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neuroscience

Overwhelmed? Had a Busy Week? Slow Down with a Poem

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When things get overwhelming and you feel knee deep in distractions, what do you do to slow things down? Some people turn to meditation. I use poetry as my remedy. As soon as I sense a whiff of spring, I dig up the first stanza of T.S. Eliot’s “The Waste Land” and recite these words to whomever will listen: April is the cruellest month, breeding Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing Memory and desire, stirring Dull roots with spring rain. I don’t know why I memorized this part of the poem in college, but through this exercise I realized that reading and experiencing a poem can be transformative.  It takes me away from what’s happening around me, an escape…

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The game of love is afoot: time to don your “dear-stalker” hat

in Nonfiction by

Thank goodness we’ve managed to put another Valentine’s Day behind us. Yes, I know it’s supposed to be the holiday of love and flowers and chocolates and all things satin and lacy. But once you manage to shove your way through all the cherubim fluttering around your head in a perfumed haze, you start to realize that this holiday is really all about disappointment. And not just because those irresistible three-pound boxes of discount truffles hammer the final sticky-sweet nail into the coffin of your New Year’s resolutions or because you can’t find a greeting card with message that doesn’t make your molars ache. No, I mean deep romantic disappointment. Let’s face it, whether you’re single, dating, married, divorced, or…

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MRI findings confirm reading can change your emotional state

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I was fascinated by January 4th 2014 in the Science section of the British newspaper The Independent referencing research from Emory University, it revealed that reading a gripping novel can trigger measurable changes in brain function, lingering for as long as five days. The research found reading a compelling book may cause heightened connectivity and neurological changes in the brain, which registered in the left temporal cortex, an area associated with language reception and other important brain functions such as sensory and motor activity. “The neural changes we found associated with physical sensation and movement systems suggest that reading a novel can transport you into the body of the protagonist,” said Professor Gregory Berns, a neuroscientist and author of the…

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