Scientists argue that a few hours of silence dramatically help to the rejuvenation of brain cells just the way sleep does.

From the old times, people who appreciated silence a little more than the ordinary were confronted by their social community with suspicion or “burdened” with the label of “monotonous” and “peculiar”. Now, however, it is time for the supporters of silence and generally all those who don’t appreciate the bustle, the noisy spaces, and the endless talking, to celebrate.

But, let’s get things right: in 2011 the Finnish Ministry of Tourism launched a campaign that used silence as an exportable product(!). This campaign called for tourists to visit Finland and discover the healing properties and beauty of the tranquil landscapes of the country.

In fact, they had gone on to publish promotional material, in particular, a series of wonderful photos that their main slogan was “Quiet, please” and was accompanied by a few more words: “No more talk, actions!”

Eva Kiviranta, who manages the social media of VisitFinland.com, said:

We decided, instead of saying that it’s really empty and really quiet and nobody is talking about anything here, let’s embrace it and make it a good thing.

Probably, she ignored a scientific project that was conducted on the beneficial properties of silence.

How Silence Benefits the Brain?

In particular, on the basis of studies carried out from 2013 until today at Oregon and Duke universities, both in newborn mice and humans, it has been found that two minutes of absolute silence benefits the brain; it can be as relaxing as if we were sleeping for 15 minutes or if we listened to our favorite music for 5 minutes.

The study titled Brain, Structure and Function revealed a truly amazing finding: 2 hours of absolute silence were enough to create new cells in the hippocampus, the brain region involved in the transfer of information from short-term memory to long-term and to better containment of this information.

In this sense, scientists have argued that silence helps in the development and proper functioning of our brain. They explain that noise and talking affect the functioning of our brain, causing it to produce high levels of stress hormones.

Sound waves affect the brain, which perceives them even when we sleep. So, either by looking for a two-hour pause in the day or by sleeping in a completely quiet environment, you will benefit your brain.

H/T: LIFO

References:

10 natural ways to increase dopamine levels in the brain.

Did you know that we have chemicals in our brain that make us feel good? One of the most important is Dopamine (also known as the ‘feel good chemical’). Having reduced levels of dopamine can lead to adverse effects like depression and negativity.

But don’t worry, there are natural ways to increase your dopamine so you can experience a more constant level of happiness. Best of all, the following techniques don’t involve medications.

1. Exercise

Exercise can boost your levels of endorphins, serotonin and dopamine, which will not only strengthen your muscles, but will help reduce your stress. The best bit? It works with any kind of exercise – just as long as you get moving!

2. Avoid Addictions

While addictions may provide an instant boost of pleasure, it isn’t long-lasting. What eventually happens is that your base levels of dopamine will actually decrease and you will need your addiction more often. Therefore, it can be beneficial to avoid addictions and focus on things that give you calm and peace.

3. Detoxification

Toxins and unhealthy bacteria can halt your body producing dopamine, so make sure to consistently detoxify your body.

4. Increase Tyrosine

This amino acid is one of the most important for the production of dopamine. Make sure to consume almonds, bananas, dark chocolate and green tea.

5. Music

Music actually increases your feel good chemicals, so make sure to regularly listen to music you enjoy.

6. Organize your life

When you complete a goal, dopamine levels are increased. Therefore, write down your tasks, even small ones, and tick them off once you complete them. Every time you finish a task, you’ll experience a small rush of dopamine for completing your goal.

7. Creativity

Being creative releases dopamine. The great thing is creativity can be found in a whole range of tasks from writng to singing to dancing.

8. Get a streak going

This is a visual display of the number of times you achieve something. Again, by displaying things you achieve, your brain will recognize that you’re completing goals which will increase dopamine.

9. Supplementation

These are the supplements that can boost dopamine levels:

  • Curcumin – found in turmeric
  • Ginkgo Biloba
  • Acetl-l-tyrosine
  • L-theanine, which is found in green tea

10. Meditation

This works differently compared to exercise. It will make you more calm and relaxed, which will enable you to reduce stress.

Credits: This article was originally created and published by Truth Inside Of You and re-posted here with permission.

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Help your child’s memory skills development through these interesting ways.

Every parent has high expectations for their children and surely they want their children to do their best in every area. Some people may see this as putting a child under pressure, while others think that it is truly necessary to help children develop their abilities and reach their highest potential.

In order to achieve that, it is important to always stimulate your child’s attention, interest, and curiosity. The more s/he learns, the better his/her cognitive skills.

Easy said than done. Each child responds differently to stimuli and what might be interesting for a child, may be completely boring for another. This is why it is highly important to know your child and how s/he responds to certain tasks. This way you will find out which technique you could apply in order to stimulate your child’s memory.

1. Focus on Details

Studies show that parents can have a huge impact on the development of children’s memory through conversations they have with them. A simple way to boost your child’s memory is to talk constantly about past actions and putting emphasis on details. For example, you can talk about a circus where you once were, asking the child all sorts of questions about the show.

2. Memory Games

Memory games are known to improve child’s memory in an enjoyable way. They do not only entertain your child or let him/her learn more about the world around him/her, but they additionally bring the following benefits:

  • Better concentration
  • Enhanced cognitive skills and brain functionality
  • Improved visual memory and short-term memory

3. Simple Connections between Abstracts and Objects

One of the easiest ways to improve your child’s memory is by associating the concepts with objects and process. Try to find tricks that certain concepts or explanations (which may seem abstract) to be associated with objects. Use also colors to create catchy connections. For example, a lesson on numbers may be easier to understand if you use objects to illustrate operations or a history lesson can be more easily understood if the child has an illustration of the overall theme. This way s/he will start making connections with the world in which s/he lives.

4. Divide the content

Children’s memory capacity is continuously growing once they reach the school age, but in order to store a larger content, such as a poem with several stanzas, you need to divide the content. Memory works more effectively when there are breaks in between.

5. Outdoor Activities

Children are a bundle of joy and energy. As such they learn differently than adults. The freedom of outdoor play and safety in playground lets children choose where and how to play. Children can develop autonomy and even organizational skills when they have the opportunity to play outside. These skills transfer well to the home and to the classroom. However, some skills are difficult to teach in the classroom but much easier to learn on the playground. Active play can help children learn to face and overcome challenges. Using outdoor kid’s play equipment also teaches spatial skills when children learn not just the ranges of their own bodies, but also how three-dimensional items move in space.  An additional option would be gardening. It will allow the child to learn more about plants, the protection of the environment while bonding with you.

6. Diet

Above any other form of exercise, the foods your child eats are the main factor which will play an important role in his cognitive development. Since you are aiming to improve your child’s memory skills, you may want to pay a close attention to the food you provide him/her.

Fruits, vegetables, meat, food grains are extremely important in this respect and they should not miss in your child’s diet. Careful planning, online research and smart shopping using discount codes at VoucherBin and few good storage techniques, you can make the most of your family’s budget by always adding fruits and vegetables to your meals. Vitamins and minerals contribute significantly to the development of the nervous system of children. B vitamins help develop neurons and grey matter, while fatty acids Omega 3 to 1 are extremely beneficial to the development of the body in general. Antioxidants improve blood flow, allowing better penetration of oxygen in the body. These processes, in turn, contribute significantly to the development of memory. Foods that improve memory’s function are spinach (and other plants with dark green leaves), broccoli, asparagus, strawberries, melons, black beans, citrus, soy, berries, sweet potatoes, tomatoes, seeds, liver, fish (salmon, tuna, halibut, mackerel), and nuts.

We know that raising a child may require much of your energy, but we hope that suggestions we made will not only benefit your child’s memory and development, but they will also positively engage and entertain you!!

About the author:

Swapnil K., a Marketing Analyst at VoucherBin is well versed in research focusing on emerging business services. Besides work, he invests his time in reading and eager to help and consult people achieve their fitness goals through proper diet, nutrition, and exercise.

Worrying is an unnecessary evil when it comes to your mental health.

Some consider it simply a bad habit that can be unlearned with practice. Some think that worrying may serve a purpose for the brain by helping us to learn from past experiences and prepare for new ones. Whether good or bad, worrying occupies our brain by focusing on an uncertain future that we can’t control.

It is said that depression is focusing on past events that you wish you could change, and that worrying is focusing on future events that you have no control over. It could also be said about worrying that you only think you have no control over the future when you can actually choose to take action to help prepare for whatever it is you are worried about. In this article, we will look at active ways that can help you train your brain to stop worrying.

How to train your brain to stop worrying:

1. Stop your brain from worrying by writing it down

When you are training your brain to stop worrying, this one technique is said to be the most valuable. If your brain is keeping you up at night by thinking about something, put it down on paper or electronic format. Doing so lets your brain breathe a mental sigh of relief by no longer having to spend energy trying to remember these details. If you’re worrying about what to serve for a gathering of friends, write down ‘What to serve?’

Writing it down also is a way for you to put your brain on notice and tell your brain ‘This is important enough to write down.’ Your brain has now been alerted to put resources toward solving this problem rather than being worried or having to remember the important thing to worry about.

Why write it down? Researchers now have evidence that chronic worriers may be chronic problem avoiders too. Scientists in the journal Anxiety, Stress & Coping gave worriers an opportunity to write down three possible outcomes for the situation they were worried about, then they analyzed their answers for practical solutions. The scientists say

When participants’ problem elaborations were rated for concreteness, both studies showed an inverse relationship between degree of worry and concreteness: The more participants worried about a given topic, the less concrete was the content of their elaboration. The results challenge the view that worry may promote better problem analyses. Instead, they conform to the view that worry is a cognitive avoidance response.

2. Meditate for a worry free brain

Meditation can help train your brain to stop worrying. Researchers in the journal Psychosomatic Medicine studied the effects of meditation and found that meditation is particularly good for reducing cognitive anxiety, or worrying. Although some people believe that they do not have time to meditate, meditation is as easy as choosing to close your eyes right now for 30 seconds or longer. The act of choosing to tune out other sources of stress is an active step to train your brain to stop worrying.

Related: One-Moment Meditation: How to Meditate in a Moment

A few moments where you consciously choose to avoid any non-natural noise in your life will allow you to get centered around what is most important to you, now and in the future. Worrisome thoughts may come to you while you meditate, and this is normal. Those who have mastered the art of brain training to stop worrying recommend observing worrisome thoughts as they enter the mind and simply watching them pass like clouds on a breezy day.

3. Exercise to train your body and your brain to stop worrying

Worry is how your brain learns to survive by deciding to activate the fight or flight system. If a cougar jumps out at you, you instantly feel a rush of adrenaline, and this fear response is the same thing that is happening to your body when you worry, just at a much lower level over a longer period of time.

The same study in the journal Psychosomatic Medicine found that exercise, on the other hand, is good for when your body feels the symptoms of anxiety, like jitteriness. If your body feels less of the physical symptoms of stress, your mind will interpret that there must be less to worry about because the body is not in a state of heightened arousal.

Exercise seems to give the body a secondary reason for the rapid heart rate and perspiration that we may feel on a small level when we worry. Exercise can help lower blood pressure, which is another physical symptom of stress in the body. If you can identify that you are worrying, go for a 5-10 minute walk, outside if possible. Appreciate the sights and sounds of nature while focusing on the motion of your limbs and the breaths that you take.

This article was originally created and published by Power of Positivity.

Human knowledge is constantly evolving and changing, yet most of us believe scientific theories to be fact rather than working understandings of a topic.

But they are theories, and our understanding of ‘what is’ continues to change. These are always difficult times, because long-held beliefs enforced by scientific dogma are, for many people, difficult to adjust or relinquish. Anger and disbelief are common reactions, no matter how thoroughly an old theory is disproven. Just think back to when we discovered the Earth was round, not flat, or that Earth was not the center of the universe — the Catholic Church went so far as to persecute and even put to death scientists and ‘free-thinkers’ who opposed them.

Fast forward to today and, fortunately, much has changed. Although several industries that we rely upon are plagued by corruption, fraud, and disinformation, some would argue that it’s not as bad as it used to be, as evinced by the scientific study of concepts once deemed to be spiritual ‘nonsense’ by the community, like meditation, or non-material science.

Over the past few years alone, a wealth of scientific data has outlined the many benefits meditation can have on our biology, furthering strengthening the scientific validity of the mind-body connection.

For example, an eight-week study conducted by Harvard researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) determined that meditation can literally rebuild the brain’s grey matter in just eight weeks. It’s the very first study to document that meditation produces changes over time in the brain’s grey matter. They also released a study showing that meditation can have a significant impact on clinical symptoms of gastrointestinal disorders, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), and inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). The study showed that elicitation of the relaxation response (a physical state of deep rest that changes the physical and emotional responses to stress) improves symptoms in all these disorders. It was also recently discovered that meditation creates a distinct network of anti-aging genes and improves cellular health.

This time, new research from the UCLA School of Medicine’s Department of Neurology has shown that long-term meditators have younger brains, with higher concentrations of tissue in the brain regions most depleted by aging. The study found that meditation can protect against the decline we normally see occurring through old age and keep our brains young.

According to the study, “On average, the brains of long-term meditators were 7.5 years younger at age 50 than the brains of non-meditators, and an additional 1 month and 22 days younger for every year after 50.”

Pretty remarkable, isn’t it? Some showed a brain that is a full decade younger.

The study used brain imaging data from a previous study that had examined the impact of meditation on cortical thickness. To compare the brains of meditators aged 50 and over to the ones of non-meditating controls, they went through the data. Both groups included 22 women and 28 men with an average age of 51.4 years. Meditators had close to 20 years of meditation experience on average, though experienced ranged from 4 to 46 years.

A press release by the university explains further:

It is important to note that this study relied on estimates of brain change based on age and not actual values. Although these findings are consistent with prior research that detected significant differences in brain structure among meditators compared to non-meditating controls, results of the present study are inferential, and do not answer questions regarding how many years of meditation are necessary to attain this effect, or whether structural brain change directly corresponds to cognitive, behavioral, or psychosocial functioning.

The authors conclude by hypothesizing several different explanations for the results they observed. Firstly, meditation could be stimulating growth in neural structures and promote increased connectivity and efficiency within neural networks. Secondly, it buffers the brain and nervous system against the deleterious effects of chronic stress, which may reduce pro-inflammatory response, stimulate telomerase activity, and inhibit age-related brain change”

This is precisely why these practices are being introduced into the workplace and at school.

These current findings can now be added to a long and growing list suggesting that meditation (along with other mindfulness-based practices) does wonders for our biology, and is another great example of how, sometimes, we don’t need scientists to validate something that is clearly already known. This isn’t the first time ancient wisdom has been validated by modern science, and it certainly won’t be the last.

How to Meditate

A common misconception about meditation is that you have to sit a certain way or do something in particular to achieve the various benefits that it can provide. All you have to do is place yourself in a position that is most comfortable to you. It could be sitting cross-legged on the floor, relaxing in a chair, or lying down in a bed — it’s your choice.

Another common misconception about meditation is that you have to “try” to empty your mind. One important factor I enjoyed reading from the study mentioned above is that participants were engaged in “non-judgmental awareness of sensations, feelings and state of mind.” When meditating, you shouldn’t try to “empty” your mind. Instead, try to let your thoughts, feelings, and whatever emotions you are experiencing at the time flow. Don’t judge them and don’t attach to them; just let them come and go and recognize that they are transitory.

I also believe that meditation is a state of being/mind more than anything else. One does not have to sit down for half an hour and “meditate,” so to speak, in order to reap the benefits of it, or to be engaged in the practice itself. One can be engaged in meditation while walking, for example, or while preparing for sleep. Throughout the day, one can resist judging their thoughts, letting them flow until they are no more, or just be in a constant state of peace and self-awareness. Contrary to popular belief, there is more than one way to meditate.

Watch: Increase Your Conscious Awareness

“You will have to understand one of the most fundamental things about meditation: that no technique leads to meditation. The old so-called techniques and the new scientific bio-feedback techniques are the same as far as meditation is concerned. Meditation is not a byproduct of any technique. Meditation happens beyond mind. No technique can go beyond mind.”

– Osho

That being said, partaking in the style of meditation that involves actively sitting down, breathing, and concentrating on quieting your mind or on a specific intent can be particularly helpful.

Ream more articles on meditation from Visual Meditation by clicking here.

This article was originally created and published by Collective Evolution.