Mirror, mirror, on the wall, am I making the right decision?

Friday, 24 October, 2014

It happens too often, we agonise over a decision, and then tear our hair out when it becomes apparent we chose the wrong course of action. It could be then that looking into a mirror should be part of the decision making process… seemingly the larger the pupils of our eyes at such a time, the more likely it is we are making the wrong choice.

This is because pupil size is a measure of a person’s arousal: the more aroused they are feeling, the wider their pupils are and the worse they perform on the test. As with many things in life, the ideal level of arousal for most tasks is somewhere in the middle: when people’s arousal levels are low they are bored and when they are too high, they can’t concentrate.

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For best results, take a short digital sabbatical each day

Thursday, 11 September, 2014

Sometimes I think the only reason people talk about taking so-called digital sabbaticals is just that, so they can talk. I think it absurd that we divest ourselves of the likes of smartphones, and tablet devices, because we think we’re too connected, or spend too much time doing one thing or another online.

Luke Thomas, in a Medium article on the subject, hits the nail square on the head:

Most discussion is geared towards extended periods of time (i.e. a vacation), and while that’s great, there doesn’t seem to be much discussion around incorporating a digital break into our daily/weekly lives. If you look at “being connected” as an addiction, since when is going cold-turkey a good idea? This is one of the toughest ways to quit, and many relapse.

Indeed, try going without your devices for a few hours each day, rather than taking the whole hog, for like a year, approach.

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Could should always be an option when it comes to decision making

Monday, 8 September, 2014

From the office of infinite possibilities, an alternative problem solving method… when a decision looms, instead of asking yourself what you should do, ask instead what you could do.

Asking yourself, for example, “What should I do with my life?” tacitly implies that there’s a right and a wrong answer to that question. It seems that the word should can cause us to think in black and white, while could reveals the in-between shades of gray.

Now where was this pearl of wisdom when I needed it the most?

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How do you like your gratification… instant or delayed?

Friday, 5 September, 2014

If we’re increasingly unable to keep to the plans we’ve made, possibly electing to change our minds should something we deem to be more enticing come along beforehand, then perhaps it could be said we favour instant gratification over anything else.

Anticipation, or waiting for something to happen, such as a dinner get-together that we committed to going to, rather than a last minute change of plans, may, just may, however be more be enjoyable, or fulfilling, though:

That’s not to say it can’t be fun to anticipate buying a new shirt or car – people do tend to derive enjoyment from this sort of anticipation. But waiting for experiences is more enjoyable, and the researchers think there are at least a couple of different possible reasons why.

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The best thing to do after drinking coffee? Sleep, it would seem…

Wednesday, 3 September, 2014

Some recent research puts to bed the notion that coffee and sleep don’t mix… on the contrary, a cup of coffee, followed by a short nap, can be a recipe for boosting mental agility:

Yes, nap. Coffee clears the body of chemical called adenosine. Levels of this compound rise while you’re awake; when enough accumulates, it helps tell your brain to go to sleep. The chemical is then broken down while you sleep. Coffee reduces adenosine in the brain, a process that takes about 20 minutes, so coffee followed by a 15-minute nap may maximize alertness.

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In space no one can sleep… or rather sleep all that well

Tuesday, 19 August, 2014

Crews aboard long haul space flights, such as trips to Mars, should one, be introverts, and two, be possessed of the gene variant that allows them to function on less sleep than others since space, it seems, is not particularly conducive to slumber

Researchers tracked the sleep patterns of 85 crew members aboard the ISS and space shuttle and found that despite an official flight schedule mandating 8.5 hours of sleep per night, they rarely got more than five. In fact, getting a full night’s rest was so difficult that three-quarters of shuttle mission crew members used sleep medication, and sometimes entire teams were sedated on the same night.

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Could you condition yourself to go without shampoo?

Monday, 18 August, 2014

While the notion of a single, global, time zone is something I could quite easily get my head around, the thought of ditching shampoo and conditioner, something that appears to make an equal amount of sense, would be another matter entirely.

Left to its own devices or washed with natural substitutes, the scalp eventually theoretically returns to its natural balance, producing enough oil to keep hair soft and smooth without the associated grease-slick. The oils produced by the scalp – notably sebum – keep the shaft of the hair clean, smooth and protected, performing the role of “shampoo and conditioner” far more effectively than the manufactured alternatives. The upshot should be healthier hair that is stronger, thicker and fuller as it is less damaged than shampooed hair.

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Politeness, a social virtue worth preserving

Monday, 18 August, 2014

It’s possible to be too polite sometimes, but I think a little more is better than not enough:

People silently struggle from all kinds of terrible things. They suffer from depression, ambition, substance abuse, and pretension. They suffer from family tragedy, Ivy-League educations, and self-loathing. They suffer from failing marriages, physical pain, and publishing. The good thing about politeness is that you can treat these people exactly the same. And then wait to see what happens. You don’t have to have an opinion. You don’t need to make a judgment. I know that doesn’t sound like liberation, because we live and work in an opinion-based economy. But it is. Not having an opinion means not having an obligation. And not being obligated is one of the sweetest of life’s riches.

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Being depressed… how does it actually feel though?

Wednesday, 23 July, 2014

A number of London based depression patients discuss their day to day experiences of the disorder… it’s one thing to understand the symptoms of depression, but another to know how it must actually feel.

Depression for me is not liking yourself, having no confidence in yourself, seeking reassurance, hanging onto anything that you can, pretty much anything emotionally, get your hands on. Lacking courage.

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Sleep paralysis as a portal to out-of-body travel? Not sure of that…

Monday, 7 July, 2014

I’m not sure I’d regard the sleep paralysis experience as being a “portal to out-of-body travel and lucid dreams”, unless that’s how you see the sensation of having what feels like an elephant sitting on while you lie, unable to move a muscle, in what seems like a wind tunnel, a dark wind tunnel at that.

The experience can be terrifying. Trapped in your paralysed body, you might sense the presence of a malevolent intruder in the room or a pressure on your chest, squeezing the breath out of your lungs. Hallucinations can jangle the senses: there are ominous voices, supernatural entities, strange lights. You feel as if you are being touched or dragged, bed covers seem to be snatched from you, and you are helpless to grab them back.

Then again, what is actually happening quickly becomes apparent, so as disconcerting as a sleep paralysis episode is, the knowledge that it will be relatively short lived is reassuring. So why not view it as positively as possible…

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