The Science of Developing Mental Toughness in Your Health, Work, and Life

Have you ever wondered what makes someone a good athlete? Or a good leader? Or a good parent? Why do some people accomplish their goals while others fail?

What makes the difference?

Source: The Science of Developing Mental Toughness in Your Health, Work, and Life

I thought it was a character in a novel

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The Psychological Factors That Cause Food Cravings

I’ve heard a lot of people say that: when they start eating healthier, they start craving healthier food over time…

I haven’t noticed that working for me.  Not exactly.  I get cravings, but when I go to address the craving – I do try to make healthier choices.

The Physics of Peacock Tail Feathers Is Even More Dazzling Than We Realized

Male peacocks shake their brilliantly-hued, long tail feathers to attract females in a courtship display known as “train-rattling.” But scientists had never closely examined the biomechanics behind this behavior—until now. A new paper in PLOS One concludes that the frequency at which those feathers vibrate can enhance this iridescent display—even as the eyespots remain almost perfectly still.

The courtship behavior of peacocks is well known, and until quite recently, scientists had assumed that the female of the species (peahens) simply preferred males with longer feathered trains and more eyespots—the more brightly colored, the better. Precisely how the males produced those shaking displays wasn’t deemed an important factor, which might be why nobody bothered to investigate the matter.

More recent research indicates the peacock courtship process might be quite a bit more complicated than this. For instance, the displays do seem to capture peahens’ visual attention, but eye-tracking studies showed that they aren’t spending much time gazing at the edges of the male trains, or at those brilliantly hued eyespots. Some other factor could be at work.

Source: The Physics of Peacock Tail Feathers Is Even More Dazzling Than We Realized

u other sisterz can’t deny

Boost Your Happiness With This Exercise You Can Do While Brushing Your Teeth

If you’re not a natural Pollyanna, take heart. “Research shows that change is possible, even if you’ve had the same mindset since you were 10 years old,” says happiness researcher Shawn Achor, head of GoodThink and author of The Happiness Advantage. “When it comes to things like pessimism, genes may play a role, but they’re not the end of the story.”

Willing yourself to be more optimistic probably won’t get you very far, but focusing on what you’re grateful for can shift your outlook, he says.

Source: The Weirdly Easy Way to Make Yourself More Optimistic

This works for me:

FDA Moves to Ban Shock Devices Used to Treat Behavioral Problems

The Food and Drug Administration wants to ban electrical stimulation devices used to treat behavioral problems, saying they pose an “unreasonable and substantial” risk to public health. Uh, you think?

Source: FDA Moves to Ban Shock Devices Used to Treat Behavioral Problems

As a person that works with this population (developmentally disabled combined with a mental disorder) and also works in the facility that generally inherits JRC clients once they age out at 21, I can tell you that it’s quite a dilemma. One the one hand hurting someone to control behavior is wrong and also is prone to abuse as this population can be very frustrating. On the other hand these individuals haven’t responded well to medication and are generally highly self abusive. Would you rather see someone smash their head off the wall or rip their own teeth out or apply a small shock instead? After seeing the paper work on several individuals it appears highly effective. Honestly I don’t know the answer. I’m just glad my facility doesn’t use it. Currently there are several lawsuit against JRC by individuals who used to live there as well as counter suits to keep it open.

Why We Sleep So Poorly In Unfamiliar Places

Many of us have trouble sleeping in an unfamiliar place, like a hotel, or a friend’s house for the first time. When we finally do get to sleep, it’s often fidgety and disturbed. New research shows that one hemisphere of our brain stays more active during the first night of sleep—and it does so to keep us ready for trouble.

It’s a phenomenon scientists refer to as the “first-night-effect.” A neuroimaging study by Brown University researchers reveals that, under these “first night” conditions, one hemisphere of the brain stays alert. “This half-asleep, half-awake state may work as a way to monitor unfamiliar surroundings,” study co-author Masako Tamaki told Gizmodo. The paper has just been published in Current Biology.

Source: Why We Sleep So Poorly In Unfamiliar Places

Of all the half-brained concepts out there…

Create a Personal “Fitness Mantra” to Stay Motivated to Work Out

It’s time for mantras to lose their New Age-y stereotype. The word mantra originates in Sanskrit and has been translated in English in various ways: a hymn or song of praise, sacred message or text, charm, spell, counsel, or incantation.

While mantras are frequently used in meditation sessions to silence mental chatter, anyone can benefit from one. Our minds are full of noise—largely repetitive, useless, and even harmless thoughts that are on replay much of the time. A mantra can slice through these thoughts in any moment, especially when you craft one that is meaningful just to you.

Source: How to Come Up With a Kick-Ass Personal Mantra

Mine is a breakdown in steps, in order of importance:

  1. Finish the event
  2. Finish the event without taking a break/rest (IE: no walk run)
  3. Improve my time

It’s not always easy to do – in two years, I’ve hit #3 once for the run portion of my sprint triathlon.

The Important Habit of Just Starting

Every single day we choose how we spend what few hours we have. Yet, despite the constant warnings to chase after what we believe, we often fall victim to procrastination and a fear of even just starting.

For myself, and the 95% of the American population who admit to falling prey to procrastination or even total avoidance of the things we want to do in our lives, ‘time management’ only goes so far. And when it comes to looking at why we fail to start, there are larger emotional and psychological reasons at play.

Source: The Important Habit of Just Starting

Unnecessary Study Finds Adorable Robot Seals Make People Happier

I know that hypotheses need to be proven by experimentation and all, but was it really ever debatable that giving elderly patients a fluffy robot seal would make them happier?

Source: Unnecessary Study Finds Adorable Robot Seals Make People Happier

A more interesting study would be to see how much more effective a $5000 robot seal would be vs. a $10 stuffed animal seal. In the last days of my dad’s dementia when he was in his final care facility for people like that, there were a lot of patients with baby dolls which they loved and cared for. None of them looked like they cost anywhere near $5000.