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  • midlifelove 11:53 pm on March 8, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: bored, Boredom, dangerous to health, depression, heart risk, raise blood pressure   

    Bored To Death 

    My Grandma used to say boring people are bored people – but sometimes a touch of the old ennui is unavoidable.

    Waiting for web pages to load, getting stuck in traffic, watching someone play video games – they come high on most people’s Top Five Most Boring Things to do list.

    They’re all things that test your patience, but they’re not terminal you say.  Until now, that is, because according to new research, you really can be bored to death.

    Boredom Bad For Heart

    It seems the more bored you are, the more likely you are to die early, although scientists caution it’s probably not the boredom alone that will kill you, but the risky behaviour – drinking, eating, inhaling the wrong things – that often accompanies it.

    It doesn’t hurt to be just occasionally bored – that happens to everyone. It’s the chronic kind of boredom that’s dangerous.

    In the study 7500 London civil servants aged 35 – 55 were questioned about how bored they were at work the previous month, and then those who were still alive were followed up 20 years later.

    University College London researchers Annie Britton and Martin Shipley found that those who reported they had been very bored were two and a half times more likely to die of a heart problem than those who hadn’t reported being bored.

    But when the authors made a statistical adjustment for other potential risk factors, like physical activity levels and employment grade, the effect was reduced.

    Boredom As Dangerous As Stress

    Researchers point out someone who is bored may not be motivated to eat well or exercise, and boredom is often linked to depression, which has long been recognized as a risk factor for heart disease.

    Others said boredom was potentially as dangerous as stress.

    “Boredom is not innocuous,” said Sandi Mann, a senior lecturer in occupational psychology at the University of Central Lancashire who studies boredom.

    She said boredom is linked to anger suppression, which can raise blood pressure and suppress the body’s natural immunity. “People who are bored also tend to eat and drink more, and they’re probably not eating carrots and celery sticks,” she said.

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  • midlifelove 10:11 am on November 27, 2009 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Botox, , depression, Eric Finzi, facial muscles, Fake it till you make it, , Nat King Cole, neurological link, Smile   

    Women on Botox Happier 

    woman botoxNat King Cole knew more than we realised when he sang “Smile, what’s the use of crying, You’ll find that life is still worthwhile, If you just smile.”

    That’s because science is increasingly finding that changing expressions can influence mood, although scientists still don’t fully understand why.  But they are beginning to suspect a neurological link between facial muscles and brain activity.

    People asked to smile while watching a cartoon, for instance, report it is funnier than people who are not asked to smile.

    Botox Lifts Depression

    Now a series of studies seem to show that women who have Botox treatments are happier – and it has nothing to do with increased self confidence because they look better.

    First (in 2006) a Botox-happy cosmetic surgeon reported a  small study which claimed that filling out depressed women’s frown lines so they couldn’t wrinkle their brows helped lift their depression.

    The pilot study of 10 patients was the first to provide empirical support for what a number of clinicians say they have noticed anecdotally: People who get their furrowed brows eliminated with Botox (botulinum toxin A) often report an improvement in mood.

    Washington dermatologist Eric Finzi’s study found that even patients who were not seeking cosmetic improvement showed a dramatic decrease in depression symptoms.

    Not Just Self Confidence

    And a follow up study reported in Time magazine suggests that Botox may lighten people’s moods by literally wiping the frowns off their faces.

    The study, published in the Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology, followed 25 cosmetic-surgery patients, 12 of whom received injections of Botulinum Toxin A or similar neurotoxins, the others receiving fillers, peels or other cosmetic treatments for wrinkles.

    Two weeks after the treatments patients filled out a questionnaire for depression and anxiety.

    “The Botox patients scored much lower on measures of depression, anxiety and irritability,” explains Michael Lewis, a psychology professor at the University of Cardiff and lead author of the study. “Crucially, there was no significant difference in how much their treatment made them feel attractive from those who had other treatments, suggesting that [the mood boost] wasn’t just down to a boost in self-confidence.”

    Face and Brain Link

    At the time, Finzi explained the results of his 2006 study using the facial-feedback hypothesis — a feedback loop in which people frown back at a depressed person, further deepening that person’s sense of isolation. He suggested that if a depressed person can’t frown because of Botox treatment, then others won’t frown back at them, thereby breaking the loop.

    Others have suggested facial muscles may alter the temperature of blood flowing in the brain. Relaxation techniques such as yoga and tai chi may help cool the brain and result in a more positive mood.

    Whatever the mechanism, moods can clearly be influenced by expressions, not just the other way around, said Paul Ekman, emeritus professor of psychology at the University of California at San Francisco, who has spent decades exploring the connection between emotions and expressions.

    “If you make a facial expression voluntarily, you can change the autonomic and central nervous system to generate that emotion,” he said.

    Meeting People Easier

    But Ekman said the relationship between emotions and expressions is probably too complex to explain Finzi’s finding. It is unlikely, he said, that simply altering one’s expressions can relieve depression.

    More plausible, Ekman said, is that changing expressions can help heighten or decrease emotional states. Or it is possible that by frowning less, patients in Finzi’s study seemed less forbidding to others, which helped to strengthen their social connections. In turn, that may have helped ease the depression, Ekman said.

    But Lewis says he favors the theory that facial muscles influence brain activity directly and points to earlier research that suggests such a neurological link.

    Fake It Till You Make It

    For example, studies have shown that subjects find comedy routines significantly funnier when they hold a pen between their teeth the way a dog holds a bone, a pose that stimulates the muscles used for smiling. Similarly, subjects laugh less when holding a pen between their lips, a pose that mimics frowning.

    Such studies are part of a growing trend in counseling and therapy that focuses on behavioral change — a new approach summed up by the Alcoholics Anonymous slogan “Fake it till you make it” — rather than the stern “talk therapy” of the Freudian era.

    Cognitive behavioral therapy, for instance, teaches patients to alter the physiological feedback cycles of certain conditions by slowing their breathing during panic attacks or cutting the hangdog look during periods of depression.

    But Lewis warns that his and Finzi’s studies both examined small sample groups, so it would be premature, he says, to consider Botox injections — at around $400 each — purely on the basis of their potential for mood enhancement.

     
  • midlifelove 9:12 am on September 1, 2009 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: ABC, bipolar disorder, Black Dog Institute, country music, Cronulla Sharks, depression, , football, Gold Coast Titans, grunge rock, hostility, Mat Rogers, music and mood, Nirvana, Pearl Jam, , sadness, Soundgarden, Steve Rogers, suicide, , University of New South Wales, V for victory, Wallabies, Winston Churchill   

    Is Your Music Depressing You? 

    music
    Music has an amazing ability to affect our moods for good and bad, sometimes without us realising it. Listen to Nirvana, Pearl Jam or Soundgarden and it’s likely you’ll encourage feelings of hostility, sadness, tension and fatigue, while repressing impulses for caring, relaxation, mental clarity and vigour. That’s what research shows grunge rock does.

    And it seems “depressing” country music has a lot to answer for.  A study which compared suicide rates in US cities with the proportion of country music played on the radio showed the higher the amount of country music played, the higher the suicide rate amongst white people.

    The authors suggest that country music may “nurture a suicidal mood through its concerns with problems common in the suicidal population, such as marital discord, alcohol abuse, and alienation from work”*.

    What Music Makes You Sad or Happy?

    That’s why researchers at the University of New South Wales, in association with the Black Dog Institute, are interested in finding out how people use music to manage their mood – and they’d like your help.

    Their on-line survey aims to evaluate whether people use music to manage their mood in various day to day situations; also whether people’s music choice varies according to their personality type and when they are depressed.

    Aussie Men At Risk

    Four times as many Australian men as women commit suicide. And like rugby league legend Steve Rogers, they may be the ones you’d least expect to want to make an early exit.

    Steve Rogers, father of former Wallaby and now Gold Coast Titans rugby league player Mat Rogers, appeared to “have it all” – the dream sporting career as one of the most outstanding Australian footballers of all time, then a successful business life as boss of his old team Sydney’s Cronulla Sharks to follow. A close friend reported that the night before he took his own life, the 51-year-old appeared “more than content, he seemed exuberant. “

    Said Mat Rogers in an ABC programme at the time: “As a person of his stature and as a public figure he found it really hard to talk about his problems with other people which therefore exacerbated the problem.”

    Taming the Black Dog

    That’s something The Black Dog Institute wants to change. ‘Black dog’ was the term Britain’s Wartime Prime Minister Sir Winston Churchill coined for depression – his own depression, and the logo for the institute plays on Churchill’s Second World War ‘V’ for victory sign.

    The Black Dog Institute is a not-for-profit, educational, research, clinical and community-oriented facility offering specialist expertise in depression and bipolar disorder attached to the Prince of Wales Hospital and affiliated with the University of New South Wales.

    *Jim Gundlach, J. – author, Steven Stack (1992) The Effect of Country Music on Suicide. Social Forces. 71(1): 211.

     
  • midlifelove 5:27 am on August 19, 2009 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: andropause, , depression, , , herbal supplements, low hormone, , male hormones, , memory loss, , mood swings, puberty in reverse, ,   

    Was Michael Jackson In Male Menopause? 

    michael-jacksonMichael Jackson might have wanted to be Peter Pan, forever young, but was the irony of his death that he was going through male menopause?

    That’s the theory advanced by two Beverly Hills anti-aging consultants to explain the common symptoms of anxiety, depression, insomnia and fatigue that led to his reliance on prescription drugs.

    Karen Norris and Eve Michaels of the Simply Ageless 41 clinic suggest the 50-year-old singer may well have been rejuvenated with hormone therapy, with no need for the drugs which eventually killed him.

    “Michael has been painted this dark, troubled soul, a fragile spirit, even a drug addict,” says Norris, who authors a weekly online magazine at the SimplyAgeless411 website. “No one seems to have considered that he could have been suffering from symptoms of male menopause. The sad part is that it can easily be treated if you get to the right doctor.”

    Puberty In Reverse

    Male menopause – clinically diagnosed as andropause – is still a controversial idea for some doctors, but there seems little doubt some men suffer noticeably from symptoms associated with low levels of testosterone and other hormones as they age.

    Common symptoms include chronic fatigue, mood swings, depression, anxiety, memory loss, among others. Though symptoms vary they usually begin in the 30s and become significant between the ages of 45 and 60.

    Board certified physician Ryan Stanton, MD, is a hormone specialist based in Beverly Hills, and a frequent contributor and advisor to SimplyAgeless411 subscribers-only “ezine.” insists male menopause is very much a genuine medical problem that requires diagnosis and treatment.

    “It’s sometimes called ‘puberty in reverse’ but that makes it seem like a mid-life crisis and diminishes the serious affects it can have on a man’s physical and emotional well-being,” Dr. Stanton says. “To think that it’s just a phase that will eventually pass and not seek treatment for it can be dangerous.”

    Low Testosterone Regimen

    Low hormone levels of thyroid, cortisol and testosterone are easily treated through a regimen of tablets and gels applied to the skin. For most men, the results are dramatic and immediate.

    Anti aging consultant Karen Norris says a standard blood test doesn’t screen all of your hormone levels and will not reveal the full scope of a man’s hormonal profile.

    Testosterone can also be stimulated by herbal supplements like tribulus terrestris found in natural health supplements like Herbal Ignite.micheal

     
  • midlifelove 2:04 am on June 26, 2009 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: breaking up, chemicals, chemistry of love, dante, depression, dr, ejaculation, evidence of beloved, , failed relationship, fisher, , helen, hippocampus, , , , nature, neurotropic, , self esteem, , , visualise, weight gain,   

    12 Practical Steps to Beat Love Addiction 

    breakup
    “Oh, now there’s only one kind of love that lasts. That’s unrequited love. It stays with you forever.” – Woody Allen.

    If you’re lovesick, like Dante hankering after a dead Beatrice he’d only ever seen a few times in his life, you have two choices.  Hold onto the fantasy and bore your friends to death, or deal with it. Well make that three – if you’re a poet there’s a slim chance you can like Dante, turn it into great literature. For most of us though, getting on with building a happy productive life has got a lot going for it.

    The “reality check” approach is summed up by romantic love expert Dr Helen Fisher: “Someone is camping in your brain: you must throw the scoundrel out.”

    If you’re serious about “throwing the scoundrel out”, and moving on and ultimately finding new love, this 12 step guide, resourced from Dr Fisher’s book Why We Love, The Nature and Chemistry of Romantic Love, is a great place to start.

    Allow yourself a couple of weeks of mooning around grieving. Indulge yourself with your loss if you have to. Play sad love songs and cry about how unfair it all is. Then pick yourself up and get started with the rest of your life:

    1)      Remove all evidence of the beloved. Don’t try and be friends for at least a couple of years. Throw out all cards and letters, or stuff them in a box and put them out of reach.  Don’t call or write under any circumstances. Depart immediately if you see your former lover in the street. Even the smallest contact can fire up your brain with romantic desire.

    2)      Develop positive affirmations about yourself and your future.  Frame up something that boosts your self esteem and projects your mind past the failed relationship and towards successful love.

    3)      Visualise a better time. Picture yourself walking arm in arm with someone who adores you and you cherish – the perfect partner. Make it up and make it good. When you can’t stop thinking about ‘him’ or ‘her,’ dwell on their negative traits. Write down their faults and carry the list in your purse or pocket.

    4)      Stay busy. Distract yourself. Call friends. Visit neighbours. Go somewhere to worship. Play games. Memorize poetry. Dance.  Sing.  Learn to draw. Get a dog or a cat or a bird. Take that vacation you have always thought about. Write out your plans for the future. Do anything that forces you to concentrate your attention, particularly on things you do well

    5)      Exercise. Jogging, biking, and other forms of strenuous physical activity will drive up the levels of dopamine, and elevate serotonin and endorphins, the calming brain neurochemicals. It also increases BDNF (brain-derived neurotropic factor) in the hippocampus, the memory centre, which protects and makes new nerve cells.

    6)      Get out in the sun. It stimulates the pineal gland, which regulates bodily rhythms in ways that elevate mood. Pick a daily activity you can do in sunlight, preferably out of doors.

    7)      Avoid sweets or drugs that you know will stress your mind and body.

    8)      Take one day at a time – a 12 Step program principle.  Just as the alcoholic decides not to have a drink “today” the rejected lover can decide not to contact their beloved “today.”

    9)      If you don’t want to slip, don’t go to slippery places. For the love addict that means don’t go to places you know you former lover is likely to be – the favourite bar, places that were special to you as a couple. Go somewhere new to shop or to get your exercise. Don’t play songs you used to share. Avoid “people, places and things” that trigger a desire for your ex.

    10)   Give it time. Often it takes more than two years of separation to free you from the chains of past love. Even with all your good new habits, removal of stimuli, new interests and new people, it will take time to heal.

    11)   Consider anti depressants if you are seriously depressed. The most common antidepressants are serotonin boosters – selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors or SSRIs.  They even help repair damage in the brain’s memory centre from prolonged stress, but they do have some negative side effects – weight gain, reduced libido, delayed sexual arousal, and inability to achieve erection, ejaculation or orgasm.  You might consider a dopamine enhancer instead. They are not as reliable in lifting suicidal depressions, but they work for many people and they do not produce weight gain or reduced sex drive – rather the opposite.

    12)   Find a new lover to drive out the old. By far the most effective cure for a bad romance is to find a new lover. As you fall in love again, you elevate levels of dopamine and other feel-good chemicals in the brain.

     
  • midlifelove 1:42 am on June 23, 2009 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , cocaine, , , depression, , , , , , , , , , , organ, , , , , , , ,   

    Breaking Love Addiction 

    breaking love addiction

    He – or she – is the first thing you think of in the morning and the last thing you think of at night. He’s – or she’s – your lover, your soul mate. You can read each other’s minds.  You are just meant for each other. It’s uncanny – almost a spiritual thing.

    That’s what you thought until little cracks started appearing in your dream of ‘together forever’. When he or she decided they weren’t that into you anymore and they departed, taking your heart/world/future with them.

    The ‘love of your life’ has walked out and you’re about to discover the dark side of romantic love. Of being devoured by unsatisfied desire – for as Plato said 2000 years ago “The God of Love lives in a state of need.”

    Love Like Cocaine

    That need is a dopamine-fuelled ‘high’ which brain imaging shows activates the reward/pleasure centres in the brain in ways very similar to cocaine and heroin.

    And that’s the first important key to getting over love sickness, says Dr Helen Fisher, an expert on romantic love. Understand it is an addiction and some of the principles of the addiction counselling – like 12 Step programs – are helpful in getting over it.

    Romantic love is associated with high levels of dopamine and probably also norepinephrine – brain substances that drive down serotonin.  And low levels of serotonin are associated with despair, and even suicide.

    If nothing else, hankering after “what-might-have-been” can waste years of your life. It also kills some people. When a love affair turns sour, the human brain is set up for depression, and perhaps, self annihilation… The Japanese even glorified “love suicide” as evidence of one’s devotion.

    Tricky Thinking

    The idea, says Dr Fisher, is to ‘trick your brain’ into producing dopamine in response to new stimuli.

    Despair from unrequited love will most likely also mean plummeting dopamine levels.  As you focus your attention and do novel things, you elevate this feel-good substance, boosting energy and hope. We can also utilise new research on brain functioning which shows we are wired to integrate thoughts and feelings. We can in other words, control our drive to love.

    Woody Allen (in Sleepers) quipped “My brain? It’s my second favourite organ” – and he isn’t alone.  In this “golden age of the brain” neuroscientists are gaining increased understanding of our decision-making processes – and what they are learning can help us take control of our thoughts and feelings. We are wired so we can choose to think before we act (the high road) or we can allow our emotions to dictate our actions (the low road).

    The love addiction can be conquered. It takes determination, time and some understanding of brain function and human nature. Says Dr Fisher:  “Someone is camping in your brain; you must throw the scoundrel out.”

    Foods to beat love addiction

    Many of the neurochemicals involved in sex and love – including dopamine, serotonin and testosterone – are affected by the stress of  severe loss. Divorce can add ten years to a man’s testosterone levels in just a few months. The good news is, the ‘chemicals of love’ can be boosted by eating the right foods – including cottage cheese, chicken, dark chocolate, yoghurt, eggs, and oats, or by herbal and nutritional supplements like Herbal Ignite. Visit http://www.herbalignite.com to find out more about.

     
    • Elvira Lind 9:54 am on October 13, 2009 Permalink | Reply

      DOCUMENTARY ON LOVE ADDICTION

      We are looking for people who would like to participate in a documentary on love addiction.

      If you are addicted to love, love becomes more of a struggle than something great and joyful.

      Love addiction can rule your life in a destructive way. As someone addicted to love, you ignore your own boundaries and needs, and your attempts to loving someone are seldom returned. Love addiction can lead to obsessive thinking, anxiety, despair and loneliness.

      With this film we would like to tell the world around us more about love addiction and help people understand. We hope you would like to help with your insights and experiences. There are many types and stages of love addiction, and we are interested in hearing about any one of them.

      We will be in the US in November and December 2009.

      Learn more: http://www.loveaddictiondoc.com

      Write us: loveaddiction@danishdocumentary.com

      Warm regards

      Elvira (research) and Pernille Rose (director)

  • midlifelove 3:15 am on June 20, 2009 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , , depression, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,   

    Why is love addictive? 

    love-addiction copy

    Brain imaging has confirmed what lovers have long-known. The crazy fixation we call romantic love is an addiction. . . maybe that’s why the Greeks called romantic love “the madness of the gods.”

    Anyone who has ever been in the clutches of irrational infatuation knows the symptoms. Seemingly inexhaustible energy allows you to talk until dawn.  Satiated with love, you don’t need to eat; you feel you can live on air. Elated when things are going well, you sink into despair when things look like collapsing.

    Noticeably there is a real dependence on the relationship, says Dr Helen Fisher, an expert on romantic love whose books including Why We Love trace the physical and psychological dependence of this primary human drive.

    And dependence it is. Brain scans of love-stricken couples compared with men and women injected with cocaine, show many of the same brain regions become active.  So how does this happen?

    Three Classic Symptoms

    Directly or indirectly, all “drugs of abuse” affect a single pathway in the brain, the reward centres activated by dopamine. Romantic love stimulates parts of the same pathway with the same chemical.

    In response to dopamine, the bewitched lover shows three classic symptoms of addiction: tolerance, withdrawal and relapse.

    Tolerance: At first you’re happy to see loved one now and then… but very quickly you need them more and more until you “can’t live without them.”

    Withdrawal: Dropped by your lover? The rejected one shows all the classic signs of drug withdrawal – depression, crying, anxiety, insomnia, loss or appetite or binge eating, irritability and chronic loneliness. You’ll also go to humiliating lengths to “procure a fix” – to see your lover, and try and renew the relationship.

    Relapse: Long after the affair is over, hearing a particular song, or revisiting an old haunt can trigger the craving and initiate compulsive calling or writing to get another “high”. The lover is “a slave of passion.” Or rather – a slave to dopamine.

    The Dopamine High

    Dopamine. It’s at the core of our sexual drives and survival needs, and it motivates us to do just about everything. This mechanism within the reward circuitry of the primitive brain has been around for millions of years.

    It’s behind a lot of the desire we associate with eating and sexual intercourse. Similarly, all addictive drugs trigger dopamine (the “craving neurochemical”) to stimulate the pleasure/reward circuitry. So do gambling, shopping, overeating, sexual climax and other, seemingly unrelated, activities. They all work somewhat differently on the brain, but all raise your dopamine.

    You get a bigger blast of dopamine eating high-calorie, high-fat foods than eating low-calorie vegetables. You may believe that you love ice cream, but you really love your blast of dopamine. You’re genetically programmed to seek out high-calorie foods over others. Similarly, dopamine drives you to have sex over most other activities.

    Boost Sexual Health

    Many of the hormones involved in sex and love – including dopamine, serotonin and testosterone – are susceptible to stress or aging. They can be boosted by eating the right foods – including cottage cheese, chicken, dark chocolate, yoghurt, eggs, and oats, or by herbal and nutritional supplements like Herbal Ignite.

     
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