Category Archives: Not the Sort of Things People Talk About

Abuse Survival and Recovery

Elusive Pleasures: 10 Ways to Feel Better!

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Elusive Pleasures: 10 Ways to Feel Better!

What if you could do some simple brain exercises to get more pleasure in your life? Would you be interested?

What? Exercise my brain? How in the world do I do that?

Good news! For these exercises, you don’t even need to get off the couch! You don’t need to purchase new work-out clothes or shoes. Better yet, there is no gym membership required!

Welcome to the fourth of this five-part series, “Elusive Pleasures.” In this segment, we’ll explore brain exercises to improve our pleasure responses.

As I said before, neuroscientists are our friends! The research they’ve conducted paves the way for us to change the way our brains respond to any challenge. Today we’ll review ten science-backed ways science we can start our internal workout:

1.     Develop new interests and rekindle your interest in activities you left off long ago. New neuronal connections can be super-charged by learning new things. This can be as simple as learning to play an instrument, learning a new language, or learning how to crochet. Any novel task can stimulate new neuronal connections in your brain! Choose a pleasurable, interesting activity, and strengthen the pleasure circuitry in your brain!

painting and drawing tools set
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

2.     Read a favorite book aloud with a friend. Yes, reading aloud is different for you, and the process of taking turns hearing the book in your own voice and in your friend’s voice will lay new neuronal connections that enhance the pleasure center in your brain.

couple holding books sitting on bed

Photo by Zun Zun on Pexels.com

 

3.     Add a new aroma to your favorite activities. By adding an enjoyable scent with an enjoyable activity, more areas of your brain will be stimulated with a pleasure signal. The olfactory system is highly associated with emotional responses, so this one’s an easy exercise! It’s as easy as adding a lavender bath bomb to your warm bubbly bath.

aroma basket beautiful flowers blooming

 4.     Try new foods! Yes, it’s true! Learn about new foods, recipes and seasonings. Ask others about their recipes, how they use the foods you’ve never tried, and give it a try yourself. The pleasure circuit in our brain fires wildly when we’re engaged in an activity that sustains life, and eating is high on this list!

 5.     While you’re at it, explore the nutritional benefits of foods that help release dopamine in your brain. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that is associated with pleasure. Foods and supplements that increase dopamine include those rich in L-tyrosine, such as meat, poultry, fish, eggs and dairy. Consider drinking tea, seasoning with turmeric with pepper, supplements like Ginkgo Biloba, and others you’ll find on the list on this site: Think Tyrosine.

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

anise aroma art bazaar

6.     Consider probiotics. There’s so much talk these days about probiotics. Some research supports the idea that toxins in our gut from “bad bacteria,” (lipopolysaccharides) actually destroy the brain cells that produce dopamine! Probiotics can rebalance the gut’s bacteria, thus preserving our dopamine-producing brain cells so we can enjoy more pleasure.

7.     If you can, engage in a strenuous activity like running for 30 minutes or more. In some people, this releases the body’s natural opioid into the pleasure centers of the brain. This has been known as the “runner’s high.” If you’re not able to engage in strenuous activity, instead do isometric exercises. This involves tightening and relaxing different muscle groups, but not necessarily moving the joints. Hold each contraction five to ten seconds, and do this several times for each muscle group in your body. Include your facial muscles, too! The simple act of smiling (yep, a big, toothy grin) can bring the pleasure response.

woman running wearing gray shirt

Photo by Luka Siemionov on Pexels.com

 

8.     Engage senses you don’t use often, such as stereognosis. This is the ability you have to determine what an object is by its feel. For example, place a few objects in a bag. Choose common objects like a paper clip, a spoon, a few coins and a comb. Now, without looking, place your hand in the bag and identify each object by its feel. That’s stereognosis! Have a friend (or your kids) gather items for your bag, and you gather items for theirs. This simple exercise, though it may seem silly, can create and strengthen neuronal connections and increase your pleasure responses.

9.     Walk into a store, bank or library rather than doing business by machines. Interacting with other human beings rather than machines and recordings strengthens our neuronal connections and pleasure circuits. Take the time to look these people in the eye, ask how they’re doing today, and really listen. Encourage them, compliment them or express your gratitude for the job they’re doing. Your reward? Enhanced neuronal connections and pleasure responses!

 

adult baker breads city

P hoto by Tran on Pexels.com

10.  Last, but certainly not least, is for mature audiences only. If you’re over 18, you can read on:
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for fellow survivors

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Wow. An amazing manifesto for survivors of abuse found tonight on WordPress. I am reblogging for her to save it, and to pass it on! Please feel free to do the same.

Reblog of my Daughter’s Amazing Post Today

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You’ve read here about my daughter a bit, and you’ve seen some of my daughter’s photography. Now, be blown away with her most recent post:

http://theopenbench.blogspot.com/2014/02/the-yellow-brick-road.html

©DenesiaChristine on Instagram, View from Yellow Brick Road

©DenesiaChristine on Instagram, View from Yellow Brick Road

She is amazing. I love her so much–I am spilling with clichés to try to tell you, but I guess you can imagine, if you read this.

© Joan T Warren

stick around

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fifteen

heading up the street

 

toward heavy traffic

stroller with baby inside

thinking it should end right here

for her, for me, end the suffering

what if it fails

what if only  one of us dies

what if one is paralyzed

what about the person who hits us

will i kill them too

or torture them forever

what if it’s a whole family

or two

wiping the tears

calming the thought

turning around

i go home

i went home

as much as i hated it

the despair

stuck here

in this hell hole

no one cares

but

i found a way

i am so glad i stuck it out

i hope you will too

stick around.

 

JoanTWarren

In gratitude and response to this wonderful blog event:

http://frankenasian.com/reasons2live-project/

Faulty Fault Lines–When Bad Things Happen to Little People

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Janie smiled through her tears and put her arms around Stella.

“How do you do it, Stella? You always seem to find a way to help me put things in perspective when I get like this. I wish I had your confidence! I wish I could stay on top of things the way you do; you never seem to let people push you around, yet you’re not a bully either.”

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Composing herself after at least thirty minutes of crying and talking, Janie now felt better. She sat back in her seat and picked up her coffee mug, her favorite mug, which she loved for its heft, its shape and its ability to channel those amazing aromas right where she needed them most. She felt now that she had some good ideas about how to tackle the problem. “Really, Stella, how DO you do it? Were you just born this way?”

Stella sipped her coffee, too. She loved it when someone took the time to ask her deeper questions. Though she’d never broadcast her life or push her opinions, she felt deeply rewarded when she was able to help another. It was as though all her troubles were worth it.

Well, Stella divulged, “I wasn’t always as I am today. One of my old trademarks was that I used to think everything was my fault–and nothing was my fault!”

I was quick to apologize for anything someone else was unhappy about, as if I were responsible for the world, but slow to see things that actually were my responsibility.

Rain on your wedding day? I’m sorry. Mad at your boss? I’m sorry. Lightning struck your Uncle Milford? I’m so sorry. You’re home from work early and hungry because you didn’t stop for lunch and I didn’t have a premonition about this and fix your dinner early? I’m sorry. Here, let me drop my work, mid-sentence, and get right on that.

Then, on the other hand, nothing that I really did was ever MY fault!

Oh, I’m late for work? Well, boss, it’s not really MY fault.  I had to make breakfast for my family, get the laundry started, stop what I was doing every time someone couldn’t find their socks, walk the dog when everyone left without doing it, stop at the store so there would be coffee in the break room, and then drive my aunt to the dry cleaner–yes, she had an emergency apparel deficiency.

Geez, why can’t my boss understand that, doesn’t she have a family? I would think.

Stella smiled as she animated these stories. They were true for her, she had lived in that realm for so many years. She looked at Janie, who smiled back, waiting for more of her story.

Well, after about two or three THOUSAND people said I shouldn’t apologize so much, I slowly started to think maybe there might be something wrong with me (Oh, and I’ve been sorry about that too, two or three thousand times).

But what could it be? I thought. What’s wrong with being nice? I’m empathetic, dedicated, loyal, helpful, sensitive, compassionate, considerate. . . What’s so bad about that?

Plenty! Well, actually, nothing, as long as that’s REALLY what you are. Peel away the nice facade, though, and what did I find? The real reason I had such a hard time recognizing what I was truly responsible for. . . the real reason I defended myself when I truly was responsible for doing something wrong. . . the real reason I tried so hard to be so nice, empathetic, dedicated, loyal, helpful, sensitive, compassionate and considerate. . . was my inner wretch!

Underneath it all, I felt completely ashamed of who I was. I was a wretch.

Wretch, according to Miriam-Webster:

a miserable person;

one who is profoundly    

unhappy or in great misfortune

 

II was miserable on the inside. I felt as though I were less than everyone around me.

Why would a young woman (yes, I was young once), with such admirable qualities feel so miserable inside? I was living out of a self-concept that was seriously flawed.

If you said I was pretty, I’d say, “Yeah, pretty ugly.”

They both chuckled.

“I know what you mean,” Janie offered. “I never in a million years would have guessed you felt that way about yourself. You’re beautiful, and you seem so confident.”

Thanks; it’s true, though. I felt ugly on the inside because I bought into some seriously wretched lies about myself when I was a girl.

Where did those lies come from?

What it boiled down to, after digging deep into the soil of my innermost thoughts and feelings, is that the lies came from trying to figure out why bad things happened to me.

READER WARNING: From here we will talk a little about those bad things. If you’re feeling brave today, click for more–

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New Menu Topic

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possible looking down to say we dont talk about those things“My dear,”

she whispered as she peered down over her bifocals

to the little one fearfully looking up to her for help,

girl looking up for help 2

“These are not the sort of things people talk about.”

This new category/menu heading is dedicated to those things.

Because silence is not always golden.

©JoanTWarren

Life, Death and Grains of Sand

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We never know how long we have. We don’t know how long we have with the ones we love. Read the rest of this entry