Adonis Diaries

Archive for November 22nd, 2014

Placebo potency explained by Regression to Mean?

Extreme performances are interspersed with many less extreme cases

Trends fluctuate around a mean, back toward the average.

Such as in weather changes, stock market, performances of athletes, luck in love, subjective happiness, feeling under the weather, test scores…

Occasional visits to “expert” may boost your emotional moral, but it is more likely that the boost is a regression to the mean that might have taken place if you didn’t pay a visit to the expert.

Usually, it might not be the program, the process, the punishment method, the advice… that improved the situation.

Look out for the regression to mean behavior in natural laws and people emotional states.

Learn to assess the process and not judge according to results and outcome.

Study the decision process.

When the sample is small, the results are practically meaningless.

Better pay close attention by monitoring the preparation and the execution of the operations.

A bad result does Not generally indicate a bad decision and vice versa.

Stick to the method and process that work well, even if the result is not occasionally satisfactory.

“There’s nothing more effective in selling anything than getting the customer to really believe that you like him and care about him” Joe Girard, a successful car  salesman.

Read: The Art of Thinking Clear

 

Pictures that may Make you Re-Evaluate your Entire Existence

THE Universe, Earth. Man 

It’s pretty safe to assume that there are some black holes out there. Here’s the size of a black hole compared with Earth’s orbit, just to terrify you:

D. Benningfield/K. Gebhardt/StarDate / Via mcdonaldobservatory.org

So if you’re ever feeling upset about your favorite show being canceled or the fact that they play Christmas music way too early — just remember…

This is your home.

By Andrew Z. Colvin (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (creativecommons.org) or GFDL (gnu.org)], via Wikimedia Commons

This is what happens when you zoom out from your home to your solar system.

And this is what happens when you zoom out farther…

By Andrew Z. Colvin (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (creativecommons.org) or GFDL (gnu.org)], via Wikimedia Commons

And farther…

By Andrew Z. Colvin (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (creativecommons.org) or GFDL (gnu.org)], via Wikimedia Commons

Keep going…

By Andrew Z. Colvin (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (creativecommons.org) or GFDL (gnu.org)], via Wikimedia Commons

Just a little bit farther…

By Andrew Z. Colvin (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (creativecommons.org) or GFDL (gnu.org)], via Wikimedia Commons

Almost there…

By Andrew Z. Colvin (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (creativecommons.org) or GFDL (gnu.org)], via Wikimedia Commons

And here it is. Here’s everything in the observable universe, and here’s your place in it. Just a tiny little ant in a giant jar.

And here it is. Here's everything in the observable universe, and here's your place in it. Just a tiny little ant in a giant jar.

2. And this is where you live in your neighborhood, the solar system.

Here’s the distance, to scale, between the Earth and the moon. Doesn’t look too far, does it?

THINK AGAIN. Inside that distance you can fit every planet in our solar system, nice and neatly.

PerplexingPotato / Via reddit.com

Let’s talk about planets. That little green smudge is North America on Jupiter.

NASA / John Brady / Via astronomycentral.co.uk

Here’s the size of Earth (well, six Earths) compared with Saturn:

NASA / John Brady / Via astronomycentral.co.uk

And just for good measure, here’s what Saturn’s rings would look like if they were around Earth:

Ron Miller / Via io9.com

This right here is a comet. We just landed a probe on one of those bad boys. Here’s what one looks like compared with Los Angeles:

This right here is a comet. We just landed a probe on one of those bad boys. Here's what one looks like compared with Los Angeles:

Let’s step back a bit. Here’s the size of Earth compared with the size of our sun. Terrifying, right?

Let's step back a bit. Here's the size of Earth compared with the size of our sun. Terrifying, right?

Which means that there are ones much, much bigger than little wimpy sun. Just look at how tiny and insignificant our sun is:

Our sun probably gets its lunch money stolen.

Here’s another look. The biggest star, VY Canis Majoris, is 1,000,000,000 times bigger than our sun:

………

But none of those compares to the size of a galaxy. In fact, if you shrunk the Sun down to the size of a white blood cell and shrunk the Milky Way Galaxy down using the same scale, the Milky Way would be the size of the United States:

That’s because the Milky Way Galaxy is huge. This is where you live inside there:

But this is all you ever see:

(That’s not a picture of the Milky Way, but you get the idea.)

But even our galaxy is a little runt compared with some others. Here’s the Milky Way compared to IC 1011, 350 million light years away from Earth:

Just THINK about all that could be inside there.

Let’s think bigger. In JUST this picture taken by the Hubble telescope, there are thousands and thousands of galaxies, each containing millions of stars, each with their own planets.

Here’s one of the galaxies pictured, UDF 423. This galaxy is 10 BILLION light years away. When you look at this picture, you are looking billions of years into the past.

Some of the other galaxies are thought to have formed only a few hundred million years AFTER the Big Bang.

And just keep this in mind — that’s a picture of a very small, small part of the universe. It’s just an insignificant fraction of the night sky.

You know, it’s pretty safe to assume that there are some black holes out there. Here’s the size of a black hole compared with Earth’s orbit, just to terrify you:

D. Benningfield/K. Gebhardt/StarDate / Via mcdonaldobservatory.org

There’s more to the mood-boosting properties of exercise than endorphins.

Exercise has been touted to be a cure for nearly everything in life, from depression, to memory loss, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s and more.

At the same time, similar to the topic of sleep, I found myself having very little specific and scientific knowledge about what exercise really does to our bodies and our brains.

 posted:

“Yes, yes, I know all about it, that’s the thing with the endorphins, that makes you feel good and why we should exercise and stuff, right?” is what I can hear myself say to someone bringing this up.

I would pick up things here and there, yet really digging into the connection of exercise and how it effects us has never been something I’ve done.

Inspired by a recent post from Joel on what makes us happy I’ve set out to uncover the connection between our feeling of happiness and regularly exercising.

What triggers happiness in our brain when we exercise?

Most of us are aware of what happens to the body when we exercise. We build more muscle or more stamina. We feel how daily activities like climbing stairs becomes easier if we exercise regularly.

When it comes to our brain and mood though, the connection isn’t so clear.

The line around our “endorphins are released” is more something I throw around to sound smart, without really knowing what it means. Here is what actually happens:

If you start exercising, your brain recognizes this as a moment of stress. As your heart pressure increases, the brain thinks you are either fighting the enemy or fleeing from it.

To protect yourself and your brain from stress, you release a protein called BDNF (Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor). This BDNF has a protective and also reparative element to your memory neurons and acts as a reset switch.

That’s why we often feel so at ease and things are clear after exercising and eventually happy. (Still not clear)

At the same time, endorphins, another chemical to fight stress, is released in your brain. Your endorphins main purpose is what  researcher McGovern writes:

These endorphins tend to minimize the discomfort of exercise, block the feeling of pain and are even associated with a feeling of euphoria.

Overall, there is a lot going on inside our brain and it is in fact oftentimes a lot more active than when we are just sitting down or actually concentrating mentally:

So, BDNF and endorphins are the reasons exercise makes us feel so good.

The somewhat scary part is that they have a very similar and addictive behavior like morphine, heroine or nicotine. The only difference? Well, it’s actually good for us.

The key to maximize happiness through exercise: don’t do more, but focus on when

Now here is where it all gets interesting. We know the basic foundations of why exercising makes us happy and what happens inside our brain cells.

The most important part to uncover is how we can trigger this in an optimal and longer lasting way.

A recent study from Penn State university shed some light on the matter and the results are more than surprising. They found that to be more productive and happier on a given work day, it doesn’t matter so much, if you work-out regularly, if you haven’t worked out on that particular day:

Those who had exercised during the preceding month but not on the day of testing generally did better on the memory test than those who had been sedentary, but did not perform nearly as well as those who had worked out that morning.”

New York Times best-selling author Gretchen Reynolds has written a whole book about the subject matter titled “The first 20 minutes”.

To get the highest level of happiness and benefits for health, the key is not to become a professional athlete. On the contrary, a much smaller amount is needed to reach the level where happiness and productivity in every day life peaks:

“The first 20 minutes of moving around, if someone has been really sedentary, provide most of the health benefits. You get prolonged life, reduced disease risk — all of those things come in in the first 20 minutes of being active.”

You can relax and don’t have to be on the look-out for the next killer work-out. All you have to do is get some focused 20 minutes in to get the full happiness boost every day:

“On exercise days, people’s mood significantly improved after exercising. Mood stayed about the same on days they didn’t, with the exception of people’s sense of calm which deteriorated.” (University of Bristol)

How to get into a consistent exercise habit: The dance with the endorphins

That’s all nice to hear you might say, starting to exercise regularly or even daily is still easier written than done. At end of the day, there is quite a lot of focus required to help you get into the habit of exercising daily.

The most important part to note first, is that exercise is a “keystone” habit according to Charles Duhigg, New York Times bestselling author of The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business.

This means that daily exercise can pave the way not only for happiness, but also growth in all other areas of your life.

In a recent post from Joel, he wrote about the power of daily exercise for his everyday life. Coincidentally, he follows the above rules very accurately and exercises daily before doing anything else. He writes:

By 9:30am, I’ve done an hour of coding on the most important task I have right now on Buffer, I’ve been to the gym and had a great session, and I’ve done 30 minutes of emails. It’s only 9:30am and I’ve already succeeded, and I feel fantastic.

I’ve spoken lots to Joel about his habit of exercising and here are some of the most important things to do, in order to set yourself up for success and make your daily exercise fun:

Put your gym clothes right over your alarm clock or phone when you go to bed:
This technique sounds rather simple, but has been one of the most powerful ones. If you put everything the way you want it for the gym before you go to sleep and put your alarm under your gym clothes, you will have a much easier time to convince yourself to put your gym clothes on. (How about wrapping the gym clothes on you in bed?)

Track your exercises and log them at the same time after every exercise:

When you try to exercise regularly, the key is to make it a habit. One way to achieve this is to create a so called “reward”, that will remind you of the good feelings you get from exercising.

In our big list of top web apps, we have a full section on fitness apps that might be handy. Try out Fitocracy or RunKeeper to log your work-outs. Try to have a very clear logging process in place. Log your work-out just before you go into the shower or exactly when you walk out of the gym.

Think about starting small and then start even smaller: Here is a little secret.

When I first started exercising, I did it with five minutes per day, three times a week. Can you imagine that? Five minutes of timed exercise, three times a week? That’s nothing, you might be thinking. And you are right, because the task is so easy and anyone can succeed with it, you can really start to make a habit out of it. Try no more than five or 10 minutes if you are getting started.

Quick last fact: You get the highest level of happiness with exercise if you are just starting out

As a quick last fact, exercise, the increase of the BDNF proteins in your brain acts as a mood enhancer. The effects are similar to drug addiction one study found. So when you start exercising, the feeling of euphoria is the highest:

“The release of endorphins has an addictive effect, and more exercise is needed to achieve the same level of euphoria over time.” (McGovern)

So this means that if you have never exercised before or not for a long time, your happiness gains will be the highest if you start now.

Exercise and how it affects our level of happiness is an absolutely exciting topic for me. Have you played around with this too and seen any results? I would love to hear your thoughts on how exercise and happiness work together.

Photo credit: katapulsemusic

Note: from what I read is that “forget the euphoric feeling and this addiction that requires more time for exercise will vanish. Just knowing that exercising is beneficial for your daily work and attitude is good enough”

Get the habit of just 20 minutes before you start the day, and if you feel the itch for more exercise during the day, then go for it. Anything more than 30 minutes that exhaust you physically is not worth the effort if daily “production” is the criteria

This post originally appeared on Buffer, and is reprinted with permission.

[Image: Flickr user D. Sinclair Terrasidius]


adonis49

adonis49

adonis49

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