford, which analyzed around 11,000 clinical records. These researchers found that women tended to report a more intense pain, especially when they were suffering from acute inflammation-related problems.

Various data support this hypothesis, including the fact that many of the chronic pain diseases are more common in women.

Fibromyalgia, for example, is six times more common in women. Headaches are four times more common and migraine is three times more common in women. Women are also twice as likely to have multiple sclerosis, two to three times more likely to develop rheumatoid arthritis and four times more likely to suffer from chronic fatigue syndrome than men. In addition, autoimmune diseases, including debilitating pain, affect women three times more than men.

How pain receptors work?

Why do women feel the pain more intensely? Researchers at the University of Milan think that women may have a different pain threshold than men.

This difference could have a biological cause and be based on the mechanisms involved in regulating the transmission of pain, particularly in the synapses.

The synapses are the connections that allow transmissions of peripheral nervous fibers to those that drive the central nervous system impulse. This process is essential because it is in these neural connections where it is possible to modify the course of the painful stimulus, as with chronic pain processes.

The descending paths modulate the activity of these synapses, which act as a sort of traffic light that transmits impulses. Between the thousands of impulses, only two hundred or maybe a thousand can pass, but it may happen also the opposite, as in the case of chronic pain, and a thousand impulses could be perceived as ten thousand.

This control mechanism also affects the information from the brain area involved in emotional life, the limbic cortex. Therefore, we use to say that pain has an important emotional component. There are specific neural connections between areas that regulate pain and emotional areas of the brain. This means that a problem in emotional life could affect the functioning of downstream pathways and hence the perception of pain.

Pain is an ancient mechanism that warns women of danger

Stress analgesia is a very interesting phenomenon, because in those cases we do not actually perceive pain, even if the wound is severe. It's common in combat soldiers or fire-fighters in action, who find themselves injured only when they are safe. But it has been found that this phenomenon is more common and intense in men.

For women, stress analgesia appears differently. In fact, estrogen has been shown to play an active role in the natural "analgesic" system in the brain. When the levels of this hormone are high, the brain responds by releasing endorphins to effectively suppress pain signals but when these levels decrease, it increases the perception of pain.

It is also interesting noting that women of childbearing age produce endogenously cannabinoids, naturally occurring analgesic substances that decrease during certain stages of the ovarian cycle, and this results in an increase in pain sensitivity.

These differences in how the brain responds to pain, according to researchers at the University of Milan, may depend on factors related to the conservation of the species. In the past, the role of man was to fight and procure food, so it was important that he resisted pain until the danger had passed. On the contrary, the role of women was more protective, so it is understandable that they have developed more specific natural mechanisms that allow them to feel pain quickly to know when the family is in danger.

This hypothesis makes even more sense with the results of a recent study conducted with guinea pigs at McGill University. In this experiment, it was noticed that sex was involved in transmission in transmission and cessation of pain. In males, the microglia cells play an essential role in transmission and cessation of pain, but in females, T cells are more involved.

Doctors take less seriously female pain

Unfortunately, doctors often take less seriously the pain of women. A study at the University of Maryland in the United States revealed that men expect an average of 49 minutes to receive an analgesic for acute abdominal pain. Women have to wait an average of 65 minutes to receive the same treatment for the same cause. And that's all because doctors often think that their pain is "emotional", "psychogenic" or even "unrealistic".

Another study conducted at the University of Pennsylvania found that women are between 13 and 25% less likely to receive opiate treatment to relieve pain while men are expected to be prescribed this treatment more quickly and more frequently.

Sorge, R. E. et. Al. (2015) Different immune cells mediate mechanical pain hypersensitivity in male and female mice. Nature Neuroscience; 18: 1081–1083.
Fornasari, D. (2012) Pain Mechanisms in Patients with Chronic Pain. Clinical Drug Investigation; 32(1): 45-52.
Ruau, D. et. Al. (2012) Sex Differences in Reported Pain Across 11,000 Patients Captured in Electronic Medical Records. J Pain; 13(3): 228–234.
Chen, E. H. et. Al. (2008) Gender disparity in analgesic treatment of emergency department patients with acute abdominal pain. Acad Emerg Med; 15(5):414-418.
Hoffmann, D. E. & Tarzian, A. J. (2001) The girl who cried pain: a bias against women in the treatment of pain. J Law Med Ethics; 29(1): 13-27.
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