Tuesday, 27 January, 2015
The prospect of speaking in public is probably enough to unsettle the best of us, but how does someone with an anxiety disorder manage? Scott Stossel, writing for The Alantic, outlines his preparations ahead of a speaking engagement.
Four hours or so ago, I took my first half milligram of Xanax. (I’ve learned that if I wait too long to take it, my fight-or-flight response kicks so far into overdrive that medication is not enough to yank it back.) Then, about an hour ago, I took my second half milligram of Xanax and perhaps 20 milligrams of Inderal. (I need the whole milligram of Xanax plus the Inderal, which is a blood-pressure medication, or beta-blocker, that dampens the response of the sympathetic nervous system, to keep my physiological responses to the anxious stimulus of standing in front of you – the sweating, trembling, nausea, burping, stomach cramps, and constriction in my throat and chest – from overwhelming me.) I likely washed those pills down with a shot of scotch or, more likely, vodka, the odor of which is less detectable on my breath.
How daunting is that? I may dread public speaking, but thankfully I don’t have to deal with an anxiety disorder.
health, psychology, well being
Thursday, 27 November, 2014
I think, despite the seeming ease and convenience that… exercise in a bottle – a metabolism stimulating enzyme that can be ingested in drink form – offers, I prefer to continue doing things the hard way. That’s just me mind you.
The world’s biggest food company, known for KitKat candy bars and Nespresso capsules, says it has identified how an enzyme in charge of regulating metabolism can be stimulated by a compound called C13, a potential first step in developing a way to mimic the fat-burning effect of exercise. The findings were published in the science journal Chemistry & Biology in July.
Is an endorphin rush on offer here as well?
exercise, health, well being
Thursday, 30 October, 2014
I don’t really want to lower the tone here, but I’m going to anyway… while our morning cup of coffee has all sorts of benefits, for some there is a distinct, delayed reaction type, downside…
In brief: For many (although not for everyone), the caffeine in coffee stimulates muscles in the colon causing peristalsis, the contraction and relaxation of intestinal muscles that causes bowel movements. For those who suffer from workplace bathroom anxiety (I count myself among them), the morning cup of coffee is a strange ritual that begins with pleasure and then devolves into shame, anxiety, and fear. The gut- and sphincter-clenching, nerve-wracking need to finish one’s personal business before someone else enters the bathroom, the obsession with one’s shoes being recognized, irrational fear that our coworkers will giggle and whisper or worse, pointing and laughing.
coffee, psychology, well being
Monday, 27 October, 2014
Curmudgeons may not be the most popular of people, but they have a way of getting what they want. They’re also not half bad at honing in on the smaller details that other people, those usually in a more positive frame of mind, tend to miss.
Feisty personalities, although unpleasant, can be tremendously effective. The psychological agility we’re advocating here would expand your repertoire to give you access to the tougher, more direct, and sometimes more effective approach. You’re probably avoiding this strategy because you think that being negative is, well, negative. You may think that aggressive, hostile, or downright mean people are generally jerks and you don’t want to run with that crowd. The good news is that a whole range of negativity – of beneficial negativity, mind you – has nothing to do with being a jerk.
psychology, temperament, well being
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.
neuroscience, psychology, well being
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.
psychology, technology, well being
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?
language, psychology, well being
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.
psychology, trends, well being
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.
caffeine, coffee, well being
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.
health, space travel, well being