Tuesday, September 24, 2013

TABERNACLES.... Gratitude and Laughter

Very  important  aspects of the Feast of Tabernacles, and for that matter all your life.
From the book: "Change Your Brain Change Your Body"  by  Dr. Amen.

Practice gratitude. If you want your brain to work better, be grateful for the good things in your life. Psychologist Noelle Nelson and I did a study on gratitude and appreciation. She was working on a book called The Power of Appreciation and had her brain scanned twice. The first time she was scanned after thirty minutes of meditating on all the things she was thankful for in her life. After the 'appreciation meditation' her brain looked very healthy.
Then she was scanned several days later after focusing on the major fears in her life. One of her fears was about what would happen if her dog got sick and she couldn't work. She had a string of frightening thoughts: "If my dog got sick, I couldn't go to work because I would have to stay home to care for him. If I didn't go to work, however, I would lose my job.... If I lost my job, I wouldn't have enough money to take my dog to the vet and he would likely die.... If the dog died, I would be so depressed I still wouldn't be able to go back to work.... Then I would lose my home, and be homeless."
I scanned her brain after she mulled on these thoughts. Her frightened brain looked very, different from her healthy gratitude brain, and snowed seriously decreased activity in two parts of her brain. Her cerebellum had completely shut down. The cerebellum, also called the little brain, is involved in physical coordination, such as walking or playing sports. New research also suggests that the cerebellum is imrobred in processing speed, like clock speed on a computer and thought coordination or how quickly we can integrate new information. When the cerebellum is low in activity, people tend to be clumsier and less likely to think their ways out of problems. They think and process information more slowly and get confused more easily.

The other area of her brain that was affected was the temporal lobes, especially the one on the left. The temporal lobes are involved with mood, memory, and temper control. Problems in this part of the brain are associated with some forms of depression, but also dark thoughts, violence, .and memory problems. In Noelle's scans, when she practiced gratitude, her temporal lobes looked healthy. When she frightened herself with negative thinking, her temporal lobes became much less active. Negative thought patterns change the brain in a negative way. Practicing gratitude literally helps you have a brain to be grateful for.
Focusing on the good things in your life can make you happier regardless of your circumstances, according to decades of research from Dr. Martin Selig-man, the renowned director of the University of Pennsylvania Positive Psychology Center. Seligman promotes the fascinating concept of positive psychology, which is based on the theory that happiness isn't the result of good genes, rather that it can be cultivated. In his book Authentic Happiness, he writes that showing gratitude on a daily basis is one of the keys to increasing your sense of joy, happiness, and life satisfaction.
Here is a quick gratitude exercise you can try. Write down five things you are grateful for every day. Use the form provided, make copies of it, or just use a notepad to write down the things you are grateful for. The act of writing helps to solidify them in your brain. In my experience, when depressed patients did this exercise every day, they actually needed less antidepressant medication. Other researchers have also found that people who express gratitude on a regular basis are healthier, more optimistic, make more progress toward their goals, have a greater sense of well-being, and are more helpful to others. Doctors who regularly practice gratitude are actually better at making the correct diagnoses on their patients........
Laugh more. There is a growing body of scientific literature suggesting that laughter counteracts stress and is good for the immune system. It is no joke! One study of cancer patients found that laughter reduced stress and improved cell activity associated with increased resistance to the disease.
According to the University of California, Irvine's Professor Lee Berk, "If we took what we know about the medical benefits of laughter and bottled it up, it would require FDA approval. Laughter lowers the flow of dangerous stress hormones that suppress the immune system, raise blood pressure, and increase the number of platelets, which cause clots and potentially fatal coronary artery blockages. Laughter also eases digestion and soothes stomachaches, a common symptom of chronic stress. Plus, a good rollicking guffaw increases the release of endorphins, which makes you feel better and more relaxed. Laughter truly maybe the best medicine when it comes to stress relief.
The average child laughs hundreds of times a day. The average adult laughs only a dozen times a day. Inject more humor into your everyday life. Watch comedies (this could be a helpful form of TV), go to comedy clubs, go to humorous children's plays, read joke books (my favorite is The Far Side by Gary Larson, which is pretty sick, but I am a psychiatrist after all), and swap jokes with your friends and coworkers.
I can't stress enough (pun intended) how important it is to learn to laugh at yourself too. When you drop the milk jug and it goes splashing across the kitchen floor, when you call a business associate by the wrong name, or when you stumble over your words while teaching a class, be the first to chuckle at yourself. When you stop taking yourself so seriously, your stress levels will subside.


EXAMPLES: I'LL  USE  MARILYN  (MONROE)  AGAIN; from the book "Marilyn Monroe - Private and Confidential" (published 2012)

......Marilyn's pianist, Alan, remembers some happy moments at Parkside House, when she helped him with his study of poet and essayist Walt Whitman: Marilyn came in and asked what I was doing. She chose a passage for me and we discussed it. One day I couldn't find my manuscript and went into the drawing room. There was Marilyn propped up on cushions on the sofa with tatty robe and curlers and slippers, holding the paper. One passage had been causing me trouble and Marilyn told me how I should treat it. She wrote, "This has to be read loving, doesn't it?" on the paper.
'One day I was listening to Gracie Fields and Marilyn asked who it was. She listened and giggled, and got the drift of what it was about. She wanted to learn how to talk like her and did a pretty/good job of it. She wouldn't say "damn" though because she tnought it was rude. She also liked George Formby and was fascinated by the fun and the banjo playing. Marilyn laughed like a drain at the rude bits. She would sing. Gracie Fields around the house which was surreal. She was very quick to pick things up and didn't do a bad job of it'.......

(Gracie Fields  was  Britain's  Classical  very High  soprano  who  was  also  a  comedian, and sang pop songs also.  George Formby  was  Britain's old  film  star  comedian  who  sang  funny  songs  while  strumming  a  uke-banjo [like a 4 string banjo but with a short neck]. It was the first musical instrument I had at age 8, because of George Formby; I learned chords and strumming from a Formby book, but of course no where near as good, but it got me started)

.....1958 started "in much the same vein as 1957: weekdays in New York and most weekends and holidays in the country. It was around this time that a young artist by the name of Tom Tierney (who would later go on to write the successful Marilyn Monroe Paper Dolls book) met Marilyn and Arthur whilst living in a loft on First Avenue, New York: 'My neighbors on the top floor were Jack Hamilton and Charles Schneider. One was the movie editor for Look magazine and the other the movie editor for life. They had made their loft into a very elegant apartment with a wonderful view. After a few weeks I noticed that on each Saturday they seemed to be throwing a party and I asked [my friend] Shirley about it. She told me that actually they were holding interviews for actors and movie stars who wanted to be featured in their particular magazines.'
Eventually Tom was asked if he'd like to help out at the interview parlies and as such he occasionally worked as a greeter, making sure everyone coming into the apartment was comfortable and had drinks. One day there was a knock at the door, which Tom went to answer. He remembered: 'There stood Marilyn Monroe and Arthur Miller! Marilyn was a very quiet girl and Miller did all the talking, holding court for all and sundry. They came on several occasions so that I finally felt comfortable chatting with them, especially Marilyn.
'One day, in the middle of the week, I had cleaned up my studio and was carrying a couple of large paper bags full of crumpled paper, pencil shavings, and other debris down the stairs to put in the garbage cans in front of the building, when I was suddenly face to face with Marilyn coming up. Because my arms were full she couldn't get past me and she sweetly said, "Here Honey, let me help carry your packages down for you." I am probably the only fellow in the world who ever let Marilyn Monroe carry out his garbage! She was definitely a sweetheart... and I'll never forget our brief acquaintance.'........











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