• Daily Grateful: John Lennon on Love

    July 9, 2014 John Lennon talks about experiencing real love. “I was writing about things I never experienced.” The song “Love” by John Lennon Love by John Lennon/John Lennon on Grooveshark Yours in Mental Hygiene, The Ancient Brain and Modern Mindfulness

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  • Daily Grateful: Happy Mother’s Day!

    May 10, 2014 This Mother’s Day, we celebrate the one who brought us into being on the planet. So, this Mother’s Day, why not show some gratitude to Mother Earth? 🙂 Yours in Mental Hygiene, “> The Ancient Brain and Modern Mindfulness  

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  • Thich Nhat Hanh and the Science of “Habit Energy”

    In the Western mind, habits can be described as connections between neurons–or bonds–that are strong and induce us to continue a behavior. The more that we do the behavior, the stronger the neural bonds, and the stronger the habit. Journalist Charles Duhigg, author of the book The Power of Habit: Why we do what we do in Life and Business, (excerpt here) was interviewed on NPR’s “Fresh Air” a couple of years ago, and here’s a quick rundown on what happens when we create habits: Neuroscientists have traced our habit-making behaviors to a part of the brain called the basal ganglia, which also

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  • Trauma, Memories, and the Ancient Brain

    What is trauma? According to the American Psychological Association: : Trauma is an emotional response to a terrible event like an accident, rape or natural disaster. Immediately after the event, shock and denial are typical. Longer term reactions include unpredictable emotions, flashbacks, strained relationships and even physical symptoms like headaches or nausea. While these feelings are normal, some people have difficulty moving on with their lives.  That’s certainly the prevailing definition of trauma. But is there more to it? Assuredly. Trauma can result in myriad symptoms that go far beyond “even headaches and “nausea.” The more I research the brain, the more I’ve

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  • Mindful Moments are Everywhere

    This little robin was just sitting in our driveway, checking me out, but with her back to me, and I just waited, with my camera, taking a few shots, but I wanted to see it fly away when my wife and our dog Zoe came out of the house for our walk. She did and boy did she! We take things like common robins for granted, but when you see them–really *see* them–they’re as amazing as any majestic raptor. Yours in Mental Hygiene, “> The Ancient Brain and Modern Mindfulness

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  • Daily Grateful: On this Earth Day, Don’t be Afraid, We’re All Connected

    April 22, 2014 Everything that you’ve ever known, thought about, or experienced, was the ultimate result of collapsing stars. This isn’t conjecture, it’s hard science. Doesn’t matter whether we want to acknowledge it or not: we are all connected. Everything around us–hell, us included–is just a different manifestation of stuff that was previously something else: all the molecules and atoms, all the different elements that were created by different types of stars, they’re all we are. This shouldn’t be a source of a fear, but of wonderment, and for me, it’s a spiritual feeling of connectedness. Looking up at the night

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  • The Beauty of Life: Amazing HD Video

    The brain reacts to and responds to whatever you present to it, whatever, in essence, you “feed” it. Showing the brain moving, beautiful images and really absorbing them in the moment is actually good for your brain. As Dr. Rick Hanson and others have explained, it takes more than simply thinking positively–we must “dwell” in positive experiences for the brain to really internalize positive moment and convert them into enhanced neural networks of happiness. That’s because our brains developed an innate tendency to help ensure our ancestors’ survival by focusing on the negative, or what’s referred as the brain’s “negative bias.” If you think about

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  • Daily Grateful: Prepare to Smile!

    April 17, 2014 Nothing much to say about this other than “smile!” 🙂 Why Daily Grateful? [grat-i-tood, -tyood] noun, the quality or feeling of being grateful or thankful. In an article entitled In Praise of Gratitude,according to the Harvard Medical School, Gratitude is a thankful appreciation for what an individual receives, whether tangible or intangible. With gratitude, people acknowledge the goodness in their lives. In the process, people usually recognize that the source of that goodness lies at least partially outside themselves. As a result, gratitude also helps people connect to something larger than themselves as individuals — whether to other

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  • Daily Grateful: Elephant Seal Pups…and a Journalist

    April 10, 2014 Charlie Bird meets seals while travelling through Antarctica following the route of explorer Tom Crean’s final expedition alongside Ernest Shackleton aboard the Endurance in 1914-15. One of the more moving things I’ve seen in a while. We are connected. The animals know it, why don’t we? Why Daily Grateful? [grat-i-tood, -tyood] noun, the quality or feeling of being grateful or thankful. In an article entitled In Praise of Gratitude,according to the Harvard Medical School, Gratitude is a thankful appreciation for what an individual receives, whether tangible or intangible. With gratitude, people acknowledge the goodness in their lives. In the process, people usually recognize

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  • Daily Grateful: Maternal Instincts Trump All Others

    April 6, 2014 Beautiful story with a twist–thank you oxytocin. Enjoy. Tip ‘o the hat to me mum for this one. 🙂 Why Daily Grateful? [grat-i-tood, -tyood] noun, the quality or feeling of being grateful or thankful. In an article entitled In Praise of Gratitude,according to the Harvard Medical School, Gratitude is a thankful appreciation for what an individual receives, whether tangible or intangible. With gratitude, people acknowledge the goodness in their lives. In the process, people usually recognize that the source of that goodness lies at least partially outside themselves. As a result, gratitude also helps people connect to something

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  • The Ft. Hood Attack, the “Offline PFC,” and the Ancient Brain

    A few days ago, Ivan Lopez, a soldier in Ft. Hood, TX went on a murderous rampage before shooting himself. A day or two later, a military spokesman, indicated that an “escalating argument” precipitated the assault. According to another spokesman for the Army’s Criminal Investigation Command, the military had not yet determined a “concrete motive.” Sadly, this is not surprising; incidents like this are increasingly commonplace these days. For those who have followed this blog, you know that the Pre-Frontal Cortex (PFC)–the “newer” part of our brains that evolved to govern the complexities of thought, emotion, and higher “executive” functions–can be

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  • Daily Grateful: Pranking it Forward :)

    April 2, 2014 Pretty inspiring story of people making one person’s life better. Couldn’t happen to a more deserving person. Enjoy. [grat-i-tood, -tyood] noun, the quality or feeling of being grateful or thankful. In an article entitled In Praise of Gratitude,according to the Harvard Medical School, Gratitude is a thankful appreciation for what an individual receives, whether tangible or intangible. With gratitude, people acknowledge the goodness in their lives. In the process, people usually recognize that the source of that goodness lies at least partially outside themselves. As a result, gratitude also helps people connect to something larger than themselves as

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  • Daily Grateful: Smile at Cat Ping Pong

    April 1, 2014 Smiling No, it’s not April Fools, it’s just a silly cat video intended to make you smile. It’s really one of the better things that the Interwebs does, don’t you think?? 🙂 [grat-i-tood, -tyood] noun, the quality or feeling of being grateful or thankful. In an article entitled In Praise of Gratitude,according to the Harvard Medical School, Gratitude is a thankful appreciation for what an individual receives, whether tangible or intangible. With gratitude, people acknowledge the goodness in their lives. In the process, people usually recognize that the source of that goodness lies at least partially outside themselves.

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  • Daily Grateful: Be Aware, Not Wary

    March 30, 2014 Taking in the good is….good for you. You’ve heard the phrases, “Give me a moment,” or “Let me take a moment.” Moments are all we have. They’re gifts; little parcels of space-time that enable us to live more fully. By enabling/permitting ourselves to dwell in the moments of life more deeply, we’re actually helping shape our brain to do positive things. In today’s post, Rick Hanson explains how that helps–from a technical point of view, while increasingly well-known Buddhist Thich Nhat Hanh explains it as only he can. I love that modern science and ancient teachings have finally

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  • Daily Grateful: Stephen Fry – “The time to be happy is now.”

    March 25, 2014 Stephen Fry offers up a brilliant animated summary of humanism and a secret to happiness that’s not so secret (has a lot in common with mindfulness, to be honest. 😉 Thanks to “Upworthy” for this one. Yours in Mental Hygiene, ” data-lightbox-gallery=”lightbox[gallery-B5SH] “> The Ancient Brain and Modern Mindfulness

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