Understanding the Vagus Nerve: Interview with Dr. Stephen Porges

Yogis know that practice positively affects physical health-but what's the deal with the vagus nerve? Renowned neuroscientist Dr. Stephen Porges explains. It might seem obvious, but our nervous system is affected by everything we do. In the trauma-filled wake of recent gun violence in schools and the overwhelmingly heartbreaking stories shared during the #MeToo movement, conversations around wellness, trauma, and mental health have been thrust into the mainstream. Now more than ever, people are questioning what it means to be safe and what happens when we are threatened, on edge, and stressed. ...

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New Harvard study confirms there is no gender wage gap – men and women make different choices

"Gender pay gap is worse than thought: Study shows women actually earn half the income of men," NBC announced recently in reference to a report titled "Still a Man's Labor Market" by the Washington-based Institute for Women's Policy Research, which found that women's income was 51 percent less than men's earnings. The "Gender Pay Gap" Isn't What You Think It Is What do you think of when you hear the phrase "gender pay gap"? Perhaps you think of a man and woman who work exactly the same job at exactly the same place, but he gets paid more than she does. This sort of discrimination has been illegal in the United States since the passage of the Equal Pay Act in 1963. But that is not what is generally meant by the phrase "gender wage gap." Instead, the commonly reported...

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Breathing through the nose may offer unique brain benefits

Folklore, spiritual traditions and even mothers have for ages drawn an implicit connection between respiration and state of mind: Breathe in deeply through your nose, we are told, to clarify thoughts, achieve serenity, defuse tantrums. There isn't a lot of scientific evidence to back up these ideas, but a growing number of experiments have been looking at the influence that breathing has on our cognition. In October, a study in The Journal of Neuroscience considered the relationship between memory and how we breathe. Recognizing odors is a key survival mechanism for most creatures - including humans, of course. This is why neuroscientists believe the links between thinking and breathing were early evolutionary adaptations. Studies have shown that when rodents sniff, the flow of even odorless air initiates brain activity by stimulating neurons in what's called the olfactory bulb, which then...

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SOTT FOCUS: The Truth Perspective: Herd Behavior: What Gustav Le Bon’s Classic Book Can Teach Us About ‘The Crowd’

Today on the Truth Perspective we discuss the French polymath Gustave Le Bon's most famous work, The Crowd: A Study of the Popular Mind. Le Bon was a physician, soldier, and author of numerous works ranging from anthropology, medicine, physiology, and even physics, where he is credited with anticipating Einstein's theory of relativity. But it was defeat during the Franco-Prussian War, the radical mentality of the Paris Commune of 1871, and his extensive studies of peoples in Europe, Asia and North Africa that gave him that unique insight into the nature of crowds which, when he published them, resulted in a book which has been described as "one of the most influential books of social psychology ever written." The Crowd may have been an instant bestseller in the late 19th century but it remains just as relevant today. From radical...

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Think again: Are schools teaching enough critical thinking skills?

Critical thinking can feel in short supply these days. Politics is more polarized than ever, the president regularly dismisses his opposition as enemies, losers, or phonies, while critics of the president cannot bear the thought of ever entertaining support for his ideas or actions. If a lack of civility in public discourse is the problem, a lack of critical thinking may be partly to blame. A recent study by the Reboot Foundation, which was founded to fund research on critical thinking and develop resources for parents and schools, concluded that while the American public claims to engage with opposing views, people don't actually do so in practice. ...

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Can pet ownership alleviate depression symptoms?

A new study examined the impact of pet ownership on people with treatment-resistant depression. It's no secret that animals can bring people joy, but a new study indicates that adopting a pet could prove particularly beneficial for those with severe depression. The study, published in the Journal of Psychiatric Research, found that for those with severe depression that was not easily treatable, adopting a pet could help lessen symptoms. Jorge Mota Pereira and Daniela Fonte, two Portuguese researchers, recruited 80 study participants who had "treatment-resistant major depressive disorder." They encouraged each one to adopt a pet. Of the 80 participants, 33 agreed to adopt, with 20 individuals choosing a dog and seven choosing a cat. ...

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Are our dreams glimpses of other dimensions?

If you have ever looked into the 'many world's theory' you know that the world we live in is quite possibly one of many. Regardless of the multiverse hypotheses, you choose to follow/look into each one is truly fascinating for a number of reasons. Basically, most of them touch on how there are many different worlds, universes, dimensions, or whatever you would like to call them. Each one the same as our own but also different in some way. For instance, in another world, you might be living the same life as you are now but perhaps politics had gone in a different direction. Maybe all of the presidents that were elected here in the US were opposite from how they are in our world. Maybe everything is the same except for you have different colored hair? The differences between...

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Study finds millennial men continue to value traditional masculine qualities

As the famous Village People song declares, "Every man wants to be a macho macho man / To have the kind of body, always in demand." But are "macho macho" mindsets becoming a thing of the past? A new study finds that male millennials are drifting away from stereotypical masculine values. The research, led by the University of British Columbia, showed that younger men tend to value selflessness, social engagement, and health over traditional male ideals like physical strength and autonomy. Comment: Autonomy and selflessness are not mutually exclusive and, as the article notes later, it was only marginally rated as less important. Of course, physique and independence were still prominent values for the 630 Canadian men aged 15 to 29 who took part in the survey, just not as important to participants as selflessness. In fact, selflessness was by...

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How dealing with past trauma may be the key to breaking addiction

Opening up to past trauma is difficult, but self-awareness is key to addressing issues that leave us vulnerable What's your poison, people sometimes ask, but Gabor Maté doesn't want to ask what my poison is, he wants to ask how it makes me feel. Whatever it is I'm addicted to, or ever have been addicted to, it's not what it is but what it does - to me, to you, to anyone. He believes that anything we've ever craved helped us escape emotional pain. It gave us peace of mind, a sense of control and a feeling of happiness. And all of that, explains Maté, reveals a great deal about addiction, which he defines as any behaviour that gives a person temporary relief and pleasure, but also has negative consequences, and to which the individual will return time and again....

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SOTT FOCUS: The Truth Perspective: How To Survive A Totalitarian Nightmare: The Psychology Of Tyranny

What is it like to live in a country with a brutal, totalitarian government? According to Dr. Andrew Lobaczewski, the only way to truly know is to actually experience it. Literary accounts and news reports can provide some data, but even that will only be theoretical. Actually experiencing it is something else entirely: a punch in the gut that can cause anxiety, depression, and PTSD. But there's one other way to get an idea: a first-hand experience with malevolence at the hands of someone with a sever personality disorder. Today on the Truth Perspective we discuss chapter 6 of Lobaczewski's book Political Ponerology: "Normal People Under Pathocratic Rule". The reason people who have lived with a pathological individual know what it's like to live under a pathocracy is because the two experiences are analogous: they both involve personality-disordered individuals in...

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