Technology and social media are feeding addictive behaviors and mental illness in society


Image: Technology and social media are feeding addictive behaviors and mental illness in society

Smart phones and tablets have become a cancerous growth in our lives – never leaving us, feeding off our essence, and sucking away our attention, life, and energy. Social media is like an aggressive form of brain cancer, attaching to our mind, addicting us to cheap dopamine rushes, replacing human interaction with a digital façade of living. Stealing away our time, technology has become a disease that infiltrates our mental and social health, leaving us depressed, anxious, worried, envious, arrogant, and socially isolated.

What we type and text to others causes over-thinking, rumination, and misunderstanding. The way we respond with type and text can be misinterpreted, leading to social strain in relationships. Digital communication lacks the natural flow of body language, eye contact, touch, voice inflection, tone, and real-life rapport. Accustomed to digital communication, people lose their ability to have adult conversations. This hurts everyone’s ability to work together, discuss ideas, solve problems, and overcome multi-faceted challenges.

Popular social media platforms prey on human weaknesses

On Facebook, the pursuit of likes and comments can become an addicting sensation. When the attention fails to come in, the Facebook user may feel unheard or undesirable. When the user sees their friends getting more likes, they may perceive other people having a better life than they do, leading to depressed feelings. (Related: Former Facebook exec: “Social media is ripping society apart.“)

On Twitter, communication is limited to short bursts. These bursts encourage people to engage in divisive language that is used in inflammatory ways and is easily misunderstood. Twitter is used to build a “following” which becomes a high-school-esque popularity contest that easily inflates egos and gives a platform to the most annoying ones in the bunch.

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Instagram and Snapchat have become more popular as well, making users anxious to show off their lives online 24-7. This infatuation with documenting every moment is an anxious, self-absorbed way to live and it does the person no good, because these technology gimmicks interrupt the actual moment and disturb the flow of real life. Do we really think that everyone cares about every picture, every meal, and everything that we do? As the digital world continues to bloat up with information, pictures, and voices, all of it loses its value and sacredness. Over time, no one genuinely cares. The louder a person gets on social media, the more annoying they are perceived.

Technology addiction destroys sleep, leads teenagers to other addictive substances

As parents pacify their children with screens, the children are exposed to constant light stimulation which excites brain chemicals. The colorful games and videos over-stimulate the child’s mind, making them addicted to the sensation. Consequentially the child becomes more restless and behavioral distress increases over the long term.

Technology has made our lives more selfish, isolated, and interrupted. Social media has preyed on our weaknesses, trapping us in its mesmerizing facade of happiness. According to SurvivoPedia, teenagers who spend more than five hours a day on their devices are at a 72 percent higher risk for suicide risk factors. In order to alleviate the mental health issues associated with social media, teenagers may turn to other addictive substances to take the edge off.

Additionally, these devices interfere with healthy sleep patterns — which are essential for proper brain development. The onslaught of blue light and electromagnetic frequency interferes with healthy melatonin levels in the brain. The things that we post online can keep us up at night as well. The addiction to check the phone for responses and likes can keep a person up, too. All this brain excitement and depression throws off the body’s circadian rhythm, leading to poor sleep and mental fatigue during the daytime.

Check out more on mental health at Mind.News.

Sources include:

SurvivoPedia.com

NaturalNews.com

NaturalNews.com

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Top Tips to Improve Nonverbal Communication


The trouble with Paula was, she was always worrying. She worried what people thought of her; worried about what she was wearing. She worried about being too fat… being different… not knowing the right thing to say. These inner worries were etched all over her face. Now, even when she felt happy, she seemed to have a permanently worried expression.

‘I think the way I look is having an effect on how people react to me’, she said. ‘I don’t think I’m very approachable… I want to project a happier image’, Paula told me ‘but I’m not sure where to start’.

Paula was right to be concerned but there was certainly something she could do about it. At least she was aware that body language is an important part of communication.

Paula reminded me of a client I had met several years ago who also seemed tocarry the weight of the world on her shoulders. When I met her at the door, I had an impression she was scowling at me. First impressions count. That client had referred to herself as ‘a fierce maggot’ and I had set her some home work of simply smiling at people and seeing what changed. She had returned the following week with the news that people had been more friendly to her. A neighbour she hadn’t spoken to before had even invited her in for coffee.

Paula and my client had both become aware of the significance of how they present themselves to the world and the impact they were having on others.

It’s Impossible Not to Communicate

‘All people smile in the same language.’ – Proverb

Body language is a large part of communication. It’s impossible not to communicate even when you are not saying one word. How you stand, or dress together with the fleeting micro-expressions of your face will convey a large amount of information… and for very good reason.

Millions of years ago, before human beings evolved the power of speech, we would have relied on grunts, grimaces, smiles and a deeply instinctive understanding of what others were trying to communicate.

We are hard wired to have opinions and judge others within seconds of encountering them. Is this person friend or foe, of my tribe or another tribe? Am I in danger or not in danger?

Understanding body language is essential in order to improve nonverbal communication.

In conversation, being able to present and read nonverbal communication is really helpful.

The mnemonic SOLER is a reminder which contains five tips for making a really great start with positive communication and good listening.

Sit Square

It’s a really good idea to face the person you’re going to be talking with. If you sit side-by-side or find you are looking at the back of somebody’s head, it will be impossible to communicate fully as we read faces and all the micro expressions and nuances they convey.

Open Posture

Crossed arms or legs close the body down and give a nonverbal message of disinterest. When we close ourselves off in this way, we are saying ‘I am hiding something’ or ‘I do not really want to be here in this conversation with you.’ If you see this body language in others, it conveys a clear message which you will understand on a subconscious level.

We All Smile The Same Language

Lean In

If you go to a restaurant and look around the tables, you can tell me couples who are tuned into each other as they are leaning in, mirroring body language.

If somebody is leaning back on the chair, the nonverbal message again, is one of disengagement or disinterest.

If the verbal messages are at odds with the non verbal messages, this is referred to as ‘in-congruence’ and will create tension in the communication, sometimes a problem with couples as, generally, women are better at picking up these non verbal clues than men.

Eye Contact

When people are speaking they tend to look around the room and occasionally glance back at the person they’re talking to. If that person is looking away, it would appear as though they are not interested in the words of the speaker.

Somebody who is listening and attending will be looking directly at the person talking. They will nod or give minimal cues such as ‘uhu’ or ‘yes’ to show active listening.

Relax

If you look relaxed, the person you’re talking with is likely to feel relaxed too. Empathic mirror neuron circuitry means we reflect the body language of others when we are tuned in.

Smile and The World Smiles Back

‘Sometimes your joy is the source of your smile, but sometimes your smile can be the source of your joy.‘― Thich Nhat Hanh

But the biggest and best difference you can make to your approachability and attractiveness to others is, by far, contained in the power of the smile….but it has to be genuine!

Most people pick up on a smile which is fake as it involves the muscles around the mouth but not the eyes. Gordan Brown was a classic example of someone who had been instructed to smile more. Consequently, he often looked like some one had pressed an invisible button operating the corners of his mouth. The smile was switched on and switched off in such an unnatural way, it convinced few and created just the kind of incongruence which leaves people feeling a bit confused and uncomfortable.

It was Guillaume Duchenne who, back in 1862, identified the muscle groups involved in a real heart-felt smile, subsequently known as the ‘Duchenne smile.’

Fake It ’Til You Make It

‘Remember even though the outside world might be raining, if you keep on smiling the sun will soon show its face and smile back at you.’ – Anna Lee

Yet, awkwardness apart, there are real benefits in practicing the simple art of smiling as, according to research, we smile when we are happy, but the act of smiling can also make us feel happier too.

It was in the 1970s that smile research really got off the ground. There were very consistent results from experiments which had people making happy or unhappy facial expressions and then measuring their mood afterwards. (3)

So, on balance, if you want to make a good impression, be attractive and approachable, head up the promotion ladder at work, or simply feel happier and more confident, pay attention to your non verbal communication skills, but, more importantly… smile!

Top Tips to Improve Nonverbal Communication

DNA is a biological internet.


The human DNA is a biological internet and superior in many aspects to the artificial one. Russian scientific research directly or indirectly explains phenomena such as clairvoyance, intuition, spontaneous and remote acts of healing, self healing, affirmation techniques, unusual light/auras around people (namely spiritual masters), mind’s influence on weather patterns and much more. In addition, there is evidence for a whole new type of medicine in which DNA can be influenced and reprogrammed by words and frequencies WITHOUT cutting out and replacing single genes. Only 10% of our DNA is being used for building proteins. It is this subset of DNA that is of interest to western researchers and is being examined and categorized. The other 90% are considered “junk DNA.” The Russian researchers, however, convinced that nature was not dumb, joined linguists and geneticists in a venture to explore those 90% of “junk DNA.” Their results, findings and conclusions are simply revolutionary! According to them, our DNA is not only responsible for the construction of our body but also serves as data storage and in communication. The Russian linguists found that the genetic code, especially in the apparently useless 90%, follows the same rules as all our human languages. To this end they compared the rules of syntax (the way in which words are put together to form phrases and sentences), semantics (the study of meaning in language forms) and the basic rules of grammar. They found that the alkalines of our DNA follow a regular grammar and do have set rules just like our languages. So human languages did not appear coincidentally but are a reflection of our inherent DNA. The Russian biophysicist and molecular biologist Pjotr Garjajev and his colleagues also explored the vibrational behavior of the DNA. [For the sake of brevity I will give only a summary here. For further exploration please refer to the appendix at the end of this article.] The bottom line was: “Living chromosomes function just like solitonic/holographic computers using the endogenous DNA laser radiation.” This means that they managed for example to modulate certain frequency patterns onto a laser ray and with it influenced the DNA frequency and thus the genetic information itself. Since the basic structure of DNA-alkaline pairs and of language (as explained earlier) are of the same structure, no DNA decoding is necessary. One can simply use words and sentences of the human language! This, too, was experimentally proven! Living DNA substance (in living tissue, not in vitro) will always react to language-modulated laser rays and even to radio waves, if the proper frequencies are being used. This finally and scientifically explains why affirmations, autogenous training, hypnosis and the like can have such strong effects on humans and their bodies. It is entirely normal and natural for our DNA to react to language. While western researchers cut single genes from the DNA strands and insert them elsewhere, the Russians enthusiastically worked on devices that can influence the cellular metabolism through suitable modulated radio and light frequencies and thus repair genetic defects. Garjajev’s research group succeeded in proving that with this method chromosomes damaged by x-rays for example can be repaired. They even captured information patterns of a particular DNA and transmitted it onto another, thus reprogramming cells to another genome. ?So they successfully transformed, for example, frog embryos to salamander embryos simply by transmitting the DNA information patterns! This way the entire information was transmitted without any of the side effects or disharmonies encountered when cutting out and re-introducing single genes from the DNA. This represents an unbelievable, world-transforming revolution and sensation! All this by simply applying vibration and language instead of the archaic cutting-out procedure! This experiment points to the immense power of wave genetics, which obviously has a greater influence on the formation of organisms than the biochemical processes of alkaline sequences. Esoteric and spiritual teachers have known for ages that our body is programmable by language, words and thought. This has now been scientifically proven and explained. Of course the frequency has to be correct. And this is why not everybody is equally successful or can do it with always the same strength. The individual person must work on the inner processes and maturity in order to establish a conscious communication with the DNA. The Russian researchers work on a method that is not dependent on these factors but will ALWAYS work, provided one uses the correct frequency. But the higher developed an individual’s consciousness is, the less need is there for any type of device! One can achieve these results by oneself, and science will finally stop to laugh at such ideas and will confirm and explain the results. And it doesn’t end there.?The Russian scientists also found out that our DNA can cause disturbing patterns in the vacuum, thus producing magnetized wormholes! Wormholes are the microscopic equivalents of the so-called Einstein-Rosen bridges in the vicinity of black holes (left by burned-out stars).? These are tunnel connections between entirely different areas in the universe through which information can be transmitted outside of space and time. The DNA attracts these bits of information and passes them on to our consciousness. This process of hyper communication is most effective in a state of relaxation. Stress, worries or a hyperactive intellect prevent successful hyper communication or the information will be totally distorted and useless. In nature, hyper communication has been successfully applied for millions of years. The organized flow of life in insect states proves this dramatically. Modern man knows it only on a much more subtle level as “intuition.” But we, too, can regain full use of it. An example from Nature: When a queen ant is spatially separated from her colony, building still continues fervently and according to plan. If the queen is killed, however, all work in the colony stops. No ant knows what to do. Apparently the queen sends the “building plans” also from far away via the group consciousness of her subjects. She can be as far away as she wants, as long as she is alive. In man hyper communication is most often encountered when one suddenly gains access to information that is outside one’s knowledge base. Such hyper communication is then experienced as inspiration or intuition. The Italian composer Giuseppe Tartini for instance dreamt one night that a devil sat at his bedside playing the violin. The next morning Tartini was able to note down the piece exactly from memory, he called it the Devil’s Trill Sonata. For years, a 42-year old male nurse dreamt of a situation in which he was hooked up to a kind of knowledge CD-ROM. Verifiable knowledge from all imaginable fields was then transmitted to him that he was able to recall in the morning. There was such a flood of information that it seemed a whole encyclopedia was transmitted at night. The majority of facts were outside his personal knowledge base and reached technical details about which he knew absolutely nothing. When hyper communication occurs, one can observe in the DNA as well as in the human being special phenomena. The Russian scientists irradiated DNA samples with laser light. On screen a typical wave pattern was formed. When they removed the DNA sample, the wave pattern did not disappear, it remained. Many control experiments showed that the pattern still came from the removed sample, whose energy field apparently remained by itself. This effect is now called phantom DNA effect. It is surmised that energy from outside of space and time still flows through the activated wormholes after the DNA was removed. The side effect encountered most often in hyper communication also in human beings are inexplicable electromagnetic fields in the vicinity of the persons concerned. Electronic devices like CD players and the like can be irritated and cease to function for hours. When the electromagnetic field slowly dissipates, the devices function normally again. Many healers and psychics know this effect from their work. The better the atmosphere and the energy, the more frustrating it is that the recording device stops functioning and recording exactly at that moment. And repeated switching on and off after the session does not restore function yet, but next morning all is back to normal. Perhaps this is reassuring to read for many, as it has nothing to do with them being technically inept, it means they are good at hyper communication. In their book “Vernetzte Intelligenz” (Networked Intelligence), Grazyna Gosar and Franz Bludorf explain these connections precisely and clearly. The authors also quote sources presuming that in earlier times humanity had been, just like the animals, very strongly connected to the group consciousness and acted as a group. To develop and experience individuality we humans however had to forget hyper communication almost completely. Now that we are fairly stable in our individual consciousness, we can create a new form of group consciousness, namely one, in which we attain access to all information via our DNA without being forced or remotely controlled about what to do with that information. We now know that just as on the internet our DNA can feed its proper data into the network, can call up data from the network and can establish contact with other participants in the network. Remote healing, telepathy or “remote sensing” about the state of relatives etc.. can thus be explained. Some animals know also from afar when their owners plan to return home. That can be freshly interpreted and explained via the concepts of group consciousness and hyper communication. Any collective consciousness cannot be sensibly used over any period of time without a distinctive individuality. Otherwise we would revert to a primitive herd instinct that is easily manipulated. Hyper communication in the new millennium means something quite different: Researchers think that if humans with full individuality would regain group consciousness, they would have a god-like power to create, alter and shape things on Earth! AND humanity is collectively moving toward such a group consciousness of the new kind. Fifty percent of today’s children will be problem children as soon as the go to school. The system lumps everyone together and demands adjustment. But the individuality of today’s children is so strong that that they refuse this adjustment and giving up their idiosyncrasies in the most diverse ways. At the same time more and more clairvoyant children are born [see the book “China’s Indigo Children” by Paul Dong or the chapter about Indigos in my book “Nutze die taeglichen Wunder”(Make Use of the Daily Wonders)]. Something in those children is striving more and more towards the group consciousness of the new kind, and it will no longer be suppressed. As a rule, weather for example is rather difficult to influence by a single individual. But it may be influenced by a group consciousness (nothing new to some tribes doing it in their rain dances). Weather is strongly influenced by Earth resonance frequencies, the so-called Schumann frequencies. But those same frequencies are also produced in our brains, and when many people synchronize their thinking or individuals (spiritual masters, for instance) focus their thoughts in a laser-like fashion, then it is scientifically speaking not at all surprising if they can thus influence weather. Researchers in group consciousness have formulated the theory of Type I civilizations. A humanity that developed a group consciousness of the new kind would have neither environmental problems nor scarcity of energy. For if it were to use its mental power as a unified civilization, it would have control of the energies of its home planet as a natural consequence. And that includes all natural catastrophes!!! A theoretical Type II civilization would even be able to control all energies of their home galaxy. In my book “Nutze die taeglichen Wunder,” I have described an example of this: Whenever a great many people focus their attention or consciousness on something similar like Christmas time, football world championship or the funeral of Lady Diana in England then certain random number generators in computers start to deliver ordered numbers instead of the random ones. An ordered group consciousness creates order in its whole surroundings! When a great number of people get together very closely, potentials of violence also dissolve. It looks as if here, too, a kind of humanitarian consciousness of all humanity is created.(The Global Consciousness Project) To come back to the DNA: It apparently is also an organic superconductor that can work at normal body temperature. Artificial superconductors require extremely low temperatures of between 200 and 140°C to function. As one recently learned, all superconductors are able to store light and thus information. This is a further explanation of how the DNA can store information. There is another phenomenon linked to DNA and wormholes. Normally, these supersmall wormholes are highly unstable and are maintained only for the tiniest fractions of a second. Under certain conditions stable wormholes can organize themselves which then form distinctive vacuum domains in which for example gravity can transform into electricity. Vacuum domains are self-radiant balls of ionized gas that contain considerable amounts of energy. There are regions in Russia where such radiant balls appear very often. Following the ensuing confusion the Russians started massive research programs leading finally to some of the discoveries mentions above. Many people know vacuum domains as shiny balls in the sky. The attentive look at them in wonder and ask themselves, what they could be. I thought once: “Hello up there. If you happen to be a UFO, fly in a triangle.” And suddenly, the light balls moved in a triangle. Or they shot across the sky like ice hockey pucks. They accelerated from zero to crazy speeds while sliding gently across the sky. One is left gawking and I have, as many others, too, thought them to be UFOs. Friendly ones, apparently, as they flew in triangles just to please me. Now the Russians found in the regions, where vacuum domains appear often that sometimes fly as balls of light from the ground upwards into the sky, that these balls can be guided by thought. One has found out since that vacuum domains emit waves of low frequency as they are also produced in our brains. And because of this similarity of waves they are able to react to our thoughts. To run excitedly into one that is on ground level might not be such a great idea, because those balls of light can contain immense energies and are able to mutate our genes. They can, they don’t necessarily have to, one has to say. For many spiritual teachers also produce such visible balls or columns of light in deep meditation or during energy work which trigger decidedly pleasant feelings and do not cause any harm. Apparently this is also dependent on some inner order and on the quality and provenance of the vacuum domain. There are some spiritual teachers (the young Englishman Ananda, for example) with whom nothing is seen at first, but when one tries to take a photograph while they sit and speak or meditate in hyper communication, one gets only a picture of a white cloud on a chair. In some Earth healing projects such light effects also appear on photographs. Simply put, these phenomena have to do with gravity and anti-gravity forces that are also exactly described in the book and with ever more stable wormholes and hyper communication and thus with energies from outside our time and space structure. Earlier generations that got in contact with such hyper communication experiences and visible vacuum domains were convinced that an angel had appeared before them. And we cannot be too sure to what forms of consciousness we can get access when using hyper communication. Not having scientific proof for their actual existence (people having had such experiences do NOT all suffer from hallucinations) does not mean that there is no metaphysical background to it. We have simply made another giant step towards understanding our reality. Official science also knows of gravity anomalies on Earth (that contribute to the formation of vacuum domains), but only of ones of below one percent. But recently gravity anomalies have been found of between three and four percent. One of these places is Rocca di Papa, south of Rome (exact location in the book “Vernetzte Intelligenz” plus several others). Round objects of all kinds, from balls to full buses, roll uphill. But the stretch in Rocca di Papa is rather short, and defying logic sceptics still flee to the theory of optical illusion (which it cannot be due to several features of the location).

Scientists Discover That Plants Communicate via Symbiotic Root Fungi.


Human arrogance has always assumed we are evolutionarily superior to plants, but it appears that modern science may be the antidote to this egocentric view.

Researchers in the UK have discovered an extensive underground network connecting plants by their roots, serving as a complex interplant communication system… a “plant Internet,” if you will.

One organism is responsible for this amazing biochemical highway: a type of fungus called mycorrhizae. Researchers from the University of Aberdeen devised a clever experiment to isolate the effects of these extensive underground networks. They grew sets of broad bean plants, allowing some to develop mycorrhizal nets, but preventing them in others.

They also eliminated the plants’ normal through-the-air communication by covering the plants with bags. Then they infested some of the plants with aphids. The results were remarkable.1

Most people have no idea how important mycorrhizal fungi are for plant growth. They really are one of the keys to successful growth of plants. In my own garden, I just purchased a 15 gallon vortex compost brewer in which I grow these fungi in large quantities for my ornamental and edible landscape.

Underground Communications Network Thwarts Infestation

The aphid-infested plants were able to signal the other plants, connected through mycorrhizae, of an imminent attack—giving them a “heads up” and affording them time to mount their own chemical defenses in order to prevent infestation.

In this case, the alerted bean plants deployed aphid-repelling chemicals and other chemicals that attract wasps, which are aphids’ natural predators. The bean plants that were not connected received no such warning and became easy prey for the pesky insects.

This study is not the first to discover plant communication along mycorrhizal networks. A 2012 article in the Journal of Chemical Ecology describes mycorrhizae-induced resistance as part of plants’ systemic “immune response,” protecting them from pathogens, herbivores, and parasitic plants.2

And in 2010, Song et al published a report about the interplant communication of tomato plants, in which they wrote:3

CMNs [common mycorrhizal networks] may function as a plant-plant underground communication conduit whereby disease resistance and induced defense signals can be transferred between the healthy and pathogen-infected neighboring plants, suggesting that plants can ‘eavesdrop’ on defense signals from the pathogen-challenged neighbors through CMNs to activate defenses before being attacked themselves.”

Miles of Mycorrhizae in One Thimbleful of Soil

The name mycorrhiza literally means fungus-root.4 These fungi form a symbiotic relationship with the plant, colonizing the roots and sending extremely fine filaments far out into the soil that act as root extensions. Not only do these networks sound the alarm about invaders, but the filaments are more effective in nutrient and water absorption than the plant roots themselves—mycorrhizae increase the nutrient absorption of the plant 100 to 1,000 times.5

In one thimbleful of healthy soil, you can find several MILES of fungal filaments, all releasing powerful enzymes that help dissolve tightly bound soil nutrients, such as organic nitrogen, phosphorus, and iron. The networks can be enormous—one was found weaving its way through an entire Canadian forest, with each tree connected to dozens of others over distances of 30 meters.

These fungi have been fundamental to plant growth for 460 million years. Even more interesting, mycorrhizae can even connect plants of different species, perhaps allowing interspecies communication.6

More than 90 percent of plant species have these naturally-occurring symbiotic relationships with mycorrhizae, but in order for these CMNs to exist, the soil must be undisturbed. Erosion, tillage, cultivation, compaction, and other human activities destroy these beneficial fungi, and they are slow to colonize once disrupted. Therefore, intensively farmed plants don’t develop mycorrhizae and are typically less healthy, as a result.

Making Farming More Eco-friendly

The discovery that fungi may be providing plants with an early warning system has profound implications for how we grow our food. We may be able to arrange for “sacrificial plants” specifically designed for pest infestation so that the network can warn, and thereby arm, the rest of the crop.7 In order to feed the world’s increasing population, farmers must return to working WITH nature, instead of against it.

Raising food is really about building soil, and modern agricultural practices are degrading million year-old topsoils, without any attention to rebuilding them. Spreading toxic chemicals, monoculture, using genetically engineered seed, generating toxic runoff and destroying biodiversity are all examples of working against nature. Mycorrhizae not only assist the plants in staying vital and healthy, but they enrich the soil and improve its productivity, add organic matter, protect crops from drought, and increase the overall balance and resilience of the ecosystem.

Many fungi are as beneficial to people as they are to plants. Mushrooms are powerhouses when it comes to nutrition, with high-quality protein, enzymes, antioxidants, and B vitamins.

About 100 species of mushrooms are being studied for their health-promoting benefits, and about a half dozen really stand out for their ability to deliver a tremendous boost to your immune system. Studies have shown that mushrooms can combat infectious disease (including smallpox), inflammation, cancer and even help regenerate nerves. A compound from the Coriolus versicolor mushroom was recently found to significantly slow hemangiosarcoma in dogs, a deadly cancer.

Mushrooms are also nature’s recycling system, according to mycologist Paul Stamets. Various mushrooms can break down the toxins in nerve gas and clean up petroleum waste.

Mushrooms and their parent mycelium break down rocks and organic matter, turning them into soil. The mycelia, just like the mycorrhizal network, occupy landscapes in a web-like mat that, in some cases, stretches across thousands of acres. Stamets describes this intricate, branching network as “the Earth’s Internet” because it functions as a complex communication highway. There is also evidence mycelia are “sentient” beings that demonstrate the ability to learn. Speaking of cool and calculating…

Now that the secret’s out, companies are beginning to offer mycorrhizae to home gardeners and commercial farmers alike. If you have an organic garden, adding a sprinkle of mycorrhizae, along with good organic fertilizer, is a great way to ensure your garden will be the envy of your neighborhood.

For tips on how to use this in your garden at home, I recommend watching the “smiling gardener” video above. It’s important to remember that mycorrhizae must be applied to the roots of your plants. If you just sprinkle the granules onto the soil and they don’t make contact with the roots within about 48 hours, they’ll die and your efforts will be wasted. So, you can make a “tea” out of it and apply it as a spray, or you can rub a small amount directly onto the roots of your transplant. But it has to come into direct contact with some part of the root.

The only vegetable garden occupants that will not benefit from mycorrhizae are your brassicas (members of the mustard family, such as cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, turnips, radishes, etc.), because they don’t allow this colonization.8 But all your other veggies will love you for it. The benefits will be even greater in a year or two, after the mycorrhizae really have a chance to grow and spread.

Also, remember to refrain from tilling and manipulating the soil. This isn’t necessary and is actually counterproductive, as it disrupts helpful organisms and crushes their tunnels.9 Just topdress your garden with a blend of good compost and topsoil each year, and leave the bed alone, which will allow those beneficial organisms to grow and flourish, undisturbed.

When you practice ecofriendly gardening, you greatly lessen your need for fertilizers and herbicides, reduce your need for watering, and reduce runoff and erosion, while giving your garden plants the best nutrition and resistance to disease. And best of all, a healthy veggie garden means more nutrients passed along to you!

Source: http://www.wakingtimes.com

A Little Guide on How to Master the Art of Listening.


We have two ears and one mouth, so we should listen more than we say. ~Zeno of Citium

We are living in a world where people feel disconnected from each other. A feeling of alienation is pervading our culture, and there is a deep reason why this is so.

The reason is that we have not yet learned to genuinely communicate.

This is most obvious when observing two people while they are having a conversation with each other. During a conversation, most people don’t truly listen to what the other is saying. Of course, they do hear words but that is very different from listening.

To listen means to understand the meaning that lies behind words. It means to be totally absorbed into what the other is trying to communicate. It means to be focused on the essence of what the other wants to convey through words.

let-go-past

By not being able to listen, we fail to communicate. Naturally, we end up feeling lonely and alienated. When we cannot understand others and others cannot understand us, we feel disconnected from the rest of humanity. When we have nobody with whom we can truly share our thoughts and emotions, we end up being depressed and develop various social phobias.

To feel connected with those around us, we need to start communicating on a deeper level. The basic and most important step to achieve this is by learning how to listen. Only in this way can we have a heartfelt communication where we can truly share with one another.

When you talk, you are only repeating what you already know. But if you listen, you may learn something new.

Here is a little yet concise guide on how to master the art of listening:

1. Desire to learn

A conversation is always an opportunity to learn something new. Everyone has a great story to tell, and we can learn from anybody. Many times when someone is talking to us we are just pretending to listen—we hear words, we nod our heads, we show that we understand, but in reality we don’t. The reason why this happens is that we are not truly interested to know about another’s story. We are so filled with our inner chatter, our problems and concerns, that we don’t have the mental space that is necessary to allow another’s story enter our lives. To genuinely listen, we need to cultivate the desire to learn, to understand—we need to care for what the other has to say.

2. Keep an open mind

Sometimes our ideologies are blocking new ideas from entering our minds. In addition, our opinions, superstitions, and expectations usually color the meaning of what others are trying to communicate to us through the spoken word. When listening to someone talking to you, make sure to leave your belief systems aside for a while and just keep an open mind.

3. Be receptive

While engaged in a conversation, most of us are continuously interrupting people, not letting others say what they want to say. We are continuously on the lookout for an opportunity to speak about our own story. In this way, however, we do not allow others to express themselves and communicate their thoughts and emotions to us. As a result, we never get to understand them. When  having a conversation, make sure not to hurriedly interrupt or respond, and stop trying to solve things out or reach to quick conclusions. Just listen.

4. Be patient

To understand another takes a great deal of patience. Usually we are in such a hurry that we don’t have the time anymore to get together and listen to each other. And even when we do, we do so in such a quick way that we don’t get anything out of it. We never get intimate with one another—we don’t allow ourselves to reach another’s mind, heart and soul. From now on, when you are having a conversation, don’t push it. Give it the time that is needed and just let it flow, allowing yourself to squeeze the juice out of it.

Source: Purpose Fairy

The Neuroscience of Everybody’s Favourite Topic.


Why do people spend so much time talking about themselves?

Human beings are social animals. We spendlarge portions of our waking hours communicating with others, and the possibilities for conversation are seemingly endless—we can make plans and crack jokes; reminisce about the past and dream about the future; share ideas and spread information. This ability to communicate—with almost anyone, about almost anything—has played a central role in our species’ ability to not just survive, but flourish.

the-neuroscience-of-everybody-favorite-topic-themselves_1

How do you choose to use this immensely powerful tool—communication? Do your conversations serve as doorways to new ideas and experiences? Do they serve as tools for solving the problems of disease and famine?

Or do you mostly just like to talk about yourself?

If you’re like most people, your own thoughts and experiences may be your favorite topic of conversation.  On average, people spend 60 percent of conversationstalking about themselves—and this figure jumps to 80 percent when communicating via social media platforms such as Twitter or Facebook.

Why, in a world full of ideas to discover, develop, and discuss, do people spend the majority of their time talking about themselves? Recent research suggests a simple explanation: because it feels good.

In order to investigate the possibility that self-disclosure is intrinsically rewarding, researchers from the Harvard University Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience Lab utilized functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). This research tool highlights relative levels of activity in various neural regions by tracking changes in blood flow; by pairing fMRI output with behavioral data, researchers can gain insight into the relationships between behavior and neural activity. In this case, they were interested in whether talking about the self would correspond with increased neural activity in areas of the brain associated with motivation and reward.

In an initial fMRI experiment, the researchers asked 195 participants to discuss both their own opinions and personality traits and the opinions and traits of others, then looked for differences in neural activation between self-focused and other-focused answers. Because the same participants discussed the same topics in relation to both themselves and others, researchers were able to use the resulting data to directly compare neural activation during self-disclosure to activation during other-focused communication.

Three neural regions stood out. Unsurprisingly, and in line with previous research, self-disclosure resulted in relatively higher levels of activation in areas of the medial prefrontal cortex (MPFC) generally associated with self-related thought. The two remaining regions identified by this experiment, however, had never before been associated with thinking about the self: the nucleus accumbens (NAcc) and the ventral tegmental area (VTA), both parts of the mesolimbic dopamine system.

These newly implicated areas of the brain are generally associated with reward, and have been linked to the pleasurable feelings and motivational states associated with stimuli such as sexcocaine, and good food. Activation of this system when discussing the self suggests that self-disclosure, like other more traditionally recognized stimuli, may be inherently pleasurable—and that people may be motivated to talk about themselves more than other topics (no matter how interesting or important these non-self topics may be).

This experiment left at least one question unanswered, however. Although participants were revealing information about themselves, it was unclear whether or not anyone was paying attention; they were essentially talking without knowing who (if anyone) was on the other end of the line. Thus, the reward- and motivation-related neural responses ostensibly produced by self-disclosure could be produced by the act of disclosure—of revealing information about the self to someone else—but they could also be a result of focusing on the self more generally—whether or not anyone was listening.

In order to distinguish between these two possibilities, the researchers conducted a follow-up experiment. In this experiment, participants were asked to bring a friend or relative of their choosing to the lab with them; these companions were asked to wait in an adjoining room while participants answered questions in a fMRI machine. As in the first study, participants responded to questions about either their own opinions and attitudes or the opinions and attitudes of someone else; unlike in the first study, these participants were explicitly told whether their responses would be “shared” or “private”; shared responses were relayed in real time to each participant’s companion and private responses were never seen by anyone, including the researchers.

In this study, answering questions about the self always resulted in greater activation of neural regions associated with motivation and reward (i.e., NAcc, VTA) than answering questions about others, and answering questions publicly always resulted in greater activation of these areas than answering questions privately.  Importantly, these effects were additive; both talking about the self and talking to someone else were associated with reward, and doing both produced greater activation in reward-related neural regions than doing either separately.

These results suggest that self-disclosure—revealing personal information to others—produces the highest level of activation in neural regions associated with motivation and reward, but that introspection—thinking or talking about the self, in the absence of an audience—also produces a noticeable surge of neural activity in these regions. Talking about the self is intrinsically rewarding, even if no one is listening.

Talking about the self is not at odds with the adaptive functions of communication. Disclosing private information to others can increase interpersonal liking and aid in the formation of new social bonds—outcomes that influence everything from physical survival to subjective happiness. Talking about one’s own thoughts and self-perceptions can lead to personal growth via external feedback. And sharing information gained through personal experiences can lead to performance advantages by enabling teamwork and shared responsibility for memory. Self-disclosure can have positive effects on everything from the most basic of needs—physical survival—to personal growth through enhanced self-knowledge; self-disclosure, like other forms of communication, seems to be adaptive.

You may like to talk about yourself simply because it feels good—because self-disclosure produces a burst of activity in neural regions associated with pleasure, motivation, and reward.  But, in this case, feeling good may be no more than a means to an end—it may be the immediate reward that jump-starts a cycle of self-sharing, ultimately leading to wide varieties of long-term benefits.

Source: Scientific American

 

How to Improve Your Virtual Communication Skills.


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Healthy communication is the cornerstone of cultivating and sustaining healthy relationships. We connect and express ourselves through the spoken and written word, which ultimately allows us to develop our “voice” in the world.

How well you communicate directly correlates with how understood and heard you feel by the response you receive from the other end of the dialogue.

When it comes to communicating through text or email, the rules and guidelines for good communication don’t change. The integrity of your words should remain the same, and all the skills and etiquette you would apply in real life need to be applied.

Words are powerful with or without voice, and it’s even more important to be clear when tone is absent. Words are vulnerable to being twisted and misconstrued when they lack intonation, and human expression.

How many times have you sent an email or text to someone only to find that they have completely misinterpreted or misread what you were trying to say? Your correspondence with others reflects your ability to express yourself in real time, so if you struggle with getting your point across in general, you will most likely bump into obstacles when trying to do it through the written word.

Whether you are writing a work email, communicating with your Ex about something uncomfortable, or responding to a difficult situation, here are 5 skills to help you draft better correspondence.

These are skills that work both on and off the computer or smart phone, and should be applied in any conversation that requires a delicate touch.

1. Make sure your intention is clear

In any correspondence you always want to make your intention clear. There is usually one point you want to get across, but if you just let your words flow without much reflection you are bound to step into a landmine. Before you even start drafting clarify your ultimate intention. Is it to get the person to do something? Are you looking for an answer or response? Do you want an apology? Knowing what you are hoping to get will increase your chances of actually achieving that goal. Asking, “what is my intention?” is a good practice before beginning any conversation.

2. Establish boundaries

Believe it or not, boundaries can be conveyed as much through written word as they can in person. A boundary is a clear line defining what you are willing to accept or tolerate, and what is too much. Boundaries are conveyed through language like “I can’t allow you to…” or “I cannot accept the fact that…”

Boundaries can also come from your strong belief in how you feel. This is different then needing to be right, it’s more about being very clear that your experience is valid and true for you. This works when you are being accused of something, or blamed for something you don’t feel you did. A response to this might look something like “I appreciate your perspective, but I am confident that this isn’t true for me…”

3. Empathy

Using language that conveys a sense of empathy in your correspondence is always a good practice. Everyone wants to feel acknowledged and understood on some level, so you will need to pause and understand where the other person is coming from. Even if you don’t agree, it’s always a good idea to say that you can understand why or how they see things the way they do, and to let them know that you understand their position on the issues at hand.

Empathy is diffuser in communication, and it can calm even the most upset person. Look at it like a virtual hug. Empathy is contagious, and it’s hard to respond to it in a negative way.

4. Accountability

In any two-way conversation there are always two opinions, two perspectives and two subjective experiences. It’s rarely always the other person. Being accountable to how you might have contributed to the breakdown of what is happening, or acknowledging that you didn’t communicate well is a great habit to develop. Stepping back and asking yourself how you could have done things differently will help you clarify your point as well. Simply writing something like “I recognize that I have some responsibility in this situation…” opens up space for the other person to do the same.

5. Always maintain integrity

The written word can be as much a trigger as speaking with someone in person. There are some situations where even the most skillfully drafted communication will still ignite a negative response from the other party. If you are dealing with verbal attacks, and you know you aren’t going to get anywhere step out of the power struggle and end it with integrity. This is a graceful exit without being pulled down to the other person’s level.

Stepping out requires letting go of needing to feel validated or heard, and accepting that this person simply cannot engage on a healthy and productive level. This is a great practice in both virtual and real life because it shows you that you are always in control of how you feel, and how you respond.

Source: Purpose fairy

7 Important Lessons Deaf People Can Teach You About Communication.


LESSON

I have always thought it would be a blessing if each person could be blind and deaf for a few days during his early adult life. Darkness would make him appreciate sight; silence would teach him the joys of sound. ~Helen Keller ( Blind and Deaf American Author and Educator)

I grew up with wonderful parents who always encouraged my passion for music. I still vividly remember the day when they got me the new shiny sound system. Years later they got me a guitar and paid for my guitar classes. And they never had a chance to hear a sound of what I was listening to, playing and singing. My parents are deaf.

The reality of deaf people is different from other people’s experiences. They have limited abilities to communicate but exactly because of that they seem to know so much more about what effective communication means.

I used to live in a dormitory for deaf families for over 10 years and had a chance to compare 2 worlds: at home, where I saw people communicating using their hands, and outside, where I observed interactions of ‘normal’ people with hearing abilities. I was very blessed to have experienced the best and the worst of both worlds: the world of silence and the world of sounds.

These are some of the things I’ve learned from deaf people about effective communication:

1. Maintain eye contact

How many times did you find yourself checking facebook updates on your iPhone while having a conversation? In the world of deaf people if you stop looking at the person you are talking to, you are literally cutting the conversation. Because the only way you can ‘hear’ what other person is trying to say is to look into their face. This is a great lesson on the importance of being present, focusing on the person who is next to you, staying more connected to that person and receiving.

2. Don’t interrupt, follow the protocol

How many times did you find yourself waiting for someone to finish talking so you can say what you think? When a company of deaf people are having a conversation, it’s not possible for them to have more than one person talking at a time. There is only one way to follow the conversation – to look at the one speaking. This teaches us to respect the right of each individual to speak up and not to be interrupted in the midst of the their self expression.

3. Be straightforward, down to the point and as concise as possible

How often do you communicate your thoughts and needs clearly without trying to make things sound better than they are? In sign language there are 2 ways to say a particular word – you either use the alphabet and show a sign for each letter or you use one sign which stands for the entire word.

The second option is much faster hence convenient. Thus for almost every word there is a specific sign. Can you imagine such a massive amount of information to memorize? Not only you have to learn how to write and pronounce the word but also a specific sign that represents it. The nature of sign language requires you to be as specific as possible and use as few words as needed to convey your message. That’s an essential lesson to learn as so often we are reluctant to be direct and clear in what we think, want and feel.

4. If you don’t understand something, ask

How often are you reluctant to ask a question when something is unclear to you? Or to clarify what your loved one meant rather than making an assumption? We do it out of fear of being misunderstood, rejected or even humiliated. Each deaf person has their own style of using sign language. So it’s normal to ask a meaning of a specific unfamiliar sign. There is nothing wrong in not knowing or understanding something. If that happens, just ask.

5. Cut yourself from distractions

The world around us is extremely noisy. We have tons of devices, social medias, traditional medias which in their attempt to inform, entertain, update and educate, produce an overwhelming informational noise around us. We hear, see and feel. We are so used to being surrounded by that noise that we lose our ability to be focused and present. When we are having a conversation. When we are working. When we are cooking. When we are creating something. We are constantly attacked and distracted by that informational noise. I remember watching my father making furniture. He would always be so focused and immersed in the moment of creating, it would seem like nothing in the world could disturb him. Learn to be present – as simple as that.

6. Be expressive and articulate

There are so many ways we can play with our voice when we talk: pace, tone, volume. All this gives us plenty of ways to express our emotions, feelings and attitude when we talk about the particular subject. But how often do we allow ourselves to be expressive? Sometimes so called social norms restrict us from laughing too loud, from raising our voice when we are excited or crying in front of others. Because it’s an inappropriate thing to do. Deaf people are very articulate by nature. Their facial expressions and gestures can mesmerize you with their intensity and artistry. They don’t really care how others may see them. They just express what they feel without actually hiding or softening their emotions.

7. Observe, learn and get extra information from what you see and feel

Just imagine how many tiny yet important details we usually miss in our daily interactions with others? When you cannot hear you become more attentive to things happening around you. You learn to notice even the smallest things, you learn to experience the world around you through all those insignificant details which in a bigger picture play their crucial role. And more importantly, you learn to appreciate them.

Source: purpose Fairy

 

Communication skills training for healthcare professionals working with people who have cancer. .


This is an updated version of a review that was originally published in the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews in 2004, Issue 2. People with cancer, their families and carers have a high prevalence of psychological stress which may be minimised by effective communication and support from their attending healthcare professionals (HCPs). Research suggests communication skills do not reliably improve with experience, therefore, considerable effort is dedicated to courses that may improve communication skills for HCPs involved in cancer care. A variety of communication skills training (CST) courses have been proposed and are in practice. We conducted this review to determine whether CST works and which types of CST, if any, are the most effective.

OBJECTIVES: To assess whether CST is effective in improving the communication skills of HCPs involved in cancer care, and in improving patient health status and satisfaction. SEARCH
METHODS: We searched the following electronic databases: Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials (CENTRAL) Issue 2, 2012, MEDLINE, EMBASE, PsycInfo and CINAHL to February 2012. The original search was conducted in November 2001. In addition, we handsearched the reference lists of relevant articles and relevant conference proceedings for additional studies.
SELECTION CRITERIA: The original review was a narrative review that included randomised controlled trials (RCTs) and controlled before-and-after studies. In this updated version, we limited our criteria to RCTs evaluating `CST` compared with `no CST` or other CST in HCPs working in cancer care. Primary outcomes were changes in HCP communication skills measured in interactions with real and/or simulated patients with cancer, using objective scales. We excluded studies whose focus was communication skills in encounters related to informed consent for research.
DATA COLLECTION AND ANALYSIS: Two review authors independently assessed trials and extracted data to a pre-designed data collection form. We pooled data using the random-effects model and, for continuous data, we used standardised mean differences (SMDs).
MAIN RESULTS: We included 15 RCTs (42 records), conducted mainly in outpatient settings. Eleven studies compared CST with no CST intervention, three studies compared the effect of a follow-up CST intervention after initial CST training, and one study compared two types of CST. The types of CST courses evaluated in these trials were diverse. Study participants included oncologists (six studies), residents (one study) other doctors (one study), nurses (six studies) and a mixed team of HCPs (one study). Overall, 1147 HCPs participated (536 doctors, 522 nurses and 80 mixed HCPs).Ten studies contributed data to the meta-analyses. HCPs in the CST group were statistically significantly more likely to use open questions in the post-intervention interviews than the control group (five studies, 679 participant interviews; P = 0.04, I(2) = 65%) and more likely to show empathy towards patients (six studies, 727 participant interviews; P = 0.004, I(2) = 0%); we considered this evidence to be of moderate and high quality, respectively. Doctors and nurses did not perform statistically significantly differently for any HCP outcomes.There were no statistically significant differences in the other HCP communication skills except for the subgroup of participant interviews with simulated patients, where the intervention group was significantly less likely to present `facts only` compared with the control group (four studies, 344 participant interviews; P = 0.01, I(2) = 70%).There were no significant differences between the groups with regard to outcomes assessing HCP `burnout`, patient satisfaction or patient perception of the HCPs communication skills. Patients in the control group experienced a greater reduction in mean anxiety scores in a meta-analyses of two studies (169 participant interviews; P = 0.02; I(2) = 8%); we considered this evidence to be of a very low quality.
AUTHORS’ CONCLUSIONS: Various CST courses appear to be effective in improving some types of HCP communication skills related to information gathering and supportive skills. We were unable to determine whether the effects of CST are sustained over time, whether consolidation sessions are necessary, and which types of CST programs are most likely to work. We found no evidence to support a beneficial effect of CST on HCP `burnout`, patients` mental or physical health, and patient satisfaction.

Source: Cochrane