Friday, 29 January 2016

VIDEO How Smart Can We Get?

Tuesday, 26 January 2016

How to Join an Existing Group of Friends/Colleagues?

I think it's safe to say that we have all been there. We find ourselves on the outside of a certain social group and we want in, or at least we want to learn how we could force our way into their group dynamic. I've worked at a school before where I could happily chat away to individual colleagues, but if they were together as a group I got the cold shoulder treatment. I was new at the school when it began but it continued until I left for a new job. I wasn't especially bothered about the situation (maybe that was a key cause?) but intrigue existed; could I have broken into that group's network?

According to's outstanding article these are some steps you can take: (click the link for their full article)

Steps to joining a group
Depending on your particular situation and the group you want to join, not every step may apply.
Make initial contact

When some people talk of not knowing how to join a group, this is where they're stuck. They've got a group in mind they want to join, but don't know how to begin talking to them. Your options for making the initial contact mainly depends on the access you have to the group. Here are the two main possibilities:
Introduce yourself to everyone at once

For example:
You work at a big company. In the cafeteria you notice there's a group of co-workers from another department who seem right up your alley. One day you ask if you can sit with them.
You live in a dorm, but haven't clicked with anyone on your floor. However, you know there's a fun-seeming social circle a floor below. One Friday night you pop down, see everyone hanging out in the lounge, where you figured they'd be, and ask if you can join them.
There's a gaming store on your campus, and every time you've walked by you could see a bunch of regulars hanging out and playing Magic: The Gathering. You walk in one day, introduce yourself, and explain how you're a fan of the game and looking for a group to play with.

I realize it takes a certain amount of guts to go up to a group of people and insert yourself into their conversation. You may worry it comes off as desperate. But if you're their type, and you generally come off as likable and confident, it can all go quite smoothly. If that makes you too nervous, you could always try the next option.
Get to know a few members, then meet the rest of the group through them

Here I'm talking about cases where you still have to go out of your way to make contact with the group, and don't have an in through a mutual friend or something like that. There are many ways to go about this, but here are a few examples. Again, this is just another option for meeting the group's members. It shouldn't be thought of as a way to subtly worm your way into a clique that would reject you if you approached them more directly:
You've noticed a group you want to join that's in two of your university classes. In a third class it's just you and one of the members. You get to know her in that class, and once you're friendly with her, start sitting with the whole group in the other two courses.
You play in a rec volleyball league and have noticed one of the other teams is a group of buddies who seem fun. A few weeks later at a league-wide end-of-season party you start talking to one of the guys and seem to get along. You ask him to introduce you to his teammates, which he does.
You work as a busser in a fairly big restaurant and want to get to know the bartenders, who you don't get much of a chance to talk to during your shifts. You become friendly with one of the servers who hangs out with them. When they go out after work one day she invites you along.
There's a group you've seen around campus that you're interested in, but aren't in a huge rush to become a part of. You know some members will be at a party you're going to. You make a point to strike up a conversation with them there and hit it off fairly well. Over the next few weeks you chat to them briefly when you cross paths. About a month later you see them out at a bar with the whole group, say hello, and get to meet everyone else.

However you first make contact with a group, if you're a good fit for it this step may be the only point of struggle, and once you've broken the ice the rest will take care of itself.

Find a way to hang out with the group consistently and become closer with everyone

Assuming you didn't effortlessly become accepted and ingrained in the gang as soon as you meet everybody, the work will be in moving from 'The group now knows I exist and seems okay with me' to 'I spend time with them regularly and consider them friends'. The next few sub-sections will cover parts of this process.
Figure out how to get in on the group's get togethers

A barrier some people run into it they'll successfully make initial contact with a group and become friendly with it in a light, casual way. However, they're not getting in on the fun group activities that were one of the reasons they wanted to join it in the first place. Like they may now be able to chat to a group of guys in one of their classes, but not hang out with them on the weekends.

If you're in this situation there are a few things you can try:
Like with making friends in general, you may just need to get it on the group's radar that you're someone they could hang out with outside of the context they first met you in. Once you let them know that you enjoy the same activities they do, they may get the picture and start keeping you in the loop (e.g., "You guys play poker every Thursday? I've been playing the last few years. I'd be down to join your game if you have room.")
You could ask about future plans, and then politely ask if you can get in on the action.
You could try arranging a get together yourself. Even if everyone can't make it, it will still send the message that you're interested in hanging out with them. For this suggestion you've got to use your judgment about whether it would be appropriate. Some groups are fine with newer members trying to make plans. Others are more established and set in their ways, and will tune out ideas that don't come from their long-time friends.
If you got into the group through one or two people, get connected to the other members

This point applies whether you met the whole group from scratch, or were introduced to them through your best friend. Another group-joining problem people have is they'll start hanging out with a group regularly, but don't feel like they're a real part of it. Even if everyone is nice to them, it's still more like they're perpetual guests of the friend(s) who got them into the group to begin with. Aside from just putting in more time (see below), here are some ways to help dig yourself out of that situation:
Of course, when you're all hanging out together take time to break away from your original friend(s) and get to know the other members. Make it implicitly clear you want to become closer with everyone, and not just accompany your buddy to the odd get together.
Get the other group member's phone numbers and add them on whatever social networks you all use. Aside from allowing you to get in touch with them, and sending another message that you want to get to know the whole group, it also frees you from having to rely on your closer friend(s) as your sole avenue for hearing about their plans.
Try to hang out with them regularly, and not just make the occasional appearance when your friend invites you along.
Try proposing and organizing a plan of your own, if you think that would fly with the group. Again, it signals you want to hang out with the group as a whole and subtly implies you're an insider who's trying to arrange a get together with his or her fellow members.

You don't have to become equally close to everyone, or have them all like you to the same degree

While you want to get away from just being seen as the guest of one or two members, it's okay if you don't become super best friends with every last member. In most social circles not every relationship between the members is equally close. Sometimes two members may not even like each other that much, but they maintain harmony by keeping it to themselves and staying out of each other's way when everyone hangs out together. As long as a group on the whole wants you around, it's okay if you don't have a super strong connection with a few of the people in it. Most groups aren't like a stereotypical high school clique where a Queen Bee single-handedly rules on who's allowed in, or the existing members only accept new ones after a vote.
Put in your time with the group and deepen your relationship with everyone

Once you're hanging out with the group consistently becoming more enmeshed in it is mostly a matter of time. If you put in enough hours with them they'll naturally start to think of you as a member. You'll get to know everyone better, even if it's only a light 'activity buddies' group. You'll get in on their private jokes and be part of the new ones that develop. You'll go through shared experiences. Mostly this will happen automatically, but you can speed the process along somewhat by consciously adapting and applying the ideas in this article on growing relationships.
Be at peace with not feeling like a full-fledged member for a while

Sometimes when you join a group you'll feel like a full-on member right away. Alternatively, you might feel like a hanger on for a few months. That doesn't necessarily mean the group doesn't like you, just that if some members have known each other a while it's inevitable that they'll be more drawn towards each other, and might unintentionally leave you out somewhat. Once you're hanging out with the group on a regular basis, you're in. Don't look that gift horse in the mouth. Just keep showing up and doing what you're doing and over time you'll hopefully get to know everyone better and become more of a core member.
Accept that once you've gotten your foot in the door with a group, it still doesn't always work out

Exposure and familiarity generally increases bonds between people, but it's not guaranteed. Sometimes you'll join a group, feel on thin ice the whole time, and then eventually leave when you realize you'll never be fully included. This article, and the ones it links to, cover that issue in more detail. It's an uncertain, risky period you need to be willing to go through. Hopefully any feelings of being a second-tier member are only temporary. If you really feel yourself struggling it may be a sign the group isn't a good match for you. Often when it works out it feels quite easy from the get go.
Some overall thoughts on joining groups

I just gave a rough set of steps for joining a pre-existing group. Here are some general thoughts on the process:
Sometimes you can join new groups easily and directly

I already got at this idea a few times already, but I'll repeat it. The idea of joining an established group can seem more daunting than it often is. As I mentioned at the start of the article under some circumstances you really don't have to do much to get in with one. Often this is the case when you're new on a scene somewhere. It's not unusual for a new person to quickly get pulled into an existing group. If it doesn't happen automatically, it's still often quick and easy to execute purposely. For example, if you've started an internship at a new company and there's a group of eight employees who all hang out and are similar to you, joining their group may take nothing more than asking if you can join them on break, and if all goes well, acting from then on as if you're part of the pack.

People are often more nervous about trying to join an existing social circle when they and the group have been in the same environment for a while. You may worry about how it will come across when you suddenly want to join a group you haven't shown an interest in until now. However, if the group is friendly, compatible, and open to new members, they may be quite welcoming. They may even be glad you've finally decided to start hanging out with them, and were wondering what took you so long. That or they never gave you much thought until now, so they don't see you suddenly wanting to join as weird or out of place.
Don't put the group on a pedestal

It's fine if you want to join a group, but try not to psyche yourself out too much by seeing them as this awe-inspiring, imposing collection of people who you'd do anything to be accepted by. Even if you don't see them as that impressive, just the fact that trying to join a group can be nerve-racking for some people can imbue them with that aura. They're just a social circle. If you don't get in with them it may be disappointing, but your life won't end. There are always other opportunities to make friends.

Friday, 22 January 2016

The Healing Ability of the Body

Tuesday, 19 January 2016

What Happens to the Brain During Hypnosis?

It's the question on everyone's lips when considering hypnosis; just what does take place inside the brain during those long moments of relaxation? The following article by attempts to answer that question. To read their full article click the link:

Hypnosis is basically meditation with intent. A person is relaxed into an artificially induced altered state of consciousness. The state resembles sleep but the mind becomes highly focused and responsive to suggestion. Hypnotherapist can use suggestion to explore repressed memories, instill a desire for heathy habits and even reprogram themselves to be open to ideas. During hypnosis the brain's cognitive systems are still able to interpret communication. The cognitive systems allow people to process information, categorize information, and create associations.

Hypnosis has been proven to be helpful in dealing with pain and was used to relax patients before anesthesia. Records show that ancient India and China used a form of hypnosis to relieve pain during surgery. The first case of hypnosis being used in surgery in Europe was recorded in 1794, when Jacob Grimm, one of the Brothers Grimm, was hypnotized prior to having an operation for a tumor. Hypnosis was officially recognized by medicine for pain relief in the 1950s and is now recognized as an accepted treatment for anxiety, depression, trauma, irritable bowel syndrome and eating disorders.

So how is this possible? In the “X-Files” episodes “Jose Chung's From Outer Space,” the fictional author played by Charles Nelson Reilly says he is fascinated by hypnosis, as a writer, because so much can be done with mere words. What gives the words this power? What happens to the brain that allows these words to effect such change? Science has tools that map and measure brain functions. Researchers compared the physical "body signs" of hypnotic subjects with unhypnotized people and found no significant physical change associated with the state of hypnosis. Hypnotized people's heart rates and respiration slow down as it does in any relaxed state, not the hypnotic state itself.

Magnetic resonance imaging found that hypnosis is a natural state of the mind that produces measurable effects in the brain. Electroencephalographs (EEGs) measure the electrical activity of the brain. EEG research found that brains produce different brain waves, rhythms of electrical voltage, depending on their mental state. The brain produces consistent waves at all frequencies. According to the study “Plasticity Changes In The Brain In Hypnosis And Meditation,” by Ulrike Halsband, Susanne Mueller, Thilo Hinterberger and Simon Strickner, EEGs showed that the brains of hypnotized subjects showed a boost in lower frequency waves associated with the dream state of sleep. There is also a reported drop in higher frequency waves associated with the wake state, according to the Wikipedia page on the trance state.

According to Science Daily, the brain has four different brain wave states: beta, alpha, theta, and delta. The beta state is the normal waking state, which is measured at a frequency of 14-28 cycles per second. The alpha state is a relaxed state which is inductive to visualization and creativity. The alpha wave pattern occurs during a brainwave frequency from 9 to 14 cycles per second. Theta occurs during REM Sleep. The theta state is a deeper state of relaxation that also occurs during hypnosis and meditation. The brain shows a theta wave pattern from 4 to 8 cycles per second, reports Science Daily. Theta brain waves can be considered the subconscious. It is the first stage of the phase where people dream. The delta state is the sleep state. The brain shows a delta wave pattern from 1 to 4 cycles per second. Gamma occurs when a person is processing stimuli and grouping things into a coherent whole. It is not a state of mind. It occurs during beta.

Scientists found that the alpha and theta brain wave frequencies relieve stress; facilitate deep physical relaxation and mental clarity; increase verbal ability and performance IQ; synchronize the two hemispheres of the brain; recall mental images and creative thinking and can reduce pain, promote euphoria and stimulate the release of endorphins.

A 2006 study in Germany found that specialized MRI brain scans showed less activity in two areas of the brain during hypnosis, the area that processes visuals and the area that handles conflicts. Researchers found that changes occur in the brain's cerebral cortex during hypnosis. Evidence suggests activity in the right hemisphere of the brain, which neurologists believe controls imagination and creativity, increases in hypnotized subjects. They found activity in the left hemisphere of the cerebral cortex, which controls logic, decreases. This could also explain why people feel less inhibited while under hypnosis.

When the brain is relaxed it is open to new ideas and is capable of turning those ideas into habits, if they choose to be guided in that direction.

Friday, 15 January 2016

VIDEO Hypnosis Miracles

Tuesday, 12 January 2016

10 Apps to Help Mental Heath

It's January 2016 and it has never been easier to reach out and find useful resources that can genuinely help yourself or others with mental issues. From techniques in relaxing, de-stressing or re-assessing negative thought patterns, lists 10 top apps that you can access from your smartphone immediately.
Free app that teaches a deep breathing technique useful in fighting anxiety and stress. A simple interface uses biofeedback to monitor your breathing. Sounds cascade with the movements of your belly, in rhythms reminiscent of waves on a beach. Charts also let you know how you’re doing. A great tool when you need to slow down and breathe.
Literally a lifesaving app, this free intervention tool helps people who are having suicidal thoughts to reassess their thinking and get help. Recommended by followers of @unsuicide, who report that this app has helped in suicidal crises. Developed by the military, but useful to all. Worth a download even if you’re not suicidal. You never know if you might need it.
Provides a set of tools to help you evaluate personal stress and anxiety, challenge distorted thoughts, and learn relaxation skills that have been scientifically validated in research on Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT). Lots of background and useful information along with step-by-step guides.
Getting enough sleep is one of the foundations of mental health. A personal favorite I listen to all the time, this straightforward app features a warm, gentle voice guiding listeners through a Progressive Muscle Relaxation (PMR) session and into sleep. Features long or short induction options, and an alarm.
A three minute depression and anxiety screen. Validated questionnaires assess symptoms of depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, and PTSD, and combine into a score that indicates whether or not your life is impacted significantly by a mood disorder, recommending a course of action. The app keeps a history of test results, to help you track your progress.
Based on Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) developed by psychologist Marsha Linehan, this app is a rich resource of self-help skills, reminders of the therapy principles, and coaching tools for coping. Created by a therapist with years of experience in the practice, this app is not intended to replace a professional but helps people reinforce their treatment.
Track your moods, keep a journal, and chart your recovery progress with this comprehensive tool for depression, bipolar disorder, and anxiety disorders. One of the most popular mood tracking apps available, with plenty of features. Free.
A calm female voice helps you quell anxieties and take the time to relax and sleep, in an array of guided meditations. Separately controlled voice and music tracks, flexible lengths, and an alarm. Includes a special wee hours rescue track, and tips for falling asleep. Developed by Meditation Oasis, who offer an great line of relaxation apps.
Not technically a mental health app, it makes no miraculous claims about curbing anxiety. However, there is independent research indicating that taking breaks and getting exposure to nature, even in videos, can reduce stress. This app offers an assortment of peaceful, ambient nature scenes from beautiful spots around the world.
A popular free relaxation sound and music app. Mix and match nature sounds with new age music; it’s lovely to listen to birds in the rain while a piano softly plays.
Read the full article 

Friday, 8 January 2016

A Species With Amnesia?

Graham Hancock has some interesting theories as to why human knowledge and memory 'only' dates back around 10,000 years or so. Hancock points to evidence that this could be due to a catastrophe, a major world disaster, that brought down civilisation and left only the 'lucky' survivors to continue the human race. Fascinating reading!,76819,76819 

Tuesday, 5 January 2016

Power of Your Brain