Sunday, September 19, 2010

Life’s missing white space

I'm not a designer, but I've always been in love with the design concept of white space.

It's the space in a design that isn't filled with things — as you can tell from the design of Zen Habits and my other blog, mnmlist, it's something I use (perhaps too) liberally.

But white space can be used in the design of our lives as well, not just the design of magazines and websites and ads. By using white space in our lives, we create space, balance, emphasis on what's important, and a feeling of peace that we cannot achieve with a more cramped life.

Let's look briefly at how to do this....

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Thursday, September 16, 2010

Aerobics for the Brain

As people age, brain function slowly declines. Aside from improving physical fitness and overall health, exercise may also help improve brain function in older adults, researchers report.

In a study published in the journal Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience, researchers evaluated brain function by performing magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans on 70 sedentary (but otherwise healthy) adults who were 60-80 years old. The participants were randomly divided into an aerobic walking group or a non-aerobic control group, which performed toning, stretching and strengthening exercises. Each exercise session lasted 40 minutes and was performed three times weekly for one year. The MRI scans of the older individuals were again taken after six months and one year, and compared to MRI scans of 32 healthy younger individuals (age 18-35).

No beneficial effects were observed in the aerobic group after six months of exercise. However, after one year, several improvements in brain function were noted in the aerobic exercise group.

Earlier studies suggested that impaired function in a brain circuit called the default mode network (DMN) may be a sign of aging or neurological conditions, such as Alzheimer's. The DMN is active when a person is at a state of wakeful rest, such as daydreaming. In the present study, researchers found that DMN activity significantly improved in the aerobics group compared to the control group. The subjects in the aerobic group also experienced significant improvements in another brain network, the frontal parietal network, which is important for complex tasks.

By the end of the study, participants in the aerobics group experienced significant improvements in cognition, including memory and attention, compared to the control group.

While the results are promising, additional research is warranted in this area.

For more information about aerobic and non-aerobic exercise, please visit Natural Standard'sSports Medicine database.

From Natural Standard Sources

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Find stillness to cure illness

It's a busy day, and you're inundated by non-stop emails, text messages, phone calls, instant message requests, notifications, interruptions of all kinds.

The noise of the world is a dull roar that pervades every second of your life. It's a rush of activity, a drain on your energy, a pull on your attention, until you no longer have the energy to pay attention or take action.

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Heart Disease Risk Varies by Education Level

 Risk for stroke and heart disease falls as education levels rise in high-income countries, but not in nations where earnings are considerably lower, a new study shows.

The findings are published in the September 2010 issue of Circulation.

The study examined data on 61,332 people from 44 countries who had been diagnosed with heart disease, stroke, or peripheral arterial disease -- or who had cardiovascular risk factors such as smoking or obesity.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Organizing Disorganized People

Imagine this scenario: After a week of hard work, you send an important report to your colleague. His task is to edit the wording and make a few key decisions to finalize some of the content. The deadline is still three weeks away, but you hope he'll finish it early because you'll have more work to do once he gives you his input.

Your colleague, however, delays making the changes. After numerous reminders from you, he sends it back the day before your deadline. This means that you have to rush to complete your final changes in time. His delay has caused you some serious stress, and it's not the first time that this has happened.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Too Little Sleep May Raise Heart Disease Risk

 People who sleep for less than seven hours a day, including naps, are at a higher risk of cardiovascular disease. Sleeping fewer than five hours a day, including naps, more than doubles the risk of chest painheart attack, or stroke, according to a study conducted by researchers at West Virginia University's (WVU) faculty of medicine.

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Can a mother's affection prevent anxiety in adulthood?

Babies whose mothers are attentive and caring tend to grow into happy, well-adjusted children. But the psychological benefits of having a doting mother may extend well beyond childhood, a new study suggests.

According to the study, which followed nearly 500 infants into their 30s, babies who receive above-average levels of affection and attention from their mothers are less likely than other babies to grow up to be emotionally distressed, anxious, or hostile adults..

Predicting the Unpredictable

People who suffer from anxiety tend to worry a lot, especially those who suffer from Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) which is a common type of anxiety involving excessive worry on an almost daily basis. It is generally accompanied by various physical symptoms such as fatigue, restlessness, and tension. Those with GAD often seem to believe that worrying can protect them from harm–as though their worry will help them see and avoid any number of potential calamities that may lie ahead.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

How to Simplify When You Love Your Stuff

Simplicity. It is a lovely ancient spiritual tradition that has seen a recent resurgence in popularity.  As we try to make sense of our erratic economy and the accompanying financial anxiety, it is natural to leap to a less risky lifestyle extreme — stop spending, scale back, live lean.

If you are a regular reader of Zen Habits, you are probably intrigued by the idea of simplifying. In fact, you may have even given up many material things and actively live a very simple life. People who have adopted this level of  simplicity, especially in the land of consumerism, are incredibly inspiring and fascinating.

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Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Ovulation gives women's brains a boost

THE size of a woman's brain changes throughout her menstrual cycle, with some areas growing by as much as 2 per cent in the run-up to ovulation, when women are at their most fertile.

So say Belinda Pletzer and colleagues at the University of Salzburg, Austria, who took MRI scans of the brains of women during their monthly cycles.

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Tuesday, June 22, 2010

How to Find Your Life's Passion When You Are Broke

Have you always had a problem achieving your goals? Do you feel like you have read every "How to" goal book ever written, but yet, you still fail at your goals?

Perhaps the problem is not you, but your goals. Do you know what you really, really want out of life?

We tend to want so much out of life. We feel like we will die if we don't get the new car, but a few weeks after getting the new car and the "newness" wears off, we realize the car no longer makes us happy. This happens because the car was not what we really, really wanted in the first place. We simply thought the car was what we wanted.

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In fact, as researchers are discovering, the psychology of risk involves far more than a simple "death wish." Studies now indicate that the inclination to take high risks may be hard-wired into the brain, intimately linked to arousal and pleasure mechanisms, and may offer such a thrill that it functions like an addiction. The tendency probably affects one in five people, mostly young males, and declines with age. It may ensure our survival, even spur our evolution as individuals and as a species. Risk taking probably bestowed a crucial evolutionary advantage, inciting the fighting and foraging of the hunter-gatherer.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

The elements of living lightly

Think about it: when we have expectations, and things don't go the way we expect (which happens quite often, as we're not good prognosticators), we are disappointed, frustrated. It's our expectations that force us to judge whether something is good or bad.

When you expect something of a friend, co-worker, family member, spouse, and they don't live up to that expectation, then you are upset with them, or disappointed. It causes anger. But what if you had no expectations — then their actions would be neither good nor bad, just actions. You could accept them without frustration, anger, sadness.

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Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Experiencing the Planetary Shift on an energetic sparkle in the air.....

When you feel genuine hope, care and compassion, your heart is sending harmonious and coherent signals to the brain/ mind, replacing feelings of separation with a sense of connection. The heart and brain are aligned and in sync. The higher cortical functions are enhanced, facilitating objective, sober assessment and intuitive perception. You perceive more wholeness, and solutions to problems are more apparent. 

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

How does multitasking affect memory

The human mind can shift rapidly between tasks, on the order of a few hundred milliseconds. Recent research has uncovered supertaskers, the 2.5 percent of the population who are better than everyone else at texting and driving. But the average mind prefers something closer to a second or two between changes in input. The faster this shift, the less sense we can make of the information....

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Cutting the Cord to Materialism

In America and much of western culture, our infatuation with materialism comes from the opportunity to have such. Being a minimalist pre-cable/satellite television was not just a fad. It was a way of life. People were these things called ACTIVE and ENERGETIC. Once television became such a monumental part of our lives, we began being consumed by this sedentary form of life that co-existed with unhealthy and unfit lives.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

The Large Hadron Collider May Allow us to Read the Mind of God

Today the LHC may have the potential to explain the origin of all four fundamental forces: gravity, electromagnetism, and the strong and weak nuclear forces. Physicists believe that at the beginning of time there was a single superforce that unified these fundamental forces. Finding it could be the crowning achievement in the history of science.

Through the LHC, we hope to finally prove the existence of the Higgs boson, which is the only particle yet to be observed by the Standard Model. There is a hypothetical, ever-present quantum field that is supposedly responsible for giving particles their masses; this field would answer the basic question of why particles have the masses they do or why they have any mass at all. According to CERN, "The answer may be the so-called Higgs mechanism. According to the theory of the Higgs mechanism, the whole of space is filled with a 'Higgs field,' and by interacting with this field, particles acquire their masses. Particles that interact intensely with the Higgs field are heavy, while those that have feeble interactions are light. The Higgs field has at least one new particle associated with it, the Higgs boson. If such a particle exists, experiments at the LHC will be able to detect it."

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Java Technologies to Build Social Capital to achieve UN -MDGs- Java World Congress-Sri Lanka

How to integrate Open source Java Technologies to Build Social Capital to achieve United Nations Millennium Development Goals ( MDGs) will be the theme of the Java World Congress to be held in Colombo, Sri Lanka from 26-28 Nov this year. Humans are social animals. From time immemorial history is replete with a plethora of examples of how humans interacted with family, small groups, society , country and the world at large to transact his business. While these social contacts are salutary to building health networks, others have used them to build tension, conflict and anxiety in our dealings. While interacting with a global village we observe how the multi-faceted technology and communication expansions have brought us very close to each other redefining the old boundaries.

If we go deeper into social capital we observe that Social capital is an instantiated informal norm that promotes cooperation between two or more individuals. The norms that constitute social capital can range from a norm of reciprocity between two friends, all the way up to complex and elaborately articulated doctrines like Christianity or Confucianism. They must be instantiated in an actual human relationship: the norm of reciprocity exists in potentia in my dealings with all people, but is actualized only in my dealings with my friends. By this definition, trust, networks, civil society, and the like which have been associated with social capital are all epiphenominal, arising as a result of social capital but not constituting social capital itself.

Not just any set of instantiated norms constitutes social capital; they must lead to cooperation in groups and therefore are related to traditional virtues like honesty, the keeping of commitments, reliable performance of duties, reciprocity, and the like. A norm like the one described by Edward Banfield as characterizing southern Italy, which enjoins individuals to trust members of their immediate nuclear family but to take advantage of everyone else, is clearly not the basis of social capital outside the family

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World Congress