Sunday, 30 June 2013

15 Things To Give Up For Happiness

Here is a list of 15 things which, if you give up on them, will make your life a lot easier and much, much happier. We hold on to so many things that cause us a great deal of pain, stress and suffering – and instead of letting them all go, instead of allowing ourselves to be stress free and happy – we cling on to them. Not anymore. Starting today we will give up on all those things that no longer serve us, and we will embrace change. Ready? Here we go:
1. Give up your need to always be right. There are so many of us who can’t stand the idea of being wrong – wanting to always be right – even at the risk of ending great relationships or causing a great deal of stress and pain, for us and for others. It’s just not worth it. Whenever you feel the ‘urgent’ need to jump into a fight over who is right and who is wrong, ask yourself this question: “Would I rather be right, or would I rather be kind?” Wayne Dyer. What difference will that make? Is your ego really that big?
2. Give up your need for control. Be willing to give up your need to always control everything that happens to you and around you – situations, events, people, etc. Whether they are loved ones, coworkers, or just strangers you meet on the street – just allow them to be. Allow everything and everyone to be just as they are and you will see how much better will that make you feel.
“By letting it go it all gets done. The world is won by those who let it go. But when you try and try. The world is beyond winning.” Lao Tzu
3. Give up on blame. Give up on your need to blame others for what you have or don’t have, for what you feel or don’t feel. Stop giving your powers away and start taking responsibility for your life.
4. Give up your self-defeating self-talk. Oh my. How many people are hurting themselves because of their negative, polluted and repetitive self-defeating mindset? Don’t believe everything that your mind is telling you – especially if it’s negative and self-defeating. You are better than that.
“The mind is a superb instrument if used rightly. Used wrongly, however, it becomes very destructive.” Eckhart Tolle
5. Give up your limiting beliefs about what you can or cannot do, about what is possible or impossible. From now on, you are no longer going to allow your limiting beliefs to keep you stuck in the wrong place. Spread your wings and fly!
“A belief is not an idea held by the mind, it is an idea that holds the mind” Elly Roselle
6. Give up complaining. Give up your constant need to complain about those many, many, maaany things – people, situations, events that make you unhappy, sad and depressed. Nobody can make you unhappy, no situation can make you sad or miserable unless you allow it to. It’s not the situation that triggers those feelings in you, but how you choose to look at it. Never underestimate the power of positive thinking.

7. Give up the luxury of criticism. Give up your need to criticize things, events or people that are different than you. We are all different, yet we are all the same. We all want to be happy, we all want to love and be loved and we all want to be understood. We all want something, and something is wished by us all.
8. Give up your need to impress others. Stop trying so hard to be something that you’re not just to make others like you. It doesn’t work this way. The moment you stop trying so hard to be something that you’re not, the moment you take of all your masks, the moment you accept and embrace the real you, you will find people will be drawn to you, effortlessly.
9. Give up your resistance to change. Change is good. Change will help you move from A to B. Change will help you make improvements in your life and also the lives of those around you. Follow your bliss, embrace change – don’t resist it.
“Follow your bliss and the universe will open doors for you where there were only walls” 
Joseph Campbell
10. Give up labels. Stop labeling those things, people or events that you don’t understand as being weird or different and try opening your mind, little by little. Minds only work when open. “The highest form of ignorance is when you reject something you don’t know anything about.” Wayne Dyer
11. Give up on your fears. Fear is just an illusion, it doesn’t exist – you created it. It’s all in your mind. Correct the inside and the outside will fall into place.
“The only fear we have to fear, is fear itself.” Franklin D. Roosevelt
12. Give up your excuses. Send them packing and tell them they’re fired. You no longer need them. A lot of times we limit ourselves because of the many excuses we use. Instead of growing and working on improving ourselves and our lives, we get stuck, lying to ourselves, using all kind of excuses – excuses that 99.9% of the time are not even real.
13. Give up the past. I know, I know. It’s hard. Especially when the past looks so much better than the present and the future looks so frightening, but you have to take into consideration the fact that the present moment is all you have and all you will ever have. The past you are now longing for – the past that you are now dreaming about – was ignored by you when it was present. Stop deluding yourself. Be present in everything you do and enjoy life. After all life is a journey not a destination. Have a clear vision for the future, prepare yourself, but always be present in the now.
14. Give up attachment. This is a concept that, for most of us is so hard to grasp and I have to tell you that it was for me too, (it still is) but it’s not something impossible. You get better and better at with time and practice. The moment you detach yourself from all things, (and that doesn’t mean you give up your love for them – because love and attachment have nothing to do with one another,  attachment comes from a place of fear, while love… well, real love is pure, kind, and self less, where there is love there can’t be fear, and because of that, attachment and love cannot coexist) you become so peaceful, so tolerant, so kind, and so serene. You will get to a place where you will be able to understand all things without even trying. A state beyond words.
15. Give up living your life to other people’s expectations. Way too many people are living a life that is not theirs to live. They live their lives according to what others think is best for them, they live their lives according to what their parents think is best for them, to what their friends, their enemies and their teachers, their government and the media think is best for them. They ignore their inner voice, that inner calling. They are so busy with pleasing everybody, with living up to other people’s expectations, that they lose control over their lives. They forget what makes them happy, what they want, what they need….and eventually they forget about themselves.  You have one life – this one right now – you must live it, own it, and especially don’t let other people’s opinions distract you from your path.

Wednesday, 26 June 2013

VIDEO Social Anxiety Dosorder: Being Afraid Of People

Tuesday, 25 June 2013

Life Strategies: Dr Phil's 10 Life Laws

Life Law #1: You either get it or you don't.
Strategy: Become one of those who gets it.

It's easy to tell these people apart. Those who "get it" understand how things work and have a strategy to create the results they want. Those who don't are stumbling along looking puzzled, and can be found complaining that they never seem to get a break.

You must do what it takes to accumulate enough knowledge to "get it." You need to operate with the information and skills that are necessary to win. Be prepared, tune in, find out how the game is played and play by the rules.

In designing a strategy and getting the information you need " about yourself, people you encounter, or situations " be careful from whom you accept input. Wrong thinking and misinformation can seal your fate before you even begin.

Life Law #2: You create your own experience.
Strategy: Acknowledge and accept accountability for your life. Understand your role in creating results.

You cannot dodge responsibility for how and why your life is the way it is. If you don't like your job, you are accountable. If you are overweight, you are accountable. If you are not happy, you are accountable. You are creating the situations you are in and the emotions that flow from those situations.

Don't play the role of victim, or use past events to build excuses. It guarantees you no progress, no healing, and no victory. You will never fix a problem by blaming someone else. Whether the cards you've been dealt are good or bad, you're in charge of yourself now.

Every choice you make " including the thoughts you think " has consequences. When you choose the behavior or thought, you choose the consequences. If you choose to stay with a destructive partner, then you choose the consequences of pain and suffering. If you choose thoughts contaminated with anger and bitterness, then you will create an experience of alienation and hostility. When you start choosing the right behavior and thoughts " which will take a lot of discipline " you'll get the right consequences.

Life Law #3: People do what works.
Strategy: Identify the payoffs that drive your behavior and that of others.

Even the most destructive behaviors have a payoff. If you did not perceive the behavior in question to generate some value to you, you would not do it. If you want to stop behaving in a certain way, you've got to stop "paying yourself off" for doing it.

Find and control the payoffs, because you can't stop a behavior until you recognize what you are gaining from it. Payoffs can be as simple as money gained by going to work to psychological payoffs of acceptance, approval, praise, love or companionship. It is possible that you are feeding off unhealthy, addictive and imprisoning payoffs, such as self-punishment or distorted self-importance.

Be alert to the possibility that your behavior is controlled by fear of rejection. It's easier not to change. Try something new or put yourself on the line. Also consider if your need for immediate gratification creates an appetite for a small payoff now rather than a large payoff later.

Life Law #4: You cannot change what you do not acknowledge.
Strategy: Get real with yourself about life and everybody in it. Be truthful about what isn't working in your life. Stop making excuses and start making results.

If you're unwilling or unable to identify and consciously acknowledge your negative behaviors, characteristics or life patterns, then you will not change them. (In fact, they will only grow worse and become more entrenched in your life.) You've got to face it to replace it.

Acknowledgement means slapping yourself in the face with the brutal reality, admitting that you are getting payoffs for what you are doing, and giving yourself a no-kidding, bottom-line truthful confrontation. You cannot afford the luxury of lies, denial or defensiveness.

Where are you now? If you hope to have a winning life strategy, you have to be honest about where your life is right now. Your life is not too bad to fix and it's not too late to fix it. But be honest about what needs fixing. If you lie to yourself about any dimension of your life, an otherwise sound strategy will be compromised.

Life Law #5: Life rewards action.
Strategy: Make careful decisions and then pull the trigger. Learn that the world couldn't care less about thoughts without actions.

Talk is cheap. It's what you do that determines the script of your life. Translate your insights, understandings and awareness into purposeful, meaningful, constructive actions. They are of no value until then. Measure yourself and others based on results " not intentions or words.

Use any pain you have to propel you out of the situation you are in and to get you where you want to be. The same pain that burdens you now could be turned to your advantage. It may be the very motivation you need to change your life.

Decide that you are worth the risk of taking action, and that your dreams are not to be sold out. Know that putting yourself at risk may be scary, but it will be worth it. You must leave behind the comfortable and familiar if you are to move onward and upward.

Life Law #6: There is no reality, only perception.
Strategy: Identify the filters through which you view the world. Acknowledge your history without being controlled by it.

You know and experience this world only through the perceptions that you create. You have the ability to choose how you perceive any event in your life, and you exercise this power of choice in every circumstance, every day of your life. No matter what the situation, you choose your reaction, assigning meaning and value to an event.

We all view the world through individual filters, which influence the interpretations we give events, how we respond, and how we are responded to. Be aware of the factors that influence the way you see the world, so you can compensate for them and react against them. If you continue to view the world through a filter created by past events, then you are allowing your past to control and dictate both your present and your future.

Filters are made up of fixed beliefs, negative ideas that have become entrenched in your thinking. They are dangerous because if you treat them as fact, you will not seek, receive or process new information, which undermines your plans for change. If you "shake up" your belief system by challenging these views and testing their validity, the freshness of your perspective can be startling.

Life Law #7: Life is managed; it is not cured.
Strategy: Learn to take charge of your life and hold on. This is a long ride, and you are the driver every single day.

You are a life manager, and your objective is to actively manage your life in a way that generates high-quality results. You are your own most important resource for making your life work. Success is a moving target that must be tracked and continually pursued.

Effective life management means you need to require more of yourself in your grooming, self-control, emotional management, interaction with others, work performance, dealing with fear, and in every other category you can think of. You must approach this task with the most intense commitment, direction and urgency you can muster.

The key to managing your life is to have a strategy. If you have a clear-cut plan, and the courage, commitment and energy to execute that strategy, you can flourish. If you don't have a plan, you'll be a stepping stone for those who do. You can also help yourself as a life manager if you manage your expectations. If you don't require much of yourself, your life will be of poor quality. If you have unrealistic standards, then you are adding to your difficulties.

Life Law #8: We teach people how to treat us.
Strategy: Own, rather than complain about, how people treat you. Learn to renegotiate your relationships to have what you want.

You either teach people to treat you with dignity and respect, or you don't. This means you are partly responsible for the mistreatment that you get at the hands of someone else. You shape others' behavior when you teach them what they can get away with and what they cannot.

If the people in your life treat you in an undesirable way, figure out what you are doing to reinforce, elicit or allow that treatment. Identify the payoffs you may be giving someone in response to any negative behavior. For example, when people are aggressive, bossy or controlling " and then get their way " you have rewarded them for unacceptable behavior.

Because you are accountable, you can declare the relationship "reopened for negotiation" at any time you choose, and for as long as you choose. Even a pattern of relating that is 30 years old can be redefined. Before you reopen the negotiation, you must commit to do so from a position of strength and power, not fear and self-doubt.

Life Law #9: There is power in forgiveness.
Strategy: Open your eyes to what anger and resentment are doing to you. Take your power back from those who have hurt you.

Hate, anger and resentment are destructive, eating away at the heart and soul of the person who carries them. They are absolutely incompatible with your own peace, joy and relaxation. Ugly emotions change who you are and contaminate every relationship you have. They can also take a physical toll on your body, including sleep disturbance, headaches, back spasms, and even heart attacks.

Forgiveness sets you free from the bonds of hatred, anger and resentment. The only way to rise above the negatives of a relationship in which you were hurt is to take the moral high ground, and forgive the person who hurt you.

Forgiveness is not about another person who has transgressed against you; it is about you. Forgiveness is about doing whatever it takes to preserve the power to create your own emotional state. It is a gift to yourself and it frees you. You don't have to have the other person's cooperation, and they do not have to be sorry or admit the error of their ways. Do it for yourself.

Life Law #10: You have to name it before you can claim it.
Strategy: Get clear about what you want and take your turn.

Not knowing what you want " from your major life goals to your day-to-day desires " is not OK. The most you'll ever get is what you ask for. If you don't even know what it is that you want, then you can't even ask for it. You also won't even know if you get there!

By being specific in defining your goal, the choices you make along the way will be more goal-directed. You will recognize which behaviors and choices support your goals " and which do not. You will know when you are heading toward your goal, and when you are off track.

Be bold enough to reach for what will truly fill you up, without being unrealistic. Once you have the strength and resolve enough to believe that you deserve what it is that you want, then and only then will you be bold enough to step up and claim it. Remember that if you don't, someone else will.

Sunday, 23 June 2013

Psychology of Tattoos

Body art, body bling, self-graffiti, walking billboards, fashionable ink accessories... Each of these expressions depict the physical nature of the tattoo. What's often NOT discussed, however, is the emotional side of tattoos.
I vividly remember the first time I saw a "tramp stamp." A woman was reaching for something in the front row of a large auditorium and a few rows of men and women witnessed her walking artistry. Everyone had a reaction. And once she left the room, we all talked about it. It was like group therapy.
The responses ranged from "She's definitely a party girl, probably drinks a lot, has a lot of sex and a rough childhood," to "She's probably really creative, edgy, a leader and an independent thinker." Some liked her more, some liked her less and many guys were more interested in her because of the tattoo. Whatever the response, we were all intrigued, and each of us conjured up our own personal version of her story -- all from the sight of a well-placed tattoo.
In those days, tattoos were still controversial. Now, they're more accepted than ever. You could even call them "trendy." In the nightlife scene, tattoo artists are rapidly becoming a popular career choice. Sooner or later, we're going to see a leather-clad, tattoo-sleeved, multi-pierced guy named Rocko at our kid's career fair standing next to the "Be a DJ" booth. Although tattoos have been around for more than 5,000 years (Egyptians used tattoos to differentiate peasants from slaves and social branding has been around a long time), ink art has really exploded in the last 25 years. [1]
Is it social branding?
Tattoos are a conversation starter. Either there's a story attached or a "skin"-showing session or an emotional response derived from the sight of ink art. And the emotional response from the sight of tattoos leads to a modern-day version of social branding.
"He must be tough."
"She's probably easy."
"He'll never get a corporate job."
"She just wants to drink vodka tonics and dance on a speaker."
Of course there are variables. In my opinion, the older you are, the less chance you'll be forgiving of tattoos. Neck and face tattoos are usually not as well-received as other locations no matter what your age (sorry, Big Mike). Where you put the tattoo, how may tattoos you have, what the tattoos is and the size of the tattoos all help shape the emotional response of the viewer. And that observer could be anyone from a potential boss, a family member or a date.
You're incredibly naïve or in total denial if you think your tattoos aren't going to have a significant positive or negative influence on people who don't know you well.
Why Get Tattoos?
People get tattoos for many reasons: for attention, self-expression, artistic freedom, rebellion, a visual display of a personal narrative, reminders of spiritual/cultural traditions, sexual motivation, addiction, identification with a group or even drunken impulsiveness (which is why many tattoo parlors are open late).
And now, according to some research studies, 15-38 percent of Americans have some type of long-term body art. What was once considered self-mutilatory behavior and a psychiatric problem has now become almost normative behavior.
What Does Your Tattoo Mean?
Some people mark themselves for life to remind them of past family members or ancient sayings or religious scriptures or names of their current family/love interest. Other people use tattoos to enhance their sexual prowess or feed their exhibitionist side, and many people use tattoos to visually promote their identity and/or group affiliation. "I stand for..."
Johnny Depp said, "My body is my journal and my tattoos are my story." Tattoos can visually reveal more about you or distract people from getting to know the real you. Some people hide behind their tattoos.
Research on tattoos reveals some interesting findings:
  • Adults with tattoos have been shown to be more sexually active than controls without tattoos.
  • People with tattoos have been shown to be more likely to engage in more higher risk behaviors.
  • Women who get tattoos are more than twice as likely to get them removed as men.
  • In studying first impressions of people that have tattoos, researchers have found that avatars (neutral) with tattoos and other body modifications were rated as more likely to be thrill and adventure seekers, to have a higher number of previous sexual partners, and to be less inhibited than non-tattooed avatars. This study looked at general stigma associated with people sporting tattoos.
  • And another study showed both men and women had higher body appreciation, higher self esteem and lower anxiety right after getting new tattoos. Surprisingly, three weeks later men continued to have less anxiety but women had a sharp increase in anxiety that may be associated with concerns about body image.
And I've personally seen tattoo markings used as an endorphin release and substitute for addictive behavior. An individual addicted to pills was able to stop popping pills but then subsequently became addicted to getting body ink.
So what does this mean?
Our current society craves individuality and self expression. And now many people wear their artistic expression. We are having more trouble communicating with each other than ever before, as electronic communication will never replace face-to-face human contact. So, it's not surprising that there's a growing trend toward communication via body ink. We don't have to talk, we just have to look.
Our bodies have become the refrigerator magnets of quotes, sayings and reminders.
Whether you like it or not, tattoos are growing in popularity. The long-term fear of being "marked for life" is being tempered by tattoo removal technology and people getting used to seeing tattoos.
Personally, I chose not to have a tattoo (henna tattoos don't count) because the beauty of life is that it's unexpected and we change with our experiences. What we stand for and believe in at 18 is very different than 35 or 60. If we stood for one thing in life and it never changed, then we could all have "life script" tattoos (and face boredom on a regular basis).
But we do grow and change. I appreciate the artistry of tattoos but also enjoy the mystery of learning about someone without being "visually influenced" to have a response. We all judge, and first impressions probably carry more weight than they should. Whatever your feelings are about tattoos, one thing is for sure: There's definitely more than meets the eye.

Friday, 21 June 2013

10 Reasons Men Should Avoid Princesses

Over the last 40 years or so, there has been a sharp rise in female entitlement. Many parents just love buying Disney princess costumes for their little girlsAlas, many of these junior princesses don’t leave the Princess Mentality behind with their childhoods. As adults, they expect grown men to treat them like “royalty.”
A woman who self-identifies as princess, queen, diva, or goddess, is typically more interested in being worshiped as an infallible being or pampered like a Siamese cat than she is in being in a reciprocal love relationship. However, the problem doesn’t lie only with princesses, but also with the men who willingly become their subjects.
Below is the the Top Ten list Paul Elam read on the Why Men Should Not Treat Women Like Princesses radio program. It’s a little tough love, but it’s spot on and holds both princesses and men who knowingly become involved with them to account.
10. Because she’s not royalty. Unless you have inside connections to one of the few remaining monarchies in the world, she isn’t a princess anywhere except her childish imagination. Is her first name Princess, or Duchess or even Lady? If the answer is no, she is just a mere mortal, and unless you would enjoy life with someone who deludes themselves into thinking otherwise, then it is better that you figure it out, NOW.
9. Because anyone who wants to be treated like a princess won’t be impressed with anything you do for more than about 5 minutes. It’s a life of chasing your tail trying to satisfy a princess, and when you are used up, she will get someone else to take over.
8.  Because any grown woman who can actually look you in the eye and tell you she expects to be treated like a princess has the emotional IQ of a toddler, and that’s if you are lucky. Do you want a woman, or a spoiled brat who will always, ALWAYS end up making you miserable?
7.  Because princesses are not cost effective. They are expensive. They have constant demands that they fully expect to be satisfied, only they have no intention of paying for any of it. What you will get for turning your wallet into a cushion under her lazy ass is the pleasure of her company; time she will spend making more demands of you.
You will actually be paying for her to sit around thinking of more ways to make you pay. She won’t know that is what is happening, because it doesn’t pay for her to be aware of it. This is not true for you.
It will pay off big time for you to be aware. You not only have to be aware that she’s a princess, you have to know it and make the choice to get rid of her. You can’t manage a princess and, if you take one on, you’re going to get exactly what you asked for.
6.  Because princesses are invariably stupid and boring. Real intelligence doesn’t lend itself to being self-absorbed. Women that will tell you they want to be a princess and that they just love shiny presents and constant attention and always getting their way, are also telling you they’re not smart enough to realize the benefits of cooperation, shared burdens, or being invested in anything except themselves.
And that will become real apparent when they talk. Almost everything they say will be about themselves or something else equally stupid. Want to spend the rest of your life listening to a blow-by-blow account every time she buys a new pair of shoes, every last detail of her trip to the spa, or her cutting insights on the hair styles of the rich and famous? Get yourself a princess and get ready to dumb things way, way down, while you are forced to pretend that you like it.
Well, unless of course, you’re a simpleton yourself, and if that’s the case, a princess is just what you need. She’ll make your life very, very simple. Fetch! Roll over! Good boy! Now fetch! That’s the cycle, guys.
5. Because princesses are vindictive. If someone finds it acceptable to have a relationship based on getting their way in all things, it won’t improve when times get tough. In fact, it will get worse. Again, let us put this into the form of a question for you to answer as rationally and honestly as possible.
If, when she thinks that you are the best thing since sliced bread, when the sight of you makes her heart go pitter pat, she thinks that everything you do should be about her, and that every decision made should be what she wants, then how do you think she is going to act when things go south and you become the anti-Christ in her eyes? You think she was demanding before? You ain’t seen nothing yet. And she might just have a lawyer and a couple of cops there to help her express her disapproval of you when the time comes for you to be banished for displeasing her.
4. Because having a spine is fun. Your spine is the motor control that allows you to do everything you want to do in life. It starts at the base of your brain and ends in the same general neighborhood as your balls. It is instrumental in helping you pursue things you actually like to do, and allows you to walk away from doing things that you don’t like or don’t want to do.
Princesses only like spines in certain circumstances, like when they are removed and mothballed in a box for safe keeping. Of course when that happens, the brain and the balls get put in storage with it. You see, without a spine, a brain and balls are pretty useless anyway. While you’re storing those things away, you might as well include your dreams, desires, friendships, interests and ambitions, and maybe even your family depending on how much control your princess requires.
3.  Because a princess will cheat on you. You always have to remember the emotional condition of someone who actually thinks being treated like a princess is a normal and a tenable requirement in a relationship. You are dealing with someone that is grossly immature, self-centered and irresponsible.
She is more than capable of convincing herself that cheating on you is not only a good idea, but probably what you deserve — because if you really knew how to treat a woman like a princess it would not be happening to you. Even if she hates herself for cheating on you, she will figure out how to dump that on you as well. Royal is not loyal, guys. Remember, you’re not her man. You’re her subject and god help you if you ever cheat on her. It is subjects who are expected to be loyal to royalty, and not the other way around.
2.  Because whatever a princess feels for you, it is not love. At least not the kind you want. Again, when you have a princess, you’re not her partner. You’re the help. We may like the people who help us a lot. We may well think they are vital and indispensable in some ways, but we don’t love them. We don’t even really like having to pay them for what they do.
When you are with a princess, you are unpaid help. Well, okay, I take that back. You do get the pleasure of her company, and you get to enjoy all things HER, every minute of every day of your miserable life. Heck, every once in a while you might actually get short lived recognition that you are a human being. But if you think anyone that would treat you like an accessory really loves you, then you might want to check in with your self-respect and ask it how it’s doing.
1.  The number one reason to not get involved with a princess is because there is no one there with whom to get involved. I want to say that one more time: Because there’s no one there with whom to get involved,  guys. There is no one there. When it comes to princesses, there’s no one home. Princesses are empty, vacuous human beings with no real personal identity to speak of at all.
They are a mouthy collection of wants, imagined needs and whims, all driven by the fantasy of self-importance and specialness. They are just the sum of their desires, and without exception you can be nothing more in their eyes than the human “doing” designated to deliver what she wants.
In that sense, you can never be any more whole or real than she is. You will be just as shallow and fake. In fact, if you are involved long-term with a princess, it is probably a good time to take a look in the mirror, and to recognize that the only thing staring back at you is a useful clown.
If there is anything more substantive than that left in you, you might want to start talking to that part of yourself about making some changes.

How many couples do you know that fall into this category?

Wednesday, 19 June 2013

VIDEO The Art of Public Manipulation

Tuesday, 18 June 2013

5 Psychology Studies Every Teenager Should Read

#5. No Sex Now = Greater Life Satisfaction Later

Adolescence is the period in everyone's life where the idea of sex metamorphoses from a mysterious concept to an uncomfortable and alarming reality to a baited hook perpetually hanging above your head. And high school thrives on that shit. If high school's social ladder were representative of the real world, every world leader would be required to submit a detailed banging history in order to cement his qualification for the job.

In such a hypersexualized environment, it's easy to get depressed when your crushes are less than receptive to your charms (or, in the case of your average shy teenager, your lack thereof). It feels like you're failing some crucial self-defining test, every single day. But if you look at the long term, you're passing with flying colors -- because as it turns out, having sex later than most people might in fact be better for you.

A study done by the University of Texas found that people who lost their virginity late (defined in the study as older than 19) tended to attain a higher level of education, a higher income, and, yes, a greater level of relationship satisfaction during adulthood than those who lost their virginity at an average (15 to 19) or early (before 15) age.

Possible explanations include more selective partner choices, avoiding negative adolescent relationship experiences, and our personal favorite: "Individuals who first navigate intimate relationships in young adulthood, after they have accrued cognitive and emotional maturity, may learn more effective relationship skills than individuals who first learn scripts for intimate relationships while they are still teenagers."

In other words, while the other kids are learning how to fumble their way into each other's pants around the same time they're under the impression that "showing respect" is a synonym for "aggressive posturing," you get to learn about all that sex stuff later -- when you're actually emotionally competent enough to handle it.

And if your problem is that you're too shy, we need to clear something up ...

#4. Shyness Has No Influence on Whether or Not You're Single (But Does Make Your Brain Work Better)

Shyness is the curse of every teenager wishing to have anything like a normal social life. That unfounded anxiety when talking to people, the debilitating reluctance to speak up -- if minds were rock stars, shyness turns yours into the uncredited bass player, while everyone else's is friggin' Jim Morrison, man. And the worst part is there's no upside -- in no way will being shy ever be of benefit to you. After all, it's not like being popular stops counting once you enter the workplace, or that a fear of human contact is ever going to suddenly become attractive to sex partners.

Well, we have good news: A study in 2007 had subjects provide information pertaining to shyness, love attitudes, and their current relationship status, and analysis showed that a person's level of shyness had no bearing on whether or not he or she was romantically involved. If someone's shy, there's always someone else who's more than willing to make the first move.

One thing to note, however, is that shyness was correlated with two types of romantic styles: "storge" (affectionate love that develops from friendship) and mania (the obsessive, possessive kind of love that creepy people express by secretly collecting hair samples). So just keep in mind that if you fall into the shy camp and one day you happen to find yourself branding your betrothed's name onto your neck, it may be time to start reconsidering your views on love. In the meantime, there's another benefit to shyness: a little thing called sensory processing sensitivity.

It is the means by which you shall exact your terrible revenge upon them all.

Never heard of it? Well, it's a personality trait characterized by sensitivity to stimuli of any kind, including social and emotional cues. If you're shy, there's a good chance you have it, and SPS is fucking awesome. Individuals with SPS report having richer, more complex inner lives than others, and are better equipped to notice subtleties in their environment. Studies have found that SPS and the personality traits closely linked to it (which are, for the record, shyness, behavioral inhibition, and introversion) are correlated with a whole laundry list of effects that sound increasingly like the definition of spider-sense as you check them off: greater awareness of subtle stimuli, more attentional vigilance, and greater sensory reactivity.

More importantly, scientists decided to chuck some heads into an fMRI machine while their owners performed visual- and attention-based tests. Results: The brains belonging to people with SPS showed far greater activity than anyone else's in a whole bunch of areas involved with high-order visual processing. Add it all up, and you have to wonder why there aren't bald guys starting up Schools for Shy Youngsters while senators busily pen the Shy People Registration Act.

And if you're still envious of those popular girls who are constantly surrounded by a dozen chattering BFFs, you should know that ...

#3. Talking Is Overrated: Girls Talking Can Lead to Depression

Let's say you're a teenage girl. And, while all the other girls are busy complaining about which guy absolutely failed to notice their new haircut or whose parents can go eat the biggest bag of dicks, you prefer to keep your complaints to yourself. After all, they're your problems, why should you be expected to share them with everyone else? While this line of reasoning seems sound to you, the other girls probably treat you in ways that would have been edited out of Mean Girls for being too over the top.

Well, it turns out that science is right there on your (shy) side. Back in 2011, some researchers at the University of Missouri decided to find out how "co-rumination" -- talking with friends about each others' problems -- was viewed by adolescent girls and boys, and how much of an impact it had on their well-being. First and foremost, they discovered that guys generally viewed the activity as a waste of time, a tidbit that we've swept straight into the "well duh" bucket.

Girls, on the other hand, took part in co-rumination at roughly the same frequency as they did in breathing. More importantly, however, is the effect that co-rumination had on the girls who participated in it: They were far more likely to develop issues with depression and anxiety than the girls who were less social.

Professor Amanda Rose, the research leader, stated her belief that many girls talk about their problems at an unhealthy rate, which increases the amount of time they spend focused on said problems, which makes the problems seem much worse than they actually are, and so on, until their insides have boiled up into a sticky, miserable ball of funk.

#2. Yes, Your Friends Have More Friends Than You Do (But This Is Statistically Inevitable)

The average teenager's mind is overwhelmingly consumed by three thoughts: "When can I rub my genitals again?" "How can I find someone else onto whom I might rub my genitals?" And, trailing in third place, "How popular am I?" No matter how much eyeliner they slop on or how many holes they punch through themselves in an attempt to demonstrate that they're the polar opposite of popular, in the back of every single teenager's mind is a nagging concern that all of his or her friends rank higher on the popularity scale than they do.

Now, let's do a little exercise -- and you can participate even if your teen years are so far behind you that you've seriously considered investing in a shotgun to keep the damn kids off your lawn. Go to Facebook and count up how many friends each of your friends has, then calculate the average. Guess what? That number is almost certainly higher than your number of friends. Oh shit, you're unpopular! You may as well just go build yourself a cabin in the remote wilderness and brush off your manifesto-writing skills! Right?

Who cares what it looks like? Who are you going to have over anyway, loser?

Not exactly. It turns out that pretty much everyone can do this exercise, no matter how popular they are, and they will always find that the average of their friends' friends turns out higher than their number of friends. How is this possible, you ask? Blame the unholy witchcraft that is statistics.

What your average teenager unconsciously tallying up his or her friend list doesn't realize is that this simple experiment is flawed from the get-go, for the simple reason that those friends you're measuring are inclined to be popular, because they're friends with you. Think about it. The more popular someone is, the more likely it is that they're your friend. If they're not popular, they probably aren't friends with you, and therefore weren't included in your count. As a result, your friends' weighted number ends up averaging more friends than you.

Keep in mind that this paradox can be applied to many other aspects of life. The people you date have all had more dates than you have, because the ones who don't date didn't date you. All the kids on Xbox Live are absolute thunder-pricks because the ones who aren't don't end up screaming profanity into your ear. Just remember that it's nothing more than a fluke of statistics, and if you let it get you down, those asshole mathematicians win.

#1. People Care Far Less About Your Screw-Ups Than You Think They Do

Put yourself back in your teenage shoes for a minute. Maybe some nice Air Jordans, or perhaps some sparkly platform shoes, depending on just how far back in time you have to travel and just how fancy you happen to be. Now imagine that those shoes cause you to trip and fall on your way to homeroom, resulting in a teen-comedy-movie-worthy mushroom cloud of books and papers -- right in front of a crowd of gawking fellow students. You just know that by lunchtime, everyone's going to be talking about it, whispering and snickering about how you're just about the biggest dork in school, second only to that kid who managed to accidentally set fire to the local swimming pool.

But wait a minute. What if someone told you that within 10 minutes, the number of people who remember what seems to you like the worst moment of your high school life is going to be approximately one, and that one person is going to be you? Because someone is telling you that, and that someone is science.

Back in 2000, researchers conducted a series of experiments to determine to what degree people thought their behavior was noticed by others. The research consisted of forcing test subjects to wear Barry Manilow T-shirts in front of observers (because science is a cruel motherfucker sometimes), then state how many of the observers they thought had noticed it, as well as putting them into a group of people tasked with making a decision and having them report on how they thought the others would rate their contributions.

The results were fairly conclusive: When made to wear an embarrassing T-shirt, test subjects predicted that twice as many observers had noticed the shirt than actually had. When put into a group brainstorm, subjects believed that others would judge them more critically and rate them as making more speech errors and offensive comments than they actually had. Paradoxically, subjects also believed that they had spoken more often than they did, and that they would be rated higher by the others on the general awesomeness of their contributions.

"And what do you think, guy in the stupid shirt who we'll all laugh at forever?"

In short, people thought their mistakes pretty much defined them in the eyes of others, when in fact everyone else cared very little about whether they wore a bad shirt or made a shitty suggestion. Scientists called this the "spotlight effect," referencing how a typical person believes they're always in the spotlight, when in fact everyone else in the room is far too busy being aware of their own imaginary spotlight to give any fucks about what's going on under yours.

While this unfortunately means that others are probably going to forget about your positive contributions almost as soon as you make them, it also means they'll forget about your colossal fuck-ups just as quickly. And let's face it, your average teenager is probably less concerned about being remembered for correctly answering that one teacher's bonus question than for the Gym Shorts Incident.

Unless it makes it to YouTube. In which case, good luck finding a new school in another country. On another planet.

So add up all of this and it becomes clear that adolescence is just the pile of shit and friendship bracelets you're required to spin your tires in for a while before they let you out onto the open road that is the rest of your life. If you spend your time there trying to succeed at being a teenager, you may never get around to succeeding at being a human being.

Why are teenagers so vulnerable to drug abuse?

Sunday, 16 June 2013

Kate Middleton Planning Hypnobirth

Kate Middleton is planning to use hypnotherapy to ease the agony of labour when she gives birth in July.

The Duchess of Cambridge has reportedly been looking into hypno-birthing techniques, which are based around the principle that fear and anxiety make labour longer and more painful.

It has been suggested that Kate is planning a natural birth, where she will be submerged in water in a birthing pool at St Mary Hospital in Paddington, London, where Prince William was born.

A source told Grazia: "Kate has researched various birthing methods. She wants it to be natural, so hypno-birthing is one option that appealed and she had been reading up on it and listening to CDs to get into the right frame of mind.

"Some of her friends have used this method and swear by it. Kate wants to do it her way and be relaxed."

The possibility that Kate will use hypnotherapy during labour has been mentioned before - at the end of May, a source told Now magazine: "Kate's very excited about the idea of hypno-birth. She's exploring lots of options but thinks it sounds very interesting."

A spokeswoman for the royal family said: "We appreciate it's a happy occasion but there are some matters which should remain private to the duchess."

Heidi Woodgate, of natural labour website Blissful Birth, said: "I am grateful to the duchess for her willingness to explore options for a natural birth, especially as it was Queen Victoria who led the way for women to use drugs in labour [she started using chloroform during the birth of her eighth child].

"To have serious consideration from a well-educated, intelligent and progressive couple like William and Kate shows how far towards mainstream our profession has come over the last decade."

Kate reportedly used hypnotherapy to ease her acute morning sickness, which left her hospitalised in December.

Her friend Jessica Hay told Australia's New Idea magazine: "Kate still looks at food and feels nauseous. She's been plagued with that feeling you have when you've had food poisoning and your stomach's shrunk.

"She finds it very hard to eat a full meal and gets full very quickly. The hypnotherapy is taking away any negative thoughts connected with food from the morning sickness, and replacing them with cravings for healthy, nutritious food."

Friday, 14 June 2013

The Health Benefits Of Tree Hugging

Die hard conservatives love to disparage liberals as tree huggers, but it has been recently scientifically validated that hugging trees is actually good for you. Research has shown that you don't even have to touch a tree to get better, you just need to be within its vicinity has a beneficial effect.

In a recently published book, Blinded by Science, the author Matthew Silverstone, proves scientifically that trees do in fact improve many health issues such as Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), concentration levels, reaction times, depression and other forms of mental illness. He even points to research indicating a tree's ability to alleviate headaches in humans seeking relief by communing with trees.

The author points to a number of studies that have shown that children show significant psychological and physiological improvement in terms of their health and well being when they interact with plants and trees. Specifically, the research indicates that children function better cognitively and emotionally in green environments and have more creative play in green areas. Also, he quotes a major public health report that investigated the association between green spaces and mental health concluded that "access to nature can significantly contribute to our mental capital and wellbeing".

So what is it about nature that can have these significant effects? Up until now it has been thought to be the open green spaces that cause this effect. However, Matthew Silverstone, shows that it is nothing to do with this by proving scientifically that it is the vibrational properties of trees and plants that give us the health benefits and not the open green spaces.

The answer to how plants and trees affect us physiologically turns out to be very simple. It is all to do with the fact that everything vibrates in a subtle manner, and different vibrations affect biological behaviours. One research experiment showed that if you drink a glass of water that has been treated with a "10Hz vibration" your blood coagulation rates will change immediately on ingesting the treated water. It is the same with trees, when touching a tree its different vibrational pattern will affect various biological behaviours within your body.

This vibrational idea is backed up throughout the book by a number of scientific studies to provide convincing proof that tree hugging after all is not such a crazy idea. One report even concluded the following: "safe, green spaces may be as effective as prescription drugs in treating some forms of mental illnesses".

There is one other school of thought are in alignment with this remarkable theory: Taoism. For example, the Taoist master Mantak Chia teaches students to meditate with trees, as a way of release "negative energies." In his Cosmic Tree Healing Qigong method, Master Chia teaches how to align one's body with the "aura" (or energetic field) of a tree. He explains that trees are natural processors that can help you transform your body's sick or negative energy into positive, vital life force energy. As you connect your energy with the tree you facilitate your own physical and emotional healing. The Taoist theory is that because trees stand very still, they are better at absorbing the Earth's Energy and the Universal Force from the Heavens. Trees and all plants have the ability to absorb the light frequencies and transform them into physical food; and they do the same with energetic food. The Taoist view of trees is to see them constantly in meditation, with subtle energy as their natural language.

One other fascinating laboratory that studies plant vibrational energies is Damanhur, an intentional community in Italy. In this peaceful and spiritual ecovillage there is a laboratory in the woods that offers a beautiful choir of singing trees. Yeah, you read that right... singing trees. Since 1976, researchers at Damanhur have invented and developed equipment that can capture electromagnetic changes on the surface of leaves and roots, transforming them into actual sounds. The best part is, these trees seem to control their electrical responses via a feedback mechanism, and demonstrate a kind of awareness and preference for types of music. The singing plants and trees of Damanhur have sparked off such a worldwide fascination that the people began organizing “Plant Concerts”, where musicians perform to the music created by the trees.

Wednesday, 12 June 2013

VIDEO The Secret Power Of Time

Tuesday, 11 June 2013

Talking To Your Mind With Hypnosis

Abstract: Recent brain research indicates that it is possible to talk to the amygdala, a key part of the brain that deals with certain emotions. The inner mind is concerned with emotion, imagination and memory as well as the autonomic nervous system which automatically controls our internal organs. By talking to the amygdala, an experienced hypnotherapist can relax the autonomic nervous system shutting down, or curtailing the trigger that sets off secretion of the adrenal and pituitary glands. This gives the body an opportunity to rebuild its immune system in many chronic illnesses.

When a patient is in a hypnotic trance the amygdala automatically shuts down the rapid alert system and turns off the stress hormones epinephrine, cortocotropin, and glucocorticoids. I have tried to talk to the amygdala in a number of critical cases including a 22-year-old woman with diabetes and a fear of hypodermic needles, 40-year-old male with osteoscarcoma and prostrate problems, and a 75 year-old man with kidney failure. In each case, the technique of relaxation through hypnosis has proven a highly effective tool in giving the body a chance to heal itself through its own inherent wisdom system. This is the part of the mind that knows how to make you breathe and send oxygen to your blood cells.

David Barlow of the Boston Center for Anxiety and Related Disorders claimed in a Newsweek article (Feb. 24, 2003) that it is actually possible to talk with the amygdala, a key component of the brain that deals with emotions like fear. Since this idea was consistent with the basic tenets of hypnosis, it intrigued me.
"Hypnosis is a way to access the untapped power of the mind and alter brain functions. In this state of intense relaxation and concentration, the mind is able to focus on positive suggestions which can be carried out at a future time. These subliminal messages are surprisingly powerful.

"The mind is like an onion. The outer layer, or conscious mind, deals with intelligence, reality, and logic. The inner mind is concerned with emotion, imagination, and memory, as well as the autonomic nervous system which automatically controls our internal organs (i.e., how we breathe, send oxygen to our blood cells, or walk without using the conscious mind.) The internal mind is on autopilot, reacting to the dictates of the pleasure principle. It seeks pleasure and avoids pain" (Warren, 2003, pp. 175-6).

It is these characteristics that make hypnosis a highly effective therapeutic tool in dealing with a wide spectrum of mental and physical disorders. When a therapist is doing hypnosis, the amygdala is turned down. Therefore, I call this "talking to the amygdala." The hypnotist can actually relax the autonomic nervous system, shutting down the usual "fight, flight, or freeze" response and curtailing the trigger that sets off secretion of the pituitary and adrenal glands. This gives the body a chance to build up its immune system and reduce trauma (Frank and Mooney, 2002) in many chronic illnesses (i.e., irritable syndrome, bulimia, cancer, high blood pressure, and Parkinson's disease.) Even the Wall Street Journal (Friedman, 2003) has documented how hypnosis has entered the mainstream and is using trance states for fractures, cancer, and burns and speeding recovery time.

Dr. David Spiegel, Stanford University researcher, speaking at the 54th Annual Conference of the Society for Clinical and Experimental Hypnosis, November, 2003, in Chicago reminded us that although we don't fully understand how it works, there is significant evidence that hypnosis can be effective in helping people reach into their own unconscious resources to solve problems normally beyond their ability. Not only does it work, but it often succeeds where modern medicine has failed.

That evidence continues to pile up. Hypnosis is now being used in dentistry, fertility, childbirth, allergies, eating disorders, headaches and improved academic and sports performance. Eleanor Laser, PhD. assists physicians like Elvira Lang, MD by performing hypnosis and analgesia during operations at the Harvard and Iowa University Medical Schools. Hypnosis is not sleep, but an altered state of consciousness in which a person accesses that part of his or her mind that is capable of adjusting the problem without the conscious, thinking mind directing it.

By Muriel Prince Warren, DSW. Read Full Article Here

Sunday, 9 June 2013

10 Psychological Tricks To Influence People

Before we get started, it’s important to note that none of these methods fall under what we would term the dark arts of influencing people. Anything that might be harmful to someone in any way, especially to their self esteem, is not included here. These are ways to win friends and influence people using psychology without being a jerk or making someone feel bad.

10. Get Favours

Trick: Get someone to do a favor for you—also known as the Benjamin Franklin effect.

Legend has it that Benjamin Franklin once wanted to win over a man who didn’t like him. He asked the man to lend him a rare book and when the book was received he thanked him graciously. As a result, this the man who had never wanted to speak to him before, became good friends with Franklin. To quote Franklin: “He that has once done you a kindness will be more ready to do you another than he whom you yourself have obliged.”

Scientists decided to test this theory and found that those who were asked by the researcher for a personal favor rated the researcher much more favorably than the other groups did. It may seem counter-intuitive, but the theory is pretty sound. If someone does a favor for you, they are likely to rationalize that you must have been worth doing the favor for, and decide that therefore they must like you.

9. Aim High

Trick: Ask for way more than you want at first then scale it back later.

This trick is sometimes known as the door in the face approach. You start by throwing a really ridiculous request at someone—a request they will most likely reject. You then come back shortly thereafter and ask for something much less ridiculous—the thing you actually wanted in the first place. This trick may also sound counter-intuitive, but the idea behind it is that the person will feel bad for refusing your first request, even though it was unreasonable, so when you ask for something reasonable they will feel obliged to help out this time.

Scientists tested this principle and found that it worked extremely well as long as the same person asked for both the bigger and smaller favor, because the person feels obliged to help you the second time and not anyone else.

8. Names

Trick: Use a person’s name, or their title depending on the situation.

Dale Carnegie, the author of How to Win Friends and Influence People, believed that using someone’s name was incredibly important. He said that a person’s name is the sweetest sound in any language for that person. A name is the core part of our identity, and so hearing it validates our existence, which makes us much more inclined to feel positively about the person who validated us.

But using a title, or form of address can also have strong effects, according to the as if principle. The idea is that if you act like a certain type of person, you will become that person, it’s a bit like a self fulfilling prophecy. To use this to influence others, you can refer to them as what you want them to be, so they will start thinking of themselves this way. This can be as simple as calling an acquaintance you want to be closer to “friend,” or “mate” whenever you see them, or referring to someone you want to work for as “boss.” But be warned: this can come off as very corny.

7. Flattery

Trick: Flattery will actually get you everywhere.

This one may seem obvious at first, but there are some important caveats to it. For starters it’s important to note that if the flattery is not seen as sincere, it’s going to do more harm than good. But researchers have studied the motivations behind peoples reaction’s to flattery, and found some very important things.

To put it simply, they found that people tend to look for cognitive balance, trying to always keep their thoughts and feelings organized in a similar way. So if you flatter someone who has high self esteem, and it is seen as sincere, they will like you more, as you are validating how they feel about themselves. However, if you flatter someone who has low self esteem, there is a chance it could backfire and cause them to like you less, because it interferes with how they perceive themselves. That, of course, does not mean you should demean a person of low self-esteem!

6. Mirroring

Trick: Mirror their behavior.

Mirroring is also known as mimicry, and is something that some people do naturally. People with this skill are considered to be chameleons; they try to blend into their environment by copying other people’s behaviors, mannerisms and even speech patterns. However, this skill can also be used consciously, and is a great way to make you more likable.

Researchers studied mimicry, and found that those who had been mimicked were much more likely to act favorably toward the person who had copied them. Even more interesting was their second find that those who had someone mimic their behavior were actually nicer and more agreeable to others in general—even those not involved in the situation. It is likely that the reason why this works is that mirroring someone’s behavior makes them feel validated. While this validation is likely to be most positively associated with the person who validated them, they will feel greater self-esteem and thus be more confident, happier and well disposed towards others.

5. Use Tiredness

Trick: Ask for favors when someone is tired.

When someone is tired they are more susceptible to everything someone may say, whether it is a statement or a request. The reason for this is that when people are tired it isn’t just their physical body, their mental energy levels drop as well. When you ask a request of someone who is tired, you probably won’t get a definite response, but probably an “I’ll do it tomorrow,” because they don’t want to deal with decisions at the moment. The next day, they are likely to follow through because people tend to keep their word; it’s natural psychologically to want to follow through with something you said you would do.

4. Offer They Cant Refuse

Trick: Start with a request they can’t refuse and work your way up.

This is a reverse of the door in the face technique. Instead of starting with a large request, you start with something really small. Once someone has committed to helping you, or agreeing to something, they are now more likely to agree to a bigger request. Scientists tested this phenomenon in regards to marketing.

They started by getting people to express support for the rain forests and the environment—which is a fairly simple request. Then they found that once they had gotten them to express their agreement to supporting the environment, they were much easier to convince when it came to buying products that supported rain forests and other such things. However, don’t start with one request and immediately assail them with another. Psychologists found it much more effective if you wait a day or two to make the second request.

3. Keep Quiet

Trick: Don’t correct people when they are wrong.

Carnegie also pointed out in his famous book that telling someone they are wrong is usually unnecessary and does the opposite of endearing them to you. There is actually a way to show disagreement and turn it into a polite conversation without telling someone they are wrong, which strikes to the core of their ego. This is called the Ransberger Pivot, invented by Ray Ransberger and Marshall Fritz. The idea behind it is pretty simple: instead of arguing, listen to what they have to say, and then seek to understand how they feel and why. Then you explain the common ground that you share with them, and use that as a starting point to explain your position. This makes them much more likely to listen to what you have to say, and allows you to correct them without them losing face.

2. Repeat Stuff Back

Trick: Paraphrase people and repeat back to them what they just said.

One of the most positive ways to influence others is to show them that you really understand how they feel, that you have real empathy for them. One of the most effective ways to do this is by paraphrasing what they say and repeating it back to them, also known as reflective listening. Studies have shown that when therapists used reflective listening, people were likely to disclose more emotion and have a much better therapeutic relationship with the therapist.

This easily transfers over to talking to your friends. If you listen to what they say, and rephrase it as a question to confirm that you understood it, they are going to be more comfortable talking with you. They are also going to have a better friendship with you and be more likely to listen to what you have to say, because you showed that you care about them.

1. Nod

Trick: Nod a lot while you talk, especially when leading up to asking for a favor.

Scientists have found that when people nod while listening to something, they are more likely to be in agreement with it. They also have discovered that when someone is nodding a lot in front of them, it is natural for them to do the same. This is understandable because humans are well known at mimicking behaviors, especially those that they consider to have positive connotations. So if you want to be extra convincing, nod regularly throughout the conversation. The person you are talking to will find it hard not to nod themselves, and they will start to feel agreeable toward what you are saying, without even knowing it.

Friday, 7 June 2013

VIDEO The Man With No Short Term Memory

Wednesday, 5 June 2013

Psychology of a Terrorist

Recent events such as the Boston bombing and the brutal murder of a soldier in the broad daylight of a London street have re-sparked interest in terrorism and what it is that drives people to perform such  destructive acts. The following article may not answer every question, but it certainly delves into the mind of the terrorist and considers why it is they act as they do. Full article here

“While nothing is easier than to denounce the evildoer, nothing is more difficult than to understand him.” —Fyodor Mikhailovich Dostoevsky
As the country continues to reel from the Boston Marathon bombings, which killed three people and injured over 100, terror has forced itself back into our daily vocabulary. Once again Americans find themselves grappling with the senselessness of mass destruction, the fear of what’s next, and the anxiety of knowing that civilian lives may have become political pawns in an unknown game with an unknown player.
Everyone has questions — and authorities are scrambling for answers.
Though unusual in its magnitude, such acts of terror happen far more frequently than is reported. The city of Boston itself has experienced sixteen terror attacks since 1970, according to a recent report by the National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism (START), making it the 14th most frequently targeted U.S. city by terrorists in the past 40 years. New York leads with 430 attacks since 1970, with Los Angeles in second place with 103 attacks in that time period.
In the United States, 2,362 terror attacks took place between 1970-2011 — the vast majority never making headlines, or even claiming lives. “Historically,” the report reads, “each U.S. terrorist attack has resulted in 3.3 casualties on average. Excluding the 9/11 attacks, the average number of casualties per U.S. attack drops to 1.4 casualties per attack.”
So … what makes a terrorist? 
“One has, I think, to reckon with the fact that there are present in all men destructive, and therefore anti-social and anti-cultural trends…” —Sigmund Freud
Up until relatively recently, very little empirical research had been conducted on the psychology that lives behind atrocities like these. It was commonly and popularly held that that terrorists were paranoid, deranged, schizophrenic, psychotic or sociopathic — or any combination thereof. Senseless people who did senseless things. For millennials, whose sense of maturity and mortality was collectively defined on a single cold morning in September, this is all too true.
But it’s a stereotype that’s been whittled-away in recent years as a new wave of research has come pouring fourth, expanding our understanding of the who and the why as psychologists begin to explain the unexplainable. For the first time doctors are gaining access to terrorists and militants, as tens of thousands have been systematically detained and released over the past decade. 
“The popular image of the terrorist as an individual motivated exclusively by deep and intransigent political commitment obscures a more complex reality,” explains Dr. Martha Crenshaw of Stanford University in a report, Psychology of Terrorism, produced by the University of South Florida. Though some biographical trends have been observed — child abuse, neglect, and incarceration are all common in their childhood narratives — these are loose, and quite far from establishing causality. Attempts to determine a “terrorist personality” have failed.
Dr. John Horgan of Pennsylvania State University, in interviews with over 60 former terrorists, has identified a number of traits that can and have led to radicalization: feelings of anger, alienation or disenfranchisement; identifying with other perceived victims of social injustice; belief that their current political power doesn’t allow them to induce change; belief that joining a movement offers social and political rewards; feeling the need to take action; having friends or family who are either sympathetic, or are terror actors themselves; and believing that engaging in violence with the perceived enemy is not immoral.
Many such characteristics can be found in the typical American teenager.
Other researchers have tried to isolate cultural shifts that could have led to regional radicalization. Some have sighted “cultural competition,” specifically, to explain the development of terror networks in the Middle East. As the age of globalism progresses, and Western influence continues to spread around the globe, disparate cultures are intimately interacting on a daily basis in a way that was never before possible.
This has been linked to a “survival of the fittest” mentality that, according to Georgetown University Professor Fathali Moghaddam, quickly develops into violence: “You can interpret Islamic terrorism as one form of reaction to the perception that the fundamentalist way of life is under attack and is about to become extinct.”
Though terrorism seems to be capable of arising from any combination of these psychological, sociological and economical factors, the process is slow. The newly indoctrinated tend to undergo a gradual radicalization process, occasionally expedited by single “tipping point” events.
The role of the group
“Those who can make you believe absurdities, can make you commit atrocities.” —Voltaire
Very few terrorists terror alone. Notable but rare exceptions include Ted Kaczynski, the Unabomber, and John Allen Muhammad, the Washington sniper.
The vast majority are linked to terror networks; though few such organizations survive more than a couple years, the larger ones (Al-Qaeda, Hizballah, Aum Shinrikyo, etc.) can grow increasingly complex in scale and structure. They are big and multinational, often centering around a single leader or personality who administers tasks to followers by means of a select number of core lieutenants. Though many terror organizations include violent fighters, there is just a strong a need for videographers, organizers and web masters. 
Not all extremists are terrorists, not all terrorists are extremists, and not all members of terrorist organizations necessarily become violent actors. But nearly all work in groups.
Some of the most important (and most lacking) areas of research surround this crucial social dynamic, as it has become apparent that how members join and leave terror organizations may just be the key to counterterrorism. New members are often recruited in areas of high disenfranchisement, anxiety and frustration — areas where anger is high, political capital is low, and achievement is lacking. Colleges and universities, where many young people encounter new and radical ideas for the first time, are also key centers for recruitment.
Once established, pressure from the outside tends to radicalize a group, which in turn contributes to the continued radicalization of its members. As is true with all organizations, the sense of worth or purpose can strengthen group membership. Conversely, alienation from support networks, internal power struggles, and a lack of cohesiveness can bring collapse. 
Are terrorists mentally ill?
“Those who would commit suicide in their assaults on the free world are not rational and are not deterred by rational concepts.” —U.S. Senator John Warner
Put simply, no. A 1999 report filed by the Library of Congress titled The Sociology and Psychology of Terrorism: Who Becomes a Terrorist and Why suggests that the opposite is true: “Increasingly, terrorist groups are recruiting members with expertise in fields such as communications, computer programming, engineering, finance, and the sciences…highly skilled professionals.” The mentally ill are almost never admitted into terror networks, and in studies with the incarcerated, were found to be exceedingly rare.
“The idea of terrorism as the product of mental disorder or psychopathy has been discredited,” says Dr. Crenshaw.
Dr. Charles Ruby further explains: “Terrorists are not dysfunctional or pathologic; rather, it suggests that terrorism is basically another form of politically motivated violence that is perpetrated by rational, lucid people who have valid motives.”
Ted Kaczynski again stands as a rare exception to the rule, with a diagnosis of paranoid schizophrenia.
Suicide bombing, though uniquely complex on a number of levels, is no exception. In a 2004 study, Psychology of Terrorism, Dr. Randy Borum traces modern suicide bombing back to the 1983 attacks on the U.S. embassy in Beirut. Thirty-one attacks followed in the 1980s, 104 in the 1990s, and 53 between 2000-2001. Though the rate of this kind of violence is on the increase, it makes up just 3% of all terror incidents — though accounts for a staggering 48% of terrorism-related fatalities. And yet even here the rate of mental illness is astonishingly low, as terror organizations are disinclined to send mentally-incapacitated individuals on critical missions.
Dr. Andrew Silke of the University of East London notes: “As with other terrorists, there is no indication that suicide bombers suffer from psychological disorders or are mentally unbalanced in other ways. In contrast, their personalities are usually quite stable and unremarkable (at least within their own cultural context).”
It is important to note the psychological differentiation between suicide and martyrdom. “In the majority,” explains Dr. Ariel Merari of Tel Aviv University, “you find none of the risk factors normally associated with suicide, such as mood disorders or schizophrenia, substance abuse or history of attempted suicide.”
“The question is not whether we will be extremists, but what kind of extremists we will be.” —Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Why is this important? Understanding the psychology of terrorism has led to a growing number of“de-radicalization” programs with the goal of rehabilitating incarcerated terrorists. They tend to include three primary components: the intellectual (a moderate Muslim cleric may discuss peaceful interpretations of the Qu’ran), the emotional (the terrorist’s anger may be defused by the actor paying for his children’s education), and the social (de-radicalized militants may be enlisted to help convince others to leave behind violence).
Though the efficacy of these programs has been debated, success stories are already beginning to appear. Al-Gama’a al-Islamiyya, Egypt’s largest radical Islamic group, renounced bloodshed in 2003 after going through a similar program as part of a deal with the Egyptian government, and hasn’t been linked to a violent act since. Al Jihad, another major Egyptian terror group, renounced violence in 2007 to similarly positive results.
Whether or not de-radicalization is the solution, the growing interest in the psychology of terror is promising. The crazed and senseless militant is a misconception and a dangerous one — in dehumanizing the terrorist we loose sight of him, and subsequently preclude ourselves from any chance of understand or stopping him. 
And leave ourselves open for his next attack.