Friday, 12 June 2020

Inexplicable Rage and Throwing Tantrums

Mind-set can work exactly the same way. When you practice a mind-set over and over and over, you don't even need to think about it anymore; The other thing about muscle memory is that you don't want to start to develop it when the stakes are highest. That dancer didn't practice that move for the first time in front of thousands of people. She did it on her own, maybe at half speed, for a long time before she ever tried it in front of a crowd. If you're going to develop great muscle memory with commitment, don't start with something huge, like changing your relationships or trying to learn a new skill. But as we get older, folks who pursue careers in the arts often specialize in one form or another, and those of us who don't consider ourselves real artists often fall out of the habit of making any art at all. As Pablo Picasso once observed, Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up. It's a problem worth trying to solve, because art (both making it and consuming it) can enrich our lives in lots of ways. Art has the power to change how we see and experience the world around us. Making art allows us to explore other sides of ourselves and even surprise ourselves. It can also be an important mode of self-expression: a way of translating our thoughts, experiences, and emotions into new forms, then using those forms to connect with others. You don't have to possess any special talent or formal education to make art. You just have to be willing to try it out. A former boyfriend and I used to make regular trips to Michaels to buy canvases, paint, and brushes. I can see the ocean, feel the sand between my toes and the warm sun and breeze on my skin, smell the salt air and taste it faintly on my tongue, and hear the seagulls, the waves, and children playing. Your haven can be any real or imaginary place where you'd like to spend time. After you reach the bottom of the escalator, use all your senses to imagine yourself in your special haven. Stay for several minutes.

This is where the fun starts and where your mind becomes ripe for change. Begin to experience yourself--not as you currently are, but as you want to be. Plan on spending at least 20 minutes a day on this refueling, life-changing exercise. You'll be amazed at the results. In the article's opening story, the first thing I did with Beth was help her to slow her breathing so she could get more oxygen to her brain. Diaphragmatic breathing is a core biofeedback technique to help you feel better fast. You will try again to find the correct location by pointing until your partner confirms that you're right. The partner may need to correct the placement by hand until it is correct. This exercise can be done in a group or as a fun exercise with children. One person serves as the partner while all the others are blindfolded (or close their eyes). If you are the partner, you can describe a perceptible noise and ask the participants to show by hand where they hear the sound and then open their eyes to check their accuracy. Comments and hints: The idea behind this exercise is to identify all the different sounds that can be heard in your listening field. Distinguish louder and quieter sounds, melodic sounds like the song of a bird, and complex sounds such as the rustling of leaves. In January 2017, a woman called me who had recovered her spatial orientation by training in the method. She said, I now have a new motto: `I listen, therefore I am. She told me that she had returned many times to a time in her childhood during World War II that she once had a hard time accessing. Quite simply, I was doing all I could to extend the lives of the very creatures busily destroying the planet! He had a point, obviously. We Homo sapiens have been making quite a mess of things down here. Steve's particular field, wildlife conservation, was in some ways a direct casualty of any successes in mine.

This argument, to the extent it wasn't tongue-in-cheek in the first place, took on ever greater validity as the evidence for climate change went from academic to all around us; I was having doubts. I was beginning to think I had actually missed rather than chosen the big issue of my time. But these particular roads that diverged long ago in some wood for Steve and me - one leading to lifestyle medicine, the other to environmental conservation - take a highly fortuitous turn. It need not have been so, but it is: they intersect and run on together. The diet, activity, and lifestyle pattern most conducive to the addition of years to human life, and life to human years, need not have been beneficial to the planet - but it is. Get into the practice of it first. Take something where the stakes are low. For example, yoga. The stakes here aren't gigantic. Yes, you've heard that yoga can make you healthier and more peaceful, and you know it would be great if you were healthier and more peaceful, but your life isn't going to come crashing down around you if it turns out yoga isn't your thing. But since the idea here is to practice, sticking with it has tremendous value. So, you agree to go to a few classes, and at first things are going okay. Yeah, you're making your body do things that you're not used to doing, but you can see why people like this. Then, after your third class, you tweak something, and you wake up the next day feeling really sore. You start questioning the value of this, because if it's supposed to make you healthier, how come your back is killing you? Then we'd experiment with what we could make. No one would've called our paintings masterpieces (except possibly our moms), but we had fun and ended up with work that was decent enough to hang on our walls. There's no diploma in the world that declares you as an artist--it's not like becoming a doctor, says the artist Kara Walker. You can declare yourself an artist and then figure out how to be an artist.

Even if you're never able to paint like Michelangelo or compose like Bach or dance like Martha Graham, everyone has creative potential. Once you tap into it, it can benefit you in surprising ways. Researchers have found that making art can reduce anxiety and stress. It can improve focus and memory: a study in the journal Applied Cognitive Psychology found that people who doodle when bored tend to remember the boring information better than those who don't. Making art can also strengthen connections in the brain known as the default mode network, the system engaged with thinking about the past and planning for the future. It can make us more resilient and help us to cope with grief by giving us a way to explore and process feelings that are hard to articulate. It is simple to teach and, once practiced, simple to implement and maintain. Like brain activity, breathing is essential to life and involved in everything you do. Breathing delivers oxygen from the atmosphere into your lungs, where your bloodstream picks it up and takes it to all of the cells in your body so that they can function properly. Breathing also allows you to eliminate waste products, such as carbon dioxide, which can cause feelings of disorientation and panic. Brain cells are particularly sensitive to oxygen; Slight changes in oxygen content in the brain can alter the way you feel and behave. The diaphragm, a bell-shaped muscle, separates the chest cavity from the abdomen. Many people never flatten the diaphragm when they inhale, and thus with each breath they have less access to their own lung capacity and have to work harder. By moving your belly out when you inhale, you flatten the diaphragm, significantly increase lung capacity, and calm all body systems. When someone gets angry or anxious, their breathing becomes shallow and fast (see the Breathing Anatomy diagram). She only realized this now since she can hear much better. As a result, she has a new, more positive attitude toward life. For a long time she had many, sometimes terrible, dreams of her early life during the war, and now she clearly realizes how much those traumas shaped her experience of the past and her present. Only now that I hear again do I realize what I have missed, she said.

Painful experiences shape us. Sometimes we build a protective shield that will not let us feel so much. Outwardly we seem to be somewhat cold and stiff, while inwardly we feel cut off. Once we are able to recall these old experiences and traumas and reestablish our internal order, we can regain our vitality and in the process better understand ourselves. Let us deepen our understanding of the restoration of control and order in the article that follows. We had to learn order once, and this was a natural process. A diet of minimally processed, predominantly plant foods redounds to the benefit of everything from the land's fresh water supplies to the seas' supplies of fish. Before getting into how we know the whole truth we know, I want to make a plea: I would much rather build new bridges than preach to the established congregation. I never want any portion of this tale to be wagged by dogma! There is no zealotry here; My own views of diet and my personal dietary practices have evolved over the years in tandem with the evidence. What we know and how we know it allows for such evolution - although I hasten to note that fundamental truths tend to be rather stable over time, and neither the evidence, nor my applications of it, have undergone anything approximating revolution. I am not interested in any kind of extreme case; I am interested in the weight of evidence. I am not interested in the narrow perch of a soapbox, but rather the broad expanse of common ground. We do not know what we know based on any one study; That's when you have to push through. You have to get yourself to more classes and really give this thing a try. Maybe you're still hurting after the next class, but the class after that goes a lot better, and a couple of weeks in, you feel better than you've felt in a long time. Maybe right after that you hit another wall because your instructor is encouraging you to push yourself, but you break through that one as well.

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