Introversjon animert

Jeg møter stadig klienter som strever med å akseptere sine introverte sider, og anbefaler dem ofte å lese Susan Cains bok Quiet.

Her er en snutt fra Cains foredrag hos Ted: The power of introverts, nydelig animert av RSA Animate.

Gi hjernen en ferie

Fra artikkelen «Hit the Reset Button in Your Brain«, The New York Times

This month, many Americans will take time off from work to go on vacation, catch up on household projects and simply be with family and friends. And many of us will feel guilty for doing so. We will worry about all of the emails piling up at work, and in many cases continue to compulsively check email during our precious time off.

But beware the false break. Make sure you have a real one. The summer vacation is more than a quaint tradition. Along with family time, mealtime and weekends, it is an important way that we can make the most of our beautiful brains.


Increasing creativity will happen naturally as we tame the multitasking and immerse ourselves in a single task for sustained periods of, say, 30 to 50 minutes. Several studies have shown that a walk in nature or listening to music can trigger the mind-wandering mode. This acts as a neural reset button, and provides much needed perspective on what you’re doing.

Daydreaming leads to creativity, and creative activities teach us agency, the ability to change the world, to mold it to our liking, to have a positive effect on our environment.


If we can train ourselves to take regular vacations — true vacations without work — and to set aside time for naps and contemplation, we will be in a more powerful position to start solving some of the world’s big problems. And to be happier and well rested while we’re doing it.

Tenk deg nøye om…

… når var egentlig sist du tenkte deg nøye om? En ny metastudie viser at majoriteten av oss faktisk synes det er ubehagelig å måtte sitte alene med tankene våre, selv om det bare er noen minutter:

“We had noted how wedded to our devices we all seem to be and that people seem to find any excuse they can to keep busy,” said Timothy Wilson, a psychology professor at the University of Virginia and lead author of the study. “No one had done a simple study letting people go off on their own and think.”

The results surprised him and have created a stir in the psychology and neuroscience communities. In 11 experiments involving more than 700 people, the majority of participants reported that they found it unpleasant to be alone in a room with their thoughts for just 6 to 15 minutes.

Moreover, in one experiment, 64 percent of men and 15 percent of women began self-administering electric shocks when left alone to think. These same people, by the way, had previously said they would pay money to avoid receiving the painful jolt.

It didn’t matter if the subjects engaged in the contemplative exercise at home or in the laboratory, or if they were given suggestions of what to think about, like a coming vacation; they just didn’t like being in their own heads.

It could be because human beings, when left alone, tend to dwell on what’s wrong in their lives. We have evolved to become problem solvers and meaning makers. What preys on our minds, when we aren’t updating our Facebook page or in spinning class, are the things we haven’t figured out — difficult relationships, personal and professional failures, money trouble, health concerns and so on. And until there is resolution, or at least some kind of understanding or acceptance, these thoughts reverberate in our heads. Hello rumination. Hello insomnia.

Les mer i artikkelen No Time to Think hos The New York Times


Thinking Cap

Følelser og fakta

Noen ganger tenker jeg på hvor rart det er at vi som nasjon har bestemt at alle barn skal ha obligatorisk undervisning i norsk, geografi, matematikk, naturfag, samfunnsfag, kunst og håndverk og engelsk, mens kunnskap om tanker, følelser og relasjoner skal de bare absorbere på magisk vis. Jeg tror mye lidelse kunne vært unngått hvis følgende kunnskap om følelser ble inkludert i grunnskolepensum (hentet fra artikkelen 3 facts about feelings):

1. Følelser har en funksjon:

Yes, even negative emotions, such as sadness, anxiety and anger, can be illuminating.

For instance, you might think you need to stifle your sadness. However, wallowing in or shunning sadness may mean missing an important message: your job just doesn’t feel rewarding.

If you notice your sadness, you may realize “you need a job where you feel more stimulated. This may motivate you to think about career changes,” and if you share your feelings, the people around you may step in to help.Feeling your feelings gives you the opportunity to follow your inner wisdom.

2. Du kan føle noe uten å handle på det:

Sometimes, acting on our emotions doesn’t serve us, and the thoughts wrapped up in these feelings are inaccurate. For instance, after being rejected romantically, you feel unlovable. You may even interpret this as a cold, hard fact. If you let this feeling rule your behavior, you might stop taking care of yourself or seeking supportive relationships.

What’s more helpful is to acknowledge how you’re feeling and explore the accuracy of your thoughts. In the above example, while “this emotion may feel understandable,” it’s also not true, Taitz said.

3. Det er viktig å bearbeide følelser:

We store our feelings in the body, which can result in stress and physical symptoms such as hypertension, muscle tension, gastrointestinal problems [and] headaches. (…) Processing our feelings provides cathartic release and honors our experience.

In fact, many addictive behaviors, such as substance abuse and problematic spending, stem from believing emotions are too overwhelming and trying to run from them. Running from our emotions can keep us stuck. Sitting with them opens us up to growth and learning.

"Do feelings have taste?" av ArchanN

«Do feelings have taste?» av ArchanN

Hvordan velge riktig terapeut

Psychology Today har publisert en spennende artikkel av Jonathan Shedler om hva folk bør tenke over når de skal velge terapeut. Jeg synes dette gir mening! Les gjerne hele artikkelen for en mer grundig gjennomgang, eller nøy deg med følgende oppsummering:

So how do you choose a therapist? You steer clear of ideologues and experts-at-everything. You don’t search far and wide for someone who specializes in treating people with exactly your problem because there are no other people with exactly your problem. When you meet, notice whether the therapist seems more interested in you or your diagnosis. Notice whether the therapist invites you to think together about what is really the matter. Notice whether the two of you are able to develop a shared understanding of what is the matter that rings true to you, that was not already evident to you. The last part might take a few meetings but the trajectory should be moving in that direction from the beginning. If all of these ingredients are there, you’ve probably found a good one.


Hvem er du, terapeut?

En ny studie tyder på at personlige egenskaper hos terapeuten har stor betydning for hvor godt utbytte pasienten får av terapien. Stor faglig selvtillit fra terapeutens side, ga ikke nødvendigvis god behandling – et funn som overrasket psykolog og forsker Helene Amundsen Nissen-Lie.

– Vi så at hos terapeuter som tvilte på egen kompetanse, hadde pasientene mer positiv effekt av terapien. Hun mener forskning på psykoterapi lenge har neglisjert problemstillingen med individuelle forskjeller mellom terapeuter, også kalt terapeuteffekten – kanskje fordi svarene man får kan bli ubehagelige.

Studien som tyder på at litt terapeut-tvil kan være bra, er en del av Nissen-Lies doktoravhandling ved Psykologisk institutt ved Universitetet i Oslo, som hun fullfører i disse dager.

– Vi tror at sammenhengen her kan skyldes at terapeuter som oppgir mer tvil evner å reflektere over eget bidrag i terapien. Det vil tilsi at de er mer ydmyke, og dermed er mer sensitive og lydhøre ovenfor pasienten, sier hun.

Illustrasjon hentet fra

Illustrasjon hentet fra

Ny forskning belyser bivirkninger av antidepressiva

Fra PsychCentrals artikkel Warning: These Antidepressant Side Effects May Be Downplayed:

A new study discovers psychological problems resulting from depression medications have been understated, leading some authorities to question if the drugs have been over-prescribed. (…) Over half of people aged 18 to 25 in the study reported suicidal feelings and in the total sample there were large percentages of people suffering from “sexual difficulties” (62 percent) and “feeling emotionally numb” (60 percent).

Percentages for other effects included: “feeling not like myself” (52 percent), “reduction in positive feelings” (42 percent), “caring less about others” (39 percent) and “withdrawal effects” (55 percent). However, 82 percent reported that the drugs had helped alleviate their depression.

Blir man et bedre menneske av å meditere?

Meditasjon har blitt en hype – men hjelper det oss egentlig i hverdagen? Artikkelen «More mindfulness, less meditation» i The New York Times setter spørsmålstegn ved akkurat det.

The simplest definition of meditation is learning to do one thing at a time. Building the capacity to quiet the mind has undeniable value at a time when our attention is under siege, and distraction has become our steady state. Meditation – in the right doses — is also valuable as a means to relax the body, quiet the emotions and refresh one’s energy. There is growing evidence that meditation has some health benefits. What I haven’t seen is much evidence that meditating leads people to behave better, improves their relationships or makes them happier.

Consider what Jack Kornfield has to say about meditation. In the 1970s, after spending a number of years as a monk in Southeast Asia, Mr. Kornfield was one of the first Americans to bring the practice of mindfulness to the West. He remains one of the best-known mindfulness teachers, while also practicing as a psychologist.“ While I benefited enormously from the training in the Thai and Burmese monasteries where I practiced,” he wrote, “I noticed two striking things. First, there were major areas of difficulty in my life, such as loneliness, intimate relationships, work, childhood wounds, and patterns of fear that even very deep meditation didn’t touch.

Second, among the several dozen Western monks (and lots of Asian meditators) I met during my time in Asia, with a few notable exceptions, most were not helped by meditation in big areas of their lives. Meditation and spiritual practice can easily be used to suppress and avoid feeling or to escape from difficult areas of our lives.»

There is a difference between mindfulness meditation and simple mindfulness. The latter isn’t a practice separate from everyday life. Mindfulness just means becoming more conscious of what you’re feeling, more intentional about your behaviors and more attentive to your impact on others. It’s about presence — what Ms. Ingram calls “keeping quiet and simple inside, rather than having any mental task whatsoever.

The real challenge isn’t what we’re able to do with our eyes closed. It’s to be more self-aware in the crucible of our everyday lives, and to behave better as a result. That’s mindfulness in action.

Yoga stresser deg – og det er bra!

Fra bloggen «PreFrontal Nudity» i Psychology Today: Yoga: Changing The Brain’s Stressful Habits

As a neuroscientist, despite my initial incredulity, I came to realize that yoga works not because the poses are relaxing, but because they are stressful.  It is your attempts to remain calm during this stress that create yoga’s greatest neurobiological benefit.

Your brain tends to react to discomfort and disorientation in an automatic way, by triggering the physiological stress response and activating anxious neural chatter between the prefrontal cortex and the more emotional limbic system.  The stress response itself increases the likelihood of anxious thoughts, like «Oh god, I’m going to pull something,» or «I can’t hold this pushup any longer».  And in fact, your anxious thoughts themselves further exacerbate the stress response.

Interestingly, despite all the types of stressful situations a person can be in (standing on your head, running away from a lion, finishing those TPS reports by 5 o’clock) the nervous system has just one stress response.  The specific thoughts you have may differ, but the brain regions involved, and the physiological response will be the same.  The physiological stress response means an increase in heart rate, breathing rate, muscle tension and elevation of cortisol and other stress hormones.

Some people might think that the stress response is an innate reflex and thus can’t be changed.  To clarify, the response is partly innate and partly learned in early childhood.  Yes, the stress response comes already downloaded and installed on your early operating system.  However, this tendency is enhanced, by years of reinforcement.  In particular, you absorb how those around you, particularly your parents, react to stressful situations.  Their reactions get wired into your nervous system. However, just because a habit is innate, and then reinforced, does not mean it is immune to change.  Almost any habit can be changed, or at least improved, through repeated action of a new habit.

Er du redd for lykke?

Interessante saker fra Scientific American:

Unhappiness is often viewed as something to be prevented, avoided or eliminated. Yet recent studies reveal that for some people, feeling good is what scares them. Recognizing this fear and targeting it with therapy may be a critical first step before other mental illnesses can be treated.

People fear positive emotions for many reasons, such as feeling unworthy or believing good fortune inevitably leads to a fall, according to two new studies. Mohsen Joshanloo, a psychology graduate student at Victoria University of Wellington in New Zealand, developed a Fear of Happiness Scale, on which participants indicate their level of agreement with statements such as “Having lots of joy and fun causes bad things to happen.” Such beliefs can plague people in many countries, according to a study by Joshanloo published online in October 2013 in the Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology. The study found the scale to be reliable in 14 different cultures.

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