Tag Archives: Boys

Suicide.

Suicide.

– yes such a confronting word, however more confronting is the statistics associated with this word.

Did you know, In 2016, the suicide rate in Australia was 11.7 deaths per 100,000 people, up from 10.6 per 100,000 people in 2007. … In 2016, the standardised death rate for males was 17.8 deaths per 100,000 people, while for females it was 5.8 deaths per 100,000 people.

That’s more than eight people every single day. One person every three hours.
That’s quite a large number wouldn’t you agree?

So why is the suicide rate rising?

Suicide is a prominent concern. Over a five year period from 2012 to 2016, the average number of suicide deaths per year was 2,795.

Suicide rates reduced across many age groups, including a moderate reduction in suicide rates for males in the high risk age groups of 35-49 years. There were modest increases from 2015 to 2016 in suicide rates for other age groups however, including males 15-24 years and females 20-34 years.

For males: The highest age-specific suicide number in 2016 was observed in the 85+ age group (34.0 per 100,000) with 61 deaths. This number was considerably higher than the age-specific suicides observed in all other age groups, with the next highest age-specific suicide rates being in the 30-34, 40-44 and 35-39 year age groups (27.5, 27.2 and 24.8 per 100,000 respectively). Those of a younger age were associated with the lowest age-specific rates (0-14 year age group: 0.4per 100,000; 15-19 year age group: 13.4 per 100,000).

For females: The highest age-specific suicide in 2016 was observed in the 50-54 age group with 82 deaths (10.4 per 100,000), followed by the 40-44, 45-49 and 30-34 age groups (8.5, 8.3 and 8.3 per 100,000 respectively).

The lowest age-specific suicide for females was observed in the 0-14 age group with 7 deaths (0.3 per 100,000) followed by those aged between 65-69 and then 15-19 age group (4.1 and 5.0 100,000 respectively).

Social media can have either negative or positive effects, Tom Simon, an author of the report and associate director for science in the division of violence protection at the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has reported.

Cyberbullying and harmful content might push a vulnerable teen toward self-harm, yet “social media can help increase connections between people, and it’s an opportunity to correct myths about suicide and to allow people to access prevention resources and materials.”
Dorian A. Lamis, an assistant professor in the department of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Emory University School of Medicine/Grady Health System, theorized that use of social media and cyberbullying may affect teenage girls more than boys, resulting in rising suicide deaths among older teen girls.

“Some research has suggested that the timing of puberty in girls is a contributing factor for the increased suicide rate,” has also been reported. Puberty starts as early as 8 in some girls. The psychosocial and physical changes may leave girls “vulnerable to depression, anxiety and other psychiatric disorders earlier on in life.” These known risk factors for suicide may catch up with a girl as she grows older.

There is not one factor that is a cause for suicide. It is not a weakness nor is it because of mental health.

Suicide affects many people and it is sometimes seen as selfish but no one should be judging because it has many repercussions.

Sometimes suicide is a result of bullying or seen as a way for the person committing suicide to get away from a certain situation an escape if you may like to think of it that way. They may be feeling isolated, scared, weak, alone, unhappy, stressed, fearful or overwhelmed. There are no exact reasons as to why someone may contemplate suicide. It’s their decision and we unfortunately on most occasions cannot change it.

No one should ‘chime in’ on negativity about suicide, no one knows what the person has been though, is experiencing or dealing with.

What we do know is that the rate in which suicide is rising, is concerning. Unfortunately the above statistics are not current, and suicide is not often spoken about. There should be no embarrassment associated with the word. We should be more aware of circumstances and situations where our friends, family and loved ones may need us.

In today’s society, we all seem quite wrapped up in our own worlds. Disconnected some may say or selfish to our surroundings. I believe that we need to be more aware and connected with those closest to us. Take not of Friends and family behaviour. Offer to listen to those whom may need to talk. Often people will bottle up their thoughts and feelings in fear of judgment.

Who are we to judge?

One persons situation may change, just by having a listening ear. Or a hand to hold, or comfort in knowing that they are valued and not alone.

There is help if you need it.

Lifeline within Australia 13 11 14
https://www.lifeline.org.au/about-lifeline/contact-us

Wesley Mission Australia
https://www.wesleymission.org.au/find-a-service/mental-health-and-hospitals/counselling/lifeline-sydney-and-sutherland/

Or if you would like to email me confidentially, my email is – noordinarymummy@gmail.com

Remember ‘Every Life Matters’.

It doesn’t take much to ask ‘Are you ok?’
Or
‘How are you?’ These 2 questions may just change someone’s feelings and life.

Should we make boys tough? Or should we be more gentle with them?

Psychology Today posted this very interesting article earlier this month. It’s very much worth the read. My husband is a bit ‘old school’ with the belief that boys need ‘tough love’ in order to make them ‘good men’. He often says I’m too soft on our 4 yo.

As a qualified Juvenille counsellor, Ive learned many things but this was one that I believe is really important. I’m glad I found this article and could share it with you. 💙

Be Worried About Boys, Especially Baby Boys.

Allan Schore discusses the harmful effects of stressing baby boys.

Posted Jan 08, 2017

We often hear that boys need to be toughened up so as not to be sissies. Parent toughness toward babies is celebrated as “not spoiling the baby.” Wrong! These ideas are based on a misunderstanding of how babies develop. Instead, babies rely on tender, responsive care to grow well—with self-control, social skills and concern for others.

A review of empirical research just came out by Allan N. Schore, called “All our sons: The developmental neurobiology and neuroendocrinology of boys at risk.”

This thorough review shows why we should be worried about how we treat boys early in their lives. Here are a few highlights:

Why does early life experience influence boys significantly more than girls?

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Boys mature slower physically, socially and linguistically.
Stress-regulating brain circuitries mature slower in boys prenatally, perinatally and postnatally.
Boys are affected more negatively by early environmental stress, inside and outside the womb, than are girls. Girls have more built-in mechanisms that foster resiliency against stress.
How are boys affected more than girls?

Boys are more vulnerable to maternal stress and depression in the womb, birth trauma (e.g., separation from mother), and unresponsive caregiving (caregiving that leaves them in distress). These comprise attachment trauma and significantly impact right brain hemisphere development—which develops more rapidly in early life than the left brain hemisphere. The right hemisphere normally establishes self-regulatory brain circuitry related to self control and sociality.
Normal term newborn boys react differently to neonatal behavior assessment, showing higher cortisol levels (a mobilizing hormone indicating stress) afterward than girls.
At six months, boys show more frustration than girls do. At 12 months boys show a greater reaction to negative stimuli.
Schore cites the research of Tronick, who concluded that “Boys . . . are more demanding social partners, have more difficult times regulating their affective states, and may need more of their mothers support to help them regulate affect. This increased demandingness would affect the infant boys’ interactive partner” (p. 4).
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What can we conclude from the data?

Boys are more vulnerable to neuropsychiatric disorders that appear developmentally (girls more vulnerable to disorders that appear later). These include autism, early onset schizophrenia, ADHD, and conduct disorders. These have been increasing in recent decades (interestingly, as more babies have been put into daycare settings, nearly all of which provide inadequate care for babies).

Schore states, “in light of the male infant’s slower brain maturation, the secure mother’s attachment-regulating function as a sensitively responsive, interactive affect regulator of his immature right brain in the first year is essential to optimal male socioemotional development.” (p. 14)

“In total, the preceding pages of this work suggest that differences between the sexes in brain wiring patterns that account for gender differences in social and emotional functions are established at the very beginning of life; that the developmental programming of these differences is more than genetically coded, but epigenetically shaped by the early social and physical environment; and that the adult male and female brains represent an adaptive complementarity for optimal human function.” (p. 26)

What does inappropriate care look like in the first years of life?

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“In marked contrast to this growth-facilitating attachment scenario, in a relational growth-inhibiting postnatal environment, less than optimal maternal sensitivity, responsiveness, and regulation are associated with insecure attachments. In the most detrimental growth-inhibiting relational context of maltreatment and attachment trauma (abuse and/or neglect), the primary caregiver of an insecure disorganized–disoriented infant induces traumatic states of enduring negative affect in the child (A.N. Schore, 2001b, 2003b). As a result, dysregulated allostatic processes produce excessive wear and tear on the developing brain, severe apoptotic parcellation of subcortical–cortical stress circuits, and long-term detrimental health consequences (McEwen & Gianaros, 2011). Relational trauma in early critical periods of brain development thus imprints a permanent physiological reactivity of the right brain, alters the corticolimbic connectivity into the HPA, and generates a susceptibility to later disorders of affect regulation expressed in a deficit in coping with future socioemotional stressors. Earlier, I described that slow-maturing male brains are particularly vulnerable to this most dysregulated attachment typology, which is expressed in severe deficits in social and emotional functions.” (p. 13)

What does appropriate care look like in the brain?

“In an optimal developmental scenario, the evolutionary attachment mechanism, maturing during a period of right-brain growth, thus allows epigenetic factors in the social environment to impact genomic and hormonal mechanisms at both the subcortical and then cortical brain levels. By the end of the first year and into the second, higher centers in the right orbitofrontal and ventromedial cortices begin to forge mutual synaptic connections with the lower subcortical centers, including the arousal systems in the midbrain and brain stem and the HPA axis, thereby allowing for more complex strategies of affect regulation, especially during moments of interpersonal stress. That said, as I noted in 1994, the right orbitofrontal cortex, the attachment control system, functionally matures according to different timetables in females and males, and thus, differentiation and growth stabilizes earlier in females than in males (A.N. Schore, 1994). In either case, optimal attachment scenarios allow for the development of a right-lateralized system of efficient activation and feedback inhibition of the HPA axis and autonomic arousal, essential components for optimal coping abilities.” (p. 13)

NOTE: Here is a recent article explaining attachment.

Practical implications for parents, professionals and policy makers:

1. Realize that boys need more, not less, care than girls.

2. Review all hospital birth practices. The Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative is a start but not enough. According to a recent review of the research, there is lot of epigenetic and other effects going on at birth.

Separation of mom and baby at birth is harmful for all babies but Schore points out how much more harm it does to boys:

“Exposing newborn male . . . to separation stress causes an acute strong increase of cortisol and can therefore be regarded as a severe stressor” (Kunzler, Braun, & Bock, 2015, p. 862). Repeated separation results in hyperactive behavior, and “changes . . . prefrontal-limbic pathways, i.e. regions that are dysfunctional in a variety of mental disorders” (p. 862).

3. Provide responsive care. Mothers, fathers and other caregivers should avoid any extensive distress in the child—“enduring negative affect.” Instead of the normalized harsh treatment of males (“to make them men”) by letting them cry as babies and then telling them not to cry as boys, by withholding affection and other practices to “toughen them up,” young boys should be treated in the opposite way: with tenderness and respect for their needs for cuddling and kindness.

Note that preterm boys are less able to spontaneously interact with caregivers and so need particularly sensitive care as their neurobiological development proceeds.

4. Provide paid parental leave. For parents to provide responsive care, they need the time, focus and energy. This means a move to paid maternal and paternal leave for at least a year, the time when babies are most vulnerable. Sweden has other family-friendly policies that make it easier for parents to be responsive.

5. One other thing I did not address that Schore does is the effects of environmental toxins. Young boys are more negatively affected by environmental toxins that also disrupt the brain’s right hemisphere development (e.g., plastics like BpA, bis-phenol-A). Schore agrees with Lamphear’s (2015) proposal that the ongoing “rise in developmental disabilities is associated with environmental toxins on the developing brain.” This suggests we should be much more cautious about putting toxic chemicals into our air, soil and water. That is a topic for another blog post.

Conclusion

Of course, we should not just worry about boys but take action for all babies. We need to provide nurturing care for all children. All children expect and need, for proper development, the evolved nest, a baseline for early care which provides the nurturing, stress-reducing care that fosters optimal brain development. My lab studies the Evolved Nest and finds it related to all the positive child outcomes we have studied.

Tips on raising resilient boys to help them thrive. By Maggie Dent.

Tips on raising resilient boys to help them thrive.
By Maggie Dent.

Maggie Dent is an expert in helping Australian parents raise resilient, strong and loving men. Her passion for helping boys comes from alarming statistics, revealing they’re more likely to take greater physical risks, get injured in accidents and sport, and face bigger mental health risks as they grow into men.

When Maggie holds parenting lectures, the room is full of mostly women – mums wanting the best advice on parenting their sons.

Help boys feel secure.
Boys may be expected to be tougher than girls, but in reality, all children can feel berated and vulnerable in certain situations.

Tip: Give your boy small cues to remind them they’re loved. For example, a little tickle, wink or high-five.

Modify language.
Boys develop language skills a lot later than girls.This is because the right hemisphere of the brain develops more so than the left. When boys become frustrated, they can sometimes default to anger since they don’t have the words to express how they’re feeling.

Tip: Use hand gestures as well as speech to explain what you need or want them to do. Boys also respond to visual signs more than verbal, so avoid calling out to them from another room.

Build bridges of connection.
Building little love bridges, or moments of connection, makes boys feel like they matter. Boys need to see constant loving action as well as verbal affirmations of love.

When boys are naughty it can feel like they’re intentionally being disrespectful, rude or forgetful. Reframe that idea, and know that at times, they really can only focus on one thing, and that they’re not good with change. If we understand how our sons process information, and accept they are genuinely more forgetful than girls, more allowances can be made and frustration can be kept at bay.

Tip: Try to avoid enquiring about school immediately after the day has finished — they’re exhausted and need time. Allow them to come to you when they’re ready to talk, and create moments of loving connection that they can hold on to.

Curb physicality and roughness.
Men are biologically wired to be physical. They have a larger amygdala and more testosterone, so their type of play can be quite rough.
Tip: Keep it safe by setting simple guidelines: try avoid hurting yourself, others, and damaging things.

Expect testosterone surges.
Boys have testosterone surges around the ages of 4, 10 and 14. Be mindful that this can mean excess energy for them.

Tip: Keep boys physically active in large spaces outside the home. Also, set them exciting, challenging tasks that require concentration – they’ll be much calmer afterwards.

Who’s right to discipline?

Who’s right to discipline?

Yet again I’ve had strangers pass comment on my children. This time however my 2 year old was being a little bossy.

Now I’m not a helicopter parent, I do allow him to play in the park or at an indoor play centre with other children and I don’t hover to ensure everything that he does is by ‘others standards’.

The other day we happened to be at an indoor play centre with some friends and my little guy was playing on a climbing thing which had slides and a ball pit and various other child friendly things.

My little guy was happily playing with other children (some we didn’t know, but hey I’d rather he make friends with other children than be shy) I was sitting approx 10 meters away watching him happily play with an older boy whom I’m guessing was approx 4 or 5 years old.

Now let’s be honest with ourselves, boys can be rough, they can be boisterous and they can be bossy. Gosh girls can be also but I find girls more bossy than boisterous. Anyway, my 2 yo was playing with this older child at the top of the climbing frame and another child was climbing up when my 2 yo said ‘you can’t come in my castle’. He and the little boy he was playing with them laughed and ran away. Now I would have thought that at some time or another any child would say such things. I didn’t see any harm in it and the older boy whom my little guy was playing with was saying the same thing. I don’t know who instigated it but they were both saying it.

I was watching from afar and could see that my little guy wasn’t being rough, nor hitting, nor pushing it being ‘hands on’ in any way.

I saw an older man approx 55 walk towards all 3 boys shaking his finger. I thought best I’d go intervene. As I was walking over the older man said to me ‘is this your kid?’ I responded yes. He then said in a quite abusive tone ‘he is being bossy, either you stop it or I will’.

My response was quite civil and I said ‘sorry, they were only playing’ I then smiled and walked away with my 2 yo. I could have reacted in a very different way and now I kinda wish I had of told this old ‘bleep’ where to go and mind his own business. If I had of reacted that way though I would only be stooping to his low inappropriate level.

Now I’m not sure what planet this guy came from but in my planet, I’d never say that to another parent nor would I threaten to discipline another child nor would I discipline someone else’s child. I find it down right rude that a stranger thought he had the right to say that to me or anyone and also think that he had the right to act upon it.

I went and got my son from the climbing thing and took him back to the table and asked him what he was doing. He said just playing, the friend that I was with and her children said he wasn’t doing anything wrong from what they could see.

What was this mans problem?

Who in their right mind would think its ok to disciple someone else’s children? Especially a strangers child?

I wonder how he would feel if the roles were reversed and I decided to act the way he did. I wonder what his reaction would be?

This is a very busy indoor play centre and I have been there previously with my children many times and have never had any issues up until this day.

Now I’m the first to admit, kids will be kids and I try not to be a helicopter parent but under no circumstances would I allow my child to be a bully or to hurt other children. I do monitor and watch my child’s every move but I certainly don’t panic and I do allow him to make his own choices. After all I do want my children to be well rounded and be able to make their own positive choices.

My child has been picked on and bullied to an extent previously but as most adults know, kids will be kids. I didn’t intervene, I simply chatted to him about it. Children push boundaries it’s their way of expressing themselves and working out each other personalities. If my son was being aggressive or hitting or touching the other child perhaps I would have been a little more cross at him and more understanding towards the grumpy man. Instead my 2yo and the older boy were simply playing and said the other child wasn’t allowed in their castle. I’m pretty sure other children have said similar if not worse.

This isn’t where it stopped though. As I was walking back, an older woman decided to say to me as I passed her table ‘your little boy is so naughty, so so naughty’. I just gave her a look of ‘mind your own business’.

So where does the issue start and stop?

Does this strange man or strange woman have the right to speak to me the way they did?

Was my 2 yo out of line?

Is it their right to discipline other people’s children?

How would you feel if you or your child were spoken to in this way?

Would you disciple another child that wasn’t yours?

Email me – I’d love to hear your stories. noordinarymummy@gmail.com

The moon effect….

The moon effect…

I was in a taxi last Saturday evening on my way home from a party, no I’m not an all night rager, it was my father in laws 70th.

The taxi ride home was an interesting one. I was super tired as we had only returned from our holiday that afternoon so was trying to stay awake in the taxi. Is been up since 5am and it was now 11pm.

Trying to stay awake I decided to make conversation with the taxi driver, who seemed pleasant, so I passed comment that the moon was low. Which it was. It looked as though it was sitting on the top of the buildings in the horizon. It was quite pretty.

To my shock the driver responded with ‘yes it’s the 3rd quarter. Almost a full moon, young girls go crazy with a full moon’. I wasn’t sure how to respond so I asked ‘why do young girls go crazy with a full moon?’. He proceeded to tell me many reasons such as it interferes with their sleeping, it heightens their emotions and it stimulates growth. I was intrigued so asked for a further explanation. His response was interesting.

According to this taxi driver, the moon is what stimulates growth not the sun. So when it’s a full moon or 3rd quarter as he called it, the ‘stimulation levels’ are high and the brightness causes the body to think it’s day light and young girls can’t sleep. Apparently it doesn’t have the same effect on boys.

I needed to know more as it to me, could be believable however I still had doubt that thus perhaps could just be a ‘good story’. With this new knowledge in hand I decided to do more research in the subject.

Whatever you believe, perhaps it’s the light shining high in the sky that makes our brain over active that causes us our own craziness?

Below is what I found.

Dr Karl
ABC Science

http://www.abc.net.au/science/articles/2012/03/27/3464601.htm
The modern genre of werewolf books, TV series and movies are in complete agreement with the 1941 Hollywood classic film The Wolf Man. Yep, if you are so inclined, the full Moon will turn you into a lunatic werewolf.

Indeed, that rather antiquated word ‘lunacy’ comes from Luna, who was the Roman Goddess of the Moon. One definition of lunacy is “intermittent insanity once believed to be related to phases of the moon”.

This belief goes back a long way. The Roman scientist and military commander, Pliny the Elder, said that because the full Moon causes a very heavy nocturnal dew, it must also make the brain become “unnaturally moist”. That was how, he claimed, the Moon caused both epilepsy and lunacy. He was wrong.

Even so, the belief is still common today. One survey in the USA found that about 40 per cent of the general population, and 80 per cent of mental health professionals, believe that the phase of the Moon affects human behaviour.

And yet, 99+ per cent of the evidence says that the Moon has no effect on human behaviour.

The Moon takes just under a month to run from full (brightest), to half-full, to new (darkest), to half-full and back to full again.

But it’s the full Moon that is claimed to be related to a huge list of human misery, including accidents, alcoholism, anxiety, assaults, calls to crisis telephone numbers, casino activity, depression, domestic violence, drug overdoses and, of course, emergency-room visits.

If that’s not enough, it’s also supposedly responsible for human-made disasters, illegal drug use, kidnappings, murders, natural disasters, prison violence, psychiatric disturbance, psychiatric patient admissions, self-harm, shooting incidents, stabbings, suicides, the amount of food we eat, traffic accidents and so on.

Over the last half-century, thousands of studies have looked at the Moon’s effect upon the behaviours in my little list. Occasionally, one of these studies will show a correlation with the fullness of the Moon. But then the more thorough follow-up studies show absolutely no correlation at all.
Mind you, that’s what the scientific literature shows. That’s quite different from what will appear in your local newspaper, or on your TV. After all, the journalists have a deadline to keep, and a story to manufacture, and they won’t let the facts get in the way.

But there is a place for the lunar effect. You see, in the academic papers, the people studied are in modern societies, and have artificial light at night.
But before artificial lighting, people stayed up later on the full Moon. After all, if the full Moon is hanging in the sky, it’s 250-times brighter than if there’s no moonlight at all.

So, even today, in so-called primitive societies that don’t have artificial lighting at night, a full Moon is the occasion for a party, revelry and a general good time. The fabric of their society is organised around the full Moon. So if there are more people around, then obviously there will be more frequent mishaps.

Definitely, more people around does mean more human activity.
But in our modern technological society, does the Moon make people go mad, does it increase numbers at hospital emergency rooms or does it increase self-harm? Nope, the hard evidence says it doesn’t happen.
One theory that’s been put forward to explain this non-existent lunar-lunacy effect is that the Moon has a huge effect on the tides, which are made of water. Therefore, runs the biological-tides theory, because we are mostly water, the Moon must have an effect on us.

This so-called ‘theory’ is wrong in a few ways.

First, the Moon-tides thing happens because the oceans are large, and made of a liquid. They would still happen if the liquid was freezing liquid hydrogen, room temperature mercury, or hot liquid iron. It doesn’t have to be water.

Second, tides happen only over large expanses, not within the small dimensions of a human body.

Third, the ocean tides still happen if the Moon is full, new or half-full. The Moon still has a gravitational effect even if the Sun doesn’t fully light it up for us.
A better theory to explain it all is selective recall. It’s a busy night, and you look out the window to see that rare animal, the full Moon. You put two and two together to make five, and assume that the full Moon made your night busy.

This belief that the full Moon massively affects human behaviour is a cultural fossil. It’s a memory of the effect that we would party on a full Moon, way back when we had no artificial light.

 

Article by Jeffrey Kluger
Jeffrey Kluger is a senior editor for oversees TIME’s science and technology reporting.

Story reads:
We are all, quite literally, lunatics—and I mean that in the nicest way possible. It is the moon, after all, that is responsible for the luna part of that word—and the moon has always made us at least a little crazy. Over our long history we have been charmed by it, spooked by it, seduced by it. We kiss by the moon, go to war by the moon, we spent $25 billion—in 1960s money, no less—to go to the moon. So it’s hardly a surprise that the moon is in some very real ways inside of us all.

The human menstrual cycle is the best-known example of the way our bodies—over millions of years of evolution—have synchronized themselves to the rhythms of the moon. Less well-known is the lunar link to the electrochemistry of the brain in epileptic patients, which changes in the few days surrounding a new moon, making seizures more likely. And then there are the anecdotal accounts of the effects the moon has on sleep

People have long reported that it is harder to get to sleep and remain asleep when the moon is full, and even after a seemingly good night’s rest, there can be a faint sluggishness—a sort of full-moon hangover—that is not present on other days. If you’re sleeping on the prairie or in a settler’s cabin with no shades, the simple presence of moonlight is an inescapable explanation. But long after humans moved indoors into fully curtained and climate-controlled homes, the phenomenon has remained. What’s never been clear is whether it’s the real deal—if the moon really does mess with us–or if it’s some combination of imagination and selective reporting, with people who believe in lunar cycles seeing patterns where none exist. Now, a report in the journal Current Biology suggests that the believers have been right all along.

For a research paper that was just released today, the initial work took place an awful long time ago. In 2000, a team of investigators from the University of Basel, the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology and the Switzerland Centre for Sleep Medicine, recruited 33 volunteers and studied them in a sleep lab on and off over the course of three years. The investigators gathered a range of data—brain wave activity during sleep as measured by electroencephalograms (EEG); levels of melatonin, a sleep-related hormone; the amount of time it took subjects to fall asleep and the amount of time they spent in deep sleep; and their subjective reports of how rested they felt the next day. All of it was intended to learn more about human sleep patterns in a general way and, more specifically, how they are affected by age and gender. Only a decade later did the investigators realize that they may be able to re-crunch the data to learn about the moon.

“The aim of exploring the influence of different lunar phases on sleep regulation was never a priori hypothesized,” they wrote in a wonderfully candid passage in their paper. “We just thought of it after a drink in a local bar one evening at full moon.”

Thus should all great science be done, since as it turned out, the second look revealed intriguing patterns. On average, the subjects in the study took five minutes longer to fall asleep on the three or four nights surrounding a full moon and they slept for 20 fewer minutes. In addition, EEG activity related to deep sleep fell 30%, melatonin levels were lower and the subjects reported feeling less refreshed the next day than on other days. The subjects slept in a completely darkened lab with no sight of the moon, and none of them—at least from what was known—appeared to have given any thought at all to lunar cycles. And since the moon was not an experimental variable in the original study, it was never mentioned either to the subjects or even among the investigators.

In terms of scientific reliability, all of this is both good and not so good. A study can’t get more effectively double-blind than if no one is even thinking about the thing you wind up testing for, which makes the findings uniquely objective. On the other hand, the ideal moon study would have been carefully set up to give equal weight to every night in the lunar cycle. This study—while capturing most of the nights in the month—did so in a less rigorous way.

“The a posteriori analysis is a strength and a weakness,” concedes lead author Christian Cajochen, head of the University of Basel’s Centre for Chronobiology, in an e-mail to TIME. “The strength is that investigators and subject expectations are not likely to influence the results, yet the weakness is that each subject was not studied across all lunar phases.”

Even if the moon has as significant an effect on sleep as the study suggests, what’s less clear is the mechanism behind it. Dark labs eliminate the variable of light, so that can’t be it. And before you ask, no, it’s not gravity either. The authors stress that while lunar gravity does indeed raise tides in the oceans, it doesn’t on lakes and even many seas. Those bodies are simply too small to feel the effects—to say nothing of human bodies.

Rather, the answer is simply that we, like every other species on Earth, evolved on a particular planet with a particular set of astronomical cycles—day and night, full moons and less full—and our circadian systems adapted. It’s hard to say where the internal clock is in, say, a flowering plant, but in humans, it’s likely in the suprachiasmatic nuclei, a tiny region of the brain near the optic nerve involved in the production of melatonin, certain neurotransmitters and other time-keeping chemicals, all in a rhythm consistent with both its terrestrial and cosmic surroundings. Physically, human beings may be creatures of just this world, but our brains—and our behavior—appear to belong to two.

Other interesting articles are –

http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lunar_effect
http://m.livescience.com/7899-moon-myths-truth-lunar-effects.html
http://www.spiritualresearchfoundation.org/spiritualresearch/spiritualscience/spiritualeffectofmoon_on_man

 

 

 

Actions and Reactions

Actions and reaction.

They say for every action there will be a reaction.

Well I absolutely believe in this.

I recent had a converstation with my nieces who are ‘Tweens’ 11 years old and 12 years old about this very subject.

The older niece is quite care free and is friends with most kids in her school grade. Whereas the younger is quite choosy with who she is friends with and I understand why.

I didn’t friend a lot of people at school and for very similar reasons to that of my younger niece. I didn’t need a lot of friends especially those who were not true friends. I am a big believe in quality not quantity. There were also some nasty people around and some girls who had bad reputations so I also chose to distance myself to them and not be associated with those types of personalities.

So back to conversations about actions and reactions. I have a friend who was telling me that one of her friends, had got herself ‘labelled’ for want of a nicer description, when she was younger. She was the girl that for attention would date all the guys and most often at a young age have sexual relations with them to be ‘popular’, there are better ways to be ‘popular’ but why do you need to be the ‘popular one anyway? That label staid with her. Everyone though of her as that person and until this day, some people still refer to her as that type of person.

No matter how she thought she had changed or how she tried to convince others she had changed, fact is people still thought of her in that way. I explained this to my nieces as the older one who is friends with a lot of people ‘nice’ and ‘not so nice’ so Im hoping they understood the affects some actions can take on your future.

So my moral to this story is no matter how you behave now, there will always be someone who knows the ‘old’ you. You may be trying to better yourself for whatever reason, to get ahead in your career, to gain a partner whatever. If you are being truthful to yourself that’s great, grow and change for the better but don’t try to ‘fool’ others. There is also another saying the leopard can never change it’s spots!

Think about your actions, think about how you treat people. My grandmother always said ‘treat others the way you wish to be treated’. I do, I’m not afraid of who I am and I don’t think to much of those people who are negative towards me.

I don’t invite negativity into my life, however sometimes we can’t help those negative people who have to enter it for whatever reason.

I’m proud of the person I’ve become and don’t need people to like me, you take me as I am or not at all. I won’t change to suit your needs and I don’t believe you should change who you are for me. We don’t all need to get along nor do we all need to be friends.

Choose your friends carefully and appreciate those who respect you and that you respect and hold dear. One if my favourite sayings is ‘true friends are like diamonds, shiny and rare, false friends are like autumn leaves, they can be found anywhere.

Yes I am a strong, opinionated possibly dominate personality – I have actually been told this 🙂 but I don’t mess people around, to say I am a straight shooter is possibly ‘right on’. I speak truthfully and perhaps sometimes the truth may hurt, but then what am I saying for you to take it personally? I’m not malicious and I don’t go out of my way to offend people. So again for every action, there will be a reaction. Act the way you would like the reaction to be.

I once read a statement that ‘being famous on Instagram is like being rich in monopoly, it’s not real so calm down’. This rings true.

I also think that your past can always come back to haunt you.

This is a life lesson I will be teaching my children and only hope that they become wonderful humans who make wise decisions.

I found this article that I think is interesting.

Let me know your thoughts.

http://verse-afire.com/blog/?p=3242