Pragma Synesi – interesting bits

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

One Simple Way to Make a New Healthy Habit Stick

Research says, do it right after you wake up in the morning.  Your cortisol levels, which are highest in the morning, seem to make the transition from “chore” to “habit” easier.  Details:

One Simple Way to Make a New Healthy Habit Stick

Amanda MacMillan | Oct 26, 2017 | Time

October 30, 2017 Posted by | behaviour, health | , , | Leave a comment

The Science of the Story

Scientific American had a great article on the science of story telling (see my post The Secrets of Storytelling: Why We Love a Good Yarn). The University of California, Berkely’s Greater Good Science Center has an updated article on the science of stories that’s just as worthy of a read.  (Read it on the original web site to get all the pictures and videos).

The Science of the Story

By Jeremy Adam Smith | June 8, 2016 | Greater Good (U of Berkeley)

We know in our gut when we’re hearing a good story—and research is starting to explain why

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June 9, 2016 Posted by | behaviour, brain | , , , , | Leave a comment

Strike a dominant pose to reduce stress

It seems that just striking a powerful pose will increase your testosterone levels and decrease your cortisol (stress hormone).  Multiple implications, including those on risk taking and decision making.

Power Posing: Fake It Until You Make It

Published: September 20, 2010
Author: Julia Hanna

Executive Summary:

Nervous about an upcoming presentation or job interview? Holding one’s body in “high-power” poses for short time periods can summon an extra surge of power and sense of well-being when it’s needed, according to Harvard Business School professor Amy J.C. Cuddy. Key concepts include:

  • Holding one’s body in expansive, “high-power” poses for as little as two minutes stimulates higher levels of testosterone and lower levels of cortisol.
  • In addition to causing hormonal shifts, power poses lead to increased feelings of power and a greater tolerance for risk.
  • People often are more influenced by how they feel about you than by what you’re saying.
  • The research has broad implications for people who suffer from feelings of powerlessness and low self-esteem due to their hierarchical rank or lack of resources.

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September 20, 2010 Posted by | behaviour, decision making, psychology | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Stress makes you eat junk food

It seems that high calorie foods cause a metabolic change that tamps the release of stress hormones like cortisol. Or is it the release of dopamine? Midnight cravings explained, in The New York Times, May 20, 2008:

Comfort Food, for Monkeys


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June 22, 2009 Posted by | behaviour, brain, diet, nutrition | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Market boom/bust cycles are men’s fault

…well, actually, it’s the testosterone… from BBC News, and below it, TIME Magazine’s take on it:

Hormones ‘may fuel market crises’

Hormone surges among City traders could be partly responsible for driving “boom and bust” economics, say researchers. Continue reading

April 15, 2008 Posted by | behaviour, decision making, economics, emotions | , , , , , | Leave a comment