Proper breathing brings better health

As newborns, we enter the world by inhaling. In leaving, we exhale. (In fact, in many languages the word "exhale" is synonymous with "dying.") Breathing is so central to life that it is no wonder humankind long ago noted its value not only to survival but to the functioning of the body and mind and began controlling it to improve well-being. As early as the first millennium B.C., both the Tao religion of China and Hinduism placed importance on a "vital principle" that flows through the body, a kind of energy or internal breath, and viewed respiration as one of its manifestations. The Chinese call this energy qi, and Hindus call it prana (one of the key concepts of yoga). A little later, in the West, the Greek term pneuma and the Hebrew term rûah referred both to the breath...

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How to unwind your busy monkey mind

Most people believe relaxing activities are only done in the evenings, and should be grouped in categories, scheduled, or put in an evening "routine," as if it's simply another item to check off your "to-do" list. The good news? You don't have to wait until the evening to unwind and relax. In fact, you shouldn't. You deserve to feel grounded in your center and a sense of peace all day, not for just a few hours at the end of your day. You shouldn't have to, and you absolutely do not have to and mustn't do so. It is time to do away with the philosophy that it is only safe to entertain the idea of relaxation at the very end of your day, after spending the large majority of your waking hours walking through the day scattered, stressed, anxious,...

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‘We hear what we listen for’ – The art of listening well

Forget about what you were going to say next. Make sure you hear what the other person says A zoologist was walking down a busy city street with a friend. In the midst of the honking horns and screeching tires, he exclaimed to his friend, "Listen to that cricket!" The friend looked at the zoologist in astonishment and said, "You hear a cricket in the middle of all this noise and confusion?" Without a word, the zoologist reached into his pocket, took out a coin, and flipped it into the air. As it clinked on the sidewalk, a dozen heads turned in response. The zoologist said quietly to his friend, "We hear what we listen for." ...

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The APA guidelines are wrong. It’s ok to be stoic, competitive, dominant and aggressive – but don’t take it to the extreme

Boys and men shouldn't follow the advice of a recent report by the American Psychological Association called "Guidelines for the Psychological Practice with Men and Boys." These guidelines imply that "traditional masculinity" - such as stoicism, competitiveness, dominance, and aggression - are harmful. These guidelines are wrong. Stoically controlling your emotions is necessary. Competitive spirit drives success. Dominance - and the mental and physical strength required to dominate - is far superior to a lack of strength, which results in being dominated by someone else. And aggression is a means to an end. Without aggressive action, you will likely be on the receiving end, bowing to someone else's aggression. Of course, it would be nice to conjure up a world where those "traditionally masculine" traits are outmoded and unnecessary. Perhaps in that fantasy world everyone could just let their emotions...

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FLASHBACK: Carl Sagan said ‘reincarnation deserves serious study’: Years later the results of those studies are in

Carl Sagan, the well-known American astronomer, astrobiologist, cosmologist, astrophysicist, and author passed away in 1996. He was very skeptical of non-mainstream work, and was the same when it came to many topics within the realm of parapsychology. Almost 20 years later, we now have substantial evidence to confirm that various phenomena within the realm of parapsychology are indeed real. Some of these include telepathy, psychokinesis, distant healing, ESP, and many others, including reincarnation. Sagan did not brush off the scientific study of these phenomena, in fact, he felt that some of them deserve "serious study." "There are claims in the parapsychology field which, in my opinion, deserve serious study," with being "that young children sometimes report details of a previous life, which upon checking turn out to be accurate and which they could not have known about in any...

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Why does it feel good to see someone fail?

In the Pixar animated film "Inside Out," most of the plot plays out inside protagonist Riley's head, where five emotions - Joy, Sadness, Fear, Disgust and Anger - direct her behavior. The film was released to glowing reviews. But director Pete Docter later admitted that he always regretted that one emotion didn't make the cut: Schadenfreude. Schadenfreude, which literally means "harm joy" in German, is the peculiar pleasure people derive from others' misfortune. You might feel it when the career of a high-profile celebrity craters, when a particularly noxious criminal is locked up or when a rival sporting team gets vanquished. Psychologists have long struggled with how to best understand, explain and study the emotion: It arises in such a wide range of situations that it can seem almost impossible to come up with some sort of unifying framework. Yet...

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SOTT FOCUS: The Truth Perspective: You University: The Value and Art of Self-Education

It starts with a question. How does a car actually work? How can I lose weight and keep it off? What are UFOs? What could I accomplish if I really applied myself? Our curiosity is peaked and we want to know more, but we're not quite sure where to start. If there's no formal education course we can take that has a syllabus all laid out, then what do we do? How do we create a plan that will guide us toward finding answers to our questions and reaching our goals? Today on the Truth Perspective we discuss "The Science of Self-Learning" by Peter Hollins: how his practical advice for self-learning can be applied to multiple dimensions of personal development, and why self-education is so important. The difference between the reading and regurgitation that is common in schools and real...

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How to go on a low-information diet

Disconnecting completely isn't a realistic option, so here's how to trim back on the daily deluge. We live in a world of unlimited information. The internet produces 2.5 quintillion bytes of data every single day. Keeping up everything is impossible when we only have 24 hours in a day, and can stand in the way of getting things done and focusing on what really matters. Anita Williams Woolley, associate professor of organizational behavior and theory at Carnegie Mellon University's Tepper School of Business, says the biggest problem with information overload is the constant stream of interruptions. "Doing something such as writing an email while being constantly interrupted can lead you to spend at least twice as long writing it, and the quality of the final product will be significantly lower than if it was written without interruptions," she says. ...

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Science has debunked the link between video games and real violence

In a recent column, Jack Thompson argues that mass shootings might be deterred by enacting government regulation of violent video games. Thompson argues this would be "simple, constitutional and effective." I am one of the leading researchers on the effects of violent games and testified before the School Safety Commission Thompson mentions. The U.S. Supreme Court has already ruled any government regulation of violent video games to be unconstitutional. Furthermore, evidence is now clear any regulation would be entirely ineffective at reducing criminal violence. During my testimony before the School Safety Commission, I noted that research evidence has not, in fact, supported links between violent video games and mass shootings or any other criminal violence. Even for minor acts of aggression, such as putting spicy sauce in someone's food as a prank, the evidence is inconsistent. For actual acts of...

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An alternative to the APA’s new sexist guidelines for working with men and boys

The APA's Division 51 (Men and Masculinities) recently released their guidelines for working with men and boys. While guidelines on this topic are much needed, the APA's contribution leaves room for improvement. In this article I will outline issues with two of their 10 guidelines: Guideline 1 of the APA guidelines suggests that "masculinities are constructed based on social, cultural and contextual norms". However although it is true that masculinity is, in part, constructed, it is also partly innate. What is the evidence that masculinity is, in part, innate? Well, sex differences in cognition and behaviour are found worldwide, and their universality suggests something that transcends culture. Moreover, most of these clearly map onto masculinity. For example, the tendency to being more competitive, aggressive (physically), and interested in sports than women maps onto the male gender script of being a...

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