Category Archives: General Well Being

We need more time to rest and play!


Hit the Reset Button in Your Brain

AUG. 9, 2014

Read the full article here

Teen’s Lack of Sleep May Contribute to Depression

Teenagers' sleep patterns may be a clue to their risk of depression.

Teens are notoriously confounding to their parents, especially their mood swings. This interesting article from NPR sheds light on the relationship between lack of sleep and depression in teens. It also explores the role of media and teen moods.

Here’s an excerpt:

Teenagers who don’t get enough sleep are four times as likely to develop major depressive disorder as their peers who sleep more, according to researchers at the University of Texas Health Science Center in Houston. They tracked the habits of more than 4,000 adolescents over a year.

And already depressed teens were four times as likely to lose sleep. “That’s a pretty strong reciprocal relationship,” says behavioral scientist , the study’s lead author.

A lot of adolescents just aren’t getting as much sleep at they should. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention nine to 10 hours, but 70 percent of high schoolers don’t meet that requirement

In a second study, researchers in Sweden found that lack of sleep and excessive media use were associated with mental health problems in teens.”

Here’s a link to the full story:

One of the Reasons Work is So Stressful

This NY Times article sheds light on a new study about the detrimental effect of working in a noisy environment. Its an interesting read and food for thought for those that work in an open office setting. Finding a way to quiet the noise can reduce your stress and mental fatigue on a daily basis.

Read the full article here.

Value of Exercise

Another good reminder. It’s simple and free.  See the video here:

The Psychological Toll of Income Inequality

The NY Times as a new piece on the psychological toll of income inequality and our relentless pursuit of “more”. We are making ourselves sick…and for what?

Here’s an excerpt:

“Ms. Johnson concludes that psychiatric conditions like mania and narcissism are related to our striving for status and dominance, while disorders such as anxiety and depression may involve responses to the experience of subordination. Similarly, she suggests that the pressures of coping with social hierarchies may contribute to other conditions such as antisocial personality disorder and bipolarism.     ….

“If mental illness is related to dominance and subordination, you might assume that disorders like narcissism would be more common at the top of the social hierarchy while others, like depression, would occur more frequently at the bottom. The full picture, however, is more complicated.

It is true that depression is much more common lower down the social ladder, but it does exists at all levels: Few are immune to feelings of defeat or failure. Similarly, people can be narcissistic or strive for dominance anywhere in the hierarchy — although Paul Piff, also a psychologist at Berkeley, has shown that higher status is indeed associated with more unethical and narcissistic behavior.

“So how does increasing inequality factor in? One of the important effects of wider income differences between rich and poor is to intensify the issues of dominance and subordination, and feelings of superiority and inferiority. Two sociologists at the University of Toronto, Robert Andersen and Josh Curtis, found that although there is always some connection between people’s income and the social class to which they feel they belong, the match between the two is closer in societies with bigger income differences between rich and poor.

Inequality not only intensifies the problem, but also makes it more extensive. A new study by Dublin-based researchers of 34,000 people in 31 countries found that in countries with bigger income differences, status anxiety was more common at all levels in the social hierarchy. Another international study, from 2011, found in particular that self-enhancement or self-aggrandizement — the tendency to present an inflated view of oneself — occurred much more frequently in more unequal societies.”

Read the full article here:

An Atheist Walks Into an AA Meeting

Many people who need the support of AA complain that it requires faith in a God, or Higher Power, that they don’t believe in. Sometimes this is an excuse to avoid confronting their drinking problem. Sometimes it’s a legitimate existential crisis. Here’s an interesting blog post from an Atheist that made AA work for her. Food for thought. Read the entire story here:

My Faithlessness: The atheist way through AA


How Exercise Can Help Us Sleep Better

Regular exercise can help us sleep better. But it takes time..

” But, Dr. Baron pointed out, most of these other studies employed volunteers without existing sleep problems. For them, exercise and sleep seem to have a relatively uncomplicated relationship. You work out, fatigue your body and mind, and sleep more soundly that night.

But people with insomnia and other sleep disturbances tend to be “neurologically different,” Dr. Baron said. “They have what we characterize as a hyper-arousal of the stress system,” she said. A single bout of exercise on any given day “is probably not enough to overcome that arousal,” she explained. It could potentially even exacerbate it, since exercise is itself a physical stressor.

Eventually, however, if the exercise program is maintained, Dr. Baron said, the workouts seem to start muting a person’s stress response. Her or his underlying physiological arousal is dialed down enough for sleep to arrive more readily, as it did in the 2010 experiment.”

See the full article here:

The Mindful Revolution

Time magazine has a cover story about the power of mindfulness. It’s a good read. Check out the full version here:


Do Brain Training Games Really Work?

Here’s a interesting article from the National Institute for the Clinical Application of Behavioral Medicine. It seems that brain training games like Brain Age actually do have some benefit. no word on the value of Candy Crush marathons, though. Read the full article here:


The Search for Self in a Brain Scan

Interesting article from the NY Times on brain science and our sense of self. It’s part of a series of articles about new findings from brain research. See the full article here:

“Once the 10 hours of scans and tests are finished, and 10 hours more of processing and analysis done, the data for each of the volunteers — all anonymous — becomes part of adatabase to help scientists develop tools so that one day such an individual report might be possible.

Besides, I was just going through a portion of the process, to see what it was like.

Even so, I do have this sense of myself as an individual, different from others in ways good, bad and inconsequential, and the pretty reasonable feeling that whatever a “self” is, it lies behind my eyes and between my ears. That’s where I feel that “I” live.”