Emotion

Thinking To Register For A Beginners Meditation Class? You Need This Guide More

If you were only allowed to take up one habit, what would it be? For me, it’s meditation. Unquestionably.

Why? Meditation has helped me perform better in every aspect of life. It helps me be more focused and get more done. It makes me more calm and peaceful so I don’t suffer from emotional fluctuations as I used to. More importantly, I have greater control over my mind so I can master the art of living in the present.

Wondering whether meditation can bring so many positive changes to one’s life? Let’s see what science says!

A Harvard research in year 2011 found that meditation can help increase the density of grey matter in the hippocampus of our brains, which is associated with the ability of learning, memory, self-awareness, compassion and introspection. Such restructuring of our brains can improve our mental health and make our minds sharper.[1]

What’s more surprising is meditation can rebuild our brains in only eight weeks! That means you don’t need to be an expert in meditation to reap the benefits.

▲ Subjects of the study demonstrated significant change of brain structure after practicing meditation for 8 weeks.[2]

Thinking of taking meditation as one of your habits but don’t know how to get started? Here are 6 things you can follow:

Look for a distraction-free environment

While an area with total silence is an ideal environment for meditation, it is not a must for everyone. If you think playing some light music can help relieve your stress and make you more relaxed, it’s definitely fine to do so when you meditate. Studies have shown that white noise can help lower our stress level and increase our concentration level.[3]

If you don’t want to meditate in a totally silent environment but have no idea of what to play, you can try start with this one:[4]

Meditate with the posture you feel comfortable

The Quarter Lotus is the most popular meditation posture. You sit on the floor cross-legged and rest your hands on your lap. And your back needs to keep straight throughout the process without slouching.

But if you are the one with chronic back pain problem, this posture may not be the best choice for you. Actually, what posture you have is not the key for meditation. You can also lie on your bed or the floor to meditate. The most important thing is the posture can make you completely relaxed. Here are some variations for you:[5][6]

But please be reminded that if you choose to meditate while lying down, you should keep yourself awake throughout the process.

Focus on your breathing tempo

Having the right breathing tempo is important as it can make you highly relaxed and concentrated, which is the ideal state for meditation.[7]

Close your eyes softly. Breathe as slowly and deeply as you can. Inhale with your nose and exhale from your mouth. If you do deep breathing correctly, you will feel your diaphragm is expanded and stretched.

Some people may even feel some…

Bees Have Emotions and Moods. But Do They Have Feelings and Consciousness?

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The honeybee is in deep trouble. Colony collapse disorder (CCD), a condition whose cause isn’t known, has occurred in 42% of colonies within the US, since 2015. CCD occurs when worker bees mysteriously disappear, leaving a queen and her young with no one to tend to them. Invasive species, the loss of habitat, gut parasites, certain pesticides, and other causes have been considered, but nothing is definitive yet.

Research is ongoing. The Obama administration did enact some measures to help protect bee populations which so far remain in place. But they won’t be enough. Without knowing what’s causing CCD, there can be no definitive plan in place to reverse it.

That’s a serious blow to our agricultural industry and could have disastrous consequences for our food supply. 70% of food bearing plants are pollinated by bees. Harvard scientists have a technological fix in place. They’ve developed a type of micro-robot to replace these crucial pollinators, nicknamed robobees. In truth, no one really knows if they can do the job.

What’s more, who will pay for the additional service, which nature normally provides for free? Most likely, the cost will be passed along to the consumer. That means higher food prices, at a time when more and more jobs are disappearing, and wages continue to come back at a crawling pace.

To combat the loss of the honeybee population and perhaps preserve their supply chain and mascot, Cheerios has launched a campaign called #BringBacktheBees. They’ve partnered with a seed company, and have already given away 100 million wildflower seeds to interested parties in the general public. By reestablishing the bees vanishing habitat, they hope to bring these insects back from the brink. Though they’ve already reached their goal, they still have more seeds to give away, should you be interested.

Colony collapse disorder (CCD) in France. Getty Images.

Perhaps we’d hear a far greater outcry and more would be invested, if the problem was packaged in a way that pulls at the heartstrings, rather than engages the intellect. Usually, we think of invertebrates as incapable of advanced emotions. Some of the latest experiments with bees however, are challenging this assumption.

These prodigious pollinators show a remarkably advanced understanding of patterns, can anticipate future ones, be taught behaviors, and we now have evidence that they display a range of emotions, even moods. Today, the bee crisis is packaged thusly—these service-providing drones are being snuffed out by a sterilized acronym. Instead, why not portray it as fellow, sentient beings suffering from an epidemic? This is Ebola for bees, people!

Need…

Happiness Isn’t About How Much You Have, But How Much You Enjoy Life

Many of us believe that the more we have, the happier we are. But is it really the truth?

As economy develops, we seems to be able to live a better life. Earning money to buy the things that we desire, that’s how it goes. But do these material possessions always guarantee long-lasting happiness?

There might be a time that you have been saving money to buy yourself something, like a new gadget, a luxury car, or a grand apartment. Yes, you might be uplifted at the moment but the delight never lasts. The happiness recedes after a day, a week, a month, a year, or a decade. The new gadget will become old, the luxury car will depreciate, the grand apartment will become boring.

The truth is that although we have much more than the previous generations do, we are not happy as we are supposed to be.

Probably we have fallen into traps which keep us away from the long-lasting happiness that we have been chasing for throughout our lives. Check if you have fallen into one of these 3 traps and try to get rid of them:

We play hard but become slaves of desires

There is a kind of people who always play hard and sometimes we call them the hedonist. The hedonists always strive to maximize pleasure and hunt for excitement to satisfy their desires without realizing the negative side of their behaviors. They only look for pleasure and try to escape from pain. It is not uncommon that they would gradually become the slaves of desires with only vanity left after the excitement fades away.

We work hard but suffer from the pain

The busy bee is the exact opposite of the hedonist. They work hard in exchange for more material possessions. They look for the pleasure that comes in the future but suffer from the present pain. They do not realize that they are just running on a treadmill, running hard but only marking time. Ironically, the material possessions that they work hard for can only give them temporary happiness.

We do nothing hard but lose the passion of life and the hope of future

Then, you might think that it is better not to play hard or work hard. However, being a nihilist can neither guarantee you long-lasting happiness. Being a nihilist is the worst case because the nihilists believe that life is meaningless. They do not enjoy what they have got at the moment, nor do they have any hope for the future. Without passion and hope, one can hardly have feel any kind of happiness.

We spend years living our lives on this planet and it would be a pity if we cannot get a taste of what it is like to be truly happy. Easy come, easy go. The long-lasting…

The 8 Most Popular Psychological Studies of 2016

If you’re like me, you’re addicted to the results of psychological studies. Maybe it’s because the world is changing so rapidly, or because the advent of new scientific techniques has allowed us to literally see into the human mind. Or maybe it’s cause some of them are just juicy and weird.

Also, I’m a total internet click junkie.

Whatever the reason, I love this stuff. So, to feed my obsession, here are 8 of the coolest, most interesting and popular studies published last year. You know you can’t resist.

#8. If you’re a woman, you get your emotional responses from your mother

The part of your brain that governs emotional responses is more heritable from mother to daughter than mother to son. Fathers are less likely to pass on their emotional brain circuitry to their sons OR daughters, however.

The study explains why there is a strong link between depression in mothers and daughters.

#7. Why smart people tend to enjoy time alone

A study last year found that the higher a person’s intelligence, the less socializing makes them satisfied with their life.

Why?

Well, intelligence goes hand-in-hand with more focus on long-term life goals or projects, and spending too much time socializing may provide to much of a distraction from accomplishing them.

#6. Psychopaths and narcissists love bitter foods

If you love sucking on lemons or other bitter tasting foods, you might be a psychopath, narcissist, or garden variety sadist. But if you dislike sour or bitter foods, you’re probably super agreeable.

The study also suggests that the reason darker personalities might be attracted to bitter tastes is…

A preschooler’s bubbly personality may rub off on friends

kids clapping in preschool classroom
Happiness may be contagious among preschoolers, a new study suggests.

A preschool classroom is an ecosystem unlike any other. Scents of glue and snack time waft through the air. Bright, clunky art papers the walls. Fun-sized furniture makes visiting adults feel like awkward giants. In the name of science, a team of psychologists spent an entire year inside two such rooms, meticulously documenting changes in preschoolers’ personalities.

By the end of the year, the team had found that kids were sharing a lot more than runny noses with their friends. Preschoolers’ sunny dispositions may actually be contagious. Over the course of a school year, kids who hung out with happy, smiley friends took on more of these traits themselves, the observant scientists found. The results suggest that young children’s personalities rub off on their pals.

Psychologist Jennifer Watling Neal of Michigan State University in East Lansing and colleagues suspected that both inborn temperament and environment help shape kids’ outlooks. “We know that it’s probably a little bit of nature and a little bit of nurture,” Neal says.

Some evidence suggests that personality traits exhibited early in life stick around. Those cruel and entertaining marshmallow tests are a great example of this personality persistence: In a test of self-control, children who held out for an additional…

How Crying When You’re Happy May Help You Regulate Your Emotions

If weddings, graduation ceremonies, and cute animal commercials cause you to melt into a puddle of tears, take comfort: You’re not alone. Nobody quite knows why some people cry when they’re happy, but in the video below, Business Insider’s Graham Flanagan explains why positive emotions may prompt us to turn on the waterworks.

According to Yale psychologist Oriana R. Aragón, we might shed tears to regulate particularly intense feelings. In 2014, Aragón and her colleagues conducted a study—which was later published in the journal Psychological Science—in which they examined how subjects reacted to emotionally triggering pictures, like…