Parapluie . That's the French word for umbrella. Para means against. Pluie means rain. A parapluie keeps a rainstorm from getting you soaking wet. Parasympathetic. That is the name of the system that calms you. Para, again, means against and sympathetic refers to the sympathetic nervous system , the system that revs you up when stress hormones are released. The parasympathetic nervous system is designed by nature to oppose the sympathetic nervous system and keep it from causing hyperarousal. Just as your parapluie can protect you from a rain shower, your parasympathetic system can protect you from a deluge of stress hormones anywhere. But only if you open it. For example, when a plane drops in turbulence, everyone's amygdala releases stress hormones. Passengers who have their parasympathetic system open aren't bothered. But passengers with their parasympathetic system closed feel troubled. If their parasympathetic system remains closed as one downward movement after … [Read more...] about The Part of the Brain That Stops Anxiety and How to Use It
“Mom…really. I don’t smoke that much. It actually improves my creativity . You and dad are really crazy. I’m not doing anything to hurt myself. I’m earning all As so what’s the problem?” “John and I smoked in the 70’s and 80’s. We don’t think there is anything wrong with it. Can it really be that bad for our son?” Ever since Colorado legalized recreational cannabis use ten months ago, parents have been asking me if it is really safe for their teen. They remember weekends of smoking during college and think that it is harmless. On the other hand, teenagers to young adults have assumed that such use is normal and perfectly o.k. However, recent research suggests otherwise. Marijuana is the most widely used illicit drug in the United States. It is estimated that 69 percent of 12 th graders have tried alcohol , 45 percent have tried marijuana, and 23 percent have used it in the past month. Seven percent of these students have used it daily. Robert Booth, Ph.D., … [Read more...] about Your Teen’s Brain On Weed: Is It Safe?
Source: A3pfamily/Shutterstock “Would you like an apple or a banana?” “No, I want an orange!” Ever since my now 12-year-old son was a toddler, this has been our typical exchange. He just cannot help but want to do the opposite of what we ask him, or choose whatever option is not in the set. This tendency to go against the grain is called psychological reactance (Brehm & Brehm, 1981). Reactance is usually activated when we feel that our freedom is threatened. When we perceive that someone or something is trying to influence us to do something against our will, reactance arises. Reactance motivates us to protect our own beliefs and views, and sometimes, to do the opposite of what we’re being asked to do. Some individuals (like my son) are predisposed to resist and oppose any influence perceived as a restriction on their autonomy. They have naturally high trait reactance , a personality characteristic of those who resist any and all attempts at influencing them. … [Read more...] about Why We Don’t Like to Be Told What to Do
Do you consider yourself a compassionate person in general? Do you value caring for the way other people feel, even if you don’t know them very well? Now ask yourself how compassionate you are toward the person you care about the most in your life. Perhaps you tend to take your partner’s reactions to you for granted. So what if you’re a little gruff? Your partner will understand, right? When you’re under stress, such as due to COVID-19 ’s impact on your daily life, finances, and potentially health, you may feel that when you’re with your partner, there’s no need to be especially “nice.” However, according to a new study by Marquette University’s James McDonald and colleagues (2020), “a fundamental element of connection to others appears to be compassion” (p. 60). To keep that connection strong, in other words, you actually do need to show some tenderness toward the closest person in your life. In general, being compassionate means that you are sensitive to another person’s … [Read more...] about Try Some Tenderness to Make Your Relationship Stronger
When I watched the video of Jacob Blake being shot seven times in the back by a White police officer, feelings of fear, dread, and mistrust overcame me. I imagined being in the presence of police and being completely paralyzed with fear. As much as I want to trust the police, I still find myself being extremely nervous in their presence, and always glancing at their guns, wondering if they might feel the need to use them on me. As I am writing this blog post, it has just been brought to my attention that yet another unarmed Black man, Daniel Prude, was left brain dead and later died after, as a body cam video showed, police knelt on his back and pushed his face to the ground for so long that he stopped breathing. I’m sure there is someone out there reading this who thinks that I, along with many Black people in this country, are simply being irrational. Law-abiding people have nothing to worry about, they say. These people cannot imagine an existence where they fear for their … [Read more...] about Should Law-Abiding Black People Trust the Police?