Breaking Bad Habits – Mindfulness Changes Your Brain

Breaking Bad Habits – Mindfulness Changes Your Brain

Habits

One of the greatest developments in contemporary psychiatry and behavioural psychology is the knowledge that the mind and the brain are in fact two separate things and that with the power of your awareness you can change the structure and the chemistry of your own brain.

With the knowledge that you can use mindfulness to rewire your brain, the treatment of behavioural disorders and mental illnesses like obsessive-compulsive disorder, (a debilitating mental illness that is a result of faulty brain circuitry) can now be undone and managed in a way that may no longer require the use of pharmaceuticals.

There is still so much to be learned on the illnesses of the mind, so much so, that contemporary psychiatry is at least 100 years behind general medicine. Research into mental illness has shown that in 30 years there has been no improvement in the use of pharmacology for the treatment of anxiety and depression, mood disorders or addiction and human happiness has not improved either.

 

Breaking Bad Habits

The more often you repeat a behaviour the stronger the urge to do it again becomes, this is because you are strengthening the neurological pathways that connect the impulse to the action in the brain.  If you stop feeding the impulse the urge will eventually die.

The compulsion to repeat negative behaviours usually proceeds an uncomfortable sensation in the body. Uncomfortable feelings are the result of your body releasing chemicals and hormones that make you feel intense sensations of uneasiness, stress, fear, panic or anxiety. Our natural response to these sensations is to make them go away as soon as possible.

Becoming aware of your feelings and understanding that the physical discomfort you are experiencing is short-lived will help you to overcome the need to feed your beast. Uncomfortable sensations and emotions are a part of being a human and knowing that they come and go will help you to reduce their impact on your life.

Once you are aware of the sensations and emotions that drive your behaviour you can begin inserting a positive action, consciously and lovingly when they occur, actively reframing your focus and rewiring your brain.
Suggested interventions that are simple and effective at the time the negative or intense feelings arise could be; having a glass of water, taking a walk, jumping up and down or practising a breathing exercise.

Giving yourself this little bit of space between the impulse and the action will draw light on your ability to navigate the mind away from your brain. The space created helps you to unlock the brain from the mind and dissolve the patterns that are embedded into your psyche.

Top Tips For Making Changes

  • Recognise the sensation the impulse creates in your body – normally negative impulses make your body feel tight and constricted and good ones make you feel open and relaxed.
  • Make the choice to sit through uncomfortable sensations for 90 seconds
  • Make a plan – have a strategy in place for when urges arise for example – when you want to eat chocolate consciously have a glass of water instead so that over time when you have the impulse to eat chocolate your action will be to drink a glass of water.
  • Practice meditation and mindfulness – becoming attuned to your inner self, thoughts, feelings and emotions will help you tackle pre-programmed habits that no longer serve your greater purpose in life.
  • Positivity practices like mantra and mindfulness help to repattern the brain as you manually and thoughtful train yourself to be kind, compassionate, self-loving and aware.
  • Mediation and yoga help you to relax and refocus the mind away from the negative and reframe it to the positive, this repeated practice helps to strengthen the positive pathways in your brain and weaken the negative ones.
  • Deep breathing exercises help you to rebalance and refocus the mind and body and reduce the stress hormones that generate uncomfortable feelings.

Dr Joan Rosenberg | TEDxSantaBarbara

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EKy19WzkPxE&t=690s

Uncomfortable Feelings Are Short-lived

The urge to repeat a behaviour – or the compulsion only lasts approximately 90 seconds according to Dr Joan Rosenberg a clinical psychologist and motivational speaker.

Dr Rosenberg has the formula to help people with deal with uncomfortable sensations and feelings which she calls the “Rosenberg Reset” – it is 3 steps to approaching uncomfortable feelings:

Step 1. Making a choice

Step 2. Dealing with the 8 uncomfortable feelings

Step 3. 90 Seconds of separation – meaning waiting out the feelings for a minute and a half.

She says the key to happiness and success is our ability to manage uncomfortable feelings and also make accurate and meaningful decisions moment to moment.

Dr Jeffrey M Schwartz ‘You are not your brain’ at Mind & Its Potential 2011

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qcrGlUHlu4M&t=1480s&list=PL9uvtvecXuuD8zWM_rpxIccJRmzYfjJa1&index=3

Jeffrey M. Schwartz, M.D. is an American psychiatrist and researcher in the field of neuroplasticity and its application to obsessive-compulsive disorder. His research has significantly impacted the treatment of serious compulsive disorders like OCD and confirms that contemplative practices like yoga and meditation change the brain.

In his 20 years of research into the compulsive disorders of the mind, DR. Schwartz confirmed that the mind – the immaterial can change the material meaning that the adage ‘Mind over Matter’ is on point. It confirms that our self actually exists beyond the physical body and is an intelligence that is unseen and immaterial, yet very real.

You are not your body but a spiritual being inhabiting the body just got very real.

This article is used as a general guide to better health and wellbeing.

It is not intended to replace medical advice.

If you are suffering from anxiety, depression or poor health we strongly advise you seek medical attention.

Copyright Horatio’s Jar, 2018

All Rights Reserved

The Ghost Bat – An Australian Mammal

The Ghost Bat – An Australian Mammal

The Ghost Bat – An Australian Mammal

Like all bats, the Ghost Bat, (Macroderma Gigas) has the unique ability to manoeuvre itself through the night, dodging objects and mapping pathways through thick forest, grasslands and backyards. Using echolocation – a type of biosonar where animals use sound waves, hearing and vibrations to map out surrounding areas, bats are able to detect objects as small as a human hair in the dark.

The ghost Bat may look a little bit odd with his super-sized ears, and curios shaped nose but he is still an adorable creature to behold and definitely worth a second look. Living in a few remote locations in the northern regions of Australia, the Ghost Bat is the only carnivorous bat species we have on our great southern land. Sensitive to habitat disruption the GB is now listed as threatened.

 

The Ghost Bat – An Australian Mammal

Like all bats, the Ghost bat has the unique ability to manoeuvre itself through the night, dodging objects and mapping pathways through thick forest, grasslands and backyards. Using echolocation – a type of bio sonar where animals use sound waves, hearing and vibrations to map out surrounding areas, bats are able to detect objects as small as a human hair in the dark, echolocation is like seeing with sound.

The Ghost Bat may look a little bit odd with his super sized ears, and pigmy style nose but he is – his body is smalll – the name Ghost Bat is given to these night time cuties because of the soft transparency of their wings that glow white in the night sky.

The Ghost Bat may look a little bit odd with his super sized ears, and curios shaped nose but he is still a very cute creature to behold and definetely worth a second look

Learn More Here – The Nature Conservancy Australia

“The mission of ‘The Nature Conservancy’ is to conserve the lands and waters on which all life depends.”

“Our vision is a world where the diversity of life thrives, and people act to conserve nature for its own sake and its ability to fulfil our needs and enrich our lives.”

Find out more about the Ghost Bat as well as the role ‘The Nature Conservancy has in protecting Australian wildlife and habitat.

Learn More Here –
Ghost Bat: Meet Australia’s False Vampire

by Mathew L Miller

“Ghost bats belong to a group of bats known as false vampires. “False vampire bat” is a term applied to five genera of bats found in Asia, Africa, Australia and Central and South America.”

The artwork and illustrations are hand drawn by Emily as are all the artworks and graphics featured across the website.

Copyright Horatio’s Jar, 2019

Colour A Frog Poster

Colour A Frog Poster

Colour Me A Frog

Frogs have existed on earth for 250 million years, outliving the dinosaurs and evolving into a myriad of species unique in colour, form and behaviours. Natural habitats rely on amphibians, and without them, the food chain becomes broken, and the habitats die.

More than 4,200 amphibian species are at risk of extinction due to disease, habitat destruction and pollution; that is almost half of all the known species of amphibians on the planet.

Colour Me In

Colour in your own frog and hang it on your wall.
Putting your poster up where people can see will help educate your friends and family about frogs and how important they are to the whole world.

Colour in your own frog and hang it on your wall.
The Healing Arts – Natural Medicine

The Healing Arts – Natural Medicine

Natural Medicine

Natural medicine is a term that covers a broad range of practices including; dance, music therapy, art therapy, traditional oriental medicine and integrated remedial therapies like chiropractors and osteopathy and the use of natural medicines and remedies.

nat·u·ral
/ˈnaCH(ə)rəl/
adjective
  1. existing in or caused by nature; not made or caused by humankind.
    “carrots contain a natural antiseptic that fights bacteria”

The myriad of super drugs we use daily came from the ancient forests and jungles we are destroying.

For the last few hundred years, Whiteman has wandered into the Jungles of South America, South East Asia and beyond to find cures to illness and ailments that plagued the industrial man.

It was the Shamans and medicine men and women of forests and jungles that provided the wisdom and knowledge to researches, helping them to find medicines that would change the way our world worked forever…

We may have synthesised the drugs, but we left the medicine behind.
In our hastiness to recreate and manufacture the wonder drugs of the rainforest to cure illnesses of the over consumer we made one fatal mistake; dividing chemical from healing, leaving behind the medicine of the natural world to turn a profit.
 

Over the next few hundred years, scientists and researches would synthesize organic compounds used by native peoples for tens of thousands of years into medicines as familiar as the General Anaesthetic and Quinene, found in traditional tonic water, used as a medicine for Malaria.

Most of the potent pharmaceuticals we rely on for the treatment of disease come from the jungles of the Amazon, the rainforests of Borneo, Madagascar and the forests of ancient cultures around the world. Without the help of tribespeople, shamans, and mystics; our insight into the magical healing properties of plants and fungus would be nowhere near where it is today.

The relationship medicine men and women have with the natural world has taken millennia to evolve, and it’s a relationship sustained through custom, respect, and balance. What is sought must be given back, and the peoples of the rainforest acknowledge the finite balance of all living things.

This is something we are only just starting to grasp as we watch our beloved world being plundered of natural resources, all the while none of us are really cured of anything – because truthfully you cannot heal a broken heart with a packet of pills, you need Mother Nature for that.

Drugs we rely on for the treatment of Leukaemia, Cancer, HIV, Malaria, Parkinson’s disease and even your birth control have all been sourced from the ancient forests of the world.

This article is used as a general guide to better health and wellbeing.

It is not intended to replace medical advice.

If you are suffering from anxiety, depression or poor health we strongly advise you seek medical attention.

Copyright Horatio’s Jar, 2018

All Rights Reserved

In Sync

In Sync

In Sync

Music could hold the key to improving student engagement and learning.
Could listening to music before classroom tasks enhance the social and emotional bonds of students, enhance cognitive function and improve the overall health and wellbeing of our kids?

Music influences our thoughts, feelings and emotions, and it can also increase our ability to consolidate and store memories, learn new things and increase our social and emotional intelligence. When infant children are exposed to music with play, studies show their speech patterns, theory of mind and the ability to predict rhythms are enhanced.

Sharing music, making music and dancing with music makes us closer in physical proximity but it also means our brains are closer too. Science proves that the quality of music we listen to, sharing the listening experience and making music brings us closer together by syncing our brain waves, changing our chemistry and helping us work in unison.

Music And Dementia

In 2014 the film ‘Alive Inside’ chronicled the lives of Dementia patients in care homes that were given Ipods with their choice of music to listen to in an attempt to see whether music can help retrieve memories and stimulate communication.

The result was startling as Filmmaker Michael Rossato-Bennett along with a team of  healthcare mavericks including Dan Cohen, founder of the Music and Mind Foundation watched patients previously locked in the minds, inert and silent suddenly light up and begin singing along to their music.

In the moments after listening to familiar songs the patients were able to retrieve memories long forgotten, sing songs and remember lyrics and communicate verbally after being completely silent and unmoved for years.

This documentary spearheaded research into how music activates areas of the brain associated with memory and emotion. Scientists know that music has the potential to increase working memory and in the case of dementia patients help in the retrieval of memories, the management of behavioural problems and can assist with coordination, verbal communication, cognition and overall wellbeing.

Alive Inside – Alzheimers Documentary
ALIVE INSIDE is a joyous cinematic exploration of music’s capacity to reawaken our souls and uncover the deepest parts of our humanity. Filmmaker Michael Rossato-Bennett chronicles the astonishing experiences of individuals around the country who have been revitalized through the simple experience of listening to music.

https://youtu.be/IaB5Egej0TQ
Dan Cohen, MSW, is the founding Executive Director of Music & Memory, Inc. He combines an extensive background in high tech training, corporate sales and software applications with social work, specialising in vocational rehabilitation and community service organising.

 


Two Minds Really Do Think Alike

Suzanne Dikker cognitive neuroscientist explores the interaction between art, concentration and mental synchronicity to understand our social connections and our behaviour.

Her projects include the use of EEG ( electroencephalogram ) to study the brains of high school students. She discovers that students who’s brain waves are in synch feel a greater sense of wellbeing in the classroom, perform better cogntively and show high classroom engagement.

 

SUZANNE DIKKER

cognitive neuroscience | art | ed

with David Poeppel, Dana Bevilacqua, Lu Wan, Mingzhou Ding, Lisa Kaggen, Ido Davidesco & Matthias Oostrik

We work with high schools to investigate the brain basis of classroom interactions. Students are involved in the design and execution of the research and participate as experimental subjects while we record their brain activity during their regular classes.

http://www.suzannedikker.net/projects

 

Four Ways Music Strengthens Social Bonds

Why would human evolution have given us music? New research says the answer may lie in our drive to connect.

 According to researchers, when we try to synch with others musically—keeping the beat or harmonizing, for example—we tend to feel positive social feelings towards those with whom we’re synchronizing, even if that person is not visible to us or not in the same room. 

https://greatergood.berkeley.edu/article/item/four_ways_music_strengthens_social_bonds

 

Synchronised brainwaves a sign of positive feelings


A classroom study finds that brainwave synchronisation is a reliable marker of interpersonal feelings and class engagement, writes Andrew Masterson.

Why would human evolution have given us music? New research says the answer may lie in our drive to connect.

In a report published in the journal Current Biology, Dikker and her colleagues establish that brain synchronisation between students is a reliable marker of how well they like each other, and how they feel about the lesson they are undertaking.

https://cosmosmagazine.com/biology/synchronised-brainwaves-a-sign-of-positive-feelings

 

This article is used as a general guide to better health and wellbeing.

It is not intended to replace medical advice.

If you are suffering from anxiety, depression or poor health we strongly advise you seek medical attention.

Copyright Horatio’s Jar, 2018

All Rights Reserved