Posts Tagged ‘Happy’

Male and Female Brains Really Are Built Differently

Male (upper) and female (lower) brain connections (PNAS)


The hemispheres of women’s brains are more interconnected. Does that matter?

By Olga Khazan

“Ready your knowing smirk, because here comes a scientific gem that’s sure to enliven even the dullest of holiday parties.

By analyzing the MRIs of 949 people aged 8 to 22, scientists at the University of Pennsylvania found that male brains have more connections within each hemisphere, while female brains are more interconnected between hemispheres.

Yes, take that, Mike from IT! It, like, so explains why you just dropped the eggnog while attempting to make flirty conversation with Janet from Accounting.

Just kidding; we still have no idea why men or women do anything in particular. But the study, released today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, is interesting because it is one of the first to discover differences in the brain’s structural connectivity in a large sample size of people from a variety of age groups.

Male (upper) and female (lower) brain connections (PNAS)

By analyzing the subjects’ MRIs using diffusion imaging, the scientists explored the brains’ fiber pathways, the bundles of axons that act as highways routing information from one part of the mind to the other. After grouping the image by sex and inspecting the differences between the two aggregate “male” and “female” pictures, the researchers found that in men, fiber pathways run back and forth within each hemisphere, while in women they tend to zig-zag between the left, or “logical,” and right, or “creative,” sides of the brain.

Because female brains seem to have a stronger connections between their logical and intuitive parts, “when women are asked to do particularly hard tasks, they might engage very different parts of the brain,” said Ragini Verma, an associate professor of radiology at the University of Pennsylvania and one of the authors of the report. “Men might over-engage just one part of the brain.”

Child (B), adolescent (C), and adult (D) brains (PNAS)

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Moods and different disorders


Mayo Clinic describes the mood swings of bipolar disorder:

“Mood: mood swings, sadness, elevated mood, anger, anxiety, apathy, apprehension, euphoria, general discontent, guilt, hopelessness, loss of interest, or loss of interest or pleasure in activities.”



My two cents: Ptsd sufferers experience all these moods except for the euphoria. I guess we are just polar.

Childhood abuse makes euphoria very rare. Manic is a mental state I am unfamiliar with.

Rudid96 somatic therapist told him, “Live the latter portion of life with integrity. “

That’s some abstract doo-doo, what the hell does that mean?

If we suffer from PTSD we lack integrity? Not a road I would travel down.

I do not see the connection, I fight like hell to get out of pain.

Integrity and Ptsd: we already have a tough time with self-image, so equating healing to integrity seems a bad judgment, in my opinion.

integrity is a label, a judgment.



Rudid96 asks is the Ego bad? ………….No!




“Is the Ego all ‘bad’? Is it the repository of false thoughts, feelings, & actions? Or, does it hold some value? I was wondering if all those thoughts were a form of energy gone awry? In the grand scheme of life, even coach roaches hold some value.”



My two cents: The Ego is created to separate us or identify us from others. I am Marty, you are Rudid96, my rewards and punishments can be properly distributed from society.

One more time Rudid96, my meditation practice, or my ability to focus intently on my breath, allows me to take a step back and observe my Ego.

We are not obligated to ever listen to our Ego.



Let the Ego identity us, then let loose of those voids, the need for constant approval, the curse of worrying, doubting, and separating.

Stay present, observe what the senses bring to you, refrain from judgment.

In this space, the ego has faded from consciousness, reality is available for us.

Dissociation, thinking about things in the past or future is the highway for the “Ego” to gain control of us.

The “Ego” is a positive creation for normal kids and a damaged one for abused kids.

Our childhood abuse helped create an unworthy Ego filled with shame, failure, and unworthiness.

The next issue to maneuver stems from the Ego never feeling equal to another equal.

That can lead to drama, turmoil, and harsh emotions without proper perspective.

We can change the Ego, alter some of the abusive thoughts into more positive feelings.

Our goal is to keep the Ego’s desires in perspective.

In common man terms, the Ego is the cognitive invention, he/she compares everything and everyone it encounters, then adds strong emotions to gain power.

The true self is the heartfelt intuition that arrives from deep inside.

Our intuition is the opposite of thought, it is our true compass.

The Ego is clueless for direction and impact on our life.

The Ego’s behavior is harmful at times, we need to know when he/she goes astray.

Long-time meditating monks navigate life with so much less ego than us.

Does that explain why they enjoy such a euphoric existence?


I think wonderment happens when we are not involved in thought.


Thought is not the greatest power of our mind, in fact it is a small part of our capability.

You can not find the Ego without connection to thought.

We should try to think as little as possible. Limit dissociation and suffering, direct thought, never wander into memory.



What does my Practice look like?……..Spaces earned


For instance, after my morning activities, a cup of decafe, writing a post, reading the blogs and news of the day, my nervous system starts to rev up.

Instinctively, a few slow breaths give me a little space to explore.

This space to explore was earned with daily practice meditating.

I meditated when I was triggered, struggled to focus and stay present for months.

Then one day, my focused breaths calmed the monster, dissipated the cortisol and adrenaline, shocking the hell out of me.

No indication during this long journey was this guaranteed.

I felt like I was on another planet, dealing with a mind and nervous system that did whatever it felt like doing.

Finally, I witnessed the power of meditation all those books had described.

My fight or flight mechanism had reset back to my normal.

This is the mechanical side of PTSD.

Handling the intrusive thoughts and triggers becomes much easier without the adrenal stress response firing intermittently.

This space we create can be used to decide whether to react to a stimulus.

I had a second to decide before assuming an emotion or judgment.

One day a friend made a comment that immediately angered me, but in that space, I decided not to verbalize it.

I took a breath, then released that feeling.

Later, assessing the incident, I was happy for not reacting, my perception was faulty.

What we hear may not be what they intended.

I express anger much less these days.

What weakness do you react quickly, harshly to?



The mind, ,,,,,,our freeway system

Pixabay prvideotv


Pay attention to what you are doing!

How many times did you hear that as a kid?

If you observe a seasoned meditator, a few things become apparent.

They move with purpose, not fast, not slow, a mind uncluttered by thoughts functions at a higher level.

Think about a city like Los Angeles, the freeway system is our brains pathways. Getting from one area to the next can be congested, confused, gridlock, or easy sailing.

An accomplished meditator has a freeway system with light to sporadic traffic, rarely reaching rush-hour congestion.

In Los Angeles as in our head, some traffic is always out there, even at two in the morning.

Thoughts, negative emotions, trauma, anxiety, and our identity narrative make up the traffic.

Thoughts follow us through our history, memories of loss or embarrassment, prevent us from trying new things.

Optimum wellbeing happens when traffic is low, focus is strongest and thoughts have receded peacefully…

How do we reach this point?

I reach this point at times, euphoric for me, but my issue is staying there long enough to enjoy my wellbeing.

Inside our mind, we decide how much traffic flows on our freeway.



Permanent things, an old post



On my arduous journey with childhood trauma, I have found a few constants, permanent things, only a few.

Life is complex, things we thought vital in our youth, fade in importance as we age.

Things I coveted have changed in value, possessions get damaged, stolen, or worn out. Status, beauty, and health all deteriorate with time. My trophies took enormous effort, grueling competitiveness to attain, now they collect dust out of sight.

What seemed to hold ultimate happiness, disappoints quickly, then fades to the next challenge.

How many times have we chased things, college, career, status, fame, etc. searching for happiness, only to find nothing behind it.

The band that dreams of a miracle hit, expecting lasting happiness, finds intense pressure in a cutthroat business to write more hits quickly, instead.

The greatest, most expensive meal in the world, turns to hunger in six hours.

Fulfilling desire does not quench the beast, it feeds it.

What endures.

For me, two things off the top of my head, giving and gratitude are constants me. My emotions peak and valley like a big rollercoaster, but I am a giver and appreciate what I have.

Giving without regard for reward is called loving-kindness by the Buddhists, a tenet of wellbeing.

Giving has always been a part of my life, being able to run a blog that helps others improve, is precious in my life.

The bond I share with a few on this healing path endures and matures.

I always count my blessings and know others have it much tougher than me.

My meditation practice is permanent, a daily companion who asks no toll for soothing my being.

My permanent things have an abstract quality to them, unlike possesssions, we protect from thieves.

You can not steal my kindness, gratitude, or meditation practice. They cost nothing but are more valuable than all my possesssions.

The few things that I will leave this earth with.

How about you, what is permanent in your life?



Responsibility: accept or suffer!

Pixabay Bru-nO


From the “Undefeated Mind”

“In the elderly, feeling a sense of responsibility has been found not only to improve daily functioning but also to increase lifespan. 

In a study of nursing home patients by researchers Ellen Langer and Judith Rodin, residents on one floor were given a plant for which they themselves were expected to care (the experimental group) while residents on another floor were given a plant for which their nurses would care (the control group). 

After three weeks, 93 percent of residents in the experimental group showed an overall improvement in socialization, alertness, and general function; in contrast, for 71 percent of residents in the control group functioning actually declined.

And in a follow-up study eighteen months later, half as many of the residents who’d received plants for which they were expected to care by themselves had died as the residents who’d been given plants for which their nurses cared.

Finally, perhaps the most significant way in which embracing a sense of personal responsibility increases resilience is by motivating action (remember, resilience is also defined by our ability to persevere through obstacles).

In fact, feeling responsible for achieving an outcome may motivate us even more powerfully than our desire to achieve it.

After all, a sense of responsibility often makes us do things we don’t want to do.”


My two cents: Sedentary is closer to death, action closer to life, no matter age or IQ.

“A sense of responsibility often makes us do things we don’t want to do”, whatever it takes, we have to take action to heal.

Sedentary is the frozen part of the adrenal stress response, avoidance, and denial run away from responsibility.

Healing takes action, no pill is going to heal us.

PTSD: Revenge or Forgiveness?


For me, intrusive thoughts are the big issue living with PTSD.

Once a trauma memory gets rolling all the negative emotions engulf us. 

One of my weaknesses is wanting revenge, wanting my abusers to pay a price, basic human nature.

This has not worked out well, actually it has damaged me more, made me suffer.

Forgiveness has been difficult, I have many harshly held resentments for the damage done to me.

This is the essence of PTSD for me now.

My PTSD has become a hybrid form since many of my traumas have been integrated or partially healed.

How much time my intrusive thoughts spend in my consciousness determines the outcome of everyday.

For that reason my mantra, I forgive everyone for everything they have done to harm me, was shortened.

I made the acronym FEE, Forgive Everyone Everything.

When an intrusive thought invades my space, immediately the acronym FEE appears followed by forgive everyone everything. 


Am I a little OCD?

Repetition till it’s reflexive and intuitive makes our acronym much more effective.

Know your mind, it’s patterns and habits intimately.

When intrusive thoughts are broken, the emotions attached do not get a chance to draw me in.

This is a war between me and my PTSD, who will dominate my thoughts is the ultimate winner.

I healed the first time by not thinking about my father or my abuse.

So far it has helped clear my day of some of traumas turmoil.

Anything we can do to stay present, to stop dissociating, leaving this moment to ruminate, bodes well for us.



Sharing my personal stuff



There was little sharing of personal abuse when I started this blog. I rarely wrote about specifics, did not feel safe enough.

I have mixed feelings about sharing as I do now. If it helps others, I support that part.

Then, times like now, I am shocked to see my pain in print.

We can massage a lot inside our heads. I can look in the mirror and take off ten pounds, but a photo taken later that day will put it back on.

I can convince myself things are not that bad, but reading my post, scared me. Things suck for me as I read.

My pain is undeniable, my attempts to minimize my PTSD drops away with my own words in a post.

In a way it makes me more determined to change it.

One thing I see in my posts, I always pick myself up and go back at it.

I do not expect to heal but I expect to be out of PTSD pain.

That would be happiness for me.

Some would say that is not asking much, but some of you know, we would do almost anything to be free of PTSD.

Happy Healing!



Some feelings from childhood never left



On my journey much of my trauma has been integrated, great improvement has been achieved. How much more remains, I have no clue.

I lived a complete childhood fearing what was going to happen, and terrible things happened every week.

Now it is the unknown, out there. With our trust issues we believe harm is close.

How do you change that kind of fear, that feeling something bad is going to happen. I have always lived with that feeling deep inside.

I would ask others, what it is like not to feel this way? I guess this is why autonomy and worthiness are strangers to us.

I do not remember a time, when I felt confident life was safe. I have been happy at times but that never eliminated that doom was near. So any happiness was rigid and contained, able to be destroyed in a second.

Failure, loss, ridicule and suffering happened multiple times every week.

How do you change a nervous system trained to fire at imminent danger every week as a kid.

My nervous system never knew a safe space, never felt safe.

I always had to go back home as a child.

When your trapped for 16 years like this, our nervous systems will never resemble a normal persons.

Realizing this fact, let’s me set expectations that are realistic.

If I think happiness is being like a normal person, that is never going to happen.

We can achieve happiness but it will be entirely different.

I do not expect to trust others but I do expect to be happy.

I know others have their subconscious fears of the unknown.



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