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I Can’t Decide! Why An Increase in Choices Decreases Our Happiness

Generally, the ability to choose is a good thing. It enables us to be the driver of our own destiny, fill our need for self-determination and express who we are to the world. Logic would assume that the more choices we have, the better the options, resulting in a greater satisfaction by getting exactly what we want; a secret to happiness. But as our options have continued to increase […]

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The Best Diet You Can Go On

Our culture teaches that if you work hard enough at anything, you’ll be successful. Recent studies, however, suggest that hard work may not be enough when it comes to weight loss.
At a time when obesity is a national — and increasingly an international — epidemic, scientists are weighing in on the billion-dollar weight-loss industry to try and figure out what it takes […]

aging

How Hormones Help Your Body

The body produces the chemicals we call hormones to control all kinds of body functions. Glands, the organs that secrete hormones, make up the endocrine system, which helps to regulate functions such as growth, metabolism, and reproduction. Imagine hormones as the Pony Express of the body, delivering important chemical messages and instructions. The brain produces seven […]

aging

Three Quandaries of Getting Really Old

In the college classes I teach, students are concerned about what happens in what they call “old age.” Of course the best answer is, “It surely beats the alternative.” But often, that’s not enough. Some students actually express the desire to die relatively young — as young as 50! (Which will seem old to them — until they get close to it.) But perhaps that’s because […]

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Can Addiction Be Positive?

Is there such a thing as “positive” addiction? It sounds contradictory. But what exactly is addiction? An issue of the Harvard Mental Health Letter advises us that uncontrollable craving and prolonged use of a substance are involved. The idea of craving was highlighted by research in the 1990s […]

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What Buddha Can Do For Your Brain

Just as we can get better at playing tennis or cooking steak, we can get better at using our brains, re-training it so that we become happier, more resilient people, says neuropsychologist Rick Hanson, Ph.D., co-author (with Richard Mendius, M.D.) of the bestselling book “Buddha’s Brain: The Practical Neuroscience of Happiness, Love & Wisdom.” Using principles at the intersection of psychology […]

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Inside The Dream Mind

What goes on inside your brain when you’re dreaming? Well, as it happens, no one seems to know exactly. Not the mystics with the crystal balls, not the dream interpreters, and not even, as you might suspect, scientists. While several theories are floating about in both the scientific and non-scientific worlds about what dreams are […]

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You Are Getting Sleepy: The Art of Hypnosis

While driving on a trip from New York City to the Catskills, which I had taken numerous times, I noticed a tree was missing in a spot along the route. I was surprised that I recognized one tree among many miles of scenery. I knew that I could not have paid attention to every single tree or house or any other item on the route. How could my mind keep track of such things when I wasn’t […]

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5 Ways to Conquer Distraction in a Super-Connected World

The human race has reached a point of information overload, or at least a point where some feel so overwhelmed by an unrelenting firehose of messages delivered 24/7 by our various devices that they would risk their lives while driving just to retrieve one more text message or phone call. Our brains have evolved to adapt and change easily, so we are in the midst of a grand experiment […]

aging

Charles Darwin on the Expression of Human Emotions

As Alzheimer’s disease (AD) progresses into its middle stage and later, word-finding skills diminish and meaningful verbal communication becomes increasingly impaired or even nonexistent. The thoughts, desires and emotions of a person with AD still remain, but how can a caregiver discern what they might be? The answer may, in part, be located in the research and writings of Charles Darwin […]

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The Man Who Couldn’t Feel

“Christina Taylor” (not her real name) recalled her early impressions of her husband of 18 years, “David,” as being emotionally steady. “I never saw any emotion, but I didn’t think much about it then, because he was so level-headed, and never angry,” says Christina, a 48-year-old science teacher in Michigan. “I just always thought he wasn’t good at sharing feelings or didn’t trust me enough […]

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The Myth Of Multitasking

In today’s modern, technologically advanced world, with e-mail and smartphones and Twitter and Facebook demanding all of our attention all of the time — even as we work, socialize and play — multitasking may seem like the only answer. But science cautions us to restrict multitasking efforts: do not deceive yourself — you are not accomplishing more by multitasking. […]