How you deal with your mistakes may determine the difference between making excuses and learning a lesson

“That was a colossal mistake, but I meant well and tried my best, so I’m not going to beat myself up about it.” Sound familiar? We all do it. After all, excusing our mistakes makes us feel better and helps us to cope with the failure. However, an interesting new study conducted by a collaboration of scientists from Kansas, Stanford and Ohio State Universities, has found that while making us feel better temporarily, excusing our mistakes does not have the best long-term outcome. The study was published online in the Journal of Behavioral Decision Making.

The U.K.’s Daily Mail recently reported:

We’re often told [to] avoid dwelling on past mistakes if we want to move forward. But one group of scientists say the opposite may be true. They claim feeling the pain of failure leads to more effort to correct your mistake and perform better in the future. Researchers found that people who just thought about a failure tended to make excuses for why they were unsuccessful. This meant they didn’t try harder when faced with a similar situation.

The research team reached their conclusions after conducting several experiments, one of which involved asking 98 college students to search online for the price of a blender with specific technical specifications. The student who discovered the cheapest blender would win a cash prize.

While they were waiting to find out who had won, the students were divided into two groups. One group was asked to focus on their emotional response to winning or losing, while the other group was told to focus on thinking about how they had done. Each person was told that they would need to write about their responses after the competition.

The experiment was rigged, of course, so that nobody found the lowest priced item – essentially, everybody failed.

The goal of the experiment was to determine how the two groups would handle another task in the future, so the participants were then given an additional task. Some were asked to search for a low-priced book as a gift for a friend (a similar task to the previous one), while the rest were asked to search for a gift book that was simply the best choice for a friend (a non-similar task).

The Times explained the results of the experiments:

Emotionally motivated participants spent nearly 25 percent more time searching for a low-priced book than did participants who had only thought about —rather than dwelled on the pain of — their earlier failure.

There was no significant difference in effort made by participants when the second task wasn’t like the first.

Essentially, the researchers found that people who made mistakes and then allowed themselves to focus on how bad those mistakes made them feel, were more likely to try harder the next time they dealt with a similar situation to avoid experiencing those emotions again. (Related: To learn more about human emotions and how to cope with them visit

“All the advice tells you not to dwell on your mistakes, to not feel bad,” said Selin Malkoc, co-author of the study. “But we found the opposite. When faced with a failure, it is better to focus on one’s emotions — when people concentrate on how bad they feel and how they don’t want to experience these feelings again, they are more likely to try harder the next time.”

Unfortunately, most of us try to protect ourselves from the effects of our mistakes, and protecting our egos often comes first. This emotional distancing makes us less likely to learn from those mistakes and avoid them in the future. (Related: Finnish researchers map how emotions are expressed physically in human bodies.)

So, next time you really mess something up – as all of us do from time to time – try to focus on how bad you feel about it, rather than excusing the error. If the results of the experiment are to be believed, this will set you up for a greater chance of success the next time you deal with a similar situation.

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Holistic thinking is more valuable than IQ intelligence

It’s not widely known, but the fact is “holistic thinking” is much more valuable in life than an expanded IQ or learned intelligence, says Natural News founder/editor Mike Adams, the Health Ranger, in a recent podcast.

“Holistic thinking is far more important than raw IQ,” says Adams, who is also co-founder of “It turns out that many people who think they’re intelligent — including many doctors — are only really good at MEMORIZING things.”

He adds that memorization does not equate to “intelligence,” per se, and that supposedly learned individuals can be “stupid” in reality and “poor decision makers” to boot.
That said, “Memorization can be achieved a billion times faster (and with better accuracy) by machines. The rise of intelligent machines makes memorization in humans obsolete,” he notes.

In fact, given the trends in technology, Adams believes that a great many professions that require mostly memorization and little true academic or holistic knowledge are on their way to extinction because machines — robots — perform memorization tasks much more efficiently and quickly. They will even replace doctors and other healthcare providers in the future who, he says, merely treat patients based on what they memorized in medical school, matching symptoms and complaints to well-established treatment modalities and medications.

But what machines can’t do is engage in holistic thinking. That’s something only conscious beings can achieve (humans, elephants, dolphins, primates, etc.), he says.

“Holism is being able to connect the dots to abstract thoughts that are related in important ways,” said Adams, whose scientific achievements, patents, and inventions certainly bear that out. “Holistic thinking is not simply left-brain thinking or right-brain thinking.”

The Health Ranger goes on to note that he’s not trying to “attack” anyone who is “academically gifted.” Rather, he says that what can be more valuable in learning and understanding is the ability to think outside the box, and to be able to see and comprehend the big picture, even before it’s created.

He used the example of understanding history.

“Holistic thinking means…you might not be able to remember every name and place in history, but you understand trends of history. You understand the human movement throughout history,” he said, such as what caused or influenced shifts in civilizations and societies — not just that they occurred.

“There are layers of holistic thinking,” Adams added. “I think an intelligent person is someone who can sort of zoom in into the small, the microscopic, the holistic level of understanding, let’s say cells, or particle physics or, for that matter, quantum phenomena.”

But also, the Health Ranger said, persons who can “zoom out” and see the so-called big picture of things, ideas, and concepts.

Holistic thinking is necessary because it stresses the interconnectivity of our planet, our human existence, the interactivity of all forms of life and the various ecosystems, he notes.

Others share Adams’ views, such as Dr. Robert Kleinwaks, a chiropractor who completed post-graduate work detailing the impact of positive, holistic thinking on human well-being.

“I think the biggest problem that we run into is that we don’t listen to what we’re thinking. We don’t listen to our own innate response,” Natural News quoted him as saying. “My innate response was something else is wrong and, believe me, lots of people have the same response but instead of following that response they go to what they think is a ‘higher power’ – which is a doctor with a degree – when really the higher power is you. Your common sense, your innate intelligence telling you there’s something wrong here.”

Kleinwaks cured himself of stage 4 non-Hodgkins lymphoma — a disease of which there is no “stage 5” — with a holistic approach to health.

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Listen to Adams’ interesting podcast here.


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The power of thought: New study finds that what depression patients EXPECT is more important than what they actually take

The efficacy of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRI) in the treatment of depression has long been questioned within the scientific community due to varying study results. However, recent research published in the EBioMedicine journal has demonstrated that the drug’s efficacy may also be dependent on a patient’s perceptions about the treatment. As part of the study, a team of health experts at the Uppsala University in Sweden enrolled patients with social anxiety disorder who had been instructed to take similar doses of the SSRI escitalopram for nine weeks.

The researchers categorized the patients into two groups. One group received accurate information about the drug’s profile and efficacy, while the other group has been given incorrect information and were under the impression that they are taking an active placebo pill. The research team has also assessed the participant’s brain activities through an MR neuroimaging test. The results indicated a better drug response when patients are presented with the correct information.

“Our results show that the number of responders was three times higher when correct information was given than when patients thought they were treated with an ineffective active placebo, even though the pharmacological treatment was identical,” study author Vanda Faria told Science Daily online.

Data from brain scans also revealed that the drug had varying effects on both patient groups. According to the research team, the patients exhibited significant differences in the activation of the posterior cingulate cortex and the amygdala, a brain region that plays a key role in the onset of fear and anxiety. Study co-author Malin Gingnell also noted that this effect demonstrates a correlation between cognition and emotion, as brain activities tend to vary depending on a patient’s expectations.

“We don’t think SSRIs are ineffective or lack therapeutic properties for anxiety but our results suggest that the presentation of the treatment may be as important as the treatment itself,” lead investigator Professor Tomas Furmark adds.

A 2014 study published the British Journal of Psychiatry has also demonstrated how patient perception greatly affects treatment efficacy in people with depression. In order to carry out the study, a team of researchers at the University of California, Los Angeles enrolled 88 patients and assigned them into different disease interventions. Twenty patients received supportive care alone, while 29 patients underwent placebo treatment, and 39 patients took antidepressant medications. The patients were also instructed to accomplish the Hamilton Rating Scale for Depression during the study’s outset.

The results showed that patients on active antidepressant treatment exhibited an average improvement of 46 percent after eight weeks. The findings also revealed that patients in the placebo group attained an average improvement of 36 percent, compared to only five percent in those who had been assigned to supportive care alone. The experts likewise observed that patients in the supportive care treatment were more likely to discontinue treatment than those who took the oral interventions.

According to the research team, patients in the supportive care group become disappointed, knowing that they do not receive any pill. This may have contributed to their lower expectations and treatment biases, the experts have stated. (Related: Fight depression with these 15 tips you can use today.)

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“Magic mushrooms” may “reboot” the brain, relieving depression, according to new study

A new study finds that psilocybin, the active ingredient in “magic mushrooms,” may restart the brain and relieve depression, as reported by The Daily Mail.

Researchers from the Imperial College London studied 20 participants with depression, all of whom were unresponsive to traditional antidepressants. They recruited participants from this group to take psilocybin; 19 out of the 20 participants were given two doses of psilocybin.

As the team interviewed the participants, some of them reported that they felt their brains were “rebooted.”

Robin Carhart-Harris, head of psychedelic research at the college, said that one patient detailed that his brain felt like it underwent a defragmentation process similar to a computer hard drive. He also explained that the effect of psilocybin on the default network is similar to “taking a system and temporarily scrambling it, then allowing it to reform.”

Carhart-Harris and his team took scans of the participants’ brains before and after the psilocybin treatment. They discovered that the default network mode of the study subjects were in a more stable condition after the treatment.

The effect of the psilocybin reached its maximum potential after five weeks, however, the scientists still saw improvement in the participants for up to six months. They saw that the effect of the treatment began right away, compared to the traditional medications that usually take two to four weeks before taking noticeable effects. In addition, Carhart-Harris said that the participants were not in a manic state after the psilocybin treatment. (Related: Antidepressants simply don’t work on most patients, study finds.)

“They don’t talk about or show loose, unrealistic thinking. They’re quite balanced, calm and normalized,” he said.

The study was conducted as a composite treatment, in which the active ingredient treatment was combined with psychotherapy.

“The drug works to open a window of opportunity, and if in that window we provide a comfortable setting and empathetic [therapists] are with them to guide them through the experience, it can help them to get better,” Carhart-Harris expressed.

However, the researchers noted that almost half of the patients experienced difficult or awful situations during their treatment, but felt “relief” afterwards.

“If you want to get really fit, you might have to go for a bit of pain in order to get really fit. Maybe the same thing is true for mental health,” he said, comparing psilocybin treatment to physical exercise.

“This isn’t magic or some kind of wishful thinking on part of the researchers, we can see its effects,” Carhart-Harris said.

The study also revealed that psilocybin and other psychedelics have the potential to be used for treating alcoholism and addictions, yet use of psychedelics are still prohibited in most countries.

The new research supports the findings of two previous studies that also found the positive effect of psilocybin in patients with anxiety and depression. Both studies, published in the Journal of Psychopharmacology, revealed that a single dose of psilocybin reduced depression and anxiety caused by cancer and its effect can last for up to eight months, as reported by The Guardian.

“I think it is a big deal both in terms of the findings and in terms of the history and what it represents. It was part of psychiatry and vanished and now it’s been brought back,” said Stephen Ross, lead author of the New York University (NYU) study and director of addiction psychiatry at NYU Langone Medical Center.

In addition, the results were the same in earlier studies in healthy people.

“In spite of their unique vulnerability and the mood disruption that the illness and contemplation of their death has prompted, these participants have the same kind of experiences, that are deeply meaningful, spiritually significant, and producing enduring positive changes in life and mood and behavior,” said Roland Griffins, professor of the departments of psychiatry and neuroscience and lead author of the Johns Hopkins University study.

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On to greener pastures! How horticulture improves mental health

While some people swear by the calming effects of a stroll through the park, others practice horticulture to improve their well-being.

Home gardening is an endeavor that provides many benefits such as self-sufficiency. Aside from giving you access to non-GMO food, gardening can even be an outlet that lets you meditate and manage mild to medium mental health disorders. (Related: Gardening and volunteering boosts mental health, relieving stress, anxiety and depression.)

Adam Griffin, a senior occupational therapist at Camali Clinic, a UAE-based center for child and adolescent mental health, said, “The benefits of gardening really are prodigious.Not only can the exertions involved in digging, weeding, planting and pruning help your physical health, but they can also have a very positive impact on your mental health.”

Listed below are 10 of the physical, psychological, and social triggers of what is now known as ecotherapy or horticulture therapy, which can benefit stressed or learning-incapacitated individuals by letting them be at one with nature.

If you already have a home garden, here are some gardening tips to improve your well-being:

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How well do you resist temptation? Researchers explore why some people have more self-control than others

Have you ever had the urge to do something that you should not, like wanting to eat junk food when you are on a diet? Even though everyone is vulnerable to temptation, some people just seem to have more self-control. Fortunately, a new study from the University of Miami has uncovered why some people can resist temptation better than others.

The study focused on the individual differences in the ability to control impulses and behaviors. The researchers showed the participants a screen where either the letter “E” or “F” would briefly appear then disappear on the left side. The participants were tasked to focus on that side of the screen and press a button that identified which letter they saw. Before the letter was shown, a sensual image would appear to the right side of the screen. Using eye-tracking equipment, the experiment showed that the subjects took a glance to the right.

“Using this set-up, we were able to challenge participants’ self-control in the face of temptation,” said Rosa Steimke, a researcher at the University of Miami.

The researchers compared the functions of two brain networks in self-control behavior — the cognitive control network and the salience network. The cognitive control network of the brain plays a part in behavior that needs self-control and works on the control of attention. On the other hand, the salience network is a collection of areas of the brain that pick which stimuli is worthy of our attention and is related to the automatic direction of attention.

Lucina Uddin and her group used a method called “dynamic functional network connectivity” to examine which of the two brain networks was more responsible for participants’ likelihood to take a peek at the sensual pictures even if the goal was to focus on the letter to the left.

“Researchers normally study connectivity using traditional approaches, but we used the dynamic approach, which gave us new insight that traditional connectivity analysis did not reveal,” explained Uddin.

The researchers unexpectedly discovered that the cognitive control network and task performance had no relations. Meanwhile, the participants whose brains exhibited a specific pattern of salience network dynamics had better performance and resistance to temptation.

“When we looked at the moment-to-moment, changing dynamic measures of connectivity we saw the relationship of individual differences in eye-gazing behavior emerge,” said Uddin.

Another region of the brain has been shown to influence the ability of self-control. Researchers from the University of Zurich showed that self-control is influenced by a part of the brain called the right temporoparietal junction (rTPJ), which is associated with empathy.

In the study, the participants chose between a reward for themselves or one that they would share with others. They were also offered an immediate reward of a smaller amount or a bigger reward if they waited for three to 18 months. Lastly, they were tasked to take the viewpoint of an avatar and tell the number of red dots on a ball that the avatar would see.

Results showed that when the researchers disrupted the rTPJ, the participants were less able to see things from the perspective of their future selves or of another person. As a result, they were less likely to share money with others and more willing to choose immediate cash instead of waiting for a larger bounty at a later date. This suggested that the rTPJ influences perception and how other people may think or feel during social interactions.

The researchers believe that understanding self-control and the ability to delay gratification or resist temptation are essential in improving health and well-being because they affect almost every decision we make in life.

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Don’t eat alone; it’s bad for your health – especially if you’re a man, according to new research

Eating alone proves to be detrimental to the body’s overall health, according to a study published in the journal Obesity Research & Clinical Practice. A team of researchers at the Dongguk University Ilsan Hospital in Seoul, South Korea, has enrolled 7,725 adults as part of the study. The experts have also noted how often the participants ate alone and assessed their health status. Likewise, the research team has adjusted for various factors such as smoking, alcohol use, age and physical activity.

The findings have shown that men who often ate alone are 45 percent more likely to suffer from obesity and have a 64 percent increased risk of developing a metabolic syndrome. In contrast, women who often ate alone are only 29 percent more likely to have metabolic syndrome if they ate alone twice or more times daily. According to the experts, feelings of loneliness and social isolation might drive people to make unhealthy food choices.

“We rely on relationships for emotional support and stress management. Lonely people lack a strong social support systems and are therefore more vulnerable to the physical wears and tears of stress and anxiety. In turn, they’re at higher risk for developing stress-related diseases or conditions, such as heart disease, diabetes and high blood pressure,” psychology expert Andrew Abeyta told NBC News online.

“A lack of motivation can lead to poor food choices, settling for what is easiest and for what is comforting. People who eat alone are more likely to eat unhealthy fast food or foods that, like frozen or boxed foods, that are quick to prepare. Who wants to cook a whole meal for one? A key factor in making healthy food choices is to make a conscious effort to plan ahead and set manageable goals for healthy eating,” Abeyta added.

An outside expert has also called for further research on the negative effects of stress, sleep quality and loneliness on eating habits and metabolic health.

“Having more sensitive measures of stressful life events might help unpack some of the association a little better. We know that sleep deprivation and stress create a vicious loop that alters eating behavior, and it could be one of the things driving the experience of eating alone and of metabolic syndrome,” University of British Columbia professor Annalijn Conklin stated in a New York Daily News article.

Andrew Abeyta, assistant professor of the department of psychology at Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, Camden, has listed three helpful tips in maintaining healthy eating habits among people who often eat alone.


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Snowflake management: New “pause pod” gives delicate employees a place to escape pressures of daily life

There is a cultural revolution of sorts taking place that many people are not completely aware of yet: The transformation of Western societies from robust, risk-taking innovators into skittish, frightened snowflakes afraid of any semblance of resistance.

That is the only way to explain how something like a “pause pod” could even become a “thing” that people would pay for.

As reported by the UK’s Daily Mail, an inventor has developed a pod that is capable of blocking out 99 percent of outside light in order to allow users to ‘escape the pressures’ of modern life. And all for a measly one hundred dollars.

The Pause Pod is a four-foot blacked-out tent that comes with an extendable leg compartment that permits people to just check out any time they like by sitting or lying down in it. The pod includes add-ons (at $25 each) including a starry sky you can affix to the tent’s roof and tablet compartment so that users can ‘escape’ further by streaming TV or a movie while on break.

As you might imagine, the introduction of the pod has created a raft of comments from people who took to social media to both mock and criticize the pod, with one person calling it “a tent for maladjusted millennial adult children,” the Daily Mail reported, adding:

The pod, which takes just 10 seconds to pop up, is designed for use in the home but it can be taken to the office or used outdoors.

Its inventors, based in Gothenburg, Sweden, say it shuts out almost all external light, allowing for a completely private environment, free of distractions.

Co-founder Adam Mikkelsen, 28, said the initial concept for the pod arose from a discussion with a friend about the pressures and deadlines of modern society.

“We started to talk about when we were younger, when that type of stress did not exist and it was much easier to live in the now,” said Mikkelsen. “When we were children, we used to build blanket forts and then just sit there, which we realized later on is what mindfulness is all about.”

As such, Mikkelsen said “we kind of just started to play around with creating a physical space that would be good for doing nothing. It helps you to actually take the time to recharge, which is very easy to forget.”

As opposed to, say, going to the break room for a midday hot tea or smoothie.

What’s even more amazing is that Mikkelsen actually got his project crowdfunded. He raised more than $140,000 across IndieGoGo and Kickstarter.

But still, there was much criticism about both the pod and the concept behind it. Twitter user @TheNewCurrent called the product “a millennial step too far.” Meanwhile, @umersfitness, wrote: “LOL Pause Pod? Its just a TENT!! hahaha.”

And @thebestwolfeman wrote: “To be fair though, the pause pod isn’t a tent, it’s a tent for maladjusted millennial adult children.” (Related: Feminist California professor goes full libtard: “Science” is racist because so much of it was developed by white men.)

Mikkelsen is already used to the criticism, however.

“We have the ones who get it when they see it and they are really positive. The ones who get it can admit the problem in society,” he said.

“Then, of course, we get the haters – mainly online. There are people making fun of it, which is kind of amusing.”

Just. Wow.

“There are people saying it is just a tent and being very angry about the millennial generation and calling us snowflakes,” he added. “That motivates us because those people should probably try some mindfulness themselves.”

Thankfully, most people are still able to take some stress in their lives and simply deal with it — as people always have. Today’s society isn’t any less “hectic” than life a hundred years ago; the only difference is that a majority of us work indoors in offices and businesses instead of breaking our backs daily on a farm.

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