Monday, October 30, 2017

How Science Reveals That “Well-Being” Is a Skill - Mindful

World-renowned neuroscientist Richie Davidson on the scientific factors that shape well-being.

Do you see the good in everyone? Outlook is the ability to savor positive experience—from enjoying a coffee break at work to seeing kindness in every person.
“We know something about the circuitry in the brain which underlies this quality of outlook,” says Davidson, “and we also know, for example, that individuals who suffer from depression, they show activation in this circuitry but it doesn’t last—this activation is very transient.”
"Basically: You can get better at well-being. It’s a skill you can train for."
Whereas resilience requires thousands of hours of practice, research suggests “modest doses” of loving-kindness and compassion meditation can impact outlook—Davidson mentions a recent study where individuals who had never meditated before received 30 minutes of compassion training over two weeks. “Not only did we see changes in the brain but these changes in the brain actually predicted pro-social behavior,” says Davidson.

How Science Is Unlocking the Secrets of Drug Addiction | National Geographic Society

We’re learning more about the craving that fuels self-defeating habits—and how new discoveries can help us kick the habit.

Not long ago the idea of repairing the brain’s wiring to fight addiction would have seemed far-fetched. But advances in neuroscience have upended conventional notions about addiction—what it is, what can trigger it, and why quitting is so tough. If you’d opened a medical textbook 30 years ago, you would have read that addiction means dependence on a substance with increasing tolerance, requiring more and more to feel the effects and producing a nasty withdrawal when use stops. That explained alcohol, nicotine, and heroin reasonably well. But it did not account for marijuana and cocaine, which typically don’t cause the shakes, nausea, and vomiting of heroin withdrawal.
The old model also didn’t explain perhaps the most insidious aspect of addiction: relapse. Why do people long for the burn of whiskey in the throat or the warm bliss of heroin after the body is no longer physically dependent?
READ: How Science Is Unlocking the Secrets of Drug Addiction

Saturday, October 21, 2017

'Katrina brain': The invisible long-term toll of megastorms (and other disasters)

Brandi Wagner pulls out the medications she must take on a daily basis to control a range of storm-related disorders

NEW ORLEANS — Brandi Wagner thought she had survived Hurricane Katrina. She hung tough while the storm’s 125-mph winds pummeled her home, and powered through two months of sleeping in a sweltering camper outside the city with her boyfriend’s mother. It was later, after the storm waters had receded and Wagner went back to New Orleans to rebuild her home and her life that she fell apart…

…Climate change experts agree. To avoid increasing loss of lives from the mega storms expected in the decades ahead, large coastal populations should relocate, researchers say. Mathew Hauer, a demographer at the University of Georgia, recently found that a predicted 6-foot rise in sea levels by 2100 would put 13 million people in more than 300 U.S. coastal counties at risk of major flooding.

But relocating large populations has its own risks. For the hundreds of thousands of New Orleans residents who rebuilt their lives far from home after Katrina, the loss of social ties and the stress of adapting to new surroundings also took a heavy psychological toll, according to recent research at the University of California.

There’s another problem with relocating people from coastal regions. It’s not just hurricanes that are expected to plague the planet as the climate shifts. Wildfires, droughts, inland flooding, tornadoes, earthquakes and other natural disasters are also expected to increase in frequency and intensity, making it hard to find a safe place to put down new roots…

more: 'Katrina brain': The invisible long-term toll of megastorms

The Opposite of Rape Culture is Nurturance Culture | Dating Tips for the Feminist Man

The opposite of masculine rape culture is masculine nurturance culture: men* increasing their capacity to nurture, and becoming whole.
The Ghomeshi trial is back in the news, and it brings violent sexual assault back into people’s minds and daily conversations. Of course violence is wrong, even when the court system for handling it is a disaster. That part seems evident. Triggering, but evident.
But there is a bigger picture here. I am struggling to see the full shape emerging in the pencil rubbing, when only parts are visible at a time.
A meme going around says ‘Rape is about violence, not sex. If someone were to hit you with a spade, you wouldn’t call it gardening.’ And this is true. But it is just the surface of the truth. The depths say something more, something about violence…

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Northern California Fires – on Fire Watch

my area on the 13th
i won't post a bunch of photos or details here, but want to say that the past week has been dramatic - you would have seen it in the news - an international story. just to say: safe here, but devastation is not all that far away. the air quality improved today, forecast winds arrived but not too strong – the Red Flag Warning for the [San Francisco] North Bay Area has been lifted. while firefighters have made major progress with containment this weekend, we are not "out of the woods" yet. Thankfully the forecast is for calm to light winds for the next three days to be followed by rain!

see todays LA Times: California wildfires have killed 40 people; dozens still missing as firefighters make progress - LA Times

my resource notes on Facebook –
• #SonomaValley #SonomaCounty #FireStorm *** RESOURCES ***
• FireStorm :: MENTAL HEALTH --- "Disaster Mental Health"

The Copernicus Sentinel-3A satellite captured this image of smoke from wildfires in the US state of California on 9 October 2017. Wildfires broke out in parts of the state on 8 October 2017 around Napa Valley, and the smoke was spread by strong northeasterly winds.

In early October 2017, a series of wildfires started burning across the state of California, United States. They broke out throughout Napa, Lake, Sonoma, Mendocino, Butte, and Solano counties during severe fire weather conditions effectively leading to a major red flag warning from much of the Northern California area. Seventeen separate wildfires were reported at this time.[3] These fires included the Tubbs Fire (the most destructive), the Atlas Fire, Nuns Fire and others.
Due to the extreme conditions, shortly after the fires ignited on October 8 and 9, they rapidly grew to become extensive, full-scale incidents spanning from 1,000 acres (400 hectares) to well over 20,000 acres (8,100 ha) each within a single day. By October 14, the fires had burned more than 210,000 acres (85,000 ha), and destroyed an estimated 5,700 structures [4][1] while forcing 90,000 people to evacuate from their homes.[5] The Northern California fires have killed at least 42 people[1] and hospitalized at least 185,[6] making the week of October 8, 2017, the deadliest week of wildfires in California history.[7][8][1][9][2] Collectively, this event constitutes the largest loss of life due to wildfires in the United States since the Cloquet Fire in 1918.[10]