Wednesday, April 18, 2018

“I am sorry” vs “I regret”

A very different meaning or impression can be given to others depending on whether you use “I’m sorry” or “I regret” and it is important to understand their differing meanings and use them correctly. “I’m sorry” or “I apologize” indicates that you personally did something to trigger the accident or cause the mistake. “I regret” indicates that you acknowledge what happened but that you personally did not trigger the accident or cause the mistake. For example, I visit friends and their dog—in an apparently state of excitement to see me—leaps over the couch and knocks a glass lamp to the floor where it shatters into a million pieces. The appropriate response is, “I regret that happened.” This acknowledges what happened but also indicates that you are not accepting responsibility for the accident. More tomorrow

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Brain Goals

Live at joy and move up and down the Emotions Staircase for brief periods of time to get the information the specific emotion is trying to move from your subconscious to your conscious mind so you can become aware of something and take appropriate action. Sometimes the goal is to pay attention and learn but take no immediate action. Rather, you file away the information and when you next encounter a similar situation you have more than one option to consider selecting in terms of actions and behaviors.

According to Candace B. Pert, PhD, a specific neuropeptide may be associated with each emotion so you can only experience one core emotion at a time. Think of your brain as containing your own personal Broadway stage. You are “on stage” every moment of your life. Only one actor or personal assistant (core emotion) can be with you on the stage at any given time. You can experience each emotion and receive the information it provides without emoting (e.g., giving expression to it, or taking any action, or exhibiting any behavior related to the emotion). 

Monday, April 16, 2018

Brain Centers

You are not responsible for every emotion that surfaces. Some emotions may be triggered by your own thoughts and what you see, hear, taste, smell, and feel. But some emotions may be triggered by something in the external environment. Since your brain creates your “feelings” (your interpretation of what the emotion is trying to tell you) however, all things being equal you are responsible for the feelings you hang onto over time. Emotional signals appear to be interpreted into feelings in the frontal lobes of the neocortex or 3rd brain layer. The pre-frontal areas directly behind your forehead help to identify the emotions and the feelings and to moderate emotional expression related to them. Emotional impulses tend to arise in the mammalian or 2nd brain layer. Old habit patterns tend to hang around in the reptilian or 1st brain layer and can surface quickly if your brain downshifts into that layer due to anger or fear. “Emotional processes operate at a much higher speed than thoughts, and often bypass the mind’s linear reasoning process entirely” (Joseph LeDoux - The Emotional Brain)

Friday, April 13, 2018

Feelings 101, Part 3

Emotions arise in the mammalian or 2nd brain layer (middleand then quickly spread to every cell in the body changing your physiology. The body and brain tend to quickly become aware of these physiological changes,

The brain appears to interpret emotions into feelings in the frontal lobes of the neocortex or 3rd brain layer (top)

The pre-frontal cortex helps to moderate expression of both emotions and feelings and selects preferred actions and behaviors—otherwise previously loaded habits (often of the knee-jerk variety) in the reptilian or 1st brain layer (bottom) will take over automatically.

Thursday, April 12, 2018

Feelings 101, Part 2

Feelings are explanations (short-hand labels) that your brain creates about the emotion to describe what it thinks the emotion means and its relative importance in your life. The explanations may be accurate or inaccurate because you know only what you know and your explanations are of necessity based on what you know.

The brain’s explanations, correct or incorrect, create your feelings. As soon as you recognize a feeling, it is empowering to know that you are capable of choosing whether or not you want to maintain that feeling over time or whether you want to feel a different feeling. Since feelings always follow your thoughts, if you want to change the way you feel you must change the way you think. Your behaviors tend to follow the feelings you choose to harbor and hang onto.

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Feelings 101

There does not appear to be one distinct emotions center in the brain. When an emotion is triggered, it tends to arise simultaneously in cells throughout brain and body as a product of the brain and body acting in concert. When in the grip of a strong emotion, you are in a biochemically-altered state. Emotions and feelings represent differing but inter-related concepts that follow separate and different pathways in the brain. They are mediated by two distinct neuronal systems [The Lancet Neurology, March 2004]. In and of themselves, emotions and feelings are not Emotional Intelligence—but EQ involves applying your knowledge of emotions and feelings effectively and appropriately in order to increase your likelihood of success. It also involves selecting with care the behaviors you exhibit around those feelings. It means selecting with care the four or five people with whom you spend the most time as within about three years you are likely to begin picking up the characteristics they exhibit.

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Emotion Cascade Summary

An internal or external stimulus triggers an emotion. Your brain tries to make sense of the physiological changes in your body resulting from the emotion. The brain’s interpretation creates thoughts and feelings. You become aware of a thought (I feel . . . I think) and either hang onto it and exhibit a behavior related to that feeling or thought or you change the thought and the subsequent feeling and behavior. When you understand that your feelings are connected to what you think about an event more than by the event itself, you can gain a measure of perspective and control. You may not be able to alter the event but you can change your thoughts, and a change in thoughts often can radically alter your feelings as well as your behaviors—because feelings follow thoughts and actions and behaviors follow feelings.

Hemispheres and Emotions

There are potentially 100 times more connections between the right hemisphere of the brain and the subconscious emotional mammalian or 2nd brain layer. This suggests that individuals whose innate brain bent is in the right hemisphere may be more aware of and in touch with emotion in themselves and in others. This does not necessarily mean that they manage their emotions effectively or that they have high levels of Emotional Intelligence; just that they may be more aware of emotions than those whose innate brain bent is in the left hemisphere. Having said that, any human being with a functional brain may choose to learn about emotions and feelings, know themselves, and build skills related to Emotional Intelligence--because EQ involves a set of “learned skills.”

Monday, April 9, 2018

EQ Behavior – 8

Individuals with high levels of EQ skills tend to exhibit the following behavior quite consistently.

They are able to handle relationships effectively, minimizing any tendency to exhibit JOT behaviors. They avoid jumping to conclusions, overreacting, and taking things personally. Reduce those "low EQ" behaviors and that in and of itself can tend to diminish the amount of potential hurt feelings and conflict in your life.

Emotions Staircase

According to Candace B Pert, PhD, emotions are measurable physical responses, neuropeptides that are triggered by internal thoughts or external events or situations—designed to connect the subconscious mind with the conscious. Each comes with specific physiological markers, facial expressions, and typical actions and behaviors. Think of them as your four most critically important assistants. The ideal is to live at joy and move up and down the staircase for brief periods of time as appropriate, based on the situation and what you need to learn about and take care of.

Friday, April 6, 2018

Emotional Motivators – Surprise & Disgust

Rather than being described as core emotions, surprise and disgust tend to be viewed as emotional motivators. They may surface in combination with any core emotion. They can increase the strength of any core emotion or a reaction/action/behavior related to the emotion.

Surprise can strengthen a core emotions with a sense that whatever happened was completely unexpected. Regardless of whether it was good or bad, happy or sad, or indifferent, you were not expecting what happened.

Disgust can strengthen a core emotion with a sense of revulsion, aversion, repugnance, or profound disapproval aroused by something you perceived to be extremely unpleasant or offensive or a breach of good manners; or something you hate or abhor, or consider to be an abomination.

Thursday, April 5, 2018

Emotional Interrupters – Guilt

Healthy guilt, sometimes referred to as contrition, is an emotional interrupter designed to get your attention. Healthy guilt tells you that you made a mistake (e.g., violated a code of etiquette or conduct or expectations, were careless or unthinking). It reminds you that you’re human. All humans makes mistakes and you can learn a new way. It suggests you make restitution whenever and wherever possible. 

Unfortunately guilt is often completely misunderstood and turned into unhealthy guilt.

Unhealthy guilt is usually a learned response that often begins in early childhood. Unhealthy guilt says that you yourself are a mistake and nothing can remedy that. It’s hopeless. You may as well just go out to the garden and eat worms because that’s all you deserve.

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Emotional Interrupters – Shame

Rather than being described as core emotions, many consider shame and guilt to be emotional interrupters. They interrupt whatever is happening in order to get your attention. Likely learned reactions, each may be helpful and healthy or false and unhealthy. Your sense of shame may develop very early in childhood. Unhealthy or false shame says you yourself are a bad person who deserves humiliation and disgust—even abusewhether or not you made a mistake. False shame’s response: What a complete putz! I am so inadequate and pathetic!

Healthy shame or contrition triggers a sense of embarrassment, distress, or dread from a recognition of your mistake. It can prompt you to apologize and to make attempts to remedy the consequences insofar as it is possible to do so. Healthy shame’s response: Oops, I made a mistake—I am choosing a more functional behavior!

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Male-Female Differences

Researchers showed a group of participants pictures that were designed to elicit the emotion of anger. Females typically were unaware of their anger, identifying it as sadness. As mentioned earlier this may be a socialized response to avoid coming across as “angry and unfeminine.” Males recognized their anger, perhaps due to socialization that anger is masculine and acceptable.
When shown pictures designed to elicit the emotion of sadness, opposite findings emerged. Females were aware of their sadness. Males, however, did not recognize their sadness, identifying it as anger. Again perhaps due to socialization that sadness is not masculine.
Since these differences appear to be socialized beginning in early childhood, there are some frightening and potential negative outcomes that may occur in adulthood, especially for relationship harmony and satisfaction.

Monday, April 2, 2018



Much in the same way that euphoria is a real state, although not a core emotion in and of itself, apathy is not a core emotion, either. Apathy can be described as an energy-less state of seeming indifference or lack of interest in much of anything. It can be the result of a complete overwhelm of unmanaged emotions that gradually spirals down into a shutting down of feeling and caring sensations. Interestingly enough, people rarely commit suicide when in a state of apathy – they don’t have enough energy!

This may be perceived by others as a seeming lack of concern about mental, emotional, physical, social, relational, spiritual, and health issues; as a lack of personal self-care (and sometimes as a lack of care for and toward others, including spouse, partner, children, work associates, and close friends). Over time and if not resolved, this state may lead to illness, addictions, disease, and even death.

Friday, March 30, 2018

Core Emotion of Sadness

Sadness is a signal that you have experienced some type of loss. provides energy to grieve losses, heal past woundedness, and recover (feel better). Without identifying and managing sadness you may fail to recover from your losses and/or grieve successfully. Sadness may or may not involve tears.

In many cultures males are socialized to repress loss and sadness, which can result in the development of a slush fund of ungrieved and unresolved loss and sadness. Down the line when a small loss occurs, the male may over-react as the slush fund rushed forward and engulfs them. Females often receive a type of reward for being in a state of sadness (e.g., comfort and attention from their support system).

Unmanaged, sadness can suppress immune system functions, interfere with critical brain functions, decrease levels of serotonin, increase one's risk for depression and/or immobility, and lead to apathy.

Thursday, March 29, 2018

Core Emotion of Fear

Fear is signal that you may be facing some type of danger, a situation that may be unsafe. Fear provides energy to take appropriate protective action for yourself and/or for others, especially those you love. Again, in many cultures, males are socialized to avoid fear, exhibiting it often as anger; while females are socialized to be somewhat fearful, exhibiting it as fear or as sadness and expecting someone else to “protect them.”

Without fear you may be unable to protect yourself or your loved ones adequately. When unmanaged, fear can kill ideas, undermine confidence, suppress the immune system, and escalate into phobias and/or immobilization

This is a tricky emotion, however, as imagined danger triggers the stress response in the same way as does actual fear. Imagined fear can create immobility. This points out the importance of identifying imagined fears (and everyone has some!) and resolving/dealing with them. More tomorrow.

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Core Emotion of Anger

Used correctly, anger is a very valuable core emotion. It is a signal that one or more of your boundaries have been invaded (e.g., mental, physical, emotional, sexual, spiritual, social, financial…). Anger provides energy to create, implement, reassess/reset appropriate personal limits. Without the ability to identify and manage anger appropriately, you may lack the motivation and energy to take appropriate corrective action, or you may become complacent and begin to tolerate the intolerable

Unmanaged, anger can lead to bitterness, suppressed immune system, cardiovascular problems, illness, injury, and even death

In many cultures males are socialized to believe that anger is a male prerogative, while females are socialized to repress their anger (because it is not “nice” and is “unfeminine), exhibiting it as fear or sadness. This can lead to females tolerating dysfunctional and abusive environments. More tomorrow.

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

EQ High-Low Characteristics, 2

Think about the list of characteristics. If you were an employer, who would you prefer to hire? As an individual, who you like to date or marry? One of the reasons for raising your EQ is to reduce the potential conflict in your life. Another is to role-model a more functional way to live to whomever is watching you. A third reason is that living a high level wellness lifestyle that includes high levels of EQ is likely to impact your health in positive ways. Remember: conflict is expensive. In the home, high levels of conflict contribute to illness, stress, violence, addictions, divorce, murder . . . In schools in burns out teachers, triggers misunderstandings, and may exacerbate dysfunctional behaviors on the part of students with mental health problems . . . In churches, it burns out clerics, rips congregations apart, and sets up an environment of anger and retaliation. All excellent motivators to raise one’s own level of Emotional Intelligence.

Euphoria's "Two Faces"

Euphoria is not a separate core emotion. Rather it represents a brief period of intense excitement, bliss, or pleasure that may be genuine or that can be chemically induced. Euphoria provides energy to experience special moments at an intense level but was not designed to be sustained for long periods of time. According to Kent Berridge, an affective neuroscientist, intense euphoria occurs from the simultaneous activation of every hedonic hotspot within the brain's reward system. Substances that can trigger a mild euphoria include tobacco, caffeine, small doses of alcohol (when first ingested), THC, barbiturates and benzodiazepines, amphetamine, methamphetamine, cocaine, MDMA, and methylphenidate , etc. Euphoria may signal early carbon monoxide poisoning (e.g., “choking game). For some, emotionally arousing music, dancing, intense aerobic exercise, or sexual activities, may induce euphoria. It may also be a symptom of specific neurological or neuropsychiatric disorders, such as mania associated with bi-polar disorder. Intense “romantic love” and portions of the human sexual response are also associated with euphoria. More tomorrow.

Monday, March 26, 2018

Core Emotion of Joy

Core Emotion of Joy

Joy is a natural state of anti-depression that some believe is hard wired into the brain It’s a signal that life is basically going well and can be a choice for how to respond to life. It provides energy to live life to its fullness. It is believed that genuine joy is the only emotion that does not result in negative outcomes when it is maintained over time.

Without joy you may be unable to become the balanced, contented, productive individual you were intended to be.

Pseudo or false joy is an attempt to feel better when genuine joy seems unattainable. It can lead to obsessions, compulsions, addictions, a sense of unreality, frustration, illness, and even depression. More tomorrow.

Friday, March 23, 2018

EQ – 8

Clear scientific evidence exists that facial expressions registering at least joy, anger, fear, and sadness are inborn and may be seen on the face of a fetus during gestation, depending on what the mother is experiencing internally and externally in the environment. You may be able to picture these more easily if you imagine you are standing on a rug on which is written the word Apathy—in front of a set of 5 stairs labeled “The Emotions Staircase.” Apathy is not thought to be an emotion in and of itself. Rather, apathy can result when the brain is in a state of emotional overwhelm due to mismanagement of the three protective emotions or a misunderstanding of euphoria. The first step is labelled “Sadness.” The second step is “Fear.” The third step is “Anger.” The fourth step is “Joy.” And the fifth step is “Euphoria. Metaphorically imagine you climb these step steps until you reach “joy.” Stop on the Joy Step.

Thursday, March 22, 2018

EQ - 7

Dr. Pert, a NIH researcher, who led studies identifying opioid receptors in the brain and changed perspectives about addictive behaviors, indicated that a specific neuropeptide (neurotransmitter than affects moods) appeared to be associated with each core emotion so a person can experience only one core emotion at a time (although the emotions can alternate rapidly). Moreover, each emotion exhibits differing gestures, postures, behavioral patterns, memories, and facial expressions. They create similar physiological markers, however, that involve a wide range of bodily changes (e.g., rapid heart rate, sweaty palms, stomach butterflies, flushed or pale face, changes in breathing, triggering secretion of hormones and neuropeptides). All emotions are positive and some are also protective—each designed to help you become aware of specific sensory stimuli and to manage specific situations appropriately. Behaviors related to emotions are often mismanaged, resulting in negative outcomes. More tomorrow.

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

EQ – 6

Many grew up believing that emotions were negative and if they didn’t exist how much better life would be. Not so. All core emotions are believed to be positive and three are considered “protective.” Think of an analog clock. Without an energy source, the hands of the clock would fail to move. Without emotions to provide information and energy, you likely would be “motionless” as well. However, you can experience each core emotion and receive the information it provides without emoting (e.g., giving expression to it or taking any action). Emotions are very powerful. Dr. Pert said that when you are in the grip of a strong emotion, you are in a biochemically-altered state. Although emotional impulses arise in the 2nd brain (Mammalian) layer, there likely is no dedicated emotion center. When triggered, emotions arise nearly simultaneously in brain and body cells. More tomorrow.

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

EQ – 5

So what are emotions? How do they differ from feelings? Let’s begin with emotions first. According to Candace B Pert, PhD, both the brain and body are part of the subconscious, faithfully recording and reporting chemical processes that enter our conscious awareness only as we recognize them as emotions. Think of emotions as cellular signals that can be triggered by internal (thoughts) or external (environmental) stimuli and are designed to:

  1. Get your attention
  2. Give you information by connecting the subconscious with the conscious
  3. Give you energy
  4. Motivate you to take appropriate action (if any is needed); otherwise to give you the opportunity to learn something that might be very helpful in the future.
More tomorrow

Monday, March 19, 2018

EQ – 4

JOT behaviors, so called, are examples of low levels of EQ.

J stands for jumping to conclusions
O stands for overreacting
T stands for taking things personally.

These behaviors tend to create conflict, inside an individual and between individuals. As you raise your EQ and work on resolving JOT behaviors, you tend to experience less conflict, which can be seen in the things you say and do that—and that result in more positive outcomes. EQ is not emotions or feelings; it does involve both of them, however, as components. In essence, this involves learning to identify emotions quickly and accurately and manage them effectively, along with an understanding of the difference between emotions and feelings. More next time.

Friday, March 16, 2018

EQ – 3

Daniel J. Goleman, PhD, an early researcher on EQ (his book on EQ came out in the mid-nineties, which was the first time many had even heard the term Emotional Intelligence) has been quoted as saying:  Out-of-control emotions can make smart people stupid. First of all, low levels of EQ tend to correlate with conflict. Studies on Managers in a variety of organizations have shown that very successful managers tended to have high levels of EQ regardless of IQ. Conversely, managers judged to be to be less successful tended to have high IQs but low levels of EQ. Studies in 2006 also showed that Managers were spending about 18% of their time managing employee conflicts. This was twice the percentage reported ten years earlier. More next time.

Thursday, March 15, 2018

EQ – 2

Based on audience questions about EQ, it became clear that there was a great deal of confusion about what EQ even was, what it could do for a person, or how you “get it.” Here’s one working definition: 

Emotional Intelligence involves the ability to know what feels good, what feels bad, and how to get from bad to good in a way that results in positive outcomes.

No surprise, the brain likes and wants to feel good. That’s appropriate. Learning how to feel good in a way that results in positive outcomes, however, is a learning curve. More tomorrow.

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

The Brain and EQ

During a recent Brain Conference there were several questions from the audience about EQ or Emotional Intelligence. Apparently that genre of information is less well known than I thought. And it is worth 80% of a person’s success in life according to the Success Quotient or SQ. That formula reads like this: Your IQ + your EQ = your SQ. IQ and EQ do not contribute equally to your SQ, however. IQ is said to contribute about 20% while EQ contributes 80% if not more. Therefore, most people can be very successful in life based on their level of EQ (and not necessarily based on their IQ). Think of Forrest Gump in the movie by that name. His IQ was likely high 70's or low 80. Most likely his EQ was of the charts. Interestingly, Gump gave his mother all the credit for what he had learned. Which points out that while IQ potentials are inherited (likely from your opposite gender parents), EQ is learned. That's good news! More tomorrow.

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Brain Neurons

“Common knowledge” has said for some time that the human brain has about 100 billion neurons to say nothing of at least as many glial cells and who know how many of other cells that may not yet have been identified. [Remember that it was only 2015 when researchers discovered that the brain does have an immune system, with immune vessels having been found in all three protective layers (meninges) that surround and protect brain tissue.] There is some emerging evidence that the brain may not contain nearly this many neurons. And the male brain, being larger, may have a couple billion more neurons than the female brain—the consensus previously being that the numbers of neurons were equal in male and female brains with those in the female brain just more tightly packed. If this holds up there will be yet more textbooks that need revision . . .

Monday, March 12, 2018

Aging Paradox, 2

A study of mental health among individuals over 90 was centered in Cilento, Southern Italy and was part of a larger study called CIAO (Cilento Initiative on Aging Outcomes). Lead author Anna Scelzo reported that as expected, the participants who were over age 90 had poorer physical health—but unexpectedly they had a better level of mental health and well-being. They also had a tendency to be stubborn, domineering, and needed a sense of control, “which can be a desirable trait as they are true to their convictions and care less about what others think.” Dr. Dilip Jeste, Distinguished Professor of Psychiatry at the University of California, San Diego, and fellow author, said that the study shows how wisdom and mental well-being can increase with aging even when physical health is declining. He called this phenomenon “the paradox of aging.” The researchers concluded that exceptional longevity was characterized by a balance between acceptance of and grit to overcome adversities along with a positive attitude and close ties to family, religion, and land, providing purpose in life. (

Friday, March 9, 2018

Aging Paradox

More and more research is suggesting how physical health, diet, and genetics relate to longevity. Recently, researchers from three countries (USA, Italy, Switzerland) decided to try and identify any special traits that help individuals stay healthier and live longer. The study centered in Cilento, a rural area of r southern Italy. Cilento is noted for an unusually high proportion of the population who live to age 90 and beyond. Out of a total population of 60,000 there are about 2000 people over age hundred. Participants were recruited from nine villages in the region (29 participants ages 90-101 plus 51 relatives aged 51-75. Evaluative measure included Established measures were used to rate the physical and mental well-being of all participants. Older participants completed questionnaires and were interviewed about their beliefs and the events of their lives. The 51 relatives answered questions about the personalities of the 90-plus group. To be continued ...

Thursday, March 8, 2018

Alzheimer’s Potential Treatment – News

In January of this year, the report of a research project was published in the Journal of Experimental Medicine. The researchers removed Alzheimer’s-related protein tangles in mouse brains. They were able to decrease levels of BACE1, a key brain enzyme, which reduced the levels of amyloid plaques. Apparently this is the first time a team of researchers has been able to achieve this result. Naturally this raises hopes of a treatment to combat Alzheimer’s in human brains. You may want to check out the Abstract yourself ...

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

FOMO Recovery

Here are strategies to consider.

1.   Be honest about the extent to which fomo is impacting your life and decide if that’s the journey you want to continue living.
2.   Learn to be mindfully aware of the moment and enjoy what is happening right now or consciously and creatively deal with it if it’s not what you want to be doing.
3.   Decide whether you want to follow the pack or lead the pack; get soaked at the back of the canoe or ride the prow—you may still get wet but the view is spectacular up front.
4.   Set clear guidelines about how you choose to spend your time. Are you saying ‘yes’ because you actually want to do that activity or simply because you were asked or are afraid of missing out? Make choices based on their congruence with your Longevity Lifestyle.
5.   Implement clear boundaries about the use of social media sites and the time you spend on technologies—then stick to those boundaries unless a life-and-death situation arises (and that is not what restaurant your best friend went to last night!)
6.   Learn to evaluate what is really important and what may be real but relatively unimportant in the big scheme of life. Then make choices with one eye on the moment and the other on how this choice will impact your life down the line.
7.   Realize that this is the age of technologies and the genre will only get more and more complex and evolved—so carefully select those that align with your desired goals and lifestyle and then use them in balance.

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

FOMO Questions

If you think you might be struggling with a fomo (fear of missing out) phobia, ask yourself:

1.   Do I understand that a fomo phobia represents a mindset and perception of negativity, deprivation, or loss, all of which are unhelpful and not part of a Longevity Lifestyle?
2.   Am I know that each brain differs and that I teach my brain what is rewarding, which means I and can reteach it if my out-of-balance reliance on social media is giving me negative consequences now or is likely to in the future?
3.   Am I aware that ‘comparisons are odious’ as the old saying goes and that envy and jealousy can derail me and actually destroy my life?
4.   Do I often wonder if I am ‘missing out’ or do I realize that no one can ‘do it all’ or ‘have it all’ and that I need to be selective for what works for my brain?
5.   Do I spend so much time on social media sites that I ‘miss out’ on living a balanced Longevity Lifestyle, accomplishing my goals, and developing a healthy relationship with myself?
6.   Do I connect with others or overspend just to feel included or valuable?
7.   Do I have my own goals and projects that work for my brain or am I trying to be affirmed and or succeed by hanging on to someone else’s coattails, beliefs, or attitudes or by trying to live life vicariously through them?

Monday, March 5, 2018

Recovering from FOMO

According to researcher Andrew Przybylski, the fear of missing out likely has to do with people's ability to self-regulate and focus on the moment. For people who feel very secure in their relationships, their relationships are important to them, but they don't feel compelled to always be connected. Social media may not create the tendency, but it likely exacerbates it by making sharing so easy. I remember talking about fomo with a group of individuals and one of them commented, “Well, you don’t need to worry about fomo. You’ve got a life.” I could not help laughing. “You’re correct,” I replied. “Fomo is not a lifestyle I choose to live. I do have a life but likely I wouldn’t if I spent much time on social media or on trying to keep up with anyone else. Balance in critical.” “So what do I do?” the individual asked. “I know I have fomo big time.” That got me thinking, as interactions with others usually does. I suggested the individual answer several questions. More tomorrow.

Friday, March 2, 2018


A study in Australia (commissioned by viagogo) reported that 70 per cent of Australians reported having experienced fomo, and that Facebook tended to trigger this phobia more than other types of social medial, finding that nearly 5 million Australians said they experienced fomo after using Facebook. The most common cause of fomo reportedly was missing out on tickets to a sports or musical event (25 percent). This was followed by hearing a friend bought property or made a financial investment or got a promotion or new job (22 percent). A study of undergraduates revealed that those with fomo had more intense emotional reactions around the use of social media. They tended to check social media during classes and also admitted to engaging in distracted driving habits that included checking social media while driving. It’s probably a good idea to engage in some self-evaluation in relation to time spent on social media and to your level of fomo . . .

Thursday, March 1, 2018


The study by Andrew Przybylski revealed that the less people felt autonomy, competence, and connectedness in their daily lives, the more they felt fomo. The results also revealed that study participants with high levels of fomo tended to feel less competent, less autonomous, and less connected with others (as compared with those who were not anxious about missing out on something). Interestingly, they also tended to use social media more frequently. Przybylski reportedly said that the study was unable to clearly define whether using social media triggers the phobia or whether fomo promotes the use of social medial. Their analysis of the data, however, suggested that the lack of autonomy, competence, and connectedness underlies fomo. This in turn, tends to lead those individuals to check Twitter and Facebook and other forms of social media very frequently. More tomorrow.

Wednesday, February 28, 2018


According to Life Science about 19.2 million Americans ages 18 and over (approximately 8.7 percent of people in this age group in a given year) experience some type of specific phobia. Turns out that Andrew Przybylski, a psychologist at the University of Essex in England, decided to study a phobia: the fomo phenomenon. He and colleagues reportedly tested a 32-item questionnaire on approximately 1,000 individuals (from USA, India, and other countries) and pared it down to ten questions that focused on a fear of missing out. Then they surveyed a national sample of 2,079 residents in the United Kingdom, ages 22-65 in an attempt to rate their level of fomo. The results were reported in the journal the study published in the journal Computers in Human Behavior. More tomorrow.

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

The Fear of Missing Out (fomo)

Some of you may recall a blog I wrote in 2015 about the fear of missing out or “fomo” for short. The term for this phobia has even made its way into some dictionaries. For example, the Oxford Dictionary on line includes fomo, a noun, as a 21st century abbreviation for the Fear of Missing out. The Urban Dictionary describes fomo as an anxiety that an exciting or interesting event may currently be happening elsewhere, often aroused by posts seen on a social media website—and the fear that if you do not attend you may be missing out on something great. It has also been described as the fear that everyone else is having more fun, more excitement and more rewarding or anecdote-worthy experiences. It’s the sense that all your friends are doing something cool without you. And guess what? Social media lets you know about it! Some have suggested that fomo may be the 21st century equivalent of trying to ‘keep up with the Joneses’ or ‘you-fill-in-the-name.’ More tomorrow.

Monday, February 26, 2018

Brain Cells and Alcohol

As more brain-function research is released it is important to update some of the brain-beliefs that have been around for a long time. For example, in the 1970s and 1980s the belief was that brain cells could be destroyed by excessive alcohol consumption. This was based on animal studies that showed alcohol exposure led to significant loss of neurons and/or glial cells. The Society for Neuroscience reportedly now states on its Brain Facts website, that moderate amounts of alcohol do not kill brain cells. According to Christopher von Bartheld at the University of Nevada, the present understanding is that alcohol abuse in humans mostly harms the fatty insulation—the “white matter” or myelin—that surrounds the axons of neurons. This will impair functioning but not necessarily lead to cell death. However, some neuronal loss can occur in especially vulnerable regions, principally in the frontal cortex that houses many of the important executive functions of the brain.

Friday, February 23, 2018

Clever Sayings, 2

More "clever" sayings from a friend of mine. You may need to think a bit to catch the implication or the linkage.

  • “I’ve lost a lot of weight!” Melanie expounded.
  • “I keep banging my head on things,” said Ben bashfully.”
  • “I’ll have to telegraph him again,” Ruth said, remorsefully.
  • “I can’t get down from the mountain,” Ted alleged.
  •  “You call this a musical?” Des asked, miserably.
  • “I keep on shocking myself,” said Jane, revolted.
  • “Can’t you make the fire hotter?” Bob bellowed.
  • “We’ll only sing in C and G,” the boys agreed, in accord.

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Glial-Cells Revisited, 2

When glial cells were finally identified and studied, estimates said there might be as many as 9 or 10 glial cells for every neuron. This also appears to be a myth. Christopher von Bartheld at the University of Nevada has outlined some corrections in the Journal of Chemical Neuroanatomy. With the advent of more modern research techniques such as isotropic fractionation, this estimate now appears to be inaccurate. Pioneering work by Brazilian neuroscientist Suzana Herculano-Houzel using this new technique has established there are roughly equal numbers of glial cells and neurons. The concept that glial cells are not more abundant than neurons in human brains is now becoming increasingly accepted in the field, This means more revisions to texts and articles to present the updated findings about glial cells.  

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Glial-Cells Revisited

Initially, much of earlier research concentrated on studying neurons rather than glial cells. It was hypothesized that glial cells were “servants” that took care of neurons and performed a variety of housekeeping tasks for them. With additional research it appears that this is inaccurate. As pointed out in Great Myths of the Brain, it now turns out that astrocytes, one type of glial cells, play a direct role in processing information in the brain. These glial cells influence the communication that occurs between neurons, play an architectural role in neural networks, and even help to eliminate or create synapses. Maiken Nedergaard, a prominent researcher in this area, suggests that glial cells should be perceived as the parents of neurons, not as their servants. More tomorrow.

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Hypothalamus Studies

For your brain’s sake, you may want to go easy on simple carbs in favor of healthier complex carbs, the preferred source. They can help you maintain your weight in an optimum range as you need smaller amounts to feel satisfied and feel full longer, as compared with foods containing simple sugars and high-fructose corn syrup. Studies on the effects of glucose and fructose on the hypothalamus—the appetite control center that responds to hormones such as Leptin that tell the brain you are full—are fascinating. When study participants consumed a drink containing only glucose, blood flow and activity in the hypothalamus decreased and they reported feeling full. When the same participants were fed a fructose drink, the hypothalamus remained active and the participants did not report feeling full. The brain still thought the body was hungry. (Gameau, Damon. The Sugar Book. P. 121. NY:Flatiron Books, 2015)

Monday, February 19, 2018

Brain and Healthier Glucose

Many nutritionists recommend that some whole fruit every day can be very beneficial, especially berries. The absorption of fructose in whole fruits is less rapid because of the presence of fiber and other phytonutrients in fruit. Although glucose is found in simple carbs and especially in white sugar, flour, rice, and processed foods made from them), such highly-processed foods are not a preferred source of healthier carbs. Fortunately, glucose is also found in complex healthier carbs. These include legumes, some vegetables, whole seeds and ancient grains. High-starch veggies include corn, zucchini, and squash. Low-starch veggies include tomatoes and onions, asparagus and celery, mushrooms, cauliflower, green beans, cabbage, cucumbers, and red and green peppers, etc. Complex healthier carbs have been found not to spike blood glucose levels in the brain in the way simple carbs tend to do.

Friday, February 16, 2018

High-fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS)

High-fructose corn syrup is relatively less expensive than sugar or honey so the food industry loves it. According to some sources, HFCS can be found in a plethora of products including Stove Top stuffings, some Frappuccino’s, cough syrup, cottage cheese, baked beans, and so on. The food industry would like consumers to believe that there’s no problem with HFCS. Research studies reveal a different opinion. Some studies have indicated that HFCS may increase inflammation in the brain and body and may contribute to the development of free radicals (atoms that are missing an electron). Other studies are linking HFCA with some cancers, including pancreatic cancer. For those of you who want to do further study, you might surf the Internet for studies related to HFCS. Because of these studies I read labels consistently and avoid any product that contains high-fructose corn syrup.

Thursday, February 15, 2018


Fructose is often called fruit sugar because of its presence in fruit. A monosaccharide, it is a single sugar molecule consisting of six carbon atoms, six oxygen atoms and 12 hydrogen atoms. It can be absorbed quite quickly into the blood stream from your small intestines. In addition to fruit and fruit juices, fructose may be present in your menu as honey or syrup or as the food additive high-fructose corn syrup (found in many beverages, salad dressings, and so on). Fructose absorption can be very rapid if the source is high-fructose corn syrup. Absorption from whole fruits is less rapid because of the presence of fiber and other phytonutrients in fruit. Nevertheless, everything in balance, which means that it is possible to over-dose on fruit. More tomorrow.

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Glucose, Fructose, and the Brain

Based on the number of questions floating around, it appears that many people are confused about fructose, glucose, and what works best for the brain. Let’s start with glucose. Glucose is the major source of energy for muscles and many other body’s processes. It is the preferred source of energy for the brain and the nervous system, When glucose levels are low, decision-making, critical thinking, willpower, and self-control can be impaired. As with many things in life, however, there are healthier sources for glucose and unhealthier sources. Naturally the brain and nervous tissue tends to function better when they receive healthier sources of glucose. So, on this Valentine's Day for 2018 you might want to think of a little gift or surprise that involves unhealthier forms of glucose. Just saying . . .More tomorrow.

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Brain-Computer Similarities, 8

Sometimes the human brain fails and is unable to store and retrieve memories from its files. This may be because cells die in the hippocampus, the brain’s search engine. Sometimes cells containing memories die and then the information is gone. Period. In a similar way, a computer may “crash” and lose its ability to locate and access its memory files. Either way, brain or computer, it’s pretty frustrating. If the computer is not maintained properly and “clean-up” work done regularly such as defragging” (not that I can really explain that term!), the speed at which it works can slow down. If the brain does not get enough sleep sufficient to complete its night-time housekeeping chores, some of your brain functions may slow down, as well. Your brain must get rid of waste products that accumulated while you were awake. In your brain, garbage disposal happens while you sleep. If you don’t give your brain enough time to do its job, the garbage doesn’t get emptied properly. Rest and sleep help your brain and body clean house, which helps your brain work at top speed. It’s all pretty amazing, actually!

Monday, February 12, 2018

Brain-Computer Similarities, 7

No surprise, both brains and computers can be damaged if not destroyed by accidents, injuries, and trauma. If you and your brain become immersed in water and cannot breathe in air and oxygen, the brain cells start to die. If you experience severe injuries that involve excessive bleeding, there may be insufficient blood getting to your brain, which can result in death. If you whack your head on a hard surface or receive blows to the head or are violently shaken, some of the neuronal axons or nerve pathways can break in two and be severed. This can interfere with the neurons’ ability to communicate with each other, which can interfere with the brain’s ability to “think,” and can lead to pugilistic Parkinson’s or other types of dementia (as with sports-related head injuries and subsequent dementia). If a computer becomes immersed in water, it can short-out and “die,” too. Drop your computer and some functions may be damaged, if not completely destroyed. Sometimes it can be repaired and sometimes it cannot. More tomorrow.

Friday, February 9, 2018

Brain Computer Similarities, 6

In order to function properly, the brain needs to be in a body where the constant temperature typically is somewhere in the range of 97 to 100 degrees Fahrenheit. The temperature gauge for the brain and body is located inside the brain, the hypothalamus If your temperature gets too high, the hypothalamus tries to set in motion strategies that might bring down the temperature. For example, it might trigger blood vessels to dilate which creates sweating. The sweating, in turn, triggers evaporation that creates a cooling effect. A temperature that registers 101.3 degrees Fahrenheit may indicate that hyperthermia is setting in. Hyperthermia (too hot) is the term for overheating of the body and specifically in the brain. The term malignant hyperthermia is a rare condition related to body-temperature dysfunction. Did you know that some drugs can cause hyperthermia? The risk of hyperthermia rises in people who use stimulant drugs such as cocaine, MDMA or Ecstasy, or methamphetamine. Delirium tremens, a complication of heavy alcohol use, can trigger hyperthermia. More tomorrow.

Thursday, February 8, 2018

Brain-Computer Similarities, 5

Both the brain and the computer work best when they are cool. Overheating of either one can result in malfunction. Laptops can overheat when there is insufficient airflow inside the computer case. This might occur because dust builds up and block the fan openings, or some of the internal components are over working (generating more heat than usual). Your brain may overheat if you are in a situation of high heat and high humidity. This can result in a heat stroke, so called. Your brain can overheat if your temperature reaches 104 to 106 degrees, often from a virus. Very high body temperatures can lead to brain damage. If you are out in high humidity and high heat for a prolonged period you can get heat stroke. Or if you exercise excessively, especially in combination with dehydration. Signs of overheating of the brain may include headache, dizziness, fainting, confusion, nausea, hallucinations, faintness, and even coma. More tomorrow.

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

FOMO Recovery

Here are a few strategies to consider.

1.   Be honest about the extent to which fomo is impacting your life and decide if that’s the journey you want to continue living.
2.   Learn to be mindfully aware of the moment and enjoy what is happening right now or consciously and creatively deal with it if it’s not what you want to be doing.
3.   Decide whether you want to follow the pack or lead the pack; get soaked at the back of the canoe or ride the prow—you may still get wet but the view is spectacular up front.
4.   Set clear guidelines about how you choose to spend your time. Are you saying ‘yes’ because you actually want to do that activity or simply because you were asked or are afraid of missing out? Make choices based on their congruence with your Longevity Lifestyle.
5.   Implement clear boundaries about the use of social media sites and the time you spend on technologies—then stick to those boundaries unless a life-and-death situation arises (and that is not what restaurant your best friend went to last night!)
6.   Learn to evaluate what is really important and what may be real but relatively unimportant in the big scheme of life. Then make choices with one eye on the moment and the other on how this choice will impact your life down the line.
7.   Realize that this is the age of technologies and the genre will only get more and more complex and evolved—so carefully select those that align with your desired goals and lifestyle and then use them in balance.