From the sundial to the atomic clock, humans have been obsessed with measuring the passage of time. Philosophically controversial, the idea that a sequence of events takes place, one after the other, and that we can accurately use the terms before and after have given time the status of a dimension. Physicists often use the term “spacetime continuum” to put their theories in context.
Laughter may be the best medicine, but a good workout is definitely in second place. Exercise improves mood, decreases anxiety and increases concentration. Breathing hard and sweating for an hour or so can do more for your productivity than any other form of therapy. Time spent exercising is time well spent.
If he was alive today, I’m sure Ben would have included women in his quote. His point, however, was as true then as it is now. But sleep is boring, right? I mean, even talking about sleep is a snooze. We’re supposed to spend a third of our lives in dreamland, which adds up to about 4 months per year. What does this prolonged unconsciousness do for us? Although it seems like a waste of time and productivity, even the most energetic souls among us must succumb to slumber to avoid fatigue, psychosis and ultimately, death.
First, a disclaimer: I’m a psychiatrist, not a nutritionist. I have a pretty good idea of what’s healthy to eat and what isn’t, but my purpose here is not to get specific about food. Rather, it is to give simple, practical advice for those who wish to maximize their ability to concentrate consistently throughout the day.
It takes time and effort to stay in touch with friends. When every day is a race to keep up with everything you have to do, getting around to the things you should do seems to happen rarely. Many of us could spend every minute of every day putting out fires, juggling too many balls and dancing as fast as we can.
We all like new things. New is interesting. New is exciting. New is stimulating, sexy, captivating and scintillating. New holds our attention… for a while. Then new is old, boring, passé and dull. There is usually a bit of time between new and old, that transitional period during which an object, relationship or idea is still fresh enough to taste before being ripe enough to throw out.
Words are funny things. They’re fickle and evasive. Sometimes the same word has different meanings. Contextual relationships can change as well as tone, volume and facial expression, making sound bites easy to distort. What, when, and how to say something to someone else is the essence of communication.
Your brain has roughly 40 anatomically distinct regions, all with different functions. Think of those regions as a team of players. The area right behind your forehead and above your eyes is called the prefrontal cortex. Think of that as the coach.
In my last blog entry, I described a way of thinking about ADHD. If you consider the various brain regions as a team of players, each having its own position and function, then the prefrontal cortex (PFC) would be the coach, coordinating the team and making sure the plays were executed properly. In people with ADHD, the coach falls asleep when things are not interesting or exciting.
In recent blog posts, I’ve written copiously about dopamine, the neurotransmitter primarily responsible for our ability to sustain attention, organize our environment, prioritize tasks and resist our impulses. Excess dopamine recycling in the prefrontal cortex results in relatively low levels of this chemical messenger’s “availability” for nerve cell communication in that part of the brain, resulting in deficient executive functioning.