How to Heal From Trauma.


Over the last two decades the number of people treated for depression has tripled. Ten-percent of the US population takes antidepressants—Medicaid alone spent $3.6 billion on antipsychotics in 2008. With the growing epidemic of opioid addiction ravaging communities throughout the country, those numbers are only moving in one direction. The amount of money we spend on self-medication is staggering.

Such drugs are predominantly band aids for lacerations in need of suturing. Part of the issue rests in our brain’s inherent penchant for dualism: the notion that an ethereal me resides in the bodily me—forget the body; treat the ether. Only our bodies do not work that way.

Boston-based psychiatrist Bessel van der Kolk is an expert of the effects of trauma. He didn’t set out to achieve this goal. Since he began clinical work in the seventies he noticed that the root causes of most ailments were not being addressed. Once a fan of pharmaceuticals, he’s watched that industry rely on quick fixes and growing profits.

Yet, as he writes in The Body Keeps the Score,

You can be fully in charge of your life only if you can acknowledge the reality of your body, in all its visceral dimensions.

We like to consider our species a thinking animal; it makes sense that we associate our brain with intelligence and rational decision-making. But that organ is part of our nervous system, in a constant feedback loop with our body. Bodily messages first reach our reptilian complex, the ‘emotional brain’ at the seat of our spinal cord. It takes longer for the messages to travel all the way to the crown.

A lot happens in those milliseconds. Consider what an emotion is: a feeling. We ‘sense’ something going on. The feeling becomes an emotion when we give it life through language. If we can’t find words for the feeling, we cannot communicate it to ourselves, much less anyone else.

Van der Kolk writes that this has been a problem in courts, for example. Victims of abuse cannot remember exact events. Their memory isn’t faulty; that’s just how our brains work. When our sympathetic nervous system is aroused adrenaline is secreted. The more adrenaline, the better you remember (as in, don’t touch that stovetop again). Yet this only works to a point. When an ‘inescapable shock’ occurs, such as a father raping his daughter, the memory system is overwhelmed and shuts down.

We often think of the ‘self’ as a unified construct. As van der Kolk writes, it is anything but. We are actually a series of selves vying for attention dependent upon the circumstances. Our brain is a complex interplay of competing regions. Under normal circumstances our rational and emotional memories work in conjunction. When experiencing trauma, the hippocampus, responsible for memories and spatial mapping, and the thalamus, which integrates the experience into our autobiographical self, shut down.

That’s the reason traumatic experiences are recalled in bits and pieces. That’s also why people who have suffered from, say, PTSD will become a different person when hearing fireworks. Certain smells, images, and sounds trigger them. Since the traumatic experience has not been integrated into their autobiographical system, their autonomic nervous system is overwhelmed. They have no language to describe it. Fight, flight, or freeze becomes their default mode.

Decades of clinical work with countless patients have taught van der Kolk that integration is the road to healing. He writes,

Working with trauma is as much about remembering how we survived as it is about what is broken.

Talk therapy, for example, often focuses on the experience itself. And many find solace in this; veterans bond over shared stories of dismemberment and torture. This is an important first step, being able to express what has been inexpressible. Remembering that you’ve survived that experience, and realizing that you’ve actually come out the other side stronger, is where healing begins.

This is critical information because trauma predominantly operates at the unconscious level. Van der Kolk realized that most every trauma patient exhibits abnormal activation of their insula, the brain region that “integrates and interprets the input from the internal organs.” The insula tells the amygdala, where the fight-flight-freeze mechanism is triggered, that something is wrong. The feeling has no recognizable origin, leaving the victim confused and uncertain.

Van der Kolk ends his wonderful book by surveying a range of treatments that help create a dialogue between the two selves: “the one that keeps track of the self across time and the one that registers the self in the present moment.” He continues,

Being traumatized is not just an issue of being stuck in the past; it is just as much a problem of not being fully alive in the present.

Which is why yoga is foremost among the remedies providing relief and self-understanding. The intense focus on one’s breathing, especially, for victims of anxiety and trauma, long exhalations that allow you to enter parasympathetic mode, creates a sense of wellbeing and trust. Chronic pain that is indicative of trauma sufferers is mitigated by the combination of stretching, breathing, and meditation.

Other therapeutic measures that van der Kolk champions include neurofeedback, eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR), internal family systems therapy (IFS), PBSP psychomotor therapy, and communal theater.

My career revolves around movement as a yoga and fitness instructor and educator. Van der Kolk’s book is one of the most important works on the body, and mind, I have read. Many of us have dealt with anxiety or trauma on numerous levels. Given the national dependence on pills and prescriptions, as well as avoidance of discussing these topics, we are not creating an environment for healing. As van der Kolk says, “fear destroys curiosity and playfulness.” If this fear is persistent in our society, our children will continue the vicious cycle of hiding what needs to be expressed. As he concludes near the end of his book,

Since 2001 far more Americans have died at the hands of their partners or other family members than in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. American women are twice as likely to suffer domestic violence as breast cancer. The American Academy of Pediatrics estimates that firearms kill twice as many children as cancer does. All around Boston I see signs advertising the Jimmy Fund, which fights children’s cancer, and for marches to fund research on breast cancer and leukemia, but we seem too embarrassed or discouraged to mount a massive effort to help children and adults learn to deal with the fear, rage, and collapse, the predictable consequences of having been traumatized.

The Science of Lucid Dreaming and How to Learn to Control Your Dreams, Animated.


As if the science of sleep and the emotional function of dreaming weren’t fascinating enough in and of themselves, things get even more bewildering when it comes to lucid dreaming — a dream state in which you’re able to manipulate the plot of the dream and your experience in it. But how, exactly, does that work and can you train yourself to do it? Count onAsapSCIENCE — who have previously explored such mysteries as how music enchants the brain, the neurobiology of orgasms, and the science of procrastination — to shed some light.

verybody has 3-7 dreams a night — the problem is, we quickly forget them.

(Then again, the probability that you are dreaming this very minute might be one in ten, so it might all be moot.)

For a deeper dive into the scientific nitty-gritty of lucid dreaming, see Stephen LaBerge and Howard Rheingold’s 1991 bible Exploring the World of Lucid Dreaming and LaBerge’s follow-up, Lucid Dreaming: A Concise Guide to Awakening in Your Dreams and in Your Life.

Then, treat yourself to this fantastic and mind-bending Radiolab episode about how one man cured himself of a recurring nightmare by learning lucid dreaming.

Watch the video. URL:https://youtu.be/lYSX51xBkos

American suicides return to a disturbing 30-year high.


On April 22nd the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), a US federal agency, released a report suggesting that America is in the grip of a sustained rise in the suicide rate across all age groups and for both sexes. The age-adjusted rate rose by 24% from 1999 to 2014, from 10.5 to 13.0 per 100,000 people. Men shoot themselves and women tend to take poison, although there has been a rise in suffocation and strangulation among both genders.

Everything seems to point in the same direction, to a national malaise, challenging the idea that America’s story is one of inexorable progress. Yet some caution is in order. The suicide rate declined steadily from 1986 until 2000, the date the CDC paper takes as its starting point. What is happening in America is a return to the mid-1980s rather than a leap into some lethal, dystopian future. It is also worth noting that a similar pattern can be seen in some other countries. Using a database from the OECD, and filling in a few gaps from other sources, we have compared America’s suicide rates with those elsewhere. The OECD data do not correspond exactly with those produced by the CDC because of the different ways their respective statisticians adjust the raw numbers for ageing. But they show that America’s suicide rate comes out considerably lower than those of France or Belgium. And the recent uptick is mirrored in Britain and the Netherlands, among other countries.

The rise since 2007, when the financial crisis got under way, adds weight to the idea that suicide studies are really just a branch of macroeconomics. But within the CDC numbers there is enough to suggest that the causes of the rise are more complicated than that.

When plotted on a map, what researchers refer to as a “suicide corridor” runs from Montana in the north to New Mexico in the south, with Nevada to the west and Colorado to the east. The best explanation for this seems to lie in demography. Native Americans and non-Hispanic whites both have a higher propensity for suicide than other ethnic groups. The mountain West has plenty of both. The desert has also become a popular destination for retirees. Surveyed by age, the group at the highest risk of committing suicide is not reckless young men but males aged 75 or over.

On the Menopause Journey? 5 Facts to Ease the Transition.


On the Menopause Journey? 5 Facts that May Ease Your Transition

Women know that transitioning into menopause is a natural part of life. For some, this occurs in their early forties, while other women are still suffering in their fifties and wondering if it will ever end.

Here are five facts about menopause that may prepare you a little more for what lies ahead:

1) There is no test to determine how long perimenopause will last or when menopause will start. Unfortunately this has yet to be developed and the timeline definitely varies by woman. Typically, women follow the women in their family such as their mom, aunts, grandma and sisters.

Some women have mild symptoms for a couple of years while others experience severe symptoms that are ongoing. Symptoms do seem to wax and wane and can change over the course of this transition and rest assured, it does not last forever.

2) There is no “cure” for menopause. Many women want to know if there’s a pill they can swallow to take it all away. Unfortunately, that depends.

Some experience a lot of mental emotional changes that requires different treatment for those who are having hot flashes and night sweats. And as this can change, the treatment may change. This is why it is important to educate yourself about menopause.

3) There are options for treatment. While there is no “cure,” there are a number of options including natural supplements, vitamins, hormones, and different medications. As menopause involves change, it is time to change your diet and exercise routine. It is time to get more sleep, focus on stress response, eat healthy, and do what makes you happy.

4) The weight gain is normal, but it’s not fun. Many women report an increase in weight around their abdomen without changing their diet or exercise routine. The Mayo Clinic has suggested that on average, women gain about 12 pounds within eight years of menopause because of hormone changes, decrease in muscle mass, and increase in fat.

Extra diligence is needed to cut out sugar, eat healthy, focus on protein and vegetables, and maintain muscle mass.

5) Irregular bleeding is expected in perimeopause but any bleeding postmenopause is a problem. As women get closer to losing their menstrual cycle altogether, their periods usually come and go at random times.

Sometimes they will skip a few months, sometimes it will come every few weeks. Sometimes it is quite heavy, sometimes it is quite light. As the ovaries begin to shut down, they become very erratic.

Once a woman stops bleeding completely for 12 months she is considered post-menopausal and should not bleed again. If she does, she needs to talk with her health care provider right away.

By understanding the course of menopause better, one can be better prepared to expect the unexpected. Talk with your health care provider today about hormones, testing, and treatment options to help make it a smoother journey.

When Should Kids Start Learning About Sex and Consent?


Late last year, California became the first state to require affirmative-consent education—education about consent that teaches “yes means yes” versus “no means no”—for public high schools that require a health class before graduation. Advocates applauded the move as a huge step in the right direction. Such education, they hoped, would help reduce the prevalence of sexual assault on college campuses and elsewhere.

But education initiatives that home in on issues of consent in high school or college may not be enough—and may be coming too late in teenagers’ lives. A recent analysis shows that, while teen dating-violence prevention programs have been shown to increase knowledge and change student attitudes, they do not actually reduce dating violence.

Many sexuality educators thus feel conflicted about the focus in the media and in the public conversation in general on affirmative consent. “I think it’s a positive step. It’s acknowledging that young people might want to say yes [to sex], and it’s giving them more space to say yes,” said Eva Goldfarb,  a sexuality educator and public-health professor at Montclair State University. “But what do parents and administrators expect to happen afterward if consent is all children know and are prepared for? We’re spending so much time on the conversation of gatekeeping,” Goldfarb continued. “It still sets a sexual dynamic that’s adversarial. Everyone wants to keep people safe, but it’s still about avoiding danger rather than exploring positive aspects of sexuality.”

Elizabeth Schroeder, a sexuality educator at both Montclair State University and Widener University, feels similarly. In zeroing in on a single problematic issue such as consent, she thinks both parents and administrators are missing the point: that unhealthy sexual behaviors can have their origins in insufficient early education, and that a more holistic approach to sexuality education can eventually lead to healthier attitudes toward sex and relationships.

Both educators believe that children would be better off with a more comprehensive understanding of sexuality, beyond just the issue of consent—one most effectively taught at a younger age as part of a larger curriculum that includes teachings on boundaries, personal autonomy, relationships, and other aspects of sexual health. This attitude reflects a growing movement among sexuality organizations and educators to advocate for comprehensive sex-education programs that begin as early as kindergarten, to provide students with age-appropriate and medically accurate information that acts as a foundation for later lessons on consent.

And adults aren’t the only ones pushing for more extensive sexuality education—teens appear to be hungry for this information as well. In a Girls’ Attitudes Survey published by Girlguiding in 2015, researchers showed girls aged 11 to 16 a list of topics in order to get an idea of what they have been taught versus what they felt they should be taught. Among the findings, researchers learned that there were some topics—especially relationships, pornography, consent, and violence against women and girls—in which education offerings fell far short of what girls wanted and needed. Similarly, a report released by the World Health Organization showed that young people felt there was a need for less information about pregnancy and STIs—which they already knew about—and more information on relationships and consent.

“Don’t pretend these behaviors or relationships aren’t happening [among young people].”
Both Schroeder and Goldfarb—both of whom have acted as consultants and co-authors on curricula released by major health and sexuality organizations—see all of this as proof that school districts need to adopt comprehensive sex-ed curricula, and that they need to start incorporating it at younger ages. Kindergartners, for example, would learn about their bodies, about boundaries, and about the different types of families that exist, while first graders would then move on to lessons about friendship and gender roles. By fifth grade, students would be ready to learn about puberty, sexual and reproductive anatomy, and sexual orientation. By following this timeline, high-school seniors would have a firm infrastructure in place in order to be ready for more complex lessons on reproductive and sexual rights, STD testing, and the human sexual response cycle. This entire body of knowledge would provide the necessary support for a greater understanding of issues such as consent.
Most parents seem to agree that such an educational structure makes sense. A number of studies show widespread parental support for comprehensive sex ed, including one from 2014 finding that the majority of parents in the U.S. support the teaching of human anatomy and reproductive information, gender and sexual-orientation issues, and more starting in elementary school. A full 40 percent of parents supported comprehensive sexuality education in general.
Lisa De La Rue, one of the authors of the aforementioned paper that showed underwhelming results from teen dating violence programs, agrees that early education can only help. “Don’t pretend these behaviors or relationships aren’t happening [among young people],” said De La Rue, who works as an assistant professor in the counseling psychology department at the University of San Francisco. “Getting more comfortable with it, understanding what it looks like, and being able to have those conversations with your children is going to set them up with a long-term outlook on what healthy dating should look like. Early intervention is key.”

Still, a more vocal minority have pushed back against this latest push for comprehensive sex ed, shocked by the thought of exposing young children to the topic of sex, and convinced that teaching about sexual activity is the same as endorsing it.

“The comprehensive sexuality education (CSE) agenda is very deceptive,” Sharon Slater, the president of the family policy advocacy group Family Watch International, told LifeSiteNews just last month while promoting her new documentary The War on Children: Exposing the Comprehensive Sexuality Education Agenda. “CSE encourages children to engage in sexual experimentation and high-risk sexual behaviors.”

“If we’re really doing our jobs from the time children are young … consent education becomes unnecessary or, hopefully, less necessary as they get older.”
Slater also launched a new website, created to “warn parents and policymakers of the serious harms of explicit comprehensive sexuality education programs.” This site contains information on how CSE harms children, and frames this form of education as one with a scandalous history and an agenda aimed at changing the gender and sexual norms of society and establishing rights for children as sexually autonomous beings.
Similarly, Miriam Grossman, a psychiatrist who regularly lectures on the topic of sex education, argues that abstinence-based education is essential to protecting children from sexually irresponsible behavior, and has published two books that explore the dangers of CSE.

Those in favor of CSE, on the other hand, are critical of abstinence-only education because of the ways in which it only teaches children about the dangers of sex and sexuality. Which is why organizations such as the American Public Health Association (APHA) have released statements in support of CSE starting in Kindergarten, asserting that “all young people need the knowledge, attitudes, and skills necessary to avoid HIV, other sexually transmitted infections (STIs), and unintended pregnancy so that they can become sexually healthy adults.” The authors of this statement cite a plethora of studies in support of CSE, including those that show that introducing this type of knowledge early on can actually protect our children from childhood abuse.

“If we’re really doing our jobs as parents and educators from the time children are young, tying all of this in with the relationships we have with one another,” Goldfarb said, “consent education becomes unnecessary or, hopefully, it becomes less necessary as they get older.”

A number of curricula already exist that lay out age and developmentally appropriate materials starting in kindergarten and spanning all the way through high school. There are the Guidelines for Comprehensive Sexuality Education, developed by the Sexuality Information and Education Council of the United States, for example, or the Our Whole Lives program, released by the Unitarian Universalist Association and intended for use by parents. More recently, Advocates for Youth released Rights, Respect, Responsibility. These curricula—and many more—recommend lesson plans to help kindergartners understand their bodies, to help sixth-graders learn more about gender roles and expectations, and to help high-school seniors learn more about their reproductive rights and about STD testing. The missing ingredient in many cases, according to De La Rue, is funding. Many schools also struggle to foster an environment in which unhealthy sexual behaviors aren’t tolerated.

“I think we should teach [sexuality] the way we teach every other topic in school,” says Schroeder. “Start basic. Build that scaffolding in a way that is age and developmentally appropriate.” Both Schroeder and Goldfarb give as an example the way schools approach math education. “My son is learning algebra now in the eighth grade,” says Schroeder, “but it’s not the first time he’s getting math. It’s antithetical that we wouldn’t do the same with sexuality.”

This homemade hoverbike is the future of personal aviation


The Internet’s favorite crazy inventor has created a rideable hoverbike, and while it doesn’t go much higher than a couple feet, it’s a pretty innovative creation.

YouTuber Colin Furze, famous for his homemade Wolverine claws, jet-powered bicycle and recent thermite launcher, embarked on his first-ever flying project as requested by fans. He created the hoverbike, a seatless, brake-less contraption powered by two motorized propellers in place of wheels. He only shows it off in short bursts, so you probably can’t fly it down to your local store to buy bread.

While a bit bigger, noisier and more dangerous than your average bicycle, taking a spin on Furze’s hoverbike still seems like a lot of fun.

Furze crafted the hoverbike with some parts supplied by Ford, documenting the process from picking what to make, getting the necessary materials, building it and riding it.

[The project’s] been going on over the past three months, but maybe only four to five weeks have been spent on it as I spent a lot of time waiting for parts like the propellers,” Furze toldMashable.

After landing on the hoverbike’s final design iteration — reached mostly by chopping bits off — Furze said it took four flying sessions to really get the hang of flying it.

“It’s all on getting the engines running the same speed and how you position yourself,” he said.

And, of course, if you stay until the end of the video, he shoots fireworks off the front of it while cruising through the air.

For his first invention that had him flying through the air, the hoverbike worked out. As for inventing and building more flying contraptions, Furze said he thinks there should be more airborne adventures in his future.

Watch the video. URL:https://youtu.be/soxxPyaAT1k

Elon Musk says we need to leave Earth as soon as possible


In all the billions and billions of planets in our home galaxy, humanity happens to find itself on one perfectly suited for life.

Earth isn’t without its hazards though. The planet has seen five mass extinctions throughout its history, due to cataclysmic disasters like giant asteroids and massive volcanic eruptions.

Billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk is worried about the next apocalypse.

He’s so concerned that he thinks we need to get off Earth and become a multi-planet species as quickly as possible, according to a post written by blogger Tim Urban called “How (and Why) SpaceX Will Colonize Mars.”

Musk’s reasoning is straightforward. Maybe by the time the next giant asteroid heads our way, we’ll have the technology to shield the planet or redirect the space rock. But if it’s something more catastrophic, like a nearby star exploding, we may all get vaporized. Musk says we can’t afford to wait around and find out.

In his blog post, Urban gives us another way to think about it: Imagine Earth as a hard drive, and every species is a word document saved on that hard drive. The hard drive has already crashed five times (those five mass extinctions), and each time it loses a huge chunk of those documents (species going extinct). So you can think of the human species as an incredibly valuable document created on that hard drive:

Now—if you owned a hard drive with an extraordinarily important Excel doc on it, and you knew that the hard drive pretty reliably tended to crash every month or two, with the last crash happening five weeks ago—what’s the very obvious thing you’d do? You’d copy the document onto a second hard drive.

That’s exactly why Musk is so hell-bent on Mars — it could become humanity’s backup drive.

Musk doesn’t want to send a handful of colonists, either; he’d like to launch 1 million peopleto the red planet. If we want anything resembling the industry and infrastructure here on Earth, and ample genetic diversity, then we’ll need at least that many people to get things going. That’s the only way we’ll survive as a species on Mars, Musk reportedly told Urban.

Later this year, via his rocket company SpaceX, Musk plans to reveal a spacecraft designed to carry as many as 100 people at a time to the red planet. In the meantime, he’s teased the world with a vision of how he’d land humans on Mars in a capsule called Red Dragon:

8 Early Symptoms of Parkinson’s Disease Too Easy to Miss.


This movement disorder is more treatable when caught early, but Parkinson’s symptoms can appear quite differently from one person to another. Talk to your doctor if you’re worried about any of these signs.

Changed handwriting

Watch the slideshow. URL: http://www.rd.com/health/conditions/symptoms-of-parkinsons-disease/1/?trkid=FBPAGE_RD_20160429_Conditions_Slideshow

Scientists reveal origin of Earth’s oldest crystals


Trinity scientists reveal origin of Earth's oldest crystals
Scanning electron microscope picture of a zircon crystal from the Sudbury crater. 

New research suggests that the very oldest pieces of rock on Earth—zircon crystals—are likely to have formed in the craters left by violent asteroid impacts that peppered our nascent planet, rather than via plate tectonics as was previously believed.

Rocks that formed over the course of Earth’s history allow geologists to infer things such as when water first appeared on the planet, how our climate has varied, and even where life came from. However, we can only go back in time so far, as the only material we have from the very early Earth comes in the form of tiny, naturally occurring zircon crystals.

Naturally then, the origin of these crystals, which are approximately the width of a human hair and more than four billion years old (the Earth being just over four and a half billion years old), has become a matter of major debate. Fifteen years ago these crystals first made headlines when they revealed the presence of water on the surface of the Earth (thought to be a key ingredient for the origin of life) when they were forming.

Ten years ago, a team of researchers in the US1 argued that the ancient zircon crystals probably formed when tectonic plates moving around on the Earth’s surface collided with each other in a similar fashion to the disruption taking place in the Andes Mountains today, where the ocean floor under the Pacific Ocean is plunging under South America.

Trinity scientists reveal origin of Earth's oldest crystals
Shatter cones (pyramid-like structures) formed from the shock wave of the impact, and can be seen as that wave migrated through the rock from the bottom up. Credit: Gavin Kenny, Trinity College Dublin.

However, current evidence suggests that plate tectonics—as we know it today—was not occurring on the early Earth. So, the question remained: Where did the crystals come from?

Recently, geologists suggested these grains may have formed in huge impact craters produced as chunks of rock from space, up to several kilometres in diameter, slammed into a young Earth. To test this idea, researchers from Trinity College Dublin decided to study a much younger to see if zircon crystals similar to the very old ones could possibly have formed in these violent settings.

In the summer of 2014, with the support of the Irish Reseach Council (IRC) and Science Foundation Ireland (SFI), the team collected thousands of zircons from the Sudbury impact crater, Ontario, Canada – the best preserved large impact crater on Earth and the planet’s second oldest confirmed crater at almost two billion years old.

After analysing these crystals at the Swedish Museum of Natural History in Stockholm, they discovered that the crystal compositions were indistinguishable from the ancient set.

PhD Researcher in Trinity’s School of Natural Sciences, Gavin Kenny, is first author of the article which explains these findings, and which has just been published in leading international journal, Geology.

He said: “What we found was quite surprising. Many people thought the very ancient couldn’t have formed in impact craters, but we now know they could have. There’s a lot we still don’t fully understand about these little guys but it looks like we may now be able to form a more coherent story of Earth’s early years—one which fits with the idea that our planet suffered far more frequent bombardment from asteroids early on than it has in relatively recent times.”

Gavin Kenny recently travelled to the annual Lunar and Planetary Science Conference (LPSC) in Houston, Texas, to present these findings to the space science community.

He added: “There was a lot of enthusiasm for our findings. Just two years ago a group2 had studied the likely timing of impacts on the early Earth and they suggested that these impacts might explain the ages of the ancient zircons. They were understandably very happy to see that the chemistry of the zircons from the Canadian impact crater matched the oldest crystals known to man.”

This 10-Minute Routine Before and After Sleep Will Increase Your Creativity and Clarity.


“Your subconscious mind works continuously, while you are awake, and while you sleep.”–Napoleon Hill.

 

Your subconscious never rests and is always on duty because it controls your heartbeat, blood circulation, and digestion. It controls all the vital processes and functions of your body and knows the answers to all your problems.

What happens on your subconscious level influences what happens on your conscious level. In other words, what goes on internally, even unconsciously, eventually becomes your reality. As Hill further states, “The subconscious mind will translate into its physical equivalent, by the most direct and practical method available.”

Consequently, your goal is to direct your subconscious mind to create the outcomes you seek. Additionally, you want to tap into your subconscious mind to unlock connections and solutions to your problems and projects.

Here’s a simple routine to get started:

Ten minutes before going to sleep:

“Never go to sleep without a request to your subconscious.”–Thomas Edison

It’s common practice for many of the world’s most successful people to intentionally direct the workings of their subconscious mind while they’re sleeping.

How?

Take a few moments before you go to bed to meditate on and write down the things you’re trying to accomplish.

Ask yourself loads of questions related to that thing. In Edison’s words, make some “requests.” Write those questions and thoughts down on paper. The more specific the questions, the more clear will be your answers.

While you’re sleeping, your subconscious mind will get to work on those things.

Ten minutes after waking up:

Research confirms the brain, specifically the prefrontal cortex, is most active and readily creative immediately following sleep. Your subconscious mind has been loosely mind-wandering while you slept, making contextual and temporal connections. Creativity, after all, is making connections between different parts of the brain.

In a recent interview with Tim Ferriss, Josh Waitzkin, former chess prodigy and tai chi world champion, explains his morning routine to tap into the subconscious breakthroughs and connections experienced while he was sleeping.

Unlike 80 percent of people between the ages of 18-44 who check their smartphones within 15 minutes of waking up, Waitzkin goes to a quiet place, does some meditation and grabs his journal.

In his journal, he thought-dumps for several minutes. Thus, rather than focusing on input like most people who check their notifications, Waitzkin’s focus is on output. This is how he taps into his higher realms of clarity, learning, and creativity–what he calls, “crystallized intelligence.”

If you’re not an experienced journal writer, the idea of “thought-dumping” may be hard to implement. In my experience, it’s good to loosely direct your thought-dumping toward your goals.

Consider the “requests” you made of your subconscious just before going to bed. You asked yourself loads of questions. You thought about and wrote down the things you’re trying to accomplish.

Now, first thing in the morning, when your creative brain is most attuned, after its subconscious workout while you slept, start writing down whatever comes to mind about those things.

I often get ideas for articles I’m going to write while doing these thought-dumps. I get ideas about how I can be a better husband and father to my three foster children. I get clarity about the goals I believe I should be pursuing. I get insights about people I need to connect with, or how I can improve my current relationships.

Conclusion:

“A man cannot directly choose his circumstances, but he can choose his thoughts, and so indirectly, yet surely, shape his circumstances.”–James Allen

Mental creation always precedes physical creation. Before a building is physically constructed, there’s a blueprint.

Your thoughts are the blueprint of the life you are building one day at a time. When you learn to channel your thinking–both consciously and subconsciously–you create the conditions that make the achievement of your goals inevitable.

You are the designer of your destiny. This simple routine will help you crystallize where you want to go, and how you will get there

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