Archive for February, 2013

Van Halen

Van Halen Rocking!

Plato was right. Music lights up your entire brain. Scientists don’t know exactly why, but it has the power to heal, to unify and to get you moving. It soars right past your conscious and unconscious thinking.

In fact, it’s the only thing that actually overrides your brain’s natural pacing. If you want to run faster, turn up the tempo on your iPod playlist.

Humans and songbirds are the only creatures that automatically feel the beat of a song, according to Dr. Nina Kraus, a professor of Neurobiology and Physiology. The human heart synchronizes to music; the legs want to swing. “Our bodies are made to be moved by music and move to it,” she said.

People afflicted with severe neurological problems are known to suddenly reawaken when the right melody is played. They may not be able to speak, but they can sing. Our response to music is widely distributed throughout the brain, and as such, scientists are having difficulty measuring its specific effects.

tuneAccording to a Columbia University article,“It’s easy to have one part of the brain fall away, and you have some deficit and you say, ‘Oh, that part of the brain does that, right?’ ” said Dr. Petr Janata, a cognitive neuroscientist. “It’s much less satisfying to say ‘Okay, music is everywhere’—but that’s what we’re seeing.”

It’s everywhere.

Music is the mediator between the spiritual and the sensual life.–Ludwig van Beethoven


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While bleeding, after being shot in the chest, President Theodore Roosevelt gave a 50-minute campaign speech. As to why he didn’t immediately go to the hospital, he said, “In the very unlikely event of the wound being mortal I wished to die with my boots on.” He didn’t die, but doctors found a bullet lodged in his chest, which remained there for the rest of his life. I’d say Roosevelt had the warrior gene.

Power Plugs Mountain Climber

Image from PowerPlugs

People born with fast-acting enzymes actually need stress to perform their best. According to this New York Times article, “they are like Superman emerging from the phone booth in times of crisis; their abilities to concentrate and solve problems go up.”

Not all of us are so lucky; we have the worrier gene, which means stress causes us to under-perform. But there is a work-around. (And thank God.) Scientists have determined that we can transform our reactions.

How? First, conditioning. Second, attitude.

If you tax yourself little by little and then allow for sufficient recovery (like with exercising), you can defuse the worrier’s curse and gain an advantage by using your genetically blessed working memory and attention to detail. You might even outperform a warrior. Practicing is the key, and so is an evolved perspective.

Image from Carlos Dinares

Studies that compare professional athletes with amateurs show that professionals feel just as much anxiety as amateurs, but they interpret their anxiety differently. The amateurs view it as detrimental, while the professionals view stress as energizing. It gets them to focus. So, we worriers must learn to see stress as a challenge that helps us grow.

I think Roosevelt would agree.

I wish to preach, not the doctrine of ignoble ease, but the doctrine of the strenuous life.—Theodore Roosevelt 

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Valentine’s Day is nearly here. Is this a good, bad or neutral day for you?

Hand to Heart

“Spring has returned. The Earth is like a child that knows poems.”—Rainer Maria Rilke

We know why Hallmark likes it. Approximately 150 million Valentine’s Day cards are exchanged, making it the second most popular card-sending holiday after Christmas. But, essentially, that means half of the U.S. population doesn’t get a card.

A friend of mine from Boulder, Colorado used to call the Hallmark Holiday: Single’s Awareness Day, or SAD. When I lived in town, I understood what she meant. But regardless of your disposition, there are reasons to be cheerful. February 14th marks the end of the winter holiday season and indicates that spring and summer are fast approaching, which are the true seasons of love for outdoor enthusiasts.

If that doesn’t brighten your day, watch this hilarious “on fire” video from Talladega Nights. Now, that’s true love.

When is daylight savings? Sunday, March 10, 2013.

When is spring? Wednesday, March 20, 2013.

“Spring is nature’s way of saying, ‘Let’s party!’ “—Robin Williams

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