A Fresh Look At Psychoneuroimmunology


 

How Your Body Is Influenced By Stress

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Research pointing to a circuit linking the immune system and brain connects illness, stress, mood and thought in a whole new way.

Many doctors have all but rejected the idea that going outside in winter with wet hair causes colds, although many mothers still insist it’s a recipe for illness. These mums may soon have scientific data to back them up from research linking stress and the immune system.

Continue reading A Fresh Look At Psychoneuroimmunology

Sound and vision: our visual cortex processes auditory information too


I enjoyed reading this article and thought it might be of interest to you too. Hope you find it useful.

http://www.gla.ac.uk/news/headline_333617_en.html

Simon 🙂

Dissociation as a Means to Alleviate Stress and Function Effectively


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What kinds of things do you say to yourself when you’re worrying about an upcoming event, like going to a job interview, or preparing to give a speech? We may tell ourselves, “I just have to stay positive,” “Don’t worry so much about what others think,” or “Remember to make eye contact when interacting with them.” These statements are part of our self-talk, the on-going inner monologue we have with ourselves when we make decisions, motivate ourselves, and regulate our emotions.

Sometimes our self-talk works against us, however, and hijacks our thoughts with irrational ideas and catastrophic scenarios, making a difficult situation even more stressful. Once this starts happening, reminders to think positively or avoid worrying become very hard to achieve.

Some new research finds that a subtle shift in our self-talk language can improve our ability to deal with stressful situations and function better. Here’s the upshot: Talk to yourself in the 2nd-person voice, call yourself “you”, instead of referring to yourself as “I” or “me” (the 1st-person voice). For example, instead of saying to yourself:

“I’m getting tense, so I’d better breathe,” (1st person), tell yourself

“You’re getting tense, so you’d better breathe.” (2nd person)

Instead of asking yourself:

“What if I don’t do as well as everyone expects me to?”, ask yourself

“What if you don’t do as well as everyone expects you to?” (2nd person)

Referring to yourself as “you” may feel unnatural at first, but it has important benefits. This research had people think about a stressful event for a few minutes, and instructed some of the people to use “you” when thinking about themselves in the situation, and others to use “I”/“me”. The results showed that when people used “you” pronouns, they experienced less anxiety and had fewer negative thoughts about the stressful event. They also came to see the event as challenging rather than threatening, whereas people who used “I/me” language saw it as more threatening.

Why does saying “you” have these positive effects?

“You” is normally how we refer to other people. When we say “you” to ourselves, this language gives us the sense that “you” are an outside observer of events, not at the center of them. In other words, calling yourself “you” mentally distances you from the event a little, so you can experience the situation more objectively. This mental distance is so important when we start to feel anxious, it helps us avoid getting carried away by our thoughts. We sometimes mistakenly assume that our thoughts are the reality, when in fact they’re just our interpretation of reality.

In addition to 2nd-person “you” language, an equally effective strategy is to use 3rd-person language, referring to yourself in the 3rd person, by your own name. For example, if Mary says to herself:

“Mary, try to calm down,” (3rd person) this work just as well as her saying,

“You should try to calm down.” (2nd person)

In both examples, the language situates you as though you’re a different person, a bit removed from the experience.

Fortunately, with some practice, anyone can adopt this strategy and change their self-talk language when anticipating anxiety. By comparison, this should work better than trying to follow a general rule of thumb, like “Think positive” or “Don’t worry”, which are difficult to enact when we already feel stressed. The language/pronoun change is more mechanical and requires less energy.

Also on top of this, you can dissociate yourself from the place, position you are standing in and feeling stressed. By stepping out of that place, even by one step you remove yourself from the situation and can leave those feelings and emotions in that spot. You can then apply everything I talked about above and by changing your posture  into a more positive and confident stance, you can really make a huge difference to how you think and feel.

test it out today and find out for yourself how much of a positive effect it has on you.

Have fun

Simon 🙂

10 Things To Stop Doing and 10 Things To Start Doing To Be Happier


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1. Stop needing to always be right and allow yourself to accept that it’s ok to be wrong, or do something wrong, because this is all part of our continual learning process through life

2. Stop needing to control everything in your life, it’s impossible. With the best of plans and intentions shit will still happen out of your control. The only thing you really have control over is how you respond to the unexpected and sometime even the expected. So, let life happen in all it’s glory and take responsibility for you you respond to it, that way you can really enjoy it, warts and all

3. Stop blaming others, sometimes it is actually your fault and so what. We all screw up from time to time, it’s part of being human and be an awesome human being and be accountable for your screw ups, put your hands up and say,’Yep, that was me , its my fault, sorry’. No one really gives a shit if you screwup and admit it because we all do it

4. Stop self-defeating self-talk, and your limiting beliefs. They will take the joy out of your life and we only get one shot at it so stop wasting it. When you catch yourself being negative in your self-talk and having negative limiting beliefs, stop, take a moment to think about what the polar opposite is, the happy caring self-talk and the positive supportive beliefs that empower you to be who you really are. Write them down as well and keep a journal of all the positives that you can say and think about yourself, this is a nice thing to look at when you do have a bad day and will enable you to change your mood and your mindset

5. Stop complaining because whiney, whinging people are annoying and their negativity sucks the life out of other people. Be the one to stop the cycle and look for what you can learn from a possibly negative moment in life, there is always something valuable to take from it. When you do this you can be more grateful and thankful for that experience, even if it was crap at the time and you can walk away from it with a smile and all the wiser for it

6. Stop needing to impress others because it rarely does. Just do what you do with pride when you’re really good at something and be professional, courteous and respectful to others. Bragging and boasting can bring others down, so instead help other people and lift them up by sharing your knowledge and abilities. I guarantee you will feel great doing this and so will they

7. Stop resisting to change, it happens all around us all day, everyday. As a human being we replace almost every cell in our body over a period of 12 months, so you are not the same person you were last year. GET USED TO IT!!
Change is happening faster and faster whether you lie it or not. Embrace it, use it to your advantage and make really positive changes to yourself that enable you to keep up with the inevitable change sharpening around you

8. Stop your fears, take some time to really look at them and understand them. Are they really worth the tie and effort you devote to them? Yes they can be irrational, unconsciously driven and feel impossible to change. I promise you they are very possible to change. Go and see a hypnotherapist, psychotherapist or some other person with the ability to help you change the way you perceive the things that frighten you and your life will change immeasurably for the better

9. Stop making excuses like, ‘I can’t do that because of this’, or ‘It was them not me’…..bullshit!!! Be accountable for yourself and your life, stop moaning, complaining and making excuses that your life is not what you want it to be and you are not who you want to be. It’s your life, none else’s so get off your arse and grab it by the horns, make it what you want it to be and be who you really are and really want to be. It’s your right to be that person

10. Stop giving up on living your life to fit other peoples’ expectations. Forgive my language but, Fuck Everyone Else!!
Like I said in number 9, it’s your life, you must make choices that make you happy, do the job that makes you happy, love the person that makes you happy regardless of what other people may think.
If it turns out to be a poor choice down the road, at least it was your choice, you were responsible for it and you will have learned a valuable lesson from it and not been forced into a position you didn’t want to be in in the first place.

LIVE YOUR LIFE FOR YOU NOW, learn your lessons from the past, apply them wisely now and your future will have more of what you want

‘Reveal The Real You’ Weekend Workshop


Promotion for a weekend workshop called Reveal The Real You.
2 days and nights at a beautiful country hotel in the stunning Royal Deeside in Aberdeenshire.
The weekend is all about:

Self discovery of who you really are
What’s truly important to you, you’re personal values
Your beliefs that support those values
Managing your emotions when you need to
Understanding where you are in life right now and where you want to be
Setting goals to clear, sensible goals to get you where you want to be
Achieving your outcome that you set at the start of the weekend

Plus much, much more….

If this is something that feels like it has come at the right time and is just what you need right now to get you to where you want to be in your life, then drop me an email with the subject line Reveal the Real You and I will keep you posted with more details as it progresses

The Wonders of Lucid Dreaming or Out of Body Experience


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One of our most mysterious and intriguing states of consciousness is the dream. We lose consciousness when we enter the deep waters of sleep, only to regain it as we emerge into a series of uncanny private realities. These air pockets of inner experience have been difficult for psychologists to study scientifically and, as a result, researchers have mostly resorted to measuring brain activity as the sleeper lies passive. But interest has recently returned to a technique that allows real-time communication from within the dream world.

The rabbit hole between these worlds of consciousness turns out to be the lucid dream, where people become aware that they are dreaming and can influence what happens within their self-generated world. Studies suggest that the majority of people have had a lucid dream at some point in their life but that the experience is not common. As a result, there is now a minor industry in technologies and training techniques that claim to increase your chance of having a lucid dream although a recent scientific review estimated that the effect of any particular strategy is moderate at best. Some people, however, can reliably induce lucid dreams and it’s these people who are allowing us to conduct experiments inside dreams.

When trying to study an experience or behaviour, cognitive scientists usually combine subjective reports, what people describe about their experience, with behavioural experiments, to see what effect a particular state has on how people reason, act or remember. But both are difficult in dreamers, because they can’t tell you much until they wake up and active participation in experiments is difficult when you are separated from the world by a blanket of sleep-induced paralysis.

This paralysis is caused by neurons in the brainstem that block signals from the action-generating areas in the brain to the spinal nerves and muscles. The shutdown happens when Rapid Eye Movement or REM sleep starts, meaning that dreaming of even the most energetic actions results in no more than a slight twitch. One of the few actions that are not paralysed, however, is eye movement. This is where REM sleep gets its name from and this window of free action provides the lucid dreamer a way of signalling to the outside world.

Using a procedure first verified by sleep researcher Stephen LaBerge, the sleeper can signal to researchers when they have begun their lucid dream by using pre-arranged eye movements. The person moves their eyes in the agreed way in the dream, which occur as genuine eye movements, which are recorded and verified by electrodes that are placed around the eye sockets.

This simple but ingenious technique has allowed a series of experiments on the properties of the dream world and how they are reflected in brain function. These neuroscientific studies have been important for overcoming an initial objection to the concept of lucid dreaming: that lucid dreamers were awake but just relaxed, or perhaps even fraudulent, claiming to be experiencing a dream world when they were not. Studies led by neuropsychologists Ursula Voss and Martin Dresler have shown that the brain activity during lucid dreaming bears the core features of REM sleep but is distinct from both non-lucid dreaming and the awake state, suggesting that it is not just a case of wishful thinking on the part of either the participants or the researchers.

Some of the most interesting studies involve in-dream experiments, where participants are asked to complete pre-arranged actions in their lucid dreams while using eye movements to signal the beginning and end of their behavioural sequences. A recent study by neuroscientist Daniel Erlacher and his colleagues at the University of Bern compared how long it took to complete different tasks while lucid dreaming and while awake. These included counting, walking a specified number of steps, and a simple gymnastics-like routine. They found that the “mental action” of counting happened at the same speed regardless of whether volunteers were dreaming or awake, but the “physical actions” took longer in dreams than in real life. The research team suggested that this might be due to not having the normal sensory feedback from the body to help the brain work out the most efficient way of coordinating itself.

There is also an amateur community of lucid dream enthusiasts keen to explore this unique form of virtual reality. This stretches from the fringes of the New Age movement who want to use lucid dreams to access other planes of existence (best of luck with that), to a more technologically oriented community of dream hackers who sample scientific research to try to find reliable methods for triggering lucidity. The connection with established studies can be a little haphazard and methods veer between the verified and the barely tested. In some online discussion boards, there have been reports of people using medications intended for Alzheimer’s sufferers, which have the side-effect of causing vivid dreams, based on little more than hearsay and data reported in a patent application.

Some researchers have highlighted the potential of lucid dreaming to advance the science of consciousness but it’s a difficult area to study. The currents of consciousness run unpredictably through the tides of sleep and the science of dreaming is still very much in the age of exploration. It’s also a conceptual problem that some feel unequipped to tackle. After all, what can we make of consciousness when it creates a new world and our experience of it?

Overwhelming Stress Can Lead to Migraines, Strokes & Heart Attacks


Stress

This is a strange thing because it varies so much from person to person and each stressful situation is experienced differently. The same situation can be experienced differently on a different day too.

What makes something overwhelmingly stressful for one person and not another? Have you ever wondered why one of your friends is really laid back about stuff that freaks you out and totally stresses you out, why do they experience it differently?

Well it has a lot to do with who and how you are naturally, some people are just laid back and appear to take things in their stride while others implode as their stress levels rise. Some people really thrive on stress and need it to a degree in order to function at their best and we all need an element of stress in our lives, otherwise how would we know how to feel calm and relaxed if we were never wound up and tense.

Being stressed for too long is a horrible place to be and can seriously effect your physical and mental health and below are doe explanations of what can be going on in our bodies and minds when we allow ourselves to get overwhelmingly stressed

Migraine Attacks Increase Following Stress

Migraine sufferers who experienced reduced stress from one day to the next are at significantly increased risk of migraine onset on the subsequent day, according to a new study conducted by researchers at the Montefiore Headache Center and Albert Einstein College of Medicine at Yeshiva University. Stress has long been believed to be a common headache trigger. In this study, researchers found that relaxation following heightened stress was an even more significant trigger for migraine attacks. Findings may aid in recommending preventive treatments and behavioral interventions. The study was published online today in Neurology®, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology.

Migraine is a chronic condition that affects approximately 38 million Americans. To examine headache triggers, investigators at the Montefiore Headache Center and Einstein conducted a three month electronic daily diary study which captured 2,011 diary records and 110 eligible migraine attacks in 17 participants. The study compared levels of stress and reduction in stress as predictors of headache.

“This study demonstrates a striking association between reduction in perceived stress and the occurrence of migraine headaches,” said study lead author Richard Lipton, M.D., director, Montefiore Headache Center, professor and vice chair of neurology and the Edwin S. Lowe Chair in Neurology, Einstein. “Results were strongest during the first six hours where decline in stress was associated with a nearly five-fold increased risk of migraine onset. The hormone cortisol, which rises during times of stress and reduces pain, may contribute to the triggering of headache during periods of relaxation.”

Data were collected using a custom-programmed electronic diary. Each day participants recorded information about migraine attacks, two types of stress ratings and common migraine triggers, such as hours of sleep, certain foods, drinks and alcohol consumed, and menstrual cycle. They also recorded their mood each day, including feeling happy, sad, relaxed, nervous, lively and bored.

“This study highlights the importance of stress management and healthy lifestyle habits for people who live with migraine,” said Dawn Buse, Ph.D., director, Behavioral Medicine, Montefiore Headache Center, associate professor, Clinical Neurology, Einstein, and study co-author. “It is important for people to be aware of rising stress levels and attempt to relax during periods of stress rather than allowing a major build up to occur. This could include exercising or attending a yoga class or may be as simple as taking a walk or focusing on one’s breath for a few minutes.”

How Does Stress Increase Your Risk for Stroke and Heart Attack?

Scientists have shown that anger, anxiety, and depression not only affect the functioning of the heart, but also increase the risk for heart disease.

Stroke and heart attacks are the end products of progressive damage to blood vessels supplying the heart and brain, a process called atherosclerosis. Atherosclerosis progresses when there are high levels of chemicals in the body called pro-inflammatory cytokines.

It is thought that persisting stress increases the risk for atherosclerosis and cardiovascular disease by evoking negative emotions that, in turn, raise the levels of pro-inflammatory chemicals in the body.

Researchers have now investigated the underlying neural circuitry of this process, and report their findings in the current issue of Biological Psychiatry.

“Drawing upon the observation that many of the same brain areas involved in emotion are also involved in sensing and regulating levels of inflammation in the body, we hypothesized that brain activity linked to negative emotions – specifically efforts to regulate negative emotions – would relate to physical signs of risk for heart disease,” explained Dr. Peter Gianaros, Associate Professor at the University of Pittsburgh and first author on the study.

To conduct the study, Gianaros and his colleagues recruited 157 healthy adult volunteers who were asked to regulate their emotional reactions to unpleasant pictures while their brain activity was measured with functional imaging. The researchers also scanned their arteries for signs of atherosclerosis to assess heart disease risk and measured levels of inflammation in the bloodstream, a major physiological risk factor for atherosclerosis and premature death by heart disease.

They found that individuals who show greater brain activation when regulating their negative emotions also exhibit elevated blood levels of interleukin-6, one of the body’s pro-inflammatory cytokines, and increased thickness of the carotid artery wall, a marker of atherosclerosis.

The inflammation levels accounted for the link between signs of atherosclerosis and brain activity patterns seen during emotion regulation. Importantly, the findings were significant even after controlling for a number of different factors, like age, gender, smoking, and other conventional heart disease risk factors.

“These new findings agree with the popular belief that emotions are connected to heart health,” said Gianaros. “We think that the mechanistic basis for this connection may lie in the functioning of brain regions important for regulating both emotion and inflammation.”

These findings may have implications for brain-based prevention and intervention efforts to improve heart health and protect against heart disease.”

“It is remarkable to see the links develop between negative emotional states, brain circuits, inflammation, and markers of poor physical health,” said Dr. John Krystal, Editor of Biological Psychiatry. “As we identify the key mechanisms linking brain and body, we may be able to also break the cycle through which stress and depression impair physical health.”

If you find yourself getting stressed about things in your day, ask yourself these simple, yet quite searching questions

What If …


– What if I was wrong, and find tomorrow’s really better?
– What if things are really not as bad as they seem now?
– What if I can act to take control of situations?
– What if I can change, and start to have a different life?
– What if there is hope, despite my black mood and my feelings?
– What if decide to love and value my true self?

 Changing the way you think, perceive and feel about situations that used to stress you out can give you a whole new experience, one that allows you to think clearly, feel calmer and more in control and make better decisions, behave more sensibly and enjoy life even more.

Balancing Mind and Body


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This can sometimes feel a little elusive, not just maintaining it but also achieving it in the first place. Believe you me, I know exactly what that’s like.

There is an expression used in various forms called the “magic time” that can be directly applied to your personal, work and health and fitness plan that can help you achieve extraordinary results.

Even in this busy world, we all have a time in our day when we’re more creative, focused, and productive than any other time of day. Once we identify it and ruthlessly protect it from the time vampires who try to suck it away from us, magical things happen.

The same is true for the health of your mind and body. Once you identify the ONE time of the day where exercise will become a permanent part of your lifestyle, you need to do everything in your power to protect it.

This is your key to mind and body transformation. It may seem obvious to many reading this, but without it you’re goosed.

All you need to do is follow these three simple steps 5-6 days of the week and a radical change in how you think, feel and look is virtually guaranteed.

1: Schedule it DAILY.

Just like work. Just like family and kids. Just like anything in life. It must be a scheduled block of time that you can protect and follow day after day.

2: Know your plan – work your plan.

If you fail to plan, you plan to fail. Plan your time to meditate, use self hypnosis, read, reflect, write a journal, workout (and nutrition plan) ahead of time. Then do whatever it takes to get it done.

3: Relentlessly monitor rest periods and intensity of your work periods.

If you’re not monitoring your time here, you can be easily sidetracked and go astray, so set time for your mind training and for your body training. When monitoring your body training keep a close eye on your intensity, rest periods and work periods… you could be wasting the time you’re working so hard to protect. Your magic time should be your number one priority because you can truly triple your results in enhancing your mind and body.

Five to six days of the week, I wake up at 6am to take time to reflect, use hypnosis and exercise. It’s my personal magic time, partly because I have complete peace and quiet as everyone else is still asleep in the house. And yes, sometimes I go astray and fall out of my routine when the balance is tipped one way or another, that’s life and part of being human because sometimes other things are more important in the short term, never in the longterm compared to your own personal internal needs though.

Life is a constant balance of priorities and this is what can stress us out from time to time and taking the time to redress that balance is vital for your own wellbeing. It’s so easy to fall into the trap of spending your time and money on all the material things in your life while neglecting yourself and then wonder why you feel like shit and get ill regularly. It’s not rocket science and sometimes we make it that way.

So, do yourself a favour and figure out what your magic time is and then set it in stone as the most important part of your day. It will make a huge difference and in a couple of months time you’ll look back and wonder why you hadn’t done this earlier.

The Most Up to Date Online Nutrition Service


I wanted to introduce you to a new online nutrition service that takes the hard work out of figuring out what to eat, how much and is it any good for me. This includes calculating your protein, carbs, fat content and total calories for each meal. There are also a load of other extras included to help you along the way and below are some screen shots to give you an idea of what it gives you.

The first page shows your Dashboard and tabs for Meal Planner, which allows you to create meals for the day, week, month, a huge library of meals all with break down of nutrients, shopping list and recipe instructions all printable in pdf, there is a how to guide to help you make best use of the system.

Slightly further down the screenshot you have Create Pack, which allows you to select meals that you want for breakfast, lunch and dinner including snacks and drinks, a link to the latest recipes, a load of delicious smoothies and treats and snacks. Again all these have their nutritional content broken down and with recipe instructions and a shopping list.

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This screenshot shows you links to additional resources that a allow you to keep a food diary of you want to track what your eating and then tailor it, a lifestyle questionnaire to help you get an insight into what you are currently doing and where you can then make some changes. This ties in with your goals and preferences because these will be the changes you want to make and you can record them all and monitor your progress. Lastly the exercise questionnaire is about your exercise history.

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This last screen has some really cool tools for you to use that allow you to be really specific if you want to be, so you can work out your

daily calorie requirements for your body and your daily exertion level, your basal metabolic rate (how much energy you burn in 24 hrs doing nothing) this is the minimum amount of calories your body requires for you to function normally at rest, a quick calorie counter to keep you on track and finally RMR helps you calculate the calories you need for a day or a week so that you can then plan your meals from the library for 1 or 7 days and know that what you are eating is exactly right for you to either maintain or lose fat.

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All in all it is a hugely powerful system that does all the hard work for you and caters for a variety of different nutritional preferences. It is constantly updated with new, additional recipes so the library is ever growing and there are plans to add more nutritional information by breaking it down even further for you.

All you need to do is click on the link below, there is an intro video for yo and you can then choose to sign up to this outstanding service, and when you do you will need this magic code to ensure that you get access to some bonus material when you do.

http://simonb2b.fpclient.hop.clickbank.net

The Magic Code is: simonb2b

Go check it out and please leave some feedback here when you are finished so that I can pass it onto the owner and developers.

Simon 🙂

P.S.

I am confident you will be massively impressed when you take a look, so much so that I am offering a free coaching session on Skype once you’ve signed up to help you make the most of it and help you achieve your goals.