Mark Twain

"Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really great make you feel that you, too, can become great."

- Mark Twain

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Trouble Sleeping? Change Your Habits

The many hours  people spend reading on the computer screens before bedtime are probably causing many sleep problems. 

Sleep deficiency  puts people's health at risk.

Occasionally taking Melatonin to go to sleep may be helpful but the sleep experts caution that you should not use it every night.  

Melatonin should be used to reset your sleep pattern, as in the case of disturbances caused by jet lag.

Reading On A Screen Before Bed Might Be Killing You

You've heard that using screens before bedtime can mess with your sleep, but new research suggests the problem is even more serious.

Reading from an iPad before bed not only makes it harder to fall asleep, but also impacts how sleepy and alert you are the next day, according to new research fromBrigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, Massachusetts. 

The study, published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences on Monday, said the findings could impact anyone who uses an eReader, laptop, smartphone, or certain TVs before bed.

The new research supports conclusions from older studies, which have also found that screen time before sleep can be detrimental.

"We know from previous work that light from screens in the evening alters sleepiness and alertness, and suppresses melatonin levels," Dr. Anne-Marie Chang, an associate neuroscientist in BWH’s Division of Sleep and Circadian Disorders who was a co-author on the study, told The Huffington Post via email. 

"This study shows comprehensive results of a direct comparison between reading with a light-emitting device and reading a printed book and the consequences on sleep."

If you don't want to feel like a zombie during the day, the findings are clear: Read an actual, printed book if you must stimulate your mind before bed, and avoid screens like your life depends on it, because it actually might. 

Chang said that sleep deficiency -- not getting enough sleep or obtaining poor quality sleep -- has been linked to other health problems such as obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease. Chronic suppression of melatonin has also been associated with increased risk of certain cancers, she said.

Needless to say, sleep has its own innate benefits, so cutting it short is a bad idea anyway.

The study ran for two weeks and included 12 participants who read on an iPad for four hours before bed for five days straight, a process that was repeated with printed books. For some, the order was reversed: They started with printed books and moved to iPads.

iPad readers took longer to fall asleep, felt less sleepy at night and had shorter REM sleep compared to the book readers, researchers found. 

The iPad readers also secreted less melatonin, which helps regulate your sleep. 

They were also more tired than book readers the following day, even if both got a full eight hours of sleep.

The real-world effects may be even worse than what researchers observed over the course of their study, however. 

Chang told HuffPost that because iPad users were found to be more alert, people who look at screens before bed may stay up later than the study participants were allowed to, wrecking their sleep even more.

If you absolutely, positively must be on your tablet, phone, or computer before bed for whatever reason, there may be a way to make it safer. Try a filter that blocks blue light -- there's an app for Android that produces this effect, though you'll have to purchase a physical filter for your iOS device

Try F.lux if you're using a computer. 

Research has shown that blue light makes you more alert and suppresses your melatonin, thus hurting your quality of sleep.

"The best recommendation (although not the most popular) would be to avoid use of light-emitting screens before bedtime," Dr. Chang told HuffPost. 

"For those who must use computers or other light-emitting devices in the evening, software or other technology that filters out the blue light may help."



Self-acceptance Quotes

“The worst loneliness is to not be comfortable with yourself.” – Mark Twain

The curious paradox is that qwhen I accept myself just as I am then I can change.  - Carl Rogers

If you begin to understand qwhat you are qwithout trying to change it, then what you are undegoes a transformation.

The first step toward change is awareness.  The second step is acceptance.  - Nathaniel Brandon

Stop hating yourself for everything you are not. Start loving yourself for everything you are.

To be beautiful means to be yourself.  You don't need to be accepted by others: You need to accept yourself.

Be careful how you are talking to yourself because you are listening.  - Lisa M. Hayes

No amount of self-improvement can make up for any lack of self-acceptance. - Robert Holden

When people are not accepting toward themselves they are often obsessed with acceptance by others.  - Nathaniel Brandon

“Because one believes in oneself, one doesn't try to convince others. Because one is content with oneself, one doesn't need others' approval. Because one accepts oneself, the whole world accepts him or her.”
― Lao Tzu

“Peace comes from within.  Do not seek it without.” 
― Gautama Buddha

“Once we believe in ourselves, we can risk curiosity, wonder, spontaneous delight, or any experience that reveals the human spirit”
― E.E. Cummings

“The most terrifying thing is to accept oneself completely.” 
― C.G. Jung

“We can never obtain peace in the outer world until we make peace with ourselves.” 
― Dalai Lama XIV

“It's not worth our while to let our imperfections disturb us always.” 
― Henry David Thoreau

“Because true belonging only happens when we present our authentic, imperfect selves to the world, our sense of belonging can never be greater than our level of self-acceptance.” 
― BrenĂ© Brown   

“If you begin to understand what you are without trying to change it, then what you are undergoes a transformation.” 
― Jiddu Krishnamurti

“I now see how owning our story and loving ourselves through that process is the bravest thing that we will ever do.” 
― BrenĂ© Brown

“At 30 a man should know himself like the palm of his hand, know the exact number of his defects and qualities, know how far he can go, foretell his failures - be what he is. And, above all, accept these things.” 
― Albert Camus

"Self-acceptance means living the life you choose to live without worrying what others think about you. It doesn’t matter what someone else thinks about you. What matters is what you think about yourself. Life is about choices—your life choices, not someone else’s choice about how you should live.” 
― Sadiqua Hamdan, Happy Am I. Holy Am I. Healthy Am I.

“Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself.
You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here.
And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.” 
― Max EhrmannDesiderata: A Poem for a Way of Life

“There comes a time in each life like a point of fulcrum. At that time you must accept yourself. It is not any more what you will become. It is what you are and always will be. You are too young to know this. You are still becoming. Not being.” 
― John FowlesThe Magus

“What is freedom? It consists in two things: to know each his own limitations and accept them – that is the same thing as to know oneself, and accept oneself as one is, without fear, or envy, or distaste; and to recognise and accept the conditions under which one lives, also without fear or envy, or distaste. When you do this, you shall be free.” 
― Ann BridgeIllyrian Spring

Sunday, December 28, 2014

‘Rethinking Positive Thinking’


Dare to Dream of Falling Short

Gabriele Oettingen Turns Her Mind to Motivation in ‘Rethinking Positive Thinking’

DEC. 22, 2014 

Credit Patricia Wall/The New York Times



Ever hear the joke about the guy who dreams of winning the lottery?
After years of desperate fantasizing, he cries out for God’s help. Down from heaven comes God’s advice: 
“Would you buy a ticket already?!”

Clearly, this starry-eyed dreamer is, like so many of us, a believer in old-fashioned positive thinking: Find your dream, wish for it, and success will be yours.

Not quite, according to Gabriele Oettingen, a psychology professor at New York University and the University of Hamburg, who uses this joke to illustrate the limitations of the power of positive thinking. 

In her smart, lucid book, “Rethinking Positive Thinking: Inside the New Science of Motivation,” Dr. Oettingen critically re-examines positive thinking and give readers a more nuanced — and useful — understanding of motivation based on solid empirical evidence.

Conventional wisdom has it that dreams are supposed to excite us and inspire us to act.

Putting this to the test, Dr. Oettingen recruits a group of undergraduate college students and randomly assigns them to two groups. 

1. She instructs the first group to fantasize that the coming week will be a knockout: good grades, great parties and the like. 

2. Students in the second group are asked to record all their thoughts and daydreams about the coming week, good and bad.

Strikingly, the students who were told to think positively felt far less energized and accomplished than those who were instructed to have a neutral fantasy. 

Blind optimism, it turns out, does not motivate people; instead, as Dr. Oettingen shows in a series of clever experiments

it creates a sense of relaxation complacency. 

It is as if in dreaming or fantasizing about something we want, our minds are tricked into believing we have attained the desired goal.

There appears to be a physiological basis for this effect: Studies show that just fantasizing about a wish lowers blood pressure, while thinking of that same wish — and considering not getting it — raises blood pressure. 

It may feel better to daydream, but it leaves you less energized and less prepared for action.

Thinking she could get people to act on their wishes by confronting them immediately with the real obstacles that stood in their way, Dr. Oettingen and her colleagues developed a technique called mental contrasting.
In one study, she taught a group of third graders a mental-contrast exercise: 

1 They were told to imagine a candy prize they would receive if they finished a language assignment, and 
2 then to imagine several of their own behaviors that could prevent them from winning. 
 The students who did the mental contrast outperformed those who just dreamed.
So much for the relentless “you can do it” attitude that pervades our culture. 

Apparently, being mindful not just of your dreams, but also of the real barriers that you or the world place in their way, is a far more effective way of achieving your goals.
It seems like an obvious and deceptively simple concept, yet according to the author, only one in six people spontaneously thinks this way when asked what accomplishment is foremost in his or her mind.

Of course, people can spend years in psychotherapy exploring the reasons they have failed to succeed, too often with little to show for their efforts. 

But insight, as most mental health professionals know, is rarely sufficient to change behavior, and Dr. Oettingen says such therapy is probably unnecessary for many people.

Instead, she offers a simpler and faster alternative, an extension of her empirically validated mental contrasting exercise. She calls it:

  WOOP — “wish, outcome, obstacle, plan.”

According to preliminary data the author presents, mental contrasting can lead to better eating habits, an improved exercise regimen and greater control over alcohol consumption, among other benefits. 

Dr. Oettingen has even developed free app for your smartphone, called, appropriately, WOOP.

Dr. Richard A. Friedman is a professor of clinical psychiatry at Weill Cornell Medical College.

A version of this review appears in print on December 23, 2014, on page D5 of the New York edition with the headline: Dare to Dream of Falling Short.