Is it Time for a Mental U-turn?

mental u-turn
Mental U-turn

Have you ever found yourself heading down the wrong street? You should have turned left instead of right? U-turn, now! Call it what you may, senior moment or brain drain. It’s simply a lack of focus. When we allow our minds to wander, it’s like surfing the web. There is no propensity for planning or purpose. In other words, we roam aimlessly through the day, ignoring direction from our subconscious mind. Our emotions, actions and thoughts work like cogs on a wheel. A mind void of positive, directed thoughts, yields negative random actions.

emotions, thoughts, and actions
Emotions, Thoughts, & Actions

Days like this require a hard reset to sync our mind, body, and spirit. But how? My favorite analogy is to visualize an iceberg as representing our conscious (above water) and subconscious (below water) minds. Our brains process at lightening speed, yet we are only consciously aware of a minute portion of our surroundings at any given moment. Although we are uniquely and miraculously made, we are not in control of all mind, body, and spiritual functions, nor were we designed to be in total control.

Some call it karma, I call it faith. Trying to control and master both your conscious and subconscious minds will lead to instability, unreliability, and uncertainty. Some questions cannot be answered with a simple yes or no, and wondering and worrying are not the answer. Your subconscious mind does not discern truthful or deceptive thoughts, that’s your conscious mind’s job. However, “keeping your foot” or staying focused on your current and present goals will prevent a wandering mind and ultimately spiritual warfare. Stay true to your beliefs and delete all thoughts of doubt, leaving no room or need for  mental U-turns! Wishing you a productive and relaxing day.

~ Dr. Doscher

Architectural Psychology, Influencing Your Mindset

Not Your Typical Design Class

Millions of dollars are spent on buildings’ exteriors to convey positively appropriate messages with productive behavioral responses. Architectural psychology is a field taken quite seriously. Like first impressions and interviews, the first encounter is paramount. If the structure’s outside is unappealing, it is doubtful person will enter with an open and relaxed mind. Likewise, extra effort will be needed in the art of persuasion.

So, if the building’s outside is lacking in curb appeal, focus on the interior’s entry. Make it open, fresh, and relaxing. What better way to accomplish this than with an airy space, lush plants and flowing water? Although brief, my description was enough to incite somewhat of a sense of calmness. Yes? That’s a brief summary of the occupant-centered approach to architectural psychology. But let’s take it a step further and focus on influencing the people entering and working in these spaces.

We All Could Use Some Feng Shui

Although Feng Shui is not my forte’, especially since I am horrible with cardinal directions. I, like most people, can sense change, whether it be the weather or your emotions. So, why not do what professional sales people and those with psychopathic tendencies do? Observe, project, observe, adjust, repeat and perfect. Regardless of your profession, it takes two to tango or participate in a communicative relationship. Create a home, office, or work space environment conducive to your physical and emotional needs. Sometimes, something as simple as opening up floor space can give a sense of freedom or rotating furniture to take the “edge off” as your walk by. Temperature, sound, and visual changes can also open and free your mind and body of daily stressors.

Have you ever noticed how people sometimes rearrange chairs before sitting in them? Better yet, watch people eating a meal at a table and bench,  anchored to the floor! Either way, when you feel a bit uneasy, take note of your surroundings and or the context of your conversation. So, the next time you are feeling a little heated? Try walking and talking instead. Uneasy about an upcoming discussion? Don’t drive and discuss. Driving under the influence of unwanted topics is unhealthy in so many ways.

Ebb and Flow

We are chemical and electrical beings; confined to moving unilaterally or staying stationary is NOT in our nature, physically or mentally. We function like ebb and flow; our minds and bodies function as a result of stimulation and relaxation. Too much of one throws off our inter- and intra-personal communication. You know those days (Mondays!) when you are either in sync or just OFF.

Since our workplaces and homes are energy dependent, they stimulate and are stimulated by our minds and physical interactions. The sooner we take note of our productive surroundings and comfort zones. the easier it will be to create our ideal work and relaxation spaces. Remember, our bodies are wonderfully designed and miraculously made, yet easily influenced by architecture and our surroundings. Best to you all!

Dr. Doscher

Our Brain and ‘Wireless’ Neural Connections

 

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We use the term wireless to reference cellular communication pathways around the world. Our brains’ neural pathways are similar, including synapses, also known as chemical bridges, for which neural impulses travel. While recently studying sections of brain tissue from the hippocampus of mice, scientists discovered impulses traversing across gaps void of brain tissue or neurotransmitters. Could we possibly have our own natural wireless network in our brains?

Hippocampus

The hippocampus is responsible for memory consolidation and spatial memory. This amazing part of our brain converts short-term memories to  long-term memories. Not only is it responsible for us remembering our home address but also spatial relationships in everyday life. According to researchers, the hippocampus  apparently is working overtime during our sleep.

Slower periodic brain waves occur while we sleep, yet neural connections and rewiring of trillions of nerve cells also take place. This type of brain activity, including wireless connections, were noted in the hippocampus tissue of mice. Is there a possible correlation between slower brain waves and wireless neural connections? Maybe.

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My personal takeaway and food for thought is perhaps we should take a closer look at mindfulness and cognitive behavioral therapy. I am the most productive when I am relaxed. No wonder I occasionally wake up while sleeping with a fantastic ah-ha moment. How about you?

What if brain scientists are on the verge of discovering the mystery to accessing more of our brain’s processing capabilities, via wireless connections? Just in case, read on for a healthy mind-body exercise.

Mindfulness

Try this mindfulness technique to place yourself in a more relaxed state and slow down your brain waves. Imagine the clutter of today’s stresses as individually labeled envelopes. See yourself categorizing these labeled envelopes into large boxes, labeled as: Facts, Guesses, Judgements, Past Activities, Present Activities, and Possibilities.

Focus on the context of your thoughts and not the content. By categorizing and organizing your thoughts, you can go through your ‘files’ at your leisure. Don’t allow your mind to inundate you with high priority, high stress content. Remember, our brains combine snippets of information that are not necessarily accurate on all accounts. So, “choose wisely.”

Best,

Dr. Doscher

 

 

Top 5 Symptoms of Seasonal Affective Disorder (S.A.D.)

Picture of a girl covering her face on a dreary cloudy day
Photo by: Alexandre Croussette

The cool crisp air and colorful leaves dancing in the air are welcoming signs of Fall. Yet, our circadian rhythms also recognize this as the beginning of Seasonal Affective Disorder season, which runs through the onset of Spring. Continue reading “Top 5 Symptoms of Seasonal Affective Disorder (S.A.D.)”

Handwriting Increases Cognition and Coordination

Patient gives thumbs up after wellness checkHandwriting for Brain Health

Start the year off right; focus on improving your mental and physical health, along with occasionally handwriting a note, in cursive or calligraphy. In maintaining our body’s health, our body’s central processing unit (CPU), the brain, is extremely important. Not only does it make conscious and unconscious decisions for you daily but also manipulates incoming and outgoing data.

Therefore, our brains still need neural coaching to remain healthy and active. Like we have heard time and time again, “if you don’t use it, you’ll lose it.” Writing in cursive will do the trick and much better than printing text. Cursive writing requires greater motor skills, eye tracking, concentration, speed, and accuracy. This, in turn, activates areas of the brain, not used when we speak or type messages with our thumbs. Because we collect, process, and retrieve information in snippets, this exercise is especially important.

Handwriting Research

Johns Hopkins University performed a with stroke patients that answered some questions regarding the connection between speaking and writing. The researchers discovered that some of the patients who had trouble writing sentences with correct word endings had no difficulty in speaking the same sentences. In contrast, one patient exhibited no difficulties in handwriting but trouble speaking.Picture of handwriting

The handwriting difficulties  were with word endings, such as -er, ing, and -s (for plurals). The patients used incorrect word endings when writing the same sentences, they spoke without difficulties.

Write Me

Remember, our brains are hunter-gatherers of information and retrieved memories are also snippets that must be pieced back together. So much processing is needed, hence lightening speed neural connections, so what better reason to stay healthy and keep exercising your brains! Send me a handwritten note, PO Box 486, 62864, I would love to read your “cursive” thoughts!

Wishing you much health and happiness,

Michelle Doscher, Ph.D.