De-Stress & Deflate Anger: Good For Your Heart May 30, 2007Posted by Dr. Rohn Kessler in aging, alternative treatment, anger, focus, general, health, heart focus, meditation, parents, science, stress.
“I don’t know what’s happening with my life.” Who hasn’t felt that way? Life moves at breakneck speed and that can lead to stress, anger and heart attacks. Is there a way out without $150 per hour therapy and $25 per pill medications? Here are some free techniques to help you de-stress and feel good at any age.
A client was having trouble getting her son to his appointment.
“My mother broke her arm and is living with me. I don’t know what’s happening with my life.” Those of us in the sandwich generation get pushed at both ends, and we have our own issues. “I need my reading glasses, but I can’t remember where I put them.” We’re having increased responsibilities to others while at the same time our physical and mental abilities are declining.
Now it doesn’t have to be as bad as it sounds. Life does not have to be a xanax moment. Some things are inherently on our side and there is more we can do to stack the deck.
The Benefits of Age
Aging is more than high cholesterol and cellulite. We can also gain wisdom and calmness from life experience. Instead of breaking all my crystal when I am angry, I can just imagine smashing it and avoid the cleanup. If I am really desperate, I can throw some ice. I can recognize my feelings and think about how to use them productively. My mind tells me the consequences of my actions because I have been at this juncture before.
When I was younger I was tossed about by my emotions. Now I have my lifelines. I remember the ring of Solomon which states, “This too will pass.” I ask myself if this will really matter in 1000 years. I go for a walk, call a friend or ask the audience. I have an arsenal of techniques keep me sane. This doesn’t mean that I’m always in control. When I get to be an enlightened being I’ll let you know. But things that would have set me off in the past have lost of their potency and I have gained some of mine.
Better Living through Technology
At Sparks of Genius we use some technological innovation to help with stress.
HeartMath® technology teaches you how to shift from a negative emotion to a positive one. When you do this, your heart rhythms automatically shift to a state of coherence, releasing a cascade of positive neural, hormonal and biochemical events.
When they are using the Harmony Sparking Station in our electronic playground, HeartMath® computer, we teach our clients learn the Quick Coherence Technique, so that they can see the changes in their heart rhythms in real time. If you want to get ahead of the game, you can practice this technique on your own.
Step 1 – Heart Focus
Focus your attention on the area around your heart.
Step 2 – Heart Breathing
Pretend you are breathing through your heart area. Breathe slowly to a count of 5 or 6.
Step 3 – Heart Feeling
Continue to breathe through your heart and find a positive feeling. You could remember an appreciation for someone, a fun activity or a time in your life when you felt at peace. Think about one of the many things that you could be grateful for. Once you have found the positive feeling, sustain it with heart focus, heart breathing and heart feeling.
Do this exercise several times a day. Make it part of yourself. You can even make it a point to practice when you are stopped for a red light. Then it can become a life line.
As soon as you feel angry, practice heart focus, heart breathing and heart feeling. Once you have those positive feelings flowing, ask yourself how you could best handle your situation. Do you need a time out or is there something that you could do or say that will help. Do you need to journal, jog or schedule an appointment with your life coach?
Remember that if we are lucky enough to stay around on this planet, we will all grow older. The gift is being able to grow wiser.
By Ninah Kessler, LCSW
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Years ago research showed that students who listened to music improved their performance on some visual thinking tasks given right after they heard the music. Many jumped on the bandwagon, but it turns out the research design was flawed. One group listened to music and the control group did nothing. In fact, when children in the control were given any mental stimulation at all, there was no advantage for music listening.
The key is looking at the long-term and not the short-term effects of music listening.
Our brains are hardwired for music.
In fact, there are long term benefits of listening to music, notes Dan Levitin in This is Your Brain on Music.
“Music listening enhances or changes certain neural circuits, including the density of dendritic connections in the primary auditory cortex…The front portion of the corpus callosum—the mass of fibers connecting the two cerebral hemispheres—is significantly larger in musicians than nonmusicians, and particularly for musicians who began their training early…Musicians tend to have larger cerebellums than nonmusicians, and an increased concentration of grey matter…responsible for information processing.”
What does do these structural changes in the brain mean to you, the parent? Probably not much.
But what if musical preferences are actually influenced by what the fetus hears in the womb? Research indicates this is so. What if two-year olds begin showing a preference for the music of their culture? Research indicates this is so. What if the teenage years (around age 14) are the turning point for music preferences? Research also confirms this.
The bottom line is that the music we listen to in our early years often has the greatest effect on us and lays the foundation for all or most of our later music development.
I suggest parents pay much closer attention to the music they listen to during pregnancy and continue paying attention through during their children’s development through infancy, childhood and adolescence.
Levitin asserts that we are all more musically equipped than we think because our brains are hardwired for music. It is an obsession at the heart of human nature, perhaps even more fundamental than language.
Ideally, then, parents will not only listen to uplifting, meaningful music that moves them and encourage their children to do the same, but they will also play a musical instrument, dance and sing.
Dr. Rohn Kessler, Ed. D.
Teach an old brain new tricks May 9, 2007Posted by Dr. Rohn Kessler in attention training, brain injury, cognitive decline, dementia, fitness, memory, memory loss, mTBI, neurogenesis, science, Sparks of Genius.
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Who says you have to get “slow” as you get old(er)? Traditional wisdom says that you can’t teach an old dog new tricks, and even our language reflects the idea that with age comes “senior moments.”
Well, not anymore!
Research is showing that these limitations can in many ways be cast aside. Age related change and cognitive challenges don’t have to be a part of life. Studies show the brain is flexible and dynamic. Yes brain cells die, but contrary to folk wisdom, parts of the brain regenerate and can take over for areas that experience trauma or dysfunction.
In other words, the brain is like a lizard who can regrow his own tail! Check it out.
Cognitive remodeling can give you the edge over brain fog. http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2001/08/010820072346.htm
Even better news! You can help the re-training process along with state of the art neuroscience techniques. At Sparks Of Genius we can design a unique program that you can use for minutes a day to restore function and increase ability. Retrain to retain! Try our Free 39 point learning assessment tool at http://sparksofgenius.com/screens.html.