Monthly Archives: September 2011

Anger

People yell at you. People cut you off. People run into you. People put gum on the ground and then you step in it. People steal from you. People are purposefully mean to you.

People piss you off. People belittle you. People annoy you. People make you angry. People stress you out.

But to put it another way, people make ya feel bad. People decrease your happiness.

But this kills me.
Whenever someone does something to hurt me, they’ve either done it intentionally or unintentionally.

If they’ve done it unintentionally, then there’s nothing one can do. One’s only option is to either have the negative emotions, or if they can, just let go. They have to understand that feeling bad/unhappy isn’t going to help the situation at all, so there’s no point feeling that way. Decide to feel differently.

But what about the people who are intentionally screwin’ with ya. Wouldn’t anger serve a purpose then? Maybe it’ll get them to stop. But wait, what if it’s gum? What if you’re never going to see that person… Ok, well what if it’s the dude who cut you off? Sure you may never drive next to him again, but getting mad at him might make it so he never cuts anyone else off.
But then you’ve still got rage pumping through your blood stream… and that’s no fun (we’ll get back to this).

For a moment, let’s take a step back… Why do any of these people do these things? Let us count the reasons… maybe they’re selfish, hurt by someone else, stressed out or in any number of terrible states.

The most basal reason for people being negative to you is that they feel socially threatened. They show anger or malignity out of a deep weakness or need to feel/look better than you. It’s an evolved need that humans have: to be or feel better than their mate competition. And when that need is threatened, they act out.

Now by god, how can I be mad at someone like that? I just feel bad. A person in that threatened state can never be consistently happy… Sure they might experience an initial thrust of joy at seeing you down. But how sad is that? I can only hope these people realize that momentarily gaining a social (seemingly) upper hand, will never make them consistently happy.

Seen from this social/evolutionary angle, how can you ever be mad at people?

Now what about anger being a tool to make people stop. Well personally I hate feeling angry. I used to like it, but when I realized I actually liked being angry, I hated liking that I liked being angry. Read that one carefully. Most people have no idea that they actually enjoy being angry.
But the point of the anger is to make the person stop, right? Well what might make them stop more effectively? How about showing that you feel bad for them that they’re so angry. Have you ever communicated that when someone is angry? Try it… you’ll think about their reaction for days, it’s one of the weirder things I’ve seen. They just stare at you blankly, wondering why the situation isn’t escalating, then do any number of things out of confusion.
And the way I figure it, if more people were that way, the angry people would get “their” way more and more and maybe one day they’d see that getting their way only makes them temporarily happy and maybe it’s something else that needs to change to achieve consistent happiness.

Just trying to stop negative shiz-nat from ever flowin’ through my booty.

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Sexy and you ain’t got no clue why – go science

Scientific America MIND has a special sex edition right now. And the deep dive it does on pheromones is just splendid.

Basically for much of history, anatomists had completely missed a full set of nerves that lead, along with other nerves from the brain (~~!nasty warning!~~ apparently they missed them because when you pull the brain out of the skull, these delicate nerves are usually severed with the tough membranes surrounding the brain, like I said, nasty warning, sorry). Anyways, these nerves run very close to the olfactory nerves but they aren’t for smell. They’re highly suspected to be for pheromones (that’s based on a number of studies, particularly of whales, whose olfactory nerves were lost as they evolved to lose their sense of smell and have their ‘nose’ or blowhole on top of their head).

Cool fact 1 among many. You think your eyes are cool? They have 3 different types of cones that process red, blue and green. That combo produces all the images you see right now. Sweet huh? Your nose 347 different receptors. Think how intensely sophistimicated that is! Also, smell is the most advanced sense of the animal world. Even bacterium determine food from toxin by way of smell. And let’s not even get into a dog’s sense of smell. Oh, snap.

Now for the sexy cool shit. If you have any doubt pheromones are involved in sex, consider the following example (this is one of hundreds scientists have observed). When a mouse gets knocked up, if she smells the urine of the male that did the dirty work, nothing happens. The embryo will implant itself and the lady mouse will have babies. Now, if, before the embryo implants itself,  the lady mouse smells the urine of a different male (one with which the female mouse did not copulate), the embryo will NOT implant. Oh, snap.

Now for one of the cooler things as per the human side. The new nerve scientists have discovered runs very close along the olfactory nerves. The olfactory nerves go to a part of the brain that can be consciously recognized. However, the pheromone detecting nerve bypasses this part of the brain and goes to a part of the brain that we don’t consciously recognize. Put another way, the inputs from this nerve effect our brain on a completely unconscious level. This means that you have no idea that these pheromones are effecting you and your decisions in incredibly complex ways.

Reason with you mind, love with your nose. Love might truly be blind.

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10 things a day

Your brain is a product of the thoughts it is allowed to have.

When you have a thought, it is the product of a specific set of neurons firing together in a specific pathway or form. This is a thought. Every time you have a particular thought, it is then easier for those neurons to find each other. The connection is strengthened. The thought is easier to have. These are central axioms in books like “The Brain that Changes Itself” by Dr. Norman Doidge.
But this works in the reverse too. The less you have a thought, the harder it is for those neurons to find each other.

The brain is plastic. With work, it can change itself.

The next part of this? That every situation throughout the day could be better. It could be worse. I’m at my desk. But I could have a hot apple pie beside me just taken from the oven. Or I could not have a job. So I chose to view this situation in light of why it’s good. I’m happy I have a job.

Each day, try doing this: Try thinking of 10 very small things you’re happy for. Hmmm I’m happy I made that green light on my bike just now, I’m happy I found some nice music, I’m happy there was milk left in the fridge…. yadda yadda yadda. No matter how bad you’re day was, do this every day for a few weeks and see what happens.

Your mind will eventually find it easier and easier to link the neurons together that see the brighter side of a situation. If you forcibly link them enough (through this exercise), they will find it easier and easier to link by themselves. I wasn’t always the happiest person. I’ve seen and felt the effects of this. It’s awesome.

Another one? Try not getting out of bed in the morning until you think of something you’re excited to do that day. This morning it was as simple as being excited to jump in the shower. Saweet… haha.

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Please be here

Are you ever amazed at how little control you have over what you can’t stop from continuously popping into your head? Or how hard it is to get that thought out? Or how distracted you can be by certain thoughts, which it never does any good to keep thinking about?

I always knew that if I could just control the pathways in my mind (aka what I think about), than I would be able to put unwanted thoughts out of my head.

The Power of Now is a book I’ve started reading. I’m finding it’s articulating every thing I’ve come to believe about the mind and how to frame life.  The early premise of the book is that all problems are simply a creation from your past or future. The only thing that has any meaning, that is real at all, is this moment right now. Now.
It makes you ask, “Is anything wrong right Now?” If there’s something that needs to be taken care of now, than do it. If not, enjoy that you have no problems right Now. Yes, you may have things upcoming, but if there’s no point in thinking about those things Now, than why adulterate the current moment.

It speaks to using your mind when necessary to solve problems, quieting it when the mind is unnecessary and enjoying all the beautiful unadulterated moments life offers.

“But oh snap, that’s so hard. How can I ever quiet my mind, it runs rampant like a monkey!”

It’s not easy. Frankly is pretty damn hard. For me, it’s involved 15 minutes of my day, 5 days a week, for the last year and a half of my life: Meditation. It is the training of your brain to be quiet. To shut the f^&k up.

For 15 minutes, stand or sit or find some comfortable way (but don’t fall asleep) to be still. I had to begin by visualizing the numbers 1-10 as I said them in my head for each breath in and out. I slowly stopped counting, and just visualizing the numbers and now I’m trying to forget my breath and listen for my heart beat. Every time an outside thought appears, acknowledge it and come back to the numbers/breath.

You will be amazed. With enough constant training, you can make your mind do exactly what you want it to. You will gain the ability to push the future and past out of your mind whenever you want to and just enjoy this exact moment.

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