Just discovered Allie Brosh

Her Hyperbole and a Half blog, and now book, are ingenious.

Boshmeme

[Read more…]

False dichotomy of science and humanities

Cognitions and Conceptions

Incorrigibly interrelated

I like to talk about and further my understanding of the dialogue between humanities and science. I came across this on Andrew Sullivan’s Dish and it gave me pause.

[Read more…]

Addictions – Literally keeping us from joy

WARNING: This post is sexually-themed and contains mature content.

[Read more…]

Building Willpower – from Belle Beth Cooper at Buffer

This is a really rich and practical refresher on building willpower. I love how Belle Beth Cooper makes the keys/bullets/nuggets so easy to find. She takes pages of text and hours of information and turns it into a refreshing slap in the face to get you moving.

 

The science of self-control: 6 ways to improve your willpower

Written by 

Practical tips in managing Depression from Therese Borchard

Therese Borchard: 12 Steps Toward Freedom from Depression

Theresa Borchard’s “12 Steps Toward Freedom from Depression” is a great list of tips. These are things that are good for anybody, but crucial for those managing depression.

There are a lot of great tips but this one is particularly well-put to me. I like her style.

This one is the toughest steps: directing my thoughts is somewhat like a traffic policeman standing out in the middle of a highway during a storm. Some of the drivers (thoughts) get a bit agitated when the dude in the neon vest tells them they can’t go a certain way…that if they do, they will regret it. Oh yes, they will. Because getting their brains out of the gutter (where toxic emotions live) proves more difficult than you think. I have a bunch of creative ways–much like the policeman’s hand signals–in which I like to untwist my distorted thoughts…such as differentiating between fiction (fantasy) and nonfiction (reality) in my busy noggin.

I really appreciate how her tips are not only implementable and practical in the now, but they aren’t magical thinking or fluff. She is honest about how things like this don’t make it all go away. But they do help, they do work, and she has the personal experience to back them up.

Hope is more than wishful thinking...

Hope on…

Arapahoe High School shooting hits closer to home

We are the middle children of history, gentlemen. Our Great War is a spiritual one. Our Great Depression is our lives.

–Tyler Durden, Fight Club

[Read more…]

Hacking the brain and switching off depression

I heard an incredible story on NPR today, during the TED hour, that has me reeling. I’m still thinking about it and am stirred deeply by it.

Lighting enlightenment

Switching on the brain

Treating movement and cognitive functioning with deep brain stimulation

The particular interview I’m talking about was with neurosurgeon Andres Lozano, and his teams deep brain stimulation with electrode implants. (You can see the video and the transcript by clicking here.) They were able to literally switch off (with a remote) tremors in Parkinson’s patients. They were also able to switch off depression for some sufferers.

 

Switch…it…off.

 

The logical outcome of this was that they switched on motivation.

 

Mischievous neurons

‘Telling a neuron, “Now that’s enough.'”

This part of the interview hit me so hard that I got misty. What an amazing experience it would be:

So the first thing we did was we compared, what’s different in the brain of someone with depression and someone who’s normal? And what we did was PET scans to look at the blood flow of the brain and what we noticed is that in patients with depression, compared to normals, areas of the brain are shut down. Those are the areas involved in motivation and drive and decision-making, and indeed, if you’re severely depressed, as these patients were, those are impaired. You lack motivation and drive. The other thing we discovered was an area that was overactive – area 25. And area 25 is the sadness center of the brain.

If I make any of you sad, for example, if I make you remember the last time you saw your parent before they died or a friend before they died, this area of the brain lights up. It is the sadness center of the brain. And so patients with depression have hyperactivity, the area of the brain for sadness is on red-hot. The thermostat is set at a hundred degrees. And the other areas of the brain involved in drive and motivation are shutdown.

So on the basis of those observations, we embarked on a study to implant electrodes in area 25 and turn on the electricity to see whether we could turn down the activity in this area to see whether this would have some benefit in people with so-called treatment resistant depression.

…So many of the patients will say that they have this black cloud over them or they have this tremendous weight – this pressure on their chest. And within – turning this on, within two or three seconds, that sensation disappears in about two-thirds of the patients.

…They say, this burden is lifting. I feel a tremendous relief. And then they start looking around, then they start becoming more engaged. These are people who often do not leave the house, who sit in a chair all day, and all of a sudden, they’ll say, I feel like doing some housekeeping. Or a man will say I feel like going into my garage and, you know, fixing the car. A tremendous sort of call to action to do things that they were not able to do for many weeks and months. And all of this occurs within 10 or 15 seconds of turning on the stimulator.

–Andres Lozano

Hacking depression

I can’t imagine this kind of turnaround…Or maybe I can.

The most amazing, persistent thought to me is that of the possibility. To know that it is a thing which can be targeted this way at all is very hopeful. Of course, we think in our minds and we say with our lips that depression can be treated with willpower and changing of habits. It’s hard of course, but it is true and has been effectively proven. But the sinister power of deep depression is its ability to exploit the fear within the sufferer that it is a thing which cannot be moved. It is you. It just is who you are, and you cannot escape it.

We’ll never to be able to make all our problems go away by flipping a switch. But this is an amazing reminder that depression and other mood disorders don’t just have to be the way it is; that they are, in fact, abnormal; and that they are, in fact, real. There is a power that comes with realizing something, and giving it a name.

Revisiting great books: Possibility of Metaphysics

I’m working on getting back to reading things I love, as well as books that are very helpful, useful, and recommended to me. I believe it’s necessary to inspire me on and focus on the future.

One such book is The Possibility of Metaphysics. I love how Lowe is brash but efficient with his words, and that he gives a wake up call to the rebirth and reality of Metaphysical philosophical enterprise.

Stay tuned for notes… 😉

Reflecting on sense

“Isn’t that interesting…”

Mind is a Parachute

“Your mind is like a parachute.”

–Andy Argyris

It only works when it opens

Your Mind is a Parachute

Like a parachute, it works when it’s open. It saves you’re life when it opens. It turns your enemies (gravity, wind resistance) into your best friends.

If it stays closed, you will perish.

[Read more…]

Bandu — A Game Imitating Life

Bandu

I think everyone should play Bandu. It’s a game illustrating life, really.

[Read more…]