Monday, June 30, 2014

Emotional Disposition

Soooo Emotional!
Ever since I was a little girl I can remember being extra sensitive when it came to certain things in my environment.  I tend to cry at sad movies more than normal, feel sympathetic for those who are not at their happiest moments, and sometimes let my feelings get the best of me!  I recently came across an article discussing the topic of sensory processing sensitivity (SPS).  SPS is a personality trait that is defined by the sensitivity throughout an individuals social, emotional, and physical environment.

Research is now showing how SPS is associated with certain behaviors, genes, and specific brain patterns than was known before.  Those who experience high levels of SPS are known as high sensitive people (HSP) whereas those who have low levels are known as low sensitive people.  HSP is a new found concept where the individuals show more reaction to subtle stimuli, process information more thoroughly, and are more emotionally reactive than those who have low levels of SPS.

Shine Bright
A study was carried out and the results proved that those with HSP had much more blood flow to areas of the brain that are responsible for awareness and emotion (the empathetic section of the brain).  The conclusion of the study allows for researchers to continue to learn more about this topic and shows that HSP individuals actually do respond more strongly to social interactions that can cause emotion.  So the next time you catch yourself tearing up at an emotional scene or because the triangle sounded beautiful during the National Anthem (yea... I'll admit that happened to me!) tell your friends not to make fun of it's because you are classified as an HSP and your feelings define you!

To read the full article and how the study was carried out with images of married individuals and their spouses, click here: Sensitive? Emotional? Empathetic? It could be in your genes


Thursday, June 26, 2014

Fun Fact

Rainy days
Have you ever gone outside after a fresh rain storm or shower and noticed the distinct earthy smell? I know I have and it is one of my favorite smells in nature. Most would describe the smell as musky or dirt like, but there is an exact reason for why rain smells the way it does. 

Petrichor is the officiall name for the smell of rain.  There are several factors that help make up this naturally producing smell. There is a type of bacteria found in the soil during moist conditions known as Actinobacteria.  During dry conditions this bacteria will release spores, but once the soil is disturbed by the rainfall, some of the spores will be released into the air.  Geosmin is another factor responsible for the smell of rain.  It is an organic molecule that has the distinct earthy smell due to the bacteria it is composed of. Cyanobacteria and actinobacteria are the bacteria that produce geosmin and are released upon the death of microbes. The ozone, a variety of oils from the vegetation, and the overall acidity of rain are also factors involved in the petrichor smell.


Petrichor Chemical Structure
Now after it rains you can go around telling people it smells of Petrichor or Geosmin! It's okay to sound smart and impress people with your new found chemistry skill! If you want to impress someone even more try telling them they smell like (4S,4aS,8aR)-4,8a-Dimethyl-1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8-octahydronaphthalen-4a-ol (chemical name of petrichor).
LOL yeah... don't be discouraged, I can barley pronounce it either and I had to learn this in college.







To read the more about the smell of rain and how the earth around us contributes click here: The smell of rain: petrichor explained

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Nice Weather = More Headaches

Holy Headache
Summer is finally approaching!  I was skeptical for a while due to the bipolar weather we experienced this winter in Ohio.  I naturally look forward to the summer months because it gives me a chance to be out in nature, get some fresh air, and my summer wardrobe is always my favorite!
I recently just came across an article about cluster headaches being triggered by the summer season.  I have suffered from migraines for a many years now, but have not been diagnosed with what type of migraines I actually have.  Some doctors say I get tension headaches or migraines and others have said that I suffer from cluster headaches.  I often read up on both types of headaches to see if I can learn anything new to help prevent them.  According to the article I read, 1 million Americans suffer from cluster headaches during the approaching summer months due to the Earths rotational shift towards the sun.  Since the human biological rhythm is tied into the Earth's rotation, those who suffer from these headaches will experience more pain than usual.

Cluster headaches come in clusters, hence the name.  Cluster attacks can last for weeks or months, but usually occur after a period where there were no headaches.  There are several symptoms for this type of headache; comes without a warning, extreme pain around the eye but may spread to other areas of the face and neck, excessive tearing, pain on one side, and even swelling around the eye.  Due to the seasonality of these headaches, people are often misdiagnosed with having sinus headaches instead of cluster.  To help prevent misdiagnosis,  The Montefiore Headache Center has suggested that patients keeps a diary or log when they get headaches. The logs help doctors detect how frequent the headaches occur and what the symptoms are.  I plan to start my log the next time I experience a headache and use some of the techniques mentioned in the article to help prevent the onset of cluster headaches. 

If you suffer from headaches or migraines that have similar symptoms as the ones mentioned up above and want to learn the onset prevention techniques click here: Summer season springs cluster headaches into action

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Fun Fact

It is approximately 4:55am and what am I up doing... fixing my blog! I some how deleted all the pictures on my blog from my phone.  Now I am putting them all back up, but this gives me a reason to give a fun fact!

Lucid

Have you ever heard of lucid dreaming?! Well this idea involves actually being conscious while dreaming.  It has been scientifically proven as possible where your conscious and unconscious mind end up colliding.  While in this conscious state you have the ability to control your dreams!  With lucid dreaming you can explore your dreamland, get over fears, and even fulfill fantasies. There are many benefits to lucid dreaming as well. Lucid dreaming allows for more conscious self-awareness during your dreams instead of your unconscious providing the basis of your dream. You can choose your environment, the people you interact with, and how you feel. During lucid dreaming you can ask your unconscious mind a question such as, "what career path should I take?" and your unconscious mind will respond.  The response to the question may be presented in a surprising form.  The answer could be written in the sky or come from a burst of flames.

Lucid dreaming is an action that can be performed by everyone, but only a few really learn how to use it effectively and on a regular basis.  After reading a few articles on the topic I may have to try this myself. 

To read more and learn the steps to lucid dreaming click here: World of Lucid Dreaming: Learn How to Control Your Dreams