The Value Of A Great Sense Of Self

March 9, 2012 by  
Filed under Blog

boy and the sky

Interesting post by Deepak Chopra (see below) where he takes on scientific as well as religious believes about the self.

Yes, many of our behaviors and thoughts come from our chemistry and yes it is the ego that keeps us eternally running in the rat’s wheel.

As I’m not a scientist or a believer – or think it matters for the purpose of discussing the self – I’ll leave that alone.

What I know – and humbly agree with Deepak – is that there is something else.  I’m sure of it only because it has had the greatest impact in my own life; it is the self.

As I invest in MY self, the life objective is not so much to fully understand in an intellectual way who am I or the quintessential question what’s my purpose in life.  It really is to create a greater sense of harmony – a feeling of well-being.

I know – from personal experience – that a connection with the self can sooth, balance, and comfort.  I know, a connection with the self, creates a bond from where we can operate in the world in a more satisfying way.  Having a strong knowing connection allows us to be free and to be whom we are without needing to define that and without being fearful.

It doesn’t matter if this self is a combination of things or of nothing.  We don’t need to define what it is to bask in its gift as creating a connection with the self gives us a solid footing from where we can calmly deal with life’s ups and downs without following the bouncing ball.

So how do we create this bond?  Initially through saving some of our time and energy to just be with ourselves and to listen to our own thoughts.  It is called solitude. Once we start appreciating the effects of giving our inner-selves a voice, we will go back to the pond every time for answers and harmony.

Please read on.

Seeking The Self: A Ghost Story

By Deepak Chopra

We are all quite certain that we have a self. When you say “I like chocolate” or “I vote progressive,” no one asks what you mean by “I.” That task was left for centuries to philosophers and theologians. “Know thyself” is an axiom worth heeding, but what is there to know? If one camp of modern science has its way, the answer is “nothing.” The self, we are told, is an illusion created by the complexity of brain functions. As thousands of inputs bombard each other every second, forming an almost infinite tangle of neural messages, a ghost was created whose name is “I.” …Continued

Share

The 3 stages of love

May 11, 2009 by  
Filed under Featured

The 3 stages of love

Helen Fisher of Rutgers University in the States has proposed 3 stages of love – lust, attraction and attachment. Each stage might be driven by different hormones and chemicals.

Stage 1: Lust

This is the first stage of love and is driven by the sex hormones testosterone and oestrogen – in both men and women.

Stage 2: Attraction

This is the amazing time when you are truly love-struck and can think of little else. Scientists think that three main neurotransmitters are involved in this stage; adrenaline, dopamine and serotonin.

Adrenaline

The initial stages of falling for someone activates your stress response, increasing your blood levels of adrenalin and cortisol. This has the charming effect that when you unexpectedly bump into your new love, you start to sweat, your heart races and your mouth goes dry.

Dopamine

Helen Fisher asked newly ‘love struck’ couples to have their brains examined and discovered they have high levels of the neurotransmitter dopamine. This chemical stimulates ‘desire and reward’ by triggering an intense rush of pleasure. It has the same effect on the brain as taking cocaine!

Fisher suggests “couples often show the signs of surging dopamine: increased energy, less need for sleep or food, focused attention and exquisite delight in smallest details of this novel relationship” .

Serotonin

And finally, serotonin. One of love’s most important chemicals that may explain why when you’re falling in love, your new lover keeps popping into your thoughts.
Does love change the way you think?
A landmark experiment in Pisa, Italy showed that early love (the attraction phase) really changes the way you think.

Dr Donatella Marazziti, a psychiatrist at the University of Pisa advertised for twenty couples who’d been madly in love for less than six months. She wanted to see if the brain mechanisms that cause you to constantly think about your lover, were related to the brain mechanisms of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder.

By analyzing blood samples from the lovers, Dr Marazitti discovered that serotonin levels of new lovers were equivalent to the low serotonin levels of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder patients.

Love needs to be blind

Newly smitten lovers often idealise their partner, magnifying their virtues and explaining away their flaws says Ellen Berscheid, a leading researcher on the psychology of love.

New couples also exalt the relationship itself. “It’s very common to think they have a relationship that’s closer and more special than anyone else’s”. Psychologists think we need this rose-tinted view. It makes us want to stay together to enter the next stage of love – attachment.

Stage 3: Attachment

Attachment is the bond that keeps couples together long enough for them to have and raise children. Scientists think there might be two major hormones involved in this feeling of attachment; oxytocin and vasopressin.

Oxytocin – The cuddle hormone

Oxytocin is a powerful hormone released by men and women during orgasm.

It probably deepens the feelings of attachment and makes couples feel much closer to one another after they have had sex. The theory goes that the more sex a couple has, the deeper their bond becomes.

Oxytocin also seems to help cement the strong bond between mum and baby and is released during childbirth. It is also responsible for a mum’s breast automatically releasing milk at the mere sight or sound of her young baby.

Diane Witt, assistant professor of psychology from New York has showed that if you block the natural release of oxytocin in sheep and rats, they reject their own young.

Conversely, injecting oxytocin into female rats who’ve never had sex, caused them to fawn over another female’s young, nuzzling the pups and protecting them as if they were their own.

Vasopressin
Vasopressin is another important hormone in the long-term commitment stage and is released after sex.

Vasopressin (also called anti-diuretic hormone) works with your kidneys to control thirst. Its potential role in long-term relationships was discovered when scientists looked at the prairie vole.

Prairie voles indulge in far more sex than is strictly necessary for the purposes of reproduction. They also – like humans – form fairly stable pair-bonds.

When male prairie voles were given a drug that suppresses the effect of vasopressin, the bond with their partner deteriorated immediately as they lost their devotion and failed to protect their partner from new suitors.

Source: The Wellcome Trust is the UK’s leading biomedical charity. Their mission is to foster and promote research with the aim of improving human and animal health. This includes raising public awareness of the medical, ethical and social implications of biomedical research.

Explore-At-Bristol is one of the UK’s most exciting hands-on science centers!

Share