• In this article published in the Great Course Daily, we can read an extract from the lecture series: "Outsmart Yourself: Brain-Based Strategies to a Better You", taught by Professor Peter M. Vishton, Ph.D., where he explains the hugely importance of habits and how we could use some tools of cognitive neuroscience to help us break the bad ones. Something to be considered when confronting a behavioral change, and maybe some explanation why we do what we do.

  • We all talk to ourselves. We need to! We do it in order to remember things, to plan, to solve a problem, to project and evaluate different scenarios... When doing something difficult, we mentally walk ourselves through the steps we need to take. But on top of everything, self-talk helps us to author the stories of our life.

    But there are a lot of ways to use language internally. The problem comes when we turn into our inner dialogue to find answers to our problems and we make them even worse: we ruminate unceasingly, we over worry, we escalate the problem, we spin down in negativity, we catastrophize... a shit show.

    Cognitive reappraisal - at the heart of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy - is a term that refers to the practice of replacing negative thoughts with ones that are both more positive and true -I would add here- more effective and useful. Basically it is managing your self-talk to your advantage, in a much more productive way.

    Practicing cognitive reappraisal isn't turning off your negative thoughts (impossible to do without

  • This sentence is the one that stayed with me for days, and somehow, summarises the relevance of this article by Nicola Twilley: "only you feel your pain"

    Pain, although it’s a physiological process, is one of the most subjective ones and not only difficult to explain but also to measure.

    There are specific neural regions that are activated with the experience of pain, with the memory or anticipation of pain, but the intensity of how we experience it, really depends on each person and the circumstances that have surrounded -or still surrounds- our painful experience.

    Some food for thought.

  • Mindfulness could be defined as awareness of your thoughts and feelings without being consumed by them. Assuming this definition, cognitive fusion might be the problem. When you infer that you are your thoughts, that this thought that's in your head is the Truth and, what's worse, that it defines you.

    But when you give defusion a try, a thought can be contemplated as just an idea, a suggestion to be considered. Maybe it's true, maybe it's not. But, you really shouldn't care.

    Actually, when it comes to mindfulness, "Is it true?" is the wrong question. The right question is: "Is it useful?"

    Erik Baker has more to say in his article about how ACT (Acceptance and Commitment Therapy) and it might help you

  • There is a mind blowing Ted Talk by Johann Hari, “Everything you think you know about addiction is wrong”, that if you haven’t seen it, I highly recommend it, specially if you are willing to understand the deep root of addictions. In this article, "You Can Never Change Your Life Through Willpower. Here’s What Actually Works. The opposite of addiction is connection"Benjamin P. Hardy, also highlights the relationship between addiction and disconnection. But not only that, he goes one step further by stating that willpower doesn’t actually work. Because will power it’s focussed on the self, and addiction is all about context. So is all behavior. Some inspiring points below of his magnificent article.

  • "Thoughts determine feelings. Remember that. Make a note. Get a tattoo. This powerful idea goes back thousands of years to the Stoics".

    Feelings aren’t truth incarnate.

    Emotions are useful, but they are our biological suggestions, not commandments. Our brain is a pattern-recognition machine. It makes observations and starts forming rules about the world. It’s really good at this. It creates automatic thoughts based on previous experience to simplify our way through life.

    But sometimes our brain makes errors when it’s forming its rules, and the most common error is "better safe than sorry" acting as an overprotective parent.

    So maybe that automatic emotional reaction, that gut feeling isn't really adjusting to reality.

    And so? What to do?


    Eric's Barker approach on states on Aaron's Beck book ...

  • Thanks to Eric's Barker article I came to discover Kristin's Neff book: Self-Compassion: The Proven Power of Being Kind to Yourself. I just feel in need to humbly quote her directly with what I've found an enlightening and powerfull argument.

    You’re often far harder on yourself than others. Why is that?

    "It comes down to neuroscience. Your brain is wired to care for friends in need. But that same system doesn’t naturally kick in when we beat ourselves up.
    When a friend fails, you don’t feel threatened. You can easily access a part of your physiology: the care-giving system. As mammals we all have part of ourselves that is devoted to care-giving for a friend in need.

    But when I’m threatened, my natural response is fight, flight or freeze. Now, of course, that system developed in order to protect our bodily self, but the


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