The Hidden Antidote For Depression.


The Hidden Antidote For Depression 1

 

It is no secret that depression is a worldwide epidemic, but did you know that a hidden cause of depression is the fear of self-expression? If you often sacrifice self-expression in exchange for acceptance, appreciation or approval – or to avoid negative consequences like rejection or conflict – you may become depressed.

Every time you shut down self-expression in order to get your emotional needs met by others, you are actually rejecting your Real Self – cutting yourself off from your intrinsic source of energy and power, and thereby diminishing your natural state of peace, joy and love. The result is often what we refer to as depression.

But, why would we ever do this to ourselves?

From birth we are taught to believe that in order to be accepted, appreciated, or to get any emotional needs met, it is necessary to follow a set of rules, regulations and limiting beliefs that were handed down to us from parents, teachers, religion, culture and society. If we fear that others will withhold love and approval if we don’t conform, we are likely to restrict our self-expression whenever it contradicts with the pre-existing ideals of those around us. We may even feel as if our survival is at risk – making us believe that self-suppression is a better choice than self-expression. Unfortunately, when you constantly repress your Real Self, there is a huge unseen price to pay.

Depression is the unavoidable by-product of not being who you really are and a direct result of repressing your Real Self.

When The Need For Peace Turns into Depression

Yes, it can be wonderful to choose peace over adversity, but if you are habitually choosing peace in order to avoid conflict, you may be sacrificing your Real Self. Negating yourself or your preferences, in order to avoid conflict with others, may sound evolved and selfless on the surface, but when we look deeper, we see that continuously closing yourself down in order to avoid conflict causes chronic depression.

Self-expression is a sign of spiritual evolution. Self-expression allows the Divine to shine through you like a priceless work of art. Choosing peace over expression just might mean repressing Divinity.

Indeed, sometimes being our Real Selves causes others to feel uncomfortable and maybe even to judge us for being different – and on occasion there could be conflict. This is all true, but what is also true is that when you have the courage to express your Real Self, you call forth a higher version of reality where you can truly be your Real Self. Yes, this might mean overcoming the opinions of others on the way to this vibrant new land of expression but it is nothing you can’t handle. When you get there, you will discover that there is nothing easier than just being yourself. The people in your life will learn your new song and the steps to your new dance, and many of them will sing and dance along with you, and those who don’t will simply go on their merry way.

Your only job is to be You. If you are not going to be You, then who will? Being You requires that you follow your joy, listen to your heart, and express yourself in all ways that feel like YOU.

Get Plugged In!

When we express our Real Selves, we are tapped into the source of who we really are and, as a result, we are plugged into unlimited life force energy. When we hide our Real Selves and suppress expression, we disconnect from this immense source of energy and power, and if we do this for a prolonged period of time, eventually we become depressed, and it seems as if the whole world is against us. This means that in order to fit in, be accepted or to keep the peace, we often sacrifice the very life force that gives us the vision to create extraordinary lives and the energy and enthusiasm to follow through.

Depression is a result of being disconnected from the Supreme Energy of the Universe, but at any moment, you can get plugged back in, by choosing to be who you really are.

Certainly, seek professional help for depression when needed, but don’t depend on pills or doctors to save you. You can only save yourself by finding your Real Self and getting plugged into a Universe that loves you.

Listen To Your Heart

You cannot live your life according to anyone else’s ideals, values or expectations; you must choose to live life for yourself. Every time you suppress a desire to try something new, connect with other people, laugh, have fun or create, you repress the life force energy within you – shutting down the source of a fulfilling and meaningful life.

Depression is the long term consequence of not living your life the way “something inside you” really wants to live it.

The way to live a “life worth living” is to live it from your heart. You must throw out the concept of right and wrong, good and bad, sinful and saintly and begin to discover your own personal truth that is not influenced by anyone or anything (as long as it does not physically hurt you or others, the sky is the limit).

Impossible you might think – but it is what you have unknowingly been seeking. You will not find the answer to your happiness in anyone else’s diary or vision board. You can only find the answer for yourself – perhaps independent of everything you have ever learned. If you want peace, bliss and a “life worth living,” there is no other way.

How far down the rabbit hole of self-suppression must you sink before you begin to question the illusions you have been living?

If you were to know me now, you would never imagine that I once suffered from chronic depression. It began when I was just a child and it lasted for decades. Living with depression was very much like having an invisible disability that affected every aspect of my life. I tried everything to overcome it, and I sometimes had success that would last for weeks or months but that dark cloud always returned. More than anything I wanted to experience joy and I wanted to be at peace with myself, but it would take me years and years to find this permanent cure.

The Hidden Antidote For Depression 2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

People who lovingly express their Real Selves are simply not depressed. They are the people who go through life singing and dancing. They have made the choice to live their lives from the inside out and not care one bit about what other’s might think. Joyful people know that, in the end, what they think and feel about themselves and their lives is all that matters. They are the people who die with smiles on their faces and feel the deepest sense of gratitude for having lived the best possible lives they could have imagined. You have the very same choices right now.

You might be depressed because you have a history of oppression but as long as you blame the outside world, you will remain powerless to heal yourself. Instead of trying to overcome oppression, turn your attention toward expression. The way to climb out of the pits of depression is by the ladder of self-expression. It is true, that when you are depressed, it is often difficult to get in touch with self-expression, but if you can take small steps consistently, you will make progress. The journey from depression to expression is one day at a time. Every time you express yourself you are one step closer to emotional freedom.

The only thing that is required for an extraordinary life is bringing your Real Self to the table.

What Is Required To Be Your Real Self?

Meet Your Own Emotional Needs

Until we wake up and become conscious, our emotional needs dictate our behavior. The need for approval, appreciation, understanding and acceptance often rule our lives, causing us to sacrifice ourselves in order to get these, and other, emotional needs met. But, it never works, because if you have to hide your Real Self in order to gain approval, for example, it is only your false-self being approved of, so you never really experience approval. Instead you may even feel like a fraud.

As long as you expect others to meet your emotional needs, you will stay locked in a prison of your own making. You unlock the doors of your prison when you stop looking to others, and you meet your own emotional needs. How can you expect anyone to appreciate you, if you don’t appreciate yourself? Ironically, as soon as you practice self-appreciation, the world will reflect it back to you. If you are no longer needing others to meet your emotional needs, you won’t have to change or hide yourself for any reason, or for anyone. You will be free to be yourself – your real, true, authentic, beautiful self! This is the whole point.

Re-evaluate Your Life

When you finally decide that the cost of not being yourself is too much to pay, the first step to take is a non-judgmental assessment of your current life. In order to determine where you are out of alignment with your Real Self, a willingness to be honest is required in all areas of your life. It is important to approach this evaluation with curiosity rather than judgement. Judgment will lock you into negativity, while a sense of curiosity will begin to loosen your past reality and allow you to start thinking about what is possible.

Listen to Your Inner Voice

Deep inside you is a voice that is whispering divine instructions to you. This still small voice speaks through your secret desires, your creative drive and your greatest fantasies of a life well-lived. You may think, “I don’t know what my inner-self is saying,” but this is only because you have been suppressing your deepest desires for so long. When you don’t listen to that inner voice, it becomes almost impossible to hear, but once you begin to listen and take inspired actions, your divine voice will become louder and clearer.

Apply Unconditional Self-Allowance

It is time to release that inner critic that focuses continuously on everything that is wrong. It is time to embrace yourself from a loving space of self-allowance. You don’t have to accept anything. It is not about acceptance. But, if you can begin to allow yourself to be where you are right now, you will likely experience a sense of peace which will allow you access to your inner-self. From a space of unconditional self-allowance, you can find your truth, and ultimately manifest that truth in ways that support your greatest and most extraordinary self.

Embrace Soul-Worth

When you base your self-worth on possessions, accomplishments or how you think others see you, your worth is transient – and it remains inaccessible, as long as it depends on external things. This type of artificial worth invokes fear and anxiety, even when you are experiencing what you consider success. But how can you be your Real Self if your worth is contingent on things you cannot control?

The greatest healing is to own your worth. Stop giving it away and stop looking for proof outside of yourself. Look deep inside. Your worth is guaranteed and unconditional. You have worth just for being. This is Soul-Worth! When you remember that worth is intrinsic and unconditional, you gain access to personal freedom, where it doesn’t matter what the world thinks or says. Imagine having the freedom to discover yourself and ultimately the freedom of glorious expression.

Advertisements

Light-based memory chip is the first ever to store data permanently.


The world’s first entirely light-based memory chip to store data permanently has been developed by material scientists. The device, which makes use of materials used in CDs and DVDs, could help dramatically improve the speed of modern computing.

A schematic of the device, showing its structure and the propagation of light through it.

The world’s first entirely light-based memory chip to store data permanently has been developed by material scientists at Oxford University in collaboration with scientists at Karlsruhe, Munster and Exeter. The device, which makes use of materials used in CDs and DVDs, could help dramatically improve the speed of modern computing.

Today’s computers are held back by the relatively slow transmission of electronic data between the processor and the memory. ‘There’s no point using faster processors if the limiting factor is the shuttling of information to-and-from the memory — the so-called von-Neumann bottleneck,’ explains Professor Harish Bhaskaran, who led the research. ‘But we think using light can significantly speed this up.’

Simply bridging the processor-memory gap with photons isn’t efficient, though, because of the need to convert them back into electronic signals at each end. Instead, memory and processing capabilities would need be light-based too. Researchers have tried to create this kind of photonic memory before, but the results have always been volatile, requiring power in order to store data. For many applications — such as computer disk drives — it’s essential to be able to store data indefinitely, with or without power.

Now, an international team of researchers including researchers from Oxford University’s Department of Materials has produced the world’s first all-photonic nonvolatile memory chip. The new device uses the phase-change material Ge2Sb2Te5 (GST) — the same as that used in rewritable CDs and DVDs — to store data. This material can be made to assume an amorphous state, like glass, or a crystalline state, like a metal, by using either electrical or optical pulses. In a paper published in Nature Photonics, the researchers describe the device they’ve created, which uses a small section of GST on top of a silicon nitride ridge, known as a waveguide, to carry light.

The team has shown that intense pulses of light sent through the waveguide can carefully change the state of the GST. An intense pulse causes it to momentarily melt and quickly cool, causing it to assume an amorphous structure; a slightly less-intense pulse can put it into an crystalline state.

Later, when light with much lower intensity is sent through the waveguide, the difference in the state of the GST affects how much light is transmitted. The team can measure that difference to identify its state — and in turn read off the presence of information in the device as a 1 or 0. ‘This is the first ever truly non-volatile integrated optical memory device to be created,’ explains Clarendon Scholar and DPhil student Carlos Ríos, one of the two lead authors of the paper. ‘And we’ve achieved it using established materials that are known for their long-term data retention — GST remains in the state that it’s placed in for decades.’

By sending different wavelengths of light through the waveguide at the same time — a technique referred to as wavelength multiplexing — the team also showed that they could use a single pulse to write and read to the memory at the same time. ‘In theory, that means we could read and write to thousands of bits at once, providing virtually unlimited bandwidth,’ explains Professor Wolfram Pernice of the University of Munster.

The researchers have also found that different intensities of strong pulses can accurately and repeatedly create different mixtures of amorphous and crystalline structure within the GST. When lower intensity pulses were sent through the waveguide to read the contents of the device, they were also able to detect the subtle differences in transmitted light, allowing them to reliably write and read off eight different levels of state composition — from entirely crystalline to completely amorphous. This multi-state capability could provide memory units with more than the usual binary information of 0 and 1, allowing a single bits of memory to store several states or even perform calculations themselves instead of at the processor.

‘This is a completely new kind of functionality using proven existing materials,’ explains Professor Bhaskaran. ‘These optical bits can be written with frequencies of up to one gigahertz and could provide huge bandwidths. This is the kind of ultra-fast data storage that modern computing needs.’

Now, the team is working on a number of projects that aim to make use of the new technology. They’re particularly interested in developing a new kind of electro-optical interconnect, which will allow the memory chips to directly interface with other components using light, rather than electrical signals.

Nestle Being Sued for $100 Million Dollars Over Hazardous Lead in Food


The Indian government has announced that it is suing mega corporation Nestle over claims it deceptively allowed unsafe and illegal levels of lead in Maggi instant noodles, one of the company’s most popular products in the country. The lawsuit, which seeks nearly $100 million in damages, alleges Nestle engaged in “unfair trade practices” and alleges the noodles are unfit for human consumption.

On Wednesday, the Indian government officially declared that it filed suit in the country’s top consumer court, the National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (NCDRC), which has semi-judicial powers. It seeks 6,400 million rupees, or $98.6 million in damages from Nestle India.

 “Our complaint is over their unfair trade practices and the court will now issue them notices to hear their response,” said G. Gurcharan, a secretary at the Ministry of Consumer Affairs.

Sales of the noodles plunged after India’s food safety regulator reported in June that it had tested the noodles and found “unsafe and hazardous” levels of lead. According to the EPA, exposure to unsafe amounts of lead, if chronic and left untreated, is associated with serious side effects:

In adults, lead poisoning can cause:

  • poor muscle coordination
  • nerve damage to the sense organs and nerves controlling the body
  • increased blood pressure
  • hearing and vision impairment
  • reproductive problems (e.g., decreased sperm count)
  • retarded fetal development even at relatively low exposure levels

 

In children, lead poisoning can cause:

  • damage to the brain and nervous system
  • behavioral problems
  • anemia
  • liver and kidney damage
  • hearing loss
  • hyperactivity
  • developmental delays
  • in extreme cases, death

 

In addition to lead, the analysis of the noodles reportedly detected monosodium glutamate, a chemical flavor enhancer that has come under fire in recent years for its potential toxicity.

Predictably, Nestle India maintains it has done nothing wrong. “In recent months, we had over 2,700 samples of MAGGI Noodles tested by several accredited laboratories both in India and abroad. Each one of these tests have shown lead to be far below the permissible limits,” said an official statement. If the Indian government’s concerns prove warranted, however, this would mean Nestle is lying about its claims of safety. Nestle India has already agreed to withdraw all Maggi noodles from shelves in India and said it would destroy over 3.2 billion rupees ($50 billion) worth of the product.

Indian officials maintain the dangers of the Maggi noodles are real. “It’s a serious matter concerning public health and the law allows us to take suo moto legal steps, or legal actions, against erring entities,” said one official from the ministry in June when the announcement was made that the government intended to file suit. At the same time, the national food inspection agency announced plans to investigate Nestle’s eight factories around the country, though they do not all produce Maggi noodles.

India is no stranger to strife caused by food and biotech giants. It recently dealt with hundreds of thousands of suicides by Indian farmers, who struggled with crippling debt they incurred to buy high-priced GMO seeds. India has instituted stringent policies on GMOs.

Though the facts of the case are disputed, the current lawsuit against Nestle is yet another example of global backlash against the questionable—and often outright sinister—practices of powerful corporations.

Sweden is shifting to a 6-hour work day .


*Packs up life, books plane ticket*

 

Despite research telling us it’s a really bad idea, many of us end up working 50-hour weeks or more because we think we’ll get more done and reap the benefits later. And according to a study published last month involving 600,000 people, those of us who clock up a 55-hour week will have a 33 percent greater risk of having a stroke than those who maintain a 35- to 40-hour week.

With this in mind, Sweden is moving towards a standard 6-hour work day, with businesses across the country having already implemented the change, and a retirement home embarking on a year-long experiment to compare the costs and benefits of a shorter working day.

“I think the 8-hour work day is not as effective as one would think. To stay focused on a specific work task for 8 hours is a huge challenge. In order to cope, we mix in things and pauses to make the work day more endurable. At the same time, we are having it hard to manage our private life outside of work,” Linus Feldt, CEO of Stockholm-based app developer Filimundus, told Adele Peters at Fast Company. 

Filimundus switched to a 6-hour day last year, and Feldt says their staff haven’t looked back. “We want to spend more time with our families, we want to learn new things or exercise more. I wanted to see if there could be a way to mix these things,”he said.

To cope with the significant cut in working hours, Feldt says staff are asked to stay off social media and other distractions while at work and meetings are kept to a minimum. “My impression now is that it is easier to focus more intensely on the work that needs to be done and you have the stamina to do it and still have energy left when leaving the office,” he told Fast Company.

The thinking behind the move is that because the working day has been condensed, staff will be more motivated and have more energy to get more done in a shorter period of time. Feldt reports that not only has productivity stayed the same, there are less staff conflicts because people are happier and better rested.

No doubt Filimundus was looking at the several Toyota service centres in Gothenburg, which switched to a six-hour day 13 years ago and report happier staff, a lower turnover rate, and ease in enticing new employees to come on board. “They have a shorter travel time to work, there is more efficient use of the machines and lower capital costs – everyone is happy,” the managing director Martin Banck told David Crouch at The Guardian, adding that profits have risen by 25 percent.

Back in February, a Svartedalens retirement home in Gothenburg implemented a 6-hour work day for their nurses with no changes to wage, and will be running the experiment till the end of 2016 to figure out if the high cost of hiring 14 new staff members to cover the lost hours is worth the improvements to patient care and employee morale.

“The Svartedalens experiment is inspiring others around Sweden: at Gothenburg’s Sahlgrenska University hospital, orthopaedic surgery has moved to a 6-hour day, as have doctors and nurses in two hospital departments in Umeå to the north,” The Guardian reports.

While impressions of staff being happier and full of energy aren’t exactly scientific basis for declaring 6-hour work days as ‘better’ than the 8.7-hour work day endured by the average American, we do have evidence that what we’re doing right now isn’t working.

A study published in The Lancet last month analysed data from 25 studies that monitored health of over 600,000 people from the US, Europe, and Australia for up to 8.5 years found that people who worked 55 hours a week had a 33 percent greater risk of having a stroke than people who worked a 35 – 40 hour week, and a 13 percent increased risk of developing coronary heart disease, while a separate study found that working 49-hour weeks was associated with lower mental health, particularly in women.

And as we reported earlier this month, we probably shouldn’t even be forced to clock on at 9am anyway, with expert Paul Kelley from Oxford University’s Sleep and Circadian Neuroscience Institute saying that society is in the midst of a sleep-deprivation crisis, because our 9-5 working hours are at odds with our internal body clocks. “Staff should start at 10am… Staff are usually sleep-deprived,” Kelley said. “Everybody is suffering and they don’t have to. We cannot change out 24-hour rhythms.”

Hear that? Everybody is suffering and we don’t have to. I guess until the rest of the world catches up with Sweden – which btw is also making moves to become the world’s first fossil fuel-free nation – we’ll all just have to move there.

Science says your body needs vacations, and here’s why.


Quit accumulating that leave time and just take it already.

 

Did you go on vacation this year? It feels like many of us are spending more time at work than ever before, despite living in an era of unprecedented wealth. With increasingly demanding schedules, many professionals choose to skip vacations altogether. In fact, more than half of all Americans haven’t gone on holidays in the past year. At all.

But research suggests that all work and no play could be bad for your health in myriad ways – some more sneaky than others. We generally recognise that leisure is linked to better wellbeing, but what exactly does that mean?

For starters, if you don’t take a break every year, prolonged exposure to stress could lead to heart problems. A 2012 systematic review of the relationship between long working hours and coronary heart disease revealed that people who work more than the 8-hour average day have about a 40 percent higher risk of heart disease. It’s only a correlation, but researchers speculate that there could be a causal link due to factors such as stress, lack of rest, and insufficient sleep.

Another example is the Framingham Heart Study, the largest long-term observational study that has been investigating cardiovascular disease risk factorsover three generations, since 1948. Some of the results revealed that men who’d skip on having a vacation for several years in a row were 30 percent more likely to have a heart attack.

It’s clear that your heart definitely needs holidays – but so does the mind. These days it’s not uncommon to bring your laptop and try to ‘squeeze in a bit of work’ even while on break, but you really should try to avoid it. Cognitive science research has shown that people are actually more creative if they let their minds wander a bit, while long hours of toiling at a desk can actually make you less sharp, particularly at an older age. Spending some time away from the workplace is therefore likely to make you more productive once you’re back.

Lying on a beach or (carefully) taking selfies at historical sites also has mental health benefits. Apart from the obvious and immediate boost in one’s mood and life satisfaction, vacationing could also decrease depression. A trend in observational studies shows that people who take more vacations are less prone to have depressive episodes – and all of this probably comes back to the reduction of stress a holiday can provide.

The good feelings of a vacation are indisputable, as Dutch psychologist Jessica de Bloom found while conducting an international study. “People felt healthier during vacation. They had a better mood,” de Bloom told Brenda Wilson at NPR. “They were less tense. And they had a higher level of energy, and they were more satisfied with their life.”

So how does this account for the dreaded post-vacation blues you get when your email inbox is way too full and the office microwave smells like fish all over again? Well, it doesn’t. De Bloom found the positive impact on one’s mood dissipates quickly after getting back to work. However, the health benefits are still there, so mood fluctuations alone don’t show the whole point of vacations. “It would be a bit like asking, ‘Why do we sleep despite the fact that we get tired again?'” she says.

So perhaps it’s time to check your leave balance and spend some nice quality time not working. Tell your boss it’s for health reasons.

New green burial plans will see corpses placed in giant ‘seed pods’


  • Designers Anna Citelli and Raoul Bretzel propose bizarre burial method
  • They hope to create giant seed pods inside which bodies are placed
  • These pods are buried and they are used to help a newly planted tree grow

Two artists are developing a bizarre new method of burial – in which a corpse is stuffed inside a giant capsule and buried below ground to nourish a newly-planted tree.

Italian designers Anna Citelli and Raoul Bretzel have created the ‘Capsula Mundi’ concept – a radical programme designed to ‘promote the realization of green cemeteries’.

They hope their proposed method of burial will catch on to the point cemeteries will ‘no longer be full of tombstones and will become a sacred forest’.

The person first chooses the tree they want to be planted, then upon their death they are placed inside a capsule and buried underneath it

The person first chooses the tree they want to be planted, then upon their death they are placed inside a capsule and buried underneath it

The body then releases nutrients which feed the tree above them
Placed in a foetal position, they are buried inside the biodegradable pod

Placed in a foetal position, they are buried inside the biodegradable pod and decompose, releasing nutrients which feed the tree above them

On their website, the pair write: ‘Death is a mysterious, delicate and inevitable step. The dead cannot be just a technical problem, it cannot be treated as a taboo.

‘Capsula Mundi saves the life of a tree and proposes to plant one more. By planting different kinds of trees next to each other it creates a forest.

‘A place where children will be able to learn all about trees. It’s also a place for a beautiful walk and a reminder of our loved ones.’

Using a 100 per cent biodegradable starch-based plastic capsule, the corpse would be curled into the foetal position then placed inside it and buried, like a giant seed pod.

Above the capsule, a tree previously selected by the deceased is planted, in the hope nutrients from the corpse will help it grow.

However, the designer couple’s jump into the burial industry has already hit a snag – Italian laws, unlike Britain’s, forbids so-called natural births, The Independent on Sunday reported.

In order to comply with the rules, they will begin a toned down version of the programme which places cremated ashes, rather than entire bodies, inside small capsules.

Rosie Inman, the head of Britain’s Natural Death Cetnre, told the paper the concept looked like ‘something that should be in an art gallery’.

She added: ‘It is a fantasy. We’re real people doing this in the real world. My question is, have they ever buried someone? No. It’s just silliness.’

When hundreds are planted together, its designers claim they would create a 'memory forest' rather than a traditional cemetery

When hundreds are planted together, its designers claim they would create a ‘memory forest’ rather than a traditional cemetery

Sweden sets its sights on becoming the world’s first fossil fuel-free nation .


And it’s putting its money where its mouth is.

The Swedish government announced this week that they will be spending an extra US$546 million on renewable energy and climate change action in their 2016 budget, with the aim of becoming one of the world’s first nations to end its dependence on fossil fuels. They haven’t set a deadline for this ambitious goal just yet, but last year the country announced plans to make its capital Stockholm fossil fuel-free by 2050, so we’re imagining a similar time frame.

It may seem like a pretty big task, but the Scandinavian country already gets two-thirds of its electricity from non-fossil fuel energy sources – predominately hydroelectric and nuclear – and it will now be focussing on increasing its solar and wind energy potential, as well as making its transport industry more sustainable. The majority of the budget increase will be financed by heavier taxes on petrol and diesel fuel.

“Sweden will become one of the first fossil-free welfare states in the world,” Prime Minister Stefan Löfven told the press. “When European regulations do not go far enough Sweden will lead the way.”

The move comes after Sweden suffered extreme heatwaves last summer, and one of the worst bushfires in the country’s history. The government has committed to taking action to protect its citizens from the effects of climate change in the future.

One of the most impressive winners in the new budget is solar energy, which has been allocated US$58.4 million per year between 2017 and 2019 – an eight-fold increase from its current budget, as Bloomberg Business reports.

The government also announced that it would be spending money on:

  • smart grids
  • renewable energy storage technology
  • an electric bus fleet
  • subsidies for green cars
  • climate adaptation strategies
  • renovating residential buildings to make them more energy efficient.

It’s no coincidence that the move comes just a couple of months before the 2015 United Nationals Climate Change Conference, which will be held in Paris at the end of November.

“2015 is our opportunity, a chance to, in dialogue with all the countries of the world, change course towards a new development path where we can succeed in generating welfare for all, not at the planet’s cost but in cooperation with it,” a key adviser to the Prime Minister, Johan Rockström, said in a press briefing.

Although the big jump in spending is new for the country, Sweden already has a pretty impressive track record when it comes to climate change action. The government recently announced that several ageing nuclear power plants are scheduled for early closure, with no replacements planned. And just last month itwas reported that an extra 144 MW of wind power capability had been added to the grid with the new Sidensjö wind farm.

What’s most exciting is that Sweden is just one of many governments around the world getting behind renewable energy. Hawaii has announced its plans to become the first US state totally powered by renewables, and a city in Texas is also making the switch. Earlier this year, Costa Rica was powered with 100 percent renewable energy for 75 days, and Denmark successfully produced 140 percent of its electricity demand from wind power back in July.

But these influxes of renewable energy were achieved during extremely favourable conditions, and right now there’s no way to store this energy for later use, which makes it hard to completely cut out fossil fuels. If Sweden has success in developing new energy storage technology, as they’ve committed to in their new budget, they could well lead the way. Let the race begin.

You Can Train Your Brain to Become More Confident.


By consciously taking specific actions — from seeking out role models to reevaluating how we think about failure — we can train our mind to behave more confidently.

Brain_illustration

Recent discoveries in neuroscience suggest our brains have the quality of “neuroplasticity,” meaning the networks it uses to communicate information are malleable much later into life than previously thought.

In other words, not only does playing the scales help us learn the piano, but also by learning new activities into the later stages of life, we can change the synaptic connections in our brain. (In fact, taking up an artistic project is a way in itself to build confidence).

In the book The Confidence Code: The Science and Art of Self-Assurance – What Women Should Know, co-authors Claire Shipman and Katty Kay explain that confidence is the very stuff of life:

“We spent a long time trying to define confidence because we felt that it would be easier to grow it if we really knew what it was. In the end, we came to this conclusion: Confidence is life’s enabler — it is the quality that turns thoughts into action.”

So to be confident is to take action, but how does one begin acting confidently? Practice playing the confidence scales, i.e., take small steps in your daily life that accumulate into confidence.

1. View failure as new information to be incorporated into your outlook rather than the end of your efforts. For confident people, “[Failure] is a notch in their belt and proof that they’ve started moving in the direction they want to go,” says Jen Sincero, author of You Are a Badass: How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living an Awesome Life. “Confident people thank the experience for the lesson, and then they course-correct.”

2. Remind yourself of good actions you take and monitor your language for negative words because they perpetuate what Kay and Shipman call NATS (negative automatic thoughts): “Women are particularly prone to NATS. We think we make one tiny mistake and we dwell on it for hours and hours … and it kills our confidence.”

3. Develop power positions by having good posture; keeping your chin up and abs in is “astonishingly simple yet woefully infrequent,” they write. And nod your head because “you feel more confident as you talk when you do it — and you’re sending a subconscious signal that makes others agree with you.” (Big Think’s Simon Oxenham recently called this into question)

The Sugar Cancer Connection Doctors Aren’t Telling You


Why-sugar-called-whiteDeath

Why Sugar Is Called “The White Death” and the Sugar Cancer Connection

As good as it may taste, sugar is NOT your friend. It may “feel” like your friend when it comforts you (due to the beta-endorphin rush in your brain), but sugar is really your ENEMY. Truth be told, regular consumption of sugary foods is one of the worst things that you can do for your health. Modern scientific research has shown us, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that sugar in your food (in all its myriad forms) is taking a devastating toll on your health.

Take a look at the sugar consumption trends over the past 300 years:

  • In 1700, the average person consumed about 4 pounds of sugar per year.
  • In 1800, the average person consumed about 18 pounds of sugar per year.
  • In 1900, individual consumption had risen to 90 pounds of sugar per year.
  • In 2012, more than 50% of all Americans consume 1/2 pound of sugar per day — translating to a whopping 180 pounds of sugar per year!

In 1890, only 3 people out of 100,000 had diabetes. In 2012, almost 8,000 out of every 100,000 people was diagnosed with diabetes!

The “sugar rush” has been targeted at our children. American children are consuming about 10 times as much sugar as they were in 1900, especially in the form of high fructose corn syrup (HFCS), which is the average American’s greatest source of calories! Highly addictive HFCS contains fructose and glucose, but they are NOT bound together (as they are in table sugar) so the body doesn’t need to break it down. Therefore, the fructose is absorbed immediately, going straight to the liver, which turns it into fat (VLDL and triglycerides).

According to Dr. Joseph Mercola:

“Fructose also tricks the body into gaining weight by fooling your metabolism (it turns off the appetite-control system). Fructose does not appropriately stimulate insulin, which in turn does not suppress ghrelin (the “hunger hormone”) and doesn’t stimulate leptin (the “satiety hormone”), which together result in your eating more and developing insulin resistance.” This process also suppresses the immune system.

But just because you avoid HFCS doesn’t mean that you’re in the clear. Excess intake of ALLprocessed sugars results in compromised immune function (decreasing the white blood cells’ ability to destroy bacteria), obesity, and diabetes.

And if that’s not enough, keep in mind that sugar is HIGHLY addictive! That’s right! Dr. Serge Ahmed of Bordeaux, France, has been working with rats and giving them the choice between cocaine and sugar. Guess which one wins, time and again?

That’s right … sugar!

It turns out that the sweet taste of sugar is more rewarding than the high of cocaine.

You see, sugar produces dopamine – a happy, feel-good chemical –  in the brain. People get addicted to eating sugar, whereby they need it to feel “normal” and they undergo “withdrawal” if they cut sugar from their diets. If they go “cold turkey” for a few days, their brain will begin to produce dopamine on its own, but the discomfort of the withdrawal process keeps many “sugar addicts” trapped in their addiction.

What is The Sugar Cancer Connection?

Due to the anaerobic respiratory mechanism exhibited by ALL cancer cell, sugar is cancer’s favorite food! And since half of the white sugar in the USA comes from sugar beets, you should remember that most beets are now genetically modified.  This is another reason to stay away from the “White Death” isn’t it?

I personally recommend that you avoid white sugar, brown sugar, agave, and all artificial sweeteners such as aspartame/AminoSweet, sucralose, and saccharin. If you have a sweet tooth, it’s best to stick with 100% pure stevia, xylitol, raw honey, pure maple syrup, molasses, and coconut sugar. The bottom line: if you want to be and stay healthy, you MUST take control of your sugar intake so that it doesn’t take control over you.

Ending the Sugar Confusion

It is easy to become confused by the various sugars and sweeteners, so here is a basic overview:

  • Saccharide = sugar
  • Glucose (aka “dextrose” or “grape sugar”), galactose (“milk sugar”), and fructose (“fruit sugar”) are all “monosaccharides” (i.e. single sugar molecules), known as “simple sugars.” The primary difference between them is the way your body metabolizes them.
  • Glucose is the form of energy you were designed to run on. Every cell in your body uses glucose for energy.
  • High amounts of fructose are very damaging to the body if it isn’t burned immediately for energy because it travels directly to the liver where it’s converted to triglycerides (fats). Excess triglycerides increase insulin resistance (and insulin production), thus contributing to diabetes in a “back door” fashion.
  • The simple sugars can combine to form more complex sugars, like sucrose (“table sugar”) which is a “disaccharide” comprised of 50% glucose and 50% fructose.
  • “Refined” white sugar (pure sucrose) is washed with a syrup solution, then with hot water, clarified (usually chemically) to remove impurities, decolorized, concentrated, evaporated, re-boiled until crystals form, centrifuged again to separate, then dried. By this point, any remnants of “natural goodness” and “nutritional value” have completely disappeared! Quite frankly, white sugar should be considered an “industrial product” rather than “food.”
  • “Brown sugar” is white sugar mixed with molasses.
  • “Raw” sugar is not really raw—it has been cooked, and most of the minerals and vitamins are gone. But it’s probably a little better than refined white sugar because it has a little of the molasses remaining.
  • Aspartame or AminoSweet is a neurotoxic rat poison … need I say more?
  • Splenda (sucralose) is NOT a sugar, despite its deceptive marketing slogan, “made from sugar.” It’s a chlorinated artificial sweetener in line with aspartame, though not quite as harmful.
  • Honey is approximately 50% fructose, but in natural (raw and unpasteurized) form contains many health benefits. Buying honey that is local and unpasteurized is best.
  • Stevia is an extremely sweet herb derived from the leaf of the South American stevia plant, which is completely safe (in its natural form.) Green stevia is the whole plant, while white stevia is processed and can often contain other ingredients like natural flavors or dextrose – a form of sugar. 100% green stevia in its natural state is what you want.
  • Agave nectar is made from the agave plant, which is a cactus. Sounds natural, right? Like maple syrup from a tree, or honey from a beehive. Only it isn’t. Agave is HIGHLY processed while the end product does not even remotely resemble the original agave plant. Furthermore, agave is approximately 80% fructose (much higher than honey and maple syrup).
  • HFCS – high fructose corn syrup –  is 55% fructose and 45% glucose. It is mostly genetically modified. Stay away!
  • Rapadura is the pure juice extracted from the sugar cane (using a press), which is then evaporated over low heat, whilst being stirred with paddles, then sieve ground to produce a grainy sugar. It has not been cooked at high heats or spun to change it into crystals, and the molasses is maintained in the sugar. “Sucanat” is the USA trade name for Rapadura.
  • Coconut sugar is made from the sweet watery sap that drips from the cut flower buds of the coconut palm. It has a low glycemic index (GI) and is rich in amino acids. It is typically less than 10% fructose, with sucrose being the primary component.
  • Xylitol is a sweetener known as a “sugar alcohol” (or polyol). Sugar alcohols are neither sugars nor alcohols – they are carbohydrates (with structures that happen to resemble sugar and alcohol). Xylitol is extracted from birch cellulose. Unlike sugar, Xylitol is slowly absorbed, does not cause a rapid blood sugar increase, and does not require an immediate insulin response from the body to be metabolized.  Moreover,  many studies have shown that it actually helps prevent dental cavities, ear infections and some evidence suggests that it helps prevent gum disease because Xylitol is an anti-bacterial.

Scale of gene mutations in human neurons examined: Single neuron in adult human brain may carry more than 1,000 genetic mutations.


A single neuron in a normal adult brain likely has more than a thousand genetic mutations that are not present in the cells that surround it, according to new research. The majority of these mutations appear to arise while genes are in active use, after brain development is complete.

Active neuron illustration (stock image). Researchers have found that every neuron’s genome was unique. Each had more than 1,000 point mutations (mutations that alter a single letter of the genetic code), and only a few mutations appeared in more than one cell.

A single neuron in a normal adult brain likely has more than a thousand genetic mutations that are not present in the cells that surround it, according to new research from Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) scientists. The majority of these mutations appear to arise while genes are in active use, after brain development is complete.

“We found that the genes that the brain uses most of all are the genes that are most fragile and most likely to be mutated,” says Christopher Walsh, an HHMI investigator at Boston Children’s Hospital who led the research. Walsh, Peter Park, a computational biologist at Harvard Medical School, and their colleagues reported their findings in the October 2, 2015, issue of the journalScience.

It’s not yet clear how these naturally occurring mutations impact the function of a normal brain, or to what extent they contribute to disease. But by tracing the distribution of mutations among cells, Walsh and his colleagues are already learning new information about how the human brain develops. “The genome of a single neuron is like an archeological record of that cell,” Walsh says. “We can read its lineage in the pattern of shared mutations. We now know that if we examined enough cells in enough brains, we could deconstruct the whole pattern of development of the human brain.”

Cells of many shapes, sizes, and function are intimately intertwined inside the brain, and scientists have wondered for centuries how that diversity is generated. Scientists are further interested in genome variability between neurons due to evidence from Walsh’s lab and others that mutations that affect only a small fraction of cells in the brain can cause serious neurological disease. Until recently, however, scientists who wanted to explore that diversity were stymied by the scant amount of DNA inside neurons: Although researchers could isolate the genetic material from an individual neuron, there was simply not enough DNA to sequence, so cell-to-cell comparisons were impossible.

Walsh’s team undertook its current study thanks to technology that has become available in the last few years for amplifying the full genomes of individual cells. With plenty of DNA now available, the scientists could fully sequence an individual neuron’s genome and scour it for places where that cell’s genetic code differed from that of other cells.

The scientists isolated and sequenced the genomes of 36 neurons from healthy brains donated by three adults after their deaths. For comparison, the scientists also sequenced DNA that they isolated from cells in each individual’s heart. That effort yielded mountains of data, and Walsh’s group teamed up with Park and Semin Lee, a postdoctoral fellow in Park’s group, to make sense of it all.

What they found was that every neuron’s genome was unique. Each had more than 1,000 point mutations (mutations that alter a single letter of the genetic code), and only a few mutations appeared in more than one cell. What’s more, the nature of the variation was not quite what the scientists had expected.

“We expected these mutations to look like cancer mutations,” Walsh says, explaining that cancer mutations tend to arise when DNA is imperfectly copied in preparation for cell division, “but in fact they have a unique signature all their own. The mutations that occur in the brain mostly seem to occur when the cells are expressing their genes.”

Neurons don’t divide, and most of the time their DNA is tightly bundled and protected from damage. When a cell needs to turn on a gene, it opens up the DNA, exposing the gene so that it can be copied into RNA, the first step in protein production. Based on the types and locations of the mutations they found in the neurons, the scientists concluded that most DNA damage had occurred during this unwinding and copying process.

While most of the mutations in the neurons were unique, a small percentage did turn up in more than one cell. That signaled that those mutations had originated when future brain cells were still dividing, a process that is complete before birth. Those early mutations were passed on as cells divided and migrated, and the scientists were able to use them to reconstruct a partial history of the brain’s development.

“We knew that cells that shared a certain mutation were related, so we could look at how different cells in the adult were related to each other during development,” explains Mollie Woodworth, a postdoctoral researcher in Walsh’s lab. Their mapping revealed that closely relatedly cells could wind up quite distant from one another in the adult brain. A single patch of brain tissue might contain cells from five different lineages that diverged before the developing brain had even separated from other tissues in the fetus. “We could identify mutations that happened really early, before the brain existed, and we found that cells that had those mutations were nestled next to cells that had totally different mutations,” Woodworth says. In fact, the scientists found, a particular neuron might be more closely related to a cell in the heart than to a neighboring neuron.

The scientists say intermingling cells with different developmental origins might protect the brain from the effects of early-arising, potentially harmful mutations. Although most of the mutations the scientists catalogued were harmless, they did encounter mutations that disrupted genes that, when impaired throughout the brain, can cause disease. “By having very mixed populations, cells that are next to each other and responsible for a similar task are not very closely related to each other, so they’re not likely to share the same deleterious mutation,” says Michael Lodato, who is also a postdoctoral researcher in Walsh’s lab. That could reduce the risk of a particular mutation interfering with a localized brain function, he explains.

Still, the scientists say, this abundance of mutations could influence the function of a normal brain. “To what extent do these clonal mutations normally shape the development of the brain, in a negative way or a positive way?” says Walsh. “To what extent do we have a patch of brain that doesn’t work quite right, but not so much that we would call it a disease? That’s a big open question.”