#303 ACCEPTANCE: KEY to SERENITY Feb.10th 20

                                 Acceptance:  accepting bad stuff.  Key to serenity.

In our pro-positive culture, the pressure to suppress our negative feelings is daily.

However, psychological studies have shown that acceptance of negative events and emotions is the most reliable route to regaining and maintaining peace of mind. This was already shown by Zen 2,500 years ago.

Acceptance of our dark emotions is now backed by scientific evidence to improve emotional resilience to the diminution of symptoms of depression and anxiety.

Acceptance does not mean failure, resignation nor fighting our negative emotions, but simply taking them for what they are. Fighting negative emotions such as anxiety, anger, fear, grief will make you in an even worst state.

 How can it be that accepting negative emotions is paradoxically linked to long-term psychological thriving and more serenity?

According to recent analyses, the magic of acceptance is to minimize the effects of our  emotional reactions from stressful events. These mechanisms, over time, lead to positive psychological and mental health, including higher levels of life satisfaction and serenity.

This is not about living in the world with a detached attitude.

Acceptance also works for a wide range of people and it is not bound to socioeconomic or racial group.

It also appears to be effective whatever the degree of negativity.

Finally, accepting situations is context-dependent. We need to accept death, but we don’t need to endure unfair treatment from someone.

Non-judging acceptance is connected under the general umbrella of mindfulness, that is paying attention in a non-reactive way, simply observing. You need to pay attention to your internal experience, but acceptance, non-judging acceptance, seems to be one of the key ingredient to mindfulness.”

Resist the Urge to Strive for Happiness: 

Zen teachers often underline that “acceptance” doesn’t mean having the feeling of failure, being resigned,

or giving-up to a personal stressful, negative situation.

Negative emotions are unavoidable. Life is wonderful from time to time, but it’s also sometimes tragic.

Tragic events happen all the time and, if we only have positive thoughts, these unwanted realities can strike us even more intensely when they happen—and they will happen.

The other problem with trying to think positively and constantly pursuing happiness puts people in a striving state of mind for constant positive expectations. This constant positive mental behavior is always detrimental in a long term because it will fail sooner or later.

That said, acceptance remains mysterious in some ways. Psychologists don’t know which factors influence some people to accept negativity despite cultural pressures to stay positive.

In the West, happiness and positivity are seen as a must to have. “ Be happy”.

Many companies want their customers and employees to be delighted all the time. That’s unreasonable, and when we’re faced with unreasonable expectations, it’s natural for us to have strong negative emotions if these expectations are not met.

Like other cognitive habits, acceptance is a skill that can be learned especially thru mindfulness meditation.

“You are not angry, you have anger” says Zen. This is a very important distinction.

Finally, older adults use acceptance more than younger adults.

Like wisdom, the trait grows with age, so most of us will get there eventually.

#302 INFORMATION OVERLOAD. Consequences and role of meditation Feb 2 20

                    Information overload, its effects and role of meditation

Definition:

Excessive data input than the brain/mind is processing during the day.

Brain/mind can be compared to a quantum computer where the brain is the hardware and the mind/thoughts being the software.

The hardware is made of 100 billions neurons interconnected by 100 trillions connections.

The software is the electromagnetic waves transporting the constant incoming data thru the connections or synapses all over the brain.

We are producing between 70,000 and 100,000 thoughts daily excluding our subconscious thinking.

Information overloaded is also called:  infobesity, infoanxiety and IT addiction.

Japan was the first one to open 2 hospitals especially dedicated to this new addiction.

In 2018 a North American spends an average of 11 hours absorbing all kind of data from any screen (TV, cell, ipad, working computers, videogames, text, voicemail, print media, radio…… to name a few) .

It was 8.7 hours.in 2016 and the current rend is exponential.

There is a direct correlation between amount of absorbed data and its addictive impacts.                  

Sources of data input:

For simplification I will divide the sources of information as internal i.e. from our own body and external from the environment.

Internal:

Our brain/mind is processing continuously billion of peripheral data providing from every part of the body in order to function properly.

Rational and emotional thinking are forms of data generation.

External:

External info is absorbed by our 5 senses: viewing, listening, etc.

As mentioned before the sources of sensorial information overload is almost infinite especially with IT.

Portable devices such as cell phone are providing an endless data information 24/7.

Multi-media info is at least 80% negative content since market research shows that viewers are attracted to drama.

Negative impacts of Info overload:

We are just starting to analyze these impacts. Among the most frequent are:

Anxiety, irritability, lack of sleep, lack of concentration, poor social interaction, chronic fatigue  

Less productivity: it takes an average of 20min. to return to a specific task after receiving an email.

Stress, procrastination, feeling of hopelessness, even depression.

Intel Corporation has calculated that Information overload syndrome on its staff costs around 1 $ Billion of productivity and health issues.

This continuous information overload must be processed by the brain/mind at a potential cost of energy deficit since continuous mental data processing is using significant amount of energy that the brain/mind must generate

What  about meditation you may ask?

Since we are becoming more addicted to info of all sources pertinent or not, learning to reduce data input can be difficult if not impossible.

This is where Zen practice becomes very effective. During mindfulness meditation, the amount of data input is limiting just to one that is by focusing on x or, y . This is a form of temporally mental relaxation.

So…..once a while just unplug to unload your brain/mind.