Pragma Synesi – interesting bits

Compendium of interesting bits I come across, with an occasional IMHO

Gut bacteria affect your brain

More and more evidence is showing up that your microbiota can affect your mental health.  In other words, eat you probiotic yogurt.

Is Your Gut Making You Depressed or Anxious?

Turns out “gut feeling” is more than just a fancy name for intuition. Our small and large intestine, and the trillions of bacteria that call it home, are more important than ever imagined for influencing our mood, our anxiety, our choices, and even our personalities. This week Savvy Psychologist Dr. Ellen Hendriksen goes straight for the gut with three surprising mind-gut connections.

Ellen Hendriksen, PhD | December 23, 2016 |

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February 17, 2017 Posted by | brain, diet, health, nutrition, psychology | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Feeling down? Take a hike.

Stanford researchers find mental health prescription: Nature

Study finds that walking in nature yields measurable mental benefits and may reduce risk of depression.
Rob Jordan | June 30, 2015 | Stanford News

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February 17, 2017 Posted by | brain, emotions, psychology | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Addiction seen as a habit

An interesting perspective on addiction.  Has a very good section on explaining the science of habit-formation. A long read, but if you ever struggled with addiction, depression, anxiety or just a bad habit, it’s worth reading it just to see it from a different point of view.

The addiction habit

Addiction changes the brain but it’s not a disease that can be cured with medicine. In fact, it’s learned – like a habit

Marc Lewis | 14 December, 2016 | aeon

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December 30, 2016 Posted by | behaviour, brain, psychology | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Stress in contagious

If you won’t take the trouble to learn how to handle stress for yourself, at least do so for your loved ones:

…“People may think they can hide their stress from loved ones or co-workers, but in many cases, they do not, and so others around them may be affected without knowing.”…

You Can “Catch” Stress Through a TV Screen

By Simone M. Scully | May 27, 2014 | Nautilus

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October 18, 2015 Posted by | behaviour, health | , | Leave a comment

Can the Bacteria in Your Gut Explain Your Mood?

Evidence is starting to come in that our gut bacteria not only affect our health, but also our behaviour.

Can the Bacteria in Your Gut Explain Your Mood?

The rich array of microbiota in our intestines can tell us more than you might think.

By PETER ANDREY SMITH | JUNE 23, 2015 | New York Times Magazine

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July 9, 2015 Posted by | behaviour, health | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Two Faces of Anxiety

There is a fine line between anxiety (or stress) being good or bad for you.  What is noteworthy is how bad bad is. From the  Dec. 05, 2011 Time magazine:

The Two Faces of Anxiety

By Alice Park
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February 8, 2012 Posted by | behaviour, health, psychology | , , | Leave a comment

Urban brains behave differently from rural ones

Urban brains are more anxiety ridden than rural ones.  And your brain reacts differently whether you were brought up in an urban or in a rural setting.  From The Economist, June 25th, 2011:

Mental well-being: A New York state of mind

Urban brains behave differently from rural ones

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September 1, 2011 Posted by | behaviour, brain | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Quick fix for anxiety

If this works (and it looks like it should), it will provide a a quick fix for anxiety for a lot of people.  From the March 3rd 2011 print edition of The Economist:

Psychiatry: Therapist-free therapy

Cognitive-bias modification may put the psychiatrist’s couch out of business

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March 28, 2011 Posted by | behaviour, brain | , , | Leave a comment

Why you shouldn’t be anxious

You make better decisions when you are not anxious.  Good to know.  From Smartplanet:

Why you shouldn’t be anxious

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September 15, 2010 Posted by | behaviour, decision making | | Leave a comment

Your brain on religion

Religion can be very useful: reduced stress, lower anxiety, improved cognitive abilities. But nothing comes without a price: religion hinders the ability to fix your mistakes.

From The Globe and Mail, March 5, 2009:

This is your brain on religion

Believers record lower levels of anxiety, which can boost performance but also hinder the ability to fix mistakes, study finds

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October 3, 2009 Posted by | behaviour, brain, religion | , , , | Leave a comment