Love is like Cocaine: The Remarkable, Terrifying Neuroscience of Romance – Part 3

Yes, you really are addicted to love.

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Taking the Drug Away

“You are perfect in every way, just not for me,” “I need to find myself and I just can’t do that with you,” “I need to learn to love myself before I can love you,” “I think you feel more than I do and I don’t want to hurt you.”

We know what these are. Breakup lines, the lines of the visible breakups, the lines that put an end to something that once was. The reason a breakup can be so hard to handle, especially for the person who wanted the relationship to continue, is not that the breakup erases the past. It doesn’t. The past is as real as it ever was. When Rick (Humphrey Bogart) and Ilsa (Ingrid Bergman) leave each other in Casablanca, Rick tells Ilsa to focus on the time they fell in love, adding “We’ll always have Paris.” A breakup leaves the past intact but erases the future. It pokes a knitting needle through your expectations for the future. It doesn’t ruin what was. It ruins what was going to come. It shatters the hopes and dreams you had about the future. The losses that hurt most are those that abruptly deprive you of the future experiences you depended on. Those losses make you a different person with a different future and with too many empty spaces to fill with experiences less wonderful than those you had hoped for. A breakup is also a major rejection of you as a person, a demonic destruction of your self-esteem and your self-worth that leaves you raw, open, exposed. As Dennis Quaid once put it, “when you break up, your whole identity is shattered. It’s like death” (Food for the Soul, p. 147).

Breakups often lead to a psychological state that resembles withdrawal from an addiction. They literally take away the crack you were on. So now you experience withdrawal symptoms, making it painfully clear to you just how addicted you were to wonderboy or wondergirl. When you are addicted, you satisfy at least some of the following conditions:

  1. You need more and more of the activity or drug for you to achieve the desired effect (tolerance).
  2. You experience withdrawal symptoms when you do not engage in the addictive activity or drug.
  3. You engage in the activity or take the drug more frequently and for a longer period of time than initially intended.
  4. You have a persistent desire to quit or control the activity or drug.
  5. You spend a great deal of time ensuring that the activity or drug access can be continued.
  6. You give up or reduce important social, occupational or recreational activities because of the addiction.
  7. You continue the activity or drug despite knowledge of its physical or psychological consequences.

The severity of your addiction can be seen as a function of how many of these criteria you satisfy.

Addiction is different from obsession in the clinical sense. The main difference is that in cases of obsession, the “drug” consists of recurrent or persistent thoughts or images. In cases of obsession, the obsessive person seeks to control or avoid the thoughts or images by suppressing them or neutralizing them with other less uncomfortable thoughts or with convenient distractors. But the relief is only temporary. What we commonly call “love obsession” typically has both elements of obsession and addiction to a particular person.

A love-obsessed person is in a state of denial, believing that she is still in a relationship, or that she can convince the other person to return to or continue the liaison. The occasional increase in the brain’s levels of dopamine and norepinephrine infuses the tormented and obsessed individual with sufficient energy and motivation to refuse to relinquish. But the “energy high” doesn’t continue. It occurs in intervals. This is because an obsessed individual has widely fluctuating neurotransmitter levels, which makes her go from action-driven to bedridden.

This is the respect in which love obsession differs from drug addiction: when a cocaine addict no longer has access to the drug, his neurotransmitter levels remain low until he recovers or gives in. In love obsession, the neurotransmitters are on a roller coaster ride that makes the obsessed person hang onto the past with ferocious energ y, even when it is blatantly obvious to everyone else that there is nothing to hang onto.

Love obsession following unrequited or unfulfilled love differs from addictions to, or obsessions with, sex and being in love. In the 1979 article “Androg yny and the Art of Loving,” American psychologist Adria Schwartz describes a case of a young man addicted to the chase of women.

A man in his mid-twenties entered therapy after a series of unsuccessful relationships with women. Virtually his entire psychic life was spent in compulsive attempts to meet and seduce women. Occasional successes were followed by brief unfulfilling liaisons which he inevitably ended in explosive fits of frustrated rage, or boredom. Recurrent dreams occurred where he found himself running after a woman, catching up to her only to find some physical barrier between them. Women were “pieces of meat.” He found himself excited by the prospect of imminent sexual conquest, but he often ejaculated prematurely and was physically and emotionally anesthetized to the experience of intercourse.

Addiction to “the chase” is similar to addiction to being in love with someone (or other). People with an addiction to being in love have trouble staying in relationships. When the initial feelings of love turn into a calmer state, they get withdrawal symptoms and end the liaison. The “drug” they need is the cocktail of chemicals that floods the body during the initial stormy phases of a relationship. In the online Your Tango article “Am I Addicted to Love and Sex?” Sara Davidson, the author of “Loose Change” and “Leap,” describes her love addiction as an addiction to being in love with someone who is in love with her. The relationship that made her realize that she was a love addict was with a man she “didn’t even like.” She describes her relationship as follows:

Okay, I know, this sounds like an addiction, but I didn’t recognize it until an affair I had last year with a man I call Billy, The Bad. Billy pursued me and wouldn’t take no for an answer. He wore cowboy boots, wrote decent poetry and drove a hybrid Lexus. “I have a tux and a tractor,” he wrote in his online profile. “I can work with my head or my hands.” He said he loved me and took it back, said it again and denied it again. When he turned on the love it was bliss, and when he withdrew it was hell. When he told me again that he loved me the pain went away, only to return with greater intensity the next time he reneged. I cut things off when I couldn’t stand it anymore. I mean, I realized I was crying over a man I didn’t even like! Something deeper, more primitive was clearly going on, and I turned to books and even a 12-step program for help.

In the Psychology Today online article “Can Love Be an Addiction?” Lori Jean Glass, program director of Five Sisters Ranch, reveals that she once was diagnosed with an addiction to being in love. Unlike Davidson, Glass describes her addiction as more than just being addicted to the feeling of being in love. For her, the addiction involved being completely absorbed in someone else’s life and the feeling that someone else needed her and admired her. Someone, anyone; it didn’t matter who it was as long as it was a warm body capable of overflowing her brain with love chemicals. Glass also describes her insanely intense relationship as jumping : “I went from relationship to relationship. The idea of intimacy was foreign. God forbid, I let anyone see inside my wounded spirit. Often, I had several relationships on the back burner, just in case. Keeping the intrigue alive and active was important.”

 

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Love is like Cocaine: The Remarkable, Terrifying Neuroscience of Romance – Part 2

Yes, you really are addicted to love.

Beliefs and Brain Chemistry

When the systems of neurotransmitters in our brain destabilize during the early phases of a romantic relationship, our moods become unsteady too. And so does our ability to think rationally and make wise decisions. When you become truly infatuated with a person, you might make decisions you wouldn’t dream of making in a sane state of mind. Nothing really matters compared to the object of your infatuation. In extreme cases, we might max out credit cards, leave our families, move across oceans, abdicate a throne, rob banks, or even commit murder for the sake of love.

When there is a substantial imbalance in your brain chemistry, your preferences and reasoning abilities change and so do your beliefs. Research has shown that when you mess with your brain chemistry, you are more likely to have spiritual experiences, see things that are not there, and form beliefs that are not grounded in evidence.

In the 1960s, researchers experimented with the psychedelic drug psylocybin, the active ingredient in magic mushrooms, to see if it could induce spiritual experiences in healthy volunteers. The first of these experiments took place on Good Friday in 1962. Harvard researchers administered psilocybin to ten students in the basement of Marsh Chapel at Boston University. The religious setting and the drug together gave rise to religious experiences in all study participants.

(The experiments came to a halt when the US government prohibited them in the early 1970s.)

Psychedelic drugs, such as psilocybin, LSD (lysergic acid diethylamide), and mescaline, affect the dopamine system, the serotonin system, and the adrenergic system. Their effects on the adrenergic systems, which normally cause an increase in the blood concentration of adrenaline, can cause panic attacks and extreme anxiety. The drugs’ effects on the dopamine system are responsible for thoughtless decision making and irrational actions during a “trip,” such as self-mutilation or suicide. The psychedelic effects of the drugs are largely due to their affinity for the 5-HT2A receptor. This receptor is a serotonin receptor. When a psychedelic drug in the serotonin family binds to it, the drug functions just like serotonin.

In normal amounts, the feel-good chemical serotonin yields a sense of relaxation and relief. In large amounts, however, serotonin and serotonin agonists like LSD, DMT (dimethyltryptamine), and the magic mushroom ingredient psilocybin have psychedelic effects. In large amounts, these chemicals trigger the brain’s main excitatory neurotransmitter glutamate, which makes parts of the brain go into an over-excited state.

The effects of excessive amounts of serotonin can be so powerful that our critical sense is turned off. A famous, mind-boggling case illustrating this is the Dr. Fox study. In the 1970s an actor was trained to deliver a brilliant talk on mathematical game theory while saying basically nothing of substance. The actor, who bore the name Dr. Myron L. Fox, had taken a scholarly article on game theory and stripped it of its content. The talk was rife with hedging, invented words, contradictory assertions, and references to his alleged earlier articles and books. Surprisingly, his delivery so impressed the audience that nobody noticed that he didn’t really say anything. At the end of the talk the audience, which consisted primarily of experts, bombarded Fox with questions, which he answered proficiently without providing any substantial content. After the lecture, the audience was given the opportunity to evaluate the performance. Everyone was very positive, they thought the lecture had been interesting, and some noted that Dr. Fox had presented the material clearly and precisely and offered lots of illustrative examples. And these folks were academic experts on the topic of mathematical game theory! Speaking of being fooled by what you hear!

This effect of delivery on audience evaluation has come to be known as “The Dr. Fox effect.” The Dr. Fox effect can be explained by noting that a large surge in “feel good” chemicals will turn off our critical sense. Funny, charming, and persuasive people signal to our brains that everything is as it should be. Their smooth behavior boosts our serotonin levels, which turn off our critical sense and increase our feeling of satisfaction—so much so that our initial beliefs are never subjected to scrutiny in the ventromedial prefrontal cortex and the anterior insula, regions of the brain involved in reflecting critically on new information.

The effects of psychedelic drugs, such as LSD, DMT, and psilocybin, are extreme. Because these drugs cause the brain to enter an over-excited state, they can have seizure-like effects. They furthermore can give rise to hallucinations, illusory color experiences, a feeling of floating , a feeling of one’s identity disintegrating , a feeling of becoming one with the universe, and illusions of time and distance. Thoughts can become uncontrollable, rambling , and obscure, and edged in acid, old memories may blend with new experiences.

While our serotonin levels tend to be low when we fall in love or are beset by a mindless love obsession, there are also states of love that resemble LSD trips. When your passion is unrequited or when you are away from your new love, your serotonin levels drop. But if you unexpectedly bump into him or her or realize that his or her love is not unrequited after all, your brain may release a surge of serotonin, dopamine, and adrenaline, making your mind a bit like the LSD mind. In this state, you may be more likely to see things that are not there, have experiences that are mixed with old memories, and act in irrational ways.

Dopamine by itself can cause people to form beliefs that are not grounded in evidence. People whose blood levels of dopamine are higher than normal are more likely to attach meaning to sheer coincidences and find meaningful patterns in arbitrary scrambled images.

Peter Brugger, a neurologist from the University Hospital in Zurich, Switzerland, examined twenty people who claimed to believe in paranormal events and twenty who claimed they didn’t. When the participants were asked to tell which faces were real and which were scrambled among a series of briefly flashed images, people who believed in paranormal events were more likely than skeptical participants to pick out a scrambled face as real. The results were the same when the participants were tested using words instead of faces. After the initial trials, the researchers administered L-dopa, which has the same effects as dopamine, to both groups of participants. After taking this drug, skeptics made many more mistakes when looking for real words or faces than before taking the drug.

The results of the study suggest that dopamine can make you see things that aren’t there and form beliefs without solid evidential backing. These results may explain the tendency of people in love to idealize their partners and attach meaning to every little move he or she makes. When in love, your dopamine levels are high when you think of your lover. This makes your brain a less reliable instrument for forming solid beliefs or making wise decisions.

 

 

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5 Changes To Expect In The Workplace After COVID-19

As a result of the coronavirus, the workplace will never be the same. Even the word “workplace” suddenly seems obsolete, as the physical location in which we now work has merged with the places in which we eat, sleep, learn, exercise, and play.

The COVID-19 crisis has created the ultimate “burning platform”—an unexpected, overnight opportunity for people to see the impact of swift and meaningful change, and to witness the negative consequences of trying to ignore this aberration from everyday life. Within organizations, the virus has been driving significant change in how their employees operate with each other, as well as with clients, customers, and vendors. Now that companies are shifting past their immediate response to the crisis, we’ve entered into a temporary “new normal.”

However, what will the long-term impacts of our new normal be on the world of work?

Winning organizations will be those that integrate and master digital work, community, and collaboration. To succeed, companies need to begin planning now for five key shifts:

1. Full digital transformation, supported by a truly virtual workforce

Companies have quickly figured out how to serve their customers and clients remotely, and there’s no going back. From telemedicine in hospitals to remote learning for public schools and streaming fitness classes, every industry has accelerated its own digital transformation. As a result, the demand for highly skilled remote workers will continue to increase.

With a surge of candidates in the market, organizations should be preparing to recruit and integrate these key individuals into the organization quickly and seamlessly, so they can capitalize on the cost savings and broader access to rockstar talent.

2. Focus on outputs versus face time

Being the first one in the office and the last one to leave is no longer a measure of commitment and performance. In a post-COVID-19 world, employees will be measured on what gets done and the value of their work rather than on the individual tasks and the time it takes to get the work done.

Leaders must provide crisp, outcome-driven expectations so that their people can deliver on goals successfully. Motivating employees to perform will require modeling and measurement of their outputs and being clear on those metrics. Companies must level-set expectations for what drives organizational priorities and goals, rather than discrete tasks.

3. Respect for work-life blend

More than ever before, companies are recognizing that working “nine to five” is unsuited to the demands of a modern workforce. If leaders can place greater emphasis on flexibility for people to accomplish their best work—when and how it meets their personal needs (as well as the needs of the company)—they can reinforce the cultural shift of measuring staff based on performance, which can result in exponential benefits for the organization.

Organizations must remove stigma and support employees’ needs to make time for self-care–including exercise, meals, and family time. Policies and procedures need to reflect these shifts, and leaders must model a true work-life blend so that it becomes part of the company culture.

4. Stronger communications

Now that companies have gone fully virtual, individuals are communicating more efficiently and more frequently across a networked environment. To do this well, everyone, at every level, must make opportunities for dialogue by employing numerous channels.

Leaders can make communication easier for their people. They can remove roadblocks, create a governance structure that pushes decision-making out and down, and provide employees with the tools and training they need to empower them for ongoing communication and local decision-making. With traditional hierarchies gone, true leaders must step up to facilitate information flow across the organization.

5. Increased trust, transparency, and empathy

We are witnessing a revolution in leadership. In a recent leadership study of Fortune 500 executives and entrepreneurs, respondents cited behaviors such as humility and listening skills as essential qualities of great change leaders. And leadership experts such as Kim Scott and Brené Brown have long proselytized about the importance of candor and vulnerability. Now, leaders and employees must understand and support each other like never before. People are sharing more about their personal situations with colleagues, and as a result, they are creating an expectation of humanity, active listening, support, and connection.

Leaders that demonstrate these qualities and publicly recognize excellence in their people will earn greater trust and loyalty from their employees. Leaders who seize this mindset now will be better prepared to engage employees for the long term, regardless of the external environment.

If there’s one thing everyone can agree on, it’s that COVID-19 is driving change in our behaviors, and the workplace is no exception. To begin shifting our idea of what’s possible in the workforce after the curve flattens, leaders must take hold of what’s working today and integrate it quickly into the everyday. Rather than waiting for reentry and being reactive, leaders need to prepare, setting expectations for the ways of working that will benefit the organization down the road, so employees can focus on the strategic business priorities of the future.

 

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5 Tips For Better Post-Sex Hygiene

Post-sex clean ups help prevent infections and STIs. Here are five tips that can help you stay healthy.

There are two kinds of people: those who don’t stress out about cleaning up after sex and those who do. According to experts, the correct approach is a healthy mix of these two behaviors.

Clean up varies depending on a lot of factors. Whether your partner was male or female, if there was a partner in the first place, whether you used a sex toy, etc. — no matter the variables you should at least do the bare minimum of clean up after each encounter to prevent infections..

Here are five simple tips that can help your private parts stay healthy.

Empty your bladder

The main thing you should do after having sex is to empty your bladder. This is very important for women since their urethra and bladder are located closely together and penetrative sex facilitates the entrance of bacteria. No matter if your partner is very clean, is wearing a condom or using a sex toy, any addition into the vagina alters its ecosystem and makes it more likely to develop infections.

Keep your cleaning simple

Forget about douches, perfumes and special soaps. Don’t do that. Plenty of studies and doctors have said that applying these products is bad for you, especially if you have a vagina and decide to alter its delicately balanced interior world. Douches and extreme soaps get rid of the healthy bacteria in your vagina, creating more possibilities for infections and irritation.

After you have sex, clean the outside area of your penis or vagina with warm water and, if you want, some mild soap. You don’t have to jump out of bed the minute you’re done, just clean yourself up at some point early on. Who wants to sleep or put on clothes when feeling all sticky anyway?

sex relationship
Photo by HOP DESIGN via Unsplash.

Have a glass of water

You’re going to want to pee after having sex in order to get rid of some bacteria, so drink plenty of water and stay hydrated.

Wear loose fitting clothes

Bacteria thrives in hot tight places, so don’t hop inside your tightest jeans after having sex. Wear underwear and pants that fit you loosely, allowing air in, or don’t wear anything at all.

CBD Is Changing Sexual Health And Wellness
Photo by KatarzynaBialasiewicz/Getty Images

Clean your sex toys

Bacteria and all sorts of viruses can stick to your sex toys after you’re done using them. Be careful and clean your toys after each use, reading through their instructions. Sex toys are some of the easiest objects to ruin by cleaning them up incorrectly or by using the wrong kind of lubricant.

 

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This Is What Makes A Woman Truly Beautiful To Men

“BEAUTY IS NOT IN THE FACE; BEAUTY IS A LIGHT IN THE HEART.” – KAHLIL GIBRAN

There may be various things that make a woman appear attractive to a man. But what makes a woman beautiful goes much deeper than the skin and what we can see with our eyes. It depends on what makes a man fall in love with a woman, her personality, her behavior and who she is as a person. Let’s take a look at what exactly makes women beautiful to men.

As a man with a twenty three-year-old daughter, I am sometimes quite concerned with society’s continuing obsession with beauty, more specifically about our definition and attitudes about a woman’s beauty.

The messages, for the most part, are fear-based and focused not as much on appreciating beauty as artificially preserving it and hanging onto it. The premise is that time and age make a woman less beautiful and that women must sacrifice time, money and health to conform to an externally dictated standard of beauty.

My concern is that the media has bombarded us with messages that have hypnotized us into believing that their definition of beauty is actually true. Like most of the messages we see in the media, the motivation is control and money. The beauty industry is a multi-billion dollar powerhouse that stays in business by telling us what is beautiful and who is beautiful, for their own gain.

I’m not worth nearly a billion dollars, but I am a man who’s been on the planet for over half a century, as well as a psychologist in Los Angeles, so I’ve seen and heard a lot about it, and would like to offer my perspective as a man who’s been around the block and isn’t in the pocket of the beauty business.

“THE BEST AND MOST BEAUTIFUL THINGS IN THE WORLD CANNOT BE SEEN OR EVEN TOUCHED – THEY MUST BE FELT WITH THE HEART.” – HELEN KELLER

First, a woman is not beautiful in a vacuum, there is always an observer who interprets that beauty, even if it is the woman herself. But what I’d really like to talk about is how a man creates beauty through his perception of a woman.

Yes, I firmly believe that the love and admiration of a man has a role in creating beauty in a woman. I learned that quantum physics tells us that observation affects the “reality” of what is being observed.

In making this statement, I want to make a distinction between “beautiful” and “attractive”. We are biologically disposed towards what is attractive, based upon what would make good “breeding” material in both sexes. It’s not romantic, but it’s true.

As the theory goes, classic attractiveness is based upon symmetry and proportion. The more symmetrical, the more “pure” and more prone to survival are the underlying genetics. We know and react to this deep within our DNA on a visceral, unconscious level.

This isn’t really news. The designers of the Great Pyramids of Egypt, as well as Leonardo Da Vinci and so many others of the Renaissance, used the “Golden Ratio” of 1:1.62 in creating their masterpieces. When an object or person meets this ratio, we consider it or them to be beautiful.

We can apply this to the ratio of face length to face width. We can apply it to nose-to-chin or pupil-to-nose ratios. It is endless—just ask any plastic surgeon.

“WHEN I THINK OF THE MOST BEAUTIFUL WOMEN, THEY’RE NOT SUPERMODELS.” – BECKI NEWTON

Psychologically, we find attractive someone who embodies the qualities of our primary caregivers. The people who raised us, typically our parents and extended family are our models for a relationship, emotionally as well as physically. Sometimes we choose someone who is the opposite of them, yet we are still using them as our template.

We are all drawn to certain body parts that sexually stimulate us: face, eyes, hair, breasts, belly, butt, legs, ankles. We each have different preferences, which is a good thing, as it is a rare woman who has each body part exactly as we would prefer. Again, this variation in what is attractive offers another genetic advantage through creating a more varied gene pool and is, therefore, more conducive to the survival of the species.

 

Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish every day.

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Being Tired Because Of Coronavirus Stress Is A Common Reaction, Doctors Say

Without a commute, you’ve been able to get your eight hours of sleep a night for the first time since college, but you’re still a zombie during the day. Worse, knowing that one of the symptoms of coronavirus is fatigue is making you second-guess that you’re otherwise feeling fine. Doctors say that there’s another explanation — coronavirus-related sleep issues can actually be related to trauma.

“In these times of uncertainty, many people may be feeling fearful and anxious about things that are beyond their control,” Dr. Nicole Tang, D.Phil.Dr. Shilpa Patel, Ph.D.; and Dr. Harbinder Sandu, Ph.D., researchers at the University of Warwick, tell Bustle via email. “Stress, worry and anxiety can all contribute to fatigue, which may be exacerbated by the situation we find ourselves in.” Overthinking, fear, and grief, as well as the disruption of our usual routines, can affect the quality of your sleep and your energy the following day.

Exhaustion is a well-known response to traumatic events, whether they’re sudden shocks or long drawn-out changes like the ones we’re experiencing now. The Royal College of Psychiatrists notes that during and after a traumatic experience of any kind, you may experience sleep problems, poor concentration and memory, and brain fog.

“Our mood and sleep are responsive to our anxiety and stress levels,” the University of Warwick researchers say. “If we are not sleeping well at night, it’s understandable why we feel tired during the day.” People with post-traumatic stress disorder often experience exhaustion and sleep problems, but anybody coping with intense emotions can feel it too.

In people with coronavirus, fatigue is most often accompanied by several other symptoms. If you’re just feeling tired and no other symptoms ensue — like a cough or fever — there’s a strong chance that you’re psychologically stressed, not coming down with COVID-19. A roundup of research on hospitalized COVID-19 patients published in JAMA in February 2020 noted that 98% of patients had a fever, 82-79% had dry cough, and 11-44% had fatigue. The European Center for Disease Control & Prevention (ECDC) issued guidance on March 12 that named fatigue as the third most common symptom, occurring in 38% of laboratory-confirmed coronavirus cases; fever occurred in 88%, while dry cough occurred in 68%.

“If you are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19, like a dry cough, sore throat, or fever, contact your medical health care practitioner,” Dr. Seema Sarin, M.D., an internal medicine physician, tells Bustle.

The best way to deal with this lack of energy, experts say, is to wait and see if you develop other coronavirus symptoms — and try to handle your psychological stress while you do. Isolation can contribute to this feeling, the University of Warwick researchers say, so it’s important to keep in touch with others using Facetime, Zoom, or Houseparty if you can. “Set small and achievable goals and pace yourself; both under-activity and over-activity can lead to fatigue,” they say. “Be kind to yourself and others.” Dr. Sarin also recommends staying away from social media if you can and limiting news intake to trusted sources like the CDC, to reduce constant exposure to stressful events.

 

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5 Weird Things Men Want In A Woman, According To Science

Who knew!?

What do men want? It’s a mystery — and will most likely remain a mystery. But that hasn’t stopped science from trying to discover the answer to this human attraction riddle.

On the one hand, every man has his own personal preferences. Qualities and traits that are most visually and sexually appealing to one man may not be considered as attractive to another.

However, research has found that there is one thing that’s common for many men: they tend to trust their first impressions, and those initial moments have a great impact their level of attraction to individual women.

Of course, there are women who master the art of making a good first impression with little to no effort, while some have to work a little bit harder.

To help you understand what guys want, here are 5 things science says men find particularly attractive in women.

1. Wearing very specific kinds of makeup

Some men claim that they prefer women without makeup because they look natural. But according to a survey conducted by the online dating Zoosk, out of 1,200 women who wore eye makeup in their profile photo, 139 were more likely to receive messages from men. Men were also more likely to want to meet a woman if she’s wearing lipstick in her profile photo.

However, women who tend to wear “darker” types of makeup were less likely to get asked out. So, even if men say they prefer women who looked “natural,” that means you can wear “natural”-looking makeup and still attract men. Also, men, it’s OK to admit that your girl looks good with the winged eyeliner and red lipstick.

2. Possessing the right waist-to-hip ratio

This preference has less to do with attractiveness and more on health and fertility.

“Evidence also shows that waist-to-hip ratio is a strong indicator of a woman’s estrogen levels, risk of obesity, and susceptibility to major disease such as diabetes, ovarian cancer, and heart disease,” says the article.

3. Wearing the color red

Red is the color of passion. So, it’s no wonder that men are so attracted to it.

In a study by psychologists from the University of Rochester, men were shown photos of different women in framed borders of either red or white and were asked how pretty they found the women.

Then they were shown the same photo with the women wearing either red or blue and asked how much money they would spend on a date with that woman. The women framed in red or wearing red were more likely to be found sexy and attractive, and the men more likely wanted to spend money on a date.

4. Having a kind attitude

A nice attitude always goes a long way.

In a study from the Society for Personality and Social Psychology, researchers found that a woman’s responsiveness to men’s needs and wants increased their attractiveness to men.

5. Speaking in a higher-pitched voice

Studies have shown that women tend to find deeper-voiced men attractive.

And the opposite is typically true for men, as some believe “[higher] voices signal reproductive fitness, femininity, and smaller body size.”

What do you think, ladies? Do you meet any of these qualities?

 

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No, There Is No Such Thing as ADHD

There is no brain condition that generates some disease called ADHD, and none has ever been demonstrated. And no child should be given amphetamines.

No, there is no such thing as ADHD.

 

Somewhere along the line, we have lost the understanding that kids come in all shapes and sizes. Some kids are active, some are quiet; some kids are dreamers, others are daring; some kids are dramatic, others are observers; some impulsive, others reserved; some leaders, others followers; some athletic, others thinkers.

Where did we ever get the notion that kids should all be one way?

Parents these days are subject to pediatric “experts” who proclaim that kids should follow some prescribed rates of physical, mental, and emotional growth. If they deviate from the “mean,” then there is a problem. Parents are intimidated and worry that there is something wrong with their babies.

Every child matures in his own way, in his own time. Every child is different. We need to throw away all the bell curves of “normal” — you know, developmental milestones. Parents worry if Johnny is a happy breastfeeding pudge-ball, heavier than his appointed weight; or crawls differently; or isn’t walking yet; or isn’t talking at his appointed hour; or still isn’t toilet trained (very few make it to adulthood without getting toilet trained).

There are experts at every turn, such as those who proclaim knowledge that a pudgy baby will create fat cells that will create weight problems for life, which is nonsense. Parents, leave these poor kids alone and enjoy them. Raise them well — you know, with boundaries and love.

Apparently, differences mean that we should make children conform to the idea that there is some ‘normal’ that all kids should be. If they’re active, give them amphetamines; if they’re moody, give them Prozac; for fears, give them benzodiazepines; and while we’re at it, let’s give them antipsychotics, or Lithium and other mood-stabilizing drugs.

What in the world are we doing?

My focus is on the interplay of temperament and trauma to demonstrate how the fiction of ADHD took hold in the first place. Dr. Peter Breggin and others have addressed the issue of giving amphetamines to children with compelling clarity. (see a “Towards a Ban on Psychiatrically Diagnosing and Drugging Children”).

Every single person is absolutely unique. No two of us are alike. Even identical twins are not the same. We all have our unique constellation of temperament. I want to emphasize that by temperament, we are talking about inborn temperamental styles, not pathology. (See “The Nature-Nurture Question—The role of ‘Nature’ comes from our genetic temperament.“)

Our temperament digests our parental nurture all the way through our development. Together, they create the varied and wonderful scope of human personality. Our cortical imagination, oriented by our temperament, writes a specific and nuanced character world in each of us, which is as unique as our fingerprints.

And so it is with nature and nurture for all of us. Our temperaments differ; our salient environments differ; our parents, our culture, and the happenstances of our lives differ. The specific qualities of our parents, brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles, teachers, friends, girlfriends, boyfriends, and the moment-to-moment experience of our lives are all unpredictably alive. Our adult character is created out of all of these forces and is absolutely unique. No two snowflakes are alike, but we are all snowflakes. And we all form the same way.

To understand ADHD, we need to look at differences in temperament, as well as the degree of responsiveness, abuse, and deprivation that is digested into our plays of consciousness.

A typical child, often a boy, may have an active temperament. One can readily tell whether a child is active or passive. Active children sit and walk and climb early in childhood. They take off at the beach. The active child is naturally physical, physically expressive, and action-oriented. He is oriented to active, muscular, good aggression. In the context of good-enough loving, the active child, identifying with his active strength, operates as a take-charge doer.

(The passive child is not oriented by muscular, good aggression. In basic orientation, he is more absorbed elsewhere. He tends to be off daydreaming. The passive child depends more on someone else to provide shelter from the storm. He identifies as the recipient of action rather than as a doer.)

The next temperamental attribute is that our active child tends to be an externalizer, rather than an internalizer. What does this mean? The orientation of an externalizer is to look outward. With good enough love, he feels secure with love from others. In the context of deprivation and abuse, he is predisposed and oriented to feel attacked or criticized by others. He locates the source of attack, hatred, or criticism as coming from a person outside of him. For example, from a legacy of shaming abuse, an externalizer experiences being actively shamed by a person outside of him and will react to it. His orientation is as a blamer. As such, he would be inclined to blame and fight with others.

(An internalizer will carry a source of loving internally. In the absence of good-enough loving, instead of blaming and fighting, he will attack himself. It would manifest as self-hate: “I’m bad; I’m inadequate, I’m stupid, I’m ugly,” etc. In the context of shaming abuse, an internalizer, would feel ashamed.)

Our active child would tend to be more narcissistically inclined than echoistically oriented. His orientation is to operate from his sense of self, as opposed to an echoist who operates from the point of view of other people. In the context of deprivation and abuse, his “me” orientation focuses on himself as the injured party and isn’t as centered on thinking of others. He is furious and outraged at slights and injuries directed at him from others. He leads with an exposed nerve and indignantly feels, How dare you treat me this way?

And finally, this child tends to more of a participant and less of an observer. A participant is naturally oriented to be immersed in and emotionally involved in activities. He easily and naturally engages through feeling.

(The natural orientation of an observer, on the other hand, is to process at a distance, rather than be immersed in the feeling relatedness of the scenario of the play. An observer tends toward thinking, caution, circumspection, reticence, and figuring things out.)

So what do we have? An active, externalizing, narcissistic, and participatory child. Remember, there are no pejoratives associated with these qualities. This type of constellation generates the attributes of leaders and athletes. In many cultures, these children are valued rather than devalued. They grow up to be fun energetic people. They may show behaviors that get them called ADHD, but they are normal kids. They are easily bored, need to run around a lot, and may have short attention spans, except when they are interested. These actually are stereotypical boys. They can be fidgety and impulsive and may concentrate poorly, but there is nothing wrong with them.

In the context of deprivation and abuse, they may be prone to spin out of control. They may act out more and blame and fight. This may be a signal that something is problematic in the family and needs to be attended to. Many families don’t like to hear this, but the attention deficit may mean that the parents are giving insufficient loving attention to the child.

What is called ADHD, in general, is merely one part of the constellation of temperaments that make up the human condition. Even within this group, temperaments will vary. No two children are the same. And the specifics of deprivation and abuse vary with every child. Not only that, but there are also many other issues that can be very misleading. I give one example in “How Do Our Children Get Misdiagnosed With So-Called ADHD?

Certainly, symptoms present themselves, but they need to be correctly understood. All of these children need to be properly evaluated to understand what they need. It might be help for the family. It might be a more open classroom. It might be to help teachers be better teachers. But one thing is for sure:

There is no brain condition that generates some disease called ADHD, and none has ever been demonstrated. And no child should be given amphetamines.

 

Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish every day.

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9 Signs You’re Drinking Too Much Alcohol During The Coronavirus Pandemic

In the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, Americans have been panic-buying more than just toilet paper and eggs. U.S. alcohol sales spiked 55% in the week ending March 21, according to data from market research firm Nielsen. Online alcohol sales were up 243%.

Much of that can probably be attributed to stocking up on booze for several weeks’ worth of self-isolation. According to a survey by Alcohol.org, 1 in 5 respondents said they stockpiled alcohol for just that reason. However, many people are also drinking more in general: 1 in 3 respondents said they are likely to increase alcohol consumption in isolation.

While a few extra drinks to get you through the stress and boredom of being stuck at home might not be a big deal, it can become a slippery slope.

How much drinking is considered normal?

According to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, moderate alcohol consumption is defined as up to one drink per day for women and up to two drinks per day for men. Keep in mind that these guidelines refer to the amount you drink on any single day ― it’s not meant to be an average of drinks consumed over several days.

However, these are just guidelines; what’s considered “normal” drinking is somewhat subjective and based on your own body and behaviors. “If you don’t have a problem with alcohol, an extra glass of wine here and there isn’t something to be worried about,” said Brian Wind, chief clinical officer at alcohol and drug treatment center JourneyPure. “People are bored, stuck in their homes and really stressed out. For some, kicking back with a drink is perfectly normal.”

It’s when your habits and thoughts surrounding alcohol begin to change for the worse that you should be concerned. Unhealthy alcohol use exists on a spectrum, which can range from alcohol misuse to abuse to dependency, according to Sari Eitches, an integrative internist who practices in Los Angeles.

“During the challenges of the looming threat of the pandemic, plus the stresses of lockdown, we are naturally turning to any coping skills we have available,” she said. “Many of us are shut off from our best coping mechanisms, including social interactions, yoga class, time with extended family and friends and even time in nature.”

That means some people turn to coping methods that are available at home, including alcohol. Maybe that includes you. If so, keep an eye out for these signs that you might be drinking too much.

1. You drink because you’re stressed.

In general, it’s considered problematic when alcohol intake increases during stressful situations, “even during the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Amanda Brown, a psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital and an associate at Columbia University Irving Medical Center. “It means that we are using alcohol to cope with the negative emotions caused by stress.”

Brown explained that when you’re stressed, you experience new or uncontrolled emotions that you’re not used to dealing with and your emotional equilibrium falls off balance. To adapt to these changes, you turn to coping mechanisms that help regulate emotions.

“But not all coping mechanisms are adaptive,” she said. “Alcohol use, for example, is a maladaptive coping mechanism that can ultimately cause more harm for an individual.”

2. You drink because you’re bored.

The thought of spending another Saturday night at home in front of the TV might seem unbearable. That is, unless you also have a glass (OK, bottle) of wine at your side.

Similar to drinking due to stress, drinking to cope with boredom is a red flag, according to Andrew Mendonsa, a clinical psychologist with addiction treatment center Sprout Health Group. “When you say, ‘I’m bored at home, I’m going to turn to the bottle,’ that’s when you start to cross the line,” he said.

When you feel bored or restless, Mendonsa recommends going for a walk outside (as long as it’s safe to do so) or calling friends and family. If you feel like you can’t rely on these healthy coping methods alone and must drink, you likely have a problematic relationship with alcohol.

3. You drink on the job.

Transitioning to a fully remote job can be tough if you’re not used to working from home. It may be stressful learning new tools and communication methods. Plus, you might struggle with productivity. With no office to drive to and no boss looking over your shoulder, there may be more temptation to Irish up your morning coffee or crack open a beer at 3 p.m.

“If you’re working from home and have justified that it’s okay to drink while working, you are mistaken,” Wind said. “While working from home, you should conduct yourself just as you would being on the job. If you’re drinking to get through the workday, it’s a sign that you have a problem.”

4. You’re constantly worried about having enough alcohol.

Another way to know that you’re drinking too much during isolation is if you worry about having enough alcohol and find yourself making extra trips to the store or gas station just to buy it. “We should be minimizing trips that aren’t essential right now, so if getting alcohol feels like an essential to you and you’re going out often to stock up on it, you’re probably drinking too much,” Wind said.

5. Your responsibilities are falling to the wayside.

Balancing your job, your child’s education and relationships with family and friends is hard enough without a pandemic adding to the chaos. It’s understandable if you drop the ball on your obligations sometimes. However, Eitches said that if alcohol use interferes with your priorities and obligations in any realm of your life ― including work, social connections and self-care ― it’s a sign that there’s a problem.

6. You’ve been making poor decisions while drunk.

Many of us have let a secret slip or gone overboard online shopping after a few drinks. Hey, mistakes happen ― we’re not here to judge. But those alcohol-induced slip-ups should be few and far between. If you regularly make decisions when intoxicated that you wouldn’t make or would regret when you are sober, there’s a larger issue at hand, Eitches said.

7. You don’t feel good physically.

Hangovers are a reminder that overindulging on alcohol isn’t great for your body. So if you regularly wake up with headaches, sensitivity to light, dehydration and other hangover symptoms, it’s a sign you’re going overboard.

Eitches added that generally feeling crappy due to drinking, due to disrupted sleep and eating patterns or less motivation to exercise, are also warning signs.

8. You experience withdrawal symptoms.

When you drink often enough, your body becomes reliant on alcohol to function. Stopping alcohol intake when your body is dependent on it results in withdrawal symptoms, which range from mild to severe and can include shaky hands, anxiety, sweating, racing heartbeat, hallucinations and even seizures. You may begin to experience certain withdrawal symptoms within six hours of your last drink.

If mild hangovers have progressed to more serious signs of withdrawal when you stop drinking, it’s definitely time to reevaluate your relationship with alcohol.

9. You want to stop drinking but can’t.

Finally, if you recognize that drinking alcohol affects your life negatively but can’t seem to slow down, it’s time to get help. Fortunately, there are many resources available.

If you’re experiencing difficulty coping or having problems with drug or alcohol use, you should immediately call your doctor or the Substance Abuse and Mental Services Administration (SAMHSA) hotline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357). They can refer you to local treatment facilities, support groups and community-based organizations.

The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism also has an online treatment navigator to help you find and evaluate the right type of care for you.

Remember that we’re all experiencing an unprecedented situation that is scary and challenging for many people. We all use different coping strategies, some healthier than others. If you become dependent on alcohol during this time, it’s not a reflection of your character, intelligence or strength. We all need help sometimes, so don’t be afraid to seek it out.

 

 

How To Trick Your Brain Into Releasing Chemicals That Make You Happy

Finding happiness is within your grasp.

There’s a link between the human brain and emotions, which you can take advantage of to learn how to be happy.

The limbic system is the part of the brain that controls our emotions, motivation, and behavior. The brain acts as a survival mechanism that produces chemicals that let our bodies know what’s good and bad for us, and that includes finding happiness.

Our brain is always on alert and tends to focus on negativity to protect us from harm. But, no one wants their brain to be on alert and focused on negativity all the time.

Did you know you can actually boost “feel-good” brain chemicals that can make you feel happy? You just need to learn how to tap into these four main chemicals: dopamine, oxytocin, serotonin, and endorphins (DOSE).

While daily events and situations trigger these neurotransmitters automatically, there are ways to encourage the brain to produce them — allowing us to create and repeat feelings of happiness.

Truly happy people know what makes them happier, which releases those chemicals. And when those chemicals are released, we become more motivated, productive, and experience greater well-being.

To start off on being happy, here are the 4 brain chemicals connected to your emotions that will boost your happiness.

1. Dopamine

Often referred to as the “happiness drug”, it’s responsible for motivating us to take action, make decisions, and feel pleasure when we reach our goals.

Dopamine is the brain’s way of patting us on the back for a job well done when we score a goal, get an ‘A’, or cross the finish line, for example. Experiencing procrastination, self-doubt, or lethargy? Low dopamine levels could be to blame. Time to manufacture a few wins for ‘team you’.

Here are ways to increase your dopamine levels:

  • Creating mini finish lines to cross instead of just a final, big one when a goal is achieved helps us feel good over a longer period of time.
  • Initiating acts of kindness towards others gives the brain a hit of dopamine.
  • Quit smoking. A recent study showed smokers had 15-20% lower capacity for producing dopamine than non-smokers – but it’s reversible if you stop smoking.

2. Oxytocin

Affectionately referred to as the “cuddle hormone”, it’s released through social interactions like giving (or receiving) gifts, making eye contact, giving or receiving affection (like a handshake, hug, or pat on the shoulder), giving birth, or having sexual intercourse.

Here are ways to increase your oxytocin levels:

  • Make eye contact during your conversations.
  • Get a massage.
  • Hug a friend, pet your pet, or share a more intimate moment with a loved one.
  • Meditation and prayer.

3. Serotonin

Are you in a good mood? You can thank serotonin. Serotonin is the brain’s antidepressant drug of choice. It surges when you feel like your life and your efforts matter.

Feeling ‘hangry’ (hungry and angry)? Since 80 percent of serotonin exists in the stomach skipping meals reduces serotonin, which can lead to grumpiness.

Here are ways to increase your serotonin levels:

  • Express gratitude.
  • Increase your exposure to sunlight. This produces Vitamin D, which, in turn, triggers serotonin.
  • Think happy thoughts. Serotonin doesn’t distinguish between reality and imagination so when the imagination or memory is active, it produces serotonin as if the event is real.
  • Exercise. Even low-key exercise stimulates serotonin so gardening, dog walking, or playing with your children counts.

4. Endorphins

If you’ve ever hit your thumb with a hammer, stubbed your toe, or experienced a “runner’s high”, then you know what endorphins feel like. They work like morphine to alleviate pain and stress.

Here are ways to increase your endorphin levels:

  • Eat chocolate. Chocolate contains phenethylamine which boosts endorphins.
  • Exercise releases endorphins. As little as 30 minutes can do the trick.
  • Find opportunities to laugh. Laughter has been shown to release endorphins.
  • Use aromatherapy. Certain aromas influence the production of endorphins – try diffusing vanilla, lavender, or peppermint into the air, your bath, or your next cup of tea or coffee.

When you design your daily experiences and habits around this knowledge, you can activate these chemicals, increase your productivity and, most importantly, proactively increase your happiness.

 

If you think you’re showing symptoms of coronavirus, which include fever, shortness of breath, and cough, call your doctor before going to get tested. If you’re anxious about the virus’s spread in your community, visit the CDC for up-to-date information and resources, or seek out mental health support.

 

Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish every day.

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