Creativity

How We Experience the Meaning We Create

How We Experience the Meaning We Create

Lazy Chief Studios produced a stunning animation that highlights Beau Lotto's musings on perception and storytelling. Lotto is a prominent neuroscientist and founder of Lottolab; a hybrid art studio and science lab that plays with how the brain perceives reality.  

According to Lotto:

What’s remarkable is that when you imagine something, the same part of the brain is activated, as if they are seeing. So imagined perception is the same as a real perception.

 

This implies that it is within our power to shape and heal the world with the narratives we tell to ourselves and others.

Perception is basically a story. Objects in the real world don’t come with a meaning. They don’t come with an instruction manual. They don’t tell you what to do... Now these stories can have two basis; either they are as things that literally happened... [or] events that happened in our minds. We can imagine. And what’s remarkable is that when we really imagine something, it activates the same part of our brain as if we’re actually seeing it. So an imagined perception is the same as a real perception. This has tremendous impact for thinking about the narrative that a culture tells us of. Being social is fundamental to who we are. If you’re excommunicated from your group [in our past], you died. So it’s hugely important for us to belong. One consequence of that is that we come to see differences between people, but through the power of narrative, we can actually change those biases. We can tell a different story.
— Beau Lotto

Beau Lotto's 2009 TED TALK:


The above post was lovingly crafted by Josiah Hultgren, Founder of MindFullyAlive.

Yawning is The Fastest Way to Hack Mental Stress and Focus

 Yawning is The Fastest Way to Hack Mental #Stress and #Focus

The written content of the post was authored by best-selling author and neuroscience expert, Mark Robert Waldman. It is posted with his permission.


Olympic athletes yawn before they race. Musicians and speakers yawn before they go on stage. Snipers get trained to yawn before they pull the trigger. Pack animals yawn together to establish communal empathy. This is because yawning is the ultimate stress and focus hack.

Here are 10 reasons to yawn frequently:


1. Stimulates alertness and concentration
2. Optimizes brain activity and metabolism
3. Improves cognitive function
4. Increases memory recall
5. Enhances consciousness and introspection
6. Lowers stress
7. Relaxes your upper body
8. Fine-tunes your sense of time
9. Increases empathy and social awareness
10. Enhances pleasure and sensuality

Yawning clears away the fogginess of sleep and increases cerebral blood flow. After yawning, you quickly benefit with enhanced mental efficiency and a heightened state of cognitive awareness. In fact, yawning appears to be the fastest way to lower mental stress and anxiety. 

Many neurochemicals get released during the yawning experience that are essential for motivation, memory recall, and voluntary decision-making. In fact, it’s hard to find another activity that positively impacts so many brain functions. So, If you want to maintain an optimally healthy brain, make it a habit to yawn whenever you want to relax or enhance your ability to concentrate on a task.

It has a similar effect on a person as having a cup of coffee. It helps your brain shift between the highly focused demands of decision-making and restful daydreaming states that give you access to creative problem-solving. It even regulates the time clocks in your brain, helping you to sleep better at night. Yawning helps you to wake up and stay alert during a stressful work day.

yawning-animal

Yawning also appears to be a primitive form of empathy and is found in many mammals. There is a connection between frequent yawning and increased emotional empathy. That’s why we recommend that yawning a few times before entering a stressful business meeting or discussing a sensitive issue.

We recommend you yawn as many times a day as possible. When you wake up? Yawn. When you're confronting a difficult problem at work? Yawn. Whenever you feel anger, anxiety or stress? Yawn. 


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Yawn before giving an important talk, yawn before you take a test, and yawn whenever you feel bored. Do it mindfully, paying close attention to how it affects your mood and awareness.

Conscious yawning takes a little discipline to get past our social conditioning that it is rude. Another barrier is the “excuses” that people sometimes use: “I don’t feel like it,” “I’m not tired,” and a favorite, “I can’t.” Of course you can. All you need to do to trigger a deep yawn is to fake it four or five times. Try it right now, and you’ll see how each yawn feels more pleasant and relaxing.

yawn-experiment-vintage

A Mindful Yawning Experiment:

This exercise only takes two minutes, and works better if you are standing up. 

  1. Begin by taking a slow deep breath and then yawn. You can fake them at first, and if you make an “ahh” sound during exhalation you should be able to trigger a series of real yawns on your fourth or fifth try.
     
  2. As you continue to yawn, pay close attention to the sensations in your mouth, your throat, your chest and belly, and don’t be surprised if your eyes start watering. 
     
  3. If you feel dizzy, lightheaded, or disoriented, stop, sit down, and rest. Continue to yawn another ten or twelve times, and then pause, noticing the different body sensations you are having. Do you feel more relaxed and alert? 

If you feel tired, it probably means that you are exhausted from overwork. If you’ve been particularly stressed or anxious, you might find yourself yawning a great deal over the next half hour, or even throughout the day after you’ve tried this yawning experiment. It means that your brain needs more blood circulation to improve neural performance. Enjoy the yawns, knowing that it’s a special treat for your busy brain.



Check out Mark Waldman's free 6 Days to Enlightenment email series for information on how you can access enlightened states often and easily.

NeuroTip: Creative Writing Improves the Health of Your Mind

Creative Writing Improves the Health of Your #Brain

The written content of the post was authored by best-selling author and neuroscience expert, Mark Robert Waldman. It is posted with his permission.


NeuroTip: 

When you take your past traumas and current struggles, and turn them into poetry and prose, your brain heals faster, and your words help others to heal themselves. 

Take any problem you have and let your words spill out over the page. Let them sing, dance, stumble and cry. Then savor the emotional release. 

Neuroscience confirms that creative writing (where you embellish and paint fantastic images with your words) is profoundly healing.


Life is sometimes hard. Things go wrong, in life and in love and in business and in friendship and in health and in all other ways that life can go wrong. And when things get tough, this is what you should do. Make good art.
— Neil Gaiman,

Relevant Case Study: 

The role of written language in the rehabilitation process of brain injury and aphasia: the memory of the movement in the reacquisition of language.
inhasi-Vittorio L.
Top Stroke Rehabil. 2007 Jan-Feb;14(1):115-22.

ABSTRACT:

This qualitative case study describes the use of written language over a period of two years, with a young adult who sustained brain injury and as a result has expressive and receptive aphasia. The study demonstrates the ways in which written language can enhance the development of the expression of thoughts. The "memory of the movement" strategy enabled him to initiate ideation and restore his language. One of the powerful aspects of the research was the natural choice of mediating his thoughts through the writing of poetry. The importance of this research is the encouragement of holistic and interdisciplinary approaches to promote the language rehabilitation process of individuals who have aphasia.


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Check out Mark Waldman's free 6 Days to Enlightenment email series for information on how you can access enlightened states often and easily.