Your Brain Articles

Pornography: Why It’s Guaranteed to Block Healthy Sexual Relations, 1 of 2

Thursday, August 28th, 2014

images-160Based on decades of research, marketing strategists know what few consumers come to realize, and that is: how powerful beliefs are in shaping human behaviors — and that beliefs can be altered subconsciously, without consent or knowledge.

How does it work? By associating carefully crafted ideas that spark emotions of pleasure or fear (or both), accordingly, with preexisting human drives (hardwired by nature), and repeating these ideas over and over.

This inside knowledge of how human beings learn and change can be beneficial. It is used by sports psychologists and professional coaches to train top athletes and Olympic champions, for example. And, it’s also used by therapists, consultants and coaches to help others break free of  reactive or addictive patterns of relating, and other problem behaviors.

It is science, not theory.

Consider what happens however when this knowledge is used with little or no regard to people’s personal, relational health, and society as a whole.

This makes mass media a formidable force, sociologically speaking, when it comes to shaping cultural values, a top competitor for the hearts and minds of children and adults alike — previously mostly socialized by family, and in varying degree also the institutions of education and church.

Perhaps the most formidable category of mass media to ever enter the equation of what socializes and shapes men and women’s thoughts, beliefs, behaviors and relationships, is unquestionably the porn industry.

The motive of marketing strategists naturally is to sell products for monetary gain, and that in itself is good, no red-blooded American would deny this. As Pulitzer Prize investigative reporter for The Times reported, however, in his published research on the junk food industry, Salt Sugar Fat: How the Food Giants Hooked Us, food companies intentionally design food to get consumers to get addicted so that they buy more, eat more, drink more, and are free to do so, with no concern for the public, and the lives destroyed, ended by food addiction.

Pornography may not be a new industry, however it has exploded as top money maker, thanks to the internet and easy access and availability. It’s also highly addictive, and among other damaging effects, is associated with erectile dysfunction.

In the last few decades the porn industry …


Transformative Change: Five Steps to Empower Your Mind to Create a New Reality

Sunday, August 17th, 2014

426205_304363682960636_584253324_n               So what is transformative change about?

One way to think of transformative change is as an inner capacity you have to create the happiness and meaning in life that you’re naturally included to realize.

More specifically, it is a conscious way of thinking about your self and life that increasingly moves you in directions of seeking to learn and to keep stretching your ability to love your self and life around you, thus transforming your self and levels of happiness and meaning in the process.

In a nutshell, what you most aspire is a creative force in your life. Literally, you become what you most aspire. My clients often hear me say, “Be mindful of what you most want. You’ll succeed in creating it.”

Don’t take my word for it, do a quick check of what you’ve most yearned for from a child. In what ways do you have what you’re most focused on?

To understand yourself is to understand the nature of the power you have to literally create your own inner reality, thus inner resonance of energy, based on the belief systems you hold in your consciousness, of which you may or may not be aware. After all, most of the information that is collected by your senses is automatically ‘edited’ by your brain, and this editing is directly based on what you (learned to…) most deeply believe about yourself and world. Your beliefs (perceptions, interpretations, ways you explain the world in and around you…etc.) produce images in your mind and body to match the worldview you’ve been conditioned to believe.

Consider how your eyes have a blind spot where the optic nerve connects to the eye in the center of the retina. This part of your eye can’t see anything and your brain automatically weaves an imaginary picture together based on assumptions of what it expects from pre-conditioned experiences or beliefs. Hypnosis also give us indications of how ‘reality’ is created mostly inside us, and not ‘out there’ as most of us learn to believe.

These examples show how your life experience changes when you change one or more of your most basic assumptions …


Predictors of Infidelity: Why Do Partners Cheat?

Thursday, August 7th, 2014

images-492Though men and women’s sexual behaviors seem to blur on TV, movies and entertainment, researchers and professionals who treat couples indicate key differences persist.

In a recent study of predictors of infidelity in couple relationships, the findings overall indicated men and women overall seem to follow the stereotypes. The focus on sex, performance, variety and frequency tends to be driven by men, while the focus on emotional connection and nonsexual affection by women.

Drs. Mark, Janssen and Milhausen found no significant differences in rates of infidelity of men, with 23 percent for men and 19 percent for women, however, what predicted infidelity differed for men and women. Predictors for men in the study had more to do with personality traits, such as performance anxiety, a propensity for getting sexually excited by triggers, and so on, whereas relationship factors, such as emotional intimacy, partnership, etc., carried significantly more weight for women.

The reasons women cheat seem more related to unfulfilled expectations or failure, their own or partner’s, with regard to developing a deeper emotional connection. In contrast, author and sex addiction expert Robert Weiss states in an article on why men cheat that when it comes to sex, “men tend to be most aroused by a visual succession of body parts and sexual acts” where as women are “aroused by sexualized and romanticized emotional connections between people more than body parts.”


Genuine Love: Four Mantras to Calm Storms (& Feel Safe Enough to Remain, Present & Connected )

Thursday, July 31st, 2014

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Human beings yearn to be loved, and feeling loved and valued connects us to feeling safe and secure. In a recent book titled, True Love: A Practice for Awakening the Heart, author and Zen monk Thich, offers couples a series of practices to help them deepen their connection to what he calls four components of love: loving kindness, compassion, joy and freedom.

One of these practices are four mantras for partners to verbalize out loud to one another or quietly to themselves, as needed. Creating love is about energizing greater intimacy. Genuine intimacy is an emotional state of being; it is more about how your choices affect the quality of energy inside you and your partner — and less about overt actions. If you are in a place where you feel totally safe from the world when you reach for your partner or are in your partner’s arms — and — they feel t0tally safe when they reach or are in yours … that’s genuine intimacy.

Couples can use the following mantras to create a sense of love and safety, personal and relational happiness:


The Neuroscience of Addictive Love: Attributes of Love Addiction

Tuesday, July 15th, 2014

images-205What is this thing called ‘love’? Plato labeled love an ‘irrational desire,” and song titles such as “The Things We Do For Love,” as well as lyrics of songs such as “Why Do Fools Fall In Love,” convey the befuddling impact love relationships can have on human brains. For human beings, men and women alike, there is perhaps no bigger fascination or obsession for the senses, heart and mind, body and spirit.

The good news from fields of neuroscience and intimacy (known as social neuroscience, attachment, affective neuroscience and cognitive neuroscience) is that up-close studies of the brain mechanisms underlying behavior in social relationships have taken much of the mystery out of our quest to understand couple relationships.

As Dr. Sue Johnson states in a recent book, Hold Me Tight, quite the contrary, love relationships seem to be governed by an “exquisite logic” that follows rather precise algorithms. Bonding behaviors, it turns out, are less of a mystery and more a science.

We now understand, for example, there are neurochemical reasons why we tend to make poor decisions in certain relational contexts.


Personal Power: How to Own It (& Stop Giving It Away) In Your Couple Relationship, 1 of 2

Tuesday, July 8th, 2014

COUPLESIn successful relationships, partners take the basics seriously, and handle the yearnings of each to feel heard and understood as unique beings as really, really important; in short, they treat one another with dignity, recognizing their own and one another’s personal power.

As top trial lawyer Gerry Spence notes, what we face when we interact with one another, is what we most fear in our relationships, and that is: the power of the other as an agent of their choices.

The other has the power, for example, to choose to say no, to deny some need, want or yearning, and so on, and because this directly challenges our own sense of personal power (to realize dreams, wants and needs), it touches our deepest intimacy fears, such as fear of inadequacy, rejection, abandonment.

Not surprisingly, this dynamic is particularly intense in couple relationships.


What Does Reactivity Say? Finding Balance in Your Couple Relationship (Beneath the Surface)?

Friday, June 27th, 2014

images-663Recent findings on the brain and intimacy remind us that all communications, regardless their delivery, are attempts to emotionally connect. We are wired for love and empathic connection.

With this in mind, let’s explore what defensive patterns in your couple relationship are saying to you and your partner. To be sure, your brains and emotions, thoughts and feelings, are doing what they’re designed to do whenever you or your partner perceive a threat, in this case, a threat to meeting a core attachment or intimacy (love) need.

What does reactivity say about what’s going on beneath the surface of your couple relationship?


A Science-of-Love Approved Checklist of 12 Wedding Vows, 1 of 2

Wednesday, June 25th, 2014

Noel + Hannah Will Marlow via Compfight

A recent article on Science of Relationships outlined a list of ten research-based wedding vows. Based on findings, Samantha Joel outlined vows that, if followed, would best guarantee marital bliss. The below list of 12 vows is adapted from the original.

1. “I vow to think highly of you, and seek to know and appreciate you for who you are, as well as who you aspire to become.”

This vow draws from research on the power of imagination, more specifically, the use of positive illusions or imagination, as a creative force, a self-fulfilling prophecy of sorts. Based on the findings of Dr. Sandara Murray and colleagues, partners who maintained positive illusions of the other and their relationship were more likely to eventually create it. When you view your partner in a positive light, whether you do so consciously or not, the benefits include not only giving your partner a personal feel-good, but also increasing their sense of security in relation to you. 


Body Wisdom: Understanding the Language of Your Body, 1 of 2

Monday, June 16th, 2014

InnocenceCreative Commons License Hartwig HKD via Compfight

Like or love it, you and your body are a highly sophisticated communication network that operates 24/7 around the clock every day of your life.

Neuroscience and other studies of the brain and human relationships have taught us a lot about the brain in the last two decades. We know that to understand and organize our thinking experience of the world, we must necessarily learn language—and all of its syntax and grammatical complexities. In much the same way, we must learn to understand and organize our experience of our body’s own language — emotion and sensory cues — with its unique grammar and syntax rules.


Does Your Brain Trick You Out of Happiness In Your Love Relationship?

Saturday, June 7th, 2014

Valentine's Day

Sergiu Bacioiu via Compfight

When you and your partner discuss a hot topic, do you handle it in a way that enriches your relationship — and ultimately your happiness — or does your experience put more emotional distance between you and polarize your positions? Many couples fall in the latter category.

Think about it. It’s tempting, isn’t it, to use our capacity for logic to build a case against the other? The feel-good neurochemicals in our brain pull us in this direction, particularly, if we’ve experienced this reaction in early experiences with parents (and who hasn’t?).


 

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  • Athena Staik, Ph.D.: Thanks for the message star. Yes it’s true; we all have the same traits, positive and...
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