Blushing Could Save Face
February 2011

Turning Red May Not Be a Bad Thing

blusingMost people try to hide their blushes when they’re embarrassed, but new research published in the journal suggests that facial expressions can serve an important role in smoothing social interactions.

Researchers from the University of Groningen, in the Netherlands, had participants read vignettes about typical social transgressions and mishaps, and then rate how favorably they felt about the faces of the ostensible social culprits. Blushing people were judged more favorably than non-blushers, regardless of the other emotional cues on their face.

The researchers argue that blushing signals a sincere acknowledgement of wrongdoing and communicates to others that we won’t make the same mistake again. They concluded that blushing might prevent people from being socially excluded after committing some kind of transgression. It could actually help us, yes, save face.

Source: GreaterGood.Berkeley.edu

Dream on… and Learn Better
February 2011

While You Sleep, Your Brain is Hard at Work

dream_onModern science has established that sleep can be an important tool for enhancing memory and learning skills. A new study at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center sheds light on the role that dreams play in this process. “After nearly 100 years of debate about the function of dreams, this study tells us that dreams are the brain’s way of processing, integrating and really understanding new information,” says senior author Robert Stickgold, Ph.D. “Dreams are a clear indication that the sleeping brain is working on memories at multiple levels, including ways that will directly improve performance.”

Indeed, according to the researchers, these new findings suggest that dreams may be the sleeping brain’s way of telling us that it is hard at work on the process of memory consolidation— integrating our recent experiences to help us with performance-related tasks in the short run, as well as over the long term. In other words, dreams help us translate this material into information that has broad application in our lives.

Mindful Kids
February 2011

Inner Awareness Brings Calm and Well-Being

When I walk outside, students run to me from the school playground, but they don’t yell out my last name as they circle around and grab onto my legs, as it can be a bit much to remember and pronounce correctly. Instead, I usually hear “Hey, Mr. Mindfulness,” or even, “The Mindfulness Dude!”

My job is to help to bring the art and science of mindfulness to students and teachers in schools, juvenile detention centers and sports teams, as well as to clients in my private psychotherapy practice. Happily, research is beginning to show that applying mindfulness can decrease stress, attention deficit issues, depression, anxiety and hostility in children, while benefiting their health, well-being, social relations and academic performance. Children can easily learn the techniques, and when learned young, they become lifelong tools.

Achieve Emotional Freedom
February 2011

Dr. Judith Orloff Shows You How in Her New Book

emotional_freedomWhat if we all had the power to change our world, both now and in the future, simply by understanding and embracing our emotions? According to Dr. Judith Orloff, psychiatrist and author of the new Emotional Freedom: Liberate Yourself from Negative Emotions and Transform Your Life, we do.

“Emotional freedom is being able to increase your ability to love, both yourself and others, by cultivating positive emotions and by compassionately witnessing and transforming negative ones,” says Orloff.

It’s about learning how to approach life from a heart-centered place, instead of simply reacting when our buttons are pushed. This loving disposition includes all situations in life, the challenging ones as well as the good ones.

“I believe that the point of being alive is to develop our souls,” Orloff says. “I want to blend all aspects—the spiritual, psychological and biological.”

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