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Using Breakthrough Discoveries in Brain Science & Psychology

Chapter 1. Introduction - Brain Discoveries and Change. Breaking through the barriers to the good life.

Chapter 2. Pleasure Deficit. Brain scientists have discovered that both human and animal brains are hard-wired with reward pathways, also known as pleasure centers/systems. These pathways have to be stimulated regularly and adequately by serotonin, dopamine and other neurotransmitters if one is to feel and function optimally.

Chapter 3. The Modular Brain. The human mind is not a single, monolithic, unified system as we have erroneously been led to believe since Aristotle. Our brains are made up of many different modules that function basically on their own, often even outside of our conscious awareness and control.

Chapter 4. Quest for Excitement. Our brains crave stimulation, excitement and adventure. One of the worst forms of punishment is to deprive people of varied experiences. In prisons that punishment is solitary confinement. Even the toughest prisoners, who have been locked up in dark, barren cells known as "holes" and cut off from all stimuli, have been known to go insane. In sensory deprivation experiments, normal volunteers, insulated from all stimuli for extended periods of time, hallucinated and exhibited other forms of psychotic behavior. In ordinary life we are subject to anxiety, boredom and depression if we don't get a sufficient blend of appropriate stimuli; or get stressed out if we get too much. Determine what your appropriate Stimulation Quotient is by filing out the Zuckerman Sensation Seeking Scale.

Chapter 5. Turning Boredom Into Flow. Remember when you were so totally immersed in an activity that you completely lost track of time, forgot yourself and the world around you and felt a natural "high"? You were so focused on the activity that you were doing it almost automatically and intuitively, without a sense that you were controlling it every step of the way. That is what psychologists call "flow" activities. You'll see how people actually turned boring or unpleasant activities, such as house cleaning or preparing taxes, or even assembly-line work, into flow experiences.

Chapter 6. Your Pleasure Inventory. A comprehensive pleasure inventory will enable you to harness the power of the reward pathways to facilitate change and take command of your life, rather than be at their mercy. It will also contribute to making your life so much more enjoyable and fun.

Chapter 7. Cortical Integration. Our brains, being a collection of diverse modules generate opposing, contradictory feelings and needs that pull us in different directions and even operate outside our conscious awareness. Cortical Integration is the process for bringing these conflicting feelings and behavior patterns -- especially those that oppose, contradict or sabotage our conscious efforts -- to awareness and integrating them.

Chapter 8. Organized and In Control. How many times have you tried to get organized? And we know what happened. In this chapter you'll find out why that happened, and how to get control of your time, particularly if you are trapped in an exhausting, commuter-treadmill lifestyle, leaving you with very little time for yourself, or if your home or office is disorganized.

Chapter 9. Brainstorming. Do you have some specific problem that is bugging you? Got you stumped? You don’t know how to best deal with it? Brainstorm! You may think you already know how the brainstorming process works. But when was the last time you actually used it? Here is a new way to apply it and outside of a supportive group.

Chapter 10. Play & Fitness. Remember when you were a kid how much fun it used to be to go outside and play? You couldn’t wait to be with your friends and participate in all kinds of games. Somewhere along the line play got turned into exercise and became a chore -- something additional to feel guilty about when you can’t fit it into your busy schedule. Time to shed the "no-pain, no-gain" mind-set and re-learn what you did instinctively as a child, which was to play rather than "exercise."

Chapter 11. Being a Proactor. There are four existential positions in life: Proactor, Reactor, Victim and Predator. Which do you operate from? If you aren't a Proactor, you can become one via the Cortical Integration Process. As a Proctor you will operate from your center, reclaim your autonomy and command of your life.

Chapter 12. The Self-Contract. What exactly do you want to change about yourself or your life today, this week, month or year? To cement that commitment to change, put it in writing and sign it. The self-contract needs to be reasonable, measurable, specific and have a time frame for completion. And don't forget the contingency clause, in case things don't work out as planned.

Chapter 13. Life as an Adventure. How happy are you with your life? Is it an adventure or a drag? Do you have the nagging feeling that something is missing? Does life seem to have lost the old zest and excitement? Passions dimmed? What if you never knew what your passions are?

Chapter 14. Enjoyable Travel. How to learn to enjoy travel once again after what has happened since 9/11. Traveling light in a creative, resourceful mode.

Chapter 15. Weight, Fun & Fitness. The Life Enrichment Action Plan (LEAP) is the application of breakthrough discoveries in brain science and nutrition to enrich life, experience more pleasure, eat healthily, and be more fit and attractive. This is about making permanent, positive lifestyle changes, not a quick fix or continuing to play the "Fat Game." Losing and keeping off those unwanted pounds just becomes one of the by-products of living that richer life.

Chapter 16. Replacing the Nicotine Addiction. Forget the old, negative-enforcement, withdrawal method that works less than 7% of the time. There is a much better, positive- enforcement, individually custom-tailored protocol that enables you to obtain the pleasure that nicotine provides, from other, healthier sources. This is a step-by-step protocol for doing it comfortably, while enriching your life.

Chapter 17. The Drinking Conundrum. Alcohol is a paradox. Consumed in moderate amounts it is beneficial; in large quantities it’s deadly. If you’re a man, two drinks a day are beneficial for your health; and one drink a day if you’re a woman. If you drink more than that, find out here what needs alcohol is satisfying and how to get them met in better ways.

Chapter 18. Managing Your Finances. If you don't have control of your resources, this chapter helps to pinpoint the precise problem, provides techniques to get your finances in order and come up with more fulfilling rewards.

Chapter 19. Quit Sabotaging Your Relationships! Disconnecting from the Cinderella-Prince Charming fantasies emotionally. Learning to choose the right person and avoiding winding up with the wrong one. Love is not enough, especially the romantic, I-fell-in-love variety. Basing relationships on the Equity Principle and keeping them authentic and real by way of weekly authenticating sessions and “creative aggression.” The litmus test of a vital, vibrant relationship: does it keep growing and unfolding? A relationship based on the same patterns, routines and habits eventually stagnates and dies. Yet how many people you know who are living in dead relationships? Or don't have primary relationships at all?

Chapter 20. Conquering Depression. Nineteen million Americans are suffering from depression. Only half of them are doing anything about it. Yet should you go to your physician complaining of depression, 9 times out of 10 you'll be prescribed an antidepressant. Some of these drugs have been found to be hardly more effective than placebos, while causing serious side effects, and masking the real causes of depression. Instead, before going to your physician, read this chapter and fill out the self-rating depression scale on page 158, to help you and your doctor better assess your situation. As you'll find out in this chapter, depression can be induced by too much stress; unsatisfactory lifestyle; insufficient amounts of vitamin A, B1, B2 or C; anemia; thyroid disease; viral infection and a half a dozen other factors. Before agreeing to take antidepressants, make sure that these factors aren't inducing your depression.

Chapter 21. Discover Your Dream. This chapter is a guided exercise for re-connecting to your childhood spontaneity and passions -- for getting in touch with the authentic self that you may have become alienated from and creating your optimal lifestyle -- instead of letting the reward pathways, outdated early decisions and scripts run your life.

Chapter 22. Turning Dreams Into Lifestyles. A dream without a viable plan for implementation is a "pipe dream." Designing the comprehensive Lifestyle Plan for transitioning from your present to your dream lifestyle.

Chapter 23. The Best Place to Live. Most people are territorial and usually think of having a permanent home somewhere. Increasingly many are getting out of the box and are experiencing home in a more elastic way. There are ten key factors that are important no matter where you live.

Chapter 24. The Ultimate Challenge: Living Your Optimal Life. You needn't be rich or famous to achieve your personal dream.

Chapter 25. The Essence of Psychotherapy. Repeated clinical research studies disclose that psychotherapies lack any scientific basis and can even be harmful in one out of seven cases. Supposed benefits are often due to placebo effects and spontaneous remissions. Para-professional "helpers" achieve results equal or better than professionals.

Copyright © 2010 Al Louis Ripskis. All rights reserved.

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