Get unstuck with 3 questions

While I understand on a general basis how I can get stuck, it's really helpful to have a procedure for getting UNstuck. Here's a good one. 3 questions to get unstuck and start making progress by Vita Benes and K. M. Michna

the 3 questions that will help you get unstuck and start making progress are:

  1. What haven't I done yet?
  2. What's stopping me from doing this?
  3. What is making me frustrated or discontent?


New Way to Analyze our Emotions

While I am sensitive to the way my emotions are affected by health and circumstances, this new approach gives me even more influences to consider and control. When my feelings are pushing me around, I can do a little audit:

  • Am I assuming the past will repeat itself?
  • Am I reacting based on being physically run down?
  • Have I considered all aspects of the current situation, including things I can't currently see?

Or should I claim "emotional flu" and just delay my reaction? Or should I try to relax and start asking questions?

BBC Science Focus: How emotions trick your brain, 2018-May by Dr. Lisa Feldman-Barrett

Your brain makes meaning from the identical sensation in different ways, depending on context. That’s how emotions are made. They are not built-in at birth. They are built in the moment.

In a sense, your emotions are constructed unconsciously from three ingredients: your body budget*, your current situation, and predictions from past experience. If you modify any of these ingredients, you can take some control over your emotions. I’m not saying this is easy, but it’s possible....

The third ingredient, your predictions from past experience, is the toughest to alter because it’s impossible to change your past. Yet if you take action in the present, you can modify your brain’s predictions in the future, changing your future emotions. For example, in my family, we came up with an idea we call the ‘emotional flu’.

Have you ever felt wretched, like you’re a horrible person, everybody hates you, and the world is going to end… but in fact, there’s nothing actually wrong with your life? That’s the emotional flu – you’re having an unpleasant physical feeling, probably from a disrupted body budget, and your brain has constructed all sorts of negative explanations that are deeply personal....

By repeatedly reframing the situation from personal to physical, my family and I changed our brains’ future forecasts, making it easier to create the non-personal, non-judgmental, emotional flu. This was challenging to do at first, but it got easier with practice, and we’ve passed the idea along to friends who have also succeeded....

For hundreds of years, people have drawn a boundary between mental and physical illness. Cancer, heart disease and diabetes are seen as disorders of the body, while depression and anxiety are often viewed as ailments of the mind. But we now know that your brain constantly regulates your body budget, and when the budget’s in the red, you feel bad.

*Along with predictions about the world, your brain also makes them about your body so you stay alive and healthy. It forecasts when your heart should speed up or slow down, when your blood pressure should rise and fall, when your breathing should deepen, and when you need more salt, sugar, water or hormones, and attempts to meet those needs before they arise. It’s like running a budget for your body, but instead of money, the currency is biological. This budgeting process continues through your entire life, and most of the time, you aren’t aware of it. But it produces something you know well: your mood.


Made me laugh, and made me think, too!

I have to share this quote which struck me as SO funny and SO insightful. We "know" things based on our experience. And yet, our experience is not universal. The best way to make it more universal is to share it. Think about it! How many times have you swallowed your opinion when you ought to have shared it?

NY Times: The internet takes some time off, 2023-Sep-1, by Madison Malone Kircher

There is a pet theory I’ve long held about the internet. I will disclose upfront that it has absolutely zero scientific merit. The only peer review it has received is me telling my actual peers about it. You are now all my friends.


Barbie = Celebration of Play

I'm so glad that Ian Leslie made part of this Substack post open! I've read so many posts which wrestle with WHAT DOES IT MEAN...? It means we can laugh at ourselves and the way we see the world. We can PLAY.

The Ruffian: Barbearheimer [excerpt], 2023-Aug-26 by Ian Leslie

... Barbie is best enjoyed with your left brain switched off. People are making a category error when they try to establish whether it has a feminist message or not. Barbie doesn’t make a coherent argument about feminism or capitalism and it’s not trying to. It’s aiming to feel modern, fresh, and above all, funny. Rather than advancing intellectual ideas, it uses intellectual-sounding talk as a colour in its tonal palette, a striking and funny contrast to the vacuity of its characters. Barbie tickles the frontal cortex, site of Deep Thoughts, but its purpose is to raid the hypothalamus, source of endorphins...


10 Signs of Intelligence (sent by Rolf)

I only scored 4.3 because I find it hard not to show off when I think I know the answer.

Illustration: From SaleenArt... A protective Nazar plate: these eyes protect you from being influenced by others. Think for yourself!

            Score yourself from 0 (low) to 5 (high).

10 signs that you're way more intelligent than you think you are

1. You never feel the need to prove to other people how smart they are. Intelligent people know that their actions speak louder than their words. You don't brag about your achievements or flaunt your knowledge. You let your work and results show your competence and skill. You also don't feel threatened by other people's opinions or judgments. You are confident in your own abilities and don't need external validation.

2. You read a lot and are constantly still learning. Intelligent people have a thirst for knowledge and a curiosity about the world. You enjoy reading books, articles, blogs, or anything that can expand your horizons and challenge your perspectives. You are always open to new ideas and experiences. You don't settle for what you already know but seek to improve yourself and grow.

3. Intelligent people aren’t afraid or ashamed to tell you when you don’t know something. Intelligent people understand that you don't have all the answers and that there is always something to learn from others. you are not too proud or stubborn to admit when you are wrong or when you need help. you are willing to ask questions, listen to feedback, and learn from your mistakes. you also respect other people's expertise and opinions, even if you disagree with them.

4. You are independent. You make decisions unaffected by societal pressure or expectations. Intelligent people have a strong sense of self and a clear vision of what you want in life. You don't let others dictate your choices or influence their values. You are not easily swayed by trends, fads, or peer pressure. You think for yourself and follow your own path.

5. They communicate clearly. You don’t see them using big million-dollar words. You understand exactly what they’re trying to say. Intelligent people know how to express themselves effectively and efficiently. They don't use jargon, slang, or obscure words to impress or confuse others. They use simple and precise language that anyone can understand. They also know how to listen actively and empathetically, without interrupting or judging.

6. They are simple. They seem to choose material things based on the intrinsic qualities and functionality as opposed to the image or status they are going to project. Intelligent people are not materialistic or superficial. They don't care about having the latest gadgets, the fanciest clothes, or the most expensive cars. They value quality over quantity and substance over style. They appreciate the things that matter most in life, such as health, happiness, and relationships.

7. They have a good sense of humor. Intelligent people can laugh at themselves and at life's absurdities. They don't take themselves too seriously or get offended easily by jokes or sarcasm. They can see the humor in any situation and use it to cope with stress and adversity. They also enjoy making others laugh and smile with their witty and clever remarks.

8. They are adaptable. Intelligent people can adjust to changing circumstances and environments without losing their composure or confidence. They can handle uncertainty and ambiguity with ease and grace. They can also switch between different tasks, roles, or perspectives without difficulty or hesitation. They are flexible and versatile in their thinking and behavior.

9. They are creative. Intelligent people can come up with original and innovative solutions to problems or challenges. They can think outside the box and beyond the conventional wisdom. They can also use their imagination and intuition to create something new or unique out of nothing.

10.They are humble. Intelligent people don't let their intelligence get to their heads. They don't think they are better than anyone else or look down on others who are less knowledgeable or skilled than them. They acknowledge their limitations and weaknesses and strive to overcome them. They also recognize their strengths and talents and use them for good purposes.


Image from SaleenArt.