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MLaaSP – Your Brain on Happiness via @IllinoisScience

March 29, 2012

My Life as a Science Promoter on Wednesday March 28, 2012

Today the world population is 7,031,929,535

In one word, how would you define ‘happiness’?

Happiness science blogger

Yesterday I attended the first talk of a series from Illinois Science Council about Your Brain. This talk was specifically about Your Brain on Happiness. Dr. Robin Nusslock from Northwestern University gave an insightful and humorous lecture while answering questions about your brain’s functional and physiological responses to stimuli that make you “happy.”

As a blogger about happiness, I became interested in two topics that Dr. Nusslock mentioned:

1. Neuroplasticity – your brain’s ability to change over time. Meaning, what you once loved, you can not love. What you once hated, you can not hate. For me this includes pieces of life such as mushrooms (used to hate) and fantasy sports (used to love). But I’m also trying to find ways to change my brain to avoid the pain from arthritis. Can pain become happiness??!! Read about my path to Managing Happiness and pain.

2. Meditation – you have the power, through effective mediation, to change the flow of blood in your brain. This process can activate, or deactivate, different areas of the brain. Buddhist monks are exceptional at this. Dr. Nusslock showed the audience an MRI of the brain from a monk–very neat! My friend @Gint_Aras mentioned to me that I should meditate as a form of pain management. I wasn’t sure what he meant, but now I know. Mediation just moved up the list of alternative forms of pain control for my chronic pain.

A few other fun facts from the talk:

  • Stress reduces new neurons implicated in memory
  • Running enhances neurogenesis (your brains ability to grow new cells, and make you smarter, potentially)
  • Depression decreases neurogenesis
  • Dopamine is associated with Wanting, oxytocin with Attachment.

There are more talks about Your Brain. 2 are sold out but not Your Brain On Addiction and Your Brain on Love, Sex, & Oxytocin. Check out Illinois Science Council’s webpage to reserve your spot: ISC’s Brain Series.

Thank you for reading, and remember, you can change your brain by acting a different way. letUbeU!

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