How Culture Shapes Emotions | Psychology Today
Identify three things you're grateful for and write them in a gratitude journal before you go to bed. Conjuring up feelings of thankfulness right before you fall asleep will increase the chances you'll get a good night's rest. Feeling like you have a sense of purpose could actually increase the length of your life. Studies consistently show people who believe their lives are meaningful are more likely to live healthier, longer lives.
Whether your work gives you a purpose, or you find meaning as a volunteer, make sure whatever you're doing matters. Feeling like you have a reason to get out of bed every day might be the secret to longevity. Several studies have shown that optimistic people are less likely to get sick.
Things to Consider
For decades, many researchers thought the boost in immunity stemmed from the fact that optimistic people were more likely to take care of their health. But, more recent studies have shown that a hopeful outlook is actually what influences immunity.
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Looking on the bright side makes you less likely to get a cold or infection because optimism keeps your immune system performing at its peak. Meditation provides a generous buffer against the harmful effects stress can have on the body. Numerous studies have shown meditation slows the rate of cellular aging. Not only might meditation help you stay looking youthful, but it could help you ward off age-related disease.
Researchers suspect teaching children to meditate could provide lifelong benefits. But no matter what age you are, it's never too late to gain some health benefits from meditation. What if you could get buff by imagining yourself lifting weights? Well, researchers have found that mental imagery can help you gain muscle without lifting a finger. People who actually lifted weights saw better results, but the research shows mental training can provide some serious changes to muscle mass. If you want to build a healthier heart, think about something funny. And that's pretty fucking neat, I don't care who you are.
Embodied Cognition is fabulously interesting. However, no popular writer to date that I'm aware of has really brought this rich subject to life, with the possible exception of Benjamin K. Stephen Pinker writes well on the subject in fact, Pinker writes well on every subject that he writes on.
But he only comments on embodied cognition as a way of making other points. And his writing on embodied cognition is not current or focused enough to really count as a fully realized popularization of the field. Anyway, to reiterate, How The Body Knows It's Mind was a decent attempt to deliver the field of embodied cognition to a popular audience. But in my humble opinion it ultimately fails to excite. In all honesty, my tepid reaction to the book may be colored by the authors over reliance on the tired as hell concept of the "Mind-Body Connection". In my opinion, it is way past high time to let the horrendously problematic notion of dualism die.
As I will explain later in my cranky rant see below dualism for the uninitiated is the incredibly resilient and equally incredibly problematic notion that the "mind" is somehow nonphysical and distinct from the body.
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You maybe thinking, doesn't the phrase mind body connection point to a non-dualistic model? I think, in some ways it does. But in other ways it's predicated on dualist assumptions, and it doesn't go far enough in the direction of monism the opposite of dualism. And so, I think we need to let the term mind-body connection die.
This may seem like philosophical hairsplitting. But I don't think it is. I think it's actually a very important point. And now for my cranky rant Than this book may be your gateway to the current century. So by all means. Get it and read it ASAP! If you're still reading this, than you may be thinking. And you'd be right. The reason I'm attacking the archaic belief that our "minds" are "nonphysical" is because it is a nonsense, b very confusing, c actual very damaging.
Mind-Body Connection? Everything that you perceive see, hear, touch, taste etc. Everything that you think, feel, imagine and even your very conscious awareness it's self, is an emergent property of your embodied brain and nervous system.
Your brain and nervous system are parts of your body. Try to have a body without them. You won't be doing much perceiving, or thinking or feeling or moving or much of anything.
Social Cognition and Affect
Now we know it's electromagnetic radiation. Light is not a non physical property of electromagnetic radiation. Light is electromagnetic radiation. Why don't we talk about the mysterious connection between electromagnetic radiation and light anymore? Because light and electromagnetic radiation are the same fucking thing and that would just be confusing. That would make it seem like light and electromagnetic radiation are two different things when they're not. The Light Bulb Above Your Head: Your conscious awareness and everything you consciously or unconsciously think, feel and perceive is a feature of your brain.
Your brain is a part of your body. Why do we still scratch our heads in awe of the possibility that there's a "mind-body connection"? The term "mind-body connection" is a transitional term from the period of time when people thought there was absolutely no connection between the physical and the "mental". As previously mentioned, the fancy philosophical term for this idea is dualism. Meaning that there are two realities, a all this gross physical stuff and b all of this pure, noble mental stuff. Unfortunately, dualism stuck around a lot longer than the flat earth hypothesis.
And it actually did a lot more damage. It's understandable that people would think that the earth is flat, or that the mind and body are two distinctly separate things like years ago. That's because it really seems that way from an anecdotal first-person perspective. But in the age of science, these are both rather inexcusable beliefs.
Particularly when we have so much excellent evidence to support the fact that the earth is sort of spherical and our psychological and perceptual capacities are emergent properties of our embodied brains. Cognitive neuroscience is a rather recent development. And we are still a long way away from figuring out exactly how our brains engender consciousness and thinking and feeling and all that stuff. But there is currently no good reason, at all, to assume that there is some "nonphysical" component to the system.
We're plenty far along enough in the cognitive science project to take Occum's Razor to dualism in all of its slippery manifestations and surgically remove it from our thinking, wherever and whenever it presents. That's sort of bad news for people who believe that your ego or essence will live on in a disembodied from after your brain and body are dead. But hey, that's what faith is for right? For the rest of us, it's time to move forward and let the specter of dualism die. Dualism is a big part of what enables us to judge and ostracize people with mental illness, people who are substance dependent, and people who are transgender to cite but a few examples as possessing "flawed characters" or "bad souls" or what ever.
When we think of a "drug addict" as being week willed or flawed of character, that's Dualism. When we think of a substance dependent person as having a brain and nervous system that has become conditioned to crave and use a substance due to exposure and due to a particular vulnerability, that's a little more inline with what the current science says. I have no idea how to fix a flawed character, other than punishment and incarceration, or worse, Step.
But I can think of lots of ways to recondition a substance dependent nervous system. That's still difficult, but actually very doable.