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Hooray brain research!

What great news! I am very much looking forward to learning more about this topic!

For so long, we have all been taught that as you age from a teen into a young adult, your brain STOPS making new neurons.  This has always been a grim concept to me (as I am past the oft-cited 26 year mark), I abhor the thought that we don’t get more chances at dramatic change.  This was never to say that an old dog couldn’t learn a new trick; however the idea was just that…more behavioral than anything.  This TED talk sheds light on new research that is discovering that the aging adult brain does indeed create new neurons, notably in the hippocampus.  New neurons in the hippocampus = improved memory functioning and MOOD.

Unfortunately for some out there (not naming names…you know who you are…) this is another scenario where it is imperative that you sleep well, eat well, and exercise in order to reap the benefits.  Chronic stress, high sugar diets and alcohol all decrease the neurogenesis in your hippocampus.

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DBT, Inspiration, mental health

Mindfulness of Color

color

My previous post got me thinking about color.  Color is all around us in nature, life, the foods we eat, the habitats we live and work in; and yet color is something we often overlook.  If I asked you to stop and tell me what color your neighbors house is, what color your boss’s car is, what color the tiles are at work or school…would you be able to?  Mindfulness is all about WAKING UP from auto-pilot.  Mindfulness of color can be a quick way to wake up and increase the amount of time you spend observing the present.

Try it…

Take the next few moment to spot something red…something orange…yellow…green…something blue…and purple.  You can expand from their if you would like: black, brown, white, pink…

Allow the search for color, really noticing the colors in your world, to anchor you to the present moment.  Stop worrying about what might happen or fretting about what did.  Come back to the now and take a moment to find the beauty and variety of color where ever you are.

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The Happiness of a Photograph

I have a good friend who wrote his dissertation on happiness levels of college students (or something of that nature).  While I may not be able to recall the exact topic or dissertation title, what I can recall is that there was a study cited which reported that looking at one’s own Facebook photos can increase happiness.  Think about it…what do you usually post photos of?  Typically when you scroll though someones feed (be it Facebook, Instagram, or just old family photo albums), you see a myriad of happy images!  We like to put our best foot forward so to speak…posting the photos that depict our memories and experiences in the happiest ways possible.  (We don’t usually post the “bad” vacation pictures!)

This got me thinking…I store all of my personal photos on a third party site for safe keeping (fearful of the day my laptop will crash!)….I have done this for over 7 years!  So I went back and began browsing some random albums and what do you know….it made me happy! In an effort not to get swept up in the memories, I chose to attend to the photos without people in them.  I wonder why I took them, what made me think that I needed to capture each moment in time? I wonder if there is a theme?

Here’s what I found:

It seems the things that stand out most to me as visually pleasing are the landscape scenes with vibrant colors!Alyx_002Untitled

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I hope you will take some time to look though your old photographs and enjoy the beauty of the memories and the images!