Tag Archives: Memories

007 Can gratitude save your life?

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Hand writes the word thank you“90% your long-term happiness is predicted not by the external world, but by the way your brain processes the world.”  Dr. Shawn Achor, “The Happy Secret to Better Work” TEDx 2011

In today’s episode we:

  • Explore the power of gratitude
  • Consider what we can do to make use of gratitude
  • Discuss how science is trying to reshape memories.

Gratitude/Thankfulness  

  • Can gratitude save your…job, relationship, life?
  • What about medication?   What if after doing all the right things our brain still do not cooperate and gratitude seems out of reach?
  • Seeing the good, not ignoring the bad.  Gratitude does not deny the bad.
  • Can we change the wiring in our brain?
  • Can an attitude of gratitude help us with PTSD recovery?  It can.  As we adopt a mindset shaped by being able to see what is truly good in ourselves, others, and the world we are in a better position to deal with our traumatic experiences.

Reshaping Memories with Genetics… (see the post on Reshaping Memories)

Gratitude Experiments:

  1. 3 Gratitude Each Day for 21 Days
  2. Journaling One Positive Event Each Day
  3. Exercise
  4. Meditation
  5. Random Acts of Kindness: E-mail/send a positive note

I will be doing #1.

What one or two will you be doing?  What other ways have helped you maintain an attitude of gratitude?

Resources and References:

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Reshaping Memories: Science Fiction or Our Future?

TranslucentBrainIs the day approaching when we can take a pill to change our brains perception of traumatic events?  Researchers at MIT have accomplished this in mice.

They have been able to activate genes involved in what they call “memory extinction”.  The process does not so much erase the memory as allow new experiences to somehow overwrite the perception experience of the memory.

When they activated certain genes, Tet1, in the mice they were able to add new experiences to the old memories.  This resulted in the old memories being washed out—at least from their emotional impact.

Mice were conditioned to fear a specific cage via electric shock.  When they were put back in to the same cage without the electric shock some mice still exhibited fear.  Other mice put back into the cage quickly learned that the cage was safe and stopped showing fear. 

What was the difference?  The mice that contained to show fear—even though the cage was now safe—lacked Tet1 gene activation.  The mice that adapted to the situation had the Tet1 gene activated.

There is still a long way to go before human trials.  Yet this raises some interesting questions and even more interesting potentials.

Do you think we should mess with memory gene activation?  What are some potential benefits of this kind of treatment?  What are some risks?  What would a future look like if people could take a pill to alter all of their unpleasant memories?

Join the discussion…

Further reading…

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