Sense of wonderment may relieve the worry of waiting for uncertain news

An induced feeling of awe, or state of wonder, may be the best strategy yet for alleviating the discomfort that comes from uncertain waiting.

Kate Sweeny’s research explores the most excruciating form of waiting: the period during which one awaits uncertain news, the outcome of which is beyond one’s control. It’s waiting for news from a biopsy, or whether you aced — or tanked — the exam. That’s distinguished from waiting periods such as when looking for a new job, when you have at least some control over the outcome.

Her research has found some clues for alleviating those difficult periods. Meditation helps, as does engaging in “flow” activities — those that require complete focus, such as a video game.

“However, meditation is not for everyone, and it can be difficult to achieve a state of flow when worry is raging out of control,” Sweeny and her team assert in their latest related research, published recently in The Journal of Positive Psychology.

Sweeny, a professor of psychology at UC Riverside, has discovered what may be the best strategy yet to alleviate the most uncomfortable purgatory of waiting. That is, awe, defined in the research as a state of wonder, a transportive mindset brought on by beautiful music, or a deeply affecting film.

The research drew from two studies, for a total of 729 participants. In the first test, participants took a faux intelligence assessment. In the second test, participants believed they were awaiting feedback on how other study participants perceived them.

In both cases, they watched one of three movies that inspired varying levels of awe. The first was an “awe induction” video, a high-definition video of a sunrise with instrumental music. The second was a positive control video meant to elicit happy feelings, but not awe. The video was of cute animal couples. The third was a neutral video. In this case, about how padlocks are made.

Researchers found that those exposed to the awe-induction video experienced significantly greater positive emotion and less anxiety during the period waiting for IQ test results and peer assessments.

“Our research shows that watching even a short video that makes you feel awe can make waiting easier, boosting positive emotions that can counteract stress in those moments,” Sweeny said.

Sweeny said the research can be used to devise strategies for maximizing positive emotion and minimizing anxiety during the most taxing periods of waiting. Because the concept of awe has only received recent attention in psychology, the research also is the first to stress its beneficial effects during stressful waiting periods, opening new opportunities for study.

“Now that we know we can make people feel better through brief awe experiences while they’re waiting in the lab, we can take this knowledge out into the real world to see if people feel less stressed when they watch “Planet Earth” or go to an observatory, for example, while they’re suffering through a difficult waiting period,” Sweeny said.

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9 Fascinating Ways to Tell The Difference Between Gut Instincts & Anxiety

Your gut instincts are those nagging feelings that alert you to potentially dangerous situations, or let you know when something may go wrong. These feelings are what keep you safe in dark parking garages, and what sterr you towards good choices. But the problem is, it can often be difficult to tell the difference between intuition and anxiety.

“When you are prone to anxiety, both mental and physical, the problem is that you really can’t trust your gut,” Melissa Weinberg, LCPC, psychotherapist and owner of Open Lines Counseling, tells Bustle. “The difference between anxiety symptoms and gut reactions becomes very blurry.” And symptoms can feel one in the same.

What feels like intuition -a thought that won’t go away, butterflies in your stomach, etc. –might actually be anxiety. And vice versa. “If you struggle with anxiety, your gut is overactive and often interpreting benign external information, internal sensations, or passing thoughts as threats,” Weinberg says. But the good news is, it is possible to weed through the murky waters, and fiture out what’s what.

By talking with a therapist, for example, you can start to gather tools to better cope with anxiety, so it no longer gets in the way of your intuition. Here are a few things to keep in mind, so you can be better able to tell the difference.

1. Anxiety Doesn’t Let Up

One of the easiest ways to tell the difference between a gut instinct and anxiety is by how long your symptoms last. “A gut instinct is often a reaction to an immediate situation,” Weinberg says. “Anxiety, on the other hand, might be present regardless of its relevance to your current experience.”

Take that dark parking garage, for instance. If you experience a desire to run quickly to your car, might be your gut instinct guiding you away from danger. But if you feel that level of anxiety all day long, well, it’s probably anxiety.

2. Anxiety Causes You To Worry About The Future

Anxiety tends to be future-focused in a very unhealthy way. So if “your head is swarming with hypotheticals and worst case scenarios,” it’s likely not your gut instinct, Weinberg says.

Anxiety symptoms might even keep you up at night, as you think ahead to work projects, worry about your health, or wonder about the future of your relationship. Unlike intuition, anxiety likes to zero in on things you can’t control (AKA, the future).

3. Anxiety Causes Feelings Of Uncertainty

While both anxiety and intuition can create an unsettled feeling, anxiety will likely lead to more uncertainty — while instincts will feel more concrete.

“Your gut is your internal wisdom,” clinical psychologist Dr Helen Odessky tells Bustle. “You may be afraid to act on it but it feels certain, very much unlike anxiety which feels like uncertainty.”

That’s why, if you’re waffling back and forth and can’t decide what to do, you can rest assured whatever’s on your mind is likely anxiety-fueled.

4. Anxiety Interferes With Everyday Life

Unlike instincts, anxiety doesn’t have any redeeming qualities. And it may even start to negatively impact your life. So take if you starting to avoid certain situations, or can’t seem to function in a healthy way.

“When our ‘intuition’ or ‘gut instinct’ starts to interfere with how we’re handling life, it can’t be an indication that we are struggling with anxiety,” therapist Marinelle Reynolds, LCSW, tells Bustle.

A gut instinct may steer you away from an unsafe situation, but anxiety might steer you away from most situations. And when that’s the case, you’ll no longer be able to tell what’s worth worrying about.

5. Anxiety Causes Many Prolonged Symptoms

It really can help to look at the actual definition of anxiety, in order to figure out what’s causing your stressful feelings, especially if they’re sticking around.

“The DSM-V (the diagnostic manual mental health professionals use to diagnose disorders, including anxiety) outlines the specific symptoms of general anxiety, which include: excessive worry and anxiety, difficulty controlling the worry, and physical symptoms related to the anxiety, such as restlesness, fatigue, difficulty concentrating, irritability, muscle tension, and difficulty with sleep,” therapist Julie Williamson, LPC, NCC, RPT tells Bustle.

It may be helpful to speak with a therapist, if you are experiencing these symptoms, since they can help you find ways to cope. Once you begin to heal yourself of anxiety, you’ll be able tune into your intuition.

6. Gut Instincts Can Be Tested & Verified

One of the nice things about gut instincts is that they can be “easily tested,” Weinberg says. “Anxious worry cannot.” So if you want to tell which is which, look to your surroundings for some concrete evidence.

“For example, if you have a ‘gut instinct’ that your basement is leaking during a storm, you can verify this easily with a visit to the basement,” she says. If your basement is full of water, go ahead and thank your gut for tipping you off that something was wrong.

If, however, “you are worried about the structure and safety of your house and can’t stop thinking about when something might break or if the basement will flood next time rains, therse are doubts and uncertainties that fall under the umbrella of anxiety -not immediate danger,” Weinberg says. “They are fueled by uncertaintly and have no knowable answers.”

7. Gut Instincts Are Based In Patterns

“[A] gut instinct is how we feel ‘right now.’ It’s based on a highly evolved project survival strategy based in pattern recognition,” Spencer Coursen, a threat management expert, tells Bustle. “I stubbed my toe while walking in the kitchen. My gut instinct is that it might happen again. So now I am very careful about my step placement moving forward.”

Compare this to anxiety. “Anxiety would be if I projected that singular occurrence into a future-based fear of walking because now I feel it’s not safe to walk,” he says. See the difference?

8. Gut Instincts Help Center You

Gut instincts often cause everything to slow down, as they direct you where you need to go. “There is a center of calm knowing with gut instinct, a certainty on a specific topic,” Reiki Master and intuitive Stephanie Whitehead, tells Bustle. This is very unlike anxiety, which tends to cause chaotic, scattered thinking.

9. Gut Instincts Often Have Solutions

When you have a gut instinct, it’s often easy to solve whatever’s bugging you: you can leave the dark parking garage, make a decision, or check your basement for flooding.

“To go with the previous example, if it is raining and you have a feeling that your basement is flooding, you can do something about that,” Weinberg says. “But, if you are awake in the middle of the night worrying about how to make necessary improvements to your house […] that might be a legitimate problem that impacts your life and needs a solution. But can you do something about it at 3 a.m.? Probably not. If something is truly wrong, there will be an immediate action that can be taken to address it. If the worry is not actionable, it is anxiety.”

Even though it’s not immediately fixable, you can certainly find ways to deal with anxiety by making healthy lifestyle changes, speaking with a therapist, and possibly even taking medication. Once you are able tone down anxiety symptoms, your gut instincts will be much clearer. And you’ll have a much easier time telling the difference between the two.

Cómo Quejarse Físicamente Hace Que Su Cerebro lo Haga Ansioso y Depresivo






Por The Hearty Soul

Estoy segura que todos conocemos a una persona que siempre está con una actitud negativa. Esa persona que pensamos que siempre ve el vaso vacío a la mitad, pero que insiste en ser un realista. En mi caso, esa persona es una amiga desde la infancia, Sam.

Las cosas nunca son lo suficientemente buenas para Sam y ella siempre es la víctima de algo. Después de conocerla por unos 15 años ahora, estoy bastante acostumbrada a su negatividad y puedo simplemente dejarla deslizar.

Pero esto es solo después de mucha práctica. Antes siempre me quitaba mucha energía estar alrededor de ella porque era increíblemente agotante. Existen diferentes tipos de energías agotadoras pero todas vienen de un mismo valor central: Negatividad.

Tipos De Agotadores

Ahora, yo no soy completamente inocente de negatividad. Yo también me quejo de vez en cuando sin siquiera darme cuanta que lo hago. Es prácticamente parte de la cultura de hoy en día. El Dr. Robin Kowalski profesor en psicología en la Universidad de Clemson explica que todos nos quejamos, en algún momento, aunque sea un poco.1

Existen algunas variedades cuando se trata de quejosos. Estoy segura que podemos ponerle una cara a cada uno de estas categorías.

  • Desahogadores: Esta persona está muy disgustada, que no quiere escuchar soluciones, sin importar que servicial puedan ser.
  • Buscadores de Simpatía: Conoce esté tipo. Los que siempre buscan la atención con su actitud de “A mí me va mucho peor que a ti” o con su manera de decir que todo está mal.
  • Quejosos Crónicos: Esos que viven en un estado de queja, hacen algo que los investigadores llaman “rumiando.” Esto significa básicamente pensar y quejarse sobre un problema una y otra vez. En lugar de sentir un desahogo después de soltar, este tipo de queja puede empeorar las cosas. Puede causar aún más preocupación y ansiedad.

No estoy sugiriendo que deje todos sus malos hábitos y sea una persona reluciente volando libre en el positivismo. No, ni siquiera algo cerca. Las olas de negatividad son normales y se necesitan para reiniciar nuestro sistema.

De lo que querrá estar consciente, es si está siendo excesivamente negativo. ¿Por qué? Se pregunta. Porque la negatividad cultiva negatividad.

Muchos de nosotros hemos podido estar reforzando ese mal hábito de quejarnos des-intencionadamente, por virtud de… quejarnos.

La Negatividad Reconfigura Su Cerebro

Donald Hebb, un neuropsicólogo, creía que las neuronas que echan chispa juntas, se unen. A lo que se refería con eso es que grupos de neuronas se conectan en el cerebro como resultado de experiencias de vida particulares.2

Por ejemplo, cuando tenemos un pensamiento o un sentimiento o sensación física, miles de neuronas se suscitan y todas se juntan para formar una red. El cerebro aprende a suscitar las mismas neuronas con pensamientos repetitivos.

Básicamente, si mantiene su mente enfocada en el criticismo, la preocupación, y la victimización, a su mente se le hará más fácil volver a encontrar esos pensamientos para situaciones similares. Nuestro patrón de pensamiento hace una red en nuestro cerebro para reaccionar positivamente o negativamente a situaciones que se nos presentan.

Nos volvemos buenos en lo que practicamos, así que, ¿por qué no intentamos ser un poco más positivos?

Cuatro Trucos para Evadir la Negatividad

  1. Sé agradecido: Hasta para las cosas más pequeñas.
  2. Dese cuenta: Dese cuenta cuando se está quejando. Deje de quejarse. ¡Felicítese por hacerse consciente!
  3. Tome una nueva actitud: Podemos crear una actitud completamente nueva para tener sentimientos placenteros. Entre más permitamos que nuestra mente recuerde las cosas buenas, más fácil se vuelve esa forma de pensar.
  4. Practique el esfuerzo sabio: El esfuerzo sabio es soltar todo eso que no nos ayuda y cultivar aquello que es habilidoso.

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Psiconeuroinmunología: Lo que el corazón quiere, la mente se lo muestra

Esta es una entrevista que La Vanguardia Digital le realizó al Dr. Mario Alonso Puig quien es Médico Especialista en Cirugía General y del Aparato Digestivo, Fellow de la Harvard University Medical School y miembro de la New York Academy of Sciences y de la Asociación Americana para el Avance de la Ciencia.

Hasta ahora lo decían los iluminados, los meditadores y los sabios; ahora también lo dice la ciencia: son nuestros pensamientos los que en gran medida han creado y crean continuamente nuestro mundo. “Hoy sabemos que la confianza en uno mismo, el entusiasmo y la ilusión tienen la capacidad de favorecer las funciones superiores del cerebro. La zona prefrontal del cerebro, el lugar donde tiene lugar el pensamiento más avanzado, donde se inventa nuestro futuro, donde valoramos alternativas y estrategias para solucionar los problemas y tomar decisiones, está tremendamente influida por el sistema límbico, que es nuestro cerebro emocional. Por eso, lo que el corazón quiere sentir, la mente se lo acaba mostrando”. Hay que entrenar esa mente.

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