But not because men and women are from different planets. As a recent study showed, in truth, both are from the same planet Earth; they share more in common, at least intellectually, mentally and emotionally, than they are different.
And the differences? Well, let’s just say, “Vive la difference!”
Myths that baffle men and women?
You wouldn’t know how much men and women have in common from what science and other writings have proclaimed for centuries, and in more recent decades, media and entertainment industries (and especially pornography) have reinforced and embellished mythical portrayals of women as potentially dangerous to men, akin to unruly children who must be dominated, not trusted or spoiled (“for their own good”).
Myths of romanticized dominance (eroticized, for men) still prevail. It’s not unusual for male partners to think its their job, on the one hand, to fix or set their partners straight, tell them what to do or think, scold or punish if she doesn’t follow his advice, and then blame her for making him feel inadequate for not allowing him to do his job.
While it may feel he has failed, the real problem largely lies in a set of strategies men are conditioned from boyhood to use in order to deliberately block emotional intimacy.
Despite misconceptions, as discussed in Part 1, expressing anger is a choice between actions that are defensive in nature and thus increase distance between us, and actions that are effective in increasing our understanding of one another, and keeping communication lines open.
Just as the uses and benefits of lemons are more numerous and significant than most can imagine, so are the possibilities of anger, when expressed effectively, to clarify, spark and produce a deepening of our connections with self and other, and emotional intimacy.
Truth be told, the ability to handle (listen to, feel and express, etc.) anger effectively is essential in building strong, mutually enriching and mature relationships. And, because our brain is a relationship organ, our personal wellbeing is all about how we “do” relationships. In the words of top selling author and personal success expert Brian Tracy notes, “relationships are the hallmark of the mature person.”
To learn how to regulate and express anger effectively, however, like any thing else, it’s essential to better understand our anger, its potential benefits as a healthy emotion, its risks and potentially damaging impact.
Also like anger, lemons are balancing agents. They cleanse and set the pH in your body in balance. At the same time, they were never intended by nature to be digested as a main course.
The health benefits of lemons are many, in other words, if you know when and how much to use in proportion to other ingredients, and so on.
Similarly, anger is an emotion that activates, as an agent that helps you regulate and reset the balance of seemingly opposing inner strivings — to stay connected to your self and life around you – yet never meant to be overused as an emotion to hide or to hide behind.
Safe to say, the inability to handle emotional distress is widespread enough to consider it a national pandemic.
The pandemic is connected to anxious ways we have learned to avoid, deny or strongly react to emotions that are uncomfortable or painful.
We learn these desperate ways of dealing with painful emotions in childhood and carry them into our relationships in adulthood. Whether our primary response to distress is a strategy that activates overwhelm, angry outbursts or emotional shutdown, all of these cause reactivity in us that unnecessarily activates our body’s survival system.
This pandemic is related to cultural mores that overall relegate painful emotions as signs of weaknesses, inferiority or defect that need to be fixed, ignored or even eliminated.
To complicate matters, some of these teachings consist of gender taboos; some emotions are considered unmanly for men to express, and other emotions too manly for women.
It’s not rocket science. To be at your very best, you need a set of conscious choices that protect your happiness, and this often means, as explored in Part 1, taking steps to protect your physical and emotional health from blood-sugar imbalances caused by the food and drink you put into your body.
In this post, we’ll look at a few ideas on how to prepare in advance for holiday gatherings, more specifically, to think with the end in mind by planning your choices in advance, and use your brain’s power of imagination to “rehearse” the priorities you set – so that you may enjoy yourself while also making healthy choices.
Actions without conscious thought? Confusion!
Modern brain-scan technology has made what may be the most incredible discovery of all time about you, that: Your brain is capable of amazing feats. It’s ever ready to help you make continuous changes throughout your life.
In fact, it performs these functions automatically without your conscious involvement, continuously rewiring and reshaping itself.
The holidays are when our hope for good will and joy, love and meaningful connections is kindled. Perhaps because of this they can also be times of stress and emotional ups and downs when hopes are dashed. Like it or not, we are relationship beings after all. From the cradle to the grave according to researcher John Bowlby, nothing concerns our brains and bodies more.
The bottom line is this: Most all human behaviors are motivated by our inner hardwired emotional strivings to meaningfully connect with others and life, to matter. As real as inner drives for physical sustenance, we’re wired with core emotional drives, or needs, to love and be loved, to be recognized and valued, to find purpose — and contribute one’s love in life, and feel our love matters.
Here we look at questions that can reboot our brains, as needed, especially when it comes to getting out of fear-inducing, toxic thinking patterns spawned by rhetorical-why loops, and back to normal optimal functioning.
In a breakthrough study published in the academic journal Science, researchers found newly formed memories associated with fear can be “erased” by disrupting the “reconsolidation” process that affects the memory content.
Using an MR-scanner, by repeatedly exposing subjects to the same memory without the fear previously associated with it, all traces of fear was dissipated from the part of the brain (the amygdala in the temporal lobe) that stores fearful memories.
In Part 1 we discussed the difference between a ‘real’ question and a ‘rhetorical-why’ loop, and how the rhetorical-why-loop is more like an indictment because of its intent.
Here we look at how rhetorical-why-loop questions trip up our brain in ways that impair essential operations.
That’s dangerous. Why?
A recent study published in the Journal of Experimental Psychology found that the subconscious has a much larger impact than science previously held on our response to perceived danger. This effect can impair our ability to rationally assess danger.
When the body’s in survival mode (and fear puts the ego-self is in charge of bodily processes), it makes little distinction between physical and emotional threats to survival – a snake in the woods and a comment perceived as rejection are handled in similar fashion. The one and only goal of the body is to protect, defend, erect walls, and the like, for the purpose of survival.
The holidays are officially here with the celebration of Thanksgiving, the official kick-off for the holiday season. Like many, you may have mixed feelings of joyous expectation on the one hand, and dread on the other wishing you could “enjoy” the holidays this year without stalling your healthy-eating and exercise goals – or feeling emotionally drained by the demands and expectations of family and the season.
Questions are great brain boosters. They can energize us to start a new behavior, or to break free and let go of an old one. That’s because questions can stimulate powerful emotions, such as curiosity or wonder, which put our brains in first gear, raring to go and learn. Some questions, that is.
A ground-breaking study by Swiss researchers published in Nature revealed that, though the neurons of the amygdala play a key part in processing fear, other areas, more specifically, the higher cortex can also play a key role in regulating the fear response and modulating new emotional learning. Thus fear does not have to debilitate our capacity to make better choices.
And, when it comes to dealing with fears, a good question can empower us to muster the courage to face challenges and fears, and perhaps discover new possibilities in the process!
Not all questions, however, energize optimal processes and our brain’s amazing capacity to learn and create new understanding in the process. Some questions achieve the opposite, and some of these aren’t ‘real’ questions.