Archive for the ‘mental’ Category

Loneliness   Leave a comment

Lonely tree at ocean edge

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Being alone is not the same as being lonely. Some enjoy being alone but that lonely feeling we all get sometimes is a sad and cold thought.

When we have no one to share our views with or talk to it can be a frightening place to be.Our minds can stand time alone, but loneliness takes our mind to a dark place.

Visions of despair and emptiness set in when we allow our self to go to that dark place. Trying to keep in the light can be hard.Don’t dwell on the sad and empty. Your mind can take you anywhere you want to go.

Insist on thinking of only the positive. It may take some trying but it can be done. Think of a place where only smiles and beauty abound. Think of laughs and sunshine. Tell yourself to only view the warm friendly places of your mind today and make it happen.

Save the sadness for some other day when you can think of unpleasant thoughts with a creative view instead of dwelling in despair.Even being alone you can laugh. There is always someone around to hear your laughter, it’s you.

Posted February 1, 2011 by dmacc502 in mental

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Memories   Leave a comment

Memories

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The mind is a vast wealth of knowledge with the ability to remember more than we would like sometimes. It’s amazing how we can think of a past occurrence with such detail. I wish to touch on the good parts of our memory and save the unpleasant thoughts for later.

What is the earliest memory you have as a child? I’m 53 and can remember as if it were yesterday, eye surgery at 3 years old. That is my earliest memory.

I was standing in a crib in a hospital room with a patch over my left eye after having a crossed eye correction. I could hear my Father in the hall telling the nurse “don’t tell me it’s past visiting hours, I’m going to see my daughter”. At that moment the door opened and I saw the prettiest bright yellow laced dress I ever saw being handed to me. That’s all I remember from that. It was a wonderful memory I have kept for all these years.

We all have wonderful memories we wouldn’t change for the world. The loss of a loved one immediately turns to only good memories when they pass. Our minds refuse to think of any bad thoughts associated with that person.There again is that vast ability of the mind.

Cherishing past thoughts is a great way to keep the future bright. We can not duplicate the past, but we can effect our new days with good vibes by carrying our memories with us.

Now let’s touch briefly on bad memories.Those too are common with us all. The mind let’s us remember for a reason. Making us stronger by allowing us to remember unpleasant thoughts is way of looking at it. But, I know that isn’t helpful to a rape victim or an abused child who remembers the trauma. It somehow  teaches us to be bitter or resentful.

Try not to allow the bad memories to engulf your mind fully. Put those back in your little vault of knowledge for a day when you can share with others your traumas to help them.

Memories are Gods gift to us. Share them when the occasion arises and let others benefit from our thoughts as well.

Posted February 1, 2011 by dmacc502 in mental

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The Magic Of Harry Houdini's Staying Power : NPR   Leave a comment

Houdini performing the Chinese Water Torture Cell

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The Magic Of Harry Houdini‘s Staying Power : NPR.

Harry Houdini was known for escaping from handcuffs, straitjackets and water tanks, but his greatest trick was escaping from the dustbin of history. After all, how many popular performers can you name from 1902? Yet more than 80 years after his death, Houdini is still referred to as the greatest magician who ever lived.

A new exhibit at the Jewish Museum in New York, called Houdini: Arts and Magic, looks at the visual legacy of Harry Houdini and how his fame managed to survive.

The answer to that question, at least in part, lies in the nature of Houdini’s legend, which was so simple that kids are still passing it around the playground. There once was a man who could escape from anything …

The Great Escaper

“He is the perfect teen idol,” says Teller, one half of the comic-magic duo Penn and Teller. Teller says each generation, from Houdini’s to today’s, has discovered that there’s something elemental about the great magician.

“[He] is this physical and mental superguy; this ultracool James Bond guy that you can strip stark naked and throw into a jail cell and he can get out,” he says. “If you are a teenager, you want self-liberation above all, and there’s Houdini as the perfect shining example of the all-American self-liberator.”

Top 10 haunted homes in the U.S. – Business – Real estate – msnbc.com   Leave a comment

New Orleans: Funeral home on Canal Street, Mid...

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Top 10 haunted homes in the U.S. – Business – Real estate – msnbc.com.

We like to be creeped out, don’t we?

To kick off this Halloween season, we have chosen 10 homes in the U.S. notorious for their haunted history and spirits who like to visit. Some are privately owned homes, some are now bed-and-breakfasts, some have historic designations, and one is even the seat of our government.

Take a deep breath and let’s visit some of the most notable haunted homes in the U.S.

Posted October 25, 2010 by dmacc502 in death, History, mental

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A Neuroscientist Uncovers A Dark Secret by BARBARA BRADLEY HAGERTY   Leave a comment

June 29, 2010
The criminal brain has always held a fascination for James Fallon. For nearly 20 years, the neuroscientist at the University of California-Irvine has studied the brains of psychopaths. He studies the biological basis for behavior, and one of his specialties is to try to figure out how a killer’s brain differs from yours and mine.
About four years ago, Fallon made a startling discovery. It happened during a conversation with his then 88-year-old mother, Jenny, at a family barbecue.
“I said, ‘Jim, why don’t you find out about your father’s relatives?’ ” Jenny Fallon recalls. “I think there were some cuckoos back there.”
Fallon investigated.
“There’s a whole lineage of very violent people — killers,” he says.
One of his direct great-grandfathers, Thomas Cornell, was hanged in 1667 for murdering his mother. That line of Cornells produced seven other alleged murderers, including Lizzy Borden. “Cousin Lizzy,” as Fallon wryly calls her, was accused (and controversially acquitted) of killing her father and stepmother with an ax in Fall River, Mass., in 1882.
A little spooked by his ancestry, Fallon set out to see whether anyone in his family possesses the brain of a serial killer. Because he has studied the brains of dozens of psychopaths, he knew precisely what to look for. To demonstrate, he opened his laptop and called up an image of a brain on his computer screen.
“Here is a brain that’s not normal,” he says. There are patches of yellow and red. Then he points to another section of the brain, in the front part of the brain, just behind the eyes.
“Look at that — there’s almost nothing here,” Fallon says.
This is the orbital cortex, the area that Fallon and other scientists believe is involved with ethical behavior, moral decision-making and impulse control.
“People with low activity [in the orbital cortex] are either free-wheeling types or sociopaths,” he says.
Fallon’s Scans
He’s clearly oversimplifying, but Fallon says the orbital cortex puts a brake on another part of the brain called the amygdala, which is involved with aggression and appetites. But in some people, there’s an imbalance — the orbital cortex isn’t doing its job — perhaps because the person had a brain injury or was born that way.
“What’s left? What takes over?” he asks. “The area of the brain that drives your id-type behaviors, which is rage, violence, eating, sex, drinking.”
Fallon's brain scan

Courtesy of Jim Fallon

Fallon’s brain (on the right) has dark patches in the orbital cortex, the area just behind the eyes. This is the area that Fallon and other scientists say is involved with ethical behavior, moral decision-making and impulse control. The normal scan on the left is his son’s.
Fallon says nobody in his family has real problems with those behaviors. But he wanted to be sure. Conveniently, he had everything he needed: Previously, he had persuaded 10 of his close relatives to submit to a PET brain scan and give a blood sample as part of a project to see whether his family had a risk for developing Alzheimer’s dise
ase.
After learning his violent family history, he examined the images and compared them with the brains of psychopaths. His wife’s scan was normal. His mother: normal. His siblings: normal. His children: normal.
“And I took a look at my own PET scan and saw something disturbing that I did not talk about,” he says.
What he didn’t want to reveal was that his orbital cortex looks inactive.
“If you look at the PET scan, I look just like one of those killers.”
Fallon cautions that this is a young field. Scientists are just beginning to study this area of the brain — much less the brains of criminals. Still, he says the evidence is accumulating that some people’s brains predispose them toward violence and that psychopathic tendencies may be passed down from one generation to another.
The Three Ingredients
And that brings us to the next part of Jim Fallon’s family experiment. Along with brain scans, Fallon also tested each family member’s DNA for genes that are associated with violence. He looked at 12 genes related to aggression and violence and zeroed in on the MAO-A gene (monoamine oxidase A). This gene, which has been the target of considerable research, is also known as the “warrior gene” because it regulates serotonin in the brain. Serotonin affects your mood — think Prozac — and many scientists believe that if you have a certain version of the warrior gene, your brain won’t respond to the calming effects of serotonin.
Fallon calls up another slide on his computer. It has a list of family members’ names, and next to them, the results of the genotyping. Everyone in his family has the low-aggression variant of the MAO-A gene, except for one person.
“You see that? I’m 100 percent. I have the pattern, the risky pattern,” he says, then pauses. “In a sense, I’m a born killer.”
Fallon and his mother, Jenny Fallon

EnlargeCourtesy of Jim Fallon

Fallon was prompted to study his brain after his mother, Jenny, told him his ancestry was full of alleged murderers.
Fallon’s being tongue-in-cheek — sort of. He doesn’t believe his fate or anyone else’s is entirely determined by genes. They merely tip you in one direction or another.
And yet: “When I put the two together, it was frankly a little disturbing,” Fallon says with a laugh. “You start to look at yourself and you say, ‘I may be a sociopath.’ I don’t think I am, but this looks exactly like [the brains of] the psychopaths, the sociopaths, that I’ve seen before.”
I asked his wife, Diane, what she thought of the result.
“I wasn’t too concerned,” she says, laughing. “I mean, I’ve known him since I was 12.”
Diane probably does not need to worry, according to scientists who study this area. They believe that brain patterns and genetic makeup are not enough to make anyone a psychopath. You need a third ingredient: abuse or violence in one’s childhood.
“And fortunately, he wasn’t abused as a young person,” Diane says, “so I’ve lived to be a ripe old age so far.”
The New World of ‘Neurolaw’
Jim Fallon says he had a terrific childhood; he was doted on by his parents and had loving relationships with his brothers and sisters and entire extended family. Significantly, he says this journey through his brain has changed the way he thinks about nature and nurture. He once believed that genes and brain function could determine everything about us. But now he thinks his childhood may have made all the difference.
“We’ll never know, but the way these patterns are looking in general population, had I been abused, we might not be sitting here today,” he says.
As for the psychopaths he studies, Fallon feels some compassion for these people who, he says, got “a bad roll of the dice.”
“It’s an unlucky day when all of these three things come together in a bad way, and I think one has to empathize with what happened to them,” he says.
But what about people who rape and murder — should we feel empathy for them? Should they be allowed to argue in court that their brains made them do it? Enter the new world of “neurolaw” — in which neuroscience is used as evidence in the courtroom.

Posted July 25, 2010 by dmacc502 in mental