Pessimism or optimism or neither

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To think in terms of either pessimism or optimism
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oversimplifies the truth.
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The problem is to see reality as it is.”
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Thích Nhất Hạnh
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Time Magszine: Yoga and Meditation Can Change Your Genes, Study Says

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Yoga and meditation may do more than just help you feel relaxed in the moment. A new scientific review suggests that these and other mindfulness exercises can actually reverse stress-related changes in genes linked to poor health and depression.
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In the new paper, published in Frontiers in Immunology, British researchers analyzed the findings from 18 previously published studies—involving a total of 846 people—on the biological effects of meditation, yoga, breathing exercises, Qi gong and Tai Chi. Together, the authors say, the studies show that these mind-body exercises appear to suppress the expression of genes and genetic pathways that promote inflammation.
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Inflammation can temporarily boost the immune system, and can be protective against infection and injury, the authors write in their paper. But in today’s society, in which stress is primarily psychological, the body’s inflammatory response can become chronic and can impair both physical and mental health.
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Yoga and meditation may do more than just help you feel relaxed in the moment. A new scientific review suggests that these and other mindfulness exercises can actually reverse stress-related changes in genes linked to poor health and depression.
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In the new paper, published in Frontiers in Immunology, British researchers analyzed the findings from 18 previously published studies—involving a total of 846 people—on the biological effects of meditation, yoga, breathing exercises, Qi gong and Tai Chi. Together, the authors say, the studies show that these mind-body exercises appear to suppress the expression of genes and genetic pathways that promote inflammation.
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Inflammation can temporarily boost the immune system, and can be protective against infection and injury, the authors write in their paper. But in today’s society, in which stress is primarily psychological, the body’s inflammatory response can become chronic and can impair both physical and mental health.
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Researchers found that people who practiced these activities regularly had fewer signs of inflammation, including a decrease in their production of inflammatory proteins. This signals “the reversal of the molecular signature of the effects of chronic stress,” they wrote, which may translate to a reduced risk of inflammation-related diseases and conditions.
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Environment and lifestyle can both affect which genes are turned on and off, and that can have real effects on disease risk, longevity and even which traits get passed on to future generations. Stressful events, for example, can activate the fight-or-flight response and trigger a chain reaction of stress-related changes in the body—including activating specific genes involved in making proteins that produce inflammation.
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Lead author Ivana Buric, a PhD student in Coventry University’s Brain, Belief and Behaviour Lab in England, says her team was surprised to see that different types of mind-body techniques had such similar effects at the genetic level. “Sitting meditation is quite different than yoga or Tai Chi,” she said in an email, “yet all of these activities—when practiced regularly—seem to decrease the activity of genes involved in inflammation.”
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This is a relatively new field of research, she adds, and it’s likely that similar benefits could be obtained from other lifestyle changes like healthy eating and exercise. There aren’t yet enough studies to know how activities like yoga compare to other types of physical activity in terms of altering gene expression.
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Buric says the existing studies suggest that mind-body interventions “cause the brain to steer our DNA processes along a path which improves our well being.” She also emphasizes that inherited genes are not static and that DNA activity can depend on things people can control. “By choosing healthy habits every day, we can create a gene activity pattern that is more beneficial for our health,” she says. “Even just 15 minutes of practicing mindfulness seems to do the trick.”
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“The Craving Mind: talking about ourselves

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Diana Tamir and Jason Mitchell at Harvard performed a simple study: they put people in a functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) scanner and gave them the choice of reporting their own opinions and attitudes, judging the attitudes of another person, or answering a trivia question.
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Participants in the study repeated this task almost two hundred times.
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All the while, their brain activity was being measured.
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The catch was that the choices were associated with monetary payoffs.
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For example, in one trial, they might be given a choice between answering a question about themselves or about somebody else, and earn x dollars for choosing the former versus y dollars for the latter.
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The amount of money was varied, as was the category with which the bigger payoff was associated.
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At the end of the study, once all the payoffs had been tallied, the scientists could determine whether people were willing to give up money to talk about themselves.
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And they were.
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On average, participants lost an average of 17 percent of potential earnings to think and talk about themselves!
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Just think about this for a second.
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Why would anyone give up good money to do this?
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Not unlike people who forgo job and family responsibilities because of substance abuse, these participants activated their nucleus accumbens while performing the task.
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Is it possible that the same brain region that lights up when someone smokes crack cocaine or uses any other drug of abuse is also activated when people talk about themselves?
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In fact, the nucleus accumbens is one of the brain regions most consistently linked to the development of addictions.
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So there seems to be a link between the self and reward.
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Talking about ourselves is rewarding, and doing it obsessively may be very similar to getting hooked on drugs.
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Technology

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The difference between technology and slavery is that slaves are fully aware that they are not free.
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Nassim Nicholas Taleb
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My two cents: Mindfulness is not a passive experience, but a brilliant awareness of this present mundane moment.
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We get lost in technology, in thought, in judgment and in emotion.
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Negative core beliefs:

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From Coping with Trauma related Dissociation:
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Chronically traumatized people often suffer from persistent core beliefs. These are deeply rooted convictions that typically involve all-or-nothing thinking without balance or nuance.
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“Things never work out for me,” “People always try to hurt me,” I am completely stupid and unlovable,” or ” There is no safe place.”.
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These beliefs often contain words like always, never, or none. Such thoughts and beliefs can profoundly influence, reinforce, and intensify negative emotions.
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Negative core beliefs are reinforced over time by negative emotions, perception, and predictions, and by additional negative life experiences.
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The same is true for positive core beliefs and attendant receptions, emotions, and experiences.
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My two cents: Basic Neuroscience: What fires together wires together, where we place our attention grows, and where we withdraw withers and dies.
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Mindfulness then could help us let go of negative beliefs.
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We could focus on positive beliefs or let go and just be present empty of thought.
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Perfection is not the goal, improving daily is part of the journey.
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Updated: feeling deeply uncomfortable, unhappy, or unfulfilled?


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“The truth is that our finest moments are most likely to occur when we are feeling deeply uncomfortable, unhappy, or unfulfilled. For it is only in such moments, propelled by our discomfort, that we are likely to step out of our ruts and start searching for different ways or truer answers.”
— M. SCOTT PECK
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That describes some of my own feelings while integrating, healing, observing fear, crescendo and fade.
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Actually visiting places in real time that were triggers, is uncomfortable, scary, anxious and formidable, but healing happens by facing, going through our delusions not around them.
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We do not run, escape to what we think is safety or trauma grows and thrives inside us.
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Fear grows when we try desperately to escape, flee to safety, race our minds, till we are full of cortisol.
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There is no middle ground with C-PTSD, it grows or we integrate and heal. Doing nothing to heal, trauma becomes stronger with time and influence.
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C-PTSD is a catch-22 for us, we take action or suffer, no middle ground or neutrality exists.
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We are either working, taking action to heal, healed or we continue to suffer more.
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We are the only one who can heal us, from the inside.
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Acceptance seems a battle with our “Ego”

 

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As most humans I have strengths and vulnerabilities, ambitions and fears, desires and demons.
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The desire for approval suppresses my acceptance. Wanting and needing others approval is the work of the ego.
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Accepting all of oneself, now, has little need for approval.
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This accepting space has many opportunities for wellbeing and happiness.
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Acceptance is a tall task I struggle to fully accomplish.
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Parts of me that feel unworthy keep resurfacing with life’s stresses.
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My unworthy parts are targeted using a daily affirmation repeated outloud, by directed intention when I sit and by application during the day.
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Assess your strengths and weaknesses, then devise a plan for improving.
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We are not accomplishing anything, we are working on letting negative judgments go, letting the ego rest.
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We never arrive or complete our journey, we just live fully today then wake up tomorrow.
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