Psychological Solutions For A Better Life

Posts tagged ‘Brain Research’

The Art of Listening

woman-listening“Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply.”  This quote from Stephen R. Covey (The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change) describes succinctly the problem most people have when communicating. Most courses and trainings refer to ‘active listening’ as a desirable practice, yet it teaches people to listen to the words, the content, and then repeat it back to the speaker.

In contrast, deep listening as I understand it is listening for the meaning behind the words, is listening for the feeling that the words are pointing it. In a way, it is listening with a sense or curiosity WITHOUT checking with our own mind whether it makes sense to us, we can relate to it, whether it is stupid/reckless/naive to name just a few examples. If we would listen that way (checking with our own mind) we would only listen to our own thoughts about something and not to the other person. (more…)

Perception: How people create reality

The secret to effective and successful life-navigation lies in understanding how people create their experience. Only when we become aware how we and others create our experiences will we be able to understand ourselves and others. Why is that? It has to do with the way our brain functions. People are not like cameras that take a picture of a person or a situation and give back what can be seen. Whatever raw data we take in through our senses will always undergo thought processes of interpretation and meaning making through our filters such as our moods, past experiences, beliefs, or values, to name a few. Humans are unable to perceive reality for what it is. – Notice the white dots in the picture left changing? (more…)

Lets Talk About Stress (1)

I would like to share an observation I made when was at a social meeting the other day. Almost everyone talked about stress. Most people didn’t have any problems identifying their source of stress: There was no shortage of problematic teenagers who either were on drugs, truant, or absolutely diabolical to their parents, husbands were overworked and came home from work late, work, housework, mortgages, young children, old children, fall-out with in-laws, the earthquake situation in Christchurch … the list was endless – and I didn’t even mention stress people experience because of past traumatic experiences that intrude into their daily lives.

 Stress-free in an instant

The conventional treatment recommendation for stress is: Bang your head here! Maybe not literally, but as an analogy, stressed people are advised to take this, do that, breathe, visualise, change their environment, change job, take time out, go on holiday, ….. the list is as endless as there are people. If nothing helps you can go on antidepressants or worse on anti-anxiety medication. I read in the New Zealand Herald last year that job-stress in Australia costs $950 million per year.

You can see that there is a universal agreement that stress is caused by environmental circumstances, or better, by circumstances that are outside of a person’s control. Well, I am going to put the fox amongst the chickens by proposing, that this is completely wrong. On top of that, thinking that the cause is outside of people’s control is also the reason that stress is not getting any less but increases all the time. Simply because life will throw difficult situations at all of us. From pimples in the late teens to arthritis in the early sixties, difficult situations will occur. Wouldn’t it be better to deal with the cause of stress rather than with each individual incident?  I am pleading against my own economical interest here because the current stress theory provides people like me (therapists, counsellors, coaches, and all sorts of alternative ‘health’ professionals) with a steady flow of clients.

A new paradigm

I would like to introduce the notion that stress is caused by each individual through their thinking process, thus from the inside-out and NOT through circumstances and things thus not from the outside-in. The bad news about that is that people are causing their own stress – the good news is, once people understand how they produced stress in their mind, it is within their control to change that in an instant! Wouldn’t that be desirable?

Stay tuned for the next part of this article! PLEASE

How To Get Over Childhood Stress: The Process Of Getting Hurt

This is the first of two articles about how to get over childhood stress or – how does therapy work – in which I will explain
how people get hurt by childhood stress (1st article) and how they
can recover from it (2nd article “Healing from Childhood Stress and
Abuse: How Therapy works”).  I have
included the impact of childhood stress seen through neuro-biological eyes
because it shows clearly the pathways to how the healing can take place.

I have often been asked by colleagues why I use neuro-biological
concepts instead of psychological concepts to explain what is going on. My
answer to that is: often psychological concepts are way out there and hard
to follow by people who are not totally into that side of things: take for
example Freud’s or Melanie Klein’s work – very exciting … but you have to
bend over backwards and jump through a needle's eye to follow their line of thinking.
Whereas neuro-biological concepts can be ‘seen’ on MRI scans and we become more
understanding of how our brain works. I find that exciting.

So why is childhood stress (hardship, abuse, neglect) so
damaging? Why can people not follow the often given advise and just ‘GET
OVER  IT’? She short answer is: Because
the stressful experiences become part of who you are! Let me show you how that
works: (Disclaimer: I am really not a neuro scientist and don’t claim to be an
expert. I’ll give you my ‘lay translation’ of hundreds of research articles and
books that I have studied).


Trust Your Unconscious Mind

Have you ever experienced that you had to make a decision and you’ve been swaying too and fro and couldn’t make up your mind? Some people find it very difficult to come up with an intuitive quick decision. Instead, they think deeply about the pros and cons, calculate all possible outcomes, and then decide one way or the other.

On the other hand those people, who make a decision quickly without ‘thinking’ too much about it, are often seen as not so serious or not quite reliable.

Here is now the good news for all quick deciders: The best decisions are made when you make it with your unconscious mind. Just don’t think about things too much. Research is saying now for some years that making decision unconsciously results in much better outcomes than mulling over things and considering all the possibilities.

Read more about this research by clicking here:
Our Unconscious Brain Makes The Best Decisions Possible.

Difference in Brain Function Leads to Problems Relating to Others

Image004 A group of researchers have investigated the differences in brain function encountered in people with schizophrenia using MRI scans. They found that people with schizophrenia were less able to 'read' correctly other people's facial expressions. Scans showed for the first time reduced activity in the left fronto-temporal network of the brain linked to deficits in social cognition.


Enhance Your Brain’s Performance

Many people look for ways of enhancing their brain's performance and their cognitive abilities. There are lots of 'tricks' that people have come up with. I clearly remember from my study years the 'sleep with the textbook under your pillow' technique, that was supposed to help with recalling information for next days exams. This technique never gave me anything other than a stiff neck. But there is no need for despair for all the followers of this way of learning. We know from research using placebos that the brain is highly suggestible. If people believe it works, it often does.


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