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Health Benefits Shared by Psychedelics, Yoga, and Meditation -- Science of Us

Last year, Enzo Tagliazucchi, a postdoc at the Netherlands Institute for Neuroscience, co-led a brain-imaging study in Current Biology on LSD-induced ego dissolution, and found that the state was associated with increased connectivity between several brain areas. In explaining to me why that dissolution might be therapeutically helpful, he said that the entire psychedelic experience — even the challenging parts — has a way of “extracting the patient from his or her usual patterns of thought and contemplat[ing] upon them from a vantage point,” he explained over email. The dissolution itself seemed to play a direct role in the case of anxiety in terminal cancer patients, he added. It’s a catalyst for epiphany. “In a typical ego-dissolution experience, the user feels the boundaries between his or her body and the rest of the universe dissolve, and becomes ‘one’ with the surroundings,” he added. “This might lead to feelings of transcendence or permanence in the patients, making them realize that even after their death they will still be part of something ‘larger.’”

Your Brain on Beauty: A Neurological Defense of Aestheticism | Cody Delistraty

The anxiety of living without purpose inspires so much of what we do in life: from finally writing that novel to following a religion. But a problem arises when we entirely ignore beauty for beauty’s sake. Life is short, yes, and meaning is important, also yes, but it has been proven that beauty really does give us pleasure. Aestheticism is a call back to our biological roots, and when we push aside utility and thematic meaning and simply pay attention the beauty around us, the way we experience life can paradigmatically change for the better.

Your brain suppresses perception of heartbeat, for your own good

It did not take long for Roy to get over his initial surprise at his discovery. “You don’t want your internal sensations to interfere with your external ones. It’s in your interest to be aware of what’s outside you. Since our heart was already beating while our brain was still forming, we’ve been exposed to it since the very start of our existence. So it’s not surprising that the brain acts to suppress it and make it less apparent.” Is feeling one’s heartbeat realted to anxiety? Awareness of one’s heartbeat is known to be correlated with a number of psychological problems, including anxiety disorders. Patients typically perceive their heart rate more clearly than most people. “But someone who does not suffer from this type of disorder can also be aware of their heartbeat,” said Roy. “This can happen at times of intense excitement or fear, for example.”

Scientist explains the psychological function of eulogizing the deceased

Thus, eulogizing the life of another after they die is almost like upholding our part of the bargain. We need to believe that others will carry on our memory after our death in order to allay our anxieties, and so we do for them what we hope they will do for us. When you think about it this way, you can see why the eulogy has become such an institutionalized aspect of the funeral ceremony. It satisfies our deeply rooted need to manage our own anxiety and sadness surrounding death and finitude.

The Natural Dietary Add-On Found To Treat Anxiety and Even Major Depression - PsyBlog

“We took measurements of the cytokines in the blood serum, as well as measured the productivity of cells that produced two important cytokines, interleukin-6 (IL-6) and tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNFa). We saw a 14 percent reduction in the amounts of IL-6 among the students receiving the omega-3. …anything we can do to reduce cytokines is a big plus in dealing with the overall health of people at risk for many diseases.”

My father’s death by suicide inspired me to learn how to just ‘be’ – The Washington Post – Medium

That “anxiety needs the future,” and “depression needs the past.” My dad suffered deeply from both of these things: his fear and lack of control over all that lay ahead, and his regret over the things he couldn’t go back and change. He suffered from an unhealthy relationship with time. He lost his footing in the here-and-now. And it made him struggle — as all too many of us do — with the age-old Shakespearean dilemma: “To be, or not to be.”

35% of brain activity related to anxiety is heritable

An over-active network of brain areas is central to how children inherit anxiety and depression from their parents. The network consists of three regions in the brain which work together to control the fear-response. Genes passed down from parents to children influence how these three regions function together, the new study finds.

Mapping social space in the hippocampus

Participants played the lead role in a “choose-your-own-adventure” game, in which they interacted with cartoon characters. We found that a geometric model of social relationships, in a “social space” framed by power and affiliation, predicted hippocampal activity. Moreover, participants who reported better social skills showed stronger covariance between hippocampal activity and “movement” through “social space.” These results suggest that the hippocampus is critical for social cognition, and imply that beyond framing physical locations, the hippocampus computes a more abstract, multidimensional cognitive map. Importantly, these neural representations of social space may be relevant for psychological wellbeing. Here we report new evidence on how this model can be predictive of social behavior and cognition. We found that a number of geometric variables, extracted from participants’ behavior in the game, correlated robustly with trait scores: participants with higher social anxiety tended to give less power to the game’s characters; and participants who reported less social avoidance and higher self-efficacy showed increased exploration of the social space. Additionally, we found that lower hippocampal volumes predicted lower fidelity tracking of social distance in the posterior cingulate cortex.

Schizophrenia gene traced in chicken study -- ScienceDaily

"These results point to the same genes affecting anxiety in animals as diverse as chickens and humans. It also demonstrates that chickens may make an excellent model for the genetic basis of anxiety," says Dr. Wright.

Protein that boosts memory (and erases bad memories?) identified

In an earlier study, the Heidelberg scientists learned that there are reduced levels of Dnmt3a2 protein in the brains of older mice. When the elderly animals were injected with viruses that produce this protein, their memory capacity improved. "Now we have found that increasing the Dnmt3a2 level in the brains of younger mice also boosts their cognitive ability," explains Prof. Bading. In a number of different long-term memory tests, including classic Pavlovian conditioning, the scientists were able to demonstrate that mice with more Dnmt3a2 on board performed considerably better.

Fear and anxiety are narratives and not physical states.

In the face of danger, the brain kicks into defense mode, detecting the threat faster than our conscious awareness can ever operate, and sending a host of marching orders throughout the brain and the body, readying all systems to take action. It’s only after this process has begun that the emotions of fear and anxiety rise into consciousness — and only if, LeDoux says, “you have a brain that can be conscious of its own activity,” a brain with the “ability to conceptualize all of that, to label it linguistically, and to integrate it with thoughts and memories.” In other words, fear and anxiety are not wired into the brain as basic responses to the world around us — rather, the responses that lead to them are, and they only coalesce into fear when the brain interprets them as such.