Why Time Can Move in Slow Motion

April 18, 2009 by  
Filed under Mind Stretch

dreamlandscapeWhy does time seem to move in slow motion when we are in danger?  Scientists once assumed such time warps were caused by a release of adrenaline. But an entirely new explanation hais now being offered.  

To determine why a sense of danger makes people experience time in slow motion, scientists at Houston’s Baylor College of Medicine tried scaring volunteers by dropping them from great heights. The scientists had volunteers dive backward with no ropes attached, into a special net that broke their fall. They reached 70 mph during the roughly three-second, 150-foot drop.

It’s the scariest thing I have ever done, said neuroscientist David Eagleman. The researcher felt it might be the perfect way to make people feel a danger-related time warp. He was right. The volunteers estimated their own fall lasted about a third longer than the dive actually took.

To determine if people in danger could actually see and perceive more like a video camera in slow motion, Eagleman developed  a perceptual chronometer they strapped onto volunteers’ wrists. This watch-like device flickered numbers on its screen. The scientists could adjust the speed at which numbers appeared until they were too fast to see.

If the brain sped up when in danger, the researchers theorized numbers on the perceptual chronometers would appear slow enough to read while volunteers fell. Instead, the scientists found that volunteers could not read the numbers at faster-than-normal speeds.

They concluded that such time warping seems to be a trick played by one’s memory. When a person is frightened, a brain area called the amygdala becomes more active, laying down an extra set of memories that supplement  those normally laid down by the brain.

In this way, frightening events are associated with richer and denser memories, Eagleman explained. And, he theorizes, the more memory you have of an event, the longer you believe it took.

He feels this illusion is related to the phenomenon that time seems to speed up as you grow older. When you’re a child, you lay down rich memories for all your experiences;. But when you’re older, you’ve seen it all before and lay down fewer memories. Therefore, when a child looks back at the end of a summer, it seems to have lasted forever, while adults think it zoomed by.

What do YOU think about his theory?

Why Laughter is Good Medicine

April 17, 2009 by  
Filed under Feeling Positive

laughteryoga1501Tired of all the gloom and doom? Try getting a good laugh.

Back in 1995, Dr. Madan Kataria, a physician from Mumbai, India, created a club whose members gather every day to laugh. He called it Laughter Yoga. Sessions begin with participants clapping rhythmically and chanting “Ho-ho, ha-ha-ha. This faked laughter soon becomes real laughter.

Laughter Yoga combines yoga deep breathing and simulated laughter exercises. Does fake laughter have the same benefits as real laughter? The doctor says even if you pretend laugh, the same set of happy chemicals (endorphins) are released in your brain. Today there are over 5,000 laughter clubs in more than 50 countries.

Laughter brings important health benefits. Pent up negative emotions like anger, sadness and frustration are released in a healthy way, and humor can help us view stressful events as challenges rather than threats. As Bill Cosby has said, if you can laugh at it, you can survive it.

Laughter may even help to prevent heart disease, according to a study at the University of Maryland. When you laugh you improve the function of the innermost lining of your blood vessels, and this is important to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease.

In the study, viewing laughter-provoking clips from movies was found to relax blood vessels in 19 of the 20 study volunteers, and increase blood flow an average of 22 percent. While film clips that caused stress were found to narrow blood vessels in 14 of 20 volunteers, and decrease blood flow by an average of 34 percent.
Other studies by Dr. Lee Berk of California’s Loma Linda University School of Medicine show that laughter may also strengthen our immune system and decrease our stress hormones.

There are lots of easy ways to get more laughter into your life:

  • Watch funny movies or TV shows.
  • Read funny books.
  • Hang out with happy, upbeat people.
  • Use brainwave training to instantly bust your stress

6 Steps to Enter the Flow

April 17, 2009 by  
Filed under BEST POSTS, Life Mastery

mindYou’ve heard about how a musician loses herself in her music, or how a painter becomes one with his painting. Time stops, and only total focus on the activity remains.

This is called *being in the flow,* an experience that is both demanding and rewarding… and perhaps the most enjoyable and valuable experience you can have.

Hungarian-born psychologist Mihalyi Csikszentmihalyi, the father of the flow concept, describes the experience as being completely involved in an activity for its own sake. The ego falls away. Time flies. Every action, movement, and thought follows inevitably from the previous one, like playing jazz. Your whole being is involved, and you’re using your skills to the utmost.

He determined that flow occurs when we are totally absorbed in some activity that is neither too easy nor too difficult for us. If the activity is too easy, we fall into boredom — while if it’s too difficult, we become anxious or stressed.

But it the activity is just right we find ourselves in the state of flow, just like children at play.

Build Flow Mind Power
Learning how to enter into the flow has the potential to immediately improve the quality of your life and build your mind power. Csikszentmihalyi found that being in the flow actually increases your brain power, and that the longer you remain in flow, the more complex your mind power becomes.

The easiest way to understand how flow increases mind power is this: When you perform a task that is too easy, your mind wanders from your work, and you have low mental focus. When something is overwhelmingly too difficult, on the other hand, anxiety and frustration set in.

Neither boredom nor anxiety lead to good mental focus.

Most often we move in and out of flow without realizing it. Any stimulating activity that completely fills your conscious attention can put you there. But the minute you feel worry, boredom or insecurity creeping in, you are out of the flow.

Here’s a reliable step-by-step method to create a state of flow in your life:

Step 1. View your task as a game. Like any serious game, you need feedback to keep yourself challenged, and the most basic form of feedback is keeping score. Establish the objective of your selected task as an actual goal, recognize the challenges to be overcome, and decide on any rules and rewards.

Step 2. Decide on and focus on your purpose. As you play your game, constantly remind yourself of the underlying purpose that is driving you. This goes beyond the goal, it is the reason for the goal.

Step 3. Strengthen your focus. Become aware of your thoughts. If you find your mind drifting or filled with anxiety, you have moved away from the zone. Refocus on the task at hand, and adjust the difficulty until you become fully engaged in the details of the task.

Step 4. Surrender to the process. This is perhaps the greatest mystery of the flow process. As you practice Step 3, you will find yourself enjoying the process of simply focusing completely on the task without straining or undue efforting. As you do, you will begin to experience periods of timelessness.

Step 5. Embrace ecstasy. The most interesting part of this process is the natural result of the previous four steps. You are going to be suddenly hit by surprise with a feeling of ecstasy. You’ll recognize it. When it happens, you are solidly in the flow.

Step 6. Enjoy peak productivity. The state of ecstasy is actually a whole brain phenomenon in which your entire cortex vibrates at one coherent frequency. It is unmistakable. You will have the sensation of creating without thinking, and your productivity will attain unheard of heights.

Flow and The Zone
The state of flow has direct ties to the state of being athletes call *the zone,* and also to the desired end state of Zen Buddhism. But the experience applies equally well to any endeavor, however simple or complex. Think of the minute complexity of the Japanese Tea Ceremony, and the intense mental focus required to perform it correctly.

Increase Your Probabuility of Entering Flow
An excellent way to increase your probability of entering into the flow is to train your brain to release stress — since only then can you achieve the required clear focus.

Regular visits to the Quantum Brain Gym for brainwave training will get you into the FLOW painlessly. Join and spend 10 to 15-minutes a day with brainwave training. Try it! You’ll be amazed at the differences in your mental clarity and focus. Click here!

posted by Jill Ammon-Wexler
Amazing Success

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