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Would you rather be Right or Happy? March 16, 2013

Posted by tkcollier in Business, health, Lifestyle.
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When you argue and win, your brain floods with different hormones: adrenaline and dopamine, which makes you feel good, dominant, even invincible. It’s a the feeling any of us would want to replicate. So the next time we’re in a tense situation, we fight again. We get addicted to being right.

lionHenpeckedI’ve coached dozens of incredibly successful leaders who suffer from this addiction. They are extremely good at fighting for their point of view (which is indeed often right) yet they are completely unaware of the dampening impact that behavior has on the people around them. If one person is getting high off his or her dominance, others are being drummed into submission, experiencing the fight, flight, freeze or appease response I described before, which diminishes their collaborative impulses.

Luckily, there’s another hormone that can feel just as good as adrenaline: oxytocin. It’s activated by human connection and it opens up the networks in our executive brain, or prefrontal cortex, further increasing our ability to trust and open ourselves to sharing. Your goal as a leader should be to spur the production of oxytocin in yourself and others, while avoiding (at least in the context of communication) those spikes of cortisol and adrenaline.

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New Insights Into Pleasure & Addiction June 25, 2011

Posted by tkcollier in health, Lifestyle, Religion.
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Do you, like many, think that drug addicts become drug addicts be­cause they derive greater reward from getting high than others? The biology says no. They actually seem to want it more but like it less.  The scientific definition of addiction is actually rooted in the brain’s inability to experience pleasure.

“There are variants in genes that turn down the function of dopamine signaling within the pleasure circuit,” explains Linden,  a professor of neuroscience at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and the chief editor of the Journal of Neurophysiology.” For people who carry these gene variants, their muted dopamine systems lead to blunted pleasure circuits, which in turn affects their pleasure-seeking activities, he says. “In order to get to that same set point of pleasure that others would get to easily — maybe with two drinks at the bar and a laugh with friends — you need six drinks at the bar to get the same thing.”

It is important to realize that our pleasure circuits are the result of a combination of genetics, stress and life experience, beginning as early as the womb. Crucially, brain imaging studies show that giving to charity, paying taxes, and receiving information about future events all activate the same neural plea­sure circuit that’s engaged by heroin or orgasm or fatty foods.

via ‘The Compass Of Pleasure’: Why Some Things Feel So Good : NPR.

Alcohol more harmful than heroin, cocaine, study finds November 1, 2010

Posted by tkcollier in health, Lifestyle.
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The study, published in the prestigious British medical journal The Lancet,  found that heroin, crack cocaine, and metamfetamine were the most harmful drugs to individuals (part scores 34, 37, and 32, respectively), whereas alcohol, heroin, and crack cocaine were the most harmful to others (46, 21, and 17, respectively). Overall, alcohol was the most harmful drug (overall harm score 72), with heroin (55) and crack cocaine (54) in second and third places.

Marijuana, ecstasy and LSD scored far lower in the study, paid for by Britain’s Centre for Crime and Justice Studies

Experts said alcohol scored so high because it is so widely used and has devastating consequences not only for drinkers but for those around them.

When drunk in excess, alcohol damages nearly all organ systems. It is also connected to higher death rates and is involved in a greater percentage of crime than most other drugs, including heroin.

via Alcohol more harmful than heroin, cocaine, study finds – CTV News.

After 75 Years, We Don’t Know How AA Works July 18, 2010

Posted by tkcollier in Lifestyle, Religion, Science & Technology.
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As dependence grows, alcoholics also lose the ability to properly regulate their behavior. This regulation is the responsibility of the prefrontal cortex, which is charged with keeping the rest of the brain apprised of the consequences of harmful actions. But mind-altering substances slowly rob the cortex of so-called synaptic plasticity, which makes it harder for neurons to communicate with one another. When this happens, alcoholics become less likely to stop drinking, since their prefrontal cortex cannot effectively warn of the dangers of bad habits.

The loss of synaptic plasticity is thought to be a major reason why more than 90 percent of recovering alcoholics relapse at some point. Because the synapses in their prefrontal cortex are still damaged, they have a tough time resisting the urges created by these triggers. Any small reminder of their former life—the scent of stale beer, the clink of toasting glasses—is enough to knock them off the wagon.

AA, it seems, helps neutralize the power of these sensory cues by whipping the prefrontal cortex back into shape. Publicly revealing one’s deepest flaws and hearing others do likewise forces a person to confront the terrible consequences of their alcoholism—something that is very difficult to do all alone.

via Secret of AA: After 75 Years, We Don’t Know How It Works | Magazine.

Cheap Heroin for small-town USA February 15, 2010

Posted by tkcollier in Lifestyle.
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Farm boys from a tiny county that once depended on sugar cane have perfected an ingenious business model for selling a semi-processed form of Mexican heroin known as black tar.

Users need not venture into dangerous neighborhoods for their fix. Instead, they phone in their orders and drivers take the drug to them. Crew bosses sometimes call users after a delivery to check on the quality of service. They encourage users to bring in new customers, rewarding them with free heroin if they do. Xalisco bosses have avoided the nation’s largest cities with established heroin organizations.

Among the idiosyncrasies of Xalisco dealers is that they generally do not sell to African Americans or Latinos. Instead, they have focused on middle- and working-class whites, believing them to be a safer and more profitable clientele.

A lethal business model targets Middle America – latimes.com.

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