Sunday, 23 June 2013

A small sad love story

One night a guy and girl were driving home from the movies. The boy sensed there was something wrong because of the painful silence they shared between them that night. The girl then asked the boy to pull over because she wanted to talk. She told him that her feelings had changed and that it was time to move on.
A silent tear slid down his cheek as he slowly reached into his pocket and passed her a folded note. At that moment, a drunk driver was speeding down that very same street. He swerved right into the drivers seat, killing the boy.
Miraculously, the girl survived. Remembering the note, she pulled it out and read it.
" Without your love, I would die."

Saturday, 22 June 2013

Love has a all new language - A beautiful love story

There was a beautiful girl and a decent guy, both love each other so much. From the very beginning, girl's family objected strongly on her dating this guy, saying that it has got to do with family background, & that the girl will have to suffer for the rest of her life if she were to be with him. Due to family's pressure, the couple quarreled very often. Though the girl loved the guy deeply, she always asked him: "How deep is your love for me?" As the guy is not good with his words, this often caused the girl to be very upset. With that & the family's pressure, the gal often vents her anger on him. As for him.. he only endured it in silence. After a couple of years, the guy finally graduated & decided to further his studies overseas. Before leaving, he proposed to the gal: "I'm not very good with words. But all I know is that I love you. If you allow me, I will take care of you for the rest of my life. As for your family, I'll try my best to talk them round. Will you marry me?" The girl agreed, & with the guy's determination, the family finally gave in & agreed to let them get married. So before he left, they got engaged. The gal went out to the working society, whereas the guy was overseas, continuing his studies. They sent their love through emails & phone calls. Though it was hard, but both never thought of giving up. One day, while the gal was on her way to work, she was knocked down by a car that lost control. When she woke up, she saw her parents beside her bed. She realized that she was badly injured. Seeing her mum cry, she wanted to comfort her. But she realized that all that could come out of her mouth was just a sigh. She had lost her voice.... The doctor says that the impact on her brain has caused her to lose her voice. Listening to her parents' comfort, but with nothing coming out from her, she broke down. During the stay in hospital, besides silent cry. it's still just silent cry that accompanied her. Upon reaching home, everything seems to be the same. Except for the ringing tone of the phone which pierced into her heart every time it rang. She does not wish to let the guy know & not wanting to be a burden to him, she wrote a letter to him saying that she does not wish to wait any longer. With that, she sent the ring back to him. In return, the guy sent millions & millions of reply and countless phone calls. all the gal could do besides crying is still crying.... The parents decided to move away, hoping that she could eventually forget everything & be happy. With a new environment, the gal learnt sign language & started a new life. Telling herself everyday that she must forget the guy. One day, her friend came & told her that he's back. She asked her friend not to let him know what happened to her. Since then, there wasn't anymore news of him. A year has passed & her friend came with an envelope, containing an invitation card for the guy's wedding. The gal was shattered. When she opened the letter, she saw her name on it instead. When she was about to ask her friend what was going on, she saw the guy standing in front of her.... He used sign language to tell her, "I've spent a year to learn sign language. Just to let you know that I've not forgotten our promise. Let me have the chance to be your voice. I Love You." With that, he slipped the ring back into her finger. The gal finally smiled......

A heart touching love story

There was a blind girl who was filled with animosity and despised the world.

She didn't have many friends, just a boyfriend who loved her deeply, like no one else.

She always used to say that she'd marry him if she could see him. Suddenly, one day someone donated her a pair of eyes…

And that's when she finally saw her boyfriend…

She was astonished to see that her boyfriend too was blind…

He told her, "You can see me now, can we get married?"

She replied, "And do what? We'd never be happy. I have my eye sight now, but you're still blind. It won't work out, I'm sorry."

With a tear in his eye and a smile on his face, he meekly said, "I understand. I just want you to always be happy. Take care of yourself, and my eyes."

Thursday, 30 May 2013

How does the brain react to a romantic breakup?

Image: JAMIE CARROLL iStockphot

Xiaomeng (Mona) Xu, a postdoctoral research fellow at the Warren Alpert Medical School at Brown University and at the Miriam Hospital, responds:
You're in the midst of a breakup and feel like a different person. You find yourself spending a lot of time longing for your ex, constantly checking her Facebook updates, and wondering what went wrong. This shift in patterns of thought and behavior may be caused by neural changes that occur after a breakup.
Neuroimaging studies have found that being rejected, even by a stranger, activates many of the same regions in the brain as when experiencing physical pain. In one study, biological anthropologist Helen Fisher of Rutgers University recruited brave participants who held still in a functional MRI scanner while they looked at pictures of the person who had recently dumped them. These participants exhibited increased brain activity in several regions associated with reward, motivation, addiction and obsessive-compulsive disorder, which helps to explain why you might struggle to let go after a romantic relationship ends.
Grief can also be a part of the breakup process. In another brain-scanning study, researchers asked women who had gone through a recent breakup to think about their ex in an fMRI machine. They found patterns of brain activity consistent with feelings of sadness, rumination and chronic depression.
For some people, heartache can continue months after a split. A team of German investigators, studying a small group of people who were still hung up on an ex up to six months after the relationship had ended, also found brain patterns consistent with depression, such as decreased activity in the insula and the anterior and posterior cingulate cortices.
Although such studies show that heartbreak is associated with obsession and grief, the findings are limited. Our understanding primarily comes from research in which participants are asked to actively think about their ex, something people probably don't do all the time. Additionally, studies tend to be about the heartbroken, rather than the heartbreakers, and focus only on the period of misery postsplit. Luckily for many people, the heartache from a lost relationship fades over time, and life goes back to normal. For some, the rupture might even become a positive experience, allowing a person to get away from a dysfunctional relationship and fall in love again.


You Are Less Beautiful Than You Think

beauty, self perception
Image: iStock/ Gruizza
In April 15, 2013 Dove launched a 3-minute video entitled “Dove Real Beauty Sketches.” The video achieved instant popularity and has been watched millions of times — a successful viral campaign which has been widely talked about. In the video, a small group of women are asked to describe their faces to a person whom they cannot see. The person is a forensic artist who is there to draw pictures of the women based on their verbal descriptions. A curtain separates the artist and the women, and they never see each other. Before all this, each woman is asked to socialize with a stranger, who later separately describes the woman to the forensic artist. In the end, the women are shown the two drawings, one based on their own description, the other based on the stranger’s description. Much to their amazement and delight, the women realize that the drawings based on strangers’ descriptions depict much more beautiful women. The video ends: “You are more beautiful than you think.”
The idea is quite appealing. Perhaps too many women are unhappy with their looks. It would be a big relief if we all suddenly realized, like Christian Andersen’s ugly duckling, that we are in fact beautiful.
However, what Dove is suggesting is not actually true. The evidence from psychological research suggests instead that we tend to think of our appearance in ways that are more flattering than are warranted. This seems to be part of a broader human tendency to see ourselves through rose colored glasses. Most of us think that we are better than we actually are — not just physically, but in every way.
The most direct evidence that the Dove commercial is misleading comes from the work of Nicholas Epley of the University of Chicago and Erin Whitchurch of the University of Virginia. In a series of studies, Epley and Whitchurch showed that we see ourselves as better looking than we actually are. The researchers took pictures of study participants and, using a computerized procedure, produced more attractive and less attractive versions of those pictures. Participants were told that they would be presented with a series of images including their original picture and images modified from that picture. They were then asked to identify the unmodified picture. They tended to select an attractively enhanced one.
Epley and Whitchurch showed that people display this bias for themselves but not for strangers. The same morphing procedure was applied to a picture of a stranger, whom the study participant met three weeks earlier during an unrelated study. Participants tended to select the unmodified picture of the stranger.
People tend to say that an attractively enhanced picture is their own, but Epley and Whitchurch wanted to be sure that people truly believe what they say. People recognize objects more quickly when those objects match their mental representations. Therefore, if people truly believe that an attractively enhanced picture is their own, they should recognize that picture more quickly, which is exactly what the researchers found.
Inflated perceptions of one’s physical appearance is a manifestation of a general phenomenon psychologists call “self-enhancement.” Researchers have shown that people overestimate the likelihood that they would engage in a desirable behavior, but are remarkably accurate when predicting the behavior of a stranger. For example, people overestimate the amount of money they would donate to charity while accurately predicting others’ donations. Similarly, people overestimate their likelihood to vote in an upcoming presidential election, while accurately predicting others’ likelihood to vote.
Most people believe that they are above average, a statistical impossibility. The above average effects, as they are called, are common. For example, 93 percent of drivers rate themselves as better than the median driver. Of college professors, 94 percent say that they do above-average work. People are unrealistically optimistic about their own health risks compared with those of other people. For example, people think that they are less susceptible to the flu than others. Stock pickers think the stocks they buy are more likely to end up winners than those of the average investor. If you think that self-enhancement biases exist in other people and they do not apply to you, you are not alone. Most people state that they are more likely than others to provide accurate self-assessments.
Why do we have positively enhanced self-views? The adaptive nature of self-enhancement might be the answer. Conveying the information that one has desirable characteristics is beneficial in a social environment. People may try to deceive others about their characteristics, but deception has two main disadvantages. First, it is cognitively taxing because the deceiver has to hold two conflicting representations of reality in mind: the true state of affairs and the deception. The resulting cognitive load reduces performance in other cognitive functions. Second, people are good at detecting deception and they show strong negative emotional reactions toward deceivers. Since in self-enhancement people truly believe that they have desirable characteristics, they can promote themselves without having to lie. Self-enhancement also boosts confidence. Researchers have shown that confidence plays a role in determining whom people choose as leaders and romantic partners. Confident people are believed more and their advice is more likely to be followed.


Age Brings Happiness

eldery asian lady, old lady, elderly lady, senior citizen
Image: ZHANG BO Getty Images
Do people get happier or crankier as they age? Stereotypes of crotchety neighbors aside, scientists have been trying to answer this question for decades, and the results have been conflicting. Now a study of several thousand Americans born between 1885 and 1980 reveals that well-being indeed increases with age—but overall happiness depends on when a person was born.
Previous studies that have compared older adults with the middle-aged and young have sometimes found that older adults are not as happy. But these studies could not discern whether their discontent was because of their age or because of their different life experience. The new study, published online January 24 in Psychological Science, teased out the answer by examining 30 years of data on thousands of Americans, including psychological measures of mood and well-being, reports of job and relationship success, and objective measures of health.
The researchers found, after controlling for variables such as health, wealth, gender, ethnicity and education, that well-being increases over everyone's lifetime. But people who have lived through extreme hardship, such as the Great Depression, start off much less happy than those who have had more comfortable lives. This finding helps to explain why past studies have found conflicting results—experience matters, and tough times can influence an entire generation's happiness for the rest of their lives. The good news is, no matter what we've lived through, we can all look forward to feeling more content as we age.


Scientists Discover Children’s Cells Living in Mothers’ Brains

pregnant woman
A living connection Image: ock / Анастасия Попова
The link between a mother and child is profound, and new research suggests a physical connection even deeper than anyone thought. The profound psychological and physical bonds shared by the mother and her child begin during gestation when the mother is everything for the developing fetus, supplying warmth and sustenance, while her heartbeat provides a soothing constant rhythm.
The physical connection between mother and fetus is provided by the placenta, an organ, built of cells from both the mother and fetus, which serves as a conduit for the exchange of nutrients, gasses, and wastes. Cells may migrate through the placenta between the mother and the fetus, taking up residence in many organs of the body including the lung, thyroid muscle, liver, heart, kidney and skin. These may have a broad range of impacts, from tissue repair and cancer prevention to sparking immune disorders.
It is remarkable that it is so common for cells from one individual to integrate into the tissues of another distinct person. We are accustomed to thinking of ourselves as singular autonomous individuals, and these foreign cells seem to belie that notion, and suggest that most people carry remnants of other individuals. As remarkable as this may be, stunning results from a new study show that cells from other individuals are also found in the brain. In this study, male cells were found in the brains of women and had been living there, in some cases, for several decades. What impact they may have had is now only a guess, but this study revealed that these cells were less common in the brains of women who had Alzheimer’s disease, suggesting they may be related to the health of the brain.
We all consider our bodies to be our own unique being, so the notion that we may harbor cells from other people in our bodies seems strange. Even stranger is the thought that, although we certainly consider our actions and decisions as originating in the activity of our own individual brains, cells from other individuals are living and functioning in that complex structure. However, the mixing of cells from genetically distinct individuals is not at all uncommon. This condition is called chimerism after the fire-breathing Chimera from Greek mythology, a creature that was part serpent part lion and part goat. Naturally occurring chimeras are far less ominous though, and include such creatures as the slime mold and corals.
 Microchimerism is the persistent presence of a few genetically distinct cells in an organism. This was first noticed in humans many years ago when cells containing the male “Y” chromosome were found circulating in the blood of women after pregnancy. Since these cells are genetically male, they could not have been the women’s own, but most likely came from their babies during gestation.
In this new study, scientists observed that microchimeric cells are not only found circulating in the blood, they are also embedded in the brain. They examined the brains of deceased women for the presence of cells containing the male “Y” chromosome. They found such cells in more than 60 percent of the brains and in multiple brain regions. Since Alzheimer’s disease is more common in women who have had multiple pregnancies, they suspected that the number of fetal cells would be greater in women with AD compared to those who had no evidence for neurological disease. The results were precisely the opposite: there were fewer fetal-derived cells in women with Alzheimer’s. The reasons are unclear.
Microchimerism most commonly results from the exchange of cells across the placenta during pregnancy, however there is also evidence that cells may be transferred from mother to infant through nursing. In addition to exchange between mother and fetus, there may be exchange of cells between twins in utero, and there is also the possibility that cells from an older sibling residing in the mother may find their way back across the placenta to a younger sibling during the latter’s gestation. Women may have microchimeric cells both from their mother as well as from their own pregnancies, and there is even evidence for competition between cells from grandmother and infant within the mother.
What it is that fetal microchimeric cells do in the mother’s body is unclear, although there are some intriguing possibilities. For example, fetal microchimeric cells are similar to stem cells in that they are able to become a variety of different tissues and may aid in tissue repair. One research group investigating this possibility followed the activity of fetal microchimeric cells in a mother rat after the maternal heart was injured: they discovered that the fetal cells migrated to the maternal heart and differentiated into heart cells helping to repair the damage. In animal studies, microchimeric cells were found in maternal brains where they became nerve cells, suggesting they might be functionally integrated in the brain. It is possible that the same may true of such cells in the human brain.
These microchimeric cells may also influence the immune system. A fetal microchimeric cell from a pregnancy is recognized by the mother’s immune system partly as belonging to the mother, since the fetus is genetically half identical to the mother, but partly foreign, due to the father’s genetic contribution. This may “prime” the immune system to be alert for cells that are similar to the self, but with some genetic differences. Cancer cells which arise due to genetic mutations are just such cells, and there are studies which suggest that microchimeric cells may stimulate the immune system to stem the growth of tumors. Many more microchimeric cells are found in the blood of healthy women compared to those with breast cancer, for example, suggesting that microchimeric cells can somehow prevent tumor formation. In other circumstances, the immune system turns against the self, causing significant damage. Microchimerism is more common in patients suffering from Multiple Sclerosis than in their healthy siblings, suggesting chimeric cells may have a detrimental role in this disease, perhaps by setting off an autoimmune attack.


Monday, 22 April 2013

Maurice Williamson: 'Rainbow across my electorate'

Pakuranga MP Maurice Williamson has parliamentarians roaring in their seats during the third marriage equality bill reading.

Sunday, 21 April 2013

World’s 100 richest could end global poverty 4 times over

The world’s 100 richest people earned a stunning total of $240 billion in 2012 – enough money to end extreme poverty worldwide four times over, Oxfam has revealed, adding that the global economic crisis is further enriching the super-rich.
“The richest 1 percent has increased its income by 60 percent in the last 20 years with the financial crisis accelerating rather than slowing the process,” while the income of the top 0.01 percent has seen even greater growth, a new Oxfam report said.
For example, the luxury goods market has seen double-digit growth every year since the crisis hit, the report stated. And while the world’s 100 richest people earned $240 billion last year, people in ”extreme poverty” lived on less than $1.25 a day.
Oxfam is a leading international philanthropy organization. Its new report, ‘The Cost of Inequality: How Wealth and Income Extremes Hurt us All,’ argues that the extreme concentration of wealth actually hinders the world’s ability to reduce poverty.
The report was published before the World Economic Forum in Davos next week, and calls on world leaders to “end extreme wealth by 2025, and reverse the rapid increase in inequality seen in the majority of countries in the last 20 years.”
Oxfam’s report argues that extreme wealth is unethical, economically inefficient, politically corrosive, socially divisive and environmentally destructive.
The report proposes a new global deal to world leaders to curb extreme poverty to 1990s levels by:
- closing tax havens, yielding $189bn in additional tax revenues
- reversing regressive forms of taxation
- introducing a global minimum corporation tax rate
- boosting wages proportional to capital returns
- increasing investment in free public services
The problem is a global one, Oxfam said: ”In the UK inequality is rapidly returning to levels not seen since the time of Charles Dickens. In China the top 10 percent now take home nearly 60 percent of the income. Chinese inequality levels are now similar to those in South Africa, which is now the most unequal country on Earth and significantly more [inequality] than at the end of apartheid.”
In the US, the richest 1 percent’s share of income has doubled since 1980 from 10 to 20 percent, according to the report. For the top 0.01 percent, their share of national income quadrupled, reaching levels never seen before.
“We can no longer pretend that the creation of wealth for a few will inevitably benefit the many – too often the reverse is true,” Executive Director of Oxfam International Jeremy Hobbs said.
Hobbs explained that concentration of wealth in the hands of the top few minimizes economic activity, making it harder for others to participate: “From tax havens to weak employment laws, the richest benefit from a global economic system which is rigged in their favor.”
The report highlights that even politics has become controlled by the super-wealthy, which leads to policies“benefitting the richest few and not the poor majority, even in democracies.”
“It is time our leaders reformed the system so that it works in the interests of the whole of humanity rather than a global elite,” the report said.
The four-day World Economic Forum will be held in Davos starting next Wednesday. World financial leaders will gather for an annual meeting that will focus on reviving the global economy, the eurozone crisis and the conflicts in Syria and Mali.

Sources :
  1. RT
  2. Image Credit

McDonald’s goes belly up in Bolivia

McDonald’s leaves Bolivia healthier forever!
After 14 years of presence in the country, and despite all the existing campaigns and having a network, the chain was forced to close the eight restaurants that remained open in the three main cities: La Paz, Cochabamba and Santa Cruz de la Sierra.
It is a question of the first Latin-American country that will remain without any McDonald’s, and the first country in the world where the company has to close because it persists in having their numbers in the red for over a decade.
The impact for the creative and marketing managers has been so strong that a documentary was filmed under the title “Why McDonald’s went broke in Bolivia,” where they try to somehow explain the reasons that led Bolivians to still prefer pies to hamburgers.
Cultural rejection
The documentary includes interviews with cooks, sociologists, nutritionists, educators, historians and more, where there is a general agreement: the rejection is neither to the hamburgers nor to their taste. The rejection is in the minds and mentality of Bolivians. Everything indicates that “fast food” is literally the opposite of a Bolivian’s conception of how to prepare a meal.
In Bolivia, the food to be good requires, in addition to taste, care, and hygiene, a lot of preparation time. This is how a consumer values the quality of what goes into the stomach, also by the amount of time it took to make the meal. Fast food is not for these people, the Americans concluded.

Sources :
  1. Pravda.Ru
  2. Image

Saturday, 20 April 2013

Secrets Through Ayurveda To Find The Best Type of Exercise For Your Body Type

To get the full benefit of exercise, you need to do it consistently. If you’re like most of us, one reason you don’t always stick with an exercise program is that you don’t always enjoy it. To the rescue--Ayurveda, an ancient East Indian system of healing that promotes balance of the mind and body. 

The teachings of Ayurveda can be applied to many aspects of health, including exercise. Ayurveda can help you identify the type of exercise that you really will enjoy. According to Ayurveda, each of us has physical and psychological characteristics that identify us as one of three personality types or doshas--Vata, Kapha or Pitta.
The thinking: Your primary dosha--the one that represents your most obvious or assertive characteristics--may actually guide you to exercise choices that are not optimal for you. Instead, you need exercises thatbalance your primary dosha. Example: You might be a naturally quick-moving Vata who wants to be a runner but may lack the patience and endurance for this type of exercise. To find out more about doshas and the exercise that’s best for you, John Douillard, PhD, DC, an Ayurveda practitioner explains the concepts. Take a break from one-size-fits-all exercise, and choose one that works best for your body.
Doshas reflect body temperature, digestive patterns, learning styles and natural energy level. The descriptions below will help you determine your dosha. Most people have a number of characteristics that align with each of the doshas, although one tends to dominate. Note that some exercises, such as walking and yoga, are good choices for all three doshas, since you can adapt the intensity of the workout to your own needs. Follow the guidelines for the exercise type you most resemble...
Body type: Slender build, thin. Have a difficult time gaining weight.
Personality: Quick-thinking. Restless. Enjoy being active.
Movement style: Quick-moving. Have quick, short bursts of energy. Not much resilience or endurance. You are drawn to vigorous activity but tire easily.
Exercise to keep you in balance: Exercises that slow you down, including hiking, tai chi, walking, yoga and Pilates. You may enjoy these much more than you expect. Weight training for stability.
Walking: Gentle pace

Body type: Big-boned. Tends to be heavy, sluggish and gain weight easily.
Personality: Easygoing. Good under pressure, calm and stable.
Movement style: Excels in endurance activities and mind-body coordination. You benefit most from vigorous aerobic activities.
Exercise to keep you in balance: Exercises such as running or cycling that counter your tendency toward weight gain. Diverse activities (such as biking one day and swimming the next) will help you stick with an exercise program (rather than doing the same activity every day).
Walking: Brisk pace

Body type: Moderate build. Agile.
Personality: Fiery by nature. Competitive and highly motivated. Not happy unless you win. Can get overheated, dehydrated and irritated easily.
Movement style: Good at individual competition requiring speed, strength and stamina. You sometimes overexert yourself, especially when in the spotlight.
Exercise to keep you in balance: Recreational sports such as volleyball that counter your drive to individually excel. Winter sports such as skating and summer sports such as swimming are good for you because they counter your tendency to overheat. Exercise is especially important as a stress reliever for your type.
Walking: Moderate pace
For more help identifying your dosha, go to and click on “Body Type Quiz” on the right side of the page. To find an Ayurveda practitioner in your area, contact the National Ayurvedic Medical Association (
John Douillard, PhD, DC, is an Ayurveda practitioner and owner of LifeSpa in Boulder, Colorado

Fascinating Study - Meditation Makes You More Compassionate

Fascinating Study - Meditation Makes You More Compassionate

The qualities the world desperately needs more of, namely love, kindness and compassion, are indeed teachable. Scientists have mostly focused on the benefits of meditation for the brain and the body, but a recent study by Northeastern University’s David DeSteno, published in Psychological Science, takes a look at what impacts meditation has on interpersonal harmony and compassion.
"Potentially one can train oneself to behave in a way which is more benevolent and altruistic," said Antoine Lutz, an associate scientist at theUniversity of Wisconsin-Madison.

Recent brain-imaging studies have suggested that the insula and the anterior cingulate cortices regions are involved in the empathic response to other people's pain. But not much is known about how cultivating compassion might affect brain circuitry. 

Several religious traditions have suggested that mediation does just that, but there has been no scientific proof--until now.
In this study, a team of researchers from Northeastern University and Harvard University examined the effects meditation would have on compassion and virtuous behavior, and the results were fascinating.
This study--funded by the Mind and Life Institute--invited participants to complete eight-week trainings in two types of meditation. After the sessions, they were put to the test.
Sitting in a staged waiting room with three chairs were two actors. With one empty chair left, the participant sat down and waited to be called. Another actor using crutches and appearing to be in great physical pain, would then enter the room. As she did, the actors in the chair would ignore her by fiddling with their phones or opening a book.
The question DeSteno and Paul Condon -- a graduate student in DeSteno’s lab who led the study -- and their team wanted to answer was whether the subjects who took part in the meditation classes would be more likely to come to the aid of the person in pain, even in the face of everyone else ignoring her. “We know meditation improves a person’s own physical and psychological wellbeing,” said Condon. “We wanted to know whether it actually increases compassionate behavior.”
Among the non-meditating participants, only about 15 percent of people acted to help. But among the participants who were in the meditation sessions “we were able to boost that up to 50 percent,” said DeSteno. This result was true for both meditation groups thereby showing the effect to be consistent across different forms of meditation. “The truly surprising aspect of this finding is that meditation made people willing to act virtuous -- to help another who was suffering -- even in the face of a norm not to do so,” DeSteno said, “The fact that the other actors were ignoring the pain creates as ‘bystander-effect’ that normally tends to reduce helping. People often wonder ‘Why should I help someone if no one else is?’”
These results appear to prove what the Buddhist theologians have long believed--that meditation is supposed to lead you to experience more compassion and love for all sentient beings. But even for non-Buddhists, the findings offer scientific proof for meditation techniques to alter the calculus of the moral mind.

Brain scans of those undergoing meditation have shown that the practice can improve emotional stability and response to stress. In those who meditated, significant increases across a wide area of the brain responsible for numerous functions beyond rapid information processing and retrieval have been found. Additional areas of the brain markedly affected by meditation involve emotional and mental health capacities, influencing processes of emotional control, heightened awareness, and introspection. This falls directly in line with some of the more noticeable results of regular meditation, which often include increased compassion for one’s self and others, enhanced self awareness and introspection, and greater emotional stability.

More involvement in meditation practices leads to significant improvements in energy, health and mental/emotional balance. During mindful meditation practice, distractions are minimized and the space between thoughts becomes greater and more profound. As we slowly turn down the constant chatter of our minds, we can begin to access deeper aspects of consciousness for growth and healing. 


Normally, people assume that ignoring their compassionate feeling doesn’t have any cost--that you can just suppress your sympathy and walk on. But Daryl Cameron and Keith Payne of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill suspected that wasn’t true. “Compassion is such a powerful emotion. It’s been called a moral barometer,” Cameron says. A sense of other people’s suffering may even be the foundation of morality--which suggests that suppressing that sense might make people feel less moral. 

People who suppress compassion do, apparently, have a change in their sense of morality: they are much more likely to either care less about being moral or to say that it’s all right to be flexible about following moral rules. Cameron thinks this is because suppressing feelings of compassion causes cognitive dissonance that people have to resolve by rearranging their attitudes or beliefs about morality.

Everyone who enters your life has a lesson to teach and a story to tell. Every person you pass during the moments that make up your days represents an opportunity to show a little more of the compassion and courtesy that define your humanity. Why not start being more of the person you truly are during your days and doing what you can to enrich the world around you?

Kindness, quite simply, is the rent we must pay for the space we occupy on this planet. It is part of our essence. Become more creative in the ways you show compassion to strangers. Paying the toll for the person in the car behind you, offering your seat on the subway to someone in need and being the first to say hello are great places to start. 

The deeper we go, the more layers we peel, the more access we have to our true essence, and the more genuine our affirmations can be--for this essence is simply pure openness and love, which is the true essence of positive affirmation. Often, and especially in moments of crisis, we can become more genuine to ourselves, and to our experience of existence--and this is the true opportunity presented by crisis. If we keep going deeper, and have the right guidance, we can start peeling into the depth of our experience, peeling back the layers that obstruct our essence. 

Josh Richardson is blogger, healer, and a constant pursuer of the natural state of human consciousness.

How Tai Chi Keeps You Healthy As You Age

The practice of Tai Chi, unlike most martial arts and even most exercise programs, is not necessarily a young man's game. In China, the world's most populous nation, most people, from toddlers to octogenarians move through Tai Chi sets daily, just as they have for thousands of years. The fact is that while Tai Chi was developed as a martial art, a new paradigm in self-defense, the Chinese have in fact used it for its health benefits much more than they use it for fighting. 

Older Chinese are mainly conservative traditionalists that have a world view that focuses on internal development over external development, of fixing the problem from the inside, by unblocking and redirecting energy to specific areas than they would trusting external remedies popular in the west. The most popular form of Tai Chi in China, and in the US for that matter, is Yang style because of its relaxed low impact exercises. This style is perfect for older people because it frees blood flow, increases immune responses and is easy on the joints and connective tissues. 

There are a number of other reasons why Tai Chi is so popular with older Chinese and can be so beneficial for older westerners:
  1. Promoting deep breathing is extremely important and becomes more important as we age. Tai Chi promotes and teaches deep breathing and breath control to allow us to harmonize our breathing with our movements.
  2. Relieves stress, depression, anxiety that often come from simply aging and usually come after people are injured or debilitated in some way. The simple, gentle movements, combined with proper breathing, relieve all these symptoms.
  3. Improve lower body and leg strength and improves bone strength. In older people, especially post menopausal women, bone calcium loss is big problem and weakens bones, reducing immune responses as well.
  4. Reduces lower back and arthritis pain
  5. Reduces blood pressure
  6. Teaches mind/body integration
  7. Builds energy reserves by releasing endorphins, the brain chemicals that induce happiness and calm
  8. Improves concentration, memory, balance and flexibility. Concentration and memory are vital and Tai Chi teaches proven techniques for making this process much easier. By building ankle strength Tai Chi improves balance and stability. This can help with many conditions, such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, Multiple Sclerosis and more.

Immune responses are a very large problem for our aging population. Even a simple fractured hip can cause death because of a system responses weakened with age. When a fracture happens a great deal of our bodies resources are rushed that area. In a person with a weaker system, or one slowed with age, this can dangerously deplete resources from other areas. This is why we hear stories about people going to the hospital for a fracture and dying of pneumonia. One two years study conducted by UCLA found that when older people (60+) were given polio vaccines they were more susceptible to contracting shingles. When the immune system reacts to the polio virus it depletes resources. 

Arthritis is the bane of the elderly and is a major cause of stress and depression from chronic pain. While there are medications that relieve the symptoms, most are steroidal and have other side-effects, like reduced immune response, which can be deadly as we have already shown. Even simple tasks, like cleaning the house, ironing your clothing or even buttoning your shirt or tying your shoes is painful. Tai Chi exercises like White Crane Spreads its Wings and Wind Rolls with Lotus Leaves work to reduce the stiffness in the joints. Wave Hands Like Clouds for instance concentrate on the movements of the hands while the rest of the body is doing slow movements in harmony. The focus is on the center of the body, at the waist and our natural energies radiate from there. 

While Yang style is the most widely used of the three main Tai Chi styles the benefits of Wu style for older persons are becoming more and more obvious. The Wu style features very compact arm and leg movements, as opposed to the open, sweeping movements of Chen and Yang styles, and this means very low impact as well. The movements are designed to relax muscle tension and prevent hypertension because there is no hyperextension or hyper flexion of the wrists and the arms never go above the shoulder. 

Similarly, when bending forward at the knee the body will never go beyond the extended big toe. Picture your body as a cross with the crux at the navel. Some styles extend this area out to the reach of the fully extended arms and legs. Wu style however keeps everything close to the body, increasing stability a great deal and building balance with slow, deliberate shifting and stepping.
Dan Kleiman teaches Tai Chi and qigong to adults looking to slow down, relax, and improve their health. Try more of these practices through Dan's free email-based course and you will have more energy in the next 30 days than you’ve had in the last year.

Which of The Following Activities Burns The Least Amount of Calories?

Take a look at the image below. When one of the following six activities burns the least amount of calories? The answer may surprise you.
a. sleeping
b. sitting, playing video games
c. sitting, watching TV
d. sitting, browsing the internet
e. sitting, staring at the wall
f. lying down, talking on the phone

Most people incorrectly answer sleeping. However, sitting and watching TV burns the least amount of calories of any of the activities depicted above, including sleeping.

The reasons are many. First check out the break down of calories burned per hour for an average 160 pound person:

a. sleeping -- 74 calories burned per hour
b. sitting, playing video games -- 128 calories burned per hour
c. sitting, watching TV -- 68 calories burned per hour
d. sitting, browsing the internet -- 102 calories burned per hour
e. sitting, staring at the wall -- 83 calories burned per hour
f. lying down, talking on the phone -- 99 calories burned per hour

The actual number of calories burned by a specific individual depends on his or her Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR) 

The intensity of the actvity could also influence calorie consumption to a greater extent. For example, playing a very competitive video game can raise the heart rate and even make a person sweat, increasing calorie consumption by another 7-15 percent. Having a very intense or exciting conversation on the phone can also increase the value by another 5-10 percent per hour. And the fact that sitting and staring at the wall burns more calories than watching TV is demonstrative of the brain's ability to remain more active than sitting in front of the tube.

Regarding sleep, many physiological functions are slowed during our snooze time, but some of these processes are actually maintained or increased. Brain activity varies during cycles of sleep and at some stages can be as active as if we were fully awake. The brain is literally more active while sleeping than watching TV.

Certain physiological activities associated with digestion, cell repair, and growth are often greatest during sleep. Additionally, growth hormone is released at an increased rate during sleep. Our brains and bodies are at work while we sleep. Sleep is reparative and rejuvenating and requires caloric expenditure. Logging 8 hours of sleep each night actually helps your metabolism function at an optimal level. With 5.5 hours of sleep at night, your metabolic rates slows to the point where 2800 less calories are burned over the course of a single week.


What Happens To The Brain and Body While We Watch Television
Studies show that while watching television, the brain appears to slow to a halt. The brain registers low alpha wave readings, similar to a light hypnotic state, on an EEG. Alpha brain waves are associated with unfocused, overly receptive states of consciousness. Mindless snacking is a common occurrence when in TV watching mode. 

Many people may not realize that when they turn on the television in their home, what they see as a constant flow of images is actually flickering. Although we do not see this consciously, the repetitive pattern of flickering images creates a state that is similar to hypnosis in the television viewer. Studies by researcher Herbert Krugman have shown that within 30 seconds of television viewing, brain waves switch from predominantly beta waves, indicating alert and conscious attention, to predominantly alpha waves, indicating an unfocused, receptive lack of attention. 

The brain's left hemisphere, which processes information logically and analytically, tunes out while the person is watching TV, while the right hemisphere of the brain, which processes information emotionally and non-critically, is allowed to function without hindrance. Due to this phenomenon, television transmits information, which is not actively thought about at the time of exposure, much like hypnosis. When viewing television, we do not consciously rationalize the information resonating within our unconscious depths at the time of transmission and the viewer becomes more open and suggestible.

The average American watches about four hours of television per day, a habit that’s been linked to overweight or obesity in a number of studies. Data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, a long-term study monitoring the health of American adults, revealed that people with overweight and obesity spend more time watching television than people of normal weight. Watching television more than two hours a day also raises the risk of overweight in children, even in those as young as three years old.
Part of the problem may be that people are watching television instead of exercising or doing other activities that burn more calories (watching TV burns only slightly more calories than sleeping, and less than other sedentary pursuits such as sewing or reading). But food advertisements also may play a significant role. The average hour-long TV show features about 11 food and beverage commercials, which encourage people to eat. And studies show that eating food in front of the TV stimulates people to eat more calories, and particularly more calories from fat. In fact, a study that limited the amount of TV kids watched demonstrated that this practice helped them lose weight -- but not because they became more active when they weren’t watching TV. The difference was that the children ate more snacks when they were watching television than when doing other activities, even sedentary ones.
source - preventdisease