Saturday, 3 November 2012

#217 Worrying is Painful; Reality is Workable & leads to Happiness

     Recently, Dr. Ian Lyons at UWO's Numerical Cognition Laboratory, demonstrated that among those who fear math, anticipating having to do math in the future activates the same part of the brain that indicates visceral pain. However, when actually doing math, these same people do not experience pain.
"Pain By Numbers" - on CBC Radio's "Quirks and Quarks", Nov 3, 2012

     For some time we've known that vividly imagining the sight, sound, taste, feel etc of any activity - be it eating a delicious, cold, crisp, sweet & sour lemon meringue pie, or imagining being cornered, alone, in a dark alley by a gang of knife-wielding robbers - causes physiologic responses as if the event were actually happening. This is the basis for "going to a happy place" via hypnosis, but also for causing ourselves tremendous suffering of depressive wallowing and anxious catastrophization.
     Thinking of real or imaginary, past or future events, can indeed elicit powerfully painful or somewhat pleasant physiologic responses. However, the response to mindfully experiencing what the present moment actually holds may be surprising.
     Being mindfully engaged in the present moment, regardless if the particular activity would conventionally be considered pleasant, neutral or unpleasant, is agreeable, in fact more agreeable than going to one's "happy place".
         Killingsworth MA, Gilbert DT. A wandering mind is an unhappy mind. Science 2010; 330(6006): 932.
     It's becoming clear that letting go of the past, letting go of attempts to micromanage the future, and putting our whole energy, mind, heart & body, into what we're doing right now is best - "Just Do It!"

Between Domaine de Grand Pré Winery and The Olde Lantern Inn, Nova Scotia

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